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:


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?

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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.

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How to Develop a Growth Mindset Cover

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.

Why a Fixed Mindset Will Lead to an Unhappy Life

The idea of a fixed mindset was first described by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset.

In a fixed mindset, you consider all of your skills, abilities and talents as given, permanent and, well, fixed.

You let your entire past determine your entire future and basically hand off responsibility to nature, god or the universe — because you assume all you’ll ever get is what you’ve always gotten.

Compare that to a growth mindset, in which you assume you can handle or at least learn anything, because your future is determined by your own actions, effort and persistence.

It’s the comfort zone thing all over again.

You can already see how the former leads you to a place where you’re constantly looking for new excuses and things or people to blame, while trying to appear as smart as possible, instead of learning more.

For example, even if you manage to keep up your new diet for 14 days, which has never happened before, you don’t identify with the change and sabotage yourself.

The latter on the other hand will allow you to develop a great work ethic, become an optimist and create your own luck.

Imagine you responded to your donut-mishap like this: “I just stuck to a new diet for 14 days in a row, that’s my new record! Let me see what I can do to avoid the donut the next time so I can now get to 28 days.”

You’ll be proud of the great work you did so far, because you attach it to your own actions and build upon it to create further great work.

Entirely different, right?

Case in point:

Two men visit a Zen master.

The first man says: “I’m thinking of moving to this town. What’s it like?”

The Zen master asks: “What was your old town like?”

The first man responds: “It was dreadful. Everyone was hateful. I hated it.”

The Zen master says: “This town is very much the same. I don’t think you should move here.”

The first man leaves and the second man comes in.

The second man says: “I’m thinking of moving to this town. What’s it like?”

The Zen master asks: “What was your old town like?”

The second man responds: “It was wonderful. Everyone was friendly and I was happy. Just interested in a change now.”

The Zen master says: “This town is very much the same. I think you will like it here.”

Note: This story is an anecdote from James Altucher’s ‘The Rich Employee’, a definite recommend.

Here’s the part James left out though: Both men came from the same city.

The zen master knew that the first men was stuck in a fixed mindset, and that he would find new excuses and people to blame for his misery wherever he went.

The second man, however, would make the best of things anywhere, and the zen master knew that his growth mindset would allow him to prosper in the new city as well.

This post will help you become the second man.

3 Ways to Change Your Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

So how do you go from fixed to growth mindset?

Your brain is a complicated masterpiece, and, even worse, it comes without a manual.

However, Dweck’s research has identified a few things you can do and I’d like to extend those with what I’ve learned so far.

For example, I found that my biggest changes in mindset have always occurred in “Holy shit!” moments.

Things like avoiding a near car crash and regaining control over a drifting car, waking up in a hospital with no memories (not too proud of that one), or finishing a 10k in spite of having the knees of a 70 year old.

But you can’t manufacture those moments, so what do you do?

You work towards them. By creating what I like to call mini epiphanies.

There are 3 things you can do every day, to maximize the number of mini epiphanies in your life.

1. Educate yourself

A very simple way to give yourself the chance to go “oh damn, of course!” is to pick up a book.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset Quote

Learning something about a topic you fear or want to get better at often makes it seem less threatening.

For example, Dweck’s research showed that telling college students their brain forms new connections when they try hard, which will make them smarter, their attitude started to change.

In a similar manner, a fixed mindset is often the result of getting feedback in the wrong form from an early age on.

When you broke a plate as a kid, what did your parents tell you?

“You’re clumsy, sweety!” is entirely different than “You weren’t paying attention, honey. You gotta watch out more next time.”


The first statement makes you think you are clumsy. Subsequently, you expect yourself to be clumsy on future occasions as well.

The second makes your mistake specific to this occasion and ties it to your actions.

It’s the same with positive feedback. Constantly being told you’re great results in a lot of confidence, but your competence won’t necessarily match that.

Connecting your results with the work you put in reminds you that you’re still going to have to work hard the next time, which is why “good job, you worked very hard” is a much better encouragement than “good job, you’re very smart.”

Some great books around this topic are:

They offer plenty of mini epiphanies about your brain and mindset and you’ll find yourself going “ahhhh, thaaaaaaat’s why” multiple times throughout each book.

2. Learn about someone’s story

“No way, that guy had messed up knees too? If he can run that far, so can I!”

Humans are one big family. We love to relate.

Once someone pulls a hard achievement that “no one did before” into the realm of the possible, all of a sudden many people can do it.

Just like “nobody” could run a 4 minute mile until Roger Bannister did it. 2 months later, he and another guy did in in the same race.

So don’t just read blogs, read their about section. Learn about the people behind your favorite publications, podcasts, videos and books.

Read about the parts of their life that sucked (and sometimes still do), and the excuses they had before starting to put themselves out there.

Learn about your heroes and heroines, you’re bound to run into someone who was in a very similar position you are in right now.

You’ll start to see that a lot of successful people started out with a mindset just as fixed as yours.

