“In general, I’m a fan of using milestone days to prompt me to think about changes I might undertake…”

In general, I’m a fan of using milestone days to prompt me to think about changes I might undertake to make myself happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative.

Certain days, such as January 1 or my birthday,  remind me to reflect on my life and my hopes for the future.  Recently, Inauguration Day prompted me to think about the highest ideals of the United States, and how I can live up to them, in my own life.

Gretchen Rubin
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Dont Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort | blog maverick

Dont Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort | blog maverick:


Think about all the things you have been passionate about in your life. Think about all those passions that you considered making a career out of or building a company around.  How many were/are there ? Why did you bounce from one to another ?  Why were you not able to make a career or business out of any of those passions ? Or if you have been able to have some success, what was the key to the success.? Was it the passion or the effort you put in to your job or company ?

If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time.

Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you .

Let me make this as clear as possible

1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.

2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.

3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it

4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.

Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.

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Here’s a simple trick to achieve your long-term goals

Here’s a simple trick to achieve your long-term goals:


Here’s how you do it:

  1. Choose a specific goal that can be measured. Some examples: lose 20 pounds, write an 80,000 word book, save $10,000, run a total of 100 miles, or meditate 15 minutes a day this month (450 minutes total).
  2. Pick a realistic completion date. This is key. Choosing a date by which you’d like to finish your goal will let you define the pace you’ll need in order to achieve that goal. Make sure your date is attainable and realistic.
  3. **Use Excel or Numbers to design a simple, two-lined chart. One line tracks the pace you’ll need to follow to achieve your goal by the date you’ve specified, and the other line tracks your incremental progress towards the goal. Update this second line every week, or however often you choose. (I’m purposely not posting a template here—I have a good one, but the more involved you are in this process, the more likely you are to keep the chart updated.)

I’ve found it helps to print several of these charts and place them within sight—when writing The Productivity Project, I taped a chart of my incremental word count above the computer monitor in my office, another in the kitchen, and one in my bedroom.

I’ve found this tactic works for a few reasons:

You can make adjustments over time. This includes tweaks to your effort—to either work harder if you’re behind pace, or let up a bit if you’re ahead—as well as adjustments to the goal itself, if you’re finding that in practice, your plan is either overambitious or too conservative. (That said, sometimes conservative goals are the best ones because they feel much more attainable.)

You know when you can treat yourself. Goals are fun to make and achieve, but tracking your progress lets you know when you can let your foot off the gas a little, and treat yourself. It’s a pretty great feeling to both treat yourself, and know that you’re on pace to achieve your larger goal.

**Tracking your progress against a pace keeps you honest with yourself. My negative inner dialogue goes through the roof when working towards larger goals. I have the bad habit of talking myself out of achieving larger goals (especially when food is involved). Tracking your exact progress against a planned pace gives you some cold, hard data to reflect on how well you’re doing.

When you track your progress for your larger personal and work goals—especially against a predetermined pace—you’re more likely to achieve them. I’ve yet to find a better strategy to achieving the bigger goals in my life.

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Habit Stacking

Habit Stacking:

  • Original article by James Clear 
  • Builds on the Tiny Habits method created by Dr BJ  Fogg 
  • Make a list of your old habits and new
    habits; then match them up
  • Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself. For eg:
    • Flossing
      (new habit) after brushing my teeth (old habit) 
    • Doing 10 push ups (new habit) immediately after drinking water in the morning (old habit)  – Slowly you can increase the number of push ups once you’ve gotten used to this routine. 

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Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy

Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy:

Some quotes:

Successfully reshaping your mindset, he argues, has less to do with hours of therapy and more to do with mental exercises, including one that helps you recognize “thin slices of joy.”

“Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time,” he told CBC News. “It’s not like ‘Yay!”” he notes in Joy on Demand. “It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of nice.’”

Usually these events are unremarkable: a bite of food, the sensation of stepping from a hot room to an air-conditioned room, the moment of connection in receiving a text from an old friend. Although they last two or three seconds, the moments add up, and the more you notice joy, the more you will experience joy, Tan argues. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.” That’s because you’re familiarizing the mind with joy, he explains.

