6 things to do daily to have a good life

6 things to do daily to have a good lifeI consciously practice about 20 things daily “to have a good life,” and probably twice as much I do without even thinking about it. Focus on the following several areas; I will provide specific habits for each of them.

1. Habits.

Your habits make you who you are. The etymology of the word “habit” says that your habits determine your essence. I fully agree with that. Pay attention to your habits. Develop good habits in a conscious manner. Look for new habits and incorporate them into your life, into your daily schedule.

When it comes to habits the best habit you can have is to monitor them. Have in place a system for tracking your daily activities. I track my habits in application Coach.me, but you can do it in many ways: on your wall calendar, personal notepad, Excel or text files.

2. Self-awareness.

This is extremely important. You are the person who talks with yourself the most. If your internal dialog is crappy, you cannot have a good life. Whatever good will come your way, your negative self-talk will find a way to spoil it.

Self-awareness provides a multitude of benefits other than just improving your self-talk. When you strive to consciously control your internal world, the external world seems to comply and become more controllable. If you are aware of your thoughts, words and deeds you make fewer mistakes. If you lead your life on autopilot – on the contrary – it’s easy to make mistakes.

Self-awareness also gives you input about your weaknesses and strengths. In the new economy where information is everything, this is priceless. People who know themselves can position themselves in a place where they can provide the most value to others and they can be rewarded accordingly.

Habits:

Journaling. A lot of successful people kept journals, including at least a few who had a global impact on politics at their times (Napoleon, Marcus Aurelius). When you keep a daily journal, you can often consult “with yourself” and notice what’s going on inside your head.

Meditation. I know people for whom meditation was a life breakthrough. My friend, Rob Cubbon, came from a position of being unable to break his bad habits and feeling unhappy with his career and life to ditching alcohol and smoking and starting his own business. If you ask around, you will get to know more such stories. When Pat Flynn started to meditate regularly his revenues grew from five to six figures.

Meditation makes you aware of your internal clutter and chatter. When you try to sit for a minute and think nothing you can’t help, but notice the mess in your head.

3. Health in general.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” — Jim Rohn

It’s a struggle to have a good life if you’re sick. It’s possible, but it’s an uphill struggle. There are some very successful people with serious health problems: Nick Vujicic has no limbs, Stephen Hawking is paralyzed, my friend is a bestselling author but she has a genetic disease, lives in almost constant pain and doctors give her no more than 7 more years of life. I wouldn’t have exchanged places with any of them.

And there are many things you can do every day to maintain or improve your health.

Inspired by concerns about my weight loss I researched quite a lot (which is a bit unlike me, I prefer practice above theory) and built 8 habits:

-limiting sugar intake,
-intermittent fasting,
-exercise,
-drinking coffee to accelerate my metabolism,
-drinking two glasses of water first thing in the morning,
-tracking my consumption,
-eating at least one raw vegetable/ fruit a day,
-and tracking my sleep.

Writing a couple of books and several articles about health I recognized even more healthy habits in my life that are working on autopilot, so I usually don’t think about them:
-not eating outside,
-not drinking coffee after 3 pm,
-reading food labels when I buy the item for the first time,
-running all the stairs,
-taking stairs instead of an elevator,
-napping whenever I feel like it (including behind the desk at the office).

I’m pretty sure I have more habits that contribute to my wellbeing, but they are so ingrained into who am I, that I don’t even notice them.

The last time I was sick was in July 2013. I beat over 128 fitness records since April 2013.

And I hardly ever think about my health. Even when I do, like if I hesitate if choose stairs or an elevator, the moment of decision is ultra-brief and 95% of time I choose in accordance with my habits.

Automating my health took me no more than one year and it will benefit me to the end of my days.

4. People, or rather relationships.

This is paramount as well. Human happiness comes from relationships.

If you take 1,000 happy people, 900 of them are happy because they have good relationships in their lives. The remaining 100 can draw their happiness from their achievements, possessions or other sources. Relationships are the only factor that scientists found correlated with happiness. It’s worthwhile cultivating them.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Another thing is that whom you are hanging with affects who you are. You don’t have to acknowledge that, you don’t have to believe that, it’s just a part of human constitution. We absorb attitudes by osmosis. If you surround yourself with positive, passionate, successful people, you will become positive, passionate and successful. Period.

One more scientific tidbit—humans are motivated in a big part by other humans. We are very careful about what our peers think about us, we want to impress our mentors, we want to be loved in our families and there are some people who just want to do good for others from a pure benevolence.

