Daily Exercise Routine — Why You Have To Have It

If I had to give up all my daily routines but one, without any hesitation I would keep my daily exercise routine. I have been riding a year long streak of exercising daily, and the benefits to my life have been extraordinary. I wrote about how I adopted a daily exercise routine.

Why I chose to do a daily exercise routine and why you should too:

* Physical benefits: For most people these benefits are convincing enough. Once you get in  the habit of exercising everyday and you do it long enough, you start feeling great. You feel fit, you have so much more energy, and you get more things done with that extra energy. Look, your body stays with you anywhere you go so you are constantly reminded of these physical benefits and they are a constant source of happiness. I can write pages about what happiness brings to your life but if I had to summarize it in one sentence, happiness brings success. It has been proven over and over again that people who are happier and think positively are the ones that live longer, have more friends, have more business connections and eventually have more success. I strongly urge you to read The Happiness Advantage if you are interested in making a life-long change. I read this book at least twice a year.

habit building

* You will handle stress better. Having a daily exercise routine makes you calmer and improves your ability to handle emotional ups and downs. So there is no need to remove wanted stress from your life. You can handle it.

* You will focus better at work and at home. My daily exercise routine has made me better at focusing on one task and I have improved my multitasking. There are many studies suggesting that a daily exercise routine can help the brain function better and improve its ability to think clearer and faster. I can vouch for that. A fog gets lifted once you build your daily exercise routine and your body adjusts to it.

* You will feel less anxious and more confident.  This will not happen overnight but as you realize that you have what it takes to build a daily exercise routine and get yourself into great shape, you will get an amazing boost in self-confidence. For example, I used to get quite anxious before I spoke in meetings. I was not giving a speech, just commenting on  a particular topic in a group setting. Now that is no problem for me.

* You will get more done. Once you realize you can fit a daily exercise routine into your life, your mind opens up to so many other possibilities.  Things seem doable, so you just start to get more done. Maybe this is directly related to having more energy, maybe it is related to an increase in mental power, or maybe it is a combination of things.

Building a daily exercise routine causes you to develop better habits in other parts of your life such as eating healthier,  sleeping enough. I started with a single habit, a daily exercise routine, and now I’m doing so much more.  I challenge you to build a daily exercise routine and see these benefits for yourself. I will do everything I can to support you in this journey. Follow me on Twitter and let me know if you are willing to give it a try. I assure you, you will never want to go back.

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Sometimes You Need To Cheat on Your Goals, Not Your Routine

One of my daily habits is to write for 30 minutes everyday. Like with many habits constancy matters the most because it is so hard to attain. You must do everything to ensure you don’t lose your momentum. Today I want to share with you what I do to keep my momentum on the habits that I’m either working on gaining or working on sustaining.

If I published everything I wrote during my commute I would have a lot more articles on BuildGreatHabits.com than I do. My goal of writing for 30 minutes everyday does not mean publishing everything I write at all. What matters most is keeping the promise that I write everyday.  When changing your life to create a better version of yourself, goals are way less important than creating consistent daily routines that will get you where you need to be.

Let me give you some practical examples of where I cheated on my goal while gaining a new habit or while sustaining an existing habit.

1) Writing: There are so many days during my commute that I just do not feel like writing at all. What do I do:  I pull my computer out of my bag, write about what is going through my mind that morning or a silly event that happened recently for 5 minutes and I’m done.

2) Drinking 3 extra glasses of water everyday: There are days that I do not feel like drinking that many glasses of water. So I just drink a full glass and put a check on my lift goal because I’m still forcing myself to drink more water than usual.

3) Exercising every day: I have maintained my rowing routine for so many months but there are days I do not want to get on the rowing machines. On those days I just do the 7 minute workout, or 50 pushups and mark my goal complete.

4) I have a goal to speak Turkish with my kids everyday. There are many days where I feel lazy and just speak in English at home but I realize I have a goal to complete. so I just have a very quick conversation in Turkish and make my goal complete.

I already hear a lot of rumblings. Why bother setting a goal if you are going to cheat. I personally do not see this as cheating, I see it as what I do to keep my momentum going. Just think about the alternative:

1) I do not write at all

2) I don’t drink water at all

3) I don’t exercise at all

4) I don’t speak Turkish at all

Even if you are questioning the benefits of not doing fully what the goal asks for it is still better than doing nothing at all.

I suggest you do something similar. Do not lose your momentum by not taking action. Instead do something (no matter how small) that will help you keep your momentum going, get you one step closer to your goal. This does not mean that you cheat on your goals everyday. There is no particular pattern for me. I always try to do what I signed up for and only “cheat” when I have to.

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Traveling Italy And Turkey With Our 3 and 6 Year-Olds

Almost a year ago I realized that I needed to spend more quality time with my family. To accomplish this goal I  came up with actionable items. I have been consciously taking these actions and I feel much better about  the time I spend with the people who are most important in my life. Here are some of the things I have been doing:

* Not doing work once I get home unless there is an emergency

* Planning more weekend activities. Taking day trips, coming up with projects to work on with my kids.

