My Habits & Routines in 2020

May 25, 2020

It’s been almost an entire year since I read James Clear’s Atomic Habits.

There are very few books I can say have definitively changed my life my life for the better.

This is one of them.

The premise of the book is to figure out what your ideal identity is and then create or remove habits that help you reach this dream identity of yours.

I thought it was going to be a bit woo-woo. Like, who can really just decide to change and then do it, right away? Don’t habits take a while to stick?

It was worth a shot though, so using the book, I identified the kind of person I’d like to be as:

  • a mindful, flexible individual
  • a strong and lean trail runner
  • a successful business owner

Once I decided on these, figuring out new habits was actually fun and easy. They weren’t a chore. They didn’t take 21 days or whatever amount people say you need to form a habit. I just did them. And the next day did them again. Repeat ad infinitum.

What changes did I make? Here are the ones I’ve implemented since June 2019:

  1. Charging my phone overnight in the living room
    • This prevents me from getting sucked into the vortex of hacker news, reddit, email, twitter, and other mindless browsing first thing in the morning.
  2. Grabbing my meditation cushion and sitting
    • As soon as I roll out of bed, I go sit on my meditation cushion. If it’s a really good day, I’ll sit for 10 minutes until my head feels clear enough to get going. Otherwise it’s anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour on days I’m feeling really anxious.
  3. Stretching routine
    • Directly after meditating, I do a yoga routine consisting of sun salutations and some other hip opening poses to try to undo the damage from sitting for 8 hours a day.
  4. Journal
    • This has been the most rewarding behind meditation. Right after stretching, I pop open my journal and write about how I’m feeling. I’ll typically also cover things about what happened yesterday, what the weather is like, what I’m planning on doing today, what I’m grateful for, the day’s top headline, and more.
  5. Get to Work
    • Before all these habits, I’d sit down at my computer and repeat the same website checking cycle I did on my phone. Now I just go straight from my journal entry to work. I even have an Alfred shortcut setup to make sure it’s as easy as hitting a hotkey.
  6. Workout
    • Depending on the time of year and state of the world, I’ll either workout in the morning somewhere between stretching and journaling or in the afternoon before lunch. Usually it’s a run, but with this whole coronavirus thing going on, it’s been a stationary bike ride lately.
  7. Eat
    • Breakfast/Lunch is at 1PM. That’s the soonest I’ll usually eat, and on some days when I’m in the work zone, it can be even later.
  8. Drink
    • I don’t drink on any worknight.

Other weekly habits include “Writing Wednesday” and “Strategy Sunday”.

These new habits have been really, really great.

I feel SO much better than I did this time last year.

  • I can sit in a full lotus pose, put my hands flat on the floor when touching my toes, and do a decent wheel pose
  • I can meditate for an hour and not get too anxious
  • I can stick to an exercise routine even when I don’t want to
  • I can realize when stupid websites are sucking up my time and quit them
  • I can spend more time creating and less time consuming
  • I wake up with a clear head
  • I can look back a year and see exactly how I was feeling in my journal
  • I can identify when I’m in a funk and get out of it quickly

My routine isn’t perfect. I’d like to add some better nighttime routines around getting to bed at a specific time and eating fewer refined carbs.

To do that, I need to think about how to make those easy and really decide that I want to be an early riser and health conscious eater. But boy do I love carbs and sleeping in.

Is it time to give those up? Based on how my other habits make me feel, I suppose it is.