Category

Uncategorized

The Potential Book Update

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
writing desk potential

As I wrap up the first draft of Potential, I wanted to share my progress with you. The first draft will be done this week. I will spend a week on a second draft and then it will go into proofreading. It will be finalized and available on Amazon in January. I believe it will help people achieve their new years resolutions and bigger goals.

The articles on my blog give you a sneak peak at some of the content in the book. I am really pleased with the way it is turning out. Your support has meant a lot to me, so I wanted give you a sneak peak at the table of contents.

I intend to do a Kickstarter campaign shortly to launch the book. Keep tuned!! As always I would love to hear your feedback. You can still preorder the book (we don’t charge you until you get the book). All preorders will get a special gift when their order is filled. Keep tuned.

Gratefully,

Guy Bieber

Inspire w Be Inspired w Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at: https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Increase your physical energy. Get SaNE! Nutrition (2 of 3)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
nutrition

Part 2 of 3: Nutrition

The second most important thing you can do for physical energy is to feed your body the right nutrients. I am not a nutritionist or doctor, but I have researched and applied these concepts to feel healthier, be more energized, to lose 50 pounds and to beat diabetes. A recent study found 70% – 90% of cancers are caused by lifestyle – diet, smoking, alcohol and weight. This highlights how important it is to feed and treat your body right. It can be difficult to eat the right foods that provide your needed nutrients. One of the simplest things you can do to overcome nutritional deficiencies is to take vitamins. There are many good resources out there on nutrition, but here is what I take on a daily basis and why:

  • General: Multivitamin, Vitamin C
  • Joints: SAM-E (also helps with mood)
  • Brain Health: Omega 3 and Ginko Biloba – Omega 3 is linked to the reduction, of all causes of death, by 20% (Study links omega-3s to reduced mortality)
  • Heart Health: CoQ10
  • Blood Sugar: Cinnamon
  • Liver Health: Milk thistle and coffee
  • Anti-Aging / Anti-Cancer: Reservatol and Tumeric
  • Energy: Ginseng
  • Calmness: L-Thenine (the good part of green tea)

As scientists begin to understand the chemical computers that run our bodies (by decoding DNA), I am sure we will find many other wonderful things that are good for us. There are already things we can learn from the longest-lived humans. Blue Zones are the five regions in the world that have the highest concentration of centurions and are largely free of diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes (Eating to Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From the Blue Zones). What can we learn from them? Besides behaviors like involvement in healthy social circles, de-stressing and being family focused, they eat differently. The Blue Zones Solution, written by Dan Buettner, found the world’s longest lived people practice the following eating habits:

  • Stop eating when you are 80% full, to avoid weight gain.
  • Eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Eat a mostly plant based diet.
  • Beans are a staple.
  • Meat is an occasional food (5 times a month).
  • Drink alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e. 1 to 2 glasses a day. You have to like this recommendation!!
  • Eat nuts as a snack.

Understanding how energy works in our bodies is key (How our bodies turn food into energy). Our bodies convert the carbohydrates in the food we eat into glucose that goes into the blood stream and is delivered to the cells of our body. When we have extra glucose in the blood stream, the pancreas creates insulin that tells cells to store the energy for later. When people are diabetic, either insulin production slows or cells become insulin resistant. This leaves unneeded glucose in the blood stream, which the body tries to eject through the kidneys. When that doesn’t work, the excess glucose starts to damage the body. The complications of diabetes are severe, including blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even loss of limbs (due to loss of blood flow).

The film Fed Up documents the obesity and diabetic epidemic in the U.S. and their causes. American foods contain a lot of high glycemic sweeteners, like sugar and corn syrup. Nutrition labels don’t have a recommended daily consumption amount for sugar. This is unfortunate, because food manufacturers load processed foods with sugar and salt. In 2018, nutrition labels will begin to list percentages for sugar (FDA redesigned food labels feature bigger type, new sugar info). Diet drinks with artificial sweeteners are not much better. Diet drinks actually have been shown to increase weight gain and confuse the body’s system that regulates glucose.

