/ SELF-ACTUALIZATION, ROUTINES

365 Things I Learned

[Updated May 17, 2020] From reflecting on my days every day for a year…

  1. It is important to always be yourself in all environments (as opposed to changing the way you act in certain settings).
  2. Socializing with your team at work is really important for your career.
  3. There is a happy medium between not showing your personality at all and overwhelming an entire conversation with your personality.
  4. Treat people “above” and “below” you equally.
  5. I really appreciate and love the friendships I have where we are always supporting each other no matter what.
  6. I have peak productivity hours where I can get into the best & easiest flow.
  7. It is extremely valuable to hone your attention and this skill is very undervalued in the workplace.
  8. Being real and opening up about yourself to others can improve your relationships with others. (And bonus, that a little thanks can go a long way)
  9. You don’t always have an accurate perception of yourself.
  10. People don’t care about you [read: what you do] as much as you think they do. (People don’t over analyze your every move so relax!)
  11. I learned that I need to have a plan for what I’m going to do as soon as I wake up (especially on the weekends). Otherwise, I waste a lot of mental energy being indecisive in the mornings and usually end up choosing a more lazy and less productive option than I would otherwise.
  12. If something really sad or overwhelming happens to you and you think that you are totally fine and don’t feel affected, you might be ignoring your feelings or channeling them into something else. But instead, it’s good to fully embrace your emotions so you can move on.
  13. I learned that being honest in a really genuine way can pay off (because sometimes I am too scared to say what I’m thinking or feeling because I’m worried about other people’s reactions.)
  14. Having a support system is essential when going through tough times.
  15. Sometimes it’s ok to put off doing high-value tasks when you aren’t in the right mindset to do them. This way you don’t waste tons of energy forcing your brain to do something it doesn’t want to do. (Note: this is only true if you don’t have an upcoming deadline.)
  16. If you set high(er) expectations for people they may surprise you and step up their game.
  17. If you want to be a “creative genius” in any industry it helps to produce a large quantity of works in order to create high quality works. Aka practice, practice, practice.
  18. Sleep is SO important. I need to protect my sleep at all costs (otherwise other parts of my life will begin spiraling downwards as well)
  19. How well I take care of my basic needs (sleep, exercise, eating) can really change my mindset for the day, regardless of what is actually going on that day.
  20. I can still get into flow if I’m tired. I always feel like I can’t, but this is just because when I’m tired I usually don’t even try to get into flow (read: don’t entirely give up on working just because you are tired.)
  21. A small amount of effort well-placed can go a long way. Be strategic about spending your energy.
  22. When you work at an amazing company, put conscious effort into staying humble.
  23. Small acts of kindness (or words of encouragement) with thoughtful timing can have a huge impact.
  24. Always speak up for what you want (even if it’s a little outside the box) because you’ll never get what you don’t ask for (even if this is just figuring out what to do with your friends!)
  25. Sometimes sleep is the most productive thing you can do.
  26. Create a layered triangle diagram (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) that represents what contributes to how you feel on an average day (lowest level holds the most essential components). Then, give highest priority to making sure the base layer is always satisfied (read: don’t worry about the top levels if the bottom level is already broken).
  27. Sometimes you don’t want to do something, but you care about the person who does want to do this activity. Do it- not for the activity, but for the person. Plus it won’t kill you to branch out every now and then.
  28. Value friendships. Put effort into maintaining them no matter what’s going on in your life. It’s worth it.
  29. Be flexible. Also, be kind to yourself.
  30. Your brain might not be fully developed (especially the prefrontal cortex) until you are 30, but if you want it to keep developing you should seek out novelty.
  31. You should make honest commitments to your friends (read: don’t be flakey). If you don’t think you’re actually going to do or go to something just be upfront about because that will lead to a better outcome (and less hurt feelings) for everyone involved.
  32. Don’t stress when plans change for reasons outside of your control. Control the controllable and let everything else go.
  33. Sometimes it’s good to go with your internal momentum (this could be mind- or body- related) so if you are feeling really productive and focused it might be best to change your plans and keep working to take advantage of your energy.
  34. If there is a task on which I have been consistently underperforming, then I should move this task to the morning when I have maximum willpower. Willpower is a limited resource and gets used up throughout the day, so the earlier I do something I’m struggling with the better.
  35. Taking breaks between eating (read: only eating when you actually feel hungry aka fasting) is arguably more important to how you feel in the present than eating well.
  36. Sometimes it’s okay to live your life first. Have fun, and take a break from worrying (and adulting) even if just for a bit.
  37. Without a plan, procrastination will always win. If I want to beat procrastination I need two things: routines + plans.
  38. Sometimes “fake it ‘till you make it” is not the best strategy. Being genuine and upfront about your mistakes and shortcoming works better in some situations - evaluate if you are trying to fake it to overcome nerves or if you are trying to fake it to cover up mistakes or lack of knowledge and select your strategy appropriately.
  39. One hour of sleep is better than no sleep.
  40. Sometimes going slow and doing less is better (and makes you happier) than doing more. Be present and live every moment!
  41. “Choose your battles” is actually good advice to live by. Don’t waste your energy and power fighting battles that are less important to you, that might make you lose battles that you actually care about. This could be at work, with friends, or even with yourself :)
  42. I can be productive on my phone! Specifically, I realized that I can write on my phone! These days the apps for productivity like google docs, elevate, and insight timer are just as good as say Snapchat, and make me feel way better too.
  43. Attitude trumps situation, every time.
  44. It’s really important to be present when you are meeting new people.
  45. Paying attention to how kids respond to someone can be really informative. This is not to say anyone kids don’t like is bad, I just think that kids have some kind of sixth sense when it comes to people and it’s interesting to observe different types of reactions.
