My book is 25% off for 25 hours on May 25th!

My book is on sale until on May 25, 2022! You can get it here now. But if you want the backstory of this promotion read on!

Making Things Happen!

I am a huge believer in the power of false deadlines. Your hopes, dreams, and goals will just float in infinite space until you set a deadline to make them real. The false deadline is my secret weapon to achievement. I’ve used it for everything from starting businesses, to writing books, to having babies. Ok, so I have never actually had a baby myself. But I am a member of a 2-person Baby Cooperative. And the co-op has resulted in 3 babies thanks to false deadlines.

The Book

During the Covid Lockdown in 2020 I gave myself an aggressive false deadline. I told myself that I would finish the first full draft of my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? by May 25. The book is a collection of 80 life lessons that have had a significant impact on my happiness and success. And lookie here! Lesson 33 is The Path To Great Achievement Is Lined With False Deadlines.

Why May 25?

I chose May 25 as my deadline to complete the rough draft for 2 significant reasons.

  1. It was the last day of the Covid lockdown in Wisconsin.
  2. It was my birthday.

Then I got to work. And just as planned, by May 25, 2020, I had the first full draft of my book completed. Thanks to that false deadline, I pushed myself to create a 50,000-word manuscript in just 2 months.

I then put the manuscript away for a couple months, as I was instructed to do by Stephen King in his book On Writing. This helps you gain perspective and come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. (And I assume it helps Stephen King figure out who should die next.)

Then, I set a second false deadline to finish the second draft of my book by the end of 2020. And just as planned, I finished that draft by December 27th. (My parents’ 51st wedding anniversary.)

Finally, I set a 3rd false deadline to have my book published by the end of 2021. And I hit that too. But it all started with the first deadline of May 25th. Because it’s the first step that matters most. (That’s chapter 9.)

This was the first time I held my book. Or maybe this was when I accidentally squirted lemon juice in my eye.

25-Hour Sale!

Now, to help celebrate this significant book day, and my birthday, I am having a 25-hour sale. Starting at midnight on May 25th and running until 1am on May 26th, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? will be 25% off.

That means that paperback copies will be just $12 on Amazon. You can buy up to 25 copies at that price! (Just kidding. You can buy 25 million copies if you like.)

Even better, the hard-to-find hardcovers are just $19.50. However, you have to contact me directly for those at adam@theweaponry.com. (You can also get the 1-day discount price on paperbacks from me too if you are in the Milwaukee area. (Otherwise Amazon is just as good.)

Author Adam Albrecht and NFL running back Jonathan Taylor. Or what I like to call A couple of Badgers and a book.

What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a great read of summer vacations. But it is also a great gift for graduates. So if you need to pick up something for that grad in your world, here’s a chance to do it for less.

Thank You!

Thank you for continuing to read my stories, ideas, articles and musings. Thank you for supporting my book and for helping share worthwhile ideas and inspiration. I hope you all have a Happy My Birthday!

Enjoy What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for 25% off on May 25th by clicking here.

Why I do so much public speaking and why you should too.

Over the past 5 months, since first publishing my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I regularly get asked if I do any public speaking. The simple answer is an emphatic Yes! (And an emphatic Yes! is also the basic message of most of my public speaking.)

The truth is I never turn down an opportunity to speak if there is a chance I can work it into my schedule. Not just because I enjoy it. But also because it is my way of passing along all of the lessons, insights and encouragement that the world has shared with me. Plus, you usually get a free bottle of water.

UW Credit Union hooked me up with 2 bottles of water!

I enjoy offering motivation and encouragement. I like to teach and share lessons from my own experience. Which is why I think about the following philosophy when I am asked to speak at an event:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

-David Viscott

I also love to entertain. If I would have been born with more funny bones I would love to have been a standup comedian. (But alas, I only have the two not-so-funny bones in my elbows.) So when I get asked to speak I always try to find opportunities to make the audience laugh. And occasionally they will.

My recent speaking events include a book talk to a marketing association, company meetings, guest lectures, and 3 TV appearances.

Talk show talking with Molly Fay.

Over the next weeks and months my speaking engagements include:

A Career Day event for 8th graders. (A notoriously tough and attention-challenged crowd. I’ll probably resort to some potty humor to keep them engaged.)

Moderating a panel discussion Tomorrow morning I’m hosting a panel at American Family Field with some interesting and well-known panelists. (Which is sure to induce some panel envy.)

