Best Self Log – Issue 1: Habits

I’ve been looking into habits – how to create good habits and how to break bad ones.

There are some definitions for habit

  1. A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
  2. An established disposition of the mind or character.
  3. Customary manner or practice.

Ultimately, a habit is a learned behavior which requires little or no thought to execute. 

Habits are the building blocks of life.

My son proved this to me. A little background first – He has always been an athlete. He played football from the age of 5 and has played rugby since he was 7. He played baseball. He wrestled. He did this all while attending 3 different middle schools and 2 different high schools. He graduated high school with honors and a scholarship to an honors college – can you tell I’m proud of this kid?

He was always one of the bigger kids, fit but bigger. He decided he wanted to be different. So, he changed how he ate and trained. In the past year, he lost 30 pounds and has added a ton of muscle. How? He changed his habits. He started running, and he adjusted his decisions around food. Those changes became automatic. He works out on vacation. He is conscious of what he’s eating regardless of the context. My point is he is consistent about his training and eating every day (okay, most days – he is a college kid). He’s established new habits. The new behaviors are automatic, and the results are enviable.

Habits and consistency are what make the difference. For health, for finances, for work, for relationships, for anything.

  • It’s not about 1 workout, it’s about all the workouts over time.
  • It’s not about 1 investment, it’s about all the investments over time. 
  • It’s not about 1 good choice, it’s about all the good choices over time.
  • It’s not about 1 conversation, it’s about all the conversations over time.
  • It’s not about 1 step, it’s about all the steps over time.

To make the right things happen, create the right habits. 

These are the six habits I’m going to work on using Huberman’s Habit Plan:

  1. Weigh myself and record the result
  2. Stretch for at least 10 minutes
  3. Strength training for at least 45 minutes
  4. Write for at least an hour
  5. Read for at least 30 minutes
  6. 8,000 steps

Resources

The Science of Making and Breaking Habits

Some points and tools I found interesting

  • 00:18:55 Mapping Your Habits; Habit Strength, Context-Dependence
  • 00:37:08 States of Mind, Not Scheduling Time Predicts Habit Strength
  • 00:38:16 Tool 3: Phase-Based Habit Plan: Phase 1
  • 00:46:29 Tool 3: Phase-Based Habit Plan: Phase 2
  • 00:55:24 Tool 3: Phase-Based Habit Plan: Phase 3
  • 01:28:26 Breaking Habits: Long-Term (Synaptic) Depression
  • 01:37:50 Tool 6: Break Bad Habits with Post-Bad-Habit “Positive Cargo”

I’ve tried, it doesn’t work that way

I’ve tried to make things happen, to get others involved. It just doesn’t work that way. I’ll keep my head down and just do my work.

People don’t respond. No one wants to be involved. People avoid responsibility and ownership. They play the “cover the requirements” instead of being collaborative and creative.

Tell me what you want and get out of the way. The wasted effort is exhausting.

The Paradox Of Our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce; fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this essay to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

and always remember…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

– Dr. Bob Moorehead