Daily Habits Checklist (May 15th – June 11th): A painter, who became Picasso

Another good 4 weeks and the progress I believe is starting to show, at least in private. The big gap in late May was due to a family cruise which was a great time. And all that white space on Friday May 26th was the result of a delayed flight. I suppose I *could* meditate and do back stretches while waiting at the terminal, but am averse to public attention…

My music habits have been moved to their own category. These include practicing the piano and guitar, and writing song lyrics. Thus they aren’t here, on the main list. But maybe I’ll include them in future updates. My goal is to start publishing songs soon. They probably won’t sound very good :/

Some thoughts on the habits…

Waking early: Your partner’s sleep schedule has a big impact on yours. If your sleep and wake cycles aren’t in sync, then one of you (usually both of you) will suffer. If you can’t get in sync, consider sleeping in separate beds and ignore the social stigma…? :)

Pushups: Seeking ways to “exceed my level”, in the words of Bruce Lee. In this case, eg, decline pushups

Meditate: Still remains hard, after all these years. Why?

My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

Here’s why I track habits this way.

Thanks for reading!

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

Daily Habits Checklist (April 17 – May 14): Netflix & work chill

A good 4 weeks. The three blank days you see in the middle are the result of a 4-day vacation to Cebu. I have the workaholic tendency to loathe beach vacations after about the 2nd day, but to my surprise I didn’t want this one to end.

The “evening to do’s” habit (a grab bag of little activities to prep for tomorrow such as packing my work bag) has morphed into the “evening work sesh” habit (where I load a Netflix movie of the fast food variety on the living room TV after dinner, and do an hour or two of busy work while watching it). This has been a nice modification. Having a fun movie playing in the background helps me to squeeze an extra bit of productivity juice from the day’s orange…or something.

A quick review of each habit…

Waking early: in addition to exercise, one of the biggest levers for my day. Waking up at 7am is not just one hour better than waking at 8am. It’s at least 90 minutes better

Pushups: the idea is that each year you increase your goal not decrease it. My hope is that at 80 years old I can manage 80 pushups…even if I have to do 5 at a time from morning til dusk lol

Write: because good writing is good thinking and it’s one of my favorite things to do

Meditate: remains hard but worth it

Exercise: along with waking early, one of the best ROIs on time and a force multiplier for just about everything

Publish: can’t keep your work to yourself if you want to improve and connect and grow. Need to improve here

Stretch back & neck: because I’ve had recurring stiffness problems which have by and large gone away since I started to do these exercises

What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior? – Walt Whitman

Why do I track and share this stuff? Click here. Thanks for reading!

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

Daily Habits Checklist (March 20 – April 16): The value of a Personal Bible

Haven’t blogged much recently. Part of the reason is an increased focus on crypto research and investment and sending out weekly Bitcoin newsletters. Part of the reason is just a focus on longer forms of writing that I don’t feel are ready to publish…maybe that will change soon.

As habits go, a solid 4 weeks. The highest ROI per minute of time is still meditation. 10-15 minutes of silent zen meditation is enough to change how I feel for an entire day. My favorite habit and the one I’d hate to lose if it stopped remains the long daily outdoor runs. I’m flirting with the idea of training up to a half and then full Ironman if I can stop traveling so much.

Although my weekly habits goal is 80%, during the weeks when I reach or surpass it, I get this creeping sense that the habits are running me and not vice-versa. So that is something I’m paying attention to. Because habits should support goals and desires and work in partnership, and not always as a boss.

Finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the concept of a Personal Bible. I’m sure others have come up with very similar ideas. It’s just a collection of your favorite texts and quotes and poems and book excerpts whose wisdom you want to sink in deeply. I try to read from my own every night and it’s a tremendous source of insight and a solid mental anchor. You can even use my copy which I try to update monthly.

Abraham Lincoln’s principle for greatness can be adopted by nearly all. This was his rule: Whatsoever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind in to it and held it and held it all there until that was all done. – Russell Conwell in Acres of Diamonds

Why do I track and share this stuff? Click here.

Cheers! Happy habit-ing.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

Daily Habits Checklist (February 27 – March 19): Controllable time and The Sovereign Individual

The last three weeks were very good, after almost two months of crappy scores. If you saw my earlier checklists you’ll understand the reasons for this swing: in January and February my time was spent on business projects and business travel, and in March I shifted back to working for myself.

Working for yourself is one way to maximize the amount of time in a typical day that’s under your control. Let’s call it “controllable time”. I’ve come to realize that having many hours of controllable time is almost essential if I’m to maintain the habits that I consider necessary for a good and fulfilled life. Like the habits listed above: Writing and publishing. Exercising and meditating. Socializing and exploring.

Above money, above fame, sometimes above even love and intimacy, I value having large amounts of this controllable time. A big piece of what attracts me to a writer’s lifestyle is this almost pure expression of life freedom. You can choose to spend each day, every day, exactly as you wish. Much of the time it’s wasted, but it’s wasted wilfully. It’s not perfect by any means, as each day is a kind of mental torture. As a friend elegantly put it, “you have to constantly outwit yourself to get anything done.” This might seem strange or selfish to some. For others it may feel like an indulgence or a luxury best enjoyed in small doses. For me it has slowly become a necessity. I crave it and I look forward to it, each and every day.

Current book: The Sovereign Individual. A rare book which is living up to its buzz within tech circles. Forecasts and describes a future where individuals gain increasing sovereignty at the expense of nation-states. Because technology empowers the individuals who know how to create and exploit it, and because organized violence – the state’s most effective and reliable tool – is increasingly outdated and ineffective. There was no Kindle version, but I managed to find a PDF and then convert it to mobi. If you’d like a copy, email me.

Current quote:

The best lovers do not have the best bodies. They are not the best-looking, and they do not have the largest respective body parts. What they do have is the best attitude: they are completely enthusiastic. – Lou Paget

Why do I track and share this stuff? Click here. Thanks for reading!

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

Daily Habits Checklist (February 13 – 26): REAMDE and the irony of freedom

Skipped a week (February 6-12) because I was sick for most of it.

I continue to underperform, again due to business travel. But this past month had a useful outcome, which was to help me realize, again, perhaps for the last time, that I’m just not ready for, nor interested in, a full-time job or business project.

I’m going to focus instead on writing – random essays, short stories, maybe a sci-fi novel. And with the increased flexibility and reduced travel of a writer’s life, the habit scores *should* rebound.

Current book: REAMDE by Neal Stephenson. The title is not a typo. A techno-thriller about a brilliant businessman, an addictive MMORPG, a group of young Chinese hackers, and a spunky girl geek turned heroine.

Current quote:

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline – Mortimer J. Adler

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.