about alcohol

I wanna talk about alcohol.   

I recently had a small “discovery” about myself which has drastically cut down on my alcohol consumption.

And just for fun, I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!

So here’s how I’d normally drink alcohol:

IF I’m at a party….
IF they are serving alcohol…

I will normally drink.  

There’s no real rhyme or reason to this.  I’ll simply have a cocktail or beer out of habit.

Now my problem is I drink FAST.
If I have a drink in my hand (whether it’s a beer, martini, or CocaCola), I’ll keep taking sips until it’s finished.

When I’m done, I’ll get another.

I could finish three drinks before someone else finishes one, and not even realize it till it “hits me.”

I went to 9 weddings in 2012 alone, and I want to share with you a common theme:

1….) I would show up to the wedding reception where there’s always an open-bar starting around 7pm till dinner starts.

2….) I would load up on free drinks, and by dinner time, be kind of buzzed (let’s not use euphemistic words to hide the truth here ….I’d be kinda drunk by this time).

3….) Every drink I take lowers my ability to keep up conversation and be “sharp”…..so I’d be bit dull by the time dinner starts.

4….) Since I’ve been drinking, I’m SUPER hungry by dinner time, and I scarf down the meal and whatever leftovers I can get from others.

5….) So now I’m at a wedding, can barely stand up, feel bloated, have to take a huge dump, feeling cranky, and can no longer make witty conversation.  I just wanna leave at this point.

OK……so by the end of a wedding I’m feeling like crap all because I had too many drinks too fast in the beginning.

This was shockingly apparent to me when I was at a wedding in Cancun (the 4th wedding of that year).  I drank before the dinner started, then scarfed down three plates of food (they flew in a chef from Goa and the food was incredible)….and I felt so bloated and full that I had to go back to my hotel room to throw up.

I ate SO much food I literally couldn’t keep it down.

This was my body’s way of saying, “OK YOU DUMBASS YOU NEED TO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.”

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story until now.
It’s incredibly embarrassing.

SOoooo I ended up making a “Wedding routine” I started following with great success for the next round of weddings.  Perhaps you can use this advice for parties you go to:

1.) I would not have any drinks till AFTER dinner.  Because of this I could keep up great conversation and have a good time without an impending crash.

2.) I would only eat HALF the dinner portioned to me (to avoid feeling so full).

3.) Sometime late into the dinner or after, only if I felt like it, I would start having drinks with friends.  Having a few drinks helped me have more fun on the dance floor.  Several times I simply didn’t feel like drinking at this point because I was having a lot of fun and didn’t want/need any drinks.  It was liberating.

THAT’S IT.  That simple change of “only drinking after dinner” completely changed the outcome!!

Such a stupid little hack changed everything!!

Now that routine worked well for events like weddings, but I frequently go to tech meetups and events, and they’re often held at bars.

The WHOLE point of these is to meet other nerds and have cool conversations.  But with every drink I have, my intelligence goes down.

So one day I was talking with a shy-yet-incredibly-intelligent friend *cough cough* STEVE *cough cough*

….and we were talking about drinking habits.  He asked me one question which till this day I cannot get out of my mind.

This is almost verbatim what he said:

“I don’t understand why you drink.  You’re already outgoing, so why do you need alcohol?  I’m super quiet and nervous at parties, so if I have 1 or 2 drinks, it actually loosens me up and I have a better time.  So the alcohol serves a purpose for me.  But for you it doesn’t.”

–my friend Steve


I had never ONCE in my life asked the simple question:
Will this drink make my time here better or worse? 

This led me down this path of thinking about all the other hidden invisible scripts I (and others) follow in life.

Go to party with drinks —> You drink. 

Go to college —> Then get job. 

Party is invite only —> You can’t go

It seems that we all follow these invisible scripts for seemingly small things.

So remember in the beginning of this article I said “I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!”

That wasn’t a joke.
I am sitting on my couch with my Macbook Air and a Blue Moon beer on the table.

But here’s the thing…..
I was feeling lazy and un-creative before.  I was tickled by the idea of drinking a beer WHILE writing an article about drinking, so I did it.  And the beer served me.

Actually the beer isn’t near me anymore.  I only drank half and put it back in the fridge.  Because instead of following the script of “Have open beer —> Drink it”….I’m asking if the beer is serving me or not.

It served me when I started.  And now that I’m done, I don’t want anymore.

I’d like for you to identify one invisible script you do on your own, and how you’ve changed that behavior (or plan to).

I love hearing stories that have TINY changes that product BIG results (so I can emulate them).

I’m particularly interested to hear about changes in your relationship, work, or habits.

Leave a comment on my blog about them (you can remain anonymous or change your name if you’d like).  I will be selecting 5 commenters to send a NevBox to in the mail (anywhere in the world)! (remember each NevBox cost $97 and I have to physically ship it to you via snail mail…..and I’m no longer selling them).

So go comment with a SMALL change that’s produced BIG results for you, and I might be contacting you to send you a NevBox!!!

Blog posted on: July 29, 2013

153 comments on “about alcohol

  1. Matt Henn

    I found this post so relatable because I honestly have the exact same problem, and like you it’s not just with alcohol it’s just with drinks in general. I remember going to dinner with my girlfriend and her parents ordering a coke and just putting it just the face drink after drink after drink. There would be dinners where I would count the number of cokes I had and at times it would be like 6+ large cups. My think my girlfriends parents thought it was a nervous twitch deal but in all reality I just have a weird hand-to-mouth issue, as I do the same thing with snacks also! I cut that terrible habit with coke out by just replacing my drinks with some good ol’ h2o. You can’t have enough water, right? The other part of this story is I do the same things with booze but rather than drinking 8%er IPAs I go for the 4%er Buds.

    1. Neville Post author

      Yea….it’s such an unconscious thing.

      What I’ve been doing when I go out now is I have my drink, then give it a rest for a short while before grabbing another.

      This kind of trains my mind that “I only have one for a while, I may as well make it last.” Helps me stop inhaling booze/drinks/snacks quite as fast!

  2. Chris Altamirano


    Love your freaking posts/emails as always my brotha from another brown motha.

    It’s seriously super crazy how one little change can make a HUGE difference. And no I’m not talking about male enhancement pills.

    One thing I’ve changed lately (that’s actually produced a bit more cash for me) is to solely focus on Income Producing Activities.

    Do I still make informative YouTube videos without selling stuff? But of course!

    But while doing the things I like, I’ve managed to change regular blogging/video marketing into value offered + what can I sell.

    Before I was just giving everything away 100% free. Which was cool since traffic was coming in, but no sales were ever made (shitty kitty).

    All in all..that one tiny change made a huge difference. Also listening to audio and reading a ton of books helped change my perspective on marketing – especially the part about receiving money into my life and not being scared to sell.

    Small mindset shift has made a really BIG difference for me.

    NevBox or no NevBox, I’m super glad I read this post dude. You’re the man.

    Talk soon dude!

    – Chris Altamirano

    1. Neville Post author

      Hey Chris, glad you like the emails!

      The income-producing thing is smart, if I ever want a month to focus on that, I write down what I’ve made everyday.

      Afterall……”What gets measured, gets managed”

  3. Jim Kellas

    My tiny change is along the same lines as yours.

    As is true with most Silicon Valley companies, we get free lunch catered every day. Often these lunches are buffet style which usually garners huge servings of food. My personal hack is to grab a small plate and fill it up, sit down and eat it. Even if I still feel hungry, I wait 20 minutes before deciding to get a second helping. This personal hack fixed 2 problems: waistline (and other health issues) and camaraderie.

    The first fix should be pretty obvious. Since I wait 20 minutes, I give my body a chance to realize that it’s full. More times than not, I don’t go back for a second helping and if I do, it’s a small amount. The second fix is simply caused by the fact that I’m forcing myself to take a breather from work and chat with co-workers!

  4. Will


    Love this blog!

    I’ve been trying to write a story for a really long time, and every time I start to write it I type up a couple lines of garbage, save the file, and walk away from it.

    While I’m writing I generally get distracted and hop on facebook, twitter, drudge report, huffpost, buzzfeed or whatever site’s showing me weird shit or dogs falling down stairs. And I check compulsively. No joke, I go back to sites dozens of times despite the fact that there’s no new content.

    The product of this? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I never get anything done.

    Until I started writing with a pen and pad. No computers, no screens, nothing.

    Since then I’ve gotten ~20,000 words down on page. I’ve also been SO proud of what I’ve written that I’ve asked people, friends, family, etc. to read it to see what they think so I’m not writing 100,000 words (my goal) before I know how people feel about it.

    I’ve gotten real feedback I can use. Next step – fearlessly approaching people in coffeeshops, bookstores, and writing meetups to buy them coffee if they read 10 pages and give me some honest feedback.

    So – writing with a pen and pad, with no screen = boosted productivity.


    1. Sheiler

      I like the idea of buying someone coffee if they’ll read and critique 10 pages. I bet once you get them to read the 10, they’ll just continue reading until you’ve run out of pages.

    2. Neville Post author

      Will……this is NevBox worthy because I personally might start doing this. I’m a big pen/paper guy but I’ve never wrote these emails or blog posts on paper first (rare exception).

      I have the SAME problem as you. My poison of choice is the new Digg.com, Reddit.com, and Facebook. I tried using a Google Chrome extension to block these sites, but when I’m feeling that urge to procrastinate, I just go to DIFFERENT sites and waste time!

      Might try writing my next thing out. Awesome tip (even though stupidly simple)!

      1. Javier

        What’s thw name of that extension? I suffer the same bad habit, if I were to track the time I loose checking Facebook, twitter and tumblr I might get scared of the time I procastrinate.

        The downside is that I still have the iPad and iPhone at hand

      2. silatoksoz@gmail.com

        If you are willing to write with pen and paper (which means you won’t have internet at the moment), why don’t you simply turn off your wifi (or even cut off your internet) for a specific period?

  5. Dave

    Hey Nev!

    Great article! I went through much of what you wrote a few years ago in regards to alcohol. It was an invisible script that would be invoked in social situations where drinks were present. I think for myself, being older now, the time lag of several days recovery steered me away from the drink :)

    Anyway, the small hack I made that has led to huge results was following Tim Ferriss’ diet advice of having 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up every day. It has been the launch pad to my entire daily routine as once I consistently followed it I anchored everything else to follow after. So the morning routine took on a whole new level of productivity. Eventually I started to move my wakeup time back in small increments until now I get up an hour+ earlier every day.

    That one small dietary hack has resulted in me losing a great amount of body fat as well and the fact that it starts the now well-oiled machinery that is my daily routine has had a very important impact on my life:)


    1. Neville Post author

      Interesting. I read about this in his 4HB book.

      It reminds me of @Ramit’s advice to “Floss just one tooth, because after the first one, there’s a 99% chance you’ll just floss all of them.”

      By starting off your day with protein, you’ve already made it “Healthy”, so you’ll likely keep that up.


    2. Skye

      exact same for me.

      It started with 4hr body but it’s more paleo now. Eggs + veggie dish w/ bulletproof coffee = amazing day.

      That got me seeing good physical results which reinforced the exercise habit which then put me on to fitness/paleo podcasts and started a vicious learning / health overhaul. I’ve been doing daily weight recordings and monthly body measurements as well. As Nev stated “what gets measured, gets managed”.

      And because of how good I feel and how much energy I have, I’m now getting up an hour earlier as well.

      This ties a bit back to alcohol because now that I’m feeling so good, when I drink ( I love a gooood craft beer ), I can notice the effects of two beers the next day and it makes me question why I had them in the first place: stress release, in the fridge, obligated to order a drink at a restaurant, the need to fit in with others, the need for that drink to become social and loosen up, etc.

      This reflection has me completely cutting back on alcohol consumption though it’s so hard with beautiful Vancouver summers. The side effects take me out of feeling optimal which results in lower productivity and negative thoughts.


  6. Bryan

    One of the small things that I have seen help me with a big improvement is a simple accountability partner. I have buddies that have similar goals as far as fitness so one day after not using the gym membership, was talking to some friends and we decided to do something small. Everyone do push-ups every morning and we shoot out a text to see who has/hasn’t and then give anyone who hasn’t yet crap about it. It was great and helped develope a habit of doing something. So now I actually do go to the gym.

    Appreciate your blog man. You are the Kopy Man!

    1. Neville Post author

      Other people are a great help….especially when they have similar goals.

      It’s like a relationship where the other person picks up your slack when needed, and likewise, you pick up their slack when they need it.

  7. Kaizar

    Hi Nev,
    Really like the articles. Common sense and simplicity.

    This was a few years ago when I was working for “the banking man”. I had a really bad TV addiction. I would be able to watch anything on TV.
    Problem: I would end up staying up super late (2am-3am) daily and the consequence was that the next day I suffered badly; getting late to work, being un-focused, forgetful and sometimes even doing the sleepy head “bob” at meetings, this was embarrassing. Final straw got caught sleeping at the desk…(ouch!)
    So I decided I needed to cut this habit out badly and quickly. I ended up getting a DVR, recorded all the programs I liked and also going for a walk or run after dinner so that I could avoid sitting down and turning on the TV. I would just watch the recordings on Sundays and fast forward through the ads which saved tons of time.
    3 good things came from that, I was up earlier and did great at work. I also picked up reading a lot more and finally did lose a bit of weight as well. Best of all, being able to get up earlier gave me more time in the morning to pick up a course(self study) and get out of the banking industry to work for myself :)


    from Singapore

    1. Neville Post author

      Wow….watching TV really did change your life!

