"Habits often initiate routines. So for example, you might have a habit of answering an e-mail for an hour each day. And while you're answering e-mails, you're not totally on auto-pilot," James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, talks about habits in the Minimalists podcast. "You're thinking carefully about how to respond the message and so on. But it's often the habit. The automatic non-consciousness action of pulling your phone out of your pocket. That initiates the routine of responding the e-mail."
Clear also adds in podcast episode: "A habit must be established before it can be approved. And so the very first thing to do is to master the art of showing up. It's not to worry about the performance. It's not to worry about what the writing looks like."
I like to nap and sleep. Because my body needs to rest, recover, and recharge in order to function and perform. I'm left with 14 hours in a day.
I mentioned it in my previous blog entry, Priorities.
I start my day by making my bed every morning.
"It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day. That one task completed will have turned into mini-task completed," Navy Seal Admiral McRaven gave a commencement speech about making your bed every morning at University of Texas, Austin. "Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. And if by any chance, you have a miserable day. You will come home to a bed that is made that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."
I met a 75-year-old man at gym's sauna. He has a fit body for his age. And he looks like Morgan Freeman. (He said he gets it all the time.)
"Life is a lesson. Pay attention," he shared me a quote from his grandfather. "Because there will be a test."
For instance, I was scheduled to lift weights at 10am with friend. My dad knew. He still called me to help him in changing gym membership. My dad believed he can make changes to it. Since he is paying for my gym membership. Apparently the gym workers needed me too in order to process it.
One of my lifestyle habits is to lift weights.
My schedule was pushed back. I was 45 minutes late to see my friend. A conflict occurred. It was a test.
My dad could have done it another time. Because I already had a planned schedule.
My friend waited for me. And we started our gym routine at 10:45am.
My young-self would have complained, sweared, and yelled at my dad. I felt frustrated and disappointed. I'm human. I have feelings. I realized it would not have gone anywhere. Because we would be getting mad at each other until someone gives up and walks away.
I learned a lesson.
It's understanding who people are. And making adjustments.
After I make my bed, I drink a cup of black coffee with a bowl of oatmeal. I take the time to be grateful and thankful for the breakfast. I single-task. I ignore my phone or any other technology. I only focus on my meal.
Then I choose to read a book or listen to a podcast for an hour or two.
I review and study for my realtor state exam. Because I failed last month. And I'll retake the exam by mid-July.
I take a mid-afternoon nap for about 1-2 hours.
I wake up from nap to blog and journal for about 2 hours. I need to write. Because it's my therapy.
I hit the gym. I meetup with a friend. I'm always early. Because I want to stretch my body before he arrives. We lift together 4 days a week. (Tuesday is chest day, Wednesday is back day, Thursday is shoulder day, and Saturday is leg day.) The days would switch up sometimes.
After I hit the weights, I would use a foam roller to loosen the muscles. Then, I would relax the muscles at a sauna for 20 minutes.
I'm not getting any younger. And I enjoy taking the time to take care of my body.
I used to masturbate before I sleep. It was a bad habit. Now, I have replaced its habit from meditating for 5 minutes every night before I sleep. I sit down with my legs crossed as my hands touch knees.
Meditating has relaxed my mind to process and relax. And it's also my therapy.
I still masturbate here and there. But I have limited my time from it. I used to be a porn addict. (I'll talk more about it in one of my upcoming blog entries.)
Throughout my day, I engage in a conversation with anyone. I like to talk.
For instance, the man from sauna also told me about communication. It's having the sense of talking to anyone despite their age, gender, and color. He was surprised I was able to initiate and engage in a conversation with him. We had a great pleasure in meeting each other.
Some people wouldn't want to talk. I can read their body language. That's fine. I can't force them. I respect their space.
"Humans need to bond. It is one of our most primal urges. So if we can't bond with other people, we will find a behavior to bond with, whether it's watching pornography or smoking crack or gambling," Johann Hari writes in his book, Chasing the Scream: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection. If the only bond you can find that gives you relief or meaning is with splayed women on a computer screen or bags of crystal or a roulette wheel, you will return to that bond obsessively."
Other lifestyle habits throughout my day:
I message my buyers on FB Marketplace. Because I sell used material goods from decluttering my room, or taking free stuff from neighborhood.
I play tennis twice a week with Avi on Tuesday, and Ken on Thursday. I warm up. And I play a match against them.
I play basketball once or twice a week. I would either shoot around alone or play a game of pickup basketball.
I like to compete in matches and games. It trains the mind to strategize on how to beat and study the opponent. And to overcome a comeback whenever I am down.
