Category: Habits

Half your problems will be solved if you just wrote it down

Half your problems will be solved if you just wrote it down

Our brain is capable of generating 35 thoughts in an average per minute according to a Huffington Post. It means we are shifting between each thought every 2 seconds. Interestingly many of them have fabulous ideas so solve a problem in most parts of their life.  Unfortunately, our brain does a lot of hard work to generate these ideas. But. Our memory is so volatile that some of these great ideas disappear.

Our subconscious mind keeps working on a problem in the background to find solutions to problems. You may be surprised it is still solving problems we encountered during our childhood.

Since our subconscious mind is always working, we experience those Aha! Moments when our brain figures out a solution to any of our problems.

Our brain is such a beautiful part of our body. Unfortunately, it cannot store much of the ideas it generates.

What do we do then?

It’s best we start writing down all the ideas generated by the brain. It does not mean you keep writing every minute of the day. There is a proper way of doing it. If you train your mind, it will learn to act accordingly.

Before you go to bed, write down all the questions you want to be answered in a notebook(preferably date and categorised). Instead of looking at your mobile first thing in the morning, just grab your notebook and jot down whatever your mind throws out. You may not have any thoughts to note for few morning. That’s ok. Generate some ideas to kick-start the training for it to think.

By doing this daily you are training your mind to produce an output in a controlled fashion where you can capture them.

Over a period of time, this process becomes stronger. Initially, the thoughts you write might be garbage. Imagine pouring water through a dirty pipe. You cannot expect clean water exiting the pipe. You need to clean the pipe, only then will it start providing clean water. Our brain is also needs some cleaning. If you practice this habit daily the channel where these solutions are created is cleaned over a period of time.

You will then reap the benefits over two months period.

Happy solving problems!

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 6 – Sustaining Daily Habits

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 6 – Sustaining Daily Habits

Goals set. Daily habits are in place.

But.

There are days where our work demands more time and sometimes unplanned activities. Also, we cannot ignore our responsibility towards our family and close friends.

While starting off my daily habits, I faced many challenges do sustain them. Many years of habits were hard to shake off. Habits such as spending pointless hours on Social Media. Hours spent worrying, thinking about my future and dwelling on the past. Feeling of guilt if not doing the things I like. Fear of missing out. To shut these thoughts, watching movies and binge-watching TV series.

The fact is we are a generation with knowledge on our fingertips. For the previous generation, knowledge was power. Our generation has so much knowledge; we don’t know how to use it. For us, fighting distractions have become of prime significance.

What do we do in such situations where distractions are a part of daily life? 

I know I will reach my goals if I put in the daily hours. However, on days where distractions win, I ensure I do my daily activities even if they have to be for few seconds. It helps me to sustain the habit and not break the continuity.

Reading is one habit I wanted to cultivate. To sustain the habit, I read minimum one line with full awareness. If one line was not possible, then I just read just one word.

Writing is one habit I still struggle with, so I decided to write my original quotes. Now it has become a game. I try and summarise every situation into one line quote. I plan to use them in my articles. I got the idea of the quote below when I too tired to even sit.

Make your daily goals so tiny that you can achieve them even if you are half asleep.

Yes! that’s it. The solution is simple. For any habit, make it so tiny that you can do it every day.

Please share your experience of starting a new habit and how you overcame challenges to sustain the habit?

 

Goals Goals Goals! Where do you go after the first few months of the year?

Goals Goals Goals! Where do you go after the first few months of the year?

Every year we set goals expecting we will work on them. Like everyone, I did set my goals religiously every year. For most of my life, I forgot about my goals just after a few months of the year. Naturally, I was filled with the feeling of guilt and resentment for the rest of the year.

2017 was different. I realised if I did the same things and expect different results; I was only making a fool of myself. So I consciously made an effort to all those things that I would usually not do.

I started by choosing a driving force that will keep me going. I did not want to be mediocre. I decided to do more things I loved and most importantly do them every day.

