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 Post subject: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:11 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Hi there.

This is going to be a journal about how consistently doing little things takes me a really long way. In a year or two, I'll look back on this, see that I updated it every day and marvel at how far I've come.

Writing all this out publicly will help me stay accountable, and hopefully inspire others who have similar ambitions.

Where I'm at now

I've come quite a ways already. I moved out of a small town and got a job that I enjoy quite a lot in the city. I turned my social life and my dating life around to a large extent, I eat very healthy, stay in good shape and generally stay on top of things.

So I suppose things are pretty darn good.

This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for me because I don't have any major source of discomfort. I have ambitious goals but don't really have a fire burning under my ass right now. Regardless, I'm committed to making drastic changes to my life.

I'm 24 now. Five or six years ago my life was pretty lame. Five or six years from now -- if I stick to this process -- it will be absolutely amazing.

Where I want to be in 5 years

Here are my goals for the next 5 years in various different areas of my life.

Financial: Have the freedom to do what I want do, when I want to do it.

The actual amount of money is only important to the extent that it allows me to do things. This goal will manifest itself in either an online, work-from-anywhere business related to something I enjoy, or a day job which I like enough that it doesn't feel like work.

Right now I work in the industry I want to be involved in, and I've made some money online before, so I definitely have the tools to make either of these two paths happen.

For the next year or so, my main focus here will most likely just be learning. Once I'm more clear on exactly what path I want to take, this goal will be a major focus for me. For now it's on the backburner.

Health: eat even better, improve sleep habits, gain 10 lbs of muscle.

This is one of the areas where I've already made major improvements. I was never terribly unhealthy, and I'm incredibly healthy right now, so this is something where I really have to find the motivation to go from good to great.

I've already got the eating pretty well dialed in to the point where it's a non-issue, but sticking to a workout 3x a week has been tough. Weight training and sleeping at more reasonable hours will be the main focus here.

Lifestyle: Chase excitement, date stunning women, always be learning

A while back I thought about what my perfect day would look like. As expected it started with a beach house and a gorgeous woman, but I quickly realized that I could already do most of what I'd imagined.

Often the things that really make me happy aren't necessarily the things I feel like doing at any given time. I don't feel like reading, but I feel great after I do. I don't feel like getting up at 6am on a Sunday to go snowboarding, but I'm glad I did.

Other things still need some work. But hey, that's what this journal is for.

Occasionally I'll have an experience and feel like I have to pinch myself, thinking "I'm really living this". I want to do that more often.

Personal Development: drastically expand comfort my zone, seek knowledge ruthlessly, don't take things too seriously

Even with all this exciting stuff to look forward to, happiness is all in your head. So at the same time I'm putting so much effort into achieving all these things, I'm going to try to detach from needing it to be happy.

The comfort zone stuff is important for me because it determines the extent to which what I do is in line with that I actually want to do. I don't like the direction of my life to be influenced by my being afraid of something.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember not to take things too seriously. Nothing is serious enough that it should keep me from enjoying my life.

Habits from day 1

This journal is about consistency. If I continue to take the right actions every day, success is inevitable.

I'll start with about half a dozen habits, and move things around as I progress.

1. Read for an hour
2. Eat Healthy
3. Workout
4. Spend time outside
5. Go out and socialize
6. Do something outside my comfort zone
7. Relax/meditate for 20 minutes
8. Update this topic

Alright then. Small beginnings, but being consistent with this stuff and changing things up as I go will make a huge impact on my life a few years down the road.

I have no doubt that consistency with this will take me to where I want to be. So if I'm not doing all the things I wrote about, you'll know why :)

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 1.

Yesterday was good. Went to work, did some errands and ate well.

Got the reading done early. Currently re-reading The Talent Code -- it's cool how you get something completely different from a book if you read it a few years later. Great book in general too.

Went outside by the pier for a good hour. It's funny, this is something I never want to do but I feel so good afterwards. I ran for a bit but I'm not gonna count that as exercise; that'll start Monday.

Also did the relaxation/meditation thing. I feel like I should split this up from going outside, because they seem to accomplish something similar.

Around 9:30 I went out with friends and we were out all night. Slept till the afternoon today. The social stuff is important to me though, so I don't consider this a waste of time. Did several things that were way out of my comfort zone, lol.

