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2013: The Year of Taking Control

Ramit Sethi

There are a few things in life that should instantly make you pause and proceed very cautiously.

  1. Your boyfriend/girlfriend asking you about people you’ve dated in the past.
  2. A Chinese/Asian/non-white mother asking you if you drink or if you think real estate is a good investment.
  3. Anyone asking you, “WOW! You look great! How’d you lose all that weight?” or any other questions about your recent self-improvement in health, money, spirituality, or your career.

The last one is especially dangerous since it sounds innocent, but actually, you are about to be slaughtered by the vagaries of human behavior.

Every year, I like to kick off each year with a big theme. In the last few years, I’ve focused on hustling and mastering the game being played around you. This year we’re going even bigger.

Welcome to the Year of Taking Control

In the next four weeks, I’m going to release material you’ve never seen before that will help you tackle psychological barriers, give you the word-for-word scripts to improve social skills, and help you take control of…

  • Waking up earlier
  • Being more productive
  • Overcoming negative “invisible scripts”
  • Taking the things you “know” you should do — exercising, being thankful, earning more, finding a better job — and actually helping you DO them

But first, back to the RED ALERTS of self improvement…

A few days ago, I walked into a minefield as I was having dinner with a family friend. She noticed I’d been working out, and she asked me what exactly I do for my workout/diet.

After years of working in self-development, red flags immediately went up. To any outside observer, I looked like the normal and lovable Ramit you know and love. Well…at least the Ramit you know.

But why did red flags go up? Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Friend: “So what have you been doing to work out?”

Ramit: (Cautious, as if I’m walking into a minefield) “Well…I used to be really skinny, so I decided to learn how to work out. I started eating right and got a trainer.”

Friend: “But what do you eat now? Are you off carbs?” (Notice how they’re already laying down the invisible script: “You may look good and I may want to look like that, but there’s no way I could go without carbs”)

Ramit: “I did try a few different things. When I went off dairy, that made a big difference. Would you ever consider doing that?”

Friend: “But I hardly eat dairy. And anyway, I want to enjoy my life. I don’t want to do these extreme things. I’d rather just be healthy like I already am.” (4 invisible scripts in 4 sentences. See if you can spot them.)

This went on for a while, until I finally said: “Did you notice that every answer you’ve given me has started with ‘but’?” She actually stared at me with her jaw dropped. Nobody had ever called them on this before.

Sometimes, it takes someone to point out the patterns that we’ve been doing for our entire lives…but we’ve never noticed.

These invisible scripts are so deep, we don’t even notice them.

Video: The pain of being out of control

Being out of control can be debilitating. Look at this video of some IWT students talking about how they were out of control with their money…their jobs…and their overall lives.

Our scripts can be hauntingly powerful. We can actually WANT to do something — really truly want to lose weight, or get in control of our finances — but our scripts get in the way.

For example, one of my friends is a mother of 2 who recently got really fit. When her friends ask her, “You look amazing! What do you eat?” and she tells them, their first response is consistently:

“Oh. I’m Asian…I can’t give up rice.”

How can we spend our entire lives worrying about money, losing weight, or living a rich life — yet when we see someone just like us, doing it successfully, our barriers instantly surface to hold us back from changing?

The weirdest part is we ACTUALLY want to change!

Yet when powerful barriers hold us back, it’s like a ship trying to drag an invisible anchor around. No matter how much you try, no matter how fast you try to go, there’s always something holding you in place.

And over the last year, I’ve encountered this in startling ways.

I made a dumb mistake and paid for it

A few months ago, I ordered two jackets online. The boxes sat in my room, 5 feet from my bed, for a month. It was an insanely busy month of work and travel, and by the time I tried them on and discovered they didn’t fit, the 30-day return policy had expired.

I acknowledged I was a dumbass but like any Indian person, I decided that “no” is the beginning of the conversation. (My dad told me a funny story about some Indian people who wanted to buy some land near a temple. The land was selling for $550,000. They walked in and offered $325,000. Can you imagine selling land to a bunch of Indians? They walk in with 3 shoes and a goat and wipe their hands. DEAL’S DONE!)

I decided to take the jackets into the store and get them tailored so I could at least wear them. This is when things started going wrong.

I spend a lot at this store, so I have a lady who hooks me up with advance notice on sales and helps me shop for stuff. Ok, first of all, who the hell has a personal shopper and how ridiculous is that? I know.

Anyway, in the middle of a busy week, I took an hour off to do this godforsaken errand. When I walked in, she lit up. “Hey Ramit!” she said. She’s sweet, plus I think she’s going to pay for her future kids’ college educations off my commissions. I asked her if there was any chance of me returning the coats. “I wish I could,” she said apologetically, “but it’s past the return period.”

Ugh, ok. Could I get them altered? “Sure, but we’ll have to charge you.”

I was not expecting this. “How much?” I asked. Her response: “$65 for that one.”

Wait a second. I already didn’t want to be there. Now I find out that I bought these jackets online at full price, and not only can I not return them…but I’m going to have pay MORE?

“Forget it,” I said. “I’d rather give these away.” I was already frustrated having to run this stupid errand, and now I’d have to pay more for clothes I didn’t even want? I packed up my stuff and left.

As I walked out of there, I was pretty mad. You know when you’ve been a loyal customer and a company doesn’t treat you right? I’ve spent thousands of dollars in that store, and that lady has made a lot on commissions. In my head, she should have just offered to have the alteration done for free, knowing that I’d be a long-time customer.

A few days later, I was still thinking about why this bothered me. Was it the poor customer service? Was I just feeling entitled?

Then I realized it. I thought I was mad at the store policy…but I was really mad at myself. I had all these thoughts in my head (“I’m a good customer….they should pick up the tab…they should reward customer loyalty”)…but I hadn’t said ANY of these things to the woman at the shop!

How could she know this?

It’s funny — we get frustrated at our jobs…our bosses…our income…our lack of travel…

But how many of us actually get mad at ourselves? Mad because maybe we COULD get the things we wanted…if we only asked for them.

This crystallized what I’ve been hearing from tens of thousands of IWT readers over the last few years.

  • We KNOW we want to be more than just ordinary people working at ordinary jobs.
  • We’re WILLING to put in the time and work. We’re not asking for a free ride.
  • But we don’t know WHAT to do.
  • And even if we KNOW what we want…we often have invisible scripts and barriers holding us back.
  • And yet with ONE small tweak — one script, one change, one barrier exposed — we can often find that dream job, earn more, get in shape, improve our social skills, or even have better relationships.