A few other great places to collect mini epiphanies from other people are:

  • Biographies (Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, Jerry Weintraub are good starters)
  • Interviews (check out Mixergy)
  • Movies (Unbroken, Jobs, 300)

All of these people had to grow past major and minor flaws to achieve their success — they had no option but to believe in the process before it worked out, in order for it to eventually do.

3. Make a true effort to find love (if you haven’t already)

This might only be me, and I know it sounds super unconventional, but love is the part of your life that requires you to grow the most.

And by a long shot.

I’m not talking about that pickup crap. Where people wear a number like it’s a badge of honor.

Anyone can find 100 people to hook up with.

Show me the person who’s trying to pick one out of 7 billion who they want to stay with for not only the night, but also the next day, and the day after that, and the one after that, until they’re old and grey — and I’ll show you someone who’s willing to grow.

Here are my top 3 mini epiphanies from my own quest for love:

  1. My parents announcing our move to another city when I was 8 years old. I was in love with a girl from my class — 2 of her teeth were super pointy, kind of like a vampire — and I realized “Holy shit! I’m never gonna see her again. I have to learn how to deal with this”. Dealing with it involved a lot of crying.
  2. Waking up with a major hangover, tons of hickeys, actual bites and scratches all over my neck and chest area (in spite of which not much else happened) — my bathroom mirror spoke to me: “That chick is crazy. Dating is a nightmare, you need to find a proper girlfriend fast!” That meant becoming someone who attracts the right person first.
  3. Realizing I had outgrown my first real girlfriend a few months into the relationship. While I kept improving myself, she was stuck on her high horse (she was 2 years older than me). Unfortunately, that horse was actually really tiny, and I knew I had to find someone who was willing to grow with me.

The beautiful part of dating is that you’re in control, which makes it a good starting point, even if your mindset is fixed. You get to tell the crazy ones to scram and ask the good ones for another date, after all.

With everyone you meet, you learn something (the least useful thing being that there’s more for you to learn).

Eventually, all those little learnings and insights amount to everything you need to be, when you meet the right person.

So if you’re in love with your best friend, finally ask them on a date, and see where the ride takes you.

Change your Tinder pics. Tell your ex to stay away. Make some progress and commit to it.

Don’t settle for the next best thing — even if it makes you uncomfortable.

Recap: How to Develop a Growth Mindset in 3 Steps

Let’s recap.

Fixed = frustrating. Growth = good.

Next to the rare, big “Holy Shit!” moments, there are 3 ways to start having mini epiphanies in your daily life:

  1. Educating yourself about fixed and growth mindsets
  2. Learning about someone else’s story to see it’s really all in your hands
  3. Quit the shenanigans and start getting serious about love

Don’t let your past determine your future.

Even if it means you’ll get run over by a steamroller a couple of times.

But for the non-steamroller days, I want to give you my personal summaries of 3 books around this topic:

You can find all of these and 1,000+ more on Four Minute Books.

Toxic Habits Cover

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.

Willpower Hacks Cover

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.

Are you in?

I thought so.

Here are my nine free willpower hacks!

1. Switch hands

Whatever hand you’re using to read this right now, switch to the other hand.

Just do it, already!

Flanders was on to something when he built the Leftorium.

Willpower Hacks 1

Whether you’re scrolling your index finger down a trackpad, your thumb down a touchscreen or you printed this out and hold it in your hand (yeah, right), switch to using your other, non-dominant hand.

Roy Baumeister (the Elon Musk of willpower research) did a study in which participants had to use their non-preferred hand for tasks such as brushing teeth, stirring drinks, using a computer mouse, carrying items, eating, and opening doors for two weeks.

Result: People were less vulnerable to ego depletion aka loss of willpower.

2. Push ups!

You know how many you can do. I want you to do one more.

Can you do ten? Do eleven. Five? Do six. Zero? That’s okay. Then do one.

The discipline to exceed your known limits, even by just an inch, not only removes limiting beliefs you hold about yourself, but also builds further discipline by delaying gratification.

So even if you have the exercise habits of a sloth, one set of push ups will get you much further than you think.

Note: You should aim to exercise regularly nevertheless, it’s an even bigger willpower booster, as proven in studies.

3. Get some nuts!

Remember the Snickers Mr. T commercials from a while ago? He wasn’t too wrong when he yelled “Get some nuts!” all over the place.

Grab some walnuts, or other nuts high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as pecans or cashews, and throw them in your nutritional fuel tank. They’ve been shown to improve cognitive function.

Note: I know, I know, nuts aren’t free, but come on, who doesn’t have a bunch of nuts lying around the house?

4. Take a cold shower

Stepping up to the plate and overcoming the fear of cold water in the morning is one of the simplest and quickest ways to get some serious willpower points into your account.

It just may be the slight difference between keeping your composure when your boss yells at you at work, or throwing a tantrum and binge eating donuts while crying under your desk.

The effect is more psychological than physical, but you not giving in to cold water will give you the confidence to also not give in when the going gets tough later in the day (and it will).

Plus, this is only one out of 7 benefits of cold showers, so there are 6 more reasons to take one.

Jump in with cold, hold it for a few seconds, rinse warm and finish with cold for 60 seconds of seriously boosting your willpower.

