Happy new year to those who are celebrating! This is the public group rationality diary for January 1-15.

It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like: 

  • Established a useful new habit
  • Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief
  • Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations
  • Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior
  • Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something
  • Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life
  • Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you
  • Tried doing any of the above and failed

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves. Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to cata for starting the Group Rationality Diary posts, and to commenters for participating.

Next diary: January 16-31

Previous diary: December 16-31

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Overall goal: Attempt to survive until medical science reaches actuarial escape velocity for my income bracket.

Last year's main New Year's Resolution: Remove sugary/caffeinated drinks as a staple of my diet.

Method: Started buying grapefruit-flavoured Perrier instead of pop. Discovered rooibos is a decent replacement for regular tea.

Result: High level of success. I still tend to unthinkingly default to pop or iced tea at restaurants, but don't really touch the stuff at home.

This year's main New Year's Resolution: Gain better control of my sleep cycle.

Side-note: Circadian cycle was much improved for a while a month ago, while house-sitting. Possible cause: Rarely bothered using artificial light. Possible cause: Dog demanding food every morning.

Methods so far: Replaced bed-side light with a remote-controlled colour-changing bulb, which I leave on 'red'. Installed f.lux to redden laptop screen after sunset. Am attempting to revive a custom from my childhood, the "half-hour", a period before the intended bedtime for relaxation. Added wake and sleep alarms to phone. Bookmarked a page on microdose melatonin to read in the next few days. Network TV hasn't been great for last few seasons, am expecting to stop bothering with any show broadcast in late prime-time.

Success so far: Started 'half-hour' at 9:30pm, with sleep-time supposed to start at 10pm. Currently 1:30am, still awake. Am expecting to feel urges to have mid-day siestas; planning on resisting urges to increase sleepiness at planned bedtime.

I've been learning to solve a standard 3x3 rubik's cube, which isn't a very useful skill but it is something I have a hard time with, both in terms of having very little skill with spatial reasoning and having a general mental block that makes me very adverse to this kind of thing. I think it's been good to push myself out of my comfort zone and grapple with something I've labeled as too hard for me to do with a good bit of success.

I've also being trying to reduce my sugar intake which is pretty hard for me especially around holidays and when I feel generally crappy. I've always had a very hard time regulating how much sugar I eat in a healthy way. Since I've been realizing what a problem it is, I've been trying harder to permanently kick my addiction and improve my health. I've found that vanilla scented candles helps reduce my desire to snack on sugar and that it's also much easier to resist buying sugary food than resist it once it's in my house so I've been trying to be better about that.

I learned to cube with the Rubiety Society method (developed by Alice Yu and friends), which makes the necessary algorithms easier to remember by turning them into stories (along the lines of "family drops kids off at summer camp", where each step in the story corresponds to a cube move).

I noticed that I have been finding myself reading articles and discussions on stressful subjects I can't do anything about (ranging from "things I should donate to if I had net positive income" to "hanging out with friends"), and the resulting feelings are clearly not doing anything good for my health. So I'm filtering: anything sufficiently stressful that shows up in my feeds gets removed/blocked/"I don't want to see this"'d. Still working on convincing myself not to read the comments on SSC's "Things I will regret writing" articles (I should just avoid those articles entirely, eventually). One can't very well unlearn helplessness when constantly indulging in reminders.

Polyphasic sleep by the end of the year. Probably Dymaxion. I just made a REM-detecting alarm, and will be testing it after I recover from my wisdom teeth removal. (takes ~ 6 weeks for the healing to complete properly...)

This is just a short comment to let others know that user UnrequitedHope has sent me a reply via PM (to this comment) - and for that matter a rather thoughtful one, relative to my expectations. Hopefully this is not violating their privacy or anything. Posting as a top-level reply, since replying to downvoted comments is officially "discouraged".


Nah, man. I don't mind.

Trying to notice and update on how much brainpower is used by/distraction is caused by looming unmade decisions, even fairly trivial ones.

I budgeted to buy some things to make my life better, and then made a request to my local Less Wrong group in order to find a list of low-hanging fruit that i might not have thought of. we came up with a few really interesting ideas.

And now I've made a LessWrong discussion post to gather a wider list of things: http://lesswrong.com/lw/li4/low_hanging_fruit_for_buying_a_better_life/


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