That’s when I knew what the theme of this year would be on I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

2013: The Year of Taking Control

When we’re in our early 20s, the world is our oyster. We can do anything — we have multiple passions, and it’s totally OK to take the time to “figure it out”:

But over time, we turn 26…then 28…then 30. And as we get older, we start making excuses.

“Oh, I like to have my time to myself when I get home from work.”

“Yeah, he did it, but I don’t think he ever goes out any more.”

“Well, I’d do that, but I have _____ (kids, debt, an OK job, etc.)”

Then one day, we wake up and wonder how our lives turned out the way they did…

“I wanted to fly around and consult for CEOs…so how did I get stuck in this dead-end job?”

“I used to play sports. Why am I tired just walking up stairs?”

“I wanted to travel abroad at least 3x/year, but I can’t even pay my bills. WTF?”

Time to make a change. But how?

How most people approach taking control

I have a confession: I used to have the body of a supermodel — a female supermodel. I was 5’11” and 127 lbs.

Even though I would work out for 6 months at a time, I would never get big. Never mind that I had no idea how to work out properly or how to eat. I concocted this grandiose notion that “I can never get as big as THOSE guys.” It actually became part of my self-concept.

Years later, I learned I was guilty of “fuckarounditis,” where I would go to the gym and mess around, lifting this and that, never using a strategy, then get frustrated when I saw no results.

This doesn’t just apply to fitness. Take careers, for example. We have jokers who send out 100+ copies of their resume, thinking “If I just send 1 more, that’ll be the ticket!” Or they complain about how getting a job is all about WHO you know, not WHAT you know…then they fail to actually get to know anyone. Please get the hell out of my face, you whiners.

Some people make the opposite mistake: They believe that if they want to achieve goals, they have to do the EXTREME VERSION of getting to that goal.

Money example: “I don’t want to have to track every penny of my spending for the rest of my life!” (You don’t, but that invisible script allows them to not track anything at all.)

Health example: “I don’t want to have to watch every single thing I eat forever. I like having a treat now and then!” (Similar barrier. Btw, the alternative is to keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing.)

Relationship example: “So you want me to communicate better. You’re saying I have to tell you EVERY SINGLE THING I’m thinking. That’s just not how I’m built!” (Nobody wants to hear your annoying thoughts, moron. They DO want you to communicate better.)

These “extreme-reach” barriers are convenient excuses to continue doing what we’ve been doing forever. And many people who claim they want a goal — like “passive income” or “6-pack abs” — actually want the RESULT, but are never willing to do the work to get them.

I ran into this with one woman on my email list. I asked my readers, “What’s one thing you CLAIM you want to do, but you don’t do it?” She wrote back, telling me she wants to run 3x/week. I said, why don’t you run once/week?

Her response floored me: “I don’t really see the point of running once/week.”

She would rather dream about running 3x/week…than ACTUALLY run once/week.

How many of us do this? We WANT these big, grandiose goals…but if I asked you, “What are you going to do TOMORROW to move towards it?” we would have no answer? Or we’d have a dozen ideas…none of which we really believe in.

It’s human nature to skip over the details. But that’s where IWT comes in…

To be in control, you don’t have to be in control of everything.

As I become more and more in control of my life, this is a principle I’ve discovered.

For example, I don’t cook. (My mom’s response: “You need a wife.” She seriously said that.)

But eating healthy food is important to me, so I have a guy who cooks food for me. Yes, I could read a few good books and learn to cook, but it’s not a priority for me right now.

Another example:

If it means the difference between getting something important done and not doing it, I’ll almost always default to “getting it done” (even if I don’t do it myself).

BUT, there’s an exception.

It’s one thing to pay for someone to clean your apartment, or mow your lawn, or even cook for you.

But for the critical things in life that only you can do — like finding your dream job — it pays to be in control.

One $5,000 raise in your 20s can be worth over $1 million over the course of your life.

And it’s the difference between waking up every day and wanting to hit the “sleep” button on the alarm for the 5th time…or waking up EAGER to get to work.

My philosophy: Take control of the BIG WINS in your life: Money, career, health, relationships. For the rest, decide how important they are to you.

You don’t have to be in control of everything to be in control of your life.

This Year: We Take Control

In the spirit of BIG WINS, we’ll be tackling big improvements like improving social skills, finding dream jobs, and becoming more productive.

Notice I’m not talking about worthless small savings, like saving $3/day on lattes. I’m tired of dreaming small. And I know you’re tired of setting pointless “New Year’s resolutions” of vague things (“I want to become a nicer person!” “I want to exercise”), knowing that you’re not going to do them even as you set them!

No more.

Let others focus on pointless tactical maneuvers and small wins. We’re focused on BIG WINS — the ones that are going to change our lives.

And over the next 4 weeks, we’re going to cover them in detail.

We’ll go through 3 steps:

1. Understanding psychology
Some people think I’m mean to my readers. What they don’t understand is after writing about psychology for 8 years, I’m lucky to be sane.

People constantly want to jump to the tactics without understanding their psychological barriers. These are the people who join my Earn1K program (to earn money on the side) and immediately ask, “Do I get on Twitter? How do I get more clients? What about a Facebook page?” I kick them out. Without tackling your psychological barriers, no amount of tactics will help. That’s why we spend so much time going over psychology and behavioral change on this site.

Here, I’ll show you.

Here’s an example of terrible psychological barriers in action. In response to a depressing article about unemployment, one commenter responds:

“If nothing else, these stories have convinced me to save save save save my money like my life depends on it. I’m in my late 20s and already trying to figure out what I will do when I become unemployable in 20 years and have to live the next 30 off of what I managed to scrape together during my short career.”

This person is in their late 20s and planning for failure! Talk about a lack of control. Would your most successful friend ever talk like this?

2. Systematic breakdown vs. random (pointless) tactics
It can get kind of depressing watching all our friends on Facebook humblebragging about their amazing vacations and posting pictures of their new cars and awesome gifts.

How do you think it makes most of us feel?

The truth is, these people don’t have some magical quality that you and I lack. They are not “naturals.” From knowing a lot of successful people — people who run their own businesses, travel whenever they want, even earn 6- and 7-figure incomes — what they DO have is a systematic way of breaking down problems.

PROBLEM: “What should I do with my life?”

AVERAGE PERSON: “I don’t know…I need to find my passion…I should try a bunch of stuff….I’m reading a lot of blogs….I’m overwhelmed…help! I don’t know what to do! Ahh…I didn’t go to Stanford so there’s no way I can do what  _____ did….The world is unfair….It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know….Ugh, it’s not like I’m unhappy…really….I’ll do it some day.”

