Sign in

A publication from Medium on personal development.

Self Improvement

In Forge. More on Medium.

Trying to build a habit can backfire if you fall for the ‘habit trap.’

Photo: Fiordaliso/Getty Images

These days, when someone says they want to form a “habit,” what they often mean is that they want to make drudgery effortless. That is, they don’t want to actually do the work, rather they want to have done it — past tense.

From the mother to the teacher to the waiter, we have had enough


We are Simone Biles. And Simone Biles is us. A day after the Olympian announced her withdrawal from the women’s gymnastics team final — and later the individual all-around — the Internet devolved into ridiculous chatter about the star athlete’s “toughness.” (Jesus, the woman has four gold medals.) Stepping back instantly re-ignited the debate over whether Tokyo 2020–2021 should have even happened — is the world ready? Are the athletes prepared? Should we be doing this yet? It also made Biles the poster girl of a very acute American identity crisis that is playing out all over the nation —…

None of them have anything to do with money, fame, or success

Licensed from Shutterstock // Ostanina Anna

How do you compare to the person you were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Are you kinder, braver, more principled? I’m fifty now, and those metrics matter to me. But that wasn’t always the case.

In my twenties, I lusted after money, job titles, and sex as trophies of a successful life. Those success criteria now seem laughable and childish. Yet, many of my peers still chase after the same cravings that drove them in their twenties. They’re frustrated with life. They feel left behind even though they’re rich. They’re aggrieved despite being blessed and privileged.

That’s what happens…

How I’m fighting my critical inner resistance, one day at a time

Image by

There is a buzz in my brain. A hum. Like, when you go to a hotel room that has a kitchenette in it, and the low sound of the refrigerator keeps you up all night until your boyfriend sits bolt upright in bed and maniacally rips the plug out the wall? You know, like that.

The hum is restless anxiety of ‘needing to get stuff done’. It’s similar to that nagging sensation when you feel like you forgot something, but you’re not sure exactly what.

When I listen closely and intently, the hum starts to have a needling voice that…

The question will save you from disappointment

Photo: PM Images/Getty Images

Wouldn’t it be nice to experience greater fulfillment in life?

Everyone has aspirations and dreams, but they don’t always think things through. Worse, they don’t stop to examine their underlying motivations, and where they might lead.

I’ll bet you know people who are unhappy in their careers. They complain about their bosses, the commute, office politics, and more. Maybe this applies to you?

“How did I get into this mess?” you might ask yourself.

The answer often has to do with money, the expectations of others, and unexamined goals. …

For your next big thing—whatever that thing may be—consider going at it alone

Illustration © Ross McCammon

Because I’m writing this story alone, I don’t need to discuss with anyone how to start it off. So it will start with a story (an efficient story, I promise) about how for years I fundamentally misunderstood my mother’s experience raising me. It will end with a call to action, but this is how it’s going to start.

My parents split up when I was only a few months old. As I grew older and began to understand what raising a child actually entails, I built a narrative of struggle around my mother’s life. The image was: My mom was…

A cheat sheet for quiet people who want to be seen


“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought to myself. “This place isn’t for me!”

Cigarette packs, coffee cups, and manilla folders were everywhere. I felt like I’d just walked into the set of a bad sales movie. The year was 2003. The place was Baltimore. The people who weren’t screaming into their phones were yelling at each other about how many deals they had going.

Just as I began to think about making a run for the back door, the corporate trainer stuck his head outside the conference room and shouted, “We’re in here, Mike! Let’s go!”


What lights you up is just as important as what upsets you

Photo by Kai Dahms on Unsplash

Recently, a friend posted a beautiful picture to Instagram: a quiet sunrise moment in her parents’ tree-filled backyard. “I’m trying to get better at finding glimmers throughout my day,” her caption read. I wasn’t quite sure what a glimmer was, but if my body’s sudden state of calm was any indication, I got the idea. Surveying the tiny, tree-lined square –– even on my iPhone –– felt like exhaling, the exact kind of beauty and calm I needed to reset after a stressful morning.

I clicked over to another post my friend had linked, and I learned my suspicion was…

A case for letting relationships reveal themselves without the help of information we’ve already discovered online

Photo: Getty images

I recently got a request to meet with a guy in my town who wants to be a writer. Combine having not made a lot of in-person friends over the past 18 months and most people in Spain thinking I’m a fortune teller because I write on something called “Medium,” I jumped at the opportunity.

Walking home after our conversation, however, I questioned why the guy wanted to speak with me. Not every time, but quite a bit, he would cut me off when I began to explain something or attempt to tell a story. “I just read your status…

The single most impactful thing you can do to boost your intelligence is learn how to effectively self-soothe

image created by vectorjuice

When I was about seven years old I was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. At the time, such disorders were classified as learning disabilities. The way learning disabilities are diagnosed is by administrating an IQ test and an achievement test that focuses on skills like reading, writing and math. If there’s a big difference between the two scores, you have a learning disability. In my case my IQ was above average for my age, but my skills were below average for my grade level. No one at my school knew what to do with those results. Did I belong…


A publication from Medium on personal development.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store