Amplify and Reduce Goals for August 2022

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I started a ritual last April of monthly habit changes designed around Cal Newport’s strategy for Cultivating a Deep Life. I’ve noticed a difference in my daily experience and I’ve been enjoying sharing the process for the past several months. Here is my short reflection on July and an even shorter setup for August.

A look back at July

Notebook showing a grid for the month with the days listed on top and habits listed on the left.
Habit tracking for July.


🔴 Amplify creative skill: Complete Affinity Designer course and create a new homepage banner for site – I didn’t devote the time to doing this. I blame moving.

🟢 Reduce distractions for deep work: close slack and email when not directly doing something – This little trick works for me and I’ll keep doing it.


🟢 Amplify kindness by saying hi to strangers, “go first” when meeting new people – I love having this on my habit tracker, it’s a daily reminder that kindness is king.

🟢 Reduce negativity by not gossiping or saying anything about others that I wouldn’t say to them directly (includes family, friends, neighbors, strangers) – Related to the above, this was really helpful to have as a regular reminder.


🟢 Amplify distance running habit by running over 20 miles a week – Nailed it! My average weekly distance was over 21 (typically three five mile runs and one six plus).

🟡 Reduce unnecessary calories: eat smaller portions, have one large meal a day, drink a glass of water before eating – I thought about this often but it didn’t work for me. Need to be more specific and/or have a more modest goal. It worked best with eating a small lunch.


🟡 Amplify self-awareness: take an intentional pause (2-5 mins) before beginning work and ending work – This was hard for me to remember to do, I need something that will remind me each time I get on my laptop I think.

🟢 Reduce negativity: Replace urge to complain or make negative comments with “how can I be more kind?” when interacting with my wife and kids – I love the no complaining rule. The danger is that this can be misinterpreted as “not caring enough”, but this is really about raising complaints more tactfully and in a helpful way.

My goals for August


Well, that’s kind of a lie but seriously, I’m going to just experiment with not having any goals aside from exercising and eating healthy and see how that feels for a change. No habit tracking. No behavior experiments.

The thing is, my routine is changing massively this month (I went part-time in August), my kids start school again mid-month, my wife is starting full-time work for the first time in years, and we’re (still) trying to finish our house renovation and get settled after moving in. That’s just some of what’s going on. So…I have enough to do. I’m not going to layer on other stuff.

See you in September!

2 responses

  1. Welcome to the NOTHING!!! goals club where cool people like yours truly hangout 😀

  2. On the meals front, we have enjoyed (when we can) having our main meal in the middle of the day, or early afternoon. It frees up the rest of the day, you can just have cheese and crackers, a sandwich or even cereal for supper, and I feel like I sleep better. I’m evangelising about it because it feels like a game changer to me!

Comments welcome!

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