TOP PERFORMER: “All right, I don’t know what I want to do, but I do know a few things I like…so I’m going to find out. How? I’m going to take 5 people out to coffee this month and ask them…Why would they spend time on me? I don’t know yet, but I’m going to try….Oh, in order to get 5 people to say yes, I probably have to email 20 people…What should I email them? Let me google “How to meet busy people”…Hmm, this is an interesting article with the exact networking scripts to use…the first meeting was a little awkward…let me try a different approach on the next one.”

Average performers do what the media says, sending out resume after resume, wondering why nobody responds to them. They latch onto tactics, begging people to tell them what book they read…or what size margins to use on their resumes.

Top performers know there’s a game being played around them, and if they do what everyone else does, they’ve already lost. They deconstruct the game, analyze it, then systematically study how to get what they want, ethically and rapidly. This works for finding a dream job, earning more, traveling more, improving relationships, even working out.

I’ll show you how you can use this approach to take control in your own life.

3. Picking the right things to work on
I remember being in a meeting with about 10 people at my last company, and someone brought up an innocent question: What color should the website be? Within minutes, 10 people were arguing, defending their perspective, and treating the color like it was a world-changing event.

What I learned from this meeting was smart people will attack ANY problem like rabid dogs. The difference between SMART people and EFFECTIVE people is knowing what to tackle.

“I can save $0.50 on saran wrap!” Great, you’re a moron.

This is the perspective of so many people. They are EFFICIENT — tackling whatever’s put in front of them — but not EFFECTIVE in knowing what they should work on in the first place.

We’re cognitive misers. We have limited cognition and willpower. How much of an impact would just ONE big win have on your life — like getting into shape or landing a job you love?

There’s a cost to not being in control

For every day we go by without taking control, what happens?

On that day, nothing.

Over a lifetime, maybe everything.

Just like eating one piece of cake doesn’t affect us in the long term — but eating it every day will make us fat — not taking control holds an invisible grip over us.

Not taking control of productivity means doing less every day than others every single day. It means not flossing or exercising or pursuing that hobby we keep talking about — or trying, half-assed, then giving up.

Not taking control of health means less energy every day and more physical pain, not to mention the intangibles like poorly fitting clothes, less people attracted to you, and lower self-confidence.

Not taking control of relationships/social skills means the phone doesn’t ring on Friday night with people inviting you out. It means settling for who talks to YOU instead of the kind of partner you want. And it means letting your friends and family dictate your decisions instead of being able to confidently say, no, this is what I’m doing.

Finally, not taking control of your career means hating the alarm clock EVERY MORNING. It means being stuck doing something you don’t love — or worse, hate — being underpaid, losing thousands of dollars a year (compounded over a lifetime). Worst of all, it means not living up to your potential.

There’s a real cost to not taking control. And just like investing, the cost actually compounds as we get older.

But if you DO take control, the results ALSO compound.

One $5,000 raise in your 20s, when properly invested, is worth over $1m over a lifetime. Just one raise.

Same for health, productivity…you see what I mean.

So getting us to that first step of taking control is my HIGHEST priority for this year. I’m going to use every tool and technique and example at my disposal to help you get there. Because I know once you do — once you make that first step and instead of waiting for permission, you TAKE control — everything can change.

We’re going to unshackle ourselves from our barriers. We’ll recognize and conquer our invisible scripts. And we’ll take the things we ALREADY want to do, but haven’t….and get more done in the next 4 weeks than we did all of last year.

Along the way, I’m going to show you examples of students I haven’t shared before. (In fact, last year, I didn’t even tell you about literally thousands of students who had success with IWT programs. I have their stories, videos, and even tactical field reports to share with you.)

I’m also opening up a new version of my Dream Job course, Dream Job 2.0, which will help you discover what your dream job is, use natural networking to find people who will help you get it, master your resume and the job interview, and negotiate your salary. The new material is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

What’s coming your way…

WEEK 1 (next week): Taking control of PRODUCTIVITY and HABITS

The last week will be private only for my email subscribers. To get on the list, and join 160,000+ other people, click here for instant signup.

So, questions for you:

  1. Is this interesting to you?
  2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
  3. What surprised you about today’s post?

Leave a comment below!

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  1. avatar
    Lewis Saka

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    – yes, I began to notice areas in my life where I’ve not taken control e.g. health, I eat a lot of the wrong things and don’t exercise

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    – productivity in relation to my blogs. I tend to take time off and let the blog writing lapse. I’d like to get into a routine of updating and maitning the blogs for at least 2hrs a day 5 days a week

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    – “Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive”


  2. avatar

    One point about the person in their 20s and planning for failure. I’m also in my 20s and have the same view that come sometime in my 50s, I won’t be able to do that job I do now. Not sure if it is a case of can’t do it, or don’t want to do it yet, but either way I won’t be able to do it.
    I too am saving for the same point, however I view it as a life choice. At the current rate by the time I hit 58 I’ll be able to stop working *without* impacting my lifestyle financially. (I say financially as I enjoy my job and right now I’d still come into work tomorrow even if I won the lotto a few times over) Ideally I’ll get this date down a bit, and the choice will be my choice of when to stop working.

    So a goal more than planning for failure, and that is the difference.

    And before you rip into me, I already have another source of income outside of my main job and am currently starting another venture in an area completely unrelated to my main skill-set. Your material is too infectious sometimes and right now there are too many opportunities and not enough time 🙁

  3. avatar
    Patrick Brophy

    1.Is this interesting to you?

    Definitely. While I’m doing well in many areas, I seem to do lots of reading and not enough doing, especially when it comes to exercise.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I’ve lost about 30kg over the past couple of years and I’ve got my healthy eating, avoiding sweets and junk squared away most of the time. But for some inexplicable reason, I’ll go completely nuts for about two weeks, out of nowhere, start stuff my face with sweets and keep going until it eventually peters out. I’m in control most of the time, what causes this slip?

  4. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Very interesting. Health, career and money are definitely areas I’m going to work on this year.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    Building habits. I have a lot of hobbies and plans but I find it difficult to start and do these things regularly. I’ll be doing them regularly but then just stop and I’m not sure why.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    Two things:
    That when you talk about how you’ve met a goal people are defensive. I noticed people don’t seem too interested in the answer unless it’s some “magic fix”- I didn’t realise people are defending their own choices.

    Secondly: “I just need to figure things out” I’m guilty of this but again, didn’t realise it’s something I/other people do to procrastinate or change the subject. I think it’s a way to tell people you’re being productive when you’re not.

  5. avatar

    I knew you’d come through! I have spent the last couple weeks focusing on setting up systems and figuring what I can automate/delegate/let go of to make my life more streamlined and less stressful. And of course I thought of you! I’m ready and so happy to have read this post–happy 2013!

