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Lessons From the Badass Muscular Neurobiologist

Have you ever noticed that as a whole, our society has its daily habits almost completely backwards?

We’re generally so “busy” that we don’t have time to get much exercise. And then we spend countless sedentary hours sitting in our cars each week because we think that car driving saves us time.

To fuel our bodies during these chaotic days, we pack ourselves with whatever convenient or tasty food we happen to crave at the moment, then add in additional snacks between meals, while watching TV, and perhaps a final treat before bed. 

In any leftover shreds of free time, we pack our minds with similarly tasty or convenient blobs of entertainment or “content” that happen to successfully push their way in front of our face like a pen full of hungry pigs fighting for the scraps of our attention.

And our food factories, magazines, newspapers, TV and streaming services and even politicians are only too happy to keep pushing out the crap. And the results are just as you would predict: crappy.

But there is some good news too: You can do everything in the opposite way, and the results tend to be astonishingly good. The biggest difference you’ll notice is dramatically better physical and mental health, which multiply together to create a better, happier, longer and more generous life in all dimensions. 

In other words if there’s anything worth striving for – even more than financial independence or early retirement or any other individual goals – it’s probably the overall package of a healthier you.

Over the past few months, I have found myself settling into a new routine that seems to be getting better and better as the positive results feed back onto themselves. It has become so good that I thought it would be worth sharing and comparing notes with you. 

To cut straight to the good part, let’s compare the flow of two hypothetical days, side-by-side: the typical American default life, and a somewhat optimized Science-backed Life. Then, we’ll go back and fill in the details on where all these details come from, and the reason for this blog post’s strange title.

Two different lifestyles (click for larger version). Text version of this table also available here.

So What is This All About?

If you didn’t recognize the man in the picture above, these ideas have been meticulously stacked into my head by Dr. Andrew Huberman, the Stanford professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology who has now also risen to the top of the podcasting field.

The basic information is only partially new – Huberman covers almost every aspect of the brain and body, and the field of science has been working on some of this stuff for a long time. But the rate of progress is faster than ever, so he has become my trained guide to filter and pass on the most useful findings, in an accessible and engaging style. I find the episodes thorough, detailed, and relentlessly focused on actual science instead of just speculation. 

The packaging is important to me too. I’ve been a health and fitness enthusiast since I was sixteen, but until now the field always had an uncomfortable split down the middle: there were the glossy and buff promoters – mostly salespeople for their own products with very little substance (and an inherent conflict of interest). And then there were the actual scientists, lacking in style and presentation skills and often sporting unenviable physical forms as well, making them less inspiring to follow even before the fact that they typically communicate mostly in the form of academic papers.

Huberman unites both personas into one – he’s a real scientist, but also a great presenter. And every time he shoots another two hour Laser Beam of Focus from his intensely intelligent eyes through the screen directly into yours, while gesturing precisely with that highly athletic form packed into a classy black dress shirt, it’s a lot easier to convince yourself that “Hey, this is probably pretty good advice if it will make me even a bit more like this guy*.”

Back in July as I was starting to work on this article, I posted a silly teaser to my Instagram account of me sitting in my roasting hot “car sauna” out in the sun-baked concrete driveway behind my house. This was the start of my experimentation with deliberate hot and cold exposure. I found it both fun and incredibly mood-lifting (Huberman reveals in certain episodes that the mood elevation from a cold water plunge is quite literally about equal to taking a dose of cocaine. Except this drug is actually good for you!)

The Molecule of More

It all started when a friend sent me a link to this episode on ADHD, knowing it’s something I am always trying to optimize my life around. It immediately revolutionized my understanding of how my own brain works, which led me to this episode on depression, and this one on Dopamine and its effect on our motivation and drive

Everything started to fall into place as I learned about the role of brain chemicals in general, but specifically the effects of Dopamine and Adrenaline on my own life. As it turns out, the flow of these molecules dictate not only my classic ADHD symptoms of difficulty focusing and remembering where I put things, but also my ability to feel happy, feel like making plans, and feel like doing anything at all. Which helped me understand why days with strong “ADHD” symptoms can also feel like depression symptoms. 

This led me to an entire side journey into Dopamine research, as I followed Huberman’s recommendation to read a book called The Molecule of More, which turned out to be a life-changing experience on its own. Not only does the book peel away some of the biggest mysteries of Human nature and leave you with a new level of understanding of why we feel and act the way we do, but it also has a compelling flow that’s much closer to a thriller novel than a science book.

I learned that while Dopamine is often labeled as the molecule of pleasure, this characterization is not quite accurate. In reality, it’s the molecule of motivation – the substance that causes us to be interested and take actions towards something that our mind expects to bring us pleasure (which in turn usually means food, mating or social benefits). But the actual attainment of that pleasure tends to temporarily quench our desire and decrease motivation.

Until our brain comes up with the next thing we don’t currently have, which triggers more dopamine, more motivation, and more seeking. Which can either lead to good things like healthy living and self-actualization, or addictions to drugs, success and status for its own sake, or the hedonic treadmill we talk about so much here in the personal finance world.

Applying this knowledge to my own life: ADHD is a condition which often comes with suppressed dopamine levels. When in this state, we sufferers have trouble with things like maintaining focus, keeping track of objects in the physical world or remembering names and faces, and making future plans. Some of us compensate with hyperactive and impulsive novelty-seeking behaviors, unconsciously seeking things that trigger more dopamine release. But for others like me it manifests as a mildly depressive state – turning away from the outside world and focusing on things that are more familiar and require less planning. 

By doing more of the things that help release and stabilize my dopamine levels (basically everything in the table above), I was able to start feeling more consistently energized and motivated, which gave me even more ability to keep the good routines going, and so on. It has become a virtuous circle that has me exercising more, sleeping better, eating better, seeing positive physical changes, saying “yes” to more plans with more people, and getting more done with my days.

70 Hours of Speed Learning

Here’ my “Huberman Report Card” so far. Each one of these red bars represents about 80 minutes of concentrated learning time, even when listening at an accelerated pace. This is how much I am drawn to this material (which means even more in my case because I’m easily bored by anything but the most interesting stuff!)

So I kept listening to more and more of his episodes. And as the knowledge flowed in, I started noticing the overlapping patterns in every area of health. It all seems to boil down to the same few things.

  • Exercise (especially outdoors plus lifting heavy things) 
  • Nutrition 
  • Mindfulness and Meditation-style breaks
  • Sleep

These things in turn affect the plumbing and the hormones in both our bodies and brains, which in turn controls EVERYTHING – from mood and energy to body composition to the immune system and even our chances of chronic diseases – including cancer.

It sounds somewhat obvious, but I think the key is understanding this stuff down to the deepest fibers of your soul: everything affects everything. So if you want a better life, take care of every part of yourself, by making the entirety of your day something that improves you, rather than wears you down.

You don’t have to be perfect, of course. But you do have to understand which stuff is good for you, which is neutral, and which is counterproductive. At that moment, a little Scientist Angel will materialize on your shoulder and start advising you on every decision. And it will just naturally become easier to make positive choices. And when you do decide to be decadent and naughty, it will be a deliberate conscious and fun choice, which you will do in moderation.

Call To Action

The best way to live life is to combine a constant appreciation of the present moment, with a general program of consistent improvement. That way, you get to feel good about both the present and the future. 

So if you’re up for the challenge, I’d love to see both of us – you and me – continue to iron out our daily routines so they bring us both more moments of feeling great and more decades of personal growth. That means doing our best to learn something new every day, and do something hard every day. 

And if you’re looking for somewhere specific to start, I think that taking a long walk with a great podcast is one of the most simple yet powerful options. 

Listening Tips:

I typically enjoy listening to podcasts and audio books with the playback speed set to 1.5x, which helps make them more engaging (it gives my easily distracted brain less time to wander because the information flow is faster plus it saves a lot of time). It’s definitely worth experimenting with speeds if you have never done so before.

The next revolution for me was switching from standard headphones to good quality wireless earbuds* so I can combine the learning with my long daily walks, workouts, carpentry and chores around the house. The better models even have good microphones built in so you can use them for phone calls and meetings.

Finally, many of these podcasts have a long “sponsors” section built in which can be a chore to listen to more than once. On the YouTube app on your phone, you can do a two-finger double-tap on the right side of the screen to immediately jump through this section and get to the good stuff. Other media and podcast players have similar things, or at the very minimum a double-tap feature to jump ahead 10 seconds.

Bonus Technique: Successful Transformation through a Madwoman’s Scribblings

As I was writing this article, I happened to reconnect with a longtime friend who revealed that she too had made some great progress in feeling better and improving her health and fitness after a rough patch in life. Her secret to success was revealed in the strange photograph at left.

The idea is that you put your ideal daily activities down the left hand side of a page, and the days of an entire month along the top, and stick this thing on your fridge. Then you color in the squares for each day as you achieve each activity. 

You probably won’t get them all, but every square counts. And because this chart is right in your face every time you visit your kitchen, you are reminded and motivated to get as many as possible. Easy accountability, and you can just keep it going and making adjustments for month after month. I just printed out my first one today!

Shortcut: Here’s a first version of a Badassity Tracker chart I made for myself:

In the Comments: What habits and self-inflicted problems do you struggle with the most? And if you feel you’re doing well at something, what has been the cause of that success? I’d love to see more people working and sharing with their peer groups, to make healthy self-improvement much more of a national pastime.

* Superstar Scientists: An article like this would not be complete without also mentioning Peter Attia, an equally prolific researcher, doctor and educator who has also pulled me in to dozens of hours of his teachings on health, medicine and longevity. For best results, I recommend following any and all of these types of people – as long as they seek and present real science, choose whoever inspires you the most.