Out of the many things I did at the start of 2017, here are top 3 of them that helped me significantly.

1. Read Books and started reading articles on Medium

I did not like reading books. I forced myself to read not just any book but those that will help me execute my goals.

I began by reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I then read 4 Disciplines of Execution by Jim Huling and Rajan Kaicker. Both of them significantly changed my mindset.

If books are still not your thing, read Medium. It’s the best self-help platform I have come across. I still read one article per day. Interestingly it has answers to the questions I ponder over.

I quickly put all the knowledge I gained to action.

I decided to read, write, and learn to play the keyboard. To keep myself up to date on the career front, I decided to learn technical skills from Lynda and Coursera. I decided to get up early, exercise and meditate to improve my productivity. I made self-journals, made notes, made to-do lists to keep my mind organised.  Taking cold showers was for learning to face my fears daily. Make videos on my YouTube channel. Spend quality time with family. Inspire people. Do those adventurous activities I always wanted to do.

Seems impossible?

It did to me at first. Its 11 months now and I have successfully installed these habits into my daily routine. Also, I learned to Scuba dive, and the experience has been satisfying. Check out my experience in this video.

2. Start with just one goal and break it down into small tasks

I did not build each habit from day one. I started by taking the 52-week challenge on Goodreads. I recorded the time it takes to finish one book. A 250 page for me took around 6 hours. So, I needed to read 50 pages in an hour for six days in a week. One day for a buffer. With this strategy in mind, it was easy for me to sustain the habit.

I always have a strong Why for any activity I take up. It helps me stay motivated.

Why 52 books?

If Bill Gates like personalities, despite their busy schedules find time to read daily, I could do it too. Moreover, since I had read a few books, I knew how they could significantly impact my thinking. And I wanted to do it because I started enjoying it. I now have a mini library and a gifted myself a Kindle after I read ten books.

Image of a book shelf
My Mini Library

As of today, I have read over 27 books this year falling short by 50%. A phenomenal achievement for a person who has not read even 25 books in his whole lifetime. In 2018, I will give another shot at reading 52 books.

When you learn to master one habit, you now know how to develop more habits and sustain them. You brain ticks automatically to make more space for your activities.

3. Tracking the progress of all your activities

Cricket or any other sport is exciting because there is a scoreboard that is visible always. By looking at the scorecard, you can instantly tell if your team is winning or losing.

Similarly, if take each goal and track your progress daily, it keeps you going. The day you see you have done 21 days without missing a day you will know you have built a momentum. Now don’t break this chain. If your goal is to read every day, then read minimum one line to keep going. One quote that made a difference was from one of the most famous comedian Seinfeld. It was on writing new jokes every day.

“Take a big calendar and mark the days you wrote. For chains and don’t break them. If you are not writing every day, you are getting good at not doing it.” – Seinfeld

It’s been nine months since I started using the app called HabitHub to track my habits. Simple to use and keeps me motivated by quotes daily. While writing this blog, I got the following quote:

“Winning starts with beginning.”

Reading Graph
Percentage completion of my daily reading habit

Good luck setting and achieving your Goals for 2018!

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 3 – Daily Practice

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 3 – Daily Practice

You already know that daily practice is needed to master any skill. However, to be able to do it you need an environment, and you also you need a time of the day when you can practice. Louise Armstrong rehearsed the trumpet every day since the age of 11 to become a master. Ekalavya was also known to practice daily without fail.

Consider your current age. Now imagine the number of days you need to practice to gain mastery of a skill of your liking.

No matter how busy you are, practice your skill daily till it becomes a habit. Do it for 5 seconds if you have to. I believe that we are a product of our habits. It takes one bad habit to make us think we cannot do something great. It is a misconception. We can. We are often afraid to get rid of that habit.

I was fortunate enough to read the book – Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg. It was pivotal for getting me started with a key habit. It helped me further to develop many other good habits.  I decided to start playing keyboard and meditate. I stuck to doing them for 21 days then for months together and now its a part of my life. Just like brushing teeth.

