Why I no longer bully myself into building good habits
Successful people have a good set of habits; a healthy routine to kickstart the day or a healing way to go to bed. that’s what YouTube videos titled “10-morning habits that billionaires do” or “a night routine all successful people have” say.
These videos are harmless, inspiring, and motivational but they influence me to chase what I can’t have. We need habits, habits are structure and when we’re lost that structure helps us get back on track. But I just don’t care enough to meditate daily just because some billionaire does so.
In this post, I am not going to attempt to cancel the healthy mindful living craze. Or am I? this post is a new POV of looking at this craze, taking what works, and leaving what doesn’t.
You don’t need to collect good habits like Pokemons:
Waking up at 5 am, journaling, meditating, working out, eating clean food, going out for a walk, immunity shots, reading 10 pages from a book daily…These are one of the many trendy habits in the well-being community.
Waking up at 5 am or early in the morning is amazing! you can focus on yourself and work for yourself at that time. It can be both freeing and serene: An échappatoire from reality. Journaling gives you clarity, and it helps you get objective with your subjective. Reading books is AMAZING. books are knowledge. I recommend adding these habits to your habit wishlist because they might work if you try them. But you don’t have to do these habits just because the internet promotes them as the best habits that you can form.
Having enough sleep and rest at night is a blessing. That blessing is better than getting stuck in the rat race of trying to wake up earlier just because successful people do so (there’s not one single-size-fits-all formula to success. successful people know that. success is when you beat the odds. you can be successful and hate reading books. fun fact: successful people would never sit through a video about how to succeed. Tip: act like a successful and you’ll get success)
Imagine this: you finish work at 11 pm. you go to bed and do some scrolling until you find this Instagram success-theme page with a viral post that says “only winners know the joy of waking up at 5 am” and you get inspired. you set the alarm at 5. and you wake up at 5. You wonder why you’re feeling sleepy. You gaslight yourself to go through the day. you try to do that again for the next few days. you decide to stop. you go online and see that post again. you hate yourself because you think you are unsuccessful. BUT wake up!!!!! You forgot that your body requires 9 hours of sleep to function well. The math ain’t mathing. You finish work and running your errands at 11 pm every single day and you want to wake up at 5 am, feel energized, and do some other “healthy” habits every single day? that’s bullshit. That’s a lost cause.
You could’ve just set the alarm 30 minutes earlier every single day if you wanted to try the joy of waking up earlier that bad. That’s easier. That makes sense to you. That will make you happy.
You don’t need to meditate if you are a religious person that prays daily. working out is amazing for your body but you don’t have to torture yourself to do it daily when you live in a walkable city. If you lived in the US for example where car dependency and lack of walkability is a thing then you HAVE to work out. if you sit at the desk for many hours every day then you HAVE to work out, too.
Reading 10 pages of a book daily isn’t for everyone. Reading self-help books isn’t for everyone either. If you read fashion magazines or comic books because you enjoy so, that’s more than enough. I enjoy reading business and self-help books. That’s my favorite genre. in school teachers forced me to read French literature and I hated it. I always thought books weren’t for me until I found my genre. then I became aware of my reading speed. 100 pages take me 3 hours to finish. I read and take notes at the same time. In 2021 and 2022 I set the goal to read 12 books: 1 book/month. That makes/made sense to my lifestyle, my schedule, and my reading speed. Before a month ends I have to finish the book that I assigned to myself. I finish the books because I have self-respect. I parent myself. I tried reading daily as advised by the internet but I never sustained that habit. It made me grow farther from books, it made me think that I wasn’t a person who enjoys reading.
I am trying to say that you need to be nicer to yourself. Healthy and good habits should make you happy, comfortable, and convenienced. Good habits should compliment you. Healthy habits should make sense to you.
Habits should make sense to your lifestyle:
let’s say you are a working mom that does a 9–5 6-days/a week. You log online and find these people claiming that success comes only if you followed a set of habits daily. You get intrigued, you copy the recipe to success and you implement it into your life. You perform these habits until your motivation runs dry. You hate yourself for it. You feel that you are not successful enough. you start resenting your job or maybe even your kids for not allowing you to have free time to practice these good habits. you start hating yourself for it.
let’s say you are a working mom that does a 9–5 6-days/a week. You log online and find these people claiming that success comes only if you followed a set of habits daily. You get intrigued, you look at your reality and your desired future goals. You find the middle ground. The middle ground is where your schedule, performance, and passion meet.
