Top 10 SETT Bloggers of 2013

SETT is an up and coming blogging platform developed by Tynan over the last few years. In addition to being designed to optimize performance and community interaction, it’s also home to some of the best bloggers on the web. Like me. 😉

[Update: As of April 2015 I no longer blog on SETT and have moved to WordPress]

I’ve developed some great relationships through SETT and want to use this post to share what some of the other bloggers on SETT are writing about. So without further ado, my top ten favorite SETT bloggers.

Sebastian Marshall is one of my favorite bloggers on any blogging platform. His purpose as a blogger is to, “Help you increase your resourcefulness, resources, and have more impact with the resources you’ve got.” I’ve been reading his blog for several months and his daily posts on strategy and history never fail to insprire me. Although I’m far from being passionate about history myself, Sebastian has a way of relating the past to the present in which I can’t help but share his excitement.

Austin K Wood runs an interesting blog on traveling. Aside from traveling the world as a minimalist, Austin is also a polyglot who’s currently making a living from teaching English in Moscow as well as through Skype. I really enjoy Austin’s blog because he’s not afraid of being different and he’s comfortable enough in his own shoes that he’s willing to try crazy things like polyphasic sleep.

Linus Rylander is a bad ass. He even wrote a book being one. 😉 Besides being an author Linus also runs a sweet blog. He’s written some brilliant posts on generating new ideas and motivation. He’s one of the most unique bloggers I’ve ever seen and I’d recommend him to anyone wanting a fresh perspective on personal development.

Toli of A Fixed Point hasn’t set a particular theme for his blog and instead writes about whatever he feels like writing. With that being said, he’s written some excellent posts on meditation and how to treat old friends who may not be up to the task of improving everyday.

Edwin of the late racoon (I’m shaking my head at the name too) doesn’t blog about the secret lives lived by nocturnal animals. Surprisingly, he writes high level philosophical posts that never fail to change the way I think about things. One post in particular that I feel the need to recommend is this one.

Emils Pakarklis is a 21 year old student from Lativia as well as an aspiring online entrepreneur who writes about, “Lifestyle, productivity and getting the most out of life.” Me and Emils share a similar outlook on traditional jobs and we both live with the mindset that despite it being against the “Status Quo”, being your own boss is far more rewarding than trying to climb the corporate ladder. One of my favorite articles from his site discusses conquering analysis paralysis and what makes the greats great.

In addition to being the founder of Fitocracy Richard Talens also runs a fitness blog. I really enjoy reading Richard’s blog because he speaks from experience. As you can see from the photo above he’s not one of those fitness gurus that just says you should do certain things. He’s lived the things he talks about and does a better job cutting through the bullshit of the fitness industry than almost anyone else.

Daniel R. Odio writes about technology and is also the SVP of Strategic Partnerships at ShareThis. I’d recommend Daniel’s blog to anyone who’s interested in technology, but even for those who aren’t, he’s got some personal development posts that are absolute gems. For example, this one.

Warren of Minimalift is another one of my favorite bloggers. Like Richard, his blog is focused on fitness, but Warren also writes about personal development. His posts rarely disappoint and he’s also one of the most responsive bloggers I’ve talked to. Warren’s always willing to help me with any problems I’m having and I really appreciate that. Be sure to check him out!

And finally, the man doing all the magic behind the scenes, Tynan. In addition to designing SETT, the platform I’m blogging on, Tynan’s also lived in Project Hollywood as a famous pickup artist, written three books, and even lived in an RV for the last several years. As of late he’s replaced Steve Pavlina as my favorite blogger and I’m astonished with how consistently he’s able to produce high quality content. If you’ve never read his work before, some great posts to get started with are Own Your Life, Who Are You Afraid Of?, and The Hustler’s MBA.

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I wasn’t able to include all the SETT blogs I wanted so I tried to select those that were regularly updated and relevant to the field of personal development. I apologize if your blog wasn’t included.  (Note: Photos in this post are not my property and they were used only for informational purposes.  If you would like your photo taken down contact me and I’ll have it removed for you.)

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Reframing

Nothing is inherently good or bad.  It’s all about the way we interpret it.  A common example of this is in pick up.  One guy may be brutally rejected by a girl and feel depressed and question his self worth afterwards.  Another may find her reaction absolutely hilarious and share a laugh with his friends over it.

