Sunday, March 03, 2013
As we blog about habits this week, and I have read already many blogs about habit development, I thought to share some experience I gathered in the past two years.
1. A SMALL ACTION goes a long way
Think about a small action to form a new habit. Instead of 1h exercise, just stick to a 10 minutes. Instead of eating healthy meals, stick to eat an apple every day. Once the small action is established in your daily routine, you can scale it up.
>Last year I decided to brush teeth immediately after breakfast, to clean away the food taste from my mouth, and reduce hunger. It sounds like a very silly, and small step towards a healthy lifestyle. However, it had great benefits - it closes the meal, prevents further hunger, encourages me to stay away from food for longer (instead I drink). And, it's great for my teeth!
2. TRACKING is key
I experienced that if I track daily whether I did my new action or not, it increases my success rate to double. It can be different ways of tracking, in a paper diary, on an A4 sheet on the wall, in a smartphone app, or here in SP.
>I have friends, who's natural tendency is to play with Excel sheets in their free time. I don't have this built-in data eating desire, but I realized that tracking improves my success rate, so I do it. Usually I stick a paper on the wall, so I can see it every day.
3. Use a DEFINED PERIOD to form the habit
I see that I need approx. 1 month to arrive to a level when I have almost zero resistance to do my new action, so I usually do 30 day periods. During this period, I do the action no matter what. After this period, if I don't like it in the end, I abandon it, but during this period, I contract myself to do it anyway.
>When I started with running, I decided to get out to run every day for 10 minutes, no matter what. Now, I don't run every day, I think it's healthier for me to run every other day, or to make 5 day strikes and then 2 days off. However, to get into the habit of running, for 30 days, I ran every day. I remember I was on a business trip in Germany during that 30 days. Our meetings finished very late, and by the time I had time for myself, it was already 1 am. I was the only single person in the dark streets, and I only ran 10 minutes exactly, not a second more, but I did it.
Today we went to Lassnitzh÷he, and made a 2h walk in the neighbourhood. The sun was strong, it was fresh, and the air was amazingly clear!
Do you have some tips for habit development from your experience?
Please share it here, I would be happy to hear about it!
Saturday, March 02, 2013
This week we write about habits every day in the Winter to Spring 5% challenge.
So here it is about Saturday! Some of my habits that I formed in the past to years, and I follow now, and how I did today.
Daily exercise - 30 min running, speedrope, warm-up
Track exercise - the run in Endomondo
Learn POSE method of running - did POSE exercise before the run
Exercise together - we did together with my fiancÚe
Shopping healthy - in the shop it was "the thing to do". If I look back how I was 2 years ago, it is amazing - we returned home with a big pile of salads, vegetables, portion controlled, and low cal food.
Eat salad/veggies every day - I made a big salad for us with Ruccola, bell peppers, corn, apples, lean ham, cheese
Healthy snacks - granola bars, banana, dark chocolate
Track calories - I tracked first part of the day in SP, the rest maybe tomorrow.
Keep calories in budget - I can only see tomorrow, I think it will be only "just-in"
Weigh myself in the morning - done
Wash teeth after breakfast - skipped :-(
Daily meditation - just comes now
Eat 8 cups of water a day - done, but includes 2 cups of Roiboos tea, and 2 cups of Twinnings tea, not pure water
Sleep 8 hours - done
Drink tea, coke, coffee only in the morning - done
Blogging - I didn't blog weekly or daily lately. This week is the time to come back!
Weekly weigh-in for 5% challenge - done
Check-in to 5% challenge forum - done
Comment on blogs - still to do
Funny thing is, for most, I really have to think about them. Which means, they are truly habits!
The most recent habit is daily meditation, which I formed in December/January this year. It's still in the phase when it needs some attention. Today, it is again the last thing I do. I prefer to do it first thing in the morning, then it's for sure in, and I don't have this struggle against my tiredness, late evening, or just "how long this day was". However, doing it in the evening makes a wonderful closure for the day, and makes my sleep better.
This is a pic from today! Here in Austria, it's spring, but the snow holds on strong from last week. A little snow just makes it more exciting, doesn't it?
How was your Saturday habits wise?
Monday, February 04, 2013
Just an energetic hello from my daily run!
