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What 10 things should you do every *week* to improve your life? - Barking up the wrong tree

Stashed in: Steve Jobs, Networking, Gratitude, Stress, Words!, Practice, Life, Relationships, Goals!, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Death, Top 10, Well played, sir.

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Yesterday I posted 10 things should you do every day to improve your life.

There are a number of other things research says we can do to make life better but we don't need to do them every day:


1) Create new good habits, kill bad habits:

Changing your environment is the easiest and most powerful way to change your behavior. Altering the things in your home and your office and carefully picking the people you spend time with will bring you greater and more effortless results than anything else. Manipulate your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn't do hard.

More here.


2) Review your goals:

Here is everything you need to know about setting goals. Doing this can improve your life. Goal setting is one of the four techniques the military used to increase Navy SEAL passing rates. Studies have also shown it makes you happier. Initially, the research says, aim high. Set ambitious goals. (But later on down the road don't be afraid to settle to be happy.)


3) Network:

Networking is vital to staying employed, salary growth and job satisfaction. Employees with larger networks perform better. (Networking has even been shown to be vital for drug dealers.) You're likely to find out about your next job through people you know but aren't very close to so expanding your pool of "weak ties" increases opportunities. Reconnecting with old friends on Facebook and Linked In is a good first step. Harvard Business Review has what may be the best networking technique out there.

4) Do something exciting with your partner:

What simple thing kills many relationships? A lack of excitement.

The research points again and again to how important thrills are:

  • Think a pleasant evening is all it takes? Researchers did a 10 week study comparing couples that engaged in "pleasant" activities vs "exciting" activities. Pleasant lost.

5) Think of death:

Sound morbid? You couldn't be more wrong.

9 minutes in to his famous Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs discusses the importance he placed on thinking about death during his life:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life."

Scientists now agree with him.


6) Write:

Writing has been shown to help people:

  • Follow through with their goals.


7) Do a gratitude visit:

It's the best way to say thank you to someone who deserves it and it'll dramatically increase your happiness as well.

8) Volunteer:

Volunteering has been shown time and time again to increase happiness. So the best way to be selfish might be to be selfless. You'll probably inspire others to do good too. Don't have time for this? Wrong. Giving your time to others makes you feel less time-constrained.

9) De-stress:

There are many easy ways to do this. Talk to yourself. Lean back instead of leaning forward. Have more sex. Watch comedy. Spend more time with friends. Be compassionate. Take fish oil. Stand up straight. Meditate. Garden. Chew gum. Smell vanilla. Nap. Eat salt. Spend time in nature.


10) Plan a getaway:

Going on vacation does improve our happiness in the long run. Our work performance is improved for up to a month afterward. Traveling can make you more creative. These countries are the friendliest. You can trust the people most in these US states. And the people in these states are the happiest. And if you're looking for something wild and crazy: These countries drink the most. These countries and these states are the most promiscuous. Research has some ways you can improve your next vacation and make it even happier.


If you haven't already, check out: What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

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I see what you did there. Well played, sir.

Oops. Meant to include the full text. Fixed that. ;)

Loving it. I think full text leads to more click throughs, too.

Eric, if I review my goals every week, how long out in the future should my goals be?

A month? A quarter? A year? 5 years?

Depends on what you are looking for. More than anything else I think goals are good because they help you answer day to day questions. When you have objectives in mind ("saving money for a large shipment of heroin") answers to many questions ("should I spend 100k on AK-47's this week?") snap into line rather than daily decisions being decided randomly by moods. Without guiding principles our efforts are often inconsistent at best.

Sometimes the short-term goals and the long-term goals are at odds with each other.

Example: Spending money on a great mattress is at odds with Saving as much as possible so I can stop working as soon as possible.

So there needs to be balance. Sometimes it's best to serve the short-term goals; other times, to serve the long-term goals.

Even though I've read a lot of these before, I find the repetition helps.

Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

The biggest gap is probably between knowing and doing, not knowing and not knowing. (We all know plenty of behaviors that would improve our lives that we don't follow throug with -- me absolutely included.) That's why the section on starting new habits is so key.

I love that Steve Jobs commencement speech and watch it just about every week.

I love this list. What about doing things that make you happy? And keeping a healthful lifestyle? For me, these two things include going to a baseball game at least once a week during the season and exercising daily.


1. Do something that makes you happy every day.

2. Do something that is healthy every day.

See also: 10 things you should do every day to improve your life.

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