This is the template I created using google spreadsheet with some automatic calculation of total points. You can do something similar. Please leave a comment if you want to use this template, and I can share it.
I have been reading a few books in the past several months in the personal growth area, including Mini Habits, The Power of Habits, Atomic Habits, and Design Your Life.
Although I did try to build good habits before and failed, after reading all those books I realized that, one key reason I failed is that I did not take baby steps. I was too strict with myself and asked too much from myself. For example, one effort was to eat extremely healthy and get six-pack abs. I did get them, but the process was extremely painful and the habit didn’t sustain.
I have been procrastinating with some important but not urgent personal projects (career and life). I decide to take all I learned from these books and combine them with my own personality, and design a system. I myself is a challenge-enthusiastic. Therefore I will base the system on ‘challenges‘, with a difficult level.
Below are the rules:
Plan. Each day in the early morning have 1-10 challenges, which I really want to achieve but might have been procrastinating. These challenges should be very simple and specific.
Each challenge has a point representing difficult level (1-100). For example if you really want but dread workouts, the first challenge could be “wear workout clothes and walk for 1 min“, and difficult level could be 5 points. Number of points should be personal because one task can have different level of difficulties for different person.
The way we assign points is flexible and should be creative. For example, one challenge for me could be “run for 10 mins” with 5 points. Another challenge on the same day could be “run for 20 mins” with 20 points, and another one “run for 60 mins” with 100 points.
You don’t have to finish the challenges. Actually most of the time you shouldn’t. If you finish them all the time, you probably didn’t list enough challenges each day.
Summarize. Before sleep each day, sum the points up and celebrate.
Celebrate. Create a longer-term celebration plan. For example, “I would buy that dress I wanted when my total points reach 200”, “I will go to Hawaii when my total points reach 1000”
Keep track of the progress. Have a spreadsheet (e.g. google spreadsheet) or a hardcover Journal. The format is not important.
I will use google spreadsheet and publish it on this website.
The second one is the Science of Well-Being of Yale university. The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. I am learning it through Coursera “the science of well-being“
I tried several times to make get-up-early a habit, but failed each time. I did succeed from time to time, but could not make it consistent. I really want to be an early riser, and now officially make it a challenge. If I can rise between 6:30am-7:30am 30 days in a row, I consider it a success. This certainly is not easy. The first thing to do is to find the motivation.
What is my reason to jump out of bed in the cold morning? Things that immediately came up to my mind include believing in myself, more time for exercise, getting abs, no guilty feeling of wasting time, no headache, more energy, more time spent with positive people, the quiet neighborhood, the bird chirping, the beautiful sunrise, and the entrepreneurial spirit.
I will come back to this post and strikethrough each day if i succeed. Anyone is doing it together with me? Shoot me an email or leave a comment!
Stepping outside of our comfort zone is inevitably an uncomfortable experience, but it can yield a lot more growth. I used to be afraid of public speaking, but I joined a toastmaster to face my fear, and I can see the improvement every week. Now it’s even much easier I talk to a total stranger. Whenever we see the result, it serves as a positive feedback that will encourage us to try harder.
I totally agree that “outside of the comfort zone is where the magic happens”. Now i am challenging myself at a daily basis.
When I saw the sun finally came out i was so excited (it has been raining for many days in my area), and decided to go for a marathon run. It’s kinda dangerous since I did’t have much training after the half marathon run 2 months ago.
When I arrived at the trail, it started raining. I hesitated if i should just go home since it was raining even harder. But when i saw some hardcore runners passing by and not giving a shit about the rain, i made a determination that i will be one of them and finish today’s run no matter what.
In the first half, it was ok and i was pretty fast. But in the second half my feet hurt a lot. I had to stop to do some stretching for every mile. Energy and endurance-wise i was totally fine, and didn’t even feel tired; but feet and legs hurt too much. In the last several miles, it was almost as slow as walking.
The number is pretty bad (about 5 hours if excluding the time used to hide from rain), but i do consider it a big success since i never imaged i can do this!
Mindset is discovered by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. At the heart of a “growth mindset” is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Below is the comparison.
I finished 13 miles in 1 hour 56 mins, which is not too bad for the first-time try. I actually didn’t find it too difficult (thanks to the training of spin class) except that during the workout my thighs sore. I wasn’t at the best physical condition (worked out too much this week), and I expect to do even better next time.
Another thing i achieved today is that I got the “best table topic” award in the toastmaster meeting. This is not imaginable since I thought table topic is the most difficult task, and i simply can’t do it. It comes easily today :). I can, and I believe you can too!
It’s year end again. I am here listing 8 challenges to be achieved by end of 2016. I will check them off one by one if ever :).
Take two cold showers in the middle of winter. This is not extremely difficult since it is California!
Run a half marathon (On the day of writing I ran 10 miles). Done on Nov 23, 2016
25 pullups in a row (On the day of writing I can do 12-15 in a row)
Reach out and make 2 new friends.
Initiate and have a meaningful and coherent conversation with a stranger.
Get up at 6:45am 5 days a week.
A 48-hour hackathon.
Today I ran 10 miles and had to take uber to get back home since it was raining. The uber driver was a very friendly and interesting lady. We had a great conversation about nutrition, fitness and president election :). She said she really wanted to run but the gym membership is costly. I recommend some gym with reasonable price to her. Hopefully she will check it out and get started!