An Extreme Method for Improving Your Habits

I suck at a lot of things: Trying to get too much done in a day. Working out regularly. Keeping my closet clean. I try to get better but change is hard no matter how much you want to. Especially for the things you suck at.

Source: An Extreme Method for Improving Your Habits

This line in the article stood out to me:

“I was feeling only slightly better than average most days. This is no way to live.”

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you should be feeling about average most days, that’s kind of what average means (assuming a whole bunch of pointless caveats, you know what I mean). If you are disappointed in only feeling “above average most days” then you seem to have two problems.

  1. What you think of as average is actually slightly below average, those “most days” that you are feeling “slightly better than average”, those are actually your average days.
  2. You think that feeling average is bad when it is really the default state.

How to Use Caffeine to Improve Your Athletic Performance

Caffeine is a performance-enhancing drug that’s legal, cheap, and easy to get: chances are you had some this morning. More importantly, it actually does make you better at sports, which is more than you can say for a lot of supplements marketed to athletes. You just have to know how to use it strategically.

Source: How to Use Caffeine to Improve Your Athletic Performance

To get the exercise benefits, you’ll want between 3 and 6 milligrams of caffeine for every kilogram you weigh.  So how do you make your dose?  See:

Handy Chart!

Crossing the Fitness Chasm: How to Move from Beginner to Intermediate

In fitness, just like with any skill, you won’t stay a beginner forever. I’ve seen many people graduate from beginner territory in fitness without knowing, and this leads to problems. Let’s look at how to recognize when you’re no longer a beginner and what to do next.

Source: Crossing the Fitness Chasm: How to Move from Beginner to Intermediate

There are lots, including myself, who focus on the minutiae of fitness (diet specifics, calorie counting, macros, etc.) when they should just be getting in there and doing the work. I think they get overwhelmed from making such drastic changes and lose their willpower instead of getting in a routine.

I wouldn’t categorize myself as “intermediate”, more like “beginner plus”.  I’m learning more about how and what to do, pacing.  There’s a base to work from – a foundation – but if that makes me “intermediate”, then there’s a lot more levels …or “intermediate” is wide and vast.

How to Break Through a Running Plateau

Performance plateaus in running are common – but thankfully, almost all runners can reach new levels of performance if they work hard and smart.

Before we get into the details of how to break through a running plateau, let’s first discuss the best way to continue improving: avoiding mistakes. 

Source: How to Break Through a Running Plateau

You have to manage expectations if you are running in a location where it is excessively hot.

Minimize Obstacles First, Make Improvements Later to Stick to Habits

…Instead of going for savings—something that’s also important to me—I chose minimal down time instead. I was optimizing for repetition.

If you’ve ever struggled making a new habit stick, this way of thinking could make a big difference in your success.

Source: To Cement A New Habit, Optimize For Repetition

It’s much easier to progress when you have a good base.

There’s nothing wrong with goals, dreams.  Part of achieving those is having attainable goals, and differentiating between goals and milestones.  It can take a lot of discipline – sometimes we have an aptitude, sometimes we don’t.

Reach Goals Faster by Reviewing and Reiterating Habits Every Three Days

There are two extremely common obstacles that get in the way of people succeeding at habit change:

  1. Messing up on the habit and then quitting.
  2. Not starting because the habit change seems to hard or daunting.

Have you faced these problems? The answer is almost certainly yes, because pretty much all of us have.

The answer to both of these problems is really the same: do the habit. Keep doing it. Keep trying until you figure it out.

The problem is that people feel discouraged by failure, or feel overwhelmed or intimidated.

The solution is to embrace the “Fail Faster” and iterate philosophy that’s all the rage in software.

Source: Fail Faster at Habits

It depends on what you’re doing – every three days can be overdoing it.  But it’s why I do a race report – to recall what happened, and ruminate on how to improve it.  I’m fairly happy and confident about how the overall process of a triathlon – my issues largely break down into what I can do in a specific event (IE running) to improve my time.

It’s not failure if you learn from it, or better yet – improve.  No one is perfect every time, all the time.

How to Improve Your Running After a Bad Marathon

The marathon is a fickle beast: at 26.2 miles, the potential for back luck is huge. After 20 miles you’re in the Wild West and anything can happen.  That uncharted territory can bring disastrous consequences, reducing your goal marathon pace to a shuffle or leading to a few too many bathroom stops.

Source: In Defense of Dirty, Rotten, No-Good Marathons (or, how to learn from bad marathons)

The stuff raised in the article can be applied to any competition.  While the experience may seem bad, it’s not a loss if you can learn and improve.