Habits – Part I

The 16 Daily habits by Krato’s Guide (modified) – Incorporated

exercise1. Exercise – Exercise is a MUST! As you maintain a regiment of exercise your body fat percentage drops, your flexibility and strength increase, your lifespan extends, your immune system is bolstered, you maintain your youth longer, you carry over a sustained vigor to other parts of your life, your resting heart rate goes down, and you have a general feeling of well-being.

But do you have to do this every day? That seems strenuous. Try expanding your definition – You don’t give it your 100% every day. Some days may be 10 minutes of simple light stretching, just to keep the habit. Other days may be 2.5 hour monster gym sessions.

Author of 4 hour work week, Tim Ferris has found out that if you cannot work out, grab a racket-ball and bounce up and down on the ground vigorously as you walk so that blood in your body gets circulated accordingly.

mediation2. Meditation – This habit is invaluable. You need to meditate. Think about what part of the human experience spirituality addresses – the ego and fear – two concepts that would benefit you SO much to control. This includes prayers and for non-Christians, there are tons of different meditation methods. Just search Google and pick the one you desire.

Practice – Start meditating or do prayers every day. The evidence is in by a landslide, both anecdotally and empirically. Meditation will change your life so start today, any reason you may have for not trying is an excuse.

Once you get the hang of it you will leave your meditation sessions feeling centered, calm, and relaxed. It has an ego-lessening effect and awareness increasing effect that spills over to your everyday life. If you keep up the practice you’ll notice that your focus and attention span increases dramatically, as does your sight and sound sensitivity. Brain regions associated with attention, interception and sensory processing will literally become thicker.

In the long term, meditation offers a ‘profound transformation of how you experience reality’ It will bring you joy, peace, and happiness. This is real and you need to be doing it.

reading3. Reading – If you read the right books you will be moved, inspired, and motivated.

Think about what you expose yourself to. There’s a million shitty blogs on the internet written by whomever. But then there are books out there that will change your life. Books that the most gifted human beings on earth have spent years writing. A lifetime of experiences, insights, and lessons learned given to you in a nice handheld easily digestible form.

You start this habit at a half hour a day. Then increase about an hour a day or more depends on your schedule and fatigue factor. With a constant flow of information in, you increase your ability for information to flow out (applying knowledge to your life).

Reading is an easy habit to put off and you need to make it a priority. If you’re not regularly reading then you may start to fall asleep as you pick up a book. Your mind is not conditioned properly and you need to force yourself through that period. Your reading speed and comprehension do pick up over time – just stick to it.

creative4. Creative Recreation – People are going to approach this one very differently but if there is something you can sit down and do purely for your enjoyment than that’s awesome. Think of a flow state activity that you can put your full expression into. Playing an instrument is a form of creative recreation. If you’ve ever seen someone play the guitar or piano at an extremely high level in a nonperformance setting then you’ll know what I’m talking about. This is a long process to master. But you get out what you put in. Your amusements will leave you feeling rejuvenated and can often break up and lighten the day. As you invest in your hobbies you will get more and more out of them.

I generalized this habit as ‘creative recreation’ because I want to emphasize the fact that recreation is not a spectator sport. Vegetating on the couch watching commercials is not recreation.

nutrition5. Nutrition – As you build a productive life your ability to stay focused and have energy becomes very important. What you eat has a big effect on how you feel. If you eat right you can avoid energy crashes, fight off sickness, and generally just feel ‘good’.

I know that I’m definitely not the best person to give nutrition advice but the resources are out there. It should be obvious that what you put in your body is very important. Do yourself a favor and learn how your body works.

Do not eat sugar or processed food. Drink 1.5L of water a day and make an extra effort to eat more plant based foods. I supplement my diet with fish oil etc. I think what’s most important though is that you proactively decide what you put in your body. Make the time to cook your meals, keep your fridge stocked, and don’t buy convenience food.

