A word from the Author: I’m a full-time writer, new dad, wannabe teacher, and part-time chocolatier. My addictions are cheese, chocolate, coffee, and getting smooches from my lovely bride of four years.
Habits Are Better Than Resolutions
Something no one tells you about starting any resolution is that it’s hard. If someone promises you an easy new resolution if you’ll just follow their multi-step program, be very suspicious. Even the multi-step process program was worked out over a more extended period of time. Maybe they’ve refined it down, but a resolution takes time and effort. Here’s the secret though.
You can do it, given enough time and persistence.
Some of my goals include losing weight and getting into shape, just like everyone else’s seems to be this time of year. What am I going to do about it though? I’m going to set habits at the beginning of the year instead of resolutions. I’m going to write a list of reasons that I want to lose weight and get into shape. Then I’m going to post that list where I can see it every day. If this seems like overkill, then don’t do it. This is what I’m trying, and I don’t pretend to speak for everyone. But the reason for the habit is just as important as the habit itself, which I know speaks for everyone.
One big reason for me is that I want to be healthy for my baby girl. I want the energy to run around the house chasing her as we both giggle hysterically. I want to be a man who can spend time with his family without being exhausted by work.
“Ok, we get it. You’re working out to be a decent human being. What else you got?” Sorry, readerland sometimes sounds like my internal editor. I’m reading books this year because by doing so I can support my local library and improve myself. I might read a fiction book about Norse mythology, or I might read a book on how to write in calligraphy. But I’m definitely going to share what I learn with you, reader land, using the power of… APPS!
Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford a habit tracker and habit specific apps. I’m sure that these apps exist in parallel for iOS, but I don’t know much from the Apple tree, so you take a little time to research the ones that will work for you. I use “Alarm,” “Habits,” “Todoist,” “Keep,” and “Samsung Health,” all of which have a free option in the Android store. As far as which apps will work for you, take some time to research them or even use a free version.
Remember what I said about setting habits now? That’s because I know I have motivation now. I won’t have it later, which is where having a habit comes in. Eventually, it’ll be so ingrained in my mind that I don’t even have to think about doing squats or whatever at a particular time. I’ll just think, “Hey, it’s 10:45 am. I need to do squats.” Until it does, I’ve still gotta practice.
Here’s the other thing about setting new habits. People are going to look at you funny. When my wife asked what I was doing this morning at 10:45 after my alarm went off, I grunted “Squats. It’s 10:45, and I’ve gotta do squats today.” I set my alarm for this thing. When it gets to be later in the year, I may ease off the alarm, but until then, every day at 10:45, I’m doing squats. After I do my squats, I’m going to enter the data into Samsung Health immediately, cross off “Do squats” from my to-do list, and mark that I’ve completed the habit I created in Habits. The daily exercise rotates in Keep so it may not be squats tomorrow.
There’s nothing magical about 10:45, it’s just when I know I’ll be off work because I’ve been working the night shift. There’s nothing magical about entering the data, but it helps me follow through. If I’m going to get notifications on my phone, they might as well remind me to do something regarding something positive or improving instead of just screaming about the current political situation.
“What happens if I don’t make time for the habit one day?” Readerland, the internal editor, and my own insecurities ask. My response to that is “Life happens.” You might have a baby screaming at all hours of the night, so 10:45 squats just aren’t happening. You might have a long-term illness that prevents you from moving, or your legs might get gnawed off by a mountain troll. That’s when you go back to your motivations and see your Why. If the Why still makes sense, then do better the next day. If it doesn’t, rethink your habit. As an aside, no one has seen a mountain troll for the past five hundred years, so that’s not a good excuse.
Let’s review, shall we? I’ve thought about what I want to do, why it’s a good idea for me to do it, and how I can accomplish the thing. That’s “how to” get your resolutions to work for you. If you’re hearing me say “It’s easy,” then you need to try doing squats.
If you like what you’ve read, check out some of my other stuff on Medium or connect with me on Twitter at @JeremyAdcock5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. A thousand thanks to Anjhaneè for giving me the opportunity to tack on to her blog.
Until next time…
A massive thank you to Jeremy for kicking off ‘Be My Guest‘, and for taking the time to share his 2019 goals on Simply Anjhanee!