The quality of the life you are living right now is simply a reflection of your habits. This blog is about how small, consistent efforts towards habit change and cultivation can enrich your lives and help you live life the way you should – like a boss :)
How do you think your parents converse with each other about you when you’re not around? Do you think it genuinely brings a smile to their faces when they ponder about you?
Many times, our intentions are right. You really do want to make your parents happy. But the sad truth is that nothing happens unless you put in some effort. My head would always be clouded with these, “Only if they understood…..” or “Why can’t they think from my perspective” complaints.
The act of making people feel that they can turn things around however pressing life seems to be.
I’m certain that everyone has got memories of good days and not so good ones. I remember days when my girlfriend screamed at me or when nothing seemed to be going my way. You won’t believe me but merely a good remark from a bystander or pedestrian is enough to make your day. In fact, encouraging words, however few they may be can turn your worst days into good ones. Therefore, Encouragement is hidden in the simplest of ways.
Just imagine if we lived in a world where everybody strived to encourage their neighbors. What a wonderful world it would be! Although a change of such magnitude is unimaginable, you can initiate that change. Change starts with you.
We’ve all been there. Eating when we’re hungry, and eating when we are not so hungry. Well, the latter is not that good.
Habits are the building blocks of your life. Learn all about habits in a nutshell here.
Binge eating happens for various reasons. Mostly it’s because people formerly developed bad eating habits. Later emerged this feeling of captivity: something like, “I feel like myself only if I wipe out the ice cream box.” As a result, a vicious cycle of guilt is created and recreated. Guilt is a catalyst for more binge eating.
Many times, people blame themselves and the environment for their binge eating. They seldom ponder upon how changing habits can help in overcoming binge eating forever.
Dr. Walter Paul of the Cornell University came up with the idea of the Cornell Notes method. Using the Cornell notes taking strategy, you can organize and understand your notes better than ever before. As a result, you can get better grades with ease.
By homework I mean, getting your notes ready. The Cornell note taking method requires you to draw kind of an off-center I, (the alphabet). Leave around 25% of the page’s space to the left of the I.
Make sure you have all the stationery you need to take notes. You don’t want to look around for a pencil at the cost of losing out on the valuable stuff your professor says.
Here’s how you can find out if the habits you have developed so far in your journey of life build you or break you.
Phase 2: Get Down to Business
Get the best seat in the house! Sit in front of the class. It doesn’t matter what they think of you. You want to get better grades, so you must pay the price. Consequently, you will be able to see the board better and hear your teacher clearer, which aids in your note-taking.
Write the date and the name of the chapter or subunit at the top of the page. Therefore, retrieving lost portions becomes easier.
As the class commences, start noting down on the right-hand side of your page. Look to capture ideas, not stories. Condense your points as much as possible. Use abbreviations whenever possible. Use arrows, zigzag lines or anything to help you get a gist of the concept. If a particular figure or an equation is found elsewhere (on a textbook or YouTube) give yourself hints such as, “The Bernoulli Formula: look it up. etc.”
Learn to paraphrase. You don’t have to write down exactly what the professor says. As long as you get the core notion, you’re doing well.
Your objective is to connect ideas, not paint a rosy picture of the lecturer’s words.
When you can’t stay apace with your teacher, leave a few lines. Try to focus on the concept on hand. As a result, you can maximise what you learn from the class. You can copy from someone else’s notes later.
Skip lines when you begin to jot down a new idea. This will help you make better sense of your notes in the future.
Get to work ASAP. Consolidate on your notes when the portions are still fresh in your head. Hence, this process becomes less painful.
Work on your rough ideas. Build on your leads. Look up other resources if you have to. Upon doing that, the right-hand side of your page will have all the information you acquired.
Now on the left-hand side, write down questions relevant to what you learned. When you try to frame a question from the text you just wrote about, you understand it better. You can figure out various ways the same content could appear on your test. Most importantly, your revision becomes more efficient.