** Wireless earbuds – if you’re looking for a research shortcut, I’ve been using this Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro set (affiliate link) for about 6 hours every single day for the last year. Here’s another similar option, on sale at the time of writing. Insanely good yet cheap which makes you wonder why the hell Apple airpods cost so much (!?). And they were transformative for me because the noise canceling feature eliminates not only airplane noise during flights, but all the engine noise of urban life, making walks much more pleasant.

  • Jet September 30, 2022, 2:48 pm

    This is quite inspiring! I’m struggling the most with healthy eating and evening lethargy. I always tend to gravitate to unhealthy food (ice cream, cookies etc.). They give me the quick boost of energy (dopamine?) and sooth my cravings.
    With the darker days I am less active in the evenings. Taking a walk at 20:00 when it’s still light in summer is great. But now all I want to do is curl up and watch something.
    I have been able to create some rest over the summer by not listening to podcasts. I used to listen to podcasts while cooking, taking a walk or doing chores. Depriving me of input has given me more rest and time to think instead of having my mind busy with something throughout the day. Having at least an hour a day where my mind can drift and process has really helped me. I now fall asleep earlier and am less anxious.

    Reply
    • Andrew October 13, 2022, 2:37 pm

      Sounds like you’ve created some bad habits! I feel like I am the complete opposite of you which is actually similar to my wife. If I eat junk food I feel like crap – especially ice cream (it tears up my stomach and I never sleep well). If I’m not playing hockey or working out regularly I go a little stir-crazy or I start looking for new hobbies/sports to play.

      Reply
    • Delilah November 29, 2022, 5:26 pm

      I think that taking an information break is a great idea! Letting the mind “lay fallow” so that new things can grow is indeed a good practice.

      Reply
  • Joey September 30, 2022, 3:04 pm

    Just a heads up, you should modify your spreadsheet link to this, so it doesn’t require a google account to just view it:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1beZ-iHmgc0POqqZRN1jtRgueglV3BEU7LO9DKtETIiU/

    Reply
  • Carl September 30, 2022, 3:06 pm

    Well, I don’t know. Huberman does sound eloquent but a few things bother me:

    1. He often says that vitamins are good for you, and that you should take more. At the same time, he advertises a particular vitamin cocktail for which he either gets paid to talk about or maybe gets a kick back on sales. That’s a conflict of interest.

    2. His Wikipedia page is rather suspicious, reads like an ad, and is frequently heavily edited. See the talk about his page: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Andrew_D._Huberman

    This makes me rather suspicious of him. He might be a researcher and sound eloquent but something makes me uneasy and ultimately I have stopped listening to his podcast because I’m not sure I can trust him.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache September 30, 2022, 4:36 pm

      Listening with a skeptical ear is always good, but from my perspective I get the opposite impression when I listen to his recommendations:
      – He clearly labels the sponsor section and makes it easy to skip
      – He describes the biological mechanism of EVERYTHING whether it is sunlight, vitamin B, alcohol, even illegal drugs, with equal clarity. And always points out that there is no need to take any particular supplement, talk to your doctor first, etc. In my view he’s purely interested in the science.

      Also, remember that a guy at this level of so many fields is very likely well beyond financial independence already. He can afford to skip out on any amount of unnecessary money, but would not want to lose ANY credibility, since that would be a foolish trade. It’s much more rewarding to be able to help more people, than just gather more wealth for yourself.

      Wikipedia: I read the “talk” section in your link and it sounds like some griping from people who have not listened to much of his work. I had to laugh at one part in particular: to lump Huberman into the category of “Bro Science” is to truly misunderstand both the “Bro” world AND the “Science” world.

      And when I read his main Wikipedia page, it does not sound at all like an advertisement – just a list of facts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_D._Huberman

      Reply
      • Kelly Monaghan September 30, 2022, 5:33 pm

        And yet that page clearly states “This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. The specific problem is: Article reads like an advert, editing by too many SPA. Need better secondary sources.”

        Just sayin’. :-)

        Reply
        • Cayenne Traveler October 4, 2022, 9:38 am

          A person’s Wikipedia page content has no relevance to the person’s credibility, that’s the least scientific way of determining who a person is – go to the source material, the person’s own content he produces and see who he associates with – lots of top scientists appear on his show.

          Reply
      • UKFIREHQ October 4, 2022, 12:58 am

        I agree that it all looks a bit too Californian and glib for my British tastes. And the Wikipedia warning isn’t a good sign. I’ll give the podcast a go but that and the mention of vitamins sounds a bit shonky.

        Reply
      • Cayenne Traveler October 4, 2022, 9:33 am

        Huberman also frequently says work on behavior changes first and supplements / pharmaceuticals last.

        Reply
    • Rif September 30, 2022, 10:44 pm

      I spot checked a few of Huberman’s claims and came away feeling that the science on his podcast is not especially sound. A lot of what he’s saying makes sense and a lot of it (especially the more general claims) are likely right, but in many cases Huberman seems to take very preliminary scientific results or to cherry pick certain studies and then claim with high certainty that there are large, powerful effects.

      That said, I think in broad outline (mostly at the level Mr. Money Mustache outlines in this post) the basic claims are obviously right — getting sunlight, exercise, peace and quiet, and healthy foods have a lot of evidence. But I’d be skeptical of any claims about very specific supplements, nutrients, or protocols. See also https://www.reddit.com/r/cogsci/comments/rwqr3p/without_doubting_his_credentials_is_andrew/

      Reply
      • Daniel October 2, 2022, 6:30 pm

        I agree with you Rif. I have liked some of Huberman’s guest, though some of them are extremely questionable (like Matthew Walker).

        I’m wary of science popularizers like Huberman in-general, and Huberman has done nothing for me to differentiate him from many other “popular” science personalities (I include Peter Attia in that group as well). Everything he teaches is either obvious or dubious.

        MMM, I saw you mention above that Huberman has no incentive or motive to pedal bad science. I would say to that, I don’t think Huberman intentionally pedals bad or shaky science. I think his intentions are good. I just think he oversteps his bounds and makes definitive claims about a lot of areas that he has not been thoroughly trained in. I think he oversimplifies concepts that most experts in the field would tell you cannot be so simple and are much more complex in reality.

        You say he explains the concepts clearly, but all that tells us is that Huberman is an excellent speaker and presenter and has a lot of confidence. Have you actually spent the time critically evaluating any of his claims? Even if you did, do you really have the expertise to do so? In reality, you are a layperson who does not have the thousands of hours that is required to critically evaluate the absurd amount of evidence in the fields that Huberman talks about.

        I have no doubt Huberman helps a lot of people with his general message – prioritize nutrition, sleep, exercise, emotional regulation, etc. Just don’t put the guy up a pedestal.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 10:02 pm

          Hey Daniel,

          I hear you – it would be impossible for me to out-science the scientists and independently verify all of these claims. However, as a fellow lifelong science enthusiast, I’m sure that you agree that science has a certain “fabric” to it – the principles of skepticism, data, sources, peer reviews, accepting new results even if they conflict with past beliefs, speaking in probabilities and possibilities rather than firm causative statements, and all the other stuff that makes it so fun to follow. And it seems to me that Huberman embodies that mindset right down to his own mitochondria. He is a learning machine at its purest!

          But I think even this attitude of wariness that you are practicing might be a bit self-defeating, and perhaps cause some analysis paralysis.

          All this article really boils down to is:

          – GET OUTSIDE
          – EAT YOUR SALADS
          – DO YOUR SQUATS
          – DO LOTS OF OTHER HARD, HEALTHY, NATURAL THINGS THAT CHALLENGE YOUR BODY AND MIND

          I happen to find Huberman podcasts incredibly motivating, and by listening to them as I am out walking and running, I get super charged up to do all of these healthy things. And I feel better and get stronger and leaner every time I practice these correct behaviors.

          So, I’m hoping that other science lovers will find the same inspiration from this package of good ideas.

          It’s simple. Time to worry less and do more :-)

          p.s. Matthew Walker? The Biology of Sleep guy? I listened to lots of his stuff and it seems fantastic to me! Solid, low-key advice on getting better sleep, from a scientist who does lots of research on it. And meanwhile most of us have really bad sleep-related habits without even realizing it, and could benefit immensely from just learning the basics.

          Reply
          • Alex October 3, 2022, 9:26 am

            I really like the Maintenance Phase podcast for going over the issues with some of the mainstream “Wellness Industry” messaging.

            They did an episode specifically on Matthew Walker and his book: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4r0Vawq8xAfnsnKbYVUNhc?si=7422491377da40ee

            A lot of the claims in his book are not cited, poorly cited, or just plain not what the data says.

            For example: his claims around sleep loss due to Daylight Savings Time. His entire claim is based on a single study that found some days following the time switch there was an increase in heart attacks, but other days there were reductions. Over the span of the week there was no difference to any other average week. The researchers are very transparent about this, and the conclusion of the study is that there is no impact. Somehow Walker has spun this into a “fact” that sleep loss causes heart attacks.

            Just because his claims sound logical does not mean we should take it at face value.

            Reply
            • ksteele October 12, 2022, 6:00 pm

              Solid argument and I have to agree with all you mentioned . David Sinclair et al would be a better more credible source of longevity, age reversal etc.

            • Scott October 26, 2022, 12:14 pm

              I have not listened to that specific episode of the Maintenance Phase podcast, but I would take anything said by them with a massive grain of salt. They did an episode on calories that was full of misinformation and just plain BS. The host seemed to be the definition of confidently incorrect.

          • Keaton October 7, 2022, 6:49 pm

            I also listened to many hours of Matthew Walker on Joe Rogan and Peter Attia, applying most of what he suggested to my life.

            While I’m sure many people – the chronically sleep deprived – could benefit from his message, there are an astounding number of errors in just the first chapter of his book. Here’s an article documenting them: https://guzey.com/books/why-we-sleep/

            It’s bad enough that I basically threw out everything he said because I simply can’t trust it.

