How to form great habits? Part 2

Hey guys,

The other day I posted a few tips on how to form great habits. It got quite some positive feedback.

Today, I had a couple of other ideas in mind. These ideas, I feel, are very relevant to forming great habits and I did not want to miss out on capturing them and sharing with you guys. So here are the two additional tips:

  1. Pick one new habit at a time: We want to change a lot of things. The worst thing that prevents you from realizing all of them is trying them all at the same time. I think it is important to give our brains enough time to process why we are making one particular change and help it form into a habit, before trying out something else. Lately, I was writing an article (for work) on mindfulness. While researching for it, I realized I should start meditating on a regular basis. But then, I started my YouTube channel and every other new, good habit in my life went for a toss. So for now, I decided to let YouTube sink in, become part of my everyday life, before I go on and pick another great habit.
  2. While forming in a new habit, keep up with the other good things that are already part of your schedule: For example, even though the first thing I want to do after waking up in the mornings is watch videos on how to make better videos, I resist the urge and make sure I am going to the gym. I motivate myself saying, going to the gym will make me look fitter and prettier in the videos. Whatever it takes to trick the brain! Continuing with the 10 other good habits that you have is essential because it helps your mind not to get saturated with that one new habit and prevents burnout.

So, those were my two tips! Let me know in the Comments if you found them useful. I will see you in another blog post.

Until then, take care and have a blast! ❤

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How to form great habits?

Habits make us into the people we are. Consistency, for me, is the prime factor for success. However, it is not always easy to form and sustain good habits.

For example, I have been trying to go to the gym four days a week for almost a month now. I maintained the routine successfully for two weeks. In the third week, suddenly, I woke up in the morning and did not feel like going to the gym. It was not that I was not feeling well, but I simply did not feel like going. It was like my body telling me, “It’s okay, take a break!”

That was not nice. Every time I avoid hitting the gym I get all these guilt trips. Being healthy is number 1 on my priority list. Only when we are healthy can we enjoy the beautiful things this world has to offer to the fullest.

As some of you might know, I recently inaugurated my YouTube channel (I will put a link to the video below). I have received some great feedback on it from friends and family. It is all very exciting. At the same time, I am worried how long can I put up the schedule. Right now, I am thinking of making one video per week, over the weekend.

But looking at my track record, I have always had these moments of extreme enthusiasm for something which would fade out really fast as well. In 2015, it was about self-publishing books. Now it is about making YouTube videos. How soon till this excitement fizzles out?

Nonetheless, there are a couple of things which I feel help stick to good habits. Let me know if you feel the same:

  1. Forming a love for the habit you want to form: This is crucial, because we do not let go of things that we love that easily. So if you want to lose those extra pounds (or kgs depending on where you are in the world), visualize a leaner, fitter version of yourself and fall in love with it. Watch videos to help you see that goal (I watch videos of women with great bodies while I exercise). Give your mind suggestions how much you love being fit.
  2. Have measurable outcomes: If you have been going to the gym and do not see the any visible changes, probably you will lose interest (this happens with me all the time). Even if you are not able to lose the pounds, at least measure the distance you run and keep upping it. Once you set daily targets to beat your previous high, it becomes sort of a game. In my case I have found, my mind is excited about these little games.
  3. Shut up your body/mind as soon as it says it is enough: In the end, it all boils down to having a strong willpower. Every day when I run on the treadmill, my body keeps telling me, “It’s enough, it’s enough! Stop now.” I consciously fight the urge to give in to that ill advice. It is a mental struggle to shut your mind and stretching yourself to run the extra minute. But if you can master the art of this, things become so much easier.
  4. Do not give up as soon as you begin: This is probably the second-most important thing. I will take the example of exercising again, because it fits so well in this context. When I first started exercising, my entire body would ache. I slept very little because of the pain and it was really bad. However, I knew that this was temporary. Once I got a hang of it, it would become easier. It always does: you take any thing that you are trying to excel at. There is nothing that does not become easy when you do not give up on it and keep continuing.
  5. Have someone to hold you accountable: This is sort of a last resort. It helps when someone is pushing you constantly, to the point of irritation. It gets the job done, even if it ruins your relationship with the person :D. Now that I am away from home, I sure miss my mom’s scoldings for not getting up on time or watching too much television.

Have you been struggling lately to prolong certain changes in your lifestyle? Do you have any tips that helps you sustain great habits? Do let me know in the Comments section.

Until later, take care and enjoy life to the fullest! ❤

Link to my first YouTube video:

 

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Back to Vlogging!