      I understand this though…..I used to live in a house and my roommate had a nice TV and sound system and cable. I could watch TV for 6+ hours without realizing it.

      My weakness at the time was Family Guy….then immediately after Seinfeld would come on…..then I’d switch to something else and watch THAT. Before I knew it, it was bed time and I had done NOTTTHINGGG that whole night!

      Awesome hack, can’t believe what a large impact it had on you!

  8. Trent

    I leave my journal in my pillowcase so that I have to take it out before I go to bed.

    This little change has allowed me to journal for around 30 days straight because I write in it immediately after I get in bed to go to sleep at night.

    I’ve found that focusing on linking the desired behavior with an existing habit is really effective.

    So laying my head on my pillow at night is the trigger for me to journal. I lay down on my pillow and feel this hard object and know it’s time to journal. Works like a charm!

    1. Sam

      Nev could do that with his book to get it finished……. don’t know what would happen if you leave a Mac Book in your pillowcase though… ;)

  9. Jake Liddell

    Hi Nev,

    I am wide awake in the mornings, but get tired around 3pm-5pm. I do all my best work that requires concentration in the mornings from 5am-lunch, but in the afternoon it’s much better to be out talking to people or exercising, as it keeps me awake.

    But I kept on arranging to see people whenever they wanted, which was so often in the mornings.

    I was saying yes when they asked if I could meet them at 10. Because technically I could.

    My simple change was to push every meeting I can back to the afternoon. No one minds at all, and I keep my mornings free for concentrated work.

    It’s made a big difference for me.


    1. Neville Post author

      Nice! I’ve found that morning work is SO much more productive than afternoon work also.

      When I tried consistently waking up at 7am, I started getting ALL my work done before lunch! Perhaps I should start doing this again :)

      Good one Jake!!

  10. David Heasman

    Yo Nev,

    Real real simple.

    I used to read loads of books and then do absolutely nothing about the information I read.

    Then one day I just started simply grabbing a single notepad which I wrote everything in (also a simple hack) and writing any thoughts and ideas I had while reading.

    Result: I was far more likely to take action on the stuff I read.

    Notetaking is seriously underrated.

  11. Sophie

    Hi Nev,

    Great post as always…

    As for a quick hack that has changed a lot of things for me: I was losing tons of time by letting clients ping me anytime they had a question or suggestion or ANYTHING on a copy I was writing for them.

    So one day I just decided that if I wanted someone to just interrupt me every five minutes, I’d just be back at my previous boring office job. So I stepped in and:

    1- on the first week, I stopped answering within 5 minutes to every request (most of them are bullshit, people writes an email when they really need something, otherwise… it goes away)
    2 – then (and till now) i basically shut down Skype at noon. Morning work better for me, and if no virtual meeting has been planned, I’m just not available for them through instant messaging.

    My productivity has just been increasing since then (with fewer hours of writing!), and I’m considering doing the same thing with mobile phone.

    A little glass of wine to celebrate that?


    1. Neville Post author

      Always a good idea to cut down on those meaningless distractions.

      I had some friends that did this with their company, where they literally fired 90% of their clientele. Within 3 years they became a 500+ person company because of this!

      Good idea

  12. Andy

    Untimely! Just this past weekend we (family) had guests over and I drank a little too much too quickly and felt really sleepy when I should have been engaging in good solid random conversations (the doctor says the reason I don’t get hangovers is because my liver is too strong, but I am beginning to think of this as a curse rather than as a blessing). I like the “no drinks until after food” hack and I am going to use that at the next opportunity!

    The biggest recent takeaway I had was to “just follow the instructions” and forget thinking about myself as “a special snowflake” that needs to have things tailored to themself. As a result of this simple (yet relevatory) insight was that it finally clicked that if an expert (ie someone who had achieved what I want to achieve) gave me some advice and I modified it, if I failed I would have learned exactly zero!

    Was it their fault? Was it my fault for modifying their protocol/prescription? There is no way to know. So, having had this insight I followed someone’s instructions to the “T” and had huge results. As a result, I now view the written word with new found respect (well, only the written word of those who I respect I suppose) and am enjoying the various journeys on which I am being taken/I am taking myself on, with a childlike enthusiasm I haven’t experienced in years – everything is pure discovery, backed up with the feeling that I am gaining an awful lot by ignoring (at this stage at least) the modifications my mind wishes to apply!

    1. Neville Post author

      Hey Andy….that’s pretty good!

      I always like to pick & chose the advice I should take…..but it only makes sense that if someone LAYS OUT THE FREAKIN STEPS FOR YOU ALREADY that you can just follow those.

      Good insight.

      Glad you can use the “Drink only after” rule. It’ll really help you if you’re looking to make good conversation at events.

  13. John Mitchell

    Hey Nev!

    A really simple one for me was just setting recurring reminders. I setup iCal to work with Automator so that when a reminder occurs it activates a custom function, in my case, whenever the reminder goes off it activates 180 minutes of RescueTime ‘Stay Focused’. This forces me to stay on task and accomplish my goals with no compromise.

    I think little behavioural tweaks are powerful, even more so if it’s automated so you don’t have to remember what to or what not to do every time, because that’s uneffective.

    Hopefully this works for other people too!

    1. Neville Post author


      I recently started using a Google Plugin that shuts off certain websites, but it doesn’t seem to help me as much as hoped.

      As for reminders on the computer, they somehow don’t feeling pressing to me. But STUFF I WRITE DOWN does!

      Good way of reminding yourself though….perhaps I might do the iCal thing since I use it already!

  14. Matt

    I used to have a horrible time falling asleep at night. I would toss and turn all night, and wake up exhausted.

    One of my friends recommended removing the tv from my bedroom. I tried it for a week and ended up benefiting a couple ways. I was able to relax and “wind-down” faster. I also slept better. It turns out, by me falling asleep with the tv on, the flickering light was messing with my brain and wouldnt allow it to relax.

    I ended up making a rule to stop using all electronics an hour before bed (unless absolutely necessary). The resulting better sleep has me never regretting the decision.

    1. Neville Post author

      OOOHH YEAAHH!! This is a HUGE one Matt!

      Anytime I use the computer/tv right before sleep, it dramatically impacts the quality of my sleep in a bad way.

      Reading for an hour before sleep is always my remedy.

      Good one!

  15. Richard Tisdall

    Hey Nev

    Love your blog as ever! My one change came as a result of a previous post you wrote about to do lists. I WAS the worlds worst (or best) procrastinator, never able to get started -or finished if I did start.

    My key issue was a total lack of focus and flitting from project to project without defined structure or goals.

    Then I read your post on October 18 last year about a simple little to do list hack and since that date I have been following it religiously, I still have a master list but each day I write, with a pen on good old paper, all of the tasks I will complete that day. Then I work my way doen the list one task at a time and cross them out one by one.

    I now have a binder full of my previous lists to refer back to but most importantly I have seen a 1000% increase in my productivity and effectiveness. The ‘chicka chicka’ effect of crossing out completed tasks is hugely cathartic and a side benefit is it enables me to evaluate everything I am doing from a value perspective – Do I really need to do this, what happens if I don’t do it etc?

    Probably a bit off topic for this post I know (which I really enjoyed and identified with BTW) but I just wanted to say THANKS and that 9 months down the road your little hack has had a huge impact!



    1. Neville Post author

      Richard, thanks man! Glad you like the blog.

      Especially glad you liked that to-do list hack. It’s actually helped a lot of people as a result, and it’s cool to hear how it helped you THAT much! I made a dent in your life :)

      Something about that damn CHICKA CHICKA is very effective

      Here’s the hack in case someone’s wondering:

  16. Sheiler

    Um this is not technical but it did help me, so here goes.

    I had this fixation on Peach Snapple. It’s hard to find in Montreal – where I live mostly – but it’s super easy to find in the States. Did you know that there’s a supermarket in the Boston area that labels one of their aisles the “Snapple” aisle (like peanut butter or coffee)? I would get all hoardy when making a quick trip down to the US, stockpiling the Peach Snapple in my car, driving over the border, putting the cases in a good spot in my house. But then I’d drink it all up quickly. Because it was delicious but also super hard to get. Getting plumpy, yes, jittery from caffeine, check!

    Then came the time when I couldn’t make my usual run to the US (for stuff not just to get Snapple), and I ran out and I sort of panicked. Here’s the hack. I started drinking regular old Earl Grey tea that I bought a few packs of. They came in orange cylinder containers. I realized that it was orange like the orange of the Peach Snapple label. I put 1 cylinder out in the kitchen to view at any time I looked in the kitchen. 1 cylinder near my desk. I drank the tea and noted the entire time that it wasn’t the Peach Snapple, but looking at the orange color while drinking my tea did it for me.

    I’ve been back to the US to pick up my mail and do some work and stuff, and so far, maybe 6 months in, I no longer have that panicked feeling of running out of Snapple. I will admit that I’ll buy a couple of cold bottles at the gas station while I’m driving to Boston, but I don’t go overboard.

    Actually I have to stop talking about this now. I think an orange container is calling to me.

    1. Neville Post author


      THis sounds stupid at first “Why doesn’t that dummy just stop drinking Snapple….?”

      But I getchya.

      It seems like you replaced one vice with something that’s similar, but not quite a vice. Good first step!

      I was the same way with fast food. It was just so good and triggered YUMMINESS in my brain. Was hard to stop till I started eating lots of fruit and healthy stuff, then the cravings went away when I realized how awful it would make me feel.

      Good hack Sheila!

  17. Michelle


    Not sure how you always, always, always have something ‘real’ to share with us, with me, that resonates…it’s like you are here at my desk watching me or something.

    I always have something I’m working on…whether it’s a marketing piece I’m trying to craft or a to-do list I’m plowing through..I’m trying to finish something. My problem is that something is always ‘needing my attention’. My simple hack is to write these things down in the same place: 3X3 notepad cube that stays near my computer. This helps me in two ways because I can keep track of my productivity by seeing what I have accomplished and i make the notes at the start of the day (gives me focus) and at the end (gives my a sense of accomplishment, pushes me a bit for the next day).

    Also, I use this 3X3 cube because it forces me to only put reasonable-sized tasks on it or break up huge tasks into multiple days which is what I should probably do anyway.

    I appreciate you and how you move my/our needle forward with every posting.

    1. Neville Post author

      Glad these apply to you. My secret??



      Anyhow, that 3×3 cube sounds cool……it’s so funny how different things work for different people. I somehow don’t associate a sticky note with “MUST DO THIS”….I’ve tried.

      I feel the legal pad I use “means more.”

      But for you, the cube works perfect. Humans are weird!

      I think the underlying trick you’re using is making a SINGLE GOAL to accmoplish for the day. Very powerful. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Bill

    I’ve been a fatty for over a decade and I’ve been making tiny changes in my diet and exercise over several months and I’ve lost 30 pounds. Before, I would just eat whatever, now I’ve stopped eating a ton of junk. So instead of a burger and fries, I’ll have chicken and a sweet potato and a salad. Now I’ve started adding raw foods to my diet. In just a few short months I’ll be as good as new. That’s the irony of this Neville, we make this tiny decisions every day and they either get us closer to what we want or further but we never stagnate. I’m also a little on the quiet side and I’ve got a plan in place to do the same thing for my social life. Make eye contact with 1 new person a day, then smile, then say hi…over time tiny changes can help you accomplish most anything.

    1. Neville Post author

      Hey Bill!

      1.) Awesome you can poke a little fun at your old self as a “fatty”. Shows maturity and growth (and a healthy disdain for your over-weightness)

      2.) Seems like you’re on the right track. Adam at MyBodyTutor.com always talks about NOT going on diets because they’re not sustainable for life. It seems like your method to just change TIINNYY things is the right way.

      3.) When I started introducing more raw foods in my diet, I lost a ton of weight fast and I wasn’t even fat. So keep going and I think you’ll be just fine.

      4.) As for your social life, I used to be quieter when younger, but learned to become social and enjoy it.

      Here’s a MAJOR thing to remember Bill:
      EVERRRRRYYYOONNEEE is as nervous about how they appear to everyone else as you are.

      Imagine if you were at a networking party, and another guy just randomly comes up and says hello to you and introduces himself. Is this a horrible thing?? NO! You probably actually enjoy the guy took the effort to say hello and make you comfortable. So try it with others. Try it everyday, it will quickly lead you down a good path.

      Best of luck Bill!

  19. Hoo Kang

    Last year I made a change of using a standing desk at work.

    I am overweight and had some back problems.

    Since I am work 9-10 hours a day and forcing me to stand up helped me fix my posture.

    Granted it took a year to get used to using a standing desk 50-70 hours a week – I was drained after work.

    But now no back problems!


  20. Chris

    One small changed made a huge impact on many social interactions. I tend to be outgoing, but when it comes to meeting women I don’t care to be assertive. I want women to approach me or initiate a conversation. I stumbled upon a gem. When I go places I usually have my backpack, and on the side of the backpack I have a water bottle. Prior to my discovery I had a typical blue Nalgene just like every other 20-something chump. It wasn’t until I purchased a pink water bottle where I saw a exponential growth in positive interactions with women. At least once a week a co-worker or some girl at the gym comments “hehe nice water bottle” now they could be condescending, but the fact is 1. Notice me 2. Initiate conversation. From there the deal is sealed. Even if I have no intention of pursuing these women I can tell you that they remember me. GENTLEMEN, I encourage you to buy something pink. Something you use often, and can be visible. This can be a pen, bottle or even a small trinket. We know most girls are conditioned to like pink. Yeah you’ll catch flak from your guy friends. But I relish in it. Fact is, they aren’t man enough for pink.

