The Key to Building Habits

Starting a new habit or lifestyle, sticking to it for a few days, then slacking and finally giving up is a familiar experience for all of us. I remember not making New Year Resolutions for a couple of years because I wasn’t going to stick to them anyway. But the thing about wanting to improve in life is that, our belief systems keep changing. So did mine! And now, I am back to doing half-yearly resolutions too. I still don’t stick to them beyond 2 months, but I have made progress. So what is the Key to Building Habits?

It has been 3 years since I have been constantly struggling to form habits and I always felt that I reached nowhere. But recently, I realized that it’s not true. I am in a much better place now than I was 3 years ago. The progress has been slow. But there has been progress.

As a part of my daily routine, I so badly wanted to exercise and write daily. But I wasn’t committed enough to keep at them because after the initial novelty faded, they all got boring. This is where I stopped. This is where we all stop. And once we stop, it is difficult to start again. But do you know what our mistake is? We fixate on the ‘once we stop’ part. Once we stop, we feel dejected. We decide that this isn’t our cup of tea and not think of the habit again for a long long time. What is necessary is a shift in focus. If you look for it, you’ll find many other areas of habit building that you can focus on instead. Here are a few that has been helping me:

Making Starting Again Your Strength

I wasn’t strong enough to keep at it consistently, but I was strong enough to get back to my habit building. I’d start practicing Yoga, keep at it for 4-7 days, get lazy, stop, and within a few months, I’d resume again. You have no idea the number of times I have done the ‘Day 1 of Yoga’ in the last 3 years. But there always has been a Day 1. You stopped working out? It doesn’t matter. Start again! And make that your strength.

Getting Rid of Mindblocks

This has been my biggest enemy. For me, working out has always been about waking up early, working out for around half an hour, giving 100% for it throughout the session, and doing it every single day without fail. Which means, if I did not wake up early, if I were on my periods, if I didn’t find my work-out clothes, if I couldn’t give my 100%, if I worked out only for 15 minutes the previous day, or if I missed one day, there is a 95% chance that I’d stop working out completely. These were the mind blocks that always stopped me from working out.

But now, if I wake up late, I try working out during the day (thanks to work from home) or in the evening. If I can’t, I just work out the next day. I try not to let one day’s workout affect the other. Yesterday I walked 5000 steps. But today I got tired after 2000. So I pushed myself until I covered 3000 steps and stopped. You just need to write down all the silly reasons you’d quote to not work-out and then work around these reasons.

Experimenting New Ways to Keep at Your Habit

Once I started the habit, the next problem was keeping at it. One alternative to this is, going to a gym or a Yoga class and finding a mentor. But you already know that! I didn’t want to enroll for a class. At least not right now as I’ll have to go back to Bangalore any time. So I started trying out different methods. For instance, I started working out only during the weekends, I tried different types of Yoga, different Apps, Youtube channels etc to see what suited me better, I alternated between Yoga and walking, I spoke to other people who were constantly working out, I spoke to my family since they are all actively trying to work out more frequently, and I was on a quest to find what suited me. Granted, there never came a point where I continuously worked out for months. I always ended up slacking and having gaps in my work out. But I never got fed up of trying new methods

Getting Back to Your Habits at a Faster Pace After Each Set Back

The bright side of it was that, each time I stopped working out, I got back to it faster than the last time. If it took me 3 months to get back to working out in 2018, now it takes only a week. For instance, last month, I was doing Yoga every weekend. But I missed last weekend. So I started doing Zumba since Tuesday (11-08-2020). I missed Zumba yesterday. So I walked 5000 steps yesterday evening. While I was busy counting the number of times I gave up, I was getting back to working out more and that matters the most! If this isn’t improvement, then what is?

With respect to writing, I used to blog frequently in 2013 through 2017. But once I got my job, I barely wrote. Throughout 2018 and 2019, I’d publish one blogpost, promise myself that I’d write a post every week and then not come back for months. But the important thing is, I did come back. And every time I did, I decided not to give up and that was the important bit – not giving up. I did this so many times that now, in 2020, this is my second month of blogging every week.

The most important thing to understand is that there is no secret recipe. Everything you need to know about habit building is a google search away. There aren’t really many new mantras. But you definitely can search for people (youtube channels, books, blogs and podcasts) who put it in better ways for you. Some people have the ability to give you a better perspective. This is the key to building new habits. Finding different perspectives, choosing the ones you like and tweaking them to fit your needs, and forming a practice that helps you get back to your habits. When you get back to your habits long enough, you’ll be getting back to them every day. Isn’t that our end goal?

