When you increase your discipline and willpower, your life’s happiness goes up immediately. And the best part is you have that skill for life. It’s absolutely incredible.
Childhood Mikey (1991 - 2005)
I absolutely loved my childhood. It came with tons of baggage, though I think I’m so incredibly blessed to have the memories I did
I was ALWAYS a chubby boy growing up. And that chubby grew into being obese at 35%+ body fat.
I have a huge love of food hardwired into me. It literally physically makes me happy. My older cousin tells me stories of when I was 3 years old eating a bag of tortilla chips - when she came to take them away because they’re unhealthy I literally slapped her in the face.
I still remember being 7 and getting mad at my Mom when she wanted to try some of my creamy ravioli pasta at dinner one night (sorry Mommy joon). I would eat more than my older brother or parents and order the most fattening foods out there (fettuccini alfredo for days).
So eating was a mess. I was easily the most overweight person in my elementary school (and arguably the cutest).
Terrible food habits aside, my parents sell video games for a living, so my inherent shyness at school was funneled into my glorious Super Nintendo for days (specifically RPG’s). This was manageable until it evolved into online computer games like Counter Strike, Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and World of Warcraft.
Finishing up middle school, I would basically spend all living hours of free time playing games. To be honest, it was glorious. But started catching up with me later……
Transitioning Mikey (2005-2013)
From pushes from my brother, I made a huge effort to lose weight the Summer before 9th grade. I did a decent job. I grew into myself more and used a new high school as an opportunity to “reinvent” myself from the quiet, shy chubby kid as the social, goofy, funny person I was at my core.
I grew REAL friendships with people I love and care about to this day. I started doing comedy sketches with my best friend (hi Josh!) at school.
Gaming still played a big role in my life though. I still remember falling asleep in class because I was up until 2am playing World of Warcraft.
Food habits got better - I estimate I was roughly around 30% body fat throughout high school. Confidence got better but I was still extremely insecure, especially with women.
On top of this I had a horrendous habit of being absolutely late to everything. I was unorganized, procrastinated every single school assignment to the last minute, and was really messy. For years.
College made a big shift on all of these. I started working out hard and hitting much healthier ranges of weight (~20% body fat and some muscle). I also invested a lot in myself and saw a huge difference in confidence, social connections, and overall happiness here.
Still, terrible habits followed me. Throughout college at USC, I scheduled all my classes to start past 1pm because I slept in basically every single day until 11am or noon. Every day. For around 5 years. 5 YEARS.
Although I was incredibly motivated to be one of the most successful people in the world, my actions did not follow whatsoever. I would usually stay up late playing games or consuming media. I also took a week off occasionally to play games all day and binge eat. Erratic behavior and habits are basically what my foundation was. And I had practiced it for 20+ years, so you bet it was engrained in me HARD.
Habits Monster Mikey (2013-forever)
A few weeks after graduating from USC, I met with my other best friend (hi Alex!) as we were both depressed and pretty damn pissed off at how our lives were going.
We spent that entire day doing something that to this day has changed my life (and in a lot of ways set up the entire foundation for Habit Nest).
We wrote out:
1. If we were living an absolutely incredible life that was PERFECT, what would it look like? What would every element of it look like?
2. What could we do on a daily basis to make every one of these happen?
We walked out of that meeting SO driven. Ridiculously driven. It’s when I made the first move of shifting my 11:30am wake-up habit to 9:30am every day. This was the BEGINNING of life mastery. Yeah, waking up at 9:30am was my HUGE win :) (to start).
One of my favorite moments ever is one day after making this pledge, I flew to Las Vegas for a family trip. No matter what I promised myself to stay consistent with my habits. It was literally my sole focus in life. But… I WAS IN VEGAS!
So I enjoyed Vegas, but I also chose to get my habits done on that trip. It was insanely hard, but it was one of the greatest wins I’ve had. I’ll never forget reading How to Win Friends & Influence People after going clubbing in my room at 5:30am while everybody else was sleeping.
This led to one of the best periods of my life. It started a fireball of momentum that hasn’t simmered one bit.
I climbed on this habit mastery track more and more.
I set a limit of gaming from being ridiculously hooked and obsessed to 1 hour a day at maximum.
I made a Facebook status saying I would pay anybody I was late seeing $10. This curbed my lateness habit REAL quick (for a total cost of $40).
I went on to read 10 pages every single day. This led to a snowballing of new habits that were recommended in books - from outsourcing things in Virtual Freedom to brainstorming 10 ideas a day from Choose Yourself to redoing how I process all my tasks to maximize productivity from GTD & Eat That Frog.
I went on to test my discipline by taking cold showers for a week, then a month, then close to one year.
I treated every one of these habits as basically my only life goal. I literally would wake up every day with ONE single goal, which was to complete these habits. As I knew great daily habits would set up a foundation that would attract true happiness, fulfillment, and success in all areas of my life.
I bought whiteboard paint and painted all of my room's walls with it, then created a giant habit tracking calendar to track up to 18 different habits at one point.
Putting ALL of my energy into habits and staying consistent with them changed my life. And it will change yours.
Nowadays, I'm working on Habit Nest fulltime, trying to win new mental battles with life every day, and occasionally making YouTube videos too. Watch me get hit by a slipper in the face here:
I love speaking with people about habits in general, whether it's related to my journey or something with yours - you can reach me directly via email here and I will personally reply: firstname.lastname@example.org