Habits of the Year

Reconnecting Us with Nature

This year I will be busy with the new beginning of my career.

What I would like to make a habit of in such a life is to have “time to face nature with all five senses”. The first time I did this was when I saw “Avatar: Way of Water” at the end of the year. I was impressed by the dynamic images of the world. The work reflects a value system in which nature belongs to no one and animals are part of it. It was something I understood somewhat instinctively, and it seemed new to me now.

City life can feel like a wall between us and nature. However, our wellbeing and nature are inseparable. Research by Lam Thi Mai Huynh, from the University of Tokyo, found that the interaction between people and nature has a deep relationship with well-being. Among them, they have the highest effect on mental and physical health.

Take a familiar mountain climb, take a walk by the beach with your dog, or take a deep breath in the greenery of a neighborhood park. Even in a city overflowing with people and information, it seems possible to find time for these things.

Interestingly, however, nature does not always have a positive impact. The study states that if natural spaces are not maintained, they can become visually threatening landscapes and can make people feel afraid to be there.

Rather than simply assuming that “development = evil,” I would like to make this year a year to rethink the nature and human nature in small activities that we can do out of habit.

Write down each day of the year 2023.

Today, I feel like I am the only one left behind in the year 2022 because I have not finished my thesis, which I was supposed to complete last year, for a long time. Every year, I set “continue muscle training” as my New Year’s goal and fail, so this time, I would like to change it up a bit. My goal for 2023 is to keep a daily diary.

It all started at a year-end party last year. I was reminiscing with friends I met in Denmark, where I studied abroad. The episodic talk was not engaging, and we were all saying, “Oh, no! Did that ever happen? (I was still in my 20’s, still fresh and young). I was shocked at the fact that the memories I had gained through my study abroad experience were fading away. If I don’t make an effort to keep my experiences and feelings, they will leak out of my memory like a water tank with a hole in it. This natural realization is what motivates me to keep a diary.

If we can get into the habit of writing down the experiences and feelings that pass from our minds in the blink of an eye, we will surely be able to cherish each day more than ever before. I would like to start 2023 with such a modest goal in mind: to devote my smartphone time before bedtime to writing in my diary.

Me making the most of morning after a year.

I am a hectic person who likes to pack my schedule, but the problem is that I am impulsive and don’t plan very well. This year, as I enter graduate school and take a new step forward, I will not have as much time as I used to have to move around as I like to spend in a hectic schedule. I want to develop habits that will allow me to use my time well. I thought about where to start, and what came to mind was, “He who controls the morning controls the day. Let’s become a morning person.

In winter, I am stuck in bed because of the cold, and in summer because of the heat, but I want to get out of bed as soon as I wake up, and make it my goal to be in the fresh air within an hour of waking up.

Taking a walk and getting some sunlight after waking up is very effective in activating serotonin. I want to increase my level of well-being first thing in the morning and spend the rest of the day in good physical and mental health.

I’m sure that if I set up a detailed morning routine here, my three day-old will probably get in the way, so I’ll probably limit myself to a morning walk at first. If I go that far, I’m sure I won’t fall back into bed.

But I want to set a rule in my mind. When one habit is established, add another. I dare not set a time limit for this habit.

Let’s see how many of my morning routines will have increased by January 11, 2024, one year from the date of this article. I wonder to what extent I will have mastered the morning.

For a good night's sleep

This year I will turn 26 years old. In conversations with people of my generation, I hear the phrase “I’m already in Alaska” here and there, and this is the year when I begin to think about my health, career, money, and various other aspects of my future.

This year, in particular, I would like to improve my sleeping habits. I am ashamed to admit that my bedtime is irregular, ranging from 24:00 to 3:00 p.m. Of course, there are other factors, such as the fact that I have started watching new dramas and anime series on Netflix, but my hypothesis is that the most important factor is the irregular time of my bathing.

In my case, the later I bathe, the later I go to bed, because I have the mentality that “I can’t sleep until I take a bath. If this is the case, then bathing at a fixed time would be the most effective way to increase the achievement rate of this goal.

According to a sleep column by BRAIN SLEEP, a company that sells pillows and mattresses, bathing 90 minutes before bedtime is recommended for a good night’s sleep. Although this is a modest goal, I hope to make it a habit over the course of this year.