Forming habits to meditate, stretch, and the next step

By accident I stumbled upon a method to start changing behaviors.

2018

In 2018 I wanted to not buy anything that was not perishable. I wanted to learn to pratice self control.

As the year passed, I wrote down as few rules as I realized the gap between a very strict rule and what else I wanted to accomplish in my life.

  • Rule 1: All food and household consumables was okay to buy.
  • Rule 2: I chose to buy all the books I wanted to read, because I wanted to read long form and keep on learning.
  • Rule 3: No clothing of any kind including socks and underwear ( this was a mistake )
  • Rule 4: Nothing that was not a consumable.

I finished the year feeling very good about being able to control what I buy. My only non consumable was a badminton racket, the Astrox 88D.

2019

After a strict rule about not buying , in 2018, I strive to only buy non consumables only once a quarter. So I kept a list of items I will purchase once the quarter window opens up. This should help eliminate impulse buying.

In 2019, I also cancelled Amazon prime since I wanted to ween myself off of addictative services like prime, Netflix.

Small habits

In many habit research, they suggest to

  • Replace one bad habit with a good habit.
  • Add a new habit on top of another, chaining them together
  • Do something small first

To try out suggestion, I have started to wake up earlier and do 5 to 10 minutes of meditation, follow by 5 to 10 minutes of stretching, strength or yoga using the Peloton app. So far, this habit has stuck for 10 weeks. My daily habit is to wake up at 6:25, make coffee, drink a quarter cup, do meditation, stretch and begin the day to get ready.

Part of my bookclub at work is to read through Atomic Habits book by James Clear and using the book to form another new habit.

My next habit is to read 10 pages of a physical book everyday after my morning stretching. Wish me luck.

Tony Tam

Senior Principal Architect @ Splunk Founder of ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org