The Magic of Music

The power of music to stir memories in me occasionally catches me off guard. A song can pop up on Spotify and my mind is transported back in time and my imagination swirls around foggy images of the past and potential futures that will never occur (at least not in this reality but almost certainly in a parallel universe). These memories are almost always focused on a person and the relationship I had with them.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was a relatively minor character in my story. For example, anytime I hear “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down I think of a girl I had a crush on in high school. I don’t remember her name, I may have never known her name, I just know she listened to that song and I found her attractive. I wouldn’t be able to recognize her in a yearbook but she was important. In my mind she is superhuman, she is an archetype for my hormonal love that burned hot, quickly, and often throughout my adolescence. That song brings her to mind and her memory brings me back to my high school worries that I’d never find love or that I’d never be found attractive. It was also a time when I saw beauty in every girl I saw and fantasies of marriage and raising kids with them all bounced around my mind when I should have been paying attention to my teachers.

Sometimes, the person or relationship was an incredibly major part of my life. Whenever I hear a Dropkick Murphy’s song I think of a woman I loved in college. She was my first, real, adult mature love that could have become a lifelong relationship. With the exception of my current partner, my connection to her was stronger than any other and I still love her. A quiet sadness comes around when I think of her because I think about what could have been. We were compatible, the sex was great, and we helped each other grow… but the timing wasn’t right and our lives were on different paths. To stay together would have required compromise which would have lead to resentment and a bitter breakup. Instead, we parted ways and the sadness I sometimes feel always turns into optimism. Our relationship ending was an important lesson to me, that there is no “one and only” and that true love is not reserved for one person. We can love many, be happy with many, and it is better to stay true to who you are than compromise out of fear that you won’t find someone else.

Music is a beautiful art form that swirls inside of me and allows me to think about and digest my own life. It brings about random periods of reflection that likely wouldn’t occur without it. I try to continue to listen to new music and explore new genres, but I also try to stay true to my past and listen to the music that was important during different phases of my life. Whether it is the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, dc Talk, Green Day, Saves The Day, Flogging Molly, Social Distortion, Flobots, William Elliot Whitmore, Bad Religion, Kid Rock, Kesha, Krewella or the Top Hits from each decade of my life, music is an important part of my existence and my mental health. Without it, I would have a much more difficult time dealing with and healing from my past.

Pea Protein!

Today, a 2-year supply of protein powder arrived at my house. 40 pounds of pea protein in a bag arrived at my door and really, I couldn’t be happier. It may seem kind of strange but this purchase represents a combination of personal identities that I really value.

The economist in me marvels at the efficiency of the purchase. By buying this product in bulk I reduced the cost of one serving of protein powder (30 grams) to about 23 cents. When I use Orgain each serving costs more and has less protein (about $1.25 for 21 grams) and even using a plain soy protein from Trader Joe’s costs about 40 cents (and was discontinued).

So, if I have one serving of powder per day I will save $340 per year over Orgain. But, this isn’t just money I’m saving because I can reinvest that into my future. I can put that money into a retirement account or buy bitcoin with it. Or maybe that just means I’ll take some extra time off each year. There is just such beauty in the efficiency of lower prices, it is literally saving moments of my life to spend on other things instead. Time is money and I just bought more time.

The stoic in me loves that I’m resisting the urge to focus on taste instead of nutritional needs. Part of being human is our ability to resist our carnal urges and do what is best for us in the long term. Sure, the protein powder doesn’t taste great by itself (though, mixing it with some cocoa and peanut butter powder or some fruit helps with that), but the point of food isn’t always to taste good, sometimes it is just to provide fuel and nutrients. There is value in making our lives simple and not always celebrating with rich food. Sure, there are times when a great meal is deserved, but those meals are even more enjoyable when they are rare. Food is a tool for human happiness and we shouldn’t let our hunger define our behavior. Balance in all things, but we primarily should eat to live, not live to eat.

