New Year, New Habits

New Year, New Habits

Some people can’t quite seem to relax on vacation. I am not one of those people.

After a full week in Costa Rica, I have returned home reinvigorated. I’m excited for 2016.

Capitalizing on this feeling of refreshment that coincided with the reigning in of a new year, I have decided to set some lofty goals for the next month. I set the goals with the intention of keeping them measurable and challenging, yet doable. Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past week (since January 4th when I returned from Central America).

1. No Dairy, No Gluten, No Sugar  

This goal is easy to quantify. After one full week of sticking to this diet-of-sorts, I have plenty of energy and am not using up as much willpower abstaining from cheese, bread, and chocolate as I would have thought. The hardest part for me has been skipping milk in my coffee every morning.

2. Workout Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Run Every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 

My workouts are short and sweet – I stick to high intensity interval training with only about 8 exercises per workout. On cardio days, I run 2-3 miles depending on my energy level. I’m using Strava to track my runs which makes it easy to see my total distance run and average speed.

3. Journal 10 Minutes Every Morning 

This keeps me on track. I keep a journal template in Evernote, and every morning fill in the blanks: 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 big hairy tasks that I need to take care of (things that I’d normally put off), and an overview of how I’d like my day to go. Then, in the evening, I come back to the same entry and fill in a summary of my day, plus things that I accomplished, and a list of things that would’ve made the day better.

While it may seem exhaustive, I can honestly say that this is my most important habit change. Why? Because it keeps me on track with all of my other monthly goals.

4. 10 Minutes of Duolingo Every Morning

 After returning from Costa Rica, I realized how much more enjoyable my trip would have been had I known conversational Spanish. Enter Duolingo. Every morning I knock out two lessons, which takes about 10 minutes total. It gets my brain working in the early hours, and it’s actually a lot of fun. Check them out. 

5. Watch a TED Talk Every Night

I’ve begun to look forward to this every night. Instead of throwing on Netflix, I watch a TED Talk. It’s been a great substitution.

6. Read a New York Times Article Every Day   

I’ve always liked the Times, and in an age where everyone’s getting their news from BuzzFeed and the Skimm, I figure I’ll commit to one month and see if I notice any difference. The digital subscription is $14.99/month, and I find myself reading much more than one article per day.

7. Read 10 Pages of a Book Every Day 

While I would expect myself to read more than this for the month anyways, reading daily hasn’t always been in my routine. I’m much more likely to read 50 pages twice per week. My hope is that by reading daily, I’ll up my weekly average of pages read. In total I’d like to read 3 books this month.

After 8 days of implementing my new goals, I’ve managed to be perfect (with the exception of missing my 10 page reading goal one day). While this may look like a daunting list, it’s proven to be very manageable. An hour in the morning and an hour in the evening is typically enough to accomplish everything on my list – that’s less than 10% of my day. A lot of change can come from that small amount of time.


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