  46. Sometimes it’s nice to just hang out with yourself (for example, take yourself out on a date) This is very different from just being alone.
  47. Sometimes it’s good just get yourself going, leave the house, and force yourself outside of your comfort zone (literally).
  48. Sometimes I just need to say yes to being social, before I have a chance to hesitate or overthink the situation. This might just be a me thing, but sometimes I have trouble actually getting myself to GO hang out with people even though I always have a good time once I’m there. So, just saying yes makes the decision easy!
  49. Be really open to new plans for your life. What I mean is don’t close yourself off to new possibilities just because you have visualized a specific path for your life.
  50. Sometimes when you aren’t getting along really well with a group, you might just need to try a little harder to break through to make a connection. Don’t give up too early just because you think you are incompatible! In general, sometimes you need to put in a little extra effort up front to get past the barrier to entry in the way of your goals.
  51. Going through a tough experience with others (aka shared misery) is really good for bonding because it takes the focus off of your differences, making you realize your differences aren’t very important anyways.
  52. Keep yourself busy in anxious times because being bored is a great opportunity for anxiety to strike. A good fall back solution is working.
  53. Formal meditation is essential, and is not the same as informal meditation. Not only as a habit that is part of your daily routine, but also as a tool for responding to stress and other uncomfortable situations. See meditation as a habit AND a tool, not just one or the other.
  54. “Sometimes choosing to walk away, even if it means breaking your own heart, can be the greatest act of self-love you have access to.” -Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face.
  55. Sometimes all you can do is continue the one, simplest, most basic habit you have (the lowest level of your hierarchy of needs), and that’s ok. For me that is sleep, so if I don’t have the capacity to handle anything else, I need to prioritize and protect my sleep at all costs.
  56. Being at rock bottom can be a unique opportunity because you have no fear! Leverage this position as a strength.
  57. When you are sad, stressed, or anxious you should enumerate specifically what is making you feel that way. Then answer “What is the worst part?” Doing this helps you better face your feelings, which in turn lets you move on and feel better.
  58. The path to any destination is never linear. No matter how much thinking and planning you do, there will always be twists and turns along the way that you never expected. It is essential to understand that there will be ups and downs to any journey that way you can preserve and keep pushing forward. Also, having routines in place is a great way to make sure that you can make it through the downs without losing motivation or going crazy.
  59. If you have an unhealthy cycle of habits, try to make a decision (it might be kind of scary) that removes the possibility of you continuing this cycle. Always favor breaking out of the cycle altogether because this is the only way to take the weight off your shoulders and free up energy for you to use elsewhere.
  60. When you get frustrated with someone in a social setting, try putting yourself in their shoes for a minute before giving up. Even if this means making up possible excuses or reasons for their behavior, just try to be a little more empathetic, and you will find that in doing so, you actually increase your own ability to be patient in the situation.
  61. If you wake up in the worst possible mood, right away (like immediately) you need to take actions that will make you feel better. Waffling will only make you feel worse and be less likely to actually do what you need to do to feel somewhat sane (for me this is completing my morning routine of meditation and exercise).
  62. Because your brain responds to breakups like it would to drug withdrawal, walking down memory lane is actually a way for your brain to “get a fix”. This is why after a relationship ends we often idealize it and have trouble moving on.
  63. Sometimes you need to accept the answer to a question without going through all of your options, or even thinking about it at all. Particularly, if this is a question that you ask yourself a lot, and one answer is clearly “good for you” but you still consistently doubt yourself and reconsider.
  64. Going through the motions without thinking about it may be the best way to get through those days where you don’t feel like doing anything. Sometimes you do have to put your feelings aside (but don’t avoid them forever) and do what you have to do.
  65. Stress is a choice. Try to let go of stress in the same way you let go of thoughts in meditation. It’s not always easy, but it’s a good skill to keep working on.
  66. Always be aware of my social schedule and make sure to make pockets of time for myself to recharge and reset. This helps me have higher quality interactions (quality > quantity).
  67. Just because you used to love something in the past doesn’t mean that it still has a place in your life. Make sure that you aren’t pushing yourself to do things you used to like doing; that space and energy might be better used finding new hobbies or deepening other interests.
  68. Sometimes you have to make the choice that upfront makes you worse before you get better. And there’s just no way around that.
  69. Relationships (read: friends) are essential to day-to-day and long-term happiness. Sometimes relationships may not feel that important, but in the grand scheme of things, they really are. Value and cherish your friends.
  70. We overestimate how happy things will make us, but we also overestimate how sad things will make us. Human happiness is actually very stable and always hovers ~7/10. In tough times, just remember this and know that no matter what you are feeling now, you will make it through.
  71. “Play” is essential to adult life. In addition to reducing stress, play encourages creativity and exploration… and it’s fun!
  72. If the most productive way to do something involves more stress, it might not be worth it. BUT if you can find a way to release that stress then you should stick to the more productive solution.
  73. Sometimes you need to figure out what your mental & emotional barriers are before you can figure out a plan to work through them.
  74. Your routines define you because you are what you do most of the time. It’s ok to let go of moments where you mess up because it’s the tiny, little, baby steps you take every day that really count.
  75. When you are sick you should re-plan your schedule for the next week or so to prioritize needs that are now more important. For me, this means sidelining high intensity interval training and making time for more sleep (because as always sleep is my #1 priority)!
  76. When you are sick you really need to listen to your body and mind more than usual. You might not be able to keep up the typical pace of your lifestyle, so really give yourself the opportunity to take it slow.
