As I was ticking off some of my habits earlier today, I noticed that we’re just over half way into February. It felt like a good idea to take stock of where I am so far in the month.
This isn’t a process that’s set in stone for me to do. It’s just a check in with myself, that I tend to naturally do as I get about half way, or at the latest – about two thirds of the way into a month.
It’s super quick to do – it usually only takes five minutes or so.
But, for something that’s so quick – it’s a very powerful thing to do. I wanted to explain why, and give you a bit of a peek as to how I am actually doing in February. This will help give some context for why the mid month check in is so useful.
So, let’s start with why I find it useful.
Firstly, it’s an opportunity for me to zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture.
It’s so easy to think about how you’re doing with a habit on any given day – that you can end up losing sight of what’s happening across all of the habits, and over a longer period. When you look at the bigger picture in that way, you get a different type of awareness. You then tend to notice things happening and see trends that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.
For example, if I’ve had a perfect run on a particular habit, that’s interesting to notice. I then ask myself, what’s been happening, or what have I been doing that’s caused that? I should do more of that.
Or, perhaps I’ve been struggling with a particular habit. I might have already lost the chance to reach 80% consistency for the month – or be very close to it. Then I ask myself, is there anything I can spot that’s causing me to struggle with that habit? And if so, how might I learn from that, so I can improve?
It’s this balance of being honed in on the day, but also taking a step back now and again, that helps to keep pushing me forward and improving myself.
The second thing is a bit more tactical. When I do this check in around the middle of the month, I get the chance to make adjustments in real time.
And it really does make a difference. I always get clearer on where I need to tighten up or focus on for the rest of the month. That always leads to a stronger final position for the month, than had I not have done it.
So, the mid month check in is really about being able to see the bigger picture, and to make improvements at a point in the month where it can actually make a difference.
With all that said, let’s jump into where I am in February so far, as it will help make all this a bit more tangible.
February Mid-Month Check-In
The first habit that I look at is no alcohol. I won’t spend any time on this habit, because as you would expect from someone who doesn’t drink – it’s a clean sweep of ticks.
The next habit is sleep. So far in February, I’ve missed my sleep goal of six and a half hours, three times. That’s about where I would expect to be for about two thirds of the way into the month – so it’s not that big of a deal. However, sleep is one of the habits I find the most difficult. I can only afford a couple of misses from here, if I’m to stay within 80% consistency for the month.
So, ideally I need to make an extra effort to push for another week without a miss. This will pretty much guarantee that I hit 80% consistency for the month. As I think about that, my mind starts to go to what’s happening for the next week or so. This helps me try and get ahead of where I might risk missing my target.
The next habit to look at is protein. Here, I’ve only missed twice so far, so I’m well on track to hit 80% consistency for the month. I find hitting my protein goal very easy, so this doesn’t need much more thinking about.
The same goes for the next couple of habits. I’ll skim over fasting and caffeine because I’ve only missed once on both of those, and each of those misses was an intentional choice. I’m in a great place with both fasting and caffeine at the moment.
Next up is water, and this is where there’s a bit of thinking to be done. I’ve missed my goal of drinking three liters of water, three times so far this month. I usually wouldn’t be too concerned about that, given we’re two thirds of the way into the month. However, water is a habit that I tend to leave until too late in the day, and one of my goals at the moment is to smooth that out a bit.
It’s a great reminder that I have to prioritise getting more of my water in, earlier in the day. I’ve talked about my 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 strategy before. That’s where I drink a litre in the first 30 mins of waking, a litre before midday and finish with my last litre around 6PM. When I stick to that way of doing things, it’s a much nicer and safer way to hit my target of 3 litres of water for the day. If I can stick to this, I’ll finish February in a strong place.
Then I go on to look at my habit of 10K steps. This one is in a dangerous place. I’ve missed four times so far this month, so I can only afford one more miss if I’m to hit my goal of 80% consistency for the month. I’ve identified steps as one of my health habits that is still a bit of work in progress – so given that, it’s probably about where I would expect it to be for the month. But, I would also really like to be in the green with this habit in February – so I need to push a little bit harder on this one.
I then spend a little bit of time looking at what’s happening for the rest of the month. Again, this means I can get ahead of where it might be more difficult to get my 10k steps in. I remind myself that I will have the best chance of being successful with this habit, if I can get as many steps in as I can, earlier in the day.
OK, last health habit – whole foods. Whole foods is a new habit for me, so it’s very early days. My daily target with this habit is to have whole foods be 80% of my calories.
However, because it’s the first month that I’m tracking it, I’m not holding myself accountable to a hard result with it yet (i.e 80% consistency for the month, like my other habits). What I’m interested in, is to see where my baseline is. And from there, I can start to set a first realistic goal with it, and a strategy that can help me get there.
To give you an idea of how that baseline is forming so far in February – I’ve missed whole foods being 80% of my calories for the day, eleven times. That’s under 50% consistency already for the month. Again, for now, this is just interesting to observe. But, it’s an early sign – as I already knew – that this habit is going to take quite a long time to master. For the time being, I’m just happy to see where I get to at the end of the month, and we’ll go from there.
And, that’s my mid month check in.
As you can see, plenty of habits are fine and they don’t need any attention at all. And it’s actually quite nice to observe that – it’s a good feeling.
But there are also a few habits that definitely need a bit of extra attention over the next week or so – especially if I’m going to stay on the right side of things for the month. I know what I have to do there.
I hope it was useful to give you a bit of a peek into my own mid monthly check in.
If you’re already tracking foundational health habits, why not give the mid month check in a try for yourself? It will help you keep a balance between the day to day, but also the big picture.
If you’re not already tracking foundational health habits – well, of course – I’d highly encourage you to start as soon as you can!
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