Life is short, some people choose to waste their free time doing much of nothing, others spend free time on interesting hobbies, improving themselves and developing skills that they can use later in life.
Here are the five habits you should be doing.
I am someone who has never been an avid reader, usually reading for need rather than leisure.
Over the last six months I have really developed a reading habit so strong that it is how I occupy most of my freetime.
As a result I have a mental stimulation which surpasses my time in higher education – the obvious benefit is that I have the freedom to choose what I want – economics, business, psychology, philosphy.
There are a number of benefits to reading – I find it incredibley useful to fill in small gaps of time, it can be done anywhere (train, park, toilet?) and if you join a library you get access to a wide range of subjects for free.
It also provides mental stimulation, helping to prevent diseases such as alzheimer’s, makes you more knowledgable in conversations, saves money learning a subject that would cost thousands if went the worthless degree route and it leaves the mind stimulated five days after reading.
Although I prefer non-fiction to fiction – all reading is good. Once you get in a reading habit you get faster at it and it becomes force of habit to pick up a book rather than a TV remote.
Some think that learning finishes when you graduate, they are wrong and probably a bit thick. I will never know the meaning of life, but the meaning of my life is to continue learning until I stop breathing.
You don’t have to learn through theory, you could take a practical approach.
Due to the various wonderful resources of the Internet, you can do that, for example do you want to learn how to code a website? or you could do online learning or take up an evening class. These range from simple hobbies (cake decorating) to a change in career (electrician).
By continuing to learn we realise potential, develop skills to improve our career, push the boundaries of our comfort zone, widen our social networks, learn about other cultures and become a more useful, interesting person.
In the west we have a problem, we are getting fat and this is putting us more at risk of getting various diseases.
I realise that since starting a blog I can come across as a bit of dick when it comes to working out at the gym – but everyone should be doing some form of weekly exercise.
There are benefits to working out; you feel good, you have more energy, you reduce illnesses and if you are persistant you look good. As a result of training, confidence and looks improve.
Some try the gym and hate it – I understand it is not for everyone, but they give up without trying alternatives – running, climbing, dancing, team sports – some form of exercise is better than no exercise at all.
There is a worrying movement about fat acceptance, when I have raised these views I get looked at as shallow – but when someone struggles to walk down the road, am I really wrong?
I encourage everyone to do some sort of exercise – take the stairs, park your car at the other end of the car park – for the good of your health do it.
Trying new things
When I was young I was shy, so I stuck to my comfort zone – I did not do much, was not very interesting or popular.
As an adult I realised if I wanted improve my life I had to try new things – I did karate for a while which got me on the road to living a healthy lifestyle.
I learnt mandarin chinese on the side at University despite being hopeless at languages at school. I ended up exceling which made me believe that I was capable of learning foreign languages, which helped me years later when I wanted to learn French for travelling.
Because I feared heights I learnt how to climb and guess what? I’m no longer afraid of heights!
Trying new things is a risk, you may not like it, but what is the worse that happens? You go back to how things were with more experience and you don’t have to spend your days thinking “what if I tried….”
Most people walk around directionless through life and they fall into things – their job, their relationship, their home, their accidental pregnancy.
We are pretty miserable despite never having it so good. By developing goals we have a sense of purpose and we dedicate time to reflect where we are going.
Not happy with your weight? Your finances? Your social life? Then take an hour to sit down, look at where you are and what you want to achieve. Need help you could use SMART objectives?
When it is mapped out work towards it, then look at your goals at a later date to see if you are on track and refocus/replan your goals.
Some goals become so engrained they end up being a part of life so you don’t have to force yourself to do it.
But James, I don’t have time! Then maybe you should look at your time management.
My blog the Manifesto of Perfection was used to fulfill two of my goals – to be creative and to write something. This started as a struggle where I had to force myself to sit down, now it is a habit that my twice a week posting aim does not feel like a burden.
So I’m guessing you’ve been on the Internet for a while, filling in a bit of time or perhaps procrastinating from a task you should be doing…
You could continue looking at blogs or you could start encorporating some of my suggestions.
So what are you going to do?