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.

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Of Addiction and Fixation: The Power of Mindfulness

addictionI have wanted to talk about addiction, fixation, and their relation with disengagement for a while, but my first attempt turned into a post taking about how to multitask more efficiently instead. I guess the saying about the words forming its own course is true. Nevertheless, here’s my second attempt, and I have broaden the scope of the topic from disengagement to mindfulness. Let’s hope this time it stayed true to its intended course – not that I don’t enjoy a detour every now and then 😉

As an avid gamer, I am no stranger towards getting addicted to a certain game and would play on for hours until I have wrapped up loose ends (read: sub-quests) or progressed through a major plotline (read: checkpoint). Fortunately for me, it’s no physical addiction, so I won’t have to deal with relapses, and could choose to simply not to game if something urgent and important is seen on the horizon. Nonetheless, getting addicted is disruptive to my life. My schedule would be messed up, and I have to find extra time and effort to keep everything up to schedule. That is not healthy. It could and would cut into my precious time that I could spend with my family and friends, on recreational activities, my other hobbies, or even worse, on my sleep time.