How to make a habit and keep it

Hello, my dear readers! End of 2019, a miracle has happened. Yes, I managed to workout for 36 days, and I write this post as I finish my day’s workout. Does that qualify me enough to write about this topic?

Let me explain.  There is no better teacher than failure, and there is no better student than the one who is still trying after being in the same class all his life. I am that student, and trying to lose weight is the lecture I’ve kept failing since my teens.

I’ve started workouts and stopped,  started eating right and stopped, stopped watching online content at nights and started again, started sleeping on time and stopped  – only to see the few kilos I’d have lost come back on me with vengeance.

I’ve always been a believer of process, more than the results.  With Charles Duhigg’s book ( The Power of Habit)  proving most of my theory right, I experimented on my self for workouts.  I can confidently say that my new workout habit is decently formed and will stick for many many months to come.

So, how did it happen?  Couple of hard facts, first.

  1.  Its easy to talk, rant or crib without actually working out.
  2. We will never have enough motivation to get up and start working out.
  3. We will always have enough work to do, just enough to skip working out.
  4. Making Assumptions that we are special enough with special enough problems, which is why we can never get the results( without trying, ofcourse!)

This is what I told myself to get rid of these  mental blocks –

  1.  All talk and no action means nothing.  There has to be a plan to achieve a goal.
  2. Habits are the remedy for lack of motivation. Strong habit system has to be built around the goal.
  3.  Its all about the priorities, and how badly we want a thing to get done.
  4.  There is nothing unique about me as an Individual, and all the excuses and roadblocks I keep feeling is what everyone encountered when they started.

Here is the habit system I’ve created for working out –

  1. Find a time when you can ALWAYS make it.  For me, it’s morning 5 AM to 6 AM.
  2. Pick a goal.  For me, it was doing ShoulderStand for 15 minutes & working out for 30 DAYS without fail.
  3. Have a tracking.  I had the days written out and pasted, and every single day I worked out or not –  it got recorded there.
  4. Be Patient.  When I get up at 4ish to get ready for yoga,  every day my body feels different. Now, its very intuitive for me on what foods have what kinds of effect on my body. But, still – work with what you got.
  5. Push yourself.  My head told me 1000 different reasons why I should not be up so early, why can’t I workout after family leaves to work and schools, and don’t I deserve more sleep?!  The blackmail has no end. I just ignore everything and blankly go on the mat to start my warmup. It works, IT ALWAYS WORKS.  Just push yourself to finish the day. Every single day you finish, the voice gets feebler and feebler.
  6. Take it easy. Exactly the opposite of Point 5,  there will still be days where you really won’t or can’t do the workout.  Just don’t worry – pretend that day didnt happen.  Next day, get on with the habit, making sure you dont skip for more than  2 days in a row. Cos – the voices start to get their strength and all the habit you are struggling to create will vanish into thin air.
  7. Don’t chase the results, chase the process.  Build habits to make the process happen and keep doing.

As  I finish my 36th day of workout – this  is the best thing that has happened to me in 2019. Finally understanding that it all comes down to this –

HABITS.  DISCIPLINE.  PATIENCE.

Results will come. They have to, may be slowly. But, they sure will come.

If you’ve survived till here –  Merry Christmas & a Very Happy New Year! 😀 😀

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

 

Adventure Rides and a Timely Lesson

As part of our short Mysore Trip, we went to Planet Earth Aquarium.  Pretty awesome place, worth a trip for anyone with our without kids. Practically, anyone who loves nature.  When Saanvi celebrated her birthday this year,  I wanted to book her a slot in a sports zone in Marathahalli, as part of her birthday activities.  Adventure Activities – I wanted her to try from a long long time. She is 9, and I always thought she should be more forthcoming to activities like these.  Mr. V spoiled it as  usual, and we spent the day watching and eating.  Ofcourse, kids loved it.

So, when I saw the adventure activities in this Aquarium, I ofcourse wanted them to try.  Saanvi had stomach ache a little, but I know the main reason was her extreme cautiousness to try anything new at all. But, as she saw Vihana all ready and getting her gear on,  she was really, like literally forced to go – thanks to her younger sister already attempting it.

It took her exactly 10-12 minutes to finish the 5 set of adventure activities. They walked on high poles and zig zags an went through tunnels in the sky and slid through the rope.  She looked uncomfortable all the while doing it, and also for a while after she came back. I deliberately avoided any discussion about it at all.

After we drove back home, and I was getting the girl all freshed up – she made a remark.

Mom,  the adventure  activities are the best thing I did in Mysore  Trip!

