Each morning I lace up my New Balance sneakers to take my 45-minute walk. Since the beginning of the pandemic, walking has become my go-to form of exercise, and a key for me to reduce stress and maintain my sanity.
The act of tying my shoes to the proper tightness occurs habitually. Moments later I’m off into the great outdoors with arms and legs in unison. Taking in the sights and sounds, practicing gratitude and greeting my fellow walkers are bonuses.
When I untie my shoes upon my return, it is pretty common to experience a knot in one or both laces. Although I experience some frustration due to the delay, I am also thankful for my opposable thumbs and the level of dexterity needed to release the knots.
Where are you currently experiencing a few knotty areas in your life?
How can you more patiently untie them, one at a time, as you navigate your day?
—Adlai Stevenson II, 20th Century Governor of Illinois
Image from Unsplash by Unman Yousaf
To what degree do you see yourself as a law-abiding citizen? Take a moment to examine the laws and some of the “do’s and don’ts” that influence and govern your household, organizations, and communities.
How do you feel when any form of authority tries to enforce any particular law?
Given our current pandemic, how are you and others viewing social distancing efforts and the wearing of masks?
We all love our freedom and the ability to choose our own behaviors guided by our values. In groups and organizations that have empowering cultures, it is the sharing of these values and principles that guide the norms and habits of its members.
Where and how could you and others in your various communities be even more effective by encouraging better habits and enforcing fewer laws?
—Marshall Goldsmith, American leadership coach and author
Image from Unsplash by The Creative Exchange
Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged. With the social distancing, stay-at-home guidelines and other efforts to fight COVID-19, our world and our lives slowed down considerably.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Consider your vocational efforts, eating habits, sleep schedule, and level of exercise as places to look. Where in these and other important areas of life have you progressed, stayed about the same, or let the power of inertia have its way with you?
Where and in what ways can and will you break free of this force so that you can soar even higher and farther?
“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you either need to change your habits or change your dream.”
—Sam Horn, American author and communications strategist
Image from Unsplash by Jakob Owens
Thoughts become things only when we take action.
Wishful thinking is not a good strategy for success. Even new millionaires who won the lottery knew they had first to buy a ticket.
To pretty much guarantee yourself a winning ticket in your life lottery, take a good look at your habits and daily practices.
If you are healthy inside and out, you likely eat well, exercise, get adequate rest, and probably have a few other self-care and spiritual practices.
What are your dreams for this year and beyond? To what degree are you progressing toward them through your daily efforts?
Consider swapping out one new good habit for one that is holding you back. To explore how to do this, consider studying and applying the work of Charles Duhigg in his brilliant book, The Power of Habit.
“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry.”
—Michael Pollan, Harvard University Professor
Image from Unsplash by Shelley Pauls
I eat an apple every morning as part of my breakfast routine. Honeycrisp and Jazz are two of my favorite varieties.
It is a bit strange to me that I rarely eat apples any other time of day. Perhaps because I am literally breaking my fast from my last meal or snack, 10-12 hours earlier.
What do you notice about you own hunger trends throughout your day?
What percent of your eating is generated by true hunger verses mindless or emotional eating?
Consider creating a hunger/food log to monitor your daily eating habits. What additional strategies can you use in addition to having a few tasty apples on hand to satisfy your optimal nutritional and hunger needs?
Who have been the most influential people throughout your life, helping to shape your character?
Examine your most favorable and admirable traits to see when they were developed. What made you decide, intentionally or by default, to adopt your temperament, personality, and general approach to life?
On the flip side, what are some of your bad habits and less desirable character traits? What people or other factors influenced these qualities and behaviors to become your less than optimal self?
Take a good long and objective look at the company you keep. Where is it time for an upgrade? Where might you perhaps delete some viruses or other character software running in the background?
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
—Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Image of USS Nimitz anchor from wikimedia
The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier needed some maintenance a few years ago. As part of this effort, the crew had to move its 60,000 pound anchor, and its 57-link chain. Each link weighs 350 pounds. Doing the math, each 90-foot “shot” of chain weighs about 20,000 pounds! By the way, it takes twelve “shots” collectively to hold this anchor.
What are the heavy chains of habit you have yet to break? Consider past New Year’s resolutions that started with enthusiasm and petered out come February.
The good news in that, as in the case with the Nimitz, when the crew came together they were able to move the heavy chains and anchor to get the job done. So can we.
Who are the supportive and helpful crew members on your personal and professional ships? How can they help you notice and become more aware of your habits early on, when they aren’t so heavy a burden?
“Make today so awesome that yesterday is jealous.”
Most mornings when I work out, if I’m not chatting with one of my fitness friends, I find myself watching ESPN’s Sports Center. I particularly look forward to the show’s Top 10 Plays of the Day, to see the awesome feats of athletic excellence.
Consider your life a sport. What awesome events and experiences would make your Top Ten list for this week, this month, and this year?
If your list is not quite as awesome as you would like, you are not alone. On a day-to-day basis, we all get caught up in our routines and habits. One day seems to run into the next, with few, if any, highlights.
How can and will you step up the level of awesomeness today, and perhaps make this effort a new habit, to make all of your yesterdays jealous?