If you think my blog-post helped you see a new perspective, please leave a comment and do share it with at least 2 people who you think need to read it.

Featured Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Why You Should Consider an Instagram (Social Media) Detox

With the TikTok ban in India, many youngsters who were simply binging on TikTok content have all of a sudden been presented with lots of time. If they were watching videos that added no value to them all this while, I hope at least a few realize that they wasted an awful lot of time with absolutely no results to show. This brings us to the important question; which social media ban would leave you with more time? For me, it would be Instagram.

Let me clarify two things. Firstly, entertainment can just be a medium for relaxation. It doesn’t have to add value all the time. But binging on anything frequently takes away valuable time; time that you could use to improve your life physically and mentally. Secondly, you don’t always HAVE to be productive. But you should know your options. The world has so much to offer and you have a lifetime to experience them, to learn and to grow. You should know that you have an option to be better at something than you are today and the joy you get from that kind of self-improvement is immense. Do you want to let go of that joy without even trying? On the other hand, if learning or creating doesn’t give you any joy, but you are happy with the way your life is right now, that’s perfect too.

After I cleared my CA exams in 2017, I stopped updating my blog frequently. But since I wanted to keep my writing alive, I decided to write on my Instagram account, afew.handpickedthings, on a daily basis. I used to post the pictures I captured and write captions on them. Through this, I kept my writing habit alive during the last couple of years while I slacked on my blogging. It worked well until recently. After I changed my job, finding time to write daily was getting difficult. I gradually began to beat myself up for not posting frequently on Instagram. It became a tedious work as opposed to something I should have enjoyed doing.

Why You Should Consider a Social Media Detox Like Me

To add to this, the lockdown had me trying so many new things; baking cakes, trying new dishes, painting more often, exploring new art forms, singing and recording videos. But the underlying purpose of creating had shifted for me. When I prepared a food, I was always thinking of getting the right pictures for the grid. The painting and the song had to be perfect for Instagram. I noticed how I wasn’t deriving enough joy from creating as I used to, because I was focusing on putting up everything on Instagram, from where I wasn’t getting any value!

I obsessed over the order in which I posted on Instagram, the caption I would give and these decisions took away an unnecessary amount of time. One fine morning it dawned on me that I was using too much of my decision making abilities, my time and sacrificing my joys of creating, all for Instagram. So I decided to go on an Instagram detox. Last week, I uninstalled the App. The aim was two-fold; to create for the joy of creating (and not for posting) and to figure out how I could use the App to add value to myself and others without losing myself to it.

Living without Instagram has been difficult. It was my go to App when I wanted an escape and the urge to share my creations on the grid for some instant gratification is strong. During this period, I clicked a beautiful picture of the sky, made a couple of drawings, prepared pancakes and I have been thinking of putting them up on Instagram when I get back. This thought process is what I need to break. I want to put something up on Instagram because I created it and not the other way round. But here is the best part. I have read more, taken some classes on skillshare and created more during the last one week because I am not wasting my time on Instagram consuming information I don’t need.

The truth is, you can do the same thing for different purposes. But you need to understand which purpose gives you the most joy. It is absolutely alright to create for social media as long as you enjoy the whole process. But ask yourself these questions. Are you enjoying the process of creating? Would you create if not for social media? If you wouldn’t, then is the burden of creating, worth the few comments and likes?

It isn’t about social media alone. If you are spending too much time on an App without getting any value from it, it is high time that you ask if it is really worth your time. If it isn’t, take a ten day detox and evaluate how you could spend your time more productively.

So tell me if a social media ban would give you more time to be productive, which social media ban would do it? Also, do you think you’ll be going on a Instagram/Social Media detox soon?

Changing The Way We See Equality Improves Life

So tell me. Do you believe in equality? Do you believe that two things on this Earth or beyond can be absolutely equal with not even a tiny, minuscule difference?

If the answer is yes, I would like to know two things that according to you are absolutely equal (Something measurable of course!). Because my answer is No and I am open to disagreements. Let me elaborate my views on this.

Can you say for sure that two 1 Liter bottles of water are exactly 1 liter each to the last measuring unit? There would be a very slight difference for sure don’t you think? Consider the weighing blocks themselves that we rely so much on, to weigh groceries and household products. Can you for sure, say that a weighing block will weigh exactly 1 Kg to the last measuring unit? It could weigh 99.9999999999 grams or 1000.000000000000000000001 grams.

Do these weighing blocks weigh exactly as they say they do?
Do these weighing blocks weigh exactly as they say they do?

