Why is doing something as a daily habit important and often difficult? When is the last time you told yourself you were going to begin doing something every day, only to find yourself behind after day 2?
That happens to me, too. Perhaps more often than I want to admit.
A Slow Drift From Where I wanted to Be
About a year ago right now, I stepped on the scale at the gym and realized I was getting heavy. I was the poster-child for the advice that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
Then and there, I made a commitment to eating differently. It was weird, because I have my daily exercise routine and have stuck with that for more than ten years. So when I saw how much weight had crept-up in the last few years, I felt cheated.
How can I be so consistent with one daily habit, and be undisciplined in another one that cancels out the result of diligent behavior? One of life’s conundrums, for sure.
How Did I Get Here – Was it My Daily Habits?
I’ll back-up a few months and tell you about my conversation with my doctor during a physical in late August of 2019. Near the end of discussing the results of my physical, Dr. Arnason said, “Your blood pressure is getting a bit elevated, but nothing too serious. If you lost ten pounds it will improve, and if you lost twenty, that’d be even better.”
When I heard this, I thought, “Huh. I exercise daily, I’m gaining weight, and my blood pressure is high.” As I wrote, I felt, well, cheated. There’s no other way to describe it.
Here’s the thing: I never stepped on the scale when I was at the gym. I just didn’t think I needed to worry about it. But as I thought about it, my pants were getting a little tight.
I can be a little slow for things to sink-in sometimes, and so was the case here. I kept at my old routine through Thanksgiving and stepped on a scale at the gym and realized I gained four pounds since my physical!
A Conversation That Changed the Game
In mid-October, Jean and I went to visit our son, Ben, and his Fiancee’, Celine, in Denver. Celine’s dad is a retired physician and in terrific shape. I asked him how he keeps so fit, and his response was not what I expected.
He said, “Intermittent Fasting is my secret.” I had read a bit about that eating strategy on the airplane to Denver, and I was intrigued by the facts he shared with me from his research about the diet.
Here’s What Happened Next
I’m a guy who likes to experiment with new things. Even daily habits. Perhaps you are, too?
So getting going on the Intermitent Fasting was a lot of fun for me. There are variations to the program, and the one I chose to do was a 16 hour fasting period.
That means that from my last meal, I didn’t eat again for 16 hours. It’s skipping one meal a day.
No big deal, right? Wrong. The first week or so was rough. All I could think about, unless I was sleeping, was when I got to eat next.
And then, about 8-10 days in, everything got easier. I think what happens, is your stomach shrinks so you’re just not as hungry.
I kept up my exercising, the Intermittent Fasting, and after writing in my annual goals for as long as I can remember to weigh 175 pounds by June 30 (pick-a-year), I weighed 170 pounds on June 30, 2020.
What’s the Moral to the Story?
For me, the moral of the story is that it’s never one big thing that leads to accomplishing a goal. In many ways, you become what you reach for. The success came for me by stacking lots of little daily habits to get a bigger result.
We can do this with our marketing and selling work, too. You don’t have to have an afternoon blocked-out to work on your 2021 content plan. How about an hour or two to get ideas down one day. Another hour or two a few days later to edit the ideas. And finally, another hour or two a few days later to tie it all together.
What are some small habits you have that lead to big results for you?