Habit Journals FTW!

Every once in a while I go on a Googling binge researching ways to improve myself. How can I better organize my writing, my thoughts, and see what others are doing. This time I decided to Google YouTube (is that a thing?) and I found Habit Journals.

Habit Journals are effectively what you might think they are, journals to track the progress of your habits. But what I found on YouTube was a lot more impressive than just that. There is a whole community of people keeping of their habits in an artful way. They’re taken the Bullet Journal method and threw crayons at it. The ladies usually go for the colour look while the guys usually go black. But any way you look at it, they’ve turned the Bullet Journal into a hobby of sorts.

So I decided to do my own Bullet Journal and experiment with the artsy part of it like the ladies do. What I immediately discovered is that art makes deep thinking much easier to achieve. It seems to allow the brain to relax and open up. And writing my thoughts a lot easier. And in turn, helps in programming my habits more effective.

Habit Journal Tools

If you Google Habit Journal you will get two sorts of results, fill in the blanks books that guide you through the process of habit journaling. And tons of blogs that describe how to track your habits in blank paper books like the Leuchtturm 1917 with dotted pages. If you browse through the videos and blogs you’ll discover the tools used and how those tools are used.

Daily Greatness Journal

Pinterest is another place to look for a great source of ideas for habit journals. For those who are looking for creative ways to lose weight, or eat healthier, or whatever part of your life you want to improve, Habit Journals are the way to go. But if you want some guidance in working on yourself, purchasing a professionally made habit journal may be the way to go. Something like the Daily Greatness Journal which has a page for every day of the year with prompts.

Myself, I plan on learning to draw so I can improve my creativity and thinking process to make this a great year.

WTF is Habit Programming?

Improving yourself is damn hard and takes a lot of time. It’s about figuring out how you work and learning how to learn. And the best way to learn it to organize and categorize your thoughts, feelings and actions. And today I came up with something I call Habit Programming. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while, but I just figured out it is its own thing.

What is Habit Programming You Ask?

Let’s start at the beginning. You have a goal you want to reach. We wouldn’t need goals if they were easy to reach, otherwise we’d just do them. So we need to break down goals into manageable units called habits.

So if you want to go on a big vacation at the end of the year, you need to save money. So easy, you just reserve a chunk of your paycheck to saving it for the trip. Problem is you like spending money on things you don’t really need. So now you have to figure out why you buy stupid things.
So next time you’re at the cash register paying for something you don’t need you suddenly have a epiphany. Buying something new fills an emptiness inside your soul. So you make note of this. Having an empty soul makes me want to spend money. That is what I call Habit Programming.
Next time you go shopping because your soul feels empty you take a walk around the block to subdue that feeling.
The next paycheck you realize you have fewer bills to pay. So you decide to go spend the difference because, eh, it’s free money. But after you’re spend the money you feel bad because you could have saved it. So you take note of that for the next time you get paid.

The trick is to be able to catch yourself at that exact moment you realize you’ve made the mistake. And then write it down the your habit journal you decided to start using.

But what I decided to do different with habit programming is to write down my note with a strong key word. Trying to remember all these notes is hard. But the brain is capable of quickly retrieving information based on contextual keywords.
So I would write down my habit programming note like below:

Soul Crushing – Don’t spend money on stupid things.
Free Money – Don’t spend free money, save it.

But for the above to work, you need to write it down with a pen/pencil to paper. Read it back loudly. Speak it out loud if needed.

You may think that the above is a bit hard to remember. So I might decide to add a third line for those other times I try to spend money on stupid things.

Soul Crushing – Don’t spend money on stupid things.
Free Money – Don’t spend free money, save it.
25 dollars – Spend no more than twenty-five dollars on stupid things.

The above three lines would usually keep me going for a while until I find something else that I need to add to the list to save money. Before you know it in an attempt to implement a good habit, you’ve vanquished a bad one.

I have been doing this habit programming thing for a year and it really works for me. It takes time and effort. But I find that it helps a lot towards achieving my goals. At first, it was really hard to figure out those triggers and correct them. But over time I became a lot better at pointing them out and writing them down. And before you know it, it becomes a challenging game.

How to answer the hard questions

I do a lot of things to improve my life. I go to the gym, I read everything and anything I can get my hands on almost every topic having to do with self-improvement. I pay attention to other people’s behaviours. But the one thing I don’t do enough. The one thing that is the hardest. And the one thing that has shown the most success that I don’t do enough of. The one thing is having conversations with myself. And asking myself the tough questions. Continue reading “How to answer the hard questions”

Why nothing’s impossible

“Nothing’s impossible. There are just people that aren’t willing.”

There are certainly people who don’t know how to accomplish certain things. Those challenges that they can’t overcome. Those are the people who will give up and say it can’t be done.

Nothing’s impossible. Sending people to Mars today is certainly technically challenging. But if you’re willing it’s definitely achievable. To get there you just need the drive and the fortitude to ask for help.

Nothing’s get under my skin more than someone in a position of authority who you would think also has the experience to go with it saying that something in impossible. From a business sense, it may not be doable. From a financial sense, perhaps not within budget. But to simply say it’s impossible and stop there makes no sense.

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Development Sandbox: Building A Better Math.pow() Function

I remember a long time ago I had read an article comparing two keys on a classic calculator. Someone had asked why the [Xy] key where y is equal to 2 is slower than the [X2] key. So I thought I’d have a look at the JVM’s equivalent function, Math.pow(). But also I wanted to see if I could create a better version of that function. Continue reading “Development Sandbox: Building A Better Math.pow() Function”