Mind you, she chose these over her  Water Park activities  and the extremely awesome Jumbo Circus we saw over  the  trip. When I quizzed her,  she said – she was really scared to try, but she did. And She liked it that she did. I just told her one small thing –

Everyone is scared.  You are also, but you do it anyway.

She said,  “Really Mom,  I thought I am the only one.  I feel I dont try new things, I am scared more. Look at Vihana, she wasn’t scared a bit!”.

Its my turn to talk now. I took her close to me. Looked into her eyes, and told her while I stroked her hair –

“Darling, everyone has a natural style.  Your style is to be cautious, her style is to jump.  In general, they are not harmful. But, some situations – you need to tell yourself that it’s okay to be scared and you do it anyway. In some situations – she need to understand it’s okay to wait and let go of few things. We can’t experience all, due to various reasons!”

She further said – “So, is it not a bad quality in me? “.  I said = “Ofcourse not! It’s who you are. Embrace it and be vary of when you feel like not doing things! And If you really feel you dont want to do something, it’s absolutely fine in Life. Its really beautiful when you are at peace and are happy with yourself!!”

A grin and a warm hug.  I’ve gotten more than what  I wanted.  That is why, Life lessons are learnt outdoors, never in front of TV or buried within the school textbooks.

Btw, anyone in and around bangalore – definitely give it a visit. Here is the link.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Two Golden Rules for a Happy Life

As I sat with my close friend today, I told her few  things which I felt are very important for all of us to remember. Here they go, as a reminder to myself –

  1. Everyone’s life has a mix of privilege, luxury, misery, shit and everything in between. Embrace the positive and good, be grateful for it. Accept the shit.  It all comes in a package, nothing really you go on selecting about it.
  2.  For anything to happen, motivation doesn’t drop from the sky.  That elusive word “Motivation”  exists only in the dictionary. What really helps is ACTION every single day, however small. Action is very powerful, it puts stop to the ever ending drama of the  mind – and it’s hell lot of ugly and powerful variations. Commit to ACT on things that really matter to you. Rest – to hell with them, just have fun!

Except in situations where you are dealing with psychopaths or someone extremely dangerous –  the above two should  do for a peaceful and happy life!

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

So, what do you do the WHOLE Day?!

The question I hear majority of the times.  The Question I hate to answer, but ended up answering the maximum number of times  in the last year and half. So, long story short. I quit full time last year because I wanted to be up close to girls when they were growing up.  I felt distant and disconnected with them.  Wasnt really there when they came back f from school.  So, for few months  I was jobless and then picked up part time in my old company.  Somehow, I have not felt  it as a “REAL” job because I work from home and its a Strategy job.  It needs  reading a lot, and for me reading never felt like work.

So, now I meet anyone. After basic courtesy , the next important question – “Do you work?”.    I reply,  “No, I do not work”.  Somehow, I just want to avoid  the  entire conversation around  how I work from home,  how I work part time, how I got this lucky job and can I work with kids running around. It gets personal, so easiest way out – “Nope”. Then comes the question –

So, how do you spend your time ALL DAY” ??

Yeah?  I really resist from punching the person on the face.  I smile and say” Kids, and errands. Oh yes, and some ME time!”.  I try to excuse and end the conversation.

Housewife or Stay at home mom is the worst job you could ever have in this world.  Over worked,  under appreciated and always thought as relaxing in the beach, when all you are doing is  dirty laundry or yesterday’s maths  homework.

In our society,  “WORK” is something that gets  “MONEY”.  But, “WORK” is also that saves “MONEY”,  and gives the head  of the  family  abundant “PEACE  OF MIND”.  It takes  lot of effort and self confidence to quit jobs and stay at home looking after innocent and extremely energetic young kids.  Oh  every day is different and you see all the stars in the day. The kind of stuff they bring from school,  the experiences they have!  Its such a satisfying experience to raise another human being, to see them transform into a beautiful  person and grow in size and shape, intellect and wit.

With different timings for schools, after  school classes,  packing home thrice  a day and making some treats, home  works,  play times  and story sessions – there is no fucking time to sit and drink a peaceful coffee! And all you get is – ” So, what do you do ALL DAY?!”.  Everyday,  I see bright young women –  well educated, sophisticated  and enthusiastic about life. And what do they do?   After husband leaves for work –  clean up, cook, look after the kid and look after the kid more.  The four walls of the house & the  kids  playground. These are  the only places they would ever know.  And the smile on their faces  is TIRED but SATISFYING!

Why can’t we just thank them enough to pause their life &  raise  another ?

Why can’t we volunteer to help her out with some errands or lend an ear?

Why can’t we stop asking her  what she does  ALLLLL day?

