I was off to an absolutely cracking start for my habits in May. You could say, a perfect start.
My goal was to maintain the habits that I’ve recently got to 80% consistency:
- sleep 6.5 hours
- drink two litres of water
- drink a maximum of three cups of caffeine (before midday)
- take my supplements
I also wanted to eat paleo and intermittently fast (as per my new stricter rules) at 50% consistency.
I was particularly impressed with my first six days of sleep. A perfect record and an average of 7:35 hours a night. But then days 7, 8, & 9 happened. They were still above 6.5 hours, but getting a bit close to the wire. I started to feel disappointed that I wasn’t able to keep up with the 7 and 8 hours numbers from the first six days.
And then, I came in with a 3:52 for day 10.
I was disappointed with myself. I could have easily avoided the 3:52. Instead, I went to bed late when I knew I would be getting up at 04.30 the next morning – and I ruined my perfect record.
But, wait. Let’s back up a minute.
I KNEW I would come in shockingly low on day 10. I even made the decision to stay up late consciously. I did it with knowledge I was easily on track enough to still achieve my sleep goal for the month (80%).
Let’s back up even further. Why on earth was I disappointed on days 7, 8 and 9? They were ABOVE the goal of 6.5 hours. I was literally disappointed with achieving my goal!
If I take an even more macro view of things – even with day 10 – I am at 90% consistency with sleep for the month. That’s nicely ABOVE my 80% goal. It’s a great month so far. Everything is well above my goal, with only paleo lagging a bit – and I have plenty of time to course correct on that.
So, why do I find myself disappointed and giving myself a hard time? Why do I find myself slipping into perfection being the goal?
One word. Expectations.
I’ve gone most of my adult life holding myself to high and unrealistic standards. I’ve managed to change my mentality around this in the last few years. But, it’s so incredibly easy to fall back into the trap of letting my expectations run out of control. Before you know it, I’m changing the goal posts and having a crappy internal dialogue with myself.
The silver lining is that nowadays I‘m able to catch this happening early. I can then pause and zoom out – see things for what they really are.
And this is what I see. I’ve made a breakthrough with my habits in the last few months and have found a system that works. I’m smashing May. I’m on an upward trend with momentum. I can be happy and proud of where I am in general. I literally find myself looking at my habit sheets and day, hardly believing it’s me doing it.
Perfection is not the goal. Nearly all of the benefits happen in the 80 – 90% consistency range. That’s where you can live a successful, healthy and balanced life.