This is about my recent study and observation about habits.
Your entire life is just a result of all the good and bad habits you have acquired.
But when you grow up, generally you lose any ability to develop a new habit all by yourself. Any new habit you develop is because you are trying to adapt to a new environment or because of some new events in your life. A newly married guy would now have to take out the trashes daily morning. It sucks. But he now has a new habit (at least as long as his wife is home).
Anything beyond that is simply unachievable. The marketers in the psychology department capitalize on this weakness of yours and throw shit at you, packaged as “breakthrough development in habit science”. One such example is Ramit Sethi (I mean the man himself is not shit, but what he sells are. He’s generally likeable, hard-working and one smart Indian salesman). He never tires of amplifying small success stories into big innovations.
Another one that’s recently popular (made popular with all the money by it’s marketers) is the book The Power of Habit. The jist of the book can actually be explained well in a blog post (just google to find any). But the push the book got was enormous. Almost everyone with a loud enough voice on the internet recommended this book. After having read that, I can assure you that even that book won’t help you in creating good habits. The book is hugely recommended mainly because it sounds intelligent with all the latest scientific discoveries. Just look at all the 5 start review it got on Amazon. Yet very few of the reviews mention any success story. Nevertheless it won’t work! I can gurantee that. You only get to read a book instead of taking action on your shortcomings.
But there’s one thing that definitely works. It can create life changing habits, in a heart beat. But you might not like to hear it. It’s the longest shortcut available right now. You go in search of books like The Power of Habit mainly because you hate this bitter medicine.
It’s the pure will of the heart.
Don’t take my word for it. I’m not an expert in these things, nor do I have an X number of consciously cultivated habits.
But you can definitely take Mr Seth Godin’s word for it. He creates dents after dents in this world. He insists to fix broken things and almost nags people to lead up, take action, form a community and goddamn it do something worthwhile in their life.
You’d think he has a good routine built around his work, especially around his writing habits. But it’s not habits or any such magic. It’s pure will.
Look at this interview of Seth. The only thing that moves him to write daily, work hard, do new projects, give talks, and inspire people is the fear of wasting any opportunity.
That’s exactly what helped me inculcate one fine habit into my life! It’s now more than 30 days straight since I started my “Walk for 30 minutes a day” challenge. It definitely sounds weak! But it’s more than that, I started with just a walk, moved to jogging in intervals, and then lifted weight too. Of course not all of them on one day. It’s either a sweaty jog or a walk plus dummbell workout. But still the only thing that matters is, I now have a habit of exercising daily in one form or the other.
Reading the Power of Habit did not help me in this, putting my running t-shirt and shorts on the table the previous night just before going to bed did not help, analyzing my habits to find their cues, and setting up rewards accordingly did not help. Just the pure will that was set in motion by the great fear of losing my life inside a cubicle, while all of my heroes in my blog list led an awe-inspiring life did all the magic.
On to the next small step that would take me even higher. The infamous Idea List proposed and pioneered by the whack head James Altucher in this hope giving blog post. I feel I’m becoming dumb and dumber due to the lack of writing frequently and also not having insightful conversations with some like-minded friends. Creating something out of thin air, be it even an idea would force the dust out of my brain.
And one more this time. I can tackle two at a time! I go to bed at different hours each day. Mostly it is in the range of 11 to 1 in the night. It affects 2 things. My waking up time. And my time with my wife for the day. I’d rather spend some time chatting with her before going to sleep than sit before a computer and do any kind of productive work. I see good relationships are built brick by brick, day by day.
What important habits do you like to see in yourself? If it is that important, why don’t you already have it?
Every day you are marching towards your death consistently. Better die with some good habits.
(worst last line ever. I can’t help it)