Tweaking the Zen Habits Approach

If you’ve read my previous post, you know I’m applying the Zen Habits approach to my morning routine. As a quick recap, my morning routine didn’t exist and I wanted to change that. The hardest part of my routine was starting it since I already knew what I needed to do during my routine. So, with my Zen Habits book by Leo Babauta in hand, I begun the very slow process of building up to the morning routine I wanted to implement. The baby step I was working on was to be on my feet by 5am.

Since my last post, I’ve only failed to be on my feet by 5am once, meaning I had to pay my friend $80 per our accountability terms. That sucked, and has so far been enough to keep me going strong. Though I noticed something that happened halfway through my first week of doing this teeny tiny first step – the follow-through on the rest of my routine wasn’t guaranteed. At all. In fact, it crumbled the more I kept at it.

Some days were great – I’d be on my feet downstairs by 5am and after sending the accountability selfie (totally a thing) to my friend, I’d immediately feed my cats and then myself since I was already downstairs. But a growing number of days lately has had me rushing back upstairs to hide in bed, sometimes not leaving myself enough time to eat or even shower before having to leave for work. Definitely not the point of starting my day at 5am with this small step.

Even though I’ve been doing good at this small step, it’s not bringing me much satisfaction if it’s harming other aspects of my life/routine. I’m trying to build a solid foundation but I feel like I’m cheating by doing it then forgetting why I’m doing it in the first place.

Right now I’ve worked up through chapter 23 in Zen Habits and I feel one of my issues is that I’m forgetting what I’ve already done in the previous day’s mission/exercise. I also read ahead at one point, which threw me off. So in lieu of a traditional Habit Sprint, I thought I’d take the time to do over the missions from the past 10 days (11 including today’s) that I haven’t been keeping in mind. Here they are: Continue reading

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Using the Zen Habits approach with my morning routine

A couple of years ago, there was a Kickstarter launched by the awesome Leo Babauta of the blog Zen Habits (which I HIGHLY recommend you start reading regularly if you don’t already) to fund a book entitled Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change. I funded it to receive a copy, along with 8,210 other backers. I received both a digital and hard copy of the book and it was great. I read through it the first time to get a feel for the book rather than working on the exercises, however, because I was going through a rough breakup and wasn’t ready to pump up my self-improvement just yet. I’ve read it a few times and have slapped on sticky flags (which I love) at the parts that spoke the most to me, some of which I quote to my sobriety clients to help them with their struggles (there are some wonderful analogies in this book).

Zen Habits book
My slightly beat-up copy of the book

This time, however, I’m ready to make a change (well, many changes, but I’ll just start with one for now). There aren’t many positive routines in my life right now and I’ve always had trouble establishing good habits (thankfully breaking a bad one, though difficult, was doable for me). What I’m hoping to accomplish through the Zen Habits method is to create a morning routine that gets me out of bed by 5am and out of the door by 7am so I can be on time for work, which starts at 8am. There are a lot of elements to my morning routine and I’ve written out the very bare minimum on an index card, laminated it, and used a dry erase marker to check things off as I do them, but it doesn’t matter if I do everything in my routine if I don’t start it on time.

Continue reading