Change Your Baseline, Change Your Life

Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in the life we have. Our habits drag us forward, hour after hour. When do we have time to decide? It just seems so hard . . .

So I thought a week ago. So we all think! But how do we change? There are generally two sets of opinions regarding this question. There are those who say that change must be gradual. We must slowly edge out of our bad habits, cutting them out of our lives in a piecemeal manner. On the other hand, there are those who tell us to stop now. Just do it! I am in favor of this type of habit-changing technique. Whenever I try to gradually create or destroy habits, I find myself going right back to my baseline. Say I want to eat 200 calories less a day. That might work for a little bit, but then . . . it’s just 200 calories? Back to the baseline!

I tried a new technique a week ago. I revamped my diet and calorie intake, all at once. Bang! New me! I ate half the calories with a simpler diet. It sucked the first day. But, I kept in mind one of my new mentors (virtually), the Ice Man a.k.a. Wim Hof. This guy is absolutely insane. He climbed Mount Everest in shorts. He meditates in the freezing cold. He ran a marathon in the Namib Desert . . . without any water (Check out this Tim Ferriss podcast to learn more). Okay, I thought, struggling through my first day of change, if Wim Hof can complete a marathon in sub-zero degree weather, I can do at least 10% of that. So I went on.

And then, it got easier. Day 2 was okay. By day 5, it was normal. I was used to a 2300 calorie surplus, always “full” but never feeling like it. Now I was eating 1100 calories and feeling full after a 200 calorie protein shake. My baseline had changed. I was amazed at how fast it happened. When you feel stuck in your habits, you feel like they will last forever. How will I ever stop? But they can. And they will. You just have to change your baseline.


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