How to Keep a Good Habit

When I talked to you about writing a novel in the New Year, some of you mentioned that you wanted to give it a try, but that you hadn’t even touched it before. It’s possible that it didn’t occur to them that writing a novel itself is a simple task. It’s just that we often read too many great novels, marvel at other people’s beautiful writing and clever ideas, read a lot of methodologies, learn all the methods others use in writing novels, and end up being afraid to write the one or two sentences that pop into our heads when inspiration strikes instead.

In fact, this is true for many things. We want to get a good start and improve ourselves, but we are often stuck with complicated methodologies. Trying to make a giant leap forward in our own efficiency or life system in a one-step fantasy. The habits we want to develop end up causing us to hesitate because the habits themselves carry too much content.

As we’ve talked about before, these artificial start dates have become a bind. We go through New Year’s Day, we go through New Year’s Day, we look for the first day of the month and Monday, but it is often on these first days that things get frustrated.

These well established first days often carry too much meaning in themselves, it could be the start of bills, it could be the payroll cycle, it could be the rent and utilities each month, or it could be the start of a new round of work tasks and study assignments. You’re all set to watch your first movie or start writing out your first story, only to end up involved in those inescapable hustles.

Not only do these intended habits turn out to be a bust, but each subsequent day is spent frustrated with that first day’s failure, creating a new cycle of viciousness. Until the next first day, when you wake up from a weekend nap and decide to start the new week refreshed, and then there’s another round of failure.

In my personal experience, the most “bad” but effective way to start is to write the first line or start the first round of exercise on a day that is not the first day, not Monday, not the whole five or ten, and at a moment of availability.

Often, because the association between the “start” and the date has been erased, the meaning of the commemoration of the “Xth day of perseverance” is forcibly weakened, instead of the oppressive feeling of “having to punch the clock”, it becomes a natural part of everyday behavior. Once you have time, you will feel as if you can move your hands to do it. For example, fitness, when you have time, you can suddenly think of the collection of exercise classes to jump on two; for example, practice writing, a free time to grab a pen and paper to write two first; such as reading, eat a full meal leisure. Without looking at the phone, you can grab the borrowed novel and sweep a couple of eyes. These are all small habits that can clearly start easily, but will be washed away in bits and pieces by the obsession of “doing things in big chunks.

But there is a downside to this. For people or things that are already ritualistic, picking a date that is too random may lead to a decrease in motivation to do it. But the consistent inability to get started is obviously a bigger problem than the doubts about whether it will continue to stick.

There are also some habits, or skills, want to experience the full meaning of this thing to you, is the need to start from scratch, a little learning, slowly review, and constantly reflect. But many people are planted in this first step from scratch. Because the methodology integrated behind it is too complicated, many people try to apply the experience provided by others at the beginning, and eventually give up unconsciously because they are not familiar with the basic operation, or take up too much of their daily time. Bookkeeping and cooking are two typical examples.

My bookkeeping habit has been going on since I was an undergraduate for more than 10 years now. If you read the article on our home page about bookkeeping, you will see that it is very difficult to keep good accounts because it involves your future budget, understanding all your assets, organizing your past income and expenses, reflecting on your overspending in the previous period, and the most basic and difficult thing, a habit of organizing your accounts every day.

I’ve heard many people say they’ve recently started keeping accounts, and I’ve heard many more say, “You’re still keeping accounts now, I stopped doing that a long time ago. But the truth is, saying I’m keeping accounts makes me a little ashamed. Because for more than a decade, I was keeping a running account every day, and even the budget was not set.

So what is the point of remembering this account?

In fact, practicing this for more than ten years I found out that when I have money in my hand I only need to manage my life. I don’t need to plan a budget at all, it’s enough to know my daily flow, the percentage of spending each month and the amount left in my account. Even these needs were added step by step. At first, I only needed to keep track of how much I spent on food every day, and then I found that my Engel’s coefficient for a month could reach 95%. Later, as I bought more and more things, and the shopping categories became more and more mixed, I began to abandon the app default and customize the income and expenditure categories. It went further to the point where I threw all my accounts with liquid funds into the bookkeeping app and saw all my balances in one step.

The app I used also went from the free and complicated Kingdee Handy to the current Money Trail, which is so simple that I haven’t bought the paid version yet. The criteria for selecting apps have also been reduced from big and comprehensive to fast start-up and the ability to start keeping accounts in one step. Only when the app is on the far left side of the Dock bar and I can tap it to write it down, do I remember to pull it out and write it down every time I move my account.

That’s the secret of lazy bags. When you can minimize the number of steps you have to take to get started or get something done with minimal cost, don’t hesitate to embrace it. When you need something more demanding, let’s say you have more assets to manage, you’ll naturally abandon your current simple app and choose Moneywiz or Handy Notes, which are more in line with your needs, but by that time your habits will have long since been established.

Similarly, there is the matter of cooking. I’m still in the beginning stages of cooking myself. But after trying it all the way, I found that the only thing that pushed me to enter the kitchen happily was the lazy boy bag.

The market has a large number of semi-finished seasoning kits, curry cubes, hot pot base, sour soup fatty beef material, steamed meat seasoned rice noodles, as well as supermarkets and vegetable markets, a variety of prepared dishes, they are written on the dense use and side dishes. If you want to learn to cook, but do not know where to start, you can start from here – not only do not have to worry about the meal is difficult to eat, treating yourself half-exhausted from work, but also do not have to worry about the operation steps are too difficult, step into the fried kitchen group. Semi-finished products are often still cheaper than take-out ready-made dishes. After using these lazy bags once, a variety of kitchen utensils, as well as recipes in the incoherent “right amount”, almost through the analogy of the door is clear. If one day you find that you have eaten all the flavors of these seasoning packets and have tried various methods of preparation, you will naturally go ahead and try other flavors and successfully take the first step towards more difficult dishes.

