Keep It Simple – One Habit a Month!

162 - Juggling balls © by MrB-MMX

Today I was up at 6.26 and the habit of getting up early is starting get implemented. I have to keep working on this habit. I have tried to create other habits simultaneously but I failed and I realised it is because you can only create one or two habits at the time. Leo Babauta from ZenHabits suggests that you only focus on one habit for about a month and then you can start creating another habit. [6 Rules for Dealing With Habits vs. Tasks]

When I start I project I always get over-excited and I want to do everything at once. But a good and healthy habit takes time and it is worth waiting for. A habit can take as much as 8 months to qualify as a habit. That means you have to keep focus on this habit for 8 months before it becomes something you just do without thinking about it. That is why you don’t want to create more than one habit at the time.

I failed when I tried to add a new habit every week except from two habits: Getting up early and sitting and drinking a glass of water. I could manage these two habits at the same time because they are closely related and have simple rules.

In an article on Pick The Brain by Scott Young [Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits] he suggests that you keep the rules of the habit simple or you will fail. As he puts it: “Simple rules create habits, complex rules create headaches.”

I did exactly what he says I shouldn’t do; I wanted to exercise at least 30 minutes every day but it became hard for me to do because the rules were too complicated. I defined and scheduled different kinds of exercise that had to be done on specific hours on specific days. I managed to do this for almost two weeks and then I lost the desire to do the exercise. It became something I had to do but didn’t feel like doing.

According to Stephen Covey a habit consists of knowledge, skills and desire. If you don’t have all of them you will fail. I only had two and I failed. I failed because I didn’t keep it simple.

How to Be Nice to People: Give More than Expected

David serves coffee © by mkorcuska

Giving is a fantastic principle! It is nice to give; it makes people happy and it usually generates something in return sooner or later. To give is such a simple thing to do and the first time I saw giving as a rule of life was in the book “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. I recommend reading that book although it is written for success in business the rules apply perfectly in your private life as well.

Get the book at AmazonOne of the rules is to give more value than people expect. E.g. if you are at work and go for a cup of coffee, then bring a cup of coffee for you colleague as well. He expects you to respect him and to cooperate at work, but by doing a little extra you give more value than he expects you to.

The good thing about receiving extra value is that it usually has a much greater value than if it was something that was expected from you. E.g. if your colleague asked you to bring him a cup of coffee, then the same cup of coffee would be appreciated but it would not have the same value.

The extra value that you add to the coffee actually comes from you. By wanting to be nice to your colleague you demonstrate that you like him as a person and that you would like to give him something. You show him your appreciation by bringing a cup of coffee unasked and thereby add greater value to this cup of coffee.

You can practise giving more than expected anywhere and in every aspect of your life. The minute you start giving greater value it will feel like the whole world has changed to the better. I promise you that you will feel a radical change almost instantly.

A Setback Is an Opportunity for Comeback

Never give up!

It is an undisputable fact that you will experience adversity in life. You cannot have success all the time, but you can feel overall successful. Sometimes things take another turn than you expected and you will have to redefine your world and criteria of success.

I recently experienced a big setback where two of my central cooperative agreements were changed; actually one of them was denounced; I received a notice of termination yesterday. The consequences are that my basic income next year will be halved.

What would you do in such a situation? I was sad and went home moping and complained my misfortune to my girlfriend. After a good hour of self-pity I went swimming. When feeling down exercise is a good cure that helps clearing the mind. I beat my own record in butterfly and swam 125 meters in a row. When I came back home I was able to think clear again and I sat down to regain the perspective and figure out what to do.

The important thing is to keep going and not give up. The rules of the game have changed and if I want to win that game I have to learn the new rules and conditions and see the opportunities they present. I am not going to quit now; I am determined to turn this to my advantage!

This morning it turns out that there is a possibility for making a new and different kind of cooperation that might be good in the long term. I have already made the first moves to a favourable agreement. The world does not stop and life goes on; so I will find a positive focus and ask myself what my options are and start exploring the new path that suddenly revealed itself to me.

How To Put The Time To Good Use

About 18 years ago I lost my watch and I felt awful. Suddenly I did not know what time I was and how can anyone live without knowing the time? Well – today I am happy to say that I feel more joy and less stress without knowing the exact time.

20 years ago I would only wear waterproof watches because then I did not have to take it of when I took a shower. My watch never ever left my wrist. I lost it the one time I did take it of and of course I got a new one after a couple of months. Being without a watch for a couple of months made me think. I noticed that I looked at my watch quite often and sometimes, when people saw that I looked at my watch, they would ask me – What time is it? – The strange thing was … I did not know! I had to look again!

The moment that it occurred to me that I looked at my watch without actually seeing the time I decided never to wear a watch again. I used to be stressed about time and all the things I had to do before a certain time and quite often there were things I did not do because I did not think there would be time enough to do it.

Today I do not have a watch to wear and I do not have visible watches anywhere in my flat. I found that living beings have a very good sense of time and I am usually able to state the time within a ten minutes margin. Instead of relying on a watch telling me what to do I am listening to my mind and body; and that have opened a new world to me where I really get a lot of things done because I am seldom stressed and never have to worry about time.

How do I make appointments on time? – I use my phone to remind me when to leave home. But I only do this for appointments where time matters. E.g. Last week my girlfriend and I had to visit my sister. We promised to be there before dinner but no specific time. We did not know when the bus would leave, so we just went to the bus terminal when we were ready. It was a 15 minutes walk and we had a good chat and fun on our way. We enjoyed the sun and everything around us; we were relaxed and happy. We arrived one minute before departure – it was perfect timing! But I am sure that if we knew this, we would have stressed all the way to the bus terminal and we would have been sweaty and exhausted and all the way we would have worried if we would make it in time.

Time is not all that important; remember that time is something we invented to make life easier, but do not let time rule your life.

Learn more about time

How To Learn The Rules – And Benefit

Presuming that you know what you want and where to get it the next step is learning the rules to be accepted and to benefit from the network you take part in. When you enter a social network it is very important to keep a low profile, listen and observe. You need to understand what other members of the network do and why they do it. Be very careful about critic. No matter how well-founded your critics may be – you are better off keeping it to yourself.

If you do not agree on the way things work, then focus on the positive things and keep the negative things to yourself. Usually people are well aware of things that do not work but they do not like being reminded about it; especially not from new members of the network. You will get much more respect if you turn you focus to something positive and make sure you communicate the positive things. It is okay to exaggerate, it will only make people laugh and if you can make someone laugh it is a sign of accept and respect.

For example: You start a new job and the computers suck. They never work and the software is outdated. It is almost impossible to get your work done and it is extremely annoying. It would be so easy to get new computers or to update the software and it is incredible that no one has taken the responsibility yet. What do you do? You could point it out and take initiative to change the computers. But remember that people in general do not like changes; they prefer to keep something that does not work because they know what they have, but they do not know what they will get. Do not try to change anything if you are new in a network! Find a positive focus and communicate it. Say e.g. “Hey, look at all the nice colours on my screen!” in a very enthusiastic voice or say “Great! You really keep your keyboard nice and clean!”