If I'm not competing, I will only learn and accumulate the knowledge in mind. And the body is not being able to apply, execute, and perform on the court.
Competition practices the body and mind altogether.
I win. I lose. At the end of the day, I'm alive. And breathing.
Same goes to tennis and basketball. I mentioned it earlier in lifting weights. I also go to a sauna for 20 minutes after I finish playing tennis or basketball.
I clean my teeth 3 times a day, or before I go out. I floss and brush my teeth. And I end it with a mouthwash.
I used to skip flossing teeth. Because I was lazy. I have lost a lot of gum from it.
I shower once a day, or once every 2 days. I get dandruff. It must stay moisturized.
I declutter at least one item in my room almost every day.
"The average household has 300,000 items," Michelle Schroeder-Gardner writes in her article, 14 Shocking Statistics about the Things We Spend Money On.
I eat healthy. Because I do not take multi-vitamins anymore. I focus on eating less carbs, more greens, and more protein. I avoid eating salty foods. I hate salt. My only sugar I prefer to eat is fruits.
I like to label my lifestyle habits. Because it acknowledges either my progression or regression. And it helps me to become a better person every day.
Some days are good. And other days are bad. It's being able to trust the process every day.
I used to see habits as goals before. It was unhealthy. Once I ever reached a goal, it became a finish line. And my motivation ended. Then I went back to my old habits.
"A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned," Naval talks in his podcast. "Even if you have all the money in the world. You can't have those 3 things."
I continue to be consistent on my lifestyle habits as I work on becoming a realtor. And looking for clients to declutter their homes.
The mind talks. And the body decides.
"Accidents are unexpected, undesired, unpredicted, anomalies that happen in our systems. They happen without warning," Todd Conklin talks in his podcast episode, Accidents Will Happen. "And what's amazing to me is that we built an entire mythology, and entire focal. I mean a big industry out of this under the belief that every accident is preventable."
Good and bad accidents occur. I never know when they will occur. Because I can't read the future.
When I was a kid, I was taught to always be careful and aware of my surroundings.
What did it mean?
Because I realized I can't escape death.
One of my Bumble dates lost her father from a car accident in 1995. She was only 6 years old at the time.
My tennis and basketball coach dropped dead on his living room carpet on November 2018. His dog barked at him. And was terrified.
I lost my sister from a tragedy on May 17, 2003.
I have never witnessed an accidental death in front of my eyes yet. But I have experienced accidents from personal injuries throughout my life.
It is an offering.
Many means and ways of giving.
When I was a kid, I was taught to never talk to strangers. Because I might get kidnapped, molested, or killed. (They never said that. But you can see why.) I avoided beggars asking for help. (It made me look down upon them.) I only earned money through gifts, chores, and allowances from family, friends, and relatives.
And received any brand new material goods, like toys, given to me from family, friends, and relatives. (Brand new material goods were purchased from money too.) I witnessed this way and mean of giving and receiving based on my childhood experience.
I became what I saw and heard.
"I think money is important. And I do really want to hear your reasons for that," Travis talks about it with his friend, Brandon, in their podcast episode, The Importance of Giving. "But maybe to just keep in mind as we move forward. You also can give up your time, effort, attention, love, and talent as well."
I was told to give more than receive. Every time, I was offered a gift. I was taught to not accept it right away.
I insert my debit card's chip facing up into ATM machine. And I leave it until machine tells me to remove it.
Because the machine is processing its transaction.
I observe a man being frustrated. His phone is loading slow as he surfs the web. (I remember dialup connection was slow. It started from the 1980s to 1990s. We are used to high speed internet.) He keeps refreshing it. But his phone is not able to load the page.
Because his phone is processing.
My friend tells me a story of how he met a cute lady in Asia. It's similar to a romantic comedy movie. They both like each other. But time and distance are in the way. Because she is already seeing somebody. Relationships do come unexpectedly. He respects the lady. He'll be leaving. And he can't do anything. My friend will talk to me more about his story later.
Because he is processing.
I deadlift a career high at 275 pounds at only one rep. (I weigh 144 pounds.) I prevail it with an ugly form. After I finish the rep, I stop for a moment.
Because my mind (and body) is processing.
A friend sends me pictures of his delicious food in Malaysia. The number, 22:01, appears on my phone. I tell him you are only sending me videos. Because it is a duration time. I open the message. But 22:01 is when he sends it on my phone. (I set my phone as military time or 24-hour clock.)
Because my mind is processing.
During a hike, I like to stop and explore my surroundings. I also like to contemplate and ponder about life.
Because my mind is processing.
