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How To Reach Your Goals With 27 Self Awareness Activities

I’m doing it again. I can feel it. Like a toothpick, my thumbnail rests in the gap between two teeth. It’s the position it takes right before I bite it. When I catch myself, like right now, I can prevent it. But it’s always a battle.

Often, I’m okay with losing it, as long as it means I’m winning the war with the article I’m writing. After all, what ends up on your screen isn’t a picture of my fingernails, but a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

It wasn’t always a conscious decision though. For over ten years, I bit my fingernails, unaware of the habit. When I started learning about self-improvement in 2012, it was the first habit I made a conscious effort to break. This both required and helped me with one of the most important human capacities: self-awareness.

Today, I’d like to help you cultivate yours, with 27 self-awareness activities, which you can practice on three distinct levels to improve your thinking, mental health and decisions – and thus, your results in the game of life.

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How To Start A Passion Project One Day At A Time

When people sign up for my newsletter, they instantly receive an automated email that asks them: “What’s one thing you struggle with?” Some consider this a marketing trick, but for me, it’s a once in a lifetime chance to talk to readers, say hi and try to help them however I can.

Nevertheless, it does have a research benefit to it: I see which problems keep coming up and what bothers my audience the most. I’ve written so much by now, that most of the time, I can recommend a particular resource for any given issue.

No time to read? Take my free course. Issues with productivity? Gotcha. Can’t google stuff? Wrote a book for you.

Recently, one question kept coming up, which I found myself unable to send people a resource for. It’s a question about projects. A question about starting. Here are three reader responses, all from this week, aimed at it:

“I want to start a business, but hardly have the money or the idea for it!” –Vishal

“I started learning magic tricks long ago, but I never take the time to share my tricks online. There are a few on youtube and I really wanted to share more.” –Flavien

Being disorganized and lacking focus. I’m a certified NLP trainer and looking to start my own business as a Learning Coach for children. Yet I spend my days on chores, cooking and computer based admin stuff.” –Megan

Can you spot the question? Here’s the one I see: “How do I start a passion project?

Today, I’ll do my best to answer it. But first…why is it that question?

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Investing For Millennials: How To Really Go For Financial Freedom

Last week I accused my fellow millennials of not preparing for their financial future. But pointing fingers is easy. So this week, we’ll do something about it. In fact, I have been doing something about it for quite some time.

I started investing 25%+ of my monthly income in January 2015, and have since been growing my money at just under 7% compound annual growth rate.

But I never could’ve done it without the advice of several personal finance books, which are what I’ll draw on this week to present to you: my guide for investing for millennials. I think this is one of the most practical approaches to reach financial freedom.

Of course this isn’t just for millennials, but it does help if you have time on your side. When I look at how I’ve gotten to the point I’m at right now, it breaks down into seven steps:

Let’s walk through them.

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Liquid Sleep: How To Get More Out Of Life By Staying Up Longer

Last June I bought a Garmin Vivosmart HR activity tracker, primarily for two reasons:

  1. My daily step count is visually present to me at all times, which makes me more likely to get those 10,000 steps.
  2. If I sit for longer than an hour, it vibrates and nags me to get up and move. Since sitting is the new smoking, I think moving regularly might be more important than moving a lot.

While I happily would’ve shelled out 125 € for just those two features alone, there are a few other perks to wearing one of these around the clock. One of them is sleep tracking.

What I’m about to say as a result of it is not going to be popular and it’s definitely not politically correct. At the very least though, it’s food for thought.

For the past five months, I’ve been sleeping less and I think it’s the right choice. Let’s put that into context.

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The GaryVee Matrix: Your One True Way To Win

On 29th of September 2016, I moved to Munich. Two days later, my mattress still lying on the floor in the middle of my room, I went to one of the many college libraries at 11 AM and opened my laptop. I worked on Four Minute Books all day until 6 PM, before going home and assembling my bed.

GaryVee Matrix Bed

(yup, left it like this)

Moving to one of, if not the most expensive city in Germany was an all-in move for me. No more half-assing. No more part-time freelance, part-time writing. It’s all-in or nothing on two fronts:

  1. Getting a (free) graduate degree from one of the country’s best schools in my favorite city while saving money on tax and health insurance is my practical all-in.
  2. Paying my own way through it, without taking on debt, while going for a full-time writing career is my impractical all-in.

What’s surprised me is the ease with which I’ve catapulted my work ethic into high gear. Today, I’d like to give credit to the man, who’s largely responsible for it: Gary Vaynerchuk. Welcome to the GaryVee Matrix.

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Comfortably Creative: How Folding Laundry Will Make You More Original

“Geez, these all look the same! How am I supposed to sort these?”

Every time I fold my laundry, I spend more time trying to tell apart my socks from one another than actually folding. They’re barely distinguishable.

Comfortably Creative Socks

(see what I’m dealing with here?)

Not too long ago, during a particularly tedious case of color-matching, a thought struck me:

“I wonder if my creative projects should be the same?”

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Stopping The Storm Of Fake Happiness: How To Be Optimistic & Why That’s What Matters

Right this second, someone is recording a Youtube video, grinning from ear to ear, trying to sell you on the idea that if you’re not happy, there’s something wrong with you. Even worse, there’s probably also someone writing an article claiming they can show you how to fix it in seven easy steps.

First off, there is nothing wrong with you. If you don’t want to run around the streets naked right now or aren’t at the verge of a positivity-induced ecstatic breakdown, that’s just fine.

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Why “For Example” Is A Bad Way Of Explaining Things

When our math teacher in high school introduced a new topic, what happened next would always follow the same pattern:

  1. She explains the Pythagorean theorem.
  2. Nobody gets it.
  3. She makes an example.
  4. Some people get it.
  5. The rest of the class goes “Can you make another example? Pleeeeeeeaaaaase?”

Steps 3-5 of the pattern would then repeat until the majority of the class understood the new concept and the “More examples!” screams slowly died down. Then we moved on.

Since I was often part of the group who got the gist the first go around, I’d be bored for the remainder of the lesson, waiting for everyone else to get the joke so we could continue. In the meantime, instead of listening, I tried to come up with more of my own examples.

I didn’t know it back then, but as it turns out, I was doing something right.

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