A talk in Cleveland for a large conference. (I hope they don’t throw any of those Cleveland rocks!)

Speaking to the leadership team of a very large household brand in Columbus. (Ok, so it’s really more of a Garagehold brand.)

Speaking to a conference in Chicago about branding. (I had to assure attendees that they would not be getting their hide seared.)

Several association meetings. (I’d like to create a talk titled, ‘Is there an ass in your ociaton?’)

• Guest interviews on podcasts

Plus, I have at least 5 other events in the planning stages.

Talking to the Milwaukee Athletic Club about how to carry 2 watermelons at once.

These speaking events are great opportunities for me to share what I know with the world. I get to pass along energy, enthusiasm and positivity. And I get to remind people that they are responsible for writing a great story of their own life and career every day.

I love the challenge of taking what could easily be a boring and forgettable event and turning it into something fun, entertaining and inspiring. Which is why I get so many speaking requests. And why I am often asked to fill the last slot of the day. (I’m the Keep-Them-Awake Specialist.)

Key Takeaway

If you have great experience and a positive perspective you should share it with the world. Look for opportunities to speak, educate and inspire. Not only will others learn from you, but you will learn from the experience too. The process of sharing with others forces you to organize and crystalize your own thinking. Which means everyone comes out ahead.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

> If you are looking for someone to speak at your next event you can reach me at adam@theweaponry.com.

+To learn some of the life lessons I like to talk about, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

It’s graduation time! Students across the country are thrilled to finally be done with classes, done with books and done with teachers’ dirty looks. But what they will soon find out is that the real life lessons start after school ends. Because suddenly your life becomes one big multiple choice test. And if you thought you were done with all that writing, here comes the big surprise:

Now you have to write the story of your own life.

Looking back, I can see that I have learned far more since graduating from Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire and The University of Wisconsin than I did in school. In fact, I read more now than I did in school. I ask more questions. I study people and events, and people at events.

I have been collecting the best lessons I have learned since the day I graduated from high school. Then, during the Covid lockdown, I turned my collection of most valuable life lessons into a book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I thought the book would help people like me who were trying to get the most out of life. I wanted to help my contemporaries maximize their happiness and success. I wanted to share some of my accumulated knowledge, inspire others, and make people laugh. Not necessarily in that order.

Since publishing my new book I have heard 2 responses over and over from readers.

  1. I wish I had read this when I was younger.
  2. This book will make an excellent graduation gift.

The positive response to the book confirms that the life lessons I pass along offer real value. For new graduates, the lessons will help build the life and career you imagined. Which is why so many people are picking up copies now, during graduation season to give as gifts.

My friend Kris picked up these copies for some special graduates in her life. Including her daughter Emma!

If you are a new graduate, congratulations! Welcome to the club! Here are a few things that will help you in your exciting next chapter of life. (And you thought you were done with all that reading…) (If you graduated last year or last century the lessons still apply.)

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

  1. Constantly Upgrade Your Thinking: You may have graduated, but you are not done growing. Never stop improving yourself. You are like an iPhone. You should constantly be creating better versions of yourself. Each one is smarter, stronger and more capable than the one before. (And now that you will start paying for your own phone you’ll want to put a screen shield and protective case on that thang. Phones are frick’n expensive.)

2. The best way to live a great life is to start at the end. By viewing your life from the end you can clearly see what you could have done and what you should have done. Do this now, while you can do something about it. And you will be able to turn your life into an epic story as big as your imagination. (And go to funerals. They will teach you more about life than death. Plus, there are always free ham sandwiches.)

3. It’s the first step that matters most. Far too many people dream about the things they want to do but never take a single step towards making it happen. Your dreams start with that first step. Take it. Make it happen. (And watch Hamilton. That dude did not throw away his shot.)

4. Let envy be your guide. Don’t get fooled into thinking envy is a deadly sin and try to squash it. Envy offers insight. Note the things you envy and truly want and add them to your life list. Then create a plan to make them yours. And get to work. (Sloth, however, is a deadly sin. Don’t mess with sloths, Sid.)

5. Your Success Is Directly Related to Your Contribution. Success is easy to understand. If you want more, contribute more. If you want to earn more money, add more value. If you want more social capital, add more value. If you want more political capital, add more value. It is the value you bring to the world that determines what the world offers you in return, Jedi.

