There are two important types of habits to track, daily habits and intermittent habits. Daily habits are for achieving and compounding. “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” - James Clear. These define who you will become. Intermittent habits, on the other hand, are to be kind to who you are. These are habits done in intervals, every few days, every week, every month – however often you need to do them, in order to (a) quiet the voices in your head, your critics, and (b) to accept your ugly sides wholeheartedly.

Inside each of us, throughout our days a team of voices criticizes. Recently for me: “you should work out,” “your step-dad is going off on a rant again,” and even including my fearful side, “you can’t let the locals see you have money. Don’t be ridiculous and so paranoid, go outside and enjoy.” Each of these makes me feel bad about who I am. Constantly, I’m judging myself and my loved ones. Although this will never stop, we can create a system to quiet it and a system to accept it, radically accepting all of our selves.

Working out, a big physical workout, in this stage of my life, isn’t something I prioritize doing every day. Still, I know the importance of getting the heart racing daily, and the importance of building strength physically. Without a system in place, it’s easy for me to go one of two ways. Either I work out every day even though internally I don’t want to. Or all too often I push it to the side and constantly have a voice in my head criticizing me for not working out; “it’s just 40 minutes a day,” “real men workout,” “you’re skinny,” and on and on. Instead, what if I had an intermittent habit, I will work out every other day, for a tiny, but grueling 20 minutes. Now, that small habit firstly quiets the voice, and secondly, perhaps more importantly, next time that voice arises, I can accept it fully. “You’re skinny,” Yes you’re right, I’m blessed with efficient genes. “Real men workout,” Yes, I’m not a bodybuilder; I value spending my time in books more than the gym. You’re right, mind.

With my step-dad, I can have a habit to see him compassionately, to try to see what it’s like to experience whenever he’s experiencing in those ranting moments. What are his desires, what are his fears? I can have an intermitted habit to do this once a week, to consciously engage with him, and not push him away when he starts going off about Trump.

And for fear, (this was based during my time living in Mexico), I can make habits to ensure these paranoid thoughts aren’t taking over my life. What do these want me to do? To stay inside. The internal consequence is that destroys my social life and my life enjoying the beauty of Mexico. So I need intermitted habits to ensure I see friends on the weekends and ensure I go visit somewhere unique once a week. With those habits in place, I can accept all of me. When paranoia arises, I can accept it, since I’m from a completely different culture, and I’m a sensitive person, altered to any tiny abnormalities.

With a system in place of intermittent habits, we can go about our days not fighting ourselves, but dancing together, as one team.

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As I did a final read, I realized these habits don’t need to be big and they aren’t big commitments like a daily habit is. They just need to do the minimum dosage (1) to quiet the criticizing voice and when that voice inevitably arises, (2) to accept that voice – able to accept it because you have a habit in place to consciously ensure that voice doesn’t have a death grip on your life.