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Habits That Will Transform

Your Life?

If not, now’s the time to learn how to build habits to:

  • Feel happier and more ALIVE
  • Connect deeply with yourself and others
  • Unleash your creativity and do your best work

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This won’t be so bad.

I’m standing on a wooden pillar 10 feet off the ground.

I shake my arms and breathe in unsteadily, trying to get a handle on my nerves.  I turn around and look down for a moment.

That’s a long way down.

Turning back around, I hug my arms to my chest, take a deep breath in, tip backwards, and fall…

Every muscle in my body tenses, waiting for impact.

Where is it? Shouldn’t I hit yet?!

Panicking, I throw my arms out…WHACK!





I shake my head and sigh with relief.  My body is shaking a little from the adrenaline coursing through my veins.  But as I struggle my way off the enormous mat, I can’t seem to stop smiling…


Most of the health literature of the past 20 years has touted stress as a very negative thing.  Here are some of the things we think of as common knowledge:

  • Chronic stress can make your veins and arteries narrow, making blood clots more likely.
  • Stress can put an extra burden on your heart, damaging it.
  • Stress produces cortisol that makes you hungry, and we all know what stress eating can lead to.

But the fact is, stress is not that bad for you.

Here are 3 things you should know about stress before you worry a minute longer.

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How to know if your Good Habit has Gone Bad


The Artist’s Way is a book that has been used by millions of people to get over writer’s block. I was experiencing a bit of a block myself, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The biggest recommendation that the book gives is that you complete your Morning Pages every day. Morning Pages are 3 full pages of writing every day that contain your thoughts, feelings, and/or whatever else comes to mind. The exercise is meant to teach you to “rest on the page.” I wanted the writing habit so badly, I thought, “Here’s my answer!” Unfortunately, I was very wrong.

When I started to write my Morning Pages, it felt great. I felt like something had been released in my brain and all my words started flowing onto the page. But even during the first week of doing this new habit, I noticed something strange. I was starting to think a lot…a whole lot.

When week two rolled around, it just got worse. The thinking was starting to interfere with my business. I’d second guess myself. Instead of taking action, I would just sit there and think. What the heck was going on?

Thankfully, I had a 5 minute Weekly Review built into my week. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have found the culprit for another month or two.

“Why am I doing morning pages?”

“To help me write consistently, so I can create great content to grow my business.”

“Are morning pages serving me? Am I experiencing any Big Tangible Benefits?”

“Hell No!”

Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to myself when I said this. I wish I had, and that’s why I’m telling you this story. I thought, “If I try hard enough, I can MAKE this work.”

I was wrong.

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How to Travel Hack Your Habits

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Today, I want to answer one of your most pressing questions:

“How do I keep my habits when I travel or move?”

Love that question because who hasn’t had that happen to them?

I just recently moved out of a condo I was staying in to recover from my surgery.  I had a great routine going there.  Get up and meditate, eat my favorite breakfast of scrambled eggs with mango salsa, and go for a run by the lake.  But, when I moved back to Boulder, everything became so much harder.  It took me almost TWICE as long to do my routine.  Not cool.  What happened?

Your environment is the single biggest influence on your habits.  The strategy of setting up triggers is really just changing your environment to enable your habits.

But what if you could travel endlessly, but still have habits of steel?  What if you could move to another city and pick up your routine the very next day?

In this article, I’ve created an extremely easy to remember and easier to execute routine to take your habit with you wherever you go.  No more missed days.  Let’s do it!

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The Half n’ Half Rule


“I know my habit has to be small, but how small is small enough?”

I have a simple answer for you my friend.  Use the half n’ half rule.

Whatever you’re thinking about starting your habit at, let’s say 20 min of exercise, cut it in half.  That would give you 10 min. Now cut it in half again.  You’re left with 5 minutes.  That’s where you should start.

Here are some comments I get whenever I tell someone this rule:

“But now my habit is wimpy!”


“That’s just silly.  I won’t run for just 5 minutes a day.”

Both are valid points.  This is a psychological trick.  You only have to run for 5 minutes a day, and then you’re finished! That doesn’t mean that you have to stop after 5 minutes.  In fact, you can keep going for an hour if you’d like.

There are two important ingredients to this formula:

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Did you know that most people try to fix failing habits incorrectly?

It’s true!

Tell me, when you’re struggling with a habit, what do you do? My guess is you try to get motivated. You try to pump yourself up.

“Come on, let’s DO THIS!!!” (Don’t do this.)

Do this instead: strengthen the trigger OR add a trigger.

Remember, triggers are what remind you to do your habit. Why focus on triggers and not motivation? Because if you forget to do your habit, it doesn’t matter how pumped you are! :-)

Plus, a strong trigger will free up your mental space so you don’t have to think about doing your habit all day. You can also double and triple your triggers to make sure you never miss your habit.

In this article, I’ll explain the four types of triggers I use regularly, their weaknesses, and how to make them stronger. I’ll also tell you how I use the triple trigger technique every dayto make sure my Keystone Habits never fall through the cracks.

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What To Do When You Miss a Day

Because, unfortunately, you will miss a day.  And it can get ugly if you’re not prepared.

This course isn’t built to simply help you create a Keystone Habit.  I built this course to help you see yourself differently.

But right now, you have some major barriers in your way. Specifically, that little voice in your head that tears you down when you fail.

He’s a bitch.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

That voice is in our head is merciless.  Constantly spinning stories about our failures when we miss a day. Here are some of the most common:

“I’m a failure” – Truth is, the only way to fail at a habit is to quit.  Missing one day is really no big deal.  355/365 days is better than 10/365 days.