It’s all in the way they choose to frame it.  Fortunately reframing goes far beyond pick up and can be applied to almost any aspect of life.  Instead of feeling nervous before a performance, feel excited.  Instead of dreading having to cut the grass, look at it as a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness in the outdoors.

Just about anything can be looked at in a more positive light.  When you begin to make reframing a habit you’ll find that you appreciate the little things in life more and you’ll also feel negative emotions much less frequently.

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What To Do After Relapsing

Let’s be honest, failing sucks.  Regardless of what your goals are, it sucks to fall short.  Everyone fails and though failure is never the goal, it can and should be viewed in a positive light.

Let’s take the struggling drug addict for example.  It’s common to begin self-loathing after a relapse, but doing so isn’t intelligent.  If you gave 110% and did everything you could possibly do to prevent the relapse there’s nothing to feel bad about.

Relapsing will temporarily set back your progress, but your brain chemistry will still have shifted towards that of a recovered addict.  Even if you continue to fail on occasion, if you keep giving 110% every time you begin the recovery process you’ll eventually cease to be an addict.

Alternatively, if you relapse and you didn’t do everything in your power to prevent it, you still shouldn’t hate yourself for it.  Self loathing will only diminish your self-esteem and steer you towards depression; both undesirable character traits for someone trying to recover.

In truth, the proper way to react after relapsing isn’t to be angry, or depressed.  It’s to be driven.  It’s fine to feel bad after regressing, but the focus shouldn’t be on the things you’ve done wrong.  The focus should be on how you can make them right.

It’s during this time you should evaluate why you’re trying to recover.  If you don’t have a powerful reason that drives you to be the best you can be possibly be, you’ll settle for mediocrity and continue to run in circles.

During this time you should also identify possible triggers.  For example, if you’re an alcoholic, it’s probably best to avoid parties where alcoholic beverages are consumed; at least in the initial phases of recovery.

Another thing to do after relapsing is identify the causes of your disease. Often addictions are merely symptoms of a larger problem.  Many alcoholics drink excessively simply because they don’t want to face the reality they’ve created for themselves.

The thing they don’t understand is that by denying their creation they’re only prolonging their suffering.  If they were able to summon the courage to look at their realities and accept responsibility for their actions, their addiction would quickly diminish and cease to exist itself.

Recovery isn’t linear, but it should trend upward.  If you don’t continue to improve over the long run you’re approaching some part of the process wrong.

It’s also important to realize that even if you’re stuck in a cycle of vicious behavior, you won’t be there forever.  Regardless of your addiction, if people before you have gone on to recover and live lives of sobriety, you can too.

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Dreams

All around me I see wasted potential.  I constantly hear chatter of what if.  I look in the eyes of my elders and see sadness and regret.  The sparkle I see in the eyes of children is absent when looking into the eyes of adults.

I look at children and I see wonderful beings with dreams, but somewhere along the line they’re told they aren’t good enough to pursue them.  They grow up and put off chasing their dreams until they have a little more money, or a little more courage.

But their time never comes.  With the passing of each year the thought of pursuing their dreams becomes a little scarier.  They’re told that people who pursue their dreams are crazy and that doing so is “too risky.”

With each passing year they fail to pursue their dreams their souls mourn.  With each passing year they move to a lower level of consciousness and in doing so become even less likely to follow the path with a heart.

I see these people everywhere, and they’re alive, but they’re not really living.  Their hearts beat and they rise every morning, but on the inside they’re dying.

The people who’s eyes once sparkled with hope and dreams have grown cold with regret and despair.  It kills me to see this happening, but it’s so prevalent it’s impossible to ignore.  As I write these words I find myself sniffling and wiping the tears running down my face.

I find myself asking where did we go wrong?  How did we get to a place where so few are able to lie on their deathbeds without regrets?  And more importantly how can we elevate people’s level of consciousness and combat this epidemic?

I’d be lying if I said I had all the answers.  I’m a 16 year old who’s only two years removed from depression and suicidal thoughts himself.

What I do know, however, is the longer we ignore this issue, the longer we stay on this dark, heartless path, the less likely we’ll ever be able to get back to the right path.  The path of truth, and love.

