Building New Habits in 2018

By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources.
 — Leo Babauta, The Power Of Less
  • Take 5g leucine with all meals
  • Eat four protein-rich meals per day
  • Journal daily
  • Add a third meditation session per day
  • Stop popping knuckles
  • Schedule an unstructured thinking session daily
  • Take 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar before bed

That’s my current list of habits to develop. I come across a lot of information about health, fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness, much of which inspires me to make changes to my behavior. Most of the time, that means a vague mental note followed by minimal effort and ultimately forgetting.

I’m trying a new strategy as of this January (don’t call it a resolution) inspired by the Precision Nutrition Compliance Solution (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). The main point I took out of the series is that small habit changes, implemented one at a time, are most successful. Thus, I’m focusing on just one habit at a time, rather that splitting my attention between several. I’m also making sure that each habit is very simple; to steal from Precision Nutrition again… “Ask yourself this: how confident are you that you can do it every day for the next 30 days? If it’s not a 9 or 10 out of 10, make it easier until it is.”

The first two weeks of January were focused on adding supplemental leucine to my meals and eating four protein-rich meals per day. (See this for more on protein+leucine.) So far, so good. I may yet have to play with the time interval required for certain habits to stick. Precision Nutrition recommends up to thirty days (as does Leo Babauta at Zen Habits). I’m trying to expedite the process for now but realistic that I may need to tweak as I go forward.

Aside from the presumed benefit of better effectiveness (habits actually sticking), I find this method has helped me focus and write down desired habits for later scheduling. It’s still very early, but I’m hopeful.

Originally published at essential.