Tan’s “thin slice” exercise contains a trigger, a routine, and a reward—the three parts necessary to build a habit. The trigger, he says, is the pleasant moment, the routine is the noticing of it, and the reward is the feeling of joy itself.


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The Most Important (tiny) Shifts You Can Make in 2017

Changing habits is hard. Despite our best intentions, research shows that 8 out of 10 New Year’s resolutions fail.

Can you spot what is wrong with the following goals?

  • I want to lose 10lbs by the end of 2017
  • I want to get out of debt by the end of 2017

We have set goals like these dozens of times. They seem admirable and motivating, but there’s one giant problem: each focuses on a specific result and not a practice.

  • If you want to lose 10lbs, how are you going to do this?
  • If you want to get out of debt, what do you have to do?

Contrast this with behavior specific goals:

These are actions you take on a regular basis that increase your odds of happiness in the long run – the small habits that lead to successful businesses, completed books, deeper relationships, and more.

They look like this:

  • I want to lose 10lbs by the end of 2017 → I go to my local gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday following Pavel Tsatsouline Simple & Sinister Kettlebell program.
  • I want to get out of debt → I do at least $250 worth of freelance craigslist gigs on the side each month.

These systems become automatic so you do not have to think about them over time. You put the system into place and let them go to work.


As Lord Chesterfield said, “Take care of the minutes; for hours will take care of themselves.” If you take care of your daily and weekly habits, the goals will take care of themselves.

What systems will you put into place in 2017?
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10 counterintuitive habits that will make you more creative – A Life of Productivity

10 counterintuitive habits that will make you more creative – A Life of Productivity:

  1. Consume more valuable dots. A dot is an idea or a piece of information. We “consume dots” whenever we experience something new, be it perspectives, knowledge, conversations etc. When absorbing information that’s useful, practical, and relevant to our work and lives, we can connect that information and act upon it later. The more valuable the information we consume, the more valuable the connections we make. (Bailey, 2016)
  2. Perform an information detox. Information can take the form of an app, websites you visit habitually, books you read, what you watch on TV, listen to on the radio etc. Aim to increase the quality of these information inputs/dots.
  3. Daydream. Daydreaming supercharges the dot-connecting power of your brain (Bailey, 2016). This is the reason why ideas occur to us when we are in shower etc; at unexpected moments. Setting aside time each week to do absolutely nothing will make you more creative.
  4. Do something habitual—but don’t overload your attention. Our brain does alot of the connection of mental dots when we are doing habitual tasks like washing the dishes, working on a creative hobby or taking a shower. By doing habitual tasks, we give our mind the space it needs to form more connections.
  5. Do your most creative work in a messy room. We are more creative in a messy environment vs an ordered environment to increase productivity/focus.
  6. Wait as long as possible before solving problems. This is especially so when it comes to problems that require creative solutions. Taking time allows your mind to mull over the problem, connect dots, and come up with a novel—and more creative—solution.
  7. Do creative work when you’re most tired (vs most productive when you have the most energy). This is because your brain is less inhibited (less energy to regulate its thoughts) and thus is easier to come up with creative solutions. Figure out when you have the least energy, and schedule creative brainstorming during that time.
  8. Don’t consume caffeine before creative tasks. Caffeine makes your more focused (save it for tasks that require productivity) as it narrows your attention spotlight onto a specific task. This can be detrimental to your creativity, which results from your brain connecting more disparate dots. 
  9. Sleep on a problem. This works, because your brain continues to form and solidify new connections as you rest. Sleeping on it allows your brain more time and space to connect the dots presented by learning a new skill or solving a creative problem.
  10. Intentionally scatter your attention. To do this, hold a topic loosely in mind. Let your thoughts wander around it, turn it over, and explore it from different angles. When your mind trails off to think about a totally unrelated topic, or gets stuck on one point, gently nudge your attention back to flowing more freely. This tactic allows you to solve complicated problems more creatively.

*All text in bold are the web author’s words
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