So what is the best way to avoid diabetes? Doctors are questioning whether adding insulin is the best way to treat diabetes, because it makes your body store more energy, which increases weight and insulin resistance. Doctors are now recommending weight loss surgery, instead of drugs, to treat type 2 diabetes (Why Doctors for Diabetics Now Recommend Surgery Instead of Drugs). You can avoid all of this by simply eating differently. Reduce foods that convert into glucose quickly and, instead, eat low glycemic foods. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast different foods turn into glucose in your blood stream. Foods like sugar, white flour, white rice and potatoes all have high glycemic indexes. An index of 100 is equivalent to consuming glucose directly. The other thing to look at is the glycemic load of foods – i.e. how much energy is in the food you are eating. Watermelon, for instance, is high glycemic (72), but has a low glycemic load (5% carbohydrates by weight). Google has made it easy to look up the glycemic index of any food. The goal is to try to keep a constant level of energy and avoid spikes that cause insulin production to kick in.

One thing I have learned from years of dieting, and finally getting to a weight I want, is that dieting doesn’t work. Eating healthy isn’t a treatment that you do for 3 months. It is key to change your eating habits and reframe how you eat in order to feel healthy. When you notice you feel physically bad after every meal, you are probably not feeding your body correctly. Adding things you like and that are good for you is the trick. The goal is to add so many good things that you eventually crowd out the bad things. Making a bunch of small sustainable changes is what will really improve your health. Here are some of the things that worked for me.

  • Cut out high glycemic index foods
  • Don’t drink your calories
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid pre-packaged food
  • Snacks – nuts, apples, reduced fat string cheese, triple zero yogurt
  • Default Breakfast – unsweetened oatmeal with blueberries
  • Use smaller plates to eat less and tall thin glasses to drink less
  • Take time to enjoy your meals
  • Plenty of protein for muscle growth
  • Always have a cup with ice water on hand

Nutrition doesn’t have to be difficult or self-denying. Make many small changes and they will add up to big results. You will feel better and be more energized.

Written by Guy Bieber

Inspire  Be Inspired  Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at: https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Increase your physical energy. Get SaNE! Exercise (3 of 3)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
exercise

Part 3 of 3: Exercise

We have talked about Sleep and Nutrition. In this segment, we will discuss exercise.

The main purpose for exercise is not weight loss; exercise is for body maintenance. Maintaining heart health / brain health (aerobic), maintaining strength (anaerobic exercise, that is weight lifting), and maintaining flexibility. You can get a complete workout in under 1 hour a day. Here is how.

For flexibility training, it is about stretching your arms, back, legs, and core. By far, the least impact flexibility system is the Precor Stretch Trainer. Precor has directions for eight individual exercises on the machine. The best part is, you don’t even have to get on the ground to stretch. I find that during stretching (which takes under 10 minutes) is a great time to focus on your breathing and meditate. This becomes easier as you make stretching a habit.

Aerobic exercise does wonders for your brain and mood. You create new neurons through aerobic exercise (Exercise makes you grow new brain cells). I prefer elliptical exercise, because I can easily watch an educational video while doing it. There are lots of good sources of content out there in audio books, YouTube, TED Talks, etc. I don’t even think of it as cardio time anymore; it is learning time. Exercise can be simply moving; taking a walk in nature has significant mood boosting and emotion clearing benefits (Here’s a really easy way to improve your mood and your health). I typically do 30 minutes of cardio a day.

For strength training, alternating between muscle groups and giving those groups time to recover is essential. Building muscle requires tearing it down and letting it heal. Building muscle takes plenty of water, protein, and time. I use the Body for Life method and do strength training every other workout, alternating three muscle groups: chest + arms (biceps, triceps, shoulders), legs (calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes), back + abdominal. 4 sets of 10 repetitions for each type of exercise is typical. Basically, you can exercise one of these muscle groups in under 20 minutes. If you are interested in muscle growth, add protein (30G a day) and do a simple 5 count as you lift / lower the weight (The Four Hour Body).

So that’s it. You can get a complete workout aerobic, anaerobic, and flexibility in an hour or less a day. You will feel healthier and can even multitask to learn something new. Happy exercising!!

Written by Guy Bieber

Inspire  Be Inspired  Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at: https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Increase your physical energy. Get SaNE! Sleep (1 of 3)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
sleep

Part 1 of 3: Sleep

Unfortunately, only about 50% of U.S. consumers are somewhat engaged in their health and healthcare (U.S. Consumer Are Still Not Engaged With Their Health). Physical health has big impacts on mental and emotional health. Healthier people are more creative and productive (Food, Sleep, Exercise: Why you seriously need all 3 to be successful). We break down Physical Energy into three parts, we call SaNE:

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

Small changes in behavior in these three areas can dramatically improve your health and productivity. Let us dig into each area to see how we can hack our behavior to feel better and have more physical energy.

