Tiny Habits

Print This Post Print This Post August 29, 2015 on 10:24 am | In Diet, Discipline, Exercise, Health, Nutrition | Comments Off on Tiny Habits

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In keeping with my intent to get back into blogging with briefer, more focused posts my upcoming efforts in fitness and health are going to leverage BJ Fogg’s insights into behavior modification via “Tiny Habits”.  If you haven’t seen his TED talk on this topic, I encourage you to check it out on YouTube.

The exciting aspect of his Tiny Habits approach is that it minimizes the need for motivation and commitment by focusing on new behaviors that are extremely easy to implement.  In some cases the new behavior is so easy that it seems trivial (for example, 2 pushups every morning when you wake up), but secret to its non-triviality is the impact making this new behavior a habit has over an extended period of time.

The focus of Tiny Habits is on habituation – making the new behavior automatic – rather than making the new behavior impactful or significant.  This is the exact opposite of the approach I have traditionally used, which was much more focused on installing highly impactful new behaviors by marshaling vast amounts of will power and discipline.  The problem with that type of approach is that it requires a lot of discipline and focus to maintain the behavior, especially once the initial enthusiasm wanes (for example, when one reaches a temporary plateau in performance or has a training setback, which almost invariably happens in the course of pursuing a worthwhile fitness or health goal).

The Tiny Habits approach should be much easier and much less stressful since it is not as dependent on discipline and commitment.  Since the necessary motivation to perform the new behavior is very modest it should be much easier to install the new behavior as a habit and perform it consistently.  I have never tried this approach before, so I’ll have to wait and see what the results are after I’ve had a few months to install some new behaviors.

Stay tuned!

Physical Integrity

Print This Post Print This Post January 29, 2012 on 12:58 pm | In Exercise, Fitness, Health, Integrity, Physical | Comments Off on Physical Integrity

Physical Integrity

Despite the fact that January is almost over (egads, nearly 1/12th of the year already in the bag!) I have not really started on my quarterly focus (Physical Integrity) in terms of concrete plans, commitments, and most importantly actions.   While there are all sorts of “reasons” (i.e., excuses) for my delay in beginning my plans for improving my health and physique, the bottom line is that time is marching on and I need to start moving in the direction I intend.  So today is the day!

The first step, of course, is to assess my current reality so that I have an accurate idea of my starting point.  I measured myself this morning, and while the results aren’t pretty at least I now have a solid understanding of where I am so that I can chart a course to where I want to be.  Here are my current measurements:

The two target numbers are based on my current weight and body fat percentage.  At my current weight my lean body mass is 135.5 pounds.  If I maintain that lean body mass and achieve my goal of 12% body fat, then my total weight will be 154 pounds.  In order to provide a range for my weight target I have added a target based on a lean body mass of 140 pounds, since hopefully my strength training will result in an increase in my lean muscle mass.  So my provisional target weight is somewhere between 154 and 159 pounds, although my real target in terms of my physique is achieving 12% body fat regardless of my total weight.

To put my body composition goal into a less abstract perspective, I had my wife take a “before” picture to capture my current physique:

"Before" - 29 Jan 2012

While I do have additional goals as components of my larger goal of physical integrity – including improving my flexibility, strength, and structural alignment – for the moment at least I will have my hands full just focusing on transforming my body composition.  Despite the fact that my current body composition is rather far from my target, I am encouraged by the fact that I have put on a lot of this excess weight over the past few months so it should come off fairly rapidly.  Indeed, the typical weight loss pattern for me is fairly rapid weight loss initially, followed by a series of plateaus and then less rapid decreases in weight in series of downwards steps.  Despite my body composition, I am in good cardiovascular shape (resting heart rate @ 50 bpm) and have been consistent in exercising for 30 to 50 minutes several times a week (primarily high intensity interval training).  As a result of these favorable factors, I am confident that I will be able to transform my physique over the next several months.

Let the FUN begin!

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