I’m a very goal orientated person. I have goals for fitness, education, personal life, finances and of course my skills as a developer. Goals are healthy, they help us improve, give us direction and also give us something to relentlessly chase. How though, do you go about achieving them?
There are countless ways to attain your goals, many of which I’ll be discussing in later posts, but one of my absolute favourites has got to be forming positive habits.
WE ARE HABITUAL BEINGS
Us humans pick up habits with relative ease, bad or good. In fact, breaking a habit is much harder than making one. So, if we can get in the habit of doing something good for us, the chances are we will stick to it.
They say forming a habit takes around two weeks, that’s not long. The initial phase where you build the habit can be hard however, especially when you get home from uni or work and you just want to enter coma-mode and sit there like a potato. Push through that first fortnight though, and a world of benefits awaits you.
WRITE LOTS OF CODE, BECOME A BETTER PROGRAMMER
I’m not a world class programmer and I won’t pretend to be one. I’m an incredibly mediocre programmer at best. I strive for more though (that’s why I created this blog) and to improve your programming skills, you need to program more.
Now, what if you created a habit of programming in your own time everyday. You get home from uni or work, hobble over to your desk, slump into your chair and get coding. Not on stuff you have to do, but on stuff you want to do. You bash out a new feature, debug your code, make a few pushes to GitHub and before you know it you’re on a 6 hour programming bender. Every day.
You are going to improve. Of course you should get your code reviewed every so often and read other peoples code to pick up on good programming practices (I recommend Kenneth Reitz, for python, his code is artwork), but the only way you are going is up my friend.
FORMING A HABIT OF PROGRAMMING WITH GITHUB
Don’t break the Streak! You know that little (hopefully) green grid on your GitHub profile? Well that’s a log of on what days you have pushed contributions to git repositories. It will also tell you your current and longest streak.
Use these statistics to motivate you to program more and push more to git. Don’t fall into the trap of pushing rubbish though, push meaningful, code with a purpose. The excitement you get from beating your longest streak and the pressure you have to not break your current streak will make forming a habit that much easier.
Well, give it a go. It’s only going to do you good. I hope you have found some value in this post.