17 December 2016

It is conventional wisdom that habits are the fundamentals of successful life. Having consistent habits of making your bed, exercising, eating healthy, meditating, and not spending more than you make are what some popular self help bloggers and authors are preaching.

Habits work. Once I have a positive habit formed, it is a great force in my improving my days. Recently I’ve been developing the habit of exercising. I started by doing a lot of exercise almost every day, and felt a large increase in strength and conditioning. Simple, everyday tasks became much easier. My stamina increased. Now I’ve decreased the amount of exercise as my body needs enough time to recover, but I still feel benefits and improvement.

Exercising is a habit now, and if I don’t do exercise in a given day, I feel that I’m missing out. I crave the exercise. You might say I’m addicted to getting my dose of exercise every day or two. And you’ll have a point. For exercise has gathered up such a momentum that it is hard for me to stop.

I can rely on this momentum. I’m happy for it, because the direction of the momentum is positive. That’s why habits work. Because of the momentum. The momentum gives me speed. In any individual day I can add a small force and small acceleration to my personal momentum.

When my efforts every day are aligned with my efforts the day before, I will add a bunch of momentum in that direction over time.

But I don’t find it easy to keep pushing every day in the same direction. Some days I’m just lazy and I want to watch funny gif videos, and read random articles. Every time I profligate my waking hours with junk, that’s not only removing from my positive momentum, that’s also adding to my negative momentum.

Here come decisions.

In order to build the maximum amount of positive momentum, I need to fully, and wholehearthedly know and decide that only things I’ll do are the ones which increase my positive momentum. THAT I WILL NOT PROCRASTINATE. Zero. Null.

If I were a piece of computer code, I can just set the variable procrastination=0and be done. In terms of real life mindset, I think it is possible to do that, but I think it isn’t that simple. I’ve had situations where I’ve been extremely motivated for long periods. I’ve also heard many stories of people who based on a certain traumatizing, or ephiphanizing experience, make a decision to reform their life and turn it around.

I’ve not had such strong moments, but I’ve had other moments which made a great impact on me. Some of these moments changed my mindset, not necessarily in the negative-to-positive way, but I ended up being changed nonetheless. When a moment like this happens, I know that the world has changed irreversibly. My mindset does not immediately adapt to it in all situations, but my perception of the new reality gradually sinks in.

Graduating from college was one such moment. After graduating, I had a new identity. I was no longer the student that I was before. I was a graduate, with a degree. I could no longer justify certain stupid actions, that a student would do. I was no longer a student. Not me. I am now a different person, me. Gradually, every action that didn’t fit with the new me got weeded out.

I had this discrete event in my life - the graduation. After that moment, my mindset changed, and gradually so did my momentum in life. A single ceremony had a profound effect in redirecting me.

I want to engineer such a ceremony to kill all my procrastination. I don’t know how to do it yet, but I believe it is possible. I’ll now go and work on that.

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I write these posts to clarify my thoughts and improve my communication. They are mainly written for myself, and my future self, but I'd love to hear any comments you might have, especially if you disagree with what I've written, or if you've found it valuable in any way. Message me on Twitter @themitak or email me at comments@dimitarsimeonov.com.