As I have mentioned a few times, I have been listening through the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and there are a lot of great concepts and drills on improving your life through the creation of good habits. He does a really great job of laying out actionable steps to taking his concepts and applying them to your lives. One of the biggest things he discusses is how, when we go to make changes we have a tendency to try to make big massive changes. Changes that are almost always impossible to maintain. Instead, he suggests making changes that are so simple that implementing them is way easier. Once these habits are locked in, you can begin to slowly progress them. It’s about playing the long game and understanding that doing something, is better than nothing, and that something, can grow into something HUGE…. but you have to be consistent.
This got me thinking.. What simple good habits can we create to improve our ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones? Tasks that are so simple, they are easy to perform and stick to. Here are a few ideas. Take one and run with it.
We have talked about this several times, but the reality is, physical ability directly impacts your potential to protect yourself or family. Most of the reasons giving for not training revolve around lack of time, lack of current ability, lack of money, lack of equipment, etc… Remember, training for 3 minutes is better than training for zero minutes.
Daily Habit: Every morning, once you get out of bed, perform 5 squats and 5 push ups. That’s it. Every morning. Roll out of bed, 5 squats, 5 push ups, then going about your day. It takes 15-20s at most and has TONS of benefits: gets blood moving, wakes you up, helps your mood, and begins a foundation for progress. Remember, 10 reps is better than 0 reps. Don’t make excuses.
The ability to stop extreme blood loss cannot be overstated. Often times people think this is “out of their pay grade” or something that is too complicated… or worse, they just don’t realize it is their responsibility and no-one else. Either way, there are simple drills you can do to develop these skills and get them to a point where you can perform them under stress.
Daily Habit: Buy two tourniquets (preferably CAT-T, SOFT-T, or SWAT-T) one is for staging and the other is for practice. Place your practice tourniquet on your nightstand. NOT IN IT — ON IT!! It needs to be visible and easy to access. This will help remind you and make it easier to do. Simple apply the tourniquet once to an arm or a leg. That’s it. One rep before bed, every night.
Being able to hurt someone is a very important skill. Unfortunate but true. Learning to generate power and handle impact is important and it’s a lot easier than most people think. You don’t need to take years of classes to become competent in breaking things.
Daily Habit: Buy a small heavy bag, or a pad, or grab a few thick pillows.. something you can hit really hard but not injure your hands or arms. Lay it on the floor. Everyday, punch, elbow, and palm strike the bag for 1 minute. Just one minute. No more. Make sure to picture someone or something that makes you angry and use your entire body to strike!
If you don’t see a threat coming, you are going to be working at a big disadvantage. Often times we sacrifice awareness for convenience or entertainment… or just laziness. There are plenty of simple ways to help increase your general awareness.
Daily Habit: When out to eat or in public. Give your phone to a friend, spouse, or someone you trust. Have them store it out of sight. In a bag, in a pocket, whatever. Not having your phone as a distraction leads to keeping your eyes up more. This leads to an increased potential for picking up on things out of place. We rarely NEED to check our phone, but having direct access to it creates a craving that is hard to suppress. By having it out of sight and out of immediate reach you are less likely to want to check it. Instruct your accountability partner not to give you your phone unless you can tell them exactly what action you intend to take on the phone. If it is not beneficial or urgent, ask them to simply ask you if you “really need it.” You’re creating friction, which will help. Not to mention you will pay more attention to who you are with and that will increase relationship building. Killing multiple birds with one stone.
Increasing your knowledge base is so important in all aspects of life. If you don’t have exposure to information, you can’t make truly educated decisions. You will miss out on other options, options, information, facts, and more. Having tunnel vision and a lack of depth is no good. Especially when it comes to personal protection. The more we know about how violence happens, what skills we can use to defend ourselves, what has worked for others, etc… The better off we are.
Daily Habit: Read one article everyday. Only one. Stick to articles that are short. Limit yourself to 2-3 minute of read time. By doing this you will create a base of knowledge and begin to expand on it. If you find a longer article, simple read 2 minute of it today, 2 minutes tomorrow, etc… until you finish it. But keep the reading times short and keep your attention on the subject.
If you’re thinking to yourself “This is silly, what is 2 minutes of reading or 1 minute of striking going to do for me?” Don’t. Think about it. By the end of the week you will have accumulated 7 minutes of a life saving skills, 7 reps of using a tourniquet, 14 minutes of education, etc… Expand that over a year and you have accumulated 6 hours of striking, 365 reps of applying a tourniquet, 1825 squats/push ups, 12 hours of reading, and countless minutes of awareness.
And all it took was these simple habits.
I challenge you to pick one of these habits and stick to it for 30 days.
See how much better you are a month from now.
Zero gets you nowhere.
In the words of James Clear – Get 1% better everyday and the reps compound and your progress grows exponentially!
Be good, train hard, stay safe!