  6. avatar
    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

    What I’ve always loved about Ramit is his ability to see and analyze “proxy conversations” and the minefield conversation above is pure textbook.

    A strikingly high percentage of people are walking bags of excuses, fear, resistance and defensiveness. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad people, or mean, or doing it to you on purpose. But if you want to live YOUR life to the best of your ability, you’ve got to see and sidestep these conversation and behavior scripts.

    Keep it going Ramit. All the best for a dominating 2013.

    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

  7. avatar
    Connie K

    With any luck I’ll get my 20-something children to follow you 🙂

  8. avatar

    Very interesting, thanks! The restatement of obvious points really helps me overcome my natural “dumb” reactions and better hear what is said. This year will be a healthy year so naturally I over-slept due to reading a book late last night and now don’t have time for a morning swim. Health, defined as lower body mass (235), lower blood pressure (130/80, non-medicated), better food intake (Paleo), less stress (Course correct career and work interactions), and better active relationships (Disengage negative mental scripts and expectations).

    Probably the most surprising thing was hearing that some of your readers are dumb and then asking them to comment. Doesn’t that set you up for more dumb comments and slow down the careful ones who share an innate dislike for embarrassment?

  9. avatar

    Hi Ramit!
    1. This is very interesting to me and I can’t wait to read and explore the new material you will present this year!
    2. I would like to actually get in shape and be consistent with my exercise and healthy eating. For years, I have been saying I want to do this, but I feel like my health follows the pendulum you spoke about above. I’ll be extremely healthy exercising every day and eating healthy and whole foods for a week and then the next week, I go to the other extreme sitting on the couch and eating junk food. I’d like to finally get CONTROL of this!
    3. What surprised me about today’s post was that I already started to recognize some of my deep set personal barriers.

  10. avatar
    Laura Brown

    1. Of course this is interesting to me! I wouldn’t have spent my time reading the full article if it wasn’t! 🙂

    2. I want to take control of my career. I’ve been floating from job to job for the past 8 years, and I want to find my dream job, even though I think I know what that is, and make what I’m worth. I’m grossly underpaid at my current job and I hate where I work and what I do.

    3. What surprised me most about today’s post was that I saw a lot of my own excuses there. I really have none – I’ve lost out on jobs because I was not an internal referral. If I network more, I will be. I have the skills and ambition – I just need to do it.

  11. avatar
    Ryo Vie

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    EXTREMELY interesting. Every year I start off with a bang, knowing it will be my year to change things and secure the BIG wins. Every year, I inch closer, but I still feel that I am not where I need to be.

    2. One specific thing — getting more money at my job. I’ve been due for a promotion for over a year, and keep being fed excuses as to why it hasn’t happened yet (not enough new business, my boss has to get promoted first, etc.) This year, heck, this month, that is going to change.

    3.What surprised you.
    I’ve been reading for years, Ramit. By now nothing about you comes as a surprise. But I did like that you used to look like a female model….

    Thanks for all you do, Ramit.

  12. avatar

    What’s most interesting to me about this article and about a lot of Ramit’s stuff in general is there seems to be a thin line (for a lot of people, myself included) between holding oneself responsible for our failures in a healthy and productive way and devolving into these invisible scripts. That’s something I’ve been trying to conquer/analyze in myself for the last while. It’s definitely hard work to be so constantly self-aware but I agree that it’s the foundation of success in just about everything else over time. I know I tend to fall into traps of “whining” partly because I have this attitude that prevents me from thinking in terms of TODAY. Every plan I make, I start from the assumption that I need to start it later because, well, today’s spoken for. I have to go to work. I have to go to the store. I have to do this other thing I said I’d do yesterday (and I’ll probably procrastinate on).

    Understand, I recognize these ARE invisible (or not-so-invisible) scripts I deploy on my own behalf. I recognize there’s no logical reason not to use TODAY as my launching pad, but there are emotional, mostly fear-based barriers there that have built up over a lifetime of second guessing and self-doubt. Ramit calls it like it is and I’m drawn to people who do that because that’s one of the qualities I want for myself. I appreciate the blog and everything else you put out there to help people like me get past the BS and get on with our lives the way WE want to live them. Rock on, brother.

  13. avatar

    1. Very interesting. I JUST had this conversation with my boss (at my Dream Job)

    2. I want to do better juggling multiple projects, organizing my overall effectiveness in getting information to my clients.

    3. I was surprised about this over all topic. I didn’t think anyone else felt this lack of control in their life.

  14. avatar

    1. This is very interesting to me. It’s painfully relevant — in different areas — not only to me but also to a close friend. I’m going to direct him here.

    2. I want to have more energy, which I think starts with eating better. I don’t need or want to lose weight, I just want to eat the right things. Once I start eating better, it’ll be easier to sleep better. And when I’m well-rested, I can start exercising in the mornings. I’m a morning person by nature and used to wake up and exercise, but I returned to college and fell into the typical bad habits of students — which are harder to pull off in your mid-twenties! Living alone makes it harder to eat well, as I find it difficult to eat fruits and vegetables before they go bad, but I’ve decided not to be discouraged by that.

    3. I was surprised by the “taking control of relationships” section.

  15. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? – Yes

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? – My time. I want to do everything. I have a second job because I want experience in that field, I say yes to everything and even though they may be positive things I think that having no downtime takes it’s toll eventually. So I either need to figure out how to go all out all the time or tone it down.

    What surprised you about today’s post? – Your tone. Obviously YOU’VE been working on your writing because I usually stop reading and skip to the end before I get halfway through. I made it 3/4 of the way through this time.

  16. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    Yes. I’m interested in making a maximum impact, and the strategy of controlling the most important / critical parts of your life and “outsourcing” or “de-prioritizing” everything else is something I’ve never thought of applying to my life, although it obviously parallels one method of running a business.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I want to take control of my social situation – specifically my ability to meet and engage new people. I’ve recently moved for a new job and am struggling to “get myself out there” and forge strong, positive relationships. I’m looking to create a support group of folks that push themselves, enjoy improvement, and live a rich life…folks that will help me become better.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    The reaction of your friend to your body recomposition. I’ve recently undergone a similar transformation from my former rail-thin self, and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to talk to people about my diet and exercise because of all the negativity enshrouded in their responses. It surprised me that I’m experiencing a similar hang-up with improving my social skills, and I’m determined to break through this mental barrier just like I did during my physical transformation.