Sleep

In the US, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1/3 of Americans (83M) don’t get enough sleep. That is a big mistake. Sleep is the number one thing you can do to improve your physical energy and increase your productivity. The National Center for Health Research states, “Recent studies have found that lack of adequate sleep is related to weight gain, sexual problems, reduced concentration, mental health problems, cancerous tumors and even Alzheimer’s disease.” Sleep is essential for your brain. The brain clears toxins out of your brain when you sleep (Jeff lliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep). Multiple studies show how getting enough sleep improves mood and performance; sleepy driving has been shown to be as bad as intoxicated driving. A recent study found that people who had 6 hours a day of sleep for two weeks performed as badly as people deprived of sleep for 48 hours, even though they thought they were performing well. During sleep, your memories during the day go into long-term memory (How the brain consolidates memory during deep sleep). Not only is it important for creating new memories, but also for strengthening existing memories. So, if you spend time reading and learning, get a good night’s sleep to lock in that goodness.

So, how much sleep is enough sleep? Sleep cycles run around 1.5 hours (Can big data help you get a good night’s sleep?). A sleep cycle is when we go through multiple stages of sleep, including REM sleep. Studies show between 7 and 8 hours of sleep are ideal (7.5 hours is 5 sleep cycles). When we wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, we feel groggy. Though sleeping pills give the appearance of sound sleep, they have been shown to disrupt sleep cycles and you lose many benefits of sleep. About 1 in 4 Americans have sleep disordered breathing, which can also disrupt sleep cycles. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing and wakes you up continually out of sleep cycles. If you snore loudly, snore regularly, or wakeup with headaches feeling unrested, you should get checked. Drinking alcohol late at night has also been shown to disrupt sleep cycles.

Here are a couple of tricks for getting a good night’s sleep. While adrenaline wakes the body up, melatonin helps the body sleep. Taking melatonin an hour before bedtime can help you sleep better. Avoid blue light at night because it impedes your body’s natural melatonin generation. Most computers and phones have a night-time mode that reduces blue light emission. Keep your sleeping space dark. Soft music on a timer can also help. If you get a short night’s sleep (it happens), naps help. A quick fix if you feel tired during the day or emotionally stressed, a 20-minute nap can clear that tired feeling and bad emotional state. It is enough time to relax, but not too much to make you groggy.

Sleep is the number one thing that will help your performance. Make sleep a priority in your life. There is nothing like starting the day feeling rested to start your day right.

Written by Guy Bieber

Inspire  Be Inspired  Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at: https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Want to progress faster? Get feedback!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
feedback

Want to progress faster? Get feedback!

Feedback is essential to making progress on your goals. We talked about how important immediate feedback was for the high-performance state of flow. It is nearly impossible to improve without feedback. It’s like learning to play an instrument without hearing the sound it makes. There are countless examples of the power of feedback. Studies have found that people who weigh themselves regularly lose more weight (New advice for weight loss: Get on the scale every day). Gartner found that companies that are data driven, getting feedback about their products continually from users, have 2x the market capitalization of their non-data driven counterparts. The concepts of lean startup are driven by a build-measure-learn feedback loop. Lean startup allows startups to test market fit quickly and adjust continually. Another example of feedback is in real-time systems. The reason an autopilot works on a car or a plane is that its sense and control loop runs fast enough to maneuver the vehicle.

One of the most important things in collecting feedback is deciding what metrics are important. The key is finding metrics that are actionable. If you do nothing different, then why collect the data? Said another way, if you don’t know what to do with the data, don’t collect it. I find it best to have rules for my metrics, like “if this happens, then do that.” If you can’t think of a rule, then you are probably not collecting the right thing.

Another important skill for getting feedback is seeking it from others. That can be your customers, your mentors, or anybody. A very common customer metric is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures how likely your customers would recommend a product to others. Research has found that NPS is the best indicator of growth trend. Tools like Survey Monkey make it easy to create online surveys. Richard Branson is famous for seeking feedback and advice from his employees. He simply says, “I am not sure; what do you think?” That empowers his employees to engage and make a difference. The fastest way to end candid feedback is to argue or discredit the feedback. When you request and get feedback, there are only three acceptable responses:

  • Tell me more.
  • Please give me another example.
  • Thank you.

So, design feedback loops for your goals and always be gracious to those generous enough to give you their feedback.

