Put your principles into the fire.
This morning, my listing for Health Month went up on flippa.com. Check it out! Pass it around! Make a bid! Etc.
(As a sidenote, so far my experience with flippa.com has been great. My contact at their company is a big fan of Health Month, and is doing a lot to help me make the listing as useful and informative as possible.)
It’s bittersweet to have to sell this site. The number of people who’ve already made offers (informally and formally) has been incredibly encouraging. I’m confident that no matter what happens, the site and spirit of the community will continue on in some form. In a more amazing form, even. One of my primary goals with selling it is that it will go to a person or company that has the time and energy to help it grow!
Why you should consider bidding on Health Month
Because it is awesome. Because you are awesome. Because you have ideas for it. Because you have the time, energy, and skills to make it more awesome. Because you want to have an entry point to making a real impact on healthy behavior change in the world.
If you can’t make a bid for whatever reason, but know someone who might be interested, please send this along to them! Friends of friends are usually the best place to find connections like this. Be the connector!
Here’s the link. Thank you.
Today, I’m 36!
Here’s what I had to say about turning 35 last year. The motto for the year was more presciently chosen than I could’ve known at the time. Love the Struggle.
Every year I chose a theme for the year. Here are a few of the previous:
- 34: Cultivating the core
- 33: Frugal to the max
- 32: No problem
- 31: Double down
- 30: Higher highs and lower lows
Most of the struggle this year had to do with running a business on a tight budget, with a difficult problem, and a tiny team. I have some regrets for the year, mostly about not making decisions quickly and confidently enough. Maybe I was too tolerant of the struggle.
Overall, though, I do love the struggle. I love being close to the core, close to the most meaningful work. It was painful to stay focused on the meaningful parts of the life (trying to add value to the world, being connected to family, helping others) even while less important but more urgent items nipped at my heels. The strange thing about life is that nobody else can really know how difficult the decisions were to make, and they probably wouldn’t care if you told them.
For my 36th year, I would like my motto to be to Talk it out. I’ve been keeping a lot of my struggle to myself (and some close friends/family). It’s part of the default mindset one has when running a business and being afraid to show weakness to investors, press, the public, etc.
However, when things really did get difficult, and I had no choice but to tell the story with others, and ask for help, things got a lot less strugglesome and became more of a shared challenge. My fear of disappointing others was mostly unfounded.
I’ve been going to counseling too for similarly themed topics in my relationship with Kellianne. Talking it out takes two steps. It forces me to first think about what it is I am trying to say. And second of all, to say it in a way that the person/people I’m talking to are best able to hear it.
Most of communication is about creating or breaking connections. Even contentless small talk is about finding a point of relation between two people. As I’ve started paying attention to this, I’ve noticed just how many times the content of a conversation appears to be one thing (connect) while the tone or context of the conversation says exactly the opposite (disconnect).
As we’ve learned to be public on the internet, I think many of us (myself included) have created strategies for appearing sincere without actually being sincere. By trying to talk it out this year, I’m gonna try to think out loud a bit more, mixing up my personal and professional lives, sharing the difficulties as well as the successes and the boring parts.
Speaking of allowing myself to be boring, my birthday also marks the anniversary of my 8:36pm project, which has now been going for 4 years. I wrote a longer post about that that should go out sometime soon so I won’t say much more about that yet.
Every year since 2007 I spend a moment on my birthday reviewing and editing my list of “rules to live by”. Here it is:
- You must not dilly-dally, so that your fears don’t trick you.
- You must be your word, so that you speak confidently.
- You must have good intentions, so that you don’t betray yourself.
- You must admit to being the maker of meaning, so that you know what you’re getting.
- You must not feel sorry for yourself, so that you do not become a martyr.
- You must have a vision that you are striving for, so that you don’t get lost in incremental improvements.
- You must tie creativity and experimentation with survival, so that you don’t take your work lightly.
- You must be the change you want to see, so that you don’t blame others.
