Despite 2015 being one of my most tumultuous years ever (highlights: starting business, finishing Ph.D., getting car stolen), I also started developing some really good daily habits. After much neurotic list-making, I have identified 16 daily habits that I am striving to maintain or adopt in 2016.
The activities marked * are those that I had made daily habits of by the end of 2015 – even doing hot yoga every day (with electrolytes, all things are possible). Although I had to reorganize my schedule to fit everything in on top of my ever-increasing professional responsibilities, I was able to easily adopt many good habits – much to my pleasant surprise.
Here’s the list of my daily habits, ranging from simple tasks to major lifestyle changes, in rough chronological order:
- Get Up at 7:30am
- Play with Lola (my cat)*
- Wear Sunscreen*
- Eat Low-Carb
- Read Book Chapter*
- Track Finances*
- Maintain Inbox Zero*
- Practice Bass*
- Go to Hot Yoga Class*
- Listen to Music*
- Complete To-Do List Items*
- Call or Meet Family or Friends*
- Floss Teeth*
- Go to Bed at 11:30pm
The three new habits have proved to be doozies… Let’s start with #1 and #16. I’ll be honest – by the time I finished my Ph.D., I had developed the sleep habits (or lack thereof) of a 13-year-old boy on summer vacation. As my afternoons and evenings have gradually filled up with classes, lessons, and performances, I’ve needed to get up earlier in order to make time for everything. Unfortunately, I can’t really function on less than 8 hours of sleep a night – particularly in the perpetually-dark, Blade-Runner-esque Hellscape of wintertime Seattle. I settled on sleeping from 11:30pm-7:30am, with the idea that this schedule will routinely be destroyed by late-night gigs.
The last new habit is by far the most daunting. Recently, I decided to adopt a low-carb diet, despite the fact that as a vegetarian, I’m frequently in situations where the only things I can eat are pasta and desserts. Left to my basal urges, I’d eat nothing but macaroni & cheese, eggplant parmesan, and birthday cake-flavored everything. However, I’ve reached the age where even daily hot yoga (i.e. working out in 110° room) and eating lots of “good” carbs isn’t getting me back down to the lower end of my natural weight range. I plan to be vegetarian for the rest of my life, but I need to figure out how to significantly reduce my carb-load – for the sake of my health and appearance. I’m hoping that my family history of diabetes and my steely determination to reverse some of the aging and weight-gain caused by grad school will motivate me to conquer my cravings.
I also have a corresponding list of 16 long-term goals – one of the most notable of which is increasing my blogging schedule from one post per week to three. While I plan to address these various habits and goals in future posts (perhaps even developing new series), for now I am trying to optimize existing habits, internalize new ones, and find an effective balance between them all.