My work playlist

When I’m working, studying, or reading, here’s my playlist I listen to.

It’s perfect for deep work and getting in the zone.

3 rules for disagreeing with someone

In the past four years, I’ve had debates, discourse, and disagreements about politics, feminism, religion, race, transgenderism, vaccines, and more.

Some were heated and aggressive. Some were fun and fruitful.

I handled myself quite well during some. I sounded like an ass during others.

It doesn’t matter how much we connect or get along with someone else. We’ll never agree with 100% of what they believe. Disagreeing is a natural part of the human experience.

Through my conversational struggles and from the many mistakes I’ve made, I’ve learned three helpful (yet difficult) rules for having more productive disagreements.

Feel free to disagree with them (get it?).

1) Come to terms with this truth: We can never force someone to think, feel, or believe something. They have to get there on their own.

We are not creatures of logic. We make decisions based on emotion and then justify those decisions with logic.

In countless disagreements, I foolishly thought that if I just brought up another point of juicy rationale, I’d crack the other person and they’d see things the way I saw them.

Confirmation bias plagues us all. It will always be easy for us to pick and choose the (supposed) evidence which fits our narrative. We decide what we want to be true and identify with that belief. Then, if someone disagrees with that belief, it feels like they’re disagreeing with who we are as a person.

Yesterday, my friend told me about a heated debate between his two friends regarding the COVID vaccine.

One friend was arguing that the vaccines are probably not safe. He sent a screenshot of a well-sourced article listing the possible negative side effects.

The other friend then went to that same article and screenshotted a paragraph that was conveniently left out: the conclusion which said that the vaccine was ultimately proven to be safe.

I heard this part and thought that would be the shutting of the door to their argument. But the friend merely brushed it off and continued with his disputes.

With the power of the internet, we can find millions of people who agree with every possible opinion known to man. There are people with PhDs who believe the earth is flat. There are intelligent people who think the planet is 6000 years old.

Whether it’s opinions about vaccines or about our favorite athletes…our default is to cling to evidence that supports how we already feel and to shy away from evidence that challenges our beliefs.

Since that’s the case, we cannot ‘logic’ our way through a disagreement.

2) Ask way more questions.

There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand fully what we’re arguing against. The last thing we want to do is misrepresent someone and challenge ideas they don’t actually hold.

We ask questions to paint a crystal clear picture of what they’re actually thinking.

A strawman is a fallacy in which we argue against the worst possible representation of someone’s point.

Example: “Oh, we need to do something about climate change? So you just want us to stop driving cars and stop having kids, huh?”

No…that’s not what they’re saying. That’s a strawman.

By asking curious and clarifying questions (not leading questions meant to achieve a ‘gotcha’ moment), we’re able to steelman. This is the opposite of a strawman, in which we’re able to articulate someone’s opinions perfectly.

A steelman would have us say: “So just to be clear, you believe…” Then they would say: “Yes.”

That has to be our starting point.

The second reason asking questions is so effective is it demonstrates to the other person that we’re not here to attack them. The more curious we are, the more we show we just want to understand them, the more their guard will drop.

This isn’t a trick. We want everyone involved to lower their guard and feel safe to express themselves without reacting in a defensive manner.

Curious questions make it a conversation, not a debate. This is ideal. Debates have winners and losers. But in great conversations, everybody wins.

The final benefit of asking questions is it adds scrutiny to the conversation, exposing the true strength of the person’s argument.

While this should never be the goal of asking questions, it’s possible that the person “defeats” themselves with their own words. It’s a great way to see if this person has given thought and research into this thing they believe or if they just want to believe this thing.

I recently had a disagreement over the COVID vaccines myself. (To be clear, I’m not super passionate about vaccines. It’s just come up a ton in recent months so it’s fresh on my mind.)

My friend who was super wary of the vaccines was sharing his opinions. I did my best to just ask questions. As I did, I felt that their answers were on shaky ground and I found many holes in their arguments.

There were a lot of “I don’t know’s” and “I don’t remember’s.”

