“Tiny Habits” by BJ Fogg

Book Notes

New Tiny Habit hook: After returning home from walking booster… #

I walk Booster at least twice a day, so I come home that many times

This is a pretty reliable hook that I should add more to. I sometimes will take the trash out at this point every day. (On a side note, tonight I realized that it’s probably worth it to remove garbage at 3/4 full of it means there will be a fresh start the next morning.)

In Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg describes this with “After I…”

After I (ANCHOR), I will (NEW HABIT).
After I flush the toilet, I will do two push-ups.
After I pull the car over, I will write down the most important task of the day.
After I brush my teeth, I will floss one tooth.

I always listen to something, so I can try to capture that

I pretty much don’t leave the house to walk Booster without listening to something. (Yes, this can be problematic because it creates some inertia picking something to listen to, but I’ll deal with that in another blog post.)

During the walk I’ll try to take some notes or clip podcasts here and there, but I rarely go back and review them in any way. This new hook could help me with that.

I’ll do 3 minutes of writing about what I listened to

Three minutes seems doable. It’s not quite tiny but it’s not overwhelming at all. I set a three minute timer for this post, but only got through the first question. It did create the momentum to keep going, so that’s good.

I’ll try to capture this in an iOS shortcut to:

  • Start a 3 minute timer
  • Run the “Topics” automation in Drafts

At the very least, I’ll have a quick and dirty outline that I can fill out later.

Workout 6/23: Press & Squat #

This isn’t heavy, I know I know. (But it’s heavy for me!) This is the risk of posting workouts online. But it’s a type of note and I’ll figure out how to sort this thing later. Not sure I’ll keep posting these but it does add to some of the Atomic Habits satisfying element.

Here I’ll grab a quote to make it make sense to share here.

I know I mentioned Atomic Habits, but Tiny Habits is a good one too. Here’s a quote about embracing the new identity you want to embody:

Identity shifts are change boosters because they help us cultivate constellations of behavior—not just one or two habits here and there. This is important because most aspirations require more than one type of habit change. It’s a set of new habits that will get you where you want to be—especially in the areas of fitness, sleep, and stress.

But it does relate to how James Clear would put it: cast votes for your future self.

If becoming someone who posts their workouts online consistently is what it takes to work out consistently, I’ll take it.

How do you lose a whole bunch of weight? (Kevin Smith) #

Eating a lot of potatoes.

On Ethan Suplee’s “American Glutton”, Kevin Smith tells the story of the heart attack that almost killed him. He says he got to that point because eating is entertainment for him. He could do it hours at a time. There’s nothing he likes to do more than to put good movies on and watch with his wife while grazing on snacks.

The heart attack served as a very scary, very effective epiphany moment.

From BJ Fogg’s “Tiny Habits”:

In my research on habit formation, dating back to 2009, I’ve found that there are only three things we can do that will create lasting change: Have an epiphany, change our environment, or change our habits in tiny ways.

Creating a true epiphany for ourselves (or others) is difficult and probably impossible. We should rule out that option unless we have magical powers (I don’t).

But here’s the good news: The other two options can lead to lasting change if we follow the right program, and Tiny Habits gives us a new way to tap the power of environment and baby steps.

You, of course, want to avoid having a heart attack. But it’s always an effective step for ongoing motivation.

After the heart attack, he got in touch with Penn Jillette about losing weight and learns about the program. One word: Potatoes. But here’s Kevin Smith expanding on that:

First part of the program is two weeks: nothing but potatoes. You just eat potatoes only. You can’t fry them. No oil, no butter, no milk. No salt. None of the shit that makes potatoes wonderful.

Nothing. Just the potato baked or boiled. That’s it.

[ … ]

If somebody gave you 20 pounds potatoes… if you could put them away, it ain’t against the diet. So when I heard this, I’m like, all right, so I can get as much mass as I want. I’ll never feel hungry. And I’m eating potatoes. I love potatoes and shit.

What you find out is… after day three, potatoes without salt, without fucking butter, without milk, without frying them. Without all the things that make potatoes tolerable is just… fucking plain-ass potato.

He acknowledges that it’s not exactly the potato that’s magic. It’s that you stop eating so much junk.

While it’s best not to give yourself a heart-attack-induced epiphany, you can still take a principle away from this: simplicity.

It’ll be easier to stick to a diet if you can remember it in the first place. Same thing with sticking to a writing routine. Or whatever other habit you’re trying to build.

