Think about the last time you said to yourself, "Oh, one cookie wouldn't hurt" or "I don't feel like working out, I'll do it tomorrow" or "It's been a tough week. I think I deserve to buy these new shoes." So I'm not saying that eating a cookie or buying yourself new shoes is bad, but I wanted to show how much we all struggle with consistency on a daily basis. A lot of us are consistently inconsistent.
The same thing also applies to programming: whether you're learning about programming for the first time or if you're trying to learn something new at work, one of the hardest things to do is to be consistent with your study habits. I know I struggle with this a lot myself.
So why am I talking about habits? The truth is, being consistent is a big part of what determines your success. For example, back then I thought that I could bang out a week's worth of workouts in a day at the gym and expect to see results. It turns out that that's just not how it works. Cramming makes you miserable, and it doesn't get you anywhere.
So how do you get better at having a routine and forming habits? A few years back, my friend Alex Hillman recommended that I read a book called The Power of Habit. It goes in depth into the current research about habits, but if you don't have time for that, you can watch this video instead:
Another thing that you want to keep in mind is to start tiny. Start small and be consistent with it. Don't rely on motivation or feeling to decide if you want to do something or not.
Here's an example of what I do myself. Note that I'm not saying that I'm good at this at all (I've had my fair share of delayed blog posts and podcast episodes), but I'd like to share my experiences so far:
- Cue: Every weekend, I will go out of the house to explore the city or go hiking.
- Routine: I drive out and go do the thing.
- Reward: I get to take some cool pictures of nature and post it on Instagram.
- Cue: It's 3pm. I need to go to the gym.
- Routine: I drive to the gym and do my workouts.
- Reward: I get those sweet endorphins, and everything in the world is alright.
- Cue: I roll out of bed in the morning.
- Routine: I turn on my laptop and learn one small thing about design. Right now it's IDEO U.
- Reward: I feel good and get to write it down on my gratitude blog / share it on Twitter.
I hope this helps! Web development is hella hard. Be consistent, and you'll get better at it.