* Being present when we are together. Removing distractions (phone, computer are put away)

But most importantly I took a month off this year and spent incredible time with my family. The company I work for allows its employees to take a month off after 5 years of working there. This was a great opportunity for me to spend quality time with my family and recover from working pretty intensely for the last 6 years. Despite the fact that we have two little kids my wife and I decided to take a trip to Italy and Turkey in late June. I took short notes as we traveled in Italy and Turkey. I hope you enjoy the  travel tips and the photos.

We took the red-eye from Newark to London. We had a 4 hour layover at Heathrow, London. If you have small kids and you are going to be stuck in Heathrow Airport you need to find the play gym next to gate A7. Our kids’ mood changed from whiny, I want to go home, to yay let’s play!

What a great idea to have a play gym at the airport. Every airport should have a play gym. Maybe even one for adults. How great would it be to go stretch at a gym after sitting down and staying still for 7 hours.


We arrived in Bologna and found out our most valuable asset, our double stroller, was stuck in London. Thanks British Airlines. We didn’t want to spend the whole day waiting for our stroller in Bologna since that would mean missing out on seeing Venice. Fortunately our hotel was near the Aerobus route so I decided to go back and get the stroller myself in the morning. It would be a sleepless night. Tip: If you need to get to and from the airport in Bologna you need to take the Aerobus. There is no train and taxis are pricy if you’re thinking in dollars.

That night we CARRIED our kids to our hotel and arrived at around 6pm. The guy at the desk  recommend a nearby place called Il Pirata for Bolognese tortellini. The place was full of locals. For an appetizer we got the prosciutto and melon which was excellent. Then we ate the most delicious wine and pasta I’d ever had. We got the red house wine (vino rosso della casa). The kids had margarita pizza which was really good as well.

The next morning I took the Aerobus to the airport to pick up our stroller  and ran back to the hotel so we could catch our train to Venice. When we got to the train station a transit worker saw us looking for our track and actually jumped across the tracks to make sure we had tickets with us. We didn’t. We’d bought the tickets online, but we hadn’t downloaded the ticket, and our SIM card wasn’t active yet. Without wireless internet we couldn’t get the ticket.

Tip: The email confirmation is not enough guys! You have to click the link! Luckily you don’t have to print. Anyway, thanks to that helpful worker we were able to talk to Trenitalia’s customer service and fix things before our train took off.

Tip: If you want to get the best deal for train tickets in Italy, you have to buy your tickets online. Trenitalia gives big online discounts, and we could even get Bimbo Gratis tickets so our son, who is over 5, could travel free with us. Our 3 year-old daughter was already free.


The Frecciargento train ride was pretty comfortable and we made it to Venice in 1 hour and 30 minutes. As soon as we walked out of the train station we saw the beautiful Grand Canal right in front of us and it was all worth it. Unfortunately to get over the Grand Canal you have to climb up and down a lot of steps. All the bridges in Venice have lots of stairs. We ended up hauling our luggage, stroller and kids up and down lots of steps to get to our nearbye hotel, rather than pay 100 Euro for a water-cab ride. The Grand Canal water bus would’ve allowed us to avoid climbing the massive bridge over the Grand Canal but we didn’t know about it then and we probably wouldn’t have been able to find our hotel from the bus stop. There are plenty of people around who will haul your luggage over the bridges for a tip but we did it ourselves and we were fine.

Tip: Know the nearest Vaporetto 1 bus stop near your hotel and get GOOD directions from there. It is easy to get lost. Also, obviously a stroller is not so useful in Venice. We wished we had the Ergo Baby Carrier.

I really liked Venice. Despite the fact that it is packed with tourists it is the most interesting city I’ve ever been too. The canals are really neat and the buildings seems quite untouched.  There are many many shops selling high end/low end gifts and they all have incredible windows.

We walked to the Rialto and Saint Mark’s square with the kids and no stroller but since we stopped often for gelato they were agreeable and full of energy and we didn’t have to carry them much. The entire walk to the square was packed with tourists. There was a really long line for the cathedral but it moved pretty quickly and it was worth it to see the inside. Tip: Make sure you cover your shoulders and your knees if you want to get in! They hand out shawls if you forget.

After Saint Mark’s we walked around Venice and had  dinner by the Grand Canal where we could catch a nice breeze. After that we caught Vaporetto 1, the Grand Canal water bus, and that’s how we got our exhausted kids back to our hotel without a stroller. Thank goodness for that water bus!