Again, I wasn’t trying to slam dunk this person I have a ton of love for. I just wanted to get a clear picture of their beliefs.

Asking questions is hard, especially when we don’t feel curious at all. Curiosity is tough to fake. But it’s the only way to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.

3) Separate the person from the argument.

We’re not arguing with people; we’re arguing with ideas.

I could go on for hours about how much I hated having Donald Trump as our president. But I’m also super close with people who absolutely loved him.

That doesn’t mean I actually hate these people. It just means I don’t connect with their ideas. We don’t need to agree with someone to hug them or to have a beer with them.

So in a disagreement, it’s powerful to avoid saying things like:

• “Where you’re wrong is…”
• “What you don’t see is…”
• “I disagree with you on…”

With phrases like these, it sounds again like we’re disagreeing with them as a person.

It’s better to say things like:

• “My problem with that perspective is…”
• “That argument to me is…”
• “The way I see things is…”

With phrases like these, we make it apparent that we’re just discussing ideas. It’s not a battle over who’s more righteous, more intelligent, or more sophisticated.

Conclusion

We have to pick our battles. I’ve ruined social events because I thought it was the perfect time to argue against Catholicism.

But we should also feel safe and free enough to express ourselves. This can best be done if we change our goals for disagreement.

Instead of wanting to win, we should want to collaborate and learn.

“Seek out people, books or ideas that contradict your current beliefs and one of two things will happen…A) you will discover that you are wrong or B) you will improve your arguments for your own ideas.”

-Mark Manson

Simple lesson (pt. 2)

A simple lesson I learned this year:

“Working harder” is almost never the solution. Nine times out of ten, it’s more effective and peaceful to cut out all the nonessentials first.

Actually do stuff

A guy surfing on a huge wave

When I talk to people about creating content, starting a business, or improving a skill…I make sure to bring up the difference between Action and Motion.

Action is doing the things we actually need to do to create what we want. Motion is preparing and planning to do those things.

Both are necessary, but all too often I see people stuck in the Motion hole.

“I want a girlfriend, so I’ll get a gym membership.”
“I want to start a blog, so I’ll research all the best website builders.”
“I want to run a business, so I’ll read the top five business books and create the perfect business plan.”

Learning and giving ourselves a base is absolutely necessary. But in order to actually get what we want we have to just dive in.

Motion tends to make us think we’re doing something productive, when we’re really just procrastinating the Actions we’re scared to take.

If we want a girlfriend, we need to talk to and ask out more women.

If we want to start blogging, we just need to pick an easy way to publish and start writing.

If we want to run a business, we need to find people who will pay money for our product or service and sell it to them.

95% of what we need to know will come from Action and experience: getting rejected, writing shitty blogs, and making hundreds of mistakes.

When we need growth, we don’t need more preparation; we need to take more Action.

An extra hour of sleep

Sleeping in is one of my least favorite things to do.

When I wake up—regardless of how tired I am—I prefer to just get out of bed and start my day.

But for some reason, last night I only got about four hours of sleep. At least that’s what my sleep tracker said when I first woke up at 6:30 this morning.

I made the split decision to do something I never do.

I texted my friends to let them know I couldn’t join them on our weekly swim. Then I set a new alarm and went back to sleep.

Thank God I did. I don’t feel amazing right now…but I certainly don’t feel like the zombie I was when I first woke.

The lesson:

Living a productive life is great and all that….but sometimes we just need some extra rest.

Dying to get back

I went on a lovely family vacation this weekend. Dad’s lake house. Thursday to Sunday.

We went tubing, boating, and swimming every day. I ate garbage and slept in a bunk bed.

One of my favorite parts of taking breaks like this is that I’m always itching to return to my space and routine.

It’s Monday, my favorite day of the week…and I sit here with a smile on my face.

How I maintain my energy

A pile of double A batteries

On a coaching mastermind call yesterday, we discussed ways we stay energized.

For me, it’s three things.

1) When I’m in a rut, I check my health trifecta.

