Still a bit under the weather, but holding steady or getting better with a ton of water drunk, a little extra sleep, and nominal (present, but not extravagant) exercise.
I can’t use tracking apps! I just can’t! The sweet irony is that there are apps out there to help you build habits, but I cannot get into the habit of using them. I just can’t get into that particular groove.
Food logging, sure; it started as a grim necessity as something that must be done on The Path, but I’m actually starting to enjoy the weird freedom of setting the day’s food in the morning and then not having to think about food for the rest of the day — just eat what’s there.
In the evening, the physical ritual of a box of paper slips that I fill out and move from “fresh” to “done” really appeals to me.
The apps? I don’t know. I’ve tried four or five over the past three years; currently I’m on Momentum. This isn’t a slight against Momentum. It’s fine. Good, even. Elegant and effective. But I just find it a lot easier to wrap my head around the paper slips, and again, the physical ritual of doing something “real” at the end of the day, phone down and put away, is very… settling.
I keep tryin’ them, but nothing seems to stick. Right now I’m giving Momentum a shot, and it’s… fine, I guess? It tracks habits!
What works for me? A physical checklist. Paper and pen, baby! I shared this a week or so ago, but I’ve got a full nightly thing printed out, and I even made a pretty box for it:
The ritual of it is what kind of makes it work, at least in part. Sitting down, opening the box, going through the exercise of self-reflection and physically putting checkmarks in boxes (especially that “No Snacking” box. That feels good.).
Not to say I won’t find an app that works for me! My wife is digging HabitBull right now. I’ve gotten good mileage over Don’t Break The Chain!, possibly the simplest one I’ve ever tried, in the past.
The checklist is my jam, though. It just works well for me.
I made a little box for my nightly checklists; I don’t have Checklist v2.0 to share on this computer, but it’s pretty much the same as Checklist 1.2 but with space for a one-sentence journal entry, a “gratitude/meditation” space, and a dedicated space to doodle something.
Is it useful? Is it helpful? Well, not super much so, but it’s substantial, and I think the physical act of taking a blank piece of paper out of it, writing on it, and putting it back on the “done” side is a ritual that feels good. It feels like I’m doing something.
“Productive” is out of the phone app race immediately — if you don’t set up 100% of your desired habits when you set up the first time, the “add a new habit” feature just drops the “buy now!” screen in front of you and if you clear it, it goes back to the main menu. My wife is trying HabitBull, and I’m taking a look at Momentum (Apple only, sorry).
To be honest, though, I’m not sure these things are for me. The checklist at night feels like plenty, and the “Flow to the Door” system seems like the optimal way for me to get my days started.
Oh — and I’m already altering the “flow to the door” thing. The cats have to get fed when I get up or it’s just not tenable. So now it’s not a perfect flow — up, clothes, then all the way down to feed cats / pack lunch, then back upstairs for exercise and flow resumes. The perfect is the enemy of the good!
Back on exercise, and it feels good! 10k row today, my first in a loooong time, and about to start doing the whole deal: food logging, the checklist tonight, all of that.
I know I do like routine, and I think there’s a kind of sideways thing happening here. I make behaviour I don’t like part of my routine, force myself to do that stuff I don’t like for a persistent period of time, and bingo bango, routine. Now I feel more comfortable doing it than not.
The other recent thing is being invited by a friend to join him on a fitness app thing. MyFitnessPal. Which is probably fine! I’m going to do it, because it’s a new thing, new things sometimes work, and it doesn’t cost money. I’ve tried LoseIt, which is okay.
So why not?
(Actually, I can immediately think of about eight Why Nots, but that is not what this is about. I’m supposed to do and try, not duck).
A new app today, then, and seeing if the social pressure of being answerable to a friend for staying on track — as well as the support I’m getting at home — can convert into some gains.
Lots of BUSINESS now: food logging, install an app, set up the app, all the things!