Habits, Apple, Elon, and Backspace

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Post: Habits: Stop Streaking and Start Tracking
ICYMI: Apples ‘Scary Fast’ Event
ICYMI: Elon Musk and Co.
POTW: Backspace to Go Back

Habits: Stop Streaking and Start Tracking

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear has just about single-handedly rejuvenated the habit tracker space. There have been tons of apps, YouTube videos, and journaling books to hit the market within the last few years. His book gives great advice on how to make habits easier to implement, which ultimately converts them to long-term changes. Essentially, by changing your behavior, making things easy to do, satisfying to complete, with some level of reward system, they will become automatic.

Another famous author, Peter Druker, has a famous quote that’s been rephrased a few different ways, but essentially saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Meaning, if you want to improve something, you need to know where you’re starting from to know where you want to go. And if they’re measurable, they can be tracked anywhere in between. Tracking can be something as simple as a checkbox, watching a number go up or down, or by seeing the compounded effects over time.

Habits are something that must be tracked - at least when first building one. The common saying most people have heard is, “It takes 21 days to build a habit.” However, this is incorrect. The original author from the 1960s stated, “It takes a minimum of 21 days to build a habit.” This is also based on an audience of amputees and physical changes. Of which I would argue could have a shortened time of habit building because they are being used constantly, or at least more often than your daily 30-minute workout.

Instead, most habits take much longer. It very much depends on the type of habit trying to be formed, but the longer it takes to complete the task, or the more often you do it each day, the shorter the time can be. This goes for diets, working out, taking out the trash, reading a book, and much more.

One thing I’ve seen a lot that causes people to stop their habits is missing a day. Society, apps, schooling, and much more have engrained us with the euphoria of hitting streaks. There’s even an underground society for hacking your Apple Watch rings. Let’s face it. We all have sick days, travel, sleep in, weather issues, and many other things that come up and ruin our plans. Not to mention, many people use the excuse of a ‘cheat day’ to eat whatever they want in the midst of a diet.

Rather than stopping your habit because you missed a day, pick right back up where you left off. Working out 6 days a week with an off day is much better than working out 4 days a week and then stopping the rest of the week because you missed the 5th day. As best you can, I would even encourage you not to set the bar high to start off with. For example, when you first start a habit, tell yourself you will workout 3 days a week. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 days in a row or every other day. As that becomes easy, move it up to 4 days a week. But be careful not to corner yourself into a habit that is impossible to do 7 days a week if you have a schedule or lifestyle not accommodating to that frequency. If you are doing something that makes sense to do it 7 days, and you fall off, just get back up! The one day missed is minor in the grand scale of things and once you get past it emotionally, you’ll fly past it physically.

I would like to encourage all who are trying to form habits to use an app with a visual cue to show how many times the habit has been completed. There are plenty of apps that allow this on any device. I’m a fan of TickMate. I wrote about it on my first issue of Weekly Wheaties and have been using it much longer than that. All it takes is a click on any item I need to add to for the day (working out, reading, taking medicine, etc). Other apps in the same genre include: Tally, HabitShare, Habitica, and Streaks.

Remember: If you don’t track it, you can’t improve it.

ICYMI: Apples ‘Scary Fast’ Event

As expected, Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event came with the announcement of updated MacBooks and iMacs. These computers all have faster chips, higher max levels of ram, and somewhat unexpected - lower pricing than their older version counterparts. Even more unexpected, the event ended with a note: Shot on iPhone and edited on Mac. Every year, it seems we’ve been inching closer to iPhones being utilized by Apple for their events. With their latest announcement of the iPhone 15, they highlighted many of the features put in place. Check out a Behind the Scenes look to how this was done. And to show this isn’t completely out of left field, how about a list of successful movies completely shot on an iPhone. Including Unsane, a movie filmed on iPhone 7s, and directed by Steven Soderbergh, who also directed the Ocean’s series of movies.

ICYMI: Elon Musk and Co.

A year after Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion, he now thinks it’s worth $19 billion as he awards equity to some of X’s employees. On a positive note, by going against the tech grain and moving away from the cloud, they are saving 60% of their monthly operating cost of server usage. Server usage now consists of on-prem - meaning their servers are now physically on-premises of their office space. There are pros and cons to this, of which, I’m sure the $60 million a year helped weigh those odds.

Tesla announced a delay of their gigafactory in Mexico as they await economic “clarity” in the EV space. This comes as Ford and GM announce postponement of production in their EV lines and the United Auto Worker strike comes to an end.

With Twitter and Tesla having potentially stock price issues (at least in the short term), SpaceX’s Starlink announced they have now “achieved breakeven cash flow.” This is a positive milestone that comes about 2 years earlier than expected.

Lastly, Tesla’s set of robots have shown a bit of growth over the last few months. The Optimus robot can now sort objects after calibration, while having enough flexibility to do Yoga. There’s also promise from some competitors, including Apptroniks, who already had built a robot for NASA.

POTW: Backspace to Go Back

Sometimes, the best apps are the most basic. Having used Internet Explorer for years, upon switching to Chrome, and now Edge, something so simple was missing. I want to press the backspace button to go back one page. When Edge first was released, this wasn’t available. However, an update now allows a toggle to complete this task. If you are using Chrome, you can install a Chrome extension to do the same thing. Save yourself from having to move the mouse every time you just want to go back.

Download Backspace to go Back on the Chrome Web Store