Just show up. That’s what I’m going to do. At least for 30 days. Good habits are hard to create, especially for someone like me who has struggled with inconsistency all their life.
One of the things I’ve learned in my epic quest for developing consistency and a good work ethic is that choosing to show up regardless of how you feel can be a powerful tool for creating good habits.
Let’s say you’re trying to develop the habit of exercising. You start by coming up with a goal like “I want to go lift weights 5 days per week” Then you start lifting weights, get incredibly sore, can barely move, and decide to skip a day to rest. Or you wake up sick and don’t feel like lifting. Then you feel like a failure because you didn’t stick to your goal. Eventually, you give up and go back to sitting around playing video games and eating Little Debbie cakes.
But what if there was a way to rig the game so you could almost guarantee success?
That’s where the “just show up” tactic comes in. If you want to start exercising, commit to showing up at the gym every day, no matter what comes up or how you feel. If you’re sick or too sore you don’t have to lift a single barbell. You can walk on the treadmill or sit in the sauna – just get your ass off the couch and into a gym. Even if you do nothing more than putting your workout clothes on, drive there, and sign in. Just show up.
Commit to Doing the Minimum
A similar concept that ties into “just show up” is determining the minimum you need to feel that you’ve successfully taken a step toward your goal. So for exercise, it could be suiting up, driving to the gym and walking for 5 minutes.
One of my goals is to write every day for 30 days. My minimum to feel successful is to publish a page with at least one paragraph every day. Maybe I’ll work all day on an amazing post that will blow all my readers (all 3 of you) away. Or maybe I’ll spend 5 minutes writing a quick update and go about my day. Either way, I’ll feel good about it.
The key is to make it easy to succeed and hard to fail. And at the end of the day, the only real way to fail is by not trying.
My 30 Day Goals
- Write and publish one thing that I’m grateful for every day
This is a two-in-one goal. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but have never been consistent enough to develop a good process. I worry too much about what other people think, and I avoid putting myself out there for fear of criticism.
Ironically enough, I’ve had dozens of websites in various niches over the years. But instead of publishing content of my own I would hire freelance writers and/or come up with a pen name for my own work. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that, but I would like to start putting myself out there more. It’s more about the growth that comes from being authentic and getting outside of my comfort zone.
The second part of the goal is to help cultivate the daily habit of expressing gratitude. We have a good life, which I never want to take for granted. I also want to make it a point to look for the positive in any situation – even when things get rough.
- Do at least one task each day that is important and is causing me stress
That doesn’t sound like a lot, I know. The key is that it has to be important AND a source of stress.
It’s important that I take the trash out on trash day, but I don’t find it stressful. So the trash doesn’t count.
My wife has to nag me to pick up my dirty clothes from the side of the bed, which is stressful. But I don’t feel like it’s particularly important (until she gets that look in her eyes..) so picking up the dirty clothes don’t count either.
One of my biggest goals right now is to simplify things and minimize (bad) stress as much as possible. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, including shrinking parts of the brain. This, in turn, makes it harder to handle stress and can lead to a higher risk of depression and develop a host of neurodegenerative diseases.
I have ADHD (Inattentive type) and tend to get overwhelmed easily. This is likely due to a combination of genetics, prenatal stress before I was born (my biological mother was a single mother of three other children on welfare), and chronic stress as a child due to poverty, moving around a lot, and bullying.
Now, even seemingly simple tasks, like scheduling an appointment for a yearly physical, cause me high levels of stress and anxiety. As a result, I put off tasks until the last minute, or ignore them completely.
So by committing to doing at least one thing every day that is important (pay the water bill) and is causing me stress (because it’s late.. again…), I gradually eliminate stress, which in turn will make it easier to manage other important projects and tasks.
- Test a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule for 30 days
This means I’ll fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour window to eat each day.
I’m not going to get into all the reasons and health benefits of intermittent fasting in this post, but I will say this: Preliminary studies suggest a multitude of benefits including fat loss, improving brain function, more energy, higher insulin sensitivity, and shrinking cancerous tumors. So I feel like it’s a worth a test run.
Wow, I’ve been writing longer than I planned. Time to hit publish and then the pool. Until next time. ☮