12 Habits For The New Year

Most of the literature about habit formation state it takes 3-4 weeks to form a new habit. A lot of times you have habits that don’t serve you or you need to form new habits to reach a goal. Rather than just letting things happen consciously evaluate. You should revisit your habits at least annually to see the ones that stuck and why they did and why the other ones didn’t.

“You really do need to be committed to what you are trying to do in order to do it.”

We are suggesting you start one new habit per month. If you change multiple habits in the same time frame it is not possible to know which one made a difference either good or bad. From a behavioral psychology stand point it is best to make a change in a current habit either by replacing a bad habit with a good one or taking one you currently have and intentionally making it work for you.

Episode Breakdown

07:55 January: Cut Out Casual Media Consumption

“By that we don’t mean podcasts.”

This doesn’t mean stop watching TV, reading books, playing games, etc. but stop doing it by default especially when it doesn’t add anything to your day or makes you feel worse. The average American watches 4.3 hours of TV a day and many do it while they don’t do the things they actually want to do with their life.

“What I’m watching normalizes that behavior.”

Think about what you are seeing on TV and what attitudes and worldviews it is putting into your head. The television is at least as bad as having a bad peer or two around. Heavy TV watching can screw up your sleep and waste time that you need for other things. It can also mask symptoms of depression and serve as a way to avoid confronting issues.

13:44 February: Fix Your Diet and Exercise

Seven in ten Americans are obese with all the human misery and expense that brings. Healthcare expenses accounted for a whopping 17% of US GDP and the number is rising.

The healthcare system likely will be going through significant turmoil soon simply because it has outgrown the rest of the market. When that happens you’d better hope you’re healthy. Casual alcohol and carbohydrate consumption by default are also not helpful.

16:33 March: Start Networking

“Life is not fair, so get ahead.”

Most people are only networked with people they’ve worked with before. Intentional networking will help you find contacts that you meet on your own terms. Don’t start networking when you are out of work or afraid of being out of work.

“I highly suggest going to user groups.”

Networking is the most effective passive way of getting job opportunities. Do this before you are out of work while you are comfortable. Do it when it’s not what you have to do.

20:25 April: Start Getting Your Finances in Order

“Most of your life goals are going to require money.”

Most of your life goals can be rather instantly disrupted by large unexpected expenses. Smart money management can also make things you need to be doing anyway (putting money back for retirement, taking appropriate deductions, etc.) routine tasks rather than painful difficult ones. Being tax month most people are already thinking about finances in April so it is the best time to work on them.

23:43 May: Start Setting Boundaries and Enforcing Them

When you set boundaries by default they are implicitly at the other person’s comfort level not yours. Both Will and BJ have set strong boundaries with the people in their lives around the time they record.

“When you get into a situation where people are comfortable insulting you, who is setting where they boundries are?”

Poor boundaries waste time and attention both from worry and from direct disruption. Poor boundaries also make your life more unpredictable and not in a good way. This will destroy your ability to plan.

It is a lot easier to set boundaries early than later when behaviors have been set and accepted. When you set boundaries after bad behaviors have been accepted as normal you are breaking the social contract set up with that person. When setting boundaries respect the boundaries that others set as well.

29:05 June: Step Away From Negative Destructive People

“When you’re spending time with people that are toxic you aren’t spending time with people that are uplifting.”

You’ll be the average of the five or six people you hang out with most of the time. The behavior of those you hang out with will eventually seem normal. If you can’t enforce proper boundaries in a relationship it’s toxic. Avoid or get out of these relationships. There are many books on the subject of negative people in your life but if this is a pervasive pattern consider seeking counseling on forming healthy relationships.

32:35 July: Improve Your Resume

“Fewer places are actually hiring during the summer months.”

You should be continually learning new things. You might not be able to do this on the job. It is your responsibility to improve your own knowledge and career. Outsource this to management at your peril.

You should also have your actual written resume in good order and up to date so that you aren’t scrambling around if you get canned. Make sure your resume is always out there and available. If it’s got stuff on there that people want you’ll find out about it. That feedback can help you with career planning.

38:34 August: Start Setting Long-Term Goals

You should have a mission for your life. Something you want to do. And no it shouldn’t be living a life of ease, watching TV. It doesn’t have to be charitable but you should at least have thought of some realistic but difficult goals for your life.

“If you don’t have a mission for your life you need one.”

Good goals give you good direction and guidance on your choices. Lack of goals give those things to others on your behalf and for their benefit. Figure out concrete steps to get there from here and start actually moving in that direction.

41:40 September: Fix Your Environment

Think about fixing continual minor irritants. Many people will spend a lot of money on an elaborate vacation but spend the whole time stressing about returning. You will be surprised by how much better your life is when you stop being cheap or lazy and fix the small things.

“When you get a pile of little irritants it’s worse than a big one.”

This doesn’t mean spending money necessarily but you do need to evaluate whether the environment you created for yourself is actually serving your current needs. Look into minimalism or decluttering for an example of the removing unnecessary clutter.

47:00 October: Plan Your Day and Your Week

Get in the habit of planning your day before you start it. Do the same at a higher level for your week, month, and year. Keep track of whether your execution matched your goal. If not that’s a sign of something: bad execution or bad planning.

“This is a very good feedback loop for getting a handle on that.”

Planning gives you a nice point of reference for your priorities at a granular enough level to help you make decisions. Document your plan so that you can then follow up to see if it was successful or why it was not. You’ll also find that you get better at planning the more you do it.

52:05 November: Implement Maintenance Schedules

You have recurring tasks in your life. Lots of them. Get the recurring tasks in a regular schedule and stick them in a calendar and stop trying to remember them all. Write the schedule down to help remember the recurring tasks. Getting rid of little things you have to remember reduces your cognitive load and makes other things easier.

53:38 December: Set Up a Process for Collecting and Organizing Your Ideas

“That’s the worst thing…Oh I had this great idea the other day.”

If you are doing or intend to do anything creative your ideas will become extremely valuable to you. Ideas also seem to NEVER come to you when you are actually sitting near a pen and paper.

“I have paper and pencils scatters all over my house.”

You’ll need a variety of ways to capture the idea before organizing it. You’d be surprised how often you’ll come back to “goofy” ideas that you had a while back.

IoTease: Product

CUJO: Smart Firewall

Providing security for your IoT devices CUJO analyses your local network traffic and stores the data in the cloud. Then it analyses the usage data. It will even notify you of anything suspicious on your network.

Tricks of the Trade

Be intentional. Stop doing a thing because it’s a habit. Do it because you mean to. The life that happens to you will never be as good as the one that you MAKE happen. Being intentional about the way you spend your time and your attention.

Editor’s Notes:

Both guys were getting over head colds when recording this so there may be a few sniffles throughout the episode.

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