6. Nothing will happen unless you make it so. JFK said, ‘Things do not happen. They are made to happen.’ Remember that action is everything. It is the difference between dreaming and doing. If you want something to happen you have to force it and will it to happen through your vision, action, and energy. This wisdom applies to friendship, entrepreneurship, and every other ship in between.

7. Kickstart your day with a smile. The first thing you should do every day, while still lying in bed, is put a big smile on your face. Science has proven that not only do we smile when we feel good, we actually feel good when we smile. Smiling is the easiest positive thing you’ll do all day. Yet it has the power to propel and protect you until you crawl back into bed at night. (So, if you haven’t smiled yet today, do it now, brown cow.)

8. Fill your attitude with helium. Life is unpredictable. One moment you feel like you are on top of the world. the next moment you feel like the world is on top of you. But a helium attitude rises anyway. Don’t let setbacks, curveballs, and negative people drag you down. Do what helium does, and just keep rising. Your attitude is everything in life. Make sure you fill it with the right fuel. (And if you ever need a good laugh, suck in some real helium and say ‘Luke, I am your Father.’)

9. Always bet on yourself. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Don’t bet on sports or horses. Instead, bet on yourself. Bet on your ideas. But on your intuition. Bet on your determination. And on your willingness to affect the outcome. Stack the odds in your favor. It is the easiest way to mitigate risk and set yourself up for an epic payout. (And add Take A Chance On Me by ABBA to your life soundtrack. It’s a real toe-tapper.)

10. Find your Sliver Mentors. Everyone will offer you advice. But only take advice from people who are already doing what you want to do be doing. And rather than have one mentor for everything it is useful to have many mentors for slivers of your life. Learn the tips and tricks of the people who behave the way you want to behave. Don’t listen to every voice in the wind. Instead, carefully curate the advice you accept from those who offer great examples. (And keep a good tweezer around for regular slivers.)

11. Ask For What You Want. Never be afraid to simply ask for what you really want. A closed door will often open when you show just how much you want to go inside. Remember, someone holds the key to unlock every locked door. (Don’t simply take what you want. Unless you look great in an orange jumpsuit.)

12. Don’t Build A Network. Build Friendships. Throughout your career, people will tell you that you should network. This essentially means you should meet people who can help further your career. This is bad advice. Don’t network. Instead, befriend as many people as you can. Prioritize developing genuine relationships. When you make great friends you will have a great network. Because when you make people the most important thing in your life, everything else magically falls into place. (And keep eating Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.)

Key Takeaway:

Commit to a lifetime of learning and growing. Get a little better every day. Read. Think. Make friends. Find people who can teach you. And always bet on yourself. The best is yet to come. But it’s up to you to make it happen.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+If a $16 graduation gift fits into your budget, consider grabbing a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for a graduate in your life.

How to get the most out of any experience.

Every experience in your life has the potential to be valuable. Every day, every meeting, every interaction. From major holidays to kickoff meetings to casual conversation, there is gold to be found everywhere. But too often the experience comes and goes without living up to the potential it promised. This is the deeper message behind the play Our Town and the movies The Sixth Sense and Weekend at Bernie’s.

The best way to get the most out of any experience is to imagine it is already over before it has begun.

Before the meeting starts imagine you are walking out of it. Before you get in the car with another person imagine the drive is over. Before your guests arrive imagine they are leaving. Before you try that pick-up line imagine what the other person looks like when you are sober.

Then ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. What would I do better next time?

With this quick and easy pre-mortem evaluation you can ensure that you will:

  1. Make the right things happen.
  2. Fix what went wrong before it occurred.
  3. Do things better THIS time.

I use the simple evaluation technique all the time. And I use it on massively different types of experiences.

Before Christmas or a birthday, I imagine the perfect day, map it out and schedule the day to live up to my expectations. More detail is better. So is more eggnog and more smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.

But I also use this technique when I drive my kids to or from school. I think about the conversation I wish I had. I think about the opportunity to connect, encourage, or entertain as if it already slipped away. Then I make sure to connect, encourage or entertain while I still have a few minutes. And when the ride ends with my kids opening the door laughing I feel like we are winning at life. Especially if they remembered their backpacks.

