“If you want to change your life, the first thing is to change your habits”. This is one of the most famous self-help quotes. There are many tips, books, articles and videos on how habits are the key to living a successful life. It is very normal for all humans to have a fair range of good and bad habits. As you get older and more self-aware, there is an instinct to strive for the best versions of yourself by attempting to foster the good ones and dump the bad ones.
an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.
I say “attempt” because it is not difficult or complicated to choose to live a better life. The hard part is building your new routines into a habit that triggers permanent lifestyle change. The 21/90 rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. So, if you commit to your goal for 21 days, it will become a habit. But commit to your goal for 90 days and it will become a part of your lifestyle.
From the moment that I started to take my adult life a bit more serious, I started to pay more attention to my habits. The first thing I do in the morning, how I spend my free time, how much time I spend scrolling social media, what I eat, times I eat and even the times I go to bed.
I was visiting my cousins and decided to go through their bookshelf. After scanning for a bit, my eyes caught a yellow book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhhig and I was very intrigued considering that I had recently been thinking about my personal habits. It felt like a sign from God. I took his permission to borrow the book and while reading it, I came across the term “Keystone Habit”.
According to Duhigg: Keystone habits are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”
According to Duhigg: Keystone habits are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.” Meditation, Exercise, Sleep, a Morning routine and planning your day are some keystone habits that can trigger overall lifestyle change in other aspects of your life. The struggle is actually committing to this for 90days.
Personally, I don’t pay too much attention to my bad habits. I focus more on building and developing keystone habits and see the ways it can trigger a chain reaction of positive change. This is the major reason behind my new and exciting habit of outdoor runs. I initially started running 3 times a week and it became a habit. But I started struggling a bit to turn it into a lifestyle change and fell back to once or twice a week. Regardless of my struggle, I watched how it improved multiple aspects of my life.
For this year, I chose exercise and a morning routine as my keystone habit with the hope that it will trigger me to eat more healthy and fresh ingredients, be more patient, drink less alcohol (I love my wine) and become more productive. While I have definitely seen improvement in my productivity over the last three months, I would prefer a more stable growth and lifestyle change. This is why for the month of August, I will be doing a personal challenge called the “Gbera Challenge”. Gbera in Yoruba means to “get up or move”,
Gbera in Yoruba means to “get up or move”
I have had the urge to beat my monthly kilometres from 44km to 50km. For a bit more resistance, I’ll add 100 weekly sit-ups and squats to this. So, the goal of the challenge is 50km run, 400 situps and 400 squats in a month. I will spread this out into two weekly outdoor runs and one weekly indoor aerobic session and keep this up every week through this month. Hopefully, I will be successful at this so that I can push it to 90 days for a permanent lifestyle change.
So, the goal of the challenge is 50km run, 400 situps and 400 squats in a month.
The Gbera challenge is really just my attempt at building exercise as a keystone habit. I am eager to see how this turns out. If you are also intrigued by the concept of keystone habits and willing to explore exercise as your personal keystone habit, feel free to join the challenge. What is the worst that can happen right?
Follow me @milliedidun on twitter and Instagram where I will be sharing more details on my journey through the challenge.