Cases of people who have undertaken a great effort just for their own sake are exceptionally rare, because they are, well, exceptions. I’ve seen so many questions on Quora about self-motivation. In short, the answer to all of them is: there is no such thing as self-motivation. Some people possess this exceptional trait, but they are rare like Savants. If you want to be motivated you’d better start working on your relationships. Motivation comes mostly from other people, even if in the end it translates into “I want to look good in their eyes”.

I advise two daily activities:

one that builds your people skills and another one for cultivating your existing relationships.

If your social skills are well below average, it’s hard for you to create relationships in the first place. It doesn’t have to be something grand, in fact, it’s much better to start small and be consistent. I started from making eye contact with people on the streets and in public transportation.

Cultivating your relationships should also involve a small sustainable activities: saying “I love you” to your spouse, praising your kids, sending a text message to friends or siblings etc.

5. Education.

Your education doesn’t finish when you leave a school. Humans are designed and created for growth. We strive for progress, it’s in our nature. I think most of a modern existential void comes from the lack of growth in our lives.

Education doesn’t equal school. You don’t have to get degree after degree for the rest of your life. But if you want to progress, you need to remain curious and research and study on your own as long as you actively work in some area of activity.

For example, since I decided to become an author I read about a dozen books about the writing craft, being an authorpreneur and self-publisher. I consumed dozens of podcast episodes dedicated to writing and publishing. Teaching is a huge boost to one’s learning process, so I contributed to a few podcasts as well as a guest.

I followed a few authors’ blogs and interacted with their owners and their audiences.

I joined a few online communities for authors and writers and exchanged experience with my peers.

None of the above reminds me of a classic education, but it was as valuable as master’s degree, or even more so. My friend Matt Stone studied publishing and quickly he realized that most of his professors had no clue how to publish a book in practice.

There are different ways to study in online world and you should pick those that are suitable for your situation. You can read books, magazines, websites and blogs. You can listen to podcasts or audio programs. You can take online courses (most of them are in a video format) or watch video on YouTube or similar platforms.

I hate learning from videos. The only video content I can stand is an online real-time interactive class.

I don’t prefer listening either, mostly because I find very few opportunities to listen to. When I do something physical, like taking a walk or doing chores, I prefer to pray. Besides, when I really want to learn, I have to go back to the material anyway and make notes.

I love to learn via reading. I retain much more information that way and even when I don’t I can search and access written material much faster than audio or video.

Take inventory of your learning preferences and build your own self-university accordingly.

6. Gratitude.

By cultivating gratitude you keep (or make if it’s not) your brain positive. Why is that important? When your brain is positive:

“every possible outcome we know how to test for raises dramatically.” – Shawn Achor

Gratitude is so important because it’s a catalyst. It has potential of providing better results in all areas of your life. EVERY measurable output, remember?

So far scientist have correlated gratitude with less stress, more health, better relationships…

It’s also absurdly easy to cultivate on a daily basis. I started my gratitude practice from a gratitude journal about my wife. Since September 2012 every day I note at least one thing about her I’m grateful for.

Your gratitude journal can be in a multitude of forms: about a person, about your daily efforts, your daily achievements, possessions, emotions, relationships or the mix of them all.
My gratitude entries are usually a dry but long list. I know people who jot down only a few points, but add elaborate explanations why they are grateful for them.
A tidbit: in almost every gratitude journal food appears.

Another form of expressing gratitude on a daily basis is sending thank you notes. It not only helps you focus on reasons to be grateful for, but also trains your “social muscle”. Expressing gratitude is unbelievably rare and people will your remember you for that.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

I once took an inventory of thank you notes I received from my readers. I obtained a ratio about 20:60,000
Even if I was mistaken because of my normal tendency to focus on negative, it couldn’t increase beyond 100:60,0000. That’s still exceptionally rare.

That’s how exceptional you will be expressing your gratitude.


Just 6 simple things to do daily to have a good life. Design yoour own habits in each area. Implement them. Enjoy your improved life.

Bulletproof Health and Fitness

This is how my new book starts. I shared this introduction in the authors’ group on Facebook:


Bulletproof Health and Fitness
Any improvement you can make in the functioning of your body improves your well-being.

You may wonder about my qualifications. I’m neither a personal trainer nor a bodybuilder. I’m neither vegan nor diet specialist. I’m an ordinary guy who takes care of his body among a multitude of duties all of us have: job, family, church, and more. In my job, I spend four hours a day commuting and eight hours a day sitting behind a desk.

