Leo Babauta maintains a good web site Zen Habits. I try and read the posts each time they arrive in my mailbox – but I don’t always get the time. I decided today to read the last 5 posts emails I received and paraphrase the key messages that I like.
5th September 2014 – How to Breathe
With some enjoyable prose the text encourages you to return to the present by focusing on your breath in times of personal turbulence.
2nd September 2014 – 7 Discipline-Mastering Practices
Discipline comes with practice. Turn towards problems – stick to habits – look for the good inherent in the activity rather than just the outcome and learn to live with being uncomfortable. But most of all – practice.
30th August 2014 – 7 Rules that Keep my Life Simple
By introducing rules into your life you can avoid spending energy taking lots of small decisions every day. Eat the same thing every day for example and when you go out to a restaurant it will be real treat. Make sure your daily routine puts the important things first and limit yourself. By treating activities like rituals you can bring your full attention to them and find joy and appreciation in them.
27th August 2014 – An Education in the Majestic Sierra Nevada
Leo shares some thoughts on his family trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains. By spending time together as a family they really appreciate the outdoors and the things nature has to offer as they disconnect from the internet and reconnect with each other.
23rd August 2014 – The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes
A post that categorises at least 14 different excuses that the mind will give you as a reason for not sticking to your plans. And a prescriptive method for recognising the excuse, fighting back and pushing through to the result that you wanted in the first place.
If you’re interested in reading more or signing up to Leo’s posts which are gently challenging and inspiring – go get them at Zen Habits.
I remember seeing a poster a few years ago with the powerful message that ‘Routine Kills’. It was a literal message aimed at service men and women who could become targets, for snipers or an ambush, if the enemy knew their routine. I liked that poster a lot. I was fresh in a new job and thirsty for ideas. This one hit home with me because I hated routine. I was young and routine to me was boring. I didn’t want to do the same thing day in and day out. I was looking for adventure.
Today I feel very different about this. I am trying to embrace routine. Or should I say, I am trying to embrace structure. By introducing structure to my day, I know what I should be doing and when I should be doing it. I like this. I like the routine that takes away the humdrum of making choices. It’s nice not to have to make choices and instead to be swept along in the current of life.
I am hoping, in this instance, that routine will bring life and will not kill. Perhaps it’s just because I am at a different stage in life that I feel differently now. Perhaps my attitudes have changed. Or maybe I have just become more boring?
I’ve been inspired lately by reading lots of individual blogs. Celestine Chua’s Personal Excellence blog has a great warm welcoming tone and is full of brilliant ideas and suggestions. Matthew Woodward has also inspired me – mostly with his can do attitude and tell it like it is style.
I love the idea of personal improvement; the idea that each day we can inspire ourselves to improve. What better way than to replace bad habits with good ones. I started reading Charles Duhigg’s book yesterday. And I’m now looking ou for bad habits that I can change into successful ones.
This is not a new area for me by any means. Some years ago I read Stephen Covey’s book – the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I often think about the powerful messages in that book.
I believe that from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep I am a creature of habit. Some of these habits probably aren’t too bad, but I’ve realised I’ve got at least three really bad ones that I think I should try and change.
Bad Habit Number 1
My biggest habit, I believe, is procrastination. I put things off a lot.
Bad Habit Number 2
The next biggest, I would say, is that I don’t finish the things I start.
Bad Habit Number 3
The third bad habit, well I’m going to put off telling that to you until another time, when I finish this article off. (See, I told you those first two bad habits were pretty bad)
A few weeks ago I came across an interesting article about a book by Charles Duhigg. His book, the power of habit, has received critical acclaim. I forgot about this book until I started to write this post. I googled my title and details of the book popped up again.
Instead of writing today about the power of a habit I am going to start reading this book.
Success is nothing without a healthy life. To me being alive and healthy is the core of ongoing success. This is the foundation of success. That may sound corny and it may sound basic; but these sentiments give a solid base on which to build my ideas.
Success is not about what you receive, but it’s about what you give, so I’ve centred my thoughts on making a contribution in the following order….
5. Roles I play in my life
I want to make a contribution in all of these areas and I believe by doing so I will feel happy and have freedom. I believe that people should work to their own definition of success.
In my mind there are two ways of achieving success; either set goals up front and work towards achieving them or just take small steps in the right direction without knowing the final destination/goal. Both of these approaches I feel are valid. For most of my life I’ve been just taking small steps in what I feel is the right direction, but I feel that time is right for a change. I would like to try setting goals and working towards them instead.