In the case of the single man, the less conscious he becomes, the more he strays from the path he’s destined to live, the less likely he’ll ever return to living the life he was meant to live.

The same is true of human society.  As we stray further from our roots we become less and less likely to return to the path with a heart.  With each year we refuse to address the level of consciousness on Earth the future of out planet becomes slightly more grim.

Fortunately it’s not too late.  There are millions actively working to address this issue.  Some through their writing, some through music, some through public speaking. Their medium is irrelevant.

All who are working toward the preservation and betterment of our future should be applauded.  Unfortunately, we still need more help.

We need more people to light the darkness.  We need more people to inspire others and show them it is possible to live your dreams.  We need more people to show that whatever your circumstances are they can be overcome.

I urge you to join the movement.  You are important.  You do matter.  A wise man once said that a lit candle can light a thousand other candles without itself ever burning out.

Those thousand newly lit candles then have the potential to light a million more candles. The cycle will then repeat and the world will continue to illuminate itself from there.

You do matter.  You are important.  Be the world’s next inspiration.

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The World’s On My Shoulders

Those who lack purposes will never be successful.  If there’s not a reason for you to wake up in the morning, if you don’t have a why for the things you do, you’ll never accomplish anything.

This is why such a small percentage of are able to make their dreams become a reality.  It’s why so few people are able to do the things that they want to do.  It’s the reason so few people are able to live up to their potential.

They don’t have a why.  Or at least a meaningful one.  We all have different dreams, but the difference between those who live their dreams and those who settle for mediocrity lies in the reasons we set out to accomplish our dreams.

Wanting to be wealthy is not a meaningful why.  Wanting to have a nice car is not a meaningful why.  Wanting a high-def plasma is not a meaningful why.  Dreams of material possesions are superficial and fail to inspire us to perform to the best of our abilities.

The greatest athletes in the world will tell you that the reason they’re so dedicated to their athletic pursuits, the reason they train so hard, the reason they give 110% everytime they got on the field isn’t about soccer, or basketball, or football.

It’s about gritting their teeth to live to their potential, showing all the little kids that you can overcome adversity, you can make your dreams become a reality, if only you have the courage to pursue them and give them your all.  I’ve always known this on a logical level, but something hit me on a deep emotional level today.

During math I was talking with a girl I recently became friends with and she asked me, “Are you naturally this happy?”  She seemed to think the reason I always walked around with a smile on my face was because I took some type of illegal drug.

For the record, I’ve never done any drugs nor plan to.  I know that my obsessive personality would likely end up leading me to dark places so I figure it’s probably best to never try them in the first place.

Anyway, I told her the reason I’m in such a good mood everyday is because I’ve optimized my lifestyle for personal satisfaction.  I eat healthy, exercise, produce meaningful work, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

We talked about structuring your life to optimize your happiness for a few more minutes before I left to talk to someone else.  As I walked away I heard her say to her friend, “Man he’s my inspiration.”

We’re good friends, and while I know she respects the things I do, I also understand that I’m probably not what makes her get up in the morning.  I’m not the thing that drives her to make changes in her own life.  But it got me thinking.  What if I was?

As of right now there’s many people that I’m positively influencing, but probably few, if any who consider me their role model or inspiration.  But what if I was?  What if I was the guy who inspired millions of little kids and helped them realize they could do whatever it is they wanted to do?  What if I was their inspiration?

Would it not be in my personal responsibility to the world to give it a 110% every single day and do everything I could possibly do to shape the future of the world for the better?  Would it not be in my personal responsibility as a role model to millions of little kids to be the absolute best I could be?

And so I’ve been thinking, why not embrace that role now?  Why would I have to wait for everyone to be watching me to live to my potential?  Perhaps the reason millions of people aren’t looking up to me at this very moment is because I’m currently not living up to my potential.

If I don’t change the world nobody will and if I’m not living up to my potential now, nothing’s going to change when all eyes are on me.  Sometimes I make excuses because I feel nobody else is being affected by them, but I now see it’s my responsibility to give all I can give, and be all I can be today to set everyone up for a better tomorrow.

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Loving Your Body of Work

I’ve never paid much attention to it, but something I’ve noticed is that I’m absolutely in love with my work.  I’m in love with the things I’ve produced.

