When my iPhone hit the tile floor it did not feel like a blessing. And, it really didn’t feel that way when I saw the large crack across my screen.
Steve Jobs obsessed over the design of his products. He cared deeply about the way they looked, the way they worked, even the way they felt. I really appreciate that last thing…the way Apple devices feel when you hold them. There’s an elegance to my iPhone that I love when I am holding it. And, because of that I don’t use a case.
That means I’m more careful with how I handle my phone.
At least that’s what I told myself before I dropped my new iPhone on the sidewalk next to the Tiber River in Rome. The screen was fine, but the edge of the phone sustained a noticeable gouge.
At least that’s what I told myself right before I dropped my phone on the parking lot at work. The screen didn’t survive so I had it replaced.
At least that’s what I told myself before I dropped my phone with its new screen on the tile floor in our bathroom. This time I replaced the entire phone and…
…bought a case.
I chose a brown leather portfolio that has several slots for my license, credit cards, and health insurance card. And, this is the blessing part.
Before I kept dropping my phone, I stopped carrying a wallet. Whoever thought it was a good idea for men to sit with a brick on one side of their butt was misguided. It is NOT sciatic friendly. To save me from long-term pain I decided, instead of using a wallet, to carry four essential cards in my front pocket.
This was a perfect solution to taking pressure off my aching back, but an imperfect solution to having these essential cards with me when I needed them. More than a few times I was on my way to work when I realized I didn’t have my license or credit cards. I quickly slowed the car down and checked my gas gauge hoping I had enough to get home.
Forming a new habit is hard. Conventional wisdom tells us it takes 30 days. For a few people that is indeed accurate, but the average is actually more than twice that amount….66 days. And, some of us need more than 250 days. I’m convinced I’m on the higher end of that spectrum. I don’t make new habits easily…like remembering to grab my license and credit cards each morning before I left the house.
Research has discovered that one of the best ways to form a new habit is by connecting it to an already established habit. They call it habit stacking.
When I got my new iPhone case I used the slots for the credit and health insurance cards and my license. Since I’m already in the habit of taking my phone everywhere it was easy to form the new habit of taking those essential cards too.
I did the same thing when I made flossing a regular part of my morning routine. I kept forgetting until I placed the floss right next to my toothbrush.
I’m going to make an assumption about you. You enjoy walking. I can’t imagine why you would be reading this blog if you didn’t. How about we use a habit you enjoy, like walking, to create a new habit that could make your life even better?
CREATE A NEW HABIT OF READING
My wife, Ava is one of the biggest readers I know, yet I almost never see her with a book. All her reading is done through Audible. Candidly, I struggled for years with embracing audio books as real reading. It feels silly now.
I don’t even know how many books Ava reads a year, but it’s a lot. Audible gives her a wide selection to choose from, and it’s also become a popular gift option for those who know my wife.
If you have always wanted to read more, but the idea of sitting with a book is not your idea of fun, putting Audible on your phone is a great way to create a new habit of reading! You can read books while you’re walking.
You can check out a free trial to Audible Membership and start reading today! By the way, if you use this link and eventually sign up for a regular Audible account this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t increase your cost at all.
Imagine, how many books you can read every year by stacking this new habit of reading onto your current habit of walking?
CREATE A NEW HABIT OF GRATITUDE
One of the most transforming things you can do for yourself and the people you love is to develop a robust attitude of gratitude. But, it doesn’t just happen.
Years ago, I was in a dark place in life. I was allowing resentment and bitterness to take root in my soul and it was affecting everything I did.
One morning on the way to work I started praying. But, it was a different kind of prayer. Instead of asking I was thanking. I simply thanked God for everything I saw. I think I started with the double yellow lines on the road. I thanked Him for the protection they provide. Then I thanked Him for a tree I saw and it’s beauty. I thanked him for the steering wheel I held that allowed me to navigate from my house to work. And, on it went for the entire drive.
I did this every morning for months. It changed my attitude and my life. It was also my first experience with stacking habits. I used my daily commute habit to learn a new habit of gratitude.
You can do the same thing while walking. Be grateful for what you see. It’s pretty incredible how that can open your eyes to other blessings you may not have ever considered.
CREATE A NEW HABIT OF LEARNING
I learned how to blog while I was walking. I also learned how to create the free PDF downloads I offer with each blog while walking. I learned about the hidden costs of retirement while I walked.
I love to learn while I walk. For me, this learning comes through podcasts. I’ve written about this before. There are thousands of podcast topics. Whatever you’re interested in learning is likely covered by more than a few podcasts. All it takes is finding some that interest you and then listen while you walk.
It’s a great opportunity to build of habit of on-going learning while you enjoy your current habit of walking. You can learn more deeply about an area you’re already interested in or discover new interests and dive deep with those.
CREATE A NEW HABIT OF INTENTIONALITY
I’m in a season of life where I have several large projects happening at the same time. These projects involve both my work and personal life. They all have a lot of details with moving parts that change every day. One of the things that helps me continue to move forward is what I call dynamic intentionality.
Every day I need to be intentional about which project needs my attention and what that involves. I’m forming this new habit of dynamic intentionality as I walk. Research indicates we think better and are more creative while walking instead of sitting. This certainly feels true to me.
Every morning I take a 20-minute walk as I think through what needs to happen that day. These walks help me think through and prioritize what I need to do with each project that day. The result is steady progress.
How much would the habit of intentionality help you each day? If it would, you can begin to create this new habit by stacking it on your current habit of walking.
CREATE A NEW HABIT OF EXERCISE
If you have struggled with establishing a habit of exercise, walking is a great opportunity to change that. Casual walking is good for you, but has limited exercise value. For walking to reach the level of exercise you need to increase the intensity and your heart rate and do it consistently.
If your walking is typically a casual stroll when the weather is nice and it’s convenient, that’s a great start to establishing the habit of exercise. Instead of trying to convince yourself several times a week to get to the gym, why not turn what you are already doing and enjoying into something a little bit more.
I recommend starting with this free guide to The 30 Day Fitness Challenge.
Unless you are one of the few who can establish habits quickly, you might consider doing the Challenge two or three times until it becomes a habit for you.
If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. While it’s not cheap, it’s less than a few months at the gym. The Inspire HR also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.
Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking for exercise. As a fitness activity, walking is sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions.
If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll receive an email with a link to each new blog post.