Clear your head to focus on what’s important!!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
cognitive load

Clear your head to focus on what’s important!!

A big part of increasing your mental energy is reducing what’s on your mind, i.e. commonly referred to as your cognitive load. This is especially important for optimizing your limited attention / conscious thought. We will talk about 4 areas where you can reduce your cognitive load.

  • Externalize memory
  • Reduce Decision Load
  • Automate with Habits and Routine
  • Offload Time Pressure and Triggers

Externalize Memory

Working memory is limited. Recent studies, using MRI, show we can remember about 4 things for 20s, unless we do something with it (Peter Doolittle: How your working memory makes sense of the world). Our long-term memory is not only unreliable, but it can be easily changed (Elizabeth Loftus: How reliable is your memory). Memory is constructed; that is, we fill in the gaps in our perception to make sense of the world. We can even implant false memories through suggestion. We actually believe these constructed memories are accurate. We already discussed how sleep can help us solidify and retain long-term memory, but what else can we do? One of the biggest things we can do is to externalize memory. Summarizing what we have learned not only helps us remember it, but these summaries also give us an external memory reference we can quickly review later. Many courses on time management encourage you to do a mind dump of everything you need to do (Udemy Timejar Effect). This allows you to capture it, prioritize it, and get rid of that nagging feeling you are forgetting something.

Taking notes on your ideas and observations is a practice used by many creative people. Having the ability to capture things at any time is huge for your creativity progress. I use my phone to capture notes because it is portable and always with me. Digitally taking notes also scales well. You don’t have a bunch of paper to search through, store, and manage. With digital notes you can search your notes quickly. I occasionally carry a mini notebook that fits in my pocket, mainly for drawing ideas. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found a good replacement for drawing on paper, though I have hopes for the new IPad. We remember things better that we visualize. Visualizing memory is actually the main trick that memorization champions use. We can only remember a few numbers, but we can visually and specially remember where 1000s of objects are in our home. Don’t underestimate the power of your visual memory.

Reduce Decision Load

As we discussed in the willpower section, decision fatigue causes later decisions to be less effective than earlier ones, regardless of how trivial. US President Obama lets others select his clothes and meals to help reduce decision fatigue. The average adult makes 35K decisions a day; no wonder we get tired. There are several ways you can reduce your decision load and make better decisions.

  • Default Decisions: For trivial decisions, have default decisions. For instance, what you will wear, what you will eat for breakfast, etc.
  • Big Decisions Earlier: Make your important decisions earlier in the day, when you have the least decision fatigue.
  • Let Someone Else Decide: If it is not a decision you need to make, let someone else decide. At a new restaurant, ask the waitress what their best dish is and order that. If you have a decision at work that someone else can make, empower him or her to make it.

Reducing your decision load can help you make the best decisions for the things that matter.

Automate With Habits and Routine

In the article on Habit and Behavior Change, we discussed how habits work and the most effective ways to make habit change. The magic of habits is they reduce your cognitive load and willpower needs. So what are good candidates for automating with habits? Anything you want to do frequently. Many successful people use morning rituals like Tony Robbins, Barak Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and so many more. Here are examples of their routines (morning ritual mastery):

  • Tony Robbins – Priming (15m – meditate, gratitude, visualize the day you want), Workout & Hot / Cold Pool (30m)
  • Barak Obama – Workout (45m), healthy breakfast, avoid coffee, and avoid criticism
  • Bill Gates – Treadmill (1hr) and watch the teaching company
  • Benjamin Franklin (4a) – What he wanted to do that day and what good he will do that day.
  • Jack Dorsey (530a)- Meditate and jog
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – Workout, breakfast, and read

A common theme is preparing for the day you want. Most are a combination of waking up your body (exercise and breakfast), priming, and planning your day. Nighttime routines are also important for preparing for the next day. Things like reflecting on your day, gratitude, and thinking about what you want to do next can help prep you for the next day.

Offload Time Pressure and Triggers

We often worry about what comes next in our day or follow-up we need to do. Planning and using tools, like notifications, timers, alarms, and your calendar, can help offload this schedule tension. Executives have assistants who help plan their day and tell them when then need to move on to the next event. They don’t worry what is next; they are focused on the present moment and interaction. Tools like Boomerang can automate follow-up reminders when working with someone or delegating work. There is something very peaceful about knowing your tools are preventing you from missing anything important.

Join the fight against cancer!!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
american cancer society

The odds of getting cancer are 1 in 2 for males and 1 in 3 for females. The odds of dying from cancer are 1 in 4 for males and 1 in 5 for females.

