The other day I wrote about how I’m re-establishing my juicing habit, sort of. In the meantime I have started reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits in order to solidify my approach. Turns out I already did quite a few things right. Others, I found out today, can be improved upon. Standardization followed by optimization.
Today I logged “juice” thirteen and day thirteen of my habit re-establishment in progress. One of the reasons I got there was that I decided to simply get started in the first place, no matter how. It’s what James Clear calls the “standardization of the showing-up part” of the habit. Because you can’t optimize what’s not there yet.
Basically, no matter if I actually do juice properly, or just throw frozen fruit in the smoothie maker, or just prepare myself a ginger tea, I’m committed to doing one of these three options every single day for 30 days in a row. Without fail.
I was however a bit sloppy about identifying my “cue”. The cue, I have learnt from Atomic Habits, is the place and time that’s meant to trigger my getting into the habit, ideally a pre-existing habit. One you already do every day without thinking about it (like, say, going into the kitchen to prepare breakfast each morning). This way, you can just stack it on top.
So, when I said in my last post that I will juice every morning what I really meant was that I will prepare a fresh juice every morning so that I can have one, right after entering my kitchen for the very first time. I won’t do anything else, no coffee, no breakfast, no nothing, before having had a juice. So this is now my cue.
I’ve also come to learn about what is called the “making it obvious” or the “making it invisible” part. Basically, it’s a more refined way of what I have done. I put a note to myself on the coffee maker to remind me of my juicing habit and to encourage me to follow through with it even though the coffee maker might tempt me to fall off the wagon. I’ve basically made my intention more obvious while at the same time making the coffee maker less visible. Literally, it’s a very BIG note.
I do, however, realize now that I have made the coffee habit a bit harder but I have not made the juicing habit as easy yet as it could be. It’s certainly smart to give myself a choice to perform one of three options, from ginger tea over smoothies to actual juicing. But I’ve only really created what James Clear calls the “gateway habit”. The one that gets you started.
What I really want is to establish is a juicing habit proper. Fresh juice as often as possible, ideally daily, smoothies occasionally, but no ginger tea as substitute crutch. So I’ve started making life easier for myself by making two juices when I actually turn up to make one.
I do prefer them fresh but one that is a day old will taste just as good and be just as healthy as a freshly made one, as long as I keep it safely stored in the fridge. The added benefit is huge. I now only need to juice once to tick off my check box twice in a row. How cool is that? So today I juiced, and I’m already all set for tomorrow. Day fourteen, check.
Since I now only have to juice every other day to actually have a juice every day, I’m now thinking I might want to make it even easier for myself. I could use the juicing-free days by washing and cutting up my fruit and veggies the evening before and put them in the fridge. I’ll see how the apples do, I don’t like them brown, but the cucumbers, my favorite ingredient, will certainly be fine. As will the lemon and the ginger (for the actual juice).
And while I’m at it I might also assemble the juicer the night before. I tend to leave the parts of the juicer out on the drying rack after cleaning them. Which adds to the pain of juicing in the morning because I usually have to assemble the bugger first.
If I manage to cut this stumbling block out of my morning routine by incorporating it into my evening routine (cue: right before going to the bathroom to brush my teeth) juicing might just get another tad easier, so that at some point in time I hopefully won’t even think about doing it anymore. But just do it. On total autopilot.
But you know what the most important realization is that I’ve had over the recent days? When I first set out I kind of told myself this was just another self-improvement project of mine. And I’m certainly right in the middle of another improvement project.
Only, what needs improving, I realize now, is not myself.
But really just my method of self-care.
That’s a whole different thing. And one totally worth improving.