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Runs for Cookies: Atomic Habits: September


I most likely ought to save this for subsequent week, contemplating September is not over but, however I by no means really wrote a submit about this at first of the month. I actually wasn’t certain how this was going to play out and I did not wish to make a giant deal about it.

I do know I’ve talked about the e book “Atomic Habits” a number of instances already, however that’s what prompted this complete “mission” (I am unsure what to name it; mainly, I wish to change some habits, each good and unhealthy). The e book concept is straightforward: including new good habits and breaking unhealthy ones.

Nevertheless, it’s tremendous useful for determining a plan on HOW to do this. (I’ll add a couple of Amazon hyperlinks to merchandise I’ve; in full disclosure, they’re affiliate hyperlinks which simply implies that for those who ought to use the hyperlink to buy, then I’ll get a fee. I am not making an attempt to push them; they’re simply merchandise I’ve and discover useful.)

First, here’s a hyperlink to the e book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I listened to the audiobook first, and located it so useful that I borrowed the Kindle e book as properly. The audiobook is very well accomplished, for those who choose to pay attention somewhat than learn. And it isn’t tremendous lengthy. (Really, for those who join the free Audible “Premium Plus” trial on Amazon, you get to decide on a e book for free–and you may maintain it! Even for those who cancel the after the trial. I believe that is how I acquired it.)

A number of readers advised the e book Atomic Habits to me years in the past, and I purchased the audiobook with some Amazon credit I had–I simply by no means acquired round to listening to it. Once I noticed the title “Atomic Habits” I instantly thought “large”–I pictured an atomic bomb! However I realized that it is really meant to be the exact opposite: “atomic” that means minuscule, the dimensions of an atom. Atomic habits are tiny little modifications that ultimately add as much as large outcomes.

“Here is how the maths works out: if you may get 1 % higher every day for one yr, you will find yourself thirty-seven instances higher by the point you are accomplished. Conversely, for those who get 1 % worse every day for one yr, you will decline almost all the way down to zero.”  –James Clear, Atomic Habits

An instance that helped me visualize this was to take a look at energy. For those who eat 1% extra energy than you burn day-after-day, then you’ll acquire a noticeable quantity of weight over the course of a yr. However for those who eat 1% fewer energy than you burn, you will drop pounds. And both approach, the change is so small that you simply barely discover it on a daily foundation. 

In response to Atomic Habits, to construct new habits, there are 4 “legal guidelines”:

The 4 Legal guidelines of Habits Change are a easy algorithm we will use to construct higher habits. They’re (1) make it apparent, (2) make it enticing, (3) make it simple, and (4) make it satisfying.

Every of these has key factors that assist you make a plan for implementing habits. I will not get into all of them (that is what the e book is for), however listed here are a couple of that actually helped me this month.

1) Make it obvious- I used what Clear calls behavior stacking, which is the place you comply with one behavior with one other in order that the primary is mainly a cue for the subsequent. (I will get into my very own examples beneath.)

2) Make it attractive- I did not make use of this one but.

3) Make it easy- I used the “Two minute rule” and this was the largest issue for me this month. The 2-minute rule is straightforward: Downscale habits till they are often accomplished in two minutes or much less. (Once more, I will write my very own examples beneath.)

4) Make it satisfying- I selected to make use of reinforcement, which suggests to present your self an instantaneous reward once you full your behavior. I additionally selected to make use of a behavior tracker, which is satisfying as a result of you may see the progress on a chart.

First, I will present you my behavior tracker with the gadgets I selected to work on this month:


Previous to studying Atomic Habits, I attempted utilizing trackers dozens of instances and by no means acquired anyplace with them as a result of I did not make the habits “atomic”. For instance, I wrote “Learn for two minutes” this month; two minutes would possibly as properly be nothing! Contemplating the 2 minute rule, nonetheless, the behavior is doable. And ultimately, the 2+ minutes per day will result in ending books.

So, yes–this checklist of habits seems lengthy. Nevertheless, only some of them take longer than two minutes. Right here is how they performed out for me:

1. Run across the block very first thing within the morning.

Jerry was getting dwelling from work proper as I used to be getting dwelling from my run, so he took a sequence of pictures–I am sporting a headlamp, which is what the pink gentle is from. I believe the image seems form of cool!