The minimalist in me loves removing one more unnecessary decision from my life. I don’t need to worry about purchasing a major meal component for two years. That decision is made already. I enjoy the fact that I eat the same balanced meals every day, it is beautiful to me. For the same reason, I love only wearing the same jeans and t-shirts every day. My nutrition, like my clothing, can go on autopilot. I don’t need to keep up with trends or worry what other people think, instead I do what is healthy for me.

Putting decisions on autopilot helps make me a better person and more productive. It frees up mind space to write and create and enjoy the beauty of the world. A dollar saved on food is a dollar spent on adventures. Actually, I wonder what other food I can buy in bulk to save money and time. I think I can get my food and social costs down from about $300 per month to $200 per month. If I do that I put another $1,200 in my pocket each year. Yeah, that’s a good goal.

Here are the purchases I make regularly and it looks like there are some opportunities for savings:

  • Fresh produce (bananas, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes, spinach, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots) – I buy these weekly and probably can’t get them in bulk but I can start growing some of them in the garden to save some dollars, and gardening is fun
  • Frozen vegetables and berries – These I could buy in bulk (probably) but it would require a new freezer. I have to run the price of the freezer and increased electricity costs to see if this is justified… probably not.
  • Seeds and Nuts (almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and brazil nuts) – These could probably be purchased in bulk and frozen to save some money if there is freezer space
  • Legumes and Rice (black beans, brown rice, kidney beans, brown lentils, pinto beans, red lentils) – I think this is the biggest opportunity for savings, I’d need some air tight containers
  • Spices (many) – probably not much savings here, I buy spices at the local Latin American market for $1 for several months supply
  • Nut milk (soy, almond, cashew… whatever is on sale) – Probably not any savings here 🙁
  • Supplements (creatine, beta alanine, taurine, ginseng, bacopa, choline, l-theanine, 5-HTP) – this is probably the best opportunity for savings, purchasing as a bulk powder instead of pills is super cheap, just need an airtight container to hold things in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Non-edibles (toilet paper, dog food, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, etc) – I already purchase most of these in bulk using Prime Subscription so there is some good savings but it is worth revisiting.

Which brings me to my final identity that all this appeals to… self-experimentation. Life is about seeing what you are capable of and pushing the limits. Running marathons and living on pennies and climbing mountains and taking psychedelic drugs is part of the human experiences. Pushing ourselves to the limits and taking risks is how we truly live. It may seem silly to get all of this out of a purchase of protein powder, but each action we take reflects our life philosophy and those actions can either be explicit and analyzed or they can be unreasoned and based on primal drives.

6 AM

I am not a morning person.

When my alarm starts buzzing at 6 am it takes all my effort to get out of bed and as the haze of sleep starts to clear up I often ask myself the same questions.

Why wake up at 6 when I work from home?

I ran yesterday, why run today?

Can’t I just be more productive at night instead of pushing myself in the morning?

These are rhetorical questions. I know the answers very clearly… I wake up because I want my life to be more than what I’m paid to do. I wake up because yesterday’s run is part of a lifelong habit and not an excuse to be lazy today. I wake up because I know that I won’t be productive at night if I sleep in, that just isn’t how I work.

Every day there are two finite resources at work: the hours in the day and my motivation to be great. Both of these resources count down regardless of whether I am being productive or not. My drive to write, create, and exercise will be less at 5 pm than it is at 7 am, even if I don’t write, create, or exercise during that time. Mornings are where the magic happens, particularly when it comes to things I find difficult.

There are certain things that I know I will do each day, regardless of circumstances. Maybe they are things I love to do, like reading or listening to podcasts, or maybe they are things that I need to do, like work for pay. Either way, I don’t need to worry about getting them accomplished, they will happen even if I am low on motivation. It is the tough things that I need to knock out in the morning because those are the things that I’ll find excuses for or neglect in the evening.

Whether it is creating a new habit, running five miles, or calling my credit card company to ask for a lower interest rate, it must be done early or it won’t get done. The rest of my life, the habits I’ve developed and the work I know I need to be done can wait.