5. Meditate for 1 minute

Next to physical exercise, meditation has been shown to be another practice, which can improve your willpower.

It increases the gray matter in your brain, the region with the highest density of neurons, which is involved in muscle control, sensory perception, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and, you guessed it: self-control.

Tip: The biggest mistake people make when meditating is that they think meditation is only successful when you stop thinking. This is BS. No one, and I mean NO ONE, can stop their mind from thinking.

The only point of a successful meditation practice is to focus your attention on one thing, to help your mind create a sort of shield around it, making it able to protect itself from intrusive thoughts. Think this:

The 1 minute meditation:

Simply close your eyes and breathe as you normally would, but pay very close attention to it. Feel your nostrils flaring, your chest rising, and your heart beating.

The beauty of this 1-minute-meditation is that you can do it anywhere.

To my surprise I found it works especially well in really crowded places. For example I did this last year on my way to work in the packed subway sometimes, and it really grounded me.

6. Make a fist

Yup, time for a fist pump!

Ways to Increase Willpower

Lil’ Sammy knows what’s up!

Roy Baumeister’s study from above has been done and re-done several times. Researchers have now confirmed that building discipline is a self-enhancing loop:

Exercising self-control builds more self-control.

92 adults took part in a study testing their self-control before and after 2 weeks of self-control exercises, like reducing their intake of sweets and pressing a handgrip twice a day.

Result: The control groups (who solved math problems and kept a diary, which are different than actively restraining yourself) performed on the same level, while the willpower builders’ results improved.

So clench your fist, squeeze it hard and hold it for a while. Even this lightweight version of the hand grip will make you mentally stronger.

No wonder Obama fist bumps people all the time. Just another way for him to build willpower.

Willpower Tips

The president building willpower on the fly.

7. Do the opposite of what you’re doing right now

One of the many ways Spongebob drove Squidward to the edge of insanity with was Opposite Day.

Squidward ran screaming at the idea of making it a national holiday, but the yellow, little sponge has science on his side.

Willpower Tricks

Similar to switching hands, any time you consciously override your behavior, it strengthens your resolve.

So whatever you’re doing right now, simply do the opposite.

Are you sitting? Stand up.

Are you standing? Walk.

Are you walking? Stand still.

And so on. There are easily over 50 ways you could be doing the opposite of what you’re currently doing right now.

If the muscles in your face are tense, because you’re thinking hard, relax them (like your jar, cheeks and forehead).

Not blinking your eyes very often, because you’re looking at a screen reading this? Consciously blink a few times.

Your butt cheeks are likely to be relaxed on the other hand, so it might be worth pinching them for a second.

In these little ways you can make every day Opposite Day, and let your brain reap the benefits.

8. Mentally prepare for the next obstacle

Think of one thing that could go wrong today.

Just knowing it might go wrong will make you less likely to falter if it does.

If you expect your dog to pee right outside the building in the parking lot, you’ll have less of a freakout when she does.

What’s more, just considering points of failure in advance, allows you to create a fallback for them.

For example you could just leave your building through the backdoor and avoid the parking lot altogether, or have your dog at least pee somewhere less crowded.

When you know you’re likely to give in to your cravings for red wine at night, put a bottle of cranberry juice in the spot in the fridge where your wine usually is.

This will give you a chance of redemption in a “Screw this, I’m getting my sip!” moment.

Thinking ahead and preparing for the storm will let you keep your cool when it hits.

9. Make a decision in advance

Decide what you’re going to have for dinner. Like, right now.

Taking decisions off the table by pre-committing to a certain choice is a well-known concept of avoiding decision fatigue.

You’re much more likely to choose junk food for dinner when you have to decide the moment you’re hungry and worn out.

But if you and your friend settled on shell fish at lunch already, there is nothing left to decide.

This concept is called pared-down decisions, and many successful people practice it.

Some examples are: Mark Zuckerberg (choice of clothes), Tim Ferriss (same breakfast), Gary Vaynerchuk (always calls a family member in the car to work) and Barack Obama (only has suits of 2 colors).

Your capability of making good decisions is limited. You might have 100 a day, or 50, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.

So don’t waste them on petty things.

9 Free Willpower Hacks

In summary: If you need a quick boost of willpower or self-discipline, take any of the nine following actions:

  1. Do something with your non-dominant hand.
  2. Do a bunch of push-ups, jumping jacks, or any other form of light exercise.
  3. Eat a handful of nuts, preferably walnuts
  4. Take a cold shower
  5. Meditate for one minute
  6. Pump your fist a few times
  7. Do the opposite of what you’re doing now, for example getting up when you’re sitting
  8. Mentally prepare for your next obstacle in advance
  9. Make a decision ahead of time

That’s it! Happy hustling!

The Spartan Solution – A 4-step system to increase willpower every day

Are you as disciplined as you’d like to be?


Do you want to toughen up?

Have that twinkle in your eye that says: “Life, if you punch me in the face, you know I’ll just grit my teeth and fight back even harder.”

Oh you do? Sure, who wouldn’t.

That’s why I spent all of last week pondering how to help you do just that, and create a framework for it.

Here’s what I came up with.

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