Read all about my experience at General Assembly with Startup Creative!
As mentioned in my previous blog post, habits only truly become habits when they are done subconsciously. If you have to remind yourself to wash your hands every time before you eat, then this is not a fully formed habit. There are a couple of sure-fire ways to speed up this process, but the easiest and best that I have come across is to implement Habit Stacking in your routines.
Habit stacking is simple. Effectively, you are just taking a habit that you currently have and enjoy doing, and pairing it with a habit that you wish to achieve. Rather than pairing it with a time or place.
For example, say the habit that you are trying to get to stick is to go to the gym more. Rather than pairing this with the time being each morning, or the place being the gym itself, try stacking going to the gym with an already developed habit, such as putting on your runners, or making a healthy smoothie.
Your habits will go from looking like this:
Each morning, I will go to the gym.
After I make my morning smoothie, I will drink it on the way to the gym.
After doing this for enough time, the act of making that smoothie will trigger that next habit of going to the gym to follow and soon enough, every time that you make that smoothie, you’ll be subconsciously heading off to the gym.
Many habits will take a quite a while before seeing results. It is for this reason that Habit stacking is so versatile and can be changed in many ways. Say that you are the type of person who needs to see instant results when starting a new habit, one way to use habit stacking to in your favour is to flip the your current habit with your habit that you wish to achieve.
For example. Say that you love coffee — who doesn’t? If your goal is to start reading more, you can either habit stack the two normally, being that after making a coffee, you will read your book while drinking it. Or you can flip the stack and make coffee the reward for reading. Your habit will be that after reading, you will make a coffee. But if you don’t read, you don’t get a coffee.
Your habits will go from looking like this:
Each morning, I will read my book.
To the regular habit stack of this:
After I make my morning coffee, I will read my book while drinking it.
To the flipped habit stack of this:
After I read 25 pages of my book in the morning, I can have my coffee.
For me, habit stacking is most beneficial as it visually reduces the amount of habits or goals that you are trying to achieve. It can be as simple as grouping your new habits/goals in order to achieve them faster.
Below is an example of a list of new years resolutions before and after habit stacking is applied.
After waking up before 6am, I will read my book for 30 mins
I will drink a smoothie every day before I go to the gym
I will play my guitar for 15 minutes before I go to sleep
For each meal that I make myself, I will transfer $15 to my savings account
Go to the Gym
Drink a smoothie every day
Wake up early every day
Use technology less before bed
Save more money
Learn an instrument
And just like that, we have turned eight small new years resolutions into four stacked habits to build, and since they are stacked, one cannot be done without the other. This is the true beauty of habit stacking. Even if it is something as simple as brushing your teeth after having a shower each day, habit stacking is something that everyone can use to simplify their life and create more meaningful and important habits to build. While keeping them easy to achieve by using current habits to get the ball rolling on learning the second.
This blog post has been based off James Clear’s ‘Atomic Habits’. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about habits and how we can easily implement them into our daily lives.
Buy it here: https://australia.kinokuniya.com/bw/9781847941831
Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had an amazing time with family and friends, time off work, time away or whatever else you did. Now that we are fully back into the swing of things with the new year, it’s time for a blog post about resolutions and life.
I can bet that you have already had many friends shoving their New Year’s resolutions in your face and forcing you to make similar resolutions, which we all know won’t stick. But how on earth do you make a New Year’s resolution stick?
Like most people, I have fallen into the trap of setting goals that are way too broad or way too unrealistic each year, and surprise surprise! They tend to disappear after a few weeks, waiting to resurface again a year later, like the little Grinch’s that they are.
Everything can be solved if you just slow the f*** down. Here are a few tips on how you can be sure to set goals that will stick:
Take time in planning your New Year’s resolutions, think about what you truly want to achieve and be realistic when setting your goals. A little exercise that may help is to write down from start to finish, what you believe would be the perfect day. From there, you can pick out things to make your resolutions, for example: the time you wake up everyday, how often you work out, when you read each day.
Be as specific as possible. Broadness will give you loop holes to not do x or not complete y. If your New Year’s resolution is to be more fit, then don’t make your resolution ‘Go to the Gym’. Instead, make it ‘Go to the Gym every two days at 5am after waking up’ or ‘Go for a 20 minute run every evening after work’. Not only are these more specific, giving times and days, but they are also linking your goal to something that you already do everyday, i.e. waking up and coming home from work. If your goals are linked to things that you already do, then you will be more likely to do them.