  21. Maria

    I’ve been doing yoga for a few years now, which I really enjoy. I always knew meditation would be just as beneficial for me so I tried to incorporate it as a habit in a million different ways. I would try to sit and meditate right after yoga. I signed up for guided meditation emails. I scheduled it in my calendar. I tried meditating right after waking up in the morning. Nothing stuck for longer than a few weeks. Last month I got a yoga DVD which has a 5 min guided meditation that automatically plays after each routine. So as long as I’m doing a routine, I’m getting in a meditation session. I couldn’t believe I had never thought of this. Five minutes everyday is better then 20 minutes never.

    1. Neville Post author

      Nice quote:
      “Five minutes everyday is better then 20 minutes never.”

      My buddy Adam from MyBodyTutor would tell me to do this 20/20/20 workout in between long hours using a computer.

      It was:
      20 jumping jacks
      20 pushups
      20 situps

      Just doing that would kick me off into a “OK, I was healthy, now let me continue to be healthy” state.

      Good hack Maria!

  22. S Roe

    Half Blue Moon-drinking Nev,

    Got an alcohol hack that’s worked for me and a few buddies who copied it. It’s a long story, but bear with me.

    2008, I’m at the end of 5 weeks volunteering in Peru, and I head over to visit Cusco, and hike up to Machu Picchu. Timing was off with my friends, so I end up going alone. No big deal. MP and Cusco are amazing!

    So, on my 25th birthday, which happened to be 08.08.08 (the opening of the Beijing Olympics), I’m sitting in Cusco by myself ordering myself a slice of birthday brownie (I do love a good brownie). And I’m thinking, “Wow, it’s 8/8/08 and I just turned 25: a quarter of a century. I’m by myself, but I really can’t complain because the weeks before this day have been amazing, and the weeks after will likely be amazing (going to Beach Week, Cali, and Burning Man after). It’s kind of a big moment. I should do something big.”

    So, on the 8 hour bus ride (alone) back to the volunteer town, I wrote in my notebook my dreams and goals for life. You know, health, career, love, etc. And for health, I wrote down that I wanted to go 1 year without drinking alcohol. Now, I love me some craft beer, and I’m reminded of my grandfather every time I drink a Canadian Club and Ginger or a Toasted Almond. But I knew drinking too much alcohol would limit my productivity and potential.

    What about social situations? Sometimes just one drink at social events is polite. And instead of going ‘cold turkey’, I made my own hack:

    No beer or liquor: only wine.

    This simple hack has affected me positively in a million ways. I can still drink at a social event… as long as they have wine.

    I can still relax after work with a drink… a glass of wine. When I’m out at the bars and the owner comes over offering free shots of Jager (I hang out at awesome bars), I politely decline with a simple, “I don’t drink beer or liquor”. When my buddies are pounding their 7th or 8th beer, I’m on my 2nd glass of wine, feeling goooooood.

    And most importantly, when I’m with my special lady… a bottle of wine please. And there’s no reason to complain.

    So, anybody looking for another alcohol hack – try only wine for 6 months or a year. See how it treats ya’. It’s treated me well.


    ps: my 30th b-day is coming up 8.8.2013 and I’ll be able to say I’ve gone 5 years without a SIP of beer or liquor. After I did the year successfully, I kept going b/c I liked it so much.

    1. Neville Post author

      Dude, this was GREAT!!!

      Never thought about that.

      Wine has a certain “mood” that doesn’t involve chugging, is rarer at crazy spring-break type events, and still allows you to drink with the lady (who doesn’t like having a bottle of wine at home sometimes with someone special)?


  23. Jason Croft

    Great insight, Neville. My small-but-powerful behavior change for me was getting my ass to bed an hour or two earlier. I’m naturally a night owl and don’t need much sleep. But I’ve been trying to lose some weight in my gutty gut. My nightly routine for so long was around 9 or 10 to have a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal. I would crave this every night. By forcing myself to go to bed earlier I cut out one coffee per day (less caffeine per day), cut out a serving of carbs, cut out late night eating which is no bueno, and it gets me up earlier the next day and I can get more done at work.

    1. Neville Post author

      Nice….going to bed early def helps.

      I’m guessing in different stages of life this is easier. In college I wouldn’t sleep before 4am almost ever.

      Now going to bed early and rising early is an awesome feeling.

  24. Aaron Zalonis

    Hi Neville-

    Always look forward to your posts.

    I never have an artistic block just by keeping a notepad by the bed. Best ideas come when about to fall asleep (they are usually the ones that also wake me up laughing.)

    And like other commenters, eating 30g of protein in the morning first thing has made a huge difference.

    Stay awesome,


    1. Neville Post author

      Thanks Aaron! I keep a notebook by bed too….somehow don’t use it much though.

      I’m personally a “get-a-lot-of-ideas-in-the-shower” guy

  25. Chris

    Hi Nev,

    Great blog! It’s cool to get personal insights from your life (not being creepy…much haha – I’m sure I’m not the only one).

    My TINY hack that produced BIG results made excersise EASIER for me AND helped me go from 12 push-ups per set to 35 push-ups per set in just under ONE month! (That’s a 291% increase!)

    The hack –

    Instead of working out with traditional 3-5 sets per excersise per workout, I did only ONE set at a time…every hour of my work day (usually between 8-10 hours).

    The payoff –

    I ended up doing 8-10 sets of each excersise throughout my day which increased my workout volume while making the workouts seem easier for me.

    How I did/do it:

    I set an alarm to go off every hour and do ONE set of push-ups, one set of pull ups, one set of squats and one set of leg raises (I’ve since expanded this schedule to pull ups, leg and core routines as well).

    It helps with my time management (it literally takes a few minutes every hour instead of 45-60 minute chunks) AND it produced measurable results within a fairly short timeframe.

    This hack can be used for a a wider variety of excersises than what I’m currently doing as you can switch things up as well.

    Thanks again for sharing your stories and lessons, I’m looking forward to hearing more in future.

    Chris (QLD Australia)

  26. Grey Thompson

    Hey Nev,

    You rock my socks. My tale is similar to yours, because it involves drinking. But instead of being a career-related revelation, mine involves women.

    Quite simply, I realized that the more I drank, the less charming, intelligent, and mature I became. Being young and single, I was far more concerned with meeting beautiful women, than drinking too much and passing out on my floor.

    Once I had recognized this, it became so easy to manage my drinking. I was able to stay charming, intelligent, and mature at parties and successfully made more friends, and had WAY more fun.

    (I’m also swimming in booty… um, no not really…)

    Little change, but it has made a huge difference to my life.

    And I already own a Nevbox, so please make sure you award it to one of these other fine fellows.


  27. Shawn

    Great advice. I live in New Orleans, where Saints football, parades, and drinking are the pasttimes. I’ve never understood why drinking was an activity unto itself – it makes no sense. So I’ve always had the habit of maintaining my dignity, my composure, and my ability to stay sharp (as you put it). It makes for better conversation and less DUIs.

  28. Carter

    I’ve been married since January 2011, and one really important psychological hack I’ve developed helps me stay engaged, attentive, and show my wife the love and attention she needs.

    I’m really grumpy in the morning and when I get home from work. Like, really grumpy. I have a chronic sleep disorder, so I’m constantly tired (not that it’s an excuse to be rude). So when I am starting to wake up or driving home, I have a little mental conversation with my wife before I talk to her. In my head, I intentionally act or say things that I know are rude and imagine what her response would be to me griping about this or that. When I hear her response in my head, it kills my bad mood and makes it super easy for me to be cheerful and upbeat when I get home.

    Thanks for this post Nev, it got me thinking again about my invisible scripts and ways to improve my habits!

    1. Neville Post author


      I’m always interested in these little relationship hacks from happily married people. I might try this with the girlfriend. Thanks Carter!

  29. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Neville. It is really relatable to me, especially as I just went to a wedding three days ago and tried to get my money’s worth out of the open bar. I could absolutely use a change in how I go about drinking at weddings, and I think I may try out your method to see how it works for me. And now I know I can question if alcohol is serving me, at happy hours, networking meetings, or whatever. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean I need to consume it. Thanks!

  30. JustMe

    Problem #1: Not being productive enough during the day.

    Small change: I was tracking my hours, what I did during those hours, and outcomes in a notebook. I started hating that system because it was boring and annoying and had no in-built systems for emotional and daily rewards.

    Instead, I reread a fantastic book called “The NOW Habit” and began implementing the simple calendar system based on pre-scheduling fun, breaks, and meals first. (Seriously, the worldview change is that pleasure and other life commitments must be scheduled into the day first and everything else must be planned around it.) Then, in the gaps, work must fit in, and each time I finish 30 minutes worth of work, I get to color in the calendar with a magic marker.

    Big results: It’s only been two weeks, but I have a more realistic sense of how much time there is for work in a typical human’s day (not much), feel I deserve my breaks more, see work progress via markers, and can adapt the schedule for bigger or more projects later on.

    Probably one of the biggest wins is dismantling the script that the good things in life must wait until that magical someday when everything is perfect/ I get done with a big milestone.

  31. Eleanor

    So, I suddenly find myself with a newly diagnosed disease. I now need to give myself a shot once a week. The idea of sticking a needle into my skin was terrifying, and I found that not being able to practice over the course of the week made it worse. In fact, one week I startled myself and pulled the needle out. The medicine — which costs $1000 a week — went everywhere but where it needed to go.

    Now I practice. I watch YouTube videos every week before I give myself the shot. And it’s no big deal because I see how other people do it. And I’m able to mentally practice.

    This morning I gave myself my 8th shot. I’m no longer afraid of the needle. Seeing how other people do it — and learning from them — has really helped.

  32. Ty

    Hi Neville,

    Great post- which now has me reviewing what other ‘routines’ I am doing that are not serving me well. Here is one change I made in the last year that has really help me be more productive.
    I always have on some sort of music on when I am home, working out or working. (I listen to auto books in the car)
    I end up getting distracted frequently when some great song comes on. Now this is not always bad, as they make me smile, sing or even dance around in my chair, but distracting me none the less.

    No idea where I heard this idea, but I stopped listening to music- with words- during morning and when I have tight deadlines.

    It’s hard to get started , but I get so much more accomplish earlier in the day, by this one change.

    Thanks for posts. They have just the right combo of entertainment and education

  33. Peter

    So, here is my personal alcohol hack :

    1) every time I come to a bar / restaurant ALWAYS order a big bottle of mineral water before even thinking about what else I might want
    2) Get started with a glass of water, even if I’m having something else later
    3) if I do drink, and especially if I drink a lot, I always drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol – gives me so much less of a headache the next day
    4) I tell everybody (including myself) that I get drunk really quick -resulting often in less peer pressure
    5) I stopped buying alcohol to keep at home, so I can only get tempted when I’m going out (except wine, which I keep hidden in the basement, so it’s a hassle to go down and get it).

  34. Jon Gurnari

    Yes!! I did the same thing with food(mostly junk food) a yr and a half ago. I figured, what the hell? It’s not doing anything for me I guess I don’t need it… I cut out most junkfood and ate better more correct portions And I’m down 82 pounds! Went from 280 to 198. My motorcycle goes faster now!!

  35. Debbie

    The script I had to rewrite was one involving work. When self employed, it’s very easy to sit down in front of the computer in the morning and the next thing you know it’s late in the evening and you’re still there.

    I’d often feel like I wanted a walk or to go run an errand but would tell myself, “I can’t, I’ve just got too much to do”… then comes burn out where you find yourself dissatisfied with everything about your work when you know you used to love it.

    It’s not the work… it’s the bad habit of not taking care of yourself.

    So, all that to say… my new script says take scheduled breaks and in addition to that, if I hear the line in my noggin say, I’d really like to ___ but I *can’t* , that’s my cue to step away from the computer and go do it (or go do something).

    What happens when I get back is almost magical. I’m much more focused and efficient which allows me to get far more done in less time than if I’d stayed on my ball chair in frantic mode.

    It’s hard to force myself to do sometimes, I’ve just done it enough to have faith that it always works… and it does.

  36. Eman

    I love this post! I don’t have issues with alcohol to help me adapt to the social environment but I have issues with something that I find more intoxicating and is an instant mood changer to get me outta the dumps. My script would work like this. Every time I was feeling low, depressed, anxious, or needing attention I’d always seek out women where ever I could find them, bars, clubs and online wherever. So this ego boost I get would last for a few days and it gets the creative juices flowing and I felt like I could conquer the world at times, lol. Some people resort to alcohol, gambling, drugs but my addiction is women.

    I’m not sure how I started following this script or prescription for self remedy but I figured because it came very easy for me to pick up beautiful women that is was low hanging fruit for me and it offered the path of least resistance.

    As a consequence, I’m constantly distracted from my goals of starting my own business or finishing my creative projects. I have a business partner who’s constantly telling me to quit chasing women but for me its a an addiction that I use to cope when I don’t want to face pain. It might sound funny to some like its not really a problem but it is becoming too distracting and quite exhausting. Have I made a simple change? No, but I know I need to and somehow get my “fix” from something more positive and constructive.

