Habit 3 – Workout regularly

This is tricky. After executing 2 tasks successfully for at least a week, its time to take on a harder task. The earlier habits were easy to imbibe. But for a lazy species like me, getting to workout, that too regularly seems like a tough bait. For one, this is hard because the I have tried it in the past. And it has failed. This time, I will try laying it out in a frame prescribed by the book. To develop this habit, I will take the easiest 30-day challenge by the Six Pack in 30 days app by Lean fitness group. So, here is the layout:

Cue: Cue is every morning after I finish my coffee. Finishing my coffee is the cue to workout.

Craving: This is again, the difficult part. Of course, the actual craving is for the 6-pack abs. But I have to attach some addendum to it. Like in habit for washing and ironing on weekends, this habit too needs to have a shorter term reward for daily execution. Let’s take chicken as the bait here. Chicken on every two successful days. This is the additional craving for performing this task.

Response: The response to this craving is performing the exercises mentioned in the daily tasks of the 30-day challenge.

Reward: The true reward is, of course, the 6-pack abs. But the immediate reward would be chicken which, I hope, should drive me towards developing this habit.

I haven’t started with the habit yet and am very sceptical of it. I will keep updating the developments on this habit. Fingers crossed!

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The Daily Prompt – Marvellous

While some days are seriously marvellous, others are not. Like today. Nothing bad happened. Still, it just doesn’t feel that good. As I said, it wasn’t marvellous. But what makes a day marvellous?

Is it a dessert? Or a comforting day? Is it the day of a promotion? If it is, then one can’t have marvellous days everyday for sure. I think, having a marvellous day is a state of mind which may be influenced by the experiences one has, but not that alone.

There are days when everything goes bad but still the person feels marvellous and awesome. What is actually important is that the person feels awesome from within. If the experiences have been good then the person is more likely to feel marvellous and awesome.

This post was created in response to the daily prompt.

Habit 2 – Wash and Iron on weekends

This habit has a long term benefit. Usually, I wash my clothes by the end of the weekend and iron them one-by-one each day. As a result, I get too busy on weekdays and  studying or doing some productive work becomes very difficult. So, if I can manage my laundry on weekends, my weekdays would get more streamlined. Again, going to the 4 stages of developing a habit and this may require some creativity:

Cue: Friday evening, when I come from office. The first thing to do is to soak in the clothes and wash them before bed. So, Friday evening, first step in the house is the cue.

Craving: The natural craving is for a less cumbersome workdays. This period should be used for studying and bathing within the time. In addition to this, lets add a movie in the hall for every week with these tasks done. So, in addition to the craving for a free weekdays I am also attaching the craving for a movie in the hall.

Response: The response is washing the clothes om a Friday night and ironing them on a Saturday/Sunday.

Reward: There are two rewards to the act – 1. Free weekdays. 2. Movie in the coming Friday.

I have already washed the clothes this Friday and was actually hoping to iron them today but I have to pay respect to laziness as well. Hence, the ironing part should be done tomorrow.

20th Jan – 26th Jan

I have done the ironing part. Now, I am to enjoy the leisure on the weekdays. Also, a movie this Friday or Saturday.

I shall keep updating on the upkeep of this habit of mine.

 

Link to my earlier posts in this series:

Atomic Habits – Introduction

Habit 1 – Brush before having anything in the morning

Habit 1 – Brush before having anything in the morning

As part of the atomic habits series, this is the first habit I am trying to work on. While I was in senior classes in school I had developed a habit of delaying brushing my teeth until lunch. I’d have breakfast, some more snacks and what not without brushing. I developed this habit out of longer and irregular studying hours. So, after around 10 years I am trying to go back to my early routine of brushing my teeth early in the morning.

Why this habit?

I think, this is the easiest habit to develop. Primarily the task is simple and easy to do. Also this has been my habit sometime in past.

My design to accomplish this

As we have discussed in the introduction, there are 4 parts to developing a habit – Cue, Craving, Response and Reward. For me in this case,

Cue: Boiling milk. I usually wake up, not in the morning, but usually after 9 am. This is another habit I need to work on. However, after I wake up I take the milk packet from the door left by Milk Basket and boil it for coffee. I make the coffee and have it before I actually start my day. So, my cue is boiling milk. More precisely, I will brush teeth every day in the morning after I pour the milk in saucepan and put it on flame. By the time the milk boils I’d have brushed my teeth.

