You have a goal. You want to reach that goal, so you created a plan to reach it. You can see yourself working on the plan and reaching your goal. You are surprised by how easy it is to reach it. All you have to do is stick to your plan, and you are going to be everything that you ever desire.
However, you are facing a problem that you never thought existed. You are unable to stick to your plan. Every day you wake up with your plan and try to complete it, and every day you go to bed failing to make that happen.
Every day you tell yourself that tomorrow is going to be different. Tomorrow, you are going to train, read, work, and study, and every day you fail at making it happen.
All of a sudden, a goal that was in your grasp is slowly drifting from your reach. What should you do? Should you give up on your goal? or should you choose another one?
You see, I faced the same circumstances, and a friend of mine told me to quit and pick up another goal, something I can do easily. I was very inclined to take his advice. However, then I realized one thing.
The reason why I am unable to reach my goal has nothing to do with the difficulty of my goal. The problem is my inability to stick to the plan. The problem is procrastination, lack of productivity, and lack of guts to stick to what I said.
And this problem still exists, so even if I pick an easier goal, nothing will change.
I still am the same person who quits when things get hard. The basic skills that I need to reach this goal are the same skills that I need to virtually reach any goal.
If you are a chronic procrastinator, someone with a goal & a plan but lack of discipline to reach it, someone who wastes time on low-grade pleasures, This article is for you.
In this article, you will learn about 5 lifestyle changes that helped me in boosting my productivity by 85% by reducing my habit of procrastination, executing the plan in the easiest way possible, and slowly building discipline.
In my case, at least, I didn’t know that I was sick. Not physically or emotionally but mentally. Years of watching movies, playing video games, reading comics, and watching dramas had kinda changed my brain chemistry.
This is something I noticed after I started doing mediation consistently.
Whenever I meditate twice a day, I feel calm, focused, relaxed, and happy. Not only I complete my tasks and feel content doing so, I also go out and enjoy myself without feeling stressed out. By the time the day ends, I feel good and ready for the next day.
However, If I play video games, watch movies, or youtube videos passively, I become irritated. I look for something to make me feel better and keep me entertained (Something more stimulating).
While I am stressed out because I haven’t done my work. I can’t stop this movie or this level midway either. My head is hurting due to hours of screen time. I try to calm down by telling myself I will start working once I complete this movie.
But by the time the movie ends, I want more. The day ends with me feeling hopeless, depressed, irritated, and angry at myself. Moreover, I spend the whole day cooped up in my room. The next day, the cycle repeats.
Here are five things that happen when you watch too many youtube videos, movies, dramas, and play games passively than actively choosing what you need to do:
- You don’t feel like working on your tasks at all.
- You get irritated, confused, depressed, and feel hopeless.
- You hate spending time in front of a screen, but you can’t stop watching youtube shorts.
- You start thinking there is no way out.
- You feel a constant urge for something stimulating.
Luckily, there is a way to fight back. There is a way to protect yourself from the negative influence of modern technology. The way is meditation.
It’s weird, but you can literally change the course of your life by meditating for 10-minutes twice a day. Moreover, there are several meditation techniques to choose from.
Here are a few things that will happen when you start meditating consistently:
- Your pattern of negative behavior will diminish (The more you meditate, the less you will go off route).
- You will feel relaxed and satisfied.
- You will have more control over your thinking (No more negative thinking).
- Your memory will improve.
- Your concentration will improve.
Here’s an article on How to Meditate, Transcendental Meditation, What to do if Meditation doesn’t work for you. I recommend you to go through all three of them.
2. Waking up Early
A couple of years ago, I tried my best to wake up at 4:00 am (In 2020). I did it for 2-3 weeks, then I changed it to 5:00 am. It took me a whole year to get used to waking up at 5:00 am (2020-2021). However, something happened, and I burned this habit.
Even now (2022), I find it difficult to wake up at the right time. Luckily, this June, I managed to wake up at 6:00 am consistently. Result: The amount of work I completed in June 2022 was more than the work I completed in the last 2 months.
Here are a few reasons why you should wake up early:
- You train your mind to do things that are important to you even though you don’t feel like doing them.
- This is the first step to discipline.
- You get more hours to work on your goal.
- You get to see the sunrise.
- You start your day with a win (You decided to wake up early, and you did it).
- It’s much easier to defeat resistance throughout the day.
Let me explain resistance: In his book The War of Arts, Steven Pressfield explains the concept of resistance. In brief, it means if you are trying to do anything productive, anything that can positively change your life, you will feel resistance.
