My June 2015 Monthly Habits Report

How this works

Every month, I publish a list of the habits I am currently trying to incorporate into my life (such as ‘do a set of pull ups every day’). I document my successes and failures, and then I punish myself for the latter – $100 for every time I break a habit!

The rationale behind it

I realize my obsessive documentation, and especially the self-punishing aspect of this, may seem rather extreme to most people…

So why do I do this?

I firmly believe that you have to chip away at your goals EVERY day, for YEARS, in order to be successful. Only this kind of mad persistence builds success. There are no overnight breakthroughs, no shortcuts and no magic pills. Whoever tries to tell you otherwise is probably after your money.

Fooling yourself…

And still, people fall for the allure of quick success all the time. Because the idea of doing the same thing, over and over again, is so unappealing that most of us don’t want to put in the work. Those are the people who have trouble building habits – the ones who run after every new quick fix scheme, only to be disappointed yet again.

Then there are those who initially grasp the concept of building habits, but they – while building – fail to follow through on them. They start a diet or a new workout regimen, or any other kind of ambitious long term project; and initially, they are counting their calories and clocking hours at the gym each week. Six months later, however, these types are exactly where they started. Nothing has changed because they dropped the habit along the way.

Good intentions vs. gun to your head

That’s where “good intentions” will reliably get you to: nowhere. They are simply not enough to carry you through the years and years it takes to become successful at something. You can deny this as much as you want, but all you have to do is take a good look at your own history of failed diets and struggles to get fit quick.

Good intentions are never enough – it’s all about following through.

But let’s imagine for a second that someone literally put a gun to your head everyday and said: “Go work out today!” You’d probably grab the nearest set of dumbbells that very minute. Your personal thoughts on working out wouldn’t even come into play, since the stakes would be so incredibly high. If someone put a gun to your head, you would work out first thing in the morning, every day.

Walk the walk

And that’s the kind of setup I’m trying to recreate with my monthly habits report. By documenting my habits and holding myself accountable, by making my struggles public and especially by punishing non-productive behaviour, I think I stand a much better chance of realizing my goals than someone just hoping for the best.
Extraordinary results take extraordinary measures, after all. It’s easy to laugh it off as crazy, but then don’t be surprised at the end of the day (or your life), when you have nothing but the same average successes as everybody else.

So, let the craziness begin! Here is how I did with my habits in June (unless noted differently, the habit in question is to be executed daily):

My List of Habits

Sleeping (Mon–Thur, Sun)

  • About two hours before bedtime, dim the lights in my apartment → $0 fee
  • About two hours before bedtime, turn off my computer → $0 fee
  • About an hour before bedtime, listen to an audiobook or read some fiction to relax → $0 fee
  • Go to bed around 1 am (paused since 06/19/15) → $0 fee
  • Wake up without an alarm → $0 fee
  • Lay down for at least another hour if I wake up after less than 8 hours of sleep → $100 fee

Eating for Health and Energy

  • Take my supplements (vitamin D, fish oil, etc.) → $0 fee
  • Eat a primal diet → $100 fee
  • If possible, even while traveling, buy organic meat and eggs → $0 fee
  • Eat fish once a week → $0 fee

Eating for Fat Loss

  • Measure my waistline and record the numbers → $0 fee
  • Update my food diary for the previous day → $0 fee


  • Take a walk → $0 fee
  • Only go online to get work done or to communicate with others → $0 fee

Getting Organized

  • Update my inbox, my tickler, and my action-pending items → $0 fee


  • At the very least, touch on my most important item for today → $0 fee
  • At the very least, touch on my most urgent item for today → $0 fee

My PhD Thesis

  • Work on my thesis first thing in the morning → $0 fee
  • Track the amount of time I spend working on my thesis and record it → $0 fee
  • In total, work on my thesis for at least an hour every day → $0 fee

The Blog

  • Work on publishing a new article → $0 fee
  • Read part of a self-help book (to keep me inspired and learning about the writing style) → $0 fee
  • Publish two posts per week, one on each of my two blogs (new habit) → $0 fee

Physical Exercise

  • Work on my 10 minute squat test → $0 fee
  • Do two sets of pistols, bicycle crunches, pull ups and handstand push ups → $0 fee
  • Watch some of a mobility / fitness video and take notes → $0 fee
  • Watch some of a BJJ video and take notes → $0 fee
  • Train BJJ two times a week → $0 fee


  • Floss → $0 fee
  • Study some Russian on Rosetta Stone Online → $0 fee

Undisclosed Habits

  • Apply *** → $0 fee
  • Do *** → $0 fee
  • Record *** → $0 fee
  • Watch *** → $0 fee
  • Do *** → $0 fee
  • M*** → $0 fee

Total Amount to Pay: $200

The Punishment

As you can see here, I already set up the payment via The $200 will go to a charity of their choosing.

Until next month!