AN AGE OLD VEGETABLE STORY
Have you ever experienced or heard an age-old rumor brought by generations’ worth of cultures or superstitions? One such rumor comes in the form of a story – a story that ends with you looking at the red pin of a weighing scale and uttering to yourself, “I’m going to lose weight.” There is still an epilogue left untold and the story does not simply end there.
From here, you could push yourself to eat healthy, cut some meals, and maybe set up a fitness program. Without the proper moderation, however, this would lead to you being either malnourished or exhausted beyond your capacity to recover.
In every person’s life, he or she will experience a metaphorical sea of addiction – one that reaches the depths of his being and manifests as a seeping, sapping force. This manifestation of over-aggressive dieting is an example of developing bad habits. It’s like the tall slice of triple-chocolate cake that bring with it sweet, sweet indulgence. It’s simply a prelude to the painful stomach ache that comes after the transient moments of euphoria fade.
Most of the bad habits we know of are often those we grew up with. However, it does not stop there. It’s also possible to develop worse habits from those beginning ones. It starts with what we surround ourselves with, be that cup of coffee that circulates in our bloodstream in lieu of actual blood, or the complacency with how one manages time and priorities.
These may or may not be habits you’re guilty of. Check yourself, you may be working on a research paper or simply ending your day with an exercise, but you may be browsing through your SNS out of habit. Your messages can’t wait for you just as much as time can’t either.
The worst part of it is that, it all boils down into one common denominator: self-management. Succeeding in any venture requires the iron will to control oneself effectively.
Let us return to that age-old story of the man chose to eat more vegetables, cut meals and exercise. What made him fail was how he substituted carbohydrates and protein with vegetables, which made him frail. Add this on top of cutting meals, and we have a malnourished stick. He then became too weak for exercise. He went from a piece of meat to a fish bone. His few moments of self-satisfaction came with a price. The success was short-lived and he went back to his old habits. “Old Habits, Die Hard” became an actual thing with him and led to his weight gain, after meticulously working to get rid of the weight he despised.
The analogy is often far-fetched from reality, but studies often show the backbone of bad habits came from the millennial mindset currently enveloping the very culture of our society. It’s as if literature predicted mankind’s bones will be made of vegetables that eventually rot. In a matter of minutes, you too may see that our simple habits that make up a part of our everyday lives is actually a tonic that continuously rots us from the inside until we bloat and deflate ourselves to the point of being equal to an actual vegetable.
DON'T LOSE YOUR WAY
Forming new habits is no joke. It requires mental fortitude, discipline, and willingness of a person to turn bad habits into a good one. The same can also be said for sustaining new habits. Oftentimes, people fall into something called ningas kugon – a Filipino expression that means a person does something with vigor and enthusiasm only during the initial periods of their new practices, soon thereafter forgetting his initial motivation when things become difficult or unrewarding. However, with enough dedication and determination, a person can overcome this ningas kugon and change for the better permanently.
One way of sustaining your habits is to always remember the reason why you formed such habits in the first place. By always having this reason in your mind, you’ll be motivated to stick to these new habits. While on the subject of inspiration, another great way of sustaining your habits is to have a physical, concrete reminder of your habits. For example, putting a sticky note on your fridge reminding you to eat unhealthy food moderately would be an excellent way of countering a bad habit of excessive junk food eating. It helps, also, to tell your friend of whatever habits you would be doing in order for them to remind you to stick to them if such a need arises. Doing a routine action with a friend is a surefire way of staying motivated and determined in doing a habit.
James Clear, an author, entrepreneur, and photographer, has written books regarding forming new habits. In his book, Transform New Habits, he mentioned the “Paper Clip Strategy”, a type of strategy that is visual in nature. The way the strategy works is quite simple – there would be two jars, one filled with paperclips, the other empty. Everytime you do something productive, or an action that is in line with your habit, you would place a paperclip from the filled jar to the empty one. To quote James Clear, “I believe the “Paper Clip Strategy” works particularly well because it creates a visual trigger that can help motivate you to perform a habit with more consistency.” He also added that the reasons why visual cues work so well in sustaining a habit are because: (1) Visual cues remind you to start a behavior, (2) visual cues display your progress on a behavior, (3) visual cues can have an additive effect on motivation, and (4) visual cues can be used to drive short-term and long-term motivation.
Whatever strategy suits you best, one thing is still of the essence: don’t lose your way. Sustaining a habit requires one to always keep going and not relapse to one’s bad old habits again. Don’t waste an opportunity to become the best version of you.
At some point in your life, you realized that there are certain actions that you've done that affect you personally, along with other people in a number of ways. These are usually physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing, and you're left with a sense of guilt. You realize that those actions are now habits – bad habits, no less. So, the next thing that may come to your mind may be: “What do I do now?” Hopefully, you’ll realize that you need to change those habits quickly for you to become a better person.
