Trying to develop new habits

Hi everyone,

it has been a very long time since I announced my will to do the blog challenge and nothing followed.

That has multiple reasons. I guess the main reason was that I had to write a paper for my university and got stressed a lot because I started too late with it (lesson learned – I hope). After that I had a wonderful vacation in Indonesia and met my lovely girlfriend for the first time, which was amazing! (I will tell you more about the vacation maybe in future posts…) So in the following months after I came back to Germany, I didn’t really think about this blog anymore and somehow let it out of my sight.

After I finished my exams for the semesters I had a lot of free time and found myself pretty unmotivated for doing anything, wasting time by looking at my phone and switching between the same 4 apps over and over again. This made me fed up and weary, which was leading to even less motivation. I felt like moving in a spiral downwards. Every evening I went to sleep with the thoughts of getting up early on the next day and going running or so, but in the end I found my phone being more interesting.

In the end this showed me two things:

  1.  If you break with a habit, which you want to establish new to your life, it’s really really hard to get it back on track.
  2. If you break with one habit, you get unhappy with yourself and start to break the others as well.

Luckily for me I got my motivation back through my girlfriend. She started to do workout every day and go swimming weekly and suggested that I should do the same – big thanks to her! It’s much more effective when such a nudge (or big push in this case) comes from someone other than you. Because the other person will keep asking you (more often than you would ask yourself) if you already went swimming or whatever habit you want to establish. Also it’s a lot harder to deny these questions because you don’t want the other one to be disappointed and thus have to come up with an apology. Picturing that situation in my mind, I think it’s a lot easier to just go swimming than trying to squirm myself out of that question. So probably she saved me a lot of bad and unhappy weeks or maybe even months by making me actually do the things, which I always want myself to do.

With the goal of going swimming once a week, I started slowly again. Being able to do that I got more and more motivated and added other habits one by one. Going running, doing some workout every day – even when it’s only some push-ups, the main part is that I did something at least – and now back to write this blog once again.

My plan is to write one post every Tuesday evening. I made the experience that I follow a schedule more than when I just have the goal without a specific time to do it. Before that I wanna reflect my week and write down some notes about what I’m proud of, the things I accomplished the week before and the things which I regret having done.

I see this as a little experiment to make me pleased with myself and I’m looking forward to realize this idea. Hopefully I will be able to finally begin and finish the blog challenge. I would be thankful for every reminder and uncomfortable question when I try to break with this new habit. But hopefully that will never happen!

I’m so thankful that I could write all of this to you, it is relieving some bad feelings in me and making me even more motivated and comfortable with myself.

Why am I doing the Live your Legend blog challenge?

The author of the blog, that I mentioned in my first initial post, who inspired me to make my own blog as well completed the blog challenge of the Live your Legend team. A big thanks to both of them, it is really nice! I’m hoping to get my blogging habit running this way, because my last post has been a while ago already. I had to write a seminar paper for university which was due yesterday, so I was a bit sick of writing.

By participating in the blog challenge, I want to get new ideas about keep on writing posts and reflecting my own way of living. So hopefully you can also get some thoughts or ideas out of this like me.

How do I get stressed?

I guess we all know the feeling of having stress, seeing that huge amount of work in front of you and panicking and thinking you won’t be able to do all of that. I have been there too a lot of times, and since it’s not a nice feeling I’m asking myself how did I even let this come so far or could I have avoided it somehow?

When I think back to the times where I was stressed a lot, I remember that I always had a long TODO-list in my mind. And on that list was always a whole bunch of tasks that just seemed so many and when I finally got myself to do them, they suddenly went off the list very quickly so I was left with just a few tasks that took some longer time. The thing is that even those leftover tasks needed much more time than the others, it didn’t look that much. This made me feel better and more relaxed about everything. You can trick your mind here in the same way it gets tricked lifting things, picking up little things always feels heavier than picking up the same weight but in a lot bigger version. So a small TODO-list looks less than a big one with the same amount of time you have to put into it. Also I felt much more comfortable and could focus on the few tasks much better and thus working on them more concentrated. That was always the way out for me of stressed feelings.

So this means actually that my way into the stress was usually being too lazy to do the small quick tasks, like doing the laundry or so. But this is pretty stupid right? This means that I could actually save myself from all the stress if I just do every short task, like 10-minutes-tasks, right after it comes up and this way my TODO-list will always stay clean and short.

Realizing this I’m trying now to make myself to do everything directly that doesn’t take long – sometimes you even save time with that since for example you can wash the dishes more easily when they are not dried yet – and this way trying to keep my TODO-list short. This has the nice side effect that my weekly scheduling also gets easier, since there are not that much things anymore that I have to fit into my schedule. It could happen that a spontaneous task will interfere with my planned schedule, but since it just takes not longer than 10 or 15 minutes, the delay should still stay in bounds.

