The more I ponder the state of my habits the more I now think that superhabits are just the beginning.
My writing habit is solid, but I’m having problems with specific aspects of it. Today I started pitching, but the fear set in and it took me a lot to overcome it. A few days ago I had the same problem with writing research intensive articles.
When I first start any habit half of the problem is getting over that fear and procrastination that stops me from actually doing the task. It’s why TinyHabits are so great. You do a little, and doing a lot becomes nothing eventually.
I have no problem writing a lot of things - but I have problems when focusing on specific aspects of the trade. That’s to be expected. My frustration enters when I mistake mastery in the general task of writing with mastery over a specific aspect, like research writing.
What I should be doing is nesting writing - forming a new research writing habit within the slot of my already formed general writing habit. How would this work? The same as any habit - start small to overcome the starting inertia of the habit, understand that it will get harder before it gets easier, and keep going until it’s as automatic as any other superhabit.
In my general theory, as a habit approaches 84 of the SRHI (max automaticity), it also approaches 0 Endurance, and therefore approaches 0 Willpower. I don’t quite understand the relationship between Endurance and Willpower (and I’ll be keeping this simple by just referencing Willpower), but what I can say is that the Willpower needed to do a habit gets less and less through the process of habituation.
That doesn’t mean it goes away. It’s a very dependent relationship. Willpower is one depleteable resource, but through the process of habit formation you are also building your Willpower reserves. And it fluctuates depending on other drains on that resource.
For example, if I’m trying to bust a plateau of one of my superhabits, it’s going to drain more Willpower than just skating along in superhabit mode. So cycling plateau busting protocols and habit formation protocols is a necessity.
What do I mean by this? It means I’m working against myself if I, say, start doing crossfit to bust past a plateau in my bodyweight exercises AND at the same time start building a brad new flossing habit. I’ve suddenly got two drains on a resource that might only be equipped to handle one.
I am noticing a deficit in mid-range planning for my planning, and this has to incorporate willpower cycling theory. I’ve got my long-range plan - this general habit project. I’ve got my daily list of individual habits that I do and record daily.
There’s a certain satisfaction and security a weightlifter has when following a training program like Russian volume training or Rippetoe. It means that there’s never a time week-to-week, month-to-month where he suffers doubt as to whether or not there is a greater progression. I don’t have that in many of my habits.
I suffer from a lack of mid-range planning - I frequently feel like I’m drowning, churning my legs in the mud, and though that might not be the case, a part of the security of a mid-range plan is KNOWING that progress is being made, that there is a hand off from week to week or month to month rather than just toiling away.
What to Do
Lydia suggested to plan out the week and/or the month. This way I can gauge what I should push (plateau busting, etc) and what I should just late skate in order to do good work in other theaters.
What’s the thing I needs the most work? How should I gauge improvement. And most importantly how do I gauge improvement across weeks. These should be like little mini-projects - like 30 day challenges that have discrete beginnings and ends, whose fruits are handed off to the next push.