    So I know you’re looking for results of others to emulate for yourself but for now I’m stuck in the: Feel down in the dumps = go get laid. So I need to find a different coping mechanism but that in itself eludes me at the moment.

    Love reading your post Neville, keep it going and coming.

  37. Tyler Carslon

    Hey Nev,

    Loved that post, I am the same way I just instantly chug drinks whether it is water, soda, or cold beer. I will drink at a minimum 4 glasses of water at one meal, but I try to have at least 1 several hour meal per week. I love it usually with my girlfriend we just take our time and never order entree until after we have had at least on appetizer, really helps us spend good quality time and the other rule is NO PHONES AT THE TABLE. Unless we need to look up something on google to find a future trip destination or to answer some trivia we randomly came up with! And my personal rule is that anytime there are drinks around and it isnt just friends, but instead family or business meeting etc. i have a 2 BEER RULE. It has saved me from getting to drunk and talking about god knows what shit comes to mind. But at the same time I can be social and enjoy it. So in summary

    1) never order entree until after I have had a minimum of one appetizer
    2) try and stretch a meal out over 2 hours
    3) no iphones at the table unless both people agree they can check it
    4) THE TWO BEER RULE! gets you nice little baby buz I call it but still a good time!

    PS: The boron letters = life changing keep dropping the knowledge Nev, I hear the bus coming down the road as you take these kids to schoooool…

  38. Scott


    OK, Here’s the deal – I trade you an awesome mind-hack for a NEVBOX. OK?

    Here it is:

    Never create your future from your PAST. In the mornings, I used to wake up and allow my mind to wander to things I screwed-up in the past (business, conversations, money, whatever…) so now AFTER A LOT OF THOUGHT – I created an employ this simple HACK:

    Never decide anything (about your day, your relationships, money, business, NOTHING) never make any decisions about any of that until after you have bee up for at least 3 hours, and are into your day… Create your future from the future (a clearer head) and not the past (from which you just woke up from…)

    I hope this hits home for you…

    Send the NEV Box to:

    Scott Young
    15746 Marvin Road
    Charlotte, NC 28277

    I am a frequent and loyal SUMO-LING!

  39. Spaccount

    I always knew that I should brush my teeth every night.
    My parents asked me to do it. My dentist asked me to do it. In fact my dentist begged me after he fixed 14 different cavities. So did my girlfriend(now wife). However, somehow for the first 25 years of my life, I was never able to get into the habit.

    Then I decided that I would change the script. I decided to gift myself a high end electric toothbrush and an organic toothpaste. For the first time in my life I was excited about brushing my teeth! I brushed my teeth every night for a month. I was planning to quit after the novelty wore off.

    However, I can’t quit now. I’ve written a new script and I like it! I love the feeling of a minty fresh mouth when I hit the bed. It makes me dream of beaches and waterfalls :)
    I’m turning 31 this August. I’ve brushed my teeth every night for the past 6 years.

  40. Chris

    I’ve always found cardio exercise extremely boring. So I used to never do it, even though it’s super important.

    My simple hack is to pair a recumbent bike with my iPad. That way I can read, listen to music, catch up on email and just distract myself while exercising on autopilot. Sometimes my time is up, but I keep going because I’m engrossed in a book or Hacker News or something on Reddit.

    As a bonus, I feel like I’m doing something productive and good for me, so efficiency wins all around.

  41. Chad

    One personal and one business.
    Flossing. Didn’t do it everyday. Always had gum and teeth issues. Now I floss way more often, dental visits are way better, I feel better, and there has been a true difference.

    Writing. Writing is an extremely important part in my business, yet I wasn’t doing it every day. I changed that. Now I get way more done, have been more successful, and have gained some momentum. Currently working up to 1000 words a day.

  42. Noel Harris

    I have to say that I’ve been reading your emails for a good while now and I like the approach, content and delivery in them.

    I started reading this one and because I don’t drink, I thought, “ehh, I don’t need this”. However, because I want to write better, I was really curious to see how you would use copy to keep me interested.

    Some of my Invisible Scripts
    1.Treat others fairly —> They will treat you fairly
    2.Help those in need —> Feel good and gain influence
    3.Get good job —> Make money to help more people

    I recently started looking at things called decisions and why I make them. My scripts have been somewhat okay, but then I don’t like okay, I wanted great and well that leads me to my next observation.

    I have a decent job, making a decent living, have a nice dog (no wife) and well that was it. Sucks because I seemed to be floating through life, not really charging through it.

    I asked myself, why am I constantly low on funds, bored out my mind, single, and not really doing anything worthwhile it seems?

    After a few days of coming back to that thought, I decided not to do anything else until I found the culprit. It would have been easy to look in the mirror, but that was too scary.

    My first step was to start saying “No” to everything to see why I was saying “Yes” to anything.

    Crazy enough, it only took a few days for me to see that I was the crazy one with some decent habits applied poorly, and yielding bad results. Kind of like not changing your oil filter in your car, but pouring new oil in it.

    The new oil does some good, but only compounds the fact that you still need the filter replaced!

    My hidden scripts were great in some regard, but were costing me money and time. I was doing so much for others that I barely had time for myself and it doesn’t take a genius to see how upside down that can be.

    I’m not going to say that I have completely eradicated myself from everything, but taking a few minutes to evaluate my “YES decisions” and being more apt to saying “No” to myself first has actually helped me save $1100 in one month and I’m also now dating someone who is definitely potential.

    I was never in a crazy place, but I also wasn’t helping myself get to where I wanted to be.

    Just as you had that moment of “is this drink serving me or not”, I now ask, “How will this help me get to where I want to go?” I also am reading the book you recommended “The Boron Letters” and I am glad you did.

    So while I know your last few lines were a ploy to get comments, I’m a sucker for good KOPY. Plus I want the NevBox to keep learning and hone my skills even more.


  43. Detra

    I now eat 2 meals a day from a local restaurant. I have struggled withy weight since college and frankly I’m done. When I would buy a refrigerator full of food I noticed that 1.) A LOT of the food went bad and I just ended up throwing it out and 2.) I seemed to be getting bigger by the damn minute. How? I ate out constantly! So I decided to stop any guilt, embrace it, and use it to my advantage!
    I picked one of my favorite restaurants that uses high quality ingredients and my favorite meal by them (organic veggies, grain fed beef, very filling, etc…) and use it as my staple meal. Doing this helps me in several ways: 1.) I no longer waste money on food I end up throwing away 2.) I now mostly eat high quality, protein/carb balanced meals with portion control 3.) I now feel in control of this area of my life and that feeling is worth any extra cash I may spend and best of all, 5.) it’s working! I have lost 10 lbs so far in a way that is almost mindless. I love it!

  44. Zach


    Grabbing a binder with blank paper and a black pen and just dabbling, maybe ideas for a song or persona or new project or blog post.

    Letting my brain go nuts is necessary. I think about it like a dog–if you never let it out, it’s gonna tear up the rest of your house. I’ve definitely had that experience.

    But when you open the door and let it do sprints, it only takes 30 minutes to let out its pent up energy…and afterwards it will be good for the rest of the day.

    Take time to imagine with blank paper and pen! Electro house in the earbuds and an iced coffee makes it even doper.

  45. Mike

    Hey Nev,

    A program that has helped me stay consistent with weekly exercise is GymPact. You setup the amount of workouts you will complete per week and how much you’re willing to lose for each missed workout.

    For me, I have to get out and run my dogs three times a week or I’ll lose $10 per missed session (up to $30 a week). If I meet my goal, I receive around $1.30 per week that I can withdraw via Paypal.

    The psychology of losing money is a huge motivator against any excuse my mind can conjure – whether if it’s cold outside, the “I’ll do it tomorrow” excuse, Mercury is in retrograde, etc.

    In addition, the small reward I receive per week just for working out is a game to see how much I can “win” just by keeping myself healthy and my dogs happy. Overall, it’s been a great fitness hack for me. One month with no missed workouts and 12lbs of weight loss!

  46. Ryan

    I have a couple hacks:

    When out drinking as I used to be a lush (or that guy at the party) I now drink a water in between each drink. I’m a fast drinker as well (probably nervous energy in both of us, or that we’re both naturally wired). With drinking one water after each drink I still have fun, but I now remember the fun and feel much better the next day.

    A physical hack I’ve done is to stop eating carbs after lunch. Since doing this simple trick I have enjoyed breakfast much more (I love carbs) and have dropped to sub 7% body fat.

    And for my last hack….drum roll… I wanted to read more, but I am a lover of nonfiction books which I have always felt takes a strong sense of attention to take in. I then read Ryan Holiday’s post about a month ago on how he reads so much. He says its not about reading fast but about making a commitment to reading. REading at all times of the day whenever you can. He also gave an insight of how he takes notes – with page markers and running back through the book a week after finishing. I have sense adopted both of these small changes – reading on the toilet, when waiting on an appointment, when eating, etc. The result – I’ve read 2 books in the last month. 2 More than I completed in the prior 2 months.

    That’s it for now. I love this post and the fact that you have no problems sharing about the true you. It helps to remind us (common readers) you guys (people we follow and look up to) aren’t some rare super breed and actually experience common daily problems.

  47. Denver

    It sounds so simple, but it’s not for an introvert. I made the effort to be the first person to speak when I meet someone, and it’s opened up new connections, business, and much better conversations. It’s helped me to come out of my introverted shell.

  48. Shecky

    Hey Nev,

    Great post! For me, I’ve been learning how to “cultivate the pause.” What I mean is, when someone is speaking, I focus on listening to them and what they need to say, rather than planning my next outburst. After they are done speaking, I PAUSE. It’s just for a second or two…not enough for them to really notice, but enough for me to gather my thoughts.
    This has helped me to:
    1. Communicate my ideas more clearly.
    2. Show the other person that I’m really listening.
    3. Offer more insights related to the conversation.
    This is especially helpful when someone has a problem they need help solving, or when I have a problem that I need help with. Either way, it’s a WIN/WIN!

  49. Abhinav

    Most of us take decisions with emotions and then justify our decision with logic ,for me I am a kind of a recovering alcoholic, problem with me was I could not never stop , there were times in the past where I used to go without alchol for months but the moment I had one peg I just couldn’t stop…. my problem continued until I was diagnosed with fatty liver which made me think why I am in such a situation , just to add I also had been a binge eater .This made me think of a lot of ways on finding out the root cause and here is what I found
    Binge eating and alcholism are all ways to escape from reality .. we do this for our need to gratify ourselves and then justify ourselves giving reasons like stressed out , having a good time with friends , weekend bash etc . So I found the root cause or how do I hack a solution which is simple so this what I did … Take no decision for 2 minutes when faced with the situation(wanting to have a drink , trying to grab a pack of cookies ) , this has been very effective of me and also helps me to introspect

  50. Wyatt

    My invisible script has always been

    Get home from work >>>> Time to relax

    I realized this one day after looking at my parents and In-Laws. I love them all, but right when they get home they jump into relaxation mode. This results with them complaining about never having money, always stuck in the middle class and no way out.

    It’s WAY TO EASY to have this invisible script stuck in ones mind and then ask oneself “Why don’t I ever see success”.

    I decided to spend at least 30 min. at home doing something valuable that would help me in my career/business. Usually this will be reading a book about marketing while sitting next to my wife who is watching t.v.

    Knowing that one can “relax” and “not work” but still further his success has helped me spend my evenings better, and avoid the pitfall of complaining about how “life isn’t fair”.

    1. Justen S

      I spend allot of time commuting and the easy script of ” Hey you are driving and hungry ‘ kick in . My subconscious already had this planned out, that i would pull over and get some food. I didn’t even have to get out of my car it was SOOOOO EASY. I gained so much weight from eating burgers :[ SOOO what i did was make my self hallucinate that the Wendys, BK ,Mcdonalds were prisons that captured and held demented clowns and if i ate anything from there it was very likely they would tamper my food with uhh.. . Demented clown feces! This new way of thinking changed my “pull over and eat this mash of meat” script for me.

  51. Glenn

    My friend dared me to try to quit smoking. I tried it, and a couple of days after I quit I felt great, had a lot more energy and stopped running out of breath.

    A week afterwards I figured I could go a step further. Now I have a workout plan that I follow three times a week, I started running frequently as I never knew it was so enjoyable, and my whole diet is healthy.

    So from the small change of stopping my 4/5 cigarettes a day habit, I have transformed from being lazy, unhealthy and unfit into the complete opposite :)

    Thanks for the blogs Nev, I read every one and each time they inspire me to succeed!

  52. Ilya

    Hi, Nev. There are several thoughts that came into my mind while I was reading your article.

    First, I live in Russia and I can’t remember when this was a trouble for me (or for someone else) to drink “too much” on wedding, at least at the beginning. Probably because we usually don’t drink light alcohol (like beer or cocktails) on weddings, except maybe champagne at the very start of it. We drink vodka, and by tradition: 1) we drink all together, congratulating newlyweds and their parents 2) we have a snack, preferably with meat, after each drink. So you’re always synced with other participants in how much you’re drunk :) And snacks allow you to not get drunk too fast.