Uncle Romel took my sister's life on Saturday, May 17, 2003.
He was 31 years old while my sister was 18 years old.
(I am 32 years old writing this to you.)
A year and a half later, he wrote a letter to my 17-year-old self and my parents. We each had a letter from him. (That was 3 letters total.)
And we were surprised.
At the time, I was in denial. I was grieving and mourning. I was not able to function. I had no sense of purpose in life anymore. I could not accept my sister's death.
I hated my Uncle. I wanted him dead. I wished somebody would torture and kill him. I expected him to feel the same pain and agony as how he stabbed my sister multiple times using a kitchen knife.
"What do you want now?" I asked myself to his letter while my parents heard me. "What else do you want from us?"
I didn't open his letter right away. Because anger took over my mind. I was swearing and cussing at his letter.
Finally, it took me about 15 minutes to open his letter.
I was curious. Because I wondered what exactly was his message to me and my parents.
It was an apology letter.
(Picture of his envelope and letter shown below. Dated on December 27, 2004.)
I sleep about 8 hours every night. I take a nap for about an hour or two every day.
One day is 24 hours. About 10 hours of my time is from sleeping. My body needs to rest, recover, and recharge in order to function and perform. And I am left with 14 hours in day.
It is being able to train my mind every single day, or else I will not be able to prioritize and minimize my time efficiently. (That is now a top priority in my life.)
Because I choose my time.
Every day is a challenge.
I was first introduced about priorities by reading Greg McKeown's book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. (I read it about a month ago. I am slowly applying it.)
"Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it's about how to get the right things done. It doesn't mean just doing less for the sake of less either," McKeown writes. "It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential."
I continue to declutter my room every day. It is still messy. My room is a work in progress. Decluttering takes time. It is a lifestyle. Because my mind is processing. (FYI, I plan on writing a blog entry about processing.)
In 2017, a movie, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, first introduced me to it. (My friend, Jon, told me about the movie.)
I was astonished by this film, even though I was not ready to declutter at the time.
I was on auto-pilot. I used to keep shopping in a consumerism country. I always bought a material good to fulfill my happiness. (I expected it would happen one day. But it never did.) The material good eventually gets old. I always bought a new one to replace it.
Brand new items boosted my ego and confidence. I bought them to impress others. I was seeking validation and attention to others.
My old items were left somewhere in home. Because I was still attached to them.
Throughout my life, I did not realize I was always collecting "old and new stuff." Call it a cycle of cluttering.
I continue to slowly declutter. And I would find something to remember, like old newspaper articles about my sister's death. She was stabbed multiple times from my uncle on Saturday, May 17, 2003. (I will save these articles.)
I never talked about her death at the time. I was embarrassed. I was scared. I was an insecure kid. I was focused on others more than myself. I believed people will hate me. I assumed people will think I am crazy. I always wanted to be alone. I chose to keep it a secret.
I remember the last day I saw my sister. She looked sad. My sister had a crush on her friend for a long time. But he never expressed his feelings to her. She was hoping he would let her know. My sister did have thoughts about letting him know. But she left it on pause. She had no idea if he liked her. She was clueless by their mixed signals.
"We've all felt it, and we've all probably given in. The urge to post something for the sole reason it may get a lot of likes is powerful indeed," Podcast, Really Really Badly, talk about it in their episode, Social Media Pt. 2: Doing it For the Likes. "But is it something we even really care about? If so, why? If not, then why do we do it so often?"
I admit it. I feel happy whenever I receive many likes on my social media post.
I used to upload a photo or video for the sake of trying to get many likes. (I was only aiming for attractive women to like each post.) I tried to post every day. Because I believed I will get many likes. (It worked sometimes.) I needed instant gratification. (Call it a dopamine-effect.)
I was playing a game of tag during recess in 1993. (I was 6 years old.) I tripped and fell. I lost control of my speed. My head hit the cement. I was unconscious. I suffered from a coma for about 2-3 days.
"WHY?" I asked myself.
I was 16 years old. On Saturday night, May 17, 2003, my uncle killed my sister. My sister was my (first) best friend. My uncle and I always played and watched basketball together. (He loved the game.)
3 years ago, I was jealous. Because my dad always pleased his brother, nephews, and nieces. I was in anger. I decided to shove my uncle. Then I front-kicked my dad. (My dad signed me up for taekwando classes when I was a kid. I hated it.) And I felt guilty. I walked away from them. Then I held a grudge against my dad for a month.
Last November, I received a voicemail from a friend. He told me his father has passed away. His father was my tennis/basketball coach, and friend.
Welcome to life.