  17. avatar

    1. This is extremely interesting to me!
    2. I would like to take control of my social skills. I have a lot of people I know, but would really like to do more with planning fun events and getting people together. I have recently developed a routine of getting to the gym regularly, so my next step is to take control of my fuckarounditis I have been prone to so far. I will be finding a great personal trainer within the next two weeks.
    3. I was surprised by the detail of the article. I kept agreeing with the content and thinking about how I could improve that aspect of my life and there was still more content that I hadn’t gotten to yet!

    Thanks Ramit! Your content has been excellent for me over the last year and I expect the same will be true through your year of Taking Control!

  18. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? Yes

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Communications systems and processes. I’m task oriented. I’ve found through experience that I do much better with networking when I connect with people by function of doing something. I’m going to create a communication plan that I can execute on, so that much of my keeping in touch contact feels more like a task and to have a strategy to acquire new and strategic contacts throughout the year.

    What surprised you about today’s post? How short your paragraphs are! Three substantive things though:
    1. When you mentioned that there are (fewer) people who have control in some elements of their life but not in others. That’s me, and it’s frustrating that I know I have it all together in my career, money, and marriage but I can’t seem to limit my sugar and coffee intake. Come on!
    2. I strongly identify with the pendulum example of feeling manic and then feeling lethargic. I tend much more to the former, but I want the positive elements of being manic without caffeine or otherwise being overly excitable.
    3. While it wasn’t explicit, your post helped surface this invisible script. One of the reasons that I take a haphazard approach to some elements of my life is that I have confused what control is. I often conceive of control as doing it myself, but you, for example, took control of your weight and body shape by paying someone to make you food. Being in control of yourself doesn’t mean doing it yourself. It could just as easily seeking out experts for guidance or having someone take care of something for you.

  19. avatar

    Absolutely !Human psychology is very interesting to me. I, as a Physical therapist use it to enhance my treatment outcomes with my clients all the time. So, I love that this post is about looking within. The more authentic I am – the more I can change , the more I can achieve . Thank you for asking the tough questions – as always and being the mirror most of us avoid.

    One specific thing would be to take control of my health . I took care of my money last year – I am completely debt free today – thanks to IWTTBR.
    I actually am one of those” thyroid” sufferers LoL … however surprisingly, that hasn’t been my excuse, I have taken control medically by finding a wonderful physician . NOW its time to take control – mentally – breaking my own poor unproductive habits , surfing the black hole of FB when I could utilize that time to workout … you get the idea. !!

    What is surprising – Nothing ! You always come through, you are authentic and keep it real – you want nothing but the same from us .

    So , thank you Ramit.

  20. avatar

    1. Interesting, of course, and it hits me like a ton of bricks.

    2. I want to take control of my finances. (I felt like I needed to write it here to be final… lol.) It’s where it all starts and ends. I wake up in the morning and immediately want to go back to sleep.
    “I have no energy, I think… I need to eat better…
    “But I’m a picky eater, I don’t have time to cook…”
    “I’m to busy with work and life too cook…”
    “But I have to be busy… I need the money so I can finally be in control of my finances”

    It’s a spiral… that winds back the other way as the day goes on. Way to use all of Ramit’s control goals as excuses for each other, Dee!!

    3. Reading about defensive behaviors really surprised me, mainly because it was so spot on with the excuses I make, and the excuses others make to me.

  21. avatar


    Great post!

    Is this interesting to you? YES, I want to take control and get a better paying job this year.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I will get a new job this year. I’ve been hating my current job for a while now. I would like to use my degree and get into a career I actually find interesting. I’m used your advise and reached out to guy from a forum I frequent. He’s owned his own PI business for years and has been giving me advise on getting started in the Private Investigation field.
    What surprised you about today’s post? We never found out what happened with the coats. Did you ever give them away or what?!?

  22. avatar

    What surprised me? – How long and thought through it was. While most of us try to recover from New Years and are already breaking our resolutions (One last cigarette!), you are starting 2013. with a well laid-out strategy.

    I was also surprised with how similar the mentioned goals were to my own but then it dawned on me – these are everyone’s goals! (Hell yeah, I’m interested!)

    One specific goal: I want to pass a certification exam in 30 days. My goal is to create a habit of studying every day for half an hour. I want to use the techniques mentioned on Cal Newport’s blog in this post:

  23. avatar
    Stacey Morris

    Is this interesting to you? Yes.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? I need to stop F**cing around and really focus on making my income goal for my copywriting bizness,
    What surprised you about today’s post? a) how good you are at holding people accountable and how some people don’t appreciate it; b) that you think some people just don’t know what to do – that’s bs, everyone knows what to do or could easily find out. It’s DOING IT.

  24. avatar

    This is interesting to me because I am generally pretty self aware with regard to my bad habits but that doesnt mean I have figured out how to break out of them consistently.

    I have two young kids and I work full time so I have TONS of excuses for why I never find time to work out but the truth is I dont make it a priority and I dont execute. It must be that I dont value it enough but its a vicious cycle of realizing this is one thing I have total control over and makes me miserable on a weekly basis and yet I dont change it. I even think about the small step approach or when Penelope Trunk would talk about just forcing herself to drive to the gym even if she would sit in the car because the habit forming element would help to push her to execute.

    Anyway I am determined to make this work in the new year so my life is healthier and happier and I think the things youre saying are going to help pave that path.

  25. avatar
    Scott Cejka

    Always interesting articles, always a new perspective on old ideas which is what I love. One thing I’d like to change is procrastinating on ideas, even if for one minute. Taking the time to either jot them down, or kicking off an entire project. But not just letting them go or saying I’ll remember them later. For many of those things, there is no later. Even that smallest bit of procrastination can mean the difference between a million dollar idea, a new and exciting relationship, or just one big smile each day.

    I think one thing that came up and surprised me a bit is how I think about “taking control” of your life as opposed to thinking it’s already in control and leaving it at that…Being in control of your life doesn’t mean it’s on auto-pilot, it’s always a work in progress, always changing and you have to adapt your strategies to those changes and it takes constant vigilance, or a system of check-ups. Maybe not surprising, but I tend to think of when my life is going well, I’m cruising and it’s these times I need to remember to use that time wisely. Maybe there’s something else I can improve on while I have the seemingly extra time/money/willpower.


  26. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Absolutely. I’m interested in personal development and have used many of techniques I’ve learned to greatly improve my life. (Notice: techniques, not tactics)

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I’d like to take control of photography. Before my divorce, I used to have a small photography business but had trouble making time for it due to a miserable job and home life. Now my job situation has improved dramatically, and my ex is gone for good. I’d like to focus on making the time to be creative, rebuilding my portfolio with current work, and developing a workflow that works for myself and my clients.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    Having been a long time reader of Ramit, I cannot pinpoint anything that surprised me. Sorry, man. I really thought about this one and I got nothin’.