  77. If you are already tired and worn out and don’t have the energy to do the productive plan for yourself, that’s ok, but don’t waste that time doing mindless activities, instead go to sleep and get those hours back in productive sleep.
  78. Sometimes it’s ok to sacrifice an essential routine for 1 or 2 days, so that you can explore a new interest/habit/idea. The key is that you don’t skip the essential routine for too long, and you get right back into it.
  79. It’s important to prioritize what you actually want over superficial things that you think you should want / society tells you to want. Listen to yourself.
  80. Listening to yourself, knowing yourself, and knowing what you really want enables you to take the action representing what you truly want. And turns out, when you do what YOU at your core want the most, you are no longer prisoner to things like FOMO (fear of missing out aka societal pressure). Amazing!
  81. You are generally more happy and more fulfilled when you choose to let things go that are out of your control. Not only does doing so reduce your stress, it actually makes you happier and more satisfied at the end of the day. Just another reason to practice letting things go.
  82. You should be cautious about giving people advice that you would use for yourself. Your advice might be too advanced, or not applicable, or just not what they want or need to hear. Make sure that you are giving advice to help the other person and not just figuring out how YOU would solve the problem. It might turn out that your friend was just looking for an empathetic ear.
  83. If you are in public or in a situation where you are required to actively listen or participate but you find yourself overwhelmed with emotion, turning to your journal (or even just a piece of paper) to get out all of your feelings is an excellent strategy. This allows to you process how you’re feeling instead of just repressing everything, and will make it easier to go straight back into whatever you are doing.
  84. Don’t stay up late at night just because you are wallowing in sadness and feel sorry for yourself. Doing so will only make you feel worse the next day by putting a damper on the start of your day; instead just go to sleep as soon as you can so you can start fresh in the morning. Every day is a new chance to try again.
  85. If you are already in an anxious/sad mood you should not indulge in activities that make it worse like going on your phone. Even if it feels like a temporary release from stress, be proactive and do something that you know will make you feel better long-term or even just later in the day.
  86. Language fatigue is real. This means when you are living/speaking in a language that you learned after the age of 5, it takes more cognitive effort because the language is processed more consciously. This makes you (1) exhausted but (2) also depletes your will-power much faster and can consequently affect your decision-making.
  87. In nature, almost everything has habits, patterns, cycles, or routines of some sort . As humans, we are also part of nature and so we too thrive on routines. (but we already knew that :)
  88. Taking REAL breaks from working is actually necessary. Even if you like working, this doesn’t count as a break; you really need to make space for yourself to rest and take a break cognitively. Taking breaks is an essential part of any personal development journey.
  89. When you reframe your day in terms of living in a day tight compartment, not only are you more present, but you are actually inspired with more energy to put into the day because you aren’t overwhelmed or weighed down by your future.
  90. If you are very strict with yourself and your routines, even if you love them, you might feel overly restricted if you don’t give yourself a break. This may lead to you “acting out” to break out of the “restrictive” cycle, so it’s important to make sure that you rest and relax so you don’t feel confined by your habits.
  91. Making a mistake does not mean you should quit nor do you have to start over. All you have to do is learn from the mistakes, move on and keep going; don’t punish yourself.
  92. You need solitude to function optimally. This means giving you need to give yourself time and space to be alone with your thoughts (you don’t necessarily have to be physically alone, just take a break from screens and other people’s words).
  93. Taking it slow is so much more rewarding than trying to move fast and get stuff done. Taking it slow is not inversely related to productivity because living through each moment is actually the most productive thing you can do.
  94. It’s important to make sure that you don’t overwhelm or force personal development onto the people around you. Your friends might naturally develop interest, but make sure you aren’t projecting your work onto them!
  95. Sometimes you might feel like giving up when you’re making really really slow progress to the point where it doesn’t really feel like you’re making progress at all. Instead, try to highlight the little progress that you have made, and recognise that sometimes the only way forward is through tiny amounts of progress and that progress is still progress.
  96. In personal development, it can be useful to focus on listening to how you feel and making yourself feel good rather than just on superficial goals. Learning how to listen to your body is one of the most valuable skills you can build. And listening to your body isn’t just restricted to eating, it can also mean listening to what you need emotionally, or to make a decision, or with respect to exercise, rest, meditation, and the list goes on. You’d be surprised how easy it is to lose touch with yourself and how many benefits will be waiting for you when you fall back into listening to yourself.
  97. If you can start to see your personal development journey and your steps and your “chores”, “habits”, and “actions” that you take repeatedly as a blessing, as a gift, as something that you love and look forward to, you will be so much more satisfied in the present, every single day, instead of always looking to the future for satisfaction.
  98. If you do a little bit more than you need to do for work, or spend a little bit extra time there, or be a little bit proactive with what you are doing, it isn’t just a way to stay on top of your work and be ahead, it also helps you remove stress so you don’t have to think about work when you leave work. This helps so much with achieving a good work/life balance so you can actually leave work thoughts at work.
  99. You should value and honour the small steps you take (small parts of routines or small changes that you make to your life even if it’s just overcoming a minuscule mental barrier) because you can’t maintain progress forever with big changes. It’s those tiny, tiny changes that you get you where you want to go and so it’s good to remember and highlight how important they are to your journey.
  100. If exercise energizes you, don’t view it as a waste of time when you are travelling or on vacation, because really it is energising you to have a better experience, a better time, and it gives you more energy to use in the rest of your day.
  101. Go to sleep before you feel overly tired because if you wait until you feel tired to start getting ready for bed, you’ll end up going to sleep too late. So having a night routine that requires a little amount of effort (like filming this video, journaling, or reading) will tire you out just enough so you’re ready to sleep when the routine is complete.