Absolute equality is a myth. There might be a one in a million chance to achieve absolute equality. But we’ll never know because we really cannot measure the decimals to their exact value. We do not know where exactly 999 grams end and 1000 grams begin. Does it end after 999.9999 or after 999.999999999? There is no end to the number of nines you put there.

You might be wondering where I am going with this. We strive to achieve equality in many ways, in many areas in our lives. And it is when we strive to achieve equality that we begin to keep scores, we strive for perfection and seek to take revenge. I’d like two discuss two areas here:

Gender equality

It is impossible for women and men to be equals. I used to believe in it once but not anymore. I wouldn’t say that one gender is superior to the other. It all depends upon people and circumstances. Among so many scenarios, I could list down a few reasons why men and women cannot be equals:

  1. This is something basic I have observed. No two men are equal. How can we expect a man and a woman to be equals?
  2. For many women, menstruation is a pain. It gets really bad for a few that it affects their performance. It is a real issue and one cannot deny it. Meanwhile, other women have it easy with barely any pains and right there, we ourselves can see differences within the same gender.
  3. Men have penis and women have vagina (I know! It is no rocket science). The organs and the related hormones, thought processes, the mind, they all work entirely differently. They derive pleasures differently. As a result they think differently. How could there be equality between two genders that have so many differences?
  4. To add to all this, the society has moulded our mindsets in a certain manner that we are all taught dos and don’ts differently. Even if this wasn’t the case, even if we were all taught to think alike, the difference in bodies and hormones suffice to disprove equality between the two genders.

Equality is a subjective word and when feminists fight for equality, they do have a point to an extent. Let’s not get into details here. That being said, one cannot claim that both the genders are equal in all respects. There is no absolute equality.

Relationships

This is the second aspect I’d like to discuss. No two people in a relationship put in equal efforts to maintain the relationship. There is always that one person who gives more. This is because as I mentioned earlier, no two people are equal. Most of the relationship issues stem from various forms of inequality:

  • A believes he/she is giving more than B, while the latter refuses to agree or acknowledge it.
  • A assumes that B needs a certain something and keeps giving lots of it, while B doesn’t even like it and refuses to respond. An element of inequality is created here as A gives so much and B feels unsatisfied.
  • A believes that it is B’s duty to give and that it is not an act worthy of acknowledgement or applause.

    Is absolute equality in relationship attainable?
    2. Is absolute equality in relationship attainable?

If you are in a relationship and face problems, you could, most of the times correlate it to a form of inequality. It need not always be a romantic relationship. In any form of human encounter, there is a certain amount of giving and taking not just in the form of things, but words, gestures etc. Whenever there is a clash or disagreement, there is an element of inequality.

Finding the point of inequality and addressing it could solve many of the issues that we face. As for the question I asked you in the beginning, I believe nothing in this universe could be exactly equal. All we can do is to reduce the inequality. Life will be easier if we strive to reduce the inequality rather than strive to achieve equality. They are two different things that give two different results and different levels of satisfaction.

So what do you think? Is it possible for two people to give in a relationship absolutely equally? Is absolute equality achievable in any scenario? I am open to more thoughts on this. 😀

Image courtesy: Weighing Blocks, Image 2

7 Giant Steps to Self Development

 

This is the 7th and the last post of the series of posts I wrote on Self Development. I have started with simple and easy steps for Self Development in my first post and proceeded with various facets of it in the next few posts. If you intend to start working on it, I request you to begin with the 1st post.


When I began the series, I began with 7 Baby Steps to Self Development. Many of the readers told me how simple and time-saving they were. You need to warm up before you begin the actual work out. But if you do warm up alone, it will get you nowhere. It is time to take the plunge.

All the posts thereafter were about preparing ourselves mentally. If you really try following each post, you will find yourself preparing for today’s post and that, my friends, is the leap. These are big steps and you might have to drag yourself into doing it initially. If you get through the beginning stage, it gets easier. It begins with:

1. The Big Announcement

We know that social media is a time killer. Why don’t we put it to good use? For Self Development! Once you know what you want to work on, make an announcement on Facebook or Instagram about it, the date and your reasons to take it up. For instance, announce that you will start working on your fitness from the next day. You will start by going for a walk every morning.The benefits are twofold:

  • You put it out to the Universe and with that, you have already started it because there is 99% chance that you will begin it. Once begun, half done!
  • People might be willing to join you and nothing makes it more enjoyable than a company, be it to keep track of each other or to compete

2. Take the Plunge

Get into action. Do not wait at the end of the bank and dip your toe in the waters. You might rethink. Just take the plunge. If you were a 10 AM person and you have decided to wake up at 6 AM, do not try the, ‘Let me wake up at 9 AM this week, 8AM next week, 7 AM after that…’ technique. We know how that turns out to be. Keep the alarm for 6 AM.

