about

about

“what is this place?” [1]

[1] Hold on. In what sense is a website a ‘place’? In what sense can you ask ‘where’ it is? Or where ‘you’ are when you visit a website?

This website is a space to think strategically about your habits.

This website is a space to think strategically about your habits.

habitspace-brain-logo-200

You will learn about the strategic use of habits to optimize things like fitness, weight loss, and muscle gain… but also things like writing, marketing, design, and entrepreneurship.

The secret is that they all work better when you start thinking about them as interconnected, at least in your own life. Stressed from work? That’ll affect your diet and cravings. Got a great run in, earlier this morning? Congrats, that will carry over to your writing and creativity for the next few hours, then help you sleep better later that night.

These are the things I’m interested in, and have experience with. My name is Mike, by the way. (What’s up?) You can read about my weight loss, and see pictures of it, here. The rest you’ll learn more about as we go.

You will learn about the strategic use of habits to optimize things like fitness, weight loss, and muscle gain… but also things like writing, marketing, design, and entrepreneurship.

The secret is that they all work better when you start thinking about them as interconnected, at least in your own life. Stressed from work? That’ll affect your diet and cravings. Got a great run in, earlier this morning? Congrats, that will carry over to your writing and creativity for the next few hours, then help you sleep better later that night.

These are the things I’m interested in, and have experience with. My name is Mike, by the way. (What’s up?) You can read about my weight loss, and see pictures of it, here. The rest you’ll learn more about as we go.

What’s the deal with the habit “.space” name?

Your brain and your habits are intertwined with space. This is true in multiple ways.

Obviously, your brain is affected by the environment (that is, the actual physical space) you are in; but it’s more than this. The rabbit hole goes deeper.

For example, you think about very basic concepts in spatial metaphors that you wouldn’t consider “metaphors” per se, but which nonetheless structure your thinking:

“I got a great run in.
[in what sense is time a capsule or a space into which things fit “inside” of?]

“I couldn’t follow the twists and turns of the argument; it moved too fast.”
[in what sense can an argument “move,” “twist,” or “turn”?]

I made those up; but see Lakoff and Johnson for more conceptual metaphors that structure very basic ideas.

We even think about thinking itself in spatial metaphors. We “open” our minds; we “stretch” our minds; we “broaden our horizons.”

We think about the web in spatial metaphors, too. When you visit a website, you might say, “I’m on Facebook,” or “Have you been to bbc.com today?” 

Technically, websites are representations of information on your monitor or phone screen. They’re not spaces that you can be “on” or that you can “visit,” even if that is how we’ve thought about them from the very beginning (web-“sites”).

We think of community web forums as community “spaces.” We say things like, “This is a space to talk about ______.” Indeed, the new “.space” domain extension is designed with exactly some of the above in mind. 

So, to answer the question above: that’s the deal with the name! 

Are you an unthinking “habit rat”?

Our brains are designed to work within, and react to, the actual physical spaces we inhabit.

For a large part of the day, you’re basically a rat in a maze, responding unthinkingly to the environmental habit cues and habit triggers that make us do the things we do.

The rats stopped sniffing corners and making wrong turns. Instead, they zipped through the maze faster and faster. And within their brains, something unexpected occurred: As each rat learned how to navigate the maze, its mental activity decreased. As the route became more and more automatic, each rat started thinking less and less.

Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit, describing this study.

These habit cues include sights, smells, feelings, memories – whatever. The triggers can be anything, in our physical space, or inside our heads. A thought can trigger another thought. These triggers, whatever they may be, instil thoughts, desires, cravings, and they cause unthinking action.

Being aware of this, and taking advantage of it, is useful. It’s not always about putting on the breaks and learning “how to break a habits.” Habits are too useful! We don’t have the mental capacity to get through our day without habits! It’s too much work.

Luckily, you’re a human being, so you can modify or control many of your habits. You have some control over your environment, as well as your habits and the triggers that cause them.

You can be mindful of the ways your brain takes shortcuts that don’t always serve you, and you can purposely manipulate the maze so that your brain begins relying on shortcuts that do serve you, and help you accomplish the things you want to accomplish… without even thinking about it, like those rats in their carefully constructed maze.

That’s what this blog is about.

Habit Mastercraft

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.

Benjamin Franklin

Craft your habits, and – like a good craftsman – take pride in your work.

Use creativity, judgment, and your intelligence to work with your personal circumstances and your personal habits. Work with you’ve got to create something altogether new. Like a sculptor, work with what you have right in front of you.

I’ll be pretty open about the things I try (or have tried). What works, what doesn’t, what fails spectacularly, and occasionally what generates a true win. You always know immediately what the real, true wins are: they’re the things that make your life easier, help you be more productive, and help you do the things you want to do.

 

True wins feel awesome all by themselves, but when you add a few of them together, very good things happen.

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