• Am I getting at least seven hours of sleep each night?
• Am I eating a lot of processed foods and sugar?
• Have I exercised at least three times this week?

2) I take one weekend off each month.

I happily work on weekends since that’s when many of my clients are available. But once a month, I take a long week or weekend off to travel somewhere (usually on the east coast).

It’s a refreshing break after three weeks of hard work and I always return home feeling amped to get back to my routine and do it all over again.

Since I have no kids or other major responsibilities at this time, I figure I should take advantage of it while I can.

3) I spend a lot of time doing things I enjoy.

Chess, martial arts, exercise, quality time with friends, reading…

I find it vital to our souls to spend a good amount of time away from anything having to do with work or money. Like a vacation, it makes us appreciate our time back even more.

We should all have a thing. Preferably something challenging—a skill or a craft—we can practice and get better at.

For me, these three things are perfect substitutes for any drug or stimulant.

Sleeping in

A baby sleeping
Me at age 7.

I hate sleeping in.

When I’m up, I’m up. Sometimes it’s a nuisance but I’m mostly grateful.

I like hopping right out of bed and starting my day.

Perhaps this was born out of necessity since I don’t use my phone for the first two hours of the morning.

I’m of the opinion that extra sleep is best gained by going to bed earlier.

But what do I know? I’m just a guy typing on his keyboard at 6:30 in the morning.

How you do one thing

I’ve found that when one area of my life begins to slip, so too do other areas.

When I skip on a bunch of exercises in a week, it tends to be an unproductive week of work as well.

When I have an unproductive week of work, I feel less secure in my friendships.

When I feel less secure in my friendships, it’s harder for me to cook healthy meals.

The opposite is also true. When one thing is going super well, other facets of my life seem to thrive.

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

You don’t need

You don’t need a better computer to become a writer.
You don’t need a better guitar to become a musician.
You don’t need a better camera to become a photographer.
What you need is to get to work.

James Clear

What’s your system?

A bunch of electronic chords plugged into a system
The inside of my brain.

We all have a system for doing things.

Some of us reject the the word system. That’s fine, but we all have a series of actions we take or don’t take with everything we do. Habits are just a form of systems.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Our bank accounts are the sum total of our financial habits. The way we look and feel is the sum total of our diet and exercise habits. How messy or tidy our space is is the sum total of our cleanliness habits.

Last month, I got terrible sleep. Since my sleep quality is the sum total of my sleeping habits, I did some investigation.

I noticed I was:

• on my phone a lot right before bed
• eating later in the day
• drinking more alcohol than usual

So I improved the system. No phone after 10pm. Not eating past 8pm. No alcohol on weekdays.

After just one week, my sleep quality has improved drastically and I feel ten times more refreshed and energetic.

Dillan Taylor's sleep report
My sleep data from Sleep Cycle.

In a recent conversation with a coaching friend, she told me, “It’s impressive to me how you set a goal and just attack it.” I was truly touched by her compliment, but right away I explained that that’s not how I approach things.

In the self-help world, we’re told to set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
e.g. “I’m going to lose 15 pounds by August 2nd.”

I understand the utility of setting such specific goals, but they don’t light me up at all. I usually change my mind halfway through working toward them or if I do accomplish them, I’m left with this empty feeling and simply ask, “Now what?”

I much prefer systems.

To be more clear: I prefer designing systems which allow me to consistently doing the things I enjoy and get better at them. Here are a few of them…

Coaching:

I reach out to a certain number of people each week and update my client notes every Monday. I’m not working toward a defined number of clients or a specific dollar amount. I just love coaching and growing my business, so I have a system in place which lets me do those things well every single week.

Exercise:

I’ve never set an exercise goal. I couldn’t care less about how much I can bench or squat. But I love exercise, so I make sure I go to the gym three to four times each week. The cycle: push muscles (chest and triceps), core, pull muscles (back and biceps), and legs.

