I connected my work, personal and Facebook calendars and Wunderlist to Sunrise.
Everyday, Wunderlist tells me what to do and Sunrise tells me when to do. This is a great thing. Because a wise man once said, and I can attest from my experience, the things that get scheduled are the things that get done.
My new year is warming up. I started, rather continuing, work on my goals. My exercising routine resumed this week after a two-week holiday break. I started drinking protein after my workouts. I had a great lower body workout this afternoon. My trainer kept it relatively easy so all of us finished all the reps ahead of time. However, at the end he challenged me to swing 32 kg kettle-bell non-stop for fifty times. I tried, but gave up after twenty swings. So he asked me to complete two more sets of twenty swings, breaks allowed. I was able to do all of them with a good form. So that’s sixty swings with a break after every twenty. Still pretty good.
I recently wrote about how what I do aligns to “Master yourself, help others” philosophy I learned from Derek Sivers. I loved this philosophy so much that I want to make it my life motto and make sure everything I do fits into either of these buckets.
This motto adds on to the four principles I practice. Here is the complete list:
Base goals on Identity. Not on Performance or Appearance.
For the fun of setting resolutions for 2016, I decided to highlight two things from my /now page.
I am going to work for perfect abs. This not so because I want to show off but for the fun of attempting what I think is difficult to do. Perfect abs means eating really well, great rest of the body and overall fitness.
I reiterate, I exercise to master my body and be healthy so I can give a best shot to my aspirations. External results like lean body, muscle and low body fat are nice side effects I can’t help but enjoy.
I am going to work hard to be successful in my side project code-named, Chaitanya 3.0.
I am super excited to imagine what is possible in 2016.
Here’s to 2016 and I wish you all the very best for your aspirations.
If you are keen to get better at achieving your goals in the new year, I suggest you check the free Get Stuff Done online course on YouTube.
This course teaches how to apply the famous GTD philosophy to our life. It was originally offered for a small fee but the nice fella, Tiago Forte of Skillshare has made it available for free on YouTube. It is a series of short videos, all of them under fifteen minutes and only few of them are over ten minutes.
I did this course last year and learned a lot about how to organize myself. It has helped me build a Wunderlist based to-do list system that tells me the things I need to do everyday to make progress on my goals. I am doing this course again to strengthen my learning. It only takes at most fifteen minutes a day. Check it out.
In my case, I do not want to forget anything but I just want to pen down my thoughts and clear my mind. I am so proud of what I wrote. So proud that I read it countless times since yesterday. Unfortunately, the post is too personal and is for my reference. So I published it privately. It will ever be read by only two people besides me. It has reminded me the importance of journaling and its benefits.
It is immensely satisfying, once in a while, to go back in time and read my past thoughts. I derive a great pleasure from it.
Here are the places I journal my life.
This blog – I write personal topics that I am comfortable sharing publicly. I try to avoid negative topics as much as possible.
Dayone app – Personal topics that I am not comfortable to share publicly. May contain some negative thoughts and concerns I have.
iPhone camera roll – My phone’s camera roll tells me the visual story of my life. I upload the photos regularly to three places: Flickr, Google Photos, and OneDrive.
Twitter – My tweets are a way to capture my short-form thoughts. They are cheeky sometimes. Some of them sound preachy but I am really talking to myself, publicly.
Facebook – I share personal photos for myself and my extended family.
My Flickr feed – I mostly put the food photos on Flickr. While it may look like I am showing off the exciting dishes I am having, each photo reminds me of the people I shared the table with and the good and bad times we had.
Yahoo Mail Inbox – I have all the text chats and text messages we exchanged during our courtship. Text chat has a special place in my life.
At the end of October I finished reading this book titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. So during this month, I hoped to practice some of the things I learned from this book. Hence Mindful November.
I liked the idea of conserving mental energy that’s otherwise wasted on small stuff so we can use it for the things that really matter. The central theme of this book is to help keep the little things from taking over our lives.
I picked twelve things to practice during November. These rules sound like truisms, but as with all truisms, the challenge is in practicing. I failed miserably multiple times when situations have arisen. Lately some of my ducks are getting out of row (if they aren’t, they are not ducks, are they?). I would have saved a lot of mental energy had I applied some of these rules. But alas, such is life!
It is not all bad though. I did well in some of them. For example, I am not an aggressive driver but I am neither sagacious. I received a rather expensive speeding ticket in mail during the Bay of Islands road trip last month. Much earlier to this, since the start of the last year I decided not to honk at anyone on the road, regardless. Who knows what the other driver is going through. Everyone does mistakes sometime. So there is no point in getting zealous with horn as if I am saintly.
However, I was only not honking. I am still disturbed within when I see bad or dangerous driving. This morning someone cut in front of me in the traffic. But this time, instead of feeling angry, I recalled the following from lines from the book and instantly felt better.
Why not simply allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry. This way we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people’s problems personally.
And from the essay 57,
…you end up saving no time in getting where you want to go.
Nevertheless, I am an optimist and believe in practice. So I will get going.
Here are the twelve things I will continue to practice.
Let others finish. Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences.
Let others be right.
Let others have the glory.
Let others be more enlightened. Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you.
