For my business turnarounds class we have to write weekly habit journal entries, evaluating our process and success or failure to either establish or change a habit. I chose to establish the habit of increasing my everyday level of physical activity. In other words, less sitting on my ass.
I prepared a hilarious journal write up only to re-read the assignment and discover that it had to be 200 words or less. Therefore, I have decided to compose two journal entries: a short and sweet one for class and a more detailed, super funny and awesome one here.
So please, enjoy my journey to establishing a new habit. Expect at least a weekly update ... because that is what the assignment is.
Habit to establish: increase physical activity. This will be accomplished in three ways.
1. Go to the gym more often
2. Walk more at work
2. Walk more at work
3. Sit less at home
Attempts during the week: one. I attempted to go to the gym on Sunday but was distracted by helping my father-in-law buy a television at Costco.
The opportunity to change or establish a new habit is coming at a fortuitous time. I am rapidly approaching the end of my graduate schooling and am ready to focus on other aspects of my life. I recently turned thirty and it propelled me into a fit of feelings of inadequacy and oldness.
Thirty is not old.
However, I have been feeling the need to make changes to my everyday lifestyle – not a temporary change – but a permanent, lasting adjustment to my habits; hence why this assignment is coming at an opportune time.
There are several obstacles standing in my way to increase my level of physical activity. I am busy so I will delay/postpone inevitably gym time. I love television. I love to read. By nature, I am a home body. Outings are usually things like going to a restaurant or going to a movie. In other words, I tend to be inactive for many hours of the day. That said, last year I modified my desk at work so I stand the entire work week. Bonus for me. (Sitting is a serious killer – I presented on the dangers of sitting last year so ask me if you want to know more about how you’re hacking years off your life every day at work.)
I want to establish cues to trigger the new behavior of being more active. For instance, I believe it will be easiest for me to go to the gym on the way home from work. This way I’m not distracted by anything else; the gym is simply an extension of my workday. Another cue I will work on is the twenty-minute rule. At home, I must not sit longer than twenty minutes without getting up and doing some jumping jacks. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it actually is really supposed to help.
If I can begin to enact this new behavior I can gain the benefits of increased energy and overall better health. As physical exercise and well-being contribute to long life, I look forward to knowing that I will not die at thirty-one and will hopefully still be able to do the splits (both sides) when I’m eighty-seven.
So why did I only attempt to add all this great activity to my life ONCE this week? The undesired behavior was positively reinforced by several things.
- Game of Thrones is an hour long show without any commercial breaks. It would absolutely disrupt the “mood” of the program if I were to get up twice to perform jumping jacks.
- School started and I am forced to sit in the classroom until the teacher designates a break – which is most definitely NOT every twenty minutes. I am being lazy and sitting around like my fellow classmates because it’s much easier and less disruptive. Plus, I’m tired from standing at work all day so the chair feels nice and cozy.
- I had to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mother on Saturday which meant I had a reason not to go to the gym. The positive reinforcement was breadsticks and the playing of Phase 10.
- I did not take my gym clothes with me to work because it is much more enjoyable to shop or read or play Candy Crush at home and unwind from work.
- I did not walk more at work because it rained and I was rewarded by staying dry and inside. Or, it was sunny and I was rewarded by staying inside away from harmful UV rays.
This is a chance to make the change I want. I must establish the cues to trigger more physical activity. So, to sum up: take gym clothes with me to work and go there straight away, don’t sit at home for longer than twenty minutes without jumping jacks, and walk more at work.
Wasn't that way better than 200 words or less? I mean, how can you know what's really going on, to what extent my laziness really went, if I don't describe it for you in detail?