This blog:

I look at the analytics of this blog about once a year. I’m eternally grateful for how the number of readers has increased, but I don’t do it to raise traffic. I write this blog each morning because it helps me shape and get clarity on my thoughts on things. I’ve become more articulate and I get to share stories and ideas with friends and people outside my circle. So I’ve made it part of my morning routine.

Conclusion

So I’ll ask you: How can you create a system for the things you enjoy so you can do them more and do them better?

Do you reject systems? If so, why? And does rejecting systems lead you to take more action or less?

Write like a motherfucker

A person writing with pen and paper

Last night, I finished another chapter of Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things. It was my favorite one yet.

The book consists of captivating Dear Sugar columns; people write in asking for her advice and she tells gripping, emotional stories and gives life-changing insights.

The chapter I read before bed last night was called “Write Like a Motherfucker.” In it, a woman wrote in looking for much needed motivation. She’s a writer who doesn’t write. She’s often paralyzed by her depression.

She writes:

“I’m…a high-functioning head case, one who jokes enough that most people don’t know the truth. The truth: I am sick with panic that I cannot—will not —override my limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude, to write well, with intelligence and heart and lengthiness. And I fear that even if I do manage to write, that the stories I write will be disregarded and mocked.”

What powerful vulnerability. And what a concrete example of someone who wants something but believes there’s something in the way.

To be clear, I am NOT downplaying the role of mental health here. I love that Cheryl opens by recommending professional help to this woman. The power of not having the energy to do what we want to do is stark.

But the reason I love this chapter so much is because Cheryl throws down some masterful tough love.

The phrase tough love often gets a bad rep. People tend to get distracted by the first part, tough: possibly unpleasant, firm, or uncomfortable…that they forget about the second part entirely, love: coming from a place of “I care about you and your wellbeing.”

I believe in accepting others for who they are and showing consistent compassion to ourselves and those around us. But I also believe in challenging ourselves and those around us for the sake of pushing humans to be better.

Cheryl hits her with this hammer:

“The most fascinating thing to me about your letter is that buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing, there’s arrogance at its core. It presumes you should be successful at twenty-six, when really it takes most writers so much longer to get there.”

Wow. No pity party here.

I can only imagine how much this stung to read. But Cheryl does a fantastic job in relating her own experiences and assuring her that this all comes from a place of love and care. Plus, the point is not: Does this sting? The point is: Is this true and is this useful?

Going through mental chaos is God damn difficult. In many cases, it can be debilitating. But unfortunately, that doesn’t remove the work that needs to be done.

Cheryl describes humility: not being up too high or down too low, but on the ground level. She writes:

“We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor. I know it’s hard to write, darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you “have it in you” is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your “limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude” is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept. This is true of every writer, and it’s especially true of writers who are twenty-six. You will feel insecure and jealous. How much power you give those feelings is entirely up to you.”

The negative feelings we experience are absolutely valid. But the work still needs to be done. It’s up to us to continue to show up and do it.

“Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig…

You need to do the same, dear sweet arrogant beautiful crazy talented tortured rising star glowbug.

So write…Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.”

(Strayed, Cheryl. Tiny Beautiful Things (p. 60). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

2nd vaccine

I got my second vaccine yesterday. I slept in an extra hour and a half this morning—something I never do.

My body aches and I’m exhausted. But I have a long day of work today so I won’t be taking it super easy.

As shitty as it feel physically, it feels nice to have habits and systems in place which help me take care of the things I want to get done.

One of my favorite phrases comes to mind today:

No hurry; no pause.

Meaning, I don’t have to rush anything, so long as I show up every day and do the work.

2 Dills

A bowl of pickles

There are days where I’m energetic, motivated, positive, proactive, ambitious, present, and on top of my fucking shit.

There are days where I just want to sit in bed for 12 hours and watch YouTube videos and I have to fight tooth and nail not to. I’m anxious, tired, lazy, uncertain, and doubtful.

But regardless of what kind of day it is, I will:

• Show up and do the work
• Be kind to others
• Be as helpful as I can

So long as I can keep these in my daily life, the Dark Dill will never win.

