Before you work on getting stronger, more efficient, or more charismatic, ask yourself: “to what end?”
Your answer becomes your guiding mission. Then, set out to master habit-building as a skill. Once you do those two things, you can set out to tackle your dreams.
I’m a little bit prickly about people who don’t have an end in mind — and it’s not just readers who fall into this trap. Many gurus publish masterful works of productivity or fat loss, but seemingly don’t have anyone in their life who loves them (or vice versa). What has being thin and rich gotten them, then? Not much (IMO).
So, I don’t want you to fall into that trap of thinking that activity is the same as accomplishment.
But I also don’t want you to fall into analysis paralysis of whether your goal is good enough. The Goal Setting section below is meant to land you in a healthy middle ground.
After that, there’s a section on habit building and habit breaking. You can’t go anywhere without the ability to create consistency in your life.
The concluding section is about Emotional Rewiring. All of us are of two minds: one emotional, and one rational. This is best explained in the Kahneman book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Your rational mind is easy to convince — just gather research and facts.
However, your emotional mind must be rewired emotionally. This is the province of the wu wu, like magic crystals, mantras, etc. These interventions are irrational, and coming to grips with that was a big turning point in my own understanding of what works. As a science-loving rationalist, I go through these hokey seeming (to me) and sometimes metaphysical exercises with my own pragmatic mantra: “This is a useful mental construct.”
These are broken down by scope. Most people at least consider New Year’s Resolutions. But also you should consider your life goals (and then regularly reconsider them), your annual goals (maybe re-evaluating mid-year), and then your weekly and daily goals.
New Year’s Resolutions:
- How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution ~ Max Frenzel
- What 26 Coaches Have to Say About New Year’s Resolutions ~Coach Tony
- Success Requires a Change of Mind, Not New Year’s Promises ~Gustavo Razzetti
Looking at the big picture of your entire life:
- How to Use the Japanese Concept of Ikigai for Happiness and Meaning ~Melody Wilding
- How To Chart A New Course For Your Life With 3 Simple Diagrams ~Michal Korzonek
- The North Star Approach to Goal Setting ~Patrick Ewers
- Why You Should Write a Personal Constitution ~Patrick Ewers
Looking at your year:
- How to Run Your Own Annual Review ~Jason Shen
- A Simple Plan to Win the Year ~Niklas Göke
- A Working Mom’s Guide to Conquering the Year ~Donita Brown
- How to Spot Your Next Big Opportunity With Humility Exercises ~Niklas Göke
Looking at your week:
- How to Break Down Your Goals Into Sprints ~Ryder Carroll
- The Shultz Hour: How 60 Minutes Per Week Can Yield Tremendous Returns ~Mike Sturm
- How to do Daily & Weekly Reviews ~Ryder Carroll
Looking at your day:
What to do when you fail to achieve a goal:
- Why We’re Horrible At Achieving Goals (And What to Do About It) ~George Halachev
- The Pitfalls of Overplanning and How To Avert Them ~Kate Jones
Habits & Behavior Design
Most people should read at least these first two articles. The first explains several popular models for forming your own habits. The second explains how once you have a habit, you can tune the difficulty of your practice so that you’re always improving at the optimal rate.
- The Simple Art of Creating Long-Lasting Habits ~Niklas Göke
- The Complete Guide to Deliberate Practice ~Jason Shen
Breaking bad habits:
- How to Make Sure Bad Habits Never Come Back ~George Halachev
- How to Break Bad Habits by Simulating Rock Bottom ~Ryan Engelstad
Optimizing & long term success:
- How To Avoid Plateaus in the Quest for Personal Growth ~Ryan Engelstad
- A Counterintuitive Strategy for Building a Daily Exercise Habit (Or Any Habit) ~Robert Hardy
- How to Start with Beginner’s Mind to Become a True Expert ~Marta Brzosko
- Improve Productivity Using Ultradian Rhythms ~Brad Buzzard
- Used Spaced Repetition to Supercharge Your Habits ~Brad Buzzard
- How to Be Happy and Productive with “Flow” Habits ~Patrik Edblad
- The Transtheoretical Model for Long Lasting Behavior Change ~Melody Wilding
It’s rational to have a bag of irrational strategies for rewiring your irrational emotions.
- The Complete Guide to Visualization for Logical and Rational People ~Melody Wilding
- How to Master Intentional Dreaming for a Satisfying Life ~David Paul Kirkpatrick
- Why Successful People Choose Self Compassion Over Self Esteem ~Melody Wilding
- How to Hack Gratitude with a Hedonic Reset ~Julia Clavien
- How to Make Better Decisions by Improving Your Intuition ~Melody Wilding
- How to Positively Reshape Your Core Belief System ~Piyush Kamal?
- How to Take Charge of Your Thoughts ~Marta Brzosko