So, that’s why I wake up early because if I don’t then my life will drift along in mediocrity. I won’t meet my potential, I won’t experience as much of life as I possibly can, I won’t know my limits because I tried to push through them. Whether it is using my mind and body to transform my body or to write a book or to gain financial security, my mind and body are at their best in the morning.

It sucks sometimes, but truly living requires early rising and when you rise early there are plenty of hours in the day.

“How can you tell if someone….”

There is a pretty common joke out there that has always kind of bothered me, but I never really sat down to think about why. Usually, the joke goes something like:

  • How can you tell if someone at a party is a vegan?
  • Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

Vegan can be, and is often, replaced with cross-fitter, paleo, Christian, atheist, libertarian, conservative, rescued a dog, volunteers, LGBT, parent, Dallas Cowboys fan, etc. Really, any group can be the butt of this joke. The point of the joke seems to be two-fold (neither of which is particularly funny).

First, it is (apparently) some sort of social faux pas to discuss things that are important to you with others. Whether it is how you achieve health, your ethical beliefs, or your lifestyle, these are things that shouldn’t be discussed with people who might disagree with them. How dare someone want to talk about things that are important to them? How dare they want to have a conversation with people who might disagree? These people are clearly fools and should be mocked behind their back (or to their face) for having a life that differs from the norm.

Which brings us to the second post, this type of joke seems to be meant as a tribal way to keep people on the outside, which is particularly harmful when that group is a minority in the culture. It dehumanizes them and ridicules them for trying to be part of society, it creates an unnecessary barrier to entry into social gatherings because it tells them that they aren’t welcome (or they must hide who they are and what is important to them). It also reduces people to a single-issue, it puts a label on them in a way that discourages us from seeing them as multi-faceted, intelligent, complex people.

Now, I don’t think that the joke itself is really oppressing anyone, but nothing lives in a vacuum. These types of jokes when repeated amongst an “in-group” build up in our subconscious to the point where we start to internalize the lessons: that people shouldn’t talk about things that are important and that people with views/lives that differ from the majority should be mocked. I think it is important to reflect on why we think certain things are funny (just like we should reflect on why we find certain things frightening or sexy or exciting) and to possibly make conscious corrections when we discover that the source of our emotions and response isn’t a good one.

These jokes are also a reflection of our culture that encourages tribalism unnecessarily. The fact that someone can tell the joke and nobody speaks up and says, “I don’t get it. Why is it funny that someone with a different point of view would talk about something they are passionate about?” Instead we all chuckles and think, “Yep! Those damn parents can’t stop talking about their kids.” When we should be thinking, “Wow, that’s cool that they have something they are passionate about, I wonder what made them decide to live their life that way. What life experiences have they had, what books have they read, what internal debates have they hosted in their mind that led them to shape part of their life around that activity or role? I wonder what else they are interested in, maybe we share some commonalities as well as these areas of disagreement where we can grow together.”

Was this post dumb? Do you want to tell me why anonymously? Or maybe you have a question about sex, drugs, or rock & roll (or really anything) you’d like me to answer. Shoot me a message at the following link and I’ll blog about it!     I’ve had a great time writing about a variety of subjects in the past.

Pride 2017

This weekend many members of the LGBT+ community are celebrating Pride. Despite struggles and some setbacks, the LGBT+ community has made incredible strides in pursuit of equality in the last few years. The current White House occupant has inspired and motivated many hateful people in the United States (though, I actually don’t think Trump has a problem with the LGBT+ community… or even really cares about social issues at all), but the tide is turning. Freedom and radical individuality where we each get to peacefully pursue happiness, have relationships, and identify as who wish is growing. Overall, things are looking up.

To be honest, I am torn about how to celebrate or participate in Pride. One one hand, I want to change my profile picture because my sexuality does have a little kink in it. My sexual fluidity, polyamory, and BDSM interest is part of who I am and something I am not ashamed of it (I do recognize that the latter too are not as applicable for Pride). I also want to show solidarity with those in the LGBT+ community that may not be in a privileged position where they can vocalize who they are. I want to continue to show support and raise my freak flag for those that can’t. I’m in a position where I won’t lose my residence, my job, or face violence by being who I am (part of that is because I can “pass” – see below).

