The 365 Commitment

The power of 3s

I am in the process today of redefining my commitments on a few areas. Physical fitness is definitely one of them, among others. Over the course of the last few years, I have discovered the power of 3s when creating new habits. When I first started my initial commitment I unknowingly came across this motif. I set out to do do a pushup, situp and squat + 1 every day until I could do 365 of them in a row. I accomplished this and it was a great accomplishment for me indeed. There were some problems with this of course. I was not hitting every muscle group and toward the end it was taking quite a bit of time to get through them. However I did it.

However the point is that I created a habit in a grouping of 3. I have often wondered what was too many or too few to start out with when creating a new habit. I believe the answer is three. If you can create a grouping of 3 things, that will be an adequate number of things to start with and not so much that it is overwhelming. Sure enough, you will find lot of resources out there that talk about the top 3 things that you can do to improve something. 3 does appear to be the magic number.

Along with that, I am starting to realize the power of compounding three things together. If you can create a habit that accomplishes three things at once, then you have created a habit that will be invaluable over time. I have had a few habits that after keeping them for a year, I realized they had kind of lost their benefit. However, the activities that compound many things together seem to be the most valuable. For example, I want to have a habit that keeps my mind sharp. So I focused on a habit of memorizing strings of numbers everyday. That was interesting, however, after awhile the habit seemed to lose benefit. However, if I were to combine that activity into a compound thing that I do two or three things at once then it would have far reaching benefits. For example, I want to play better chess. Perhaps I combine my fascination with memorization with opening chess sequences, then I would have a habit that compounded two things together.

Writing a blog achieves this. I want to write better, I want to find something inspiring to read once a day, and I want to motivate myself to keep my habits. Writing the blog is the perfect trifecta habit that compounds three achievements in to one activity. I think this is the perfect habit, a habit that helps you accomplish three things in one motion. I think it takes time to build that up and figure just exactly what that combination is.

With that in mind, I started researching compounding muscle movements in an effort to find something more beneficial then the rather isolated move of a pushup, squat or situp. Each of these work out multiple groups, but could I find better? I think I have concluded the dreaded burpee does just that. It works out multiple muscle groups, creates explosiveness, and gets you warmed up for other activities. Ugh, I cannot believe I am saying this, but it looks like I am adding burpees to my morning routine. Ugh. Embrace the Suck (3 words) and Ride at Dawn (3 words). Here I go! See if I can get to 365 in a row!!

Guy Reams

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