Farnam Street Blog

Listening to Matt‘s podcasts is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time. I wish I made a list of all Matt’s podcasts I heard over the years. But somehow I missed that. And it is too late now.

Anyway.

Last night I listened OFF RCRD episode with Matt (transcript). It was great to hear him mentioning Decision Journals and Farnam Street Blog. He also mentioned Brainpickings and On Being blogs. They are great as well, but I deliberately keep the list of blogs I read  short.

I started reading Farnam Street Blog only recently when someone at work shared this great post on Habits vs Goals. I liked this post and many others on this blog and feel like I am learning a lot.

I bookmarked the post on decision journal and will check it out once I finish reading rest of the books I have on desk at the moment. Besides decision journal, I am also excited to learn about mental models.

First 5k of 2017

I finally ran the first 5k of this season! I intend to run a 5k every weekend for rest of the spring and summer. I ran about twenty-five 5ks in 2015. But I did not run much in 2016. This year I try to do better again.

My running goal is modest: I just try to run a 5k each weekend. I start running around this time in October when days start getting longer and weather warmer. I stop running around March when days start getting shorter and wetter.

I can probably run a marathon or even a half of it if I train myself. But I find it hard to make time to train for such lofty goals. There are always other things to do. And I am more of a habits person than goals person. I don’t think I can run marathons habitually! So I settle for a 5k. As much as possible, I try to run non-stop and finish within twenty something minutes. That’s as ambitious as my running gets.

Here’s the FitBit map of my last weekend’s run:

First 5k of 2017

James Clear’s “1% Better Every Day” video

I learned a LOT about habits by reading James Clear’s blog. He has heaps of great posts on his site, but if I were to pick one, it is this: Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year. The gist is that: Building good habits and changing ourselves for better is all  about our identity (what we believe of ourselves and who we try to become), not performance (the actions we take) or appearance (what others say about us). Performance and appearance are great, but for habits to last, they should start from within, from your identity, from what kind of person you think you are. This powerful idea changed me for better over the last few years.

James recently delivered a great talk in which he talks about the power of small habits. Check it out here. It is about 25 minutes and is very well worth your time.

Following are my notes from that talk.

Aggregation of marginal gains.

Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.

Good habits make your time ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.

Framework for forming better habits.

Four stages of habit formation: Noticing, Wanting, Doing and Liking.

Stage 1: Noticing

Implementation intentions.

Action step: Have a plan

Stage 2: Wanting

Design environment for encouraging good behaviors.

Put more steps between you and bad behaviors. Fewer steps between you and good behaviors.

Stage 3: Doing

Quantity vs quality. Put in the reps.

Repetitions matter. Iterations matter.

David Allen of GTD’s 2 min rule.

Put all energy into starting. It is all about milestones. Optimize for start line, not finish line.

Stage 4: Liking

The only reason we repeat behaviors is because you enjoy them.

Good habits have a problem: cost at the moment but reward is delayed. Bad habits : reward at the moment but consequence is delayed.

Figure how to bring reward into present moment: Seinfeld strategy of building the chain of actions.

The best way to change the long-term behavior is to act on the short-term feedback. You need a way to enjoy the moment. Don’t break the chain. Never miss twice.

Why habits are so important?  The ship of Theseus. Change happens habit by habit: Evolution; Not Revolution.

It is all about identity: the actions you take provide evidence to who you are.

Over a broad span of time actions you do once or twice fade away. Actions you do for the bulk amount of time day after day week after week accumulate the bulk of the evidence of what you believe of yourself. Every action you take is a vote for the type of the person you wish to become.

You don’t need to be perfect all the time. You just need to have the body of good work.

True Change is not behavior or results or process change, but it is Identity Change.

The goal is not to read a book; but to become a reader.

The goal is not to write a book; but to become a writer.

The goal is not to run a marathon; but to become a runner.

The way to become someone is by doing something. Your identity emerges from the type of habits you have. It is about getting you to believe something.

 

Tweet more characters?!

Okay, I work for a company that makes it easy for people to setup a blog, site or online store. So I may be biased. However, I found this tweet from Twitter interesting:

But seriously, if you are dying to share something with world, and you can’t fit your thoughts in 140 characters, I think what you need is a blog or website where you truly own your content. Not tweets with 280 or some arbitrary number of characters.