The King of All Lists

I’ve been doing to-do lists for a long time. Every single morning, I wake up and write down exactly what I want to accomplish by the end of the day.

As I crossed things off that list, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Crossing things of my goal list is extremely gratifying.

In my opinion, to-do lists are amazing. They give you an outline of the day. They allow you to complete your goals and promote generating/implementing a routine.

They’re built for people that use the common excuse; “I don’t have time,” which, I’ve discovered, is quite a large number of the population.

Outline Your Day

Wake up every morning and write down exactly what you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Keep it short and concise.

Long lists prevent you from completing them, which knocks you down a peg at the end of the day. Make you sure you keep it small.

Have a set of constant goals that you must achieve (more on this later). For me, it’s daily affirmations, learning Spanish, and going to the gym. These are my constant goals to attain each day.

Make Time

For all intensive purposes, I consider myself a busy person. I blog, make videos; attend school and work, and constant learn (or read) something, which sucks up most of my time.

“How do you have time?”

The answer is quite simple. I make time. This is something magical about the to-do list. Having those goals on my to-do almost force me to make time. I know the feeling of not completing that list.

I work to avoid that feeling! I don’t have any extra divine time. I just make sure I fit it in. The to-do list encourages me to complete everything.

Build a Habit

To-do lists help build a routine. As mentioned, I have certain things that stay constant. Gym was always a constant habit, which I internalized early on.

However, affirmations and Spanish was something that never came easy. I constantly forgot to complete them or decided to avoid it for just one day.

Here’s where the list came in. Including those things on my list gave me extra motivation to complete it. I couldn’t allow myself to sleep without completing my list, even though it included a difficult Spanish lesson and time-consuming affirmations.

Now, those things are a constant event on my list, but I don’t need them to be. I’ve built the habit. I know, even without including them on the list, that I have to complete them before the days’ end.

Now, including those goals are formalities. Use your to-do list to build and internalize new habits.

“To-Don’t” List

I used to have a terrible nail-biting habit. My earliest memories included my fingers in constant pain and bleeding. I can’t place any early memories before nail biting.

I’ve pretty much done it my entire life. This was a hard habit to break.

How did I do it?

To-Don’t lists to the rescue. I started my day by writing “Today, I will not bite my nails.” And every night that I didn’t bite, I crossed it off.

Boom. Instant gratification.

The problem with people and bad habits is that they visualize the distant future. They see one week or month into the future and breaking the habit seems almost impossible.

Not biting my nails for a FULL week? Not drinking for a FULL week? Not smoking for a FULL week? That seems torturous.

Instead, focus only on today. Today is the only day that matters. Get through today. And then, tomorrow, get through that today. Time doesn’t exist outside of today. Time is just a series of todays.

Similar to the to-do lists, not being able to cross it off at the end of the day, felt terrible. My decision always includes gratification and today I will achieve it.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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A Habit of Highly Effective People

People-watching is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. As I was taking the bus this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the under-rested student population.

Scores of people yawning, drowsy, passed out and drooling. They’re a complete mess. People do not sleep enough. There, I said it. Someone had to. I feel like it’s something that most people don’t do, but, in my opinion, is so important.

The solution seems so simple to me.

Just sleep more.

People use every excuse in the book. “I don’t have time. I have school! I just can’t sleep!” For me, the solution to all these problems is sleep.

I Don’t Have Time

When I tell people I have a job, a blog, a YouTube channel, and I’m at school full-time, they’re always baffled.

“Where do you find the time? I don’t have the same time you do.”

I do not understand. It seems to me that people think that I somehow have acquired extra time. That’s not the case. I have the same 24 hours that you have.

I appear to have more time because I sleep well. Time seems to be the biggest excuse in everyone’s life. This seems to be the go-to-excuse for most peoples’ problems.

For me, sleep seems to solve the time ‘problem.’ Want to know the secret? I sleep early. Sometimes so early, I can be considered an old man. I sleep early and wake up early.

