10 Habits That Changed My Life
Everyday Actions with Extraordinary Outcomes
We spend most of our lives on autopilot.
Repeating the same actions day in and day out…
Without habits that align with what’s truly important, we waste our lives repeating actions that don't make us or the world any better.
These are 10 habits that have genuinely elevated my life, and I believe they can do wonders for yours too.
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I. WRITING ON THE INTERNET
Photo by Steven Houston on Unsplash
I’ve been writing on the internet since February 2020 when I published my first Medium article while attending a coding bootcamp.
At first, publishing my data science article was nothing more than a homework assignment. However, after having dozens of students start to read, follow, and reach out to me, I realized that publishing my article had actually turned my idea into a tangible slice of the internet that I could show people. My idea was REAL now.
I learned that I could give my ideas life by publishing them online. Here are a few of the nearly-endless benefits of writing on the internet:
The best money you’ll ever make is money made from writing online. Creating something from nothing is already cool enough but having someone give you ACTAUL CASH to do it?! Unreal.
I’ve had companies offer thousands of dollars for minute-long ad reads in my writing and videos and I don’t even have 5,000 followers across all platforms. I even get a small payout from Medium every month from people reading articles I wrote years ago — it’s not much but it helps fund my specialty coffee habit and the occasional marijuana cigarette.
BUILDS AN AUDIENCE
By consistently publishing your ideas, experiences, and things you’ve learned, you start to attract like-minded people who truly understand your perspective. Your audience can become a supportive community that shares your content, offers feedback, and can even become your friends.
Whether you’re looking to publish a book, launch an online course, or sell physical merch, writing online is a powerful promotional tool. Your established audience can become potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer — especially if you have an email newsletter.
CONNECTS YOU WITH COOL PEOPLE
The internet is full of cool people. By writing online you open the door to connections with fellow writers, experts in your field, or potential friends with common interests. These connections can lead to collabs, mentorship opportunities, and friendships that enrich your life in unexpected (and sometimes profitable) ways.
II. DM PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING COOL THINGS
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
One of the unexpected joys of writing online has been the opportunity to make new friends. When you do something as simple as DM someone you admire, you open the door to a world of ideas, perspectives, and opportunities. Making internet friends will not only expand your network but will also introduce you to incredible people who share your passions and interests. Make a habit out of seeing something cool, thinking “wow that’s cool!” and then messaging the creator of that thing on Twitter. It’ll change your life.
LEARN ABOUT COOL PRODUCTS
Without writing about my experiences online I would have never been introduced to some of the coolest products that I use and the super cool people who created them! Here are a few of my favorites:
LEARN HARD LESSONS THE EASY WAY
It’s way easier to learn a hard lesson by asking someone who has already learned it than it is to go learn it for yourself. Writing online has connected me with people who have taught me things about growing my newsletter, making better YouTube videos, and even advancing my tech career that I wouldn’t have been able to figure out on my own.
Speaking of people who are doing cool things, shoutout to the author of Memes Make Millions — Jason Levin for helping me get my own newsletter off the ground. Check out his newsletter and his new book: Memes Make Millions
III. MEMENTO MORI
Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash
USING DEATH TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF
Memento mori is a Latin phrase that translates to: “Remember that you must die” and I have made it a habit to meditate on this idea every single day of my life. I even wear a bracelet with 2 skulls so I can remind myself of that fact every time I see it.
The finitude of life makes things more valuable and should give you the urgency to live a life that you would be proud of. This life is borrowed and we do not get to pick when we have to return it. Before you’re gone, push yourself, realize your potential, and do cool shit.
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
IV. LIMITING SOCIAL MEDIA
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash
STOP MINDLESS SCROLLING (OneSec)
If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling on Instagram or Twitter, closed the app when you got bored, and then immediately reopened it seconds later—this one’s for you.
OneSec is an app I use to stop mindlessly going on social media and other apps that kill my productivity. And the only thing it does… is make you wait.
When you click on Twitter, OneSec asks you to take a deep breath and wait for 5 seconds. Then it gives you the option to continue to the app or exit. This simple app has literally saved me DAYS worth of my life from being lost to mindless scrolling. (And it’s free)
LIMIT ALGORITHMIC CONTENT
If you want to absolutely ruin your productivity and peace of mind, watch YouTube Shorts, scroll the Twitter/X recommended feed, or bombard your brain with the TikTok “For You” page. These content algorithms are designed with one thing in mind: To keep you on the app.
Actively avoid algorithmically curated content and you escape the dopamine trap of social media almost entirely.
CREATION VS CONSUMPTION
One thing I wish I learned earlier is how much better creating is than consuming. Consumption, of food, content, or other stuff feels good at the moment but overindulging will leave you feeling empty.
The happiness and confidence you get from learning to cook a new recipe typically last longer than the happiness from eating the food. This is especially true on the internet. You can waste hours at a time watching YouTube videos but no video that I’ve ever watched has come close to making me as happy as when I finish an edit and get to upload one of my own.
V. TAKING CREATINE
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Journaling is one of my keystone habits and is at the foundation of my many years of personal development. I still have 10+ old notebooks that are filled cover-to-cover with daily journal entries, tasks, goals, and dreams—but in an effort to get value from my journaling retroactively, I’ve switched to Notion where I can create new entries and link to/look back at them whenever I like.
