February 2016: Meditate | Write Stories

Habit: Meditate every day.

Experiment: Write a story every day. 


December - January 2015: Breathe | Make Ideas

Habit: Set my watch to vibrate every hour and take 3 deep breaths, holding briefly at the top and bottom.

I've tried to create a meditation habit, but have never been able to stick with it. Breathing every hour is my attempt to sneak up on a meditation habit.

Experiment: Write down 10 ideas every day. Ideas for anything: business idea, art piece idea, writing idea, idea for some cool thing in the future, whatever.

This comes from James Altucher. The point is that Ideas are the currency of the 21st century, but I'll let him explain it better.

Results:

After a few days I started doing deep breathing every time I noticed that I was wearing a watch. I also was simply much more aware of when I wasn't breathing - which, turns out, is a lot of the time. I breathe a lot more often now, so this habit was a success.

Writing 10 ideas every day also has been great. Ideas 6-10 can be difficult, but the mental effort of coming up with something feels rewarding. I also started using it in my life whenever I had some issue I had to work through, I'd remind myself to work through 10 ideas of how to fix the issue the next day. I've now got something like 400 pretty random ideas, and I'm going to keep doing it. James Altucher says the real benefit comes at around month 6. I'll check in then.


November - December 2015: Sleep Better | #arthabit

Habit: Put away all screens (laptop, phone, tablet) an hour before bed and read a physical book to fall asleep.

Experiment: Make one Blender piece a day and post it online.

Results:

Not staring into a little flickering light bulb before going to bed is such a no-brainer. I've always had trouble falling asleep, and still do, so I'm working on tightening my sleeping system down so I'm not shooting myself in the foot so much. A fair amount of studies indicate that the type of light on our screens causes us to stay more alert and awake, which is counterproductive to getting good sleep. The reason I read a physical book instead of just trying to go to sleep is because I need something to distract my brain into a quieter state. I love thise habit, I'll be sticking with it. 

Doing one Blender piece a day this month was great. I actually only do it every week day, but I'd love to do it 7 days a week if my schedule mellows out a little bit. I'm pumped that I was able to stick with it, I've tried similar habits before and never succeeded. I succeeded with this one because I'm already currently in the habit of waking up at 5am and going in to work by ~6, so I just do the Blender piece first before anything else. Posting it online is a psychological trick to force me to stick with it - if I'm posting it online, I'm manufacturing accountability. It's been really nice and I'm going to continue doing it as a habit.