Develop one new habit a month for a year. That has been my quest since October of 2005. As I come into the fifth month of my twelve month quest I have decided to bring in the exercise quotient. I want to develop a “doable” exercise program that is easy to track and record.
For February 2006 my new habit is…
To do 30 minutes of exercise a day.
This is an interesting goal for the fact that it has a time requirement in it. I have to find 30 minutes out of my 24 hour day to exercise. I have to replace an existing activity with physical activity. This is the tricky part… what 30 minute section of my day can I set aside for this new activity?
As I wrote about in Quadraphasic Living there are distinct advantages to exercising first thing in the morning. Studies suggest that exercising before eating anything in the morning can burn 300% more calories than exercising later in the day. I definitely like the idea of being efficient but the early morning hours present a problem for me.
I’m a morning person.
That shouldn’t be a problem… right?
But the morning is “my” time. It’s a time to write, design, and do creative things.
On most days this time is limited to the hours between waking and going to work. I usually get up at 5am and need to get ready for work by 6:30. Ninety minutes is actually a pretty short time and to take a 30 minute chunk out of it will just not work.
So I have a couple of options…
Get up at 4:30 am and exercise… or
Exercise at a different time of the day and be less efficient.
So far the second option has been the one that has worked for me but the first option is definitely the preferred one. Can I replace 30 minutes of “sleep” with exercise… time will tell. My wife and I are going to “turn back the clock” on our alarm and see what happens.
The other habits are going well.
- October 2005: Drink Two Quarts of Water a Day
- November 2005: Take My Lunch to Work
- December 2005: Eat an Apple a Day
- January 2006: Write One New Blog Article A Week.
The first three habits have become automatic on workdays which is amazing to me. I have modified the November goal to include breakfast and the December goal to include two pieces of fruit a day. Modifying these goals was easier than starting a new one. Both took additional planning and shopping but were relatively easy to modify. For many people these probably sound easy but they have always eluded me in the past. To consistently walk out of the house in the morning with lunch, two pieces of fruit and a liter bottle of water has been very encouraging.
The January goal of writing a new article a week has proven to be harder than the others. I have an article started for each week so far but I need a big chunk of time to re-organize the whole article structure on this site. One technique that I just discovered that is really helping is using a timer to get my creativity going. The process is called freewriting and it actually works really well. It works like this…
- Open your word processor on your computer
- Write the topic of your freewriting at the top of the page
- Set a timer (egg timer works well) for 5 or 10 minutes
- Write down whatever comes to your mind about your topic
- Continue writing until the time runs out
- Do NOT stop until that time.
- Do not pay attention to typos or grammar
- Incomplete sentence… keep going
- Dead end… write the same thing over & over
- Time over… circle items of interest and key phrases
- Start on your first draft using these items
This process is amazing. The timer is the key and I find the ideas come quickly. Next time you have writers block try this technique.
With this procedure I have numerous articles ‘in process”. With the weekend coming I should be able to find the large block of time and be able to put it all together. If you have any trick or tips in the writing process please leave a comment. I would love to hear your ideas to make this “writing habit” an easier one.
Until next month, good luck with your “habits”
Hmmm…. gotta change the alarm to 4:30 am… Hmmmm…