I had an idea for an app a few years ago when I read about Jerry Seinfeld using a calendar to mark off days as he wrote jokes for his standup. He was able to develop the habit of writing daily because he didn’t want to leave a day blank on his calendar. The physical act of crossing off each day continually motivated him to keep going, even when he was busy, uninspired, or tired. He called this productivity method, “Don’t Break The Chain.”
I thought a simple app to create a routine for almost anything and track your progress would be useful.
Fast forward to 2016, when I found an app called “Productive” in the app store. I did not make it. You can easily create new habits by using predefined options or by creating your own. It’s awesome.
I decided to start with 3 types of habits that I found to be interconnected, at least for me: exercise, diet, and sleep. Some people may not need this external motivation, but I have found it helps with consistency and longevity of goals, especially long-term ones. By creating habits, my overall goal is to improve my health and fitness.
I have been doing strength training Monday (chest and back), Wednesday (arms and shoulders), and Friday (legs) each week. On Tuesday and Thursday, I run 1-2 miles. Once it finally started getting warmer outside I started running with my kids, which has been awesome. On Saturday, I’m working up to do a slightly longer run (nothing more than a 5k eventually). Sunday is rest, relax, repair, and get ready for the next week.
Each morning, afternoon, and evening, I’m reminded to eat a healthy meal. It’s a simple mechanism not to break the chain and make good choices. I don’t snack much and try to drink a lot of water throughout the day.
I’m not very strict with this or I know it won’t stick. So as long as I eat something healthy as part of each meal, it counts. So I’ll have an egg for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and something healthy for dinner. If we’re having pizza, I’ll have a salad or something else with it.
I don’t drink alcohol.
All I have to do is be in bed by midnight. You can set the time for whatever you want. Just be consistent. I’m trying to go to bed earlier so I can be asleep by midnight if possible. During the week I get up at 7:45 AM, so that almost gives me a full eight hours.
This is my schedule for the summer. I will try to stick to it and check off my habits using the app. I do not have a specific weight goal in mind, but am tracking it daily to see how everything I’m doing affects it. I do have a goal for the end of the year, but don’t feel the need to share it.
How It’s Been Going
After the last two weeks of getting back into exercising, eating healthy and sleeping more consistently, I already feel much better. I have more energy throughout the day, even though I’m still sore the day after working out. I have been struggling to complete workouts towards the end of the week, so this week I started pulling back a little to balance out the week.