Well, on to day 2. Thanks for reading :)

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:57 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 2

Pretty good today.

I read a ton (finished The Talent Code), ate well, and got outside for a bit despite terrible weather. Stepped out of my comfort zone and I'm gonna relax/meditate right before I go to sleep tonight.

Didn't plan on going out or working out today since Sunday's my day to relax. I do have a lot of time on Sundays though so I think I need to work in something more substantial to work on. I'll think it over.

One thing that's been really helpful for me is to insist on doing something right when I get up. The first thing I do really sets the pace for the day.

Tomorrow's going to be tough. I've gotta do everything on the list and I made the mistake of staying up way too late tonight, so I won't have a lot of time. It's important for me to be conscious of managing my time, sleep and motivation a little better, since it puts me in a tough spot the next day.

I'll get it all done though. I'm committed to this.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 3

Yesterday was tough as expected, but still pretty good. The thing is, I've really got to get some of this stuff done before I go to work, so I've gotta plan for that the night before.

I ate well, worked out, and read for an hour (nutrition and physical degeneration by Weston A. Price -- probably the most important health book every written imo).

Also went out with friends and stepped way out of my comfort zone.

Didn't get outside (besides going out) or meditate/relax though. I do think these things are important for me, but they never seem important at the time.

Biggest takeaways: a) get to bed early enough to get up and do stuff before work and b) keep habits in mind throughout the day.

Cheers :)


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:01 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1742
Location: Ottawa, Canada
nowornever wrote:
I've really got to get some of this stuff done before I go to work, so I've gotta plan for that the night before.


This was a big one for me, in my life. My morning routine is as follows:

  • Wake up
  • Use the loo
  • Shower, including washing hair
  • Put in contact lenses
  • Shave
  • Get dressed (dress pants, freshly-ironed button-up dress shirt w/ collar and tie)
  • Style hair
  • Moisturize face (dry after shaving)
  • Brush teeth
  • Pack gym clothes in my backpack (I go to the gym at lunch at work)
  • Pack my breakfast and lunch in my backpack
  • Feed my cats
  • Put my work badge around my neck
  • Put my bus pass and house keys in my pockets
  • Connect my earbuds to my phone, start a podcast
  • Bundle up in winter clothes
  • Bring my backpack, lock the house, walk to the bus stop

I do all of that in 25 minutes. Every morning. Without waking up my wife.

In order for that to be possible, it takes considerable preparation the night before. My after-work routine is equally consistent:

  • Walk home from the bus stop
  • Take off winter outerwear
  • Change out of work clothes and into jeans and a t-shirt
  • Rinse sweaty gym clothes in bathroom sink (in case we don't do a load of laundry that night), hang to dry
  • Pick a shirt/tie combo to wear to work tomorrow. Iron the shirt and hang it on the rack in the bathroom, with the tie and dress pants
  • Pick a pair of underwear, socks, and an undershirt, put in bathroom (so I don't have to go digging through my dresser in the dark the next morning and wake up my wife)
  • Pick out my gym clothes for tomorrow (face towel, running shorts and socks, tech shirt), put in grocery bag next to my backpack
  • Refill my juice and milk bottles (breakfast and lunch at work), put in fridge, along with a frozen dinner (home made, of course), a breakfast sandwich (toasted english muffin, honey maple ham, scrambled egg and a slice of cheddar cheese - I make a week's worth (5) on every Sunday and just take one each day), and a yogurt (snack), collect together on top shelf of the fridge so tomorrow morning I can just grab it and go.
  • Scoop the kitty litter (this has to be done daily, so if I make a habit of doing it in the evenings, it's one less thing I have to do in the morning).
  • Start making supper, to be ready when my wife gets home

My after-work routine also takes about 20-25 minutes (not counting making supper)

It's really all about creating a routine that allows you to be efficient.


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Awesome. Thanks for the reply :)

Do you find itself useful to set all that stuff up systematically? Personally I've found that with just about anything you're trying to make a habit out of, the goal is to make it a "non-issue", in the sense that it's something you don't have to think about.

For myself I've had success with just doing things until they become habits, then not thinking about them anymore (for example, in this way, eating well has basically become like getting dressed). But I've also heard successful people talk about how systemetizing everything can actually make it feel like less effort because you don't have to think about whether you're going to do it or not.

