Three Tiny Steps to Building Lasting Habits

Of the things we do each day, the majority are things we’ve done before–hundreds or thousands of times before.

Our subconscious is constantly processing things for us so we don’t have to think about how to brush our teeth or shower or the way to drive to work.

Or how to be impatient with people who frustrate us or how to sit on the couch and watch Netflix instead of exercising or how to waste money on frivolous purchases.


For the last year and a half, I’ve been thinking a lot about habits. I’ve written about developing new ones and recorded a podcast on habits, and I’ve encountered a number of books focusing on these tiny building blocks that dictate so much of what we do.

I’m convinced that habits are one of the most important things we can focus on if we want to live a life of purpose, because they are a powerful force that are constantly moving us further and further in a direction and becoming more deeply ingrained with each passing day.

Just think about the things you do each day.

How many of them are truly new things? You likely eat similar foods for breakfast, take a shower at a similar time, hang out with some of the same people, ask the same questions, do repetitive tasks at work. And we don’t seek out novel ways to do things when we already have a way. I’m not trying to find a unique route to commute to work–I’m going the way I always go because it’s the easiest.

The classic quote,

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

emphasizes our habit for habits.

Good or bad, the more we do something the easier it is to do it again.

So how do we start making changes?  Continue reading


The Best Options for Starting Your Own Blog

Occasionally, someone asks me for a bit of advice on starting a blog. I’m always happy to share how to get started.

Choosing how and where you’ll host your blog online seems like the most important thing when you’re starting out.

The reality is, actually writing and consistently posting, no matter where you do it, is far and away the most critical aspect.

blog dashboard

Nevertheless, you have to put your blog somewhere, so here are your best options for where to call home on the Internet. Continue reading


39 Things You Can Do in 60 Seconds Instead of Checking Social Media

This list is more for me than it is for you.

I’m a chronic checker of email and social media, and though these things can be beneficial, they can also be an absolutely ridiculous waste of time.

So I came up with a list of things I can do instead of checking my email or Twitter or Facebook. I hope it’ll be helpful.


It’s hard to flat out stop something, so let that checky urge be a cue for you to do something different. Also, it can’t be too hard of a thing or you won’t do it instead.

So, turn your phone face down (unless the task tells you otherwise) and give something on this list a shot when you’re tempted to waste time on the social network de jour.

Save the good ones. Print this list. Add it to your home screen. Steal it and add your own. However you want to use it, it’s yours.1

  1. Pray for wisdom.
  2. Text a friend to encourage them.
  3. Read one page of a book.
  4. Drink a glass of water.
  5. Get up and walk around the room.
  6. Come up with one idea.
  7. Stretch.
  8. Write one line in your journal.
  9. Ask someone nearby how their day is going.
  10. Doodle.
  11. Take a picture of something. 2
  12. Clean your workspace.
  13. Add something to your bucket list.
  14. Write down a task you might forget.
  15. Check your calendar for upcoming events.
  16. Take five deep breaths.
  17. Offer to help someone around you.
  18. Thank God for another day.
  19. Write down three things you’re grateful for.
  20. Edit a picture you took.
  21. Delete an app you don’t use from your phone.
  22. Start that thing you don’t want to start.
  23. Find a piece of clutter to give away.
  24. Write a note to someone, just because.
  25. Do a push up.
  26. Clean something small–like your glasses or computer screen or water bottle.
  27. Pick one thing you have to get done today and start it.
  28. Read a quote you’ve saved.
  29. Memorize the first few words of a passage of scripture.
  30. Think of a mistake you made today that you can improve on.
  31. Write your first line of your morning manifesto.
  32. Re-read part of your morning manifesto.
  33. Think of a habit you want to start.
  34. Break down a hard task by taking the first tiny step you can take to tackle it.
  35. Make a to-do list.
  36. Turn on your favorite song.
  37. Read an old journal entry.
  38. Take a minute to think about a problem you haven’t solved yet.
  39. Write down a childhood memory.

  1. Bonus points and high fives all around if you do all of them in one day and don’t check social media at all.

  2. Selfies don’t count.


How to Start Spending Your Time More Wisely

Time is the great equalizer. Rich or poor, man or woman, black or white–24 hours is exactly what we get each day.

We all have the same amount of hours in the day, but we will all have a different number of days.

In the end, however, all of our clocks will eventually strike midnight. The carriage becomes a pumpkin, the spirit leaves the body, and that’s that. For now. 1


Day to day we are all equal, but how we spend our days is where the difference lies. A woman who dies at 60, who spent her days wisely, surely had a fuller life than a man who lives to 100 and squandered the majority of his days.

In The Focus Course, Shawn Blanc reminds us of the reality that everyone is using their time somehow.

Next time you go to the store, look around at everyone you see. Each one of those people has been spending all 168 hours of their week ever since they were born. I’ve been spending all 168 hours of my week, every week, since I was born. And so have you. You don’t get to not spend your time doing anything while you wait to decide what it is you want to spend your time on. Those moments will be spent, one way or another.

Everyone spends all of their time–every day. That’s a simple observation, but it struck me. No human is exempt from using their time. Continue reading

  1. Because one day, for Christians, our empty, decaying body on earth will become a glorified body–a better, fuller, more beautiful carriage than ever before.


A Secret, 3x Faster Way to Search the Web on iOS

I’m always looking for faster and easier ways to do things.

One of those things is searching the web for a person or term I come across but I’m not familiar with on iOS.

iphone search

If you want to look something up without using Siri1 , which, is handy but in general quite shameful in public place, you have a couple of options.

Let’s say you’re reading an article in an app that isn’t Safari–Reeder, Pocket, Instapaper, any news app–and you want to look up a person the article mentions. There are three options. And one that you’re probably not using takes the cake for fastest, but it’s a bit hidden. Continue reading

  1. That is, not telling Siri, “Search the web for …”