One of the major errors that normally occurs is the fact that bad habits should be removed. The sense of being removed is unfortunately impossible. James Clear states that bad habits are not meant to be simply eradicated, but rather it needs to be replaced with a productive habit. Most of the bad habits are direct results of being stressed, and entail stress. This leads to other variables such as psychological disorders, anxieties, worst case scenario – a possible ulterior motive being created crafted for your benefit
Enough with the whole background check. Now, how does one start with changing these habits, one may ask? The first step, of course, is to realize what those bad habits actually are. Realizing the habit itself is an integral step for the next course of action: the why’s. For this, you must reflect upon yourself why you formed those bad habits in the first place. You may never know; those bad habits may have psychological implications that need to be addressed immediately. The next step is the how’s. This the actual step in which you lay out strategies for you to fix your bad habits. So, to recap, for the what’s, then the why’s, then the how’s.
Upon understanding the causes why these habits occurred in the first place, it becomes more imperative to address them in such a way you don’t lose sight of your character. Normally, therapy or other forms of remedy could compromise the person’s understanding of oneself. This is one thing that should be prevented in order to fully accomplish replacing bad habits with better ones.
Kenneth Angelo Atanacio
In all my years as a student of the Ateneo, I’ve encountered a variety of different types of students, who fall under certain archetypes typical of your average high school. There’s the boneheaded jock, antisocial loner, the nerd, et cetera. They all have different ways of dealing with their problems, and some of their characteristics tend to overlap, which is often the case in reality. Every student more or less multiple layers of problems stacked on top of one another, weighing on them physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What astounds me is that despite these problems, there are some exceptions to this dime-a-dozen sort of teenager. They don’t let the nonsense of “youth” get in the way of what’s important to them, and they excel at whatever it is they do. They know how to come out as stronger and better individuals, no matter the circumstance.
This magazine is ultimately meant to be a guide for the normal student to attain this mindset – this lifestyle that so few people ever understand. The inspiration behind this topic lies in the fact that many people try in what they set out to do, and nearly just as many people fail, often sinking to deeper levels of self-loathing or insecurity about a certain experience.
The common trend amongst this sort of failure, however, is that the focus of these students is solely on concrete ideas that are either hit-or-miss. What the student body needs right now, especially since they’re nearing the end of their adolescence, is the values that will help them survive in the “real world”, which may be university, employment, or something else entirely.
They need something abstract, yet concrete. They need principles that will be applicable to them in any scenario, guiding them back to their goals and ambitions. Will becoming a vegetable, as Will Manahan puts it, become something practical in the long run? Is being a defeatist, whose first instinct is to submit to the world’s complexities, the advocacy of Franz Hernandez?
Many people will argue that their lives are fine as they are now, and that their life will go in their favor when the going gets rough. They’ll say they’ve toughed it out before, and will continue to do so. “There is no need to change,” they would say.
Yet, no-one is born perfect. We are bound to make mistakes sooner or later. Some will be superficial, like forgetting our homework, and some will be as severe as getting caught copying said homework. It’s impudent to think we’ll be able to live without making mistakes, so we would might as well try to make as few of these crippling mistakes as possible, and learn how to take these and turn them into something positive.
We must take each and every individual chance to grow as persons. It begins from the very moment we wake up until the moment we drift off into unconsciousness. Our decisions have to be guided by the principle of bettering ourselves, for our betterment and the betterment of those around us.
It doesn’t have to be something huge. In fact, we have to focus on the tiny blocks that define our lives. As James Clear wrote before, we need to focus on the process, not the goal. Would a national hero become a hero with the intention of becoming one? No, he/she would become one by focusing on bettering his/her nation. And just like that, we too must change on a fundamental – an individual level – if we truly seek change.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER OPNINIONS
Combating Bad Habits
Two hours of sleep, tired eyes, a wasted body and a dead soul. This is what bad habits give to students in school. Students may blame the workload, but it is in them on how they will cope with it. Bad habits can prevent students from achieving and reaching their full potential in school. Aside from this, it may give students a harder time in school.
In my opinion, it is important that students establish good standards and routines from the very start of their educational life. If they have no guidelines to follow until as of the moment, it is best that they make these as soon as possible. Organization in terms of how students approach certain situations helps in achieving success. Having good habits is valuable – at least moreso than the ones that burn them out. At the very least, students should be preventing bad actions from being done, by checking on themselves on a regular basis. Bad habits such as cramming are often irresistible once students start committing it. Cramming becomes a habit and part of students’ lives. Not only in education does cramming happen, but may also be done in other matters. Most of the times, students don’t actually realize bad habits, like cramming, since it has become a daily routine and part of their life.
All in all, knowing how to combat these bad habits is important to students. They must not let the bad habits take over them. They must not let these prevent them from enjoying their lives and achieving success in school. It’s not too late; we can start reflecting on ourselves and establish good school habits right now.