James Clear Is Killing Me With His Atomic Habits

At the end of last’s month’s post, Blog Post #666: The Blog In Which I Announce My Retirement from Blogging*, was a little-noticed * aka asterisk. Only one astute reader followed that to the denouement and figured out the meaning in these words, hidden in plain view: “Respectfully submitted on 01.04.22*, ADAB.” That’s European formatting, day first, month second. That reader was the ever-sharp Half Fast Cycling Club (say it out loud — it’s a fun pun) up in Wisconsin. Not only has he (I’m deducing that’s his pronoun) ridden his bicycle across most of the US (and he’ll correct me in the comments if I’m wrong about that), he’s fixin’ to do it again — at almost 70 years of age. Oh yeah, to do the trip, he’s resigning his hospital job as a literal lifesaver of COVID patients (mostly the ignorant “I did my own research on Facebook” variety). So kudos to Half Fast, and to the rest of you (except if you are in other countries where this peculiar American prank day is not celebrated), I say this: APRIL FOOLS, suckahs! Strap in, it’s going to be a long post.

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Days of A Dude: Doldrums and Dissatisfaction

Oh, hello there. It’s A Dude here. Not THE Dude. Just A Dude. Obviously I’m not Jeff Bridges, the star of The Big Lebowski. I don’t bowl, drink White Russians, wear a robe with Jellies sandals, smoke herbal cigarettes, or say “man” all the time. So on this point we must be clear. At least that’s what the lawyers tell me, in order to keep a certain pair of famous movie mogul brothers off my kiester. or Tuchus. Buttocks. Ass. Back (as in “baby got…”). Behind. Bottom. Butt. Backside. Derriere. Fanny. Fundament. Pooter. OK, there sure are a lot of synonyms for the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus aren’t there? Actually, I’d love it if they read my blog and hired me to be a screenwriter, to star in their films, or to work for them in some other capacity. Well, I guess it’s not clear where this post is going. You might say I’m dude-ling. (Get it? Like doodling?) I digress.

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Herculean Habits: Regular Routines or the Struggle of Streaks?

This is one of those nights when a sensible blogger who is not feeling well skips writing; instead, she/he/they takes a bath, drinks some sleepy tea and reads, or gets under the covers early. Lucky for you, I never claimed to be sensible. (I also didn’t say whether that is good or bad luck. It’s your call if you’re feeling lucky, punk. Well, are you?) Anyway, I’ve been writing daily since January 1, 2018, either in this blog, a journal, or my memoir. It would be easy, but not at all simple, for me to just skip a night. But so far, no matter how badly I might feel, I write. So, here goes un poquito blogito.

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Will Starting New Habits on the First of the Month Help Them Stick?

The short answer from my experience is… maybe. But keep reading! As usual, there’s more nuance to it. As many people in hte West know, we make New Years resolutions on January 1. But why is that? Well, the social pressure and fresh start of a new calendar are powerful motivators. But according to the an article in Womens’ Running, the fitness application I use, Strava, “…analyzed more than 31.5 million fitness records from its users. [It] found that the second Friday in January is the fateful day when most of our annual commitments start to crumble.” That’s not so great. Taking the excellent suggestion of “10,000 steps a day” Sorryless, on March 1 I re-started some habits that didn’t last into February. And since they didn’t make it the full year, I’m doing it again as of November 1. Move over, January 1, we’ve got 11 other months with a nice simple number for a fresh start.

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Two Years of Daily Bicycling: Simple, Not Easy

Something kinda big just recently happened, and I forgot to blog about it. What with that fellow blogger guy coming to town and my big birthday ride (which I’ll get to another time, I reckon), I sort of overlooked a major milestone: two years of riding every single day! That’s somewhere upwards of 12,000 miles. By now, the mileage goals I’ve set and met are almost like literal mileposts on a highway. I pass them by, and they’re in the rearview mirror. Not forgotten, but I’ve seen them and moved on. I suppose that’s what we do here at A Dude Abikes. We keep on bikin’. (And walkin’ and doin’ yoga, and, well that’s mostly it for exercise.) Writing about my journey makes it more real somehow. And 731 days of riding is very real, rest assured. Hmm, some rest would be in order by now, you’d think. And if you did, you’d’ve thunk correctly. But there’s no rest for the weary. So on we go. How I got from I to we, I/we don’t know. Let’s go to the next paragraph, shall we?