  102. When you start loving the tiny steps, when you start loving the means to the end, when you start loving the path instead of the goal, you become instantly so much more fulfilled, but also so much less rushed in your day-to-day life. Enjoying and appreciating every day for itself introduces a slow & calm serenity to your life that makes you less stressed, happier, and more content and in love with your life.
  103. Wait until you actually feel hungry to eat (as opposed to fasting or always eating because it’s time). It really makes you feel a lot better and will help you bring more energy into the rest of your day.
  104. If people are doing things that annoy you, you might as well let the annoyance go because this will make your day better. Control the controllables - in this case control how you feel and respond.
  105. It is really hard to be anxious while you are grateful. So if you are feeling really anxious, and you write out what you are grateful for, over and over and over again until you are overwhelmed with gratitude, you will probably find that you are no longer anxious. So in a way gratitude can actually be a tool.
  106. When you can integrate gratitude and presence into your life at the same time, you start living each day, instead of constantly looking forward to the next big thing. (Note: this might not be easy or possible all the time, but it’s definitely a cool discovery and something to keep working towards).
  107. If you are focusing on how you make others feel, you also need to protect your personal energy to be able to do so. Because it is exactly your energy that will influence how you make others feel, so take care of yourself first if you want to really help the people around you. This is also a good way to positively influence people without pushing personal development onto them because you can just try to surround them with positive energy.
  108. If you can tie gratitude into each success, into each step forward that you take, it really changes the way you progress because you no longer have the sense of being done, instead each step motivates you even more in a compounding way.
  109. If you have to shorten or rush your morning routine or any other routine that usually centers you, try to find ways to inject segments of your forgone routine or similar things into a different part of your day to slow down the pace of your life again. This is a good way to keep the benefits of your routines when you need to be flexible.
  110. If you are feeling bad or anxious or sad it’s okay to feel your feelings, but that is not an excuse to give yourself permission to “be bad” or be ungrateful. Even if you are struggling with it, that’s ok, just make sure you aren’t giving yourself a free pass to have bad intentions.
  111. Sometimes you won’t feel like doing things and it’s because your body is telling you that you don’t need that thing in your life, but other times you won’t feel like doing things because you have a mental block/psychological barrier to doing something and it’s important that you learn how to distinguish the two. In the first case, it’s important to listen to your body, but in the second, it’s important to push through your barriers so you can keep growing!
  112. Make sure that you aren’t using “listening to your body” as an excuse to fall victim to resistance and instead, recognise this resistance and try to understand why it’s there is you can work on resolving it.
  113. It’s possible to be in flow without being rushed, but it does require a little more presence (as opposed to for example, procrastination flow). What a calm, cool flow hehe.
  114. The more present that I become, the more connected I feel to nature and “the universe”. And the more connected I become, the more interested in history I become, so being present has made me interested in history because the magnitude and gravity of life and history and the world is so much more amazing and overwhelming.
  115. Having an emergency snack with you while your travelling (especially if you are by yourself) is invaluable. When you get too hungry, it’s hard to make good decisions and think clearly, so having a snack ready means you can always be ready to make decisions yourself!
  116. When you are going through a slump in the middle of the day, and if you are on vacation or have the capability to take a break, do it! It’ll make you enjoy and be present for the rest of the day making it so worth it and not wasteful!
  117. If you can be brutally honest with yourself when you are journaling and make sure you aren’t hiding anything from yourself, and then make your decision on the subject, the decision will likely be instinctual. I personally prefer to trust my instinctive decisions, and when you know you are being honest with yourself, you may not even need to consult others who might add more confusion to your thoughts.
  118. If you are tired, stressed, and overwhelmed and you know that you aren’t in a good mindset to make a decision or think something through, just go to sleep. This doesn’t mean just go distract yourself by doing something else, get that extra sleep so that you can use the extra energy to face your challenges the next day.
  119. When you are working your way back up to something, whether that be at school, work or even in the gym, don’t try to go right back to where you last peaked. You really need to take it slow and follow the exponential growth curve; don’t worry slow progress is still progress and you’ll get back up there eventually.
  120. Not feeling like doing something doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t do it. For example, with writing (and yoga) it is always so much fun after I get started, but getting myself to get started is a struggle.
  121. If you can’t relax, it might be a good idea to try journaling about things you’ve accomplished and things you’ve done well (aka count your wins). I’ve found that after this, it’s easier to unwind because you realise that you really do deserve to relax, and that you need to relax, and that you will be better for it.
  122. It’s really fun to just be impulsive and follow your gut instincts if you don’t have anything you need or want to get done. Don’t do this if you think it’ll be stressful, but at the right time, it’s a blast.
  123. Being well groomed and put together actually does influence how you feel and act for the rest of the day. So… getting ready for the day is not “unproductive” because it can be an investment in your commitment to yourself, so that you feel like you have your life together, so that you can bring that energy into the rest of your day.
  124. Sometimes when you are super focused on being productive, you might lose sight of the goal that is to enjoy every single day. So, if you don’t have any high value tasks you need to get done, taking it slow and not rushing around might actually be the better move instead of always trying to “get things done”.
  125. Technically your morning routine starts the night before. Ok maybe not actually, but how you end your day does set you up for the next day and so incorporating more relaxation and preparation into your nighttime makes it easier to wake up in the right headspace.
  126. If you have the foresight to know that you have a stressful day/week coming up and you know what things you can do to make yourself less stressed or anxious, try to build up a “bank” of these activities in advance so that you are as prepared as you can be. This could be sleep, meditation, exercise, airplane mode, etc.