I know I’m not as good of a writer as Steve Pavlina or Leo Baubauta, but for some reason, I find it more enjoyable to read my archives than their old posts.

Same thing with juggling.  On average I’ll watch one of my videos 10-15 times before publishing it, yet still enjoy watching it.  In a few months I’ll even go back and watch them again just for fun.

I’m obsessed with the things I’ve produced and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I like seeing how I’ve grown and improved since a given video or post, or maybe I just like looking back for the nostalgia factor.

Either way, I think the loving manner in which I look back at my old work is extremely healthy.  Instead of criticizing myself on all the things I’ve done wrong, I enjoy the imperfections.  I don’t get worked up in the, “What if I would’ve done this?” or, “What if I would’ve done that?”

I see a lot of people beating themselves up over imperfect past creations, and while it’s important to learn from your past mistakes, it’s also important to not dwell on them.

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10 Life Lessons Learned From Pokemon

I’m not proud of the thousands of hours I spent throughout my childhood playing video games. I shudder to think at the things I may have accomplished if I funneled all the energy I spent on them into worthwhile pursuits.

At the same time I don’t regret playing them either. Being a former video game addict has helped shape me into who I am today and for that I’m forever grateful.

Growing up my favorite game was Pokemon and although it was an enormous time sink, Pokemon also helped teach me several life lessons. It wasn’t worth the many hours I put into it, but looking back, I’m grateful to at least have something to show from that time period.

Vision

The first thing Pokemon taught me was to have a vision. Ash was a twelve year old nobody, but he understood that he wasn’t going to be a nobody for the rest of his life.

He knew that if he put in the work he had the potential to be the best in the world. He got off on the wrong foot; waking up late on the day he was to be given his first Pokemon and he almost missed his opportunity, but against all odds him and Pikachu were able make it to the top, proving all the haters wrong.

Expect the Unexpected

One of the craziest things about Pokemon was the critical hits. The enemy might only take away 4 HP from you with their first attack, but on their next turn they may KO your Pokemon and do 10+ damage with a critical hit.

Similarly, things in real life can be sailing smoothly, but in the blink of an eye the course of your whole life could change. On any given day you could be laid off or a friend or a family member could get into a car accident. It’s not always a pleasant thought, but it’s important to realize that things can change for the better, or worse at any moment.

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

The first time I played Pokemon I encountered a gentleman who said he’d sell me a Pokemon for $500. I thought it was a great deal so I quickly accepted his offer.

Little did I know the Pokemon I was going to get in exchange was possibly the worst in the game. The only move my new Magikarp knew was Splash and he was essentially useless in battle.

I ended up releasing Magikarp because he failed to do anything besides take up space. Boy did I regret that decision. I didn’t realize that my lowly Magikarp could one day turn into a powerful Gyarados and when I battled my brother a few days later his Gyarados absolutely thrashed my team. That brings me to my next point…

You Can’t Do It Alone

The Game Freak team was extremely clever in making it that certain Pokemon could only be obtained in each version of the game. This made catching them all literally impossible to do by yourself. (Well, unless you bought both games and another gameboy, but that’s besides the point.)

The same concept applies in real life. Regardless of your goals, there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to be the best at everything so you’re going to have to outsource some of your work to others.

There’s Always a Better Way

One of the interesting things about Pokemon was how your means of transportation gradually improved throughout the game. In the beginning you had to travel by foot and constantly deal with annoying wild Pokemon jumping out of the grass.

Later in the game, however, you were able to fly as well as travel by bike. You were also able to purchase repels to prevent the constant onslaught of Zubats while traveling through caves.

One of the best changes I’ve made in my life over the last few years is to always be on the lookout for ways to improve my life and change the way I do things.

One example of this is studying foreign languages. Instead of using traditional flashcards to learn vocabulary I’ve switched to Spaced Repetition Systems like Anki to minimize the time spent reviewing cards I already know and learn more effectively.

Strategy

One of the things I got really caught up in while I played Pokemon was the strategy of it all. I remember preparing for tournaments against my friends and constantly evaluating the moves and Pokemon I planned to use against them.

I could use Charizard, but then I’d have two fire type Pokemon in my team and I’d be at a considerable disadvantage if any of my friends decided to use a water Pokemon.

