New Neighbors and Chapter 15

The apartment below me that has been vacant for three and a half months is no longer vacant. They're moving in right now. I'm hoping the new tenant(s) are as quiet as the previous tenant - sadly I know there's no way they would be quieter than no one at all. I'm sure this experience will give me five months to see if I want to continue to live here (because it is so quiet) or with the change in tenancy, I'll finally go buy a house.

Work was quiet - half the department was either working from home or just took the day off, all due to an illness that's going around. I'm hoping to not catch it. I'll be mostly laying low this weekend, sleeping in, reading, writing, and playing piano. No need to go outside except to have coffee with a friend of mine, Saturday morning. Beyond that, I have plenty of food and drink here, and I'll stay in while the weather turns cold and Wake County gets sick.

I haven't watched TV in over a week, and to be honest, not only do I not miss it, I also wonder how I got anything done when I was watching it. I've been busy every day despite not filling an hour (or three on the weekends) a day just by watching TV. Of course, I've been going to the gym more often, playing piano, reading, and blogging, and all of that takes time. I'll probably finish Atomic Habits over the weekend and start on another book.

I read chapter 15, The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change, and the chapter summary is:

  • The 4th Law of Behavior Change is make it satisfying.
  • We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the experience is satisfying.
  • The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards.
  • The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change is What is immediately rewarded is repeated, what is immediately punished is avoided.
  • To get a habit to stick, you need to feel immediately successful - even if it's in a small way.
  • The first three laws of Behavior Change - make it obvious, make it attractive and make it easy - increase the odds that a behavior will be performed this time. The fourth law of behavior change - make it satisfying - increases the odds that a behavior will be repeated next time.

I did my piano playing habit today. I don't know how long I played - over 15 minutes, but it was fun. So far, I've made the habit obvious, by moving my keyboard to the middle of the living room where I have to see it. I've made it attractive by selecting a keyboard that I really like (I spent 3 months researching keyboards!) I made it easy by choosing books that are an appropriate level and the keyboard easily accessible and created an event based habit of when I play piano. And finally, I have made the habit satisfying just by doing the habit because I like playing piano. I like memorizing new songs, I like considering chord progressions, and I like the hammer action of playing a weighted key keyboard (since I didn't want to buy and lug a piano up the steps.)

Same thing with the gym habit. It's obvious - the gym is a close distance from the apartment, I always pick out gym clothes at the same time that I'm picking out clothes to wear to the office that day. I make it attractive by always carrying my workout log notebook with me and going to a new and clean gym. I make it easy by always making sure I have enough workout log sheets, a lock for my locker and made the effort to learn enough alternate exercises that even if the gym is busy, I'll still get my exercise in. And finally, the habit is satisfying because I went enough in December to get a baseline and can see the difference in weights I was lifting from the first of December to now, showing that I am improving.

As I continue in this book and my 30 day challenges (I'm still not eating added sugar!) it'll be interesting to see what changes take place, habits I start, continue or break.


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