My favourite blogger (apart from Seth Godin) is Rohan Rajiv. I have been following his blog ‘A Learning a Day’ for more than half a decade, and it has been the most beautiful and prolific educational rides of my life. Any loyal follower of this blog will know a few vital lessons the writer stresses on, year after year. One that has remained with me is the art of ‘committing to recommit’ on an everyday basis. Choosing to follow this dictum has been life-changing in more ways than one.
Habit creation has been well-documented over the years. I first read how a habit could be formed in 21 days. That number went to 66 days soon after. Recently, I read that for transformative results, one has to perform a particular targetted habit for four days a week on a continued basis. And yet through the years of having followed several strands of education, I have realised that these numbers do not work for everyone, particularly me.
I know, you must be thinking… Bold claims of a nobody.
While I am not an expert on wellness or even a celebrity well-being speaker (how I wish…), I have worked my way through a few conventional habit creation treadmills over the last few years. Be it sticking to a diet, or beginning to exercise, or journalling or even waking up early, I have gone through the routine and more to get some of my habits in order.
Did anything work? Yes.
What, you may ask? The idea of ‘committing to recommit on an everyday basis’.
For example, over the last six years, I have written a dream journal; a Dream Diary if you may. It has shaped up differently over different years. But it has remained a list. And while the list has changed, a few essentials have remained. Like all good things, this process began as an experiment and has since flowered from a small pocket size notebook to its present form of a notebook used by traditional Indian merchants for book-keeping (called bahikhata, trust me, it is beautiful and heavy). And while this is perhaps my third such notebook, it proves that a habit realised for six years that was conceived to be conducted every day has not been performed so.
Over the years the list has become longer and then shorter and then longer again and shorter again till the 15-point plan it is today. In the days when I first began, these dreams were concrete. And then, as I learnt about my privileges, my dreams became accomplishments that were personal that forged fruitful collaborations with purpose. And yet, despite such newness of spirit around me, I was not writing my Dream Diary every day.
In the last six years, I have woken up in the morning, knowing I must write my Dream Diary, and yet the results have been varied. I have written it on days with love, with beautiful handwriting, with each curve singing about my love for my dreams. On others I jot them down quickly, racing through the list while looking at the ticking clock. On some days, writing my dreams is a slog, and I somehow finish the list reminding myself that this chosen routine is my daily petition to God. And then there are days, like today, when I did not write anything despite the existence of my daily check-list.
And yet through these six years where I have experimented with my routine, I continue to keep a Dream Diary, now written every other day, and yet I continue to fail to keep to my schedule. However, what has survived is my commitment to recommit to this exercise. This perseverance has allowed me to walk around failures. If I have not written my list of dreams, I go back and read them a few times on calm nights after busy days. It helps me retain the purpose I have found in life.
If I have not written in my Dream Diary for weeks, I will break the spell one afternoon and finish the list once. This automatically fuels my subsequent attempt the next day. Every Sunday night I resolve to write my Dream Diary on a Monday, for a friend once said, if you do something on a Monday, treat it as a win, for Monday is the toughest day of the week.
The need to commit to recommit every day has served me well. It is a slow method. It ensures that one fails and still returns to the activity one aspires to do. Be it language training, or waking up in the morning, or exercising, I have committed to recommit myself every day to sustain a semblance of these habits. In the last year, I have had non-consecutive beautiful days when the daily check-list has been ticked off. I am now looking for that hat-trick, where I can have three consecutive days in a week where I commit myself to recommit to the habits I consider sacred. I have inched close to achieving them.
I am yet to succeed, however.
I have, however, not given up.
And so, as the day ends in my corner of the world, and I have successfully been able to execute most of my written habits, I will go back and crawl into my bed, pick up my red Dream Diary and read the list, and repeat it one more time. Come tomorrow; I will wake up with the commitment to recommit to writing my dreams again, and petition my God that they come true. After all, as I did with my Dream Diary, I commit to recommit to my dreams every day. I suggest you should too.