But, I also don’t want Pride to be about me. Having a bunch of white, cis, male, straight-passing people running around with some self-congratulatory signaling feels strange to me. It also feels inappropriate to celebrate the progress that I haven’t worked towards. I think we should be primarily proud of things we do and I haven’t done anything to really help the cause. I have a similar issue with people who are “proud” to be American… pride in a geographic location that you’re born in that has not created any problems for you makes me roll my eyes pretty hard. I haven’t really faced struggles based on my sexuality so taking pride in it feels strange.

So I’m torn. Do I publicly celebrate Pride as an individual or do I spend my time sharing the stories and experiences of others? Do I change my profile picture as a show of support and to show I’m not ashamed of who I am, or do I stay in the background to prevent taking attention away from others? I don’t know… I really don’t know.

Dealing With Financial Security

I grew up in a pretty poor family. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but looking back I realize we were relatively broke (it wasn’t until I met my partner that I realized some parents actually do pay for college and cars and have money to loan their kids to buy a house… that a life without credit card debt is possible). I never really worried about where my next meal was going to come from, but we were on food stamps occasionally and all eight of us lived in a 2-bedroom apartment for a while. There were also periods where my family would go through the trash cans in the morning around the local park to collect aluminum cans to get the 5-cent deposit. My family and I lived with my grandparents far more often than we lived in our own place.There were people in my school worse off than me, but

There were rarely new clothes or school supplies in August and I could tell at the time that receiving those lists of “required supplies” for six kids stressed my mom out. If it was a good year I would have more than just one new t-shirt and a pair of jeans, in a way I was the lucky one because I was the oldest and got new supplies while my siblings got hand-me-downs. Well, that eventually stopped when I stopped growing and my siblings didn’t, I’m the shortest of the Neiger siblings and I’m sure my nieces and nephews will surpass me soon.

At around the age 12 or 13, I started working. I had a variety of jobs. I delivered newspapers for the city paper twice a week year round, I mowed neighbors lawns during the summer, and I helped my grandfather out at the occasionally rare coin and stamp show that he would display his wares at (in hindsight, I probably wasn’t actually helping my grandfather that much and the pay was way above market). I also set up a soda stand at the local baseball diamond and sold cans for about twice what I paid for them.

When I turned 15 I started working at a grocery store after school and I’ve been employed ever since… and ever since my life supplies were provided by me. I paid cash for my first car ($600 for a bright orange Ford Pinto), I bought all my own school supplies and clothes, and I purchased my own CDs and Star Trek: The Customizable Card Game cards. I don’t think I ever received an allowance.

I’m not a stranger to constant work, but the idea of having any wealth or savings is new to me. Despite those many jobs, I didn’t save a dime. When college time came around I couldn’t afford to go to a university so I went to a community college and I took out debt to pay for it. Community College lasted about a month before I dropped out and just delivered pizzas, blowing all my money on stupid shit.

As the years have flown by I still never had a savings account until recently, and it feels weird… almost uncomfortable. Debt I’m comfortable with, debt I’m familiar with. It doesn’t bother me when I didn’t have money I just stopped paying my student loans and credit cards. My credit score is garbage, but who cares? I’m not going to be buying a home or new car and I’ve never owned anything of real value for them to take.

But now, my life is different and I don’t really know how to feel about it. I’m caught up on all my bills and the debt collectors aren’t calling, and I have actual wealth (not a lot of wealth granted, but when I look at my Wealthfront and Coinbase account I know that I’ll be okay if something crazy happens). This wealth comes with a weird paranoia like it is going to disappear. I’m constantly tracking my income and checking my accounts daily as if I’m afraid it is all a dream and will disappear overnight. Every fluxation in the value of Bitcoin or my IRA makes me bounce between elation at my good luck and terror that it is all going to crash down.

