30 Minutes - The 5 Habits of a Highly Ineffective Joe

Hi. It's Joe.

I am reading Leo Babauta's "The Power of Less."

It's a book about living frugally and escaping enslavement to debt, and thus THE MAN.

In this book he encourages developing good habits, and describes what he believes is the best approach to good habit development. He says, once you decide on the habit you want to develop, set a goal to perform the habitual behavior every day for 30 days, limiting it to a realistic amount of time and effort.

He adamantly advises people to focus on only one habit at a time, to ensure they aren't overwhelmed with habits they are trying to achieve.

I have five (5) habits in various stages of development that I would like to solidify. I think I can focus on one per month (30 days), and have them all honed to a fine point before the holidays at the end of the year. The habits I want to make second nature are as follows.

1. Exercise Daily - I am going to focus on this one now, in the month of July, for the simple reason that I am riding RAGBRAI the last week of this month, and I have already been going on a daily bike ride to train for it. This one will be fairly easy. The trick is always getting out on the bike at the right time of day, and before it is too late. As soon as I finish this post, I am going to ride my bike to the CSA farm so I can time how long it takes. Then I will probably continue on to Fort Atkinson WI to get a few hills in the course. When it is bad weather, I can put my bike on the indoor trainer that my mom donated to me a few weeks ago. I have no excuse not to ride the bike daily, although I will admit I HATE exercising indoors. But maybe if I have music and something to read, or a TV show to watch on HULU on my laptop, it will be OK.

2. Complete THE CHALLENGE - This is a free online course on Internet Marketing (formerly known as the "30 Day Challenge") that I want to do so I can be more effective in promoting cool products online, and make lots of money so that I do not have to work for THE MAN. This one will be difficult to do in one 30 day period for a couple of reasons. First, it is a 49 day course now (it used to be 30 days). Second, it is taught seven days ON and seven days OFF, so it is really more like 91 days (not counting the final seven days OFF, obviously, since that is technically the end...). So I don't know what to do here. But I think I am going to cheat on this one and just do it while I am doing other habits, even though Leo Babauta says not to do that. But I will treat it like taking a class in school and not really a technical "habit."

Yamaha YPG-635 88-Key Weighted Portable Grand Piano3. Daily Piano Practice - A few years ago, I scored a sweet Yamaha YPG-635 digital grand piano. It's a sweet instrument, with 88 weighted hammer-action keys, and sampled grand piano sound (as well as hundreds of other sampled instruments). It's fun to just dick around on the piano, but I really want to get better at playing real songs and reading music. I want to practice for 30 minutes each day. Since I am only working on one habit every 30 days, I will focus on this one in September. However, I will try to squeeze in 30 minutes of piano practice when I can before September.

4. Write 10 Minute Blog Posts Daily - I think it is safe to say I have already accomplished this habit, with a few minor stumbling blocks here and there. I've been doing it diligently for a long time now. So I will just keep on doing it, and because it is already a well established habit for me, it doesn't really detract from the new habits above that I am trying to strengthen and solidify. I think Leo Babauta would allow it.

5. Write One Commercially Viable Article Daily - I am going to focus on this habit in August, since July is biking and September is piano, and also because I need to make more money at writing during August, because my economic circumstances are evolving. I already have opportunities available to do this, I just haven't been doing it. Right now my focus is on some other things, including live music performances and getting ready for RAGBRAI. But August is perfect for this. I am a writer for LiveStrong.com, a freelance position that is "work-at-your-own-pace." The articles they need are short 400-500 word pieces. Each one doesn't pay a whole lot, but if I do one every day it will add up. I'm also a writer on Elance.com, and I will bid on writing projects I want to do there. These opportunities probably won't arise daily, but they can fill in between the LiveStrong.com stuff. I will also work on my book too. Can I shamelessly back link to the keywords Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow here? Too late...

I'll update you on how everything is going on the habit development. Meanwhile, pick up Leo Babauta's "The Power of Less" at the library. It is a very cool read. Very Zen.


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