Habit Building

My List of Habits for February 2016

My List of Habits for February 2016

New name, same format: every month, I publish a list of my daily habits; things like “Do a set of pull ups” or “Write 300 words for a blog post.” I do this, because there is no doubt in my mind that habit forming is the single most important tool to make progress with your goals – slow and steady wins the race, not some kind of heroic effort. And publishing these reports is my way of holding myself accountable for my habits.

So how does it work?

I write out my list of habits, identify the accompanying goal (what do I want to accomplish with this habit in the long run?) and then self-assess my current progress. Simple enough.

Let’s dive right into it!

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Bridging the Gap Between Future Goals And Daily Action

Bridging the Gap Between Future Goals And Daily Action

As someone who is obsessed with personal development and forming the right habits, I naturally have several friends who are on the same path. So inevitably, when we meet up, the conversation drifts towards personal development topics; and inevitably, we start talking about our goals.

So friend A will say: “I want to lose 20 pounds in 6 months from now.” Friend B will say: “I want to be able to make a living from working as a professional musician in a year from now.” Friend C will say: “I want to be married 2 years from now.” Friend D will say: “I want to learn 3 new languages in the next five years.”

All legit goals (well, if marriage is your thing…). And I like the fact that all my friends are very specific about their goals, in terms of what they exactly want to accomplish and in what time span. Just like me, they read their books and blogs and just like me, they know about the importance of goal setting. You need to have an idea of where you are going in order to get there – it’s a simple as that.

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Mindless Habits

Mindless Habits

There is a certain type of habit I have never talked about on this blog, even though it is what people commonly think of first when they hear the word “habit.” I call this a “mindless habit” or “micro habit,” simply because it is so tiny that other people will hardly notice it. An example would be placing your keys always in the same place at home, so you don’t have to run around like a headless chicken when you need them.

As I said, this is what comes to mind first when people speak of habits. Consequently, habits have this kind of everyday, petty convenience type of connotation – a little trick that is useful, usually time saving, but not life altering in any way.

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My December 2015 Monthly Habits Report

My December 2015 Monthly Habits Report

This is usually the place where I publish an overview of my current list of habits and then go on to give an account of how compliant I was with them during the previous month. Not so this month! I was travelling for most of December and for the first time didn’t get an Airbnb but stayed with friends instead. Naturally, I knew this would lead to me spending more time on social activities with my friends and since I didn’t want to stress myself about it, I gave myself permission at the beginning of the month to cut myself some slack; as long as time away from my habits was spent socially, not on watching TV or some other stupid time waster.

To my own surprise, I stuck with the majority of habits, no matter how much fun there was to be had. I’d estimate on any given day in December, I got at least 80% of my usual habits done, many days even 100%. So I might stay with friends again in the future, as I now kinda proved to myself it can work out without dropping the ball on your habits; something I was afraid of beforehand.

Anyway, so since this report doesn’t stick to the regular format and since it is the end of the year, I thought I would write what I’ve learned from one year of habit building and publishing these reports instead. Let’s get straight into it:

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My November 2015 Monthly Habits Report

My November 2015 Monthly Habits Report

How This Works

Every month, I publish a list of the habits I am currently trying to incorporate into my life (such as ‘do two sets of pull ups every day’). I document my successes and failures, and then I punish myself for the latter – $100 for every time I break a habit!

The Rationale Behind It

I realize my obsessive documentation, and especially the self-punishing aspect of this, may seem rather extreme to most people…

So why do I do this?

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Different Types of Habits

Different Types of Habits

If you know me, then you know I believe the key to every kind of success is forming the right kind of daily habits. Whether it’s mastering a skill, getting healthy, becoming more organized, or successfully running a business, having the right habits in place is the ultimate answer. Taking this into consideration, I recently began to differentiate between certain types of habits.

A quick recap:

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Grinding It Out

Grinding It Out

One of the main reasons I STARTED this blog was because I wanted to hold myself accountable for my self-prescribed daily habits. Letting others know to put more pressure on myself, all that stuff. One of the main reasons I KEEP WRITING this blog is that it helps me to stick out the grind, i.e. the process it takes to get good at something.

There is an all too human urge for instant gratification and it has only gotten worse with the arrival of the digital age. We want it all and we want it now. Any effort requiring more than a few clicks seems outdated and boring. The idea that something has to be learned and practiced daily, over the course of several years, has completely gone out of fashion.

We are the culture of the “hack” – everything can be somehow circumvented, or so we like to think.

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Just Touch On It

Just Touch On It

I’m as cranky as I can get right now: Over the course of the whole week, I was awoken by the sound of drilling and hammering due to some serious construction going on at the top of my apartment. If that wasn’t enough, the little hipster next door thought it was a great idea to host all his skinny jeans wearing friends this weekend for an epic electro party marathon. Initially, I tried NOT to be the party police and let them go on. However, when they started throwing shit against the wall, I put on my best “Rickson Gracie is not amused” face, went next door, and cut the party short – which gave me at least some slight emotional satisfaction.

Anyways.

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My October 2015 Monthly Habits Report

My October 2015 Monthly Habits Report

How This Works

Every month, I publish a list of the habits I am currently trying to incorporate into my life (such as ‘do two sets of pull ups every day’). I document my successes and failures, and then I punish myself for the latter – $100 for every time I break a habit!

The Rationale Behind It

I realize my obsessive documentation, and especially the self-punishing aspect of this, may seem rather extreme to most people…

So why do I do this?

Continue reading →