Making a Routine for Change

We’re already more than two weeks into 2014, have you stuck to your resolutions? Maybe you’re trying to eat healthier, pick up coding or wash the dishes more often (I’m guilty as charged). We’d all like to achieve a big personal goal, to gain a checklist of bragging rights you can’t wait to tell your friends about by the time 2015 rolls in. But in order to make changes, you gotta set a routine.

Try it in thirties: “Practice makes perfect” is a tried yet true saying but, if you’re like me, you feel intimidated if you don’t know where to begin. I personally dream of so many skills that I want to pick up but started feeling doubtful: how will I find the time? Actually, you don’t find time but make time instead.

Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google. Wait, he also bikes to work, has written a novel and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro?! He’s been on a 30-day program where he tries a new skill for thirty days. He says that through this practice, not only can he brag to his friends but he also feels more confident in himself so that he’s not just another engineer at Google. Check out his 3-minute TED talk.

If 30 days too daunting, try 30 minutes a day. If 30 days is too short, try 3 months. Herbert Lui’s “Why Quantity Should Be Your Priority” is a great launching pad to others’ stories of success by practicing new skills a daily goal. Everyone including rocket scientists and professional athletes were all beginners at some point. As long as you keep focusing on your new skill as a routine, you’ll begin to see progress from day 1 to today. Imagine learning 12 new skills in one year!

Try changing for others: Er, let me rephrase that…try practicing kindness. Now I’m a TED Talk fanatic so I’ll just leave these two talks about happiness right here and there. Now practicing kindness doesn’t even have to take more than a minute! Listen to a friend, hold the door open, donate to charity or buy a cup of coffee for someone else. Not only will you feel better and healthier but you’ll also set off a chain of events of people paying it forward to others. It might not be the same habitual change as exercising for 30 days but making the time to be mindful of others could change someone else’s day.

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