Key Takeaway

Understand your opportunities before they are gone. Imagine the final outcomes before they are baked. Then adjust anything you can to align your actual experience with your ideal. Great events don’t just happen. You make them happen. And a little forethought provides the road map you need to a better ending.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more ways to create better outcomes, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Life is like a choir concert. Which part do you play?

Last night I went to a middle school choir concert. And I noticed that there are three types of middle school choir participants.

  1. The Non-Singers.

These kids are in the choir physically. And that’s where their involvement stops. Yes, they are on stage. But there is little to no effort given. They have shown up to prove that showing up may be half the battle, but it’s not the half that makes a difference. Occasionally these kids will move their mouths. This happens most frequently during the chorus of a popular song. But if you were standing next to them on stage you wouldn’t hear much more than lyrical breathing coming from their faces.

2. The Singers

These kids sing. (Hence the name of this category.) They are involved. They knew the words. Their mouths move. And they look as if they are on the stage due to their own free will. There are no this is so dumb looks from The Singers. There are also no I am so dumb that I accidentally ended up on stage amongst a bunch of singers all wearing white shirts types of looks from The Singers. They simply show up, do their jobs, and try not to fall off the risers.

3. The Performers

These kids are in the choir to perform. To entertain. To put on a show. These kids have energy and effort. They have passion and joy. (In fact, I think Passion and Joy were two of the 7th-grade girls in the concert last night. They may have been twins.) The Performers make you think that the concert is one of the best events of the year. The Performers look alive. They put thought and effort into their appearance. You can tell that they are feeling it. They make you feel it too.

Key Takeaway

Fill your life with activities that make you feel like you are The Performer. Lean into the work that gives you energy. Where the effort comes easily and joyfully. Where the smile is natural. Find work that makes you feel strong and capable of entertaining with your skills and knowledge. Spend your time participating in hobbies and recreation that you love. Not only are those activities enjoyable for you, but that feeling you feel spreads to others who see you at work or play. Humans are wired to feel the energy of those around us. This has nothing to do with actual skill. It is about attitude, effort and enjoyment. And it’s contagious.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+If you are interested in more messages like this, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Make the most of your magic ingredient.

Yeast is like magic. It is the secret, almost invisible ingredient that makes bread rise. It creates action and life. It creates transformation. And alcohol. And stank.

But yeast only works if the conditions are favorable. If the environment is too cold it won’t activate. If the temperature is too hot it kills the yeast that makes the magic. #TooHotInTheHotTub

The human spirit is like yeast. It is your magic ingredient. It is the will to win. The drive to succeed. The hunger for more.

The human spirit fuels your resilience and determination. It is the force that will transform you into something even more remarkable tomorrow. Something far more remarkable than bread. Or beer.

But just as yeast needs the proper conditions to activate, so does the human spirit.

Remember

If you are a business owner, leader, parent, teacher, coach, or the person who runs Fight Club, you are responsible for creating the environment.

Your most important job is to make sure the environment doesn’t kill the magic ingredient.

Great people won’t stay in a toxic work environment.

Great athletes won’t stay to play on a negative team.

A lion tamer won’t stick his head in the mouth of a stressed-out lion. (At least not more than once.)

And most importantly, a poor home environment will prevent children from growing into the amazing adults they were born to be. We can’t let this happen.

Key Takeaway

Create an environment that lets the human spirit work its magic. Or seek out a supportive environment for yourself. And magic will surely follow.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

For more, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

To enjoy a happier life invest more time in your personal projects.

If you want a better, more interesting and more fulfilling life take on more personal projects. If you don’t, a disproportionate amount of your life will be taken up with your must-dos, and not your want-to-dos.

Personal projects allow you to take on exciting new roles in miniature. Because they let you dip your toe into a new world on a small scale. (Unless you have really big toes.)

Your personal projects are experiments. They let you test and learn. They let you take action and observe reactions. They enable you to adjust the variables to get new and better outcomes. No Bunsen burner required.

Your personal projects are small investments you place on yourself. With a small investment of time, money or energy you can generate significant personal returns, Jedi.

Matt Mullenweg says that WordPress, the platform this blog post is created and published on, was started as a project. It was simply interesting and enjoyable for him to develop. He never thought of it as a business. But that small project is now the hostess with the mostesss, as it now hosts more websites than any other platform in the world. Which allows millions of people to create their own personal projects.

My Projects.