    Second, your friend Steve may be right or may be wrong: if your purpose is to have a nice conversation with other people, then you probably don’t need alcohol at all, but what if someone just likes beer, and doesn’t want to drink juice or something else? Drinking beer in a good company is a nice thing on its own, even if you don’t need it to become more outgoing :)

    Third, beer that you’ve put into your fridge will soon absorb a lot of oxygen and loose its taste. If you want to drink good beer, better do not open it until you’re ready to drink the whole can / bottle :)

  53. Paul

    It’s NOT About You.

    The “Paradigm Shift” that will get you off your ass and put an end to excuses, (if you respect humanity).

    A few months ago I was coming out of the grocery store and I saw what I believed to be a “Wounded Warrior” (he looked like he had been in the military, haircut, military style tattoos) and a prosthetic leg.

    Regardless if he was a “Wounded Warrior” or not, he was having a difficult time just trying to push the grocery basket out to his car.

    I thought to myself. “Wow, that totally sucks and life must be so much more difficult because of it.”

    Here’s some young guy (mid twenties) who will have to live the rest of life riddled with inconvenient challenges just because he wanted to do something honorable an join the service.

    Then the horrific Boston Marathon bombings” happened. There was story after story of everyday people who instantly became “single” or “double amputees” because of the explosions and are now faced with unimaginable challenges.

    I thought again, “most of us take our health and mobility for granted”, until it’s gone.

    From that day forward, I adopted a new attitude in regards to working-out and physical health overall.

    I know longer workout just for me, I workout and hold myself accountable for the individuals (Wounded Warriors, Boston Bombing victims, people born with physical challenges, etc.) who can’t workout or stay active because of what life has thrown at them.

    You see…most people workout with the “What’s in it for me” mentality.

    Example: “I’m working out for me” so ( I can lose weight, so I can look better, so I can fit in that dress, etc.). It comes from a selfish or vain place regardless if it’s beneficial.

    The problem with this mentality, is most of the time “your” benefits alone don’t give you enough reason to continue or keep going because it’s so easy to come up with an excuse why you can’t do it. Simply…it’s so easy to “quit ourselves”, and we do!

    So stop making excuses why you can’t do something (i.e., it’s to hard, i’m out of shape, i’m so sore, etc.) and think of others who have it 100x harder and would trade places with you any time of the week.

    The next time you tell yourself you should be more active or should take more care of your body…do something about it.

    Honor your body and the individuals who can’t do for themselves. Stop taking your physical health for granted!

    Hopefully this mindset helps others reach their goals. It’s definitely helped me keep going when I wanted to quit.

    Remember…It’s not about you!

  54. Jim


    Here’s my simple hack to escaping “customer service” hell. Hope you like it.

    So I’m on the phone, going round and round in circles. Not getting things resolved. Blood pressure soaring. Life a-wasting.

    Then 3 words pop into my head. I decide to use ‘em. And whaddya know… w-a-a-y less customer service hell. Hello customer service.

    I take a deep breath, relax and say: ‘I’m disappointed and underwhelmed with the service. Here’s why’… spell it out, then pause…

    Disappointed and underwhelmed. Really hits home. And best of all, I’m being polite.

    Can’t say it works every time. But friends tell me it works for them. Now that’s direct response!



  55. Jason

    Smallest change with BIGGEST result:

    Taking 2 minutes before going to bed to write down what I’m going to do the next day.

    This ONE TINY HABIT keeps me organized, I don’t forget important things like appointments, I’m more productive, and I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I can cross everything off.

    If I don’t do this, the following day I’m less focused and all over the place.


  56. Blaine

    All it takes is a simple question that I ask myself every day, and an almost guaranteed answer, and I can immediately boost productivity.

    Yes, this ONE question, and I can get SO much more done.

    See, I have kids and like spending time with them during the day, then I catch up on work at night when they’re asleep. But I get tiiiiiiiired! But I think “I have to spend the hours now, because it’s my only chance! I didn’t get anything done today!”

    So I ask myself ……

    “Will I get more done in this one hour tonight, when I’m tired, or should I wake up 1 hour earlier and do the work then?”


    (forehead slap!)

    Of course the answer is that I’ll be sharper in the morning! In that 1 hour in the morning, I’ll finish what I was doing in 15 minutes then finish off 45 minutes of other PRODUCTIVE work. Not lazy-falling-asleep-in-Photoshop work.

    One simple question … a simple answer … 4x the productivity! (does that math make sense?)

    You’d think that it would become routine then, to wake up early instead of staying up late, but it’s a wagon with no guard rails (I tend to fall off), so I have to just ask myself the question again. In fact, a daily alarm at 10pm or a sticky note can do the trick.

    Think about it … we sleep for 1/3 of our lives, yet how many people have really MASTERED sleeping? Of the people I know … none … ok, except there’s always that one friend who you’re jealous of, who gets more done than everyone else (hint: I am trying to be that guy).

    So there you have it. A simple thing that produces BIG results in what I can accomplish.

    PS – a little will power will allow you to cut out your afternoon coffee (easy, right?), which means you’ll get tired earlier, which means it’s easier to answer the above question and boost productivity. No coffee = more productivity? YES! You’ll be tired a few afternoons in a row, then you’ll get used to not having the caffeine. Coffee makes you crash later on anyway. Challenge yourself and give this a try!

    Keep up the awesome, Nev. You rock, dude!

  57. Frank Madison

    For me the best thing is to look for “Flow” not the progressive insurance lady, but Flow nevertheless.

    I think back of my best experiences in life and they always had one critical element to them, Flow.

    Meaning that it what normally is a long process or complicated for some reason it’s quicker than you thought and required less energy to accomplish.

    Also there was the feeling of joy to it as well.

    This works great for weeding out new clients for a project, I know it’s going to be a pain in the ass when simple things are slow and difficult to do because of the client. I drop them quickly because I’ve learned “If it does not flow, let it go!”

    I’ve always regretted projects that I forced to make them work despite the obvious sign from the universe to drop it.

    This applies to relationships and other areas of life for me…

    Think about it, have ever enjoyed something that did not flow for you???


  58. Justin

    Hi Nev

    Keep the good stuff coming!

    I have been quite organised for a few years following the “get things done” system of david allen.. also i have been trying to research/learn about habit change and motivation as a way of learning how to be more productive for about the same number of years..

    as Aristotle said.. we are what we do often.. i.e we are our habits both good and bad… ie the way we talk to people, think about them, speak, smoke, eat, etc everything..

    the habit i am working on mainly at the moment is…

    changing my attitude..

    when a thought pops into my mind, when i get negative about a situation, i ask myself does it really mean what i just told myself it means? I ask myself to reframe the situation, to play a game with myself to see how many alternative “meanings” it could have if someone else was there?

    often i get the conclusion that i made it up it did not after all mean anything before i said it meant “X”.

    What seems to happen now is i get less mad and angry or negative about a situation.

    hope you find this useful!

    Does that make sense?

  59. Dave

    My hack is to write down the night before, things I will do the next day. From what time to wake up, to reading, to the different projects I’ll work on.

    I also use a to-do app to break down some bigger tasks into more detail. I’ve kut down the procrastination tremendously and upped productivity to astronomical proportions.

  60. Beth

    Hey Nev, Your posts always get me to look at things differently. Merci, danka, thanks and gracias.

    Mine is more of a relationship hack.

    My husband and I have been together forever. 19 years! Met when I was 23 (lol, you can do the math!). We know each other very well and usually get along great. But we started fighting. Yeah, we had kids way late in the game, but this was different. Wasn’t sure if we were ending it or what.

    My husband goes away for his job usually 10 days at a time. That is stressful enough by itself. But that’s the nature of his job and we have been fine on that schedule for as long as I’ve known him. When he goes away, we’d usually have long talks on the phone before we go to bed. So we continued that after we had kids and he was traveling. I would call after I got the kids to bed, and he was done with all his “homework” from his job. It was late. We were both grumpy, tired. Had given ourselves away all day and couldn’t face yet one more demand. So we argued. About stupid shit. On the phone is the worst! Click. It was out of character for both of us.

    It all changed when we were trying to finish up our taxes. Our CPA had a question and I had to call him during the day at work, which I never do. And we talked. We were happy, no arguing, no hanging up. No stress, and we were even talking about money. I had to think about this!

    Finally, I put two and twenty together, and realized we needed to talk in the middle of the day instead of at night. So we did, and that pretty much saved our marriage. We were not tired and grumpy. We were not stressed or rude. We carved time out of our day for each other, instead of one more item on a checklist, last in line. That time-shift made a big difference for us.

    My hack: Change the time of day you do something, even if it breaks an old pattern.

    1. Neville Post author

      Whoa….VERY interesting! I had this experience with my girlfriend when travelling in a totally different time zone.

      The different moods (night/day) of both people make “matching your mood” very difficult!

  61. Doug

    I don’t know why I am writing this, but here it goes.
    As a reddit reader, you have probably seen /r/nofap. I found it one day when randomly looking at subreddits. It popped up again in a “weird things on the internet” list.
    For those who don’t know, nofap is a 90 day challenge to stop watching internet porn and masturbating. Yep the opposite of porn on the internet.
    The forum is not preachy or angry. It is actually very supportive. There is some psuedo science that gives reasons for stopping. It makes sense in a common sense way. We did not evolve on the African plains with unlimited hardcore porn 24/7. It can mess with your head.
    Anyhow, I thought “other people probably have a problem, but not me.” Warning bells and flashing red alarms went off. That is classic rationalization, so I decided to take the 90 day nofap, no porn challenge.
    If you think that is easy, take the challenge. That was in May, I’ve had some relapses, but I’ve gone 25 days as of today.
    Don’t believe me? Read Napoleon Hill on “Sublimation of Sexual Energy”.
    This applies to Neville’s post how? Taking charge of one little private part of life changes you fundamentally. You have to put in some rules and a system to avoid the bad habit. It strengthens your will power, and shows that you can accomplish a challenge or goal. Plus nofap changes your hormones too, for the better.
    Is the fap a way to cope, or get over a bad day? Is it serving a purpose in your life, or just a way to kill time and feel happy brain chemicals when you did not start your side business, even though Nevelle wrote a blog post telling you how?

  62. Kris

    In honor of my official mid-life crisis, I’ve started cutting out the idea that I “should” or “should not” be doing anything.

    Although I think I’ve taken more chances along the way than most, and I haven’t had much of a problem going against the grain of what other people think I should be doing in life (well, usually); I DO have a problem letting go of things that don’t particularly serve me anymore. Things, that for whatever reason, I’ve determined I “should” or “should not” do.

    So, instead of thinking:
    “I should make an appointment to see the doctor. Sometime.”

    It becomes:
    “I dislike seeing the doctor, but it would make me feel better to verify I haven’t contracted a flesh-eating bacteria.”
    Then I pick up the phone and make a damn appointment.

    Or instead of:
    “I should be working on ‘x’ project.”

    I ask myself:
    Do I want to be working on this project?
    Yes? Then get to work.

    No? Why not?
    Am I tired, cranky, sleepy, hungry, or headachy and would be better served by giving myself a break?

    If I don’t work on this project now, what are the actual consequences?
    If I have a real deadline I need to meet; one that will anger, disappoint, or inconvenience other people if I don’t finish; am I willing to deal with the consequences of not finishing on time, or at all? (Probably not?) Then, the answer is, “I want to complete this project on time.” Now, get to work.

    If, instead, the only answer to this question is along the lines of being afraid of looking like a flake/ loser/ idiot for not feverishly working 24/7, or because I’ve already put so much time into this project that I feel I “should” finish… then it’s time to ask myself what I’d rather be working on.

    Having been accused of being a bit of a control-freak most of my life, and having the ability to keep working on unpleasant tasks when I really don’t want to, has indeed served me well over the years. And it’s a great ability to keep in my personal arsenal. But, it’s completely ridiculous to keep working on something because I think:
    (A) The act of finishing a particular project will magically make my life better. (If I dislike the project that much… then no, no it won’t. And even so… it’s still unlikely.)
    (B) I’m afraid of being perceived of anything other than a “hard-worker” for not following through. (Ugh… THANK YOU conservative, protestant, midwestern upbringing.)

    So, this seemingly-simple language shift is something which not only helps me identify what I truly want to be doing; but also re-frames my mindset around things that are hard, but are still worth my time.

    “Should” doesn’t get a project/action completed. All it does is imply I’m going to have a terrible time working on something even more terrible, which may or may not be the case. If it’s worth my time in the big picture, no matter how difficult, then I WANT to be working on it. If not, then it’s time to move on.

  63. Eric

    Nev Great info as I have come to expect from you. My favorite personal tiny hack that has produced huge results, is to cut out radio while driving/commuting and listen to only podcasts. Seriously, even 15, 20 years ago there wasn’t such easily accessible info at your fingertips. I feel like I’m stealing from these people since it’s all free. I’ll listen to the same podcast over and over if it’s a concept that I really want to implement in my life. When’s the last time you listened to the radio and felt like it could change your life? It’s impacting me as much as cutting out news did a few years back. Speaking of, where’s the NevCast?

  64. Sam Serv

    Hey Nev,

    Great story about crashing and burning at weddings, thanks for sharing.
    I have a food-related story as well. I used to eat at a lot of buffets for lunch or dinner (cheap, right?!). But would always get too full, sometimes nauseous and bloated and overall, feel terrible. Usually would take at least 3 plates + dessert (1-2 rounds). Basically, I wanted to try ‘a little’ of everything on offer.
    Anyway, I finally decided I would totally focus on only 2-3 dishes during the first round. Found that I ate a lot of the food I liked and then be quite full and content. Sometimes I would get a little more of the same. But that’s it. No trying everything and I didn’t miss the other stuff at all. Also found that drinking soup or 2 glasses of water prior to starting was a good way to fill up. Guess now I’m more concerned about feeling good after eating than trying to get my money’s worth and stuff as much food down my throat as possible (ie college student mentality!)
    Love your post, love all the comments too.


