Habits, Hobbies and Transformation

By Jamie McSloy / July 23, 2018
habits hobbies transformation featured image

Habits And Hobbies

I’ve spent a lot of time working on health stuff this year. I have a pretty rare form of insomnia and the experts aren’t all that helpful thus far. As with everyone who does stuff and ages, (that’s all of us,) I also have a few niggling issues that can be sorted out with a bit more care and attention to lifestyle things.

It’s also the summer and around the same time each year, I try out a bunch of new things.

Put these two things together and you have something that I hope will approach an article’s worth of subject to talk about.


I take up a lot of new hobbies. Some of them get dropped after a week or two, some of them become things I do every single day. Finally, some of them become longer term things that I dip in and out of when the mood takes.

I used to get pretty stressed out when I didn’t become an expert after a few weeks or months, and so I built my learning approaches and strategies around that. I also know that I go wherever the mood takes me with these things, so I am to get as proficient as possible while I’m still interested.

Hence topics like the one on overlearning.

But enough about me.

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A lot of people – now aided by Instagram and YouTube – think of transformation as a thirty day thing.

You decide one day, “I’m going to be RIPPED TO SHREDS” and then you work out for six hours a day and after one month, you look like Conan the Adventurer.

In reality, this is the quickest way to disappointment, burn out and injury.

Here’s how transformation works:

Transformation is a spoil of war. It’s not a process, despite what gurus will have you believe.

Transformation is the look back at yourself in the rear view mirror after the fact. If you start working out and you look in the mirror every day, you’re not going to see anything different.

You see the difference after a few months when you look back at photos or you try and fit in the shirt that was too big for you that now fits.

And a lot of people get it into their head that they want to “transform their life” and that’s all well and good, but again, you’re chasing looking in the mirror to find something different.

How To Transform

You aren’t going to see big picture changes in the mirror.

And I’d argue that you shouldn’t actually aim for big changes. At least not to start with.

Say your end goal is to “be healthier” or “have a better physique.”

Which is more likely to stick?

  • Cutting out beer
  • Eating keto, working out six days a week, having a single cheat window of three hours and stretching for 30 minutes every morning when you wake up

One of those, you might think, is for easy street losers who don’t want change. And that’s really the calling card of the YouTube guru.

The situation is exacerbated the more esoteric the goal.

Business gurus will tell you to cut all contact, work fourteen hours a day on your “business” and quit your job. They’ll fill your head with stuff about how people who work for the man are universally retards who don’t want freedom.

Not like you.

Oh, and they won’t tell you what your business is. It’ll be your idea – whatever that might be.

For most people though, it’s best to stick with the 9-5, start a hobby with the view to make it profitable, and then work from there.

Small steps.

The Direction Doesn’t Matter

The strength of the above approach is that the little experiment approach takes the risk and stress away and allows you to explore opportunities without commitment.

Let’s say you want to get outside more. (A good goal.)

I say to you, “There’s a place near you that’s offering mountain biking introduction lessons for $10 an hour.”

And let’s assume that’s a great deal.

Some people would look at that offer and say, “Yeah… but what if I hate mountain biking? What if I’d rather take up archery or go chat up girls instead? What if I love mountain biking and I have to spend $2000 on equipment… and what if I then have to find good places to mountain bike regularly?”

And blah blah blah.

None of that matters. Your goal is to get outside more.

So the $30 you’d spend on a morning session learning how to mountain bike is not dependent on anything else. Congratulations, you’ve achieved your goal.

You’ve got outside. It’s three hours. It might lead to a whole new hobby and a mountain-biking new you.

But it might not. That’s irrelevant.

You can always go and do something else next weekend.

Compare this approach with the “DUDE YOU NEED TO BE OBSESSED TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL” and see what works best over the long term.