My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Week 2

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February 13, 2017
healthy habits

I’m on a road: a road to developing a set of healthy habits. And as you read in week 1, this is an uphill battle to which I commit myself. 

Routine behaviors – healthy habits – are a great way to establish a set of regular practices that carry benefits to your mental and physical health. The goal is to make these a natural part of your schedule – as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning. At that point, these natural activities – your healthy habits – can provide a regular stream of feel-good hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) that keep your mood up, and your mind engaged on positive emotions. Sounds pretty useful.

Weekly progress

Week 1 is under our belts. Time for week 2. Here we go!

Week 2 – February 6th to February 12th:

  1. Exercise: I did it! My focus area coming out of week 1 was exercise, and I did it. Got a little help from my wife (thank you) but was successful.
  2. Sleep: Another valiant effort, but again fell short. Same theme as last week: racing thoughts kept me up some nights; others resulting in sleeping for more hours than I was awake. Need to figure out how to settle the brain.
  3. Reading: Did it again, read 7 out of 7 days. Still reading Earnest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. About half way done, now. Yes, I am still a slow reader.
  4. Writing: Was able to make it 7 out of 7 days. I decided to share one of my completed pieces each week (below the table). Always open to feedback.
  5. “Quiet time”: 7 out of 7. I will admit that two of the days I struggled to find that “quiet”. However, I still classify the week as successful. I put in the effort to seek out the quiet peacefulness. Sometimes you just don’t get there. And that’s ok. I will keep working at it.

Overall: Trending upwards. The main goal for this past week was to continue the things which were going well, and to improve on exercise. Done and done! I am finding ways to shed excuses and to practice the activities that I intend to make habits. I am another few steps down the road, and I am still putting one foot in front of the other. 

Healthy HabitWeek 1Week 2
Exercisesad facehappy face
Sleepsad facesad face
Readinghappy facehappy face
Writingneutralfacehappy face
Quiet Timehappy facehappy face
OVERALLneutral faceneutral face

 

Face forward – turn around
Choose a direction – don’t make a sound
Don’t tell a soul – the choice is yours
No one needs know – the direction you chose.

~A. Hanna

This poem is one of independence. In a world where everyone is inclined to share everything, we lose a sense of independence in the decisions we make. We constantly seek external gratification and external approval, we forget to find peace within ourselves.

Next week’s plan-for-success

Week 2, my focus is the routine part of My Road to Routine. I have started doing the things I intend to do, but have not yet done them in a regimented way. I have incorporated reading at bedtime, but the other activities are still a bit ad-hoc. For week 3, my focus is on developing a routine to follow. While sleep is still an issue, steps are being taken to regulate that, and my hope is that by beginning to work through a routine, sleep becomes part of that routine innately. Let’s see what happens!

My five healthy habits: recap

Here is a recap of my five healthy habits: on my journey to destroy depression and anxiety, the five healthy habits I decided to focus on are exercise, sleep, reading, writing, and “quiet time”. Nothing novel here, but some things many find excuses not to do. Well, no more excuses. Time to make health a priority.

  1. Exercise: actively work out at least three (3) days a week in the gym. I signed up for a gym membership over the past weekend, and am determined to get my three days in every week.
  2. Sleep: go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. For me: 8 hours (11 pm to 7 am). I’ve not been on to get enough sleep. Time to change that.
  3. Reading: each day, read from a book with actual pages. Archaic. Doesn’t have to be a lot of reading. I’ve found the best time to read is right before bed. I’ll spend 20 minutes reading, then hit the lights. 
  4. Writing: this is something I do for me: with paper and pen. This may not be an activity you opt in to, but nonetheless, it is one the health habits I have chosen to add to my routine.
  5. “Quiet time”: simply being in the moment. Electronics off, books closed, distractions eliminated. I may light a candle, listen to the mini-waterfall we have in our “zen room”, or listen to soothing music. 15 minutes of quiet time to remind me to slow down, enjoy the now. 

I may not succeed in all five areas each week. What I will do, however, is determine how to continue progressing. If I didn’t meet my goal in one area, my plan will include ways to make sure I succeed the upcoming week. If I was successful in an area, my plan will be to maintain the practices which lead to that success. Each week I will put in my 100%. Even if I slip up one day, it does not mean my entire week is shot. Every tomorrow is a new day to succeed. Every moment is an opportunity to flip your perspective, reset, and recommit.

Join me

This journey on which I have embarked is not intended to be a mere diary of my own progress. I encourage you to take this opportunity to join me on this journey. If you are beginning your own routine to form healthy habits, write a comment below, or send me an email at alex@challengethestorm.org. Together, we’ll do this.

Alex Hanna

Alex Hanna

By day, Alex works as a technologist. By night, he runs Challenge the Storm. Suffering from depression and anxiety, himself, he dedicates every day to help one single person. Something as small as putting a smile on someone else's face may have a bigger impact than you think.

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  • So excited to be on this journey. Thanks to you all for your support.

  • patrice tamayo

    Congrats Alex, for getting closer to your goal. You are doing a great job. I think the hardest battle is to start. It was truly hard to join the challenge the storm community, but got sick of suffering solo. This website has not only helped me get more centered, but continually gives me the strength to stay sober. I feel a daily routine blog is a great idea and feel that maybe if I do this as well, it will motivate me to stay on track. Seeing results sometimes is all we need to keep motivated. Keep up the great work Alex and thanks for being such a great role model!

    • This brings so much warmth to my heart. If you believe starting a daily or weekly blog yourself will be helpful, I encourage it 100%. Heck, maybe it doesn’t even have to be a full post a day but a “blurb” each day that accumulates to a weekly post. I would be more than happy to help in any way I can. I truly mean that. The kind words mean more than you know. Keep doing a great job yourself. This note keeps me motivated to keep making progress, and I’m sure it does the same for countless others, as well. Keep being awesome!

    • This brings so much warmth to my heart. If you believe starting a daily or weekly blog yourself will be helpful, I encourage it 100%. Heck, maybe it doesn’t even have to be a full post a day but a “blurb” each day that accumulates to a weekly post. I would be more than happy to help in any way I can. I truly mean that. The kind words mean more than you know. Keep doing a great job yourself. This note keeps me motivated to keep making progress, and I’m sure it does the same for countless others, as well. Keep being awesome!

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