As it’s finally come to the end of January I thought now might be an idea to review how my habit creating is going.
If you remember, in December I wrote about the need of adopting certain habits in order to maximise time and productivity. The only way to get into those good habits was to create routine.
It’s actually not easy starting habits. This must be the same for every habit, good and bad. Of course once you’ve got a bad habit it’s even harder to stop which is why good habits are even more important to try and get.
I wasn’t too keen on routine in December. It’s dark, it’s cold and it’s usually filled with lots if good things you want to be doing, like eating, staying up late, watching lots of TV and continually socialising. However it didn’t turn out all that bad in the end.
- Wake every day early. This is hard which ever way you look at it. I did a few 05:30am starts, a few 6am starts but the majority were 7am or later. I was aiming for 05:30am every morning but my mind was great at talking me out of it. I had no problem with the alarm, I’d just turn it off and go back to sleep! The problem with the early start and why I need them depends on a couple of other factors. I don’t have children, the boss works shifts, and I don’t always have to be in the office. This means I have a hell of a lot more ‘me’ time than most other people do. I can wake at 7am and still get in an hour of productivity before starting work, or I can get all my jogging done before the boss gets home. A morning routine is dependant on the evening before routine and as it’s never the same more than three days in a row it’s pretty difficult to keep waking at 05:30am. I decided it would be pointless trying to go against the grain if I never see my partner.
I’ve read countless articles on waking early and from my perspective it only works well in the following situations:
- You live on your own and need to keep motivated
- You live with someone/family that wake at a reasonable time every day so you need to get extra done before the rest of the house wakes up
- You naturally wake early anyway
Outcome – I’ve decided to suspend early mornings and use it sparingly when required. Instead I shall maximise the time I do have available to me on my own.
- To write creatively every day. I have written every day. Not always creatively but I am writing. Not lots but enough to make it a habit. While my blog is the biggest writing achievement on the cards at the moment there are other things in the pipeline. I think it’s better to write something every day than nothing at all.
- To exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. This is a good’un. Exercise is quite simply becoming the biggest habit currently being formed at the moment and I’m thoroughly enjoying it becoming so. I’m in the fourth week of the C25K. In between jogging days I either spend 30 mins+ walking with Mouse, or completing push ups, sit ups and squats. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t done some form of exercise.
I also decided to take the plunge and follow a four week paleo food plan called the No Excuse Workout by Joel Runyon. He’s not a fitness instructor, and I didn’t pay a dime for the information but what I loved about the free downloads was the easy four week food plan. Of course, it’s not easy and while a few years ago I was a raging carnivore I have found the level of meat not only expensive but highly unethical in this day and age (yes, there is vegetarian paleo as well). That aside there is no denying the fact it works, and it works really well (although I can’t help thinking all the bacon and eggs I am eating must surely be increasing my cholesterol levels!)morning. I haven’t missed bread but I have missed sugar so my one vice I refuse to give up is tea with sugar.
Outcome – I’m sticking to the paleo thing until the end of next week after which I’m not sure what will happen. I still have a long way to go with losing weight but I feel good and that counts for a lot.
- Write a ‘to-do’ list of two things to complete that day. This actually turned out to be three things a day. I have a diary which I just quickly jot down three things I want to achieve that day. Sometimes it might only be to get some reading done but it focuses my attentions and makes me plan the day better.
- To sit and be mindful. This has kinda fallen by the by since the end of Dec. Not having a permanent morning routine means I’m not remembering to do it. That also meas I’m not waking up and being as positive as I can be. You wouldn’t think remembering to have positive thoughts would be difficult but it is.
Outcome – I’ll need to work on this. I haven’t quite figured out how yet but I will.
- To organise myself better in terms of putting dishes away and hanging clothes up. This habit is particularly useful for two reasons. Washing up (by hand) allows me to think. I actually find it quite relaxing and means I’m taking a moment just to take stock of my day so far. At night putting my stuff away means I’m subconsciously enforcing the idea that the day is now over and it’s time to wind down ready for sleep. Both have worked and are becoming habits.
So there we have it. Routine has, in more cases, become a habit and habits are being formed by routines. I have learnt it takes time to create habits and it’s best not to start too many in one go. Its also really important to decide why the habit needs to happen and pin point it exactly to something achievable.
I’d love to know if you have any habits or routines you just can’t do without. Get in touch. 🙂