Levelling up your performance—whether in sport, work, or life—requires a commitment to consistent practices yielding gradual progress. That said, sticking to routines can sometimes feel draining.
I’ve been practicing some micro-habits that require very little self-control to form while becoming real performance gains. These habits are examples of practicing what I call empathy for your future self, which is a more appealing way to speak to the concept of self-control.
Set a bedtime alarm
I’ve often fallen into the trap of staying up too late as a reward after a challenging day. To avoid this, I set an alarm every evening to signal the end of my day (and screen time) and the start of winding down for the night. This sets me up for a more restful sleep and a better day to follow.
Stash healthy snacks
I used to set myself up for hunger attacks resulting in me sabotaging my post-workout recovery by failing to plan my nutrition ahead of time. Now, I stock a bunch of tasty snacks like Vega Sport® Protein Bar or Vega® Protein Snack Bar anywhere I might need them—in my car, next to my bike, in my gym bag, in my jacket pockets. It’s easier to restock everything periodically than try to remember to plan ahead every day.
Carve out a home exercise space
Not everyone has room for a home gym, but creating even a small space at home dedicated to exercise makes it simpler to stick to a routine. I’ve found that even small tasks like unrolling my yoga mat or digging out my headphones act as a barrier to starting my workout. By leaving some training gear in place, it’s that much easier to get moving. Roll out your mat the night before, and have your headphones at the ready.
Get a dose of sunlight every day
I’ve been guilty of spending days inside at times, especially amid the pandemic. Getting outside in the morning or midday—even for as little as 15 minutes—has a remarkable way of lifting my mood, my energy levels, and my productivity. Natural daylight also helps keep circadian rhythms on track and promotes longer, higher quality sleep1.
1Blume, C., Garbazza, C., & Spitschan, M. (2019, May 1). Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x
Turn off notifications
I do my best work when I’m free of distractions and interruptions. My phone is the worst offender. I’ve disabled notifications on virtually every app and I keep my phone on silent unless I’m expecting a call. At the end of the day I turn my phone off and leave it outside my bedroom to prioritize sleep.
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