Small Steps Make All the Difference: 5 Simple Steps to Build a New Habit

stone stairsHave you ever tried to change something in your life? Like, start waking up earlier and dedicate one hour or two for reading; fit 30 minutes of exercise into your busy schedule; begin yoga lessons that helps you to relax and be more mindful of the present; learning a foreign language; or just start writing nonsense in the hope of producing a book one day.

If you have, it is likely that you discovered old habits die hard. It doesn’t help when research shows that newer generations are more used to instant gratification, meaning they see the rewards they can get instantly or with little effort being more attractive compared to better rewards that requires time or effort. When an obstacle presents itself, the effort required increased, therefore the rewards now seem less attractive, and we are more likely to revert back to our old habit.

So, how do we overcome it? Simple really, we start small. Cut down your goal to something so easy you can almost do it in your sleep, almost. This turns instant gratification to our favour, really: when we made it so easy that there is little to no obstacle in our way, we could achieve it before the thought of not doing it even shows up. It’ll be like “what about n-OH IT’S DONE!”. The best part is the rush of excitement we feel over our little achievement, that one thing we’ve been meaning to do but keep slipping out of our grasps. Sure, it’s a small achievement, but that may be just what we need to motivate us breaking through our old habit and start sticking to a new one.

4 Steps to Self-Empowerment: Learning through 守、破、離 (Shyu, Ha, Ri)

ShyuHaRiA few months back I went book hunting and came across a book with an interesting title. I recognized the three words from the title straight away: Shyu, Ha, Ri, of which they represents a system, a way of thinking that have roots deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture, and are prominent among the practitioners of tea ceremony, Go, martial arts, and even Zenism. As an avid fan of Japanese culture, it piqued my interest as to how the author was going to apply it to building success in life.

Turns out, the book ingrained the system into education as well as life-long learning as a means to achieve self-empowerment and through it, success in life. To put it simply, Shyu is to obey the teachings completely; Ha is to reevaluate the teachings, then alter, optimize, and even create new methods based on the teachings that best suit your own style; Ri is where you integrate the teachings into your system, and became a master of your own right. The book gives many genuine examples that are easily related to, and its ideas resonate with Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”, that success is not found, but rather, it ensue after you no longer focus on success and dedicated yourself to the pursuit of greatness. Based on my understanding of the system as well as the book, I have rearranged them into 4 steps:

3 Ways to Multiltask More Efficiently: Divide, Focus, and Conquer

multitasking-mind_1According to this research, our minds are not well suited to multitask; rather, we switch our attention from one task to another so well that we think we are paying attention to multiple things at once. That in itself is good for us, as the things we wanted to do are seemingly never ending and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to pull them all off. So, being able to handle and complete multiple tasks are better than just focusing on a single task, right? Well, to a certain extent that is true – until we bit off more than we can chew, then things could get nasty.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase your capability to ‘multitask’ while still maintaining efficiency in each individual task. But, a word of caution before we move on further: despite the fluency we can switch our attention from one task to another, trying to multitasks means your attention will get spread out, your task effectiveness will likely be reduced, and you are more prone to mistakes. So, when you’re faced with multiple tasks at hand, dealing with them one at a time is going to save you a lot of trouble, and at the end of the day, probably more efficient too. Nevertheless, for those of you who would like to try, here’s three ways to multitasks more efficiently.