We enjoyed wandering around a comparatively quiet Venice that evening, with all the day-trippers gone. The huge piazza with all of the hostels was quite lively but otherwise in and around Dorsoduro we had the sidewalks pretty much to ourselves and only the outdoor tables at the cafes were taken. I got up early the next morning when people were heading to work and the city was still very quiet. It was so different from the hectic St. Mark’s square I’d experienced the day before – much more enjoyable. I took some pictures in the  beautiful morning light and enjoyed fresh pastry with cappuccino from a nearby bake shop.


We took the 10:25 Frecciargento train from Venice to Rome. The train ride was not bad at all.  The kids befriended a beautiful 1-year old Italian girl and her mom translated an Italian storybook for them. It was about Pimpa the dog and how he made friends with the moon. I also found a friendly Egyptian Woman to talk to. Tip: If you talk to locals while in Italy, don’t forget to ask them what you should eat! It changes depending on the city and the season.

At Roma Termini station would took subway line A and got off the train after 3 stops next to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps were not much to look at but there were a lot of people standing there looking a them. We called our AirBnB host and met with him at the apartment without trouble. He helped us carry our luggage up 4 stories :). Tip: Third floor means fourth floor in Italy. When you do AirBnB you can get a nice spacious place and a laundry machine. When you’re traveling with little kids that’s important.

As soon as we stepped outside of our apartment I loved Rome. It seemed like every street had personality. There were narrow cobblestone streets, terraces overflowing with flowers, Medieval buildings, piazzas with beautiful fountains and springs with potable water. I could not believe how many scooters were on the street. There are more scooters than cars and most of them have very fashionable female riders. The same thing goes for bicycles.

The first day we went to the Pantheon and a famous old gelato place called Giotto’s. The gelato place wasn’t really worth it. The gelato was just as good if not better elsewhere and it was really hectic being squished like that and standing on those long lines. The Pantheon (a church) was majestic inside and out and the surrounding piazza and neighborhood were lovely and very old. A choir played as we wandered around inside the church, looking at the beautiful art. We got in for free and there were no lines or hectic crowds.

We spent the evening at Piazza Navona with Palazzo Pamphili and all those impressive fountains. Piazza Navona once was a chariot racetrack so it is really long and there is always lots going on, including live artists and live music for the kids to dance to. We would return again for our third evening in Rome.

The next morning we had fresh pastries from a  nearby bakery – delicious savory little rolls with olive oily tomato paste, and croissants. We left the apartment to go to nearby Piazza del Popolo where Rome’s gates once were. It’s dark in Santa Maria del Popolo church and you have to turn on the lights in all the chapels one by one to see anything. They’ve even got an impressive Caravaggio painting which you have to pay 1 Euro to light up temporarily which is kind of annoying. Before we were finished with all the chapels they kicked us out for a funeral service. After that we locked up our stroller and hiked up into Villa Borghese Park to see Rome from the top of Pincian Hill.  We were told there were bike rides and souvenirs at the top but I guess we got there too early. We were trying to beat the storm which we knew was coming. The view was well worth it as you  could see Capitoline Hill including the monument of Victor Emanuel II with horses and chariots on top. If you looked across Piazza del Popolo you could see St. Peter’s Basilica across the Tiber. The kids ran around a bit as we took some pics with the view. It was nice because we could enjoy the view all by ourselves without hectic crowds and we didn’t have to stand on any lines like you do if you want to climb up the cathedral domes and towers.

On our way to the Vatican after lunch we got caught in the thunderstorm. It was raining so hard that we all got soaked despite the fact that we all had umbrellas. My son was screaming and crying about the thunder and lightning while other kids walked happily by in their plastic ponchos. Everyone we talked to said don’t worry about the rain, just keep walking, a taxi is too much!

Tip: Do make reservations so you don’t have to stand in line all day when you’re going to the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel, but don’t take the scenic route if the forecast is for thunderstorms. Find a bus or take the shortest route! A reservation means you can’t wait around in a pizza place for the rain to slow.

After that eventful walk we happily skipped the long line at the Vatican and took the long walk through the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel. Bringing the stroller into the Vatican Museum was not fun. There were lots of narrow crowded staircases going up and down and doorways with actual doors that people were squishing through. Nobody cared to give us the space to get through with the stroller. Still, we had to bring the stroller because we didn’t want to go back to the entrance to pick it up later. In the end it was totally worth it to see  Michelangelo’s ceiling, and we actually saw some nice paintings and medieval art  at the Vatican Museums by taking a right at the top of the entrance stairs instead of heading left to go straight to the Sistine Chapel.

Tip:From the Sistine Chapel we took the exit door on the right to go straight down into St. Peter’s Basilica grounds. This door is meant to be only for tours but nobody stopped us. So we didn’t have to take the long walk back north to the entrance of the museum, or stand in the long line all day in the sun to get into St. Peter’s Basilica. Honestly, even if we hadn’t already walked through a thunderstorm with 2 screaming children all of that would’ve seemed like torture and we wouldn’t have done it. By taking the exit door on the right from the Sistine Chapel, we got to see the inside of the massive St. Peter’s cathedral, and Michelangelo’s Pieta without all of the stress. Then with the rain stopped we walked leisurely across the Ponte Sant’Angelo enjoying all the beautiful statues and heading home for the evening.

