After 30 Days

I’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to establish an unbreakable habit. I find this to be completely ridiculous. It seems like maintaining a habit gets hardest after that point, after 30 days, when you’ve had a long day and you’re exhausted and just don’t feel like it.

That little voice in your head says, “Ah, come on. You deserve a break, you’re doing great!” is when it’s most important to double down and get it done.

Lifestyle changes, at least significant ones, can take years to fully cement themselves into our daily lives. That shouldn’t discourage us from trying to establish habits, though.

In fact, I find it somewhat encouraging. When we start to think long-term, a slip-up over a single day seems to matter much less. When the timeline is stretched substantially, it becomes a matter of numbers and sheer consistency over time that really makes the difference.

Average speed.

So the question does come up, what are you willing to do for most of your life? If you want to be in good health, are you willing to eat vegetables and go on walks most days of your life until you physically can’t anymore?

No 30-day Beach Body/Insanity workout can accomplish that.

I do think it gets harder after 21, or even 30 days. I’m running into that right now, just like I did last year. I’ve successfully hit my targets and completed my daily tasks for almost the entire month and especially tonight, I’m exhausted.

It might be because we just got a puppy that requires a lot of time and attention, but man am I tired. At the same time, I’m grateful that I now have to take the small chunks of free time available to me much more seriously.

The point is, I’m willing to continue, to keep going and push through this dip to see where my daily habits take me. I know it’s what matters, and I know it’s what will get me where I want to be.


The Rocky Chronicles

And so begin, the puppy chronicles. We’ve been looking for a dog for a while and we came across this guy yesterday. He’s about four month old Maltipoo, his dad is a Maltese and his mom a Poodle. He was with a family from the time he was about 12 weeks old, but it turned out that the family was too busy to keep him and brought him back to the breeder.

We went to visit him this evening and ended up taking him home with us. It worked out well because the previous family included all of the food and toys that they had bought for him as well. It seems like he was well cared for, but it just didn’t work out.

So, we’re excited. January 27th is the 10-year anniversary of the night Amy and I met, so it’s kind of a fun thing to be getting a dog together on almost this exact date. We’ll be sharing more of his adventures as we learn more about him and see what he’s like. While we were visiting him before taking him home, he was playful when down on the ground and then he’d sit with us very calmly when we picked him up.

We’re really looking forward to training him and getting to know him better in the coming days. He’s a fun little guy and has a lot to learn, as do we. Here’s a picture of him about 10 minutes after we brought him home. We’re off on an adventure!


The Attention Market

Attention is the new currency.

Publishers, smartphone app creators, and journalists have one goal: to steal as much of your daily attention as they can. In exchange, they get money from companies that advertise on their content or directly sell a product or service. This environment creates a sort of stock market where people buy and sell your attention and attempt to redirect it in a profitable way.

Unlike the stock market, this attention market is completely unregulated.

There are very few rules, if any, that prevent companies from using deeply addictive psychological strategies to keep users coming back. Within that free market, with so many organizations competing for the attention of their users, the sketchiness of the methods to accomplish this seem to rise meteorically.

Every app you install now asks to send you notifications. Why on earth would most apps need to distract you from a conversation you’re having or a book you’re reading? Because they want more of your attention, more frequently.

Niche news sites create content that infuriates half of its audience and provides confirmation bias to the other. This causes both sides to share the post out of both boasting and what I might call the “can you believe this #$@%” share. Which, as discussed previously, wins the attention game and creates more ad revenue for the offending site.

Those sites don’t care who reads them and they certainly don’t care if you agree. They just want numbers and ad revenue and they’re succeeding.


Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

What if getting everything we wanted actually made us unhappy?

I believe that it does or at least that it can. It comes from the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. No matter our situation we tend to view what we don’t have and see it in an idealistic way. Is it actually better over there? Probably not, but it gives us something to continually aspire to.

Life is indeed, a journey. There’s only one real destination and that’s when we’ve checked out for good.

So what would happen if we really did get everything we wanted?

I can only answer this question with another question: Is it getting the thing we want that makes us happy or the process that led up to getting it?

Perhaps both. It is the reward that caps a difficult journey towards acquiring something meaningful.

But, then what?

Whenever Amy and I make homemade pizza together, it always seems to taste better than anything we order. We’re no pizza artisans, though I am able to claim a ~52% Italian bloodline. Perhaps it is less about the pizza itself and more about the process, the anticipation, the hunger that builds as the dough rises in front of you.

In the end, it is the journey that we spend the majority of our lives on. Do we ever really want that journey to end? I don’t think so. At least, not until we’re old enough to feel we’ve done all that we want to do in life. I’m not sure if that’s a real thing, but I’ve read about it.


2016 Annual Review

Well, it has been quite an interesting year, hasn’t it? This is my annual review and audit to reflect back on how things went in 2016. This is now the second time that I’m creating this style of report to check in on how things went throughout the year. If you’re interested in reading the 2015 year-end report, you can do that here. Otherwise, onward! Cover photo by Rita Farmer.


How to Prevent Motion Sickness When Flying

I sat in the back seat of a maroon 1986 Dodge Caravan, complete with the classic fake wood panels. It was a six-hour road trip from Ann Arbor to Louisville, and I found myself entertained by my Nintendo Gameboy. No, not the color one, the original black and white one. It took about an hour or so of Metroid until I looked up and projectile vomited into the unoccupied middle seats. Somewhere around Dayton, Ohio, in fact.