In The Power of Less – The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential one of the things Leo Babauta talks about is that if you want to create new habits in your life, the trick is to only attempt one at a time and only one a month. Here are the three new habits that I’ve brought into my life in the last three months. All with very little effort…
In December I cut out eating animals that I wouldn’t kill myself. Since making this a habit, I’ve only “slipped,” and quite consciously I might add, a couple times – usually while looking for comfort food (the Decapitating-Black-Water-Valve-Epidemic comes to mind (you really don’t want to know)).
In January I forced myself to start working by 8 am every day.
In February, I’m eating a big salad once a day – usually at dinner. With my off-limit-animal diet, I found I was eating too many carbs, so making this a new habit has helped me bump up my veggie intake.
Now I hadn’t come across this book when I was modifying my diet, but once I heard about it, I gave it a shot and it is surprisingly easy to make new habits this way. Forget about drastic makeovers – just pick one habit a month and focus on that.
What’s really cool is that once you’ve finished the month, the “task” has become a true habit. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not eating a hunk of cow; I naturally wake with the dawn; and I’m starting to look forward to my big salad for dinner (and it makes a no-brainer “deciding” what to eat in the evening).
Start small and simple. Don’t combine. Pick something that you want to make a part of your life for the next few years. Track your progress.
Some ideas (pick only one and do it every day for a month):
- Meditate for 15 minutes
- Do pushups until failure
- Do 3 yoga sun salutations
- Walk for 15 minutes
- Write one page in your journal
- Spend 15 minutes writing that book you always wanted to write
- Drink water instead of soda
- Don’t eat meat before dinner (from Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating)
- Meditate for 15 minutes (mentioned twice intentionally – Hint, hint)
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