Saqib Razzaq - Living a creative life

8 Proven Habits to Change Your Life

The hunt for magical shift buttons is pointless. The desire to change your life overnight will yield nothing but disappointment. The rapid-fire changing approach doesn't work. Instead, your energy has a better use.

We are the result of our habits, behaviors, and small actions. Your approach towards time and mindset about progress is what matters. That's the surefire way to change the trajectory of your life. Upward or otherwise.

I won't promise to make you rich in 21 days. Instead, I'll offer some proven approaches to lift yourself to the place you aspire to reach. These tiny habits may seem to yield no effect at the moment. But, they'll start yielding compounding returns once you stick with them.

1. Time in solitude

The core of a happy and content life is self-awareness. It means understanding who you are and what success and happiness mean to you. There are no gurus, courses, guidelines, or tutorials that will help you more than your voice.

Hence, time spent in solitude will have a massive impact. You'll reduce regrets by understanding yourself and adjusting your direction as required. You'll also save plenty of time and energy by avoiding living someone else's dreams.

Learn to suffer with yourself and you won't have to suffer at the hands of time.

Write down your thoughts. If talking about your feelings makes you want to vomit, don't go too deep in there. But write whatever bothers you, and how you can address it.

The act of writing about yourself offers multiple benefits. It helps you:

  • Declutter your brain
  • Focus your energy on the biggest problems
  • Stop spending energy on problems that are out of your control
  • Adjust your direction as needed

The clearer your head, the better decisions you'll make.

2. Active mindset

We live on autopilot. We wake up, get dressed, go to work, do what we're told, come home, eat, sleep, watch TV, and in the loop we go. We jump on the latest trends we don't like. We wear clothes we don't need. We drive cars we can't afford. We live in a house that sucks our blood one month at a time. And we don't even know what drives us.

Why do we do all these things? Why do we push so hard to join the zombie herd? We don't stop to ask questions. We're too consumed by the need to fit in. We live lives in the passenger seat.

Grab the steering wheel of your life and start to poke what you've always considered the norm. The questions that don't make sense and answers that no one questions. The ideas we take for granted and habits that drive our lives without us noticing.

3. Legacy Mindset

Our attention span has degraded and we've become too focused on instant gratification.

We know studying hard will reward us in the future but streaming a Netflix show only feels sweet at the moment. We know lean food results in a healthy life but junk only feels enticing until we've swallowed it.

Yet, we always choose instant sweeteners over future builders. We float around and consume whatever grabs our attention. We live with a reward mindset because we don't see the bigger picture. The remedy for this is a legacy mindset.

What will the world remember you for? A selfish animal who lived and did whatever he pleased with no regard to consequences? Or a superior being who left something behind on purpose?

The legacy mindset makes you selfless, suffocates your ego, and inspires you to serve. It forces you to leave things better than you found them. You leave behind a trail of positive crumbs that future generations will thank you for.

So, what will be your legacy?

4. Deep work

We're confused by what success requires. Work hard, master sales, communicate well, learn to code, write books, and do dozens of other things. We try to learn everything a field expects. The research shows that the opposite is what works. We don't need more. Don't do 52 things with scattered attention. Do 3 things with laser focus instead.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to read Deep Work by Cal Newport. He exposes our habit of being stuck in shallow work and acting confused when we don't see progress. He suggests deep work. He advises creating a slot of blocked time. A daily ritual. A session of work where you're completely cut off from the world, where nothing else matters.

It doesn't have to be 10 hours long. It can be whatever you want. Stick to the habit of deep work and see more get done than you thought possible.

5. Personal Board of Directors

Corporations have a Board of Directors to focus on their goals. What if I told you that you can have a personal Board of Directories at little cost?

You have the greatest kings and queens, bravest warriors and wisest strategists, legendary philosophers and incredible thought leaders, and more ready at your service. Would you take their services or continue burying your head into tiny screens and endless streams of meaninglessness?

If you said yes, all you need to do is drag yourself to the library or force yourself to download an ebook. Then glue your ass to a chair for 30 minutes to an hour on daily basis.

The best way to elevate the quality of your life is by feeding your brain. The habit of reading exposes you to a plethora of new ideas. It feeds you with information that can positively shape your life.

You don't need to read what everyone else recommends. You don't need to finish every book you pick. But read. Anything that grabs your attention and promises a positive impact on your thoughts. You'll be thankful one day.

6. Automated saving

I used to think money should be saved once you have plenty of it. Then I came across a quote that helped me see another side of the coin.

If you can't save small, you'll never be able to save big.

If you have trouble saving while barely making ends meet, you'll struggle to do so even when millions roll in. I know that because I've seen it myself. More than once.

When you start earning more, your expenses start rising as well. We subconsciously make decisions based on our bank balance. This makes it difficult to save for a rainy day. Hence, you may want to consider automated savings.

Create a separate account that you aren't allowed to withdraw from. Then set automatic monthly payments from your main accounts to savings. This will remove the friction and you'll be helping your future self be less stressed out.

7. Daily ideas

I've known people who have trouble coming up with ideas. I've also known people who have too many and they struggle to decide which one to pursue. The difference between these groups ain't their IQ levels. Instead, the difference lies in how they see the world and what they practice.

What happens when you go to the gym consistently? Your muscles get stronger and you find it easier to perform demanding physical tasks. The same logic applies to your brain. If you train this muscle, it starts yielding amazing results.

Start small. Try to come up with 10 ideas per day without breaking the streak. The area of those ideas is completely in your hands. The goal is to make your brain analyze a field and squeeze out interesting options. When you do this for a while, you turn yourself into an ideas machine. Your eyes see ideas where everyone else might be blind.

Your list grows over time and allows you to pick ideas with the greatest potential. You decrease your chances of failure and pursuit of the wrong thing when you have a massive list to choose from.

8. The process of elimination

The need to steer clear of ill-suited paths is as great as choosing what feels like your calling. One of the best ways to live a joyous life is to know yourself and understand what matters to you. Well, how can you know yourself?

Let Matthew Mcchonaghey help you out. He suggests The process of elimination. To narrow down who you are, start by stripping away who you're not.

I don't know if I'm meant to be a writer but I do know I'm not built for NBA. I don't know if my storytelling is good enough but I'll rather try anyways. The list goes on.

You are a few things. You are not a million things. Hence, cutting down on what you're not is quite easy compared to finding who you are. When you evaluate yourself based on who you're not, you start moving your attention toward who you might be.


Ten years into the past seems like yesterday but one year in the future appears to be an eternity. We get discouraged when our efforts don't start yielding benefits right away. We don't have the patience to wait for a year or two to change our life. We'd rather have a magic pill instead. The problem? The magic pills don't exist.

The only way to ensure you have a better future is by building it one block at a time. Those blocks are your habits, your behaviors, and your actions in the present. Each good habit adds to raising your future castle walls a bit higher. Each bad habit is making your shield walls weaker.

Choose wisely. Choose today.

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