Habit-forming Lesson 101: “Do a little more of what you want to do every day, until your idea becomes what’s real.”

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Recently, I’ve gotten a bit off track for what I’m doing with my life. May it be family? Work? Career? Friends? Love? There are ups and downs in life. Even when it’s inevitable bad news, I thought a positive mindset will make everything better. Back a while ago, someone important to me told me, when I do something wrong, think of this:

Don't Be Sorry (1).png“Don’t be sorry, just be better.”

I was living by this quote – reminding myself everything that I can’t use apologies to make up for the wrongs I’ve made – and it must serve as a lesson that I will learn from. This change must come from within. Words can’t count. Only your true actions do. I promised myself to do better, more careful, but in the end, sometimes misinformation and miscommunication (or the lack of) may make things disconnect.

Today I want to promise myself how to do better at things – form a habit. Make a list.

Recently, I’ve been into a book called ‘Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. It’s a book about habits – how to use the habit-forming mechanism to change your life.

Learning first things first – the first rule of habit-forming was learning how to change habits. This is by understanding the HABIT LOOP, how habits loop into your daily life.

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Fig. 1: Habit Loop (Reference).

In order to understand how to change a bad habit – we must learn how habits have formed in the first place. The basis of every habit comes with a 1. CUE, 2. ROUTINE, 3. REWARD.

How does this work?

First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop… becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. How to Change a Habit.

  1. Cue is the trigger of the automatic mode.
  2. Routine is the behavior.
  3. Reward is the positive/addictive feeling your brain feels – that figures it will loop this habit so it remembers it for the future.

When these three things 1. Cue, 2. Routine and 3. Reward entwine – automatism – a behavior that you act on without thinking – occurs.

CUE can be automatic by time, location, feeling.

When you wake up in the morning – you don’t even need to think – you’re already walking into the bathroom ready to take a pee and brush your teeth.

ROUTINE is the behavior.

The automatic behavior that had been etched into you…Good habit? Brushing your teeth before you go to sleep? Bad habit? Sleeping too late?

REWARD is the positive/addiction your brain senses after the action – that will complete the ‘Habit Loop’ and make you remember why you are addicted to this routine in the first place.

For Michael Phelps – the reward of the completion of his ‘routine’ is that he knows this practice is essential to his win. This is a positive psychological reward.

Things such as bad routines. Such as people who like plucking their hair Trichotillamaniacs…the moment they’ve plucked their hair out, their ‘reward’ is a psychological enjoyment of the sensation pull-out of the hair…as weird as that sounds, ‘Trichotillomania‘ impulsive control disorder is guessed to affect around 0.6 ~ 4.0% of the total world population. These people desperately need to break this habit loop.

Now we’ve learned How a Habit Forms, next time we’ll find ways how to change our habit.

I’m reading this book:

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Really absolutely fascinating.

From now on, each day I will do a little more of what I want to do…until my routine actions form into a good habit. Make a DIFFERENCE.

 

What is a blog?

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What is a blog? A blog is a frequently updated online personal journey or diary. It’s a place to express yourself to the world. Whether or not to expect people to read it or not, it’s a place to share your thoughts, feelings, and passion. I think a blog is anything anyone would want it to be. You could make a blog for every different purpose. A blog is like a website, and whatever you want to show to the world, the playground is yours.

According to Howtostartablogonline.net, every day, 172,800 blogs are being created; every 2 seconds, a blog is being made. Let’s categorize the main reasons why people want to share on their blog:

  1. THOUGHTS. Sharing your thoughts in a blog is like writing a diary – what you think throughout the day, what did you see that sparked inspiration in your mind, who did you meet and what they talked about that influenced you and gave you insight.
  2. FEELINGS. On a spiritual sense, expressing your feelings in a blog is important too – may it be your social interactions with friends, family members, lovers or even colleagues. Or any talk you’ve listened to and FELT humane. If a part of you is growing, it’s good to write it in your blog – you monitor the difference in you throughout time.
  3. PASSION. What are you truly passionate about? This defines who you are. What you want for your future, or the world’s future. It is definitely different for everyone. May you be a general lifestyle blogger (who blogs about “quality of life” – eating good food, going to interesting places, playing different activities every day), or sports blogger, or food blogger, or anything – as long as there’s a field or category for your blog, you’re up! The way to write a blog is to believe that you’re the expert in your field – even if that field may just be yourself. No one will know you better than yourself anyway!

 

What is a blog?” is a question I kept asking myself today. Today, someone had questioned me. An acquaintance had informed me that she would start a blog, so I told her I had this blog (that usually is for information and my environmental opinions). Immediately, she expressed laughter that my blog is in Chinese and that my blog content is educational, which I don’t understand why. I believe that my acquaintance uses a blog to promote herself, however each blog has a different purpose: Even up until this day I would still believe that this blog had helped myself monitor the strength of my opinions and environmental ideas, and still very proud to be passionate about what I believe is right – building a sustainability society for the future.

As a social media frequent user who was also a food blogger, in the recent months, I started to feel that the idea of having a perfect Instagramable lifestyle was not at all flattering (see Essena O’Neil quitting Instagram). My aim is not to build an image of perfect life, it’s to express my opinions. As I grow older, I find entertainment less important than education. Lifelong learning to me beats the idea of temporary happiness resulted from entertainment. When I learn something, the ideas stay in my mind, but on the other hand, ‘entertainment‘ is a short-lived feeling of happiness. I would never say entertainment is unnecessary, however, I believe that our purpose of life should not be solely based on it.

