If you haven’t read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear yet. I highly suggest you put this on your list. I linked it on my Library page along with some other really good books. There is so much good information in this book that it would literally take me hours to go through it all. In this blog post I’m going to go over 3 main things that stood out to me and how I plan to use them in my own life.
To give a very broad summary of the book; it’s all about habits. How to get a good habit to stick and how to break the bad ones. Small adjustments in your life can make or break your habit. Seems simple, right? James does a way better job of going into the details but you get my drift. Not to mention, I want you to read it so I don’t want to spoil it for you.
The one habit I’m focused on is exercising consistently. And consistently is the key word here. For YEARS I have been on and off like a freaking light switch with my workouts. I’ll do really good for a few weeks, and then fall off the horse. But instead of picking up where I left off, it would take me weeks to get back on track again. I’m a very gradual person, so for me to just start working out again like I was; is rare. I have to start slow, get back into the groove again and before you know it something else is throwing me off schedule. It’s a freaking cycle I can’t seem to get off.
After reading this book, 3 simple sentences stood out to me like a sore thumb. I’m going to use my working out habit as an example, but feel free to plug in any habit that you want to stick with.
1. “The greatest threat to Success is not failure, but boredom”
Ugh. That sentence hit me like a ton of bricks.
James solution for this is simple. Make it enjoyable.
You should never dread your habit. It should be something you like doing. I should be looking forward to my workouts. The question is, how can I make my habit of working out consistently more enjoyable? Can I mix up my workouts? Can I throw in other activities that I like doing, golf, tennis, wake surfing?
Sounds way too simple.
2. “Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way.”
This is me to a T. I’m an amateur, there I said it. I let life get in the way too easy. I need to be more professional when it comes to my workouts. We already know I get bored pretty easy, when I get bored I become unmotivated. When I’m unmotivated, I stop working out. This brings me back to #1 how can I make my workouts “fun” for me. Also, I need to understand that there will be days I don’t want to show up. I need to be a professional and do it anyways.
3. “Never miss twice.”
In another words get back on the horse as soon as possible. Remember how I told you I’m a gradual person. After reading that, maybe that is excuse is just a cop out. In the book he talks about how we will never be perfect. There will always be something that messes up our schedule or habit. We may get sick, we may get an injury, maybe we’re on vacation and miss a day. Whatever it is, if it’s one day that won’t be the day that hurts us. It’s the days after that will.
He recommended a habit tracker. “A Habit tracker and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying while providing clear evidence of your progress”
My plan …
After reading self help books I like to put a plan in place on what I just learned. For my exercising habit, one of the things I need to be doing is cardio. I hate cardio. I will avoid it like the plague and I will make every excuse known to man about why I shouldn’t be doing cardio.
Lucky me, Nate just ordered the Peloton bike. I’ve tried cycling before and I wasn’t a fan. But, I love the Peloton app and have been using the app for a while now for my strength training and pilates classes. The one thing I love about the Peloton app is the variety of workouts. (#1).
I jumped on the bike and did a 10 minute workout. To my surprise I was sweating after only 10 minutes and it was actually fun. Hmm… I may be on to something here.
I came up with a plan to get myself in the habit of working out everyday. Each day for the next 2 weeks I will do the bike for 10 minutes a day everyday for the first 2 weeks. If I feel like working out more cool, but no less than 10 minutes a day on the Peloton bike.
After the first two weeks I will up it to 15 minutes everyday. After two weeks of that … 20 minutes. (#1, #2)
It’s a short enough time where life really can’t get in the way. I mean it’s 10 freaking minutes. That’s nothing.
To make it satisfying for me I’m going to print out a blank calendar and track my days. I’m going to put the tracker in my home gym. (#3) Every time I’m done with the work out of 10 minutes I mark the calendar off. (printable blank calendar)
I’ve been at this plan now for about a week now and I have to say, I’m starting to wake up and want to get my bike time in. I’m actually looking forward to some cardio which is unheard of for me.
Will the plan stick and I consistently workout everyday? I don’t know we’ll see. But I can say that for now it’s working and that gets me excited.
If you read this book or just use these 3 principles above for your habit, I’d love to hear your plan as well. I hope you’ll share below.