A few good habits changed my perspective. I learned to schedule time from the activities love. Now I write, make Youtube videos daily, play the keyboard, meditate, read and learn every day. I pushed my self to do many things. I could have never imagined doing all of these activities on one day. Apart from the sound daily habits, daily personal journaling was of phenomenal help.

Identify that one habit that you can keep doing for days. Do it every day. You will notice that you are slowly cultivating other habits you wanted to imbibe in yourself. One micro habit will boost your confidence. When in the process, focus on the habit you have to develop rather than the one you need to stop.

Which is that habit you want to cultivate?

 

One bad habit you must stop immediately!

One bad habit you must stop immediately!

We all have many bad habits. Some of them we don’t even realise are impacting us drastically.

What is this habit?

When you get up in the morning, the first thing many of us often do is to check all the notifications. What we don’t realise is that we are checking a list of items we missed yesterday.

So what?

When we keep this habit for long, it keeps us always in a hurry and keeps us away from thinking clearly on what we can accomplish to be productive.

Eight months back checking the mobile was the first thing I did. First of all, I lost my peace of mind when I got up. Then I used to quickly reply to the unfinished conversation on Facebook, WhatsApp, emails and various other forms of social media. All the unnecessary notifications triggered a thought process which sucked out all my energy. I thought of what I could have replied, how should I accomplish the task. How could I say No to a request? The list goes on.

I was totally imbalanced the first thing I got up in the morning. I used to crave for a nice cup of coffee to begin my day. My amount of will power I had reserved for the day was cut out by a significant percentage. I was left with little willpower to tackle the whole day. I was unproductive during the working days and felt I deserved my weekends to relax and enjoy.

I had kept my weekends for working on my personal projects and my YouTube Channel. All the relaxing stressed me out and made me feel terrible that I could not work for myself.

How I realised I need to stop this bad habit?

I became aware of this stupid habit after reading a few chapters of Robin Sharma’s book The Monk who sold his Ferrari. He spoke about morning rituals and gave the metaphor of garden creeps and how they clouded our judgement. I acted immediately on this and was determined to stop this habit. For many, this may not be as easy at it sounds. We fall back to our old habits as soon as we get a chance. We must ask ourselves one question before even we try and stop a sneaky habit.

Why?

I asked myself this question time and again till I got an answer.

The answer?

I wanted to make time for my personal projects. Working for myself gave me an immense sense of accomplishment and happiness.  It fueled me to take up other challenges in life. And how can give this satisfaction I get from doing the things I like.

I have my Why, now how do I stop this habit?

I started keeping my phone away from where I slept and kept it on silent mode. That way I could never get a chance to check my phone the first thing in the morning. It was hard to resist as I ended up checking the phone unknowingly. I behaved like a zombie walking towards my phone. One week later, I stopped being a zombie and stopped checking my phone. No more cravings. I continued for ten weeks without checking my phone first thing in the morning. I also started using an actual alarm instead of using my phone.

I also uninstalled Facebook and other apps that just threw yet another notification I did not need in my life. I started calling my friends instead of WhatApping them. During urgency I used SMS.

Could I sustain this habit eight months later?

Absolutely. Now I don’t have the need to check my phone. I limited my usage of social media drastically. I have over 7000 unread WhatsApp messages. Since I do not have Facebook App on my mobile, I cut down all the time I used to spend scrolling endlessly. I have also stopped drinking coffee.

The Results

  1. I had more time in hand
  2. I created better morning rituals
  3. I have time for exercising
  4. I get more things in a day than I used to
  5. Less stress
  6. I can plan my weekdays and weekends better
  7. More present to the conversation I having with a person in front of me

There are more benefits of stopping this habit. You will realise this when you stop doing this yourself.

I invite you to stop this habit immediately. Let me know how it helped you. 🙂


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