  27. avatar

    1. Yes, this is interesting
    2. One specific thing I want to take control of is my body’s health. I went from never working out a month ago to 3xs per week. I still need to get to running and eating better so I can do the 5ks without drastically modifying (adding whole regimen to a nonexistent “plan”) my life. There are a ton of benefits but the top for me right now are more successful 5k participation, possibly returning to dance study, sharing more of life with my young son (#1).
    3. What surprised me most about this post was the social skills topic. While I’ve been applying some networking tests to my career (with noticeably good results) I have not applied anything to personal relationships. I have been thinking I need to change something in that realm and this post gave me some great direction. Several light bulbs went on and I’m excited about the next steps I’ll be taking.

  28. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    My health, specifically by getting into the habit of exercising and making better food choices. I’ve joined a gym and committed to taking one class and one session with my personal trainer per week. I need to ramp it up and make it stick. Improving my cooking skills is next on the menu. Can you help with motivation after taking that first step to change your weight/health/job/life?
    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    Ramit, I know you’re passionate, but today you really tempered the passion with reason. I really like that you’re not afraid to call some of the comments you get dumb, you don’t pander to us and aren’t dying for us to like you.

  29. avatar

    1. Yes. You’ve already alluded to a lot of this taking control mindset over the years, and that’s always what has drawn me to IWTY.

    2. Taking care of my health, similar to your own weight gain goals, which leads me to #3 and a question.

    3. Why/how did removing dairy help you in the weight goals? I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a problem with dairy, despite medical tests saying I should have no issue. How did it affect you?

  30. avatar

    I’m trying to take more control of my productivity and I realized, for me personally, that often means needing more inspiration. When I do the same thing day after day, I tend to get in a rut in my comfort zone. My comfort zone is pretty broad though – I freelance, have a baby, travel a ton – but it’s still a zone. So I’m taking a few continuing adult education classes. I’m specifically choosing creative things that can 1) help inspire 2) boost my skills and potentially boost my roster of freelance services

    I’m also adding 5 servings of fruits and veggies to my diet and focusing on what I should be eating and not so much on what I shouldn’t. When I focus on the latter I never think about a healthy diet, just a restrictive one.

    By the way, you could have filed a claim on your credit card to get your money back on those items you couldn’t return. Starwood Amex, and many credit cards, allow 90 days to get a refund from merchants who don’t allow returns for whatever reason. I’ve filed claims a few times on items I wore, washed and realized didn’t work.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    What surprised you about today’s post?

  31. avatar
    Tom P

    1. This is very interesting, I have known for a long time now that I have to improve on a great many things, and this is the kind of thing that I can get into.

    2. I need to become more social, I find that time and time again I am put into social situations and I am not able to speak, I am afraid that when I do talk I will mess up and look like a fool. I have a lot to say but when I try to speak sometimes things come out all garbled like there are lines crossed, so I would rather just sit there and not say anything. This may be easy for someone normal, but being 6’6” 280lbs, I am literally the elephant in the room.

  32. avatar

    Outstanding post. I saw myself in the “average performer” – using every excuse in the book.

  33. avatar

    1. Yes, this is interesting!

    2. I want to take control of my career, whether it’s climbing my current company’s ladder, moving upwards to a different firm, or changing careers altogether. Or maybe I’ll end up doing all three this year. Regardless, I want to actually make some change in my life as opposed to just complaining about how much I dislike my job for X, Y, and Z reasons.

    I actually started this mindset in December when I was venting to a former colleague about how my numerous requests for additional training and responsibilities were falling on deaf ears by my direct supervisor and head boss. My former colleague suggested I instead contact the head of career training in our company and find out how to get in the classes. I emailed the lady, immediately received info about who to contact (luckily it was someone I had already met and knew), and found the exact info I needed (and no, I was not already on the list for the next company-sponsored training). I then emailed my supervisor and department head letting them know when the next training was being held and whether they would approve my attendance and they both immediately gave their blessings. It was almost too easy. Months and months of complaining were resolved in less than 24 hours. I always thought I had to go through the proper channels (talk to my supervisor, mention I would like additional training, wait for him to find info, wait to get approval, etc) when really I needed to take control in order to get what I wanted.

    3. I’m surprised with how closely it aligns with my current goals. I am my most difficult barrier and biggest critic. I need to get past the invisible scripts and take control in order to see any results.

  34. avatar

    What surprised me about your 2013 call for control post was how overdue it was. Thinking about Gary V and his hustle or Tim Ferriss and his drastic shortcuts made me realize there is no groundwork. The simple idea to take control is lost, preventing most people from following through on the larger goals. Looking back, this topic for 2013 should have come before any of the others. Let me relate a little story about me below.

    I would like to take control of my relationships with strangers. I have a dream job, I went from 32k to now 115k in the past 5 years. Moved into a great apartment, zero debt, opened an IRA, and even have over a month of travel time each year. In fact, I’m traveling now. So what’s the problem? I don’t take control and interact with people around me. I attend great lunches, meet people from startups around the world, and even identify potential clients and business relationships but do nothing but nod and smile. I end up with a stack of business cards and intro emails from all of them, but never write. I know I’m losing out on this but not sure how to start tackling such a simple thing.

    Hope you are able to address this in the coming year.

  35. avatar

    1. Yes – quite interesting.

    2. Taking control of my sleep schedule. I work from home, don’t set an alarm and often end up working really late at night which wrecks any normal sleep schedule and is starting to take its toll on my health.

    3. Using the “I need to figure it out” excuse as a reason to why I haven’t accomplished my goals, or at least started on them. Really guilty at this in several areas of my life.

  36. avatar

    This is fascinating, exciting and right on time for me!

    Take control of work-life balance: I just relocated because of my job (same employer but will switch work between home office and head office). The work will be straightforward, but I’m in a new town where I do not know many people. I want to rebuild a social circle and meet someone, but with so many new things in my life, it would be easy for me to retreat and stay at home. Also, now that I’m not a satellite employee, I want to become a more integral member of the team. I need to shatter their invisible scripts.

    What surprised me was the video about the DJSE participants. From the private sessions, it really looked like they had “their shit together”. In fact, they had the same types of internal dialogue or out-of-control situations I am experiencing. I will review the DJ private sessions with a totally different outlook now. Their struggles really inspired me to keep up with what I have learned. The video made me rethink an invisible script about top performers. We are not necessarily “top performing” in every aspect of our lives. We can get stuck too.

    And holy shit Ramit, bravo for bulking up! I almost did not recognize you there.