            Reply
          • Ben October 30, 2022, 7:54 pm

            Matthew Walker, Peter Attia (and to get ahead of it Rhonda Patrick, David Sinclair, etc) are all examples of scientists who step outside of their domain of expertise and make recommendations to the public. By outside of their domain of expertise, I mean when they go from preliminary research and animal models and skip the necessary translational research steps before promoting a habit or supplement.

            What they all do follows a common pattern: they discuss plausible mechanisms and point to research in animal models (especially mice). Sometimes they cherrypick human research. This is only part of the bar you have to clear to get something into a clinical trial, and even then, 90% of clinical trials fail. That means your prior–when you hear any claim not backed by an RCT but that’s linked to animal studies and plausible mechanism–is that it has a 90% chance of being wrong.

            Most of these ‘scientists’ repeat common debunked claims around intermittent fasting (IF has come out neutral or mixed at best in aggregate in human research, but circadian eating, e.g. don’t snack late at night, seem more credible), low carb (Attia and Taubes’ own funding debunked their central hypotheses) over-monitoring (Eg. continuous glucose monitoring and smart devices, see: https://thedietwars.com/peter-attia-cgm/ ), emphasis on resistance training and heavy weights rather than aerobic exercise, even though the vast majority of longevity benefits are demonstrated only for aerobic exercise, etc. (longevity of power athletes is either flat or reduces compared to average Americans depending on the research, though this is admittedly confounded by likely ubiquitous steroid use).

            I think a lot of these pop culture icons hook engineers because engineers hear discussion of models and mechanism and map it onto things they’re familiar with: physics, structural mechanics or properties of materials, simple computation and state machines, etc. Biology isn’t like that, though. Even sub-components of cells are Turing complete. X causes Y causes Z all traverses a graph where the edges are fluid mechanics and compartment penetrability, enzyme kinetics, etc. They’re not like the ‘mechanisms’ you’re familiar with.

            Just remember the 90% failure rate of clinical trials. As a rule of thumb. Doesn’t matter who’s talking, low carb, vegan, food pyramid advocate, anyone. If the intervention hasn’t been borne out in RCT’s, 90% odds it’ll fail when it gets there.

            Reply
            • Robert Lepage November 2, 2022, 6:53 am

              Pretty much this^^
              The ‘plausible mechanism’ drills itself into engineer’s brains and overwhelms other critical thinking. I’m guilty of such. The other key indicator of someone who doesn’t understand the human body is if they ever mention the word ‘optimum’. There is no such thing as an optimum for the body, nor peak performance. If someone uses such a word, red flags!

              The problem is the motivated reasoning; finding someone who agrees with a lot of things you already believe primes you into believing them on everything else. Huberman and Attia are bro-mances. Yes, I’ve listened to many of their podcasts, but after hearing multiple factually incorrect things that contravene established and peer-reviewed science, I had to lump them into peddlers of ‘awesome sounding bad-assity’ of Joe Rogan proportions. They damaged my trust in them by cherry-picking or intentionally distorting things to suit their narrative.

              The real bad-asses read primary literature, not rom-com, pre-digested sound bites that appeal to your biases.

    • Sundeep October 4, 2022, 3:16 pm

      Scepticism is great, but at what point is someone not qualified to be sceptical about a subject that requires more knowledge than a lay person has? Stanford PhD neurobiologist or a random blog post commenter…I think I know whose word I’ll take. Part of science is being sceptical but a lot of it is trusting peer-reviewed results as the truth so you can build upon it and not waste time trying to prove for yourself every theorem to date…

      Kind of like how j”oe normal guy” was questioning basic science facts a few years ago. Would be an interesting blog post for someone to do…

      Reply
      • MKE October 6, 2022, 6:34 am

        I am REALLY uncomfortable with MMMs defense, which basically goes thusly: “This guy is rich and financially independent, so there is zero chance he could every say or do anything wrong. Duh, he’s rich!”
        The world is chock-full of awful rich people. In fact, as you go up the wealth ladder, you will encounter a larger percentage of sociopaths and functional psychopaths. I have read this in several popular books on behavioral economics.
        I am not saying either this guy or MMM are bad guys. I am only saying that lots of money does not equate to moral purity. This “rich = superior human” is an American cliche, but it’s bullshit.

        Reply
        • skinny October 14, 2022, 11:26 am

          Can you share some of those behavioral economics books? I’m very interested.

          Reply
      • Ben October 31, 2022, 9:03 am

        Joe Rogan is the Oprah of majority male audience podcasts and many of his guest scientists are just as credible. PhD’s are a dime a dozen and MD’s also more common than you think, and Attia is a classic salesy executive type who skates through disastrous collapses of orgs and pet theories somehow unscathed. And managing to increase his salary along the way. His low carb advocacy while collecting a 700k salary at Taubes’ disastrous NuSi nonprofit is one of many demonstrations of this.

        Attia is a Dr. Oz for people who think they’re smarter than the TV crowd. It doesn’t take a Stanford PhD or MD to understand the difference between partially formed scientific theory and an intervention that’s proven in the clinic. There’s a well-defined set of hurdles that have to be cleared before something makes it out of the lab and into the clinic. But the folks listening at home don’t always understand this process, so there’s a fortunate to be made from that information asymmetry. And a Stanford PhD or MD is quite helpful when you want to appear legitimate despite a record of endorsing interventions later proven ineffective or harmful.

        Plato spelled out everything we see around us here in the Gorgias nearly 2500 years ago:

        > On several occasions I have been with my brother Herodicus or some other physician to see one of his patients, who would not allow the physician to give him medicine, or apply a knife or hot iron to him; and I have persuaded him to do for me what he would not do for the physician just by the use of rhetoric. And I say that if a rhetorician and a physician were to go to any city, and had there to argue in the Ecclesia or any other assembly as to which of them should be elected state-physician, the physician would have no chance; but he who could speak would be chosen if he
        wished; and in a contest with a man of any other profession the rhetorician more than any one would have the power of getting himself chosen, for he can speak more persuasively to the multitude than any of them, and on any subject.

        Persuasiveness in the public square is not a surrogate for scientific correctness. Remember that 90% of interventions developed from an alleged understanding of mechanism and effectiveness in animal models fail: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211383522000521 — so anyone who promotes an intervention that has not cleared the RCT hurdle based on ‘promising research’ is taking a very low odds bet against established biomedical science and its standards of evidence.

        I personally have worked in data science in the immuno-oncology field where the ongoing joke is that we’ve cured cancer in mice thousands of times by now. Mice are not humans. A mouse has a ~9x faster metabolic rate, and a fasting mouse will lose ~12% of its body weight in 12 hours (see: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0023677213501659 ) — proportionately equivalent to a 200lb person losing 24 pounds. Timed fasts in animal models are just one example of where things run astray. The question of cancer and oncogenic substances or behaviors is also quite problematic for a species not naturally selected for longevity or size (see Peto’s paradox on this topic).

        Please do not take what these people have to say at face value based on science credentials.

        Reply
        • prof November 5, 2022, 3:55 pm

          I love 90% of what you’re saying here (I’m a biomedical research prof) but hazard that this standard isn’t quite right: “so anyone who promotes an intervention that has not cleared the RCT hurdle based on ‘promising research’ is taking a very low odds bet against established biomedical science and its standards of evidence.”

          There are many kinds of interventions for which we have piles of other data and solid theory ahead of time that can enable confident and accurate predictions. An example from my field: most of us with quantitative immunology training understood that there was nothing magical about a 3- or 4-week interval between the first and second doses of mRNA vaccines. Those were the intervals chosen for the initial trials so the trials could be done quickly and satisfy target endpoints ($$$). Fauci and many MDs presented RCTs as the only reliable basis of evidence. Those of us in vaccinology were pulling our hair out. Many of us urged prolonging intervals back when we thought there would be an initial vaccine shortage, since that meant more people could be vaccinated sooner. Canada and the UK did stretch the intervals, and guess what? They were able to show (as all immunologists I know would have thought) that the vaccines worked better with a longer interval between doses. Of course this has not been well publicized in the U.S. There are a million more examples, and I could go on about strong vs. weak inference, but you get the point.

          Thanks very much for your post!

          Reply
          • Ben November 5, 2022, 7:13 pm

            I agree with you in principle. And there’s a larger body of related evidence and a rather conservative empirical posture to the example you cite — i.e., it would be a baseline to assume that the exact timing of an interval like that is not significant, given prior scientific research and evidence. While occasionally RCT’s lead to surprise that deviate from those sorts of expectations, it’s not at a rate subject to the same percentages I mentioned.

            The difficulty here is deciding how much nuance to try to treat the subject with. Safe and non-safe assumptions can be counterintuitive to people who aren’t experts in the domain. Continuous glucose monitoring in non-diabetics seems harmless and informative to a lay audience, or similar metrics from similar devices that track sleep, etc., (most of which are near-worthless). I’d say to just refer them to someone who is an actual expert, but Attia and Rhonda Patrick have real credentials — they’re just (partially) operating outside of standard scientific and medical practice. Because, you know, there’s a lot of money to be made in members only health content.

            I’m reluctant to just say ‘hey we’re all adults here, caveat emptor’, as the line between when you need an RCT or when other standards of evidence suffice isn’t even clear cut w/r/t expert consensus. That said, I feel comfortable telling people to steer clear of interventions demonstrated only w/mouse models + biomed folklore and pop sci.