Hey folks!

I have some amazing news this weekend! I finally managed to put a jump-start into my vlogging career. I have my first video recorded, edited and published to YouTube!

Now, I must warn you right here: the content on the vlog is currently not specific. The first video was created as a test to get myself ready for the process of vlogging. So, without further ado, presenting…

In January, 2017 I had first mentioned about vlogging on this blog – but as with everything, I move from one desire to another, like a butterfly in a garden filled with flowers. That’s what happened with the most part of 2017. However, I am happy that I am able to pick up on it by the end of year. I hope the vlogging bug will stick with me for a while.

I realize that my writing style is fairly conversational and can easily be extended to other channels. Besides, I have always been interested in cinematography and videography (even thinking of going to a film school later). Throughout college, my friends and I wanted to make short films. However, that never materialized because we did not have the required gear.

Two years down the line, now I have a good enough phone to record videos on. My policy with respect to creative content has always been to stick to something long enough so that it monetizes and gives benefits. This will guide my vlogging journey as well. I am not going to invest in any gear right away. I am planning to focus more on the content pipeline and getting the editing bit right before I actually splurge on any gear.

Nonetheless, I am excited to share a bit of my world with you through the vlogs. Please do watch the video, leave a comment and let me know how you found it. If there are any suggestions for videos, based on the how much you guys have come to know me through my blog, please let me know. I’ll be happy to accommodate such requests, I my gear allows me. Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you get automatically notified of the updates!

I will leave you guys on that note. Have a great weekend!

Over and out! ❤

 

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Two months without Facebook!

Hey guys,

Today I wanted to talk about my off-Facebook time. It’s been two months since I stopped using it.

People (read the older generation) tend to think that this generation is all about Facebook. However, after coming to Bangalore, I have seen so many people who are either not on Facebook or rarely ever use it. They are all my age!

When I was using my previous phone (Asus Zenfone 5 – my phone for 2.5 years), there was quite some memory constraint in using too many apps. So, I had started using Facebook from the browser. However, I used to get notified of any updates through the Google-pushed notifications. Often, the notifications were not relevant for me and it was a pain to go to the browser to check them.

Then, a week before I came back from Durga Puja break (which is also when I got my new phone), I decided to stop using it entirely!

I can think of a few reasons for this:

  1. The content on Facebook was no longer interesting for me
  2. I was tired of looking at other people’s photos of having fun, when I was practically not doing that great myself
  3. I did not have any meaningful friendships on Facebook
  4. Even though there wasn’t much interesting stuff going on, I had this annoying habit of refreshing my FB feed over and over again (within span of minutes or lesser), only to see the same stuff populated – I really needed to get off Facebook

My new phone, Moto G5 Plus, has enough memory for a bunch of apps like Facebook, but I didn’t bother. I decided against installing it.

In the beginning, it was difficult. My mind was so trained to find that blue icon on the bottom left corner of my home screen, that it took it time to get used to not seeing that app there. Suddenly, my phone felt empty! Like suddenly, I had nothing to do on my phone! I realized that Facebook was the single most (ab)used app on my phone. I did use WhatsApp and YouTube, but in much limited capacity.

I had put a perfunctory post before I stopped using it, directing people to reach out to me on WhatsApp because I will not be active any longer. A cousin called trying to understand why the hasty decision. There were other triggers to get back on the app – my brother wanted me to post a photo of the Diwali gift he had sent me (which I had put up as a WhatsApp status). I had to convince him to not feel bad about it because I won’t do it. It had only been a couple of weeks since I had gotten off the app, and I could not risk going back.

Naturally, something else had to take over. The two obvious ones are WhatsApp and Youtube. But WhatsApp by itself, does not present to you gossip (I mean it kind of does through the statuses, but only in limited quantity). So, I had to get used to the limited reach that I had to people. This, coupled with a free calling plan, triggered me to start calling people more often. I started doing video calls more. I started reaching out to folks whom I had not spoken to in years. Things began to change.

I also started using YouTube a lot more. I primarily browse videos on travel/cooking/financial stuff/work stuff/relationship advice etc. It has its own sweet way of helping me spend time. I have also started toying with the idea of starting to vlog. Actually, I did start my own channel in January this year, but it never took off. However, for last couple of weeks, I have been considering it again. Nothing is concrete in my mind, but I do want to do something in the visual medium at some point in time. I record myself sometimes these days, pretending as if I am on a vlog. However, it is going to take me a lot longer to put any content out there. I need to understand what gear to use, what the theme of my vlog should be. I am not planning anything right away.

