This is the fifth post of the Author’s Case Study series. Click for the fourth, third, second and the first post.
In the previous posts, I described how I picked forming mourning exercise routine as my goal, and how I verified if that’s the correct choice. Today I will tell you about optimization of the habit formation process. This part of the Habit Launch formula is so vast that I cannot explain it all in this mere article; thus if you want the whole information, I afraid that you have to get the Habit Launch book. Here I will present just a few ideas to let your mind wandering about the possibilities.
First, optimization and analysis are the sides of the same coin; what’s not analyzed cannot be improved. Fortunately, I already analyzed my picked habit (see the previous posts for the report). What I didn’t mention is that analysis often unveil multiple opportunities to improve the habit formation process. My case was no exception.
What did I optimize?
I started from coping with negativity. Based on the previously completed negativity assessment, I spotted few obvious enhancements to incorporate into my habit formation plan. Those includes among others: going to bed earlier, doing less stupid activities in evenings, starting from simpler versions of exercises, and preparing one page cheat-sheet to free memory.
Next, I put the habit on the need/want matrix (you can learn more about that in the Habit Launch book). Then I should make some obvious optimizations based on the positivity assessment. However, I was able to create “only” the slightly more positive mindset by fully acknowledging the benefits, pleasure and fun, motivation and position on the need/want matrix.
After the initial round of optimization, it’s time for methodical work before and during formation of the picked habit. Notice that successful optimization touches not only the habit itself, but also improves the whole process including what you do before and after the habit, your thinking, the benefits to get and so on.
What you can optimize depends on your exact situation, so you cannot profit directly from the description of what I did. Instead, you should follow the process from Habit Launch book starting from asking questions regarding the common optimization possibilities. I did that with the picked habit and made the improvements listed below:
I introduced rewards after 5 and 30 successful routine repetitions answering the Positivity increase (motivation, benefits, fun) questions.
I added five minutes of deep relaxation just after wake up (before routine) answering the Making it easier (resources, mindset, preparation) questions.
I committed to do no idle internet browsing in the evening and to go to bed earlier answering the Negativity limitation/inhibition (negative emotions, negative habits) questions.
For sure I could do more, but I was happy with the enough effort to create the 0.7 version of my habit forming plan. To maintain the momentum you have to start fast, so I advise to begin when you are almost ready, exactly as I did. Just remember to optimize the habit of choice on the go if needed, especially heavily during first week of formation. In my case, I changed the routine substantially and finished with what you see below.
Final 1.0 version of my routine
- Phase I (Warming up)
10 times mountain pose to hands on the heart pose
10 times as above to forward fold
20 times of head bending (up and down), head bending (left and right), head turning (left and right), hip circles (10 each direction), arm circles (10 each direction)
- Phase II (Exercising)
10 jumping jacks
10 push ups
20s plank front, plank side left, plank side right
- Phase III (Cooling down)
20 times wide-legged forward fold with a twist (fast, only about a second for each hand in final position)
60s Z stretch by Mark Lauren (15s in each position)
60s Scorpion stretch by Mark Lauren (15s in each position)
5 times mountain pose to hands on the heart pose to forward fold
5 times mountain pose to standing on toes, last repetition hold for 10-15 seconds in the highest position
Here is how it looks on my one page cheat-sheet created with PowerPoint. Notice that I added the calendar for very easy tracking of my new habit.
This article supplements my book: “Habit Launch: 10-Step Formula to Tailor Routines You Love to Perform and Skyrocket Your Well-being”. For checking it out, click here.
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