Personal Growth

My Next Startup: Strategic Life Tools

What does one do after one sells their business?

1) Work for the acquirer
2) Take a vacation
3) Start a new business

How about all three?

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My 2015 Report Card

Last year I wrote an extensive plan for what I wanted to accomplish in 2015. If you’re interested, you can download the Word document.

As part of developing my plan for 2016, I decided to grade myself on how well I achieved my 2015 plan. I know report cards can be stressful for some people. I personally view grades not as judgments, but as feedback on how I performed. Grades are a convenient language for me to rate myself and identify areas for improvement.

How did I do? Overall, I would give myself a C+. I achieved most of my important goals, but fell short on many others.

Below you can see the details of my report card, as it relates to my 2015 plan. I’ll be using this to improve how I plan the upcoming year.

If you’re interested in conducting your own annual review, check out Chris Guillibeau’s How To Conduct Your Own Annual Review, or see examples by reading Sacha Chua’s 2015 In Review or James Clear’s 2015 Annual Review.
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How to Recover From Habit Failure

Habit failure happens for me often. I make a habit or resolution, and inevitably, I break it. Yet people still consider me a disciplined person who’s good at keeping resolutions.

I have a secret: I recover well.

Today, in fact, is a major recovery day. I’ve been working on six daily habits. I broke my daily networking habit last month when work got intense. Then this past Wednesday, I broke all the rest in one fell swoop.

Recovering from habit failure is an rarely discussed key to habit success. Today, in honor of restarting all of my daily habits, and to fulfill my monthly blog post habit, I’ll discuss my strategies for recovering from habit failure.
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How To Start Anything, When You’re Unsure How

Starting can be hard, especially when the path is unclear. We lose motivation quickly when we don’t know where to start.

Whether you want to change your habits, clean out your basement, write a book or develop a revolutionary new product, learning techniques for starting can help. Continue reading >

My Word of the Year

In prior years, I wrote resolutions, picked a motto and chose verbs for the year.

This year I’m picking a single word.

Picking a word of the year no doubt has been a long, noble tradition for some people. In a strange twist of fate, my word of the year came to me via a circuitous route.

My friend Justina throws a New Year’s Day party each year, and this year asked her guests to pick a word for the year. She got the idea from Christine Kane’s Word of the Year worksheet. Christine Kane in turn was inspired by Kathy LaMotte, who picks a word every year instead of a resolution. Kathy happens to be married to my long-time friend and mentor, Eric Jackson. And it was through discussions with Eric that I realized my own word for 2014.

What is the word?
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What Is Your 100-Year Goal?

Steven Covey wrote: Begin with the end in mind.

As an exercise, he encouraged you to think of your funeral. Imagine how people felt about your death, what they say in your honor.

I encourage you to think even further. What is your 100-year goal?

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Habits vs Recurring Tasks

I’ve been on a quest to add helpful habits to my life. But what I’ve really been doing is setting recurring tasks.

There’s a difference.

I woke up this morning and went about my business. I created my to do list:

  • Answer e-mails
  • Talk to a customer
  • Exercise

All sounds great, right? But I forgot one: writing.

Only 5 days ago I committed to writing 500 words a day in an effort to develop a habit of writing daily. I even created a spreadsheet to track how many words I write each day, to make sure I don’t miss days.

Yet today I almost did.

I went blissfully through my day checking off items on my to-do list. I went out for my “daily” run (which isn’t exactly daily yet). After I got back, I jumped in the shower. Then it hit me: I had forgotten to add writing to my to-do list.

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In Search of a Universal Self-Tracking App

I’m a data geek and a personal improvement fanatic.

I want to improve my personal habits, skills and behaviors. I strive to be healthy, happy and productive.

And, for the most part, I am.

One way I achieve this is by tracking my life. Self-tracking for me has two benefits:

  1. Increased Awareness
    The simple act of tracking makes me self-aware and helps me to change my behaviors. Tracking calories helps me lose weight, even when I don’t consciously change my diet. Wearing my FitBit causes me to exercise more, even though I rarely look at the data afterwards.
  2. Actionable Data 
    Memory can be unreliable. Not only do we forget details, we alter them as new experiences change our perception of old ones. Confirmation bias can make us conveniently forget details that don’t support the conclusion we want. Tracking information gives me a more objective view, helping me to make better decisions.

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Reigniting Habits

I don’t retain habits well. My habits wax and wane. They need constant renewal.

I derive pleasure from seeking out new things. Too often that squeezes out the old, even when the old helps me live my life more effectively.

Luckily, I’ve discovered it’s easier to re-ignite old habits than to start new ones. Each time I fail to maintain a habit, I don’t beat myself up. I let it go until I’m in a place to rekindle. Until I have the energy to fan the flames and build my habit anew.

I am in that place again.

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Help Give a Family in Rwanda Clean Water

Did you know that 30,000 people die each week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions? That’s 1,560,000 people a year.

90% of those deaths come from children under 5 years of age.

But you can help.

Take 5 minutes today to make a donation.

In July I attended the World Domination Summit and saw Scott Harrison speak about being an greedy nightclub promoter. Then he joined Mercy Ships, helping to provide free medical care to the people of the world’s poorest nations. The experience transformed him.

He returned to the U.S. to found charity:water, a charity dedicated to providing clean water to everyone in the world. But he did more than form another charity. He transformed the charity model. Continue reading >

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