The posting habit
It’s May 3rd in Maine, though May 2nd, near the International Date Line, my notional location as far as 750words.com is concerned. My draft last night was about 350 words long before I edited it, and I’ve got an hour to get to 750.
It’s not quite 6:00 AM where my body’s at, and 10:56 PM in my 750words nominal location, and that gives me an hour to write another 300 words, now.
I’ll wrap up today, writing a little about Alex Guzey and James Clear. I was going to write about Tim Ferris, but I’ll save him for another time. And I’ll do deeper dives into all of them a bit later.
Alex describes himself thus:
I’m an independent researcher with background in Economics, Mathematics, and Cognitive Science. My biggest intellectual influences are Scott Alexander and Gwern.
Anyone who cites Scott and Gwern is OK in my book.
He’s in my thoughts this morning (and yesterday, and the day before) because he wrote a blog post: Why You Should Start a Blog Right Now that reminded me why I should go back to blogging daily.
He’s also got a collection of Tweet-Sized Insight Porn, and if I’m not careful, I might spend the next hour reading it.
James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results. I heard him interviewed on Sam Harris Making Sense Podcast. It was not the first time I’ve heard him interviewed, but this one convinced me to put his book on my reading list and to mine it for knowledge.
Here’s a summary of the summary of his book from Four Pillar Freedom’s book summary.
If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.
Among the things that hooked me is his definition of habit as “solutions to problems we have to solve repeatedly,” his observation that habits are context-dependent, and his Four Laws of Behavior Change. Again from Four Pillar Freedom:
Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop that involves four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits. They are (1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying.
Clear gives a further exposition on his blog, here and explains nicely how the “feedback loop” leads to the Laws:
So I finished my 750. And beyond that, I realized that I can improve the “blogging habit” I wrote about in the post Pay the price that I wrote yesterday. That’s to give myself a small psychological reward as I make each change in Grammarly. Cue, craving, response, reward.