Introduction to Lifestyle ExperimentationDocument Transcript
TABLE OF CONTENTS
UTILIZE THE HABIT LOOP..........................8
KEEP A JOURNAL...........................................11
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or finding the most efficient bike route to school, I’ve been experimenting
since I can remember. I think it’s part of my curious nature.
Now as an adult I find myself experimenting just as much if not more than
I did as a child. There’s a big difference though between the experiments
of my childhood and the purpose driven experimentation I use now to get
more done and make healthy, lasting changes in my life. In the past three
years I’ve learned to use experimentation to fine tune the way I eat, work,
learn, consume, and live out my day to day life in a manner that helps me
be more productive and feel healthier than ever.
a constant cycle of action, feedback, and tuning. Without each of those
elements, experimentation will at best result in short term gains and at
worst make you adopt habits that make you less focused and unhealthy.
In this short guide I’ll cover the methods I use to implement new healthy
habits and I’ll share the ten lifestyle experiments that have benefited
myself and other entrepreneurs more than anything else I’ve tried.
Keep in mind that what works for me is by no means guaranteed to work for
you but the methods used to implement habits can work as a framework
for you to conduct your own lifestyle experiments.
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MAKE IT SO
EASY THAT YOU
CAN’T SAY NO.
I can’t emphasis this enough, you must start with small habits that seem
ridiculously easy. If you want to start meditating try doing it for 5 minutes
right when you wake up. If you want to get better sleep start with turning
off your electronics an hour before bed. These may seem easy, and they
should be, that’s the point. It’s far more important to get in the routine of
creating new small habits in the beginning than it is to try and stop old
engrained habits or create massive changes right off the bat.
Accomplishing simple changes is easier because it takes less work and your
brain is willing to try small new things as opposed to large overwhelming
changes that make your brain feel like it’s losing control.
Frequent small accomplishments also create momentum and momentum
is the key to creating long term change.
Writing this book has been a practice in small new habits for me. I plan on
writing a larger book in the next few months but figured I should follow
the formula that I know works and that means starting simple. Writing
consistently every day to create this book helps me create the underlying
habit and momentum needed to complete a bigger writing project in the
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UTILIZE THE HABIT LOOP
The habit loop is a research backed framework for changing and creating
habits. The term “habit loop” was coined by Charles Duhigg in his best-
selling book, The Power of Habit.
The habit loop consists of three steps. Cue, routine, reward. Knowing how
each of these steps contributes to your existing good and bad habits is
key to understanding how to “hack” your habits.
Here’s an example of the habit loop in my life:
Sitting down at my desk in the morning and starting to work reminds me
that I need to make a cup of coffee to get an initial energy boost.
Make a single shot of espresso with my Aeropress and top it off with some
almond milk to make an almond milk latte.
I get a substantial energy boost that helps me tackle my most important
tasks of the day.
As you can see, the cue acts as a subconscious trigger for the routine (the
habit) and the reward is the reason I’ve gotten into consistantly making a
latte every morning.
If I wanted to replace my coffee habit with green tea I would use the same
cue and consciously replace the routine with a new habit that would result
in a similar or better reward. To remind myself of the new routine I may
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Similarly, if I were trying to create a new habit I would first write out a
list of potential cues. These should be things you’re already doing on a
daily basis. Walking your dog, brushing your teeth, drinking your morning
coffee, putting on your shoes, getting into bed, etc..
Once you’ve identified your cue, choose a simple routine to associate with
Here’s an example using a new habit that I’m trying to create:
Walk from my desk to the pantry for a snack.
See the kettlebells (I placed my kettlebells next to the pantry to serve as
a visual cue enhancement) and do 15 kettlebell swings.
Slight energy boost and an overall sense of well being from doing some
physical exercise in the middle of my stagnant work day. Success!
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THERE IS ONLY ONE
CORNER OF THE
CAN BE CERTAIN
AND THAT’S YOUR
KEEP A JOURNAL
Daily journaling is a great way to measure progress and see how your
experiments are affecting you (positively or negatively) over the long term.
Measuring progress and recording feedback on your own experimentation
process helps you make educated adjustments to your experiments. These
adjustments will make your lifestyle experimentation more effective over.
A daily journal can be instrumental in succesfully executing some of your
sleep quality, location data, etc, can be important when experimenting
with lifestyle and health changes.