Don’t burn yourself out. If you go in too hard and too fast, you’ll burn out and won’t be able to keep up. Tying back in with the first tip, be realistic. If you have never worked out before then setting a goal of going to the gym every morning of everyday is quite unrealistic. Try starting off with three mornings a week and go from there.
People like to throw around an amount of time that is needed before a habit sticks, three weeks, 30 days. I’ve seen them all. I truly believe that it takes a lot longer than 30 days. A habit has only stuck when you do it without thinking, the way you start biting your nails when you’re nervous, or the way that you pat your pockets to make sure that your phone, keys and wallet are there every time you go out. You don’t need to force yourself to start biting your nails, you don’t need to think about it. This is when your habit has truly stuck. However, on the other hand, I believe that it only takes two days in a row to break a habit that hasn’t fully stuck yet. Say you’re trying to read every day, missing one day is acceptable because of whatever reason, but missing two days in a row isn’t an accident. You knew that you missed the day before, so you should have put more effort into making sure that you read the next day.
Now I could sit here and talk about habits forever, but I need to save that for future blog posts. So that’ll be it for now.
Just remember when setting goals: Slow down, be realistic, be specific, don’t burn yourself out.
To many, success is paying off a mortgage, buying that new car, being able to go on holidays all around the world. Material possessions are often associated with success. The expensive watches, the handbags, the suits.
Everyone needs to redefine their own meaning of success, as this materialistic and monetary view does not align with everyone — including myself.
Success comes from happiness. If you are not happy, then you are not successful in life. Sure, if paying off your mortgage and owning an expensive car brings you happiness, then you are — in your own eyes — successful. But if you are working day in, day out. In a boring job that you hate, just to get that car, that ‘success’ that you feel will come from purchasing expensive items, then are you really happy?
For me, as a creative. True happiness would come from being able to make a living off my blog writing and photography. Sure, I might not be the richest man in the world. Sure, I might not have the fanciest of clothes, but I’m happy. Therefore, successful in my own eyes.
It all boils down to happiness. We are only on this earth for a short time, so do what makes you happy now, and not regret wasting your life chasing a dream that wasn’t yours to begin with.
"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" - Through the Looking-Glass
As Casey Neistat puts it, Life is like moving the wrong way on an escalator. You must continue to move in order to keep up. If you stand still, you will fall behind. Whether it be in education, business or anything else in life. To continue to move, is to continue to learn and improve. To stand still, is to give up or even to be content with where you are in life, giving others the chance to catch up to you and even overtake you.
To get anywhere in this life, you need to hustle. Believe that you can achieve, and you will achieve. All it takes is dedication and persistence.
A two-minute read.
My morning routine really starts the night before. I use the app MinimaList to write down my tasks, jobs and work that I need to get done. These are sorted by importance.
I take a look at this list every night before bed and see which tasks need to be completed the following morning, and I set my alarm according to how much time I need to complete the tasks — if any.
I get up between 5-6am every morning, no exceptions. I wrote a blog explaining why I get up this early, and you can read that here. Not only by getting up early do I have the time to finish all my tasks before going to work, no one else is awake, so this limits all distractions from the task at hand. I won’t be wasting time messaging people on Facebook. But the main reason why I love getting up early is the feeling it gives you. If you have the discipline to get yourself up out of bed early every day, then from the second you wake up, you’ve already accomplished a goal and had a victory that most others have not. Once you have one victory, this will push you throughout the day to make more little victories for yourself, be it working out, eating healthy or just being happier.
In this hour, I have my shower, eat breakfast and get ready for work. Occasionally there are leftovers to take in for lunch, other times I make lunch to take in. Nothing exciting really ever happens here.
Commuting to work. Possibly the most boring part of my day. Crowded trains, loud cars. If I could change anything in life, it would be how close I live to work.
I leave for work and 7:30 which gives be around 15 minutes to walk to the train station and get a coffee at Kylon Eatery on the way. Once on the train — if I’m not feeling like I’m in the middle of a scrum with fifty other people — I read one of my books. Currently, I’m reading Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life and Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*.
Work, work and more work.