 

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Image Courtesy

 

If you have decided to exercise, start it tomorrow. Not sometime next week. Do it asap before you change your mind.

3. Quit a Bad Habit

Ah… it is getting tougher, isn’t it? I am no one to point out your bad habits. You know them and you want to stop. As long as we are discussing self-development, this is the best time. Google ways to quit your bad habit and if it involves buying something, go buy it now. You googled it last time and put it off since you were lazy to buy it.

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Amidst your quitting resolve, if you have an urge to restart it, what will you do? Have that area covered too. Start a beneficial habit that will replace your bad habit if it involves time. If it is an involuntary bad habit like biting your nails, you get bitter solutions to dip your nails in that will definitely help you stop sticking them in your mouth. 😉

4. Enroll For a Class

Dance, Yoga, Gym, Zumba, Learning instruments, Languages, Cooking, Painting, Craftwork, Workshops, Calligraphy, name it and you have it. You might have wanted to excel in something similar. Instead of binge watching youtube tutorials one day and forgetting all about it, act on it and join a class.

The thing about enrolling for classes is that you would have spent money on it and that would give you a push. Once you reach there, your tutor will give a push. When there are many people involved, you will enjoy it too.

5. Reach Out to People who Despise you/You Despise

Think of the last person you want to meet and have a conversation with. Start with someone on the peer level. Imagine sitting with them over a cup of coffee?

Hard is it?

In most of the cases, this is a drill we could avoid. Not being in the good books of a single person isn’t a big deal. But what if you have to deal with them on a frequent basis? You could either try going out for a cup of coffee together. But if that would be weird, you could strike occasional conversation – about his/her home, the weather, ask for recommendations. If that would be weird, then go to point 2 and take the plunge. Tell them how you have noticed the friction and that you want to make things better. Trying doesn’t hurt. Does it?

6. Start a 30-day challenge (Or any such)

A person who failed in 4-5 challenges is telling you this. Yes. I found it immensely difficult. And so, take it up and challenge yourself. Being a writer, mine were all writing challenges. You could take up something that would help you grow. Fitness Challenge, Healthy Diet Challenge, Happiness Challenge, Photography challenge, Journal writing challenge, Self Development challenge and there are more such. Ensure that you keep a note of it somewhere so you keep track of it. Let me tell you how my challenges went:

  • My 30 days letter challenge ended in 4 days I think.
  • The 100 Happy Days Challenge was not only prolonged for two-three years it is incomplete even now.
  • The 10 Days, 4 Things challenge? Barely completed 4 days.
  • I did finish the 30 days Book Challenge but I skipped days. I didn’t follow it on the dot.
  • And then I took up #BarAThon. And here I am! Writing my last post. I am finally successful and this has given me the confidence to take up more challenges. The feeling is out of this world! 😀 Go for it guys! Go! Go!

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    Here is one example. Source

7. Start your Life Handbook/Journal

Our life from birth has been a blur. Do you have a record of those little moments in life? Life is made of little things. Those tiny but important details you thought you’ll never forget yet you find them slipping away from your memory. In another 10 years will you remember them? In your old age will your life seem to have been an empty slate?

Don’t just fill it up with lovely moments, keep a record of them. I can’t emphasize enough on its importance which is why I wrote an entire post on it.

You don’t have to start with all these at once. You can work on them one or two at a time but make up your mind to reach to the bottom of it. We don’t have much time. The earlier we master one thing, the earlier we can move on to the next. With this ends my Self Development Series. So did you like them? Do you think you can take up one of these? Is there anything else you would like to add to this list?

Featured Image Courtesy – Here

7 Ways to Love Yourself

This is the 6th post of the series of posts I wrote on Self Development. I have started with simple and easy steps for Self Development in my first post and proceeded with various facets of it in the next few posts. If you intend to start working on it, I request you to begin with the 1st post.


Do you love yourself? To this question, most of the people would say yes but some would secretly ask themselves again, do I? I did not love myself at one point of time. It was evident in my behavior and looks. But I overcame that with much difficulty and now if you know me, you will know that I am very confident about myself and I absolutely adore me :D. I had to include this post for those who couldn’t overcome the self doubt.

