I regularly find fantastic new podcasts through my ‘regulars’. I’ve listened to most of Shelby Stanger’s Wild Ideas Worth Living. Last month she interviewed Melissa Urban, founder of The Whole 30. Melissa just started a new podcast called Do The Thing. Let me just admit to you I’ve never done The Whole 30, I listened out of curiosity. She’s on it. I plowed through a bunch of her podcasts and eagerly await more content. Hear that Melissa?
Melissa interviewed James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. As it was January, I was psyched to hear a podcast about breaking out of bad habits and making good habits stick. I think you know this but…there are two facts about habits; bad ones are hard to break and good ones are harder to make.
I’ve had some success but felt a bit stuck. Don’t worry I didn’t give up. James Clear gave me hope. His book (and some lectures available online) give great tips on how to create good habits. My favorite 3 tips are…
1. Start small
Adding a new habit is hard. Start by adding something so tiny it’s excuse proof.
Make it so easy you can’t say no.
This is a habit carried over from 2019. I drink One glass of water before my daily coffee. That’s it. I’ve been drinking my morning H²O for about six months.
Remember 1% from a few posts ago? Making a consistent 1% improvement will change your outcome over time. Baby steps…
Sleep is something I started working on early last year.
I tried everything I could to make this happen: Black Cohosh, Anti anxiety medication, CBD oil, new linens, open windows, socks, no socks, essential oils, sleep sprays and new pillows. Some things worked.
Here’s what I figured out for me.
- I go to bed a bit earlier than I need to. I don’t wait until I’m sleep walking to bed only to find myself staring at the ceiling for an hour.
- I take herbal supplements each night. I decided on what and how much to take by checking with my physician, asking knowledgable friends and researching reputable sources.
- No screens in the bedroom. No TV in the bedroom and no computer time. I admit I listen to books on an iPad at bedtime but try not to look at the screen. No answering phone calls, emails or texts.
- I made the bed as comfortable as possible. We built a plush headboard and added in some new pillows and nice linens.
- Open up the window! Cool fresh air is magic…unless it’s super cold then no, don’t do that.
I finally dialed it in. By making small changes over a year I now consistently get over 7 hours of sleep.
3. Habit stack for success.
Pair a new habit with an old, established one. I used a habit stack to start flossing and add more running to my week.
I’ve always wanted to be a flosser…not this kind…
Honestly, I never flossed…until the week before my teeth cleaning appointments. At least I consistently cleaned for a week twice a year. I was telling my sister about Atomic Habits. Like a boss, she casually mentions, “yeah, I floss in the shower when I condition my hair”.
Whaaaaat? She gave me an insta-habit stack! I put a few packages of floss in the shower and said, I’m going to floss when I shower. Since I shower at least once a day, I am proud to say I’VE FLOSSED MORE THIS YEAR THAN IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS…and it’s only February. I have to give credit to James Clear for this one…oh and my sister Carmen… and my dental hygienist Michelle. She has gently encouraged me without judgment for more than ten years. I might be a bit stubborn but… Yay Michelle!
The second habit stack is running on my workdays. I work 12-hour shifts as a nurse and fairly dead at the end of my day. So, I decided to start running in the morning before work. I now get up 20 minutes early, run 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back. In over a month I’ve only missed one workday run due to a late night return flight. I’m running more consistently and arrive at work ready to roll. That’s one good habit!
Creating good habits and helping bad ones fall away has me grateful and proud of myself. What’s making me grateful? I’m able to make good choices and changes. Why am I so proud? I can confidently say I’m a flosser, workday runner and take care of myself by hydrating and getting enough sleep.
I love good habits!
More to read…
A few thoughts on podcasts… I’m a big fan. I listen to at least one a day in the car or when I’m cleaning. Many of the self improvements I’ve accomplished have been inspired by information from podcasts. I freshen my ‘listen up list’ regularly and often look for a new podcast when I feeling stuck….