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I’ve been listening to David Goggins' memoir Can’t Hurt Me. Part a retelling of his life from early childhood to his adulthood covering the difficulties he faced at every juncture, and part self-help ooh-rah manual, the book is an intense read, and the audiobook is a very well-done adaptation.
While I’d recommend that you read it if you haven’t, this article focusses on a couple of techniques he lays out that will allow any person to boost their performance across a wide variety of activities.
Resolutions are too large and grand. Habits are very granular and lead you in a general direction. Short-term goals form a nice meeting place between the two.
I’ve been following a monthly schedule for my goal-setting. It offers enough time to do something substantial, while also allowing for quick wins or course corrections. In doing so, I’m seeking a balance of things to focus on for a given month.
I’ve broken my goals into four categories
I love watching NBA games. Of the teams I’ve watched, I like the style of play the Golden State Warriors have perfected. Lots of ball movement, very little isolation play, an assist-heavy scoreline and two of the best shooters ever.
If you know nothing about them, there are a few facts that can help inform this conversation
They are a superteam. Their entire starting lineup for parts of this season consisted of All-Stars, something that has never occurred before They have 3 of the last four championships and are in the finals of this one The literature around superteams and star-studded teams is unequivocal.
If you’ve read my previous entry on this topic, you’ll know I’m a big fan of habits. Charles Duhigg’s book offered a lot of background and detail on why habits worked, but more than once, I was found wishing that he had more practical advice in his book.
I came upon James Clear’s Atomic Habits tearing up the non-fiction charts and my interest was piqued. I loved the book so much that I’ve picked up the audiobook version as well.
There is no typical day.
There might be typical Sundays or typical Wednesdays, but given that the world measures work in weeks, the ebb and flow of life is along the same lines. A few lucky or unlucky people might have deterministic days, but for the rest of us, the best unit of planning is the week.
I’ve long since had the habit of planning my weeks out on Monday morning.
I’ve been working in the same place for over a decade now. In all that time, I’ve always worked on the same technology. While my work has been quite varied and rewarding, it has meant that I’ve atrophied in many ways. This year, I’ve started work on refreshing my tech skills again. It’s been a hard road so far because I don’t have a lot of time and because it’s been so long since I’ve done that.
Ever since 2006, I’ve attempted to read a few books a week, with the best periods being when I’ve been travelling on work when I average a book a day. Most weeks mean 3-4 books read.
This has meant a few things have changed in my reading habit
I read faster now (well, duh!) The books are far less weighty. More genre fiction, less difficult reads, so overall a dumbing down of my diet.
I’ve tried meditation before a couple of times, but it didn’t stick. I found it very hard to still my mind or focus on my breath, and ended up feeling that the exercise was a waste of time.
A group session at work changed my feelings completely. It was a 30 minute guided meditation session, and it left me feeling calmer and recharged.
Since I was flirting with the idea of habit stacking to get me to kick off a set of good habits all at once, I added meditation to it.
I’ve not been having the best of times at work these days. I feel like I spend my day majoring in minor tasks and doing little deep work. Add to that the fact that I live deep in the suburbs of Bangalore and my commute is around 3 hours a day, my frustration levels are, shall we say, not inconsiderable.
I’ve spent a good amount of time in the last month and a half listening to audiobooks that I feel might kick me out of this rut and help me feel in better control of things.