Baby Steps for the New Year

Dec 24

Baby Steps for the New Year

So, those of you who know me well, know that I’m one of those people who attacks life with a vengeance, makes huge changes, and then crashes and burns. I so love the idea of transformation, but the hard truth is, rapid transformation is God’s business.  Powering it myself is hard on me, and on those around me.  This year I knew I needed to find a new way of tackling the changes I want/need to make in my life.

I love New Year’s because I love having a reason to make a fresh start.  Normally I would begin the year with a list as long as my arm of things that I’m going to now “do differently”.  By Jan 15 I’m gasping, mad, sore, and ready to go back to being a lump.  Having done this faithfully for about 1/2 a century I thought I might try a different approach this year: Baby Steps (what a concept!)

About 6 weeks ago I started to quietly test my theory, and to my delight, it works pretty well.  A disastrous trip on a Greyhound bus, 3 days in an environment I hadn’t really planned for properly, and then a couple of weeks where sleep eluded me kinda caused it to wobble, but overall, I’m really pleased with the results.

Also, I figured I’d just start now, to get “practiced up” rather than waiting for January 1.  So far, I’ve not broken out in hives, been struck by lightening, or had any other disater strike me because of my early start, so I figure it’s probably safe! 🙂

Here’s how it works:

I’ve taken my main goals for the year, broken them down into tiny habits, and I’m working on mastering 1-2 habits every week.   I track each habit for 40 days.

My first attempt at this has me pretty much mastering 8 habits.  A few I still struggle with, but for the most part, I have them down. What I thought I’d do this time around is take one of those “old habits” that I have or have almost mastered during my first attempt at this, and pair it with a new habit and move forward. This week my two habits are:

  1. New: 30 minute walk on the treadmill each morning (just an easier walk – not a heavy training walk) daily for 2 weeks just to get my brain in gear, and then 6 days a week which is my standard practice.  I’ve been working on this habit for a while but with a sprained foot and then shin splints, and finally a series of sleepless nights,  it’s been a little rough.  I’m going really slow this time, and adding in training gradually rather than right from the beginning.  For now I just walk.  My big goal for this year is to be able to easily run 5k on a significant hill.
  2. Old: 8 8oz glasses of water daily which I do with 4 16oz glasses, rather than 8 smaller ones.  My first glass is plain, cold, filtered water  immediately upon rising. My second glass is hot water with 3 slices of lemon which I drink during and after my walk.  My third glass is lukewarm with the same lemon slices and I drink this slowly at my desk throughout my workday morning, and the fourth one – also lukewarm with lemon – is usually shortly after lunch.  This is working well for me.  I rarely miss.

As far as these other “old” habits are concerned, I’m still tracking them, and keeping my eyes on my progress, but my main, unwavering focus are on the two I’ve chosen for this week.  That way I don’t lose what I already have, but I don’t overwhelm myself, either.

Sometimes I’ll start playing with a new habit that’s not on my current habit list, a few days into my week.  It might be the next habit I want to tackle, for example.  I’ll just sort of  “play” with this habit to see if there are some different ways of tackling it that work well, different places to try it in my day, different other habits to pair it with, etc., but I don’t track that one, I just play with it.  Then, when I’m ready to track it, I have a good idea of where/how to fit it into my day.

I have a few tools I’m working with that make things easier to track.

  1. All my goals and their associated habits are listed on my Evernote app (along with everything else in my life! This is my all-time favourite app)  so I can access them anywhere, and plan/pray through which habits I will tackle next.  They are divided into 7 different categories, and I rotate through them, but not in any scientific way – just how I feel at the time.
  2. I track my fitness through both Nike+ (Nike+iPod with foot pod for treadmill, and Nike+Running for outdoor) and (syncs with Nike and has lots of different options for connecting with others).
  3. I set up my walking training using Remember the Milk because it allows me to create a schedule on a document, rewrite it with short codes, copy and paste that into an email which I send to a special address, and then my to-do list is automatically populated with each new training step on the right day at the right time.  Pretty cool.
  4. I use Watermind Me for tracking each glass of water.
  5. I track all my habits with HabitMaster.  This app allows me to track my “streaks” and lets me know at a glance where I am on my 40-day- in-a-row tracking goal. I miss a day, and I have to start fresh.  Every habit is tracked daily for 21 days, and after that if it makes more sense to do it less often (as with my exercise) this app allows me to adjust by choosing specific days I can skip.  So, for walking, for 21 days I’ll do it daily.  That just gets my mindset trained.  After I have completed a 21 day perfect streak, I will walk  just 6 days a week, as the rest day is critical for good health.  Water, however, will always be daily.

See how that works?

How are you tackling your New Year’s Resolutions this year?  Any cool tips and ideas you can share?  Feel free to comment below!


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The advice offered in this blog is based upon the author’s own experience. The author is not engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the readers. The ideas, procedures, and suggestions in this blog are not intended to replace a consultation with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity that incurs any loss, damage, or injury caused directly, or indirectly from any information or suggestion in this Program.
* Any link with an asterisk (*) denotes an affiliate link or a source with some kind of payback for me.
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