Naturally, our minds are designed to preserve energy for a rainy day, so applying it sometimes can get it out of its comfort zone but if we can grow the habit of keeping it active like any muscle, it adapts to the challenge.
As I write this article, I get overwhelmed thinking about how the entire piece will come out like but if I can only focus on just this paragraph then the task no longer feels overwhelming. Anything consumed in smaller more digestible chunks makes it a lot easier to digest and appreciate.
I have been thinking a lot about building good habits and eliminating bad habits from my routine. This has proven to be an enormous challenge because as human beings our brains are wired to worry and focus only on the present and ignore the future and bad habits always feel good at the moment but the cumulative effects are not healthy.
Good habits, on the other hand, feel like a chore but the cumulative effects are great. When you are starting to work out, everything in your body wants to stop and do something less strenuous but if you go through the resistance phase and keep at it the results are amazing.
Learning to code can be overwhelming because a lot is coming at you due to the nature of technology always changing and staying on top of things is inevitable in this industry. As you learn and get into the habit of harnessing your skill, you will need to be cognizant of the following hacks that I use and have worked for me.
The challenge is how do we adopt good habits and how do make sure they stick so we can achieve there gratifying compounding effects
Make it simple to do: Just getting to sit on your desk and learn to code can be a mental strain and getting into the habit of doing it every day can be very challenging at the beginning. One hack that works for me is to keep it simple and stupid(KISS). Commit to doing it for 20 minutes(Pomodoro) and all of a sudden it is no longer as overwhelming as you think. Remember it is the consistency that matters and that is how good habits are built. It is not about how much time you spend sitting down, it is how much value you derive out of it and most importantly enjoy the process.
Make it part of your lifestyle: There is a trick called habit stacking that James Clear talks about in his book Atomic habits. For example, you know you have to go home every day so why not walk home to improve your fitness. Make learning how to code part of your everyday routine. A friend of mine works on coding challenges when catching up on movies. By doing this you are removing as much friction as possible from what you want to achieve and what you like doing. I understand that this might not work for everyone but stay with me.
Reduce friction on the good habit and increase friction on the bad habits: This means to remove as many cues as possible from your routine that cause you to via off track and end up doing what you are used to doing but does not add value. Thinking about learning how to code as something you do every day for just 20 minutes of your time is easier than thinking about it as this chore you will have to do for about 2 hours straight. You can reduce friction by learning on your commute home or have a study group that keeps you accountable, that way your more likely to commit to it.
Understand that it is a marathon and not a race: This speaks a lot to what I have already mentioned above. As you make the habit easier to do your brain starts to get into the rhythm and you will get into a state of this is part of me every day. This is a good place to be because now the brain does not have to think too much to get you started. You are now in the flow of things and the sky is the limit.
The compounding effects of good habits are amazing and getting into a routine of good habits frees your brain to other important issues that we have to deal with every day. Good habits are a result of delayed gratification while bad habits are a result of instant gratification. Get into good habit formation without too much stress by using the above tricks and you will be better for it.