American Cancer Society

The odds for getting cancer are staggering (1 in 2 for males and 1 in 4 for females), so you or someone you know are likely to have been affected by cancer. For me many of the women in my life have been affected by cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and my partner Kate is a thyroid cancer survivor. Seeing people you love go through this is very difficult. That waiting room can be very lonely when someone you love is going through 9 hours of surgery or has to be in isolation due to radioactive treatments, both of which were the case for Kate. I have also lost many uncles, aunts, and cousins to cancer prematurely. Cancer affects us personally and adds a tremendous burden to the healthcare system. One organization that I am proud to support is the American Cancer Society, which was founded in 1913. Their mission is to “Save lives and celebrate life. Every single day.” 74 cents of every dollar donated goes to cancer research, patient support, prevention education, detection, and treatment.

So I was fortunate to recently participate in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Arizona. This morning walking event raised over $425K to fight breast cancer. If you have the opportunity, please help in the fight against cancer. Also take care of yourselves. A recent study found 70% to 90% of cancers are caused by lifestyle. These lifestyle issues were primarily around diet, smoking, alcohol, and weight. This highlights how important it is to feed and treat your body right. I wish you, your family, and friends a healthy and long cancer free life. Take care friends.

american cancer society

Which came first success or happiness?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
happiness success

“Happiness precedes success, not the other way around.” – Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage

Happiness is entirely an internal state of mind vastly driven by the meaning we put on events. The same event can happen to different people making one person happy and the other miserable. The difference is in how each individual perceived the event. According to Richard Wiseman in his book 59 Seconds, studies have found that happiness is only 10% environmental. The other 90% comes from our genetics (50%) and our thought process (40%).

To be happier, we must either try to control external conditions (not always easy and only 10% of our happiness) or change how we experience external conditions. At a high level, happiness is driven by relationships, the meaning we place on events, our freedom to make a choice, and how much time we spend in flow (being fully engaged in what we are doing). There are several strategies to improve your happiness:

  • Gratitude Attitude: Once a day, go through all the things you are grateful for. Gratitude is an incompatible with unhappiness. The reason we need to do this daily is the adaptation effect. Humans are very adaptable, which has many survival benefits and also some interesting psychological impacts. Someone who wins the lottery and someone who loses a leg will be at the same level of happiness in a year. So how do we overcome the adaptation effect? A good example is the wonderful smell of bread when you first enter a bakery. After a few seconds, we adapt to the smell and can’t smell it anymore (we are massive difference-detecting engines). We have to leave and come back to experience that wonderful smell again. It is the same thing with repeating what you’re grateful for, like your partner, friends, family, home, food, vehicle, etc. It makes all of these blessings new again.
  • Playfulness and Humor: A playful attitude that has fun and finds humor in things will make you happier. Play takes up 20% of animals’ time, and is critical to social and brain development (see The Playful Brain).
  • Experiences Instead of Things: If you want your money to make you happier, spend it on experiences rather than things.
  • Physical Behavior Drives Mood: If you walk with a bounce in your step, those physical cues will make you happier. People that smile intensely live 35% longer (see For a long life, smile like you mean it)
  • Small Acts of Kindness: Doing little things for others will make us happier.
  • Affectionate Writing: For better relationships, write letters about what you love about that person. It will affect how you interact with them in many positive ways.
  • Good Relationships: The longest study of its kind (75 years) found the number one factor in having a happy and long life was good relationships (see this TED Talk by Robert Waldinger)
  • Positive Self-Talk: High performers practice positive self-talk. A negative inner dialogue negatively affects mood (see this TED Talk by Mariano Sigman).
  • Increase Flow: People who spend more time in a high performance flow state are happier. This is because they are doing something they enjoy (see The Flow Genome Project).
  • Positive Meaning: Assign positive meaning to your work and daily life events.
  • Avoid Entitlement Thinking: One secret to happiness is not to lower you expectations, but to lower your entitlement thinking. That is not thinking the world owes us something, but rather that we can earn it.

Remember, happiness is a way of thinking. Happiness can make your journey through life much more enjoyable, fulfilling, and successful.

Want a 10x Mindset? Learn about a Growth Mindset & Realistic Optimism.

