Monday, February 06, 2012

The New 3 Rs

I'm no traditionalist, but I do believe in the Three Rs.

That is, the Three Rs  which I see as most relevant to the art of living,namely

  • Repetition
  • Reminders &
  • Rituals
 The Three Rs can help you develop any practice which would help you live better, including :-

Eating more healthily
Drinking more healthily
Exercise and fitness
Doing visualisations

Having a daily period for reflection
Spending quality time with people you value
Doing any important but not urgent activity (i.e in Stephen Covey's quadrant 2)
Reading for fun

So how can the 3 Rs help?

1) Repetition. 
New practices have to be repeated to become habits. They need to be done regularly to become part of your routine, and many things in the above list need to be done repeatedly to have a lasting effect. For example, meditating once may be quite a nice experience but it wont make much difference unless its done regularly.

2) Reminders. 

Remember  the old joke about the man with a knot in his handkerchief who can't remember what he's supposed to remember?
We need reminders that are a bit more effective. If you want to do something on a regular basis, you may needto set up your own system of reminders.  The knot in the handkerchief may now be: an e-mail you send to yourself, a notice on the fridge, a messageon your home page on the internet, something scribbled on your hand,  a to-do list, asking a friend to keep tabs on you. If you want to remember to meditate everyday for 5 minutes
after cleaning your teeth, a note by the toothbrush - or something that will remind you to meditate will be helpful. And at night, a book on meditatons by your bedside. You can also use modern technology - I use memo to me which is a free service which allows you to set up reminders at any time, any day and receive an e-mail.(

3. Rituals
This is something religion is rather good at, as Alain de Botton has recently pointed out. But we all have our non-religious "rituals"and they can be very positive - for example in my family watching the X Factor has become a very good way for the whole family to spend time together on a Saturday evening. The trick here is to find a ritual you can start and then keep going to build your new goood habit. For example, you may develop a ritual of reading a book on the train, or getting up 10 minutes earlier to meditate. What rituals do you already have, and what rituals could you try out for the new habits you want to develop?

The three Rs work even better when put together - reminders and rituals help you repeat. Hope they work well for you

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