Lockdown

How RollingSlate Helped Me Focus on Self-Improvement During Lockdown

The year 2020 has been like a horror movie with plenty of jump scares. The year started okay but soon turned out to be such with no light at the end of the tunnel. Like the entire world, lockdown was a completely new way of living for me too. And it is difficult to lose sight of yourself in such unforeseen circumstances. It is no shock that without conscious effort, all days merge in one big day. This was until I discovered RollingSlate.

I struggled a lot at the start to keep up my routine. At this point, I had no routine to be honest. I let the day guide my activities and let everything go to autopilot. Staying alone in a pandemic with no clue when life would be back to normal, took a toll on me and my mental health. I knew it was time to make a change because I refused to let this life be referred to as ‘the new normal’.

I discovered RollingSlate when I wasn’t really looking to start any new habit but just looking to get a hold over my day. I never looked at myself as someone who would enjoy reading that much because I lacked the patience to wait for 200-400 pages to know how the story ends. This assumed trait of mine changed when I download the app and scrolled through it. It was like being in a virtual library that lets you borrow any book you’d like. For Free. And the best part is, I didn’t have to wait for 400 pages to finish a book. I could read or listen to a short summary of the book and still get the core idea of what the book is about.

I stopped on this book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I had heard a lot about how it is a book with actually actionable things but never really got around to reading it. Now that I could listen to the summary of the book, I was tempted to give it a try. So, I downloaded the book on RollingSlate and all I can say is that the hype around the book is there for a reason.

Here is what I learned from the book that helped me improve myself and develop good habits during lockdown.

  • Small habits make a bigger difference than you realise

Now when you leave a glass of ice at room temperature, the ice wouldn’t melt at the very first second. If you increase the temperature by 2, 3 or even 4, there wouldn’t be much difference. But now when you increase it by 5 or 6, the ice would start to melt.

So whatever habits we want to inculcate will not show any results immediately. You just need to know that you’re on the right path, doing right things and the results will follow one day or another. Don’t focus on the goal but follow on the process. I wanted to start working out so by following the action in the book, I used to change into running clothes immediately after work which motivated to go for a run.

  • Habits are automated when learned from experience

Whenever you see a dark room, you automatically switch on the light without giving it any thought. Why? Because it has become our habit. When we enter a dark room, it’s our cue to switch on the light. Every habit is triggered by a cue. Here cue is seeing a dark room, then you have a craving that you need to switch on the light which is followed by an action to flick the switch. At last, you are rewarded by being able to see. So, to develop any habit, you need to make the cues obvious.

Since I wanted to continue my work out, I also needed to eat healthy. So, I locked away my snacks and kept fruits out in a big glass bowl. So, every time I went to the kitchen, I inadvertently picked up a healthy snack.

  • Make sure to keep a track on your habits

For developing a new habit, you need to make the cues obvious. But you might also need to break out of some old bad habits. To do so you need to increase the friction between you and your bad habit. For instance, if you need to watch less TV, take the plug out, remove the batteries from the remote. For developing new habits, reduce the friction between you and the habit so the effort required to carry it out everyday is less.

Since I wanted to eat healthy, I locked away my snacks and made the cue for eating healthy more accessible. Atomic Habits also tells us to keep a habit tracker or have a habit contract. With a habit tracker, I noted down at the end of every day if I achieved my goal for the day and carried out the habit, I want to make second nature.

Habit contract is telling a close friend, or a member that you will pay some amount or carry out some chores if in case you fail to carry out your habit. In my case, I had a contract with my mom to put Rs 500 in a jar every day when I missed my run. This kept me going due to two reasons – one for the fear for losing money and second fear of losing face.

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