The battle between emotion and logic

A mannequin with brain labels

This has come up countless times in recent coaching sessions and in my life in general…

There will be a story or some limiting belief that I know rationally to be untrue.

But despite my brain’s knowledge of this fact, my heart will ache from fear and my emotions will declare that nothing has ever been truer.

For example:

“I don’t have what it takes to run a sustainable business.”

Logic:

Lol what?

A year ago you had never even heard of life coaching. Now it pays your bills and your business has been growing each month since you started. You also help coaches directly in growing their businesses.

If you continue on the same trajectory, you’ll get anything you want.

Emotions:

Lol true.

It’s only a matter of time before people figure out you’re a fraud. You’ll probably have to go back to waiting tables when this all comes crashing down.

The Solution:

So what can we do when we feel a lump in our chest despite our logical awareness?

We can take action anyway. We can continue to show up and do the work.

Who says we have to be fearless? Most heroes aren’t.

They’re courageous; they take action in spite of their fear. We can do the same thing.

I’m creating a program for coaches right now. I’m terrified that no one will be interested. But that has nothing to do with me showing up today and reaching out to 100 coaches.

The next time that story pops up, I’ll politely respond: “So what?”

Early morning runs

I don’t think you have to wake up super early, run marathons, or work 10 hours a day to be successful.

BUT I do think there’s power in waking up earlier than most people.

I had to get up for a 6am swim slot the other day and although I hated my life, it was cool to see the sun come up. I felt so productive getting in an insane workout as everyone else I knew was still asleep.

Since then, I’ve been setting my alarm 10 minutes earlier each morning from my original time.

I’m writing this blog while the only other thing awake around me are the squirrels and the birds.

I’m about to go on a run with a buddy before the sun bakes down on us.

I enjoy these early mornings.

A single question

Has helped me stay on track with my business, health, and relationship goals…

It is:

If you continue doing everything the exact same, will you be where you want to be in a year?

Our batteries

I couldn’t write this blog during my morning routine because I had an early call.

Now I can feel the lack of creative juices flowing as I type.

Hence why I do certain things at the start of the day.

It’s important when we choose to complete tasks.

For months, I would try to moonlight passion projects for the evening (after a long day of deep work), and be baffled by my lack of motivation and energy.

We only have so much in a day. We’re not Elon Musk. We’re us.

So we must utilize our time before our batteries run out.

No wrong thing

The most useful habit I’ve ever developed is that of taking action.

We want to do all these things but only have a certain amount of time and energy.

Steve Chandler says that when people say they don’t know what to do or how to do it, they simply haven’t decided yet.

We want to write, make music, build a business, start a YouTube channel….

We’re pulled in all these directions and as a result we take no action because we don’t want to pursue the “wrong” thing.

What if there is no wrong thing? What if there’s just whatever you’re doing?

Unfamiliar environment

This weekend, I’m staying at my mom’s house. They’re out of town and I’m watching the dogs.

Trying to follow your normal routine in a different environment is strange.

Although I have access to all the same things as any other day—food, a space to work, a comfortable bed….

It’s not the same.

I feel out of place. It even feels like I can’t do the same quality work.

Our brains are odd in that they designate certain environments for certain tasks and regimens.

I love these dogs…but God am I looking forward to going back home.

Work and play

A little boy playing in a pile of leaves

After a week-long vacation, I’m back in my home office itching to get back to work.

I’m grateful to love what I do.

People talk about work/life balance. I have no idea what the perfect formula for that is or if it even exists.

My typical process is this:

Spend a few weeks working → Crave a vacation → Take a vacation → Crave getting back to work → Get back to work → Repeat

It works for me (get it?).

What I love about this process is how much better I get at my work by taking intentional breaks. Like letting our muscles recover after a workout, we counterintuitively get better results the more we set aside time for fun and relaxation.

I can’t stand when people say they sleep less so they can get more done in a day. That’s ludicrous.

You get more done in a day when you’re well-rested and full of mental energy. If that weren’t the case, insomniacs would be the most successful people on earth.

