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Incredibly useful habits/skills you've developed?
Old 10-20-2015, 11:17 PM   #1
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Incredibly useful habits/skills you've developed?

Hi, all. Every year I choose 12 habits or skills I'd like to develop in that year, and work on them over the course of the year. In theory, I add one habit or skill a month. In reality, I develop four or five new habits / skills a year. I'm OK with this because hey, 4 or 5 new habits that I now have for the rest of my life! You know, they types of things that, if you did them every day or week for your life, would help it be better, longer, and happier.

Habits from this list that I now have include making the bed daily, doing a short gratitude meditation before bed, flossing my teeth, eating salad for lunch daily, and learning how to make more vegetarian meals.

I'm coming up with my list of possible contenders for 2016 and want to know: What skills/habits do you have that add richness, pleasure, and support to your life?

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:10 AM   #2
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wow - what a great idea. I can't wait to see the responses.

I've only been FIREd for 1 whole week and this could be a great way to grow personally
and this thread should really help me come up with some great ideas.
So far I have started to learn how to play the acoustic guitar.
Taking up kayaking - as a result of reading the kayak thread on here.

After watching/reading this (SEE LINK BELOW)
10 LIFE LESSONS FROM BASIC SEAL TRAINING FROM ADMIRAL WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN
And your 1st habit of "making your bed every day" and was #1 on McRaven's speech:
“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”


10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training from Admiral William H. McRaven | Workplace Psychology
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:33 AM   #3
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I started drinking more water recently starting with 2 cups of water first thing in the morning after waking up and now drink 10+cups of water in a day. This has helped me reduce my diet, I feel good and a little lighter too.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:07 AM   #4
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I hope this meets OP's original criteria for what was requested:
  • Started basic Yoga.
  • One or more running/swimming/cycling virtually every day.
  • Notwithstanding my physical activities, check my weight every couple of days. Cut back my eating, just a tad, if weight creeps up until back to my fighting weight. It's been 16 years since I shed off a lifetime of carrying excess 45 pounds, and frankly still can't 100% accept it's off for good unless I stay diligent.
  • Written checklist of To-Do things so I don't have to clutter my mind remembering (to clarify: the list is always short, just a handful of things. But it's comforting not to worry that I might have forgotten to do something on a given day).
  • Always on the lookout, and attend, lectures on a variety of topics. But my primary interests are astronomy and local history.
I also look forward to seeing other replies. Great topic.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:33 AM   #5
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I've been working on my procrastination and it seems to have pretty much ended there.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:42 AM   #6
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Ive Ben fixing too work on my speling and grammer.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
[*]Always on the lookout, and attend, lectures on a variety of topics. But my primary interests are astronomy and local history.[/LIST]
ohhhhh - that is a good one - I'm adding it to my list.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:55 AM   #8
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I used to consciously develop good habits long ago, but I got out if the habit (no out intended). Thanks for reminding me, I should resume...
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:02 AM   #9
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It takes 4 minutes for my coffee to brew each morning. While it is brewing, I straighten up the kitchen and quickly wipe off the counters, start the dishwasher if needed, and start the laundry if needed. That's my habit.

This habit gives me a huge head start on the day's tasks before I am even wide awake. It's amazing what one can get done in 4 minutes. Well, on the rare occasion when I need do ALL of that on the same day, it might take a few minutes more but not many.

I purposely did not buy a Keurig, because if I did then I'd have to change this habit.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:09 AM   #10
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Not a habit, but I need to travel more.. and be more comfortable doing it.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:20 AM   #11
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- One of my biggest skills that has been very useful has been typing. I took a class in 7th grade and didn't think much of it, but I use that skill like a madman now. If you've never really learned how to type, it can really pay off.

- Learning how to invest the Boglehead way. For me, everything else was time-intensive and just lost me money. Also, I didn't know what I was doing. Now I do, and it is even easier than before.

- Running. It doesn't take much, but the BUSIER I get, then the more I'm reliant upon it. Simply said, if I don't run, I can't pack my calendar as full. You'd think it'd be the opposite problem.

- Sleeping & Reading. I try to go to bed by 10 every night. When I accomplish that, everything is better the following day. The same goes with reading my bible, done everyday, that day becomes much better.

- Reading with my son. The best 15 minutes of my day, and I think his as well.

- Gardening. Not only is it theraputic, but we save a lot of money on vegetables now. Getting out and putting your hands in the dirt is awesome for me, and something I need to do more of.

