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Habits

Why Waking Up Early Can Help You Achieve Success

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Waking up early

“Dream big but wake up early to actualize them.”


-Prince Hopkins Amachree

I know many people don’t like to wake up early. I have never had a problem with that. I was required to wake up at 4 when I was a kid, that stayed with me. Although now it’s a bit unhealthy where I wake up at 2 or 3 or sometimes even before that, that’s what stress does to you.

Anyway, waking up early has only benefits related to it and as the saying goes,

“The early bird gets the worm.”

People who wake up early will tell you to do the same, and people who do not will tell you how they wish to wake up early. One of the things that motivate me is that I get to do my work without any distractions.

When I was in college, this is what I did to finish my assignments with no one to disturb me in the mornings.Now that I am an entrepreneur running multiple businesses, I find it to be the same.

Most people don’t wake up early. There’s no traffic noise, there’s no family disturbance, your phone doesn’t go off much and even social media is not that active. When you are up early, even if you want to talk to someone you are not going to have many options because others are asleep.

Serenity

Waking up early

“I love that this morning’s sunrise is not defined by last night’s sunset.”


-Steve Maraboli

There’s something delightful about the morning time. The air hasn’t had the chance to be tainted with pollution, and the sound is filled with happy chirping than loud horns blaring. Everything is covered with a blanket of serenity.

This is the perfect time to get your biggest task done, or as I call them, your big rocks or MITs (most important tasks). Starting early lets you wrap up early, meaning you get more time for yourself and your family. You are not working every second of daylight. You get to learn something, go out and explore, and in general focus on things you never got time for because you were working. Also, it gives you time to enjoy nature! On most days, I get much more accomplished by 9am than most people can accomplish in the whole day.

Increased Productivity

Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”


-Richard Whately

Waking up early is also advisable because you have reduced stress levels in the morning, you are more energetic and that boosts your speed, which in turn helps you complete any task in lesser time than it would take otherwise.

Most of my work entails writing, over the years I have realized that I write faster in the morning, which is why I start my workday early. Being a morning person, I have always been a ball of energy at the start of the day, so I just channel it into my work. This helps me slow down in the afternoon yet complete my tasks. I don’t have to always be running to get my work done.

Optimistic Outlook

“The world belongs to those who get up early – up to the minute while others do not wake up either.”


-Jules Renard

When you get a big chunk of your work done in the morning, you feel happy, and you feel satisfied. This feeling carries on for the day, surrounding you with a positive air. Our mood for the day is set by how the time after our morning goes. If you start the day productive then there’s little room for negativity to seep in. Even if a problem does manifest, you don’t waste all your day because of it, and your work takes a much smaller hit.

Mental Fitness

Waking up early

“Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It’s the best part of the day.”


-George Allen, Sr.

Like I mentioned before, in the morning you have low-stress levels. Working in that frame of mind is not only beneficial to your work but has a positive impact on your mental fitness as well. Picture yourself working with a calm mind versus working with a mind filled with other tasks to do, other things to handle. You don’t need a study to tell you what is preferable, the mental picture of the situation is enough.

Sleep Quality

Waking up early

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”


-Benjamin Franklin

When you make waking up early a routine, you start going to bed early. This lets your internal clock adapt to the routine, resulting in better sleep quality. Having no sleep pattern messes up  the body, but now that your body gets to get the rest it needs, you will see a lot of aches and pains go away.

Exercise

Waking up early

“Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”


-Lemony Snicket

Early morning is a great time to workout, especially if you like to workout outdoors. No rush, lesser pollution, fewer people, fresher air, pleasant environment. Sounds good, doesn’t it? A lot of people who have made it in life will tell you how and why they schedule their workouts in the morning.

Some people make it one of their main agendas of the morning. A healthy body is essential to achieve anything in the world. If you aren’t fit, how can you expect your body to work round the clock? Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.

Breakfast

Waking up early

“One key to success is to have breakfast when other people have lunch.”


-Robert Brault

Breakfast is said to be one of the most important meals of the day. I, for one, can’t live without breakfast. I can skip lunch and dinner but breakfast, no ways! I actually have two breakfasts. Since I was a kid, I would wake up at ungodly hours and ask for food, so my mom started keeping a covered dish with food and a glass of water in the room. I would wake up at 3-4, eat and lie back down.

That is still there, I wake up and need proper food not just snacks, so an extra portion is cooked the night before so that I would have something to eat in the morning. After eating, I get on with my work and then the second breakfast is when normal people eat, that is, around 8:30-9:00. I am not telling you to be weird like me, but listen to your body and don’t skip breakfast. Waking up early gives you the opportunity to eat in peace without having to rush and skip the food.

