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Everyone knows how difficult it can be to achieve goals and follow through on new, positive habits. We want to exercise, but it’s so much easier to watch Netflix. We want to homecook our meals, but it’s so much more convenient to order food on DoorDash. We want to knock a bunch of errands off our to-do lists, but it’s so much more relaxing to hang around the house. There’s simply a big gap between what we cognitively want to do, and what we viscerally want to do.

To try to bridge this gap, we typically rely on discipline. We try to flagellate ourselves into doing what we know we should. And then, when we still fail to follow through on stuff, we flagellate ourselves for not having sufficient willpower.

Fortunately, there’s a way out of this fruitless cycle. A technique for making our habits happen, and doing so with less effort and more pleasure: bundling our temptations. 

Primer on Temptation Bundling 

if people focused on making long-term goal pursuit more enjoyable in the short-term . . . they’d be far more successful. —Katy Milkman,How to Change

It’s not so hard to understand the reason we struggle so mightily to follow through with our good intentions: The things we aim to complete are often not enjoyable or rewarding to do in the short-term. Things like going to the post office, washing the dishes, and doing taxes have a long-term payoff, but simply aren’t pleasurable in the moment. Ditto with cooking and exercise, at least for some people. So, when it comes to choosing to do these tiresome tasks, or, choosing to do something that’s more immediately satisfying — scrolling through social media, watching television, ordering takeout — our pleasure-seeking selves choose the latter over the former more often than not.

Once you understand this obvious problem, the solution also becomes obvious — though you may not have ever really thought through it before: make working on your goals more rewarding.

You can’t do this by changing the nature of the task itself, which, as we’ve already said, is inherently unpleasurable. But, you can add enjoyment to the task by pairing it with something that is pleasurable. 

This is a concept developed by the behavioral scientist Katy Milkman, which she calls “temptation bundling.” You take something you need to do, something you should do but don’t enjoy doing, and you bundle it with something you don’t need to do but intrinsically enjoy, and are already tempted towards. You bundle something with long-term value but no short-term reward, with something with no long-term payoff but plenty of short-term satisfaction.

For example, Milkman used to have a hard time getting herself out the door to go to the gym. To motivate herself, she started listening to Alex Cross detective novels — a guilty pleasure — while working out. What used to seem like a chore — logging miles on the treadmill — became something she really looked forward to.

I don’t enjoy running errands around town — Amazon returns, grocery shopping, you know the drill — when there are a million other things I could be doing. To be a little more pumped up about it, I only listen to Halsey while putzing around in the minivan. (She slaps, guys!) 

Find it hard to get motivated to fold the laundry? Listen to a podcast while you do it. Want to eat more homemade meals, but don’t enjoy cooking? Crack open a particular beer or wine while you chop and saute to make the process more pleasurable.  

By coupling a rewarding “guilty pleasure” with a tedious-but-important goal/habit/task, you’ll be far more likely to follow through with it. 

Getting the Most Out of Temptation Bundling 

This small act of neurological trickery is not a panacea. There are a couple keys to making it work for you, as well as limitations to keep in mind. 

Only do the particular “vice” when you’re doing the non-pleasurable task. In How to Change, Katy Milkman writes that “temptation bundling certainly works best if you can actually restrict an indulgence to whenever you’re doing a task that requires an extra boost of motivation.” You’ll be much more motivated to tackle something when it’s the only way to access a certain reward. Want to listen to Alex Cross? You have to get on the treadmill. Want to listen to Halsey? You’ve got to get in the minivan.

Keep one of the things

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Toscano Master Aged 4: American/Italian Blend Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

My journey through Toscano’s Master Aged series culminates with this Master Aged 4, which, through this process, I’ve learned has a few secrets up its sleeves.

While researching this particular blend, I saw it advertised as an Italian wrapper with a 50/50 Italian and American filler, which sounded identical to the Master Aged 1. To get clarification, I contacted Michael Cappellini, the US Toscano brand ambassador.

He kindly informed me that the wrapper on the Master Aged 4 is micro-fermented. This particular treatment, conducted at higher temperatures, is designed to enhance flavor complexity without intensifying the strength.

This is rather intriguing, and I’m eager to put the Master Aged 4 through the Bespoke Unit Cigar Matrix:

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Download the Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Matrix as a PDF.

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Learn more about the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Details

Brand: ToscanoRange: Master Aged 4Reviewed Vitolas: 6.3 x 40 “Double-Truncated Cone”Wrapper: Italian Micro-FermentedBinder: N/AFiller: 50% Italian / 50% Kentucky Fire-Cured TobaccoFactory: Lucca (Italy)Handmade: YesBody: FullEstimated Smoking Time: 90 MinutesPricing: $225 / Box of 30 [Buy On CigarPage]

Despite employing a sophisticated micro-fermentation process that enhances its flavor complexity, the Toscano Master Aged 4 remains competitively priced. It is available for $225 per box of 30, which breaks down to $7.5 per cigar. This keeps it aligned with the rest of the Master Aged cigar collection.