Facebook, in its own way, tried to lure me back. They started sending me messages on the phone, with the notifications. But every time, I said I’ll pass. Now, I longer use Facebook (except for the automated blog-share feature) and I do not feel any urge to go back to it either.

How about you? Have you overcome a social media addiction or do you think you really need to give up on some? Share your experience with me in the Comments!

Until later, enjoy the lovely December days, as the Christmas bells come ringing along! ❤

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Book Review | Mahashweta

Last week, I was going through Kwench library. I happened across a book by Sudha Murty, the name of which I do not remember now. The blurb interested me. However, the book was in circulation at the time and I had to opt for a different book.

I chose Mahashweta by the author, which is the story of Anupama, who contracts vitiligo (a skin condition in which the skin becomes white in color). The book narrates how she is abandoned by her husband because of the condition and how, after a lot of struggle, she finds a place of her own in life.

The book was potent for me. Having had vitiligo for close to ten years now, I know the ordeal. While reading the book, I remembered the horror of the initial days when I contracted it. I would go to sleep every night, scared that when I woke up in the morning, some other portion of my body would be white. As a ninth grader, it was not easy to accept this about myself. I was in my teenage years, when boys and girls start to become conscious of their looks. In just one day, life had changed for me. Concerned elders spoke about how things would get difficult for me during marriage, because who would want to marry a girl with white patches?

Public knowledge about vitiligo is quite vast these days. People (at least the ones I have come across) understand that it is a cosmetic disease. The disease is not contagious, not has it been proved that it is hereditary (no one in my family had it). Many people have more serious diseases and get married off easily because these diseases do not happen to leave external proof.

However, understanding the mechanics of the disease is something and to emotionally accept it is another. In reality, like Anand in the book, we all look for perfection. We want our wives and our husbands to look beautiful. Lot of us want to show off our spouses as symbol of perfection – it just strokes our ego.

Every time a relationship that could have worked out for me but did not, I have wondered if somewhere, the white patches on the skin contributed in any manner to the decision taken. Throughout my teenage years, and even today, I am still conscious of them. I still prefer wearing dresses with high collar.

However, unlike my teenage years, now it is easy to accept this fact about myself. Now, I can go about my day doing multiple other things, without even thinking once that I have vitiligo. But I am at a juncture of life when marriage does not look too distant. I do wonder, from time to time, how my skin condition affects my marital prospects in 21st century. I guess I will find out!

Mahashweta, at mere 150 pages, is a wonderful story. It realistically narrates the sentiments of myriad sections of people: a mother-in-law who is willing to overlook lapses in moral conduct of her own daughter, but treats her daughter-in-law like a piece of shit because she has white patches on her skin. A doctor, who in spite of knowing the medical implications of vitiligo, ignores the social implications of the same for his wife and chooses to abandon her when she needs him the most. But the best part about the book was the epilogue by the author where she describes how her book made a man change his decision to not marry the bride who had just contracted vitiligo. It moved me to tears.

 

 

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Ten facts about me!

Hey guys,

Yesterday, I was watching this vlog which was about “20 random facts about myself.” I thought it was a nice idea and something that I could try on my own blog too. So, today I am going to share a few facts (and some opinions) about myself, so that you get to know me a little better.

I would love for your guys to also share some random facts about yourself in the Comments section, so I get to know you a little better. Let’s use the year-end to reaffirm our blogging friendships! I also challenge you, if you like, to publish a similar post on your blog with the tag #knowme.

Okay, so let’s get this started!