I (almost) always wake up before the sun. You cannot imagine the amount of things you can accomplish before the sun rises. Everything is quiet and I’m able to finish tasks without any external distractions.

I Have School

Guess what? I also have school. School takes up large portion of my day. Once again, effective sleep is the key. Wake up early! The majority of my daily routine is completed before 8AM.

I give myself an hour after 8AM to focus on school activities. My mornings are efficient because of my previous 8-9 hours of sleep.

Secondly, it allows for better quality work. With adequate sleep, I feel alert and my memory is sharp. Studying is surprisingly easy, when you’re alert and sharp.

I Can’t Sleep

I met this girl who said, “I just can’t sleep. I lay in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep.”

Don’t worry; (unqualified) doctor Leroy is here to diagnose the problem. We talked for a while about her night routine. What she does and when she does it. Here it is:

She is on her cellphone! This just doesn’t make sense. You can’t be on your cellphone AND sleep.

Electronics (i.e. cellphones) produce blue light. Blue light affects your pineal gland (brain) and reduces your ability to produce melatonin.

Melatonin: A chemical in your brain that tells you its time for beddy-bye-bye.

The blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Your brain says, “Hey, it’s daytime. You don’t need to sleep right now. STOP THE MELATONIN BOYS!”

Avoid all forms of blue light AT LEAST an hour before bed. My method is to read before bedtime.

Cut Out The Unnecessary

Cut out all the wasteful tasks in your day. Do you watch television for longer than you should? Do you putter your time away? Keep a log of everything you do for at least three days.

You will be amazed with the amount of time you waste on frivolous time-wasters.

The Most Effective Habit

Like it or not, sleep is incredibly important for literally everything occurring inside and outside your body. This habit is something most people often sacrifice. For me, sleep is one of the highest priorities.

Sleep combined with a strong daily routine allows for the maximum output of energy and efficiency.

 

 

Challenge: My bedtime is usually at 9:30PM-10PM. Sleep around that time and set an alarm for 6AM. Try this once. After getting your 8 hours, see how you feel in the morning. My bet is that you’ll feel how I feel, great.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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Five Things To Do Everyday.

Ugh, what a simplistic title. I try my best to come up with eye-catching titles for each article. This one is plain stupid.

I wish I could say, “Do these things and your life will be great.” Sadly, this may not work for everyone, but it works for me. These are the things that I implement into my daily routine that make my life slightly happier each day. They may work for you as well.

1) The Bed is Calling

The majority of the population is over-worked and under-rested. Sleep is such an important aspect of our lives that we often overlook. Instead of sleeping, we waste time watching television, endlessly browsing our Twitter/Facebook feeds and wasting away on Pinterest. I am guilty of this on occasion.

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When sleep is overlooked, I am cranky, tired and unable to properly function. I can’t think straight, my eyes burn and I am just overall unproductive. Adequate sleep has become the clinch-pin in my everyday routine. Sleep at least eight hours a day. You owe it to yourself and your body.

2) BBW

Simple put, knowledge is power. Your brain is the greatest muscle you possess. Be A Book Worm. I think it is safe to say that everyone can benefit from more reading. There is simply no such thing as ‘too much reading.’

Reading has opened up my world to an innumerable amount of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. The more I read, the more I feel in control. I can control what information I consume.

Try and read everyday. I personally enjoy non-fiction books. I feel like I need to learn something from a novel or it is a waste of my time. Also, I have a severe lack of imagination, making imagery terribly difficult.

3) A Page a Day

Write every single day. Try to write at least one page a day. I feel like I’ve been writing forever. It started with really angsty teenage poems, helping through my breakups, to some form of a journal, finally to this blog. Now, this is my primary source of writing everyday and I love it.

Writing is a daunting task at first. What do I write about, you ask? Write about your day, your thoughts and feelings today, an interesting/memorable story that occurred, your goals/aspirations, etc. There is an endless amount of topics.