We stayed near Piazza Borghese which was a nice location. We could walk to most of the places we wanted to go. When you’re traveling with 2 small children and a stroller, mass transit can be difficult. Staying a bit further south near the Pantheon or Piazza Navona probably would’ve been even better.

Tip: If you don’t want  the stress of dealing with the Vatican Museum crowds with your stroller you can always go to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum at night when it is less crowded. Since the Sistine Chapel has no windows, it is not really necessary to see it during the day. If you’re coming straight from the US you will be staying up late anyway because of the different time zone. However, you can’t take the right exit door from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s at night because St. Peter’s is closed at night.

The next day we took the bus to the Colosseum, which was really quite convenient from our apartment near the Tiber.  The Galleria Nazionale looked so impressive from the bus that we walked down there in the heat of the sun to gawk at all the statues and torches on the entrance stairs. Then we headed to the Church of San Clemente in the neighborhood behind the Colosseum. With 3 underground levels of once-buried  ancient history, beautiful art, and mosaics like nothing you’ve ever seen, San Clemente is really a must-see. Unfortunately we had to squish it all in before they closed for lunch. They said we couldn’t come back after lunch with the same ticket. Afterwards we got some lunch in that neighborhood and  skipped a giant line to get into the Colosseum.

Tip: Do buy skip -the-line tickets online for the Colosseum in the summer. The line would not have been worth it. The Colosseum was fun to walk around but you really should follow the arrows which tell you to start on the second floor because there are a lot of good informative displays there which will color the rest of the tour for you.

After the Colosseum we wandered over to the beautiful Arch of Constantine and went up Palatine Hill. The ruins there were not that impressive compared to some other ones we’ve seen but we got to take some nice shots of the Colosseum from the hill.  On the crowded trip home on bus line 87 everybody was trying to give us safe spots for our kids, helping us pay (no functione! no functione!) and making sure we knew where to hit the button for our stop. The Italian language is so effervescent we didn’t care that we couldn’t understand what anybody was saying! In fact, the Italian language was really one of the highlights of our trip.


We took the Frecciargento train in the morning to go to Florence. On the way all of the handles came off of our suitcase. No problem, we bought a new one near the train station. We stayed near the train station too, at Hotel Tourist house, but it was a pretty quiet spot just at the corner of Piazza Santa Maria Novella. It was a great place to stay with kids. The piazza had grass and children and yummy gelato. Our quadruple room had high ceilings and lavish decoration and our hosts were very friendly and helpful. We ate at nearby Trattoria da Giorgio, a family-run restaurant which we also highly recommend. Don’t forget to stop by the historical pharmacy on Via della Scala near the train station – it is still in business.  The church of Santa Maria Novella also has a lot to see, so set aside some time for that. It was an easy walk to the Duomo, the Uffizi, and all of the other famous attractions from our hotel too.

Tip: Most of the attractions in Florence have skip-the-line online tickets. For us the online tickets were worth it not because there were long lines but because there was no place to buy tickets near the Duomo on a Sunday morning. Also, I didn’t see long lines at the Uffizi but I’m told it’s hard to get in unless you’ve bought tickets online.

The first night we took the #7 bus from Piazza San Marco to a town in the mountains called Fiesole, where we hiked up a narrow cobble-stone street to see a gorgeous view of Florence. The kids really enjoyed it.

Leaving Italy was sad but we were thrilled to experience a beautiful country, lovely people and delicious food. I know we need to go back to Italy some time in the future.

Our plan for Turkey was to spend a week in Candarli with my parents, by the northern Agean, then go to Busra Pansiyon in Selimiye on the southern Agean.  Selimiye and the surrounding area is breathtakingly beautiful and this pansiyon is heaven for families with small children. There’s a yard to play in, lots of kids, delicious food, and rooms right by the water. It’s a small place so it is not crowded or hectic and you get lots of friendly personal attention. You do need to bring your water shoes because the shore is rocky.

As always our stay in Turkey was magical. Enjoy some of the pictures I took during our stay in Turkey:

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4 Easy Steps To Flossing Everyday

Why Floss? 

1)  Flossing prevents tartar built up. Flossing allows you to remove the plaque that causes tartar while it is in its early form.

2) It prevents other serious diseases. Research has shown that the bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body.

3) It protects your gums. The places where the gums and teeth meet are where flossing plays a critical role in cleaning.

4) It saves you money. Dental care is about 40% less for those who floss regularly.

This is how you will floss everyday. 

1) Buy Flossers. I suggest using the ones shown in the picture below instead of strings.

2) Tape a single flosser on your bathroom mirror so you are reminded everyday.

