My ideal daily routine

#72/100

“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

I was going to talk about my dream life today but thought that’s too vague a topic to discuss. For some people, their dream life would be to own a mansion and live like a princess for the rest of my life (people like me!). Let me narrow my thought process to a daily routine, the ideal one. What do you absolutely need to do in a day to have a feeling of fulfilment at the end of it? Have you been struggling to implement certain habits in your routine that’s sure to benefit you in the long run? I sure have. What makes you struggle with these habits and you end up delaying it every single day? In my case, the regret of not following a good routine piles up every single day and ends up frustrating me one fine day to the point of absolute resentment towards my lack of discipline.

Since we have established, motivation does little to achieve our goals. Pushing ourselves to have disciplined life ensures a happy life, fulfillment of goals (short and long term) and increased self esteem. These sound great, yet I’m unable to be consistent with my routine, what should I do? Try to recollect the first time you tried to imbibe a new habit into your life. The first few days are a struggle, once we get past the first month, our body reacts to the activity on an auto pilot mode. Once we reach that stage, absence of that activity in our routine makes us feel incomplete.

Although I’ve read many articles on the exact number of days to create a new habit. As per research it’s 21 days. However, I’ve quit many activities even after consistently following it for 21 days. My exercise schedule was set after a month. Blogging daily also became a part of my routine after a month. I guess, a month works best for me.

Now comes the struggle part. The first month is filled with doubts, confusion and irritation. After few days, we really begin to question ourselves if we actually need to put ourselves through so much trouble to stick to a routine. This is then time we need to distract our selves, use positive self talk, use any/all tricks in the book to continue the routine next day. What really works for me is to take each day as it comes. The big goal looks humungous when we are struggling to follow it every day. We need to take each day as it comes and just try to stick to completing the schedule set for the day.

I wish to achieve the below long term goals in life :-

  • Early riser
  • Reader
  • Best shape of my life (Mentally and physically)
  • Knowledgeable
  • Happy with my job

I intend to stick to a routine for the next 30 days to make powerful habit beneficial in achieving the above long term goals. I’ll see you at the end of 30 days to discuss my experience and outcome of this routine.

Disciplined like a soldier

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

#71/100

We all know that the best way to ensure fulfillment of all your goals is to be disciplined about it. If we put in work daily on our long term goals, we subconsciously build a routine out of it without expecting immediate results. Little work daily compounds to huge results in the end. I’m sure we know all of this, yet we are lazy to implement it.

I was recently going through a lot of articles on the rigorous training soldiers have to go through in the military. They are trained to face the worst challenges in life and it’s made sure that they are mentally strong enough to do it. It’s one thing to train the body and a whole different task to train the mind. But once our mind is trained to be mentally strong for the worst, our defense during tough times is stronger.

Let me list down few key traits of a military training schedule that can cause an extraordinary transformation in the quality of our life.

  • The soldiers are trained to wake up early :- The soldiers usually wake up at 5 am and they are taught to start their day at the same time everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever done this in my entire life. My wake up timings have always been inconsistent. Imbibing this quality in my life could give me a lot of extra time on hands to invest in my personality development. I’ve been trying to create a visualization/gratitude and meditation practice. This is the perfect way to start my day in the best manner possible. I’m slowly working on bringing this into practice. I hope to be habituated by the end of this month.
  • They have a fixed schedule for every activity :- Their daily schedule is pre decided and the soldiers need to show up before time for each activity. Procrastination, laziness and delays are not an option for the soldiers, No matter what they do, they have to stick by the schedule. This is one area which I’ve struggled with most of my life. I somehow underestimate my laziness and overestimate the time on hand which results into a dangerous situation of procrastination. I’ll put more effort to be punctual with all my personal and professional commitments.
  • They push their limits every day :- Giving up is not an option when you are training to save the country from enemy attacks. They are trained for the worst and prepared to be mentally strong in front of any adversities in life. In case they are unable to perform a given task in one go, they are made to do it as many times it takes till they achieve success at it. Giving up is not an option. The challenges get tougher with each passing day and so does their mind. Whenever I have a big task at hand, my initial response is mostly self doubt to the extent of giving up. I never believe I can perform a seemingly unbelievable task unless I start it. This made me realize that any difficult task seems impossible only until we start it. Once we start a task, our mind copes up with the stress and negative self talk with every minor win. That’s why we need to be consistent with any change we wish to bring to our life.
  • Their mind is trained to exercise self control :- I can achieve a lot more goals in life only if I can control my wandering mind. More than external forces, our internal forces (mind, body, heart) can make or break a person’s success in life. The mind is amazing if used as a tool used to help humans achieve their goals and be happy. Yet, most of the times, our mind plays the role of the biggest antagonist in out life. The only intention of our mind is to safeguard our survival. I couldn’t believe that I could do a lot of things in life till I started the process. Everything else fell into place and in my favor once I pushed myself to be consistent with my work. I’ll work on pushing my limits, be it running an extra round or waking up early, to make my mind, my biggest cheerleader in life.

