Derek Sivers

Superhuman by Habit - by Tynan

Superhuman by Habit - by Tynan

Date read: 2014-10-10
How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
(See my list of 320+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Great little manifesto about habits. Very well thought-through practical applications, tips, and philosophies on creating and sustaining the habits you want.

my notes

I write every single day, study a foreign language every day, work on my big projects every day, eat healthy every day, work out every other day, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Habits are the closest we can get to having superpowers.

A habit is an action that you take on a repeated basis with little or no required effort or thought. It's a loophole that allows you to upgrade your health, quality of life, productivity, and enjoyment of the world with a fixed expenditure of energy in creating a habit, rather than on an ongoing drain on your willpower.

Establishing most habits takes the relatively short time of one to twelve months.

If you procrastinated today, it's because you've built the habit of procrastinating.

Even your outlook on life is the product of your habits.

New habits are things that you do, but old habits are things that you are.

To improve yourself permanently, develop more old habits by creating new habits and sticking with them until they mature into old habits.

Be very scared to fail to execute a habit, even once. This is a huge deal and should not be treated lightly. So make your habits relatively easy, but never miss doing them.

Planning a variance, make it concrete, black and white, and specify exactly when the variance will end. For example, instead of doing your regular gym routine while traveling through Europe, you commit to do twenty pushups every morning, and then as soon as you return home, resume your normal routine.

What do you do when you've promised yourself that you'll write five hundred words every single day, but you're sick, tired, busy, and can't think of a single thing to write about? Just do a terrible job. It is far far worse to skip doing something than to just do a horrible job of it. Doing a crappy job makes you feel a little bit guilty, but also proud that you worked through a tough time.

Your brain figures out that if it just puts a few small barriers in your way, it can go back to resting. Classic manifestation of this is tiredness while working. Push through and work anyway. Just do a terrible job if necessary, but make it clear to your brain that putting up token objections isn't enough to give it a rest. You'll find that you don't get tired when you work.

Take pride in process, not in results.

I suggest a top-down approach to habit building, picking off the big ones and then going for the little ones.

I made a list of six things I was allowed to do (work, eat, sleep, read after midnight, play violin, talk to girls), intentionally making it so that talking to girls was the most fun thing I was allowed to do.

If you are not going to follow through with a habit, it is better to never start it at all.

In most areas of life it's better to try and to fail than to not try at all. In habits it's far better to succeed at an easier habit, and then build up from there.

Daily habits are hard to overlook or miss, and low intensity habits are easy to complete. Instead of starting with thirty minutes every other day, you resolve to meditate for just one minute every single day. This sounds ridiculous, but once it becomes part of your life, doubling it to two minutes is also very easy.

Creatine: It allows your muscles to hold more water, which helps them lift more, which in turn breaks down muscle fiber more quickly, which allows you to build muscle more quickly. You take a loading dose for a week or ten days. Then, once you've built up a baseline level of creatine, you drop the dose to a fraction of the loading dose and take this maintenance dose every day. Have one very strict habit for loading, and then another to maintain. How do you know when to switch from your loading habit to your maintenance habit? The key is to be able to honestly evaluate what would happen if you dropped the habit entirely. If you think that you would immediately go back to your old ways, keep loading. The purpose of the loading habit is to completely remove all associations with your old habit.

Negative habits have specific triggers. Boredom might trigger wasting time online.

When you wake up in the morning, that is a trigger for a habit.

Use such a powerful reality of the human experience to our benefit.

Without a proper trigger, a habit is just something you sometimes do. Meditating once in a while when it strikes your fancy is an inconsistent hobby. Meditating every single day when you wake up is a habit.

Whenever you begin a new habit, you should think about what its trigger is going to be, and to commit to that.

We're not adding more triggers to our days, we're just changing the actions they spur.

Use habits as triggers for other habits, thus creating a reliable chain.

Think about all of the things that absolutely must get done in a day, and work them into chains. The easiest habits should be loaded up front, and the most difficult ones should be last. This ensures that you maximize the benefit of momentum.

Only quit habits when you no longer want to quit them.

(For an excellent book by my favorite thinker on food, read Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger.)

Create a habit of only hanging out with people who you want to become better friends with.

Short term efforts to improve your environment can pay off big in the long term.

By creating positive habits around how you react to external events, it feels like nothing bad ever happens to you.

Remember that everyone is just doing their best and trying to be happy, just like you.

The first step towards a good sleep habit is creating a good sleep environment. The key components of a good sleep environment are complete darkness and silence. Buy a sleep mask. Bucky 40 Blinks mask. Wear the mask every single night, even though you will just pull it off in your sleep for the first few weeks. Regulate your bedtime. Set a strict screens-off time one or two hours prior to your bedtime.

If you meditate for five minutes a day, you will notice results within two months. Focus on the process and count it as a win any time you sit with your eyes closed, trying your best, for five minutes.

If you love green tea, but want something new, try a light Taiwanese oolong.

Take vitamin D every day. Take 10,000iu per day until you are no longer deficient then drop down to 5,000iu.

Seek Out Masterpieces: A masterpiece is anything made by someone who is an expert in their craft.

Scroll through your entire phone book. For each person you haven't contacted in the past month, or since the last check, force yourself to either delete them from your phone or send them a message or make a call.

I routinely go through my Facebook friend list and delete people who I wouldn't want to go have dinner with.

Twice, then Quit is very simple. When you want to quit working for the first time, don't. Push through and work some more. The second time you want to quit, also don't quit. Push through again. The third time you want to quit, go ahead and quit. The trigger for twice, then quit, should be feeling exhausted, being unable to focus on the work at hand, or feeling like you're not able to muster the effort towards creating high quality work.

Plan When Stuck: leading cause of procrastination is simply not knowing what to do next. Whenever that happens, simply set a clock for thirty minutes, and begin planning.