Adopting Two New Habits

shifen_waterfall_taiwan
Shifen waterfall near Pingxi, Taiwan. If you make it to Taipei I highly recommend going here, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Motivation is fleeting. Action, then details. It is important to act with celerity once you decide on the proper course of action or else you may lose momentum.

At this moment, that is adopting two new habits, time tracking and writing. Both of which I am going to make it a priority to do every day.

I have spent this past year working on myself. After a lot of study, I decided these two new habits will give me personally the best overall gain in my life. Better yet they are both no risk, very high reward activities.

Unlike some activities which you may fail at, or waste your time, both of these habits will improve my mindfulness.

Start Small, Consistency is Key

With my writing I am going to begin by writing something every day. Doesn’t matter how long it is, or the quality of the work, as long as I am consistently writing and publishing.

We are judged by our best work, but to become an excellent painter you have to paint a lot of crap. Leonardo da Vinci is known for many things, like his Mona Lisa, but I can promise you Leonardo made a lot of terrible paintings first.

Steve Jobs said, “Real Artists Ship”. There is a lot to be said about those words. What it means to me is that if I am going to get anywhere I have to publish my work. I once worked on an app with a very close friend of mine, but we never ended up shipping because I was so worried about the details. I was close to 80% finished, but decided to do a rewrite to make the app “perfect” and never ended up finishing.

Again, Action. Then details.

More important to my writing, is the addition of time tracking.

“What gets measured, gets managed” –Sebastian Marshall

We humans have a tendency to just follow our routines and habits. It is also said we can only keep track of 7 or so things at a given time.

This is why it is so difficult for people to change. If you are trying to adopt a new habit, like flossing for example, it actually takes quite a bit of willpower even if the task is simple.

Everyone knows that flossing is very important, some studies even say it’s more important than brushing. If this is true why don’t more people floss? It only takes 30 seconds.

Simple. Habit.

If you have brushed your own teeth every morning since you were 3 years old, then it takes no effort to remember to brush your teeth. I don’t consciously decide to brush my teeth every morning. I do it automatically without thinking about it. If I don’t, I feel weird.

When I go to the dentist, the cleaning person tells me to floss. For the next 3-4 days, I do. But like the person who makes the New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym, I will inevitably forget one day. Then another. I lose momentum because I was not consistent.

I didn’t consciously go, “Gee, I am not going to floss”. I stopped because it wasn’t a habit, and I may not have been aware that I stopped.

This is why it is important to track time.

The only way for me to remember to floss on the difficult days when I am stressed and have many things to do, is to track it each day. Without tracking, it’s nearly impossible to be able to build a new habit. Trust me, I have tried the past 6 months to get by without tracking.

My time tracking habit is going to begin very small. Sebastian Marshall actually uses a very complex method to track his time, but he built it up over several years.

Remember, the most important thing is to keep things simple so you can be consistent.

Time Tracking Example 4/25/2015:

Writing: Yes

Time Track: Yes

Floss: Yes

Stretch: No

Exercise: No

Crap. I forgot to stretch and exercise again. I can’t go to bed until those are yes, no matter how tired I am.

I keep track of this in a little memo pad I keep in my pocket. Eventually I may develop a little app for myself, but this will work for now:

memo_pad

 

 

 

 

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