Sleep. Rest. Fun. Play time.

These are essential to our productivity and our well-being.

Take that trip. Go on vacation.

Then get the fuck back to work.

Uncomfortable leadership

Soldiers saluting the American flag

The skill I’m currently working on improving is the skill of leadership.

It could go by other names, but in general what I mean is:

Setting standards and limitations and sticking to them—at the risk of making myself or others uncomfortable.

This includes:

• Calling someone out for being late to a call.
• Telling someone I’m disappointed in them for not following through with a commitment.
• Being offered money and saying ‘no’ to a prospective client I don’t see as the right fit.
• Voicing frustrations to close friends, colleagues, or even acquaintances.
• Telling a friend I can’t or don’t want to hang out, without giving a long-winded explanation.

Putting some of these into practice has made my heart pound and my face hot with nerves.

It’s scary to risk tension with another human being. But so long as it comes from a place of love and respect, and not superiority, it’s absolutely necessary.

But again, this is a skill.

It’s an art and a science.

I’ve heard people try to be a leader when they were really just being condescending and belittling. That’s not effective.

What is effective is telling someone with your words or your actions:

I love and support you completely. Here’s what you can expect from me. And here’s what I am expecting of you.

Last month, I gave a client a challenge to create a step-by-step system for the business he wanted to start. Two sessions in a row, he didn’t do it.

As promised, I told him I was disappointed. Not because I am the big bad boss who gave him homework…but because he was neglecting actions to better his life and do what he really wanted. I said, “This is for you man, not for me. When this happens, it makes me feel like you’re not taking what we’re doing here seriously.”

That was that and we moved on. A week later, when we next saw each other, he looked over at me at some point and said, “Thank you for laying in to me and calling me out. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.”

I can’t promise every situation will be received so well. Again, this is an art and it will take practice setting your own standards and maintaining them.

People will get defensive. Some will fight back.

But so long as you are coming from a place that’s looking out for everyone’s best interests, trust that you’re not being an asshole.

You’re being a leader.

A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.

Tim Ferriss

All different, all the same

As a life coach, I have conversations with two to seven different people each day.

We discuss their goals, obstacles, mindsets, and ideas.

While there are certainly patterns and similar areas of Resistance, each session is wildly different than the last.

Why? Simple.

Each human being is wildly different than the last.

Two of my clients are wealthy and successful businessmen. One might think my time with them would be about performance and optimization.

But with one, we exclusively focus on his health and morning routine habits. We don’t even discuss his work.

With the other, we brainstorm ways he can add more creativity into his daily routine. Again, we never discuss any of his major business decisions.

We’re all the exact same in that: We are all constantly trying to make sure we’re spending our time well.

But that looks completely different for each of us.

This is progress

This morning will be the first organized public event I attend since everything shut down in March of 2020.

I’m pumped.

My sister cheers for her local high school. Their football team is playing the high school I went to.

Not only am I grateful to get to see her compete and do something she’s interested in…but going to an event makes me smile.

Progress is insuing.

People are getting vaccinated.

Things are opening up.

There’s much work to be done and people have certainly suffered unnecessarily, but we are taking steps to get back to “normal.”

At some point, you’ll be able to walk into a crowded concert hall and no one will be wearing masks and it’ll be totally natural.

That’s called progress (or Florida). And it should be celebrated.

Sometimes you don’t

Sometimes you don’t have to do anything profound or special.

Not every workout, idea, conversation, (or blog post) has to be the best one ever.

Usually, what’s most important is just sitting down and consistently doing the work.

The Four Tendencies

I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (And Other People’s Live’s Better, Too).

The tendencies help you understand how you respond to expectations—both internal and external.

Here they are (in no particular order):

Upholder

Meets outer expectations.
Meets inner expectation.

“I do what others expect of me—and what I expect from myself.”

Questioner

Resists outer expectations.
Meets inner expectations.

“I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it.”

Obliger

Meets outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.”

