Months ago, I published my process for building new habits. Since then, I’ve added some features and taken out others. This is the upgraded process that I promised in yesterday’s post to publish today.
Step 1 – Freewrite
Freewrite about this new habit. If you need guidance, ask yourself questions like these:
- Why do I want to to build this habit?
- Why is this habit important?
- How will my life be different if I succeed?
- How will this change my self-identity?
- How will this help my longer-term goals and dreams?
- What will happen if I don’t succeed (ie. practical pessimism a la Tim Ferriss)
- What are the ramifications of each path- if I build the habit, if I don’t?
- If I can’t build, build this habit, what can I expect of myself?
Here’s my freewriting for this habit:
- I want to do this because my knees are in pain, and I want the pain to heal. I hate feeling handicapped. I want to be able to run and play as much as I want.
- This is important because running is my go-to form of aerobic exercise, and now I can’t do it.
- If I succeed, I’ll be able to run, hike, and play more. I’ll be able to easily build a baseline aerobic level conditioning that is important for anaerobic exercise and all life really.
- If I succeed, I’ll see myself as someone who can guide my own healing and as someone who can stick to a fitness program.
- This will help my long-term goals and dreams of becoming extremely fit (strong, fast, good endurance).
- If I fail to stick to this habit (or fail to heal my knees in general), then I may never be able to run/jog again.
- If I can’t do this habit, then I can’t ever expect myself to take fitness programs or physical healing programs seriously.
Step 2 – Tell Yourself a New Story
This is taken directly from a blog post of Peter Shallard, the “Shrink for Entrepreneurs.” This is basically an exercise in reframing.
A. Get Objective about your current, terrible story
My knees are in bad shape, and it’s my fault. I just have to deal with the pain and injury that I caused through my own stupidity. Physical therapy helped a little, but if they couldn’t heal me, then is there really any hope? I’ve found so many tips and tricks online, but how can I know they will actually work for me? Besides, I can never stick to a fitness program anyway. Whenever I try to do fitness on my own, I always just fizzle out. I may have to just live with these knees the rest of my life.
B. Pick a totally new story that presupposes you’ll soon achieve your goal
I hurt my knees last year. Yeah, I did some silly things, and my knee paid the price. But that was a year ago, now it’s time to focus on healing and recovery. I am an athlete, and I will not let tiny knee injury stop me (thankfully nothing is torn or broken!).
Physical therapy helped me a little, but that wasn’t the expertise I needed. I need someone who can show me exactly how to focus on the pain and soreness in my knees and work that out. Wait. I already found that expert. I’ll follow his Comfort Zone program to first deal with pain. Then maybe I’ll follow his second program. Or I may work on other fitness issues so I can start running again.
Yes, I’ve struggled with sticking to fitness programs in the past. But hell, I added a dozen new habits into my life over the last year. This will be easy (especially now with HabitRPG).
Step 3 – Clearly define the problem in a single sentence
My knees are in pain and I must follow the Comfort Zone program to help them heal.
Step 4 – Plan the Behavior
I like to find a middle ground between just picking a time of day and planning every last environmental and internal cue. Here are some good questions to answer about this:
- After what?
- Preceding what?
- How much?
I will do this every morning after meditation, and I will do it in the evenings after I get home from work. The reward will checking-into HabitRPG, and the pleasure of knowing that I am following the path I set to greater physical health and fitness.
Step 4 – SWOT Analysis
source – http://www.christopherspenn.com/2013/03/strengths-and-weaknesses-opportunities-and-threats/
I already have good scaffolding in the morning to build this on top of.
Fitness habits are hard for me.
I don’t have as strong scaffolding in the afternoon/evenings.
The weekends are tough for sticking to my current habits already. This will be that much harder.
This could be the first of many fitness habits and improvements.
Events in the evenings.
Various weekends happenings.
How will I deal with Weaknesses and Threats?
I will make a rule that I can’t do other evening daily habits until I do this one. That will really make me do it, because I’ll want to check off the other habits in HabitRPG.
The weekends… those are tough in general. I’m not sure how to plan ahead for those. I’ll just have to trust the motivations provided by my app.
Step 5 – Make It Happen
One new habit per month.