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
passion growth optimism

We discussed the superpower of curiosity in a prior article; another important mental superpower is a growth mindset. In her book Succeed, psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson talks about two mindsets related to growth:

  • Fixed Mindset: People with a fixed mindset feel limited by their current ability. They spend time proving their ability and protecting their ego. This often means avoiding situations where they might fail.
  • Growth Mindset: People with a growth mindset believe they can attain any new ability. People with a growth mindset spend time improving their abilities. A high growth rate that continually adds abilities will beat a fixed set of abilities in the long run.

Many studies have been done on this in classrooms. To instill a growth mindset in children, praise effort, not ability. When someone with a growth mindset comes across a problem, they believe they can figure it out through learning, creativity, and effort. If you don’t know how to do something, simply add it to your learning list.

You should never let your current ability hold you back or allow yourself to be overcome by limiting beliefs. The rate of learning or growth is the biggest indicator of success. In today’s world of human knowledge doubling every 13 months, becoming an intentional lifelong learner may be the only sustainable advantage. Therefore, a growth mindset is essential to your success.

In the book The Secret, the author claims imagining you have something will help you get it. Research finds this isn’t exactly right. First, having a goal is important; otherwise, you don’t have a target. Thinking about the benefits of the goal can be motivational because it reminds you why you are doing something. The most important thing to imagine is how you will get there. That includes what you need to do, any obstacles you may encounter, and how you will react to those obstacles. This is realistic optimism: the belief that you can do it, but there will be challenges, and you can handle them.

Need to make a change? Hack your habits & willpower! (Part 2 of 2)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
change behavior willpower

Need to make a change? Hack your willpower and habits. (Part 2 of 2)

So how can we leverage our willpower to better achieve our goals? Well, there are two aspects: reducing the willpower required to do something, and increasing our willpower reservoir. Willpower is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Exercising willpower in any part of your life helps you increase your willpower to use in other parts of your life. In his book Willpower, Thomas Abreu describes the things that wear down our willpower. According to Abreu, Ego Depletion (the loss of willpower) happens due to:

  • Exercising Self Control (Not doing undesirable things)
  • Exercising Self Discipline (Doing desirable things)
  • Decision Fatigue – There is a large body of research on how decisions, however small, make later decision-making worse. This is why many famous people, including Steve Jobs and Barack Obama, have designed their lives to reduce their decision load. For example, they wear the same outfit each day, have default meal decisions, etc.

As we mentioned in the previous article, habits reduce the need for willpower because they happen automatically. Building the right habits can really enable many parts of your life. One of the simplest behavior hacks that has helped me is the habit of starting a timer when you start a task. Once I start the timer, I just start working. There is magic in starting, because it creates the momentum that drives us on. If you are having a trouble starting a task, break it down into the simplest, smallest thing you can make progress on. Our only window of action is the current moment, so all progress is necessarily small. Both of these techniques reduce the “activation energy” you need to start something.

Another big factor in willpower is motivation. In the book Succeed by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., she debunks many myths of motivation through many scientific studies. One key myth is that imagining having what you want motivates you to get it (as touted by the book The Secret). Actually, you need to focus on the benefits of what you want and the obstacles you will need to overcome to get there instead. Through my research, I found some great science-backed ways to hack your willpower. Here are several willpower hacks you can incorporate into your daily life:

  1. Only change 1 or 2 habits at a time to overcome willpower depletion.
  2. Increase barriers to habits you don’t want. Out of sight is out of mind. For example, don’t leave snacks in plain sight if you are trying to eat healthier.
  3. Decrease barriers to habits you do want. For example, set your gym clothes out the night before if you want to work out the next day.
  4. Have self-compassion to avoid the “what the hell effect” or “snowball effect.” When you fail, forgive yourself quickly.
  5. Create a space between the trigger and the behavior you want. This gives you time to think and change to a desirable behavior.
  6. Add triggers to your environment for positive habits. This can be as simple as putting a note on your monitor, hanging up art with a quote that is important to you, displaying a picture that inspires you, etc.
  7. “Eat the Frog” – Your willpower is strongest in the morning, so do the most important, hard-to-start things in the morning.
  8. Habits, once created, conserve willpower.
  9. Reduce your decision load by automating decisions. For example, have a go-to breakfast plan and a default meal choice for each restaurant you visit. Having set routines in the morning and night is another example.

I hope these insights and techniques help you to be more successful at making positive changes in your life. I am thankful to be able to share these ideas with you. Happy habit hacking!!!

Written by Guy Bieber

Inspire Be Inspired Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need “The Guy”: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]