Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Improvement of the Month - Break the cell phone habit, breathe and stretch (all combined in one handy habit change)

After enjoying my summer and being a bit lazy in the blogging department, I am back at it with new vigor at the onset of fall. The kids finally being back in school after the teacher strike might also have to do with my rediscovered blogging prowess actually.

I have recently read the No Meat Athlete book and one of my favourite parts was a passage written by Leo Babauta, the author of Zen Habits. It was about habit change and it served me as a good reminder of how to set up habit change - such as my improvements of the month- successfully. I found a similar article as the one published in the book on the zen habits blog. You can read the entire post here, but the 3 main points are this:

  1. Write down your plan
  2. Identify your triggers and replacement habits
  3. Focus on doing the replacement habits every single time the triggers happen, for about 30 days
Here's my October Improvement of the month:

My Plan: Use my cell phone less while I am at work.
While I am at my job at the Hotel, I have to move around between floors a lot and therefore I spend a lot of time waiting for the elevator. Since there is usually no one around and it can easily take a few minutes for the elevator to arrive, what better thing to do than get out the trusty old smart phone, right? Wrong! It's just a kind of knee jerk reflex to reach into my pocket and do something -anything- on the phone. If I think about it, it reminds me a lot of smoking back in the days while waiting for the bus for example. Now the long term goal here is to shift the focus from doing to being, but let's focus on the first step on that path. Instead of being glued to the smart phone screen I will either stretch my calves, hamstrings or hip flexors or take a few conscious breaths while focusing on being calm and peaceful while breathing in and releasing tension or thinking of something I feel grateful for upon the exhalation.

Trigger: Waiting for the elevator (among a gazillion other things which I will tackle later on) triggers the urge to use my phone.

Replacement habits: Breathe and stretch as outlined above.

Another important point when it comes to habit change is to aim low enough so that you have a good chance of succeeding. Once you accomplish the initial habit change, you can build on that success by setting new goals.

What is your improvement of the month in October? How are you going to make it happen?

Let's get at it,

Marc