This resistance is a feeling of fear, uncertainty, lack of motivation your brain creates to stop you from moving forward. However, since resistance builds up every time you try to do something productive, you have to defeat it to move forward every single time.
And it’s not just you. Every single person on this planet feels resistance (this fear, uncertainty). Successful people or people who are able to steer their life in a positive direction are the people who are defeating resistance on a daily basis.
(This feeling of negative emotions that comes up every time you try to do something productive, successful people are defeating it by doing their task despite their feelings)
When you wake up early, you start your day by defeating resistance.
Here are a few logical tips you can use to wake up early:
- Your body needs at least 7 hours of sleep per night. So, arrange your schedule according to it. You will not wake up early (at least consistently) if you are not giving your body enough sleep to function properly.
- Use a song as an alarm sound.
- Place your alarm clock/phone across the room so that you have to get off your bed in the morning to switch it off.
- Avoid coffee, energy drinks, and eating 2 hours before your bedtime.
- Avoid using your smartphone or laptop 30 minutes before your bedtime (You can spend 30 minutes before your bedtime meditating and reading).
3. Doing The Most Important Task First Thing in The Morning
This is something I started doing pretty recently. I wake up, open my books, and study, and I don’t get up until I reach my daily target. This has changed my life so much I can’t even explain.
Before I adopted this simple habit, I used to feel stressed out all day long thinking about work. However, now I feel relaxed since the most difficult task of the day ends when the day starts.
By doing the most important task first thing in the morning:
- You will free yourself from the stress of how you are going to complete the most important task.
- You will complete the most important task when you are most relaxed, motivated, and full of energy.
- You will be more productive throughout the day.
- Your day will automatically become awesome.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind while executing the most important task first thing in the morning:
- You will do nothing other than this task.
- Make sure you wake up at the right time.
- Don’t use your phone or anything that can be considered as a waste of time before you complete your most important task.
- Don’t take a shower or anything else before you complete the task. You have to complete it before everything.
- Don’t waste your time making coffee or tea. First, complete the task, then have tea.
- Avoid talking to other people before you complete the task. First, complete the task, then talk to people.
- Don’t do mental planning of things you are going to do for fun or work until you complete your first task.
In a way, you start your day with all your focus on completing the first task.
So, make sure the first task you choose is important. Don’t choose something easy to do. Choose the most difficult, productive task. A task that is your highest priority.
4. Not Using Your Phone Until 12:00 noon
If you implement all the lifestyle changes on this list, It’s impossible to use a phone before noon as you are spending your entire morning trying to complete your first task.
However, if you manage to complete your first task before noon, still don’t use your phone. The reason is simple. Phone kills work productivity.
And you need to keep your whole morning free from artificial stimulation.
5. Doing Intermittent Fasting From 11:00 pm to 12:00 noon (13 Hours Straight)
This is a lifestyle change to maintain weight. So, if you don’t have any fitness goals, you can skip this one. However, if you are worried about losing weight, then this lifestyle change may help. You may know that Weight loss = 20% Exercise + 80% Diet.
However, taking care of your diet in the modern world is very difficult. This is where intermittent fasting comes in. All you have to do is fast from 11:00 pm to 12:00 noon (13 hours straight).
I fast from 11:00 pm to 1:00 pm every day unwillingly (It just happens, Since I spend my entire morning to complete my first task + morning training. Before I know it, It’s 1:00 pm).
By fasting for 13 hours straight, you will lose weight. It will become easy for you to control your calorie intake, your metabolism will improve, your appetite will decrease, etc.
However, if you are trying to lose weight, try the keto diet before intermittent fasting.
Follow keto to lose weight and once you reach your desired weight, use intermittent fasting to maintain your weight. Here’s an article on Intermittent fasting you can use.
Here’s an article on How to start a keto diet and a custom keto diet plan you can try.
With self-improvement, either you go slow, or you don’t go at all. This is something I learned the hard way. Discipline takes time. It’s just how it is. You can’t eliminate all your bad habits in a day. In your quest to reach your best self, you will improve slowly, day by day.
If you think tomorrow, by some luck or miracle, you will drop all your bad habits and only do things that are positive, then you are deceiving yourself.
However, the lifestyle changes mentioned above will help you in improving at a much faster pace by avoiding mistakes most beginners make while making strategies and testing new things.
Since you no longer need to test whether meditation is useful or what you should do when you start your day. You already know what works & what doesn’t.
P.S Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article on Lifestyle Changes That Boosted My Productivity by 85%, feel free to share it. Moreover, leave a question down below in the comment section if you have any.
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