1. Acknowledge your ‘flaws’

All of us have our ‘flaws’. I am talking about the insecurities here – too thin, too fat, too dark, too pale, too short, too tall, too shy, stammers, not very sociable and so on. Firstly, these aren’t flaws. You are merely different from the others and they consider anything different from themselves, a flaw. You need to realize it with conviction. For that, you need to acknowledge and embrace these flaws.

Me? I am dark complexioned. I used to spend years crying over it when my relatives and friends pointed it out. I hadn’t accepted the fact that I am dusky. I overcame it after lots of struggles and now when someone asks me to do something about my color, I tell them I like it. The truth is, I am dusky and I don’t want to change anything about me.

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My Favorite Quote

2. ‘Reasons I Love Myself’ List

Erm… yes I do have a thing with lists :P.

You are lovable. There is some feature of yours that you like. You just have to find it. Looks aren’t everything. But in order to survive on this Earth, you need to love yourself. You are your companion and if you don’t like your own company, life will be difficult till the end. Write down 3 things you love about yourself with reasons. Without the reasons you won’t convince yourself. Try adding a new reason every few days.  Every day for 30 days and beyond if possible.

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3. Find Your Confident Look

Are looks important? Yes and No. During some days, when you get ready to leave your house, you feel you look wonderful. While on other days, you don’t seem up to the mark. Different types of clothes & hairstyles affect your mood and confidence.  Observe the connection between your mood and your clothes/dressing style. In a month’s time, you will be able to tell which clothes make you anxious, comfortable or confident. Find the dress that makes you feel like you rule the world. Buy more of similar stuff and soon this newfound confidence will permanently make you feel good about yourself.

4. Experiment on yourself

One body, one life, so little time. Would you rather be the same or would you try out new things to explore your limits? Try new food, new clothes, new styles, new things, a cocky outfit, people’s reaction and how you feel about it.

Due to my complexion complex, I used to wear clothes that made me close to invisible. Thanks to a bunch of good friends, I started feeling better about myself and began to wear things I liked. It was experimental for me since I had never worn them. I was greeted with mockery and I persisted. The thing with mockery is that it stops being funny after the third time ;). Now I am known for the new styles I embrace and my friends love that about me.

I love myself more now since I wear what I want. If I hadn’t experimented, I’d still have been trying to be invisible.

5. Exercising Self Love

This is an activity I came across through the site 30 Days of Self-Love. Nothing too difficult. Every day, you need to make a video saying I Love you to yourself. Practice this for 30 days. This practice came about after watching Dr. Masaru Emoto’s rice experiment. To know more, watch this video:

6. Go easy on yourself

If you had complexes, you were hard on yourself. It wasn’t your fault. You just need to work on it like I mentioned above. If you made mistakes in the past, realized and repented, it is over. You are not the same person now. Why should the new you worry over something the old you did? Go easy on yourself. Let it go. Embrace the lesson and your renewed self. Stop blaming or torturing yourself with your past.

7. Pamper Yourself – Once in a week, pamper yourself. Treat your body and mind. Get a spa, binge watch a series or a movie you wanted to watch, go on a trip, eat what you crave for. No one knows you better than yourself. Save for something you have wanted for a long time and buy it.

My friend bought a polaroid camera because she had been yearning to own one for years. Her relatives and friends accused her of wasting money. I thought it was okay. She is not the type to buy unnecessary things every other day. She was earning and she decided to own something she had always wanted. If you can’t own what you want, then what is the whole point of working and earning money?

You have saved enough. You have put others’ comfort first long enough. Once in a while, buy something for yourself even if it isn’t a necessity. Just know where to draw the line.

 

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Pic Courtesy: Here

 

Love yourself so much that you don’t need anyone else to tell you how lovable you are. I know I am awesome. So are you.

7 Ways of People Planning

We are the shadows of the people around us. Our thoughts, actions, and behavioral patterns are reflections of our parents, teachers, and friends. People play very important roles in our lives and so if we are to grow, we need people who support our growth. If we have negative people around pulling us down, if people we love stop responding to us, or if we stop responding to them, there could be conflicts.

How do we grow when our mind is not sane, free and healthy? Focus on people around you, set things right and you will find things falling into place.

1. Let Go

All of us have been here. We have seen our close ones gradually slip away, some of us watched, some of us were confused, some of us threw tantrums but people who left, they just left! There is only so much you can do.

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Source: Here

When you feel someone is drifting apart, do your best to hold them back. But remember do not beg for a place. If they want you in their life, they will try to sort it out seeing your efforts. If they don’t, your begging will only make it worse. You will either give them a sense of superiority or you will be a mere annoyance to them. Learn to let go after a point.

