Habit Building: Implementation
TLDR; The last part of our habit-building series, the lie that is the expiration date, and the story of an inventor and a thief.
Learn to accurately identify your three biggest limiting habits.
One thing that stops people from upgrading their habits is a mistaken belief that they can only change one thing at a time. I’ve stopped listening to the “science” behind why you should only change one thing at a time and started observing what works best for me.
I’ve found it’s much easier to upgrade 2–4 habits at a time than it is to focus on one thing at a time.
“Habits come in pairs, triplets, and quadruplets. Any habit which weakens one’s will power invites a flock of its relatives to move in and take possession of the mind.” — Napoleon Hill
The challenge is to identify the ~3 habits that are weakening your willpower. The best way to identify your 3 most limiting habits is by keeping a record.
“However, I demonstrated a great value to keeping a diary, and have kept one even since. I reread Franklin’s Autobiography, and noted that he kept a record of himself, as I did, for exactly the same reasons. This most practical and observant of men had decided that careful record-keeping was the only way to find out what he was really doing.” — Michael Crichton, Travels
What might keeping a record of what you do help you discover?
“After a few weeks, I looked back over my notes with astonishment. Every day, I was so critical! One nasty comment after another, about something or somebody. I didn’t regard myself as particularly critical, but evidently I was. I began to observe my state more carefully during each day. It did indeed seem that I was frequently judgmental and snappish, even when I didn’t mean to be. So I decided to watch for that behavior and modify it. It was surprisingly difficult to do.” — Michael Crichton, Travels
If you record what you do long enough, and reflect on it objectively enough, you’ll be forced to view the habits you need to upgrade. Once you have a good guess about what your 3 most limiting habits are, ask the person who knows you best for their perspective. For me, I ask my wife, who is quick to identify my sub-optimal habits. 🙃
I weigh her feedback, and am usually left with the exact habits I need to upgrade. For instance, my 3 most limiting habits I’m currently upgrading: I’ve become too negative, I’ve been skipping my workouts, my diet is unhealthy and I’m eating too much sugar. So to simplify, I need to upgrade my habits involving: my mindset, fitness, and diet.
Now that I’ve identified the 3 habits I need to upgrade… here comes the most difficult part… implementation.
Here is an example of the actual process of upgrading bad habits.
“But to change an old habit, you must address an old craving. You have to keep the same cues and rewards as before, and feed the craving by inserting a new routine.” — Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
My morning routine had become something like this: I’d wake up, take the dog out, come back, start drinking coffee, start working, and work through the time where I would normally workout.
Time to upgrade.
Now, before I go to sleep at night, I put three things on the counter. A lemon, the juicer, and the latest book I’m reading. Then, I head to bed in my workout clothes.
I wake up and walk directly to the lemon. I juice it, make lemon water, and drink it. I’ve found that this single upgrade of healthy hydration makes it easier to do everything else throughout the day. This single change to my diet makes upgrading my habits around fitness and mindset easier.
About this time, our puppy Toasty is stumbling around and ready to go outside to the bathroom. I’ve slept in my workout clothes, so I put on my running shoes and take Toasty out. The second we’re outside, I’m moving. When he’s done his business, we start jogging. It’s not a big workout, it’s not even 2 miles, but that early morning movement sets the stage for a much more active day. I’ve found that even if I jog just a single mile, I have much more energy throughout the day.
Usually I’ll have headphones in and will be listening to a book, podcast, or a message conducive to building and maintaining the mindset I need to win the day.
Back at home, I will feed Toasty, and either keep listening to the audiobook, or pick up the book I’ve left out on the counter.
By simply introducing these three small habit upgrades in the mornings, I’ve found it makes everything else easier throughout the day. My diet improved. My blood has already been flowing. My mindset has been nurtured with positive ideas. I find myself less reliant on caffeine, less interested in sugar, social media, etc…
The systems, mindset, identification, and implementation you need to upgrade your habits are available to you right now.
It’s simple to read about, but it takes courage to make the first step of setting up the systems you need. If you do that, you’ll find that building and maintaining a healthy mindset becomes easier. Once your mindset is right, you’ll be more receptive to admitting, recording, and identifying the exact habits you need to upgrade. As you begin implementing your habit upgrades, you’ll find that everything becomes easier.
Whether we want them to or not… habits rule everyone. Cheers to upgrading them! Comments or questions? Reply to this email or hit us up on the socials!
Mission News 🗞
This section features the best of what the team at The Mission HQ is reading, watching, listening to, playing, doing, and meditating on. 🤗
🍎 A problem sitting in all our fridges: Misleading expiration dates.
“Sometimes things do just rot before we eat them! But often, food is tossed because of a more confounding culprit: the expiration label. According to Roe’s most recent paper, published in Resources, Conservation, & Recycling, those “best by” dates on packages are the third most-common reason we throw away food in our fridge.
The problem with that? Often, those labels are unstandardized, unclear, misleading, and sometimes even wrong, which means edible food goes to waste.”
🏠 To piggyback off our discussion about habit-building: How design thinking can upgrade your lifestyle.
“Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home — at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.
In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.”
Joe Rogan recently had on John Carmack, computer programmer, video game developer, and CTO of Oculus. He’s been the lead programmer for games like Quake, Rage, and Doom. Join Rogan and Carmack for this two and half hour, wide-ranging discussion.
Another great episode from Snap Judgement, this time about an inventor and a thief. Listen in.
“You get up every morning and go through the motions, but do you ever stop to wonder what you’re leaving behind?
When a brilliant inventor was robbed of his life’s work, his son did the only reasonable thing: he became a robber. Walter produced a film called The Unknowns: Talent is Colorblind. The film tells the incredible true story of ‘The Highway,’ a group of self-taught African-American painters living in the Jim Crow South who, when no one was looking, invented a whole new style of art. To learn more about the life of Walter Shaw Sr. and his inventions, be sure to check out Walter Jr.’s memoir, License To Steal, and the documentary Genius On-Hold.”
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This was the September 6th edition of the Mission Daily newsletter. If you like what you read, join us on our mission.