One Year Of Discipline, Day 8: Mindset change

A description of the “One Year Of Discipline” challenge can be found here.

A carrot-orange juice made the day before and stored in the fridge is still tasting good the next evening – even though I do prefer my juice fresh.

Our lab hosted Happy Hour today, which basically means we are providing pizza and beer for the whole department. I went and relaxed and had a great time – haven’t had that for a long while. Last year, I would actually not often go to these events, I preferred getting my work done and having one-on-one conversations with friends instead. Over time however, my mood soured a bit. Just slightly. So today I was doing my best to “work the room” – and had a blast. I felt really happy. I always thought I was more of an introvert, but I think I draw more strength, positivity and happiness from being around other people than I realize.

That was part one of a change in my mindset.

The second part was when I realized that we often give others too much power over our life. We think so-and-so does not like us, so we try to avoid that person. And that means that underneath we taint a part of our emotional health with a constant influx of negativity.

I know I myself have done that far too often. Especially lately.

Here is what relieved me of a pain I carried around for a long time – against an old friend I had fallen out with. I found his arguments childish and petty, yet feared his judgement.

In most cases, the other person is not that different from us. We just turn him or her into a big deal in our mind. Gerry Spence writes in his book “How to Argue and Win Every Time” that a judge or even the President of the United States derives his power from the official structures he is allowed to operate. His immense power is still not his own. How he uses his power, though, directly reflects on his character and personality.

If we keep that in mind, we lose the fear or anger at a specific person. Our bosses are not more powerful than us just because they are slightly larger cogs in the corporate machine. Our neighbors are not better than us because they drive a larger car. And we are not at war with people that don’t share our opinions. They are just people, and we can avoid them or extend our hand.

Some people work immensely on improving themselves. The relevant questions then become: What can I learn from this person? Is that someone I like to hang out with? And maybe by seeing the other person in the same light as I see myself, I can broaden my horizon.

So what do I do when negative thoughts enter my mind?

I take a deep breath. Then I gather my thoughts and look at the work in front of me. I cut out all thoughts about what was in the past or what could be in the future and just focus on the present moment.

James Altucher describes what to do when you are outside and negative emotions enter your mind – you look at something that surrounds you right now. For example, the roofs of buildings. Don’t let yourself be distracted from the presence! Anything that gets you out of your head and towards the real world around you works.

This day has shown to me that being present in the moment and hanging out with other people is really making me a happier person.

On to the “beef” of Day 8.

Below you will find

(a) a quick description how I fared on my main goals – losing body fat, working on my blog, installing good habits;

(b) my thoughts for the day;

(c) how the rest of the program went and whether there were any irregularities or other noteworthy points.

Day 8

Losing body fat

Almost unreal this morning – 22.5%! Down from 23.4% the day before. It may be fluke, but the tendency is definitely going down.

What did I eat today (after I measured my body fat)?

Breakfast: Coffee, eggs, protein shake.

Afternoon: Chicken and asparagus.

Evening: Carrot-Orange Juice (the second glass from yesterday).

30 push-ups, 120 squats and 120 sit-ups properly done. In total, 120 reps of each exercise again. It definitely gets easier after a while.

Today though, it was a bit harder, because my muscles were sore from the Gym visit yesterday and the day before.

No gym – rest day.

One Year of Discipline

This is a photo of my flexed biceps and triceps – my lips are redder than normal after drinking the juice.

Not much to brag about at all, but this photo will serve as baseline to follow the development of my muscles.

Working on my blog

Continued reading the Franklin autobiography. I wasn’t aware how generous he was. He gives a friend almost all of his money so he can get out of debt – even though he has lost that money through gambling and drinking. Franklin doesn’t ask. Amazing person.

If you already want to check the book out, you can click here. (*)

Otherwise, I am writing my journal post from today right now.


(a) Emotional Health: I talked about that in-depth above, as a quick summary: even though I love reading and having time to myself, being with other people inspires me and makes me happy.

(b) Spiritual Health: I continued the Happiness Habit. What was I grateful for?

1. My space heater.
2. Delicious juicing.
3. Keeping media distractions away by writing every day.
4. Freedom of expression: the right to say whatever I want to say.

(c) Mental Health: Here are my 10 ideas for the day:

10 ideas for managing two activities at the same time.
1. Work one activity at a time until you have to wait for the next step, then start the second activity.
2. Delegate one activity.
3. Focus on the present moment and switch back and forth when you have a new idea.
4. Have a fixed time each day allocated for either activity.
5. Automate parts of one activity. for example, instead of reading, listen to the audio book while you run or clean your house.
6. Find the commonality of both activities, so you are merely doing two aspects of one activity.
7. Integrate the activities as much as possible into your errands.
8. Cut out all unnecessary clutter by focusing on the 20% that give you 80% of results.
9. “Wait out” one activity until no longer relevant.
10. Chose one activity as fun, so it does not feel like work and you do it automatically.


Thoughts for the day

What did I do well?
1. I withstood the temptation of “quickly” checking out a website.

What do I want to improve?
1. I am still not getting enough sleep.
2. I am expressing myself not clear enough.

How will I improve?
1. Prioritize on what needs to be done first – for example, by imagining every required action I take earns me money in time.
2. Focus on the central statement you want to make, then form your arguments around it.

How did the rest of “30 Days of Discipline” go?

Nothing special to report here. Everything went well.

To check the description of the “One Year of Discipline” challenge, click here.

To see yesterday’s post, click here.

To get back to the homepage, click here.

(*) I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.