It is weird not being poor, even when I know that I’m not poor because of my own decisions and hard work. Deciding to live as a minimalist and not having kids and not owning a car all lead to my financial situation being stronger than my parents (who are still underwater on their house), but it feels undeserved. I feel like it came too easily, and anything that came easily can disappear easily.

Maybe someday I won’t feel the need to wake up and check my accounts on my phone, but that isn’t today. Or maybe my whole life will be feeling like a yo-yo bouncing between joy and terror, with a financial Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

I’d love to hear from you… (

The Little Things – An Incomplete List

I’m feeling kind of “bleh” today. I don’t really know why, but there are many suspects. Maybe it is the rainy dreary weather, which means the Oregonian in me is truly gone. Or maybe it is because I ate two cupcakes last night and my body isn’t really used to sugar that doesn’t come straight from a fruit anymore. It is also possible that the relative lack of sleep last night it affecting me. I’ve also been spending too much time on Facebook, which definitely can’t be helping. Who knows, the reason is kind of irrelevant. It is just a fact that I am feeling bleh today and my urge to pick up a beer is pretty high (so far I’ve resisted that urge).

Luckily, I stuck with my daily routine. It was tough sitting down to meditate today, but I did it. I put my Headspace app on and listened to that soothing, guiding Australian accent and it really helped, specifically because I happen to be listening to the “Appreciation” pack. The meditation guide suggested that I focus on the things I appreciate, as normal, but this time he mentioned that I shouldn’t feel bad if the first thing that pops into my head is something small instead of something big. There is nothing wrong with appreciating a cup of coffee instead of your parents from time to time.

That gave me an idea, I wanted to list some of the little things about today that I appreciate. It is a given (or at least should be) that I appreciate my amazing partner, my dog, my family and friends, and living in the 21st Century, but my life is made up of mini-moments that each has something to appreciate. So, here is my incomplete list:

  • A friend of mine sent me some cash unexpectedly but the timing was good
  • The line at the bank was really short today
  • While cycling home from the gym I found my yoga mat that I lost yesterday, it looks like someone moved it safely to the side of the road and it is undamaged.
  • I was smiled at today
  • The machines and weights I wanted at the gym were pretty empty
  • While cycling home a nice driver waved me into to traffic so that I didn’t have to wait
  • I figured out a great coffee mix to enjoy during my morning reading
  • Five of my tomato plants and one of my pepper plants are starting to bear fruit
  • I was invited to meet with the leaders of a local housing organization that I’m trying to get on the board of directors of
  • I found out about a pretty cool ICO opportunity and I had some spare Ethereum to send that way
  • My body is responding really well to my workout plan and I’m almost at my target weight
  • I found a local therapist and a dentist
  • I feel like my Spanish language work is actually paying off
  • I can see two birds in the yard right now
  • I have friends who sell me their art
  • My peace lily has a half dozen beautiful flowers on it
  • I found a cheap flight from Orlando to San Francisco for a trip I’m taking in September
  • I was recently invited to return as a guest to one of my favorite podcasts
  • I’m wearing warm socks that I just got out of the dryer
  • Bananas

In closing, I need to listen to one of my favorite Stoic philosophers, Spose (video and lyrics below)

Look, I don’t have a mansion
I’ve never been to the Hamptons
It’s more likely you’d find me if you came up here and went camping
I got bills stacked like Jenga
Respected less than most singers
But you don’t see me sulk about or wallow in self-doubt and let that linger
Look, I still haven’t been killed
I got pills every time I got ill
I don’t got mils to top cough drops
Or a house in the hills
But I won’t feel sorry for myself
I don’t need anything opulent as long as I got oxygen
(Ya Mean)

Tonight if you see me knockin’ on wood
That’s just cause I’m doin’ so fucking good
I don’t hate my life, No it’s goin’ alright
That’s why tonight you see me knocking on wood

