I’ve recently been looking into incremental training and micro routines as a way to generate big results; and I just wanted to share a few thought on it, and hopefully give you some ideas too for your own training, although it totally can apply to any aspect of life, from saving money, to reading more, to getting in shape, I think there’s a lot of merit in incremental training, or as I’ like to put it simply.
Getting one bit better, at one thing, everyday.
It really got me thinking about how just a few years ago, if you had said that I would be making the summit of Mt. Toubkal in 3 years time, I would have laughed! Especially because at that point I had just been up and down Snowdon and thought it was hard work! So how did I get there? Well, through just small improvements over a long period of time…
Oftentimes when we set a new training regime, we go all in and expect the world from ourselves; especially even with dieting; and obviously not everyone, but usually we might stick at it for what, a month, a week, a day even?
The idea behind this philosophy of training is you set yourself a routine, which is so simple, and so achievable you really cant say no to it. So here’s an example from Peter Schroeder:
“The first habit I started with was reading. I have never been a big reader but decided I wanted to start reading more to learn new things. Initially, I began reading one page a night before bed. Just one page, that’s it!
Anyone can read a single page of a book. No matter what, I would read before bed every single night. What I found was reading the page of the book wasn’t what was important, but rather forming the habit. It’s nearly impossible to make an excuse not to take a minute for reading a page of a book. Thus, the habit begins to form.
Photo Credit — https://unsplash.com/search/read?photo=OMXPrCAhxrE
Sometimes it was a struggle (especially after long days), but remember — it’s only one page. Eventually, I was slowly able to increase the volume in five-minute increments to get to forty-five minutes of reading a night.
Another micro-habit I was able to entrench in my life was meditation. I have always had a cluttered mind and wanted to start doing something to clear my thoughts. After some time, I landed on meditation and breathing exercises as my path to a clear mind.
I decided it would be helpful to do this every morning to clear my mind at the beginning of the day, as well as a perfect way to cap off the day when I’m winding down at night.
To kick off the meditation process, I started by meditating for a minute in the morning and at night. Establishing the process helped me to make meditation part of my routine. Now, I meditate for fifteen minutes in the morning and a half an hour at night.
The micro-habit process has also helped me esablish the routine of going to bed at 10 pm every night (with exceptions), wake up at 6 am every morning (no exceptions), not use any electronics after 8 pm, and begin to learn French.
All of these things have become baked into my daily routine through micro-habits.”
So when we’re looking at micro routines its not that we can’t do more, because we can, and probably do. But its that forming the routine in such a way that you can’t avoid it…well that’s a lifestyle change!
The point is, that its very easy to shy away from a commitment like exercise if it’s hugely time consuming; or if its ‘just one of those days’…even on those days as Peter said, even the 1 page of reading can be done!
But here’s some really cool things about this method:
1. You have no idea how efficient you can get! Over time you’re going to be getting so efficient at the task in hand that your results will be exponentially.
2. These micro routines will become daily habits that you soon won’t even think about.
3. You will literally be making a lifestyle change, that will last, and is actually pretty easy to fall into.
A good way to demonstrate how one small thing each day can have such a huge impact, is to look at the reverse of a positive health decision, like smoking for example:
So sure, smoke 5 cigarettes a day for a month, and you’ll probably be in okay shape.
15 a day for a year, you’re getting chesty and short of breath by now.
20 a day for 10 years, well you’re already short of breath, so chances are you’re not exercising, so also likely you’re out of shape. Also the accumulation of all those ‘one small things’ has filled your lungs with tar, chemicals, and countless cell mutations.
20 a day for 40 years? Well you know where we’re going by now, so one health condition predisposes you to the next; and this where we see the results growing exponentially.
So whether its a diet, a work-out, a new language, or to read, or to talk to old friends more, literally anything (even blogging!) it can be achieved with huge results, just taking one small incremental change each and every day.
From Snowdon, to now making plans for our first of the 7 Summits; just one small step at a time…where we will get to? Who know! We’ll let you know though for sure.
If you would like to check out Peter Schroeders full article, and for more on setting effective micro routines click here.