Building Momentum

Marco Arment’s Apple Watch circle:

I’m traveling this weekend, and I’ve been doing something I’ve never done: I’ve been using the hotel’s gym. Any Apple Watch owners can probably guess why: I have a good run going on my daily Activity circles, and I want to keep it going.

Ever since getting the Apple Watch, not only have I been getting more consistent exercise, but I’m pushing myself further. I take more walks, and I walk faster and further than ever before. I’ve been walking Hops around the same streets for four years, but now I’ve been discovering new streets and paths just to extend our walking distance and try to beat my previous walks.

Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret:

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

Shawn Blanc on developing a rountine:

Every morning I write for at least 30 minutes no matter what. That’s my commitment: 30 minutes. This writing time is the first thing I do each morning when I start my work day.

[…]They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. But that’s the minimum. For most people it is more like 66 days — about two months. But, once you’ve done something for two months then the discipline required to keep doing it is greatly reduced.

It takes momentum to build a habit. Small progress eventually leads to a meaningful change.

To get myself ready for bed, I’ve made the following changes:

  • brush teeth
  • read for at least 15 minutes

When I’m done doing all this, my brain automactically tunes itslf to sleepy mode. I find myself falling asleep easier and faster after implementing these routine. Initially, these actions were conscious behavior I’ve had to enforce. They’re second-nature now so each time I’m done brushing, I’d pick up a book and read for a while.

Celebrate the small victories like Shawn said. Build on that, carry them forward to spur yourself into reaching your other goals.