successful habit building with the Bernsteins

Building Habits for Success (part two)

On my previous blog, I expressed some of my feelings that have been brewing for years. In this blog, I return to providing guidance about building habits for success! There is so much written about this subject and I will give some of my perspective. Bottom line: it is all about planning.

Working Life & Retirement Habits

Recently, I had a conversation with an old friend and his wife. We had not seen each other for a few years (COVID might have had something to do with that). In the interim, I have fully retired, and he has semi-retired, as he works in his office two days a week. I consider him as an industrious professional who maintains a full and organized work schedule. I shared with him that my office schedule had to fit all my work into a confined period. My patients would be quick to point out that I was often off schedule (although they were always the beneficiaries of the extra time I spent listening to unexpected medical or social problems).  

Learning to maintain a work schedule and forming solid habits have come in handy during my retirement. While I understand why many people resist being restricted to a defined schedule and feel liberated when they retire, I embrace having a schedule. I encourage others to consider developing a structure for work and play in their life and carry it over into retirement. Having structure has been helpful to me in many ways such as remaining on task and achieving the lofty goals I have set for myself.

Scheduling Habits

During the conversation with my friend, he glanced at his wife when I explained my activity schedule in retirement, appearing envious that I find time regularly to exercise. I use my online calendar and share a portion of it with my wife. This helps us keep tabs on one another and hold ourselves accountable for our physical activity. My friend’s wife did not share my enthusiasm for sharing a calendar, fearing her husband would mess things up for her.

I have built in two personal training workouts a week along with a variety of daily exercises lasting 30 to 60 minutes. In addition, I schedule time for personal development such as reading and writing. I devote another portion of my time to activities to share my health perspectives with others and promote my books and myself as a subject matter expert.

Having a schedule with the structure I developed over the years is comfortable and provides me assurance that I will achieve the balance of social, cognitive and physical activity to reap the rewards of following my Power of 5 Formula.

Building Habits for Success

The bottom line is that habits and routines are important but hard to establish. Developing and maintaining structure is what we teach our children to be successful so why not apply it to ourselves.

  • One helpful technique to consider is attaching a goal or purpose to the desired habit and establishing a reward system to celebrate your successes and gains. It might be a goal for weight loss, reducing body fat, or feeling more energetic to spend time with your children, grandchildren or friends.
  • An accountability partner is another component to achieving success. Finding a partner with whom you can forge a relationship to support and hold each other accountable will strengthen your resolve and enhance the chance for success.

Achieve Great Things

My encouragement to you for the month of January has been to start building new healthy habits or if you have some already, consider adding on. The number of health habits is limitless. Start with some easy ones and build from there. We can stack healthy habits together to develop healthy routines. If you apply yourself, you can achieve great things.

Remember, you’re never too young or too old to start the Power of 5.

To a long and healthy life.

David Bernstein, MD

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