When I was a child, I questioned my grandfather why I had to get up at 6 am on no-school days. He told me that I needed consistency to form a good habit, but to lose that good habit, it would only need a strikingly short time.
He was right. When I went to university, I made my own decisions regarding my wake-up time. I spelt until 11 am most of the days. As a result, I felt less energetic and less productive compared to my childhood life. I could blame hormones, but I blamed my laziness more. I was too lazy to stick with my good habit, which had been with me in the previous ten years.
My routine plan during the lockdown
Some of my friends asked me "How can you be so certain at what you are doing?"; "How can you be so skilled at Thai boxing? You are not even a pro."; "What makes you full of energy every single day?" etc.
Well, the answers could be summed up into one word: habit. People came up with many methodologies to approach success, but most of them were very complicated and even too abstract for audience to follow. "Practice" has been the keyword for me to become successful. Practice, practice, and practice = habit.
One painting per week has become an habit for me
Another reason people had been bypassing habits to be successful could be that habits do not guarantee achievement in the short term. Nowadays, people want to see results, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now. The fickleness in our lifestyle had made us less patient for more meaningful achievements. We’ve become more inclined to sacrifice long-term, meaningful goals to obtain short-term results.
Here, I would like to share the notion of Micro Transformation, which means making minor improvements every day or every week. It’s worth mentioning because people tend to find it very hard to make significant changes to their lives. For example, if I set my wake-up goal to 6 am, but I currently sleep until 11 am, it would be excruciating to have forced myself to change so drastically, from 11 am to 6 am. And most importantly, I would have given up even more quickly because I would think it is too hard to achieve. However, if you wake up half an hour earlier than the previous week, every week, this goal would suddenly be less complicated. Ideally, you could wake up at 6 am and had felt no struggles after two months.
Minor improvements matter. It’s a more sustainable way to form a good habit and eventually, a more sustainable way to reach the long-term goal. In Buddhism, the term "Vīrya", which could be interpreted as "energy", "diligence", "enthusiasm", and "effort". Life, a never-ending improvement of experiences.
If you wanted to achieve something big, get started on the habits that would take you there. If you're going to form a good habit, start to work on the micro transformation now.