            Reply
            • Skeptic November 7, 2022, 10:01 am

              There is some probability some of the ‘interventions’ not yet tackled by RCT are valid. And there are some interventions that will probably never be studied properly because of a lack of motivated funders. There is also some chance that some RCT interventions have either not yet been replicated repeatedly (it is very hard to make a career replicating other people’s experiments) or have some other hidden flaw (again, following the money that drives much of what is or is not researched). Then there are the motivations of the gatekeepers of science, in today’s overly politicized and arguably compromised universities, to consider. All of which is to say, what draws people, IMHO, to admittedly unproven ideas is not so much rhetorical skill of their peddlers but frustration borne of following the supposedly proven advice to little or no effect. This is not to suggest both sides (scientifically-credentialed bloggers and RCT scientists) are equal. Clearly some RCT conclusions are better and beyond reproach. But, this is what bothers me: if following “the science” worked as advertised for the vast majority of people, I’m not sure why anyone would be interested, at all, in what Attia, Patrick et al. have to say. Sure, they’re playing to inherent biases in their audience but I can’t discount the possibility that those biases are grounded in something more than just willful ignorance. Much respect for bringing the Gorgia dialogue into this. It is good to be reminded to be as skeptical of the skeptics.

  • Kate September 30, 2022, 3:34 pm

    Fantastic blog post! I have been listening to Huberman for a while now too. I especially loved the episode on hypnotism. I was fascinated how effective it is in medicine and how long it has been researched. I learnt a lot on topics like hearing, depression, how to focus/learn and autism too.
    In addition to learning about optimizing your life with better sleep, cold showers, getting a dose of sunlight first thing in the morning and exercise, one of the most important take aways for me was how therapy works. All the methods are essentially training your brain to fire the thinking/remembering sections of your brain without also triggering the emotional responses at the same time (they fire together when experiencing trauma).
    There is so much info for living a better, happier life, which is the whole point of mustachianism for me. Thanks for this one MMM :)

    Reply
  • AJ September 30, 2022, 3:57 pm

    One habit I struggle with is watching TV at the end of the day (after working out and cooking, of course). Unfortunately, I end up sitting on the couch for 1-3 hours, and that usually involves consuming an unhealthy amount of crappy snacks too. Luckily, I’m moving and selling most of my stuff (including the TV!) soon, and I can’t wait to experiment with living without a TV.

    Reply
    • Andrea October 2, 2022, 5:17 pm

      You can always try getting rid of your couch instead of your tv. Going furniture free or furniture light has helped me not stay in one place for too long. Your movement instincts might turn out to be stronger than your desire to watch another show.

      Reply
  • Liam September 30, 2022, 5:35 pm

    The “get direct outdoor exposure immediately upon waking” thing seems to have gained prominence over the last year. I just started doing it a month ago and haven’t noticed a difference, but I’ll probably keep doing it because… why not? It’s 10 minutes a day and doesn’t hurt anything.

    Reply
    • Annika October 1, 2022, 10:03 pm

      I wanted to try that too, but that implies that the sun is already up once you wake.. so is this only a benefit for early retirees / self-employed with the benefit of waking whenever they please (preferably without an alarm) while we are in the dark season of autumn/winter? Just looking out the window right now (have been up for an hour with the baby by 5 a. m.) and sun won’t rise for another hour here :-//

      Reply
      • Mandy October 4, 2022, 4:11 pm

        I was wondering about that part too. I wake up before the sun and then I have to wait for it, lol.

        Reply
      • Joel October 4, 2022, 4:17 pm

        I know, my entire last winter was spent getting up at 5 with a toddler and waiting for the sun to rise at 10:30 (in December).
        Also getting outside with kids in extreme winter condition is super tough to begin with.

        Reply
      • Tim October 6, 2022, 2:16 pm

        I thought about that too. I can see the benefits of many of these habits, but many of these habits can are dependent on one’s life situation.

        I am a teacher living in Minnesota. Most of the school year I wake before it is light out, I get to school before the sun is up. A significant amount of the school year the sun is down by the time I get home. As a teacher, I get a prep period that is about 45 minutes long, so blocking out 1-3 hours for creative work (building new lessons, etc.) simply isn’t doable.

        Still, I do think a list like this is important though, even if it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Many people with be in a life situation where doing all of these consistently isn’t doable with their current life. None of these steps are magic, but they do have an effect. Choosing a few habits to build in consistently is key. For me, exercise, eating well, and alcohol moderation are key.

        Exercise is mostly running. My dog is essentially my personal trainer. Eating well starts at the grocery store–bring home the good food. If I impulse buy, I impulse buy in single servings–one Snickers bar ias opposed to a whole package of Oreos. Alcohol, if I drink regularly, just leaves me numb and lethargic. If I drink occasionally with friends or loved ones alcohol is much more enjoyable.

        Reply
      • Glen October 19, 2022, 3:17 pm

        I’ve been waking at sunrise for several years now, (no young kids, so I don’t have to worry about crying babies!) Not retired or self employed, but work at a job with a flexible work schedule. I’m sure my co-workers have noticed that as fall progresses, I come in later and later, but as soon as Daylight Savings Time ends, boom the following Monday, I’m in an hour earlier! Of course I’ve made no change, they have, spring forward and fall back mean nothing to me.

        Reply
    • Liz C October 6, 2022, 5:24 am

      Not so easy when you live in the north (or far south, I suppose).

      I live in Minneapolis, and work at a job I love. [FI does not always mean not working, it can mean you only work jobs you love.] I need to work East Coast hours and be ready to roll at 7:00 local time. No problem, I’m an early bird.

      But for the next few months, sunrise will be after 7:00 … for a few weeks, it’s after 8:00. No early sunlight for me!

      Not that I’m convinced it’s necessary … being active early makes more sense. I’m healing an injury right now, normally on office days I walk the 2 miles to downtown.

      Reply
      • Mandy October 7, 2022, 4:57 pm

        I told my husband that this all can be treated like a recipe. Use the ingredients that work for you and then adjust the rest appropriately. As far as the waking up and getting sun, I was really hoping MMM would comment on this because we live in the same town. I want to know how late MMM actually sleeps to get sun on his face first thing, lol!

        Also, where did the emails go? I got the first two and nothing since.

        Reply
  • Dmitry September 30, 2022, 10:21 pm

    The Concept of Dominance by A.A. Ukhtomsky and Anticipation fits the theme and helps to understand how one can change behaviour and focus. I’ve done this many times now with all aspects of my life – finance, health, fitness, relations, etc.

    Reply
  • Keaton September 30, 2022, 10:55 pm

    I found his podcast on psychedelics to be particularly interesting. He goes very in depth with the research and asked nuanced questions which I appreciate.

    Reply
  • Kent October 1, 2022, 3:41 am

    I learned about Huberman on Rich Roll’s podcast a couple of years ago. It is Rich’s most listened-to podcast on YouTube. He has an interesting backstory. “Hack Your Behavior” 2+ hours lots of good stuff.

    Reply
  • Jess October 1, 2022, 3:41 am

    Since retiring in Jan of this year I’ve slowly been moving more and more of these positive things in this table into my life. Most recently cutting out drinking casually. Which has been a catalyst for many other positive things that show up in that table. It’s strange and not strange at the same time that I’m drawing similar conclusions and setting up similar days to yours above.

    I’m sleeping better. I feel better.

    This works. As does everything else you blog about. I found the shockingly simple math in 2014. And retired 8 years later.

    Maybe I’ve just been brainwashed by the MMM community so my decisions are starting to mirror our leader /s.

    Thanks for everything you’ve done here. It changed my life.

    Reply
  • Timothy Brinker October 1, 2022, 6:30 am

    Huberman podcast is a tool in the toolkit. His podcast on alcohol is useful as many of us overuse alcohol. His ego could use a little reduction in volume, but improving our health as a society is very important. Basic themes of limited or no alcohol use, exercise, nutrition, limited social media use are sound. Heard this guy on Rogans podcast, but thanks to MMM for bringing back to my attention.

    Reply
  • Lori October 1, 2022, 7:32 am

    Optimizing health is a passion of mine.
    But I still scroll too much at the end of the day.
    I still binge on ice cream when my kids are w their dad
    I don’t often get sunlight first thing .
    You’re right – our culture has it backwards.
    Thanks for writing this

    Reply
  • Andrew October 1, 2022, 7:50 am

    Thank you for this post, and all your posts. I’ve been with you since 2012 and have been applying your principles to my daily life since then. Lately I find my own life contaminated with a car commute that I haven’t been able to outthink. I hope you or one of your readers might have some ideas. Some background is:

    I am a medical doctor. For a few years I worked in a highly specialized field that I hated. I quit in 2020 (late summer) and took nearly two years off work to rest and recover from an injury, as well as great disturbance of my peace of mind. I could have gone back to work in my old field, but that is something that I don’t ever want to do again, for any amount of money. This year I found an opportunity for retraining (1-2 years) in a different field of medicine. It was a lucky thing to get the chance to retrain. It is highly unusual for the fossilized, intolerant, and judgmental power structures of medicine to allow something like that. My point in mentioning all this is that a job change really isn’t an option at the moment, if I want to continue practicing medicine in the long term.

    My commute is this: a suburb of Metro Detroit into downtown Detroit. 20 miles one way. There is limited public transit (Amtrak) but the schedule is several hours outside my usual working hours. Bus hours are worse. I have considered carpool, but my hours don’t coincide with those of any colleagues I know. I’m the only one who lives in my area that works in my particular training program. My wife has an excellent job 5 miles from where we live, so moving isn’t something I’ve considered seriously.

    Early in the summer, my commute was only 1/2 hour to 40 minutes on the freeway. Now, I see that employers are forcing people back to work and the roads and freeways are much more crowded. My 20 mile commute now routinely takes an hour each way, sometimes longer. Two hours a day sitting and getting a fat ass. I’ve lost count of the number of close calls where I’ve nearly been clobbered by raging semis/industrial haulers. I drive a small Subaru, 6 years old. The best I’ve been able to come up with is to listen to peaceful audiobooks about topics such as Money Mustache wrote about in this posting. I’d be grateful for any ideas.