I could teach my Venasaur solar beam, but then the other Pokemon would have a good chance of KOing me before I ever got to use it. The decisions went on and on.

But, this type of constant questioning has led me to becoming an extremely analytical thinker and it’s not often others have to point out details to me. I have the ability to see variables and think in an “if this then that” manner like few others are able to.

Focus

As a little kid, Pokemon was my main focus for a number of years. I developed an extreme version of tunnel vision, and it’s arguable that much of my success in other fields can be attributes to my childhood obsession.

I’m not sure if I have a naturally addictive personality, or if Pokemon simply fostered this within me, but I have an obsessive behavior unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

This can be a negative thing when it’s directed at unfulfilling pursuits such as video games, but in more recent years, being able to direct all my attention into more rewarding things like personal development has been absolutely wonderful.

Loopholes

The Missingno glitch, perhaps the most famous bug of all time could be used to duplicate whatever item you had 6th in your inventory. Missingno could be encountered about two-thirds of the way through the game and using him to duplicate rare candies was a great work around to having to spend extra time leveling your Pokemon up.

When my brother first told me of this trick I didn’t believe him because I thought the developers would be too smart to let a glitch like this pass. I was wrong.

Although there’s no magical shoreline that’s able to multiply your gold nuggets in real life, going against the grain of social conditioning often produces great rewards.

Things like going vegan, starting a business, or learning cold approach are often frowned upon or doubted by the majority of society, but they’re also among the most rewarding things you could ever choose to do.

Balance

Even though the gym leaders had some powerful Pokemon they were always able to be beaten because they only carried one type of Pokemon.

Misty may have been a tough fight for some trainers, but if you had just one decent grass Pokemon she was a pushover.

Maintaining balance in real life is important as well. Sometimes I neglect to give myself time to relax or have a social life and I spend all my time working.

This often allows me to get more done in the short term, but I often end up crashing for several days afterwards. I’ve learned that in the long run, I’m more productive and enjoy myself more if I simply provide myself a couple nights per week to socialize.

Preserve Your Gains

The final life lesson I learned from Pokemon was to preserve my gains. The most frustrating thing in the world was to lose hours of work just because my battery died or the gameboy froze and I hadn’t been willing to spend 10 seconds saving the game.

Sometimes I apply this concept to my life literally in the case of backing up my computer or occasionally saving new blog posts I’m working on, but I also apply it in things like my physical fitness and juggling.

If I’m traveling or don’t have enough time to do a full length workout I’ll do a few rounds of a pushup, plank, jump squat circuit. If I don’t have enough time to put in a full length practice for juggling I’ll simply go through each move I’m working on once to at least preserve my skill and then be on my way to wherever I need to go.

Writing this post has brought back a lot of memories and it’s crazy to think it’s only been 4 or 5 years since my life revolved around Pokemon

What have you learned from Pokemon? Share with me anything I’ve missed in the comments below. 🙂

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30 Day Twitter Fast

I’ve long doubted the productivity of being a member of social networking sites.  I feel that for personal use they’re little more than a distraction, and that they’re ineffective for business purposes as well.

I quit Facebook over a year ago and after several months of having no social network presence I created a Twitter account.  I liked Twitter better than Facebook because someone could follow me without me having to follow them back.

Because of that Twitter had a much better signal to noise ratio than Facebook ever did. I also loved not having to deal with the pressure of deciding whether to accept old classmates or distant relatives as friends.

With that being said, I’ve also put a tremendous amount of time into Twitter with very little to show for it and it’s made me question whether social networking is a waste of time altogether.

For the majority of my time on Twitter I followed only 70-100 people, which from what I’ve seen is a pretty modest amount.  I checked my tweets 2-3 times per day and felt that although I derived few benefits from Twitter, the time spent on it was so small as to be irrelevant.

I was wrong.  Recently I checked my monthly stats on WasteNoTime and found out I’ve used Twitter for 960 minutes over the last 30 days.  On a daily basis, that comes out to be 32 minutes per day!  I could be publishing an extra post per day here if I spent that time writing!

Of course, there’s benefits to Twitter as well, such as being more connected with others, and perhaps being slightly more visible, but I just don’t think the time invested is proportional to the benefits derived, hence the creation of this post.