 

2. Cutting People off

If someone is adversely affecting your life, bossing you around, making jokes at your cost, mocking your beliefs and thought processes, putting you down, cut them off asap! You don’t need that kind of negativity. Love could make you so blind that you even lose your self-respect to save a relationship. I am talking any relationship here.

 

Do this. It will be hard in the beginning. Very hard! But in a few months’ time, you will experience a kind of freedom you never knew existed until then.

3. Embracing your Home group

Your home group – The ones who watched you grow, who love you as you are, your closest circle of friends who know you raw.

Many times we chase people who don’t care and spend time with people who don’t need us. Meanwhile, there are others chasing us, sometimes waiting patiently for a word of love, for some time with us. We don’t have to go that far. There will be someone in every house yearning for our time. Bask in the love you already have rather than chasing the one you may never have. Spend more time with your loved ones. It will be time wisely spent and you’ll never regret it.

Reach out to reach within yourself

4. Talk it out

If he/she was sucking the happiness out of you or he/she just left you for better friends, the story is over. But if you just drifted apart over a silly fight or misunderstanding and if it still pains you, isn’t it high time that you tried to be friends again? We already have so many things bothering us without all the ‘ifs’ adding to them. What if you had apologized? What if you had talked it out? Is it too late?

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You wouldn’t know unless you try. Try talking things out and if it doesn’t work out, you know it is the end. You can learn to put it behind you. If not, you just got back your old buddy! 🙂

5. Mingling With Underprivileged People

When Privilege is love and care…

“I cried for shoes until I saw a child without legs” To value what you have, you should either lose it or be in touch with someone who doesn’t have it. Ever went to an old-age home?

A bunch of old and frail people hoping and waiting for their children to come back and take them home. Some of them know it may never happen, yet a ray of hope remains. Being with them will open our eyes to many things – to count our blessings, to know how they feel, to learn empathy, to realize this could be us some day.

Mingling with under-privileged people will open us to suffering, will make us more kind and compassionate, will remind us to live to the fullest as long as we can.

6. Getting in touch

Do you remember that teacher who contributed so much to your growth? That mentor whom you ran to whenever your life was a mess? Those friends you had coffee with and felt at home every single time? There are so many people we weren’t very close to but we felt a strange happiness when we were with them. They helped us grow mentally and emotionally. They were our support systems. What happened to them?

Get in touch with people who have always been there, no questions asked, even after you vanished for a long time. Go on. Pick up your phone right now and call them. I have to make a call to my LKG class teacher.

7. Forgiving

“You don’t know how strong you are until you have to accept an apology you will never get.” Life isn’t a movie where everyone realizes their mistakes in the end and apologizes. No. In life people leave you hanging amidst your troubles, never to look back. It ends there. You wait for a backward glance, an apology that you may or may not get. What do you do? Grieve the rest of your life over what happened? You need to move on. You don’t have to forget, but you need to forgive. Not for anyone else, but you.

 You might wonder how any of this relates to Self Development. I had a rough phase during the end of last year and earlier this year. I had to cut off negative people from my life, I lost a very close friend for no reason and I was very much depressed. All I did was hole up in my room and whine away a whole lot of days that could have been otherwise productive. In a while, I realised I had to get past it. If people are causing problems in life, you deal with people in order to solve it right? That is all this is about.

I did that and felt a lot better. It cleared my head tremendously and a day became more tolerable to me that I focussed on other aspects of Self Development including taking up this BarAThon! I am happy now.

Bonus tip – We often underestimate the power of little and stupid acts 😉 I may write a post on it some day if I remember to.

 

Featured Image Courtesy: Here

7 Ways to Detox

This is Day 2 of 7 days of Self Development posts I am writing. If you are chasing Self development, please do join in. Begin practising these tips in the order of my posts starting here.



When a farmer tends to his crops, he prevents the growth of weed and uproots them if any. Else, it hinders the growth of his crops. It is the same with Self Development. We need to detoxify ourselves so that we grow without any hindrances.

When we talk of detox, we need to take an overall approach to it – Detoxing our thoughts, our body and our surroundings – A Physical and Mental Detox. So, from now on, we try to consciously purify our thoughts and surroundings. Here is how:

1. Water Therapy 

Yes! We already discussed this in my earlier post. In addition to drinking 4 glasses of water on empty stomach, drink warm water 40 minutes after each meal. It eases the digestion process. Following this daily will purify your blood, gives you clear skin and detoxifies your body.

