You’ve heard of passive income, now try passive self-improvement
I’m a huge fan of passive self-improvement.
It’s like passive income — it boosts your life (and bank account) on autopilot.
You only have 24 hours per day, which isn’t nearly enough to do everything you want or should.
Hitting the gym
Taking a few days off to go to a festival and snort random drugs off strangers’ butts whose pupils are the size of tangerines.
Okay, maybe not the last one — but you get the point.
It’s hard to stick to all your commitments and easy to beat yourself up because you feel like you’re not doing as much as you should.
This is where passive self-improvement comes in — specifically, these five decisions I made to improve my life on autopilot.
Set them up once, reap the benefits forever.
Read also: The art of doing hard things (rare wisdom)
The Most Powerful Trick I Know That Will Get You Closer To Your Goals Everyday
It’s both amazing and scary how much your environment influences you.
In a study, researchers got people to eat 22% fewer calories on autopilot. Goodbye excruciating diets. Their secret? As simple as genius.
Use smaller plates.
Without realizing it, people ate smaller portions, losing weight without effort.
Designing your environment in the right way is one of the easiest one-off hacks to set yourself up for success (or failure if you do it wrong).
Bad environmental design:
Leaving cookies out in the kitchen makes you more likely to eat them even if you’re on a diet.
A couch facing the TV sets you up for lots of wasted hours.
Social media apps on your phone’s front page get you lost in scrolling.
Good environmental design:
Hide the TV remote and make books easy to reach from your couch.
Use an app blocker on your phone, schedule power-offs, and put it in a different room while you work.
Eat with smaller plates and cutlery.
Stick a “smile :)” note on your bathroom mirror.
Set alarms on your phone to remind you of your habits.
Pre-pack your gym bag and put it where you can see it.
Place your alarm a few meters from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off.
Make your environment work for you instead of against you.
If You Never Want To Have To Worry About Money Again, Pay Your Future Self First
This is one of the golden rules of personal finance, but most people do the exact opposite.
When your paycheck hits, you have two options.
Either you pay the bills, buy the new shoes you’ve wanted, and then invest or save the rest.
Or, you invest a specific amount, then pay the bills and buy the new TV.
On paper, the difference looks small — in practice, it’s huge.
Humans are biased towards short-term gratification. You know you should put some money aside, but no matter how much you earn, at the end of the money there’s too much month left. The reason is simple — lifestyle creep.
When your income rises, you raise your standards and with it, your expenses.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
— Warren Buffett (the OG of investing)
Five years ago, I set up an automated transfer to invest a fixed amount into ETFs at the beginning of every month. As a student, I started with $50 and slowly raised it to a few hundred bucks. Today, this money is the reason I have a comfortable financial buffer and can make big purchases on a whim.
Most banks make it easy to set this up and you’ll never have to worry about saving or investing again.
Instead, you’ll be free to spend what you have without feeling guilty.
Read also: The three pillars of wealth
Here’s an Easy Way To Boost Your Body and Brain to New Heights
Water is to your body and brain what oil is to an engine.
Medical studies show that even a 1–3% dehydration can impair your mood, working memory, cognitive functions, and lead to anxiety and fatigue.
My game-changer is a reusable one-liter bottle. Like an orphan their stuffed toy, I carry it everywhere I go. My focus at work and weightlifting strength increased because my body and brain are well-hydrated.
Reusable water bottles come in all forms, shapes, and sizes — and they’ll also save you from ingesting nasty BPA.
The compound is in most disposable bottles and can leach into water and food, where it’s associated with a truckload of negative health effects.
Stay hydrated, stay sharp, stay fit.
Hand holding a blue reusable Nalgene water bottle
You can see I take her everywhere I go. | Photo by author
Commit to What Feels Right Instead of What Feels Good
Every day, you will make choices.
Working out versus eating donuts on the couch
Unleashing your anger versus communicating with respect
Sleeping in versus working on a better future for yourself
What feels good now is often what you regret later — but how do you know what’s right?
After all, life doesn’t come with a manual.
You have to write your own.
Three years ago, I sat down and asked myself what was important to me — what values and principles I want to live by.
Every time I act in alignment with them, I’m happy I did.
Every time I stray from the path, I regret it.
Yes, you already have an idea of what yours are. But writing them down makes them real. They’re no longer some airy-fairy idea your brain can bend based on what you feel in the moment.
It’s not an easy process, but with some guidance, it’s surprisingly straightforward.
Live by them and you’ll feel confident, powerful, and at peace when you look at yourself in the mirror.
Stop Trying To Save Money When You Buy Stuff
In Swabia, the small region of Germany I come from, we have a popular saying.
“We buy expensive because we can’t afford cheap.”
Most cheap things have given me more headaches than happy feelings. They break quickly, are a pain to use, and don’t do the job well. They’re the definition of wasting your money.
You don’t have to stuff your apartment with top-shelf items only. Just buy the premium version of what you use frequently. It will be worth it in the long run.
I love electronic music, so I got super-nice headphones and Bluetooth speakers. I also spend a lot of time on my laptop, so I got a high-quality mouse, keyboard, and laptop stand plus a top-notch Lenovo Thinkpad. Then, I got high-quality clothes tailored — no more rummaging through twenty shirts I don’t like.
Every time I use these items, they bring me joy, lift my mood, and improve my wellbeing.
Low quality feels good when you buy it, high quality feels good when you use it. Choose wisely.
Recap For Memory: 5 Ways To Improve Your Life On Autopilot
Design your environment so it works for you instead of against you.
Pay your future self first.
Buy a reusable water bottle.
Write down your values and principles and commit to doing what’s right.
Get high-quality versions of the items you use a lot.
Decide once, enjoy forever.
CONTRIBUTED BY Moreno Zugaro
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