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71 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?
Two things for you to think about
The only way to become more successful than most people is to be willing to do something most people aren’t willing to do.
If you simply do what everyone else has already done, you will be rewarded with the same mediocre results everyone else has already gotten. The only model for success is to avoid most of the world’s models for success.
Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.
Three things for you to ask yourself
What is something of value that you are willing to do that most people are not? What is something that you enjoy doing that most people do not? What is something you are naturally good at that most people are not?
Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.
One thing for you to try this week
Do something most people are unwilling/unable to do. Then, reap the benefits of it.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.
Last week’s breakthroughs
In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to ask the three questions that determine your happiness—what you do, who you spend time with, how you treat your body—and do one thing to change that for the better.
One reader stated that they’re in “the most challenging period of their life.” Cancer diagnoses, family issues, and a recent job loss have put them in a dark and philosophical mood. But, they reflected, the struggles have been surprising in some ways:
A side effect of all of this is that I’ve sought out real connection with others, and that’s been my truest source of strength. I’m discovering that in the greatest moments of pain, one automatically weans him or herself off the meaningless acquaintances, the party friends, the superficial family relationships that provide no tangible benefits. Instead, the focus is on the people that bring insight, talent, support, and love. The people that have the power to make a lasting difference in my life.
But I’ve totally neglected treating my body well. The vessel that carries me forth each and every day has taken a serious beating. I’ve fallen back on bad dietary habits, I’m half-assing my exercise routine, I’m vaping again, I’m sleeping like trash because I play video games until 1 a.m., and I’m numbing myself with enough alcohol to inebriate a small tribe of Vikings.
Reading your newsletter, alarm bells started ringing in my head. It’s pretty obvious that my lack of self-care is the bottleneck in my well-being and mental state at the moment. I feel like shit because of circumstances outside of my control, but I also feel like shit because of obvious circumstances that are well within my control!
So today, I cooked my own lunch. And then I booked and paid for a personal training session tomorrow so I’m forced to go to the gym again. And now that I’ve made these small, positive health decisions for today, the idea of drinking four beers before bed doesn’t seem all that reasonable anymore. And hey… it’s probably going to take some willpower to do it again tomorrow, but I do feel a little better already.
As it turns out, most of you who wrote back said your body is the area of your life you’ve been neglecting. Of the three questions, this too was the one that I ignored for the longest. You can get away with treating your body poorly when you’re young, but once you hit middle age, things are less forgiving.
Here’s a reader named Jessica who developed a really cool strategy for herself to start (and maintain) healthy habits. If I were starting over today, I’d probably give it a try:
After a few months of intense work projects and many years of trying to form new positive habits only to let them fall by the wayside, I tried a new approach. About a month ago I made the only requirement for my day to take a single multivitamin, with a glass of water first thing in the morning and make sure I showered every day no matter what.
I did this for a week, then week two I added vitamin C to go with my morning water and a small breakfast (protein shake, mini bagel with cream cheese, egg). Week three I added a podcast to my morning routine and a vitamin D capsule. This week I’ve added 20 minutes of Spanish using Duolingo and a stretching routine.
Here is what happened… by week two I was cooking at least one meal for myself a day, hitting the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and getting long-awaited projects done around the house. I also reviewed my finances and set up subscriptions to keep regular items always replenished and saving me some money. Overall, just taking so much better care of myself.
I gave up beating myself up and chose one small thing to add each week, and habit stacking. The simple act of doing away with the self-flagellation led to positive feelings about all I was accomplishing and begot even more positive behavior. I even started finally writing down all these business ideas I’ve had rolling around in my head for years.
I’ve written before about how improving your life is less about willpower and more about self-acceptance, and that action begets more action. Also, if you’re struggling with these sorts of issues, here’s a guide I wrote years ago on habits that you might find useful in getting your shit together. Good luck!
As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
Until next week,