Editorial
13 April 2020

5 Brilliant Habits to Start Cultivating Now

Are you still on track with your New Year resolutions? Or are they chucked aside and buried deep in your pile of books and journals? Maybe you’re putting the blame on the coronavirus pandemic that has gotten in the way and ruined your plans (ugh)! Whatever it is, it’s never too late to salvage and hit your goals! 

But if you haven’t any, here are some 5 habits you should plant a seed for!

1. Be an early riser

 

You’re probably no stranger to the story of many successful CEOs and celebrities who begin their days bright (or maybe still dark) and early. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. for instance, wakes up at 3.45am to work on his emails whereas Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, is already up by 4.30am to work out! Talk about dedication.

Of course, we aren’t asking you to go to such extreme measures. 

While we understand the bliss of being able to sleep in, being an early riser has more perks than you’d think! Aside from having more time to get work done, it also helps to minimise your stress level since you’ll no longer need to rush in the morning. 

Besides, by rising early, you’re allowing your body the time needed to wake up fully before you kickstart your day and perform your best! PS: Google ‘sleep inertia’. We won’t lie. It’s going to be tough in the beginning, but once your body is used to the rhythm you’ll be able to see a tremendous shift in your mood and energy!

Pro Tip: You don’t have to begin cold turkey. Start by setting your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier for a few days. Warm up to it and continue to wake up earlier by 15 minutes until you reach your goal time.

You’ve probably been told a million times that it is the most important meal of the day. But why? First and foremost, energy (duh?). While you’ve been getting your beauty sleep, your body and brain have been deprived of food for long hours which lowers your energy source — glucose. So, skipping breakfast will only cause you to feel sluggish and unable to focus.

Besides, if you’ve got a good breakfast meal planned, you’re more likely to be excited and jump out of bed early too! 

Yes, we know you’re going to say “No time lah!”. But if you manage to get started with step #1, you’ll definitely have time for breakfast. So no more excuses!

PS: Eating your breakfast also helps to jump-start your metabolism which ultimately burns more calories throughout the day; a great tip to follow if you’re going on a healthy diet!

3. Set a time to exercise

 

Whether you’re aiming for that ideal body shape or simply sweating it out to release stress, you’ll need a reliable schedule to accomplish your fitness goal through and through. To do that, you’ll need to fix a certain hour of the day to work out. 

While you can surely exercise at any hour of the day, by following step #1 again, you’ll be able to make time for a simple fitness routine in the morning.

And yes, we highly recommend morning workouts before your day begins simply because nothing else can get in the way! 

A study once published that you’ll need an average of 66 days before a habit becomes automatic — so you better get going!

4. Pen down your thoughts

 

Do you have trouble catching up with your train of thoughts? Are you harbouring pent-up stress from studies or relationships? Or maybe you’re still trying to figure yourself out. Well, one of the best ways to cope with these problems is journaling! 

Before you dismiss this idea claiming you’re no Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, note that your writing does not have to be perfect but well enough to translate what’s on your mind.

As journaling is an effective way to gain clarity and organise your thoughts and feelings, writing regularly will help you know yourself and others around you, better. You might even come up with a solution to your disagreements through writing down your conflicts! 

Since your journal is a safe space for you and you alone, you are free to write however you please. That means forget about punctuations or grammatical mistakes. Heck, who cares about speling! It’s a great way to explore and unleash the creativity within you. Best of all? There’s no one to judge because you’re the best version of yourself.

Pro Tip: To begin, free yourself from distractions and enter a private space. Take about 20 minutes daily to pen down your thoughts. Forget about structure or format. Write quickly and what comes naturally to you. If it helps to get your ideas to flow, you can set a theme each week or month to write about. Keep this up and you should be a pro in no time!

5. Allocate a study hour

 

Ah, this may be the most dreaded one of all. But alas, it’s vital.

With your tasks and assignments flying about and social media or Netflix stealing your attention, do you even have time to lock in your books (ahem, study books)? We figured not really. Hence, it’s why setting a time to completely focus on your study materials is essential. 

As long as you’re consistent and focused, you don’t need to spend too long to study in a seating. In fact, short bursts of study sessions followed by mini breaks are more effective. Following the Pomodoro Technique, for every 25 minutes of work, you should take 5-minute breaks to breathe and align your attention again so that you’re less likely to procrastinate.  


How to get started? Pick a conducive environment and time you can focus completely with no distractions around you. Allow some time to warm up and clear your mind before you begin. This also means scrolling one final minute on your social feed and keeping your phone away until your next break. Set a timer and go! Do this over and over until you’re done! PS: Don’t cheat!

There you go, 5 life-changing habits for you to stay productive! Remember, it takes time to build your habits, so being consistent and persistent is the key to being on track with your goals!

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Josephine Serena
Editor
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PRODUCTIVITY
LIFE TIPS