Quora Saturday: Enduring habits, breaking habits, and what books to read

December 17, 2016 by Joshua
in Quora

Continuing my Saturday series on posting my answers to questions from Quora, here are my next questions answered:

I’m probably going to stop this series, though. Quora has the same questions over and over. It’s getting boring and I have to wade through too many questions to find someone genuinely asking something in a way suggesting they’ll act on it, and not just ask what popped into their heads.

I mean, do the above questions suggest to you that the people asking them are going to change their lives? They look to me like they just want to talk. I see nothing wrong with just talk, but I like people actively doing things. Their questions look different, in my experience.

Q: How long have you stuck to your habits?

A: My main challenging habits are

  1. Burpees, daily
  2. Blog posts, daily
  3. Cold showers, every fourth day

I did my first set of daily burpees December 22, 2011 and haven’t missed one since, so I’m about to enter my 6th year of that habit, nearing 80,000 cumulative burpees.

I started posting daily on my blog, JoshuaSpodek.com, in January 2011 and haven’t missed a day since, so I’m about to enter my 7th year of that habit, nearing 2,500 cumulative posts.

I took my first cold shower in December 2013. I did them daily for a month and every fourth day since, so I just started my 4th year of doing them regularly, nearing 300 of them cumulatively.

Less challenging habits include things like brushing and flossing daily, cooking healthy meals daily, and others that aren’t as remarkable, though I’ve done them longer. The last time I went to sleep without brushing my teeth would have been in college, which would be around 1990.

Come to think of it, if you count not eating meat as a habit, I’ve eaten no meat since 1990.

Q: What are ways to stop a habit that’s consuming your lifestyle?

A: My top way to stop an unwanted habit is to start a wanted habit that crowds out my time and resources for the other one.

For example, when I ate more chips and pretzels, I started cooking from scratch and eating healthier meals. When I watched more TV than I wanted, I exercised more.

Next, I changed my environment. I stocked my kitchen with fruits and vegetables and ate them and didn’t buy chips and pretzels. I got rid of my TV and didn’t replace it.

You didn’t share any details about your habit—if it’s smoking, drinking, or what—so it’s hard to suggest anything more specific.

Good luck!

Q: What books should I read to get back in the habit of reading?

A: That’s a broad question.

What books you want depend on your interests. Figure out your interests and you’ll figure out what books to read.

Do you want entertainment, personal growth, education, keeping current, etc?

If you want entertainment, you might go with light-hearted fiction or illustrated books.

For personal growth, books about things you can do.

For education, books by educators.

If you want new things or surprise, you might just get random books from bestseller lists or ask your librarian for recommendations.

And so on.

That’s what libraries are for, by the way: to try all these things out for free.

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