We all have those days when it’s hard to get motivation to do the things we need to do, and at the end of the day you look back and realize you haven’t really done much of anything. Especially in this seemingly never-ending pandemic where we’re all stuck inside our homes, it’s easy to fall back to old habits and unhealthy patterns. I’ve come across 4 rules that have helped me build a better routine and mindset each day, and it might help you too!
So the first and most important rule we’re going to establish is no more zero days. What is a zero day? A zero day is when you have done nothing to progress your goals or dreams, it’s when you end the day being the exact same as when you started it. It sucks when you realize you haven’t done the things you need to be doing, and the non-zero day rule will help you achieve that goal bit by bit. A non-zero day is when you’ve achieved something, no matter how small, that will make you into a better person and gets you closer to your goals.
We can’t instantly learn to become super productive and disciplined, so the purpose here is starting small and slowly building our way up. No matter what, we want to end up with a net positive. If it’s 11.58 P.M. and you haven’t done anything, just do one push-up, or learn one new word, write a paragraph, read one chapter of a book, because one is still infinitely better than zero. What we’re trying to build is consistency in growth, if you accumulate all the non-zero days together you’ll see some real tangible change. And soon your progress will start to snowball, one push-up becomes 5, becomes 10, 20, and eventually 50. You can be capable of achieving so much more than you thought possible at the start.
The second rule is being grateful to the 3 you’s. The past, present and future you. These are the people you should care about the most. We should be grateful to our past selves for all the positive things they’ve done for us, because without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. The present you is the accumulation of everything you went through so far. If we focus too much on the past and the future, life will soon pass us by, so take a deep breath and look around, be grateful for all that you have, and the mind-blowing fact that we’re all alive right now.
And lastly you should base your actions by keeping future you in mind. Think of it as doing favours for a good friend. Conflicted between choosing between a burger or salad? Well I’m gonna do future me a favour and choose the healthier option. Too lazy to get up and exercise? Too bad, I’m doing it for future me. This cycle of doing something for someone else (future you) and thanking someone for the good in your life (past you) is key to building gratitude and productivity in the present. And this attitude will also make you seem more positive to others as well.
The third rule is learning to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, not everything is under our control. I’ve dwelt on my own mistakes for far too long, self-pity and regret will not get you anywhere. Accept that everything, good or bad, has happened. And there’s nothing we can do to change the past. But we do have the power to change who we are today, and we can choose to keep moving forward to a brighter future. It’s never too late to change. It won’t be easy, you will trip and fall more than a few times, it’s okay to falter and regress, as long as you eventually push yourself to take the next step again. There will be good days and bad days, that is just a fact of life, be grateful for the good days and learn from the bad days.
The last rule is simple: exercise and books. Exercise is simply magical, it makes your body grow stronger, keeps you fit and in good shape, it clears your mind and releases endorphins, which is a happiness chemical in your brain! Go for jogs in the morning, do some push-ups and squats. Trust me, with regular exercise your future self will thank you profusely. For books, almost everything we've all ever thought of, or felt, or gone through, or wanted to know how to do, has been figured out by someone else and written down in a book somewhere. Everytime I finish a new book, I feel like the horizon of my knowledge has expanded significantly. I used to be an avid reader, and I’m looking forward to actually picking up some new books and getting myself lost in the experience again.
So that’s it! Four simple rules that I’m trying to apply to my everyday life. I really feel like this way of thinking can make me into a better person, and every day I shall strive to be better than I was yesterday. And slowly but surely, I shall keep moving forward to achieve my dreams.