2. Pranayama 

Your life is counted by the number of breaths you take, or so it is said. Pranayama is a practice of refining breathing ability.  It helps you focus on your breathing and control the same.

  • Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through your left.
  • Now hold your breath and shift your thumb from your right to your left nostril.
  • Exhale deeply and fully through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through the same nostril (right).
  • Hold your breath and shift your thumb from your left to your right nostril.
  • Exhale deeply and fully through your left nostril.

This is one round. Do this daily for about 10 minutes. You can start with 2-3 minutes initially and increase the time gradually. Pranayama ensures that there is maximum supply of oxygen to all the parts of your body. It purifies the blood and the respiratory system.

3. Meditation

 

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Image Courtesy: Huffington Post

 

 

There is a common misunderstanding that meditation is difficult. All you need for meditation is a bit of patience since you don’t see immediate results. Meditation is the process of cultivating awareness of our thought patterns and there are many methods to do it. Here is a simple one that I practice:

  • Find an idle place and sit in a comfortable position – Vajrasana or Sukhasana (cross legged).
  • Play a soft instrumental music if you’d like that and close your eyes.
  • Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for some time.
  • As you bring your breathing to normal, focus on your body parts one at a time.
  • Bring your attention to your toes, relax them, move up to your feet, relax your ankles, move up gradually to your calf muscles, your knees.
  • At this point, go back to your toes and swiftly ensure that all the parts until your knees remain relaxed. If not, loosen them.
  • Resume from your knees upwards relaxing each body part until you reach your face. Relax each feature on your face and begin a quick revision from your toes.
  • Once your entire body is relaxed, stay conscious of your body for about 5 more minutes.

Now bring your attention back to your breath. After about a dozen normal breaths, slowly open your eyes, look around, absorb the sights, the sound and feel the air. Congratulations! You just spent around 10 minutes of your day without letting your mind wander. Even if the mind wanders in between this exercise, don’t fret. Bring it back to focus on your body. It might take a week or so to tame it. 🙂
4. Distancing From Negative People 

Cutting off people from your life is difficult, at least for me! There might be people around you who do not fulfill your emotional needs, or those for whom you are always there but when you need them, they vanish. There could be some who keep telling you how you ‘cannot’ or ‘should not’ do certain things. People who pull you back from everything, who aim to shatter your self-confidence and self-worth. They are toxic to your growth. Cut them off from your life. If that isn’t possible, distance yourself from them. It will be difficult at first, but soon you will have a newfound respect for life.
Let me put it this way. You are a combination of people around you. You really don’t want to become the negativity that surrounds you. Do you?

5. Cleaning Your Room 

I know clean people, messy people, and the ones in between. I belong to the last category and I’d like to move on to the first. Here is why. On the days my room was messy, I was grumpy, gloomy and irritated. It took me a long time to notice this pattern. After every exam, I used to clean my room and there was a certain happiness I found when I walked into an impeccable, sweet smelling bedroom. If a neat place could give us so much joy, there will be prolonged joy when our room is always clean.

I know many friends who boast of their messy room. I used to do the same. I’d say it is because they haven’t observed themselves enough. They will know the difference once they start keeping it clean. There is always a difference. You need to look for it.

6. Declutter

Clutter is useless, space consuming crap that fill your room, table and wardrobe. Take the time to sort through your stuff, one area at a time. Put aside things that you don’t use at all. Even if they are in a good condition, if you don’t use them, they are useless to you. Stop preserving them (unless they have an emotional value). Getting rid of clutter is symbolic of freeing space in your mind, keeping account of things you have and making note of new things you will need.

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By cleaning and decluttering, you are detoxing your surroundings. When you walk into a clean room, you will be able to think clearly. A messy room brings your attention to all those tiny objects laying strewn around and it messes up your thoughts too.

7. Digital Detox

Again something I covered in the previous post? Not quite. Here, I am asking you to do something bigger and better. Can you stay away from phones for 2 hours a day? This means no social media, no chats, no calls for 2 hours. Come on! That is easy.

As children, we never had any of these gadgets. Then why is it so hard for us to stay away from them now? Coming from a college where we didn’t even have access to Television or phones, I can say with conviction that it is possible. Simply find something else to do during that time – Meet a friend, read a book, exercise, go for a walk, talk with people at home, learn something, create art, go for a drive and so on. See? I just gave you a plethora of options and they aren’t exhaustive. So let us work on that digital detox, shall we? 🙂

I know I know! Today has been a bit harder than yesterday. But hey! You don’t have to start them all at once. Focus on one point at a time, get used to it and add the next. Let us own our life, make things happen and spread this positivity! So will you be joining me in this endeavor? What are your thoughts on Day 2 of the Self Development Programme? Did you like it?

