Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category
This challenge is to prepare a list of 101 things you would like to do in the next 1001 days. You can choose to start the list today or work on your list and start in the next week. This site is the originator of the idea and the rules:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).
Here are some other people doing this challenge. Have a look at their lists to get some ideas.
I am creating a page to track my goals and I will post different challenges and results as I go. Now, that I am back from my honeymoon in Greece, and my honey is back in school and spending a lot of her time doing schoolwork, I will have some free time to focus on personal development projects (and maybe doing more posts here too).
Also, tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I’m not Jewish, but I figure this is a perfect time for new resolutions. This holiday is not about drinking, but about self-reflection and self-improvement.
What I like best about assigning yourself challenges is:
1) They are a surprising learning opportunity
Changing your habits of TV/Exercise/Sleep/Cleaning/e.t.c., sheds a big light on your relationship with those habits. If you want to know how you use the letter “b” in your writing, try using the letter twice as much or try writing without it. If you want to know the impact that TV has on your life, try giving it up.
2) They are a gateway to continued good habits
When you exercise everyday for one month. It is almost effortless to exercise a several times a week the following month.
3) They teach you how to integrate good habits into your life
Logistics are a big stumbling block to adopting good habits. For example, sometimes the hardest part of exercising is figuring out when to do it, where to shower, how to pack a bag, and how to handle laundry. When you force yourself to exercise, you also force yourself to solve and practice all the logistics involved.
For this challenge, we will adopt a fixed sleep schedule. We will give ourselves a mandatory bed time and a mandatory wake up time. Here are the rules:
- As you begin, pick a sleep schedule. You can pick different schedules for different days of the week. Adhere to the schedule that you pick. Remeber that your body might appreciate having the same times each day.
- Be realistic about the number of hours of sleep you need each night.
- Choose bed times for Friday and Saturday night that are consistent with the social life you desire.
- You can’t use the snooze button on your alarm and you can’t stay in bed past your wake up time.
- You can choose how many weeks to do this challenge for. I am trying it for two.
Don’t forget, the easiest way to wake up early is to go to sleep early.
My fiancee has offered the next personal challenge: To eat a total of five servings of fruits and vegatables each day. She is planning on doing this for a whole month, but the challenge is only for two weeks. We are hoping that eating more good food will fill us up and leave less room for junk food. With our wedding rapidly approaching, maybe we will be heathier and fitter for our big day too.
We can still eat chocolate and ice cream. She hasn’t gone completely crazy.
Wow, I was naive about this clean for a week challenge! I did use my egg timer. I did do good things. However, the time spent cleaning made such a tiny dent in the things that I wanted to address.
After this week, I have a better understanding of the problem, which is this: There is maintenance cleaning and there is deep cleaning.
Maintenance cleaning is the laundry, dishwashing, incoming mail, vacuuming, garbage, and recycling. Yet, all this stuff can easily take up those 15 minutes a day. So, after following this challenge for a week (or a month, or a year), you are no closer to where you want to be. The original challenge wasn’t supposed to be about this stuff.
Deep cleaning means dealing with all that stuff in your various junk drawers, all that stuff in piles or boxes, all that stuff that you don’t know what to do with. After you take care of this stuff, your life becomes simpler and happier. The physical clutter is hidden in the back of a closet is manifested as clutter that you carry in the back of your head.
I am extending this challenge for two more weeks and I am adding a new rule. The new rule is that you have to spend at least half of your time doing non-maintenance cleaning.
Remember, organizing isn’t import because it helps you find your stuff. Organizing is important because it helps you find your peace. (I just made that up. It sounds famous. Doesn’t it?)
For this challenge, you have a week to memorize all the numbers for your primary credit card, checking account, driver license, and social security. (Am I missing anything?) Maybe you already know all these of these, or maybe you just moved, got married, opened a new account, and went into witness protection.
When I used to know this stuff, it came it handy. These days, the Internet remembers these for me, which is nice until I visit a new site or when I try to use my credit card over the phone. It is strange that I still know more of my old long-gone numbers than my current numbers, but NOT FOR LONG! In one week, I will know them all! Hopefully, so will you!
Excuses are the biggest obstacle to adopting and maintaining good habits.
For this reason, these “Do Something Everyday” challenges are easier than a “Do Something Three Times a Week” challenge. The absolute nature of these “Do Something Everyday” challenges apply tremendous positive force to integrate new habits into your life. They are bulletproof to excuses. You can’t say, “Maybe I’ll skip today and do it tomorrow instead.”
There is a flip side to this though. The problem with these “Do Something Everyday” challenges is that every once in a while you will really, really need to skip a day. That skipped day isn’t even that big a problem. The problem is the day after that and the day after that. As soon as the challenge loses it absolute nature, it looses its teeth.
This is like the dieter that has two pieces of chocolate cake, and then says, “Oh well. My diet is ruined. I might as well have a few more pieces.”
Failing one day does not mean that you have failed the challenge. It means that things just got harder and it is up to you to overcome, persist, and prevail.
Before you start a personal challenge, make up sensible rules and even escape clauses. For example, if you are trying to give up caffeine:
- “I can have X units caffeine if I’ve had less than Y hours of sleep” is a sensible rule.
- “I can have X units of caffeine if I am driving and staying awake is a safety concern” is a sensible rule.
- “I can have caffeine if I’ve had a bad day” is the type of bad rule you would make up in the middle of a bad day. Don’t let yourself do this.
So, make your rules first and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t give up. You haven’t failed. Stay the course and try harder.
… For a Week.
Get an egg timer! You will be amazed at how powerful an egg timer is at helping you to start doing work that you don’t want to do. You would also be amazed that each 15 minute commitment will usually effortlessly build momentum and continue for two, three, or four times longer than that.
For one day, choose something that has gotten out of hand. For the next, pick something easier. Alternate after that.
Organise. Simplify. De-clutter. Find peace.
For the sake of my slowing imploding apartment, I am looking forward to a week of this challenge!
Researchers found that people with gum disease were two-and-a-half times more likely than those with healthy gums to experience a medical “event” related to heart disease.
This challenge is to floss everyday for two weeks. You know you should. You remember all the things that your dentist tells you with every visit. You want to grow old with your teeth. It isn’t hard. It doesn’t take long. So, why not?
Now for the clarification on that “two-and-a-half times more likely to have a heart attack” statistic: Statistics lie. Although there are several theories that could explain a causal link. In truth, many of the risk factors for heart disease and the risk factors for gum disease are the same. When you try to factor out these common risk factors out of the data, there is not enough correlation in these studies’ sample sizes to confirm causality.