Six years ago I embarked on a self-improvement journey, as I described in one of my previous blog posts. The methods I chose were basically right but I did not focus enough on a few key elements which seem ridiculously obvious in retrospect: healthy diet and physical exercise. This includes reducing my alcohol intake. Not sleeping well, not eating well, not exercising – of course you are not going to feel great. Main habit formation resource: Mini Habits (MH).
Avoiding negative mental states is far more important than achieving positive ones, as Bad Is Stronger Than Good. The best way to avoid them is to become more resilient. Alongside Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a method which I found very valuable here is stoicism. Resources: A Guide to the Good Life, The Daily Stoic (this goes great along with mini habits), the writings of Epictetus (which I like much better than Marcus Aurelius).
Another thing which makes you more resilient is comfort zone expansion: getting yourself in new and potentially uncomfortable situations and learning to deal with them, in short: gaining experience. Resource: rejection therapy.
How would my strategy look like if I could give advice to my younger self:
- Use MH to:
- Do CBT exercises every day
- Get the right amount of sleep
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Physical exercise
- Drink less alcohol
- Stoicism (include in MH)
- Mindfulness meditation (include in MH)
- Getting things done (GTD) (of course… include in MH)
- Gain practical and social skills, comfort zone expansion
Radical change does not work. In order to reach the global optimum you must first hill-climb the local one, at least for a while, and often for a longer time than you originally estimated.