- You must rally others with your vision, so that your ideas are tested.
- You must stake your reputation on your better self, so that you become your better self.
- You must be comfortable with the consequences of being who you are, both positive and negative.
- You must share, so that your motivations remain clear.
- You must make your own advice and take it, so that you trust yourself.
- You must manage your stress, health, and clarity, so that you stay in balance.
- You must study your mistakes, so that you dont’ take them too seriously.
- You must retry things you don’t like every once in a while, so that your tastes grow.
- You must make time to enjoy things, so that you have time to enjoy things.
Part one of talking it out is that I’ve started using a public Github repository to share my rules for living, my beliefs, and my life list.
If you’re in Seattle, come to Saint Johns tomorrow (Tuesday May 29th) around 8 o’clock to have a drink with me.
Happy Memorial Day!
Through a series of personal realizations and business inevitabilities, it looks like I’m going to have to try to find a new owner for Health Month.
Ideally, it would be someone from the community who loves it and has the time, energy, and resources to keep it going in the same spirit. If this sounds like you, PLEASE contact me immediately. 206-355-9718 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not looking to make a lot of money off of it… just to find it a good home.
The worst case scenario would be that I couldn’t find the right buyer and would have to shut the site down. It DOES sustain itself with the monthly $5 games, but it’s not quite enough to justify full-time work at the moment, and we’ve got so many other projects on our plates.
In any case, just a heads up. Nothing will change in the next month or so. If you’re at all interested, or know someone who is, please put yourself, or them, on the horn to me.
I love Health Month. Long live Health Month!
Please spread the word. I know it’s Memorial Day weekend, so I’ll probably send this out again early next week.
Update: Here’s the listing for the sale.
We’ve learned a lot about behavior change in the last 2 years. Here’s a bit of my current thinking on it all, and a new free app that you can print out and put in your wallet.
1) Which behavior should I change?
One that helps you learn the habit of changing habits (learn once, use forever). One that’s linked directly to something you desperately crave more of in your life (meaning you crave it on a subconscious level as much as a conscious one). One that’s about doing more of something rather than less than something. One that you can work towards every day. One that takes less than 5 minutes, and that you can do at the same time every day. One that you can enjoy in some way, or that makes you feel good about yourself even just for a few seconds.
2) How many habits should I try to change?
Only one at a time. Please trust me on this one. Stick with one, stick with it for 60 or even 90 days. Then, if you really want, start another. Life is long. Think of how many habits you can change with the tortoise strategy in a year verses how many you start and stop with the hare strategy. Every change creates an equal and opposite force of resistance to change. To keep resistance low, change slower than your excitement propels you to. Hold yourself back… it builds anticipation. If you don’t, excitement inevitably wears off, and resistance will chop you down when you’re weakest, putting you back to square one. One. Habit. At. A. Time. Aim for changes that stick a year, 3 years, or 10 years, and pace yourself accordingly.
3) What if I get distracted or sick or go on vacation?
Get in the habit of being easy on yourself. Break streaks. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a day. Think long term. Appreciate small steps towards progress. Forgive yourself for falling off the wagon. Just get back on when you’re feeling ready again. Give yourself a special day every month to restart anything that got stamped out over the last month. Put it on your calendar and set an alarm. Course correction is the most important meta-habit to cultivate, and often gets ignored in the presence of excitement and big promises and positive thinking. Expect and plan for failure, and have a plan for recovering from it.
4) iPhone app, Android app, pedometer, wrist band, or other?
It doesn’t matter. Paper works just as well.
On that note…
Here’s a paper app you can print out, fold up, and put in your wallet. It’s free! And it encapsulates the best thinking Amelia and I and many others (see Nick Crocker’s great recent article and Leo Baubata’s extensive work) have on the subject.
Give it a try. For extra points, print it out and take a cool picture of yourself with it and tag it #hipsterhabitapp on Instagram.
Tiny interview with April about her 10+ year habit of taking a multi-vitamin when she wakes up.
