Posts Tagged ‘habits’


Early to Rise Experience Day 4…


Time: 5:45 am

How I Feel: Guilty and Sleepy

I find it interesting that this “shrink” type person defines the “How I Feel” part of this little experiment as both a physical and emotional feeling and so I defined the latter as “guilty.” Why?

Because I have a couple of really bad habits at night. First, I watch TV and fall asleep with the TV on. Ever since an upgrade to our DirecTV system, the bedroom TV sleep timer doesn’t work properly, resulting in less sound sleep. Not good! 

Second, I play computer games too late at night. I confess I’m addicted to them. Last night I felt sleepy about an hour before I actually put down the computer! Not good! 

My pastor said that to get up early one has to set an alarm to go to bed early. I didn’t realize he meant that literally! But, that is probably what I need to do. Will I heed that alarm at bedtime? The Brits would say, “Not bloody likely.” Perhaps 4 of my alarms should now be set for bedtime? (I do seem to be able to get up early on the first alarm these days. Woot. Woot.)

I feel overwhelmed by all the changes I’m asking of myself and not sure which ones will actually yield the best results, even if I just choose one. I guess I have to just try them in obedience to the Lord and to this experience.

Hopefully, simple obedience will lead to lasting change even if I’m not perfect doing it. Several sources suggest that to build better habits, we need 66 days of practicing those better habits before they become ingrained in our routine, not the typical month-long mantra most espouse.

And interestingly, even if we “fall off the wagon” several times while building better habits, we are better at trying again after several failed attempts. This gives us a much better chance at lasting success. Basically, we are “rewiring” our brains. Thus, I might actually enjoy getting up early by 2025. (I can still have my 2 cups of hazelnut coffee, though, right?)

Putting new habits on my daily to-do list often leads to me actually building habits I am, at first, too lazy to build. By putting them there, a funny thing happens. They eventually become such a well-ingrained habit that I can take them off the to-do list. In putting them on the list, I see the benefits of these habits and want to continue them.

So, on the to-do list today? Put an alarm in my phone for going to bed earlier! And stepping away from the computer. And reading instead of watching TV. I’ll warn you now–if I succeed at all of this today, you may hear a sonic boom if you live nearby.

Friday’s Post: Reviewing The Early to Rise Experience by Andy Traub and the April MIP Book Club Selection Announcement!

You Might Also Like: Early to Rise Experience Day 3; Early to Rise Experience Day 2; and Early to Rise Experience Day 1



Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution…for good…



Book Club Members: I can’t seem to put down Killing Jesus. How about you?

I, like many of my friends and family, have made New Year’s resolutions in the past. Some I am successful at keeping and others I am not. When I closely examine the ones I’ve kept, I have noticed a pretty strong pattern. I do certain things that allow me to gain ground on a bad habit of mine. Hopefully someday, I will manage to apply this pattern to all areas of my life. In the hopes of being helpful to others who may struggle to eradicate bad habits and to establish good habits in their stead, I will share the pattern that seems to work.

Thing # 1:

Break that resolution down into tiny, manageable steps. 

Many of us make lofty goals (resolutions) and fail to break them down into steps that we can easily handle over time. Why would I assume that I could drastically change several areas of my life at once? It took time to develop those nasty habits and it would now require time to replace them with good habits. There is no more place more evident of this part of the pattern than when I decided I had to undo the damage of bad eating and exercise habits. I, like many people, failed miserably at taking off excess weight until the day when I finally made a list of small changes I could take on, one at a time:

A. Eat on smaller plates and from smaller bowls.

B. Drink more water.

C. Brush my teeth more often (Consumption of food never tastes great after doing this!).

D. Re-organize my pantry so that the healthy snacks and foods are right in front of me when I open the door.

E. Re-organize my refrigerator so that the healthy snacks and foods are in front of me.

F. Figure out what eating plan works with my particular personality and other habits and living style.

G. Get a treadmill.

H. Walk 10 minutes on a treadmill.

I. Make a list of healthy foods that I usually enjoy eating.

J. Gradually replace unhealthy foods and snacks with better ones.

After making the above list, I looked at which one would be the easiest for me to make a part of my life. Obviously, some must come after others. For instance, if I’m going to walk on a treadmill, I probably need to buy one first! I started with figuring out what kind of eating plan works best with my personality. It took me a full month to figure that out! But by the end of the month, I figured out that I needed to “automate” my eating by using pre-portioned low calorie foods. I don’t enjoy cooking, except during the holidays and I am often alone when eating, so making huge meals for 6 people seemed a bad fit for me. I also hate counting points and calories, so that pretty much excluded Weight Watchers or any other plan based on such a premise.

I’m also a cheapskate and often fail to remember to re-order things on a timely basis, so using Nutri-system, Jenny Craig or another similar service seemed frivolous and not easily worked into my life. I finally decided to do my own version of such a system by purchasing Lean Cuisines to eat twice a day. I also allow myself to consume my favorite in-season fruits for snacks and have some popcorn once in a while. I also like Atkins Endulge bars when a chocolate attack hits.

By the end of Month 1, I had already transitioned to this way of eating. May you find success in breaking down your first resolution into something manageable and easy.

Point to Ponder: How could you break down a resolution for 2014 into several manageable steps? Do that now. 🙂 After you’ve had 24 hours to think about those steps, pick one that seems the easiest or the first thing that has to be done to move towards completion of the resolution. Start working on that easiest/first thing before next Wednesday. Share your success with MIP readers so you can help others, too.

Monday’s Post: What does styptic mean?

You might also like: Adages That Have Proven True Now That I’m Decrepit, A Real Scare, and  8 Women Who Changed My Life