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Get Good at Finishing Things

Recently I had a reader write in to me about not being good at finishing things. A few examples of things they haven’t finished: They bought a course and never finished itThey can’t seem to stick to a dietThey’ve only gone on half of the hikes they want to go on in their area I can relate! It can be hard to finish things — we get excited about something at the start, but when we get busy or things get hard or boring, our commitment wavers. So how do we get better at finishing things? We have to deepen into commitment, and get support. Before we...

Our Mistaken Ideas About What Makes Us Happy

Most of us are operating on mistaken ideas about what gives us happiness — and these errors are costly. Think about how you normally spend your days — and then think about whether that’s making you happy. Now think about the cost to your health and long-term happiness. Let’s give a few examples, so you can see what I mean: Social media: If you spend a lot of your time on social media, perhaps for it’s entertainment value or distraction from things stressing you out … notice if this leads to better or worse happiness and mental health. For many,...

Building Trust in Yourself

I find that almost all problems are a breakdown in trusting ourselves. If we could trust ourselves fully, so many things become effortless. Let me give some examples of where we don’t trust ourselves: Procrastination: We procrastinate when we think we can’t handle the stress or difficulty of one or more tasks, or we don’t trust ourselves to handle any bad outcomes we fear from doing those tasks (people judging our work, for example). If we trusted ourselves completely, we could just do the task and deal with the stress that comes from it, and d...

My Morning Routine

Lately I’ve been waking up early (5:30am), because I traveled to London for a couple of weeks to lead a retreat, and my sleep schedule shifted. I really enjoy it! Someone asked me recently what my morning routine is like, and I told them: It changes regularly, depending on what I need. That said, I haven’t shared my morning routine in awhile, so I’ll share it here. Please remember that this routine is provisional — it will change when I need it to. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately: Wake and brew some coffee. I went about 6 months without coff...

Ritual to Greet the Day

Every new day is a tremendous gift. And yet we often take these days for granted, rushing into everything we need to respond to, distracting ourselves, forgetting to feel wonder. Wouldn’t it be lovely to create a morning ritual to greet your day? The purpose of the ritual is to practice full appreciation of the gift we’ve been given, and to set the rest of the day up for wonder. What would that create for your life, if you had a ritual like that? My suggestion is to create your own ritual, not copy mine, because ritual is best treated as a crea...

The Possibility of Slowing Down

Our days are a busy rush, often from the moment we wake up. Even in our moments of rest, we are often on our phones or using technology to distract ourselves. The result is a life of stress, overwhelm, and habitual patterns. What would it be like to slow down? To find stillness in your day, moments of rest and quietude? The possibility of slowing down goes much deeper than just having a bit less busyness in your day … Slowing down, if we go deeper, allows us to: Notice what’s coming up for us, and to attend to our emotions. This is much, much m...

The Chaos & Abundance of Spring

For many of us in the Northern hemisphere, Spring has fully arrived: gorgeous sunshine, warmer weather, green trees, blossoms. It’s glorious! With Spring comes life springing into action, full of abundance. This is the chaos of life, full and energetic and exuberant. It’s chaotic but in the most affirming of ways. This abundance and chaos can fill us up, if we let it. If you’re feeling drained and empty, then you can let yourself feel the nourishing abundance of life all around you. Chaos can be stressful, or restorative — depending on our atti...

The Moment That Ruins Our Focus

I challenge you to do a test before you read the rest of this post (well OK, read the next two paragraphs then go do the challenge) … Open an email that’s been sitting in your inbox but that you’ve been avoiding responding to or acting on. Pick the hardest one. Try to sit there, read the email, and then act on it and/or respond to it. Then notice if there’s a moment when you want to just get away from that email. What does that moment feel like? This moment of overwhelm and anxiety is usually invisible to most of us. It happens multiple times t...

The Focus of a Monk

As I write this, I’m on a long plane ride — I’ve written many posts on planes and trains, and I find it actually much easier to write this way despite the shakiness of my laptop on these rides. It’s easy to write on planes and trains because there’s not as much to do. I don’t get the Internet option on planes because it really limits my options. That’s a good thing for focus. On planes, I can do one of a few things: read, watch a movie, sleep, or write. Those are all good options, but they’re limited. I tend to think about it for a minute, and ...

Honoring Your Word to Yourself

There is a power to our word that is very often underdeveloped — words are magic, and can create the world around us. But most of us use this magic as if it weren’t powerful. The first way we see this is that we often don’t honor our word to ourselves. In his wonderful book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz puts “Be impeccable with your word” as the first and most important of the four agreements that can change your life. There’s a lot more depth to this agreement, “Be impeccable with your word,” than you might first realize … but I’m only...

Cultivate a Positive Mindset

One of the best long-term things you can do for a happier life and better relationships is to cultivate a positive mindset. People with positive mindsets live longer, happier lives. They have lower rates of heart disease, cancer. They live about 7.5 years longer, on average. That’s huge. So developing a positive mindset can be one of the most impactful things you can do for yourself. And there are a ton of downstream effects: you are kinder to others when you’re happier, so your relationships are better. You are more playful, more joyful, more ...

