Break the chain

“And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them.”

-Charles Duhigg

Day 21/30

Ever since I started this challenge of blogging everyday in the month of April, not once have I been able to upload the blogpost during the course of the day. I procrastinate till the end of day, convince myself that “end of the day” is when my mind is at it’s creative best and somehow anxiously manage to upload the blogpost in the 9th hour. Same pattern goes with my reading habit too, I have been meaning to get in 50 pages of a book everyday but I procrastinate it every single day. I have been following a similar pattern with my goal of waking up early as well. My goal has always been to wake up at 5 am but these days I’ve got into the habit of sleeping late and eventually waking up between 7.30 am to 8.30 am in the morning.

When I think back to how I was able to consistently follow my fitness journey back in 2018, it was a deep resolve to lose weight and one decision that I stuck with the very next day, the decision to eat clean. I thought about it, planned to start with clean eating right away and broke the chain of junk food that very instant. The reason I was able to stick by it for a long time is because I gave my mind the confidence that I could do it by following that single thought of eating clean. I broke the chain of negative thought loop by one positive action.

It’s time that I make a change to my lifestyle once again. I’ve fallen into the loop of certain habits that are digressing me from my goal to alleviate my life to the next level. It’s time to break the chain by posting this blog during daytime. This is just the beginning, my aim is to get into a focused and goal oriented routine as soon as possible. This is my attempt to start the process of a lifestyle change. I’m super inspired by a fitness influencer named “Tanvi Parikh” who managed to change her life for the better and stuck by that decision for over 4 years now. Of course there are days we fall off the wagon but she has been consistent for most part of these 4 years. I wish to do the same, starting today.

I’m excited to begin this new journey. Here’s a post by Tanvi that I found to be extremely empowering. Hope it helps you too. This doesn’t just apply to fitness but any big lifestyle change that you wish to bring about.

Get over it

“You just can’t let life happen to you, you have to make life happen.”

― Idowu Koyenikan

Day 2/30

Today has been a pretty lazy day. I was so inactive throughout the day that I chose lying on the bed, thinking about nothing whatsoever over blogging despite making a commitment to myself (and my blog). For the longest time, I wanted to find a foolproof way to make my weekends productive. I know, we need to rewind and rest, that’s very essential for our physical as well as mental well being. However, I mindlessly waste my weekend, doing absolutely nothing and that makes me feel extremely guilty by the end of it. I don’t wish to have those extended guilt tripped thoughts anymore.

I know few ways (through years of watching ted talks, reading 100s of self help books and observing my thought patterns) to overcome the lazy mode and get around to do something. I know it’s weird that I still end up being unproductive when I am totally aware of the techniques to avoid it. The key here is “intention“. When you really wish to do something in life, you do it regardless of the hurdles and problems you face. When your mind has given up on you and your life, all you wish to do is “NOTHING“.

I’m sick of doing and feeling “nothing”. I don’t know my purpose in life yet but I do know that it would most definitely involve “experiencing life in it’s glory“. It’s challenging, hard, hectic but beautiful nevertheless. In order to do so, we need to may follow the below steps :-

  • Positive self talk/affirmations : Have you ever tried complimenting yourself in front of the mirror? Try it as soon as you can. It may seem a little awkward at first but soon you’ll get used to uplifting yourself than shredding yourself to pieces. Indulge in a little self care session of talking about your achievements, your goals, your skills, yourself in general. This will surely uplift your mood, charge you up for the day ahead and make you feel really great in your skin. You can add this as part of your daily routine (especially at bedtime) so that you wake up energized, ready to seize the day.
  • Make a to-do list : I cannot stress enough on the importance of this step. If we don’t know what we are supposed to do during the day, we end up wasting time doing nothing. It’s very important to be aware of your tasks for the day and the time slots to complete it. A to-do list prepared the night before gives you enough motivation to wake up in the morning and provides the direction to complete all your tasks in an efficient manner. “When in doubt, note it down!
  • Meditate and workout : These activities are known to make people happy, positive and energized. Doing it first thing after you wake up makes you feel productive right after staring your day and sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you are a beginner, try by doing it for just 5 mins each. You will most definitely feel better after it’s done and dusted. If you have done it before, be insanely consistent with it. No excuses!
  • Live in the present moment : Meditation helps in focusing our attention on our breath and ignore the chatterbox that lives rent-free in our mind. Journaling is a great way to rethink about the day, find out the highlights of the day and write it down for posterity. This simple yet powerful activity is sure to bring your attention back to the present moment. Procrastination is fear in disguise (at least in my case). When I fear that I might not be able to do a task, scared to attempt a new thing, avoid social interactions, fear that I might make a fool of myself in front of others, I procrastinate. Work on being confident in your own skin, do the things that scare you the most, attempt new things, this will help in developing your confidence, from scratch.
  • Cut out refined sugar : Sugar feels great for your taste buds but your body despises it. It makes you feel bloated, adds unnecessary weight to your mind and body, makes you feel lethargic, has zero nutrient value, pulls you ten steps backward from your fitness goals and breaks you out at times. Find out ways to avoid cravings. I used to crave something sweet after my lunch each day. I have started to drink green tea right after lunch to curb those cravings and so far it’s working well. Of course I lose track many times and eat beyond limits, but it’s great if you cut it out completely from your diet to feel better about yourself (mind and body).
  • Portion control your meals : It’s no suspense that eating excess food drags you down and makes you feel drowsy and lethargic. Be grateful for every meal and eat mindfully. Remember that food is a necessary fuel to help you survive. Don’t associate your happiness levels to the amount of food on your plate. Eat right and feel good throughout the day. I just saw a brilliant technique to avoid overeating online. 30 mins before your schedules meal, drink water so that you don’t confuse thirst with hunger.

