A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
Sometimes it feels like every step I take, every plan I make just turns to poop before I can accomplish much. Last year, I made great and elaborate plans to walk the Disney Marathon the weekend of my 50th birthday; except I never actually took the steps necessary to complete the journey.
When January rolled around, I was sad because I wasn’t walking in Disney but I knew there was no one to blame but Gayle Tabor.
However, I rallied to walk a 50k in the month of January (the month of my birthday). What I noticed, as I was dedicated to and completing the 50k, was that I was better able to achieve other goals. I watched less television and read more. I was more productive with my days. I ate out less and ate better.
A week or so ago I checked out a book from the public library (yes, I still do that – only now it’s a digital copy downloaded to my nook). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (affiliate link). Somewhere in my readings I had seen a reference to the book and it looked interesting.
Wow! This book is so interesting I can hardly put it down.
The information is not only interesting, but the writing style is also enjoyable. I’d like to tell you all the things I have learned; but it really would just require me to retype the book. I have already decided this book will become a part of my collection (and not the digital version). I can’t imagine that I won’t want to have it on hand to refer back to from time to time.
While I can’t tell you everything I have learned from the book, I can share a few golden nuggets:
- Keystone Habits – are habits that have a ripple effect. An example Duhigg uses is exercise. When people have a regular exercise routing they tend to eat better, drink less, and become healthier.
- Willpower is limited – using willpower to resist junk foods leaves less willpower to work toward other goals.
- Willpower can grow with exercise – willpower like a muscle can grow with training and use.
- Have a plan – there are always setbacks and readily available excuses. Having a plan for how to deal with them makes you more successful.
I’m sure that had you been looking at me as I read The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business you probably would have seen a light bulb glowing over my head as I read about keystone habits; especially how exercise is a keystone habit.
I realized immediately, that I needed to develop a good exercise habit! However, I still had (have) the desire to walk the Disney Marathon!
I’m renewing my Marathon Goal!
I have a plan!
The plan is 3 pronged
- get in shape and lose weight
- build endurance to walk a marathon distance
- build speed to be able to finish in the time limit
I spent hours on Saturday night writing out the plan. It involves green smoothies (yep, you read that right), salads for lunch and exercise. It also includes a plan for being marathon ready. The first race – the Battleship 1/2 Marathon is on November 3rd. Additionally, I tried to think about the trouble spots I might run in to along the way and decide on a plan of action for getting back on track when they hit.
I’ll be blogging much more of my plan and also tracking my progress on the EPIC-QUEST part of my blog (I don’t want everyone to be bored with all the details).
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of behavioral chunks we rely on everyday. From the act of putting toothpaste on your toothbrush to the complicated process of backing your car from the driveway. These little habits that we do by rote without thinking.
I encourage you to think about your habits. The habits you’d like to change. The goals you’d like to achieve. What habits or behavioral chunks are standing in your way?
What keystone habit can you can change? What new habit will change your entire life?