Author: Ankur Warikoo(Life Coach)
I am not a big fan of goals or targets. Because the first goal/target I had in my life (to become a space scientist at NASA) went for a toss. I dropped out of my Ph.D. and came back to India, with no direction whatsoever.
More importantly, with no basis to come up with another goal or target.
So I did something crazy.
I asked myself “is there a way to live life without goals/targets/plans? And if yes, then how?”
I found my answer in habits.
Habits that will take you FAR farther than any goals or targets you could have set for yourself.
Here are 10 habits that have worked wonderfully for me, through the years.
I read for 30-45 mins every day. Only non-fiction. No specific topic. Anything that intrigues me.
How it has helped me is to connect the dots from multiple fields, personalities, and experiences.
I remember how Stoic Philosophy helped me design the investment approach for nearby and how Charlie Chaplin’s biography helped me make better video content.
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- I meditate for 30 mins every day.
- Non-guided (a bell every 10 minutes)
- Started with @Headspace; use @calm today
- It is hard to describe how immensely helpful meditation has been.
- I am more aware, out of habit now.
- The minute I am distracted, I realize I am.
- I do not feel the need to control my emotions anymore. I am simply aware of them.
Workout 6 days/week
I play tennis 6 days a week and lift weights 5 days a week.
This was a journey I started rather late in life, at the age of 32. Haven’t looked back since then.
Working out has taught me not just self-discipline and self-respect, but it has also contributed the most to my growth as a leader.
Studying about the body made me realize how organizations should also be developed the same way.
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Sleep for 7-8 hours a day
- I sleep at 930pm every day (except Friday) and sleep for 7 hours.
- And then try to sleep for another hour during the afternoon.
- Sleeping well is perhaps the single biggest determinant of physical and mental energy.
- It is ridiculous how easy it is to gain that energy and how many of us still waste this natural cure to so many problems!
Read ALL my emails
- I get ~3,000 emails a week marked to me.
- And I read all of them. I reply to less than 5% though.
- I treat my emails as my opportunity creator.
- Collaborated with the smartest, most capable people I know, and all of it started with a random email.
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Meet someone new every week
- For the past 5 years, I have met someone new every week.
- Earlier it used to be in the office.
- Now happens through Zoom.
- I decide spontaneously. An interesting email. An intriguing tweet. An article that caught my fancy. I just seek their time.
- People have amazing stories, amazing experiences, and amazing things to share.
- It is like reading a book a week, in less than 30 minutes.
- In most of these conversations, I walk away with something that I need to think about, work upon, and improve upon.
TV for less than 2 hours a week
We cut our cable connection 6 years back.
And even on Netflix, YouTube, and other OTTs, my time per week is less than 2 hours.
I do not commit to any series. Only movies. (My last 2 series were Succession and Scam – both worth it!)
Less TV means less numbing of my senses, fewer chances of being seduced to not sleep on time, and less time-consuming.
And that means more time feeling alive, more chances of sticking to my schedule, and more time thinking.
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Thinking in questions
Back in college, we used to play a fun game. We will all speak ONLY in question. No sentences. Only questions allowed.
I still play that game in my head. Every day!
Asking questions allows us to dig deeper. It helps me pause, helps me reflect.
Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.Shannon L. Alder
Resisting the obvious
- Whenever in a complex situation, I ask myself, “If I were to take an opinion poll on what should I do, what would be the majority response?”
- And then I will encourage myself to not make that choice. Instead, think of the non-obvious path.
- This is a magical habit. It compounds magnificently to the point where it becomes second nature.
- And when it does, it set you up for outcomes that most of the world will not witness for themselves.
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Sharing what I know, every day!
- I have been writing a blog since 2005
- Posting on YouTube every week since 2016
- Posting on Instagram every day since 2018
- I have been sharing what I have learned, as a process (which doesn’t feel like a process to me).
- Sharing has made me connect with people that I would have never met otherwise.
- Sharing it with absolute transparency has also made me extremely comfortable with who I am.
- While I crave other people’s feedback, I don’t care about their judgment.
Most of these habits were insanely hard to follow when I started.
But they have yielded results that I could not have imagined or planned for when I started! And that’s the beauty of habits.
They lead you to destinations you could not have decided for yourself.
They create opportunities that would seem impossible early on.
Also, They make you comfortably equipped with uncertainty.
Don’t set goals.
The habits will make you achieve much higher goals than you could have set for yourself.