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Liquid Sleep: How To Get More Out Of Life By Staying Up Longer

Last June I bought a Garmin Vivosmart HR activity tracker, primarily for two reasons:

  1. My daily step count is visually present to me at all times, which makes me more likely to get those 10,000 steps.
  2. If I sit for longer than an hour, it vibrates and nags me to get up and move. Since sitting is the new smoking, I think moving regularly might be more important than moving a lot.

While I happily would’ve shelled out 125 € for just those two features alone, there are a few other perks to wearing one of these around the clock. One of them is sleep tracking.

What I’m about to say as a result of it is not going to be popular and it’s definitely not politically correct. At the very least though, it’s food for thought.

For the past five months, I’ve been sleeping less and I think it’s the right choice. Let’s put that into context.

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Do You For Love: The Best Way To Meet Women (Or Men) You’ll Like

I like to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It started in 2014. When everyone else was finishing their theses, I “procrastinated” with an internship. While all my friends optimized their resumé, I started a blog. Whereas most people would long have published a book, here I am, patiently writing for free.

So back in 2014, when Tinder was just two years old and few people in Germany were using it, I thought it was a good idea to jump on. And then I used it in a different way than everyone else. I met an awesome girl and we were together for almost two years. The reason it ended has nothing to do with the way we met. We just reached a gap we couldn’t cross. That’s okay.

In 2017, Tinder feels like the new norm. I now know more couples whose relationships began on Tinder than elsewhere.

I think it’s time to do the opposite. Again.

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Optimism: Definition, Explanation & The Ultimate Guide to Go From Being a Pessimist to Becoming an Optimist

Right this second, someone is recording a Youtube video, grinning from ear to ear, trying to sell you on the idea that if you’re not happy, there’s something wrong with you. Even worse, there’s probably also someone writing an article claiming they can show you how to fix it in seven easy steps.

First off, there is nothing wrong with you. If you don’t want to run around the streets naked right now or aren’t at the verge of a positivity-induced ecstatic breakdown, that’s just fine. What’s not fine is that there is a massive storm of fake happiness going on out there, and it leads to the kind of bad advice and “just be happy” bullying I just mentioned.

Today, you and I will identify, criticize, and debunk fake happiness. You will learn why people confuse happiness and something else, namely optimism. You will understand the true meaning and definition of optimism.

We will also learn how science defines optimism, which traits make a person optimistic, and how you can develop those traits in yourself, no matter whether you are an optimist or a pessimist right now. Let’s start by looking at 200 million pieces of terrible advice.

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On Being Vulnerable: What If You Didn’t Numb It?

Stories from the metaphorical operating table…

The other day I summarized a book called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, which is about vulnerability. It’s been stuck in my head for days, so today, I want to share this idea with you.

Here’s what Google tells you when you ask it to “define vulnerable”:

exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Therefore, by definition, being vulnerable is dangerous. It’s unsafe, uncertain and uncomfortable. So naturally, we don’t like it and we try to escape this state as soon as possible.

When we feel exposed, endangered or on the spot, our usual reaction is to numb that feeling.

Today I want to ask you: what if you didn’t?

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How to Develop a Growth Mindset in 3 Steps

“Oh my god. I just had a donut. It was an accident coach, but now I’m screwed. If history is any indicator, I’ll have had 7 more by the time I leave the office. I’ve never managed to stick to my diet this long before, so I guess it was only a matter of time until I fail.”

What you just witnessed is called a fixed mindset. I receive messages like these from my clients on a regular basis.

I’ll inevitably cut in with something a little provocative, like this…

“If that’s what history indicates, I strongly suggest you pick a different indicator :)”

…or this:

“So you’ve stuck to your diet longer than ever before, but it’s impossible for you to get better? My contradiction radar just went off!”

You see, as much as I love encouraging my clients, and getting them to pick themselves up and move forward, a fixed mindset is tough to crack, and therefore oftencalls for a steamroller.

It’s one of the root problems when trying to improve your habits and getting rid of it often requires one or even multiple striking, powerful, memorable and somewhat drastic events.

Today I’m going to show you how to create those events for yourself. But first, a story — because everyone loves those.

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7 Toxic Habits to Let Go Before 9 AM

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” — Buddha

When you wake up, does your brain go straight into overdrive? Do you feel tempted to snooze? Do you think about all the things you have to do today and start worrying about what could go wrong?