  127. If you find yourself spending time waiting for someone to get back to you on something, take back control of your time and do whatever you would normally do because “waiting” is not an activity.
  128. If you are dealing with a lot of really confusing emotions and after journaling you end up even more confused than when you started, it’s probably not a good idea to introduce another person into the situation by asking for advice. You don’t even know what YOU want yet, so the influence of others might just confuse you even more.
  129. When you are travelling alone, it’s a lot easier to take the first step to create friendships. But also, it creates a different type of friendship than when you travel with other people, so it’s definitely a cool experience to travel alone even if you have a really solid travel partner.
  130. You need to have balance in every part of your life, not just work. This means you need to have balance in the things you do for yourself too. You can’t (probably) just meditate all the time or even work on your passion ALL the time, you need balance in everything.
  131. Even though I love being alone and travelling alone, it is essential to have a very solid base of friends to truly get the most out of experiences alone. Again, finding balance between social time and alone time is key.
  132. It’s not unproductive to have a slow morning routine. The slowness that you add to your morning routine is ensuring that you can bring that slowness into the rest of the day so you remain calm and balanced. Before I always saw waking up earlier as a loss of sleep, but now I’m seeing that if you can be organised enough to get enough sleep anyways, then starting the day in a more gentle way is really, really nice.
  133. Airplane mode can be used as a tool, kind of like meditation, to help with anxiety. Whenever I feel stressed and/or overstimulated I like to flip my phone to airplane mode to eliminate notifications and the possibility of using social media to numb my feelings.
  134. Kaizen, using little steps, and improving bit by bit over time is a good way to approach perfectionism. Instead of trying to have a finished product that is perfect, try to just start right away so that you will actually finish, and know that you can make improvements over time. AKA just get started. Don’t plan too much, just go work now knowing that your plan will grow and evolve as you get things done.
  135. It is possible to get into flow and feel really caffeinated even if you aren’t, but this means it’s probably an adrenaline-based flow and will have a similar crash afterwards. So rather than searching for that almost-twitchy flow, aim for a more cool, calm, and collected (almost meditative) flow so that you aren’t so exhausted afterwards.
  136. If you enjoy doing something for other people, you don’t need to worry about it not being fair, because doing it will make both you and the others happier. For me, this meant realizing that I like planning events/activities/weekends and so even if this means I’m doing more work than my friends, it doesn’t matter because I enjoy the work and I also get to be more in control of my own happiness.
  137. If you are looking for motivation to be proactive about work, especially if you are a chronic procrastinator, having something like a passion project that you want to work on can be a really good incentive. Replace the normal work deadline by simply not letting yourself work on your passion project until you get the other work done and you’ll find yourself suddenly having a lot more motivation.
  138. If you’re feeling distracted/not present and you don’t have enough energy to get any high-value work done, try doing lower-value tasks (laundry, sweeping, folding, organising, etc.) that will force you to stay present by keeping you off of your phone and other distractions. You can still listen to a book/podcast in the background but this way you will be brought back to the present even in times where you don’t have the energy to do more serious work. This is just another way to capitalise on your energy levels at any given time.
  139. If you are feeling anxious and you can plan work for yourself to do that will force you to be present, you will no longer be anxious because your full attention is focused on solving the problem at hand. This is a good solution when you don’t feel like journaling or thinking through your anxiety right away maybe because you can’t or want a little space first.
  140. Walking is such a good tool. It helps so much with clearing your head, and bonus it’s good for you.
  141. There are two ways to achieve “attention-based euphoria”, so besides ASMR you can actually reach this state just from meditation aka directing your attention and being present. Super cool.
  142. Even if it’s later in the day, it’s worth showering and getting yourself “ready” for the day is worth it so that you feel put together and can make good use of the rest of your day!
  143. Packing what you need for you day, and maybe even a little more (umbrella, hand lotion, snack, etc.) can be useful because it makes you feel very put together. This influences how you carry yourself throughout the day, which influences how you act, which ultimately influences who you are!
  144. If you can in the moment recognise that you’re feeling uncomfortable or afraid, try to use that energy as a command to yourself to do whatever is making you uncomfortable or afraid. This way you can channel these negative feelings into pushing yourself even further!
  145. Another approach to procrastination is reframing it as a move away from inner stillness and inner calm. Essentially when procrastinating, you are no longer present, you are no longer living your life for the day, so you should stop procrastinating and do the work so that you can find your way back to that inner stillness and calm.
  146. If you listen to audiobooks you can actually “meditate to a book” in the same way you would to a guided meditation. I like to lay in the same position and everything and I find this is a really cool way to deeply absorb the message of a book, especially if it’s one that resonates with you emotionally.
  147. A good strategy to approach a stressful period of time is to put extra emphasis on living in day-tight compartments. Also, remind yourself that being stressed alone is not productive, but being present is.
  148. If you feel stressed/distraught when you break a routine, you are being too strict with yourself. Since it’s all about how you feel, the specifics may vary from person to person but just focus on trying to keep yourself in a flexible state.
  149. If you’re a person who needs a lot of alone time to recharge, and you have been slacking a little bit on your routines and sleep, you might need more alone time to reset than you usually do because you are in a “weaker” state. Yet another reason to keep up with your routines.
  150. If you aren’t relaxing well enough or spending enough time alone, you won’t be able to tolerate hanging out with other people as much, just because you need more space to reset alone.
  151. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with a lot of energy, but you’re not sure if it’s positive or negative, try stream-of-consciousness meditation. Really feel and absorb all the energy and emotions going through your body, and let your mind do it’s thing. I find that this really helps me better direct/manage my energy.