  37. avatar
    Lauren C.

    1.Is this interesting to you? – Yes, very!
    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? My career. I am one of those people who is decent at A LOT and a master of nothing, so I’ve always drifted in my career. That needs to end now. I’m tired of saying I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years career wise simply because I’m not passionate enough about anything to stay with it forever. (yes I do see the psychological barrier in that statement.) I do not have a calling. And that is ok. I don’t need a calling to have a stellar career. I just have to make a choice. I just don’t know what I’m choosing between.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post? That I’ve been thinking about this very thing for a few months now and I didn’t know how to proceed. Today, I found out where I’ll learn that.

  38. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    Definitely. Taking control of all areas of my life–not just my money–would benefit me in many ways. Understanding the psychology behind why I don’t have control of these areas would be extremely helpful.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? I want to improve the relationship between my husband (mildly autistic) and myself (highly emotional) at home. We work very well together, but our family life can get very rocky.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    – It surprised me that people often don’t applaud the improvements of one another, instead becoming defensive.

  39. avatar

    This has been a serendipitous read as it is my first time reading your blog (found through link from Tim Ferriss’ blog) Completing 3 tasks this January is my new year’s resolution: track all expenditures and income, complete body transformation, and launch my first direct response product by February 1st. I know I will complete these things since I’ve completed the first two in 2012 and I’m confident I can recreate these habits. Still, I’ve spent the last 2 months in holiday-mode, which makes me feel like a total slacker, eg. much less productivity, terrible eating habits and weight gain, not tracking my money…) These good habits can get derailed by a lazy mind, and we need something like a new year’s resolution to get things back on track. I wish you and your readers health, wealth and happiness in 2013. Looking forward to checking out more of your blog. Cheers!

  40. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    Want to wake up on time. I’m more productive at night so I don’t beat myself up too much about this. But when I wake up late, I feel like I’m always playing catch-up with my appointments and all that I have to do. I don’t start the day feeling like I’m in control of my time – instead I feel controlled by time.
    What surprised you about today’s post?
    That I’ve gotten pretty good at catching most of my invisible barriers!

  41. avatar
    Kelii Moreau

    Always interesting.

    This month I am focused on improving my health, starting with a Physical Therapy appointment I have in half an hour. Instead of trying random excursuses, I researched modalities and chose my specific practitioner.

    The surprise in the post was realizing that my lack of conviction about exercising just once a week has lead me to a place of minor arthritis in my back. I have become that lame guy in that I thought was always so far away.

    Taking back control starts right now.

  42. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes, yes, yes. This is an overarching theme of my life which I keep chipping away at little by little.

    2. Bringing in new clients in area I’m interested in working with and designing for. Over the years I’ve taken on whatever client work comes my way but haven’t been happy with the fields I’m designing for. I have found my focus on the design industry I want to go after and work within, but I am having a struggle making that happen. The balance of needing to keep money coming in my doing whatever work presents itself + not having a clear path on how to do that (even though I’ve worked on creating what this path would look like) + the ability to stick with and implement my path or go in that direction.

    3. I was surprised by how dead on accurate it was – I am an average person. And that has been what I”ve realized to my disappointment over the last year. I’m just average and I want to be more.

  43. avatar

    1. Absolutely interesting to me. It’s the difference between being a dreamer and a doer.

    2. I want to take control of my career. I have been making moves, forming connections and tackling projects based on inertia and what’s in front of me. It’s time to plan the moves, seek the connections and pursue the projects that I am passionate about.

    3. Surprised by how much I recognized myself in the defensive responses. Someone tells me they lost weight by cutting to x number of calories/day. “Oh, I did that, but it stopped working for me.” Sheesh.

  44. avatar

    Yes, I found your blog entry interesting (though way long)…

    I do want to launch into more productivity and I appreciate what you way about our mind (ego) interfering with what our (authentic) self is wanting deeply. Otherwise, my #1 productivity challenge is not losing interest in my projects and following all the way through to completion.

    What’s your thinking about our thoughts being “attractive”? eg thinking thoughts of scarcity and poverty will keep us from receiving abundance –

    Lastly, I was surprised by the photo of the younger and thinner you.

    Here’s the best year ever for all of us!

  45. avatar

    1) Yes, I often feel I would like more control over my life
    2) I would like to improve my procrastination habits when it comes to schoolwork. Over the last few months, I’ve been putting off long term projects until Christmas break. Long story short, this made for a very busy and frustrating Christmas Break, and I am still behind. I want to be able to sleep 8 hours a night, and still feel ahead of the game.
    3) I expected the post to be all about money – taking control of debt and investments. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it focused on taking control of all major aspects of life (productivity, health, relationships)

  46. avatar

    SO TRUE. I have learned a lot over the last year. And one of the things I have learned is to never talk about my successes, or any experiment currently in progress. People apparently love nothing better than to crap all over your good news, tell you why you’re doing it wrong, and explain all the reasons why your experiments will fail and are dumb. Which of course leaves me feeling like crap. Which I guess is maybe the point? I don’t know.

    I haven’t told anyone this, but 2012 was one of my best years ever. I expected the year I turned 40 to be a bummer, but it was not.

    In 2011 I earned about $12,000, went on food stamps, and had been working from home as a freelance writer and consultant for about three years. Not exactly living the dream.

    I worked harder in 2012 than I ever have in my life.I doubled the amount of work I was doing for Client A, quintupled the amount of work I was doing for Client B (who pays 4x more per hour than Client A), and started about a dozen side projects. Most of those side projects failed, but 2 are showing a lot of promise. My goal for 2013 is to pull back on starting new projects and devote that time to expanding the 2 successes.

    As a result I was able to get off food stamps and more than doubled my income to just over 30,000. I aggressively paid down my outstanding debt, and was able to pay off about 3/4ths of what I owed. I’m on track to pay off the rest by the end of 2013.

    And just as a personal milestone, my credit rating finally improved to the point where I was able to get a real credit card (i.e. not a pre-secured card for Bad Kids) for the first time in 20 years. Which I then proceeded to use responsibly, keeping the balance due to less than half of the available credit. (!!!)

    Obviously I’m the one who did all this, so I get the credit. (Ha!) But your emails and blog posts provided the inspiration, the information, and the kick in the ass I needed to constantly push a little farther, work a little harder, and do anything to stay out of that “whatever, who cares” trap.

    So thank you, and I hope your 2013 is awesome too! I can’t wait.

  47. avatar

    Very interesting because I’ve told myself that instead of making resolutions that I have history of not keeping, think of one thing I could do to make the biggest impact on my life. That would be taking control. Taking control of my health, finances, career & relationships.

