Daily Habits Checklist (December 26 – January 8)

A mediocre two weeks. And it won’t get better, because my schedule’s gotten busier. I’m moving away from a writer’s schedule to a business person’s schedule. Which means more meetings, more emails, more unpredictability, more travel. Which has been a shock to my habits system. That’s the ultimate test – how can you keep your habits up when it’s hard to do so? Easy is easy, but hard is meaningful if not always fun.

The main areas where I fall short are singing and guitar. When traveling I simply don’t have a guitar on me. So trying to think of alternatives. For example at my uncle and aunt’s home they have a piano. Maybe I can count 30 minutes of piano playing as a replacement. Or maybe just scrap these two habits, and focus on the foundational ones: Waking early. Running. Writing…

Evening prep is also not consistent. I just haven’t bought into the value of picking tomorrow’s outfit and planning tomorrow’s to-do’s. In the morning, I pick my outfit in 5 minutes. And I keep a sense of internal priorities, of what’s important and what’s urgent. At night I like to relax, not think about work, read my books, and watch Netflix lol.

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 (December 12 – 25)

Happy holidays everyone! I’m gaining weight for sure. Too much good food. And lots of travel. Which probably explains the subpar weeks. But tracking is even more important when my performance is poor, even though the temptation can be to skip it. Thanks to everyone who’s emailed me sharing their own checklists and habits and systems. It means a lot and I’m learning every time!

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions for 2016 – for the first time in a decade – but it wound up being a good year. I won’t make any for 2017, either. Just increasingly skeptical about the value of setting yearly goals. Would rather emphasis habits and priorities instead – priorities being some mixture of your values and long-term (ie, 5 to 10 year) goals.

Here’s an explanation of how and why I track my daily habits. And here’s a starter template if you’d like to create your own. You can download it in Excel, PDF, etc.

What habits do you monitor? Which habits would you like to develop? Email me anytime.

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 (November 28 – December 11)

One good week (80%) and one ok week (70%).

Right now I’m naturally waking up around 7:30am. My eventual goal is 6am. In an attempt to push myself to get there, I’ll sometimes schedule calls at 7am or 6:30am. But I’ve found that this has consequences, a drop in energy and focus after a day or two of these early morning calls. It’s taken years of steady effort to shift my waking time to 7:30am, and it’s probably best to allow it to slowly reduce further…

Singing is hard for me. Sometimes it’s as if I take two steps back for every step forward, feeling like I sound worse with each lesson or recording session. When I first began to sing, I was more willing to share and publish. Ignorance really is bliss. The more I learn about what makes a good voice and how to sing well, the more hesitant I am to share. But hopefully I can return to releasing songs soon. I guess it works this way with most skills…you have to keep practicing and improving and grit your way through the sometimes long trough.

Thanks for reading. Here’s an explanation of how and why I track my daily habits. And here’s a starter template if you’d like to create your own. You can download it in Excel, PDF, etc.

What habits do you monitor? Which habits would you like to develop? Email me anytime.

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 (October 17 – November 6): 3 weeks of habits

daily-habits-checklist-oct-17-nov-6

This update includes 3 weeks of habits instead of the usual two. Not a great stretch; the weekly scores were well below my target of 80%. There were a couple reasons: one, I caught a cold and it lasted too long, probably because of my stubborn refusal to see a doctor or take meds. And two, a good friend came to visit and we traveled around Taiwan for a few days. But these are just excuses. When I travel, certain habits immediately stop, like singing. I’ve got to get creative about maintaining a habit when the environment changes.

Coffeeology in Taipei

From now on I’ll also include a photo from my morning writing session. I take a photo before starting to write every morning. Had started posting them on Instagram until I realized social media isn’t my thing. But writing the book Habit Driven Life is going well. I’m maybe 60% through the first draft, with solid momentum and a clear plan. So the remaining 40% should *in theory* proceed smoothly. Famous last words.

Notes:

  • I’ve started to run more and gym less; hoping to build on this momentum and do a 10k, maybe a half-marathon in the next few months. Running gives MUCH better bang-for-buck than gym time, although I’d like to maintain a balance between the two
  • for November’s Giving Habit, I donated to Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. A big fan of her writing and her mission, to promote interfaith dialogue and compassion as a universal value
  • Undecided on the value of an evening routine. Thus far I clean and tidy the apartment a bit, and pick my outfit for the next day. But I often change the outfit in the morning, so not sure what value it has

Thanks for reading! Here’s an explanation of how and why I track my daily habits. And here’s a starter template if you’d like to create your own. You can download it in Excel, PDF, etc.

What habits do you monitor? Which habits would you like to develop? Email me anytime.

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 (September 19 – October 2)

Daily Habits Checklist September 19 - October 2

A good two weeks, with the exception of 3 days that I spent in Bali at a surf camp. Those days I marked in red and during that period I purposely didn’t track my habits. I wanted to focus completely on surfing and not worry about checklists and responsibilities. And by “surfing” I mean getting owned by waves for 5 minutes while paddling into deep waters, waiting another 5 minutes for the right wave, paddling furiously, then standing on the board for three seconds before falling off. And repeating :)

Notes:

  • Continue to prefer colored cells over the old x’s.
  • Changed my evening habit from “write tomorrow’s goals” to “evening prep”. I’ve come to believe that your evening routine is just as important as your morning one. Good night time habits tell your body that it should wind down, prepare for sleep. If as Thoreau says, the first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day, then the last hour of the night is the push off the dock. So right now my evening prep is two things: write tomorrow’s goals, and prepare tomorrow’s outfit. I’m not a stylish guy, but I don’t want to waste morning time and brain picking clothes. Slowly I’ll add more evening habits
  • What else…I’m always experimenting. Habit is all about repetition and routine, but I can’t let them become TOO boring either. Balance. Instead of doing pushups in the morning, I do them at the gym now, where I also stretch my back and neck. So the whole exercise + pushups + stretching is in practice just one habit. Inspired by my friend Drew, I’ve started to journal in the evenings, but that has been sporadic. In general I’m cautious about adding new habits too quickly. My impatience tends to backfire

Thanks for reading! Here’s an explanation of how and why I track my daily habits.

What habits do you monitor? Which habits would you like to develop? Email me anytime.

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.