Week 2 of 8 (and a word about Keystone Habits)

How is it Tuesday night already? This is my check-in post for the end of week 2 of our 8-week challenge/thing. Never mind that the end of week 2 was…er…Sunday.

Still. Moving on!

In last week’s round-up post I explained that I’d spent the first week tracking things and sort of observing myself from afar, gathering the data about the things I wanted to work on over these 8 weeks, so I can see where I need to make some changes.

This week just gone I’ve been focusing on making those changes.

As explained in the initial post (here), I’m using these 8 weeks to work on a business plan (not suitable – yet – for talking about here) and for working on my somewhat haphazard eating routine.

Week 2 was good. About 75% good, I’d say. Which is presumably some kind of improvement (74%? Not a clue. I do phrases, not percentages.)

What went well:
– I planned almost all of my meals
– I tracked everything (I use myfitnesspal)
– I definitely ended up eating less than I have been!
– I remembered how much I actually enjoy eating pretty simple meals and snacks, and I didn’t miss the “extra bits and bobs” I cut out.

What still needs work:
– Weirdly, I’ve actually been under-eating a few days a week, and this isn’t helping me achieve the consistent balance I want. Perhaps I’m still in that contest-prep mindset? I don’t know. But on a few days last week I ended up towards the lower end of the calories I need to fuel my everyday activity and training. This isn’t the plan at all – the whole point of this 8 week thing for me is to work out a good consistent plan which gives me what I need, every day. No ups and downs.

Measurable progress:
– I weighed in at the start of the 8 weeks, and have weighed in once since. I’ve dropped a small amount of weight.
– I’ve gone down one notch on my gym belt.
– I’m sleeping a lot better.

Right, I’m shattered from tonight’s boxing session. Before I sign off, let’s talk about something useful: keystone habits.
powerofhabit-loop
Keystone habits are those habits which are fundamental to your day going well. If you don’t do them, it feels like your day can easily spiral out of control and get away from you. But if you do them, everything else falls into place.

Keystone habits are linked to other good habits (for example, training in the morning means you choose healthier food for lunch….) They set in motion a kind of chain reaction that help other, less fundamental, habits take root.

I’m big on habits and I’m always reminded how integral my own keystone habits are to the success (or not!) of my day, particularly when I’m trying to work on changes to diet, activity levels, productivity at work, or sleep.

Here are my keystone habits

– Writing in my paper journal every morning before I get out of bed
– Planning my meals (however loosely) for the next day
– Writing a to-do list for the next day
– Moving my a$$ every day (usually training, of course, but if not training then a really decent long/hilly walk with the dog)
– Eating at the table (as opposed to standing up, or on the sofa)
– Leaving my phone downstairs when I go to bed

If I do all of those, I can be pretty sure that the rest of my day will go well. I’ve just noticed that they top-and-tail my day, actually!

If I don’t journal in the morning, the day starts running away from me without me “checking in” with myself and I feel a bit…disconnected.

If I don’t work up a sweat doing something physical every day, I feel lethargic and crappy and can end up moping about making rubbish food choices in the evening. (I never said this stuff makes logical sense!)

You can read more about keystone habits in Charles Duhigg‘s book The Power Of Habit (I listened to it on Audible.co.uk)

What are your keystone habits?

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Week 2 of 8 (and a word about Keystone Habits) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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4 Responses to Week 2 of 8 (and a word about Keystone Habits)

  1. Tara says:

    Good job! I always write a to-do list for the next day. I really should try that “leaving the phone downstairs” thing – if only I didn’t live in a tiny room πŸ˜‰

    Like

  2. […] the previous round up post, we talked about keystone habits. Today, let’s talk about what I call “red […]

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  3. […] dragging my feet. We’ve talked about setting a goal for the 8-week challenge/thing, discussed keystone habits, fessed up to our red flags, and I’ve banged on and on about […]

    Like

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