I’ve been thinking about some of the habits of highly successful people (as far as fitness and health), and I’ve realized that they are not just disciplined with their food and exercise, but with everything in their life. I suppose part of my journey here is to develop stronger self control, but it hadn’t really occurred to me that this extends beyond just food and exercise. My room is always messy, I’m easily distracted, and I rarely finish all the millions of little projects that I start. In order to build healthier habits over time, I need to work on all of the habits that are holding me back from reaching my potential, such as cleaning my room, clearing out my inbox every day, walking with better posture, going to bed at the same (early) time every night, etc etc etc.
I want to be stronger than I have always thought I could be, and I want to be more disciplined, not just with my food, but with everything, because I can’t slack off in other areas of my life and expect to see a change with my attitude towards food and my goals to have a better, healthier body and mind. So I want to start challenging myself to make small changes outside of just my eating and exercise habits. Changing your body or your health is not an isolated event or goal – it all relates to how disciplined you are with other areas of your life, so to expect to change one part is to force yourself to change other parts. Its a ripple effect and discipline/willpower are like muscles, so the more you use them, the stronger they get. For example, working out in the mornings is great because it gets your motivation and discipline going so you’re more likely to succeed the rest of the day.
In an ideal world, I would like to:
– clean my room/home every day
– practice yoga every day
– take 5-15 minutes to meditate every day
– disconnect from my computer at least 30 minutes before bed every night
– work out before work every morning
– have better posture
– respond to all my emails right away and always have zero unread in my inbox
– read 30 minutes a day
With the start of this new month, I want to start building and breaking habits beyond the ones that are directly related to health, fitness, and wellness. A friend of mine recently sent me this link from zenhabits about adjusting your definition of “normal” and I am using it as inspiration to slowly develop “a better me” with new ‘normals’ and new, healthier habits. I realize that I cannot change everything all at once, but I can start with one or two things and build from there. This month, I am going to focus on keeping my room clean by putting away all my clothing every night. I am also going to focus on going to bed earlier (my goal will be no later than 11:30pm for now, eventually I’d like to be going to bed at 10:30pm).
To accomplish this process of creating a new normal, zenhabits says:
You can do this with anything — exercise, meditation, procrastination. Gradually adjust what feels like normal to you.
Here’s the process:
- Start small. What’s the smallest increment you can do? Do this for at least 3 days, preferably 4-5.
- Get started. Starting the change each day is the most important thing. Want to run? Just get out the door. Want to meditate? Just get on the cushion.
- Enjoy the change. Don’t look at this as a sacrifice. It’s fun, it’s learning, it’s a challenge.
- Stick to the change. Notice your urge to quit. Don’t act on it. Keep going.
- Adjust again. When the change becomes normal, make another small adjustment.
This is the process of creating a new normal. It’s beautiful and simple.
Starting today, I will clean my room when I get home from work, and I will set myself up for an earlier bed time (which will hopefully lead to earlier wake up time, giving me time to exercise in the morning, which will give me energy and endorphins for the rest of the day, so any other task I have at hand will be slightly easier, I will be slightly stronger, and more likely to succeed in my goals, big and small, all day long… see, positive cycle!). I won’t try to tackle all my habits at once – maybe I won’t get off my computer 30 minutes before bed, or maybe I won’t have time to meditate or clear out my inbox, but I’m taking baby steps, and that is better than nothing.
I encourage everyone to think about what parts of your lives you can be more disciplined in, and set goals for how you can improve those. It may make your body-related goals a lot easier to reach!