Top 10 habits that have changed my life

Here are 10 habits that have changed my life. My favorite would have to be either 1 or 4.

  1. Reading more

Getting back into reading was one of the best things I could’ve done. There is so much knowledge and life experience available in the pages of books. Experiences that I could learn from. My girlfriend and I are building quite the library from having only a handful to now almost 50. I try to read at least 10 pages or 20 min a day, all ways of learning something new.

  1. Journaling

I made it a point to start this year, and I have only missed a handful of days. Journaling is one of those things that I thought I would never do, however, it has been quite therapeutic. Putting thoughts on paper allows me to clear up the headspace and gives me the ability to focus on the daily goals. I have used 5-minute journaling for over a month and have not gone back. It’s an easy 5-minute task at the start and end of the day. Usually while eating breakfast and before bed.

  1. Listening to/watching interesting people

Listening and watching podcasts has become a staple of my routine. I listen to a podcast while I work out, Jocko podcast has been the main voice in my ear. And when my day is winding down I try to watch the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Both offer many different views from many different interesting people, Jocko reads military books and will provide his own view, and well, Joe is Joe and brings on a plethora of interesting and exciting people, some with views that challenge my own, others that provide motivation and some that just provide a laugh.

  1. Undertaking tasks that are challenging

I think this is one of the biggest changes I have done. I would’ve usually been fine in doing the bare minimum, I cruised through high school and most of my university. I often felt like I should do more. So, I decided to bite the bullet and take on challenging tasks, not ones that have been placed on me, but ones I have set for myself. Taking up new hobbies, different things that I would’ve otherwise never done only showed a little interest in. I have completed two blacksmithing courses, started BJJ and started this blog. It isn’t easy but I enjoy every moment of it.

  1. Waking up early

I wake up at 5 most mornings and get gym out of the way early, I feel that I can complete more during the day with those extra morning hours when most people are still asleep. Some will say I’m crazy, but then those people probably don’t want the things I want. I will say that it is not for everyone, some may find that they work better in the midnight hours and that is fine. Not everyone is wired the same, I just happen to be a morning person.

  1. Exercising daily

I have always been active, however, the past year I have really tried to get the body moving daily. At least an hour at gym or BJJ training. Studies have shown that physical activity can improve quality of life and health outcomes, like reduced chances of cardiovascular disease and improved mental-health, amongst other benefits. When I have a lot on my mind I tend to try to get out of my head and into my body, pushing weight around a room I find it somewhat therapeutic.

  1. Doing a martial art

The physical adversity that comes with martial arts is something that will test all people, be it boxing or wrestling, Muay Thai or judo. Any martial will bring challenges that help the mind and body grow. Martial arts teaches discipline through training a technique over and over, confidence in your own ability to defend yourself, helps form new friendships and teaches you to be resilient under stress. I have to say that doing any martial art will benefit anyone, however, I reckon that BJJ is the way to go for many reasons which I lay out in this article.

  1. Sorting out my finances

It’s something that not a lot of people want to think about, however, if you don’t then when you need to think about it, it’s already too late. This is something that I think all should do, or at least attempt to as it gives you a peace of mind. I personally use the barefoot investor method, which I cover here. So far having implemented it for a month together with my girlfriend we have saved a weeks worth of wages while going on a holiday and still living our lives. So, the method allows you to still live your life by allocating spending money, whilst you save for the future.

  1. Taking control of my attitude

Attitude is something that only you can control, no one has any power over what kind of attitude you have. I used to be a bit of a hot head, still can be, but I have learned that my attitude can dictate how I react to something or someone. When reading Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, I began to understand that my attitude has really helped me navigate through life’s triumphs and tribulations. Not letting something or someone get the best of you all starts with your attitude and how you choose to react to it.