“I’m lazy” – No matter how many people have told you this, it isn’t true.  You’ve made the effort to create a keystone habit and change your life. That disqualifies in the lazy contest.

In all likelihood, your success or failure with a habit has nothing to do with you being “lazy”, and everything to do with how you set up the habit in the first place.

“Idiot! There you go f*cking everything up again.” – Ouch. That’s some seriously negative self talk there.  I’ve done this myself so I know it happens.  Often we’re hard on ourselves because we think that will help us get things done.

In fact, the opposite is true, people who are gentle with themselves accomplish more simply because they take less time to recover from failure.

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Tell me if you’ve ever had a morning like this…


Groggy, I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling.

A feeling of dread blossomed in my stomach.  I turned over, reaching for my phone.  Dead.

Shit, shit, shit…

I threw off my covers and raced to look at the microwave clock: 7:12am.

Shit! Shit! Shit!

I had exactly 18 minutes to make it to school and start teaching…

I ran to the shower and barely got wet before I jumped out again. Throwing on my clothes, I fumbled with the tie.  “Ah, forget it!”  I yelled in frustration, stuffing it into my pocket.

I grab my bag and start walking out the door.  I stop.

Looking over to the kitchen, I think to myself, “Breakfast or no breakfast?”

“No. It’s 7:21am.  At least I still have 9 minutes to get to school…”

Then’s when I remembered… I had a bike not a car.

I still remember the panic I felt when this happened back in Teach for America.

The purpose of this article is to help you avoid mornings like that, so you don’t have to make the “Breakfast Decision” about your morning habits.  By the time you finish this article you’ll have 7 concrete ways to wake up more reliably.

Please note: I don’t make the recommendation of going to sleep earlier because that’s a much bigger habit and far harder to maintain then the suggestions I make here.  If you wish to start making bigger habits in your life, check out the Keystone Habit Course.  Enjoy!

1) No Snooze Button

“If you snooze, you lose” is a real thing.  Snoozing doesn’t actually give you any beneficial sleep and can throw off your body chemistry, setting you up to have a groggy day.

Luckily, you have some awesome options for alarm clocks without snooze buttons.

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There are so many ways habits can go wrong.  I’ve done them all plus a few.  In my effort to free you of the years of trial and error I’ve experienced adopting new habits, I’ve compiled a list.  The list, if you will, for starting a new habit.

This list includes the research of Steven Covey, Kelly McGonigal, Charles Duhigg, BJ Fogg, Leo Babauta, and James Clear plus my own work and experience with habits.  I hope you find it completely and utterly useful.

It’s broken down into 5 parts: Reminder, Routine, Reward, Rehearse and Record.  The first three you’ll recognize from Charles Duhigg’s and James Clear’s work.  The other two I’ve added based on my own experience.  Plus “reward” and “record” rhyme, so that’s cool.

Without further ado… Behold!  The Habit Starter Checklist.


1) Determine your trigger sentence.

Use the format: “Right after (Reminder), then I will (Habit).”

ex. Right after I wake up, then I will meditate.

2) Determine the time of day you will complete your habit.  Be specific.

Remember the mornings will be easiest because you have the most willpower in the morning.

3) Choose one object to be the visual reminder for your habit.  Put it out where you can easily see it.

I use a cushion to remind me to meditate.  I use sunscreen as a reminder to go for a walk/run.

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3 Things I Wish I Was Born Knowing About Habits


I’ve gathered a huge amount of knowledge about behavior change over the past few years, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model that everything clicked into place.

In this short article, I’ll introduce you to the model and show you how to put it into practice right away.

Fogg’s model has three components: Trigger, Ability, and Motivation.  Let’s dive into each one.

1) Trigger

A trigger is a conscious or subconscious reminder to perform a behavior.  Anything you do or happens to you regularly can be used as a trigger.  For instance:

Habits You Do

  • Brush teeth
  • Wake/sleep
  • Eat
  • Shower
  • Look at the clock
  • Drive to work
  • Check twitter
Happens to You

  • Toilet
  • Commercials
  • Red Lights
  • Being talked to
  • Getting an email
  • An alarm
  • Feeling hungry

The easiest way to create a habit trigger is to use the following sentence (adopted from BJ Fogg).

“Right after I (trigger), I will (habit).”

For example, “Right after I wake up, I will meditate.”

Pro Tip: In the morning you have the most willpower.  That makes it may favorite time to add a new habit. (fact from The Willpower Instinct).

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Derek Sivers wrote a wonderful article called Change Careers Like Tarzan.

It contains a very simple piece of advice: Don’t let go of your current job until you have something that will fully support you coming up next.  Just like Tarzan, don’t let go of the current vine you’re swinging from until you have a firm hold on the next one.

“Remember how Tarzan swings through the jungle? He doesn’t let go of the previous vine until the next vine is supporting his weight.tarzan-600x450

So my advice is: Change careers like Tarzan.” – Derek Sivers

I love this advice and have changed my approach to work dramatically because of it.

I’d like to build on this metaphor by introducing you to the Tarzan Swing Test.

Comparing Vine Lengths

The Tarzan Swing Test is all about comparing vine lengths. The longer the vine, the longer you are able to swing on it. The longer your swing, the longer you’ll stay at a job (whether that job be running a business, working 9 to 5 or, or consulting).

So how do you compare vine lengths objectively?

By combining what I learned from Daniel Pink’s Drive and Tony Robbin’s 6 Basic Human Needs, I’ve created a list of requirements for a job that make it extremely satisfying. I’ve found that the more of these requirements I hit with the job I’m in, the longer I can stay at that job. And, if I run the requirements on a new job I’m considering, I can tell if I’m getting myself into a better or worse situation.

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