TimeTrackerIcon6. Reasonable Spending – Like nutrition, this habit is more of a choice you make rather than an active investment of your time. It’s pretty straight forward, every day I try to manage my money reasonably.  Use mint.com to track your money and educate yourself on personal finance.

Apply the concept of reactivity/proactively to your spending and you have an excellent framework for managing your money. Did you plan on making this purchase? If not then don’t do it. The nature of planning a purchase is that it is in line with your goals and budget. The nature of making an impulsive/reactive purchase is quite the opposite, ‘it is right here and will satisfy me right now’ (mostly consumer/convenience items)

7. Brain Buster + Current Events – Part of my morning routine is to check out the economist, my local news site, or the New York Times and read two or three articles. Given my background and where I want to go in life it is going to serve me well to be informed and have the ability to notice trends and understand the complexity of global issues.

Every day challenge yourself to solve one difficult problem. It is okay if you cannot get the answer right away.  Keep using the brain. Download repository of IQ, Mensa, brain buster type books that would take a lifetime to work through or try to figure out some magic routines. Some problems you can solve in five minutes others may take longer until I break down and look at the solution.

If you run a business or are any kind of decision making authority (or eventually want to be in that position) then I can’t vouch enough for this habit. You need to be sharp and informed period.

soical8. Social – This is very critical, especially if you are a shy person. Every day make an effort to advance your social skills. Your ability to communicate effectively with human beings has so many implications in your personal and professional life. Texting is okay but if done as your primary communication, you will not progress to next level.  (As recently as of Jan 2013, I used texting as my primary way to communicate with potential love interest and it got so out of whack bad.  Needless to say, texting gives off wrong context and it is better to meet face to face or make that phone call directly)

You got to try few different things. Focus on listening first, read about body language and do some eye contact exercises. Regardless, going out and just talking to people trumps all when it comes to developing your social skills.

personal manage9. Personal Management – This is the easiest of all habits to implement. Just 10 minutes a day and your bachelor pad are looking clean and fresh. Not many long term benefits here except maybe you don’t lose your possessions as often and they have and increased lifespan. Ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui so that your house is clutter free and brings good luck to your life.

 

kaart10. Project 1, 2 or more times a week – I set aside a two hour minimal block twice a week to work on a personal project. This could be fleshing out a business feasibility plan, recreating my weightlifting routine, catching up on some reading, creating a budget, doing research, or writing this mega post. Right now, the project I am involved in would be this website and always thinking about how to create more value to my community.

At the beginning of each week choose what two projects you should plan to work on and within the week find time to fit them in. Use this habit as a way of revitalizing old projects that are collecting dust or to begin something new that you’ve been thinking about but haven’t got around to.

The effects this habit has on your short and long term productivity are enormous.

podcastIcon1111. Podcast/TED Talk/University Lecture – If you’re a thinking human being with a desire for knowledge then you should be listening to podcasts, watching ted talks and viewing the thousands of lectures professors and researchers have on the internet.

If you engaged yourself with this material every day, what would the long term effects be? Besides a vast and varied wealth of knowledge you would begin to draw disciplines together. Your understanding and awareness would grow so large that the value and wisdom you could offer other people would be incredible.

*For a practical tip, throw a queue of talks you’re interested in on your iPod and listen while exercising.

Language-icon12. Language – If you are planning large part of your life travelling, learn the language of the country you are planning to visit. If you expect to live another 50/60 years of life on this earth then imagine the lifetime of opportunities and experiences other languages may open you up to. Don’t cut yourself off.

I am already bi-lingual but I know learning Spanish or Italian would be huge if I am planning extensive trips to those countries.  This could be an option if you are already too busy with other list on these habits.

PlanIcon13. Plan the next day – This is so crucial and I have never written it down since I have everything planned in my head.

