The GOOD HEALTH HABIT ChallengeApril 27, 2011
Let’s talk about Habits.
Most people have a few (or many) bad habits that they’d like to break. A lot of time and energy is spent trying to break these bad habits, and the stress of failing to do so, causes people to have even more anxiety about their current habits.
What we don’t put nearly enough focus into, however, is creating new habits. Good habits.
Good habits are neat because they are small additions to our regular life that help make us better people. As we get used to one good habit, another one usually follows, as we head on the path toward a healthier and happier life in general.
Getting exercise, meeting new people, trying new things….those are all good habits that you started the day your joined CrossFit Aspire.
Everything you do during the 1 hour a day that you spend in the gym is helping to create or maintain good habits (Learning the Olympic lifts, working on your endurance, perfecting your form on all movements, increasing your mobility, etc). But there are 23 other hours in every day. What are you doing during THOSE hours to complement your good habit of getting exercise?
THE TASK: Pick 1 good habit and do that thing every single day for 30 days.
THE DETAILS: The point of this challenge is to help get the rest of your life step with the pace of improvement you’re seeing in the gym. The point is that going to the gym for 1 hour, no matter what you do in there (even heavy deadlifts and “Fran”), won’t counteract your so-so diet, high stress lifestyle, or your lack of sleep. In order to make sustainable improvements in the gym, and to be a healthier person in general, all three things – Movement, Eating and Sleep must all be in sync.
How do you achieve this? Pick a Good Habit that fits the following criteria:
Quantifiable/Measurable: “I will get 8+ hours of sleep ever night for 30 nights” is a good challenge. “Sleep more” is not.
Positive: Starting a new habit is something to be happy about. You WILL see better results if you think of the challenge as the addition of something positive to your life, rather than deprivation. “Eat only meat, fish, eggs and vegetables at every meal for 30 Days” is a good one. “No processed foods, grains, or sweet things that taste good” is a bad one.
Specific: Don’t leave any room for doubt or any gray areas. Try not to make this harder than it is. This is YOUR challenge, and you set the rules. So make them clear for yourself. “Work on my mobility every night for 30 Days” is not specific enough. “Foam roll my upper back and pain ball my forearms ever night for 10 minutes” is a better option.
Challenging: Because, well, this IS a challenge! This is your opportunity to push your limits, find the outer edges of your comfort zone, and perhaps cause a shift in your life’s priorities. Those of you who eat 95% only real foods might not want to make their habit to start eating 100% only real foods. You can get to 100% without much effort. That’s not where your wellness weakness is. It’s more likely to be hiding in your sleep habits, stress levels, or elsewhere. If waking up is a struggle every morning, then your good habit should likely include getting to bed earlier. If you feel run down and stressed out during those 23 hours, then maybe these 30 Days should revolve around time management, cooking in bulk (so you don’t have to rush around every night), or re-prioritizing one part of your life.
Attainable: The flip side of choosing a habit that’s too easy to follow, or that’s not very far off from how you live right now, is choosing one that will never work in your life. Getting 8-9 straight hours of uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black room might not be a feasible goal for a shift worker, new parent, or police officer. There are certain things that we can’t change instantly (our boss, the amount of attention our kids need, the amount of hours in a day), and there are things that we can change (the amount of time spent on the internet, what we do while we watch TV, how we plan our meals) that can impact the success of our new habits. You have the knowledge to distinguish between the two.
You MUST commit to doing your Good Habit EVERY SINGLE DAY for an entire 30 Days.
If you miss a day, repeat it. You won’t end up finishing with the rest of us, but you won’t be far behind, and it’ll help teach you not to forget!
If it’s a gym-related habit, like foam rolling, practicing your pull up, taking a long walk every morning, make sure that you have the equipment, availability and space that will accommodate your habit.
If it’s a nutrition-related habit, make sure you have the proper info (pick up a copy of our Nutrition Guide), an arsenal of recipes, and go food shopping for real foods on Day 1.
If it’s a sleep or time management issue, make sure you have a clear cut plan, and not just a singular goal. You must know how you are going to squeeze that extra hour out of the day, how you will spend it, and how you will deal when stress or an emergency comes up.
Over the next week, you will be writing down your habit and keeping it in your Progress Folder.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD HABITS: These are created for people of various backgrounds and lifestyles. Choose one that makes the most sense for YOU, or come up with your own.
I will eat only meats, fish, eggs, vegetables at every meal, and limit my fruit and nut intake to 1 serving of each per day.
Water will be my only beverage. Period.
I will get 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black room. I will be in bed before 10pm to accomplish this. (This entails light-blocking curtains, and covering the LED light on my alarm clock)
I will spend my leisure hours working on a hobby, spending time with my family or reading a book. My TV will not be on at all during this challenge.
I will take a lacrosse ball or foam roller to the tightest spots on my body and spend at least 10 minutes per day working on increasing my mobility.
I will practice my handstand (or double under, or pull up, or knees to elbows) for 5 minutes every single day.
Do I have to do this? No. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Should you? Yes, we think so!
Why are we doing this? You pay us to get into better shape. Eating well, sleeping well and living well are all a part of that. And because things like this are always easier and more fun when you do it with a group!
Can I do a Paleo 30 Day Challenge? Yes, use this time to challenge yourself in a way that will most benefit you at this moment. Check the thirty posts in the “30 Day Nutrition Challenge” category of our blog for helpful articles, hints, tips and stories to help you along.
I’m a mess. Can I choose more than 1 good habit? Yes, you can choose multiple, but limit yourself to what you think is actually feasible. If you change everything at once, you have a better chance of getting stressed out or not following through with any of the habits.
Post additional questions to the COMMENTS below. Good luck!