3) If you can’t track it, it does not exist. Download Lift App https://www.lift.do to your phone or use their website to track your progress.

4) Floss everyday for 30 days (even if you floss one tooth). Once the 30 days is over you won’t be able to go to sleep without flossing.

Do these steps and leave a comment to tell the world that it worked for you. I guarantee that it will work. I have been flossing without missing a single day for 6 months and I did not floss once a month prior to that.

You know it is good for you so just do it!

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5 Very Easy Things You Can Do To Be Happier Today

You are the average of your 5 closest friends. When you hear this think about your happiness, your attitude. Thinking positively is something one must work on day after day until it becomes a habit. For every positive experience we face 18 negative experiences on average, so it goes without saying that if we want more positivity in our lives we actually have to work for it.

Some people are naturally happy. I have colleagues who remain amazingly positive despite the challenges they face. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people. I usually end up changing my original opinion to one that is more positive a couple of seconds after the thought hits me. But I do believe that if I keep doing this that I will become naturally more positive about situations. There are many things one can do to increase day-to-day happiness in ones life. These do not take a lot of effort, just some practice.

1) Choose happy people. Whether at work our outside of work there are people who you enjoy working with more than others:  people who are positive; people who are not complainers. You know who I’m talking about. You need to find ways to work with them more and more. Also, look for opportunities to avoid working with people who always find something to complain about, who are always finding that one little negative thing to dwell on out of many positive things. It may be challenging to find actual work opportunities, but how about lunch breaks, coffee breaks, social events. These are all in your control.

2) Smile more often. Smiling makes you happy even if you have no obvious reason to smile. This is scientifically proven. So go ahead and put on a big smile to see for yourself. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Smile more often and you will be happier and be smiling more :)

3) Watch happy movies If you are going through your queue to choose a movie choose fun/feel-good movies over drama/horror. You will laugh more and you will have more fun thoughts to think about and talk about.

4) Listen to upbeat songs Review your radio stations and the playlist on your phone and be sure to pick the upbeat songs to listen to, especially in the morning. This will energize you and put you in a better mood. I love minor chords and all but in the morning I make sure to pick a station that will put me in a good mood.

5) Go for a short walk. It is a great way to wind your self down. Get some  sun and fresh air to uplift your mood. Go for a nice walk around the block. Pay attention to the things you are seeing and take a break from what you have in your mind.

Almost everything you worry about will be forgotten in a month. Always think about that. Ask yourself “Will I be worried about this a week, a month, two months, three months from now?”   Why worry yourself to death now. Unless you are one of the lucky ones you are probably missing that special happy gene. That is OK though because with very little work you can uplift your mood and teach yourself to be happier everyday. I challenge you to choose at least one of these ways to be happier everyday for a month, to see the results for yourself.

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Extremely Motivating 50 Personal Growth Quotes

I believe in building momentum, making consistent daily steps to achieve big goals instead of counting on motivation to accomplish a goal. This does not mean I don’t value motivation at all.  The fact is that we have a limited amount of motivation and therefore we need to use our motivation wisely. Motivation is a powerful obstacle remover. It gets projects started, it helps us come up with great ideas and makes us believe that they are achievable.

There are many great personal growth quotes. I compiled a list of the ones that I personally like. I suggest you pick a few that you like and find inspiring and put them where you will run into them often or where you think you need encouragement.  If you know any great personal growth quotes, share them via comments please, I will update the article every so often and include them.

50 great personal growth quotes:

Be the change you want to see in this world.  – Gandhi

The best rules to form a young man are: to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one’s own opinions, and value others that deserve it. – Sir William Temple

Exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don’t think of retiring from the world, until the world will be sorry that you retire. – Samuel Johnson

The meaning of life is to give life meaning. – Ken Hudgins

In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess. – The Dalai Lama

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. –  Mark Twain

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. – Oprah Winfrey

In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action. – Anthony Robbins

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. – Eckhart Tolle

Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching. – Satchel Paige

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. – Robert Cushing

We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us. – Jean-Paul Sartre

The searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of man. – Cicero

The only journey is the journey within. – Rainer Maria Rilke

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. – Agnes Repplier

Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do. – Menander

Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. – Abd-el-Kadar

If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old. – Lord Chesterfield

Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves. – Maltbie D. Matlock

If you have an hour, will you not improve that hour, instead of idling it away? – Lord Chesterfield

Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong. – William Thackeray

As the sculptor devotes himself to wood and stone, I would devote myself to my soul. – Toyohiko Kagawa

He who conquers others is strong;
He who conquers himself is mighty.
– Lao Tzu

The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. – Thales

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes. – Carl Jung

He that will not reflect is a ruined man. – Asian Proverb

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. – Doug Firebaugh

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. – Chinese Proverb

God ever works with those who work with will. – Aeschylus

If we all did the things we are capable of,
we would astound ourselves.
– Thomas Edison

A man who finds no satisfaction in himself will seek for it in vain elsewhere. – La Rochefoucauld

Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours. – Swedish Proverb

Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world. – Miguel de Cervantes

Insist on yourself. Never imitate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heaven never helps the man who will not act. – Sophocles

Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small,
Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all.
– Juvenal

Men soon the faults of others learn
A few their virtues, too, find out;
But is there one—I have a doubt—
Who can his own defects discern?
– Sanskrit Proverb

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle

Our ideas, like orange-plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots. – Edward Bulwer Lytton

We are sometimes as different from ourselves as we are from others. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Do not think of your faults, still less of other’s faults; look for what is good and strong and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off, like dead leaves, when their time comes.
– John Ruskin

In learning to know other things, andk other minds, we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves, and are to ourselves better worth knowing. – Philip Gilbert Hamilton

It’s where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are. – Joyce Carol Oates

What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself. – Hecato, Greek philosopher

It is only the very wisest and the very stupidest who cannot change. – Confucius

We are either progressing or retrograding all the while; there is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life.
– James Freeman Clarke

To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat.
– Plato

Everybody wants to be somebody;
nobody wants to grow.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Systematically Investing In Your Personal Growth

I know from personal experience that most people do not set explicit goals for personal growth. This does not mean they are not learning and growing personally, what it means is that they are growing without a sense of direction. A sense of direction is very important because without direction you will not find satisfaction and success.

I don’t mean that you need to plan for the next 5-10 years. How can you do that when you don’t know a single thing about what tomorrow will bring? However, you should know a few things that you want for yourself such as:

* Skills You Want to Have

* Materials You Desire

* Things You Want to Do

Once you have set your goals you need to:

1) Write the goal down somewhere that is accessible to you everyday. I use Things to track my personal growth goals. Each personal growth goal is represented as a project which I can add many tasks to in order to make progress towards achieving my goal.

2) Come up with a list of tasks/actionable items you can do in order to achieve that goal (The smaller the tasks are the better)

3) Visit your goals daily/weekly to make sure you are actually making progress and you are not stalled.

 After graduating from college I went on to get jobs and contributed to building success for a bunch of companies. I’m proud of that, but at the same time I feel like I totally ignored my personal growth during these years. For over a decade I failed to set personal growth goals and that kept me stagnant, did not allow room for doing new things. As they say, it is better late than never. This year I changed all of that. I hope that you will be encouraged to do the same after reading this article.

Some questions you might have about making personal growth goals:

* How many personal growth goals should I have?

* How long should I have a particular personal growth goal?

* What happens if I fail to achieve a certain personal growth goal?

* How often do I visit my personal growth goals?

* How do I keep myself motivated to work on my personal growth?

* Can you tell me about your personal growth goals?


* How many personal growth goals should I have?

You are on the right track if you have at least one. There is no magical number but having none means you are not making direction progress and having too many goals means you are not really giving any of your personal growth goals enough time. I currently have 6 personal growth goals that I have been working on. One important point to keep in mind: Some goals you will be able to work on during your daytime work hours others you won’t. So the number of goals will also depend on whether you can work on your goal as part of your job. For example: One of my personal growth goals is to be a better Java developer. (Java is a popular programming language). As a software developer I’m able to practice it at work by working on projects using java. I intentionally look for opportunities what would allow me to use java in my projects while I’m doing my job. If you can find growth goals that you can work at while on the job you will be able to put a lot of time into them.

* How long should I have a particular personal growth goal?

Before I can answer that question I need to explain a few things. To make a personal growth goal you need to do the following:

To answer the original question: If you keep making progress towards it then keep that goal as long as it takes. If you haven’t made any progress and it does not feel like you are going to make any progress soon then you should first understand why, then consider the possibly that it is not a good time for that personal growth goal. Understanding why you are not making progress is crucial. Is it a lack of time, a lack of motivation, or maybe it is not something you are interested after all? Once you understand why you are not making progress than you can decide whether to keep that goal or scrap it.

* What happens if I fail to achieve a certain personal growth goal?

As I mentioned previously, as long as you are making good progress towards achieving a goal you should  never think about failing to achieve it. Keep working on that goal systematically. Create a routine to build momentum and I guarantee you that you will put that achievement in your toolbox.  Refer to my answer to the previous question if you are not making progress, and take the appropriate action.

* How often do I visit my personal growth goals?

I visit them almost daily. This does not mean that I come up with new goals everyday. I usually create goals that last 6 months or more but I visit them everyday to make sure I’m actually moving forward. I create new tasks and/or I check off tasks that are completed. Having this dynamic progress keeps my momentum going. I strongly suggest that you keep your goals close and your tasks even closer.

* How do I keep myself motivated to work on my personal growth?

