As everyone knows, habits are important. They make you or undo you.
The past few years has seen huge shifts in my personal habits. Closer introspection seems to reveal that the neglect of certain good habits and the allowance of poor ones to take root have in aggregate led to a poorer version of myself that I would like to be.
Here are my list of habits:
Good Habits I’ve Lost That I Need To Get Back
1. Reading: before bed, for recreation and during breaks. Mainly fiction, or Pocket
As you can see below, I’m definitely reading less books than I used to. The majority of reading nowadays is school-based material, which is often dry and rarely has a long-term impact on my personal growth and life-based education. However, with the secession of USP modules which often pile such readings on you, my hope is that I’ll be reading more fiction in 2015. Also, I’ve been adding more articles to Pocket without following up on them. I still read a lot of online articles through feedly though, and I’ve read the most Reddit of my life last year. I think a good balance between all my recreational reading is necessary.
2. Writing: stories, blogging, journaling
Writing used to be so important to me, and defined who I am. The fact that I’ve stopped writing for personal fulfillment is really sad. Stories and blogging has given way to essays, and ephemeral Facebook brain farts. You can probably tell how rusty I am from the dry boring tone of this blog post. I’m hoping to blog at least once a week in 2015 just for writing and public reflection, and hopefully (though this has always proved to be difficult to maintain) journaling daily with Evernote. Also, I hope that I’ll find time to pen some short stories, just for fun. Writing a full-length novel at this point might be unrealistic so we’ll start with more manageable but still challenging goals.
3. Spiritual: Prayer, Bible reading, Attending Church
My parents would be happy to read this. Last year saw the complete secession of prayer and bible-reading. Church attendance was sporadic. Despite my still strong feelings that the Church as an institution is inadequate and often disappointing as a spiritual community, I think it is still important that this continues to be a part of life, imperfect as we all are. Praying daily before sleep would be a good start. I used to not be able to find a reason to pray – I felt that God had given me more than I could ask for or that he wouldn’t give me things that I wanted anyway. But maybe I should pray more for communion and thanksgiving, since I’ve noticed that He doesn’t entertain requests in the light of some bigger plan. I’ve given up on believing that my vision of my best life is what will be happening, but even then, maybe acceptance of my destiny doesn’t mean I should reject Him.
Bible reading is important, if only to keep in touch with my faith. I might also want to try reading the Quran on my shelf as well. I’ll probably start to attend church regularly next year, although extra commitments like joining a cell group remain on the table.
Waking Up Early
My sleeping time for the past four years has seen a gradual shift from 11pm to later than 1am and now to a general stabilisation of 1-2am. Waking up time has moved from 7am to 9-10am when I have no classes. This is very bad because it also messes up with the habit that I once created to exercise after waking up early. Waking up late takes exercise away from me as well. Sleeping early may result in the neglect of social activities, but I’ve noticed that my increased involvement in late-night socialising has not led to an appreciably stronger social network. I realise now that sleep is rarely worth sacrificing. Tiredness is the first enemy of productivity. If I get this in order, everything else should fall into place much better.
Eating Less Meat
This might actually be the easiest habit to get rid of. Ever since a 21-day attempt at vegetarianism in and a largely no-beef diet in 2013, I realised that I do not have to eat meat most of the time. I still like meat, but to eat it at every meal nowadays feels too excessive. For mainly environmental reasons, I think it would be a good idea to reduce my meat consumption significantly. But it would be hard to eliminate entire meat types from my diet as I’ve found that my upbringing has predisposed me to enjoy all sorts of food. I think I could try to attempt several quantifiable ways of reducing meat intake, such as Meatless Mondays or Meatless Breakfasts or something else of that sort.
Always on the list. But at least I exercised enough last year to pass IPPT. It’s just that I let myself go quite badly after I passed. I’m hoping to find more physical activity with recreational sports such as frisbee or kayaking like I used to. The 7-minute workout also needs to make a comeback. I can still do 8 pull-ups without difficulty though. That’s a good thing.
Bad Habits To Get Rid Of
Surprisingly few bad habits come to mind, but the few I have can be damaging to time management, mainly: playing Dota, compulsively scrolling through Facebook, and procrastinating. The latter is more of a bad impulse more than a habit to get rid of, which can be gamed successfully. Facebook is becoming less important to me and so perhaps that won’t be too much of a problem. But Dota is the difficult one. However, I’m hoping it’ll be easier to be less addicted to it once I let myself play other computer games for recreation. Also don’t forget: books!
I was going to list bad habits I successfully got rid of and good habits to maintain, but they were either too few or perhaps so ingrained I do not even realise I have them or have got rid of them. In any case, this is a good start to figuring out how to make a better me in 2015.