All Toscano Master Aged Cigars Together

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigars

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https://mansbrand.com/podcast-1007-the-5-mountains-of-personal-development/

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Podcast #1,007: The 5 Mountains of Personal Development

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It can be difficult to visualize the journey towards personal development and becoming an exceptional individual. It’s easier to visualize it like Mark Divine, who sees it as five mountains to climb.

Mark is retired Navy SEAL commander, professor of leadership, yogi, creator of fitness programs and mindset programs such as SEALFIT, Unbeatable Mind and an author. His two decades of military experience, combined with his martial arts training and Zen meditation, have led him to develop the holistic warrior monk philosophy, which informs all of his work including Uncommon: simple principles for an extraordinary life.

Mark is your guide today on the show as he explains the topography and daily practices of the five mountain ranges of personal growth. We discuss why the physical mountain is the first to master and the intuitional one the fourth. We also talk about the Navy SEAL breathing technique that helps you develop metacognition.

Podcast Resources

Mark Divine’s previous appearances on the Art of Manliness Podcast: Episode #60 – The Way of the SEALBox BreathingUnbeatable Mind: Mark Divine Staring Down the Wolf: Mark DivineAoM article: 4 Key Insights from the BhagavadgitaAoM podcast #616 – A Guide for the Journey towards Your True CallingSunday firesides: You don’t have the time, not to take the timeF3 NationIkigai

Mark Divine: Connect with him

Uncommon Website Mark’s Mark on IG

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https://mansbrand.com/getting-over-the-indignity-of-baby-steps/

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Getting Over the Indignity of Baby Steps

Bill Murray stars as Bob Wiley in the 1991 comedy What About Bob? He is a neurotic, anxious man who seeks out the help of Dr. Bob Marvin, an ambitious and egotistical therapist played by Richard Dreyfuss.

Dr. Marvin wants his name to become the next Dr. Spock, a psychologist with a worldwide reputation. He believes that his newly published book, Baby Steps is the key to fame and fortune.

Bob’s numerous psychological problems are discussed with Dr. Marvin. Dr. Marvin then gives Bob a book called Baby Steps. Bob adopts the Baby Steps Philosophy and takes literal and figurative steps out of Dr. Marvin’s office. Bob’s comedic antics are heightened when he crashes Dr. Marvin and his family’s vacation.

While What About Bob? While the film pokes fun at therapy by using the phrase “baby steps”, it captures an idea that may sound cliche, but is nonetheless true: Small actions taken consistently are the most effective ways to make big changes to our lives.

You should know that

Kaizen.

Little strokes fell great oaks.

Pound the rock.

Even though I know that the best way to change is through small steps, I often struggle with taking them.

You’ve probably all experienced something similar.

Today’s article will explore why we hesitate to take small steps and how we can embrace them.

Why We Stop Taking BabySteps to Change

Two main reasons are why we often hesitate to take baby-steps towards a goal.

The “This Makes me Feel Like a Dumb Baby” or “Sense of Inadequacy” Effect

We may be reluctant to make small changes because we feel insecure.

In his book, How We Change (And 10 Reasons Why we Don’t), psychologist Dr. Ross Ellenhorn discusses the humiliation of baby steps. Ellenhorn says that taking small steps can be demoralizing because they remind us how far we are from our desired goal. Each baby step may feel like a mini disappointment that emphasizes the work still needed to reach our goals, amplifying feelings of inadequacy. You’ll have to face the reality that you are not where you would like to be if you keep taking baby steps.

We stop taking baby steps altogether to avoid the mini-deafness that comes with them. We avoid taking baby steps because they make us feel bad.

This is something I’ve seen in my life.

I tend to over-analyze things. I can be Eeyore like because of my negativity bias. Since I didn’t like this, I have tried to control my Eeyore tendencies for the majority of my adulthood.

Cognitive behavioral therapists suggest that you catch yourself catastrophizing and then spend a few minutes questioning the assumptions that contribute to your negative mood.

But I have a hard time putting it into regular practice. Why? Why? It makes me stupid to have to constantly question my overly pessimistic, erroneous assumptions. It reminds me of my melancholic mindset every time I question my pessimistic view.

This is the inner dialogue I have when I begin to question my negative assumptions, and am grumpy.

Look at how stupid I am. I have to look at this list of questions and see if my negative bias is accurate or not. I feel stupid, because the answers to these questions are usually that my assumptions have been distorted. Others I know do not have to. Why am I doing this? “Oh yeah, my brain is damaged.”

I spiral into doomsday and despair. I feel bad for feeling bad because I have taken the baby step to question my cognitive distortions.

The baby step of re-examining my distorted view makes me feel bad.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/podcast-1006-stop-drowning-in-tedious-tasks-by-taming-your-life-admin/

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