- Doing dishes before going to bed makes it easier to sleep and the mornings go so much faster.

- Cleaning the house as much as possible just before you leave on travel/vacation. When you come home and are tired after your trip, the BEST feeling is walking into a house that needs nothing done and you can just relax.

- I'm learning knitting as a way to force myself into a slower pace. It's enjoyable.

- Hugging and kissing each family member each day, no matter how old they are.

- Be grateful. At the end of the day, I think of 3 things I am grateful for. Oh, this'll change your life in an amazing way.

- Only physically handling things once at home. So often we pick up things to move them while clearning up, but we end up picking it up and putting it down multiple times before it finds its final resting spot.

- Learning how to be content. I think this is probably something that is a constant issue for me. When you can learn to be content in where you're at in life and with what you have, you gain a richness you didn't have before. If you actually learn this, then it will affect your spending and your relationships. When I spoke about gratitude, that can be weaved into here as well.

- Stretching. I do not do this everyday, but I need to, it would make a world of difference for me and is on my, start doing it everyday list.

- Flossing. You mentioned it, but I can't NOT floss everyday anymore. Just a wonderful habit to have.

- We hang dry our clothes. It's a time-saver for us becuase you're no longer limited by the length of the drying cycle to start to dry more clothes. Also, hanging clothes requires you to slow down, which is rather enjoyable. It can be a time of contemplation, quietness, perhaps even meditation for some, which is something that I don't get enough of.

- Playing an instrument. What a joy it is to have music in the home. It certainly enriches our lives.

-Cooking. I mean like real ameatuer chef cooking. We've taken the time and invested in the materials to really kick it in the kitchen. Learning those skills doesn't come easy for some though.

I hope that is helpful.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:39 AM   #12
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Great list, surferLife. DW and I have many of those habits. But you mentioned a couple of good ones that I could work on.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surferLife View Post
- One of my biggest skills that has been very useful has been typing. I took a class in 7th grade and didn't think much of it, but I use that skill like a madman now. If you've never really learned how to type, it can really pay off.
I've long believed that one of the two most useful classes I took in high school was the class in typing. I've used that skill almost every day since. The other class was one in personal finance, that came in pretty useful too.

Habits for now:

Regularly going to the gym. The hardest part is overcoming the inertia to get myself there. I started going just under two years ago because I could feel the atrophy setting in and it wasn't good. DW normally goes too and we kind of push at each other to go.

Getting rid of stuff. We make an effort to fill an extra trash can a week with stuff we don't use. Eventually it's going to have to go anyway and this will be easier than having to put a dumpster in the driveway.

Eating healthier. I really, really, like pepperoni but haven't eaten any of that or similar for about a year. I pretty much stick to salads for the main meal of the day, even when we're out. But there's this real big pepperoni roll behind the glass at the deli in the grocery store... maybe when I'm on my deathbed and it won't matter....
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:10 PM   #14
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I'm not retired, but here are a few things I've been working in my spare time:

- Core strength. The keystone to your body and being strong and mobile through the years. Not just abs, but lower back, glutes, and hips. I do a core strength routine of less than 20 minutes twice weekly.

- Hip girdle mobility. Your whole body is tied together, and for your legs, it starts at the hips. Those muscle pains down in your lower legs, maybe even your feet, and especially your knees can be tied to weak stabilizing muscles in your hip girdle. I do some form of mobility and/or strengthening of my hip girdle area daily.

- Run more. We're born to do it - all of us. Learn proper technique, get out there and reap the benefits of low-intensity running and the occasional sprint!

- Car maintenance. I've spent a lot of time learning how to do all the routine maintenance on my and DW's cars. I've spent more time leaning some corrective maintenance items as well, saving hundreds of dollars. Well worth the effort, and a fun little side hobby!

- Of course following the guidance of the good Admiral, we make our bed daily!

(Disclosure: I'm a competitive runner/triathlete, but I strongly recommend the core strength and hip mobility work for everyone!)
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:50 PM   #15
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Just one habit/goal a year for me. Been working on buying low and selling high for years. Some years I think I've got it, others years, not so much. If I get that one down for my financial health, I'll move on to something healthy for me.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:15 PM   #16
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This is actually is recent change but seems to be quite revolutionary - I have retrained the cats!!!