How to Break Dependence on the Phone

On average, people spend more than 3 hours on their phones each day, picking up their phones nearly 60 times a day … with some people spending closer to 4 hours. These numbers aren’t meant to be judgments — it’s not a bad thing to look at your phone — but instead are meant to bring some awareness to our phone usage. A lot of people I talk to want to decrease their usage of phones — not necessarily decreasing to zero, but decreasing impulsive usage of their phones. Many of us tend to grab our phones anytime there’s a lull, and once you get on yo...

How to Develop a Strong Sense of Self

Developing a strong sense of self is one of the most under-appreciated ways to be happy. To have healthy relationships, with others and with yourself. It’s not often understood, and as a result, problems in this area cause problems in all areas of our lives. Let me point out just some of the common symptoms of an under-developed sense of self: People pleasingConflict avoidanceNot being honest about how you feelLosing yourself in a relationshipDistancing yourself from your partner when you’re afraidHiding things, cheating on your partnerNot bein...

Why I Am Vegan (and how to make it easy)

My wife Eva and I have been vegan for over 11 years now, and we love it. I don’t talk about veganism a lot on Zen Habits, but today I’d love to share a little about it, if you’ll indulge me. Let me start by talking about why I’m vegan, and then I’ll share a few tips on how to make becoming vegan as easy as possible, in case you’re interested. So the first thing is that veganism, for me, is about compassion. Yes, it has a huge environmental impact — probably bigger than anything else you can do, including ditching a car or going electric vehicle...

How to Address What’s Really Causing Your Avoidance

When we are procrastinating, avoiding exercise or some other habit we want to create, or avoiding taking on a difficult project … the underlying cause is rarely what we think it is. We think that all we need to do is do the thing we’re avoiding, and stop procrastinating. Simple! But then when we fail, we wonder what’s wrong with us. The problem is that we aren’t really addressing the real cause. We’re addressing the symptom, and while there are tactics that can help with the symptom, they rarely last for very long. So what causes our avoidance?...

Slow Down to Fall in Love Again

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh Recently I got a running watch, and have been keeping most of my runs below a certain heart rate, to build up my heart’s aerobic fitness with lots of slow running. The pace of my runs has been incredibly slow for the last month. It’s helped me to fall in love with running again. I’ll share more about that, but it has me wanting to share a more general thought: slowing down can have us falling in love with anything if we let it. Let me share a few examples: Music: Often we listen to music while ru...

Become Quiet So You Can Listen

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” ― Rumi There’s rarely a moment in the day when most of us stop moving and stop the noise. For most of us, we’re working, we’re moving, we’re driving, we’re listening to things on our headphones, we’re watching things, we’re filling up the little spaces by checking our phones. This isn’t wrong — it’s a very human tendency to want to be busy, productive, filling every space with something useful or entertaining. But what if we could let ourselves become quiet? What happens is something magi...

The Joys of Getting Organized

The last couple of months, things have piled up on me: emails, tasks, random notes, a bunch of browser tabs with things I’m interested or need to do, financial stuff, etc. For the past week, I’ve been allowing myself the joys of getting organized. It’s beautiful, and I just had to share with you. Let me say a few things first: you don’t need to be organized all the time, or at all. This isn’t a “should” to add to your list of things you’re not doing. Also, there isn’t one way to do this, and my way isn’t the “right” way. Finally, this is about ...

Cultivating Stokedness

How many days do you wake up excited for life, stoked to be alive and take on the day’s challenges? If your answer is “often,” then congratulations! That’s an amazing way to live life — but you’re in the minority. Most people are unenthusiastic about their lives, not looking forward to what the day has in store. That’s not a bad thing — if that’s how you’re feeling, it’s just how you’re feeling. There isn’t a “right” way to be. That said, if you’d like to be more stoked about life, then there are ways to cultivate that. We’ll explore some of th...

Start the New Year with Our Uncertainty Challenge in Fearless Living Academy!

Happy New Year my friends! Today I’m going to talk about how to start the year off right, with the Uncertainty Challenge we’ve created in my ​Fearless Living Academy​ … If you’re feeling the New Year energy — which I love because it’s a chance at a fresh start — then the question is how to do you leverage that energy to the best results? I love the mechanism of a monthly challenge. We’ve been testing out monthly challenges in ​Fearless Living Academy​ for more than a year now, through our Uncertainty Challenge, and it’s working incredibly well!...

About TAO of Light

Yoga is a practice for everyone because it meets you exactly where you are in the present moment. From beginner students to advanced yogis and everything in between, Tao of Light Yoga welcomes everybody at all levels of their journey. There is a place for everyone inside our studio and it is our goal to make each and every student feel at home. It is your time on your mat that is important to us. We, at Tao of Light, will create a space that provides modern comfort for an ancient practice. As both a yoga studio and a sangha, we honor the tradition of the practice while respecting the diversity and individual beliefs of our students.

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