I now punch the person on their face –  in my mind , ofcourse. Whenever I hear this question,  a fake smile on my  face, an answer I’ve repeated thousand times and a punch on their face.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Exercise & Mental Health

I’ve come across this amazing TED Talk by a British Diver Leon Taylor.  He is an Olympian and this talk is about how exercise is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your mental health.  He  also funnily says,  Thinking is the cause of most the problems, and people should stay more in their bodies than in their heads.

I cannot agree more. The days I have felt most shitty are the days I have not moved at all. I recently started yoga thrice a week, and its something I really enjoy doing. I push myself harder and  it makes me feel accomplished – early on in the day.

Recently, I picked up swimming too  –  couples of classes down. Few more months to go,  I should have learnt it as a lifeskill.  I really liked swimming in the first few classes I went, and then kids exams and sick nesses gave a nice good break to the classes.

I tried  zumba, and ended up with an extra bone on my leg.  It didn’t suit me at all, although I tried it rigorously for 3 months.  So, that’s not for me.

There are few more things I always wanted to try, but I think it’s gonna be Yoga and Swimming for me.  Mostly, to workout on the alternate days. A walk of 30 mins will definitely do me good every single day.  All by myself.

Here’s the talk –

 

If you stumble by my blog, please do watch this.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Problems & Solutions

This is a very personal post and something I have really struggled all my 38 years of life. As I finally unravel all the  complexities, I figured out solution to the problems that plagued me for all the best part of my life.

Well begun is half done. Identifying a problem statement is 90 percent of the  job done. Most of the  people dont  know what shit they are in. At least I know. I acknowledge. What’s left is to execute and have an iron will to do it.

I’ve two versions to my  character – a confident, extroverted version. A depressed version.

Also, I have two people who live under me –

  1. A Strict task master who wants every single thing on the list to be completed.
  2. A  hyperactive inner kid who wants to try and  do everything in this world, while  alive.

So, I basically live in this  loop all the time –

a) The inner kid starts playing around. Ever curious. Creative and optimistic.  Always want to try new things. Gets bored by routine. Want to try out the most riskiest and adventurous stuff out there.  So, everything it sees – it wants to make a list and start doing it. But, it’s so distracted all the time –  all it does is gather information and add to the list. So, the list just keeps getting longer, this inner kid doesn’t get anything done. His job is to just curiously roam around the garden of life.

In this aspect, I am at my bubbly best and am open to new experiences and people in my life. I stay here 50% of my life.

b) As the tasks list gets longer and longer,  the task master gets jittery.  He does not have a track record of finishing things, and the longer the list – the more tensed about completing it.  So, he glances through the list and cannot decide which one to finish.  Picks up something to do, does it midway and then thinks “Oh, I should have done the other one first”.  But, when he takes over –  I am at my efficient best. I  finish activities one by one, and tirelessly. Often, I do things for long time.. It still stresses me out, but I keep going. Because, I want to finish things when I am in the flow. Once I rest, i know i get nothing done.

When I am doing tasks, my heart is beating very fast and my mood is very serious. Because, now I have the task of finishing stuff before the kid takes over.  And I start to get frustrated at the kid for making such a huge list in the first place.

And then, when I realize what I have accomplished is not even 5% compared to the list I have maintained in life – I get depressed. Life doesn’t make any sense.  I feel like shit.

I stay here 50% of my life.

And, I abandon everything and every effort I put so far.  Stay absolutely blank for some time. And then, my inner child kicks in –  fuck all, let me enjoy life. And he plays until the strict task master takes over again.

Because of this, I am mentally tired all the time, and do not go anywhere close to my goals in life.

Analysis on some fundamental questions I have always  had in my life –

Why do I start the habits and stop them again?

I start the habit after reading a lot. There is no conviction in my heart when I try to start anything. My mind is blank and doesn’t think anything. I make some plans – get up at a time, do something and blah blah. Since, I did not want to do anything from the bottom of my heart  – I dont feel any pinch when I try to push the time or abandon it altogether.

Why can’t I finish the simplest of the tasks like cleaning combs?

I have this task in my to-do list : clean combs. It takes exactly two minutes. Every single time I think of it, I am stressed. But, somehow inside me – there is extreme resistance in my brain. I can actually feel the physical resistance inside my brain. I see the combs, and I put them back. And at that moment, I get stressed out that I am not doing it. And I am really stressed out, my heart aches and my head hurts. I still dont clean the combs. I am okay to deal with the stress and pain, but still not do the action that is needed. And it just takes two minutes.

Why does any kind of action makes me anxious?