  65. Cayo Medeiros aka. yogodoshi

    Thanks for sharing Neville, many will relate with this change and try to improve on it just like you did.

    One small change I made was on my girlfriend relationship, after seeing so many friends arguing with their girlfriends about going out to parties with their male friends only, I’ve decided that I wouldnt pass through this same problem on my next relationship.

    So, what I did? On the next time that I decided to ask a girl to be my girlfriend, soon after she accepted, I made some points clear and asked her if she agreed so we would never argue about them. Those points were:

    – a relationship should be based on trust. SO: there will be times when I will go out only with my friends and she will go out only with her friends.

    – to cheat someone is one of the lowest things someone in a relationship could do. SO: if you wanna make out with someone else, you can do it, but first you will just have the break up the relationship.

    That’s it! I don’t know if I was lucky but I’ve seen lots of relationships around me get into these kinds of problems and I’ve never had a big discussion about them. And since then I’ve always advised my friends to make those points clear at the start of a new relationship.

    That’s my small change that produced big results in various relationships of my life =)

  66. John

    I’m a health & fitness fanatic and I was obsessed with obtaining the elusive distinction of 5% bodyfat. I consistently held right around 7% with a full 6-pack but wanted to get those final touches only 5% bodyfat would produce such as the lower ab cut giving the optical allusion of the 8-pack. I tried working harder in the gym…nothing. I tried eating cleaner…nope. More lower ab exercises…nada.

    The two “hacks” I implemented and continue today are:

    1) I started writing down my entire workout including sets/reps with a target time limit BEFORE I get to the gym.

    – This small “hack” was a game-changer. I was able to accomplish far more in less time than I ever thought possible. Like most people I’d pre-select a muscle group or groups and I’d plan my workouts on-the-fly while in the gym. Unless you are an absolute anomaly, you will NEVER push yourself past your limits with this approach. You may feel like you did at the time, but you could have done more had you planned it ahead of time. You will also tend to work at a slower pace. There is a significant mind shift when you go from just working hard to having a very specific goal that you MUST accomplish in a set time. The end result of this change: I did more sets/reps at higher weight, rested less, finished my workouts faster, and pushed myself beyond my limits consistently which ultimately resulted in a higher caloric expenditure and more muscle breakdown (i.e. more productive workouts).

    2) I began tracking my calories daily with an iPhone app: MyNetDiary.

    – This wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be since they have a HUGE database that is constantly being contributed to by the user-base. You can literally scan the barcode of most items or just do a search. The result of this was mind blowing. I had no idea how many extra calories, carbs, and sugar I was actually consuming from things I deemed “healthy” and “clean” such as fruit, non-fat milk, brown rice, protein bars, and whole wheat bread. I was completely shocked at how high, specifically, my carb intake was. Once I took note of this I was able to adjust and target macros that would ultimately get me to drop bodyfat while maintaining adequate calories. I now only have to do this a few days a month just to ensure I’m staying consistent.

    FINAL RESULT: I was able to achieve my goal of 5% bodyfat in 8 weeks. Moving 2% might seem insignificant and small but at those levels a change from 7% → 5% is a 28% decrease. We are talking FREAKIN’ MASSIVE RESUTLS from 2 small changes.

  67. Kevin

    Sup Nev,

    Good post here! A lot of my invisible scripts in the past were in social situations.

    They say “How’s your day?” -> “I say good, how about you?”

    I realized I could answer any of the “standard stranger questions” in any way I want, whether I’m going to be ridiculous or just be honest and say exactly how my day is going.

    It led to more interesting conversations with strangers and sparked more study by me into social skills. Ended up joining Toastmasters, becoming President of my local chapter, giving business speeches to complete strangers, etc!

  68. Eddie

    I sell beer to bars & restaurants in NYC for a living.

    HUGE peer pressure to have a drink with lunch, have a drink with happy hours, and to “not be a p***y” around your teammates during promo nights (and there are a LOT of promos).

    Sounds like a dream… it’s not.

    I also tend to drink liquids VERY fast, like Neville.

    VERY easy to end up drinking HEAVILY and driving.

    VERY easy to put on another Freshman 15-30… which doesn’t come off after college.

    VERY easy to damage your liver beyond repair.

    You also feel like absolute CRAP the day after, and if there’s an event Monday or Tuesday it sets a god-awful tone for the week.

    So here’s my revised, simple 2-step heuristic for drinking. Works like a charm, high self-compliance and no hard thinking involved:

    1) NO beer with lunch. Ice water or Diet Coke.

    2) Always Drink in THIS cycle: 1 Light Beer (no 10% alcohol IPAs) > 1 Ice Water > 1 Diet Coke

    After ONE round of this (instead of 3 beers) I usually have to piss like a racehorse, and the beer & soda make me feel REAL filled up (without all the sugar in regular Coke… you know, just the artificial chemicals). Even if I manage to get a 2nd beer in, I’m fine because I haven’t pounded 4 or 5 rounds of beer in that same time frame and I have other stuff (like water) in my system.

  69. Nelson Fisher

    Hi Nev,

    I read your emails all of the time, because they are just that good.

    A simple life hack I have done that has really helped me recently is when I wake up I take 5-10 minutes to think about nothing. Yep, I mean nothing, basically meditation. Sounds weird I know, but when you take time for yourself like that, you start to hear your thoughts. This gathering of thoughts helps me feel calm everyday and prepare for what I have ahead. I just started a new job at Newegg, have a baby on the way, and I’m trying to buy a house. Lot’s of real shit going on and if I didn’t just take a minute for myself I might get a little stressed out. It just helps me to focus and get shit done, you know!

    I know it sounds weird but try it. You really have to focus on thinking about nothing. Hear your heartbeat, listen to the air around you, but don’t think, just let your thoughts come to you. I hope it helps you or someone here to feel better about their day.

    Until the next email. Adios!


    P.S. I bought the KopyKourse a while ago and I still
    go back to it from time to time. Thanks for everything Nev!

    1. Neville Post author

      Nice one, thanks Nelson!

      I go through phases where I do this. And occasionally after a workout or yoga I’ll take some time to meditate shortly.

  70. Christopher Mark

    Get up immediately in the morning.

    The script is that you don’t have to get up as soon as you wake up (eg. you wake up at 8 but don’t have to get ready for work till 830).

    This is false. As soon as I’m conscious, I’m up. Not only do I have more time in my day, but I start my day super-proactive. I’m DOING SOMETHING.

    It cascades throughout your entire day. Plus, you feel more energized for some reason.

  71. Sithan Kanna

    10 Invisible scripts ripped apart today ( + time I did it)

    1.Invisible scripts should be a big deal. (12.20pm)
    –> There are tonnes of micro-scripts that shape our actions. I can with small ones.

    2. You shouldn’t make phone calls with others around you. (12.25pm)
    –> Called a family member in public.

    3. Starting a conversation with a stranger isn’t breaking an invisible script (12.35pm)
    –> Realized that I was making up so many barriers for no reason.

    4. You can only update mentor if you’re successful (12.45pm)

    5. You can’t ask for money for a product you haven’t built. (4.00pm)
    –> Created a rough sketch a product that I don’t know how to make. E-mailed 8 potential customers asking if they’d pay me to ship the full thing.

    6. You can’t give away business idea (4.30pm)
    –> Came up with a business idea for a friend who was having a problem. Told him how to start a small business solving it.

    7. You can’t reveal your name on the internet because your family/friends might find it and think that you are a loser.
    –> Name: Sithan Kanna (e-mail me: sithankanna@gmail.com and I’ll send you free e-books)

    8. Achieving your goals or give up(8pm)
    –> I wanted to break 20 micro-invisible scripts by the end of the day. I would have given up and not commented in the past. But, who cares.

    9. You can’t brag that you’ve broken more scripts than any the other people here, even if you did. (8.17pm)

    10. You can’t ask for stuff in Public because it makes you sound needy. (Now)
    –> Hi Neville, I think you want to send me a NevBox.

  72. Leo Tabibzadegan

    Wow. So many comments! (EVERYBODY WANTS NevBOX!) LOL.

    I always wondered why comments scroll oldest to newest… I wonder if it would be more effective to reverse the order? So the fresh stuff stay’s up top (might try on my own blog).


    I always looked up to BATMAN. I love his taste in motorcycles, girls, and life purpose.

    I also always wanted to look like him. (MORE MUSCLE LESS FAT).

    This tiny little change made a HUGE difference in my Physical Appearance. I still eat chocolate bars, cookies, and shakes all day long and still look pretty AWESOME.

    Here’s what I did:

    Wake up in the morning and before anything else just jump right into the following:

    1. Do 125 pushups
    2. Do 80 Sit ups

    Everyday, no matter what.

    That’s it! (you can break it up into sets to make it easier, like 25 rest then 25 more, till you reach 125)

    Batman does it in the Dark Knight (he also doesn’t drink alcohol at all which is pretty cool – you can see him pretend to drink public but dump it when no one is looking).

    I do it everyday now and the results show every time I rip off my tee!

    What is really interesting isn’t the workout itself. It’s the invisible scripts that tell you 1000 reasons why you shouldn’t do it.

    Discipline is key! :)

    Ps. If I win a NevBox charge me for shipping and handling (I live in an Igloo in Canada and don’t want to miss out!).


  73. Mark

    I found myself being distracted and not getting stuff done. I wanted to blog, but I would end up on facebook. I wanted to work on designs for clients, but I ended up checking my e-mail.

    I have two hacks to help with that.

    1) If what I’m doing requires occasional use of the internet (for example, I’m writing a blog and will need to do some research as part of my content) then what I’ll do is turn off the wifi (or unplug the wire) for my connection. Instead of jumping to a new tab and googling something, I write down the question I have on evernote or a pad of paper, and then when I’m done writing the bulk of the post, I turn back on the wifi and do the research to answer those questions all at once (batch processing).

    2) If what I’m doing doesn’t require the internet (working on designs, for example) then I’ll just take my computer (i work on a laptop so this is easier than you desktop folks) and go to a place with no internet at all. A nice sit-down area in a book store or park. To be honest, finding a place that doesn’t have wifi is getting more difficult, but to fix that I go to a new place that I don’t have the wifi password for and I just.don’t.ask.for.it. That means I basically can’t get online, and the only thing I can do is focus on the task at hand. This also means I get to check out new and interesting cafes or restaurants whenever I want to work, but most of the time I just keep a couple on reserve as my “no wifi” spots, and never get the password so that I can keep going back to them and being productive.


    BTW, I’m in Austin for a month, so sending a NEVBOX requires zero shipping. ;-)

    – Mark

  74. Marcy

    I started using an app called lift and boy it made a difference! I picked only 3 things to do each day. I made sure they were easy and attainable. Floss, drink h2o before breakfast, walk 30 minutes. Every night I check off these things on lift and give props to other folks who did them too.

  75. Liz

    First off, I’d planned to respond anyway, but getting a NevBox would make my day!

    It’s so funny you phrase your thought process like this and then sent it out … you shared once that you have experimented with products, one of which was about health/weightloss/getting in shape that wasn’t very successful — I wonder if you pointed out these thoughts within that program (or more importantly in your marketing of that program) as that’s the #1 reason people overeat, don’t work out, are depressed (which usually leads to weight gain) … they don’t realize their current behavior is not *serving* them in a beneficial way.

    Once you’ve gained clarity about the patterns of behavior you can then decide (which is the part a LOT of people skip) whether it’s worth the effort to effect a change in behavior. If you refuse to decide to change … gaining clarity is useless. (i.e. “I know, but blah blah excuse excuse..”)

    Half-assed effort will never yield a more beneficial outcome!


  76. Joseph

    Nev, awesome hack! I did something similar years ago in college.
    I was attending school while raising my family and working full time. Needless to say there were never enough hours in the day. I couldn’t get my school work done or study in the evening because of to many distractions and I was having a difficult time staying up past midnight and reporting to work by 6:00 am.

    So I trained myself to wake up at 3:00 to study before going to work. I would then come home and take a 30 minute nap before the kids got off the school bus. That 30 minutes I found was a perfect amount of time, any shorter and I felt drained, and any more and I risked sleeping the entire night and missing out on the coveted father of the year award. I would go to bed at 10:30ish at night and do it all again the next day. There are a couple things I figured out about myself at 3:00 am.

    1. I can cover twice as much material in the morning and work waaaayyyy faster than I could in the evening with distractions and… After having worked the entire day and being all stressed. I found that I worried about my assignments during the workday much more than I realized when i was putting them off until got home. It was stressful and I was always telling friends we couldn’t do things because of school. Moving my study sessions to the morning had a tremendous impact and I also found that I retain more information earlier in the day than I do at night. Just curious if you have ever noticed pattern like this?

    Thanks for the kick ass blog!


  77. Schrader

    In for the NevBox.

    You’ve touched upon something with the small scripts. The problem is, we’ve also got a life script and most people follow theirs faithfully without knowing consciously about it, or why they’re following it.