Commuting home from work. I will either get the bus or the train home from work, depending on how fast they are on the day. Busses are always 15-20 minutes late so trying to plan my trip home based on the timetable is impossible.
I usually spend this time either chatting to friends, watching TV, or playing games.
More games. I like to get all of my work done in the morning so that I have this time in the evening to play games. Most recently I’ve been playing Black Ops 4’s BR mode Blackout almost every day, but the new Super Smash Bros game came out last week, so that has consumed most of my evenings now.
Get ready for bed. Check my tasks for the next morning. Rinse. Repeat.
1. Stop caring so much about what others think
The first step — in my opinion, to improve your life initially is to stop caring so much about what other people think. What they think of you, your appearance, your actions or anything else that you do. You can do whatever you want, don’t let anyone stop you or let you feel judged or embarrassed for your choices.
People spend way too much time worrying about what others will think of them. The truth is that people don’t have time to worry about that they think of you, because they are too busy worrying about what other people think of them.
2. Start doing what you truly want to do with your life
You will always see people who hate their jobs, people who continuously post about wishing they were somewhere else, doing something else.
According to Lifeline Australia, the 2015 ABS stated that there were over 3000 deaths due to suicide in 2015 in Australia alone. That’s eight a day. One (of many) factors that contribute to this high number of suicides is stress. Stress that may be caused by working in an environment unsuited to that person.
So do what you want to do. Write that book that you have been putting off for months. Get out there and start taking photos with the camera that you got all those years ago. Even if you have to work a job that you don’t like. Find hobbies that make you happy. Put yourself first.
A quote that I truly believe we all must live by is a little cliched, but necessary.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
3. Appear more confident, and you will be more confident
Confidence mainly stems from appearance and posture. If you appear to others as if you are more confident, naturally, you will begin to become more confident.
Everyone unknowingly compares themselves to others on an imaginary hierarchical ladder. If someone meets you, and you are struggling to maintain eye contact, you’re hunched over and your head is facing downwards to the ground, people you meet will begin to place themselves above you on this figurative ladder. You look defeated and unconfident, so to others, you appear as such. You aren’t respected.
Be confident with your words, stand up straight and maintain eye contact. Watch, as others start to see this confidence and begin to respect you.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
Their life and current situation is far different to yours, whether it be physical strength, intellect, or appearance.
To quote Jordan B. Peterson: “No matter how good you are at something, or how you rank your accomplishments, there is someone out there who makes you look incompetent. You’re a decent guitar player, but you’re not Jimmy Page or Jack White.”
Others have not lived the same life that you have, experienced the same things or even lived in the same country for that matter. Stop comparing yourself to them. Compare yourself, to who you were yesterday.
It is proven that just by smiling, your happiness will be increased. So smile. Be happy with the life that you have, not longing for something that is not. Be grateful, confident and happy. Nothing can stop you.
Learn to let go of control, before you lose it.
If you don’t, the consequences and long lasting damage to those around you will be far greater.
Everyone must learn to accept and come to terms with the fact that some things in life are out of their control and aren’t worth worrying about. Be it as close as five minutes away, worrying whether the train will be on time today, or be it 50 years down the road and worrying about whether you will have a stable job and a family or even to a much larger extent, your own physical health and even life itself. If you try and control every aspect of life, you will eventually lose control when you least expect it and you will be far worse off than if you had learnt to let go of trying to control the things that are very much outside of your control.
This brings me to my first and most vital point, you must realise that conflict and complications are inevitably always going to arise, whether you like it or not. Relationships, partnerships, job interviews, meetings and whatever else it may be will unavoidably bring with it many complications and disputes. This could be due to opposing views, forgetting to complete a task by the set date or forgetting to set your alarm in the morning. Boiled down, these things are all made worse due to the lack of preparation and knowledge of how to solve the issue at hand.
I am currently reading a book every day titled ‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday. This book contains 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living. One for each day of the year. November 22nd’s entry is titled ‘The Glass is Already Broken’. It speaks of a Zen master who owned a beautifully prized cup, he repeated to himself, “The glass is already broken”. One day, the glass broke, and he said to himself, “Of course”. Because he had already come to terms with the glass braking, when it finally did, it had less of an impact on the mans life.
