Habit XVII

by zenquaker

One of the parts of the Simple Method that I am using for habit formation is doing one habit at a time. It was one of things that attracted me to the system. I know from previous experience with trying to change my life that if I try to change everything at once, that I get so stressed out trying to maintain all the change that I fail to maintain the change. And that means I fail to maintain any of the changes.

I had already used this part of the Simple Method successfully before I ever heard of the Simple Method. I used to eat a lot of red meat. As in, almost every single meal I ate was primarily red meat. Lots of beef and pork (pork is considered red meat nutritionally, as is all mammal meat). Hot dogs, spaghetti with meat sauce, hamburgers, pepperoni and sausage pizzas. Once a week I’d take a break and have fried chicken.

I haven’t eaten red meat in over a month.  I’ve had it maybe three times since October. I’d have no problem never eating it again. But it took a long time. First I cut it out of my lunches. Then I cut it out of every other dinner. Then I cut it down to once or twice a week. Now it’s just gone. But the key was doing it slowly. Especially since food has always been an emotional heat sink for me, changing my diet is difficult. I’m even starting to try out different vegetarian meals at this point (I switched the red meat out with chicken and turkey). Tonight I’m going to try a vegetarian pizza and see how that goes (it went eh).

But now I’ve run into another problem with the Simple Method. It’s not really a problem with the method itself, it’s more with the habits I’ve created with it. I’m now spending an hour and a half every day working on my Chess game and a half hour a day working on this blog, in addition to my half hour of meditation every day and working on other projects sporadically. I’m tired. That’s why I didn’t post anything last night. After reading through another game in Logical Chess, I was too tired to do anything except zone out with a movie.

I’m worried about this because the plan calls for adding a half hour of exercise and a half hour of consistent project work to my daily schedule. Maybe that’s too much, and I need to rethink the plan. Maybe I need to adjust to getting less sleep. But I’ve got some time to see. The next part of the plan is to spend more time with my cat, which I don’t think will take much effort, so I can maintain the current level of effort and try and get a better idea of what the root problem is. On the other hand, two and a half hours a day plus work and eating is about 12 hours a day. Do I really need four hours of R&R every day?