I love starting personal projects. Here are a few of mine:

  1. I love to regularly print original t-shirt designs that interest me. That has evolved into a business called Adam & Sleeve, and a whole bunch of fun shirts I love to wear.
  2. I started an illustrated cartoon series called Kirky. Because I always thought that would be fun. And it has been. Thanks to Dan Koel for teaming up with me on this.
  3. I began writing a blog in 2015. This is my 726th post. But who’s counting? (The WordPress platform counts them automatically. Thanks, Matt Mullenweg!)
  4. I began taking on freelance advertising projects early in my carer. That eventually lead to me starting my own Advertising and Idea Agency called The Weaponry.
  5. A few years ago I volunteered to coach a middle school track program a couple of days a week. That evolved into becoming a high school assistant track coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. Which led to me coaching a handful of other Milwaukee-area discus throwers and shot putters on the side. Which means that my side projects have spawned side projects.
  6. During the Covid lockdown of 2020 I started a manuscript writing project. That evolved into publishing the book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media in December of 2021.
  7. Since the beginning of my career, I have regularly volunteered to give talks to college and high school students and professional groups. I have gotten pretty good at sharing a good and compelling story. Now businesses, schools, clubs, conferences, tradeshows and other organizations across the United States have invited me to come share what I know. (And I am always up for more.)
  8. I volunteered to organize my high school reunion last year. A few months later I was hanging out in Hanover, New Hampshire with fellow Marauders who I hadn’t seen in decades. Thanks to Covid, we all walked away with a new appreciation for our time together, and some fun new stories to share from our shared experience.

Key Takeaway

Take on more personal projects. They are highly rewarding investments of your time and energy. They are great experiments that let you test, learn and improve. They can add great joy. They can unlock new doors and offer you more control over your life and time. When you take on a personal project it has the potential to both add to your story and change the course of your life. All you have to do is get started.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more life lessons I have harvested, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

The great un-equalizers in life and business.

There are nearly 8 billion people on Earth. Which, according to my quick math, equals a lot of competition.

Every time you apply for a job, promotion, or elected position, someone else will want it too. Just ask Napoleon and Pedro.

Want to woo an attractive mate? Join the crowd. Want to join a team, cast, club, or society? Get in line. Want a pound of that sandwich-sliced turkey breast? Take a number.

It’s important to have an impressive resume. Skillz are good. Experience is helpful. Knowledge is nice. References are respectable. Connections are cool, Jay. But your competitors will have all of those too. And perhaps theirs will be better than yours.

However, the great difference-makers in life don’t show up on your resume, your transcripts, or your personal win-loss ledger.

Online dating sites can’t capture the great difference-makers either. If they did we would have a lot fewer dating disaster stories to share.

Your Way

The secret ingredients that set you apart in life and business are your personality and style. Their importance can’t be overstated. If you have no personality or style you have no chance. If your personality and style are indistinguishable, so are you.

By developing a unique and interesting flavor you stand out. You get noticed. You become memorable. And interesting. And attractive. And sought after. That’s how you win in Nashville, Hollywood, Wall Street, Main Street, and at the Kollege Klub.

Key Takeaway

Embrace your own personality and style. Develop your own voice. Find your own flavor. It will become your unfair advantage in life. And in a crowd of 8 billion people, you could use every advantage you can get.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more life lessons I have learned on my adventure on Earth, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

What do you do when you find a stuck human?

On my drive to work recently I came across a car that was stopped at a major intersection. This was odd, because the traffic light was green, and the driver should have proceeded through. What made the situation worse was that it was raining heavily. So the intersection felt like a more dangerous and less enjoyable place to be stuck than usual. If I was writing a scene in a TV show about a person having a very bad day I would put the character in this situation.

As I drove around the car I noticed a thirty-something woman in the driver’s seat. She was looking around as if she was trying to figure out her next move. I knew what she was feeling. I used to have a car that enjoyed surprising me too.

I passed through the intersection and nosed down the hill on the other side, towards the Milwaukee River below. I kept looking in the rearview mirror to see if she started moving again. But she didn’t. If it was as if she saw that game of Red Light, Green Light from Squid Games and was afraid to move at all. Finally, just before I crossed the river and arrived at my office, I pulled a U-turn and headed back up the hill.

I eased my car into a parking lot near where the woman was stopped. I got out of my car and hustled to her driver’s side window. This put me in the middle of traffic, in the rain. The woman rolled down her window and I asked if she needed help. She responded, ‘Yes Please!’ She was clearly relieved to have some help.

