I have been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better than Before” and it has been illuminating. The book is all about making and breaking habits and how good and bad habits contribute to our lives. I highly recommend this book if you are looking to pinpoint exactly how your nature dictates your habits. For the record, I would consider myself a Gretchen Rubin “Upholder” with some “Questioner” and “Obliger” tendencies. If this intrigues you, I suggest you grab a copy. If you don’t get a chance to pick it up I am going to try and use some of her ideas to empower you to make some changes in your life for the better.
Last week, I asked you to keep a close eye on your schedule and try documenting your daily activities in order to see how you are spending your time. I hope that proved as useful to you as it has been for me.
So did you find that you had more or less time than you thought? Were you able to pinpoint some time in your day/week where you had time and used it for time-suck activities (i.e. Instagram scrolling or The Office marathon on Comedy Central)? Better yet, were you able to discover a block of time that could be used to start working towards your goals?
Gretchen Rubin talks about the power of scheduling, arguing that “scheduling makes us far more likely to convert an activity into a habit” by helping to “eliminate decision” and make the most of our “limited self-command.” I couldn’t agree more! Putting something on the calendar means that it is a priority and means it needs to get done. Understanding your schedule makes it much easier to find the best time within your day to start working towards that new goal.
For example, from 8:00 to 1:00 my days are almost exclusively scheduled with teaching and getting my kids ready for their activities. I am an early riser (I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 am) so I know that I have a fairly good chunk of time in the morning to workout. I also know that my motivation to workout after teaching is almost nonexistent and I am usually starving and don’t enjoy working out after I have eaten. So if I don’t schedule my workouts for the morning they likely won’t happen.
Give yourself a fighting chance!
Ok for the sake of ease let’s say you want to add regular exercise into your schedule. However, you can use these same strategies for a whole host of goals from healthy meal planning, quality time with family and friends, to writing the next great American novel.
So if you are committed to finding time to exercise take a look at your schedule and choose when you are going to make that happen (If you are not an early riser please don’t say you are going to get up at 5:00 am. That makes it too easy to not do it.). Look for a time that gives you the greatest chance of success. Once the activity is scheduled you can more easily commit to it on the regular because you have already identified the optimal time to make it happen! That is the power of scheduling!
Ok, you have the time…now you need to identify the what…
When it comes it health and fitness make sure you are clear on your goals. Your first goal doesn’t have to be the end all be all. If you want to run a marathon you wouldn’t lace up your shoes on day 1 and hit the road for 26 miles. You would start with a more manageable distance of maybe 1 mile and go from there. Want to start eating better, please don’t convert to being a Paleo overnight (although stay tuned for an upcoming blog because that is a powerful strategy for a small percentage of people). Set yourself up to succeed. If you don’t enjoy running, no matter how great everyone tells you it is, you won’t do it. I would suggest “dating” a few different exercise modalities until you find the right fit. Just like with a partner, it is important to make sure you are compatible with your fitness routine in order to give yourself the best chance of success.
Ok, I think you have a good amount of homework to get you started on your new goals. Next, we will talk about strategies for creating a habit and ways to stay accountable as you work towards creating these healthy habits and reaching your goals!