I guess that’s all I have for today. I am going to follow these steps this moment onwards. I’m tired of living a directionless life and it’s high time that I change (for the better). Let’s do this!

A little extra effort

#77/100

Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.

-Wayne Dyer

I remember watching a show as a kid that had left a lasting impact on me. In the show, the main protagonist was a little girl who was an average student in school and had no friends. On her birthday, she invited her entire class for a party but not a single one paid visit to her home. Just before the end of the party, her doorbell rang. It was her favorite aunt who gave her a surprise visit. The little girl poured her heart out to her aunt and asked her why she was unable to make friends? Her aunt thought for a while and searched her purse to fish out a beautiful necklace with a butterfly pendant. The aunt told the kid that this was a magic necklace. The wearer of this necklace will have all their wishes fulfilled. But there’s a catch. In order for the magic to work, the the little girl had to ensure 3 things on her part :-

  • Always be kind and helpful to others
  • Be thankful for everything that you have in life
  • Work a little extra hard each time

The little girl was overjoyed with the gift and tried putting it to use right away. The next day in school, she offered help when a fellow classmate was stuck at a math problem. She smiled and said thanks to her teachers for looking after her in school. At home, she studied for an extra hour than usual to put the third rule into practice. Nothing really happened for the first 2 days. On the third day, a fellow classmate asked if she could sit next to her. She finally had someone to talk to in school!!! When the end term results were announced, she was surprised to find that she had topped the class. All the extra studying hours had finally paid off. Her kindness left a lasting impact on everyone and she quickly became everyone’s favorite in school.

We already know the benefits of being kind and grateful in life. I wish to elaborate on the third rule. This story sounds very basic now, but as a kid it motivated me to do well in school. A little extra effort today works a long way. Every human being has a self imposed limitation set by their mind. Yet, we find few people in our day to day life, who are way ahead than the rest and at the top of their game every single time. Are they born this way? Not exactly. Some people are surely born more talented than the rest. But, if they don’t work on their talent each day, someone else with average skills will move past them in the race of life. Talent cannot be developed but skill can be. We can learn and be good at any thing we put our mind to, only if we are willing to run the extra mile for it.

If you wish to live an extraordinary life, be prepared to work extraordinarily hard for it. I don’t want you to lose your food and sleep over it. Remember the exact moment when you feel like giving up or calling it a day, push yourself to sustain past this feeling for some more time. This can be applied to any aspect of life. Be it an extra lap during your morning run, reading few more pages of a book, reaching work a few minutes earlier than the rest or simply studying an extra chapter for the day. A little extra than your mental limitation, that’s all it takes to turn ordinary into “extra”ordinary!

Discipline > Motivation

#68/100

“A great way to develop self-discipline is to make it a habit to do the things you should be doing when you feel the laziest. Every time you feel really lazy, do the opposite of what you feel like doing.”

-Anonymous

I used to chase motivation before. I waited every single day to do a task that truly motivates me and that task never saw the light of the day. Motivation comes very rarely to me. Most of times I have to force myself to do work according to my schedule or requirement.

Mornings are tough these days. I don’t feel like waking up. I somehow feel stressed with my responsibilities at home and work. I feel like screaming from frustration most of the time. I am fighting a battle between my heart and mind everyday. My day is filled with work that doesn’t make me happy. I do get ample time but I feel too dejected to use it fruitfully.

Motivation is a very important factor to lead a productive life. However, it doesn’t work in our favor most of the time. The foolproof way of getting work done is to create a habit out of it. You create a to-do list for the day and get down to strike off every single item on the list. Big goals such as preparing for an exam or losing weight needs your consistent effort over a long period of time. In such cases, you cannot leave it to your will to decide if you are motivated enough to work on it for the day.

I’ve decided to try creating a morning routine which is a humongous challenge for me. I really wish to create a daily practice of visualization/gratitude, meditation and journaling. At the moment, my morning consists of me groggily waking up and zoning out for almost an hour, procrastinating my office work by wasting my time on the phone and rushing through the rest of the day as everything is already delayed by that time.

Since I’m a morning person, I’m contemplating to wake up 30 mins early each day till I’m habituated to wake up at 5 am everyday. I KNOW, SOUNDS INSANE RIGHT? I absolutely don’t find time to meditate and journal once I start my office work. This might be the best manner to squeeze out a little time each day for myself and work on things that’ll help improve my mental health and be beneficial in my goal to become a better version of myself.

I know I’m looking at a challenge that looks too difficult to accomplish. My weight loss was also one such impossible challenge which I succeeded only by being disciplined and making exercise and healthy eating a lifelong habit.

I’ll try my best to live up to this challenge. No better day to start it than the start of a new month. I’ll post about my experience with this challenge at the end of October. Till then, wish me luck!