Are You Free to Abstain? Cover

Are You Free to Abstain?

French scientist Pierre Fouquet was an early researcher of alcoholism. He broke the illness into three categories, two of which describe the circumstances of people we now describe as “alcoholics,” such as drinking in secret with the goal of blacking out.

The third, “alcoholitis,” is “the most common form of alcoholism in France, particularly among men,” Fouquet noted. The subject has a high tolerance and lacks serious psychological complications — they mainly drink beer and wine in social settings, just in too large quantities for it to be healthy.

“We drink to drink with others,” Fouquet said, but “the toxic effects of consumption are still felt.”

Our sneakiest addictions are those we don’t consider to be problems at all. If you drink with coworkers four nights a week and everyone has two beers, that seems like a perfectly normal thing to do.

The question — and this may be Fouquet’s greatest contribution to the world — is:

Do you have the freedom to abstain?

The loss of this freedom is the mark of an addict, Fouquet claimed. When we no longer feel free to abstain, when it seems as if there is no choice to be had, that’s when we should scratch our heads — because we always have a choice.

I love coffee. I usually drink two cups every day. Yesterday, I just had one, and occasionally, I’ll skip an entire day. Not because I want to, but because I must remember that I can.

It is nice to give yourself a break, even from things you love, especially if the break will prevent the thing from becoming a chain around your ankles.

It is also profoundly liberating to sit in front of a foregone conclusion, like “I will drink this beer,” and realize, “You know what? I’m free to abstain. I can just say no.”

Don’t let harmless habits become dictators. Innocuous addictions can secretly run your life. Use your freedom to abstain. It is something you’ll always have — even when you think you’ve already lost it.

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You Still Have Time To Make 2017 The Best Year Of Your Life

13 Ways to Get Your Grip On Life Back

With each passing year, I find more and more truth in this:

“The days are long, but the years are short.” — Gretchen Rubin


It’s that time of the year again. Tax day’s got you throwing your hands up in frustration, your New Year’s resolutions have long vaporized into thin air and you feel like your hold on 2017 is getting weaker and weaker.

I’m here to tell you: You still have time. Read More

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Habit Review for 2015

Tomorrow 2015 will be over.

I remember January 1st as if it was yesterday.

Interesting theory:

The reason each year seems to fly by faster than the last is that as you age, each year represents a smaller portion of your life.

Here’s a visual example:

habit-review-share-of-life

If you’re 1 year old, one year is your entire life. If you’re 14 years old, one year is only 7% of your life.

And so on.

That means at 42 years old, a year is only 2% of the time you’re alive, and it gets less with every year!

Seems to be true for me, and while I always ponder about the happenings of the last 12 months during those last few days of the year, I thought I’d take those ponderings public this time.

Since this is a blog about habits, why not make it a habit review?

Read More

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3 People, 3 Stories & 3 Ways To Break Bad Habits (Which Type Are You?)

“Ha, that’ll never work! I know a better way.”

Rick thought he was smarter than the rest. Yet again. But we’ll get to it.

Today I want to introduce you to three old college friends of mine.

Just like you and me, they struggle with bad habits.

Recently, however, all three of them successfully broke a bad habit.

Even though the habits were very similar, each of them used a very different approach to breaking their habit.

Letting go of bad habits is not a straightforward task, and the process looks different for everyone.

You and I can learn a lot from how my three friends did it, so I asked them to share their story with me.

Here’s what they told me.

Read More

How to Wake Up Early in 2 Simple Steps

You know waking up early is a great habit, right? You’ve heard it dozens of times: all successful people get up early.

Tim Cook (4:30 am), Benjamin Franklin (5:00 am), Michelle Obama (4:30 am), Warren Buffett (6:45), the list goes on and on.

But what turned into a nightmare for Bill Murray in Groundhog Day – waking up at 6 am sharp every day that is – seems like a distant dream for you.

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(it’s Groundhog Day – again)

What if I told you that there were only 2 steps you have to get right, in order to wake up early every day?

Even more so, that neither of them has anything to do with your morning.

You’d be shocked, right? You’d probably tell me: You’re crazy Nik, and I don’t believe you.

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Paleo gone Vegan – 10 Lessons from an entirely plant-based week

I have been eating mainly Paleo for quite some time now. A friend introduced me to it and it has worked well for me. I was not strict about it though, so I would on occasion eat something made from grains, e.g. at restaurants or on special occasions.

Naturally, I had a tough time wrapping my head around the concept of Veganism, as this group is right on the other side of the spectrum of Paleo. But one day I came across this quote:

Since I hate to leave great advice go by, I thought a 1-week Vegan challenge won’t hurt. And it didn’t. To the contrary, it greatly improved my knowledge about food and nutrition and actually had a major influence on my future diet.

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Useless Diets: Why no diet works – but you must try them all

Remember I told you I was on a 1-week Vegan challenge, way back in October? Yeah, I’m way behind on the results, sorry about that. I’m not gonna make excuses saying I didn’t have time – I don’t believe in ‘having time’ (see below).

Something else I don’t believe in, is diets. At least not in what we call diets these days. If you look up where the word diet comes from, Google shows you this:

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See the last line? Greek – ‘diaita’. A way of life. This is, in a nutshell, the reason why all these powders, pills, belly- and waistbands, electric power plates and magazine diets that are re-named and re-promoted year after year, don’t work.

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Comfort Zone Challenge: I just ate an entire lemon – and I’ll give you 5 reasons why you should too.

Around 9 am I always need a second breakfast, since my first breakfast at 6:30 am won’t last. Usually it consists of a pretzel with butter, but as I’m on a 1-week Vegan challenge right now, that’s off the menu. Fruits and nuts it is!

Over the week I most often chose an apple or a banana with some nuts. I got used to it so quickly that today I thought I had to stir things up a bit – how can I make this uncomfortable? As if eating Vegan for a week wasn’t uncomfortable enough, right?

So today, I’d like to propose a comfort zone challenge to you: Eat an entire lemon!

When I checked the fridge, I spotted a few lemons sitting at the bottom, and before I could finish wondering whether you could eat lemons whole, like you do with oranges, I found myself next to a bowl with 4 big, peeled, chopped up lemon slices ready to go.

Here’s me eating one:

I finished the whole thing. I’ve had more pleasurable experiences with fruit, goes without saying. But here’s what I learned:

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