This can just as easily be transferred into our lives. If we realise that materialistic goods are finite, then we will have less of an attachment when they are lost, broken or stolen. If we realise that with every job interview or freelance gig that you take, the chances are high that something will go wrong, then we can be well prepared for that occurrence and it wont take us by surprise. We then learn how to deal with problems more systematically and not frantically, in many instances, during stressful times we cannot afford to be stressed as we will not produce or best work, in whatever field it may be. We need to keep our cool.
Trying to control everything is like trying to control the ocean. In the words of Dan Mace, it creates pandemonium. We don’t try to control it or tame the beast. But rather, flow with it. If you try to control the ocean, you’ll get nowhere, just like trying to swim against a rip. Let go of this concept of complete control and expect the unexpected.
The term control freak describes an individual who attempts to undermine other people based on how they perceive that everything should be done. Don’t be one of those people. They will inevitably lose control of everything.
Learn to let go of control, before you lose it.
No, I don’t mean the extreme of only owning one single shirt. I mean the lesser extreme; one type of shirt, but 10 of them. Be it grey, black or white.
Now before I get started, I would just like to preface this by saying I haven’t actually implemented and transitioned this from my mind into my wardrobe just yet, I just love my band shirts too much to not wear. But one day, I will be part of the one shirt club — totally not something that I just made up then. Now another side note: This blog is very targeted towards guys and not so much gals. Mainly because I don’t know anything about women’s clothing, so telling you to only own one shirt is a little stupid.
I have been watching a lot of Matt D’Avella’s YouTube videos recently, but one in particular sparked my newfound interest in Minimalism. You can watch it by clicking over on the right, but most of what this blog post will be talking about is mentioned in that video anyway.
Matt mentions at the start of the video that around 80% of the clothes in his wardrobe were not being used often — if at all. This is very true in my case and I am guessing many, many others. I always end up saying the classic ‘oh but I might need it when I …’ and ‘it’s a waste of money throwing it out’ lines, as I’m sure many of you have too. You trick yourself into thinking that you will need this 80% of clothing just in case some obscure event occurs in the near future that you just wont be able to attend without your green shirt that you got for a party four years ago. So it stays in the wardrobe, waiting for its triumphant return, which you and it knows will never happen.
Matt cleared out his wardrobe and bought 15 of the same shirt to wear. Every. Day.
The second question that Matt answers in the video is ‘Does it get boring wearing the same clothes every day?’. To which he answers, it’s not boring to me. Which should be all that matters to you. Not others opinions on how boring you may be. Something that I discovered today — whilst buying a new shirt online, was that after you wear your fancy new shirt the first time and everyone you see says ‘hey nice new shirt!’, then it just goes to being the same as the other 25 shirts in your wardrobe, and no one will bat an eyelid if you wear it again. The excitement and novelty of the new shirt has worn off on everyone around you and yourself.
The most important point that Matt raised was that he used to spend so much time in the morning picking out what to wear and stressing out about what other people would think of him, and I’m sure that you can relate to this too, just as much as I can. But at a point, we all need to realise that no one actually cares what anyone else is wearing, because they are too busy stressing out about what they are wearing and what other people think of them. They don’t have time to be worrying about you, they have their own wardrobe demons to exercise.
Now I know that throwing out 80% of your wardrobe is quite unrealistic and no one is actually going to do that, but if you take away anything from this Blog post or from Matt’s video, let it be this: Spend less time stressing about what others think of you. It’s wasted time and energy. Wear what you want, even if its the same shirt every day for the rest of your life.
Throw out all your shirts
Buy 15 of your favourite shirt
Spend less time worrying about what to wear in the morning
Watch as no one notices that you wear the same shirt every day
Be happier and more productive
Have you ever been on the train home and you see someone who looks infuriated for no apparent reason? This seems to be an everyday encounter for many, accidentally bump into them or make life just that little bit harder for them and prepare yourself to receive the biggest scowl of a lifetime.
I get it, I don’t know exactly what’s going on in their lives. They could have just suffered the death of a loved one, they could have just been fired or have to go home to an empty plate because they can’t afford to eat that night. Of course there are some extremities that warrant being sad or in a bad mood, as I have been in many before. However I also believe that it is completely viable to be able to begin to smile and be happy once again, if you just allow yourself to.
I have been reading a lot of Jordan B. Peterson’s book, ‘12 Rules for Life’. This is by far the most insightful book that I have read, whether it be because I was already a fan of Peterson’s work prior to reading, or because the topics that he covers are all too true of today’s society.