    Reply
    • Andrea October 2, 2022, 6:05 pm

      Sounds like you need to really accept your situation and stop fighting it. It is temporary (if I understand correctly) and allowing you to move in a new and better direction. I suggest focusing on enjoying your drive as much as possible. Experiment with different routes or driving strategies that increase your safety and scenery. If it’s going to take an hour anyway maybe there is a better, more dynamic route that you might find more stimulating. Experiment with your hour of departure. Could you get there faster if you left an hour earlier and use the gained time to do some good things for yourself near your workplace instead of at home?

      Reply
    • ShellyMo October 2, 2022, 8:12 pm

      Hey there! Originally from that area (Mo= MoTown) and know that traffic well. Is there any way you can put yourself outside of the commuter time zone by doing the training between 7-3, or something like that? The commute is much easier at 6:30am and 3:30pm. Alternatively, is there any option to stay downtown or at a nearby apartment or room rental for a few nights per week to cut the commute by half for this year of your training? Good for you for finding a way through the rough patch!

      Reply
    • Aisling October 2, 2022, 8:20 pm

      If you don’t have kids (or dependent kids) then could you find a place to have a room for 4 days a week close to your hospital – only commute on Monday and Friday – it may not be cheaper but will give you back time and you may be able to exercise etc. It might not be a long term solution but maybe until you complete your training and/or find a job closer to home. Sometimes people appreciate roommates who will not be there in the weekend and may offer you a cheaper rate.

      Reply
    • Brian October 3, 2022, 10:23 am

      My best advice is to keep trying things and don’t expect to arrive at a perfect solution that overcomes every hurdle all the time and every time. Instead, think of yourself as an inventor and prototype ideas. Can you get a bike rack for your car and bike part of the route? Can you park further away and walk part of the route? Can you adjust your schedule one day a week to accommodate an alternative commuting method? Try things when you don’t have to be at work at a certain time so you don’t have the added stress of worrying about being late. Finding something that gives you even a small amount of relief from a long car commute will be worth the effort.

      Reply
    • Chris October 5, 2022, 1:14 am

      Try cycling to work once a week. It’s a long way for a bike commute, sure, but not impossible. I do 25km each way, a bit less than 20 miles, admittedly, but I used to think “impossible”, until I did it. And enjoyed it.I got quicker too, and fitter.

      Try just once a week on a bike. Then if nothing else, you’ll certainly appreciate sitting on your ass in the car. But what might happen is you end up biking a couple of times a week. And magically other parts of your life will also be a ton more tolerable.

      Or maybe you can bike some of the way and then get public transport…

      You don’t need a fancy bike… aluminium frames are fine.

      Reply
      • Jessica October 10, 2022, 12:45 pm

        I agree with Andrea that the situation is temporary but very unpleasant. Metro Detroit traffic is horrible with endless construction and freeways are more crowded as more organizations order people back to the office. Consider living in the downtown area a couple of days a week when the day is too long, or the weather is too miserable. If it means spending extra money, then be it. Hopefully it would be made up later after the training is completed. Biking to downtown Detroit is like committing suicide, any sensible human being would not do that.

        Reply
    • Tracey October 13, 2022, 3:27 am

      I used to have a brutal commute and could not change my work hours. So I joined a gym next door to my workplace and began leaving at 5 am. No more traffic and I got a great 1.5 workout in every morning before work. Plus saved money by using the gym’s water for daily showers. Best wishes to you as you find a solution.

      Reply
  • Glench October 1, 2022, 8:18 am

    Hey Mustachians, I feel like it’d be helpful for you to know about Ayurveda! It’s a system of medicine/lifestyle habits that’s been practiced for thousands of years in India that describes subjective cause-and-effect relationships of what you do with your body and mind and how those activities are likely to impact your overall health. It independently recommends a pretty similar routine to the one shared in the post and moreover explains WHY this works in an intuitive way that you can understand in your own experience.

    For example, why should you avoid a high-sugar, high-carb breakfast in Ayurveda? Because those foods (especially the combination of wheat flour, butter, sugar, and dairy) tend to increase both physical and mental feelings of heaviness and slowness in the body, especially when made into a habit. (In Ayurveda they’d say those kinds of foods increase kapha dosha and tamas in the mind). Heaviness and slowness can be good things sometimes, but as a habit, obviously most people would like to feel light and supple. And over time that habit of heaviness can turn into low energy, poor digestion (which causes even *more* downstream effects), depression, and oddly enough, anxiety as your mind tries to overcorrect (often with coffee and other stimulants), and of course diabetes and many other physical diseases that our culture suffers from.

    One nice thing about Ayurveda is that it’s very individualized and you can tune it to the outcome you want.

    In the post above, Mr. Mustache says “eat a giant salad with optional protein at lunch”. In the system of Ayurveda you might say that eating raw salads are good if your current state of digestion is strong enough to handle them (raw food is harder to digest than cooked food) and since the food was recently alive will tend to give you lots of energy since it has a lot of life force (“prana”). (Consider how a lettuce leaf looks in the sunlight vs. a piece of stale bread — one is vibrant and alive and the other lifeless and dead-looking. Well, that will obviously affect your body.). Moreover, raw salads that are digested well will tend to increase feelings of lightness, coldness, dryness, and mobility in the body and mind (increase vata dosha). So if you’re chronically anxious, cold, dry, and always on the move, salads may actually increase these feelings, especially over time, and push you further out of balance. But if you need more of those kinds of feelings in your life, then lunch salads may be one input that help you move in that direction. It all depends on where you are at in the moment and what your basic patterns of living are.

    And Ayurveda is pragmatic, not dogmatic — if you find that salads tend to have the opposite of the predicted effect on your health, then hey, go with that. Ultimately Ayurveda rests on your own experience, not abstract principles. Ayurveda pairs really well with mindfulness meditation and mindful living in this way.

    Another nice thing about Ayurveda is that it doesn’t just work with food but, well, with anything. For example, in the post Mr. Money Mustache talks about taking a walk in the morning and looking at the sky. From an Ayurvedic perspective, we’d say that walking tends to increase heat and movement in the body (pitta dosha) which helps strengthen digestion. Interestingly enough, being exposed to sunlight ALSO tends to increase heat in the body (pitta dosha), so that’s a double whammy for shaking off morning lethargy and getting ready for breakfast. And looking at the sky tends to increase feelings of lightness and spaciousness, which is also a great energy to bring to the start of a day. And all this is so intuitive, right? We all tend to sort of know how we feel after we walk or look at the sky, but Ayurveda puts all this into an intuitive framework that we can use to understand our lives more deeply and take wise actions that increase our health and harmony. It’s very cool to see that science is also bringing more nuance and information to this system and sometimes confirming it.

    Personally, I’ve loved practicing Ayurveda both with support of a coach and on my own. One nice thing is that it’s helped me predict things that have made me feel a lot better. For example, I’ve been feeling a big lack of energy, low digestive strength, and depression lately (increased kapha dosha). I’ve also been eating supportively so that’s not something I feel like I need to tweak. So the principles of Ayurveda would suggest that to balance this low energy I want to “decrease kapha dosha” aka create experiences that tend to reduce slowness, heaviness, coldness, and dampness. So one thing I’ve started doing is walking more. And wouldn’t you know it? I’ve started feeling better and better as I’ve made walking a habit. Another thing I started doing is putting an electric heating pad on my legs and feet and that feels fantastic — it decreases coldness and actually really energizes me, as predicted by Ayurvedic principles. It feels really cool to have a framework that allows me to understand my current state of health better and predict/test things that are likely to help me move in the direction I’d like.

    If you want to learn more about Ayurveda, one book I’ve found useful is **The Everyday Ayurveda Guide to Self-Care** by Kate O’Donnell. You can also Google for articles on Ayurveda — the ones from Banyan Botanicals tend to be pretty good even though the company has a vested interest in selling you stuff. I also found it really useful to have a coach that can help me think about this stuff since it can be a little overwhelming if you try to figure it out all on your own: here’s a worldwide directory of practitioners you can talk to for consultations: https://ayurvedanama.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=945

    Reply
  • Kay October 1, 2022, 10:18 am

    I’ve been listening to Huberman’s podcast for a while now, and have read MM since almost the beginning. I love it when people whose work I follow overlap somehow!

    I started getting up early (without an alarm) and going for a two-mile walk a few years ago. It’s completely changed my life – I sleep so much more soundly, I wake up feeling more refreshed, and I have more energy throughout the day. It’s my time to myself (as a homeschooling mom I don’t get much alone time) and I mostly use it to listen to podcasts. I also take photos to share on my IG account and it’s fun to look back on. My kids go for walks with me too and it’s really opened our eyes to all the fascinating things in our urban-y suburban area – hawks, coyotes, woodpeckers, giant mushrooms, etc. We always see something cool while just walking down the sidewalk.

    If you’re interested in learning about movement from a scientific standpoint, you might enjoy the work of Katy Bowman (whose company is Nutritious Movement). She’s a biomechanist and explains alignment and movement from a biological and physical mechanics perspective. Her work has completely changed my life, and the lives of my husband and kids. We no longer have seating furniture, we sleep on the floor, and we eat at a low table – because this requires getting up and down off the floor countless times during the day. It seems weird to us because our culture dictates we have couches and high fluffy beds, but it’s not an uncommon way to live in many countries. Katy also says daily walking is imperative for physical well-being. Her work is fascinating. I’d check out her book “Move Your DNA” for a more science-y perspective, but she has a lot of books, including one about kids and families called “Grow Wild.”

    Reply
  • Aposentada aos Trinta October 1, 2022, 12:21 pm

    I’ve been listening to some of his episodes since you posted your “car sauna” on Instagram, haha.

    He is technical, and it takes more time for a non-native English speaker like me to understand. But I agree with you that having someone like him explaining important things more diligently (than some podcasters) is an incredible resource. That’s when I love technology the most!