Thoughts?

Day 4

Got up late super late again. Missed out on going outside again and didn't relax/meditate. Everything else was good.

This morning (day 5) I got up earlier and got the reading/meditation out of the way right away. This is way better. I've just gotta keep everything else in mind as I go through the day and I should get everything done.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 5

Best day yet. Got my reading out of the way (still Nutrition and Physical Degeneration), ate well, worked out hard (I feel so good after I do this but I'm so reluctant), meditated and got out of my comfort zone.

Only thing left to do is get outside, so I'm gonna go for a jog down by the peir later tonight.

Again, biggest thing to remember is that I feel great when I do all this stuff. It's not even delayed gratification; I feel good as soon as I do it. So tonight I've gotta get to bed at a reasonable time again so I can get stuff done before work.

Cheers

*edit*

Also thinking about what I want to add to this or change it up. I don't want to jump the gun (this is about consistency with small things over the long run after all) but I want to give it a little more direction.

Ideally I want this to be a list of things that, if I do them consistently for years, are basically guaranteed to produce the result I'm looking for.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:39 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 6

Thursday was kind of weak. I went to work, ate well, etc but basically didn't get anything else done. I went out with friends, which was good, but I didn't get any reading done, didn't meditate and didn't get outside.

Day 7

Just wrapping up with today. I got my reading in, went out with friends, ate well, got out of my comfort zone etc, but no meditation or getting outside (these two are the hardest for me to keep up). Also didn't get a workout in, which is okay since I can get it done tomorrow, but I'm really trying to stick to 3x a week even if I'm sore.

==============================

So that wraps up the first full week. Here's a basic summary:

Positives
-Been doing well going out, being social and getting out of my comfort zone
-Eating very healthy with a few hiccups here and there, which is fine.
-Basically reading every day, although I need to be a little more on point about this. This one is one of the most important.
-I'll get my workout in tomorrow, so that'll be 3x this week

Stuff to work on
-Most of all, I need to keep all this stuff in mind throughout the day. Often I'll just come back and think "oh, well I guess I did 6/8 things today". I've gotta keep it in mind more and plan for it.
-Meditating and getting outside have been the lowest on the priority list. Really want to work on this, since they don't take much time at all and there's really no excuse not to.

Overall it's been good. Just gotta regroup and do better this next week. Once I get to a month, I might move things around a bit.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 8

Got a good workout in yesterday before work, but I was heavily underslept from the night before so I basically just crashed after work and didn't wake up until later in the evening, when I went out with friends. So didn't get my reading, meditation or spending time outside done yesterday. Everything else was good.

Today I can make up for a lot of that stuff. Already read for an hour and I'm gonna get all the other stuff done.

--------------------

Been feeling like there isn't enough time to get everything done on work days -- which is bs, because there is -- but just seems that way. Also, since going out with friends is a priority as well right now, that's been time consuming as well. Worth it though.

I guess I'm just looking for some sort of logical solution to make it easier to get everything done every day, but there isn't one. I just have to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 9

Sunday was really good. Didn't get several things done, but I had a great day and did a lot of things I don't normally do.

Day 10

Monday I was feeling burnt out and didn't get a lot done. Fell asleep a little after work and slept for like 12 hours.

I'm thinking I need to re-evaluate a little, because there are 2 or 3 things on the list that I'm just not doing. I think it over and write it up when I get home.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:00 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 11

Tuesday I got my reading done, ate well, etc but didn't get much else done. I'm gonna revamp this a little bit to get back on track.

Day 12

Today I worked out and got a bunch of reading in. Hopefully if I'm not feeling too out of it I can get a workout in tomorrow, and another on Sat for 3 this week. Should have got one in Monday or Tuesday but was really tired. Again, gotta revamp this thing a little bit.

=====================================================

Alright. The most important thing right now is for me to sort out something that will work well for me. This is working well for keeping me accountable, but there have been 2 or 3 of the 7 things that I've consistently been skimping on. I think there are two reasons for this:

1. I can't see any immediate benefits
2. They don't obviously help me towards a concrete goal

So I'm going to shave it back a little bit and try this. Here's the new to-do.

1. Every night before I go to bed, plan out the next day and how I'm going to get these things done.
2. Read for an hour
3. Eat well
4. Do something outside my comfort zone


These ones I am going to commit to 100%. There is no possibility, no matter what, that these won't get done.

