One year ago, January 02, 2021, I started my most audacious project, creating five habits in five years. I decided to start such a project because of my low consistency level. I couldn't keep every long-term activity I began because my peaks of motivation and self-discipline vanished quickly. So I started this journey because being that way bothered me so much.
Now, I want to relate how the first year was, the achievements, and the difficulties. I must confess that it wasn't easy, and I still don't master the habits very well, but I'm proud of myself for the whole evolution and the new concepts and paradigms I acquired this year.
It's important to remember that we lived in the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, where we couldn't see relatives or hang out with friends. So our most unselfish decision at that moment was to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus. So that's what I did. This context made the project more challenging and strengthened my consistency skills.
In summary, the main goal of the first year was to create consistency. I didn't care much about each habit's other benefits, although I know they exist. For example, I know that training every day would improve my health and get a fit body, but these were secondary objectives.
I can say that I achieved the primary goal. I no longer need the motivation to start these habits. I remember in the first days how tough it was to do my workout (I use an App to train at home) or to meditate. Today, it's comfortable to sit in the morning, close my eyes, keep straight for some minutes, observe my thoughts, or open the App and execute my workout. It's more natural. The entry barrier has become lower.
Now, let me tell you a little about them. To recap, the habits I chose were:
- wake up early;
- exercise every two or three days;
- meditate every day;
- read every day;
- write every day.
It is the most difficult habit for me because of two main points. First, you need to keep waking up early for many days in a row until your body gets used. But sometimes, I had to go to bed late because of work, or some workout was too intense, and I needed more time to sleep. And every time I broke the sequence, I had to start over again.
The second is because most people I know don't wake up so early, so most social activities are at night. So I made an important and tough decision to give up some nightly social activities to become serious with this habit. Whenever I want to see some friends, I ask, "Can we go there earlier? At 9:00 pm, I get very sleepy."
The most significant advantage of this practice is that my days became more productive. I use the first hours of my day to focus on writing and studying entrepreneurship, startups, and product development, the main fields where I want to improve my skills and knowledge.
It was the habit I gave my best effort. However, I don't exercise every two or three days, and there were some periods in which I didn't work out for a whole week. I confess that this happens because of work, some travels to different places, resting or laziness.
My ultimate goal is to create a physical capacity to exercise at least five times per week. Today, I don't have such power, and some workouts drain my energy, so I need to rest for two or three days. I work out in the living room of my home or outdoors using an App, but I'm considering taking some days to go to the gym or CrossFit to increase my strength and capacity even more.
This habit was the second I focused on most. Given the context we were living in, controlling our thoughts and emotions was crucial to developing the other habits, and it's the foundation of many different aspects of our lives.
The result of meditating is that I'm living more in the present, and it's fantastic. Living in the present allows me to detect any harmful thoughts that appear and fix them before they dominate my mind and emotions. As a result, my productivity, studies, focus, and time quality with my family and friends increased remarkably.
This habit was a life-changer, and I do recommend you practice too. I wrote an article telling a little about my meditation roadmap.
This habit has become easier since I started to follow this rule: you don't need to finish a book. So, if we consider blog posts, work technical documentation, and books, we can say I achieved this habit.
Very important, but it was also a habit I couldn't keep every day if we considered only blog posts. However, I have been writing bullet journals every day since June. Writing journals is easier because we don't need to think so much about the structure and corrections.
While the first year was to create consistency, the second year will be to align these habits to long-term values and goals. After reading the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I decided to write my personal constitution, a document in that I'll write my values, principles, and goals. Then, I'll use those five habits to sustain my path and help me achieve these goals.