I hope the sarcasm got you clicking. (Also, regarding the photo – faucet water in the Philippines is a no-go.)
For me to be able to sleep earlier, I’ve been trying to replace my nightly gaming escapades into reading sessions instead (don’t worry, I moved the gaming into the 3 PM to 6 PM-ish slots). The less dopamine I get, the faster I can sleep. That’s a whole article in itself, so I’ll rewrite that into something less nerdy.
If I read books instead of playing games before going to bed, I can sleep better.
One of the books I’ve been reading (the only book so far, actually) is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s been sitting for the longest in my desktop that it may have already grown digital cobwebs. It’s never too late to start something, right?
One of the things I picked up there that I haven’t heard from the various productivity beasts I follow online is that saying that you’ll be doing something (to yourself) increases the chances of doing it. Here’s the excerpt from the book:
Hearing your bad habits spoken aloud makes the consequences seem more real. It adds weight to the action rather than letting yourself slip into an old routine. This approach is useful even if you’re simply trying to remember a task on your to-do list. Just saying out loud, “Tomorrow, I need to go to the post office after lunch,” increases the odds that you’ll actually do it. You’re getting yourself to acknowledge the need for action—and that can make all the difference.
This was taken from the chapter called The Man Who Didn’t Look Right, where it encapsulates the idea that when habits become automatic, we stop consciously thinking about what we do. This goes for good AND bad habits. Whenever we want to change bad habits, we can use “Pointing-and-Calling”, explained by the first sentence of the excerpt. Essentially, it entails bringing our nonconscious habits into our awareness simply by verbalizing our actions.
Initially, I thought, “YEAH, RIGHT!” to this mental hack. How could saying something brainwash me to do it?
But then again, what’s the harm in trying?
Instead of implementing it on a habit-building scheme, I tried applying it to my daily life. Here’s what happened.
Whenever I take a bath, I usually forget several things:
- Wash my face (It’s something I’m trying to habitualize.)
- Replace my soap (when they finally turn into nothing)
- Throw away shampoo sachets or soap boxes when I finish bathing. (We don’t keep a trash bin inside our bathroom).
One time, I ran out of soap (or maybe it a paper-thin state). I said to myself (take note: not “thought to myself”), “Kukuha ako ng sabon pagtapos ko maligo” [EN: “I’ll get some soap after I bathe.”] Usually, when I THINK of doing it, I won’t remember it and get soap the next time I go to the bathroom.
But what happened obliterated my expectations. You guessed it –
I remembered to get soap after taking a bath.
I’ve never been so happy for something so mundane in my life! So what did I do next? I tested it again for when I go to my room!
“Pagpanik ko sa kwarto iinom ako ng tubig.” [EN: When I get to my room, I’m going to drink some water.] (Side note, it’s a little too late for building that habit since the summer season is over here, but water is great nonetheless, right?)
Maybe because I’m always too excited to sit in front of the computer that I forget to do what I’m supposed to do when I go to my room, be it drinking water, trimming my nails, storing my clothes, etc., I always forget.
But not this time. I remembered to drink water. Just because I said I’ll drink water.
It’s like I’m mind-controlling my mind.
I could share more examples, but that’s enough of my personal life for now.
If this works for you, let me know. Do you have other tricks you want me to try? Let me know, and I might give them a shot!