To me, journaling is like a mental decluttering session, helping me see through the fog and gain some much-needed clarity about my goals, emotions, and what's going on in my life.
I’m obsessed with goal-setting. So much so that I’m currently writing a book on the history, state of the art, and my own personal techniques for setting goals and turning them into action plans. You can learn more and get free goal-setting templates on RIGSMethod.com!
Many years ago I learned from my productivity guru, Ali Abdaal, that conducting a yearly review is far more beneficial than setting a New Year’s Resolution. While setting goals for the future is necessary, it’s only a small component of what you should actually do every year.
Here’s how I’ve conducted yearly reviews for the last 3 years:
WINS — Big wins and successes of the year
LOSSES — Big losses and failures of the year
PEAK POSITIVE — Highlights of the year
PEAK NEGATIVE — Worst things that happened
80/20 — Things that contributed most to your happiness
NEXT YEARS GOALS — Your goals for next year
VII. FLOW STATE
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
In psychology, a flow state, also known as “being in the zone”, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
I try to enter this state every single day.
When in flow, you experience heightened motivation and intense concentration. This powerful, undivided attention allows you to filter out distractions and direct your mental resources entirely toward the task at hand. All while feeling a deep sense of joy and fulfillment.
Flow state can create a sense of timelessness, reducing self-criticism and judgment—allowing creative ideas to flow freely. While I have done my best writing, coding, and video editing while deep in flow, it doesn’t always need to be something productive.
I love action sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, and rock climbing because they get me into flow almost every single time. I value this feeling so much that I’m about to move to the mountains of Nevada so I can spend the winter shredding Lake Tahoe on my snowboard and chasing Flow State daily.
Check out this article where I talk about my ritual for entering flow state.
VIII. CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash
ONLINE COURSES, BOOKS, YOUTUBE VIDEOS
In the digital age, the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips is almost overwhelming. Online courses, books, and YouTube videos are the new college if you know how to use them. Some people are surprised that I taught myself how to code with YouTube videos but when Harvard uploads its entire computer science curriculum (for FREE) it surprises me that more people aren’t doing the same. The same is true for learning how to write, building a YouTube channel, running a newsletter, and many other things that I do. All you need to do is learn how to Google and learn to ask good questions.
Growth mindset is the idea that skills, abilities, and intelligence aren’t just due to “natural talent” but that they are things that can be developed with effort and practice. Embodying this mindset empowers you to embrace challenges, learn from your failures, and persist in the face of setbacks.
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt by forming new neural connections in response to learning, experience, and injury.
When you engage in new learning experiences, your brain forms new neural connections and rewires existing ones. This process enhances cognitive abilities, memory, and the capacity to acquire new skills, making lifelong learning not only possible but also highly beneficial for mental agility and cognitive health.
IX. TOUCHING GRASS
Photo by Alex Gorham on Unsplash
In Japan, there is a practice called "Shinrin-Yoku" which translates to forest bathing. No, not literally taking a bath in the forest, but immersing yourself in a forest environment. Research has shown that this practice can increase the production and activity of anti-cancer proteins and white blood cells in the immune system, effectively boosting overall immunity. Some examples of this exercise include:
Listening to forest sounds, i.e. birds and insects
Touching the ground, the trees, and the leaves
Smelling the flowers and other essential oils of the plants and trees
Observing the surroundings and scenery
Tasting the crispiness of the air while breathing
INCREASE CREATIVITY AND PRODUCTIVITY
Spending time in nature has been scientifically shown to significantly enhance creative problem-solving. A study published in PLOS One in 2012 asked participants to engage in creative problem-solving before and after a nature walk – after the walk, participants demonstrated an improvement of up to 50% in their creative problem-solving abilities.
X. NOT EATING MEAT
Photo by Food Photographer on Unsplash
EXPAND YOUR DIET
Choosing a plant-based diet gives you the opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. By exploring vegetarian and vegan recipes, you can learn to cook new dishes, experiment with diverse ingredients, and unlock an entirely new set of recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.
Numerous studies have established a strong link between vegetarian diets and various health benefits. Those who adopt a vegetarian lifestyle often enjoy lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers.
The biggest health benefit… I haven’t eaten a Big Mac in 2 years.
The ethics of eating meat is a contentious issue but it’s not hard to agree that factory farming practices that involve the systematic mistreatment and suffering of animals, overcrowded and often unsanitary conditions, and routine use of antibiotics—make these practices ethically unacceptable.
Thinking about this should raise questions in your head about our moral responsibility towards other sentient beings—or simply to reduce the unnecessary suffering many animals already face.
As a result, I haven’t eaten meat in 2 years to align myself with my principles of compassion, sustainability, and ethical responsibility as a human being. As the world progresses and becomes more intelligent, I hope it will also become more compassionate, and maybe one day we’ll see an end to brutal factory farming.
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Til next time, Nomads. ✌️
- Jack Ross
Jack Ross (Data Engineer, Writer, Nomad)
Chat with me directly by replying to this email, follow me on Twitter for regular updates, and subscribe to my YouTube channel for travel vlogs, tips, and insights on unlocking freedom in the digital age. ❤️
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