Its nothing to do with personal work. Even at work, any small work that  is given to me creates extreme anxiety, and I push it off until I can really push it off.  when I must do it now, or face the consequences, that’s when I pick up stuff and start doing.  Only when the time is completely running out, do I pick up pace and finish a mediocre version of the work.  Then, I curse myself for not starting things early. Now, this is very perfectly percolated into my routine with kids.  I start their projects or preparations for  anything very late, and it stresses everyone out.  Its just an extension of who I am, nothing to do with neglecting anyone or anything.

Why do I have so many unfinished courses on udemy, and elsewhere?

Because I never  really wanted to do them in the  first  place.   I just get fancy looking at stuff and reading them over  the Internet, but generally I have no intentions or plans of finishing the courses. I’ve brought countless  courses and books  that way, but they do not relate to the world I am in. And I abandon it very quickly.

I can’t relax. Anytime I sit idle for 5 minutes, I feel extremely anxious and un productive.

Every time I relax, I feel that I am a stupid  idiot who is wasting time when she should be finishing off the lengthy list that i have created for myself. I start fidgeting because the time is well spent on activity. What were you doing all the other time,I  ask myself.

I cant sleep for long hours.

The first thought that comes to my mind when I have little extended sleep or elaborate sleep is this – all the pending work that I have, all the unfinished tasks  and how I’ve been sleeping. For me, sleeping is being lazy.  I feel people should be up all the time, reading, writing or roaming around.  So, while I get nothing done by being up drowsy all the time, I do certainly am mindlessly busy and so am not sleeping.

I will first list down all the problems I think I have –

  1. Thinking that doing house hold chores  is really waste of time.  I cant get my head around doing something on time. Simple regular stuff really scared to do. I just dont do it.
  2. The very act of doing even a small thing creates immense tension inside my body. My head starts to buzz and I feel fainted. Even a small activity like cleaning combs.
  3. I make lists and then get stressed looking at them.  I do not complete one item from the list also, I just keep getting stressed. I do not allocate any time to do an item.
  4. Making endless lists  of really disparate items. Anything that catches my fancy really goes to the list, and does its bit in stressing me out.
  5.  With lot of  hungama, I start a habit and then leave it in between. And I never pursue it again, and it adds a lot to the stress  I already have  due to incomplete tasks at hand.
  6.  I want to do million things at the same time. Cannot pick top two or three. Everything in the world – I want to try. And then, I do not pick up anything. And then, I feel I am not learning anything.
  7.  I feel I dont know anything.  And I go into obsessive mode of reading about it. or listening about it. Then, i dont do anything for a while.
  8. Not sleeping enough
  9. Not eating enough healthy food
  10. Not eating on time
  11. Eating junk without any self control
  12. Holding onto anger for a very long time.
  13.  Just argue  for the sake of arguing, even when there is  no logic
  14. Crave for adventure every single day or minute of my life. Cant sit still for a while, life starts to feel pointless.
  15.  Extreme resistance to action of any kind.  I prefer to sit, think or read.  Getting up and doing anything is very very hard for me, unless there is a trainer sitting  on my head or I have my ego or job at stake.

After Introspecting a lot and and re-confirming with mom, here are the solutions  I figured –

Solutions

  1.   Not everything should get added to the list.
  2.  30 minutes or 1 hour have to make progress on the  list.
  3.  Start only two things and do next things only after they are done. Unreasonable     expectations are the problem. There is only so much only I can do.
  4. 45 minutes exercise mandatory
  5.  Six hours sleep mandatory
  6. Any small things – 2 days SLA to finish the work.

I have to use my intelligence to work for me, and not against me. I am quite confident these solutions will make my general living much more tolerable and happy.

Have a good day and keep rocking!

 

 

 

Ninnu Dochesukuntaa.. !

As Mr. V or hubby gets extremely stressed at work,  one day he turned the TV on and found Nagarjuna hosting Big Boss Season 3 Telugu.  Generally, we consider all these as 3rd class entertainment and have never managed to watch. That day, we both sat and saw the opening of the show. And just like that,  hubby decides to watch it every day. Most of the daysI join him, when I’m not on my evening walks.

One of the contestants in the show keeps singing this particular song from the telugu movie “Guru”.

This song was composed by Santosh Narayanan, the music director of the film and sung by Dhee.  Its a very refreshing and very different from all the run-of-the-mill variety we generally find in telugu music.  Out of curiosity, I googled him, and turns out he is a very famous music director in Tamil!

