Do You Listen to Your Own Advice?

Cute Dog. This image is CC0!

This Wednesday, I was fighting against my bicycle. Half of the distance to work I had the feeling to drive uphill. What went wrong?

Maybe you remember my post about cycling to work, announcing that this will reduce my blogging frequency. In that post I gave some advice for riding your bike. One of that was “always use the lowest possible gear.”

About three weeks ago I discovered that I was not listening to my own advice. I have a bike with classical gears: three front gear wheels (at the pedal) and eight back gear wheels. At the time of giving you that bike advice, I used the largest front wheel. While I regurlarly switched the back gear wheel, I confined myself to a less than ideal situation.

Then, about three weeks ago, I remembered something I had known more than fifteen years earlier. For driving on even roads, the middle gear wheel at the front is much better:

  • The increments between gears are smaller, making a fine-tuned adaptation to road and traffic situation easier.
  • When I need to stop I am in an acceptable gear to start again, even when I forget to switch two or three gears lower.
  • The tendency to drive in too high a gear is drastically reduced.

Now I only use the largest front gear wheel when I go downhill and can easily switch to the smallest front gear wheel when I need to go uphill. (But remember: uphill one or two gears higher is OK for growing your muscles.)

I achieved that result without more training and even after three weeks in which I did not drive to work with my bicycle…

What happened this Wednesday? Somewhere along the road I was going downhill, switching to the large front gear wheel. When going uphill again I forgot to change that. So I fell back into my habit of using high gears.

In many cases it is because we forget our own advice. The same is true for continuous improvement. Often we know what we should do, but somehow we do not have the power to change. For that, mini-habits may be a solution.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me which of your own advice you did not listen to recently.

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