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A Mind-Blowing reason for always being late

A Mind-Blowing reason for always being late

“Why can’t you put in a little more effort to leave the house 30 minutes earlier?!” Ever had a conversation that sounded a little bit like that? Tired of being late? Tired of getting blamed and put on the spot every time you arrive late? Well, this article is for you.

To be honest, I was like that before I made an amazing discovery. Always late to events, procrastinating and never on time. That was till a certain event occurred that enlightened me. But before I share with you what that enlightenment is, let me share with you more about what I believed before that fateful event.

Is everyone lazy, therefore bound to be late?

Like all teenagers, I was someone that constantly held onto the belief that ‘Everyone would always be late!’ It was a concept that is being used by the entire world. The concept of “Never earlier, only later”. Everyone arrives later than the expected time, submits their projects past the deadline, shops closes earlier but never opens earlier. There is only one reason that fuels this concept, laziness.

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Understanding this concept at a fairly young age, I had the misconception that this is what we humans should be doing. Well, I was definitely wrong at that point of time for this concept has definitely caused me to be stuck in countless sticky situations. Believing that everyone would never reach on time, I started a social experiment. It was a minor one with my friends as the test subject.

Do you have a reason to arrive early?

So I am a christian and I go to church every Sunday. There was this thing in my church and we like to call it a ‘Cell Group’. It is a group of people from the same age group that comes together before service every Sunday and we would start mini discussions. Everyone was supposed to gather at 8.30am in the morning! However, many of us never arrive there on time. I am sadly one of them as well. It wasn’t a matter of principle or promise, it was a matter of our own determination and effort that we invested in this morning process! The reason why I seldom reach on time is simple. It is because I felt that there isn’t a reason to arrive earlier.

One time, our cell group leaders decided to replace the cell group meeting with a breakfast session. I really love food and that was my reason to arrive on time. That day, I woke up earlier and had a driven goal to reach the destination earlier and on time. That is because I wanted to enjoy the full duration of the breakfast session! This event concluded my experiment, for I had made an amazing discovery. I have understood why i was always late. It was because I didn’t have a reason to arrive earlier or on time! Here is an advice that I have believed in for my entire life!

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Do you want to arrive on time?

One of the biggest reasons why people are late is because they do not have a reason to be there on time! They do not have a reason to go earlier. There isn’t a strong reason that motivates them to go earlier. Motivation and determination are both lacking in them. Before I share with you the explanation, here is a scenario for you to ponder on

It is 8.30 in the morning and you slept extremely late last night. You were supposed to meet your friends at 9 to do community work, but you just woke up! It is 8.30 in the morning and you slept extremely late last night. You were supposed to meet your friends at 9 to play but you just woke up!

Considering that the destination is at the same place, which one do you think you will have more determination in doing? I would reckon that many would choose option 2! I would too, obviously since there is a reason that is pushing us! The fact that ‘I am going to meet my friends to play’ is a strong enough reason for you to start rushing. We humans need a pushing force, someone that knocks us on the head and push us forward.

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A promise is a reason, too

To stop being late, you need to have a reason. A reason that you believed in. My belief used to be a physical belief where the situations and the people involved becomes the reason. But now, I believe that I have to either be early or on time for all meetings and events. This is because I have developed the mindset that the time we set is a promise. A promise between you and the other party and you shall not break it. A promise is a commitment you share between you and the other party and you should always have the mindset of meeting that commitment.

Have the mindset that the time set is a promise. A promise that you should try your best to keep! This is a reason which you can use today to stop being late. All you got to do is to believe and maintain this mindset. Do not break the promise. Do not just think about yourself, but about others as well. Put others and their feelings before you! This is how I am punctual for many of my Meetups and events! It is because I consider how others will feel, if I am late and they have to wait.

Find your own reason to be on time!

You do not have to follow my reason. I am just sharing with you the importance of having a reason! You need to find a reason that resonates strongly in your heart. It isn’t an easy process, but once you got the hang of it, you will realize that this concept can be applied to many different areas in your life.

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You have a choice of being early or late. It is entirely up to you and the amount of effort you put into the process. It is all reliant on your mindset. Your mindset determines the importance of the different choices and you decide which choice you want to take. It is all up to you. You can choose to be early or late.

This mindset advice I shared with you isn’t going to change your life overnight. You have to invest time and determination in order for it to work. You need to find a reason that is stronger than your love for yourself! This is because you will procrastinate if the reason is weaker than your love for yourself! The reason will not be enough to push you out of your laziness zone! My reason is to not break a promise, what is your reason?

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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