I took any type of preconceived operating aim and threw it out the window. The only goal of placing this on my checklist was to get within the behavior of operating within the morning. Earlier than studying the e book, I might have written “Run 3 miles”–and then I would procrastinate and stop shortly after. Nevertheless, I selected “run across the block” as a result of it is SO SHORT and I will be accomplished with it earlier than I even have time to vary my thoughts.

Instantly after waking up, I modify into my operating garments. Then I strap on my Garmin and Joey’s leash (he LOVES this new operating behavior, by the best way) and we head exterior. We run one loop. Round my block is 0.41 miles, which is what we did for the primary week. The second week, I made a decision to circle two blocks as a result of it solely provides 0.1 miles, making it a complete of 0.52. (Nevertheless, a few instances I’ve solely accomplished one block; I do not ever wish to hate it, so if I do not really feel like doing extra, I am cool with that.)


The run takes a grand complete of 4-6 minutes. And since I do it instantly after waking up, I do not even have time to consider it or discuss myself out of it earlier than I’m going. It has been 25 days now and I’ve run across the block each single morning. With out procrastinating. With out feeling like I ought to have accomplished extra. With out feeling prefer it would not really matter as a result of it is “solely” half a mile.

I haven’t got future plans for this. If I wish to add extra distance later, I’ll. If I do not, I am effective with simply doing one loop of the block. Doing the 0.52-mile loop day-after-day for a yr will add as much as 189.8 miles! Prior to now yr (not counting this month), I solely ran 54.7 miles complete.

I’ve carried out the “satisfying” half into this behavior as properly. Proper after my run, I make a cup of tea and I do the Wordle and Connections (New York Instances puzzle video games). I *love* the puzzles and I look ahead to doing them, however I solely do them after my morning run. It looks like a reward.

2. Take vitamin D and B-12.

That is easy. I had incessantly been forgetting to take them or I would take them at random instances every day. Nevertheless, I exploit behavior stacking to make this a behavior. Whereas my tea steeps, I take my vitamin D and B-12–I maintain the bottle with my tea baggage in order that I see it and bear in mind to take it.

3. Drink 64 oz. of water.

I used to purpose for a gallon. And I used to be having such a tough time reaching that! I used to drink that a lot after I was operating quite a lot of miles, however for the previous few years, staying hydrated has been a battle. So, I modified it to 64 oz.

On Amazon lately, I discovered some water bottles that we used to have years ago–I liked them, however we misplaced them in some unspecified time in the future. So, I purchased two new ones.


(These water bottles are improbable! They’re the dimensions and form of a normal disposable (16.9 oz) bottle. The plastic is excellent high quality, and the entire high of the bottle will be eliminated for cleansing or including ice. I am form of a water bottle hoarder, however these are (palms down!) my very favourite ones. Right here is the hyperlink to Amazon.)

The aim is to drink 4 of them all through the day, so after I drink one, I refill it and put it within the fridge and pull the opposite one out. I like so as to add a packet of True Grapefruit (it isn’t sweetened or anything–it’s only a tiny quantity of crystalized grapefruit juice). Right here is the hyperlink to the True Grapefruit on Amazon. I really wrote a overview/giveaway of those WAY again in 2012, and you will discover that submit right here.)


4. Clear kitchen counters earlier than mattress.

This is only one little chore that I might all the time used to place off till morning. I all the time really feel like the home is gross when the counters are soiled, so I simply really feel higher when they’re clear earlier than I’m going to mattress. I used behavior stacking for this by doing them instantly after dinner.

5. Do 3 again stretches earlier than mattress.

After coping with continual ache from 2018-2022, my again had gotten SO STIFF. I used to be form of shocked lately after I realized simply how little flexibility I’ve. A whole lot of it is because of a tousled disc that has triggered issues for so long as I can bear in mind, however the brand new continual ache made me keep away from any motion in any respect that might irritate it. Anyway, the purpose is, I wish to have some flexibility. And if there’s any probability that I might help the disc in my again by workout routines/stretching, I’m keen to do it.

I used to make a complete checklist of stretches and vow to do them day-after-day; after which I would stop after a day or two. This time, I selected the two-minute rule: three again stretches that I realized in bodily remedy, accomplished for 30 seconds every (with 10 seconds relaxation in between). Utilizing the froth curler (particularly this explicit stretch) has really helped tremendously! It took a few week to really feel any distinction, however I’ve undoubtedly seen an enchancment.

As anybody who has a cat is aware of, that is what occurs once you attempt to do any type of train on the ground:

Pardon me, simply let me put my butthole in your face when you try this.

