About a year and a half ago, I was in a place where I didn’t understand who I was, where I was going, or what I wanted. My life felt curtailed to those in my immediate proximity, and, perhaps, I was living out someone else’s vision of who I should be rather than determining that for myself.
At this time, I came across a video from Jordan Peterson. At the time, Demetri had shown me many of Captain Sinbad’s “watches blank once” including David Goggins, Gary Vee, and Jordan Peterson, and from this parody video, I became genuinely curious in Jordan Peterson. While watching one of his lectures, the interviewer asks Peterson how someone in their twenties can get their life together amidst doom scrolling, polarizing politics, and the looming temptations of social media. Peterson simply replied, start by making your bed.
Now, this was something I considered so cliché that I began making my bed simply to say what I did to my friends while mocking Jordan Peterson. Yet, over time, making my bed became a real habit for me, and it was arguably the first step I took on my self-help journey.
So, in this episode, I want to briefly touch on the beginning of my self-help process and how simple habits can formulate into life-altering actions.
Not long after I began making my bed did Demetri start poking his head into my room to notice the change. He could tell I was interested in living more intentionally, and, next thing you know, Demetri is helping me time block my upcoming semester on Google Calendar. Another small habit change exploded into a world of better living. Once I began time blocking, I won back my time and could dedicate time to doing things I loved. Not only that, I regained the time to learn about Notion which propelled a number of new habits forward.
For years, I enjoyed meditating, but my practice was inconsistent and only returned after hitting a breaking point either in my social or athletic life. Once I developed a strong connection to Notion, I utilized Demetri’s Habit Tracker to construct a routine of all the habits I wanted to complete. I began meditating, doing yoga, reminding myself to floss and wear my retainer, wear sunscreen on my face every morning before practice, read for pleasure and other tasks that maintain or enhance my lifestyle. With these practices, I have created a deeper spiritual connection, I have crafted my own voice both as a writer and as a person, and I feel more attuned to the needs of my body and mind.
The guy (yours truly) who went running to YouTube to solve his identity crisis did not find the answers there, but nonetheless found the first step towards making it all happen. By making my bed, I define what is within my control and make the active decision to take my life back. Life is inherently chaotic, and when we fill our lives with order, we are filling life with humanistic meaning. Instead of letting the chaos surround us and consume us from the inside, we leave our imprint on the environment around us by realizing what is within our control and taking the wheel.
To make one final remark, the compound effects of habits are not entirely intangible or spiritual either. I could go on about the academic and athletic progress these habits have delivered me, or the professional edge Demetri carries with his long list of good habits. Instead, I will give you a brief anecdote from my life recently.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I had an unexplainably poor performance at a race. As I crossed the finish line, I was frustrated that despite doing everything within my control, the race went to crap. “I live and breathe this sport,” I told myself, “how could something have gone this catastrophically bad?”
Upon seeing a number of specialists to find the solution to my issue, I began reframing this attitude. As I was bombarded with questions from different mental and physical health specialists, it felt incredibly rewarding and assuring to know that I have checked so many boxes.
“How’s your sleep, Chantz?” “Great, I have a great wind-down routine and almost always get eight to nine hours.” “How’s your diet?” “Good, I am vegetarian but still get plenty of protein from legumes and tofu.” “Do you meditate and visualize?” “Of course, I meditate and visualize nightly.”
Although I have no clear-cut answer to the physiological issue at hand, I am reassured that my room is in order. I check off all my habit boxes and go out into the world confident that I know who I am, what I stand for, and where I am headed because my path is guided by the actions I partake in daily.
The compounding effect of habits is the ability to pave the way toward your better self.
Have an awesome week!
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