How we beat the problems of time difference in our long-distance-relationship

Around one year ago I got into a long distance relationship with a lovely Indonesian girl. And I have to say that I learned a lot during the past year with her. Since we got around 11000 km and 5-6 hours (because Germany has this “brilliant” summer- and wintertime) between us, which is of course not always easy and brings a few challenges if we wanna make it work and still spend some time together.

To achieve as much time with her as I can I learned how to make my schedule. Before I used to have trouble to get to have a call with her, since there was always something to do. It happened a lot when she went to uni while I was sleeping and when she came back, I had to go. And when I came back home she was often already asleep because her uni starts early. That’s why there was always someone of us waiting for the other one and missing him/her badly.

A few weeks ago inspired me to sit down every Sunday and write down a plan for the next week. This works pretty well because I have a defined time of work and free time (time to call my love ;)). So trying to figure out the best schedule I’m using some ideas out of the computer science, which I got out of the book “Algorithms to live by” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. Since for algorithms for computers have been put a lot effort into to optimize them, I think the idea to use them also for us is brilliant.

So here is what I do: Before I could start with my weekly schedule I had to set some constants into my schedule. First I noted the fixed events where I can’t change the time (namely uni and work) and blocked that time directly. And second I marked the time where my girlfriend usually has free time, so I won’t fill those times with work, which I can do at another time.

Now I make a weekly list of the tasks that I want or have to do, like writing a blog post, go running or cycling or doing homework. Now I measure the needed time for each of those tasks and see where each task would fit into the best (Algorithm of best fitting). Usually I can’t or don’t want to cover all of the tasks on my list, so I search for fitting spaces for urgent and important tasks first (usually the ones with a deadline in the next week). To filter that quickly I have three TO-DO list where I can directly separate my TO-DOs once they come up.

Because my girlfriend does her work while I’m in uni or sleeping, we still find a way to spend a lot of quality time together. And since we didn’t plan anything else, we can really relax during the time and don’t have to worry about undone work.

Also I don’t always do it precisely that way, sometimes I make it quick and dirty not even trying to get the perfect schedule. But during the week I feel more relaxed when I put a little more effort into my schedule, although I never allow myself to work on it for more then 15 minutes, so I won’t spend too much time on scheduling.

Happiness and how to achieve it

I just stumbled over a post of James Clear in his blog. The entry deals with a simple rule of happiness in an African tribe. In a race where the first one reaching a box of fruits would take it all, the kids just took each others hand and reached the basket together and enjoying the meal with everyone. The reason for this blew my mind:

“How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

Thinking about it she’s right. How can you be happy if you have no one to share it with? Like Jim Rohn also said:

“You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”  -Jim Rohn

If the people around you are sad, they will make you sad too. So thinking again about the race, when you win the others will be sad because they lost and have to watch you eating all the fruits by yourself. Watching their sad faces will make you feel sad too – except you’re an evil villain. Now you could just leave them, take your fruits and search for other winners who also have fruits and be happy together with them. But what if you get into the same race with them again? At some point even when you’re always winning, you’re running out of people to surround you with. So why not take a step back and being a winner with everyone else together? Why is in today’s society everything about competition at all? (I guess I will have to make another post for this).

One day I experienced how crazy happiness and sadness can be transferred between people by just their mimic in their faces. I live in one of the rainiest cities of Germany and that day I came back from visiting my family and my train was delayed so my mood was kind of grumpy. But when I stepped outside the train station all the people around me where having a smile on their lips – I guess because it was warm and sunny for a change – it directly caught me as well. That day I realized that being happy is not just about yourself but mostly about the people around you.

Theoretically happiness is so easy to spread that way, make someone happy and you will get happy yourself. Then other people will see that cheerful smile on your face and intuitively mirroring it a little and maybe also your action if you tell them what made you feel good, spreading your happy mood more and more.

What is this blog about?

Hello everyone,

in this first initial post about my blog I wanna tell you my reasons for opening and starting it. I got inspired by someone who also recently started his own blog to sort his thoughts and reflect his own way of life and opinions.

As soon as I read his blog, the idea of an own blog grew inside me and now I finally did it and I can say that it actually feels pretty good.

What I’m trying to achieve with this blog is to reflect myself to you, trying to explain you my sight of the world or whatever wants to get off my mind and over this way understand myself better as well. Because of this I don’t want this blog to be about a special topic so I’m always free to write what I want – don’t worry, I will try my best to group my posts into categories so you can still filter them.

Since I’m doing this primarily for myself to understand me better – I use to ask myself a lot of times, why I do things that I do – I would be happy about some feedback. If you feel like leaving a comment or suggest a topic for the next post please feel free to do so.

My goal is to make a post at least once a week and see where this leads me, hopefully it will get more.

I hope you will like this blog and maybe even get inspired by me with new ideas.