  152. If you wake up and you already feel like you’re in a bad mood, don’t give in to the mood, do what you can to start the day how you would if you were in a good mood. Worst case, you’re still in a bad mood, so why not try to change the start of your day.
  153. When you have a really good and balanced support system you start to realise that you have friends for different purposes. So if you ever find yourself relying only on one person for everything, this is probably a sign that you need to take a step back and reevaluate where you are at mentally and emotionally because you might be on a path towards dependence or codependence.
  154. When you are feeling especially anxious, stressed out and overall just really overwhelmed with the day, you might feel the need to seek comfort from your friends. And usually this is a perfectly acceptable approach, if you can find a way to comfort yourself and depend on yourself, it will be a lot more rewarding because you will learn that you are enough alone and you can take care of yourself. Also a really cool step if you are working on being more independent.
  155. If you are deciding between waking up early to exercise and sleeping in and getting a few extra hours of sleep, the decision should be based on how much sleep you have got recently not just based on how much you want to workout. This goes both ways, so if you’re just making excuses to not workout, you should workout, but if you’re just making excuses not to sleep, you should sleep in.
  156. Another approach to staying present, especially when you have a series of stressful events or tasks to get through, is to focus on one step at a time. If you catch yourself playing through the whole series of events, stop, take a deep breath, and just bring your focus back to the step you’re currently working on. I’ve found this works wonders for really long/stressful days/weeks/months etc.
  157. There is a difference between texting your friends to plan things, texting your friends to connect, and texting your friends just to be texting and feel emotional support. So just be conscious of how you’re using your tools because it can be positive, but it can also be negative.
  158. It’s ok to have a slow day but this isn’t an excuse not to be present.
  159. If you can change the goal or motivating reason behind a challenging habit, you might find it a lot easier to stick to it. Having the right “why” is super important for motivation.
  160. While you may be confident that you have enough willpower to complete your morning routine after procrastinating a little bit, you should still try to get started right away to preserve your willpower for the rest of the day.
  161. There is a point after which working is no longer productive. If you feel yourself having an excessive amount of resistance to a task, you might just be better off relaxing completely instead of unproductively draining your willpower.
  162. If you’re in a bad mood when you wake up, there’s no reason not to go through the motions of your morning routine, because even if there’s only a tiny chance it makes you feel better it’s worth it.
  163. As you make more progress on being present and living in day-tight compartments, superficial temporary gratifications that normally represent landmarks that you would be waiting for, start meaning a lot less to you than just living the day for itself.
  164. When you are catching up on sleep, don’t do it all at once, even if it’s really tempting. Aggressively oversleeping will mess up your routine and you will only end up having to fix it later.
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  185. There are very few situations in which lying is the best move. On top of that if you can’t even tell a convincing lie then it’s twice as bad to lie.
  186. You might be surprised at what type of stuff you actually enjoy doing when you go into everything with a truly open mindset.
  187. How you feel is such an important part of how you carry yourself so if you’re feeling down before an important event or meeting, it’s worth it to do something that you know is guaranteed to make you feel better. For me, this is working out.
  188. Socializing can be an effective outlet for nervous energy that won’t result in you just feeling all of the nerves.
  189. Just because you get past a sprint in work doesn’t mean you can let go of all of your routines. This is just another way to enter a deadly cycle of ups and downs and stability and consistency are key.
  190. Appreciate each of your friends specifically for what that friendship brings to the table.
  191. You feel good almost instantly when you take actions that prioritize yourself.
  192. When you are feeling uncomfortable in a situation for reasons outside of your control, removing yourself is almost always the best option.
  193. When you suddenly find out about an unbearable situation, the sooner you can identify what is controllable and only focus on that the better. This will simultaneously help to calm you down and minimize how overwhelming the situation feels.
  194. When you feel immediately overwhelmed by emotions in a moment and you don’t know what to do, if you can just pause for a second and try to calm down before doing anything else, this can make a world of a difference in your next action.
  195. Even though it doesn’t always feel great in the moment, in the grand scheme maintaining good sleep habits and a good sleep routine, it is useful to actually let yourself feel tired during the day so that you can sleep well the next night and get right back into it.
  196. Being optimistic and making plans for fun things that you actually want to do, instead of just sitting at home or watching netflix, can actually help you be more productive because you want to make sure you get all your work done in time.
  197. Having lots of fun is actually really productive because you perceive a bigger break from working time because you’re enjoying yourself so much.
  198. If you find yourself feeling surprised that you aren’t overworked or worn down when you know you are doing a crazy amount of work, it is possible that you are running on fumes and it will all hit you as soon as you slow down. It’s better to be consistent and calm throughout the process if at all possible.
  199. On free days where you are relaxing, be sure to stay present and stay off devices to ensure you are actually reaping the benefits of a free day.
  200. A good way to approach obsessive thinking is to consider how you would rather spend your energy because whatever you are obsessing over is currently draining your energy in an unproductive way. Shifting your focus will help you be more productive and simultaneously help stop obsessive thinking.
  201. Having soup and essential basic medications on hand is key for being sick as an adult. Because when you have a lot of responsibilities you can’t slack on you have to push through no matter how you feel, so having the right tools to make it possible becomes super important.
  202. Consistently avoiding things for a long period of time will decrease perceived day-to-day happiness.
  203. If you wake up in haze and aren’t quite sure how to start your day, literally cleaning up can help clear your mind and set you up to start your day.
  204. Staying in control while going out is fun because you don’t have to sacrifice your routine or plans for the next day and you don’t make any decisions that you regret.
