Chapter 20, The Downside of Creating Good Habits

This chapter focused on not letting the actions of habits get sloppy when they become second nature. It's a good idea to have a time to reflect and review on progress before errors that pop up get too bad.

Chapter 20 summary:


  • The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside is that we stop paying attention to little errors.
  • Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery
  • Reflection and review is a process that allows you to remain conscious of your performance over time.
  • The tighter we cling to an identity, the harder it becomes to grow beyond it.


Some habits I don't need to re-evaluate periodically, like my habit of hanging up my coat. It's pretty easy. Have I hung up my coat? Then, success! But my workout habit needs adjustment. After the disastrous first two weeks where my habit was "Three times a week" and I went once a week, I changed my habit. I wasn't hitting the goal, and I was unhappy, and it felt like I needed to think too hard about which three days I would pick to go work out. So, I revised it to "If I don't go out to eat/have a social engagement after work, I will go to the gym." There. It will still get me to the gym about three times a week, and I don't have to make any decision about when I am going to the gym.

The last week, it's been difficult getting to and through the gym because of the number of people, and the fact that the gym is on the corner of a plaza with several popular restaurants. It means trying to park there between 5:30 - 6pm is a nightmare. This evening, I decided to eat dinner first, do the first draft of a blog post, then head to the gym at 8. By then, the gym wasn't as crazy, and I could find a few parking spots. While that worked, I'm unsure if I want to continue it. I'll certainly do so tomorrow, just for experimentation.

Tomorrow will be a busy day at work. I finally got the major report finished, so I'll be working on the next report. I have three or so more to go before everything needs to be done on February 7th. I certainly have my work cut out for me!

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