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Forming Good Habits

July 18, 2017 · 4 Comments

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that in order to get into a good habit, you have to start small. (Or maybe not. Perhaps you’re one of those people who can jump right into something and make it stick. If so, hats off to you.) I’ve also learned that sometimes, it is okay to ask for help or create something to force (ahem) motivate yourself. If forming habits and turning something into a regular event in your life were easy, there wouldn’t be so many people failing or giving up on their New Year resolutions every year. For me, at least, I like to have outside motivations to keep me going. I’m great at meeting outside expectations, but when I’m the one making the rules and setting the schedule, I have a hard time following through. (This is something author Gretchen Rubin calls being an “Obliger.” Her book, Better Than Before talks a lot about creating habits for different personality types. I definitely recommend a read!) To keep myself going and accountable, I’ve recently started setting goals and asking people close to me to keep me more motivated and set expectations for me.

As much as I’d like to wake up early tomorrow and go for a run, that’s very unlikely. I can, however, set small, weekly milestones. And hopefully I’ll be able to blog about my progress on those milstones here, as another way to keep myself accountable.

  • Go on at least one 30 minute (minimum) walk a week. I’d like to say go walk for an hour every single day, but I highly doubt that’d happen with my schedule and lifestyle. So for now, I’m going to start small. At least one 30 minute walk a week. Thankfully, I have an energetic little puppy to give me some outside expectations on this one. (He literally sits there and judges me when I’m sitting on the couch.)
  • Workout Wednesdays! Two years ago, I was living near a gym designed for women, and I had this amazing personal trainer. Paying for things like gym memberships and personal trainers tend to keep people accountable, and she definitely held me accountable. I was doing really well going to the gym at 7am every Tuesday and Thursday and actually Getting. Shit. Done. Sadly, I moved too far away, and haven’t been able to find anyone closer to me that (1) isn’t too expensive and (2) I felt comfortable with. So… cue a year (and a half? probably and a half…) of not going to the gym. I bought myself a Fitbit a year ago, and it’s been pretty helpful just looking at my statistics every day. (Being told that you’ve only walked 2000 steps in a day? Not great. Not something you can ignore, either.) I’ve recently discovered that Fitbit also has an app called FitStar, which has a lot of cool little exercises and programs that you can follow. I’ve signed up for a paid account, and I’m going to put aside some time every Wednesday to do them. (To start!) Hopefully I’ll be able to update you all in a few weeks and let you know how I like the workouts and if they’re worth the money.
  • Stop sleeping in on Sundays, sleepy head. Saturdays tend to be the days when things Happen. Saturdays also tend to be the days where I get to sleep in. For a while, Sundays have been my lazy days, where I sleep in til noon, lounge around, do absolutely nothing, and then go back to sleep way too late and hate myself when I wake up groggy and cranky on Monday mornings… (though now Sundays are also Game of Throne days!) So why waste a perfectly good day? I’ve asked William to get up at 9am with me every Sunday and either go for a long hike in one of the many beautiful parks in our state, or go to the gym. Since I don’t have a specific workout in mind, and running on the treadmill is extremely boring to me, I figured for those days where the weather is bad or we just don’t have time to drive out somewhere to hike, I’ll go swimming. At the very least, I’ll be starting off Sundays right. And the fact that William will also be included will keep us both accountable. (Unless we both wake up, look at each other, and fall asleep again. In which case, I hope the dog at least judges us and annoys one of us until we’re up.)
  • Coding Sundays My local Women Who Code chapter hosts a “Code Jam” two Sundays of every month. Sometimes people just bring their laptops to work on coding projects, sometimes there are workshops, and other times, we have little discussion groups. It’s always a great opportunity to meet people and learn a lot of new things. But why stop there? Sundays typically have been my slow days where I just lounge around and do a whole lot of nothing. So why not lounge around with my computer? I’d like to start sectioning off every Sunday from about 2pm to 6pm for code-related things only. Maybe I’ll use it for updating this blog, maybe I’ll learn a new language, go to Code Jam, or work on a specific project. Whatever it is, that time block is now booked! (it helps that William goes off to do his own nerdy things on Sunday afternoons, leaving me ~all alone~ :P)

Those are the goals I’ve set for myself. They’re doable, and they all have some sort of accountability attached to them. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back to update these goals into something bigger.

Do you have any habits that you’d like to start forming? I’d love to hear about them!

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4 thoughts on “Forming Good Habits

Good for you setting goals for yourself! Sounds like realistic expectations too, and agreed that making yourself accountable to someone else can be a great motivator. Good luck on your path forward!

Starting small helps for me too! After reading Hiro’s entry, I took the quiz and got Obliger as well. I can see that for myself since I tend to prioritize tasks for other people over my own, which can be hard to keep myself accountable for personal tasks.

I think these are good milestones! I plan on doing more workouts at home (hoping to do 30 min, 5 times a week), so I’d be interested in hearing whether FitStar is worth it. I should also try to find my Fitbit which has been missing for months…

I really like the idea of blocking out time for code-related things. I should do something similar. I’ve been meaning to learn Ember for over a year now, and it’s hard to motivate myself.

Habits that I’m trying to get into are exercising at least 5 times a week, drawing every day, and cleaning one part of my house each week. I’m thinking about setting a schedule, so it starts feeling routine.

Good luck with your goals!

I love the idea of setting up small goals and meeting them instead of doing it all at once. You are prone to failure if you try to do the big steps because all of everything begins with the simplest and smallest of steps. I need to work out more, myself.

Those are good goals and that’s why I have been walking around a large park with my bestie and dog, Marley every week lest something comes up on her end, but we have done it and it feels amazing to walk and be free in those moments of tranquility and stillness within in nature.

I need to eat better and I will start immediately. Good luck!

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