This post is a part of the BarAThon hosted by Blog-A-rhythm.

7 Baby Steps to Self Development

I have always wanted to make waking up early, exercising, meditating and eating healthy  an integral part of my life. I am sure most of us have these in our Self Development bucket-lists. While some have successfully included a few in their routine, most of us have failed. A month ago, I realized that it was high time I took positive ownership of my life and began my research for Self development.

There is no point starting away with hefty, boring and difficult things right? It is better to start small, accomplish our goals step by step, gain our footing and then take bigger steps. So, this is what is about to happen over the next few days:

  • I have taken up #BARATHON – A blogging Marathon where I will be blogging on alternate days starting 17th June.
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  • I will be providing tips on different facets of Self Development on all 7 days.
  • Do not venture into them all at once as they could overwhelm you. Take them a few at a time. I will try my best to guide you.

Today (Or the day you choose to begin), being the Day 1, I have 7 simple steps to Self Development, each of which takes only 15 minutes or lesser. If you put your heart and soul into it, you can start with all of them together.

1. Wake up, Make Your Bed, Brighten up Your Room (Time required: 2 Mins) –  Easy right?
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Image Source: Jeff Finley

Making your bed is the first thing you do after you wake up and so, completing the task no matter how tiny it is, gives you a sense of accomplishment. Open the curtains, breathe in some fresh air and bask in the sunlight. Now you have triggered a good mood, made a neat bed and set a happy tone for the day.

2. Water Therapy (Time required: 5-10 mins) – Do not let the word ‘Therapy’ frighten you. All you need to do is, drink 3-4 glasses of water on an empty stomach. A few of the benefits being:

  • It purifies your blood and keeps your skin healthy and clear.
  • It helps in flushing out toxins from your body
  • As your grandparents might have told you, it helps in your bowel movement, prevents constipation and indigestion.
  • It helps the body fight against infections

Initially, it will be difficult to drink four glasses. Start with 2.5 glasses and increase the quantity every five days.

 

3. Make a Daily To-Do List (5-10 mins) – Once you freshen up, make a list of things you wish to accomplish that day.

  • Put all of those tiny, huge and in between things in the list. This prepares you for the day ahead.
  • Allot time limits for each of these activities and prioritize them.
  • Mark each activity as and when you are done with it.
  • Try completing all the activities on the list.

4. The Two Minute Rule (2 min per activity) – Now that you have a To-Do list, finish off all the activities that can be done in less than 2 minutes immediately. Returning calls, replying mails, sending important texts etc are the trivial things we tend to put off since they require less time. Eventually, we end up forgetting them. Instead, be done with them and then move on to the bigger ones.

 

5. Read/Watch a Motivational Piece (Time: 10 mins) – Try including this in the morning so that you feel motivated and look forward to your day. You get many motivational pieces and videos online. You could go for any of those. Rob Dial, Jay Shetty and Sean Stephenson are a few I follow on FB for some drops of motivation. This single activity broadens your mind and gives a positive outlook towards life.

 

6. Go Gadget FreeYou wake up and, even before you open your eyes, reach for the phone. This is more of a request. This doesn’t take your time, instead saves it. Please do not open your laptop, phone or any electronic gadget for the first 1 hour of your day. If you are striving for Self Development, you need to ensure that there aren’t any distractions and that the beginning of your day is productive. Remember,

Your first hour sets the tone for your day.

The Gadget free period was an idea I got from Tara Nair‘s blog. 🙂

 

7. Keep a Gratitude List (5 min) – Keep a journal and at the end of each day, list down 3 things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. A very simple exercise. If you have to repeat any during the following days, it doesn’t matter. Continue doing this for a couple of weeks and you will notice yourself becoming more grateful and happier for all that the life has bestowed upon you. 🙂

Evidently, all the above points are very easy and doable. Do not look at them as a set of 7 tasks. Instead, approach them one at a time and you’ll easily sail through them. The only difficult part will be the gadget free time. You will get past it in a week. I assure you! Just wake up and make things happen!

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Image Courtesy: Dan & Lynn Ventura

Do let me know if you are taking up this Self Development Challenge and the results. Chime in your suggestions and ideas that I could incorporate in my routine. This is easy for starters, isn’t it? 🙂

 

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm