12/24/19 Q: How Do You Avoid Being Miserable? Hint, Install Habits

“We are what we repeatable do”. 

If there is truth to Aerostotle’s wisdom, then it makes sense to do the things that repeatable make us proud.


Every day. Preferably; early in the morning.  This will allow us to begin building great moments early. Which will most likely turn into great mornings, these great mornings will turn into great days, great months, great years a great life!

If you already know which activities make you proud, then why not choose to do them every day? This is the case to install habits that run on autopilot, instead of depleting your willpower trying to remember to follow-through on the activities that you already know will make you happy.  Stress and misery live in these moments of indecision.  Therefore, to avoid being miserable we must pre-commit to doing the things that will make us proud!

So, What’s the number one habit that you could install today that would have the biggest positive impact on your life?  (Think of your fundamental habits: eat, sleep, move, breath & focus).

For me, the habit that I’ve tried to improve is my ‘focus’, my ability to put my mind; where I want, when I want, for as long as I want.  The key to focus is what stoic author, Ryan Holiday calls ‘stillness’.  He believes that if choosing your most empowered response to events outside of your control is important to you, then cultivating more ‘stillness’ to think before you automatically respond with your pre-programmed response is the most important thing you can be doing to improve your life.

Practicing mindfulness has helped me build the time and space I need to choose to honor the habits and live the virtues that I deem important.  The process to improve my focus that I’ve installed in 2019 is as follows:

  1. Celebrate the times when I notice my mind lost in thought.
  2. At this moment (the space before I rush off to unmindfully react with my pre-programmed response to the stimulus) I automatically interject my mantra, “what if this is the last time?”  
  3. At this moment, I automatically following up with my “If: Then”  response to the event.
    • Because I journal every day, I remind myself of my pre-programmed “If: Then” response every day.
    • This allows me to have this pre-programmed response ‘ready-at-hand’ to respond to almost every emotion, circumstance, and personal interaction that I may encounter throughout the day.
    • Now when the stimulus occurs. I’m more apt to remember and automatically respond most empowered.

This process could not begin without stillness!  If we are serious about improving our lives, creating more mindfulness will give us a better shot to choose our response and re-program our habits.

Stillness is the key to just about everything we want to accomplish.  It’s the fundamental habit that allows us to choose to prioritize every other fundamental habit. If you want to be good at practicing your sport, getting stronger in the weight room, competing with more intensity and focus, then STILLNESS IS THE KEY. You must prioritize this before all other activities that you believe will help you improve in your chosen pursuit.  The truth is that all those other activities are just opportunities to practice mindfulness.

For instance, Ryan Holiday, in “Stillness is Key” writes:

In our own lives, we face a seemingly equal number of problems and are pulled in countless directions by competing priorities and beliefs. In the way of everything we hope to accomplish , personally and professionally, sit obstacles and enemies. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that there was a violent civil war raging within each and every person—between our good and bad impulses, between our ambitions and our principles, between what we can be and how hard it is to actually get there.

In those battles, in that war, stillness is the river and the railroad junction through which so much depends. It is the key . . .

Stillness is the key to, well, just about everything.

To being a better parent, a better artist, a better investor, a better athlete, a better scientist, a better human being. To unlocking all that we are capable of in this life.”

You can improve your mindfulness through meditation.  Dedicate as little as one breath each day to becoming more mindful.  The more you practice, the more you will be able to choose the way you respond to every obstacle, goal, and relationship that you will encounter in your life.


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