Craving: I could not find any craving for brushing my teeth, contrary to what my friends and family think. But the urge for coffee was the craving. And its a pretty strong craving. I’d only condition it on brushing my teeth.

Response: Response would be to brush my teeth.

Reward: In reward, I’d enjoy hot morning coffee with my newspaper.

I tried it for a week. I worked pretty well till today. I started off from last Friday. I remembered it on a Saturday. On Weekdays, it was easier as I am in machine mode by default. Today, however, was a Saturday and the settings were different. So, I forgot. But as the book says, if you miss a repetition, never miss it twice, or its the start of a new habit. So I need to be extra careful tomorrow.

Extra Reward: This habit presented me with another reward. Since I brushed my teeth first day in the morning I took less time to bath and get ready for office. I usually postpone things till the last moment. As a result, this habit helped me be on time in office this week. Booyah!!!

I’ll update my journey with this habit regularly on this post. This technique was useful at least in this scenario – Jan 5 to Jan 12 ’19.

Jan 13 to Jan 19 ’19

I have successfully been able to continue this habit and can say comfortably that I have acquired this habit.

Jan 20 to Jan 26 ’19

I have, again, been able to continue with this habit building exercise which is a reinforcement of what I mentioned last week. I am transforming into a person who brushes his teeth before putting anything in his mouth.

Link to my earlier posts in this series:

Atomic Habits – Introduction

 

Atomic Habits – Introduction

As 2018 gave way for 2019 recently, I decided to upgrade myself and read more. Atomic Habits by James Clear is the first among the list. Picked from a Linkedin post by a budding entrepreneur/business owner, this book’s description appealed to me as I felt the urge to edit my habits since long. And being able to engineer the habits should help in better completion of other resolutions for an overall improvement. Sounds like an interesting idea!!!

I am yet to finish the book and am not an expert in language or literature to post a review on it. It is, however, the tale of my interaction with the book. A book on personal development, I think, is more about learning and improving proactively than enjoying the literature/language in it. And more than anything, a question worth answering should be – how effective reading a book has been in serving its purpose. While being a better reader is definitely one purpose that has been served, this book is primarily being read to edit(add some, delete some, modify some) habits.

Why this book appealed to me? One of the initial ideas in the book directly challenges my belief on habit. I have never wanted to form a habit in the first place as I believed it reduces flexibility and creative thinking. And the book counters it with an argument which seems convincing – When we get our usual work done as part of our habit, we don’t use our brain a lot on these things over time. Thus, our brain can focus on newer, interesting stuff.

So, I want to verify if this works in real life as well. And, in order to be accountable, I’ll be updating my experiences as posts in my blog. I don’t know how far this will go, but I really want this to work because if this works, it’ll be a jackpot.

The idea to habit formation, as per the book, is to identify a cue, develop a craving, make a response and enjoy the reward. Of course, these are discussed in detail in the book and I may have skipped a lot of details from it but I will still try to use most of what I retained in engineering my habits.

Trademark

Like brands, even people have trademarks. Not all, but some definitely have a trademark. I mean, like some scratch their nose everytime they start a discussion. I mean, like some political leaders say some punch words every now and then. Like Narendra Modi says ‘Mitro’. I mean, like some great musicians have a trademark way of composition by which the audience recognises the piece is his creation. I mean, some great actors too have a knack for trademark style of acting. We can totally relate to that in Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks to name a few. I mean, it’s completely evident that most great people have some trademark style of doing things they are good at. So, some writers deliberately develop a trademark style in the hope of becoming great writers. Such silly people!!!

This post was written in response to the daily prompt: Trademark.

How Neighbor Made Me Cringe

She was in a jolly mood and wanted to talk – a lot today. Normally, she won’t talk much, mostly yes, no and thank you. But something was special today.

Her sons and daughters were coming back home on her birthday. She was pretty excited about what she would and would not do when they come. She had been somewhat lonely I guess. She had made a whole bunch of to-do lists which she hoped to complete before they came. I felt happy for her. At the same time, there was some sadness in the whole conversation. I just hoped she would go with her son or daughter.

