So say every year I set a new years goal centered around being healthier than I am now, but I don't have the routine that signals my health to me. I've reminded myself of my goal regularly, mostly when I feel exceptionally out of shape. I try to get to the gym or eat right, but it's a chore to find the motivation. 6 months into the year, none of my bad habits changed and I am farther away from my goal than I was when I made it. I set a goal, so why aren't I any closer to it than I was?
People tend to believe that the most important things in their lives are the big choices they make; choices like what career, diet, or exercise routine they are going to follow for the year. On the surface, it is clear that these goals tell us a lot about what we are aiming at; we want to be successful and healthy, and it is good that most of our goals seem to reflect those aims.
Before we start to think about where we are aiming to be at the end of the year, we need to know where we were a year ago, and what we did that brought us to where we are now; when we know why we are where are, we know what to build into our plan around for the future. For exapmle we should know where we want to be in a year, and at the same time, know where we do not want to be in a year. I can't stress enough how "knowing where we do not want to be" is an incredible, and underutilised, tool. An assumed part of our goal is to not be worse off than we are when we set the goal, and to not be worse off than we were a year ago. At times, words fail to tell how important it is for us to define for ourselves where we don't want to be; it might even be more important a task than it is to define where we want to be. This lets us create reasonable goals; goals that are not too easy or impossible to achieve.
These goals are important, but they aren't achieved by the fact that we set them. People think that the big things in life are the most important, but they dont take up uch of our time. Our small daily tasks end up taking up a lot of time in our lives. Think about the time it takes for you to do the things you do every day; things like getting ready in the morning, cooking meals, driving, and so on take up a lot of our day. The routines we use every day determine whether or not we will achieve the long-term goals we set for ourselves; just as importantly, the things we do every day tell us what our goals actually are. What we do is a beter defintion for what we want than what our goals are. In other words, the goals we set tell us what our new routines we need to practice are, but our actions tell us about ourselves more about what we want for our futures regardless of what we tell ourselves our goals are.
You do a lot of things every day; little things that you aren't aware you are doing. Everything between how you wake up to how you fall asleep. We learn to do these things and make them as mindless as breathing. They start with something we repeat with a bit of effort, and eventually, they become habits. Sometimes these are things we wanted to do, and sometimes these habbits are formed without us trying to form them.
There appear to be two types of habits; good habits make our lives better, and bad habits prevent us from living up to our potential.
Take a moment to think about the small habits that you know you shouldn't do; should you be doing that?
Now think about the things you could be doing that would make things easier for yourself; should you be doing that? Why aren't you doing those things?
It's is likely that the things that limit us from living up to our potential, are things that we find comfort in doing for one reason or another; it is equally likely that the things we know we could be doing are boring, or too much of a nuisance to begin doing in the first place.
Good habits are often important in helping us with routines we use to make our lives easier. When we get these routines right, we don't waste as much time fussing about with them because they have become so automatic, we don't even know that we are doing them; so, how do we know what routines we got right and what routines are limiting our potential? Whether or not you have been achieving your goals helps you know what routines you've got right.
If you value your health you should casually weigh yourself every day. This is not to reduce your sell self-image down to a number; this practice isn't about gains, or losses, day to day. This practice isn't about obsessing about the numbers. With this habit, your mindset will make all the difference. It is the easiest way to keep our health
Set aside a time of day where you can effortlessly and somewhat carelessly weigh yourself, note the number, and move forward with your day. Use that number like you would use the temperature outside; it will help you make small decisions throughout that day. We dress for the weather and make a plan based on the forecast regularly, why shouldn't we treat our weight with the same mindset.
When you start practicing this habit, think about your number that day, and compare it to that week's numbers. Is the trend going upward? You can begin to look at what you did that week that might cause it to go up. Did you lose weight that week? You have a weeks worth of things you can look at that you've done right that might have lowered that number. Think about that month's numbers; are they declining? Increasing? As this practice becomes routine, this mindset will become more and more natural. Throughout your day you have that days number, that weeks trend, and that months trend, all in the back of your head. But you also start to link things you do that have a direct impact on that set of numbers. This will start out as a practice and might be annoying, but eventually, it will be as natural as setting the table for dinner. Once this becomes a routine, you won't have to think about the hows and whys as much, and when you make small decisions during your day, this information, like knowing what the weather will be, will help you make the decision that is in line with your goals. It might not be the most convenient or easy or tasty choice at first, but let me break it down.
At first, it might take 5 minutes to get used to weighing yourself, but you practice at it, and eventually, you work it into a habit. You got a scale you really like, an area for the scale, and you instinctively move from one routine into weighting yourself. The practice turns into a routine that takes less than a minute. Let's say you get really good at it and it takes 15 seconds to prepare, 10 seconds to get your weight, and 5 seconds to transition into something else. You will end up spending 3 hours a year, or about 1.25 days over the course of 10 years, tracking your weight. At the end of one year, you will have sets of 30 measurements; the habits of the previous day, week, and month will be attached to each day. It helps you keep your goals in mind and make decisions that direct your progress in maintaining your health.
You get your 3 hours a year back that you would spend weighing yourself, but you don't have the numbers to help you make decisions about your goals or maintain/direct your health. You struggle to stay on top of the goal because it's too obscure.