Groundhog

Groundhog Day and New Beginnings

We discuss the movie Groundhog Day, habit formation, and what is new in our newly relaunched website and publication stack.

Studies have confirmed that people use milestone dates to initiate new beginnings—new year resolutions, significant anniversaries, the first of any given month. Today is such a day.

First of all, there is the unique calendar combination that we won’t see again for another eleven years (time that none of us are guaranteed) when the clock turns to March 3rd, 2033. Take advantage of 2/2/22 while you can. Begin something today.

Today is also Groundhog Day. Everyone’s favorite underrated holiday. The perfect day for the relaunch of Always Invert’s website, community, newsletter, and more. Everything has changed so that it can now grow into a true digital garden. Explore around at your leisure. There will be something new every day.

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies of all time. I reached out to Danny Rubin, author of the movie and the book How To Write Groundhog Day. Danny is someone who must inevitably live his own version of the movie with fans and media alike regularly reaching out to him this time of year. He is also thoughtful and encouraging—when he learned what we are doing here, he generously recounted the example of how his friend used the principle of beginning with the end in mind to create a cinema classic. 

What a great idea for a future newsletter. Stay tuned!    

There have been many imitators of Groundhog Day over the years, with the plot mechanism of the main protagonist being forced to repeat their day over and over again becoming a now familiar device. Here is a very incomplete list:

  • Groundhog Day Battles Aliens: The Edge of Tomorrow, in which Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are humanity’s last chance against an alien invasion
  • Groundhog Day On a Train: Source Code, with Jake Gyllenhaal urgently repeating his morning rail commute to thwart a terrorist attack
  • Groundhog Day Goes on a Date: Fifty First Dates, where Adam Sandler tries to score with an amnesiac Drew Barrymore

Arguably, the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and its $25+ billion in global box office depends on such a device. Beginning with its introduction in Doctor Strange—“Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain…” and right to the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, when Doctor Strange holds up one finger to Tony Stark, we accept each character’s choices as optimized routes within their ever narrowing set of possibilities.

Which brings us back to the magic of the original Groundhog Day. It is all about the transformational journey. When Danny Rubin created his original list of ten screenplay ideas, this was his description:

Time Machine. A guy is stuck in a time warp that commits him to living the same day over and over and over again. But each day he can behave differently and the world and people will be different accordingly. (How do you enjoy yourself? How do you get laid? What are the different ways you can spend the same day? Will he become wiser? Sadder? Cynical? Adventurous?)

If you’re a fan of the movie and looking for insights into the creative process and the movie’s countless genius moments of collaboration and decision making, you’ll definitely want to read the book

Which brings us to the question of how might we modify our own journey as we live out very similar days over and over again? 

There has been some interesting research done about habit formation. In fact, Andrew Huberman began this year with a great podcast about The Science of Making and Breaking Habits.

Based on the research, Dr. Huberman suggests this protocol for establishing new habits: 

  • Choose six habits to perform consistently over the next twenty-one days.
  • Each day, perform four to five of these habits. The goal is not to establish an unbroken streak of any given specific behavior, but rather to get in the pattern of regularly embracing groupings of these new habits.
  • During the subsequent three-week period, monitor the frequency by which you continue these habits.
  • For habits you want to break, choose a replacement behavior. After you engage in the habit you want to drop, immediately do the replacement behavior. Note that the replacement doesn’t need to pre-empt the habit. 

Is anyone game to doing this along with me? I’ve built a simple table that helps me monitor these new habits and my consistency. I’ve tried various apps over the years but don’t have any favorites. If anyone wants to suggest any apps or tools that they have found valuable, please let us know about them in the community thread here

No one (other than my long-suffering spouse) is eager to hear about all six habits that I hope to form or drop, but I will say that one of them involves becoming proficient enough at guitar that people might actually recognize the song I’m strumming. 

Nearly everything that interests me these days has a strong community element to it. Gabby Reece said in a recent podcast that she and husband Laird Hamilton have always been very intentional about building community around fitness. It takes being very proactive.

To that end, how do we develop ourselves along paths that can be supported, encouraged, and challenged by those around us? 

When our young family moved back from London twenty-five some years ago, one of the things we knew we would miss were the parties around traditional holidays that for one reason or another weren’t popular in Great Britain. Thanksgiving would be all about friends and those closest to them. Likewise for the Fourth of July. The receiver of the primary invitation was expected to bring along everyone in their household along with any visiting friends or family members.

Arriving back in The States, we weighed which holiday could best continue the tradition. Groundhog Day was my first pick, but having three children under the age of four and friends with similar family dynamics precluded anything indoors, as early February in Chicago would entail. Instead, we choose Halloween. Looking back, I wish we had done a year round multi-event vision ala the movie Holiday Inn. 

It is great to see the current generation has completely gotten the picture with their full embrace of Friendsgiving. They haven’t stopped there. This week I’ve learned of two Groundhog Day parties using various expressions of its theme. One has people arrive wearing the outfit that represents themselves at their most predictable. I suggested providing an alternative option of dressing as who you aspired to become. I’d gladly brave the cold to appear in flip-flops and board shorts, with a surfboard under one arm and my acoustic guitar slung across my back. 

Pass me a cold one.

Which brings us to part three of today’s relaunch, the newly interwoven elements of the AlwaysInvert Universe, aka the AIU. Our new publication stack includes favorite quotes, posts, links, alongside accompanying commentaries. It is more about showing than telling.

Mostly, it is about exploring and finding ways to encourage and challenge each other. Thank you for coming along for the early iterations of this experiment. Grab one or more of the threads below to continue on today’s journey:

  • Vote for your favorites among the Groundhog Day imitations via this neat No Code integration of Softr and Airtable. Upvote all that you enjoyed.
  • See my notes on habit formation and other topics here in this No Code implementation of Notion via Super. 
  • Contribute a comment or join the dialogue about Groundhog Day and New Beginnings here in the community site.
  • There will be more to come, including future “How We Built This” segments that will include many of the integrations that we are showing today. We are proud investors in Softr.io, which was just named Product Hunt’s Product of the Year 2021. Just wait until you see how easy it is to develop powerful applications and integrations using Softr plus Airtable. 

Today’s subjects represent a range of topics that are always on our mind and seem to be prevalent across the universe. We touch on some of them here:

In the months to come, we will be rolling out a lot of cool stuff. For those of you who are builders and creatives, or just simply curious about these types of things, we will be revealing the logic, scaffolding, and code (and no-code) behind these features. 

Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’ve got you.

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