My Tried and Tested Tips to Wake Up Early

It wouldn’t be fair if I told you about all the benefits of waking up early and didn’t tell you how to do it. Here are some things that have worked for my friends and people I’ve coached.

“The time just before dawn contains the most energy of all hours of the day. This has helped me become an early riser and an early doer…. When I wake to see that it’s light out already, I feel the world has started without me.”


-Terri Guillemets

  • Don’t make drastic changes- If you wake up at 10 every day, then it is not a good idea to start waking up at 4, that will mess up your body and do more harm than good. A good way to get into the routine is to start taking smaller steps. Start waking up at 9 for the week, then go for 8, then to 7, until you reach your desired time. If one hour is still a big difference, start by half-hour or fifteen-minute increments.
  • Sleep early- If you want to wake up early, you have to start sleeping early as well. The goal here is to have a well-rested body. You need to complete your sleep cycle, otherwise waking up early is of no use.
  • Don’t snooze- Snoozing your alarm can be tempting at the beginning, which is why you need to keep your alarm away from your bed. You will have to get up to shut down the alarm. Once out of bed, you might as well wake up.
  • Interesting task- Try to make waking up early worth your while. Put something interesting as the first thing to do on your list, and that will give you another reason to wake up.

Waking up early isn’t only about bragging about how put-together your life is, it is actually about working on getting your life that way. If you still need the motivation to wake up early, then try doing this for 10-15 days, so that you can experience the benefits for yourself.






Habits

Why Too Many Self Help Books are Bad for You

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Self Help

Since you’re reading this article on this blog, you probably have a keen interest in self-betterment. You’re the kind of person who has a constant hunger to grow, develop personality and achieve great things. You probably have a full shelf of self-help books at home, and reach for a new one in airport book stores. 

Let’s take a moment to congratulate yourself on this. Not many people, definitely not the vast majority of people are genuinely interested in self-growth. However, like any good thing in life, there is a flip-side to immersing yourself in self-help content. It can severely impact the way you see yourself, and the world around you; sometimes for the worse.

The Heroes

It’s fairly common to read a self-help book and start valorising the writer. The requisite to write a self-help book or a how-to guide is often being successful first so that you then have the ‘right’ to preach to other people. That’s why many “successful people” write memoirs or how-to guides to spill their secrets and let others know how they made it. 

A byproduct of this is the audience begins to automatically consume everything that the writer tells them as the gospel truth. We don’t doubt the credibility of someone who’s made it big. We don’t ask for much scientific backing when these successful persons tell us their life story: one anecdote is enough. 

Of course, in any field of scientific research, a single anecdote is never considered to be scientific evidence alone. This is simply because one person can never be an unbiased narrator of their own experiences. We can’t weigh their words against those of others; verify their methods with a control group. 

This is not to suggest that all writers of self-help books are getting away with lying or false information just because no one’s cross-checking (although that could be the occasional case). 

The few people who are successful in their fields and occupy positions in the public sphere undoubtedly have more experience than you and me. However, even they cannot hundred per cent explain the reasons for their success. It is generally a number of factors that act together, right connections, right timing, right pre-dispositions combined with the person’s efforts that bring them success. 

For example, if a successful entrepreneur writes about how he built his own business empire, he could give you 10 methods, or tips and tricks that he followed to stay motivated and increase his productivity. What he cannot guarantee is that this will work for everyone. He also cannot guarantee that those 10 exact methods are what caused his success.

There are many self-help books that are abundant with real-life examples, scientific studies, and academic research. These are also, coincidentally the type of books where the author relies less on his own experience as the source of his advice. These are not just more useful books to read, they also are much more informative and entertaining than their monologue counterparts. 

Survivorship Bias

One of the other side effects of surrounding yourself with lots of self-help content is that you become prey to the survivorship bias. This means that you continually consume stories and experiences of many people that have succeeded. Once we start following ‘successes’, we begin to see them everywhere. 

Social media has a hand to play in this as well. Popular social media platforms have algorithms that create echo-chambers where you only see the kind of content that you like. So if you’re only reading about positive and uplifting self-betterment content, chances are you never come across stories about failures. 

This can make you feel that there is an enormous amount of people that are succeeding and doing what you want to do. The spotlight is on the 1%, while ignoring the other 99% in the shadow. 