I asked her if she could put the car in neutral. She tried. She could. So I told her that when the light turned green I would push her through the intersection and she should start rolling down the hill. I pointed to a stretch of open street parking at the bottom of the hill that she should pull into. She nodded in understanding. Then I walked to the back of the car where I assumed the role of her auxiliary human car engine. (Which I will be adding to my LinkedIn profile.)

When the light turned I started pushing on the lifeless car and got it rolling. After it slowly crept through the intersection it nosed downhill and picked up speed. Momentum and gravity made it look as if the car was no longer disabled. I stopped pushing and watched the car roll down the hill and neatly into a parking space below.

I jogged back to my car, hopped in, and drove down to greet the woman at the bottom of the hill. I walked up to the driver’s window again with a big smile and said, ‘You nailed that plan! Nice job! Do you need a ride somewhere?”

She told me that she was on her way to a doctor’s appointment and that she would greatly appreciate a ride. She showed me where the appointment was on the Google Maps app on her phone. Her destination was less than a half-mile down the road from where we were. She hopped in my car, and within a minute I dropped her off at her appointment, on time. She was extremely thankful for the help of a stranger. I was happy to lend a hand. And a couple of arms, legs and a back.

Key Takeaway

Whenever you find someone stuck, try to help them unstick themselves. It’s one of the most basic and helpful things we can do for each other. It doesn’t matter if the person is stuck physically, mentally, emotionally, or developmentally. Help them through if you can. Remember, you never know when it will be you who is stuck in one of life’s intersections, hoping someone comes along to give you that push you need to get going again.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

6 Tips To Establish New Power Habits.

A great life is built on great habits. Do the right things repeatedly and you will build momentum. Do the wrong thing repeatedly and you build a rap sheet.

Your great habits have a compounding effect. Each great step helps amplify the step before. All of which will earn career, social, health, and even financial capital that will open doors for you.

I was on The Morning Blend this week talking about habits. You can see the segment here.

But How?

Habit development is a process. Here are a few of the most important things to know to get the process right, like Bob Barker.

6 Tips To Establishing New Power Habits.

  1. Start with your identity.  Identify as an exerciser, reader, money saver or a neat and orderly person. Once you identify as the person who does these kinds of activities you will do the kinds of activities your identity identifies with. It’s always a case of the chicken and the egg. So just decide that you are a chicken and start laying eggs.

Remember: Identities are all made up anyway. (Just ask Madonna.) None of us came out of the womb as runners, readers or pop singers. We were all just naked and unemployed. One day you simply decide you want to take on an identity and you go with it. The great news is that you can add to or change your identity any day.

2. Make it easy at the start. If you have chosen to identify as a runner, don’t go out the first time and run until you barf. You won’t want to come back. Instead, run until you feel good. Don’t go past that point. Stop before it hurts or feels negative. Run for a couple of minutes. Not a couple of miles. Make it enjoyable, make it easy. Make yourself want to do more next time. In the beginning (#NameThatBook) the most important thing to do is simply create the system or process. The length doesn’t matter.

3. Optimize and intensify over time. Once the routine is established you can adjust it to be more productive. Lengthen the duration of activity. Increase the intensity and focus. But raise the bar slowly and you will build even more momentum.

4. Market the habit to yourself by putting cues in your path.  If you want to journal, leave your journal and pen out where you will be reminded to write. Put your exercise clothes on your dresser or bathroom counter so they are easy to pick up and put on. Place your laundry to be put away on your bed. This provides additional obvious cues and reduces friction to action.

5. You can change your life in one day. Quitting smoking may be hard, but it’s not hard to not smoke for a day. The same holds true for exercising, eating well or playing an instrument. Commit to one day, each day. It will make you feel like a winner every day. You will be inspired to do more when you feel like you are winning.

6. When you have a problem starting or maintaining a habit there is a problem with your system. If your habit is failing it isn’t you. It’s the system. Tweak it to make the habit stick. Make it easier. Change the timing. Change the setting. Use technology for prompts, reminders or encouragement. Pair it with a different reward. Find what you need to nail it.

Key Takeaway

Use good habits to create good habits. Set your identity and your actions will follow. Underdo it at the start. Allow yourself to be an amateur. Create obvious prompts. Optimize and intensify over time. Keep stringing together good days. And just don’t stop.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.