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A Key Misconception About Resolutions

Published 1/3/2020

Happy New Year to everyone listening to this show!

In today's episode we're focusing on automating as much of our daily life as we can and one misconception of habit forming and how we can better shape our lives to make habit building easier.

Sponsored by: Pathrise

Pathrise is an online mentorship program that gets you a job at a top tech company.

You receive unlimited weekly 1-on-1’s until you get hired, along with workshops, small groups, support over email and text, and other types of support It's not your normal BS generic career advice and it's completely online and flexible based on your schedule.

The best part is, you pay $0 until you get hired first. The program is funded by a small percentage of your salary only after you start working and get paid yourself first.

If you're ready to make a change and get a job in tech check them out at pathrise.com/tea

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
As you begin this new year and this new decade, you shouldn't underestimate the power of this turning moment. As we talked about on the show before and even had an expert in the subject, we had Daniel Pink on the show to talk about timing. These transitions matter. Even if we cognitively know that it's just another day like any other day. So if you, like many others, are taking advantage of this turning point moment in human history or in your own life, then you might be trying to establish new habits. But if you like most people, then you likely have a one misconception that could waste tons of energy and time with very little return. And that's what we're talking about in today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. My goal in the show is to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. Happy new year to everyone who's listening to this show. Before we continue, I want to encourage you as you are building your habits. Try to automate as many things as possible, including your consumption of various media sources that you feel like are good for you. If you think Developer Teafits in that category, then one way that you can automate that consumption so that you don't have to go into fetch it, you can kind of have it pushed to you is to subscribe. It's a simple idea, but the consequences can be very powerful because we have three episodes a week that go out of this show. So thank you again for listening. Now, let's talk about this misconception that most people have about habit forming. As a general rule, the research around habit forming shows that people who develop habits and keep them are the people who shape their lives to make those habits easy. And this is kind of the summation of 100 different rules of thumb, heuristics, about habit forming and habit building. I highly recommend you check out the book, Atomic Habits. If you haven't already found this by James Clear, he talks about this in a very significant amount of detail. And additionally, I recommend that you read a now very popular post by Scott Adams. That's the guy who created Dilbert and the post he wrote back in 2013 is called goals versus systems. This post is incredibly relevant to what we're talking about in today's episode. So there's this misconception that we're going to get to in a moment, but just laying the groundwork here for why habits are important. And if you are setting some kind of resolution, it's important to understand that not all resolutions are created equally. The way that you build your resolution or the way that you track it, the way that you talk about it, the way you think about it, the way you conceptualize what your resolution is, is important to the way that you play it out in reality. Oftentimes resolutions take the form of arbitrary goals that are intended to signify some broader truth. So what does that mean exactly? But imagine that you have a broader life goal of being healthy. This is a value that you have. It's not a new value. You didn't suddenly start valuing being healthy. It's something that you valued before. And in order to stay true to that value, you've decided to adopt a resolution. And that resolution is a new in your mind rule that you'll live by, that you'll visit the gym at least three or four times a week. Or that you'll never eat sugar unless it's the weekend or someone's birthday. These are specific rules that are some kind of expression towards that value. And so in your mind, if you've set these resolutions, then you believe that by following these resolutions, you are adhering to your value of being healthy. You're somehow forwarding that value. We're going to talk about today's sponsor. And then we're going to talk about the misconception that is at play here and why it's so important to understand so that you can build your resolutions and actually live out your values without wasting a ton of energy and effort. But first, let's talk about path rise today's sponsor. Path rise is an online mentorship program that gets you a job in a top tech company. They work with you on your job search all the way until you get your job, whether it takes a month or a year. You receive unlimited weekly one-on-ones until you get hired, along with workshops, small groups, support over email and text, and other types of support. And you're not going to get motivational speaker, BS, you know, generic career advice, path rise focuses on real data, actual data, specific tactics, and insider information. Path rise is completely online and flexible based on your schedule and you pay no money. That's zero dollars until you get hired. The program is funded by a small percentage of your salary only after you start working and get paid yourself first. This model is built on a kind of a fundamental foundation of trust. It trusts you to work hard and you can trust path rise to help you along the way to employment. Go and check it out. Head over to path rise.com slash T. That's path rise.com slash T-E-A to get started today. Thanks again, Path rise for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So as you set your resolutions and as you kind of read about this topic, this idea of systems and setting up your habits to be successful, it's important to understand that as you build those resolutions, there's so much more involved than just saying that you want to do something. And there's more involved, believe it or not, then sheer willpower. It's nice to believe that as you have the energy, and this is important, the kind of activation energy, to start a new thing, to start going to the gym or to make a significant change, that activation energy is not enough, usually according to research, it's not enough to carry through to lasting change. These are not the things that will last all the way to December of 2020. If you want to create lasting change, then you need to understand that your willpower is only one small, believe it or not, small piece of the puzzle. Despite the fact that your willpower was important for you to kind of resolve, make this resolution to make a change, it's not the factor that will carry you through, turning the change, the sheer grit change into a habit, something you just kind of automatically do. And if you're like most people, you want these habits to be automatic, things that you just simply don't think about very often. So here is the misconception, the very simple misconception that so many people make. And it's another situation where there's asymmetry at play. We talked about asymmetry a lot in the last quarter of last year, the asymmetry between two sides of a puzzle. In this case, the one side of the puzzle is your perception of the effort necessary to achieve a particular outcome. And on the other side of that puzzle is the level of importance or magnitude of that outcome to you. It's easy to believe that the effort matches the importance. In other words, the more important this particular thing is to me, the more effort I have to put in in order to achieve it. And this is a misconception because the effort level and the outcome are disconnected from each other usually. In other words, no matter how important the thing is to you, that doesn't change the effort level. And the way we can prove this is to take two people who are looking for the same outcome, where one of those people cares very greatly about that outcome, but another person cares much less about it. Now this isn't intuitive when we are the ones who are making the commitments, making those resolutions. It's hard to disconnect our effort level from how much we care about the outcome of that particular effort, but nevertheless, they are disconnected. And so as you make your resolutions, consider what are the easy pathways and how can you make the hard pathways easier? What things can you move out of your way and how can you design your life in such a way that the habits that you are trying to form, the outcomes that you are seeking, become easier? Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea and a huge thank you to Pathrise for sponsoring today's episode. Head over to Pathrise.com slash T to get started today. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.