January 31, 2021

State of the Habits - January

For 2021 — and my 40th birthday in Sept — I kicked the year with some aggressive experimentation inspired by Everyday Systems and the Atomic Habits book. The objective of which is to create new habits that help me level up by my fourth decade.

An everyday system, as defined by its mastermind Reinhard Engels, is

[…] a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor.

This has worked surprisingly well, and even outlasted the usual honeymoon period after which all new year’s resolutions go to die.

Below my current list of systems and their compliance state:


  • HIIT Man: Define myself as a High-Intensity Interval Training person so I practice it more.
    • With a target of 5 min first week, and 10 the 2nd. I’m already at 15min a day of T-Handle Kettlebell exercises.
  • Zero Coke Zero: No Coke’s or Dr. Pepper’s during the weekdays.
    • Surprisingly easy once I replaced it with club soda with half a squeezed lemon.
  • Mind the joy: Be aware and in control of the hundreds of joyful moments through out the day.
    • Direct result of reading Flow last year, and probably the single most important lifehack I’ve done in the last 5 years.
  • An Errand a Day: Tackle the personal tasks lists.
    • Just do one, it’s adds up quickly.
  • Bipedal mobility: I can get there walking.
    • Another one for the toolbox. Not an everyday thing, but I’ve exchanged a couple of 5 minute drives, for 30 min walks.
  • localhost pillow: Once the head hits the pillow, no browsing the internet.
    • Not the same as being offline — video streaming is allowed for example. But no wondering without intent on the web.
  • DoerEats: Cook something.
    • Instead of just making a sandwich, I’ve cooked a few evening omelets to put a check on this.
  • Motion & Action: Don’t get stuck in planning, execute something.
    • For side-projects and personal stuff, I overthink instead of experimenting and iterating from there. It has felt good to have this on the agenda daily.


  • No S Diet: No snacks, sweets, seconds, except (sometimes) on days that start with S”.
    • Another of Reinhard Engels creatures. Having some trouble with too many Special days with Ana, but still more days on it than off it.
  • Walkabout: Whenever I get stuck on something walk it off™.
    • Not an everyday thing, but it has been useful tool to have.
  • Inward Thinking: When there’s something nagging me, give me time to explore it.
    • You know that thought that leads you to a rabbit hole? sit quickly without anything electronic in reach, and follow it.
  • Compound reading: Remember to read stuff that adds something, whoever small.
    • This is the same as opening Instapaper instead of twitter. Not doing so great.
  • Weekend Luddite: Avoid my devices on weekends (Breakfast to Dinner)
    • Currently at 50% compliance, next weekend breaks or makes the trend.


  • Writing session: Set time and either write or just sit there.
    • Not working, need to reframe it on habit stack it differently.
  • Pleasure reading: Read what makes me happy.
    • Having conflicts with compound reading I think.

I’m loosely tracking all of this with Pixelist - Habit Tracker app for iOS. I will deprecate the fails and play with the gaps to improve compliance for February.

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