  1. I am from Durgapur, West Bengal, a city which is relevant in the map of India because of its steel plants. I have spent approx. 12 years of my life and completed my schooling there.
  2. Before Durgapur, I used to stay in a small town called Guptipara – that’s where my grandfather had settled after they had migrated from Bangladesh. I have very few, but some clear memories of it. I remember my grandfather gardening. We used to get a lot of monkeys come and ruin our vegetable plants, so we would cover the bright, purple brinjals in paper to save them from the assault.
  3. I moved to Kolkata in 2011, where I was doing engineering from Techno India, Salt Lake in Electronics and Communication. I lived in Salt Lake for four years (2.5 years in BD block and 1.5 years in AG block) and hold the place dearly in my heart. Even today, the roads of Salt Lake feels like home.
  4. I had horrible experience in staying in paying guest accommodations in Salt Lake, but made couple of good friendships. I am still in good touch with some of my ex-PG mates.
  5. I have been published in school magazines from fourth grade and that was what stirred my curiosity in writing and publishing. I have also been keeping a diary since fifth grade (I think it’s fifth grade, but I might have to double check). The idea to write diary came from my cousin brother, with whom, incidentally, I am not in touch anymore.
  6. Mine is a big family. My father had five sisters and two brothers. My mom has two sisters and one brother. On my father’s side, the family is a bit scattered – I have relatives in Kolkata, Mumbai, Gujarat, US. My mother’s side of family is more or less concentrated in one place.
  7. We have a family Durga Puja in my maternal uncle’s place every year for close to 30 years now. My mother inaugurated it with a cousin brother. Most of my life, I have spent Durga Puja there.
  8. I have vitiligo, small white patches, on my neck and arm. I got it in ninth standard. It is localized and has not grown for many years now. My family has no history of it and it came a quite a shock when I got it. Those white patches have shaped a large part of my personality over the years and I am still body-conscious because of them.
  9. As a kid I used to hate my name. I had a huge craze for English and the English/American lifestyle. I though before I wrote my tenth grade exams, I would change my name to Elizabeth or Victoria (yes, you can laugh at that archaic choice)! I thoughts my parents (technically, my grandmother) were uncool because they named me Arpita. Over the years, however, I have learnt to appreciate it.
  10.  I am deeply romantic. I love to watch people speak to each other and fall in love with the comfort of familiarity around them. I like to watch squirrels jumping on the trees. I love to walk on the terrace to see the sunset and ponder on the meaning of life. Yep, I speak to myself when I am alone, too.

I could probably go on, but will stop here. So, now you guys know a little more about me. Would love for your to get back to me with a post of your own along these lines.

Until later, write more, love more and enjoy your life! ❤

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Top Five Posts on Scribbles@Arpita 2017

Hello everyone!

It’s my favorite part of year! It’s that time when the roses and the marigolds are blooming in the gardens. It’s the time of the year when I look at the year in retrospect and think about the good, bad and great things that happened in this year. It is also the time for those resolutions, which will perhaps be followed only till March of the next year. But hey, it’s fun making them, right?

So this month, you will see a lot of posts along those lines. But for today, I wanted to share with you guys some of the most viewed posts in 2017. As always, please do leave your thoughts and comments below. I have not been very active on the Reader myself and have not been able to engage with a lot of your posts, but I do when I get the time. As I appreciate the time that you guys take to read my posts and share feedback. This other day, a fellow reader commented how she had seen me grow as a writer on this blog and that was one of the biggest compliments of all time. As a writer myself, I do understand how my writing has changed over the years. But it is the biggest achievement when your readers can see it too.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the top posts by views in 2017 (note that all the posts however, are not necessarily written in 2017):

  1. Five magazines to submit fiction (and/or non-fiction) in India

    This has been the most viewed post of all times on my blog. As lots of you already know, when I started off this blog, it was intended to be an author’s platform and help newbie authors in India to find their footing. My goals have somehow shifted and this list is no longer updated, but I have received many positive feedback on this post from lots of writers over the past months.

  2. Last Day in College: Gosh! Am I an engineer already?

    This post was written right after I graduated college. The search term that would generally lead you to this blog post is last day of college/what to write on shirt on the last day of college. It was an emotional post to write and has lots of pictures of the college shirt on which my friends scribbled farewell messages. If you are missing college and want to revisit the memories, do check it out!

  3. Thoughts on the short story “So you’re just what, gone?” by Justin Taylor

    There was this time when I was in serious writer-mode. I was regularly reading up stories on New Yorker. I remember not understanding the story at the first go (that’s also the premise of the post). But later, after reading the writer’s point of view, the story became clearer. As I was writing this post, I ended up reading my review of it and the story as well. This time, however, the story was much clearer. This is probably because I have myself sat through planes and had somewhat similar situations in my life and also have been watching more of American high school TV series to know the voice of teenagers (13 Reasons Why was amazing!).

  4. Street Harassment: Fear of the Road (A Guest Post)

    This is the first post in this list which is actually published in 2017. It’s part of a series of guest posts I was doing at the time. It’s by Pradita Kapahi, a blogger I have huge respect for. It’s as relevant a post today as it was in January this year, so please do give it a read.

  5. Letter to my younger self

    This was written in June 2017, as a request piece by Earnest. I love how candid it is. The title is self-explanatory – it is a letter from my 2017 self to my college self. I read it again for writing this post and it sounds as authentic as when I had written it.

Okay, so that’s about it! I had a wonderful time writing this post. I hope you have as much fun while reading it.

I will see you in another post and until then, live your life with full battery mode and just rock it up! ❤

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