    1) The bohemian anti-establishment artist that values “art” over “money”. Yet he struggles to pay his bills and feed himself, blaming it on something other than himself.
    2) The police offer who has “the duty to uphold law”. Yet we still hear cases where some apples “make their own law” within that “law”.
    3) The “normal, good life” script where you have to have a nice job, you absolutely must have a girlfriend and you must marry and have kids within the near feature because “that is the way it must be”

    Stereotypes, yes, but these are handed to us by parents, culture and our associating circle (not the same as circle of associates! :) There are small deviations from these scripts, yes, but their blueprint remains the same.

    But this is macro. Let’s talk about the small scripts.

    I’ve got a script where my imagination is 90% set on creating negative outcome scenarios. My way of intuitively going about the world means that I use my imagination and past experience when I’m faced with something new. So if I didn’t set up the tiniest little positive outcome one sentence scenario, I’ll set myself up for a bad one and create resistance within myself.

    Example: I had never set foot before 22 in a gym. Despised the place, because of past childhood associations (totally irrational and fueled by an untamed imagination). I thought that if I went in the buff dudes and hunks would break out in uncontrolled demonic laughter at my incompetency and give me a hard time about it. It took me 3 days of staring at the windows and looking at those guys before I mustered the courage to go in and have at it. So I finally did it, and my negative scenario was blown out of the water. Torn to pieces. The dudes there just didn’t give a shit about how I looked or how much I bench pressed. Actually they were pretty helpful and down to earth. Conclusion? Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t have at least a one liner positive outcome, you’re more likely default to a negative one. And it will do you no good. I was scared shitless of going into a gym. Like literally. 3 days of staring man. A feeling in my stomach of dread. Nothing bad happened to me. Once I conquered that one, I was on top of the world (but alas, under the squat rack :P

    It’s kinda like learning to ride a bike. It looks hard but once you start doing it and see that it’s easy you realize that it’s all in your head. And it’s the same for anything in life. But it’s been proven time and time again that positive visualization can affect the outcome of something. So why have a negative scenario in your head? Why worry about your loved one if he/she is not replying to your calls? The mind really quickly goes to morbid places because it’s easier but to get to greener pastures we actually have to learn to direct it. I do believe it’s a skill.


  78. Yael Grauer

    This post made me laugh because I’m planning a wedding and trying to figure out how to make sure people don’t get shitfaced. We want people to drink and have a good time, but I don’t want it to be a drinking party. And so we’ve been discussing different ways to make that happen. We considered no open bar, but if people want to get trashed, they’ll buy their own drinks. Only wine/beer and no shots is one option.

    One small change I’ve made recently is to not answer email the second that I get it if I’m doing something else. I used to think if I didn’t immediately get back to people, I’d lose work. Now I’m exercising my right to spend my evenings and weekends working out, gardening, eating dinner with my fiance, or even doing nothing, and getting back to people during work hours. I’ve gotten a little pushback, but it’s worth it to not feel like I have to immediately respond every time I hear a ding.

  79. Nigel


    I learned my hack from training for a marathon (it’s my first marathon) – I’ve been training for about 6 months and it’s only 3 weeks away now.

    I have this picture on my computer that I’ve looked at now and again for about a year because it rung so true to me – I felt like it summed up my “problem” (I procrastinate; I read and re-read the entire internet about 4 times a day; I check emails and facebook for new stuff when I know there’s none there) so perfectly that I knew “the answer” to my problems would somehow come from it (bit weird, I know, but I haven’t been put in the asylum yet).
    The picture is called the Cycle of Fail ( Do nothing -> Feel guilty -> Panic about failure -> Feel powerless -> Do nothing -> ….. ) ( there’s a copy at http://twicsy.com/i/v5xUTc )

    The hack I got from the marathon (really, the marathon training) is that it’s not enough to just have a goal/target for a project. You actually have to “DO” the shitty little things/tasks along the way that will get you to that goal. There are so many times during training that you just want to stop, give up, try something else, etc. But, you just know you cannot run a marathon unless you actually keep putting one foot in front of the other and finish those shitty training runs, etc. A marathon is such a clear / defined goal, that you can’t change it. It helps you understand that if you skip, or stop early, on any of the training (ie tasks) then you are really “Doing Nothing” as far as completing a marathon.

    I’ve been able to apply this to my work/business by accepting that a lot of the time (I reckon about 98% of the time) you’ve just got to stick your bum on the seat and do those shitty little tasks that deep down inside you know need to get done. Don’t even think about the goal; About whether it is worthwhile; About trying something different; About setting a new “better” goal. (you can do that at night when your lying in bed, or when your in a meeting).

    I now write down the basic/boring/mundane bits and pieces of shit that I will actually have to get off my arse and do to reach a particular goal or complete a project. When I start to get weak and stop what I’m doing for no good reason (tv, a snack, read emails, re-read the entire internet again) I pull out my list of shitty little tasks and say “JUST DO SOMETHING” – Don’t think about whether your plan is good or a complete disaster waiting to happen (now is not the time to re-assess your overall vision/goals) – Now is the time to just stick your bum on the seat and DO SOMETHING -anything that actually is a progression towards your goal. Basically, I break the cycle in that picture the only way it can be broken – by doing something. At that moment in time, if I’m not doing something on my list then I’m “doing nothing” and I’m in that cycle of failure – knowing that pretty soon I’ll Feel Guilty, then I’ll start to Panic About Failure, then I’ll Feel Powerless, then I’ll Do Nothing.
    After a while, you find all those boring/shitty little tasks start to add up to something, and your goal is a lot closer than it otherwise would have been.

  80. Michele

    Okay loved this post. It immediately made me think of the book Switch by Chip Heath. You should check it out, I think you’d like it… well I read about half of it before it was due back at the library, but the first half is really good, heh heh. It’s about this exact thing – how small shifts can make big changes.

  81. Dave Lion

    I never used to buy ‘systems’ or ‘programs’ on the Internet because I thought they were all shit, small change I made was purchasing your kopywriting course. Boom. Immediately changed the way I thought about effective communication.

    I usually don’t leave comments on blogs either, but I felt one small changed warranted another haha

  82. vicks

    I stopped taking elevators and escalators. Just relied on walking. Not just idly walking..but walking fast. Fast paced walking over short distances. LOST 5kg in 2 months.

  83. Richie

    Great post as usual!

    Since I started college, I have noticed that I exercise less and eat a whole lot more. My big vice is anything with meat, dairy, or wheat in it.

    Doesn’t matter what kind of meat, dairy or wheat because I love it all.

    About a month ago, I bought a fitness tracker and realized I was only taking about 2,500-3,000 steps a day. AKA roughly 1 mile of walking. This was not ok with me so I made a new rule that I could not have any meat, dairy or wheat until I had walked a minimum of 10,000 steps.

    In one month I have found myself eating loads of fruits and veggies, hitting 10,000 steps by midday and I’ve lost 10lbs without putting in much effort at all. Best of all, I no longer feel guilty when I have those double bacon cheeseburgers I love so much!

    Simple and effective!

    Thanks for everything Nev!


    1. Julien

      Way to go Richie. It’s crazy when you start tracking your time, money, exercises, food intake, etc what you find out.

      Too many people don’t do that. Way to discover the SECRET ;-) I change my path big time too by just tracking my time… Big Reveal!

  84. Maria

    I get great ideas but I quickly become overwhelmed by the details of executing them properly that I just give up. I do well creating my own planners and have had much of my successes by using them. So, if I’m trying to master a skill, I read a book, buy a course anything that will teach me one thing to make me go forward and turn it into a planner. So by the time I’m done using it, the task has been completed or I’ve mastered the skill and I feel good.

    I only do this for the major, multi step highly detailed things I want to do. Like starting a biz. :)

    I showed ONE of my (seasonal) planners to someone in 2011 and they asked me to do one for them and by the end of the year I had sold about 12ish, by 2012 I sold 24ish and this year I sold 400+ and thanks to that I lowered my student loans by 11%. BTW I sold this many with a crappy, crappy copy but at least I have one full year to get my act together and prepare for next year’s season. So it may be weird and time consuming to make planners but whatever I create it goes into my idea vault for inspiration later on and possibly sell. ;)

  85. Craig Gunderson

    Mine’s right out of 4HWW – If email arrives —> Read it/respond to it

    I don’t do that anymore. Just twice a day at regularly scheduled times.

  86. JimmyC

    Small Change: carry a notepad

    Big Improvement: NEVER forget the important stuff

    Puzzler: It has NOTHING TO DO WITH writing in the notepad!

    If you’ve ever had a bomb idea but forgot what it was when you got home…Read on…

    If you’ve ever walked out of your Super Wal-Mart wondering which aisle you parked your care…Read on…

    If you have ever gone to order your wife’s dinner at her fav taco stand but drew a blank when the cashier took your order…Read on…

    If you ever had a case of the CRS (Can’t Remember Shit) and you never want it again…Read on…

    This Comment is for you.

    This comment is not for you if you are some goody two shoe, all As, high school valdickwhatever… As a matter of fact you can F off!

    But ye of so many flaws… Lets cut one out RIGHT NOW…

    Let me prescribe your memory medicine.

    But first…

    Those were all examples of a specific kind of memory. Retro-Grade Memory – Your memory that lasts you for a short period of time before it goes away.

    I don’t know why they call it Retro-grade maybe they made it up in the 70’s.

    “Blah, blah, blah. So what I don’t care Jimmy, hurry up!”

    Okay. Calm down. I’ll get right to the chase. You can be such an Ahole sometimes!

    So carry a notebook in your pocket. No not that giant 8×11, a 99 centstore smaller than a wallet notebook.

    “That’s not a Notebook, it’s called a Notepad dummy!”

    Hey! Can’t you read! I thought I kicked you valeDICKtorians back at the door?

    where was I…

    AND A PEN! What good is a notebook without a pen?

    Yeah, yeah, carry a notepad and write yourself memory notes I get where you’re going.

    What if I said that’s not how it helps your memory?

    Could I be right? I can… But secondly…

    “what makes you such an expert are you a neuroscientist?”

    That would be an oxymoron wouldn’t it? Dammit! I mean really, why would I kick smarties square in the jewels if I was one of ‘em?

    No, what I am is a living breathing Retro-Grade Amnesia sufferer.

    No, what I am is a living breathing Retro-Grade Amnesia sufferer.

    Lol. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.

    But, seriously I am.

    I’ve gotten much better since my brain injury though.

    I now have fewer instances of memory loss.

    I don’t remember the majority of the past 3 years (I hear they sucked for me anyway).

    I battle and conquer my amnesia on a constant basis…I think…

    You can greatly benefit from these lessons deep in the retro-trenches…

    1. Carry the notepad in your pocket with a pen.

    2. Write lists or specific details in it.

    3. Write a quote or two and other stuff you want to remember. For instance: WIFE – What’s In it For ‘Em.

    4. This one’s the Tank-Buster:
    – Always carry it on you.
    – pull it out or at least look for it when you need to commit something to memory for later.
    – read it when you go to remember what you wrote. What if you didn’t forget? READ IT ANYWAY! Confirm you remembered correctly. Confirm right then and there.

    Let me tell you a story…

    A long time ago, There was an EMT.

    He worked the night shift.

    Some nights he drove the ambulance for what seemed all night long.

    He began to drink energy drinks.

    He even had a Tier system to his energy drinks
    …If he was fine he drank a soda
    …a little tired he had an MDX
    …really tired he had an Amp
    …exhausted he drank Monsters

    One day he quit drinking those energy drinks.

    He toughed the caffeine addict headaches for about a week. He came. He saw. He conquered.

    But now there was the little problem of sleepiness.

    So what did he do?

    He bought an Amp. 1 Amp. Uno.

    Set out to not drink it.

    He went a few nights before getting tired.

    Then it happened. He was tired enough to turn to that Amp.

    He picked that bad boy up, was ready to drink, then changed his mind.

    Tired or not, he decided to drink it when he hits that absolute do or die kickstart.

    Then he spent the rest of the night as if he drank the energy drink.

    Think about it.

    Back on topic.

    Some more memory pointers

    Non notebook memory boosters:

    1. Relate to a favorite topic. Like WrestleMania, Math, Biology, Kopywriting

    2. Magic 7 Grade Recital – Repeat it 7 times in a row.

    3. Break it into bitesizes – have you heard of being able to remember 3 numbers at once better than single digits (123 vs 1-2-3)?

    Well, actually put it together 4 digits at a time (1,234 vs 1-234).

    3 comes from the fact that you should expect to remember 3 of these 4 digit numbers.

    4. Mnemonics. Choose something you like in alphabetical order.

    I like a few dead famous guys – Alexander, Brutus, Caesar, Donatello.

    Is it weird they’re ruthless tyrannts and a ninja turtle?

    5. Repeat it right back at ‘em.

    6. Tell everyone you can what you want to remember.

    Look memory devices can be listed on and on.

    Just choose one and find your car, or order the Chile Colorado BURRITO not plate with salad.

    Don’t forget the Horchata.

    Get a notepad. Don’t forget he pen!

  87. Irette

    Morning Nev,

    I’m a fiction writer, so I don’t know if you’ll be able to benefit from my hacks, but below are two small changes that have made a big difference in my writing.

    1. Use a timer.
    I set my timer for twenty minutes and just keep typing until the alarm goes off. It helps to get rid of the critical voice that can take you down as a writer.

    I also write on my Alphasmart Neo when I’m stuck on a story. It’s just a glorified keypad that saves text, but that’s why I like it. I can download the text content to any word processing program, it can’t access the internet and there are no games on it. No distractions.

    2. Use music to establish tone
    Whenever I’m trying to get the tone of a story right, I’ll look for a song that makes me the feel the same way that I want my reader to feel when they read the story and play it over and over again while I’m writing.

    For example, I wanted the reader to feel sadness for one particular story I was working on so I looped India.Arie’s version of “Heart of the Matter” while I wrote it. The folks who read it said that the tone of the story was really what drew them in.

  88. Greg Watson

    Biggest life hack?

    Using the phrase “I hold you as able.”(to figure this out on your own is the unstated balance to the comment)

    I tend to like helping individuals out.

    Unfortunately, people in my life tend to come to me for opinions, when they don’t want to think things through for themselves.

    EG I like to get up early and head into my office across the yard. Invariably when I get back to the house for breakfast, my partner wants to know what the weather is like and how she should dress.

    I used to make suggestions, then she would like to show me her outfits and see which one I liked etc…. getting on with the rest of my day was suddenly side tracked.

    I still get sucked in every once in a while, but nowadays whenever I feel that urge to help I quickly assess whether the person making the request is able or in my opinion, is just being lazy and respond accordingly.

  89. JP

    Hey Neville,

    Great post. I’m definitely a fan of your blog and emails.
    More importantly I’m of life changing hacks and this seems like one with far reaching benefits.

    So my issue stemmed from the fact that I’m a voracious reader. I subscribe to quite a few newsletters and feeds and really try to make sure I don’t miss a thing from all the smart people out there. People like you, Noah, etc. An effort to surround myself with better friends in a matter of speaking.

    – the challenge – 5 email addresses from day job, side businesses, friends and family, and my internet friends and they all flooded into the same inbox.

    – the hack – I went over the emails that I received over a period of a week and I created a filter so that the items i repeatedly found myself saving to read later would go into a specific folder.

    – the result – Before I used to dread my inbox because I would have to wade through things that I had to respond to and the things that I would read later, now I just open the inbox and 9 out of 10 emails in there are actionable and I just get to it.

    No more overload and decision making about if I read it now or later.

    Once a day when I have down time I go through and read the relevant emails in my later folder.

    It’s reduced the time spent triaging emails drastically and I find that I enjoy the reading of my later items even more because I read them when I’m ready.

  90. Yurs

    A small change that netted me big results?

    Waking up one hour earlier to go run. I started this last year. Not really sure what was the catalyst to forcing me out of bed whether I wanted to or not. Maybe the death in the family… maybe because I had a roommate that was down to run too [a social push], so I’m not going to try to give a deep, inspirational reason for it. I don’t know.

    Anyway, I was convinced that one extra hour of sleep wouldn’t do me any better. Either I had enough sleep or not.

    However, using that extra hour to run to a park, do pullups, and run back before getting ready for work served me better than any cup of coffee… or sleeping in.

    I wouldn’t be rushing to work because I’d be on time. I’d be hella energized. And I’d be in an amazing mood that’d get me going through the rest of the day.

    That was last year. Since then, I moved, joined a gym… and but lost the early wake up habit. Trying to get it back again, lol.

  91. Joe P

    Save >4 hours/month that would otherwise be wasted at the Airport!

    Keeping up with distant family and friends is very important, but is very difficult with my busy work/play schedule. I also like to travel, often taking ~2 roundtrip flights/month.

    Thus, when I’m at airports–past airport security, away from others, and not on the plane–I strictly reserve my time at the airport to call the important folks and get some quality talk time with them.

    Many people think you can get solid work done in the airport, but I find it rather difficult with all the obstacles/distractions: kids, babes (looking at babes that is), loud talkers, walking to your gate, listening for gate announcements, etc. Through this tactic, I use time (~1 hour per airport visit) that would otherwise be wasted being distracted by the objects stated above; this schedule also allows me to keep up with others, helping me avoid the “You never call” talk, especially with relatives.

    What’s more, I often find that my conversations involve discussions of common friends and family members. This keeps me in-tune with others, helps me determine who to catch-up with next, and saves me time poking around on social networks to find out what people are up to.

    All this allows me to get real work/fun done when I am at home and keeps my heart happy knowing that I am still in-touch with those not in my immediate proximity.

  92. Rick

    Hey Nev,

    A small change I made was moving my phone to the other side of the bedroom so I would stop wasting 1+ hours everyday “snoozing” to avoid starting my day. I have had amazing results… since I was awake an hour earlier than usual, I started going to the gym which encouraged me to eat healthier and lose 40# since February. All from a little change to get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off.


  93. Tim Biden

    Most people don’t drink enough water.

    We drink everything except water. We drink coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks. But these things aren’t good for us and inevitably they cause a crash when they’re gone.

    So my hack is to drink more water.

    I’ve found that if I leave a glass or bottle of water at my desk, I naturally drink it. When it’s empty, I keep trying to drink from it and when I’ve had enough of that (about 3 attempts) I get up and get more water.

    Of course, this requires will power at the beginning of the day when I’m originally choosing water over tea. But after the first step has been made, continuing the trend is easy for the rest of the day.

    And as an added boost, when my day gets stressful, instead of reaching for caffeine, I get a protein shake. It does a whole lot more for my mental abilities than caffeine does and there’s no crash from it. Increased focus and clarity without a crash. That’s a double win.

  94. Dave LeBlanc

    Dear Neville,
    I tend to be obsessive. One of my obsessions was drinking. I would make sure all of my responsibilities were taken care of (pick up the dry cleaning, go to the bank, etc..) before I would start – since once I started, that was it. There was no “drinking while doing something else,” either I was drinking, or I wasn’t. So after about ten years of this I began to realize my obsession was creating problems, so eventually, (23 years ago now,) I quit drinking.
    I’m not suggesting that YOU should necessarily quit drinking, however, keep asking yourself questions about your motivations, and you’ll be ok.



  95. Javier

    Just remembered one that I used to do but stopped, maybe I should start again.

    When the alarm goes on, I snooze…A LOT. I mean like 1 hour. So what I ended up doing one time is taking the alarm clock and putting it inside the closet, at the loudest volume possible. Then close the door and put 2 chairs and every possible obstacle to get to it. That was enough to make me go out of bed and feel awake.

    I guess sometime down the road with the purchase of smartphones I ended up doing it.

    Another strategy I used once when I was in college is this one. I went out with my friends but wanted to get back at home not so late to study in the morning. What I did to force myself was to set up the alarm at 2 am in my sound system as louder as possible, pointing it to my parents room, so if I didn’t get back home at time I would have a very bad time the following day. Luckily I came back on time at 1:58!

    A little extreme but worked fine. I guess that setting something like this that will have consequences if you don’t do what you promised is the best way to pressure yourself to commit to it. Have to figure how to apply this to work.

  96. Luc

    Hi Neville,

    Very interesting article ! BTW, I’ve never really realized it was possible to put a beer back in the fridge :) but this is an interesting point of view.

    Something that I recently changed in my routine that has great consequence is to get up earlier to enjoy some more time for myself ! I’m always complaining that I do not have enough time to read, to learn some new stuff, … Because it’s sometimes hard to take some time for myself during the evening with my girlfriend and my daughter, my FitBit One (this is a great device !) wakes me up silently (vibrating alarm) at 5h30 and it enables me to do a lot of stuff at a very quite time when the neighbors are still asleep.

    Well, that was my contribution :)
    Have fun,

  97. Alex

    Excellent post. I started using askmeevery.com and sending myself an e-mail asking if I flossed for the day. The thought of responding no isn’t an option for me so I always floss so I can respond with a yes!

  98. Dom

    Hey, great blog post! Sounds much like me at social events … so on a serious note, big eye opener.

    So I recently realised I procrastinate, big time … and I’m still somewhat efficient. So, I adopted the tomato trick … http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/ … you work for 25min to a ticking tomato and then have a 5min break and then have a 5min break, and let your mind wonder, doubt, procrastinate, make a coffee. Then bang, next 25min … not only DOES IT WORK! It let’s you measure things more effectively.

    PS- sick youtube videos.

  99. Mel

    In an investment cost, I learned about the “Cost of Opportunity” concept. The example rotated around money (duh) and how you have X dollars and to compare your choices of what you can do with X dollars. One opportunity would yield you A% return and B% return.

    I took that concept to other resources in my life – like time or effort expended for what kind of return. It is sometimes hard to predict the outcomes (such as ditching my partner’s lameassboring party for fun in a pub with a friend – resulting at them being mad at you) but this is where one’s personal values come into play.

    But keep it simple and it works, like trying to evaluate whether I spend $10 to buy a utility to find duplicate files or spend 5 hours hacking a perl script to do so. I go with the $10 route since my 5 hours are worth more to me.

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  101. Therm

    Nev, small hack. HUGE change. I stopped using electronics around my kids (unless we use them together). This worked so well that I started doing it in social situations. Its great to be present again. Despite this change I’m still very efficient.

  102. Julien

    True story…

    At 24, I used to play call of duty online:
    – After work
    – On weekends
    – On Holidays

    It was my “relax time after work” each game is usually about 10 mins; so I’ll play 5 or 6 or 7 games which is not a lot if you are gamer…

    But that’s about 1h+ each day of games and on weekends, I would go full days or half days playing.

    Oh yeah I was married with a newborn than too, so it wasn’t the best situation with the wifey… (Still am with 2 kids)

    Anyway, one day I just realized how much time I was spending on playing games…
    – a week 15 to 20 hours
    – a month close to 80 hours (little over 3 days a months)
    – a year close to 1000 hours (*with holidays)that’s like 41.6 days!!!

    OVER A MONTH of “Relaxation”!!!

    …of game playing and unless you want to be a professional gamer, that’s a lot of time wasted on ENTERTAINMENT…

    I decided to stop and do what will help me achieve my goals. Put the Xbox 360 in the Garage… and started

    -The next year and 6 months got my MBA (2011-2012)
    -The next 3 months after, I started my Business
    http://www.Movedanceandfitness.com (2013)

    also… Got a new job, started teaching college business courses, reading/listening to at least 1 book a month, and helping others achieve their goals.

    Oh yeah during the beginning of 2012, I got introduced to Nev, Noah and Appsumo… Encouraged me and changed my life too…

    Just from stopping playing Video Games and lying to myself that I was just “Relaxing” I mad that 360 change. Small change—-> HUGE RESULT

    I stopped playing Thanks Nev ;-)

  103. Andrew WIlkins

    In my effort to better myself in following up with people I told myself I’d start writing good potential contacts a handwritten follow-up letter. Problem is I never got to writing the letter. Finally I decided to at least start the letter with Dear [person’s name]. This hack has worked so well for me that it’s resulted in many new clients, one of them a Fortune 100 company.

  104. Jordan

    I have the same problem with drinks of any kind and also food.
    For drinks (especially alcoholic ones)I would just find the slowest drinker in the group and pace myself with them. This usually meant I had to go drink-less for awhile, but it works.

  105. andy

    I recently made a commitment to leave the house 5 minutes earlier than I wanted to. I have noticed that not only do I get to my destinations sooner, but I am incredibly less stressed out on the commute.

    Since I still have a 9-5 job, this extra five minutes has greatly reduced the static between me and my boss (who makes passive comments on my arriving at the exact time the shift starts). Also by leaving early, I am not such a bear on the gas pedal and have noticed an uptick in the mileage I am getting.

    hope this helps someone

  106. David Valentine


    I have been loosing weight now for about 3 months with one simple change. I am doing intermittent fasting, so I only eat 8 hours a day. I pace my meals, and work it in a way that works for me.

    The results have been great, and it’s probably more important about how changing one simple thing can bring about a whole bunch of other behaviors. Cheers to everyone “hacking their habits”, in doing similar type things.

  107. Alex

    Enjoyed this very honest article, and I see the scenarios you describe in myself. I’m also a fast drinker, and coming from some Irish background it’s always been the done thing at weddings and gatherings to get smashed from beginning to end.
    Also I suffer from some anxiety and when in social situations I feel I need a to calm me down. Really I should be taking my time and easing myself into the party atmosphere.
    My socialising script can read like:
    1) I’m not comfortable here,
    2) Everyone is already having a laugh,
    3) I need to catch up to the fun by drinking (even though not everyone else is).

    It’s a confidence game, but the reality is that intoxicants don’t really give you the confidence boost you envisage. If anything, it can give us the wrong kind of confidence.

  108. Steve Peters

    I have worked out of a home office (alone), for 25 years. Three things I found to make a huge difference in my motivation-capacity to get things done.

    1. Spend 15 to 20 minutes the night before reviewing my day, important task effort and the next days task lists.
    2. I have an egg timer and when I stand at my computer to begin a task..read email, write proposal, update blog, etc… I set it for 30 minutes. When it goes off, I stop, go get a drink of water, bathroom, sometimes just walk up and down the stairs..then do over again…and probably THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE:
    3. I shower and shave in the morning even when no appointments. I used to walk around in a baseball cap not showered until later in the day and found my mornings much different once showered…especially when it relates to communicating with others – phone calls especially are easier when I am all cleaned up…go figure?

  109. Cijo Paul

    I chew my food 30 times before I swallow it!
    Major Outcome: I turned into a SLOOWW EATER. Haha. Also, I’ve turned conscious about what I put into my body. I only eat when I’m hungry. Food tastes soo much better!


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