Sunday, August 9, 2009

Creating Habits to Overcome Laziness

"I believe that goals — especially ones that are worth reaching — are ultimately achieved through the building of good habits."
Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

It is easy to dream about the things that you want to achieve. The hard part is following through and getting them done. A huge influence on me and this website is a blog called Zen Habits. If you have not heard of it follow the link and check it out. It is my favorite blog to read and easily the most beneficial.

One of main ideas behind Zen Habit's is the importance of reaching goals through the building of habits. The process for forming these habits is to start small and incrementally change what you do. For example, if you want to wake up earlier, do it slowly. Get up 15 minutes earlier for a couple days. Once you get used to that wake up 15 minutes earlier than your new time. You might be able to go from 9 am to 5:30 am for a couple days but this will probably lead to you crashing and going back to the old routine. If you are interested in getting up earlier check out Zen Habit's post on the benefits of getting up earlier and how to do it.

This idea of forming habits slowly can be applicable to reaching many different goals, such as: eating better, working out more, studying more, watching less TV , aimlessly surfing on the internet less, etc.

A key notion that the blog emphasizes is to focus on improving only a few areas at a time. Put all your extra attention on improving these areas. Once you build a habit it becomes part of your life. You can then move on to the next thing you want to focus on. If you focus on too many things at one time it can be very overwhelming and will increase your chance of failure.

Here are a few habits that I have been working on recently:
  • Getting up earlier. This is one is tough and I even consider myself a morning person. I used to get up for work at 7 am and leave for work at 7:45 am. I slowly got it down to 6, but whether I actually get up then really depends on how late I stayed up the previous night. Committing to getting up earlier necessitates committing to going to bed earlier (which can be tough, especially if your fiancee is a night owl). Having nearly two hours in the morning before leaving for work is pretty great. It allows me to workout (when I feel like it), make a good breakfast, pack a good lunch, write and just get ready slowly. Relaxing and drinking a cup of coffee is my favorite way to start the day.
  • Working out more. I have recently started writing down how much I work out everyday. I have not yet set a goal for how much I want to workout but even writing it down is motivating. The hard part will be keeping up with this habit in the winter.
  • Staying in the moment. I am really working on focusing on the present and enjoying the little things. This means not worrying about what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. This one is a lot harder because it is not a finite thing and difficult to measure, but the goal is definitely worth seeking.
Reaching goals through building habits is about lifestyle changes. It is a slow process, but definitely worth it.

Photo: Jens Poder

1 comment:

  1. Practicing to be active always will help a lot for pushing off laziness. If you keep your body full of energy, you are ready to face any works in the entire day.