Learning new things

Habit formation, balance, and discussions

Hey there. These are my weekly musings on life, career, and writing.

I wanted to take a moment to say: likes, replies, messages, and shares of this newsletter all mean the world to me. To the over 200 of you that read each week: thank you sincerely.

If after reading this, you think of someone that might like it, would you consider forwarding the issue? This is a labor of love so any help is greatly appreciated.


Thinking Loud

Sustainable habit formation is one of the most sought after abilities in the world. Think about it: how many people want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or even wake up earlier? A shit ton. That’s how many.

Atomic Habits, illustratively, became an instant worldwide bestseller. My brother Shane also wrote a book called Skill Paths which outlines his four-step process to building new abilities (which by the way, he used to transition from unemployment to a fortune 500 organization). There is no shortage of resources on how to build sustainable habits. There is, however, a shortage of discipline and an abundance of distraction.

Both of the books above (and more) have been fundamental in helping me figure out how I can build out my own foundation for sustainable habit formation.

There are a few activities that deserve my undivided attention right now, largely because my attention has become entirely too divided. This is just what’s working for me. Every day, I have three things I like to do:

  1. Work on Writer’s Bloc

  2. Practice learning Python

  3. Listen to one of my records (front-to-back)

Why these? I have no idea. Okay, well, I have some idea:

  1. Writer’s Bloc is my passion project and requires a pretty sustained amount of effort to ensure that everyone gets the time of day they deserve. In addition, there is a lot to be done, and the only way it will is consistent effort.

  2. Python has always been interesting to me. I have contracted out (personally & professionally) developers to write me scripts in the past. If anything, it would be nice to better understand the architecture of what I’m paying for. At best, I might find out I really enjoy it and keep pursuing it. I’m currently working through Learn Python The Hard Way.

  3. I have a stupid amount of records I have purchased over the years. I’ve also gotten rid of a lot of my belongings as I’ve moved from place-to-place, but these have stayed consistent for a long time. There’s an extraneous amount of them I haven’t even listened to.

If you don’t make time for the things you enjoy, when will you?

Here’s what I’m learning more and more about myself. I love consistency. I thrive in it. Having these three pillars every day makes me feel like I’m moving towards something which invariably grounds me when I’m feeling insecure.

I’m starting to wonder how much more I can stack. Illustratively, I’d love to build up a daily creative writing habit. Eventually (when the gyms open back up) I would love to create a better workout routine. But what is really different now vs the past?

I’m journaling progress. Here’s what that looks like:

I’m even doing it with the records I’m listening to every day. All of this to say, I think there are some pretty incredible methods surrounding habit formation. For me, personally, I think that involves journaling daily.

Right now, I’m just trying to stay consistent and curb distraction. My friend & business partner, Logan, wrote about this in his essay on The Seesaw Problem. Like him, I’m trying to stop seesawing my interests and hammer down on a few things for a while.

Maybe try journaling for yourself. Or try something else, doesn’t really matter to me.


Finding Balance

My entire life I have struggled with balance. Balance in my interests, balance in my effort, balance in my relationships. Balance.

But what does that word really mean? By definition, it’s an even distribution. For me, it really just involves not trending too far in any single direction.

For better or for worse, when I accept a quest, I go all in. When I committed to writing online during quarantine, I did so by shutting out the world. I hardly went outside for those few months. When I committed to losing my beer-belly around the same time, I lost 20 lbs at the cost of proper nutrition. In the past, I’ve become completely enamored by my relationships that I shut out those who really matter to me.

Most recently, I’ve realized that my obsession with entrepreneurship and career has come with an enormous amount of cost that I have been ignoring:

  • Little to no sleep (With the exception of most recently, I had been averaging anywhere from 4-5 hours a night. This is not an exaggeration.)

  • Time that should have been spent with friends & family

  • My sanity (It has not been a great few months for me quite honestly)

So what am I doing right now to optimize for balance?

  • Restricting the hours at which I take calls and chats with people

  • Minimizing distraction from social media to encourage personal peace

  • Establishing a better sleep routine & getting out for walks every day

  • Working out what it looks like to be able to spend more time with loved ones

All of this to say, I’ve recognized my need for balance. And I’m well on my way.


Building Writer’s Bloc

This has been some of the most fun I have ever had with something. You know you’re on the right path when you’re getting utility out of something yourself. Of every entrepreneurial venture I’ve ever spent time on, this one has been the most fulfilling.

We had our Bloc (roundtable discussion) on what it looks like to give/receive feedback on your writing. Something that many of us struggle with on both ends. Various timezones, various discussions, and a fun time.

For the Bloc this upcoming week, we have a guest speaking to the group. Schweet.

Outside of that, I’m almost done with our automated bots within the Slack channel and have been spending some time figuring out a) better payment processing and b) continuing to make sure everyone gets the time of day they deserve.

Lastly…some food for thought for your week:

Have a great week!

Cullin