You might wonder why this is a problem. Isn’t focusing on the positive success stories making it more likely that you will also be successful yourself?

Surprisingly, it’s not. It can be the real reason why it’s so hard to succeed, because you can follow all the hacks, tips and tricks, and methods that you read in self-help books and still have unique challenges to overcome. This is because you’re ignoring the data from the vast masses of people that tried the very same methods and failed. 

You must be thinking: well, I should be focusing on failure stories? That’s depressing!

No, you don’t! For one, they are difficult to find. Simply knowing the information about how often someone succeeds to the level that you want to can be your tool. 

For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, you should know that simply getting published has a 1% success rate while a best-selling author is probably closer to 0.001%.

This is not to discourage you from chasing your dreams, but only to help you bring a dose of reality into your pursuit of success. 

Final Words

Knowing that the advice you read in a self-help book is from a person part of the 1% rather than the 99% can stop you from being frustrated. Many people follow the methods and techniques suggested in these books and then expect instant success. 

So if you’re waking up at 5 AM for three months in a row now, and wondering why you’re not a millionaire yet: the story was never that simple! 

Congratulations to your brand new good habit, and pursuit of self-betterment, but know that there is a long way to go before we discover a complete formula for success

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Habits

The Science Behind Forming Habits that Last

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If you’ve ever tried to form a habit, someone’s probably given you the advice that it takes only 21 days to do so. 

The 21-day rule claims that one must only perform an activity every day, for 21 days, until it automatically becomes a habit and the person no longer has to put in the effort to do the activity.

And, if you’ve ever tried to test out this rule: you likely found that it doesn’t really work. 

Unfortunately, there are many more factors that come into play when considering why some habit formation happens in less time than others. 

I was told by a school teacher that it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days for it to become a lifestyle. During the lockdown, I tried to make it a practice to meditate every day for 10 minutes to meditate. I eagerly awaited the 21-day mark, expecting some kind of magical transformation to take place as soon as I awoke. 

There was nothing different about the 21st day (or the 3 months after that), and I didn’t experience any time-bound results. 

Where the 21-Day Rule Comes from

Interestingly, the 21-Day Rule isn’t so much a rule as it’s a misinterpreted observation. A plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz wrote a well-acclaimed book about human behavior. 

In his career, he noticed that it always took a minimum of 21 days for one of his patients to mentally adjust to the physical change in their body. He proposed that any sort of mental image adjustment requires a minimum of 21 days from this data. 

Now while this could be useful data for mental image adjustments, habit formation encompasses many more factors than that. 

Here are scientifically-backed factors that influence how strong your newly formed habit is and how long it will last.

How Big or Small it is

If your habit is something challenging to do, it will take a lot of willpower for you to drastically change your everyday routine to accommodate it. 

For example, if you work a 10hour shift and still want to workout at the gym for an hour a day, knowing it sacrifices your recreation time: chances are that this habit will be really difficult to form and sustain.

A small habit like making your bed, washing the dishes before you go to bed at night, or even self-affirmations in the morning: are all habits that can fit into a schedule without you having to sacrifice much. 

Starting with small habits makes it easier since you don’t need a lot of motivation to perform them. 

How Important the Habit is to your Self Image

Some habits we’re trying to form are more important to us than others. If you strongly believe that this habit will help you become the person you’re destined to be, you’re going to attach more value to carrying it out every day!

How Many Days you Skip

We’re often under the impression that all your progress will come crashing down if you skip a day. Thankfully, it’s been proven that even if you miss a day, there are no long-term effects on the habit formation itself. But it’s recommended that you never skip more than one day at a time.

How You Remind Yourself

When reminding yourself to perform the activity you’re trying to convert to a habit, it’s critical to piggyback off other existing habits. That means if you already have a habit of doing yoga and want to get into a habit of meditating, make sure that you meditate right after your yoga practice. One habit helps the other.

How Sustainable Your Pace is

If you’re working on forming a habit that needs to be built up over time, you need to make sure this pace is feasible for your current lifestyle. You know your life best, and if you know you’re going to have a significant life event and get busier soon, don’t have unrealistic expectations from your new habit!

Good luck!

40% of our day-to-day life is made out of habits. Forming a new habit can very realistically transform your entire life. I’m glad you’re on this journey to maximize your potential, and I’m sure you can do it!

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Habits

How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?

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book read

Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?

Why should you read daily?

  • To gain knowledge

Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.

  • To improve your vocabulary

Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.

  • To have a make-believe world

The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.

  • To become more attentive

Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.

  • To reduce stress

Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person. 

Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.

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