planet ogo - part of an intellectual elite

Cultivating habits, part 2

You should probably read my article on habit cultivation before you read any further.

So, you're imagination is completely blank and you need some new habits? You've come to the right place. First of all, this is mostly about good habits, i.e. those you want cultivate for a longer period. I'm not going to list bad habits here since you already probably know yours. For clarity, let's divide these habits into major and minor habits, major being something that usually takes longer time to learn and even longer to master. Minor habits are not necessarily any less useful, they are just easier to integrate into your daily routine (time-wise, at least).

This shit right here, you

This shit right here, yo.

I would recommend you starting with either 1 major and 2 minor habits or vice versa. Having any more than that might screw up your discipline and overwhelm you, and it's easy to add more habits to your schedule in the later stage. First of all, let me tell you about how I came to choose my habits.

Meditation, 30 minutes - I was cheating a little bit with this one, as I had started meditation earlier but I just wanted to start tracking it to enforce the habit.

Handstand - I chose this just for fun. I ran into this great tutorial and since I've always been pretty bad at handstand (despite of being fairly fit) I decided to give it a try.

Learn German - Few years back I tried to study German for a while but dropped it after a while (no surprise there!). We're moving to Berlin later this year and visit there quite often so I felt like I should know at least the basics.

Learn Psychology - I'm studying Psychology at the university because I've been interested in it for the longest time. Now I try to actually learn the basic concepts and whatnot.

Write journal - I write journal every evening about my habits and if I accomplished my goals.

Write 50 words - This is mostly for this blog. Writing also wakes me up when I'm tired after work.

So, that's quite a list, 6 habits in total. So far, so good, as I've managed to do every single task for 31 days now. But the goal is to do these for the rest of my life - of course there will be days when it's just not possible, but the thing about habits is that those days when you can't accomplish your goals don't really matter as long as you keep on doing them again the next day.

Time to list those habits! Here are some major ones for you to consider:

Meditation - In my opinion the most important one. Read my guide on meditation over here. It balances your moods and makes life so much easier.

Reading - Pick a number of pages or set a timer for each day. I read Psychology at least 25 minutes every day, but most days I day something like 2-3 x 25 minutes with 5 minute breaks in between (the Pomodoro technique).

Writing - Another great habit to have. You can write a personal journal, a blog for other people or maybe a script for a movie.

Cleaning and organizing - Cleaning the house or organizing your belongings is a great way to make your environment more habit-friendly. Chaotic and messy apartments tend to devoid all disciplinary feelings.

Exercising - Exercise is probably the best way to make yourself feel better. 10-15 minutes every day is enough to get that dopamine flowing and as a bonus you'll get a nicer looking body and better self-esteem.

Play an instrument - Good way to increase your creativeness! Also, you can impress guys/girls by playing guitar/piano at a house party. Please don't play if you're not any good.

Minor habits:

Floss - Even more important than brushing your teeth. Those bleedy gums will dry up in about two weeks.

Stretching - Keep your body in good shape by exercising. I recommend dynamic movements and a foam roller.

Drink water - Good for your skin, hydration and digestion. 3 liters per day should suffice.

Say something nice to someone - Just be nice. It helps you feel better, too. One message a day, try it!

Eat a fruit - Fruits are good for you. Some fiber, some vitamins and a little bit of sugar.

Smile - Try smiling for 15 seconds. A famous research by Ekman in 1990 concluded that the "Duchenne smile" or fake smile produced a change in brain activity that corresponded with a happier mood. Fake it 'til you make it.

Have you picked your favorites? Are you ready to start? Not tomorrow, not next week... start fucking NOW. For tips on tracking your habits, read this post (if you haven't already).