I googled and spent the rest of the day listening to his songs from non telugu languages.  His songs are different, and original and real.  Listen to this –

 

 

Classic.  For someone who craves  variety in music,  he is the perfect find.  If you have not listened to his songs so far, pick a few from youtube and you’ll be surprised at his skill.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

 

The Art of Silence & The Problem with It

As a kid, I was extremely argumentative.  I would love to argue for endless  hours on something I thought was right. It didn’t really matter if I made sense or I was  bullying the  other person. Eventually, I would  either win the argument or get tired and stop.

Then, Life  happened. I got married, and my every argument was  destroyed in two minutes by Mr. V.  In fact,  it was one of the reasons I married him – he could easily tear apart my argument that I would be embarrassed to support it any further.  I fell for him, and eventually married him.  Over years, I noticed that it’s actually a weakness to talk more and it’s an art to be observant about people and surroundings about you. As I heard from Mr. V about the observations he would make, after we came out of a place vs me who would be either talking or ignoring everything around me –  Over years, I picked up that art. Now, you can easily trust me to go to a place,  keep my tongue under control and make a few nifty observations.

But, and there is a but. A big one, for me.   I started avoided confrontations. The partial silence or having a balance on the tongue  didnt really work for me.  Earlier I had bitter arguments with people, now I serve them with a loooong dose of my stoic silence. Time and again, my loved ones have told me that my fights are much tolerable than my silence. However, I somehow  felt the words  I speak at that point in time  would  be held against me. And if I am silent, all that people can tell about me was “I was silent” That’s all.  This, I picked up from one of the family members – and the worst ever thing to happen to me.

The  days of stoic silence are hard on me as well, I’m not my usual self. Words  are stuck in my mouth and heart, but I just dont want to talk. My mind says – Just let it be.

Speech is Silver, but Silence is Golden.

Fuck Silver and  Fuck Gold.  I think what really matters is for you to be you. In this case, Me  to be Me. These are  the qualities that  makes  a person endearing I guess.  I like to  link  totally unrelated things and make a case for myself to behave in a certain way.  Off late, I follow  politics closely and  have seen time and again bitter enemies saying that they are  open to dialogue. So, keep the dialogue  open, even though you don’t really  achieve anything with it. And either  way – you dont achieve anything by the silence.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

 

How to pick a friend

Ask my mother and she can give you a long list of friends who ruined me to no end. It started in my early years, when I gave my maths notes to my friend to show as hers, and I ended up beaten on hands by the class teacher. While this is one of the most talked about stories to confirm about my naivety at my mom’s –  the list is really really long. I’ve have always been gone with gut feel and suffered many a times due to the “gut”.  My mother fed me enough foods for gut that it has a strong sense of intuition and guides me towards her.

There is just one problem with gut. When you fall, you fall really hard. So while it is generally safe to go with intuition, there is  one more additional rule I’ve added while picking friends – over a period of time. That is –

Observe how you feel after having an interaction with them.

Do you  feel down?

Do you feel bad about yourself,  because you spent all the time bitching about others ?

Do you feel hatred, because of the excessive inputs on a particular topic?

Do you feel peaceful because the person let you the way you are, and let you just be?

Do you feel tired, as the other person treated you like a hearing dustbin with no regard to your yawns and frustrated time checking ?

If you listen to your feelings carefully enough –  they often guide you to who is an absolutely NO NO. Rest – I think the feelings get stronger as we interact more and it gets easy to take a decision.

Offlate, I’ve used this to stop a friendship from forming,  broken a long friendship of couple of years and used this to strengthen one more.  No telling which one’s which –  but you get the point.

Use this and tell  me how it went. Have a good day and keep rocking!!

The Joy of Taking Pictures!

Over the  new  year, we went to Shivana Samudra falls. Although the water level was depressing to see, and we wondered how authorities can be so indifferent – there was one guy who came to us with DSLR.  “Sir, 30 rs photo! ” .  In the age of selfies, who takes a picture for money?  I saw him roam around 10-15 people and everyone just shooed him away. He  came to us hopefully, as we were a big group and had elders in it.  I wanted to get one clicked anyway, and I nudged hubby – ” Let him take one! It’s just Rs. 30!!”.

Finally we all stood  at “THE SPOT”  where the photographer takes the pics. Few pics all of us, few pics 4 of us.  We went to the place where he was taking instant pics – and the size we wanted  was Rs. 200 😀  30 rs was more for marketing which I fell – after few minutes of husband’s glares and us protecting ourselves from the groups  of monkeys surveying for anything to lay their hands on – we finally had the pictures in our hand.

Hard Copies!!!  It was such a pleasure to see the pics. They came out real good and there  was some kind of satisfaction in holding your memory in your hand rather than bits and bytes. Once In a while, I think we all should indulge in getting photos clicked and getting serviced – although this is the generation of self service 🙂

Have a good day and keep rocking!!