Friday, July 07, 2006

30 Day Trial for Regular Exercise

Steve Pavlina proposes a good technique for installing new habits. It is analogous to the shareware industry which allows you to try it before you buy it. Similarly, Pavlina suggests, when you want to adopt a new habit, without fretting about it and its impact of doing it forever, to make a commitment to adopt it for 30 days. And at the end of the 30 days, you can asses the benefits and decide whether you will continue with it or abandon it.

The mentality of starting something for 30 days is it will lessen the enormousness of the task. When we want to try something new, we usually get scared on the idea of doing it forever. But if we set our mind to do it only for 30 days, this initial resistance will be lesser as our mind will think of it as a temporary habit and will have less resistance for the first 30 days. But by the end of the 30 days, it should have got installed as a new habit.

I was thinking of areas that I can personally apply this principle in my life. One area that I really need to develop a habit is in regular exercise. Hence I decided to adopt this habit building method for exercising.

I have started exercising several times in the past but for some reason or the other, everytime I gave up after sometime. The last reason being my exercise machine broke down!

But this time I am going to start an exercise regime that is not dependent on any machine. And I will make it public as well. I will update on this blog everyday about my progress. This way I am adopting two methods of installing a new habit. the 30 day trial method and the public credibility. I will at least exercise to keep my credibility in public.

Hopefully, after 30 days, this would have become a habit!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Having a good day, everyday

This is a concept that is very valid. We are conditioned to think in terms of accomplishments and we spend a lot of our time, locked in tasks that we absolutely are not enjoying. We do these tasks targeting a goal and we forget to live each day in the process.

I wrote on this topic a few weeks earlier as well, but at that point I was concentrating on finding enjoyment in everyday tasks. But another thought hit me. What if we populate our days with things that we enjoy doing? What if we do things that we like doing and set our goals in such a way, that they are achievable by doing tasks that we enjoy doing. Doing that will help us come up with goals that are more congruent with the tasks that we enjoy, and the goals itself will be more congruent with our inner self.

There are a few basic things that you need to set in order to have a good day everyday. If you are stuck in a job that you hate, or hate your boss or your co-workers, I don't think you will be successful in having a good day. If that is the case, then may be you should look for a change. I know this personally because for a while I was in a job that I absolutely hated. It was such a relief to change that job and I found an immediate increase in my happiness levels and effectiveness. So find a job that would mean something for you. According to Stephan Covey a person looks to fulfill 4 aspects through their work, body/mind/mental/spiritual. Look for a job that fulfils all four aspects for you.

If you find this job, then that will solve a greater part of the equation for you. After finding this job, or converting your job to fulfill these aspects you need to look at ways to convert your tasks to enjoyable tasks. Some of the things like doing small tweaks to your environment, etc will help in some ways. You can find tips for these in Steve Pavlina's article here. Here Steve actually speaks of ways in which you can get more enjoyable tasks done in a day. I guess you can take that as a guide and come up with a list of things that you may like to include in your day. A few things that I enjoy having each day is the time that I spend with my family, specially my wife. I enjoy the time I spend driving to and from work with her. This is our private time that we talk about a lot of things.

In the mornings we talk of what we intend to do in the day and the evening ride is spent talking about how the day went off. This time is very important as it is the time that we spend on strengthening our relationship, finding out what's going on in each others work lives. This also frees up our evening for deeper level of communication!

In my view it is far more productive to enjoy the process rather than to focus on the end result. If you are going to spend the majority of your time locked in things that you don't enjoy for a few minutes of glory, you should really question the rationale behind your thinking. Your life is essentially the combination of all that time, not just a few moments of glory. So is it really worthwhile to sacrifice your life for a few moments of glory?