Not long ago, I didn’t want to leave my bed either. I’d browse the web on my phone, read some emails, and procrastinate. Often, this meant I’d already be late by the time I finally did get up. I would rush into the shower, get angry about stubbing my toe somewhere, and end up with no time to eat.

When I arrived at work for my internship, I was already feeling behind, so the best I could do was spend the rest of my day trying to “catch up.” That’s not the frame of mind you want to operate in.

Now, however, I know exactly what the first hour of my day looks like. I don’t even have to think about it because it’s a set routine, and that’s wonderful. My internship is over, and so are my chaotic morning — because I made a deliberate change.

My morning routine makes starting the day easy, and it sets me up for success. There’s no perfect day, but if you’re prepared to have a good day — every day — that’s a great place to start. How you spend the first hour of your day determines how you spend the rest of it.

Before you can add new, good habits, however, you must let go of the bad ones. Here are seven toxic habits you can drop. Don’t bother with these, especially not before 9 AM. Doing so will make you feel calm and happy as you start your day.


1. Let Go of Hitting the Snooze Button

Hitting the snooze button in the morning feels great at first. You know you still have time and drift back to sleep.

But when your alarm rings again 7, 9 or 15 minutes later you were actually just about to enter a deep sleep phase. That means the snooze button interrupts your sleep at the worst time, making you feel more groggy and tired as you were before.

What’s more, every time you hit the snooze button you tell yourself subconsciously: “I don’t really want to get up. I want to stay in bed. I don’t want to start this day and face what lies ahead.” That’s not a very good mantra.

Even when you have to get up with an alarm, as soon as you wake up, rise and shine! Be excited for the day, get up, have a glass of water, start moving around.

Brush your teeth, read, do something that makes you excited about getting up.

Don’t drag yourself from snooze to snooze, as it will make you drag yourself through the rest of the day as well.

You snooze, you lose!


2. Let Go of Overthinking

This is what I call “monkey mind”. I still fall for this from time to time.

Right upon waking up I start thinking. And I think a lot. My brain starts racing down a never-ending train of thoughts.

“Okay, let me check what time it is. 6:07. That’s good. I can start work right at 7:00. What will I start with? Oh yeah, that guest post I want to write for Marc and Angel. I’ll spend 30 minutes on that. Then I’ll do some client work. But what do I eat for breakfast? This cereal I bought yesterday? Or the one I have leftover. Damn, I don’t have any milk!”

That’s what the first 30 seconds of my day can look like. Terrible, right?

So be sure to practice a form of conscious silence in the morning. Lie in bed, close your eyes once more before you get up and just feel everything. The blanket on your skin. Your head resting on the pillow.

You can also do a short meditation by just sitting upright and cross-legged on the floor and focusing on your breath for one minute.

Notice the rhythm of your breathing as you inhale and exhale.

What also helps me is standing under the shower, just letting the water run over my head and only listen to the sounds of the water.

Don’t go from zero to overdrive right upon waking up. Practice a little bit of silence for your mind and you’ll feel much calmer for the entire day.


3. Let Go of Consuming Bad Things

We all draw a line when it comes to consuming toxic food, drinks and drugs. For some the line is marijuana, for others it’s alcohol, others draw it at coffee, or even soda and fast food.

Wherever you’ve drawn your line before, chances are you need to draw it again. Because what is true for food is also true for thoughts.

You can spend your mornings watching the news and Youtube videos, reading gossip, chatting in WhatsApp groups and reading the obituary section of the newspaper.

Or you can read a book that will help you create a better life, let yourself be inspired by classic poetry or a good novel.

You can eat pancakes with bacon for breakfast. Or you can have oatmeal with an apple and cinnamon.

You can drink lemonade from the store or brew your own coffee fresh from home ground beans.

What comes out of your mouth and brain in terms of speech and thought can only be as good as what you put into it in terms of food and knowledge.

Take a stand. Draw a line and make a choice to only consume what’s good for you in the morning.


4. Let Go of Negative Self-talk

Remember that hitting the snooze button is like subconsciously telling yourself you don’t want to wake up? I’m willing to bet you also do this on a much more conscious level.

You worry about what the day will bring. You tell yourself you might not have what it takes to deal with the day’s challenges.

“Will Joe approve my presentation?”

“Can I get all my housekeeping done?”

“I’m not sure I can make that call today.”

Instead of already talking yourself into failure, why not boost your confidence? Create a small set of affirmation that you can tell yourself. It can be as short as one sentence:

“I will do great today.”

“I will give my best to make this day successful.”

“I believe in myself.”

Before you brush your teeth, stand in the mirror, look yourself in the eye and tell yourself something encouraging.