Also, journaling doesn’t have to be done with a pen and paper. There are a
plethora of apps and hardware that help streamline the process of daily
Here are some of apps and hardware that can help you track progress:
MapMyRun, Strava, or Runkeeper
All three of these apps help you record distance ran, calories burned, and
Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex, or Withings Scale
The quantified self movement is in full force this year. Wrist devices like
the Up band and Fitbit Flex help you track your daily steps, calories burned,
and sleep quality.
Heyday or Day One
These apps help you keep a general life journal with images and location
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TRUE LIFE IS
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your experiments. Lifestyle
experimentation is called that because it’s all about experimenting.
Tinkering and tweaking is part of the process. That’s why there is no failure
or success in lifestlye experimentation. There is only what is working and
what is not working for you.
Never be afraid to change something that doesn’t feel right, even if it has
worked for other people.
Much like the habit loop or the lean startup loop of innovation, the
lifestyle experimentation process can be thought of as a continuos loop of
experimenting, learning, and refining based on what you learn.
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IF YOU HANG OUT
YOU’RE GOING TO
CLUCK AND IF YOU
HANG OUT WITH
GOING TO FLY.
According to the American Society of Training and Development, meeting
with an accountability partner increases your probability of completing a
goal by 95%. That’s a huge difference when you consider that you’re only
65% likely to complete a goal when you commit to someone else that you
will do it.
Meeting regularly with an accountability partner has been show to help
you become more self-aware, set better goals, discover your strengths,
decrease stress, and build confidence.
Earlier this year I met up with a friend of mine, Matthew Gallizzi, in Portland
for a week. Up until that point we had only had lunch together once. Our
only plan for the weeklong excursion in Portland was that we had no plan.
It ended up being one of the most profound weeks of our lives.
We wandered the streets of Portland talking about our struggles, our
life philosophies, and what we hoped to accomplish in the next year and
beyond. Then we got to work.
When we returned to our homes in Denver and Orange County, we started
having daily accountability calls to keep each other on track with the plans
we had made in Portland. Every morning, at 5 AM, we’d Skype each other
to talk about what we were struggling with that day and what we planned
on getting done.
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It is amazing how much difference having a partner in crime that I can
trust and exchange mutual feedback with has helped me tackle my most
ambitious projects and lifestyle experiments. In fact, the creation of this
book was the result of a competition between Matthew and I to both create
an eBook in a week.
Finding the right accountability partner can be challenging as it’s important
to find someone that has similar accountability needs, has complimentary
experiences, and is open to feedback. It’s also best to find someone in a
similar timezone since you should ideally be meeting weekly or even daily.
Here are places to look for accountability partners:
Meetup.com groups are great for meeting like-minded individuals.
Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities
There are many groups dedicated to achieving different goals.
A free page Matthew and I created to connect accountability partners.
PAGE SIXTEEN OF TWENTY ONE
SUCCESS IS A
JOURNEY, NOT A
I’ve found that the secret to a happy and succesful life is found through
relentlessly experimenting and finding out what works best for you. No one
path is right for everyone.
Experimentation is how you create your own life path and accomplish your
Successful experiments become flourishing branches that inspire us to do
our greatest work.
Failed experiments create humility and resilience. They are pruned like
dead branches and the scars serve as a reminder of why we are who we
As long as you’re experimenting, you’re growing.
Never stop experimenting.
PAGE EIGHTEEN OF TWENTY ONE
IS THAT YOU HAVE A
FAITH IN PEOPLE, THAT
GOOD AND SMART,
AND IF YOU GIVE THEM
TOOLS, THEY’LL DO
Experiments that have been beneficial to me:
CREATE A CREATIVE RITUAL
The habit loop is also a great way to create a creative ritual. A creative
ritual is something you do everytime before you perform you most important
creative work to signal to your brain that you’re about to get into the zone.
CREATE A SLEEP ROUTINE
Sleep is one of the most important activities you do. Creating a healthy
sleep routine has been one of the biggest game changers for me. Start by
turning off electronics an hour before bed and getting 7-8 hours of sleep.
Meditation is a fantastic way to escape to clear your head and deal with
daily anxiety. Try meditating for 5 minutes right before you go to bed or
immediately when you wake up.
Tools to help you accomplish your dreams and live at your best:
Lift helps you create and keep new daily habits.
Everest helps you stay on the path to your biggest “Everest” goals.
Evernote is the most useful app I’ve ever come across. From filing
receipts to recording new ideas, Evernote organizes my entire life.
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GET IN TOUCH
I AM HERE TO HELP YOU THRIVE. DO NOT
HESITATE TO CONTACT ME.
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