Reminder • Routine • Reward

Ari Yeganeh:

For about a year I struggled to make my exercise habits stick. I found it a chore to wake up early and was tired after work so I never got around to it. I always had an excuse for not working out: “I’m tired today”, “I have too many things on”, “It’s Friday, give me a break”

That was until I came across a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book made it perfectly clear to me why I couldn’t stick to my exercise habit. This is how it broke down the components of any habit:

  • Reminder (cue) – the trigger that initiates the behavior
  • Routine – the behavior itself; the action you take
  • Reward – the benefit you gain from doing the behavior

All I had so far was the exercise routine, not the reminder or reward.

I started with setting a reminder. I found phone reminders naggy and annoying. That didn’t work. Instead I looked at my day and wrote down actions I took without fail that I could use as reminders: waking up, brushing teeth, eating, getting dressed and so on…

The reminder that was the most powerful for me was hunger. I found if I got really hungry I would be motivated to work out (or do anything) just so I can eat. I liked food too much. More than the pain of an intense workout.

And thanks to this new discovery my new habit started to stick. I started consistently exercising every other day. I had all the components of a habit: reminder (hunger), routine (workout) and reward (food).

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Wealth Mindset

Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money:

It was around this time when she “just finally woke up,” she writes, and made the decision to “get over my fear and loathing of money and figure out how to make some.”

The first thing she changed was her mindset.

If you want to build wealth, you have to start by telling yourself it’s OK, Sincero says: “One of the biggest obstacles to making lots of money is not a lack of good ideas or opportunities or time, or that we’re too slovenly or stupid. It’s that we refuse to give ourselves permission to become rich.”

After all, it can feel awkward to admit that you have that ambition — but it’s necessary.

You have to agree “to get really, really, really uncomfortable. Over and over again,” writes Sincero. “You must not only admit to desiring, and commit to creating, wealth but, most important, you must allow yourself to do so.”


“Back in the day, I realized that one of the things I said all the time was, ‘I can’t afford it.’ That was sort of my mantra,” Sincero tells Make It. She didn’t start building wealth until she changed her mantra to “money flows to me easily and freely.”

“So every time I wanted to say, ‘I can’t afford it,’ I forced myself to say, ‘Money flows to me easily and freely,’ which seemed a little bit bananas,” she admits. “But what it did was it made me feel better — it was way more fun to say that than ‘I can’t afford it.’ And, it also forced me to shift my focus to be like, ‘OK, are there ways that money does flow to me easily and freely?’”

Changing her modes of thinking helped her change her reality, she says: “Once you shift your focus off of proving that, ‘I can’t afford it because I am Jen Sincero and I am broke,’ to proving that my money flows to me easily and freely, you open yourself up to the ways to make the new mantra true.”


“Get into the emotional state of what it would feel like when you do make that money and get really excited about it and make it a non-negotiable goal that you make that money.”

And, she says, you have to commit: “When you really want to change something about your life, you’ve got to go about it with this hell-bent-for-glory attitude. You just can’t kind of, sort of want to make some more money. If you’re serious about it, you’ve got to do the work, get very specific about your goals and get in the emotional state to achieve them.”

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Walk in One Direction

Andy Shaw:

When you live your life knowing that deciding to walk in just one direction will eventually have a far greater result than constantly changing directions, then you can really start to make a difference.

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Happy Memories


Happy memories do it. Pleasant imageries do it. Noticing lovely things where you stand do it. Taking in the splendor of one of these magnificent chandeliers and acknowledging the spectacle. The current that flows through it… and the glass that is formed… and the abundance of the glass… and someone’s creative design… and someone’s willingness and ability to put it there.

In other words, there’s so much to behold and appreciate just on something as insignificant in the scope of your life as that chandelier.

And yet nothing could put you in a better place of allowing your lover or allowing your perfect body weight or allowing anything that you want than beholding and achieving the feeling of appreciation in doing it, you see.

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The Universe as a Hologram

Michael Talbot:

In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.

What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our dreams.

Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would have to be seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined. Synchronicities or meaningful coincidences suddenly makes sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry.


As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion. We are really “receivers” floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram.

On health:

What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the hologram of the body. Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because, in the holographic domain of thought, images are ultimately as real as “reality”.


In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space … would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order. At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously.

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Michael Simmons:

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, their host, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to share the single most important factor to their success. Gates and Buffett both gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.”

Rainer Zitelmann:

In the words of Bill Gates Jr.’s college roommate, Andy Braiterman, “Bill had a monomaniacal quality […] He would focus on something and really stick with it. He had a determination to master whatever it was he was doing.” One of his ex-girlfriends described him as being extremely focused and intolerant of distractions. He didn’t own a television and had even dismantled his car radio. She elaborates: “In the end, it was difficult to sustain a relationship with someone who could boast a ‘seven-hour’ turnaround—meaning that from the time he left Microsoft to the time he returned in the morning was a mere seven hours.”


Warren Buffett, too, had focused on a single goal for decades. According to his biographer, Alice Schroeder, even as a child, his dream was to become rich and he had devoured a book on One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000. “Opportunity knocks,” the reader is told on the very first page of Buffett’s favorite read. “Never in the history of the United States has the time been so favorable for a man with small capital to start his own business as it is today.”

When he was 11 years old, Buffett announced that he would be a millionaire by the time he was 35. At 16, he had already saved up $5,000 from various enterprises. In today’s currency, that money would be worth about $60,000—not bad for a 16-year-old. His prediction was only off by five years. He made his first million by the time he was 30.


