May came and went without any major habit-building actions on my part, largely because the early parts of the month were spent camping in Zion National Park and exploring Key West for my bachelor party making it difficult to practice my planned habit of taking a cold shower every day. I also completely dropped off the map with my meditation habit and failed to foam roll and stretch most evenings before bed. All-in-all, this month could be considered a failure. I did however finish quite a few books:
- Creativity Inc.
- Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing (Which was terrific)
- The Obstacle is the Way
- Super Freakonomics (A book I had started to read previously, but never finished.)
So, a down month in the habit-building department ended up being a stellar month in the book-reading arena. I’m hoping to repeat the literary feat this month. I have the following books lined up:
- The Year of Living Biblically
- Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
- The Fish That Ate The Whale
- The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
Just a note, those aren’t affiliate links at all so don’t worry about buying after clicking them. I just leave them there in case you want to find out more about the book.
I’m also slowly making my way through Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. The language of the book and the amount of highlighting and note-taking I’m doing makes this a slow read. I’m reading a little bit each day with no real goal of finishing quickly. I ended up buying the book and doing a bit of a deeper dive into Stoicism following The Obstacle is the Way and listening to this episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast with Ryan Holiday.
As far as writing goes, I had two pieces published this month:
- This is Your Brain on Exercise – a piece about the beneficial effects of exercise on brain function on the Crew blog
- 5 Hormones That Have a Big Effect on Your Health – a mid-level dive into five hormones you need to be aware of and how they affect your daily life on DailyBurn
I’m eager to jump back on the self-improvement train over the next month. I don’t have one specific habit that I’m going to work on, but I do have a general idea of an area of my life/personality I want to improve.
I’m a compulsive email-checker. I normally check email first thing in the morning and have it constantly going on my phone for fear of missing something skipping through my inbox. As a result, I’m constantly refreshing my inbox every five minutes only to be “disappointed” when nothing new pops up. All of that email checking is likely a waste of time. I wish there was an app that wouldn’t refresh your email more than three times a day or at specific intervals you choose. That would be wonderful.
Instead, I’m going to rely on willpower to help tame this obsessive habit that likely steals hours or more from my week. It’s not necessarily new. FastComany recently published a piece on the same topic. I don’t have a set number of times I’m going to check my email during the day, but I do have a few rules in place:
- I’m going to turn off email on my phone so I have to be by a computer when I want to check it.
- I’m not going to check email within an hour of waking up or within one to two hours of going to sleep.
- My email checking will be appropriated to specific intervals (mainly morning-ish, lunch, and as an end to the work day)
Rather than checking email in the morning and hoping straight onto my computer, I’m going to spend at least 30 minutes reading, which will help me get through my never-ending Amazon wish list of books. I’ve also switched over to paperback books for this month so I don’t have a digital device staring me in the face first thing in the morning. Plus, reading on my iPad presents the temptation to scan Twitter or check my email instead of actually reading. The only downside to paperback books so far is the inability to read in bed after the lights have gone off. I’m currently battling that issue with an awkward camping headlight situation. If I keep this physical book fetish up any longer, I’ll have to invest in a reading light of some sort.
If you have any habits that you practiced this month or books you particularly enjoyed, I’d love to hear them in the comments!