  205. Even if you are an open and honest person, sometimes things really are better left unsaid.
  206. If you have an emotionally unhealthy behavior that only arises when you aren’t feeling well mentally, be really careful if you notice the behavior arising even if you think everything is fine. There is likely something under the surface bringing about this behavior.
  207. Uncertainty causes stress.
  208. The longer you sprint for the harder you crash if you aren’t recovering properly. You need rest days the same way that your body needs rest days.
  209. Don’t wait around for other people to make all the decisions. Stop waiting, be decisive, and save energy.
  210. We are naturally attracted to people who feel familiar, even if the root of that familiarity is actually pain.
  211. I learned that it really can be good to delay fights/discussions when everyone is feeling confused and overwhelmed by emotions because whatever happens then just won’t be productive, no matter how much you want it to be.
  212. Sometimes you need to be careful when you let down your guard. Because it might just happen naturally if you are an open person, but it might be good to think about certain scenarios or people with whom it would be good to keep your guards or at least be wary of what’s happening.
  213. Planning ahead and having an idea of what you are going to do in suboptimal routine situations is extremely helpful. It’s just like analyzing all the ways a business can fail and taking the necessary precautions.
  214. Knowing when to put yourself first is key.
  215. My friends really are there for me, I need to seek them out in person to feel supported though.
  216. Just because you are in the mood to do something reckless and break out of your routines doesn’t mean you have to. Learn how to mitigate damage and have self-control. Turn to your friends.
  217. I learned that journaling, like my other daily habits (specifically meditating), is essential on most days because I feel a lot more overwhelmed without it.
  218. Being responsible and getting what you need to get done makes you feel better. So even if you don’t feel like doing stuff, try framing it as wanting to feel better later not needing to get stuff done.
  219. I learned that I need to make important sleep/routine planning decisions before I’m in a state (like being too tired) where I don’t care.
  220. I learned that prioritizing routines above everything else is kind of necessary, especially if they have already been hurt dramatically in the recent past.
  221. I learned that you shouldn’t rush any type of change or process, even if it’s about a relationship with another person and not a personal change.
  222. I learned that sometimes you need to trust and act on your gut instincts before your conscious mind has enough time to rationalize the wrong decision.
  223. I learned that when you’re in a precarious mental state it’s really important to protect the routines that make you feel good no matter what your body is telling you. So don’t skip working out, meditating, or sleeping so that you have enough support to sustain yourself through hard times.
  224. I learned that I need to set a “bedtime” prior to starting evening plans. Even if this doesn’t work 100% of the time, having this time as a guideline will help me to do better most of the time and therefore on average.
  225. I feel less social than I am so if I am socializing how often I feel like socializing then I am not socializing enough. ALSO, if you do happen to be feeling sorry for yourself and want to indulge DO NOT do so by sacrificing your base level habits (sleep, meditation, eating well, exercise. This will just make you feel worse not better. ALSO When thinking about a decision, first deciding whether this should be a quick instinctual decision or a careful, conscious decision may end up saving a lot of willpower and ensuring the right decision is made more often.
  226. I am capable of taking care of myself independently and that it is my responsibility to calm myself down and remind myself that stress is not productive when I am in a trying situation. Also that it is my responsibility to immediately look for what I can learn and how I can reframe the obstacle as the way.
  227. n/a
  228. I learned that I can’t really go for more than one day without my journal. Or meditation for that matter.
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  232. Sometimes I need to make myself do things even if I don’t really feel like it, especially if it involves seeing other people or socializing in a way that will actually be fun and help me relax.
  233. Getting all your work done and leaving the house clean before you go on vacation makes a huge difference mentally.
  234. One thing I learned is that vacations don’t have to be stressful and involve a lot of fighting - pick the right people.
  235. to day 258, n/a (reflection break)
  1. One thing I learned is that feeling tired in the morning and then being unproductive starts a positive feedback loop where I become less and less productive and feel worse. So, try extra hard to be productive if you aren’t feeling great when you wake up.
  2. I learned that we should take advantage of all the extra family time that we get from coronavirus. As always, everything happens for a reason and it is your job to make that reason positive and active. #amorfati
  3. I learned that we should remember that even if we have a lot of stuff to get done, the best way to get it done isn’t to work 24/7 because our brains won’t function as well if we go too hard.
  4. I learned that if I can reframe working hard in the context of a having a good day of work to feel good then no matter what assignment I’m working on it becomes a lot easier to put work into it.
  5. One thing I learned is that similar to my mindset for life, once a problem you are working on is no longer due to your personal lack of understanding of how to approach the problem, it may be time to ask for help.
  6. I learned that working super hard all of the time is not smart, leveraging sprints is. Meaningfully inserting a break at the right point when you don’t need to sprint anymore is just as valuable of a skill as knowing how to work hard.
  7. I learned that it is much easier to be too comfortable and not make progress on my goals when I’m at home every single day. I need to be a lot more active in trying to keep myself sane and motivated from home.
  8. I (re-)learned that I need to actively force myself to be social because I forget how good I feel and how essential it is to my well-being.
  9. I learned that always looking for some type of drama in my personal life so it feels like something interesting is always happening is never going to make me fulfilled. It’s just like buying material goods and I should learn how to train my mind away from wasting energy on these endeavors, especially when I really want to be focusing on personal development.
  10. Just like my other habits, I have a lot of resistance to doing my daily reflections but that resistance is exactly why this habit supports me, protects me, and makes me grow stronger. I just need to think of my habits as another way of making myself uncomfortable and reframing it that way should definitely help me see, over and over again, the importance of DOING THINGS I FEEL RESISTANCE TO.