Rebel

Resists outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”


No tendency is better than another. And they each contain a wide variety of personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

I’m an upholder/questioner.

What about you?

Take the 60-second quiz here to find out and learn more about your tendency!

Monthly trips

I take one vacation every month.

I recommend everyone do this, regardless of their occupation.

It doesn’t have to be a long weekend trip states away. It can simply be a day-trip to a national park 30 minutes away.

Time away from your routine and working life is vital. Not only does it give your brain a refreshing reset, but it also lets you better enjoy your routine and work when you return.

When you don’t think about work at all for a day or a weekend, you come back to it with new energy, new excitement, and new perspective.

When I get back to work on Monday, I sit down at my computer with a smile on my face. I’m both eager to be productive and eager for my next vacation.

Take some time for yourself.

Why diets don’t work

Because they typically require that you overload yourself with a bunch of new rules and habits.

Now, if you’ve read any of my stuff in the past, you know I love rules and habits. They are the path toward a healthy, fulfilling, and ultimately free life.

But they need to be learned and adapted slowly, progressively.

If the 95% of failed New Years resolutions teaches us anything, it’s that going balls to the wall with good decisions isn’t enough. Those decisions have to be engrained in your day to day…set in stone.

When something is a habit, it’s easier to simply do that thing than it is to think about doing it. It feels like it does itself.

Making extreme and immediate changes to your routines may bring you success in the short term, but there’s a reason every single winner of The Biggest Loser has gained all (usually more) of that weight back within two years.

Overloading strong habits will inevitably lead to burnout and a sense of failure. Surprisingly, this doesn’t lead to lasting change.

I’ve had many clients feel pumped up after a coaching session and do this. At the end, when we come up with their Next Actions, they get antsy.

• “I’m gonna go to bed before 11am each night.”
• “I’m gonna exercise every morning.”
• “I’m gonna read at least 20 pages every day.”
• “I’m gonna meditate every morning for 30 minutes.”

Every single one of these actions is beautiful and would certainly be powerful if applied to one’s life. But going from zero to all of these is impossible to maintain.

Naturally, they come back and tell me in the following session that they fell off with their Next Actions, usually with a tone of failure.

But that’s not a failure in execution; it’s a failure in planning.

It sounds boring as hell, but the only true way to build strong habits is to ever so slowly integrate them into your life.

I have strong exercise habits; it took me three years.

I have strong productivity habits; it took me nine years.

I have strong relationship habits; it took me 27 years.

The things that will sustainably change your life will take time. That sucks to hear, but it’s the only way.

Why I don’t write on Sundays

It’s not because it’s Lorde’s day.

It’s simply to give myself a rest.

Not that sitting down to write for 30 minutes is a taxing task, but giving yourself breaks with everything you do is vital.

I used to go to the gym six days a week. I love exercise, but this was actually hurting my muscles and my overall progress.

There needs to be space between everything you do to give yourself time to breathe and build up clarity.

Examples:

• Working out every other day
• Taking five-minute breaks for every 30 minutes of work
• Going for walks
• Spending intentional hours in a hobby or passion (preferably something that has nothing to do with how you make money)

Especially for the ambitious folk, rest can be difficult to prioritize. But recovery time counterintuitively produces higher quality results in the long run.

Rules are good

Not too many, of course, but we all need structure.

Principles. Boundaries. Limits.

Play around with them.

I did the keto diet for two years. Quite restrictive. In the end, it wasn’t what I wanted. But I still need rules. I can’t just eat whatever the fuck I want whenever I want.

You don’t have to shame yourself if you break the rules you set. Just readjust them until you find a harmony between healthy and doable.

Two cheat meals in a week? Sure.

Seven cheat meals? No.

You have to know where the line is by trying to draw it.

Whatever pulls you away from the life you want to live: porn, procrastination, social media…

Set some rules, stick to them, and see how you respond to following them.

It sounds restricting (and it is, by definition), but just like a budget is a rule for your money, rules for anything else are designed to give you the freedom to live healthily.

And freedom rules (get it?).