A point that Peterson touches on whilst explaining his first rule of life — Stand up straight with your shoulders back, is that body language is arguably the most quintessential way to improving mental health without doing much. Peterson compares human society with that of lobsters and the way that they interact with one another in terms of confrontation. I won’t bore you with all the details but the point that is made throughout the chapter is that when people — or lobsters for that matter, are victorious in whatever it may be, their brain will produce more serotonin which will help you with everyday social interaction, appetite, sleep and memory. If your brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin, this will make you less happy, more anxious and sad, and therefore more likely to back down when you should stand up for yourself. From there you will be more likely to abuse substances such as Cocaine and Alcohol, which will release serotonin, giving the user a false sense of victory and confidence, up until the effects ware off and you are back at the same serotonin lacking state as before.
As I mentioned before, alterations in body language can create positive feedback loops which are a sure way of producing more and more serotonin. One way to do this is to simply smile, that’s it. If you go around all day frowning and looking sad, then you will feel sad and defeated. However if you simply move your facial muscles into a position that looks happy to observers, this will not only improve their social interactions with you as they won’t be ‘avoiding the angry looking person’ but will also make you feel happier, ultimately producing more serotonin, boosting your ability to interact with people, and live a much healthier lifestyle, then producing more serotonin. There you have it, a positive feedback loop.
People, like lobsters, size each other up. If your posture looks defeated and beat, then you will be treated by others as such. If you simply straighten up with your shoulders back and your head up then you will be treated and looked at differently by almost everyone around you.
When children are sad, we try to cheer them up by making them laugh and smile. There is no reason why this same principle can’t work on you too. Smile, it’s good for you.
I am going to leave you with a quote from the amazing Barney Stinson.
”When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead”
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It really means a lot to me.
As always, peace out and love life.
Have you ever tried to start a habit of waking up early every day and failed? Me too. I think that pretty much everyone has. It’s just something about the early hours of the morning, no one else is awake, your bed is so comfortable. Why get up? Just one more hour wont hurt. This is the problem that I have finally managed to crack, all thanks to Casey Neistat and Matt D’Avella.
I recently watched two videos by these two gentlemen and they gave me all the answers that I was searching for. You can find them both here:
After watching these videos I finally found out why my attempts at waking up early hadn’t been working. I had no reasons to actually get up. Sure, I had work to do and those extra few hours in the morning would have been so helpful and relieve so much stress, but I didn’t have a game plan of what I wanted to actually achieve that morning, there was no structure to my so-called ‘early morning routine’.
In Casey Neistat’s video, he shows - in the form of colour coded Dominoes - his daily routine hour by hour. The way that he began waking up between 4-5am every morning is that he took 2 hours from his night routine that were wasted just watching Netflix, and moved them to the morning and converting them to work hours. This way, he gets 2 hours of work done before the kids wake up. Genius! Now, I’m not sitting here claiming that Casey came up with the idea of waking up early, but he has certainly helped me with my early morning routine now. I have adopted his method of taking useless hours at night and moving them to the morning, where I can focus on what I need to do more clearly. For example, this morning I did some more research and booking for my Japan trip next year, and now I’m writing this blog post!
There are a few reasons why I have been enjoying waking up early rather than staying up late. The first being that since no one else is awake, there are no distractions. Social media is quiet, friends are sleeping. There’s nothing to do but work. The second reason is that since I work 9-5, I usually find it hard to find time to get my own work done, and that is usually the last thing that I want to do when I get home from a long day at work. Getting all of my work done between 5:30-7am allows me to have a free evening when I get home from work to do whatever I want - usually gaming. The final reason is that it helps me be more awake and alert when I have to start the day. When it gets to around 6:30-7am I usually turn off my computer and start getting ready for the day. Since I have already been awake for a while, I am more awake and energised by the time my job rolls around at 9am.
This secret last reason is mainly for my Photographer fam out there. I used to get up one or two mornings a month and head over to the beach to shoot the sunrise, but waking up at 5am to go and do that was always a pain. But now that I get up every morning at that time, I can head out any morning that I want to go and shoot any sunrise that I want. There is nothing more peaceful to me than watching the sun rise over the water.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post!
I will hopefully be writing a lot more now so keep an eye out here and over at my Facebook page for when I post next!