On December 11, 2022, I decided to travel backwards through time. In the six months until my 40th birthday, I want to reduce my biological age to that of a 20-year-old.
The first month is now over. How is my project going? What worked, what didn’t?
Everything I’ve written about habits over the past few weeks has worked for me: the S.M.A.R.T. Method to make habits specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, time-based; writing down the plan and documenting progress; optimizing with the four steps of a habit.
A very clear trend is visible: Everything that I observe and track in some way, I have done with much greater reliability than the things whose execution I do not monitor. And after just a single month, it is becoming clear that it is the monitored actions that are already becoming habit.
The clear winner is my plan to get more exercise. I never wanted to own one of these electronic ankle bracelets, but for this project I bought a fitness tracker. It combines an obvious reminder and tracking in one device. Its usefulness is so great that I recommend it to anyone who wants to optimize their exercise.
Without exception, I got at least 10,000 steps every day. The average is 12,500 and the record is over 19,000. I get most of the steps first thing in the morning thanks to my morning circadian reset walk, of which I didn’t miss a single day.
Weight training went just as well. I’m doing a 10-week program with a smartphone app. I don’t get any reminders, but I plan the workouts in my calendar, preferably in the mornings.
The app on my fitness tracker also lets me enter my water consumption. I am convinced that without the clear overview I would have drunk less than two liters on many days. With tracking, I drank significantly more!
I managed to eat a very balanced and healthy diet. My sugar consumption feels like 20% of the value before my conscious decision to reduce it. Although I had a pronounced sugar addiction, eating significantly less is surprisingly easy for me.
My secret: protein, two grams per day and kilogram of body weight. I can’t quite reach this high value yet, but it’s eye catching how much this reduces cravings.
I also only drank only a fraction of the usual amount of alcohol in December. Still, it was more than I wanted.
Sleep isn’t going so well either. From my daily morning walk, my body knows that 7:30 a.m. is the time to wake up. It doesn’t matter when I fall asleep. The biggest problem in getting enough sleep is my sleep hygiene in the evening. I still eat too late and don’t consistently avoid late-night screen time.
Mind & Soul
As good as my plan for my body is going, I have been neglectful with the things I set out to do for my mind and soul. I did learn a lot in preparation for vocational training, but only in a single, very limited direction.
Retraining, illness in my family and other things still cause me a lot of stress. And it is noticeable that anything not very specific and measurable is difficult to implement. What does it really mean to take time for myself? How can I spend more time with the people who give me energy?
To better reach my goals, I created a weekly tracker like I suggested in Freedom Letter #7. It contains things like meditation, a wide range of education, sleep hygiene in the evening and a gratitude journal.
But above all is the reminder: “Chill your soul.” With all the plans and tracking and optimization, I hear the admonishing words of my friend Lars: The most important thing is freedom!
Don’t forget that you do things to be free. If the bottom line is less freedom, what are you doing them for?
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