Now at the bottom, summarize the page. Ask yourself, “If I were to teach my friend this idea or set of ideas in a sentence or two, how would I do it.” Flex your writing muscles and come up with the most concise version of what you have written. Therefore, your summary must deliver all of the core ideas while remaining impressively short.
Time management is life management. Click here to learn how you can develop amazing time – management habits.
Phase 4: Revision
Revision helps you with retention. Revision also takes the stress off of you before your tests. You can remember better and comprehend more too. As a result, your learning becomes both fun and beneficial.
Read through your notes, and this time try to answer the questions without glancing at the right half of your page. Read through the summaries and understand how your ideas are connected.
Habits are the building blocks of your life. Learn all about habits in a nutshell here.
To Cornell or Not to Cornell
The Cornell notes taking strategy places emphasis on understanding rather than rote learning. As a result, you ask yourself how or why something happens. This helps you gain real knowledge that you can apply in practical applications.
Revision becomes a mere flicking through pages thanks to the Cornell method. Your summaries help you understand stuff super-fast.
Make Cornell note taking a habit, and you will reap the rewards in no time.
I spent a considerable amount of time finding the perfect formula to wake up early. I tried many methods and in the process, developed some of my own. There are several excellent tips on the internet. Initially, when I sought out to wake up early, I would kind of get overwhelmed with all of the hacks out there. That is why I’ve stuck to chalking out just four habits.
When you wake up early, you get a head start on your day. As a result, you get extra time to shower, to dress and to prepare yourself a healthy breakfast.
Most importantly, you get some time to yourself. You can connect and reconnect with your short-term and long-term goals. You can use this opportunity to remind yourself why you’re in a particular job or course. This time of acknowledgment helps prepare your mind to attain maximum productivity.
Social encounters help us know more about the world. The more you talk to people, the more information you can acquire about the ever-changing world.
Be it any field, from sports to computer programming to even learning the guitar, the simple act of conversing with your peers adds more value to your craft than anything else.
There are tons of opportunities around us hidden in people. That career shift you’re looking for or that unique formula to crack your derivation. They are all around us, waiting to be picked up by you or instead by your social habits. Thus, your social habits play an instrumental role in accelerating your way to success.
We’ve compiled a list of straightforward and easy to implement social habits. (#5 is our favorite)
Have an Eye on Eye Contact
They say that your “eyes are the windows to your soul.” When you look into a person’s eyes, you are indirectly telling them, “Continue talking :). I’m really interested in what you have to say.
Moreover, maintaining eye contact also tells people that you’re a good listener. This way, you can build trust with your listeners. Moreover, good eye contact helps you win the trust of your listener. Consequently, they will want to talk to you more.
Learn to Empathize
Try to kind of predict how your listener might react to what you’re about to say because many factors affect your listener’s reaction to your comments.
Your listener could be getting over the loss of a loved one, and this definitely wouldn’t be a good time to talk about what your dad gifted you.
Engaging in a conversation without empathizing increases risks of social awkwardness, and that person might very well not want to talk to you again.
Click here to learn more about the art of empathy.
Complements are great icebreakers. Something simple like, “Hey, I love that sweater you’re wearing.” does the trick.
Complementing lightens up the possible tension between the two of you. As a result, this makes your listener feel at ease.
Look to it that your compliment is as genuine as possible. Even if you have to make something up, craft something that’s believable. Furthermore, empathyhelps you come up with natural complements.
Work on your verbal skills
If you lack the confidence to talk to strangers, you must hone your verbal skills.
Ring up a friend, or have a monologue in front of the mirror. Work on inflections; they add more appeal to your talk.
Don’t ever memorize scripts or dialogues. Instead, learn to deal with situations.
The more confident you are, the better you can maneuver through conversation road-blocks.
Don’t let interruptions interrupt their flow
“Hey, you were talking about how you got tickets to the Knicks game. You mentioned something about the overcooked turkey. I would love to hear the rest of the story.” This makes people super happy.
The air gets awkward and uncomfortable when your listener is interrupted.
Therefore, by not letting interruptions disrupt their conversational flow, you can make your listeners feel wanted and special.
