Do something every day that you're afraid of. 1
This page is to track different weekly experiments I'm doing. These could be considered trial runs for habits to see whether they're things I truly want to do or not. This is inspired by a few different sources:
Goal: Don't use my phone in bed when I wake up in the morning. Hypothesis: I've tried this in the past before, so I know it's effective. Playing around on my phone when I wake up just means my morning progresses slower. Outcome:
Goal: No caffeine after midday! Hypothesis: Over the years I feel like I've gotten more affected by caffeine. I'm not ready to quit my morning coffees, but I can at least aim not to drink caffeine after midday and see if that helps improve my sleep and energy levels. Outcome: So I found this one tricky to maintain. The problem is that I generally work off two cups of coffee in the morning, but sometimes I miss that second cup and will have it later in the day. I've decided to just try to be more aware of my caffeine intake, but also not setting any hard and fast rules.
Goal: Only watch my favourite TV shows while exercising Hypothesis: I've been bad at forming an exercise habit. Hopefully using the concept of "bundling" might help change this. I spend a fair amount of time each week watching actual play shows. My plan is to allow myself to only watch these when riding my exercise bike. Outcome: This worked reasonably well! I was exercising mora than usual. Unfortunately I moved house since then and haven't set up my bike yet - but once I do I'll keep this one up!
Goal: Get in bed and read at 10pm every night. Hypothesis: I have bad night time habits (i.e. I just end up playing computer games to late into the night). I also read a lot less these days then I used to. I want to hopefully reverse both of these trends by making it a habit to get into bed at 10 each night and read a bit of something. Outcome: Failed. I don't think I managed to accomplish this any night of the last two weeks. I'm going to put it in the backlog and try again at some point.
Goal: Don't drink any sweetened sodas Hypothesis: I've gone through a couple of phases in my life where I avoided sweetened drinks, and I'd like to get back on to that habit. They're no good for my body in the long term, and I suspect even in the short-term the sugar rush has a negative impact. Outcome: I did reasonably well with this one! Completely cutting out sweetened sodas was a little hard as I often found myself in situations where there weren't alternative drinks (yes, I know I could just not have a drink, but I'm not quite at that level yet!). However I've acquired a taste for sparkling water (the Singha brand here in Thailand is cheap and widely available) so I'm now opting for that when I have the choice.
Goal: Do a meditation session every day Hypothesis: I've tried meditation before and while it didn't immediately gel for me, I can see how it might start have more of an impact with consistent practice, so I'd like to try and do at least 7 days straight. I'm going to use the app Calm for guided sessions. Outcome: This one actually went for a few weeks as I'm still travelling and it's been tricky to devote time to these weekly experiments. That said, I think I'm really starting to take to meditation. I haven't been doing it daily, but when I get into a chain of a few days I really start to feel the positive impact. I'm going to try to continue to make this a habit!
Goal: At 10:30pm every day I'll got to sleep (or try to), and have an alarm set for 6:30am Hypothesis: A regular sleep schedule is something I've strived for for a long time. For the last few years it was tricky with a baby around, but with her sleep more regular now I think I can try this out again. I'd like to know if 8 hours is truly what I need, or perhaps it's more or less. Outcome: This didn't go too well. First off, I'm bad at holding myself accountable. Second, I'm currently visiting my wife's family and I don't have a lot of control over my own schedule right now, so it wasn't the best time to try this out. I'm going to return it to the backlog and try again when the situation is more conducive,
Goal: At 10pm every day I'll write a journal entry. Hypothesis: I've journalled on and off in the past and always found it a useful and thoughtful exercise. I think a lot of value is unlocked by it becoming a habit though, so I'd like to try it out and see how it feels. The timing is important I feel, but I could be wrong. I've been quite interested in the concept of journalling since watching this interview with the musician Scanner where he talks about having journalled every day for the last 30 or 40 years. Outcome: I was very inconsistent with this, but it's something I'd like to continue doing. I know from past experience that it gets easier to right after I become more habituated to it. It's a nice little meditation at the end of the day if I give it the proper time.
Goal: Only have cold/lukewarm showers Hypothesis: I get really dry skin these days and dropping hot showers is often recommended as a fix to this. So hopefully after a week I notice my skin is less dry Outcome: I stuck to this all week, though I think they'd probably be classified more as lukewarm showers. It went fine though, and I think I'm going to continue doing it but maybe lower the temperature a bit every day. The real test will come when I head back to Australia in a few weeks and try it in a colder climate!