Habits and Backup Verification

Habits and Backup Verification

October 16

It’s useful to think about habits when it comes to your backup and disaster recovery plan. Although you can set up notifications to warn you when a backup fails, and you can also rely on ImageManager to verify backups, it’s also useful to set aside some time to properly mount ShadowProtect backup images to make sure that they function the way you need them to—it’s just an extra thing you should test regularly. In order to do that, you might want to create a habit around the procedure so that it always gets done and so that any backups under your control are pristine and recoverable. The problem is that habits can be tricky.

A Lifehacker article I stumbled on explains that if you’re trying to build a new habit, chances are you’re going to break it multiple times before you actually solidify the behavior. Joel Gasciogne, founder of Buffer (developer of the social media sharing app by the same name), explains that failure is common when it comes to developing new habits, but that’s ok—as long as you’re prepared for it.

Gasciogne explains that there are great books like The Power of Habit that help many people develop positive habits or rid themselves of bad habits, but the issue of failure is rarely discussed. What happens when you fail for a day or when setbacks get in the way?

Well, it may be helpful to decide what to do when you mess up and how long you can afford to be down following failure. Consider this: suppose you’ve lost five pounds over the course of two weeks. You look past your still-bulbous gut at the scale and smile at the success of the meager five-pound loss. To celebrate you go out and have a cheese-injected porterhouse and completely forget your workout for the day. The next day, you keep telling yourself you’ll eat a healthy lunch and exercise when you get home, but for whatever reason (hamburgers and Netflix), you don’t. The next thing you know it’s a week later, you’ve relapsed into lethargy and the five pounds are back. You’ve lost your first two weeks of effort and now you’re discouraged.

You failed for now, but you shouldn’t give up. It’s common to fail once or more when developing new habits. It’s tough to stay on top of everything, but you’ll have a lot more at stake when you stick with it for a while. Imagine if you had kept your diet and exercise regimen in check for three months and had lost twenty pounds, if you stopped completely you’d have lost three months of effort and gained back your bulge. Since you’ve got more at stake, you’re much less likely to put your success at risk—you can’t afford to have much down time when you’ve worked so hard to get where you’re at.

According to Gasciogne, the best way to form habits is to start small, give yourself some wiggle room, and start with a habit that’s easy to do without fail every day. Work on that habit until you’ve got it down pat. You should be drawn to the behavior rather than having to force yourself into it—it shouldn’t take massive amounts of will power to prompt action.

Don’t get discouraged if you mess up for a short time. You lost the weight once, you can do it again. Set a goal for yourself that if you must get yourself on track by X number of days that way your downtime doesn’t affect your business, er… belly.

Be sure to note that being ready for failure isn’t an excuse to fail, but rather a practical way of looking at the process. You should work hard not to fail, but when you do, it’s likely that you’ll feel discouraged or defeated and think, “I can’t do this, I quit.” You can do it and you will if you really want to. If you’re talking about doing something as important as verifying backups, then you should really want to. There’s no worse feeling than losing something because of negligence, and all you need to do is take a minute to test things out.

Photo Credit: PNASH via Compfight cc