Anyways, the old lady, also my neighbor went a step ahead. She planned to involve me in in getting the whole to-do list done. Wait!! What? Why? Within a few minutes she handed me one of the lists and asked me, at least I believe this is what she intended to say – “Will you get this list done by Wednesday?”

Yes, that’s right. Before she could complete the sentence her dentures, I don’t know how, just bounced on my face and hit me on my nose. And I cringed with disgust.

grimace-cringe-upset-angry-man-teeth

This post was written in response to the daily prompt : Cringe.

Illusion

“The truth as we know is only an illusion” – she said. “The world as we know is also an illusion” – okay!! But which part?

My Phone? My clothes? Or the chairs and buildings and the likes? May be she is philosophical and is detached from these worldly possessions. But, then she clarified – “No silly! All. You, me, everyone and everything.” Now, I started getting worried. Especially because of her profession.

She did not have a philosophical background, nor she was a firm believer of god and its ultimate power. She was a research scientist working in the area of some very fancy name of Physics. Yes, she had told me that name. It was just too fancy for me to remember.

So here she was – a scientific girl, totally sane, at least before this conversation, who comes up with the theory that everything is an illusion.

I asked – “how do you know it is an illusion?” She retorted – “How do you know it’s not?” I didn’t have an answer. “May be because I can see things, feel them, their texture, color etc.”. She said – “How do you know the color that you see of an object is it’s true color? How do you know the color observed by a colorblind guy is not it’s true color?”

“Because he is a colorblind guy. That’s why!!”, see it wasn’t so hard to answer. “But we humans have labelled him colorblind. How do we know he is a colorblind and not us?” I didn’t have an answer. That was a dead end. I decided I won’t go out with her again.

I like to imagine this whole conversation was just an illusion.

This post was written in response to the Daily Prompt: Illusion.

Story of the Oldest Man Passing the Exam

Relieved he was…for he finally passed his matriculation. Its not a big exam, just a first step…the secondary school passing exam. Still, he was relieved. And why not, after all, it was the third time he had attempted it.

He made a bet to everyone his relief was more than anyone else’s who had passed the exam in one go. He even made a theory for it – The longer you take to pass an exam the more joyful the experience becomes once you pass it.

Suddenly, an idea struck him. Why not fail an exam long enough in order to magnify the joy and pride of passing it. And so, he started intentionally failing his higher secondary examination, again and again. Years went by. His batch mates who were already 3 years ahead of him started taking up job. He also was forced to take up some job finally. But he didn’t stop giving exam. After almost 13 years, he finally wanted to pass the exam.

But by this time, he had taken up a full time job and had a wife. Moreover, his mind was rusted to so much of an extent that his wanting didn’t have any effect on his performance in the exams.

Years went by, even more. He became a legend. At the age of 50, still determined, unshaken by the past failures. He gave an exam exam and failed again and his legendary continued.

After a couple of years, he finally passed. The oldest man to pass higher secondary. What a relief. Yes, relieved he was. And so were his relatives. Newspaper reporters came to his home to interview him. They asked – “Now that you have finally passed your exam, what do you plan to do in your spare time”?

“Graduation” -he replied. And everyone went into despair.

This was in response to the Daily Prompt: Relieved

A World Inside a Bottle

There existed a world inside a bottle. A world with people and their world, homes, family and everything. The people inside the bottle were pretty awesome and joyful and mostly invisible to the outside world except one.

From outside, all one could see was a bottle of wine, no people and their world. But this was a magical bottle to them, for the wine never got finished. No matter how much wine you pour from it, the bottle never emptied itself.

However, the creator of the bottle knew what was inside of it. He was the creator of the whole ecosystem inside it. He was the creator of the people and their homes, family etc. He knew to make a lot of things magical and useful. But he couldn’t make his people’s worry go. It is for this reason he created this bottle.

The people inside this bottle were always meant to be happy and joyful by design. And from the atmosphere created by their happy environment, secretions poured all over the existing wine adding to its quantity and replenishing all that was drained by the creator and his dear ones.  This wine could erode all the worry one had from his mind.

This way the creator of the bottle was able to take away worries of himself and his dear ones without knowing exactly how to make people’s worry go.

This is an example of delegation.

This post was written in response to the Daily Post : Bottle