If you want to be your best self, here’s what you need to do.
How many new habits have you built this year?
Most people will answer this question with zero.
Because the majority stops learning once they leave formal education. They stick to outdated beliefs and trot along on their known life path.
And meanwhile, they complain. A lot.
They grumble about their lives. About working in jobs they don’t want, surrounded by people they don’t admire.
These people are so focused on their misery, and they forget one important truth: everybody can change.
We all deserve to live happy, healthy, and wealthy lives.
It’s in our hands whether we dare to step outside our known patterns and try something new. If you only build a few habits in 2020, build these.
1. Read One Book a Week
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads — and at how much I read.”
— Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s Business Partner)
Most people stop reading books once they leave high school. They might still read a lot. But text messages, e-mails, and news won’t make you wiser.
There’s a reason why Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world, took entire “think weeks” while being Microsoft’s CEO. He would travel to a small cabin and spend one week there alone, reading and thinking.
Books give you access to the smartest people on our planet. You can borrow the brains from ancient philosophers to modern business leaders. And, you can apply a book’s insights to your life.
Most of us can’t afford the luxury of disconnecting from life for an entire think week. But we can integrate reading into our everyday life.
I read one book a week for almost three years now, and it has changed my life for the better. And so can reading improve your existence.
Read one book a week, and you’ll find yourself on the fast track to a happier, healthier, and wealthier life.
2. Spend Less Than 1 Hour a Day On Your Phone
“Technology is a great servant, but a terrible master.”
— Stephen Covey
Most people forget how to protect their time. They give away junks of their lives to social media and entertainment apps.
They are constantly reacting to what’s happening around them and let other people dictate their days. By following the agenda of others, they’ll never live up to their potential.
To become successful, you want to do things unsuccessful people don’t do. By bringing the time you spend on your phone down to less than one hour, you’ll be doing what 99% of people are not doing.
Spending less than one hour on your phone will drastically improve your life. You’ll be reclaiming your time and taking control of your life.
If I had to choose one habit to build, it’d be this one. You’ll have so much of your life back.
In your newly won free time, you can create any other new habit you want to bring to your life — from building meaningful relationships to accelerating your career path.
Decreasing your screen time is hard, I know. But if I, a former Instagram addict, can do it, you can make this shift too.
3. Say Please and Thank You
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
— Melody Beattie
This one is tiny, yet so powerful. Brené Brown wrote in her book on vulnerability that scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress.
Most people live in constant fear of not being or not having enough. They feel they’re unworthy and unconnected. They wander around in continuous anxiety.
They wake up and think about what’s lacking: sleep, time, money. Scarcity seems to be hardwired in our culture’s DNA.
It’s up to us whether we let scarcity ruin our days. To embrace the richness of life, we need to internalize the concept of gratitude.
The good thing is we don’t need to visualize gratitude to become a grateful person. All it takes is saying please and thank you.
By paying attention to small incidents in life, you’ll, step by step, bring more gratitude into your life.
4. Learn to Touch-Type
“Typing faster will change your life.”
— Niklas Göke
Even if you aren’t a writer, you’re a typer. You send e-mails and type search queries on a daily basis. And even though most people spend several hours a day in front of their computers, they work at a snail pace.
They waste hours of their lives because they navigate around their keyboard using three fingers, instead of all ten. And, most of the time ⌘+C/V is the only shortcut they know.
You might question whether such tiny actions will make a difference in your life. I promise they will.
You’ll bring a 3-second action down to a 1-second action. And because you repeat those actions hundreds of times each day, you’ll save hours a day.
Yes, learning touch typing will at first slow you down. But ultimately, you’ll get your time back. By learning to touch type, you’ll save hours a day. You’ll 10X your productivity while clearing up space for your free time.
I type 107 words per minute — can you beat me?
5. Reveal Your Vulnerable Side
Perfectionism is an illness of our society. And it’s terribly dull. In her book about imperfection Brené Brown, pinned down the core of perfectionism.
Reading the following lines, I felt she was talking right to my heart:
“Perfectionism is a defensive move. It’s the belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen.”
“Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval.”
“Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.”
“Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers achievement.”
So let’s practice to share what we’re struggling with. Meaningful connections in relationships can only foster when you’re true to each other.
Let’s dare to be vulnerable. Yes, daring to be seen is risky, I know. We expose ourselves to external judgment. Yet, we can only experience the beauty and richness of life if we show up with all we got and let ourselves be seen.
6. Learn to Say No
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
— Warren Buffett
We all know focus leads to greater success. Yet, most people dilute their focus by saying yes when they should be saying no.
Whether we are driven by the fear of missing out or by the urge of pleasing others, saying yes too often weakens our personality.
Because the more often you say yes, the weaker your yes becomes. If you have 10 nuggets a day and say yes to 10 different things, you can give each thing one of your nuggets. If you only say yes to one thing, you can give it all of your have.
Nuggets are your time and energy. You only have a limited amount. And saying no is a skill you can learn, a habit you can build.
When delivered with respectfulness and tact, a “no” can be a fast track to a focused, better life.
7. Build Resilience
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
— Nelson Mandela
2020 is a great year to practice resilience. With a global pandemic, we continue to have plenty of change in our lives.
Resilience is not about who we are, but about what we think. By using cognitive restructuring, we can reframe our thoughts about reality.
Resilience is not a fixed personality trait — as with most things in life, you can learn it through deliberate practice.
By training your mind to embrace the changes in life, you develop your muscle for overcoming obstacles. So let’s learn to persist in the face of struggle.
Pick What Resonates
You can live the life of your dreams.
And you’re capable of achieving a lot more than you think. By building these new habits, you can move one step closer to your best self.
All you need is to start with something.
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