Your schedule is your daily chores, your work/school timetable, your shifts, the operating hours of classes you attend… You need to know your schedule the best. We have 24 hours a day. You can’t add more. You must be aware of how much time you spend eating, sleeping, hanging out with the family, working, doing hobbies, and getting entertained. You need to ask yourself if working out every day makes sense to your schedule? working out requires at least 1 hour from getting ready, warming up, actually working out, and finishing by stretching. Can you spare 1 hour a day to work out? Can you afford to do that or should you compromise and spare fewer hours? That’s better than working out every day until you figure that working out “isn’t for you”. Your schedule determines your healthy pace.
Your performance is you knowing your strengths and weaknesses the best. Your performance is you knowing from past experiences what works best for you and what doesn’t. Your performance is how much time it takes you to acquire a new habit. If you know that you are an awful gym goer but an actual passionate Zumba dancer then just stick to Zumba. It’s a sport if it makes your body active, you don’t need to go lift weights or do the treadmill every day just because it’s trendy. Go do martial arts if that is your strength. Sports are a legion. There’s a plethora of them. Look at the Olympics (summer, winter, para) If you know from experience that you are most productive in the morning then you don’t have to force yourself to do a 10-step night routine. If you know from experience that you enjoy listening to audiobooks more than sitting through a book then do listen so. Don’t let any “mentor” get into you and pressure you to read 10 pages from a self-help book before you go to bed just because that’s what Bill Gates allegedly does so. Your performance is doing what is comfortable for you.
Your passion is anything that excites you. Your passion is when your eyes light at the idea of you becoming a better you after you break free from a bad habit. Your passion is the smile on your face when you imagine yourself building this new habit that will make your life easier and happier like making your bed every morning as a reward to yourself. Your passion is what you are desperate or in high need of doing. The habit of taking your meds at the same time every single day because the doctor warned you if you don’t you might get extremely ill is a form of passion, dedication and love for yourself.
The middle ground where your schedule, performance, and passion meet is what makes you find out which habits you can add to your life and what things you can compromise…
Daily is a hustle to many:
You don’t have to do things on a daily basis. Daily things are boring or hard to maintain or both, to many. I am many. But does that mean I don’t achieve my goals, or that I don’t build my desired habits? nope. I tried doing many things daily before, but I always failed big time.
I put a daily plan, I check off day 1 and day 2, something happens on day 3 or I don’t feel like doing day 4. I try to restart again. I hate myself for it. I fall into a slump. I never check off the rest of the days. I hate myself for it even more: this scenario happened quite a few times.
Daily and consistent things are good. It helps you be self-disciplined. But I don’t know how to bounce back once I skip a day or two. It’s like you piercing the rest of your car’s wheels when you find out that one wheel got pierced on the road. You don’t dispose of your car just because of one flat tire. Right? That’s logic. but my brain’s logic finds that unlogical.
Consistency and sustainability are relative. My version of being consistent is by evaluating my performance every month. At the beginning of each year, I write down my goals for that year then I make systems for these goals (as I learned from the book atomic habits which is a book that I read when I used to bully myself for not having healthy habits. I was desperate. Now I don’t chase, I plan. This book is one of the best books that I’ve ever read in my entire life)
Then I divide these goals by the 12 months. I can play all month long and check off all of my habits and goals last minute and I’ll be all good and set. I love that freedom. but of course, that varies with deadlines and with the goals that can’t get done overnight or that require me to show up daily. Praying for example. I have to do it daily I can’t change my religion to my preferences. I know why I have to pray and I find myself happy and blessed after each prayer. It benefits me. I do it daily even though I hate daily things. That’s an exception because of a necessity and because I am willing to go against my comfort to form a habit that makes me feel better. Other than that I don’t hold myself accountable for anything that requires me to show up daily. I don’t participate in lost games. I am very self-aware. I know my weaknesses and strengths better than anyone.
Instead of focusing my energy on something that I’m not, I simply ask myself how can I build this habit in the ways that I’m good at. How can I make the process of building a new habit more me? What makes the best sense to my schedule, performance, and passion?
Reading a book in one or two days>>>>>>Reading 10 pages from a book every day before bedtime.
At least to me.
(if you want to know more about how self-awareness is self-love then I recommend you to read twelve and a half I am currently reading it. Gary’s books are always good)
I am not saying you should never change the way that you do things and stay the same. I am not saying that habits aren’t for everyone. I’m saying that you can do things your way. Just do you, don’t pressure yourself. You’re doing amazing just by thinking about change.