An open-source guide on how I try to live my life.
I’ve been trying to improve myself for awhile, now. I remember when I was 13 years old and I would read Tony Robbins or Stephen Covey —my Mom’s basement is filled with hand-written schedules I wrote, where I would dedicate hours to specific tasks that self-help authors deemed to be productive.
Of course, I would then go on to disregard all of that and sink the entirety of my day into something that I didn’t think was productive at all — like video games or endlessly browse internet. I’d then feel guilty about it and it would damage my self-image. I’d try again with even larger, ambitious goals that inevitability never turned out, either.
Over the years, I’ve realized the true complexity of behavioral psychology, how there’s never actually anything ‘out there’ that can really change who we are. We can try as hard as we want, read as many books or watch as many lectures out there, but there’s no escape.
We will always revert back to who we are, as the artificial helpfulness of others is an agent that attempts to change us from the outside. The reality is that we need to do the changing, ourselves. There is no Superman to save us.
And our battle never truly ends, either. We have to combat the temptation to take the easy-way out every single time if that’s the kind of person we are, and it usually is.
I suppose, what I’m getting at, is that there’s no reason for you to read this (or bookmark it, only to never read it again) if you’re going to merely attempt to duplicate what I’ve written. Too often we try to emulate the routines or rituals of famous and successful people without realizing that they might not be right for who we are at all.
This isn’t an article on lifehacking or productivity, as much as it might appear that way.
What this is and what is can do for you.
As unaware of it as we might be, our habits dictate half of our waking life. In spite of the complexity of most actions we take throughout the day, our brain is capable enough to make it second nature. We get comfortable with the everyday, and essentially we drive on auto-pilot.
This is, personally, one of my biggest fears. It terrifies me to think that there are people that can go months, or even years being merely content, or even dissatisfied. How often people go throughout their entire adult life losing their childhood dreams, or only talk about them.
I suppose working in an end-of-life faculty has made me more actuley aware of the finite time we have, and that we never actually know how much time that is. It’s almost even more difficult to accept that a lot of people — people I care about in my life — won’t have that same sort of realization until it’s too late.
This is a sort-of extension to my previous article about the precepts I try to live by. However, instead of being abstract and conceptual values, it’s a list of hard and concrete things I am to actively do every day of my life.
It’s nothing special, in fact I’d even go to say it’s a pretty mundane list — things that common sense to do. But after a lot of self-reflection and metacognition, I’ve realized that these are the things that add the most meaning to my life.
And I say meaning, not productivity. In spite of the fact that those two words can seem synonymous nowadays, I don’t think they are. As much as I personally enjoy having an output of work done, it isn’t actually relevant if I allow myself to ‘slip’ and take my time — and life — for granted.
Similar to the idea of a Codex Vitae, it’s constantly changing and updating depending on how I change. It’s also open-source, which means I encourage you to take it, steal it, plagiarize it, make it your own. Figure out what makes the everyday important, because it’s all we have.
The Everyday Manifesto
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Remember that.
- Read this outloud, before you do anything else today.
- Meditate, if only for a few moments, on what is important.
- Practice mindfulness, don’t allow yourself to slip up ‘just because’.
- Be grateful for all that you have in life.
- Take baby steps, you don’t have to do everything today, just some good.
- Believe in yourself, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.
II. Take Care of Yourself
- Drink water and coffee only. No soda or juice.
- Eat healthy, including vegetables, legumes, whole-wheat.
- Don’t eat unhealthy, including processed foods and glucose-fructose.
- Stretch, if only for a few moments, don’t make a big deal out of it.
- Floss when you brush your teeth, twice a day.
- Seek inspiration, if you’re feeling down.
- Take a walk outside, if only for a few moments, get your blood pumping.
- Forgive yourself, remember you’re loved, it’s not the end of the world.
III. Organize and Create
- Start a Pomodoro Timer, see how many you can accomplish today.
- Review your to-do list from last night, or make one as soon as you get up.
- Review your journal template, complete each section.
- Work on something important, be it a project, a relationship or yourself.
- Learn something new, continue an online course or read a book.
IV. Take Care of Your Surroundings
- Clean and tidy up, make sure you check every room.
- Block distractions, put your phone on airplane mode.
V. Go to Bed
- Darken your surroundings, turn off all screens an hour before going to sleep.
- Review the day, celebrate what good you did and contemplate where you can improve. Write down anything interesting. Meditate on what you want to do tomorrow.