    This year I introduced the idea of “paying myself first”. When I wake up, I do all the important things that will improve my life. Like the things, you put on the spreadsheet (gym, take French lessons, practice guitar, cook a healthy lunch). And only after paying myself, do I reach my phone and read e-mails and messages. It’s been great so far! When I used to reach my phone first thing when awake, sometimes I would receive a message about some problem or someone needing me and this would sequestrate my attention and my mood for the day. Not good! Now, when I read those “issue” messages, at least I have already done the important things first.

    Reply
  • Annika October 1, 2022, 1:27 pm

    I habe struggled with weight issues since I was a teenager. I eat out of boredom, frustration, but mostly stress. There were times in my life (while at university) where I was near an optimal weight because I was able to establish great routines of eating, exercising and working. Now as a married mother of five (two smallest kids under too) I kept blaming my lack of development on so many things, lack of sleep, time, energy. Then I heard of this phrase “any excuse will do” and funny enough it springs to my head whenever I catch myself making up excuses. So I started to tackle each excuse by identifying the problem and then try to engineer a solution. For example:

    Sleep. Problem: : I am tired all the time which makes me weary and unenthusiastic to do anything. excuse: I would sleep longer but baby wakes up by 5 a.m. I would go to bed earlier, but then I can’t spend time with my husband. Solution: some days i take a nap during the day when possible and can stay up longer to engage with my husband. Other days I tell him that he can watch the show I don’t enjoy anyway and go to bed at 8, read a book and sleep by 9.

    Weight: problem: flat out obesity. Excuse: anything will do (pregnancies, no time to cook healthy). Ironically I even cook all of our meals and know a lot about nutrition, but wasn’t good with portion sizes and snacks in between. Solution: count calories to relearn proper meal sizes. Thankfully I am a person that can eat the same healthy foods every day, so now I Batch cook ingredients for the week, meal prep (and weigh) every meal as I prepare it and during the week I simply grab my Tupperware three times a day and eat. I am with my family, I just don’t eat the same things anymore which wouldn’t help me lose weight at the moment. It cost something to do that and feel ok, but actually nobody minds.

    Fitness: Problem: out of breath when i have to walk many flights of stairs at work (but: I walk!) excuse: I am working and have 5 kids, how should i find time for exercise? I can’t run and take the baby with me when my husband is still working. Solution: three times a week I run 5 km when my husband babysits, between are rest days. If he can’t, I work out on a stationary bike we bought as soon as the baby falls asleep and – if everything fails – shower later.

    This list could go on forever. I found that, by taking out excuses and emotions, I can look at my problems in a more rational way. Plus it is easier separated from my self esteem and gives me a chance to work. Now i don’t think “a problem” but (as a long time MMORPG player during my teens and twens): “ah! A quest!!”

    I educate myself a lot with blogs and consider myself an autodidact, thank god for YouTube and all those blogs/podcasts. So thank you for the recommendation, I will be checking that out too.

    Love, Annika

    Reply
  • Joe October 1, 2022, 3:24 pm

    Yes! Huberman is great. Episodes on sleep, dopamine (masterclass & episode with Dr. Lembke), cold exposure (increases dopamine + others), and the recent one on alcohol (slow poison) have been game changing. Also implemented time-restricted eating and supplements per Dr. David Sinclair’s podcast.

    Understanding dopamine schedules and baselines / peaks goes a long way to explaining a lot of modern afflictions such as ADHD, addictions (or addictive personalities), and attention sapping social media and device use among others.

    I think as humans we’re relearning that a healthy life boils down to nutrition, exercise, and sleep. There are no substitutes and they all take effort and discipline (especially in our current society), but the mental and physical rewards are priceless.

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  • Doug October 1, 2022, 3:45 pm

    You mention alcohol, which I’m trying to reduce for cost and health reasons. How about THC products? Has Huberman addressed these in his podcasts?

    Reply
  • Reade October 1, 2022, 6:57 pm

    Thanks for the info, I have started to listen to the Dr. Huberman’s podcasts, very interesting.

    Reply
  • Jose Jones October 1, 2022, 6:58 pm

    Love Huberman’s interview with Dr Anna Lembke about her book Dopamine Nation, damn fascinating!

    Reply
  • Colin October 2, 2022, 3:54 am

    As someone who has struggled with weight The Hungry Brrain by Stephan Guyanet has been a game changer for me

    Reply
  • tryharddaniel October 2, 2022, 6:42 am

    looks like this post in the Android app is bugging out. the table is overlapping part of the text, making it unreadable

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 3, 2022, 6:25 pm

      Thanks for catching that Daniel. That damned table has been trouble since the start (because Wordpress has very poor table adding/editing features built in)

      To fix it, I re-created the whole thing into an image, which looks a lot nicer and you can click to bring it up in a zoomable form to read it easily.

      I also provided a link at the bottom of the table which lets you bring up the original text-based version in its own page, which seems to work fine even on phones. Hopefully this looks better now?

      Reply
  • Dustin October 2, 2022, 8:42 am

    Try out Rhonda Patrick, does the youtube thing and also has a website, foundmyfitness.com. Her and Attia are a couple of my top picks, but I agree, Huberman is pretty good too. And the nice thing is she doesn’t do the advertising thing similar to attia to limit conflicts of interest.

    Reply
  • leanpop October 2, 2022, 2:32 pm

    @MMM – glad to see you talking about Huberman! I recently discovered him as well. The morning sunlight exposure and some of the supplements like L-Theanine and EPA have really helped my sleep, energy, and coping with my own ADHD.

    The other big thing that’s moved the needle in the part six months is using Sam Harris’ app Waking Up for guided meditation. It is a different approach to many other apps and really works for me. I keep meaning to ping Huberman and see if he can get Sam Harris (also a neuroscientist) on his podcast. I have no affiliation with Waking Up, but as a paying subscriber can offer folks a free 30 days. I highly recommend the 28 day intro course. it’s 10 min per day.

    Check out Waking Up—a new operating system for your mind. Here’s a free month (no credit card required):
    https://dynamic.wakingup.com/redeemMonth/6217c9

    Reply
    • Austin October 2, 2022, 6:28 pm

      I second the Waking Up app. It’s been awesome and I have tried others such as Headspace etc.

      Reply
  • Jenny October 2, 2022, 5:48 pm

    Your list of essentials for a healthy life pretty much matches with what my partner likes to say. “Focus on your MEDS”,”M= meditation/mindfulness, E= exercise, D=healthy diet, S=sleep. But I think one important factor is missing from this list. I’ve been seeing a lot of research stressing the importance of strong community ties/relationships for happy/ healthy lives.

    Reply
    • Johan October 2, 2022, 7:43 pm

      Yup. The Blue Zones lists communities as important factors.

      Reply
  • Kafka October 2, 2022, 7:04 pm

    Rather inspiring article as I read this on my phone, procrastinating on a Sunday night on finishing a deliverable that was due two days ago. My weekend was spent thinking about the deliverable while not actually doing anything about it. Instead I binged on a television show, ate lots of junk food and cleaned the house (as a delaying tactic).

    I need to get my act together and prioritize myself. When I was under employed I had time to myself and was in the best shape of my life. Now that I’m earning 4X income and have assets and a business, I’m probably in the worst shape ever. I feel unfit, lethargic, tired and self conscious. This cannot continue. I need to balance my life, in all areas. I’m too addicted to my phone, I’ve stopped reading, I watch too much television, I don’t exercise enough and I seek too much comfort in food.

    It stops today. I’ll finish the deliverable and go straight to bed.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:42 pm

      This is great to hear!

      I agree that admitting your recent “failings” (to yourself and others) can be a good first step to making changes. This usually leads to a really good day immediately afterwards. And then your trajectory could go either way – reversion, or continuing the better habits. I hope that daily tracking helps you stay on the good path, since it’s hard to ignore if it’s right there on the fridge :-)

      Reply
      • Tim October 3, 2022, 12:13 pm

        Admitting I’m wrong on a regular basis has been life changing.

        Reply
  • Maia October 2, 2022, 7:07 pm

    I also have ADHD and exercise continues to be by far the hardest one on this list for me. I’ve tried so, so many forms of exercise and keep hoping I can build a habit so that it gets easier, but it actually gets harder week by week as I get more bored with whatever it is (and bored doesn’t feel like “bleh,” it feels like my mind screaming in agony at me). I miss the fun I had as a kid running around and climbing on playgrounds – in constant motion! – and I cannot seem to find that again as an adult.

    Reply
    • Aisling October 2, 2022, 8:35 pm

      Why don’ t you go with the novelty instead of trying to fight it. Make list to 12 types of exercise and do a new one each month of the year.

      Reply
      • Aisling October 2, 2022, 8:38 pm

        Why don’ t you go with the novelty instead of trying to fight it. Make list to 12 types of exercise and do a new one each month of the year. Eg cycling, swimming, running, ballet, pilates, yoga, crossfit, thai boxing, Tai Chi, rumba, ballroom dancing, tango, rowing machine….

        Reply
    • Lisa October 3, 2022, 8:22 am

      This may or may not work for you, but my husband has ADD and has found that mindless structure and routine works really well for him, especially chaining habits. So if you have the constant background thought stream that requires no engagement, and the front of brain – ooh, pretty, distraction, what’s that – thought stream, I *think* the routine settles into the background stream so “boredom” doesn’t get triggered. You just stand up and go work out because it’s what you do before lunch. (Or whatever.) And you can let that front of brain part wander around and think about whatever it wants to keep itself entertained.

      He uses this Nerd Fitness 20 minute workout https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle/. Personally, I don’t have ADD, but *do* get bored doing the same exercise routine. So I use TeamBodyProject.com – they’ve got over 600 videos in their back catalog, so you could choose a different cardio routine every day.

      Reply
    • Picklemania October 5, 2022, 2:36 pm

      Have you tried Pickleball? I also struggled to find a regular exercise routine I enjoyed and was motivated to actually stick with. Pickleball solved that by combining exercise with social engagement (and is easy to pick up, even for those of us that aren’t as coordinated or fit as we might like to be). Check out PlaytimeScheduler.com to find casual pickup sessions near you. You can pick up a couple of paddles & ball set on Amazon for under $50.

