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Habit Design

The Art of Equanimity: Finding Calm In Chaos

By | Habit Design, Life 101, Lifestyle, Mental Perfomance, Zen | 5 Comments

 e·qua·nim·i·ty ˌēkwəˈnimitē,ˌekwə-/ noun mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. This word continues to take on new meaning for me. It first entered my lexicon in the fall of 2007 when I attended an intro to meditation class at the Tibet House on west 15th street. Everyone was going on about the virtue of equanimity and ways it could be practiced, and I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. Years later, I’d begin to understand…  Some time, but not long ago, I found myself in a frenzy of turmoil, as the compounding losses of a relationship, a friendships and the lives of two people close to me, all coincided within a matter of weeks. From one day to the next, it seemed, all joy was lost. Excitement, extinguished. For the months that followed, I remember feeling challenged to find my center, and how even the…






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The Automated Morning Routine: Making the Most of Your Least Productive Times

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Mental Perfomance, Productivity | 6 Comments

Let’s get one thing straight here… I am NOT a morning person. If left to my own lack of devices, I would lay in bed for several hours before frittering away the rest of the morning while trying to decide how to best begin the day. It’s nothing to do with laziness, I profess to myself – my brain simply runs on Pacific Standard Time, despite having lived in New York for most my life. So what can a guy do to transform what can only be seen as a massive black hole of wasted time, into something more useful, maybe even productive? What guys do best… try and control as many discomforting variables as possible and follow 3 steps: 1) Design a structure that prohibits wasteful procrastination (not all procrastination is useless, see my article on How to Use Procrastination to Foster Productivity) 2) Install a program complete with rewards to accomplish…






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How to Use Procrastination to Foster Productivity

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Lifestyle, Mental Perfomance, Self Improvement, Sleep | One Comment

Six months ago I made a fascinating discovery – I’m a procrastinator… but that’s not all. The fascinating part was that, if properly structured, my innate procrastinating tendencies could be redirected and applied to: 1) Fixing my sleep, and 2) Increasing productivity 5x We’ll get to how in a second, but first a bit of back-story – I’d been a poor sleeper my entire life. For as long as I can remember I’d suffered form “onset insomnia” (difficulty falling asleep) – It took some doing but resolved itself with some basic sleep highgene techniques (cutting out caffeine, sleeping in a cool pitch black room, no LCDs two hours prior to sleep, etc.), combined with pillow conditioning – a form of behavioral or Pavlovian conditioning aimed at helping to develop a physiological association between the body’s location (being in bed) and the proper cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters required by our…






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Outsourcing Motivation: The End of Discipline

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Lifestyle, Productivity | One Comment

Want to get better at upholding personal commitments? (rhetorical question) – Try outsourcing them… Brought to you from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and the gurus of Behavior Design; in order to accomplish any goal, we need to have the following three things: 1) Ability – the physical capacity to carry out the task or tasks that will result in our intended outcome 2) Motivation – an incentive that outweighs the cost of acting. And, we need to have what they call: 3) A “Hot-trigger” – this is our call to action… Short story:  Thursday, March 22rd, 2012 – 10:00am…  “Leave it with your doorman and I’ll come by first thing tomorrow morning – Would you like me to pick up one load or two” – asked Kirsten. “One trip should do it”, i said, “It’ll be such a relief to finally get this stuff off my hands”. “Well I’m glad…






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Cultivating Intuition Through Meticulous Self-Tracking

By | Events, Experiments, Habit Design, Health Insights, Mind-Body, Recovery, Video | One Comment

The following talk is a culmination of 5+ years of research, failed tracking trials, exhaustive experimentation, and mind-bending experiences – all of which have lead me to this point: Ben Ahrens – Cultivating Intuition Through Meticulous Self-Tracking from Steven Dean on Vimeo. Filmed on February 22, 2012 at the NY Quantified Self Show&Tell #15 at Fahrenheit 212. Re-posted from http://vimeo.com/37530815 It’s a funny thing, about gut intuition; we spend half our lives acting as if it doesn’t exist (always searching for answers outside ourselves), and the other half, we spend trying to access it. On that same note; centuries of disciplines have emerged in the fields of science, religion, and philosophy, all because humans, until this point, have lacked the ability to discern truth from falsehood. – Given our 21st century understanding of biology, combined with unfolding discoveries in quantum physics, we can now confirm what most of us have…






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THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – PART I: How to Change Your Life, by Changing Your Mind (The Neuroscience of How Thinking Makes It So)

By | Experiments, Explorations, Habit Design, Health Insights, Mental Perfomance, Mind-Body, Physical Performance, Self Improvement | 4 Comments

What follows in this three-part-post is a collection of examples, the implications of which not only open new doors for achieving potential, but completely negate the concept of Cartesian Dualism once and for all. Some of these stories might seem bizarre, others, down right impossible. But I’ve done the research and you can check it out too. The data is real. What you choose to do with this knowledge is up to you. At the very least, my intention with these posts is to get you thinking of the possibilities…  What if you could: – Increase physical strength without moving a muscle!? – Improve your athletic performance using only your mind? – Dramatically reduce pain without a single pain killer? – Speed up healing and recovery by virtue of what you think? – Eliminate depression, fear, anxiety, or even seasonal allergies! – no drugs, just results? That’s just for starters….






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Total Reboot – Five Habits To Change Your Life

By | Events, Habit Design, Mind-Body, Recovery, Self Improvement | 10 Comments

The following post is an excerpt from my recent ignite talk at Habit Design:  Topic: Five habits acquired over the past five years, which, assembled in the proper construct, have proven to be the most instrumental in actualizing significant and enduring change in all aspects of my life from health, to happiness, to self-concept, and general outlook on the world as abundant and positive. These habits, you might note, are quite broad. Whereas habits such as, tooth-brushing, regular exercise, and healthy diet are among those commonly targeted for improvement, consider the five habits on my list as “meta-habits”; ones that aim to change our basic operating system and allow our other goal-oriented, and often more specific habits, to simply come to fruition in virtue of our new software. By that same nature, we can expect all negative habits, even those patterns we have been running for a lifetime and work so…






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