Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Here is a look at how you can use GTD to build good health habits.
Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology by David Allen has been critical to how I manage my work and home life responsibilities. After a number of years practicing, I became aware that I wasn't really using GTD for my health and wellness goals. I realized that many of my goals to build good habits never had a real end date. I would just say I was going to do something and then tried to remember to do it.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  So after some thinking I came up with a good process and tried it out.  I have seen some really good results.  Here is an overview of my GTD process for health and wellness.

Awareness

Awareness is the most critical step in changing anything about ourselves. Before we do anything, we have to scan ourselves, both mentally and physically, to find what we would like to change and write them down. This is an exercise I do weekly. Once we understand at a high level what we aren’t happy with, we can come up with ideas on how to change things and prioritize. I am a firm believer in a crawl-walk-run approach to anything in life, so I would pick maybe one thing for mental health and maybe two things for physical health (one for nutrition and one for exercise). Pick ones that just feel right and go. By starting with small changes, we can convince our egos it's not a big deal, and we will be more willing to commit.

Belief and Commitment

What is the point of doing something, if you don't have a reason?  Are we really willing to commit to doing something if we don't have a compelling one? More often than not, we are not. Once we identify what we want to change, we need to evaluate the WHY.  This deeper awareness will help us build a compelling argument to change our behavior.  Many times with our health it takes bad news from a doctor to get us to commit, but if you take the time to be aware of yourself and relate it to why you aren’t as healthy as you want, it will give you a boost of motivation to make a change. Trust me; it works! This exercise got me off anxiety medicine. I did the awareness exercise as described above and realized that I didn't believe the side effects and potential long term risks were worth it anymore. At one point they were but that changed. Once I realized that, I got motivated to change. That boost of motivation made me commit and take action. So if you are ready to go join that gym, stop reading this and join one right now.  Even though this may take more than two minutes do not create a GTD project and set next action to tomorrow. Once we take the first action, now we can use our tools to set next actions and a way to measure our progress.

OmniFocus to Achieve Accountability

Now that we joined the gym, how are we holding ourselves accountable to actually going?  This is where OmniFocus (my GTD tool of choice) comes in. It is the perfect tool to help hold yourself accountable for the habits you want to create. One of my habit goals was to meditate every day for 5 minutes.  I have a daily project that has a list of a few things I do on a daily basis.  I added meditation, and because I will not cross off the action as completed unless I actually did it, I found that extra 5 minutes to get a meditation session in.  After 6 months or so of doing it, meditation is now an unconscious habit in my daily routine and no longer needed in my daily project. The tool brings awareness to what I need to do and can hold you accountable for doing it if you let it.  

Conclusion

So there is a quick look into how to use GTD to build good health habits.  This can be applied to any good habit you want to create.  Try it out and see for yourself.  How you set it up in your tools is up to you, but the key is to maintain the awareness and hold yourself accountable.  If you find yourself deferring a bunch, it might be an indicator you need to evaluate your WHY.  Then you can make educated decisions and achieve the goals you want to achieve.  

Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @Salvatoriello

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