  1. Fear and goal setting

I wrote about this in a previous post. I never used to do either, but with the use of both, I am able to aim at my goals and strive to reach them, whilst also working away from my fears. Effectively it means that I have to modes of motivation, something pulling me and something pushing me. When setting goals, it is important to dream of the biggest goal, so for me it is to be financially free one day, then I have a five-year goal that will help me achieve that, then a one-year to a five-year, then a six month to reach that one year, and so on until it’s the goal for today. Which will help me reach the ultimate big picture goal that I first set. I will be covering The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, where goal setting is talked about at length.

 

So, these are my top ten things that I have done or used that have changed my life, they might work for you they may not (5am wake-ups can be a killer…. if you hate them). If you have any questions about anything I have covered, do not hesitate to ask. What habits have changed your life?

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See you on the mats.

 

A quick and feel-good way of keeping a journal.

It has now been over four months since I started writing a journal, a promise I made to myself at the start of the year was that I would try to keep some form of log or diary. I have stuck to my word and have forgotten to write about my day only a handful of times. For the most part, I would just summarise my day, what I did and a few interesting things that happened. I would often have to recall everything from the start of the day and would often miss certain parts of my day. I would fill the whole page and would often take longer than I wanted. I wanted to try and find a less time-consuming way, that I could still benefit from, of journaling.

About two weeks ago I remembered an article I read by Tim Ferris, and he detailed his morning routine where he would write the first half of his 5-minute journal. 5 MINUTES?!? So, I checked out the website that Ferris mentioned (https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal, for those that want to know). I looked over the example of the page spread they included, see below for reference. I thought well I may as well give it a shot. So, for the past two weeks, I have been writing in the layout they use in my journal. Three questions in the morning and two at night.

The three questions in the morning that I answer:

  • Three things I am grateful for
  • What would make today great?
  • Daily affirmations.

The questions are easy enough to quickly answer them, but they also make you think. When you think about the things that you are grateful for and you set some clear targets to make the day great. You can relax and remind yourself to be grateful, whilst also setting up clear goals that you have the option to complete. Knowing that once you complete or achieve them you can say that you have had a successful day. The Daily affirmations are not something I would usually have done, I often don’t think highly of myself and tend to shy away from telling myself I am great. However, since implementing the affirmations I have noticed a new form of confidence and self-belief that I didn’t find in myself.

Five-Minute-Journal-Questions_2160x1166

I will note that on the occasion that I didn’t complete the morning questions I found myself to be a bit off, in the sense that I wasn’t as relaxed and I didn’t have a clear intention for the day. I was aggressive when driving to work and I was easily distracted throughout the day.

After the dinner is done and the dishes washed, I usually finish the journal before I get ready for bed. This is just the routine I use and I don’t think it really serves any purpose other than its just my routine, just thought I would include it. The two questions that I answer are:

  • List 3 amazing things that happened during the day, and
  • How could you have made today better?

The three things can relate to the 3 answers you gave in what would make the day great, but usually, I put in either things that I learnt or did during the day. Answering on how you could have made the day better is a great way of reflecting, this isn’t the time where you beat yourself up, it the time when you note the things you could improve on. It might be you want to better at listening instead of cutting people off, or it could be that you want to rest less in-between sets at the gym. These questions help you end the day on a positive note and help give you a goal for the next day, one piece of your puzzle to work on.

I haven’t missed a night question and I have not noticed any real change when sleeping, I have always been a good sleeper, so I cannot comment on the effects of sleep. But I do always go to sleep with a little less bouncing around the brain.

I am yet to buy the journals that Intelligent Change sells, I did this as a little experiment to see how it works and how it might help me improve my attitude. I will say that the journal they offer comes with daily quotes and weekly challenges that you might be interested in. I will say that you can find inspirational quotes everywhere, from Instagram pages to dedicated apps on your phone. I currently use a Google Chrome add-on called Momentum which gives you a daily quote everytime you open a new tab, it also displays a beautiful photo from somewhere in the world. You can find them here.  And if you really want weekly challenges you can find them on the internet too.

The new tab when using the momentum add-on looks like this.

Momentum

See if the 5-minute journal works for you, change it up a bit, add or remove questions. Make it your own.

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See you on the mats.