Note that there is a small learning curve to this as you figure out a system that works for you. Maybe you like to manage your timetable through your phone, or maybe you just pencil out what you do on a list. Whatever the method it must satisfy two requirements: 1) The document must be easily accessible to you throughout the day, and 2) it must specify approximate times when you will complete each task.

It’s pretty simple. When you have some time to think with a clear mind you plan out what you want your next day to look like you do it. The time you know you have to yourself (mornings usually) you can set a more ridged structure than the times where there are many variables as to what you may be doing.

The plan is your servant, not your master. Never get upset if things don’t go the way you thought – it’s just a guideline to keep you on track. Lost time, interferences, failing to execute out of laziness or apathy, unforeseen events, all of this will happen. Don’t be worried, the element of proactivity you introduce into your life by planning your days out already places you way ahead.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your primary goal is not to be efficient. It is to be effective. Don’t be so worried about having some intense schedule that will burn you out quickly. Allow a good amount of time for transitions and even more for other forms of time you will use organically. If you have in your head a picture of someone ruthlessly triaging priorities, feverishly executing tasks and running around from one item to the next then you should rethink your understanding. As you go through your day you will apply yourself to each activity wholly and with everything you’ve got. You will take things slow and execute with passion, care and effort not with haste or carelessness.

sleep14. Sleep – If you’ve ever studied sleep you know that your body goes through approximate 90 minute cycles (from deep sleep to REM sleep), you know the amount of light you are receiving effects your bodies melatonin production, you know that what you eat before bed can affect your sleep, and you also know that sound can disrupt your sleep. You know that sleep plays an integral role in learning and memory. You are also aware that the human body associates certain surroundings or conditions with sleep (think when you walk into a bathroom you feel like you have to pee.

Sleep is so dependent on each person’s body.  I have seen some people get complete good night’s deep REM sleep without interruption for 4 to 6 hours a night.  I also have seen some people needing 8 plus hours.  In general however, 8 hours of good sleep is recommended by doctors.

profes15. Professional Development – You’re either working in the industry you want to be in or you’re not. Either way you should spend some of your day developing the skills necessary to succeed in the industry you want to be in.

I am in Information Technology field and I have to learn new system every two years to update my skill sets from Cisco, Microsoft, or Google.  If you are already in health related field, you also have to recertify in new technology as well.  Doctors, nurses, even therapists have to learn new stuff every few years.

If you’re already in the industry of your dreams then you should never stagnate. Constantly focus on learning new material, keeping up with trends, observing competitors, or expanding your professional reputation. Focusing on this will allow you to offer more value in whatever you do and will facilitate success.

research16. Journal + Research – Keep a journal and update it every day.

I have never kept the journal and year 2013, I vowed myself to writing a journal each and every day.

What is a journal? A journal is a place where you write out your thoughts and then look back at them and ponder. You then write about what you thought of your thoughts and think about that. (Meta-meta cognition) Do you see how this can be a valuable tool for personal insight and growth?

This isn’t a high school dairy. It’s a tool you use to track your thoughts, expand on insights, accelerate your growth, and look back on your progress. Why write about it? The very act of consciously creating syntax to your thoughts can help you become more rational and can facilitate problem solving in your life.

There is a second part to your journal writing ritual that you need to engage in has to be the research. As you make discoveries and insights you should seek out truth and guidance. We have the internet and it is an amazing tool for feedback.

Our parent’s generation had to live with misinformation their whole lives. Our generation enjoys the luxury to – with incredible ease – access the forefront of human knowledge in the snap of a finger. Use this luxury to fuel your growth.

Read part 2 here

These habits are from Krato’s guide.  Part II, I will show you how these can be integrated to our daily lives effectively – SjC

2 Responses to “Habits – Part I”

  1. Chris Todd February 1, 2013 at 1:30 am Permalink

    The habit forming daily activity on here is not an easy one. I have selected few that I could incorporate into my life immdiately.

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  1. Bala - March 19, 2013

    Good stuff

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