I got all my limbs
I don’t got cancer, I’m superb
I never got kidnapped on my way to work
Got free education, Bitch I’m learnt!
But some people aren’t so lucky
Knock on wood

I don’t got HD Tv, But I got insulation
I got no Lamborghinis, But I got vaccinations
I got a microwave, I got some pocket change
But even if I didn’t, No complaints


Peter Sparker back up in this bitch is on
Say free country, I can say what the fuck I want
Fuck the government!
Buy my songs!
Some places you say Shit like this and you get your hands cut off

Lucky aren’t we?
All this time to get drunk and party, puke up food while kids are starving
All of Somalia, not one Arby’s
We’re popin’ water bottles, What!
We’re gettin tattooed, What!
Were gettin fat, takin naps, eatin mad food


Look, I don’t have a mansion
I’ve never been to the Hamptons
It’s more likely you’d find me if you came up here and went camping
I got bills stacked like Jenga
Respected less than most singers
But you don’t see me sulk about or wallow in self-doubt and let that linger
Look, I still haven’t been killed
I got pills every time I got ill
I don’t get mils to top cough drops
Or a house in the hills
But I won’t feel sorry for myself
I don’t need anything opulent as long as I got oxygen
(Sing it!)

I’d love to hear from you… (

Brain Dump

Today was a super busy work day and I had to prioritize that stuff over writing (sad panda). So, despite it being my fast day I haven’t been able to really sit down and do a blog post and my brain is kind of burnt out, but I gotta keep the habit alive and write every day. I’m just going to put some random stuff down that is in my mind instead of something more thought out.

  • The week of abstaining from alcohol is going well. At this point last week I had consumed 9 drinks, which is about half a pound worth of calories or ~$20.
  • Related to above (maybe), my food calorie consumption is down, my exercise routine is up, and I’ve hit all my meditation, reading, and work goals this week
  • I think both sides of the abortion argument should try to understand the other side better
  • One issue voters tend to be shortsighted, lack an understanding of how our federal government works, respond to signals more than substance, and generally make the country worse off
  • I’m so excited that it looks increasingly likely that medicinal MDMA will be a reality in the next 5-10 years
  • I’m increasingly annoyed with people who are wet blankets or like to do “drive by” negative comments on Facebook posts
  • I’m considering shaving my chest hair
  • I’m a little frustrated that my tomato plants aren’t growing that well, maybe I’m not being patient enough or maybe I planted them in a poor place
  • America is going to become increasingly less important on a global stage, both economically and politically, in the next century
  • I’m going to climb a mountain next year
  • I think it is time to start exploring BDSM in a more focused way
  • I’m starting to like my body again, which is kind of nice
  • I’d like to see more nipples on my Snapchat (@pneiger)
  • I wish I was more confident about my fiction writing

Okay, that’s enough brain dump for now.

Wanna hear my thoughts on some random controversial subject like abortion? Got a question for me that is too personal to ask directly? Do you just want to tell me that I’m not living life correctly? Send me an anonymous message and I’ll respond on my blog! Just fill out this simple form on SurveyMonkey ( and if you need inspiration check out the previous questions that I’ve answered here and you’ll see that no subject is off limits.

The One Thing

I am currently reading through “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It isn’t a huge surprise that I’m reading a book like this, I tend to find a lot of value in reading books that try to encourage success and productivity. I’m usually reading something like this in addition to one work of fiction and one work of non-fiction.

Anyway, the basic concept of this book is that you should identify one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary and then focus only on accomplishing that one thing. No multi-tasking, no balancing, and no shooting for mediocre targets, instead you focus only on one thing and then move on from that. We each have limited motivation during the day and if we waste it on unimportant things then we won’t accomplish what we want.

Overall, I’ve found it valuable and I’ve cut down my monstrous “to do” list into a few things that must be done. For example, I have three areas of life that I’m focusing on: work, physical health, and mental health. Each area has an activity that I’m focusing on for 66 days (because 66 days is the average time that you must do something daily for it to become a habit), in my case that means going for a run every day, writing a blog post every day, and meditating every day. When I finish the complete 66 days I’ll ask myself what is the next one thing to accomplish my life goals and then focus in on that again. Maybe it’ll be a daily weight lifting or yoga routine for my physical health, or studying a foreign language or musical instrument for my mental health, or writing a novel to advance my work as an author.