The rest is bonus, and I'll list those when I write up the day.

Bonus stuff is:
1. Work out (aim for 3x per week)
2. Go out and socialize with friends (aim for 3x per week)
3. Go outside (aim for 3x per week)
4. Meditate (aim for 3x per week)

Ok. So starting tonight, I'm planning out all that stuff and getting the first 4 done no matter what. Others I'm going to keep trying to work on. What I'm trying to do here is get a successful base for productivity that's beyond my current level, then build from there.

Most of all, keep evaluating as I go. Half of this is just figuring out what works for you and what doesn't.

=============================================

Plan for tomorrow (Thursday, 2/7)

-Get up 2 hours before work (no exceptions) so I can get the reading done.
-Eat a full meal before leaving so I don't have to eat at work, then eat when I get back
-Do something out of my comfort zone when I go out with my friends later
-Plan Friday before bed

Alrighty. Let's do it :)


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:18 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Just a thought...why can't you combine going outside with working out?
Instead of working out (in the gym, I'm assuming), why can't you run outside, or take a brisk walk or hike outside, and then you kill two birds with one stone.

As far as going out with friend 3x a week, doesn't that make you tired? I spend a lot of money when I go out, so it's something to reconsider, perhaps..not sure what go out with friends means (book club, dancing, drinking coffee?).


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:10 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
peachy wrote:
Just a thought...why can't you combine going outside with working out?
Instead of working out (in the gym, I'm assuming), why can't you run outside, or take a brisk walk or hike outside, and then you kill two birds with one stone.


Hey thanks for the comment.

I'm really trying to focus on weight training right now (although I considered my soccer game last night a workout). The working out thing for me is very goal oriented, because I'm in good enough shape that it has very little effect on my health. Sure I could run down to the bay and do some pushups and bodyweight squats, but that's not really in line with what I'm shooting for.

Quote:
As far as going out with friend 3x a week, doesn't that make you tired? I spend a lot of money when I go out, so it's something to reconsider, perhaps..not sure what go out with friends means (book club, dancing, drinking coffee?).


We go out to bars and... let's just say I'd rather not get into it. I barely drink when I go out and spend very little money. Otherwise we just do what most guys in their early 20s do. And yes it's tiring at times but it's very fun and has actually had a very positive influence on my life.

Thanks for reading!

=====================================

Day 13

1. Every night before I go to bed, plan out the next day and how I'm going to get these things done. (check)
2. Read for an hour (check)
3. Eat well (check)
4. Do something outside my comfort zone (check)

Alrightly. Staying committed. Today was sloppy (process wise) but I got everything done. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get up a little earlier, have a better meal in the morning and get my reading done earlier.

Honestly the biggest thing for me right now is that there are a few bridges that I'm refusing to burn right now. I'd liken it to someone trying to lose weight who won't clear the boxes of cookies out of their cupboards. That's me motivation wise.

Right now I don't quite have enough leverage, but give me a few weeks. Until then, I'm going to stay committed to the process I've outlined.

Cheers


Last edited by nowornever on Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 14

Friday was great.

1. Every night before I go to bed, plan out the next day and how I'm going to get these things done. (check, this could use some work)
2. Read for an hour (check)
3. Eat well (check)
4. Do something outside my comfort zone (check)

Didn't do any the bonus stuff other than going out w friends. Been wanting to work out but had a small strain in my upper back that hung on for 2-3 days. I'll be back at it Monday.

I'm thinking one of the biggest things I need to work on right now that'll effect everything else is sleep. My sleep schedule is super messed up right now. We'll see how tomorrow pans out, but on weekdays I'm going to shoot for getting up at a reasonable time.


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 Post subject: Re: A habit and lifestyle design journal
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am
Posts: 29
Day 15

Saturday went well. Got everything done and had a ton of fun. Didn't plan today though. I still think that's important for me, cause it's easy to be like "whoops, guess I didn't do that" when things come up that get in the way.

So far this journal has been really helpful for keeping this stuff on my mind, but I don't think my productivity has taken much of a leap.

Still think I've gotta burn some bridges and get more serious about this. It's too easy not do get stuff done when you have a lot of other things taking up your time.

Cheers


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