  11. It’s really important to be diligent to going to bed on time when working with a flexible schedule or working from home because otherwise, you can easily enter a negative cycle.
  12. A workaholic is NOT the type of person who would achieve my goals.
  13. Long fasts (>16 hours) make me feel so good immediately. Aside from the long-term health benefits, focusing on how good it makes me feel is motivation enough to keep this habit.
  14. I learned that if I get less than my minimum required sleep (6 hours) I should by no means have more than one cup of coffee to energize myself. This is an instance where naps are acceptable, but I need to make sure they are not too long (>3hours) that they might mess up my sleep cycle. ALSO if I get less than six hours of sleep my main priority should be recouping that sleep as soon as possible (prioritize 9 hours of sleep the next night) - this is to maintain the routine/sleep cycle and protect long-term progress.
  15. What you can create by working on things incrementally (read: daily) is mindblowing - never forget this and always ask yourself if things you really care about are integrated into your everyday life. ALSO I’m prone to having worse days when I’m tired so I should remember that if I get less than 6 hours of sleep, starting my day with daily gratitdue might be even more useful than it usually is. Being grateful will help me feel good through the exhaustion. ALSO I feel so much more inspired in the quiet of the early mornings.
  16. If you are feeling really unproductive, you can go through a list of all the things you could do (that would be productive) in your head and do whichever one you feel slightly pulled to or feel the least resistance to. Of course this only works if you don’t have any tight deadlines (but tight deadlines are usually motivation enough).
  17. It’s important to have friends that are interested in the same things as you because it’s so fun to get out of your own head and get second opinions. This might mean that you end up needing a few different “types” or “groups” of friends, which is also good.
  18. Just because you are putting something off doesn’t mean its not enjoyable. If you can dig further into the reasons you were putting the task off, you may be able to avoid similar blocks in the future.
  19. I can be there for myself no matter what happens.
  20. Sometimes breaking your routines is the best thing you can do for yourself. Recognize this and be ok with it.
  21. If you’re looking for growth you need to be really open to new opportunities when they present themselves, even if they happen when you don’t feel like trying something new. AKA take advantage of the windows of opportunity bc you might not get a second chance.
  22. If your body is feeling out of wack, don’t use this as a reason to avoid your routines. Because it is likely your routines that will help you feel normal again.
  23. I don’t need anyone else’s permission to be “silly”. I can do that all by myself.
  24. When I undersleep, the second cup of coffee never makes me feel energized, it just makes me feel jittery and wired and makes going to bed early impossible.
  25. You shouldn’t give up hope just because you are feeling down or having an off day. Sometimes it is in these moments that strikes of inspiration hit and you should look for them and be ready to accept them.
  26. I feel good when I share about the thing I love and am working on with other people. It’s important for me to find a way to share about these things but always stay humble.
  27. When in a state of distress, it might be too difficult to release worry over uncontrollables, so focus first on calming yourself down (by reaching out to friends, etc.) and then once you have regained clarity and focus, you can try to release what is outside of your control.
  28. Sending a small message of encouragement and being supportive of other people actually makes me feel better. And when I feel excess energy, what better way to use it than being generous with others??
  29. Even when you have the freedom to lead whatever kind of schedule you would like, it’s still better to create a routine and structure to give you that foundational component. Even though you may think that just fully chilling and relaxing will be more relaxing, it’s actually not!
  30. I really need to stop questioning whether or not I want to do my morning routine and just go through the motions before my mind has time to think and question whether or not I want to do it.
  31. Sometimes logic needs to take a step back and you need to just let things happen. Logic has a time and place and knowing when to use it in addition to how is very important.
  32. After a certain point, the mind only gets in the way and to preserve energy I should push away thinking that does not serve me. Because I am not my mind ha.
  33. Some types of activities warrant you waiting for the right energy and others absolutely do not. Knowing which activities are which then becomes extremely important.
  34. Having a lot of things to say and a lot of ideas might mean you actually haven’t fully processed your thoughts yet. Because you lack clarity. Being able to say something powerful concisely is the goal.
  35. Supporting others, like any other habit, needs to start slowly. I can’t just agressively attack people with my energy.
  36. I am strong and that when negative people intentionally try to attack you at your weaknesses and your most vulnerable points, it’s just an opportunity for you to make those parts of you even stronger.
  37. For being more authentic with people, I can use the strategy of pressuring myself to act fast before I have time to think about it bc then I’m pretty much just stuck being authentic to go with the way I started out. I definitely want to start focusing on this for when I meet new people.
  38. If I sleep for less than six hours, I should not fast. I feel really nauseous and have no energy when I do this.
  39. Being super focused on one goal is great, but it’s important to make sure you don’t let others slide too much in the meantime. For example, when working on self-centered goals, it’s important to make sure you’re still being thoughtful of other people.
  40. You need to learn how to balance being your true self and shoving your business in other people’s faces. Just make sure you stay aware of how you’re making other people feel even if you’re working on something related to yourself.
  41. When people insult you, you can take it as a chance to analyze their words without the emotional reaction of getting hurt. Obviously this is hard and best case scenario, but if you can get it to work, it’s a game-changer.
  42. If you can just ignore anxious thoughts about future events, it actually makes them seem less stressful.
  43. Annoyance like other forms of negativity really only affects you. Do what you need to do but let go of the annoyance if possible.
  44. Doing something a little different with your routine or even your appearance can be fun and really change how you feel about yourself for the day.
  45. If some routine is still super hard even when you are really consistent with it, it might be a good idea to mix up the routine and see if you can find a more fun way or a different time to integrate it.
  46. …updated monthly…