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Q3 2021: Third Quarterly Report of My Bicycling and Other Habits

Now that we’re 90 days from the end of 2021, it’s time for my third quarterly report. July, August and September are the hottest months in Texas, and that heat and stupidity tend to slow most dudes and dudettes down. (I meant humidity, which with the heat tends to make one stupid.) But, I never claimed to be smart, so I have gone on a bicycle ride every single day of the pandemic (and for a while before that). Regular readers know I’m like only 50% of that Cake lyric: “He’s going for distance, he’s (not) going for speed.” On top of that, I take a walk, do yoga, and got myself into some other daily activities, practices aka habits. Sure, it was stupid hot (though not as bad as last year), and I do not bike fast. However, although I don’t get a cent from it, you could say I’m in the bicycle riding business. And business is good.

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30,000 Lifetime Miles I Bicycled on Strava

Flavor Flav was and is the hype man for seminal rap group Public Enemy. Even if you don’t know their music or who Flav is, if you paid attention during the 80’s and 90’s or saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing with their hit, “Fight the Power,” there’s a good chance you heard of the guy wearing a big clock around his neck saying, “Yeah, boyeeeee!” and “Flav-or Flaaaaaav!” (By mentioning Flav, I’m pointing out an example of successful marketing; I’m definitely not condoning his run-ins with the law.) Chuck D was and still is the main voice of serious political rap, but FF keeps it fun. Professional athletes, celebrities, and politicians also have paid hype people — publicists to trumpet their successes and explain away their losses or mistakes. This dude just has this little blog, and Strava the fitness app, through which to toot my own horn. So, it’s tootin’ time. And yeah, I just reached 30,000 miles of bicycling in five years, eight months, and 10 days. Not too shabby for a dude who’s old and flabby. It brings up some questions: How did it begin? How did I get here? What does this milestone mean? And what’s for dinner?

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Building New Habits, 15 Minutes at a Time

If you’re new here, I’m a dude who has been working on some habits, with some pretty good results. If you’re old, well, me, too, and thanks for sticking around. If you read my previous post you’ll see I covered 3,002 miles in seven and a half months. I accomplished this by riding my bicycle every day this year. But I didn’t just start and get to that point this year; I’ve been doing it a while before that, and I built up to it. A major reason I was able to do this was that I was introduced by my brother to James Clear who writes about habits. His book Atomic Habits has sold 4 million copies. So he knows a few things.

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When Things Fall Apart: Fitness Goals and Life

Lately I’ve been slipping a bit with my exercise and health practices, and even writing this blog. It reminded me of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, a book by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I can’t recommend it because I’ve never read it; it’s sitting in a box in storage. At one point I may have even owned two copies. But the title speaks to me now after a mostly pretty shitty day and last few weeks. Even within the Tibetan Shambhala community, things fall apart. As with many religious, business, and entertainment leaders with unchecked power, last year their figurehead was accused of and apologized for sexual misconduct. It went on a while, but he’s still there.

However, reports suggest that Chodron as a senior leader and teacher may have enabled or ignored it. She even told a woman reporting abuse years ago that she didn’t believe her. So she’s not perfect, and she has resigned in protest but maybe also as an act of contrition although she wasn’t the abusive male with all the power. Point is, life doesn’t always or even often go the way we want it to. Defecation passes. We’re all humans here, right? Certainly there are more important things than fitness goals, but like the saying goes, “At least you have your health.” Well, what if you don’t, despite your best efforts? I guess you do your best.

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