Habits, Productivity

Update on my adding/subtracting habit plan + some fitness “advice”

November is almost over, which means my goal of adding a specific habit for the month of November is almost over, too.

If you recall, I talked about this idea in this post.

I have really enjoyed focusing on just ONE THING for a month. I chose to start with “adding” a good habit (versus subtracting a bad one). My habit of choice was to get outside for 20 minutes every single day.

And I have done it! Most days this has involved a walk outside, but there were a handful of days that I just went in the hot tub instead (outside). Still outside, still counts! Looking up at the stars in the quiet, dark night, from the hot tub, while breathing in crisp November air definitely still refreshes my spirit.

I think keeping this goal really simple and quite small has been key. At this stage in my life (BUSY + lots of variety in my days), doing anything every single day feels rather challenging. I feel sort of silly saying this, because I see a lot of other people doing things every single day, apparently without much difficulty. (?) Or at least that’s the impression I get. Maybe I’m just a weakling who lacks discipline.

But I don’t know, my life just feels so all over the place right now. We do a lot, the kids are busy, we have family here often, meaning my evenings are never really the same, and even my bedtime can be all over the place. Super early mornings don’t feel guaranteed anymore either. Some days, yes, others, not so much. But if we are up late doing something/ out/ etc., I can’t count on the 5 a.m. window as being reliable (unless I severely cut my sleep, but that’s never a good idea). I love the idea of 100% routine and consistency, but it just feels impossible right now.

Anyway, fitting in 20 minutes outside at some point in my day felt generally very doable though. And since it was the only thing I “had” to do, it really wasn’t that hard to push to make it happen.

In the past, I think I’ve tried to do too many good things at once “every day”- read, exercise, walk, etc. And while I did still do many of those things this month, I didn’t do them all every single day. The only thing I really focused on was getting outside.

I liked this method! I feel accomplished, even though it has only been a small win.

Next month, December, I’m going to do it again. But I may try to “subtract” something instead this time. Not sure what yet.

I’m toying with the idea of maybe subtracting out scrolling on my phone in bed when I first wake up. I am not specifically against this habit- it can be a relaxing way to ease myself awake. I don’t have a particular like, moral stance on it or anything.

But I have been frustrated then that I end up getting up too late, which eats into my already-too-short morning window. So while I don’t particularly mind the email checking/ blog reading/ Facebook checking etc from bed, I do mind that it is encroaching on other things I’d rather do MORE. Because my little sliver of quiet morning time is pretty sacred to me- but the lying in bed on my phone part is not the part I actually enjoy. I enjoy being at my desk, with my tea, my planner, my journal, a book, or this blog.


On an unrelated note, I ran across this screenshot yesterday as I cleaned out some photos from last year:

Not sure #1 is totally fair, but I think #2-4 are pretty great points! I especially love #3. And #4 is so true.

And since we’re on totally unrelated notes, how about another one: how adorable is this picture of baby Asher???? 😍

Right around his 1 year birthday!

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful that I have a new partner for my volunteer coordinating job for the swim team!! So happy to have some HELP.

15 thoughts on “Update on my adding/subtracting habit plan + some fitness “advice””

  1. Have to ask if you are feeling the pain of the USA swim registration signup as part of your volunteer job. How is it that over the years I must have used 39 different systems for sports, school, church signups (not to mention systems we use at work) and somehow the USA swim one has given us the most challenges🙃

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    1. So, fortunately, the USA swim registration stuff is NOT part of my role!! I just deal with all of the volunteers for the home meets. I have heard some rumblings though from those involved with that part that it is a headache!

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  2. I think getting outside 20 minutes/day would be kind of tough for me, especially with how early it gets dark. We don’t have a lot of margin in our days these days w/ young kids. If I am WFH, it’s easier to get outside for 20 minutes but when I’m in the office it would be tough to consistently do. I have several things I do every day but they can be done from anywhere. Things I do daily are read, do the spelling bee puzzle, do wordle, and do at least one Spanish lesson on Duo Lingo. When I go into the office, I do the spelling bee and wordle puzzle while Phil drives. I am lucky to have a nice chauffer. 😉 I often do Duo Lingo lessons when the boys are playing in the basement after dinner. Paul knows that that is what I do – he will say “can you help me with this when you are done with your lesson?” And sometimes he’ll sit next to me while i do the lesson and push the submit button. So I feel ok about doing that around the boys.

    What did you think of that job 1 program? I think I did one workout and was kind of meh about it but I might be confusing it with something else. I’m in week 3 or 4 of Liift4 which I really like. I just wish I was doing more of the workouts/week but it’s been tricky to fit everything in lately…

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    1. It’s definitely easier to get outside when WFH. Also, it helps a lot that my boys are older and can stay home alone! Sometimes in the early evenings/ before dinnertime I can sneak out for a quick walk while they just hang out at home.