Enjoy the snow under the pine trees!
See my post below on meditation for "relaxed" input!
Sunday, February 03, 2013
I started an experiment in December, to have a daily meditation session. Usually in the evening, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening.
I see this is an often overlooked part of healthy living: recovery. After overhauling my nutrition and exercise habits, it was a straightforward decision to start experimenting with recovery, by which I mean sleeping, resting, meditation, having massage, relaxation and similar activities.
After successfully passing the 30-days, I liked it a lot, and decided to continue for 90 days, and see.
Funny, before, it looked so much effort - another 15 min to squeeze into my day.
Now, I notice it is less and less effort to do it, and it's slowly becoming part of my usual daily activity. I'm starting to doubt I could do without.
In my previous post, I shared some "inbetween" learning. Now here are some post 30-day trial learning:
1. It was good that I set a shorter time (15 min) vs the optimal time for meditation (I would have gone for 30 min as optimal). This lowered my resistance to "I do it anyway" level, and helped me on those days when I was tired, or busy.
2. I re-live these feelings in many of my 30-day trials.
- The first couple of days are easy and full of excitement.
-Then it becomes difficult, and seems to be a lot of effort to keep on going.
- Then after 10-15 days, it starts to get into more comfortable.
- After around 30 days, I arrive to a "neutral zone". If I want, I can keep on doing it, or abandon it, if the outcome is not so interesting.
3. I see more and more the positive things even in otherwise "not so nice" events. I feel grounded.
4. Now, an occasional miss of meditation for a day has little effect on my overall motivation to do it. In fact, I'm looking forward to it much more then not.
5. My girlfriend became interested, and started to join me after some time.
Now, we often do it together.
It's in a way both "me" time and "us" time.
I never planned for this before, and this a real surprise benefit.
Here's a shot of our our Sunday hike:
I received so good tips on my previous post, thank you a lot!
I would be happy again for any tips, ideas, experiences on meditation (even if it's a repetition - then probably it's even more interesting).
- How you do it?
- How often, and for how long?
- What benefits did you notice?
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
For long, I wanted to make daily meditation part of my life.
Finally, I started a 30 day trial on 18th Dec. It looked like an easy enough - difficult enough challenge to keep my focus on healthy life during the holidays.
I calibrated it for 15 minutes, which is less then my ideal goal, but my focus now is to establish the habit of doing meditation. When I am regularly doing it, and find the time for it in my daily schedule, I can scale it up to be longer.
So far, I am on track every day, and very happy for the results.
Some benefits that I already see:
1. If I do it in the MORNING, my day has an energized and in focused atmosphere. Somehow I work more on the things that matter. Strangely, my hunger is less, and I have more wish to go out for exercise.
2. When I do it in the EVENING, it is a great way to close down the day, and wind down all the happiness and stress from that day. My sleep is much better afterwards.
3. Having a healthy lifestyle goal in FOCUS makes other challenges that show up much easier to deal with. Somehow, if I pay attention to this one, automatically I have more "energy" to do the other things right, too.
It feels great just to do meditation every day.
If it works well this way for the whole 30 days, I will experiment with doing it both in the morning and in the evening, making a frame for my day.
I wanted to this for years, and was wondering why it happens now, and not before. Some funny facts I found:
1. There is a nice warm carpet now in the room, which invites for sitting, kneeling, laying down on it.
2. I found my watch which can make only one "bip" when the countdown timer finishes. So I have a gently transit out.
3. Winter and especially "dark" December fosters looking inside.
4. As in maintenance mode, my nutrition in general is on track, and my exercise is on track. So I can start to improve the third big area, rest/recreation.
5. I went to a 4 day silent retreat in Dec 2012, which boosted my motivation to start this trial. I expected it would boost it, so it was a good decision having done it!
This is a look-out tower nearby. It was near freezing conditions, and the heavy fog blocked all visibility. It was a really funny to walk in this "white air mud". Everything was so silent and calm.
Are you doing meditation?
How you do it? (Time, place, format?)
Or are you doing any other type of recreation/stop in the morning or the evening?
Any tips are welcome!
Happy new year!
A friend of mine recommended this podcast on meditation.
Get An Email Alert Each Time HAKAPES Posts