I've been very successful in my quest to eliminate hardcore competitive video games from my life. By using Stickk, a friend, a monetary incentive, and accountability, I've hard-quit League of Legends and repurposed the hours a week that I was spending playing games.
This next year is going to be very exciting for me, but is also going to require a lot out of me as a person. It is going to require me to become a different person if I want to have what I will consider a "successful year."
There are no financial, travel, or social goals planned for 2013 at all.
Instead, I will call 2013 the Habitual Year. The only true "goal" that I have for the year is that I commit to implementing or quitting one habit per month using the framework that has worked so well for me this past month. The way I see it, if I implement or remove a total of 12 major habits (think nutrition, exercise, meditation, socializing, etc) then 365 days from now there really is no way I can have a bad year.
I need to focus on habits that other people can easily see if I have accomplished or not. For LoL, it was easy because there are 3rd party websites that track gameplay, allowing Jon to see if I'd played or not regardless of if I wanted to tell him the truth. This needs to be the case in any future habit challenge.
In most cases this is an amount of money per WEEK that, if the habit challenge is failed, is given to my accountability partner or an anti charity of my choice. Two things here: the amount of money needs to really HURT and be tied to a single failure of the habit, and secondly it needs to go to something that I really don't want to see happen.
This is absolutely key. Not adhering to this rule is why I have failed at habits so many times in the past. As long as I am on track for the habit that I am challenging for the month, it's OK to fail at habits I plan to implement in the future. What is NOT ok is for me to fall back into past habits that I have successfully brought through a habit challenge. There are certain habits that are OK to miss on a "few times a month" basis, and also some that I should NEVER do again in my life (video games).
By turning actions into habits via month long habit challenges, I will be making them automatic actions that require very little of my daily willpower. The next step is to turn them into systems that remove even more willpower from the equation. Documentation will be key, but also considering some kind of outsourcing and automation will also be a major way to drive the habits into systems that self sustain.
Preparation is going to be a major element. Pre cooking food, pre buying a week's worth of groceries, laying out toothbrush, or putting Vibram's and running gear in place are all examples of pre prep. Documentation will also be very key here to know which types of prep are working the best. For example, if putting toothbrush on my desk doesn't create the brushing habit often enough, I should notice this within a few days because of my tracking system and I should be able to adjust the pre-prep and study what is causing me to stall on the habit.
Thanks Adam! I do as well, but it's a process of ongoing improvement. The only time I consider "wasted" is unconscious time...mindlessly browsing, context-switching all of the time, that sort of stuff. If I decide to get a nice tea and a sandwich and just chill, that wouldn't be wasting time in my opinion.
Feel free to bug me all you want! We're all in this together :)
Great read Kevin.
I think it goes without saying, we all have habits we could afford to break in 2013.
Personally, I waste time. You'd think, something so valuable to me, I wouldn't squander it, but I do. So much so that I probably lose 2 hours each day.
If you don't mind, I think I may bug you to make sure I am towing the line haha.
Beauty microgreens in the header btw!
As a follow up to my post on habits in 2013, I wanted to touch on some improvements that I have made to the system.
Previously I was tracking just one habit per month, making sure that it was likely to be a keystone habit - one that, if implemented, has a "cascade" effect on other parts of your life. Regular exercise is a great example of this, because you'll usually have more energy to devote to other aspects of your life and will achieve more things throughout your day.
I've upped the ante and am starting to think not only of single habit formation, but tracking many different habits throughout the day and using perfection as an ideal, not the desired result.
Because willpower is finite, there are simply going to be some days where my willpower gets tapped by business or personal life and some habits fall by the wayside for the day. The idea is to track a multitude of habits - some small, some large - over long periods of time and work on the meta-structure of your day and the order of the actions you take throughout the day.
Here's an idea of what it looks like:
Ok, so I was just writing about my goals and realized that I wasn't doing nearly enough. So this is going to be my public challenge to myself to see how much I can improve my life in one month. That's all there is to the challenge - no rules, no goals, and no excuses. I have a pretty great life, but I know I can do MUCH better, and I owe it to myself to do so.
I've found that many things I do during the day don't really make a lasting change in my life. But one small thing, like installing the bluetooth car kit in my car, makes it much more convenient for me every time I drive. Going through my bank statement and finding monthly charges I can do away with saves me money for the rest of the year, and calling an old friend that I've lost touch with can bring another positive person into my life.
This month I am going to ask myself whether or not what I'm doing at any moment is contributing to my future. I'll answer myself honestly and adjust accordingly. Little things that will stick with me are valuable too... if I made 30 small improvements that will help me for the rest of my life, I would be thrilled. How can I not find at least one a day?