How to Use
Focus on one pillar at a time. Consider your implementation schedule. You don’t need to set a static schedule. If you’re uber motivated, consider implementing one of the five tips in each area each week and one pillar per month. In six months you’re a new person – leaner, meaner, stronger, smarter. Implementing one habit per week is a fast pace. Four in one month means you can skip one habit in each focus area. Skip more if you don’t like them. We’ll have six new habits if we implement just one in each area. We’ll be sharper.
A more reasonable pace is one new habit every two to four weeks. Pick your schedule. Right now. Write your reminder to select your next habit. Right now. Put it in your calendar or to-do system. “Implement my next habit repeated every [1, 2, 4] week(s).”
I ordered the pillars based on where I’d start. Sleeping well helps us eat better. Eating better helps us move more. And so on. Pick them off out of order if you’re more interested in a particular area.
Most habits take a few minutes to twenty minutes. Remember, we need extra time upfront. We need time for planning (what we’ll eat, food shopping lists, who to connect with when and where). We need time for learning. The article on making time will help. Habits take minutes. Learning skills takes hours over weeks. Strength training is a classic example. We can hire someone to help us learn how to lift weights. We can pay to speed up learning in many areas. Go to a gym. Ask a friend. Sign up for a class. Pay a professional. A hundred dollars might sound insurmountable to pay. Investing that money in learning might save years of wasted effort or a lifetime of injuries.
You may fear the time required to learn, implement, and execute these habits. I fear the inefficiency and waste from poor habits. We reap what we sow. We sow dry, dead, razed soil. Plant a little nitrogen and uranium. If prioritizing time for these changes is hard, start slower. Allocate a half-hour up front to read the habit, write down your system, and practice the habit as soon as possible. Get everything ready, so when the day comes you just EXECUTE.
A few habits take more time (ex. having dinner with someone, getting coffee, sleeping more). Some you have to do anyway. You have to eat. Why not eat with a friend? Some require broader life change. That’s not required. Make a dent with the shorter habits. Make many dents.
After the pillars are sections on ways to spend a free hour, options to make time for these activities, additional resources, and ideas on how to measure progress. Finding chunks of time for these habits is most important. Maybe print that out and hang it by your desk. Revisit the section on ways to spend an hour when you can spare the time. Use the resources if you want to dig deeper into sources that influenced my thinking over the last twenty years. Explore the measurements to track your progress. Measurements are not required, but they increase your odds for success.
Take a break when needed. Any time you need to pause, pause. Any time you need to rest, rest. Set a reminder on your calendar or to-do list for one [week, month, quarter] from now to restart. Taking a deep breath is good. It makes the next step easier. Watch sliding into decomposition. There’s time to mingle with dirt when we’re dead. Until then, never stop growing. Cheers.
Download the complete Pillars of Health book now, preview the book chapters, or watch a short keynote on all the pillars.