      I have done 4 of the Job 1 workouts so far. For the purpose I’m using them for, I like them! (I am just using them as a filler basically, to get some movement/ exercise in on days that I just can’t make the gym happen.) So I’m not exactly looking to knock it out of the park, really- I just want something to get me moving. These are nice for that because they haven’t felt overly challenging, and they’re short. I’m not sure I would select this as my main program because the intensity seems a little lower maybe than ideal. But I actually can see using the cardio workouts for my cardio option, because I really dislike doing intense cardio (on a machine, or on a video). Yet I strive to get in 2-3 sessions per week for heart health. These are nice because they don’t have those super intense MM moves. I get my heart rate up without feeling like I’m going to die. haha. And the 20 minute length is perfect. I can see doing my regular strength workouts in the gym, then these for some cardio. Or even the strength workouts, but probably just as a fill in option.

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  3. I love that you got outside every day! Fresh air is so important to me, and it’s a real mood booster. Even when it’s *checks temperature* minus 19. Woooooo it’s going to be a chilly walk this morning.
    I agree with that screenshot as well – maybe not the first point. 98% seems a bit random. But things on IG are always so filtered and curated, so maybe it’s a fair point.

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  4. I do a lot of things “most days” but almost nothing EVERY day 🙂 I am impressed at your commitment to the 20 min! You could think about subtracting the AM scrolling Dec as just an experiment. Would be interesting to see if you missed it!

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    1. Yes! That’s why I really like this idea of adding/subtracting things a month at a time. It doesn’t feel overwhelming like trying to necessarily make some huge life change- it’s just 30 days.

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  5. Once again, I am super charmed by this method of goal setting! And good for you that it is going so well! I wholeheartedly agree that doing something every single day seems impossibly difficult. I guess I make tea every single day, but can’t really think of anything beyond that. But, then again, your statement “Maybe I’m just a weakling who lacks discipline.” really resonates with me. I feel that way often.

    It will be fun to see what you choose for December. I love that the idea you are considering is removing phone scrolling in the morning. Not, like, ALL phone scrolling, but just a little bit. That makes SO MUCH SENSE. Incremental improvement, right?

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    1. Ooh, good point! I also am on point with my daily tea making. hahahah!! I never miss a day there either. 😉 I suppose my other “daily habits” that I don’t miss are things like…. checking my email. Or facebook. (eek). And brushing my teeth. 🙂 I do check off my habit tracker/ update a journal page every day (unless traveling). So I guess I do some things daily. But anything that is more time consuming can get tricky.

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  6. I love that you have been getting outside every day! Hannah the Dog makes sure that happens for me no matter what, but now that she’s been given the all clear from the vet (!), I have been stretching our walks to try and make sure SHE gets outside for at least an hour a day. It sometimes works.

    This month, I added brushing the dog and cat’s teeth to our morning routine. I had tried to do it at night, but the cat wasn’t cooperative and the dog just wanted her treats to go to bed, so it never worked at night. And I’ve been very successful! They both even wait now for me to remember to get out the toothpaste. (No, I don’t really brush the cat’s teeth. I put the enzymatic toothpaste on a piece of gauze and let her lick it/chew it. Something is better than nothing. I do attempt to brush the dog’s teeth, but it ends up just being her biting the brush and I think that’s probably fine.)

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    1. Wow, I’m envious of an hour outside daily! Another reason I wish I had a dog… I love the thought of going on walks with one. (Although I’m not sure I’d really like to have to carry around one of those little bags full of poop. LOL.)

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  7. I think that’s a great idea, subtract instead of adding more. Fitness wise my goal is to get back to movement without stress so walking 20 min a day sounds great to me. I also want to stop scrolling in the morning, usually 5 min, to start the mind clear for the day. I think i just need to get a nice clock so i don’t grab my phone to know the time. our life is so attached to the phone, and when it’s on our hand, it’s so easy to just check something else.

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    1. I do have a clock in my room, but the alarm is so loud and obnoxious. I keep my phone across the room, so I do have to get up in order to turn it off (and I have it on the iphone sleep mode thing, so it has this very nice, gentle alarm). But I usually grab it, turn the alarm off, and then because it’s dark and I’m still groggy, I lay back down and then scroll around on my phone in bed for a bit. This is a newer habit though- maybe the past year? I never used to do this. I’m not really sure how or why I started…. grrr.

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  8. I think I mentioned how much I love the concept of adding/subtracting one specific habit for the month. It gives you focus and doesn’t feel overwhelming (as you said, trying to do EVERYTHING every single day is not sustainable for most people, esp. busy moms like you).

    I feel you on this: “while I don’t particularly mind the email checking/ blog reading/ Facebook checking etc from bed, I do mind that it is encroaching on other things I’d rather do MORE”. It’s definitely a habit that can be tweaked to work better.

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