My blog lets myself express what I am passionate and truly feel for. I hope that by expressing my opinions with backed up information, I hope to persuade others to also think about the environmental problems we are causing and hope my thoughts reach to someone, some day.I believe that if I could affect some people – every small step counts! Thank you 🙂 I will update more from now on. Stay tuned!

 

Obey vs Honour your parents.

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There is a difference between Obey and Honour. We should know what’s the difference and live our lives to it. This would have been a good lesson for the teenager version of myself.

Like Father, Like Son. My Parents’ Vision was My Vision.

For all my life, I had lived up to my father and mother’s advice about how I should live my life. I lived up to their image of me, and kept the ideal image they wanted of a good daughter. My relatives and their family friends had always praised me for being beautiful, smart, diligent and having perfect manners. As embarrassing as it is to recall all of these comments of utter pure flattery for me, I was always obliged to just follow and just obey the typical image of what they set for me.

Following their ideas – if my parents are happy, I am happy.

Following and obeying was always the easy way out. I’m not sure if it’s because of my family environment, or how my parents nurtured and shaped me, I strongly loathe all types of arguments or debates. So I just follow all their ideas, and give up on my own. Throughout all my childhood, I would just give up on my own ideas and try to live up to theirs. I thought, if they are happy, I would be happy.
I was trained to be a family-orientated daughter.

Diligence: Changing own dreams to suit parents’ dreams?

During my secondary school days, I wanted to do Environmental Science in university. I was very aware of what we as humans are selfishly doing to the environment, and I wanted to study it so I could help the world, even if it’s just changing a small step by step.

But my parents wanted wanted me to choose a practical, safe, stable and well-paid job (a profession). So on the day of the University Open Day, my mother and I passed by the Geology major, and my own thoughts about what I wanted to do changed “Aha! This is great. Earth Science = Geography with more Science aspect. It’s a win-win for me, I like outdoor excursions and it’s a profession (to fulfill parents’ wishes)!

I probably never thought what this decision that moment would do for future myself. I didn’t do what I majored in because I loved it, it was because it fulfilled my parents’ wishes.

Sudden thought: Is this career my Future?

I got into the Geology profession right after university. It was the path of the norm: graduating from the major and getting into a career related to the major. It’s the typical path of everyone who came out from tertiary education.

Turns out, I didn’t love the career I majored in. One day, I suddenly had an ‘indicator‘:

Look at your boss.
Imagine yourself as him, ten years later.
This is exactly YOU, ten years later.

I looked at my boss, doing just more of the tedious work I was doing; I couldn’t imagine myself as him. I wanted to do something better with my life.

Your life is Yours, not Theirs. Parents only wish you would be happy.

This was like my quarter-life crisis. It was this moment when I finally realized that I had been obeying orders for the first twenty years of my life, and never did what I really wanted to do.

In the end, parents only wish the best for us. They want to protect us. Their advice was just a guidance. The topics of arguments was to see how strongly you felt for what was right. Their orders are they for you to ‘Honour’, not necessarily to ‘Obey’.

“You shall honour your father and your mother” – The Fifth Commandment

I had this epiphany from watching TED Talk by Lisa Bu. The Fifth Commandments tells us to Honour, and not Obey. They’re a difference. Honour in the Fifth Commandment teaches us how to love our parents – it’s a lifelong promise of proper respect.

I was lost for what I would do for a career. I was so guided for the first twenty years of my life, following and obeying orders and this moment that I finally grew up, I finally learned that it was just advice, not orders. The advice and views on what to do with life.

Obey ≠ Honour

  • Obeying parents is not the same as Honouring them.
  • If we obey your parents’ wishes against our own wishes…
    • In the long run, it will drive DISHONOUR back to them.
    • Going against your own wishes won’t lead you to true Happiness.
    • Either you revert to your true dreams to what you do too late in life – which worries them more;
    • Or you’re stuck within their comfort zone for the rest of your life.
    • However, Parents love you despite all the things you do.
      LOVE. All they wanted was for you to be Happy.

Why we have to Honour our parents.

Our parents are the core of our lives. They gave us the BEST life can offer – LIFE itself. If it wasn’t for them, we’ll never be feeling all of this. They suffered to take us out into this world – no matter how well we were brought up to be – we cannot blame them for the personality we have now – We are Our Own Self. It takes a WhatsApp message to dump your boyfriend/girlfriend, a phone call to file for a divorce, but no matter what we can never dump our parents.

If you want to truly honor your loved ones, go out in the world and live your absolute best and brightest, make the most of that gift your parents gave you.

All-in-all, they just wanted,

  1. They wanted to protect us.
    Following dreams may fail – they’ve seen many examples of that.
    They just want us to flourish, never falling, never failing, never hurting.
  2. They fear their realities changing.
    They fear our change, that their sons/daughters are no longer the predictable children that we used to be.
  3. They’re dependent on us.
    Especially when bring us up well was because they could count on us in the future.
    Maybe some of us are an only child and the family is completely dependent on us, we can’t go and run away to chase the dream and become irresponsible.
    DISHONOUR is scary. We have to strike a balance between honouring them, and honouring ourselves.

We can’t let parents be an excuse to not go for what we love. We have to make the best out of the gift they gave us. It’s the only way to to Happiness  love one another.

Read this article about Parents by Niall Doherty, and its comments on the post. Everyone goes through the same things in life, it’s good for everyone to know we are all not in this alone.