      Reply
    • Alicia October 8, 2022, 8:57 am

      Hi Maia! My husband has ADHD and struggled with the exercise bit for a long time. Just this summer, though, he became obsessed with pickleball. He now plays every morning before work and has been blown away by the positive effects on his ADHD symptoms. Some people think it can’t be very strenuous exercise, but it just depends on how you play it. It’s great because it is a game, so it engages the part of his brain that loves games, and it is exercise, and the community is really strong so he also gets in some socializing time. And, since they are all pickup games, he doesn’t have to get there or leave at a fixed time, which really suits his relationship to scheduling, haha. That’s not to say pickleball will be the thing for you — but just keep trying things until you find what works for all your symptoms! It took him a while to figure this out but it has revolutionized his life! He also rides his bike to and from the court (we don’t have a car), so that helps him get in even more good exercise. But the games are the real draw!

      Reply
  • CPO Michael October 2, 2022, 7:15 pm

    I see Dr. David Sinclair’s photo on your blog too … Harvard Professor author of Lifespan … is a pretty good read … You might like Dean Ornish … University of California doctor, researcher and author of Undo It – is pretty good
    … for those with heart problems they might like to investigate Dr. Esselstyn (former Olympian and 89? years old …) author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease … I think they all are YouTube and probably on podcast stuff too …

    Reply
  • Sarah October 2, 2022, 7:34 pm

    Thank you! This post was very inspiring.
    I struggle with weight and exercise.
    I will absolutely be trying the badassity tracker on thr fridge.
    During my more focused and healthy days I did something similar (just for exercise).
    I had the gym class schedule printed on my desk at the office and highlighted the days attended. It was motivating to see most of your month colored in:)

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:38 pm

      Yeah!

      Although just to give credit where it’s due – those colored in pages belong to my friend who shared the idea with me. My own Badassity Tracker is only recently printed (although it would be fairly solid if I had printed it out and tracked for these two past months because it has been a GREAT summer, habits-wise)

      Reply
  • Corwin October 2, 2022, 7:53 pm

    I *strongly* second the idea of listening to useful audio content while getting other things done. One of the all time great “life hacks” IMO, especially with a great pair of bluetooth headphones (and you can get over-the-ear headphones that are still relatively lightweight, if earbuds hurt your ears after a while like mine). I listen every day during my morning run and while I’m spending over an hour doing dishes every night (two kids).

    I will admit though that I’ve gravitated away from podcasts in favor of audiobooks over the last year or two. No ads, the information is usually far higher quality and more polished, and far less repetitive. Unlike podcasts, where I also found I needed a faster play speed, I am content with standard play speed for most books. As a result, I’ve read over 23 books the last year, which is a huge increase for me with two young kids – many of which have been phenomenal.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:36 pm

      Yes! And I’ll second YOUR point about the audiobooks. I usually try to get all books in that form if I can find ’em – I’m a slow reader but a fast listener so it’s like increasing my reading speed by 5-10x

      Reply
  • KR October 2, 2022, 7:55 pm

    Timely article! I struggle with ADHD as a SAHM of four and let me tell you, it is not a good combination. Getting motivated to do the boring things like cleaning and putting away laundry is so hard, but I know that my kids (and my husband and I) need a tidy home to thrive. I’ve recently started using the Routinery app to get the boring things done, and it has been so helpful!

    My husband and I are trying hard to get our health and spending back in order after a rough few years. I got a gym membership and ten personal training sessions as a birthday gift, and I just love lifting! The exercise habit is slowly falling into place, diet is improving, and this month I want to focus on sleep. Our kids are not sleepers, so by the time they get to bed it’s already late and I end up zoning out in front of the TV—so unfulfilling. I’m trying to turn off screens earlier and get to bed at a better hour when I first get tired.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:35 pm

      Congratulations on a great start KR!

      I can really imagine how tricky it must be to keep a complex life like that sorted out. In fact, I’m sure my own challenges with life complexity were a major factor in why we decided we could only handle one child. And even then, it was only after quitting the regular job because I didn’t want to have to divide my attention between TWO activities that were both so important (work and parenting). But, life feels amazing and balanced now – thanks to having years to work through all of the adjustments, strategies, tricks, optimizations, and so on. It’s nice to have time to work on things, and I hope other people reading this will take the time in advance to get ready before adding each new thing to their lives.

      Reply
  • Tea October 2, 2022, 8:14 pm

    Do you think being employed or having a job help you seek out hardship? If so, how do you reconcile that with your early retirement message? I find there are few things as challenging as my work in healthcare and feel that giving it up would also mean forgoing one type of challenge.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:27 pm

      Yeah, I often suggest that you shouldn’t retire FROM a job (unless it is truly an emergency like a toxic work environment) it’s a much better idea to retire TO something more engaging than your old job. I’ve kept plenty busy since my own retirement about 17 years ago, and it is more than enough challenge for me. In fact, I’m just one of many early retirees who repeat the old slogan that, “I’m so busy/engaged here in retirement, that I can’t imagine how I ever had time for that job!”

      Reply
  • Aussie Firebug October 2, 2022, 8:26 pm

    The episode on alcohol was a hard one for me haha.

    I’m not a big drinker but man, the effects on even a small amount of booze were hard to listen to.

    I’m curious to know if you’ve changed your drinking habits at all after listening to Huberman MMM?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:24 pm

      I agree, Firebug! And yes – while I’ve been drifting downwards in alcohol consumption for years, that episode kind of drove a nail into any pretending that it’s a good idea to have a glass of wine for no reason on a regular basis.

      So in the early days of this blog (2011 era), I might have allowed myself to have on average of one beer a day. Then I cut it to just a couple on weekends, but then wine found its way into my life instead, and that would sometimes still creep in for a weeknight movie night or whatever. As I kept working harder to get the most out of my days, that was cut out too. And now my rule is “Zero alcohol ever on on normal days, and a maximum of 1-2 drinks for very special occasions like a party or date night or whatever, not to exceed one night per week.”

      So, not super strict but just a reasonable compromise, like the rest of my life habits.

      Reply
  • Michael B October 2, 2022, 8:35 pm

    I’ve been following Huberman for awhile now but am not nearly this smitten by him. I was trying to figure out what was going on. I think this part is the key

    > from his intensely intelligent eyes through the screen directly into yours, while gesturing precisely with that highly athletic form packed into a classy black dress shirt,

    D’oh. I’ve been *listening* to him the whole time, by putting his podcasts on while I work out. I hadn’t realized there’s this completely other angle to the intellectual discourse that I’ve been missing.

    Thanks MMM!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2022, 9:55 pm

      He’s also more compelling at 1.5x speed, don’t neglect this key part! :-)

      Reply
      • indio October 3, 2022, 9:21 am

        I love the idea of the black shirt, of course it reminded me of Steve Jobs turtleneck. It makes getting dressed faster every morning. There’s no confusion about what to wear and it removes decision fatigue from the start of the day. Plus, black hides a lot of stains so time isn’t wasted with laundry or dry cleaning.

        Reply
    • MKE October 6, 2022, 8:00 am

      A black shirt like Elizabeth Holmes? Clever!

      Reply
  • Tara October 2, 2022, 10:15 pm

    Thanks for this, it’s very timely. I am having trouble motivating myself to exercise and eat healthier, plus cut down on useless spending. I am going to make a tracker chart and pay attention to what’s really going on in my mind when I gravitate towards behaviors I want to eliminate vs those I want to increase.

    Reply
  • Keren October 2, 2022, 11:28 pm

    I’m intrigued by this podcast. I’ll give the episode on depression a listen today.

    I’ve suffered from major depression my whole adult life. Sometimes there are remissions, but it always finds its way back in some degree of severity. I would happily trade my depression for ADD. I know some people with ADD who are some of the happiest and most naturally driven people I know.

    Two months ago I started a weight loss regime which is showing results, both in terms of my weight and in terms of quieting down my addiction to food. Every day at around 10:00 I eat 50g of oatmeal in hot water (nothing else added). I cook my own simple plant-based lunch, and I make a large salad for dinner. And watermelon. I’ve lost 4.5 kgs and plan to lose 10 kgs more.

    I’d like to get back into strength training but it’s been tough since my hips and knees hurt. And I find it hard to start because I’m still disappointed in myself for having quit it in January.

    I spend too much time searching for self soothing stimuli which don’t help, like YouTube, Facebook groups, playing online chess. I will make a conscious effort to cut these out and read a book instead. Or maybe get back to drawing.

    It’s a struggle but you are right that it’s best to manage our day more mindfully, and we will reap the rewards. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 3, 2022, 11:59 am

      Good luck Keren, and congratulations on trying the things you’ve tried so far.

      Depression is so often just a brain chemistry imbalance, which doesn’t make it feel any worse inside our heads, but at least allows the logical side of us to poke up like a periscope in order to think about things we might be able to try to fix the chemical imbalance.

      Almost everything I listed in the daily habits chart is designed to potentially have a positive impact on these hormones and chemicals, especially the outdoor exercise part. I remember reading all of Matt Haig’s books (starting with Reasons to Stay Alive) and marveled at both the extreme nature of his depression, and the surprising improvements he had once he discovered that running was the right thing for him.

      Help from a licensed medical professional is usually the most powerful option for someone with major depression (and ADHD as well). But ironically and infuriatingly for me, the very condition you are suffering from often makes it virtually IMPOSSIBLE that you would feel motivated or organized enough to actually seek out a professional. And then be able to make it to a scheduled appointment even if you did find someone.

      It’s like putting a wheelchair supplier at the top of a 100-story metal staircase, and expecting the people without functioning legs to get to the top of it to pick up their life-saving mobility assistance devices.