Note-taking systems and creative writing are another matter. What we encounter when doing such things is often not that we won’t start, but that we are afraid to start.

Because the theory and the past practice we have seen tell us that methodology plays a very important part in these elements, and it does. For example, the note system, a complete note system, you need to think about everything you want to remember in the first record, because the subsequent counter-check to make up, it will become very difficult, the label should also be full in due time, or whether to do a double chain or counter-check, there will be missed. When people are faced with something difficult and dangerous, they naturally want to run away, so it is better to stop at the beginning than to proceed chaotically after starting. So the reorganization of the note system reminds you naturally of all the chores you didn’t do before, and by the end of the afternoon, not a single new note has been added, and the house floor and bedside tables are all wiped clean.

As for creative writing. Whether it’s writing an article, writing a song or painting, there are plenty of methodologies that teach you how to learn from the ABC’s all the way to the master class. But the truth is, all kinds of works that can not pass their own aesthetics are published in various platforms, determined to write good things about themselves, but not a word has not moved. Just like many of you have imagined various stories when you were a kid, it probably started from “feeling that you can’t write well” and “feeling that other people write well”.

It is not only a matter of practice, but also a matter of ‘starting’. It tells you how to start is “wrong” and how to start is “right”. But the earliest creators didn’t really care about this, and the methodologies were also put together by later generations. The so-called “right start” in creative work refers to “basic skills”, but just because the basic skills are solid does not mean you can make good work, and just because the basic skills are not solid does not mean it is forbidden to create. If you have inspiration at the beginning and focus too much on the basics, it will lead to the loss of inspiration instead.

So many times, I advise authors (and myself), do not care if something looks good when you write it, write it first. An ugly article is better than no article, and an ugly painting is better than no painting. As long as you have experienced the process of creation, you will know what you did not do well in the subsequent revision, and just go back to change the work.

Take notes likewise. The system may be done in a mess, but as long as the writing over the brain will have an impression, the big deal when you need to cite, and then turn over to refill that article. And really want to be so precise citation, most of them are also academic fields, copy the basic information in the standard format, generally will not be missing anything. As for our casual reading notes in life, we do not need to be so complicated. If the previous information is missing, you can move it into the application you want to consolidate, and build a buffer zone called Inbox, and it is enough to use one to organize one, just enough for your brain to reconnect with the notes you have written – they eventually need to be consolidated by your brain anyway! The output.

Similarly, there is handwriting and journaling. You see so many online sharing of the gods to organize the notebook beautifully, but you try to find that this thing not only eat hand skills, but also rely on talent, some collage to do is not as bright as others. This time it is better to try a black pen to write everything, from the most basic, the most simple casual start, in order to have more room for improvement in the future.

Finally I want to talk about punching the clock.

Clocking in is a very tiring thing to do. Many habit-forming apps will remind you that if you don’t do this today, the tree you planted before will die, the pet you started before will get sick, the RPG task you did before will fail, and everything will have to start from zero. But the truth is, in real life, if we carry on for 5 days, 6 days, a month, even if we stop, we may only regress slightly and still find a higher position than when we started at the very beginning if we start again.

But once you indulge in clocking in, you will find that all those hundreds or thousands of days that you have accumulated before, once you stop and clear out, the enthusiasm of doing this will also die right out with the interruption of clocking in. You will become only care about the hundreds and thousands of days lost before, and do not care about the longer time that may happen in the future, especially when you think about how many years you have to catch up on all this progress.

I’ve recently been learning French in a multinational country. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do since I was living in Paris before, but haven’t done. Every day that little green bird would sorrowfully run into my notifications and emails, urging me to hurry up and memorize the words I hadn’t memorized today. After memorizing a unit, he will also tell you how many units you have left to complete for the day, and that you have to open the treasure chest for these three tasks to get the monthly limited badge. At first I was running after this progress and learning faster and faster until one day I realized that I couldn’t catch up with the people in front of me on the leaderboard no matter how much I studied, and catching up with the progress would be more than the amount of words and pronunciation I could digest and absorb every day.

Learning a language is not a cocktail. Even in French, it’s not a matter of reading a few more sentences a day to understand the words, but also to understand its new meaning, to understand it and to speak it. From that day on, I gave up catching up, and my position in the ranking dropped, but I didn’t care anymore. I knew that as long as I learned a section or two each day when I wanted to, I would be able to take my time and finish it one day. As a hobby, I don’t need to push myself so hard.

Most people’s New Year’s flag has a lot of projects to develop interests and improve themselves, in addition to the inherent progress in work and study. Because we already have too much time allocated to what we have to do, but neglect our own happiness. If you give it all to punching a clock, this last bit that can be done for pleasure becomes a must-do task, and it’s no longer fun. It’s good to have tools, but remember that tools are reminded to serve you better, not to make you uncomfortable.

This article can be used as an extension of the previous flag article, and I hope that everyone will do what they want to do in the new year. There is no need to do anything, and there is no need to insist on an hour or two every day regardless of life. Just need to do it in a happy posture in the busy, easy to start, in order to develop the best habits and see the greatest future development.