Day 1657 Record Keeping
Day 1629 Fixed Meditation (15 min, metta)
Day 1503 Writing (7, 13 min Pomodoros, very hard)
Day 1042 Exercise (25 min, biking)
Day 783 Mobility/Stretching (10 min, back & back erector smash)
Day 93 Flossing (20 teeth)
Thoughts on How to Measure Increased Habit Loads
One of the last pieces of the whole self-improvement puzzle (for me, anyways) is how to efficiently increase the amount of work I do on a habit. This is all the more confusing because I’m starting every habit so that it’s incredibly small, to increase the likelihood of it getting to automaticity. But what I’ve found by just naturally going by feel is that I bite off more than I can chew.
So if I start a small habit of biking for 10 minutes, once it’s up to a superhabit, I’ll have a day where I go for 30 minutes. This never works out, and I’m almost always forced to drop down. Maybe not back to 10 minutes (there’s usually a natural swell after the habit is established), but perhaps 15. But if I do it too quickly, the habit not only shrinks back, but it affects other habits.
Initially I thought of it in terms of performing an experiment - maybe I can try the gradual method of slowly adding minutes or I can test out 30 day challenges and see if that gets me further. But another method I was looking into was periodization for athletes.
When I was in high school my friend wanted to join the cross country team. Over the summer he was given a program to follow to get him from running a mile to running up to 9 miles. It involving some days of rest, some days of increased loads, and some days of average or light runs. I never was certain as to whether it was based on some study or if it was just passed down as coaching wisdom. It worked for my friend, but when I tried it, I failed miserably.
While I search for the background on that kind’ve training, it might be helpful to just monitor what days I feel more energized and what days I don’t, based on a rudimentary scale, after I increase the load of a habit. This week I increased my biking by 5 minutes, moving from 20 to 25 minutes. Yesterday I felt great and did 30 minutes. Today I felt like I was dragging even to get to 25. That could mimic the pattern across time if the energy patterns are similar with every push.
That’s, of course, a big if. I don’t, for example, know if it is system wide, since I’m also working really intensely on writing, and upping flossing. I also don’t know how long I’ll have to wait to get things completely automatic with a higher load, nor do I know how to test it in any sort of efficient, elegant way.