episode 13: where have you been? / breaking bad (habits)

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welcome back welcome back welcome back.

back to life, back to reality.

a reintroduction to my audience (i wrote this summary while drunk).

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i’m a slacker. i been slacking.

and really, that’s just me being straight up with you, straight up with me.

i have allowed 4, 5 months to pass without an update because i got caught up in some music project i couldn’t see past 3 episodes. then i got distracted looking for a new apartment, but these are all just excuses as to why i’ve been missing.

the truth is i fell into a hole, and i am just barely climbing my way out of it.

i fell off with some of the habits i tried to pick up, the running, the core training, this podcast. i haven’t been holding myself accountable, which was the entire point of this process.

i’m worse than the deadbeat father. i’m the fairweather friend. i’m my own fairweather friend who’s only around when times are good, and missing in action when everything hits the fan.

i’m writing this right now to hold that stupid mirror up to my ugly mug and remind myself that no one is going to baby me, that i’m not just gonna pull some mythical motivation out of my dingy levi jeans.

i just have to stop making excuses. starting now. Again.

so if you find you’ve fallen off on some good habits, maybe today is the day you finally admit to yourself, i’ve been slippin, boss. but i can turn it around starting today. and if you don’t start today, in a year from now, you’ll wish you had.

so now that we’re warmed up a little to each other like awkward second dates, i want you to ask yourself where you’ve been doing well, and where you think you could stand to make some minor improvements.

personal development is a long process. everyone wants to be their best version of themselves and that includes looking at yourself from all angles.

I think one of my earliest forms of self-improvement began the first time I ever tried to lose weight.

It makes sense – we look at ourselves in the mirror every day, and our outer shell is usually our first taste of self-awareness.

so when we recognize for the first time that our diet and activity (or lack thereof) is directly linked to our health, weight included, it becomes easier to want to begin this new habit.

so we do some research. We read some books, check out some blogs and forums on nutrition, fitness, ways to make changes in our daily habits to create positive change for ourselves. maybe throw some podcasts and audiobooks into the mix while for when we’re in the car, this way, we are constantly thinking of how you can push yourself to be better.

here’s where the issue lies – we get burned out.

think about our new year’s resolutions.

we set a lot of goals for ourselves. expectations that we want to meet because we think the culmination of these new habits will make us a happier person overall.

and maybe that’s true, but what good are habits that don’t stick? if you hit the gym hard every single day for a full month, those energy levels, that motivation stands to be compromised.

and maybe you decide to take a day off. or maybe two.

or maybe you pull back to a few times a week… uhh make that a few times a month.

until eventually you just stop cold turkey. you’ve talked yourself out of what could have been a beautifully positive experience for you because… what?

because you lost your motivation? well motivation isn’t real anyway.

but discipline is. and discipline will tell you that you can stop worrying about what you didn’t do in the past and focus on what you can do right now.

lack of discipline is why i haven’t released an episode since september, despite thinking about it nearly every day.

“when is going to be the best time to pick it up again? what do i talk about anymore? am i bored with it? do i even have time?”

just creating self-doubt and preventing myself from even beginning when i could have just started typing and let the stream of consciousness flow as it usually does.

i did get a few nudges from some friendly listeners. glad to know there are some of you out there.

one of you sent me an email asking if i could do an episode about kicking bad habits and developing positive ones.

i do have an episode on how i use technology to create good habits, if you wanna backtrack to episode 2, but essentially it comes down to the three Rs – reminder, routine, and reward.

to develop any habit, you have to find a way to incorporate into your routine that it is as mindless as brushing your teeth – something you don’t want to do but you KNOW to do and will do because you know the benefits of having healthy teeth, and also the consequences of poor oral hygiene.

the easiest thing i find is to pair my new habit with some pre-existing routine i already have.

i was able to pretty seamlessly integrate a 7 minute workout right after waking up, audiobooks on the commute to work, meditation 15 minutes before i clock in, and water as soon as i come back from all my breaks – just by working them into the groove i already have going on.

the flip side is breaking bad habits, and like i mentioned to you, sam – it’s still difficult for me to navigate through that side because i sometimes find myself temporarily breaking bad habits, like drinking, for example, and coming back to them.