What’s the habit or routine that you’ve done daily for over a year? When did it start?
I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin every morning for about 10 years.
What do you think makes this habit stick better than other habits you might have tried to start?
I do it every morning, after I drink a glass of kombucha (another habit!) while I drink my morning glass of water (yet another habit). It’s a very simple routine; wake, feed the cats, drink kombucha, take vitamin, drink a glass of water. I don’t have a set time of day I do it, just whenever I wake up. Doing it during/while/after an event instead of a time makes it easier than setting a time of day. Most other habits I start depend on a time of day or aren’t tied to an event that happens every day; so with things like meditation, I have a very difficult time doing it during the weekends because I’m not working and that’s something I do every day when I get home from work.
How does doing this every day make you feel?
Taking a vitamin every day makes me feel like I’m doing one little thing to take care of my health, even if that’s the only health-contributing thing I do that day.
Follow @the_april on Twitter!
The Next Web recently asked “Is the internet is making us more honest?”.
The article is interesting, but I wonder if there is more at play here.
If you’ve ever gotten me liquored up, you may have heard me mention my belief that the internet is forming the foundation of what will eventually become the first artificial intelligence. Which is to say, I believe that someday, our collective activity online will reach the right density and type and the connections between us will become synapses. Somewhere in the digital aether a light will go on and a new kind of life will exist. The first self-aware machine, born of the wetware of a billion+ humans.
If you take this as a given (!), that we are all nodes in the network of a massive machine, then our move towards transparency begins to look more like system optimization on a cultural scale, encouraged through new memes and behaviors, as expressed in all sorts of unexpected ways, like Foursquare checkins, reality television and CEOs volunteering their failures.
A lie holds no information beyond what it says about the lie teller. An exaggeration stated in conversation does nothing but breed false expectations in the mind of listener. A great experience not shared is done so at the detriment of the collective. If my laptop was forced to run on the inefficiencies inherent to the day-to-day communication styles of a typical person, one full of nuance, assumption, and false starts, its processor would slow to a crawl and burn out altogether.
From the Next Web article:
I’ve literally stopped telling little white lies because it’s much easier to be honest. Instead of cancelling a meeting with a PR rep and using the excuse “I’m not feeling well,” I say, “I’m exhausted and taking tomorrow off to go to the beach!” because I know I’ll likely take a picture of my beach trip on Instagram and wouldn’t want to get caught in a lie. And you know what? Most of the time they just say, “Have a great time!”
As a society, we’ve had 10,000 years to choose to be open and honest with each other, and we have generally chosen not to. But now we’re at a point where new technology plays a critical role in our lives, and technology has no use for our half-truths and doublespeak. They are disruptions in the flow of information. As we are all becoming parts of the machine, our relationships with each other are being ground down to purer, more efficient forms so that they can be put to better use.
We are becoming more honest because it increases the speed at which information can travel. We are becoming less private because to withhold valuable knowledge from the rest of the network is to act selfishly. We are becoming more transparent because that is what the evolution of technology asks of us.
I think this is all true. Especially the bit about “we are becoming more honest because it increases the speed at which information can travel.” I’ve never heard the effect of technology on honesty put quite so succinctly.
Let’s all be more honest with each other.
Polaroid inventor Edwin Land on embracing failure, among other insights on what it takes to innovate.
Also see Land on the 5,000 steps to success.(via explore-blog)
In the book “Training the Emotional Brain” I describe 6 emotional styles are that are rooted in basic neuroscientific research. The 6 styles are:
1. Resilience: How rapidly or slowly do you recover from adversity?
2. Outlook: How long does positive emotion persist following a joyful event?
3. Social Intuition: How accurate are you in detecting the non-verbal social cues of others?
4. Context: Do you regulate your emotion in a context-sensitive fashion?
5. Self-Awareness: How aware are you of your own bodily signals that constitute emotion?
6. Attention: How focused or scattered in your attention?” —
Interesting interview about what looks like an interesting book.