This also reminded me of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s relationship with potatoes. He used to eat them raw like an apple (or like Creed). From Men’s Journal:

Stone Cold Steve Austin: A: I came from a football background, and then I trained to be a pro wrestler. Did I try to have an athletic presentation? Damn right! But I was certainly not dependent on tying off my guns so my veins would pop out. That wasn’t my cup of tea. When I went from Dallas to Tennessee early in my wrestling career, I had a pretty good physique.

But when the money ran low, my conditioning was hit the hardest by my diet started living on raw potatoes, three meals each day. One potato for each meal.

I got flat. I was so goddamned tired, I couldn’t even do a pushup! It was obvious that my appearance wasn’t as important as entertaining the crowd and being in the kind of shape where I could work and make it look good on every single move. My advice: good diet, hard workouts, and less time looking in the mirror.

So put down the Steveweiser, grab a few potatoes, and listen to Kevin Smith on “American Glutton”.

(For more on BJ Fogg and his habit framework, check out this post.)

Spider mines and more #

The joys of a spider mine. This is also the result of some Siege Tanks firing at the same time. This was from about half an hour ago and not like a decade ago.

Some quick links…

  • Ryen Russillo has Nick Bilton on to talk about American Kingpin — Off the top of my head, top 3 of my favorite audiobooks. (And Bilton’s other book Hatching Twitter might be right up there also.) Russillo also had Tom Wright on last year to talk about Billion Dollar Whale. Bill Simmons mentioned in some episodes this year that he’s trying to read 75 books this year. Would love if Simmons and Russillo discussed those books and brought the authors on, or had Klosterman/Gladwell/Michael Lewis doing Rereadables episodes.
  • I’m continuing through Sam Sheridan’s The Fighter’s Mind and finished the chapter on Josh Waitzkin this morning. Always good to read more about Waitzkin, beyond his book The Art of Learning and his appearances on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. When The Fighter’s Mind was written (2010), Waitzkin was still a brown belt. From chess to push hands to BJJ to hydrofoiling. An expert at becoming an expert.

Here’s a quote from Josh Waitzkin in The Fighter’s Mind. He’s talking about a small, high-level chess tournament and the area usually gets rained on at some point during the weekend. He watched how his chess peers reacted.

“If they put their hands up and run, they’re controllers. So, over the chessboard, you take a critical moment and make it chaotic, out-of-control. Make it so they have to embrace the unknown to perform. “But if they stand and just get wet and enjoy the rain, then maybe they embrace chaos—that was the kind of player I was. So for them you create a position where it takes painstaking, mind-numbing calculation to succeed.

Which reminds me of something else he’s talked about, in raising his son. One of my favorite ideas that I’d love to use down the line when the time comes. When there’s a storm, he takes his son out to go play outside in it.

I don’t think we’ve missed a single storm, rain or snow from going outside and romping in it. And we’ve developed this language around how beautiful it was. And so now whenever it’s a rainy day, Jack says, “Look Dada it’s such a beautiful rainy day,” and we go out and we play in it.

I wanted him to have this internal locus of control; to not be reliant on external conditions being just so.

You can ruin your day just worrying about what’s coming.

Or not.

It’s up to you.

Here’s something from BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits, where he talks about starting the day with his ‘Maui habit’—saying “Today will be a great day.”

If you do the Maui Habit and feel that it won’t be a great day, I advise you to still say this phrase. I say it even on mornings when I feel exhausted or overwhelmed or anxious about the day ahead. In that moment, sitting on the edge of my bed, I try to feel optimistic. But if this feels phony, then I adjust the phrase and my intonation as I say, “It’s going to be a great day—somehow.”

That somehow can be throwing your rain gear on and stomping in the rain.

Okay so the connection I’ll pull together here with Starcraft is that Waitzkin has talked about using an efoil to get a lot of paddleboarding reps in without needing to wait around for the environment to participate.

Starcraft lets you get rep after rep of thinking about building an economy and then directing your attention to different things. Whether that skill can transfer directly to other disciplines is another question. Tobi Lutke (foudner of Shopify) has credited Starcraft with helping him learn concepts he’s later applied to business.

Not to say it’s all because of Starcraft.

Just that games can be really good. What have I been learning? I do actually think playing Starcraft has made me a little bit better at directing my attention to the right places when I’m in Figma. To stay moving when working on a user flow instead of narrowing down too early.

Macro for the long run.