I’ve been walking more:
When I started, my goal was to get to ten miles daily. After actually getting to ten miles in a day and seeing just how long that took, I’m thinking something like 3 in the morning and 3 at night would be sustainable. Then 4 and 4 or 5 and 5 on weekend days.
I’ll write about this walking routine more (when I’m a few more weeks in). Right now I want to see how it breaks into habits and routines.
On the past few long walks, I’ve been listening to James Clear interviews—he’s been on a lot of podcasts in the past month talking about his book Atomic Habits which is coming out next week. (I can’t wait.)
Focus on what you can do in two minutes. Walking for an hour isn’t really the habit. Just like lifting weights for an hour isn’t really the habit. Though I do see the value in calling it a workout habit, it’s useful to separate habits and routines for thinking through them and executing.
I’ll just break down walking.
- The routine: Walking for 60-90 minutes first thing in the morning.
- The habits involved: Drinking water/coffee, showering (cold), brushing teeth, putting workout clothes on, putting headphones on, heading out the door.
- The key two minutes: Water/coffee and putting workout clothes on.
When I wake up, a tug of war starts between the apartment door and my bed. All those habits If I have coffee, it helps remind me that I won’t be able to go back to sleep anyway. All the other habits are like wrestlers jumping into the tug of war against a lion (more sleep).
(James mentions that he doesn’t cheat himself on sleep. I do the same. No 4am alarms for me unless I’m asleep by 9pm. Aka no 4am alarms for me ever. If I don’t sleep enough, I walk less in the morning and try to make it up in the evening.)
I use my phone while walking and restrict my first check to when I’m outside. This is an attempt at using some of the enemy’s momentum positively. I’m addicted to my phone. Getting better, but still it tugs at my brain first thing on waking up. Now I use it as a reward. Once you’re outside, you can check your phone.
The key two minutes are the two habits that really get me out the door. If I have water and coffee, I know I won’t be able to go back to sleep even if I lie back down. If I put workout clothes, I’m ready to step out. When you can break something down into two minutes, you can focus on practicing just that small piece. Then I can get out the door as fast as possible.
And then I have nothing else to do but the walking routine.