Habit forming in the least efficient way possible

ยท Around 2 minutes

If you were to ask me how good I am at habit forming, I would say “Not very”.

Looking back over time, there are plenty of routines that I do at present but I wouldn’t call them formed habits since they still take some thinking (and remembering) that I should have done them.

You might say “Well, just put them in your task manager” and that is a very good idea except that would assume that I have successfully formed a habit of checking my task manager religiously.

It’s probably more accurate to say that my worse habits are much stronger and end up eating up the attention I should/would/could be dedicating to things that aren’t, I dunno, clearing out Slack notifications or opening Hacker News for the nth time today.

Now believe it or not, I’m actually here to some good things that might give a little hope to my fellow habit-forming dropouts.

There are various habits that I’ve restarted over and over again, usually with extremely long gaps between them.

An example might be cleaning my apartment. I should do it daily but historically I might go for quite some time before I get around to it.

These days I’m down to like once a week or less which is really good and something I probably thought wouldn’t be possible but I also never committed to cleaning as some sort of core part of my identity that I’m highly focused on reinforcing.

I suppose the point here is even if you repeat the same routine over and over, with extremely large gaps between each iteration, you’ll probably find that without realising, the feedback loop gets every so slightly shorter, even if it’s over the period of literal years.

This isn’t to say you should try to form any habits this way but even if you fret over not picking up a habit you committed to, the act of fretting itself is still reinforcing the habit in some very meandering way.