“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
— Dr. Samuel Johnson
That’s some quotation from the internet. I found it on three different websites, so it probably/might belong to Johnson, who was a renowned eighteenth-century ‘man of letters’ and presumably a total *sshole. Even though he didn’t have an actual D.Phil., he (reportedly) wanted people to call him ‘doctor’ because later in life he was granted an honorary doctorate by Oxford, which he attended in his youth but had to leave (sans degree) because of monetary matters. Basically, he was the literary version of the Maestro in Seinfeld.
Also, even though he was massively prolific in his day almost none of his work is read anymore. He’s like the Kim Kardashian of Hanoverian writers: At this point he’s famous for being famous.
Unrelatedly, this article is about five micro habits for success in daily fantasy sports.
Normally, my Labyrinthian pieces are obstinately nonactionable — but man shall not live by bread alone and whatnot, so this piece is intended to give you something sacred.
Last year I wrote a somewhat actionable Labyrinthian on the process of not being awful at DFS, so there’s precedent for this.
At the same time, don’t expect too much. I’m still the guy whose most recent pieces cover forks, Mahatma Gandhi, fake news, Albert Einstein, reading, Game of Thrones, resilience, inventors, more resilience, free labor, hammers, seasonal leagues, talking like a Brit, traveling to Israel, and Harry Potter.
One New Year’s resolution of mine
was is to exercise more, and by that I basically mean exercise even a little. I started the year furiously exercising about three minutes per day (including sex), but I’m heavier now than I was on January 1 so I’ve decided to stop exercising: It must be all that muscle weight.
Anyway, when I exercise I listen to podcasts so I’m not just wasting time looking in the mirror as I max curl two-pounders. One of these podcasts is Nick Loper’s Side Hustle Show, which I like because the host talks with different entrepreneurs whose pragmatic approaches to life and business sometimes inspire me with new ideas — even if they’re just article ideas.
In one of Loper’s episodes (“212: Micro Habits: The Too-Small-to-Fail Plan for Big Results”), he talks about what he calls ‘micro habits,’ crediting Stephen Guise’s book Mini Habits, which he heard about on Alex Barker’s 66 Day Experiment podcast.
Disclosure: Loper admits that he hasn’t read Guise’s book, and I’m admitting here that I haven’t read Guise’s book or listened to Barker’s podcast, so this is a case of the blind following the one-eyed man. At the same time, why would I read a book when I can learn the actionable information in it from someone else?
Loper’s Micro Habits
To Loper, a micro habit has three distinct characteristics:
- It’s related to something you care about.
- It’s something you can do in under one minute.
- It’s something that’s too small for you to fail to do.
As examples, Loper noted his five micro habits, which are related to health, wealth, and family.
- Do one push-up each day.
- Do one squat each day.
- Floss one tooth each day.
- Do one proactive thing before email each day.
- Give wife at least one 30-second hug each day.
The logic of the micro habit is twofold.
- If you start doing something small, you’ll probably continue to do the task in a larger way.
- If you do something each day, then you’ll become someone who does that task every day.
Because I’m unoriginal, I’ve ripped off Loper’s push-up hack. For the last three days, I’ve had “do one push-up” on my to-do list. It’s not as if I’ve suddenly become Jonathan Bales, but each day I’ve done at least 25 continuous push-ups. Right after I finish this piece, I’m going to do my one push-up for the day — but I know that for the fourth day in a row I won’t stop at just one.
My one push-up micro habit is starting to become a real habit. If I keep this up, I’ll just somehow become someone who does push-ups each day. And then next year in Orlando I’ll beat maybe not Bales but definitely Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) in the bench press.
I just stepped away from this piece for an hour to go buy two Nintendo Twitches to sell on eBay — because I’m basically still in high school.
I can’t wait to return these to Best Buy in 15 days.
Five DFS Micro Habits
Here are five micro habits that can help you succeed at DFS, courtesy of FantasyLabs studs Bales, CSURAM88, Justin Phan, Sean Newsham (PSUFan2), and ‘Sheriff’ Bill Monighetti:
Bales Micro Habit
CSURAM88 Micro Habit
An hour before lock, spend a minute reviewing your lineups. Here’s my routine: One hour before lock, I always stand (not sit) at my desk. I want to make sure I’m as focused as I can be before lock when making final decisions.
Phan Micro Habit
Read something unrelated to DFS, even if just for a minute each day. It’s easy to get lost in the grind and find yourself trapped in a bubble where you inevitably read and consume a lot of the same DFS material. Taking some time out to read a blog post or a page out of a book on another topic will give you a unique perspective that could provide a leg up on the field. (Seth Godin’s blog is a favorite of mine.)
PSUFan2 Micro Habit
Check the lobby for a minute once an hour throughout the day. This stretches the idea of the micro habit a little, but this practice will help you get in the habit of finding profitable games, as game selection is one of the keys to DFS.
Monighetti Micro Habit
Spend one minute per day researching with our Trends tool. Working on DFS Scouting Reports this NBA season has really shown me how unique each player is. More often than you might think, individual players do not conform to league-wide trends: Some players do not get a Plus/Minus boost when their teams are favored, some players thrive in road games, etc. I try to create at least one player trend per day. As a result, the ‘My Trends’ column in my Player Models is always filled with useful player-specific nuggets.
One More Micro Habit
I’m trying to get in the habit of writing my conclusion in under a minute.
The Labyrinthian: 2017.20, 115
This is the 115th installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation. Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page.