Motivation is like sugar, you like having it when you have it but when you don’t you definitely feel the absence of it. For this reason I do everything I can to NOT rely on having daily motivation. Motivation is a great way to kick-start a project, it is an excellent way to come up with new ideas/goals but it is the worst thing to rely on when trying to get these things done. Once you have determined that you have a goal in mind to achieve then you need to build daily habits that will get you there, step-by-step. Please read this article on how I built my daily habits.   In summary, it is great to be motivated, take advantage of it whenever you can, but don’t rely solely on motivation to achieve your goals.

* Can you tell me about your personal growth goals?

I’m more than happy to share my personal growth goals with you. My goals include things that I want to do, I want to become, and I want to have:

Goal 1:  Spend incredible time with my family. This could certainly be in the category of doing things but it is also about being a better parent/dad. I intentionally add tasks related to spending more quality time with my family. Most of the activities include taking more trips during the weekend and seeing new places, but soon I will be taking my sabbatical and not working for a full month. I’m also intentionally avoiding work after-hours unless it is necessary.

Goal 2: Launch BuildGreatHabits. I have been studying how to make positive changes in my life. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible with the hope that it helps them as much as it has helped me. BuildGreatHabits is not where it needs to be right now but I believe in consistent improvement.

Goal 3: Get better at java. I used the language in the past but did not use it long enough or consistent enough to be an expert java developer.  I have attached many tasks to learning this language better but the most important step I took was getting involved in projects at work using Java.

Goal 4: Become a better writer. Writing is extremely important for the profession I do. I knew I needed to improve my writing so I set a goal to become a better writer. This is one of those goals where you can’t really set a deadline. When do I become a good enough writer that I can remove this goal from my list?  Probably never. What really matters is what I do to become a good writer. I knew that launching BuildGreatHabits would force me to write pretty much everyday. It is so powerful when you have goals that complement each other. I have written many articles since I launched BuildGreatHabits and I’m still writing pretty much daily.

Goal 5: Become a better public speaker. I have a fear of public speaking, like a majority of people out there. I decided to take action to overcome this fear (or become less fearful). I have a bunch of tasks associated with my goal including taking a one-day Dale Carnegie training course, signing up with a local ToastMasters club and finding opportunities to do presentations.

Goal 6: Become a guitar player. I have been wanting to play guitar for so long. I finally set this goal for myself and came up with a plan to start playing the instrument. You can read more about how I started playing my guitar.  Two of my tasks included: get comfortable playing C, D, EM, G; learn how to play “puff the magic dragon.” I’m now at a point where I really enjoy playing guitar for my kids and friends when they come over.

For each personal development goal I have listed here, there is a list of things that I have done so far and a list of things that I still need to do to. If you find yourself setting up personal development goals without actionable to-do lists you are not setting yourself up to achieve those goals. Regret doesn’t help much but I do wish I had started using this strategy years ago.  I know I could have  accomplished so much more.  I encourage you to consciously think about what you want to become, do or have. Start with a single goal and a list of things you can do to hit that goal. Teach yourself to invest in your personal development because you are your most valuable asset in this world.

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Time Management Quotes To Inspire You Everyday

Let These Time Management Quotes Motivate You Everyday:

It is not that we don’t value time, we just flow with time without noticing it and then there is never enough of it.

Pleasure comes with seeing our achievements, the work we’ve done during our lifetime. We do this work for our families, our friends and sometimes for people we don’t know. Therefore we need to be conscious of how we use our precious time.

I put together these time management quotes to help me remain aware that my time is finite. I need to do my best with the time I have. I hope you can find one that helps you too.


Inspiring and motivating time management quotes: 

Who makes quick use of the moment is a genius of prudence.
Johann Kaspar Lavater


Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.
Bil Keane


Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.
Pandora Poikilos


The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
John Wooden


Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
Alan Lakein


You may delay, but time will not.
Benjamin Franklin


Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.
Michael LeBoeuf


We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.
William Shakespeare


Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
M. Scott Peck


Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.
Nathaniel Hawthorne


In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure.
Malcolm X


Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.
Adam Hochschild


You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.
James M. Barrie


My time is now.
John Turner


So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.
Menachem Mendel Schneerson


Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.
Charles Caleb Colton


He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.
Victor Hugo


The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
Michael Altshuler


Time is a hard-hearted rebel, we cannot fight him or can we beg him to slow down, wait for us or stop, all we have to do is to obey his strict rules, follow him and run, he doesn’t get tired, and we must not get tired too.
Michael Bassey Johnson


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Barack Obama


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs


A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
Charles Darwin


If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
Bruce Lee


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You Can Have An Extra 2 Hours Every Day To Achieve Your Goals

Focus on building that routine

 I started achieving more when I stopped making the end result (the goal) the focal point of the things I did, and instead started focusing on the routine. My focus turned to planning out how I could build daily habits that would allow me to reach my goal.  When routines become habits there is this amazing momentum that builds. Because every day that you do your routine you are helping to build a good daily habit, and that in itself is an achievement. Achieving something every day encourages you and carries you toward your desired goal. So I suggest that  once you have a goal in mind go ahead and put every ounce of energy you have into coming up with a routine that, when done daily, will help you reach your goals.

