AG 092: Counting Days vs Making Days Count

Episode Details

In this episode, I discuss a few ideas that were triggered by listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear. I also give an update on my progress as I tackle my procrastination and look to continue becoming the best version of myself.

In the open, I mention the great work Christina is doing with The Broke Girl Society. You can check out the podcast here.

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Full Episode Transcript

This is Episode 92 of the “After Gambling” podcast. In this episode, we’re going to talk more about time. [Music] Hey there, and welcome to the “After Gambling” podcast. My name is Jamie. I am a former problem gambler. Now, I haven’t gambled since July 15th of 2010, and I do this little podcast to help other people who are in a similar boat. I mean, I do this to help other people. I listen to other people’s podcasts, which I’m going to give a plug up front: “Broke Girls Society.” Definitely go check it out. It’s a podcast that I knew about for a long time. I always knew she was doing really good work because I could tell just by the people that I know, mutual acquaintances, friends, who were always saying, “Hey, that’s a really good podcast.” I just hadn’t gotten around to it. I started listening to a bunch of episodes, and it’s fantastic. Of all the podcasts out there, I’ve yet to listen to one and say, “Wow, that’s not a good one.” There are a lot of different podcasts out there in this space. Go check them all out, listen to them. We’re just so lucky to have the ability to broadcast and to hear different people with different experiences. Eventually, you can find somebody who is a lot like you. I think there’s value in listening to people who are a lot like you because it’s easier to connect. I also think there’s value in listening to people with different experiences because they may see things from a different angle that people who shared your exact experience don’t see. So, in a long-winded way, go check out all the podcasts. Don’t just listen to this one alone. Find the other ones. There are so many good ones. You’d be missing out if you don’t give yourself all of the tools possible by not listening to those other ones. So, please go check them all out.

On the topic of listening to other things, it’s a good segue for today. We’re going to talk about counting days or making the days count. This was something that came up so many times, and this is why, if you’re a content producer, like me as a marketer, there’s this fine line between consumption versus production. I get so much value out of listening to other people’s podcasts, audiobooks, and reading other people’s blogs. It always triggers ideas. The idea for today came from listening to an audiobook, “Atomic Habits,” which is a great book by James Clear. It’s funny; I remember almost ten years ago coming across his work, I think first on Twitter. I followed him and subscribed to his newsletter. Eventually, he wrote “Atomic Habits,” and for whatever reason, I never listened to it. I think I assumed I had read all his content and knew what he had to say. But listening to his book triggered thoughts about days and time because “Atomic Habits” is about focusing on the smallest changes. It’s very similar to the “Slight Edge,” which I’ve talked about. It’s about small actions and decisions that add up over time, compound, and become an overnight success. You realize years later that you’re an expert in something because you’ve been chipping away at it. That’s how great violinists or golfers like Tiger Woods become great: by doing those small things consistently.

In the book, James Clear was talking about habit change and the discussion about how long it takes to change a habit. You’ve probably heard different numbers: 21 days, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. Everyone has a theory on how many days it takes to get a new habit ingrained. One thing he said really stuck out: there’s nothing magical about time passing. To develop a new habit, counting the number of days is a metric, but it might not be the best metric. Just because you abstain from gambling, drinking, or binge eating for 300 days doesn’t mean you’re in the same place as someone who also abstained for 300 days but maybe listened to a podcast, went to therapy, worked with a coach, and addressed underlying issues. Three hundred days for them will look different than for someone who just white-knuckled it through. I thought that was an important topic, and I wanted to create this podcast about it.

We only have 24 hours in a day, and most of those hours we’re sleeping. But there’s a difference between just not gambling and taking active steps to understand the triggers and underlying issues. Identifying triggers and creating barriers makes a day much different than just not gambling. This was such a huge topic, and there are many other good things in “Atomic Habits” that I recommend, like making the behaviors you want easy and the habits you’re trying to stop difficult.

Here towards the end of the podcast, I want to talk about status updates. I’m trying to get better at procrastination, and it’s something I’m still dealing with. One thing I’ve noticed is it’s true: just do it. I’ve been procrastinating working out, but now I’ve been going into my workout facility in my basement and doing a few sets whenever I get stuck. I also have a workout ball, and maybe I’ll do a set of crunches. It’s better than just standing around or scrolling through Twitter.

Another thing is the concept of becoming a non-drinker or a non-gambler. I have a whiteboard where I’ve written the type of person I want to be, like organized, professional, communicative. Having these goals makes my actions clearer. For instance, if I want to be communicative, I need to send a message and get feedback.

Finally, remember that everything we talk about here is for informational purposes only. Seek professional help. You deserve it. This podcast is a bridge to get you comfortable with the concepts. Music for the show is “Something Elated” by Broke For Free and is licensed under the Creative Commons license. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.