      In my opinion, initial ADHD and depression treatment (including the drug prescriptions and home delivery of those prescriptions should be available from a video call that you can make from any smartphone or web browser).

      Reply
  • VONatalie October 3, 2022, 1:01 am

    Hey MMM,

    Great post and more rabbit holes to explore.

    I agree with so much of this post.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago, and that completely changed how I live my life!

    I was already making my food choices more healthy, but the diagnosis really woke me up. And not to just the food I was eating, but how I was living my life and interacting with others.

    I did some of the conventional medical stuff, but I ALSO—and I think this is most important for my best chance to continue to live cancer-free—made big changes in how much time I spent living the “default” lifestyle and how much time I now live in a lifestyle that is pretty opposite of that.

    I work less, and the work I do is my dream career. I spend time just sitting (before, I never allowed myself to just sit and rest and recharge), I move a lot more (my hubs and I are training to hike the John Muir Trail next year (221 miles with full packs). Also, b/c of this blog and other great information, I am riding my bike everywhere I can (just got a great free bike from a friend), and although we’re in our mid-50s, we’ve amped up our “early” retirement saving. And there’s more. Suffice it to say, I’m cancer free (as far as I know), and life has never been better.

    It’s good to feel excited about life every day.

    Reply
  • Lira October 3, 2022, 1:13 am

    I really appreciate this article. I feel like it would have been perfect if I was single.
    However, in this plan, I see very little time for deepening relationships, particularly with a spouse. Problem might arise and we might want to stop and listen to them. There is housework to do. Is that something that is left aside for the weekends? I am really struggling with the fact that most of the advice I come across simply does not seem to be compatible with human interaction.
    It feels wrong to try to “fit” a partner wherever there’s free time left and it seems convenient for us.
    Yet it has been proven that part of “being healthy overall” also includes loving relationship.

    I guess my question is, where is dedicated quality time with friends, family, spouses, children in this ideal day? I am at a point where it is very hard to fit everything in 24h and get some sleep.

    Thanks a lot for your advice.

    Reply
    • Rickdog October 7, 2022, 10:35 am

      Hi Lira,

      You’re right that this plan does not include time for relationships. I don’t do all the habits above, but I do a few of them with my wife – go for a walk in the morning and evening.. we also have a coffee together after our walks, and eat our evening meals together.

      We also watch a bunch of television together, which isn’t included in the article above.

      Reply
  • Ellie October 3, 2022, 1:30 am

    Hi Pete (she says nonchalantly after following your work for about 14 years and just left my job last year at 47 to become an artist, in no small part thanks to your guidance! Xx)
    Would you be willing to add a U.K. affiliation link to the earbuds as I’d rather give a kick back to you than Amazon :)
    Thank you 😊

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 3, 2022, 12:10 pm

      Aww, thanks for reading Ellie and thanks for the offer!

      I appreciate your support for the MMM blog, but it’s truly not necessary in this case (it would be a lot of work for me to set up my account to work with Amazon UK).

      However, have you tried the smile.amazon.com version of Amazon shopping? (smile.amazon.co.uk for you) They donate a small percentage (0.5%) of sales made through that URL to charity.

      Individually it is pretty minor, but collectively that program has donated $355 million so far in the US, and I just looked it up – 16.9 million pounds and counting in the US.

      Reply
  • Alex October 3, 2022, 5:12 am

    Love the “Badassity Tracker,” I think the book Atomic Habits by James Clear is where your friend got the idea :)

    Reply
    • J October 3, 2022, 5:43 pm

      I loved Atomic Habits and actually followed up reading it with Tiny Habits (I was in the middle of an ADHD obsession on productivity…) and really liked the way that it’s also about the order in which you stack the habits, not just the triggers …..

      And one tip about the trackers if you’ve tried them in the past but they don’t stick is that you want to continue on with them rather than start over with a new one.
      Matt D’Avella did a short video on it through one of the videos he’s done in the last year.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWrH3chqkBE – Why your habits never stick

      Reply
  • Bryan October 3, 2022, 5:35 am

    A great article as always. Just a question for anyone really. When do people listen to podcasts? I never have. When I go for a walk outside, about 45 minutes, I like to listen to nature, my body, and my own thoughts. Same when I work out. I like to feel the contraction of each muscle, feel my breathing and stay present. My “commute” to work is only 3.7mi. I keep the windows down and radio off to feel the wind (yes, punch me in the face for driving) but the road is rather spindly with no bike path and the drivers speed. Also while doing work around the house, I like to keep my attention on what I’m doing and let the random thoughts and ideas wash over me like waves and then recede and wait for the next. When I think about people listening to podcasts, I imagine people who have long subway rides in NYC or 45 minute commutes to work. Other than that, would one just lay on the couch in the evening with eyes shut and listen to a podcast instead of reading? Not knocking anything, just genuinely curious about how the “average” person consumes podcasts.

    Reply
    • Dawn October 3, 2022, 5:59 am

      I do listen to podcasts in the car sometimes but I also enjoy listening to them while doing the dishes or other routine housework. I don’t think I’ve ever sat still while listening to one. If nothing else, I’ll be folding laundry or weeding the garden (both of those tasks tend to get neglected on a busy day).

      Reply
    • Sundeep October 4, 2022, 4:04 pm

      Great points Bryan, I’m with you for the most part. I struggle between listening to a podcast/audiobook or nothing when running or walking. For any hikes, I never listen to anything but nature (that’s the point right?!).

      I think there’s something to be said for not listening to anything when out and about, but for things like longer commutes or house cleaning chores, a podcast is a great time filler.

      Reply
  • Kristian October 3, 2022, 5:39 am

    I echo some of the sentiments here. I used to follow this guy on twitter but I unfollowed him quite quickly. Cherry picking, overstating the outcome of small studies with insignicant results, victim of confirmation bias. Sure, the general outline as describes in MMM´s blog is pretty good, but most people here know that by now. I don´t trust him.

    Reply
  • charlie October 3, 2022, 7:00 am

    With turning off devices after 7.30pm how do you do reading / meditation / podcasts? Do you read only physical books or a non-internet device or something else? Or it’s using the phone/tablet for reading/pordcast just not every evening?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 3, 2022, 12:05 pm

      Haha, yeah that’s a tricky one for me too. If you happen to be reading a paper-based book, it’s easy. Or if you use a reading tablet like a Kindle, that can help keep you focused because it doesn’t do much besides display the book text.

      Since I’ve switched mostly to audio-based books, podcasts and meditations, I can trust myself to put that on using the phone, pop in the wireless earbuds, and then leave the phone tucked away out of reach so that the sound continues but I don’t have the option of messing around with the phone.

      If I absolutely must read an e-book on my phone or laptop (I don’t have a Kindle), I just put the device in airplane mode which is a good enough barrier to remind me not to click away from the book.

      Reply
  • SillyBuns69 October 3, 2022, 7:31 am

    I had no idea you had ADHD until now. I have it as well. It’s a massive struggle if you don’t know how to manage it. I’ve made a few recent changes that helped me tremendously. Replaced electronics hobbies with reading books. Replaced driving with riding my touring ebike 32 miles a day to work. Cooking every meal, every day, and only eating out on special occasions. Putting on my “sleep” playlist every single night, and when I get anxious during the day. Glass of wine before bed every night calms me right down and gives me something to look forward to at the end of a long day. Good article, glad to see you still making time for personal growth. Take care.

    Reply
  • Dickrog October 3, 2022, 7:44 am

    Is this your first ever blog post that isn’t actually about money? I mean, it is indirectly of course.. But not directly.

    Really enjoyed it MMM, and exactly what I needed to read to get me out of my slump. More content like this, please.

    Reply
    • Andreas October 6, 2022, 5:12 am

      Agree this is awesome!

      I think this mindset works wonders and a naturally continuation to FIRE.

      Fix my economy, mind and body in one blog? Oh yes he can! :)

      Reply
  • Joe D. October 3, 2022, 7:56 am

    I listen to podcasts frequently, have modified my diet to limit carbs, and started tracking runs, body weight, and kettlebell exercises on a spreadsheet since early 2021. I hit exercise most days without fail.

    David Goggins (another serious badass) has inspired me the last several years, and I plan to keep refining this lifestyle as I move into my 60s next year!

    Reply
  • Simpledar from Mtl October 3, 2022, 8:22 am

    I struggle with feeling overwhelmed, feeling behind and comparing myself to others.
    The habit that helps the most is being aware and choosing to do less. I went running this morning, but there will be no walk and no weight lifting as suggested by MMM’s chart and that’s okay.

    Do less, customize the formula for yourself and keep moving at your own peace.

    I love these kinds of articles, a little bit spiritual and less $ oriented
    Simpledar

    Reply
    • Andreas October 6, 2022, 5:14 am

      I do the same. I always also feel I have not saved/invested enough and should be well into retirement but I am not. And that is too my lack of savings. Well compared to what I did before finding this blog years ago I have made immense progress, thats for sure. But it still doesn´t feel like it.

      Always behind where I “should” be.

      Reply
    • AJ October 11, 2022, 12:34 pm

      Simpledar, I’m not sure it was a typo when you wrote “keep moving at your own peace” , but I think it is perfect this way.

      Reply
  • Jon October 3, 2022, 8:35 am

    Can you share a recipe for one of your gigantic salads?

    Reply
  • Kathryn October 3, 2022, 8:37 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling with a light case of depression which I think has been brought on by a combination of things (transitioning to fully remote work means I get out of the house and move around / see people a lot less), higher stress (but more engaging, challenging and higher paying new job). I also had a traumatic experience last winter which caused me to stop doing the hobby I love most (climbing). The combination of these factors has left me feeling like a totally different person that I don’t recognize. This is exactly the lifestyle reset kick in the a** that I needed. I started this morning by taking a walk as soon as I got out of bed!

    Reply

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