Be your own Dad, your own Mum, your own partner, your own friend and do what all these would do: motivate you by telling you that you can do it.

A tiny adjustment that can change the entire trajectory of your day.


5. Let Go of Getting Angry at Little Mistakes

Yes, not all mornings will go smoothly. Sometimes you will have to rush, get stuck in traffic, or hit your elbow on the door.

But don’t start yelling. Every day the world throws many opportunities at you to get angry — and many of them deserve your anger.

The little hiccups in the morning are not one of them. Don’t focus on what goes wrong, focus on what you do great.

The 5 pushups you did. The glass of water you drank. That smoothie you made for yourself. The way you motivated yourself by saying something positive. A chapter in a book you read that made you feel inspired.

Remember that silence in the morning is important to make you feel emotionally calm. So when you hit a bump in your early morning road, take a deep breath, remember all the good things about your morning and move on.


6. Let Go of Rushing

There is a Japanese proverb that goes like this:

“When you are in a hurry go slowly.”

It means that it is especially important to take enough time to do things right when they are urgent.

A classic game played at kids’ birthdays is balancing an egg on a tablespoon while walking from one end of the room to the other.

Who wins that game?

The kid who tries to walk very fast, but eventually drops the egg and has to go back to the start multiple times (or breaks the egg altogether), or the kid who just walks very slowly, but reaches the finish line in one go?

The more you rush the more mistakes will happen. Slow down, do everything once, but do it right.

The best idea is to give yourself plenty of time in the morning. I usually give myself an hour to an hour and a half before I get started on work.

Yes, that means waking up earlier, but the time is spent so well it is absolutely worth it.

You’ll have time to visualize the tasks of your day. For example, just picturing yourself typing when you want to write a novel has been scientifically proven to make it more likely you’ll actually start writing (and enjoy the process!).

A journal is also a great way to spend the extra time and get some structure. I usually write into my one-sentence-journal before I start work.

I just answer one question: “How do you feel right now?”

It helps me make sure I’m ready to go and don’t start when I don’t feel good.

So even when you don’t have much time in the morning. Don’t. Rush.

As famous basketball coach John Wooden said:

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”


7. Let Go of Your Comfort Zone

Imagine a typical morning of the average person:

Waking up in a bed with a comfortable mattress and a warm blanket, artificial light on the nightstand, waiting till the last minute, then jumping into a warm, hot shower.

Afterward a quick pre-processed meal for breakfast while watching a video on a smartphone, before they’re off to the next comfortable, modern amenity: their car. With air conditioning, radio and a seat warmer.

All of these modern conveniences are great, but they have detached us from what’s natural.

Our ancestors woke up outside, on the ground, with the rise of the sun. The first thing they saw in the morning was sunlight. The first thing they heard was the sound of the birds.

There was no rush. They got up, started moving around, stretching.

If it was cold, they would move more, if it was warm a little less. They ate what they had gathered the day before or had to go look for food.

If your day often feels challenging, that might lie in you not challenging yourself at all. We’re not used to being challenged.

We’re not responsible for creating our own food, furniture, gadgets, and hot water. We don’t even have to move if we don’t want to!

Which is why exercise is a great start.

Give up a little of the comfort you indulge yourself in every morning.

When you get up, do some exercise. Do a set of pushups. Try some squats. Do pull-ups on your door. Go outside and run around the block, or at least walk. Get up, get moving, get some blood flowing.

Prepare yourself a meal that takes effort, but is healthy. Just sit and eat in silence, without technology to distract you.

Open a window, let in the fresh air, listen to the birds and the hum of the city as it starts to wake.

Walk to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Have a cold shower.

Let go of huddling up inside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Just a little bit. Every morning.

It will leave you prepared for what the world throws at you during the rest of the day.


Final Words

The morning is the greatest time of the day. There are so many opportunities to set yourself up for success.

But a beautiful morning doesn’t happen by accident. You have to work for it. You have to create it.

Try to let go of one of these toxic habits today. Then another one. And another one.

Soon, you’ll have plenty of space to create a magical morning routine.

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9 Free Ways to Increase Your Willpower in 1 Minute or Less

How often do you wish you were more disciplined?

Chances are, if you spent all this time taking baby steps towards more willpower instead of lamenting your lack of it, you’d be halfway there already.

Today, you’re not getting off the hook for once.

You could have more self-control less than 10 minutes from now.

These nine actions can be taken in 60 seconds or less each – and they won’t cost you a penny.

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