Power of the Habit

I finally got around to catching up on some blogs and podcasts that I listen to late last week and I realized that two of them seemed to be touching on the same topic, “Habits“.

Now each of them talks about it from different angles but both have made me reflect on the habits I have been trying to break this year.  Or even more specifically some good habits I am trying to create this year.  Some people might say well that really sounds like a New Years resolution, but for me, it is more of a time commitment change in focus that will be ongoing.

This brings me to the first blog that has been actually talking about it all year.  The site is called Break the Twitch and it’s creator Anthony Ongaro does a great job of framing this up in his post a while back called “How I Created Daily Action Steps to Achieve My 2016 Vision (And You Can Too)“.  There is actually a lot of good stuff in there about helping you create a vision for 2016 and follow through with it.  However, based on how I have been changing my habits this year the following quote resonated with me best.

To eliminate a bad habit, we first need to establish a good habit to take its place. – Anthony Ongaro

Then as I was running last outside last week and listening to The Tim Ferriss Episode titled Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory.  I would definitely suggest you listen to it as there are lots of good nuggets of information in that podcast.  For me, the reason it really stuck out again was this talk of habits and breaking habits.

Learning how to break habits is an important/great meta skill. – Naval Ravikant

He talked about the power of habits and that after you have broken a habit it helps teach you that all habits can be broken.  In fact, he said he break habits and creates new ones frequently.  One tip he had to break habits is a daily workout as he suggests it is very important to do some kind of physical activity at the same time ever day no exception.  He suggests further that it happens in the morning as it will lead to better choices as you have to make sure you get to bed earlier.

I couldn’t agree with him more on the psychology of physical activity and having it be in the morning.  For me, I have been adding a new habit this year of running but not in the morning as he suggests but at night.  This isn’t the most ideal, and it does lead some of the same things he mentions as leading to better habits all around.

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How about you, is there any new habits you are hoping to create in 2016 and in the process remove some bad ones?  I would love to hear about your success so far or what is holding you back in the comments below.

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Power of the Habit”

  1. Informative post. Thanks!
    This year, I am trying to workout atleast three days a week and have been successful so far. Have to wait and see how I fare for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good read! I agree that habits can be really important and can even help you increase productivity – say like working out in the morning everyday! I am trying to keep it up, but when it’s cold and dark outside it’s not as easy! Oh well, spring is coming, even to England I am sure…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree and I do wish I could change my routine to the morning but right now I will stick with nights. However, that means it is always dark outside for me :). On the cold side since I have been running this winter I keep telling myself it will be so much easier come summer. Then last night it was actually quite warm outside and I was completely thrown off my game as I probably was overdressed and overly warm.

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  3. Although I work a Monday-Friday office job, I have some control over my own schedule. Beginning in March, I’m going to do a longer workday, but include a 90-minute lunch break to give me time to get to the gym in the middle of the day.

    At the end of the day I’m too tired, and history has shown that I simply won’t get up earlier, but I’m betting that this new schedule will get me back in the habit of working out.

    I’m hoping you’re right, and that it will have a cascading effect in establishing other healthy habits!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you luck with your midday workout and hope it works for you. I have thought about trying to do more of a midday workout so I will be curious to hear how it works for you in March. Good luck!

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  4. I do think it’s important to find the point of the day that works well enough in your schedule to allow you to work out consistently. Yes, mornings are ideal, and my own preference. When I was working full time with a long commute, I was up every morning at 2:30 (yes, a.m.) to get to the gym early enough to do a 7 mile run on the treadmill and every other day pair that with a weight workout. But for the reasons the previous commenter mentioned, that doesn’t work for everyone. First and foremost is to actually “git er done!” A lot of other good behaviors flow from that. It’s so hard to convince sedentary people that they actually will have more energy if they establish regular workout habits.

    So workouts aren’t where my habit-forming needs help. But focusing on and completing my 3500 words per week writing goal has been challenging. I seem to find so many other things that “just have to get done,” (not the least of which has been keeping up with the Blogging 101 assignments), that my current novel has taken a back seat. I could make a long list of the other conflicts. I tend to feel neglectful (of the assignments, of family) if I put writing first. Maybe that would be different if I were making a bundle of money at it – could I justify it then?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. It is amazing how much more energy you feel when you have some regular workouts.

      I wish I had some great advice for you on meeting your writing goal as I am still a work in progress on prioritizing my time in general but I think that is where priorities just have to shift from time to time. Of course, that time priority is even compounding if you have kids as they have schedules that are part of your schedule too.

      Now for a shameless plug since you are talking about writing more and strategies around that as I wrote a post about a year ago titled “Stop Procrastinating Using the Seinfeld Strategy”. Good luck on your writing goal!

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  5. You picked a great topic! And the advices you’re mentioning are really helpful. We’re all trying to break a bad habit at some point in our life even if it’s just an apparently innocent one and we definitely need to have a strategy so we don’t slide back!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I definitely agree with the power of habits. They are the engines that slowly, but surely affect great changes. I like to break down my goals into smaller, more achievable habits.

    For example, I aspire to get stronger and more fit. Rather than commit to some intense workout schedule that I probably would only keep up for a month or two, I chose to make my workouts more pleasant and almost meditative. I workout slowly, focusing on what my muscles are doing and I only work a few muscles a day. I keep track of my workouts to chart my progress

    However, since my workouts are enjoyable, relatively short (around 30 min) I find it an easy and enjoyable habit to keep up and I have seen significant improvements!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on taking small chunks. It never seems to work (for me either that is) to say I am going to workout or do something ever day from this day forward. I need to work at it slowly and build up the routine. Also, as you said it is even better if you start finding the enjoyment out of it as it makes you want to do it more.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree you have to replace something whenever you remove something from your life. I appreciate this post it made me think about my habits that I would like to change. One habit is the amount of time I spend on my phone checking emails and Instagram and replace it with reading the Bible, something uplifting or inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and I wish you the best in your habit changing. I used to be worse with checking my phone all the time, not that I have kicked it completely but from time to time I set it somewhere else and try to enjoy the present. Still a work in progress but my focus right now is other places. Good luck and hope to hear how it goes for you.

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