Day 71: The System Serves You

Every 30 days or so I pivot with this lifestyle challenge checklist. I review, revise, and change things. This is both to challenge myself, and to make it work better for me. Here are some things that I have changed recently:

1. Wake Time and Sleep Time

For the first 53 days, I had a wake time of 4 am and a sleep time of no later than 9 pm. There were a lot of reasons for this, and I loved it while it lasted. Cindy and I decided to move to a 6 am wake time (for me) and no later than 11 pm sleep time (for both of us) on day 54. The reason is that Cindy, an executive coach, often works with clients in the evening. She was struggling to do good work at a time that was usually her bed time. We also decided that we wanted to be on a similar sleep schedule so that we would see more of each other. Cindy seems to need more sleep than me, so her target is now to wake before 7 am.

2. Morning Pages

For the first 70 days, I have been writing a least 93.5 square inches of morning pages. I write on unruled paper, and I didn’t want to manually count words, so I measured the specific target using paper area. I have found that meeting this target sometimes takes too long, and I have found that to be stressful. Instead, today I have switched to writing morning pages for at least 10 minutes. This puts a clear time cap on it, which makes it a much more pleasurable exercise for me (more flow).

3. Cold Showers

Today I was taking my usual ten-minute cold shower and noticed that I was completely done showering after five minutes, including conditioning my beard. I decided that starting tomorrow I am going to try reducing the length of the showers to five minutes. This will save both water and time. However, I will lose some of the benefit of the cold exposure, which is good for increasing insulin sensitivity and growth of brown adipose tissue (good fat). I’ll try it for a few days and see how it goes.

Keep remembering that the purpose of this system is to make your life better. Don’t be a slave to the system. Make sure the system serves you.

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.

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An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com