Chick, Duck, and even Phoebe have to take a look at what I am doing.

That stretch on the froth curler feels wonderful, by the best way. It was my favourite at bodily remedy.

6. Take iron complement.

I am nonetheless engaged on build up my ferritin stage, so I am persevering with my iron complement. I all the time take this proper earlier than consuming dinner in order that it turns into a behavior.

7. Journal one line.

I’ve all the time liked the “5 Yr” or “One Line A Day” journals as a result of they solely take a minute or two. I’ve a 5 Yr Journal and I like it. I’ve really purchased it as a present for a couple of folks, too. For those who’re not acquainted with a five-year journal, it is a actually cool idea; there are 365 pages (one for every date), with traces divided into 5 sections. Every web page is marked for the date, and every paragraph part is the place you write for the present yr (you simply fill within the final two digits of the yr after which circle the day of the week).


So throughout the first yr, you write a quick entry–just a few sentences about your day or whatever–on the primary part for every date. Then the next yr, you return to the start of the journal and write a brand new entry for that date within the spot beneath it. It is neat to see what you wrote the yr prior, or the yr earlier than that–kind of just like the “reminiscences” notifications on Fb. (Right here is the Amazon hyperlink to the one which I’ve, however for those who search “5 yr journal”, there are a number of. I like this one–it’s not too small, not too large, and the pages are thick.)

8. Learn for two minutes.

Once more, I exploit the 2 minute rule for this. Typically I simply do not have time to learn or I do not really feel like studying, so I’ll actually simply learn for 2 minutes (properly, I often end out the web page, so perhaps a bit longer). More often than not, I get caught up within the e book and find yourself studying for 20-Half-hour. I am nonetheless studying Demon Copperhead–it’s SO good! I am only a gradual reader, which is why I have not completed it but.


9. Do one Duolingo lesson.

One among my New Yr’s objectives was to construct my vocabulary with one new phrase every week. I wasn’t doing nice with remembering to do this, so as an alternative, I began utilizing Duolingo to study Spanish. I took 4 years of Spanish in highschool, however I remembered little or no. The Duolingo app is free and every lesson solely takes a few minutes. More often than not I find yourself doing three of them, however doing at the very least one a day has helped me study quite a bit!

I really feel like I am about to the purpose of the place I ended studying in highschool, and I’ve solely accomplished it for 140 days or so. That is a kind of habits that actually reveals how enhancing only a tiny bit every day will ultimately add up.

10. Floss earlier than mattress.

This one is simply a kind of issues that solely takes a minute, however I simply do not wish to do. I assume I simply really feel prefer it’s not completely obligatory as a result of I floss after breakfast day-after-day (I put chia seeds in my cereal, and so they all the time get caught in my tooth). Nevertheless, it feels good to go to mattress with a completely clear mouth, which incorporates flossing. I exploit the water flosser now, so it goes far more shortly. I exploit behavior stacking for this. I modify into pajamas, do my again stretches, brush my tooth, then floss earlier than entering into mattress. The entire thing takes 5 minutes or so.

Shaggy dog story: A few days in the past, I dropped the ball to one in every of my earrings down the drain within the lavatory sink. I used to be tremendous bummed, and regardless that it was actually tiny and doubtless hopeless to retrieve it, Jerry needed to attempt. So he unscrewed the pipe below the sink to look. After which I seen a bit seedling rising within the drain–it was from a chia seed! Hahahaha.

As you may see from my Behavior Tracker, that is day 25 of doing these each. single. day. I can really feel them turning into senseless habits! It is wonderful how a lot of a distinction studying the e book has made–the “two minute rule” is invaluable to creating these stick. I all the time generally tend to get overzealous (in just about every part I do) and that is why it is so laborious to stay to. Breaking these down into “atomic” dimension habits made them very doable–and really fulfilling!

I am solely making a couple of modifications for October’s habits, however I am preserving most of them the identical till they really change into automated and I do them with out considering (or having to test the tracker to ensure I did them).


You’ll find a ton of various behavior trackers on Amazon (or free printable ones, I am certain). The one which I’ve is not obtainable, however right here is the hyperlink to the same one, in addition to the pens/markers I exploit. I like these! The tip is agency like a pen, however they write like a marker and better of all–they do not bleed by the paper. I even use them in my five-year journal. The tracker has a bit for weekly and month-to-month habits in addition to the every day ones, however I have not used these but. I wish to get the every day habits down first.

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