Starting now, I’m going 30 day Twitter fast.  This should allow me to gain some perspective and see how I could otherwise be using those 32 minutes per day.  I’d encourage you to consciously evaluate your use of social networks and consider doing the same.

#SeeYouIn30Days

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How To Get Back On Track

Progress is not linear.  We all have days where we’re just not at the top of our game.  The problem is when one bad day leads into another and before you know it you’ve been running in circles for a month.

Sometimes we dig ourselves into holes, but the thing to realize is that if you get yourself into something, ultimately you’re the only one that can get yourself out of it.  Whenever I’m in a rut, there’s a series of steps I like to go through.

Whenever I’m in a funk the first thing I examine is the state of my physical health.  Often when I’m not performing at the level I’m capable of performing at it’s because I’ve been neglecting some aspect of my health.

Sometimes this means I’ve gone too long without lifting while other times it means my central nervous system is exhausted and I need to take a break.  I’ve noticed that the most important thing to look at, however, is the level of stress I’ve been experiencing recently.

Nothing kills my level of productivity like high stress levels do.  If I’ve been working on a project for weeks and neglect to take any time off to socialize or relax, I crash and my body forces me to rid it of stress, often in unhealthy releases.

I’ve found that I’m much better off spending a few hours two or three times per week socializing or relaxing than trying to spend one-hundred percent of my time working productively and crashing for a week.

After I’m done looking over my physical health I attempt to motivate myself through personal development blogs or videos.  I’ve found that watching a little Eric Thomas is often just what I need to get back to hustling.

However, if I can’t seem to motivate myself through external means I know I need to look within and start examine things on a deeper level.  It’s important for me to evaluate the path I’m on and the things I’m headed toward every few months.

Every once in a while it’s important for me to think about why I do the things I do, because if there’s not a purpose behind them, if there’s not a driving force for the things that I do then I won’t do them.

Finally, I need to take massive action.  Because action precedes motivation, if I fail to take action, I’ll keep justifying to myself that it’s fine if I wait just “one more day” to change.  Unfortunately that day will never come.

To recap, if you’re feeling out of it take a look at how you’ve been treating your body lately, as well as examine your beliefs and purposes for the things that you do.  Then take massive action, and if all else fails, listen to what this man has to say.

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Just a Few Minutes

I’ve gotten to the point where wasted days are a rarity for me.  Long gone are the days where I’d lock myself in my room and waste a weekend away playing video games.

I’m happy to be past that, but I still struggle to use my time optimally.  I’m a lot more productive than the average person because I consciously avoid big time wasters like television and mmorpgs, but I often fall into the trap of just doing something for a “few minutes.”

Yesterday I needed to write a new blog post, but I allowed myself to look up a TED talk and justified that watching it would be productive as well and that I could write the blog post after.

Three TED Talks later it was time for bed and I still hadn’t written the post.  Similar to the drug addict relapsing just “one more time” I kept delaying my most important objective just “one more minute.”

Though I’ve still got a long way to go in reclaiming these wasted minutes there are a few strategies I’ve used to make these incidents occur less often.  Micropriorities, preventing the first temptation, and eliminating triggers.

Micropriorities

Micropriorities, as described here by Tynan, help you maintain clarity on what you find most important.  They allow you to prioritize your work more effectively and prevent you from unconsciously wasting time.

Preventing the First Temptation

Aside from micropriorities, another brilliant concept by Tynan is the idea of preventing the first temptation.  An example of this in my own life was when I first decided to start eating healthier.

Instead of trying to resist the junk food my mom bought and failing miserably, I simply told her to stop buying it.  Though I now find junk food repulsive, in the beginning it was absolutely critical to my success that none was available.

Eliminating Triggers

The final strategy I’ve used to increase my productivity is eliminating triggers.  The simplest example I can think of this is turning off push email notifications.

I noticed that getting an alert every time someone tweeted me or sent me an email was extremely distracting and prevented me from ever getting into flow.  I also found that instead of just checking the specific tweet or email I had received I would often waste HOURS on the internet just because of a single notification.

After a few weeks I turned push notifications off and haven’t had them enabled for years. I’ve saved countless hours since then all because of a single change that took less than 30 seconds to implement.

The best advice I can give in improving your life is to find the things that trigger your bad habits and then do everything in your power to remove them from your life.

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