October is surely turning out to be the month where I make small yet consistent efforts to transform my life. I’ll try my best to imbibe these personality trails and have a lot more checkboxes on my goal list in future. I’ll post my progress by the end of October.

Start your day right

#50/100

“Inaction only makes a task more daunting in your eye. Act quickly, before you overthink, get anxious or give up.”

― Avina Celeste

Clearly I’m not an expert who can advise you on how to get your work done and be productive in life. I have dealt with chronic procrastination before. I still can be quiet an annoying procrastinator and terribly lazy at times. Over the years, I have come across few tricks that have worked well for me to complete my tasks well before time and get a good night’s sleep knowing that I have been productive today.

Although I have a good sleep schedule, I can’t avoid negative thoughts on those nights where I feel I have been unproductive throughout the day. This has happened with me almost all my life. When I was a student, I loved making schedules and timetables to study. But I never understood why I was always unable to stick to those timetables. I know now that it was my anxiety acting up and building unnecessary stress and fear in me to work on my tasks. I wish I had this realization back in the days. It would have definitely help me make better use of my time.

Well, it’s better late than never. I have picked up few techniques from my experiences that help get my work done, at least in most cases. I’m still the same person with a better ability to fight the evils of anxiety, fear and laziness.

The thing that works best for me is preparing a ‘to-do list’. Yes, I still get excited while preparing schedules. Preparing a to-do list helps me organize my tasks on a sheet of paper (you can use any method) so that I have a fair idea of tasks on hand (than leave it to the mercy of my unpredictable memory). I really wish to jot down a to-do list every night for the next day to be mentally prepared for each new day. Now this is something I really need to push myself to do. Next up, start before you can think. Yes, you have your to-do list in place which gives you an idea of the work you have to do during the day, pick one task (possibly the most difficult one) and start right away. You can spend some time on thinking of ways to get it done in the best possible manner but I tend to slag around and waste my time when I do this. On most weekends, starting from Saturday, I used to wake up late and then sleep some more till I came back to my senses at the end of Sunday. My weekends started getting more productive once I created a early morning running schedule and forced myself to stick to it each time. Once I got the most difficult thing done first thing in the morning on a weekend, the rest of the day just passed by blissfully. I am a morning person, I like to get to work first thing in the morning as those are my most productive hours. For night owls, I suggest you understand your productive hours and complete your work during that period of time. The last and most important thing that works for me is to plan well ahead of time. I hate last minute jitters, trust me when I say that it doesn’t help in the quality of work at all. I have shrugged off work to the last minute all my life and ended up with a feeling of extreme dissatisfaction at the end of it. It’s better to pre-plan your work and add it to your to-do list each day so that you are able to work on it bit by bit each day.

That’s about it! These are the ways I’m sticking to currently to avoid that nagging feeling of disappointment at the end of each day. Hope it helps you in some way or the other. Do let me know if it does!