This is a post by Anthony Fasano, PE.
Today’s my birthday and I like writing posts on my birthday, ones that tell my readers about me but also contain information that can help them. Last year’s birthday post, entitled It’s My Birthday! Who I am Away from Work and Important Lessons that I Have Learned, is a good example of this.
This year, I will share with you a personal development experiment I have undertaken that has been very inspiring so far. My favorite blog to read is Zen Habits by Leo Babuata. It is one of the most-read blogs in the world, and for good reason. It serves to help thousands of readers maintain peaceful and enjoyable lives and careers even in this fast-paced world that we live in today.
Leo is currently going through a personal experiment that he has called A Year of Living Without. He is going to give up one thing each month for the next 12 months in an effort to simplify his life and see what’s truly necessary. Some of the items that he will give up include coffee, sugar, the Internet, his cell phone, alcohol, restaurants and a computer. At the end of each month, he will evaluate how important the item he gave up really is in his life and then alter his permanent habits as to how much he will use it, if at all.
My wife and I decided to join in with Leo, and we started this process on August 1st. We decided for the first month to give up television. I have to say it’s been pretty easy so far. I haven’t turned on the television really since mid-July because of some traveling we were doing that month, and I haven’t missed it at all. The key to giving something up like this is having a habit to replace it with.
For example, Leo replaced coffee with tea, and will replace the Internet with writing a book. My wife’s and my regular routine after putting the kids to bed would be to sit down on the couch and watch television until we passed out or went to bed ourselves. We decided to replace television with de-cluttering our house room by room and reading together. We have already de-cluttered a lot of the house and bagged an amazing amount of items for sale or trash. We also are reading a great book called Simplicity Parenting by Kim Payne and some wonderful blogs on traveling with kids.
I tell you this because if I can change a habit like this, so can you. You must commit to it for a certain period of time, create a replacement habit and possibly do it with a partner who can help to hold you accountable. I coach a lot of Institute for Engineering Career Development members on career challenges that are the product of bad habits. Consider embarking upon “a year without” or some other personal development journey that will change you and those around you for the better. You’ll be glad you did.
I thank you as one of my readers for another great year and for all of your support. I have some plans and projects in place for this year to help a lot of engineers achieve their career and life goals.
If you are an engineer looking to get inspired, I send out free daily career inspiration to thousands of engineers through my popular Daily Boosts. You can read about the Daily Boosts or simply sign up below.
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