Today we take a break from our usual material to have a look at a bit of nostalgia. I was thinking about role models in my own life, what they have given me, and what I can learn from them. There is a certain type of person from a different generation who I don’t think I could be, but I do vastly admire.

In this article I unpick why, and look at 5 old fashioned behaviours the modern world could learn from.

1. Punctuality.

Being on time is a sign of respect for the other person. You are saying you value them, and their time, and that you do not consider yourself to be more important then them. If you are constantly late on them, you express the opposite.

Back in the day before everyone had mobile phones, if you wanted to meet up with someone you had to make an arrangement in advance, stick to it, and if the other person did not turn up at the appointed time, wonder how long to wait before you left. It all took more effort. Now with a text you can just say you are running late. It’s too easy.

The problem is punctuality is not just respectful and polite, it has benefits to you too. Being late is often the result of trying to cram in too many things back-to-back, being disorganized, poor planning, or being unmotivated. Working on any of these areas to ensure that you get somewhere when you say you will is good for you and encourages you to develop integrity. Basically – it’s good to do it because you said you would.

Besides. Missing the first half of something, having to buy a different train ticket because you missed yours (or worse – a flight!), arguing your way into a concert whilst disturbing other patrons (back to respect), these are all stressful. Why give yourself the hassle, when you can just give yourself more time?

2. Writing letters.

We have 1001 ways to message people today, but there is a reason shops still sell real, physical cards for occasions. In an age of Facebook, text and email, people know that having to go to the shops to pick a card, look up your address, buy stamps and trek to a mail-box involve involve actual effort, thought, cost and basically a lot more awareness than a text saying “Happy Birthday!” really late at evening, when you just notice their Facebook feed.

This is true not just for cards, but also letters. We are all impressed by the few people we know who go to the trouble of doing a hand-written thank you note, or a lovely letter telling us their news. It’s very classy. It suggests genuine thought, commitment to you and again, effort, which is respectful and bonding.

If you really want to improve a relationship of any kind a thoughtful letter full of good news and possibly real glitter will go a long way.

3. Savings

Thirty years ago people might take on debt, but if they did, they always paid it off steadily and reliably. Alongside they would often usually run savings, even if it was just shoveling change into a jar every week. This kind of regularity in their finances stood them in good stead. Now some people take it too far, i.e. the ninety year old still saving half their income, but this just reflects good habits formed over a lifetime. Small regular savings are a very good thing.

4. Commitments – my word is my bond.

There is a certain generation for who if they say they will do it, by gum they are going to do it, and no one can tell them otherwise. Their word is their bond. This might involve some ferocious delegation. Nagging your son 5 times a day to remember to take the milk to the group meeting for you because you promised the group is perhaps annoying, But the point is that the promise was made, thus making the milk so much more than a tea-enabler. The milk now represents an oath – milk will be provided at all costs.

Milk might not seem like the best example, but imagine the principle applied to something that really mattered. Would you trust this person in business? Absolutely. The small things reflect the big, and this behaviour reflects a level of commitment to the world at large.It represents a clear personal integrity we can all aspire to.

5. Routine – moderation, sleep, over-thinking.

Earlier generations were often quite regular in their habits. It might have looked boring from the outside and lacking in variety, but the sheer reliability of routine has astonishing benefits.

Moderation. If you have a ritual amount of food and drink every week which you ver vary you tend not to over-indulge. OK, routine does not necessarily mean a good routine, but I think you know the kind of people I am talking about. Cottage pie Monday, Fish Tuesday, Chicken Wednesday etc. Boring, but regular. These people do not snack, unless it is part of the routine, and then will only snack in the allocated type and quantity. These people do not go out for all night drinking sessions.

Sleep – it turns out that lie-ins or other irregular sleeping habits are really bad for you. The idea of getting up at exactly the same time each and every day regardless of whether it’s the weekend or you are on holiday may fill you with horror, but a more or less steady bedtime and waking time to within a hour each day will improve the quality of your sleep, and well being enormously.

Over-thinking. Systems are good. Decisions are tiring, and deplete you. You want to save your decision-making mojo for the big things that matter, not what to have for tea everyday. The more systematized the basics of your life are, the fewer decisions you have to make and you can focus your energy on the big things.

So who knew? Which old-fashioned habit do you think it would help you most to try? Let me know in the comments below. This week for myself I am going to focus on routine.

Till next time!