OK, so we have many cats and they have dry food out at all times. They also get canned cat food in the morning and late afternoon/evening - previously when the first person got home from work. So the cats seem to be in a different time zone and for years have attempted to get us up way too early by doing drive-bys (running across the pillows over and over) jumping on us, attacking our feet, breaking into the closet, etc. One sweet boy likes to jump on my pillow and purr really loud. This was somewhat tolerable when we had to get up at 5AM for work. For some reason their clocks are more out of wack and 5AM became 4AM became 3AM! I have been retired for a year and was getting poor sleep because of these wake up calls.

We decided to change the canned meals to lunch and dinner. Now I feed them a can around noon and one again at our bedtime. OMG we can sleep now!
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:36 PM   #17
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As someone that's finally made real retirement age, I continue to pickup on new skills. When you've got UTube.com, there's just about no skill that's not shown there in detail.
In my early retirement, I often go on mission trips building houses for the needy and for those displaced by tornadoes, floods, etc. Ceramic tile work and refinishing floors are my specialties. I also work with an electrical engineer and IBEW electrician wiring houses. My church essentially has members with the skills of a construction company, including an in house architect. Only craft we hire is a plumber.
And giving so much to the community is very self fulfilling.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surferLife View Post
- One of my biggest skills that has been very useful has been typing. I took a class in 7th grade and didn't think much of it, but I use that skill like a madman now. If you've never really learned how to type, it can really pay off.
I took typing in grade 11 and 12 as "filler" courses only because I knew the classes were full of girls

Little did I know how handy the skill would actually become.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:41 PM   #19
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I used to be a very disorganized person. But in the 18 months since I've retired, I've developed some organizational skills. Putting things away in the correct place has become a habit. So has getting rid of stuff that I don't use or need.
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:05 PM   #20
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Note: I absolutely stripped down most of the quotes I'm responding to here, just for the sake of expediency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by surferLife View Post
- One of my biggest skills that has been very useful has been typing. I took a class in 7th grade and didn't think much of it, but I use that skill like a madman now. If you've never really learned how to type, it can really pay off.

- Sleeping & Reading.

- Gardening.

- Only physically handling things once at home.

- Stretching. I do not do this everyday, but I need to, it would make a world of difference for me and is on my, start doing it everyday list.
I have a daily reading habit (about 90 minutes every evening) but have just started readjusting my sleep schedule so that I get more sleep. I also like your ideas about gardening (I love gardening and spend almost no time in our much-larger yard to to my return to full-time work... I'd like to work something in daily).

Need to start stretching -- I'm pretty flexible, but am beginning to stiffen up.

And I really like the "touch something once" idea -- but first, I'd need to have a place for everything in my home (we don't -- bought the house two years ago and are in a 5-year plan to renovate it, so don't have our storage areas taken care of yet). It's driving me nuts -- maybe I can fast-track those issues for this upcoming year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
I hope this meets OP's original criteria for what was requested:
Started basic Yoga.
I know there was more to your post, Mystang52, but I pulled the yoga out because it's been something that I'd like to start. My biggest challenge is that I do best with live classes and a teacher (I don't really love yoga videos), but have not been able to find a restorative or family yoga class that works for our schedule. Any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
It takes 4 minutes for my coffee to brew each morning. While it is brewing, I straighten up the kitchen and quickly wipe off the counters, start the dishwasher if needed, and start the laundry if needed. That's my habit.
W2R, we have a similar routine, but do ours at night before bed. I agree, it really helps! Because we cook at home for most meals, we run a full load through the dishwasher every night and put dishes away every morning. Laundry gets run at night and hung to dry during the day. And we wipe the counters down morning and night because if we leave anything up there overnight, the cats will be all over it. We wipe the counters down first thing in the morning because, hey, the cats were all over it!


Quote:
Originally Posted by nash031 View Post
I'm not retired, but here are a few things I've been working in my spare time:

- Core strength. The keystone to your body and being strong and mobile through the years. Not just abs, but lower back, glutes, and hips. I do a core strength routine of less than 20 minutes twice weekly.
Nash031, care to share your core strength routine?


And for all of you who said typing was a wonderful skill, I can thank my parents for requiring me to take keyboarding when I was in high school. It's the only class they've ever mandated I take and I fought them tooth and nail on it. Not only did they require that I take it, they required that I receive an A in it or take it again. I sucked it up and knocked it out, and I have got to say that it was amazingly useful. I think a large part of my success in college was due to how quickly I could type (~65wpm corrected; ~50 for data entry) -- all of my papers, assignments, etc. just got hammered out fast!

I am really enjoying seeing what other people have found to be helpful and foundational habits. Keep 'em coming, please! My list is beginning to form....
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