then i beat myself up over it for a few days by continuing the bad habit and justifying my behavior by saying “well, i already fucked up.”

and this is no different than when we fall off those good habits we’ve worked so hard to commit to. what, because we skipped a day, or even a week?

and so we’re gonna punish ourselves by just not doing them anymore because…?

maybe sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. we expect a lot because maybe someone once expected a lot from us, but we are hardly perfect, so if one day we decide we can’t make it to yoga, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, and it doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up the next day.

although it does suck when you had a streak going on. but oh well! next time, beat the streak.

so same with bad habits. can you go the entire day without smoking that cigarette?

say you have 3 cigarettes a day, one with each meal. this is just your routine.

so just skip your breakfast one. say, “i’ll just have one at lunch.”

then when lunch comes around, eat, lollygag, but then say, “eh. i can wait until dinner.”

and if you hear that inner voice saying, “nah, you deserve it. you want it, so you should have it” just remind that voice who the fuck is boss.

i mean, are you really gonna let that voice, some nontangible, immeasurable voice that sounds an awful lot like you but isnt actually you tell you what to do?

are you gonna be punked around by your own ego?

nah, you’re gonna say, “fuck that cigarette. i can think of a thousand reasons to not have it, and you’re giving me one really stupid superficial reason, and i’m supposed to be fooled?”

but actually say it loud like a crazy person on a subway. question your actions out loud.

i do this to myself often. if i feel i’m acting in an irrational way and i’m really caught up in my emotions, i just start yelling at myself in my car to snap out of it.

sometimes the sound of my own voice scares the hell out of me, but it’s much louder than the inner one telling me i should have that cigarette.

i’m pretty sure you can apply this to any bad habit. i’m trying to think of examples where this wouldn’t work, i guess something like biting your nails or superfluous internet browsing wouldn’t apply because you’re sometimes not aware you’re doing it until you are. and then sometimes you don’t even care.

well, here’s the first step – start caring.

people dont like to watch other people bite their nails. they think about all the things you’ve touched that day and how its all up in your mouth now. that’s where those stupid blisters on your tongue are probably coming from.

my internet browsing was (still is) killing my productivity. i had to delete the reddit app from my phone to kill the autopilot.

at home, i have a program and browser extension (rescuetime in case you’re wondering) that measures my time on certain websites that helps put my level of productivity into perspective.

it took about 2 days to see that reddit was killing my time. i’ve just tried to stop, unless it’s the documentaries subreddit.

but if need be, there are extensions that will block certain websites for you. or even limit your time if you’re more lenient with yourself.

so breaking bad habits is just as important and creating good ones.

maybe you could take one bad habit and replacing it with a good one.

instead of a cigarette, chug a cup of water. pop a piece of gum. doesn’t hurt to have a minty fresh mouth.

the truth is, i still have this issue. for example, chocolate in the office.

if i see it, i will have it without even thinking about it. no question in my mind, if i see that chocolate, it’s going inside my belly.

lately, the jeans have been a little tight around the thighs, so today, for the first time in a while, i questioned myself every time i stood up and walked over to the jar.

i’m not perfect though. i may or may not have had a couple of pieces.

good news – someone finished them all up, so the temptation is gone. but the temptation is not the problem – it’s the lack of discipline.

so remember to ask yourself – are you in charge here? and if you know that you are, your thoughts will allow your actions to follow suit.

all right let’s wrap this up.

replace your bad habits with good ones. find ways to challenge yourself this week.

whatever you’re putting off, whatever you haven’t been committing 100% to, write it down so it’s real. and just do it. you’ll be happier with yourself knowing you tried instead of admitting you didn’t.

me, i’m about to delve hardcore into some moving and beginning a new life. but more on that some other time.

subscribe on itunes, spotify, stitcher, youtube, wherever else i am.

you can also shoot me an email at blue@hihowareyou.US and let me know how you’ve been progressing, if you’re having any issues that i can maybe help you with, or maybe you just wanna vent, i’m all ears, ross perot.

side note: i went to yoga for the first time last night, and i didn’t die of embarrassment so expect to hear about it very soon.

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