A friend of mine showed me a TED talk where the speaker was asking us all to set our own personal 30-day challenges. Independently, a newspaper article said that a new habit takes 21 days to be born. I say, margin of error and make it to perfect 30. Yep.
If we force our brain to consciously rinse and repeat an action for 30 days, our sub-conscious mind picks it up. And habit is something that we do without realising we are doing it. The sub-conscious part is doing it for us. Now, this is a weapon that is as likely to shoot me up as to shoot me dead. Let us list the things that I would like to change in myself :-
- I want to sleep in a regular schedule. And as little as possible. I have what I just in the midst of researching for this blog encountered as DSPS. I have often told people that my sleep timings increase rhythmically, almost comically. If I am going to sleep at 111.30 today, I will be sleeping at 2 am two weeks from now and at 4 am a month or a half down the line. The big break in the cycle comes when my waking timing crosses over my alarm clock (it is between 7 to 7.30 am). Then my sleeping time jumps the big barrier and goes to 2 or 4 pm in the afternoon after a whole day of sleepiness. And the cycle continues. Their solution, free-running sleep, sounds practical enough but is even more ridiculous to apply than überman sleep.
- Corollary: I want to follow überman sleep schedule once in my life for a prolonged period. Just for the heck of it. I have a constant crunch of time in my life. I don’t like sleeping, yet I have an addiction. Even then, the more I sleep, the sleepier I become. That was when, through my sister, I read about it here on puredoxyk’s blog and later in her book, which is excellent and one of my favourites among non-fiction. The content itself is interesting and personal in tone; plus, she sounds like quite a brainiac and her suggestions for a polyphasic sleeper are sound and practical for a beginner-follower like me to follow. Here is a summary by her which took the (soon-to-be überman world) world by storm (link).
- I want to wake up naturally to an alarm clock. I sleep like I am dead. Alarm clock is to me what dogs are to elephants or what rust is to Ashoka Pillar†. That is… nothing. Several fables and urban legends of my family are related to my sleeping. I have missed several (to me, un-)important functions of my family; on waking up, I have seen my sister lying on bed in acute pain of kidney stone, which I guessed wrong to be appendix in preliminary unscientific conjecture as we were on our way to the doctor; a death of my neighbour has been used to wake me up – surprisingly successfully I must say – in such a shocked state that my father approached my sister just to ask what had she whispered to me; my friends are often forced to call my landline to reach me, landline is for my family who in turn would wake me up; I have had to hang boards around the house when waking up at a certain hour is a matter of (my) life and death. I could go on and on and nauseatingly on. But I think this is enough. Discipline to an alarm clock has to be my success mantra of überman. You may notice a pattern up there.
- Feeling sleepy? For a change, I also want to follow hygienic and healthy activities like any woman or man straight out of my utopia.In particular:
- I want to have a regular haircut.
- I need to know how to brush my teeth properly.
- I must have balanced diet for the sake of my body in future.
- I want to bathe at a fixed time everyday.
- I want to trim my fingernails using nail-cutter and not my teeth. Plus, I need to trim my toenails asap.
- I want to regularly use body care products like shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer (for winters), face wash and any of their related cousins. I don’t use them just due to lack of time , else my family uses them alarmingly often.
- And blah blah blah.
- I want to learn how to sit and stand up straight. I usually have a habit of using a support to sit or stand and leaning on anything that I can grab around me. Consequence being, I trade my alertness for a little comfort. It makes me feel a part of the surroundings itself. This a bad body posture and not a sign of good body language. But again, though I don’t want to do it, this is a habit ingrained in me. Also, I feel sleepy when I sit down to study.
- I want to talk less and listen more. Though I am usually shy when I need to talk, strangely the converse is also true. When among my friends, I talk too much. I become the unwanted center of attraction. Again, this is something I don’t want to be. When I catch myself blabbering to my death and having a strain on my Adam’s apple, I try to ask questions to engage second-person. Yet the questions are flimsy mostly. This is something I do to avoid uncomfortable silence. Maybe I just need to know the right questions and have an attentive ear afterwards.
Take note here. This is not just any wish-list though this is surely a subset of it. These points here are the things that I can incorporate in my life as habits given enough time and effort. Also, this not exhaustive listing. I can add up things over the course of time if I realize more about it. Otherwise, I want to do strange things just for the badge of doing so. Like walking all the way to my home from college taking about an hour and half. The best part was that I didn’t ask anybody and took shortcuts using a newly acquired Delhi map back then. And then, I have done a seven-day long Oath of silence that was mostly successful. I have many other stuff in my wish list. It is just that I don’t have time enough to do them or memory enough to remember them.
And then there are some to-do’s that I have to do or want to do, just so I don’t forget them. Like making a Bieber Photoshop of my friend. Or registering an FIR for my lost college ID. They are truly random and routine items that I need to do for myself. I have started using a small notebooks for them. The only downside is that the notebook can’t scream back at me. I wish it could say, “FIR was due two months back, so get up and go to the nearest police station, you lazy bum!”
Coming back, I want to start small. Incorporate one habit, then move on to the next. I will keep a log here on WordPress so that all my effort actually reaps me rewards – likes and follows – which are actually quite good motivators by themselves. And I get ready-made stuff to write about during my lean period. It is a win-win as you too get to see how, piece by piece, I become a Zuperman!
† The Iron Pillar in Qutub Complex, Delhi is quite old and has never rusted a bit. Take into account the fact that it goes back one and a half millennium, full 1500 years, That is a scientific marvel in itself. When I visited Qutub Minar, the pillar looked boring in itself since it is cut off by public. Yet it has an urban legend attached to it. If you are able to wrap your arms around the pillar with your face outwards (in a bizarre ‘back-hug’) and make a wish, it would come true. Nobody has been able to verify the claim since, as mentioned before, general public is cut off by the pillar. Clever.