The writing does not have to be “novelist level.” Just enough to get all your thoughts and feelings on paper. Expressing your thoughts is incredibly important. Unfortunately, twitter does not count as an avenue.

4) Easy Chemicals

Laughter is another over-looked, under-fulfilled aspect of many peoples’ lives. Everyday, we are struck with anxieties, fears, deadlines, and pressures of the world. So do the exact opposite of that.

Simply laugh. Laughter releases valuable oxytocin (pleasure hormone) in your brain. It’s like having a series of miniature orgasms. Need I say more?

I fit something funny everyday into my routine. Watching standup is one of my favorite pass times. Look up the works of Eddie Murphy, Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, and Dave Chappelle. They are some of my favorites and offer some quality laughs.

5) Simple Words

“You can catch more flies with honey, than you do with vinegar” – Anonymous

I’m not quite sure, why you would ever want to catch flies, but I love the quote. In a world, where criticism and negative thoughts flood, compliments are infrequent and seldom.

Showing even a mild form of gratitude or compliment can absolutely brighten up ones’ day, but it’s rarely said. Why? I don’t understand it. I feel good when someone says something nice to me. I should repay the favour.

Spend some time everyday expressing your gratitude to somebody. Pick up the phone and thank someone for a favor, return an email that has been sitting in your inbox or turn to the person next to you and compliment his or her hair.

A few words make a huge difference in ones’ life, so why not make them positive.

In all honesty, I do not know if this will work for you. These are aspects of my daily practice that craves to be completed. Sometimes, I do not complete them all. On those days, I feel like I robbed myself of something.

The times I do complete them, I feel like I can tackle another day. I can move forward towards the next task in higher spirits. I am selfish today because this post was mostly for me. This was written to remind me of the things I will do to be better today and everyday.

I can improve and it all starts with completing the five things to do everyday.

Kicking The Habit

Everyone has at least one bad habit that they can’t shake, something that has stuck with you for your entire life. They can be anything really: cracking fingers, picking your nose, smoking, lack-night snacking, etc.

But everyone has at least one.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been biting my nails. It’s been a bad habit that has accompanied me through my entire life.

How Do They Form?

Bad habits form through repetition. It’s something I started doing when I was very young and it stuck with me. Simply doing something repeatedly will create a habit, good or bad.

Through this process, your brain shuts off during the habit because it becomes second nature. Before I even realized, I was already nail deep in my mouth.

Luckily, humans are easily adaptable and change is on the horizon. Habits are able to be broken, but it will take work and discipline.

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1) Singling Out The Habit

“Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good” – Benjamin Franklin

Write down all the bad habits you have and choose one. There is no sense in tackling all of them at once. Pick one that bothers you the most and run with it. For me, it’s nail biting.

2) Don’t Pull The Trigger

Triggers are essentially what make you do the bad habit. List all the triggers that influence your bad habit. Next, write down possible way to deal with those triggers or avoid them completely.

When I am idle, I bite my nails. My brain doesn’t clue in until after I’m done. My trigger is being idle. Now all, I have to avoid idle hands. I try to distract my hands when I know the possibility of the habit might arise.

When I was younger, I played with Lego, pretty much constantly. While searching through all those multi-colored blocks, I completely forgot to bite my nails. It just never occurred to me.

3) Ask your friends/family

Enlist your friends in your quest to fight the bad habit. Tell them that you are trying to fix ___________ and you need their help. They can stand between you and your natural unconsciousness tendencies.

My mother, to do this day, slaps my hand from my mouth and nags relentlessly. It’s her form of policing. I appreciate the sentiment and it makes me think twice.

Lastly, remember, bad habits are something that everyone has. You are not alone in this endeavor. For most people breaking a bad habit is a lifetime effort but taking the first step to battle it is often enough.

I still bite my nails from time to time, but being aware of the habit has helped me fix sooner than later.

So go forth, choose one habit and conquer it.

The feeling of defeating it, is like none other.