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Archive for the ‘Master Habit’ tag

The Power of Nuts, Routine, and Decluttering (Sunday Reads #14)


Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

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Prelude: Two weeks ago I participated in the StrongFirst Level 1 Kettlebell Certification event.  It was three full days of learning, training, coaching, and being put to the test.  While I was pretty nervous going in, it turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience – even the day of testing, which included a brutal 5-minute timed snatch test (100 overhead snatches with a 24kg kettlebell in 5 minutes).  It took me almost a full week to start training again – and when I did, it was with a newfound appreciation for the power of the kettlebell.  I’m now part of the StrongFirst family as a certified instructor and will start training for Level 2 later this year.


At some point, I will likely write about my training protocol over the long months of preparation, along with some of the strange things I did that I found to work… including “straw breathing”, voodoo flossing, and regularly using a micropedi on my callused hands.  But that’ll have to wait.  For now, onto the links!

Nuts are a nutritional powerhouse according to a study conducted among more than 200,000 men and women in the Southern United States and Shanghai, finding that the more nuts people consumed, the lower their death rates from all causes.

In Why Exercising is a Higher Priority Than My Career, the author makes the case.  In my own life I’ve found that exercising is my master habit – it improves my mood, my energy levels, my work output, my relationships, and increases my confidence.  While I occasionally have to sacrifice it for work, I don’t let this itself become a habit that lasts more than several days.  Work will always fill the time you give it, so as the author says, “exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all.”

Find focus with just 18 minutes each day according to Harvard Business Review writer and published author Peter Bregman.  This simple program takes 5 minutes in the morning, 1 minute each hour, and 5 minutes each evening.

Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus or process information.  This is why I quickly straighten up my office at the end of each day.

Why you need the combination of grit, routine, and vision to live life as an adventure.  You are what you do most of the time, not some of the time.  The author references a few apps that may help you, and being the app geek that I am I’m listing them here: Way of Life, Full, and Balanced.

I also talked about a fun new meditation app a few weeks back (Buddhify).  And now that I’m regularly using Headspace, I can highly recommend it if you’re interested in learning how to meditate.  It’s fantastic.

Here’s a blog post on life that I really appreciated: The Days are Long but the Decades are Short.

If you’re not already subscribed to Refocuser updates, research shows you’ll be a much happier person just by reading more inspiring stuff.  Subscribe now.

Written by Mike Torres

May 9th, 2015 at 4:10 pm

The Exercise and Science of Self-Control

with 2 comments

Click for photoDo you frequently find yourself staying focused on a single task until it’s complete, or do you fall victim to the "I’ll do it later" or distraction mentality?  Are you able to walk past the table of donuts each time you see it, or do you give up and take a huge bite out of one?  If you’re someone who struggles with self-control, or the ability to regulate your actions even in the case of overwhelmingly appealing stimuli, you’re certainly not alone.  Most people the world over deal with the inability to self-supervise their actions on a consistent basis.  The exercise of self-control is hard.  Or at least people think it is.

It’s just so much easier to give in, isn’t it?  Hell, it takes real effort to fight the urge, especially if restraint isn’t something you’re used to.  More on that later, but first let’s take a look at exactly why self-control is important.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn

Self-control is the basis of all change; nothing can be transformed without first determining what needs to happen, and then being consistent and predictable in implementation over time.  It is, in fact, the most important skill to have when it comes to achievement.  Self-control is really the platform in which achievements are built upon.  It’s an essential ingredient in any high performer’s personality, just as impulsiveness and “action without consequence” is central to the self-defeatist.

If you want to start modeling success, the most important thing you can do is to start exhibiting self-control

Show me a successful person who doesn’t have a superhuman amount of mastery over his or her daily actions and I’ll show you someone who has benefited only from chance and circumstance – and that type of success is not repeatable or transferable.  Anyone can win the lottery or sign a book contract, but it takes true dedication to be able to maintain success over time.

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Written by Mike Torres

February 27th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Your Master Habit: Get One Thing Clicking, Watch Others Follow

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Click here for photo For many people, forming and keeping positive habits is a real challenge.  Each habit can sometimes require a different mindset or a slightly different approach in order to make it into a routine, and that can make it awfully difficult to stay consistent.  It turns out that our happiness is a direct result of how much control we have over our environment, and control is directly correlated with how well we’re able to form and maintain positive habits.  If you’re able to identify changes in your current behavior that align to your values and bring you closer to your goals, and then keep those positive changes going on a regular basis, you’ll find that you’ll have a comfortable level of control over your life.

Think back to a time when you felt everything was in order in your life; you felt great in your relationships and with your family, your job was something you looked forward to each day, your finances were on a positive trajectory, and you were getting regular exercise.  Heck, you were even flossing every day, making your bed, and staying on top of the laundry.  Every night as you drifted off to sleep the only thing you were thinking about was counting sheep.  Minimal stress, maximum smiles.

Compare that to how you feel right now – do you have that same sense of control over things?  Do you find one or more areas lacking?  How many things would you change if you could?  If you’re sitting there thinking that something’s lacking, this post may help get you back on track.  Yet thinking about the level of effort involved in getting everything going at once can be pretty overwhelming.  Where to start?

The key is to stop beating yourself up about all the small things you’re not doing, and focus on getting just one habit back on track first. 

In a series of studies performed by a social psychologist named Roy Baumeister, it’s been suggested that “improving self-regulation operates by increasing a general, core capacity. That is, as the person performs exercises to improve self-regulation in one sphere, he or she becomes better at self-regulating in other spheres.”

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Written by Mike Torres

July 12th, 2009 at 2:25 pm