How to Develop The habits mentioned above:
Repetition helps you get habituated. Keep repeating and learning along the way. Repetition leaves certain imprints on your subconscious mind. Consequently, you will find it extremely simple to execute the above social hacks.
I learned a way to develop habits with ease. Do try this method.
Those are five quirky habits you can work on to step up your social game.
Changing your habits is the penultimate route to success.
If you’re not convinced why you must change your habits, click here.
I’ve done tons of research on this particular topic and my favorite method is one prescribed by Charles Duhigg in his book, “The Power Of Habit”.
So Charles mentions that every habit loop consists of three elements namely:
A cue is anything that triggers that urge in you to carry out a specific habit.
The routine is the habit itself.
The reward is a psychological feeling associated with the completion of the routine. The reward is what tells the brain that a particular habit loop is worth remembering.
How The Habit Loop Fitted Into My Life
I’m a huge table tennis fan, and there was this one point in my life when I would play ping pong anytime anywhere. I mean it’s alright to have a passion for sport. There are times when I would stay up all night playing ping pong. It affected my productivity and sleep patterns. I knew that this was a bad habit (as it deteriorated the health pillar of my life).
Click here to find out if your habits are gambits or bandits.
Now the cue of my habit was simple: just walking past the ping pong table. Every time I walk past the table, I get an uncontrollable urge to pick my racket up and start playing with anyone.
To generalize, a cue is anything that you see, think, feel or hear prior to having an urge to carry out the routine. Now my cue was seeing the table.
Now the reward is the feeling you experience upon carrying out the routine.
After I’m done playing, I feel exhausted and kinda peaceful as I can sleep much faster than not playing in the first place.
Finding out what reward is being provided by your habit can be a tricky thing to do. A simple way to discover the reward you crave is to resist the urge to indulge in your routine. You might feel restless or irritated; hence your reward is an antidote to all that.
Note that different habits have various rewards.
So that’s how habits work. I cited the table tennis example to show how the habit loop worked.
Here’s How You Can Design Your Own Habits
An interesting feature of the habit loop is that the craving for your reward is what makes you want to carry out the routine.
I mean once you get habituated to something, only a subjection to your cue is enough to put yourself in the mental state to complete your routine.
Make sure to select a unique and simple cue. Cues are an integral part of the habit loop, so pick an appropriate cue. Write out a crunch statement so as to remind you of what you must do.
I call this a crunch statement as this tells you exactly what you need to do, how and when.
“When the alarm goes off, (CUE), I work out for an hour (ROUTINE), and get a smoothie (REWARD).”
For example, let’s say you want to develop a habit of running every evening at 5. Your cue could an alarm or a reminder on your phone. The routine is the work you put into jogging or hiking.
This is where it gets interesting. You can choose anything you enjoy doing as your reward. If you love smoothies, reward yourself a smoothie every time you complete your planned workout.
Some Points to Remember
When you are just setting out to form your new habit, keep thinking about the rewards (smoothie in this case). Visualise its coldness or the crunchiness of the chocolate.
Imagine how your smoothie tastes. As a result, you have a genuine craving that you can satisfy only by running.
You’re essentially telling your mind that if you want that scrumptious drink, you must run.
After a couple of iterations of the habit loop, as soon as the alarm goes off, you will find it easier to start your workout. Therefore, you’re getting habituated.
You must be cautious to not have smoothies on any other occasion. This is a unique reward for your unique habit, and having smoothies for any other reason will destroy the need for your brain to habitualize working out.
Using this HABIT-ROUTINE-REWARD formula, you can develop any habit you want, from becoming a better speaker to maintaining eye contact to anything.
Over time, you will become an expert in manipulating your rewards to match specific cues thus enabling to do whatever you want.
Consequently, you can achieve amazing things in life if you harness the power of habit formation.
There are other methods of habit formation, but I found this one to be the most retentive and easy.
I ended a three-year porn addiction as a result of the stuff I learnt about habits. Click here to read about my journey.