Background: I’ll be a senior in high school in 2 days and I have been addicted to the internet for a while. Over these past years, I have had many attempts to be more disciplined, and it would work… for a week or two before I returned to my regular procrastination habits. I tried working out, morning routines, pomodoro technique, planning every single minute of every hour, and even tried whipping myself with a belt every time I noticed myself slipping (it didn’t last too long because belts hurt!). But it never lasted and I would be disappointed and beat myself up for constantly failing to be more focused and disciplined. However, I am now consistently working out 3 times a week and using social media less… but still I feel like I am not living up to my potential and wasting lots of time on things that don’t matter, resulting in getting little to nothing done. I feel like I keep slipping on this discipline thing.
A New Approach: I realized that me trying to do everything I plan in a day and in the exact amount of time allotted is the equivalent of trying to do 5 muscle-ups when I can barely do 1 pull-up. It’s above my weight class! The hours and hours I spend thinking and planning just paralyzes me because these intense schedules I am creating for myself is currently beyond ability to execute on them all. One insight I got from reading r/getdisciplined post is that programs/schedules/routines REQUIRE discipline, not the other way around and that discipline is like a muscle that gets stronger the more I choose to do uncomfortable/tedious tasks (doing homework, washing dishes, etc.).This is starting to sound like a ramble, but in summary, I will be taking it slowly and focusing on developing one habit/discipline at a time instead of trying to practice 10 habits I’m not used to and completing 5 major tasks all in one day.
I’ve been looking into positive psychology and found that self-compassion & self-forgiveness might be the a better approach then whipping myself every time I mess up. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor talked about how people who are happy perform better and are more productive, resulting in financial, physical, and emotional success. So this time around, instead of aiming for perfection (which is most likely why I kept failing in the past), my metric of success will be happiness that comes from knowing I did my best at the end of the day.
Outcome: I am living life to the fullest and on my own terms. That looks like being able to direct my attention and focus on the things that matter to me the most instead of letting social media and advertising choose that for me. I am no longer using the internet mindlessly and instead using it as a tool to spend more time with the people that matter to me the most and execute on my vision for my life.
Why: If I continue my current ways, I will live a life full of distractions and slothfulness. I will be disappointed in myself everyday because I did not be my best self and maybe even become depressed. I deserve better and the people who I care for deserve better. I can only maximize these relationships by being my most authentic and greater self. Also, I have goals, plans, and things I want to do in the future. I can only achieve and experience them if I live a life that prioritizes them.
Habits I want to build:
- Have a Morning Routine (Wake-up @ 5AM > clean up room/desk/kitchen > drink glass of water> meditate > work-out)
- Have an Evening Wind-down Routine (turn off all electronic @ 7PM > drink glass of water > do the Ignatian Examen > Set a 3-to-thrive for tomorrow > sleep)
- Work-out Calesthenics M, W, Sat
- Yoga stretching T, Th, Fri, Sun
- Read at least 25 pages of a book every day
- Contact an old friend every week
According to research, it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. I will be taking one habit at a time, meaning it will take me about 396 days to fully ingrain all of these habits into my unconscious. The first habit I will be taking on will be the Evening Wind-Down routine I have created for myself, as it will determine how many hours of sleep I get and what my intentions are for the next day.
Every day, I will log about how the day went on a 1-3 scale (1=wasn’t best self, 2=getting there, but not quite, 3=put my best self out there today). I will describe how I felt, what went well, what could be improved on, and how I can make tomorrow 1% better.
I’m excited to get started, cheers to all!