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Today’s Health Upgrade
Winning at friendship
Daniel here. We talk a lot about habits. I’ve mentioned how I’ve conquered many habits I wanted to build, but daily journaling has never stuck.
I hit 66 days in a row of daily journaling this Sunday, so I wanted to share some lessons about how I broke through. As much as I heard it takes 21 days or 30 days to build a habit, research suggests the average time to make a habit automatic is 66 days.
First, I made a commitment to an acquaintance to keep me accountable. Alex Lieberman (@businessbarista), the co-founder of Morning Brew, a newsletter that inspires us to keep growing and become the only daily newsletter that matters in health and fitness, posted in June about his own journaling habit. I sent him a message that I’d never found a way to make that habit stick.
I committed to do it for 30 days and that I would let him know when I hit it. This worked for me because it is someone I respect, but I can’t get off the hook like I could with a close friend who will be forgiving. Or at least that’s what my brain told me. Thanks, Alex.
Second, I put the journaling habit before the habits I accomplish every day. I start my days with three habits — cold plunge, breathing exercises, and training (I don’t believe in a lot of the voodoo around this, it just wakes me up). Since those are all automatic for me at this point, starting with the habit that isn’t automatic yet made it more likely I would get it done.
Finally, I stopped trying to use someone else’s journaling system (bullet journal, 5-minute journal, there are a million of these, and somewhere in my house, there is a graveyard of them) and found a way to make a system that feels organic to me. I actually used Arnold’s advice he gives to all of us. I picked three things that are part of my core vision — being a great dad, growing this community and our app (The Pump) into a force for good, and getting as strong as possible. I made my daily journal about those three things only. Dad, Pump, Strength. I write little memories or hopes in the dad section, like leaving my phone out of my daughter’s room. In the Pump section, I write about a task, a strategy, or an accomplishment. And in the strength section, I record my workouts or my recovery. Writing about what I care about instead of what somebody else told me to write worked for me. It is short and sweet, but I get it done because it matters to me.
Oh, there is one other thing. This village is the ultimate accountability tool. We hear from all of you in emails and posts on social media about how it helps you. I want you to know that it helps us, too. I really wanted to conquer this habit so I could share my lessons with all 550,000 of you, and I didn’t want to fake it. So thank you all. Never feel shy about sending us your commitments in email to make them more real. We read them all, even though we don’t have time to respond.
If you’ve been struggling with a habit, try making a commitment to a third party, putting it ahead of things you already do automatically (this might even mean before brushing your teeth), and making it organic to you. Let us know what’s worked for you as you try to build habits by replying to this email!
Winning At Friendship
Last week, we talked about the problems of isolation. Many people have shared the difficulties of making friends and connecting with people.
Because we’re about action, Arnold presented a simple but important challenge: send your ideas about how you’ve met new friends as an adult so that we can share them with the members of the village who need a little help.
We received hundreds of replies and were overwhelmed by all the stories you shared about the difficulties of making friends and the solutions that have worked for you. Arnold promised to share some of the responses, so here they are.
For me, the key to making friends as an adult is to do things that others are doing that encourage interaction. For example, if you go to the gym, including joining a basketball game don't just lift weights - you have to interact in b-ball. If you have other interests like art or theater, join a group through your local community center and GO to the events. I've recently moved to a new town and I started going to the local cigar lounge and these folks are great - the brothers & sisters of the leaf are always social! You can be any age to make new friends - my mom is 91 (!!) and she goes to book club and senior center events. -Jim
Be open! Whether to new experiences or people, you don't want to miss an opportunity just because it's unfamiliar to you. The next best thing someone can do is BE A GEEK. Do you like movies, board games, coffee, shipwrecks, etc.??? Talk to people about it; people respond to passion! Be careful not to bulldoze other people's passions or opinions. You don't want to invalidate them; you want to invite them to be a geek with you. One last thing to do is reach out! Chances are you already have a friend that's either just as lonely or as bored as you. -Chad
When I'm starting the day and feeling somewhat lonely, I write 'friends' down on a piece of paper and keep it with me. That tells me that one of my responsibilities to myself is to make some sort of contact with friends. Check in, share something fun, make travel plans for an upcoming holiday together. Something! The loneliness of having no close friends nearby (we recently moved) and no time/ability to make new friends (we have three young kids) can put me in a real bad mood. These short check-ins, and the confidence in myself that I can answer this loneliness with social contact, really help fight the helpless feeling of loneliness. -Alan
Thanks to everyone who wrote and shared their thoughts and ideas.
This week, I talked about making time. I told you to think about the 24 hours of your day and how you spend them, and you’d realize you have time to train.
For this weekend’s challenge, I want you to write down your schedule for a day. This isn’t a plan; it is a log of how you spend your time. Keep a notecard and a pen with you, and write down when you start something and when you finish. Ideally, you do this on one weekend day and one weekday. For example, you can do it on Saturday and Monday.
Be honest. Write down everything you do with a start time and an end time. If you wake up and spend 30 minutes in bed looking at social media, write “630-7: in bed looking at social media.”
If you’re working, you can write “work” — you don’t need to be specific about your tasks unless you want that level of detail. Make sure you don’t have gaps when you finish. If you do have gaps, fill them in.
I don’t want you to judge yourself or beat yourself up. Remember, our rule: we never beat ourselves up; we just get to work.
I hope you will realize that you have more time than you realize. I hope you will see windows that open for things you’ve been putting off, whether it is training, starting a new habit like Daniel talked about, or calling an old friend. I hope you’ll learn to use every minute of your 24 hours.
Get those cards ready. You can share this with me on social media or keep it private. I want you to do it so you can start making time for yourself.
Thanks again for joining us for another week. We love this village, and we’re honored you’re helping us build the positive corner of the internet. Here’s wishing you a fantastic weekend!
-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel
Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger