182. Habit Forming
After a long break, I am back. Refreshed, rejuvenated, replenished. The one thing I didn't seem to have was motivation. It has been said that it takes 30 days to create a habit. Some say that it can be done in 21 days with repetition and motivation. I can personally attest that it takes far fewer days to eliminate a habit. Of course, the speed at which one loses a habit is directly proportional to the amount of pleasure received from that habit. So something that is viewed as highly enjoyable is slower to be lost, and conversely, those things seen as more of a chore are lost most quickly.
I guess that is what a daily posting on this blog had become, a chore. I was tired. I loved discovering things to do and writing about them but not so much the lack of feedback. Posting to the great internet void, receiving few comments except from spammers, over time became exhausting. When I recently took a complete break from the daily posting task, I lost the habit that I so carefully created, nurtured and continued without exception for 6 months. Now I have to work at making this blog habit-forming again.
I recently read a very interesting article in Wired Magazine about the feedback loop. Feedback loops are used as effective tools for changing behavior. The idea is to provide people with information about their actions in real time (or
something close to it), then give them an opportunity to change those
actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Feedback loops harness the power of human belief: the more we believe that we can meet a goal, the more likely we will do so. Belief is reinforced with data that gives the individual a means of evaluating progress toward that goal. Self-improvement programs, athletic training plans and executive coaching strategies all use feedback loops to get desired results.
Technology has helped me to track the data in regards to this blog. I can see that viewership has increased over time. This is good, however, my feedback loop still lacks the necessary interaction from the audience. Without comments from readers, I am unable to track what affect, if any, my posts have on readers. In short, it is not a loop at all, it is simply providing data that is either irrelevant or does not elicit a response.
I am realigning my goal to harness the power of feedback loops. I will provide evidence of great stuff to do (data), make it relevant by making that information have meaning and will transform into an emotional imperative for readers, and the result will be to move the reader to engage, take action (make comments or share an experience relative to the post) and thus close the loop.
So, why does a feedback loop work? Somehow by putting our own data in front of us, we are compelled to act because we crave information about where we stand; we have aspirations. We receive satisfaction and even pleasure from knowing we have made progress by evaluating results and making course corrections.
Help me with my data collection. Tell me if my post is relevant to you in any way. Let me know if you have visited the location, business, recreational facility, or participated in the activity. Gathering this data will make future posts more relevant which will result in a full realization of all the potential things there are to do in the Georgetown area. You can help complete the feedback loop. This blog can become habit forming.
I return, time and time again, to the outdoors for renewal. Away from electronics (TV's, cellphones, computers), news media, noise and schedules, I find that just being outside allows me to recharge my battery. Although it is very hot in Texas in summer, the outdoors is still accessible early in the morning and late in the evening. I like just piddling around my backyard, watering plants, checking on my remaining tomato plants, encouraging the living things to hang in there until the drought and heat breaks. I like to read in my hammock under the trees in the backyard while the dogs sniff around for critters that may have left their scent about the yard overnight. Just an hour or two does the trick. Try it.
Visit a location that is green and see if you aren't rejuvenated. Sun City Texas is one such place here in Georgetown. Since they reuse water to irrigate that is non-potable, the grounds around Sun City Texas are like an oasis in the desert. Wildlife like deer, racoons, foxes, squirrels, and birds flock there for the lush greenery and available water. You can even tour the air-conditioned model homes for free to get decorating ideas!
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