Well, in today’s reading I found something the authors said kind of interesting. They said that there is a specific order of life areas that work the best, specifically that focusing on things in this order will maximize results. The order is spiritual life, physical health, personal life, key relationships, job, business, and finances. Basically, if you work on your spiritual life it will make your physical health easier, which will make your personal life easier, etc.

So here are the rough definitions of each life section:

Spiritual Life – How we interact with our community and our relationship with God. I’m an atheist so that last point is moot, but I do find value in the community and certain spiritual practices such as pagan ceremonies.

Physical Health – Exercise, healthy diet, and mental health. My diet and exercise are pretty solid, but there is always room for improvement.

Personal Life – This is personal growth in hobbies and skills and finding time for yourself.

Key Relationships – Pretty self-explanatory, family, friends, partner, etc.

Job – This is the area that focuses on accomplishing what you want to accomplish within your role at work

Business – This is focusing on how to move your business forward

Finances – Increasing net worth, investment cash flow, debt reduction, etc.

I find the order kind of interesting, but it makes sense. I currently don’t break down things in that way, but I think I’m going to next week when I hold a weekly staff meeting with myself and type up the agenda (a tip from “The War of Art”). I’m always looking for new habits and insights and techniques to avoid being stagnant.

Wanna hear my thoughts on some random controversial subject like abortion, circumcision, or whether IPAs are good? Got a question for me that is too personal to ask directly? Do you just want to tell me I’m a douchebag? Send me an anonymous message and I’ll respond on my blog! Just fill out this simple form on SurveyMonkey ( and if you need inspiration check out the previous questions that I’ve answered  here  and you’ll see that no subject is off limits.

Yesterday Makes Today Easier

Every Sunday I create and print off a checklist table for the week. It includes things like work I need to do, habits I’m developing, exercise routines, and nutrition goals. At this point, there are twenty-eight things I want to check off… and man it feels so good to make that check mark, particularly the final one of the day.

I’ve found this method of planning to be incredibly valuable for me, particularly as someone who works from home. Many times throughout my day I feel a little unfocused or distracted and having a list like this gives me something concrete to do. I can look down and see that I haven’t meditated, eaten enough nuts and seeds, gone Pokehunting, or written a blog post, this gives me options for things to get done.

When I look at this piece of paper and see that I’ve gone on a morning run for the last five days straight it makes me want to keep up that pattern. It is added motivation. I don’t want my laziness to be what breaks the daily trend of positive behavior, it is added motivation. Usually, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t work it starts a trend of negative behavior, taking one day off turns into two and then a week, and it is increasingly difficult to get back into my routine.

In fact, that is exactly what today’s meditation in “The Daily Stoic” was about, but it focused on eliminating bad habits as opposed to starting new ones. From Epictetus’ Discourses:

If you don’t wish to be a hot-head, don’t feed your habit. Try as a first step to remain calm and count the days you haven’t been angry. I used to be angry every day, now every other day, then every third or fourth… if you make it as far as 30 days, thank God! For habit is first weakened and then obliterated. When you can say ‘I didn’t lose my temper today , or the next day, or for three or four months, but kept my cool under provocation,’ you will know you are in better health.

A psychologist friend of mine had a similar insight on a Facebook post I recently shared, but she brought some scientific insight. When we think about something repeatedly our brain wraps myelin around that connection, strengthening it and making it a more commonly used connection. Procrastinating today means tomorrow you’re more likely to procrastinate. Being jealous or angry today means that you’re more likely to feel those emotions tomorrow. Our mind loves efficiency, and by practicing habits (good and bad) those pathways increasingly become stronger and more efficient and, eventually, become the default path we take. Luckily, we have the ability to be aware of this and create new, healthier paths.