I’m male. I’m 36 years old. Let’s check out my body and my health. I am 5’5” tall (shorter than average). I weigh about 143 lbs. I can do 147 consecutive push-ups or 30 archer’s push-ups on one arm. My record is 46 consecutive chin-ups and 43 consecutive pull-ups. I’ve heard that’s quite an extraordinary performance for someone training without weights for only 15 minutes a day.
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Keep Going

Keep GoingIf you know me just a little bit, you know I’m a big advocate of perseverance. Of course, in order to persevere in something you need first to get started. Starting is hard, but unavoidable. Brian Tracy in his book “Earn What You Are Really Worth” illustrates the laborsaving trait of perseverance:

When you look at successful people, you find that they are very much like the plates spinners in Vaudeville acts. They get things started; They get the plates spinning. Then they keep them spinning, knowing that if a plate falls off or something comes to a halt, it’s much harder to get it restarted than it is to keep it going in the first place.

Your Brain’s Paradigm May Be Your Ally

Once you started working on your dream, keep up the hustle. The road may be long and rough, but stopping every five minutes doesn’t make it shorter or better. On the contrary, the more often you stop, the less you are inclined to start going once again.

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Your Mindset and The Art of Persistence

The Art of Persistence
All of those “tools” I mentioned here and here are fine and can do the miracles with your consistency, but they won’t help much if your personal philosophy is wrong. What is personal philosophy?

“A system a person forms for conduct of life.”

You live, so it’s an axiom that you have some system for conduct of life. Your personal philosophy determines absolutely every output in your life. It directs all your actions. Part of it is your overall attitude towards consistency. It undoubtly affects your ability to stick with a long-term task or habit.

If your personal philosophy is messy, you need to adjust it before you attempt any consistent activity. If consistency is not something worthy in your worldview, then all such attempts are doomed for failure. The best techniques and tricks are not going to help you if your self-talk sabotages your consistency.

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The Second Method to Developing Persistence

Method to Developing Persistence
The first method to developing persistence is described here.

The next tool is a vision board. A vision board is literally any type of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do, or have in your life.

Humans think in images. Whenever you recall a memory, concept, idea, or event, the accompanying pictures automatically materialize in your mind. By referring to your vision board, you reverse this association. You induce your mind to contemplate concepts and ideas by observing the pictures connoted with them.

To create one, you just need a bunch of pictures which associate with a specific goal. In comparison to the personal mission statement, a big asset of a vision board is that it’s easy to use―just place it in a visible spot where you are sure to look a few times a day. For example, you can place it on your closet door―every time you dress, you’ll look at your vision board and be reminded about your goal.
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The First Method to Building and Keeping Consistency

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

In following weeks I’ll give you a few methods to employ motivation to build up your endurance.

The first method is a personal mission statement. Author Stephen R. Covey defined it as your personal constitution, which

“focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.”

In other words it is your True North compass.

Your mission (your North) is out there, but you have to be willing to search for it. A personal mission statement is your tool which shows you where this North is. Each time you stray from it, your mission statement will correct your course and get you back on track.

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Beginnings Are Hard—Make Them Easier

Beginnings are hard
What is more, they are also threatened to fizzle out.

In the beginning, you are at your lowest point of capabilities, which is determined by your experience and when you begin, it is equal to zero.

You can substitute experience with the knowledge that you have attained and the strength of your character or other personal qualities like willpower or creativity. However, usually, in order to get anything mentioned previously, you needed personal experiences to get them. Besides, they are only substitutes. Anyone without willpower, intelligence, character, and theoretical knowledge, who has the right experience can perform better than you in this new venture.

Beginnings are hard

You need to gain experience, but you can only gain it by doing and you are just not able to perform optimally without the advantage of experience.

Oh, failure, yes; that is why starting is difficult. Failure is unavoidable. Therefore, we found another factor, other than experience, which can support you in starting out: dealing with failures.
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My 4 Pillars to Staying Consistent

Staying consistent
Recently my friend asked me the question in FB group:

“I begin to wonder how does Michal uphold his consistency … or don’t you have troubled moments at all, troubling enough to throw you off-balance for even a day?”

Consistency is the key to developing and sustaining habits. I would have chosen it over qualities like courage, grit or ability to focus, because without consistency they are not of much worth.

Let me present my four pillars to staying consistent:
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The Law of Attraction for Ordinary Mortals

loa

The Law of Attraction believers are described as dreamers and unrealistic among many other, stronger terms. “It is doing that counts; you can’t just sit on your ass and dream out your future” – rant their critics.

I fully agree. You can’t and it’s doing that counts.

Nonetheless, those arguments are used all too often to ridicule the LoA idea and dismiss it as pure stupidity without an attempt at deepened reflection upon it.

I did that in the past. I considered all of this ‘positive thinking’ and ‘hokey-pokey’ stuff as a nutrient for the weak folks, who are always satisfied with hoping and never doing anything.

I changed my mind a bit over last two years. What has happened? Continue reading