Recent scientific research has shown that most successful musicians and athletes owe their extraordinary success not to talent as was previously thought, but to a lifetime of dedicated practice or training from early childhood. Many people who haven’t managed to achieve the success they were hoping for blame their bad luck, lack of talent or lack of connections. The truth is that some people are more successful than others mainly because they are better at focusing their mental resources.

Thomas Carlyle:

The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something. The strongest, by dispensing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.

Bruce Lee:

The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.

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Creating Clarity

Steve Pavlina:

Proactive people are clear about what’s important to them and why. They cut through the clutter of uncertainty to make decisions and take action. Reactive people, on the other hand, allow themselves to wallow in a fog of uncertainty, forever reacting to events and circumstances that seem beyond their control.

When you live reactively, you do give up control, but you can never give up responsibility. To the degree that you fail to make decisions for yourself, someone else will come along and make those decisions for you, whether it be your parents, your spouse, your boss, the media, or societal conditioning. After a time you’ll find yourself enduring a life you never really wanted… always working to fulfill someone else’s goals and never your own.

Proactive people accept that it’s impossible to avoid responsibility for one’s results in life, so they jump in and participate willingly. Instead of living as mere statistics and playing follow-the-follower, they make conscious choices based on their unique values, beliefs, and goals. Consequently, they enjoy a sense of passion and purpose that is forever denied those who live reactively.

See also: Clarity

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Attitude Is Everything

Dr. Joe Dispenza, from You Are the Placebo:

A wealth of research now exists to show that our attitude does indeed affect our health, including how long we live. For example, the Mayo Clinic published a study in 2002 that followed 447 people for more than 30 years, showing that optimists were healthier physically and mentally. Optimist literally means “best,” suggesting that those folks focused their attention on the best future scenario. Specifically, the optimists had fewer problems with daily activities as a result of their physical health or their emotional state; experienced less pain; felt more energetic; had an easier time with social activities; and felt happier, calmer, and more peaceful most of the time. This came right on the heels of another Mayo Clinic study that followed more than 800 people for 30 years, showing that optimists live longer than pessimists.

Researchers at Yale followed 660 people, aged 50 and older, for up to 23 years, discovering that those with a positive attitude about aging lived more than seven years longer than those who had a more negative outlook about growing older. Attitude had more of an influence on longevity than blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking, body weight, or level of exercise.

Additional studies have looked more specifically at heart health and attitude. Around the same time, a Duke University study of 866 heart patients reported that those who routinely felt more positive emotions had a 20 percent greater chance of being alive 11 years later than those who habitually experienced more negative emotions. Even more striking are the results of a study of 255 medical students at the Medical College of Georgia who were followed for 25 years: Those who were the most hostile had five times greater incidence of coronary heart disease. And a Johns Hopkins study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2001 Scientific Sessions even showed that a positive outlook may offer the strongest known protection against heart disease in adults at risk due to family history. This study suggests that having the right attitude can work as well as or better than eating the proper diet, getting the right amount of exercise, and maintaining the ideal body weight.

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Freeing Up Energy

If something isn’t working for you — be it your current work, your living situation, a relationship, etc. — should you quit it as soon as possible, or transition out of it?

Steve Pavlina explains:

The answer depends on how quickly you want to free up the trapped/stuck energy and get it flowing again. The more energy you free up, the faster you can go in pursuing other changes.

And initially, a great way to leverage this is to free up small bits of stuck energy and then use that to free up even more.

For me a huge improvement in my flow happened after my divorce finally went through. I had a lot of stuck energy in that relationship, and shortly after the divorce was done, so many things started falling into place, like getting my website update project done.

Dan Sullivan suggests making a list of your top procrastinations and prioritizing them by which ones you think would free up the most energy – energy that you can then apply to further growth and improvement. Make those items your to-do list. That’s basically his recipe for going at 10x speed.

For instance, one of my areas of stuck energy was not having any lead magnets. So I blasted through that with the recent 10-day challenge. That freed up even more energy, so it’s speeding up how fast I can go…

The more of your energy is stuck/trapped in various things you’re resisting on some level, the slower you’re able to grow and change. The more of that energy you free up, the faster you can go.

Even donating a bunch of stuff from my garage helped increase the flow. Every little bit counts – clearing out your email inbox, cleaning up your kitchen, etc. Wherever there’s trapped energy, it’s friction that puts the brakes on.

How can you tell where there’s trapped energy? You keep noticing something that isn’t changing much, and you somehow want it to be different.

How can you tell when the energy is flowing? You feel excited, happy, grateful, enthusiastic, in love with life, etc. You’re riding the waves and having fun.

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Your Heroes

Derek Sivers:

People with many interests often ask my advice on which industry or career path they should follow.

Years ago, I felt I was just a programmer and entrepreneur. Yes sometimes I write a tiny blog post sharing what I’ve learned, but that’s just something on the side.

But something never felt quite right about this. I spend most of my time writing, very little time programming, and hadn’t started a business in years. Still, I kept saying I was a programmer and entrepreneur, and felt I should really spend more time doing it.

But everything changed when I asked myself a question:

“Who are my heroes?”

I thought, wrote them down, then realized they were all authors! Basically, look at my list of favorite books, and there are my heroes.

The people I look up to the most… The people I’d most like to meet… The people I’d most like to emulate are not entrepreneurs, and not programmers — just writers.

So, that day, I realized I actually want to be a writer.

I re-arranged my hierarchy of interests. Yes I enjoy programming, and yes I’ll probably start another business. But really my main love and top priority is writing.

How about you? Who are your heroes? Does that help you see which way you’re actually facing?

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