Choose being kind over being right or being intelligent.
Praise and blame are all the same.
Become a less aggressive driver.
Think of what you have instead of what you want.
Look beyond behavior.
If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.
When trying to be helpful, focus on little things.
Mind your own business. Avoid analyzing or trying to figure out other people.
Weet-Bix is a high-fiber, low-sugar, and low-cost breakfast cereal widely available in this part of the world. It may not be the healthiest breakfast but I bet they are healthier than most cereals. I reckon only rolled oats are healthier than Weet-Bix. I like Weet-Bix because they are super simple to make, I can’t eat more than two of them and they feel nice and light in the stomach. But like most of the healthy foods, Weet-Bix are bland and tasteless. So I haven’t been eating them as often as I would like and was eating tongue-pleasing options like bread with peanut butter or nut and seed flavored muesli.
At the end of September, I felt I had enough and decided to eat only Weet-Bix for breakfast in October. I haven’t done any 30-day experiment so far this year. So this sounded like a good and healthy experiment.
Here is my breakfast recipe for the last 31 days: Boil little milk for two minutes, add two Weet-Bix, and a smattering of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and a few roast almonds. Wait for two minutes and enjoy!
As a result of this experiment, I loved Weet-Bix more than ever. So I am happy to continue eating them.
My four-year old too loves Weet-Bix and eats two of them with milk and some raisins. Hopefully he will not give in to sugary cereals as he grows up. I will try my best to keep him interested in Weet-Bix by eating them myself, which I am more than happy to.
It is a shame but I couldn’t touch type until recently.
One day in July 2013 my boss was passing by my desk. It was not the first time he was passing by me or noticed me typing with two fingers. But that day he stopped by my desk and encouraged me to learn touch typing so I could type at the speed of my thought. He told a little story about how he learned touch typing when he was in high school. A little later that afternoon, he returned to his desk, which is at the far end of mine, skyped me to turn to him and smilingly skyped something which I can’t remember. In that chat he also shared the website he used to learn to touch type: http://www.typeonline.co.uk/index.html
Later that evening, I checked this website at home. This is not the fanciest website to learn touch typing but I liked its simplicity. I clicked around on the links to see how the lessons are structured. On one of the pages, I noticed a message that struck chord with me:
Typing is learned by practice.
Expert typists are not born with an innate affinity for keyboards. They have not taken a magic typing pill. Nor do they rely on enchanted keyboards for their skill. They practice.
751 days of practicing as little as 20 minutes a day, I can now touch type. I am yet to practice numbers row but I mastered the other three rows. However, it wasn’t easy in the beginning. I struggled a lot while starting to learn. But I accepted that as a part of learning and put up patiently with each lesson. Every new lesson and new row was a struggle. Many a time, I used to practice the previous lesson or row just to get going and not give in. Eventually I mastered all the three rows and then moved on to copy practice lessons.
Another thing that got me going was the feeling of mastering the keyboard. Deep inside me I felt very happy to be able to type without looking at the keyboard. One day I turned to my boss, pinged him in skype to look at me, and while smiling at him, I skyped and thanked him for nudging me to learn to touch type. He was impressed that I took his feedback positively and worked on it deliberately.
I continued to practice even after I learned fully because I only needed fifteen minutes a day. I never missed a day of practice in the last 180 days. Now typing has become my new normal that I see no point in tracking this habit. So today is the last fifteen minutes of practice. I archived the habit in Lift and am not going to waste any more time tracking this habit. I anyway type a lot as part of my job and hobbies.
For the records, here are the Lift stats:
My boss was not the first person to encourage me to learn touch typing. During the first year of college in the year 2000, one of my computer science professors encouraged our class to learn typing. I took his message and in the ensuing semester holidays, went to nearby town to learn typing on a mechanical type writer. I learned for about two weeks and eventually gave up and settled with two finger typing.
Fifteen years later, I am glad I finally learned it.
I hit 100 day streak in meditation. I started meditating this January but failed rather quickly. I say with experience that trying to start meditation with twenty-minute sessions is a sure shot way to stumble. So I started again in May with Calm app. I started with their beginner program and eventually realized ten minutes a day is more manageable. I have been regular since June. If I didn’t forget to look at Lift on that tiring day in July, my streak would have been 50% longer. Anyhow, I don’t wish things were different.
I completed the third level of push up challenge with 37 push ups in a row. I struggled a bit to move past 35 but my trainer gave me some tips to move forward. The challenge is complete but the practice continues.
All these tiny habits added up to 5000 check-ins since I discovered Lift in July 2013. I don’t like this app’s new name, Coach.me. Lift and Lifter sounds cooler than Coach.Me. So I will continue to call it Lift. Had I not read this post titled Two Tips for Deliberate Practice on Medium back in 2013, I would have missed this app and the Tiny Habits method it advocates. Reading can change life positively.
As I can already squat 32 KGs and do 37 continuous push ups, I felt it would be great to round off this year with rounding off those numbers as well. So I aim to squat 40 KGs and do 50 push ups by end of 2015. It shouldn’t be difficult as I just need to continue the momentum. But it is easy to set goals than to actually do them. So fingers crossed.