Why bother?

Why go through the work of making yourself better?  For me it’s a little corny but I want to make the world better. 

How do we help others?  The stronger we are the more we can help them the motivation has to come then for me to actually eloping others thought. Especially being part of that team that is making improvements.  Lots of planning and occasionall wrong directions but maybe I will find a good way to make all of the work ok improving myself actually payof in some way besides business. 

Time Off – One Area Focus

Last week I took l took the week off from most of my habit improvement work. Oh no failure!!!  This was for me a concusions decision.  I was spending family time on a vacation.  We tended to a lot of learning and walking as well as spending time together and I simply chose to not record my days or worry about the skills I haven’t improved. 

Maybe it would have been ok to still record stuff. Maybe I would have kept improving a couple habits along the way.  To me it was ok to skip a week.  Maybe next vacation I will try to do it a little and see what happens. 

Most importantly the return leg of the trip provided some solid relaxation and I am back at work today.  To me that is pretty important.  Often doing this sort of thing I will miss a bit and not get back to the tasked at all. Probably because I was annoyed about ‘failing’ for a week.  So consider that if you miss some time for one reason or another.  :)

Work vs Personal

I have six work related habits, two are once a week and four are daily.  I also have thirteen personal habits, on of which is this blog. More generally it is ‘write something’.  

One I have been stuggling with for a while is the lunch with a new person, but in the last week I’ve been planning and building toward that. So, most days I am not having lunch with someone but I am connecting, thinking and inviting others to lunch. Soon I will be a three lunches since I started a month ago.  That is better then almost all of last year I think.  

Goals Study from Harvard 1979

How many of you have heard of this study?  “The 3% with written goals did far better then everyone else”  I hear about this all the time.  I thought I would check it out – maybe we could duplicate that at a local level in the schools.  Is it correlation or causation?  What other variables make a difference.  It could be an interesting experiment.  Turns out it may not be true.   A real one was done at Dominican University instead.  Doesn’t say much about the details but for a four week study it’s better then urban legend.

Nir Eyal and Behavior Loops

Here is an interesting story on how apps use a positive feedback loop to influence our habits.  Of course the same process can be used on ourselves.  The basic loop is trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.

Trigger)  Reminders, app like the way of life, a scale or a hundred other things can be the trigger – this seems easy.

Action) The action is seems straight forward – the work.  Write the pages of the book, do the pushups or what ever the work is.  This to me seems the whole focus – get me to do the work.

Variable reward)  The variable reward has been talked about for a while.  This is trickier a lot of times.  In busuu, a language training app I am using, they have added ‘berries’ as the reward.  I’ve used if for quite a while and it appears that it’s just a way to keep score.  This has some motivating aspect but not much.

This is a challenge area for me as often I don’t have real rewards beyond the little green icon on list of things to do.  Not much of a motivator and not variable.  In fact now that I think about it the avoiding the red icons is almost a bigger drive.  Maybe just adding green only will be a better motivator.  When I know there will be a lot of red I seem to avoid the process.

I will spend some time today looking at motivating variable rewards.  Maybe a trip to Venezuela with toilet paper as soon as I am able to get things done and survive in Spanish – that would be big enough.  Not variable though and not habit forming in the shorter term . . .

Investment) This seems like another form of doing the work. Somehow it is a different type of work though. . . maybe more for facebook type app addictions then habit improvements.  I’ll read hi book and see.

That reminds me of the book Give and Take I am reading – maybe there is away to helps others that would help alter my habits?  Things to think about/

For more on this explained better Nir’s blog is here.

Family One on One Time

With High School homework and activities it is hard to plan week night activities with my family.  In looking at my five minutes for family or one on one time it seems hard to keep that green.  The nice thing about this process is that it is clear where things are not working.  So, I will try something else and see if that helps.  Tonight I will look at some meal planning services as cooking together is a fun project and doesn’t have to be a big time commitment.  Here is the list I will review.  I’ll post how it goes.

Bold as a Lion

I read this today in Proverbs. There is so much wisdom in the history of mankind.  To learn just a small part of it will take a life time. 

One category I tend not to have trouble with is five minutes a day of learning.  It part that five minutes led to the title of this blog.  It was a combination of Ben Franklins autobiography and Seinfeld’s approach to writing comedy. 

Two areas that show up as a challenge  in this are exercise and giving back. It’s far easier for me to read then getting up and doing something. It’s also easy to think up ideas to make things better but it’s work and potentially failure to try to implement those ideas involving other people. Nice to write about it as then in rereading the text it seems like a smaller hurdle. I think I will go lift weights. Thanks!! :)

Why Five Minutes Every Day

The idea behind five minutes everyday came to me from my experience weight lifting and sprint triathlon training.  Getting geared up for an hour for every training was a bit of a hurdle so I though since I had a weight bench in the basement even if I only do five minutes it was better then nothing.  The barrier to starting dropped.  Plus, as often as not I would end up doing a full 30-60 minute work out.  As long as I kept in mind the five minute start it seemed to work great.  The key I am working with is to keep that five minute start in mind so I don’t feel like I have to do 30 minutes.

Three days in a row.

For three days in a row I have worked on my writing and giving back plan.  I am starting to run into a classic (for me) issue now.  I keep wanting to add more things to do five minutes everyday of.  Exercise, meditation, language, writing, learning, financial planning, , , ,.  In the past I have used the Way of Life app to help with this but I have fallen out of use of that – in part it became pretty big.  Five minutes a day of 20 projects adds up.  :)

To address this I am tweaking how I use the Way of Life App.  I am logging events every day around noon for the last 24hrs.  This lets me skip the late night data entry and gives me time before and after to review the list and get things done.  This seemed to work really well today.