If your goal is to lose 30 lbs, instead of setting an arbitrary deadline and weighing yourself everyday, think about what you’ll be like when you’re 30 lbs lighter. What  does that new you do differently than what you do today? Does the new you exercise regularly? Does the new you make salad for lunch every day? You will probably need to do a combination of new routines daily in order to achieve your goal. Forget about the deadline, forget about the final goal, if you start doing daily routines that can turn into good habits, you will eventually get to where you want to be.  Your steps toward reaching your goals are:  Plan Routines,  Build Habits, Succeed.

One big challenge in the (Plan Routines -> Build Habits -> Succeed) formula is finding the time to do things day-after-day.

Do you have trouble finding the time to do the things you want to do? 

When I thought of the list of things I wanted to accomplish, my first concern was time constraints. With a demanding full-time job and two little kids where would I find the time to achieve what I had in mind?  Some of the things I wanted to achieve included:

  • Exercising everyday
  • Writing everyday
  • Spending quality time with my family
  • Learning new programming languages
  • Learning how to play guitar
  • Meditating daily

You can see that I’m actually working on these goals on my Lift profile here.

 What is the common link between all of my goals? They all require time!  So it became obvious that I had to make more time.

Has anyone seen my time?  I’m looking for those two hours I thought I had. 

 I can’t sacrifice time spent with my family to find those extra 2 hours – that would be in conflict with one of my goals.  That said, the extra time needed to build my new habits had to come from somewhere. One more thing – I wasn’t going to stop sleeping. I love sleeping and I need my 7 hours of sleep everyday. My kids usually go to bed between 9PM-10PM. I used to stay up after putting the kids to sleep, usually until 11:30-12:00pm, at times later, but I was too tired to get anything done.  I was just winding down or watching TV. Then I would sleep for 7 hours and get up at 7am, which is when my kids wake up.  I would spend about an hour with them, reading them books, having breakfast etc. Then I would get ready for work and leave at 8am . That is what I did until about a year ago. Instead of going to bed close to midnight I started going to bed at 10PM, shortly after I put my kids to sleep. I still slept for 7 hours but I woke up at 5am instead of 7am. I made an extra two hours!!  That was 10 new hours every week that I could spend on things I  wanted to do without sacrificing quality time with my family.  It was 40 hours a month that I could use for achieving the things I wanted to achieve.  I don’t do this during the weekend, this is strictly a weekday schedule. I do stay up later during the weekends to have fun with friends.

You don’t have to be a parent to benefit from scheduling your life in a way that gives you the time to improve yourself, but for parents this is even more fundamental since they have little ones that they have to organize their lives around. Some people prefer to stay up later to get work done but based on my experience, I’m way more productive early in the morning than at the end of a long, tiring day. I also exercise during that extra two hours in the morning, and exercising first thing in the morning has profound benefits for an individual. Accomplishing that paves the road for getting so many other things done during the rest of your day.

No way I’m waking up at 5. 

I sympathize with you. Waking up at 5 in the morning was foreign to me as well, until about a year ago. But waking up at 5 am becomes second nature once you build that habit. After all, you are still sleeping the same amount, you are just going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. One quick tip on an alarm clock: I bought a watch with a vibration alarm so I didn’t disturb anyone when I woke up at 5am.

It’s OK to work up to waking up 2 hours earlier. Trying waking up  1 hour earlier for a month. Give yourself an extra hour to exercise, write, read, meditate, learn a new language, whatever you have been wanting to do. See how you like it.

“All things are hard before they are easy.” 

Changing your day-to-day life takes courage, and dedication. It won’t be easy at first. Whether you will get it done or not depends on how badly you want to achieve your goals. All I can tell you is this:  Changing your life is not as difficult as it seems and the compound benefits are enormous. Will you take that leap?

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10 Things Achieved Through The Power Of Habits In Less Than A Year


I have been upgrading myself for the last 8 months through adopting habits that are making me healthier and happier. I’ve already started sharing practical ways to adopt these habits that worked for me. Here is a list of things I accomplished  in less than a year:


  • I have been working out daily for the last 8 months (See what worked)
  • I taught myself how to play guitar. I play guitar for my kids and friends. (Easier than you think)
  • I have been writing everyday. (I do it during my commute, see how)
  • I built the habit of speaking Turkish with my kids. They speak Turkish!
  • I have been flossing my teeth daily for the last 5 months.
  • I have been eating salad for lunch for the last 3 months.
  • I built the habit of  waking up at 5AM during the weekdays.
  • I taught myself how to program in Python. Built http://meexr.com (Wrote about it here)
  • I built the habit of drinking three extra glasses of water everyday.
  • I built the habit of  meditating everyday. (I do it during my commute, see how)

It’s your turn!!


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