The Heartbreaking Effects of Being Only Partly Committed to Most Things

By Leo Babauta

If we’re absolutely honest with ourselves, most of us are only half-committed to most things — in many cases, much less than half-committed.

We say that we’re going to change our diet, but are we fully committed? Do we make a meal plan and buy the groceries and clear out the junk food and set time in our calendar to prep meals for the week and change our habit of eating out much of the time?

Do we feel so committed in our hearts that we’d bet our lives on it?

We make a commitment at work (to our team, client, partner) but we don’t fully show up. We get distracted, we procrastinate, we are only half in it much of the time. We do the same thing to the people we love — we’re only half there for them.

How often do we show up fully, with deep commitment?

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3 Steps to Deepen Your Mindfulness Practice

By Leo Babauta

Let’s imagine that you’re a reasonably healthy adult with all of your basic needs met, people who care about you in your life, and things you enjoy doing available to you … you should be pretty happy, right?

It turns out, even in this incredibly lucky scenario, most of us still struggle — stress, anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, letting ourselves and others down, disappointment, hurt feelings, anger, feeling like you’re always behind … it all creates a sense of unease that is not aligned with our fortunate circumstances.

So how do we go about enjoying life, finding a sense of peace and calm and purposeful focus?

I’ve found mindfulness practices to be the key. They’re not a magical solution to anything, but they do ease the suffering we experience in our lives.

Those of you who who have practiced meditation for awhile know what I’m talking about. Let’s look at a few ways to deepen into the practice, if you’re interested.

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You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You’ve Been Avoiding

By Leo Babauta

What big task, project, chore, conversation have you been avoiding facing?

It’s one of the biggest problems in many people’s lives — procrastination is one word for it, but I’ve found that “avoiding” is more accurate. We have something we don’t want to tackle or face, and so we keep ourselves busy and distracted so we can avoid it.

Avoidance, of course, leads to a host of problems, including:

If we avoid self-care, exercise, meditation, healthy eating, flossing … it leads to long-term health problems (including mental health stress).Things piling up can cause us to feel stress.Things not being taken care of can cause lots of difficulties as problems get worse.People might start to feel that we’re unreliable.We lose trust in ourselves, and we can often criticize ourselves and be harsh on ourselves.

The last problem, by the way, is something we can address with the practice of trying to always be kind to ourselves. Harshness on ourselves is not useful, and we can transform our relationship to ourselves by practicing kindness as consistently as we can.

But most of the problems above would be best address by getting good at facing and diving into what we’re avoiding.

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A Guide to Dealing with Uncertainty About What Path to Take

By Leo Babauta

 The amount of time we spend fretting over what path to take, when we’re feeling uncertain, can sometimes be staggering.

We’re entering into unknown territory, and we don’t know how to proceed. It happens all the time for many of us: we start a new job, launch a new venture, change careers, have to deal with incredible change, decide to write a book or create something online, put ourselves in a new social situation.

Some of the things we do in response to this uncertainty:

Extensive research, often to the point of very diminishing returns, sometimes to the point of being overwhelmed by how much information we’ve found.Buy books, courses, programs, other materials that we think will guide us — this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but in truth, none of this will give us certainty.Try to find teachers or other people who will guide us, who have been there before — again, hoping that they’ll give us certainty, but often this isn’t a magic pill either.Delay making a decision, putting it off over and over because it’s too hard to decide. Avoid, avoid. This might be the most common option, actually.Give up because you don’t know if you can do it, don’t know what to do, don’t know what the hell you’re doing. This is pretty common too — in fact, most people give up before they even start.

These are very common reactions to entering into uncertainty, but usually not very helpful. They get in the way of doing the work and living the life we’d like.

So how do we deal with the uncertain path that we’d like to embark upon?

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Can People Change?

Can people change? The question may sound overly dramatic or philosophical, but if we’re thinking about it, it tends to be very personal. We often ask ourselves this question when we’re in a strained relationship, whether it’s with a friend, family member, or partner, whose actions (or inactions) are continually causing pain—to you, or themself, or both.

This isn’t about forgetting to load the dishwasher, but rather things like substance use, or dishonesty, or behavior that’s detached or cruel. Even when we come to terms with the fact that change is needed, and we communicate clearly with our person about it, actually achieving change can be much more complicated. In the midst of our frustration, a deeper question bubbles up:

Are people capable of real change?

In this video, philosopher Alain de Botton explains some of the barriers we should be prepared to face during these sorts of crises of relationship. 

1) It’s really hard, for any of us, to achieve significant change in our lives.

First of all, one thing is clear: Even if human nature makes us capable of change, we don’t get there easily. 

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