    I specifically would like to take control of my life by saying no & really meaning it. That’s not just to my friends & family but to myself when I’m on my crazy Target binges, when I’m eating bad food, when I’m spending before saving, when I’m doing a job that I don’t want to do. I want to be in control & plan a better future for myself.

    One thing that surprised me today is that I am the person referenced in the article. I have all the right intentions but my years of invisible scripts & barriers get in the way. I know what to do, I’ve lost 30lbs by working out & eating clean but I gained it all back. I’ve had career success but I get bored & don’t look for other opportunities because I’m content with the pay. A even better example, I subscribed to this blog almost 2 years ago & have never once looked beyond the email’s subject line. I have absolutely got to get out of my comfort zone & take control. I know EXACTLY what to do but get so caught up in the “what ifs” that I don’t do anything.

    This point stuck out to me: Sometimes, it takes someone to point out the patterns that we’ve been doing for our entire lives…but we’ve never noticed.

    This article pointed out those patterns for me & I’m am looking forward to following along with you to learn how I can take control. Enough is enough & I will not waste another year with the shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

  48. avatar
    Cody Wheeler

    Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. Absolutely. I’ve always had a fascination with human behavior and really love how well you understand it and convey it to us. Its one of the primary reasons I read your shit so much. My favorite part of the negotation course was the psychological lead up. It allowed the end game to become more real. I firmly believe if people would take the time to better understand their own thoughts we would have a lot more success as a society.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I’ll be focusing on implementing specific systems this year to change my behavior. One of the ways I got myself to read more was by making sure I had everything I needed within arms reach of my bed (book, notepad, highlighter). Sounds simple but it helped me eliminate lame excuses like “well I don’t have a highlighter. I probably shouldn’t read.” WTF, right?

    Currently I’m working on a system to improve my health that involves making it easy for myself to go to the gym, builds in accountability through community and financial commitment, and focuses on easy to prepare healthy meals.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    In a nearly 4000 word post, you didn’t use the word “pundit” once!

    Keep inspiring Ramit. It’s great to have you on my side.

  49. avatar

    well,I should definitely look into this for several reasons…
    Is this interesting to you?yes,because it actually shows better ways of getting to answers,as opposed to strictly staying within what can predictably occur next.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Even if I did well financially,I have several leeches around me that have already taken steps to get what they can at my expense.I also know some that many look up to,but to really follow their ideas on what I “should”do,I would have to give up a lot of control for haphazard results,and totally be submissive in several ways.Cheer on what they feel confidant about being cheered on about,and neglect all they may not know or do entirely well,otherwise face being humiliated and attacked with many agreeing with and supporting the other side.Nope!there has to be other ways,even if not easily noticeable.Am not looking for other rules to follow well,just looking for a bit of direction that can be customized and have results that cannot be predicted.
    What surprised you about today’s post?Shows signs that if nothing else,notes have been taken and studied on.Doesn’t quite show the disconnect between those that do well and those that don’t that don’t that have become quite judgmentally common.

  50. avatar
    David W

    1. Yes
    2. Career. Finding the field where I want to make my mark and starting a business
    3. I loved the approach you outlined – don’t find that much advice that’s focused on action

  51. avatar

    How much dairy were you eating beforehand? I eat minimal dairy (as in…maybe 2 tablespoons of cream cheese each week) like your example friend, so I’ve only briefly considered that cutting it out entirely would make a difference. Do you think going from minimal to none can have a large impact on weight/health?

  52. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    YES. I didn’t even bother with resolutions this year because so many were busts from last year.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    My health. I tried hard last year to lose weight, including a couple of different dietary approaches, but none seem to work for long. Paleo/low carb, Spark People, etc. Tried to get a trainer but my gym never returned calls and wouldn’t discuss by email, and I just didn’t follow up. I feel that if I can drop just a couple of sizes and maintain it without hours in a gym, that confidence would spill into other areas.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    “One day you wake up and wonder…” – I have been doing that lately, as my college-student child is close to leaving and the exuse of parental responsibility no longer applies to my focus…

  53. avatar

    I’ve been reading the habit book you recommended. As I negotiated an extremely lucrative job after 3 years of contracting with a company directly with the senior VP, then 3 months later the company was bought out and everyone laid off so I went back to what I did previously, running my business and consulting. But now realizing the “job” put the control in someone else’s hands, so now working to improve my effectiveness at both my hourly/billable work and my ability to build long term products and services to generate revenue without working every hour for it. Personally adding in the fitness habit effectively is on the list as well of course. But first is finding a strategy to progress through the development of my products quickly and effectively without feeling like an extreme chore or losing interest and focus.

  54. avatar

    1. very interested to learn how to get rid of the invisible barriers that hold me back!
    2. I want to learn how to waste less time on my moments off work when I could be working on my hobby and passion which is electronic music production.
    3. the story about the woman who wanted to learn how you developed your physique but became defensive when you shared your story. I guess I have been guilty of this many times…

  55. avatar

    1. YES.
    2. Improve my living environment. The house I live in is currently about 9/10 complete and has been in various stages of construction since I moved in six and a half years ago. It’s depressing to live in and it’s a situation wholly of my own making. It became clear just how much of a problem this was when I realized how much my mood improved every time I traveled for work and checked into a hotel room. Just sleeping and living, even temporarily, in a space that is complete, with no half finished floor or light bulbs hanging by the wires, makes me feel 10x better. I shouldn’t enjoy sleeping in a hotel room more than my own room. It’s time to actually finish this project and put it behind me.
    3. Your “supermodel” picture. I thought I was skinny!

  56. avatar

    Absolutely this is interesting. I have also arrived at the conclusion that – for the most part – personal behavior modification is where the action’s at. It’s a fraught arena, but you get immense payoff from every victory there.

    This year is the year of either making my consulting business work, or return to traditional employment. In order to know that I gave it my all, I need to get over the “sprint then snooze” rhythm I’ve been stuck in. At this point I can identify specific habits to tackle so that my at-home work engagement is higher, but I haven’t yet been able to sustain them beyond a week or two.
    (!$*&#^. and *&#% that.)

    No big surprises – I’ve come across all the weird human stuff you talk about here personally… and I’ve been watching/reading you for years, so your style no longer shocks.

    I’m always impressed with how much value you give away, dude. Really looking forward to this next round!

  57. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    – Yes. Very!

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    – I want to be in control of my career. Its very important to me, because then the finance, health and relationship areas of my life will get better. My issue is that my CV, (which catalogues past work) looks AMAZING! However I’m now about to start a freelance career for the first time, after being a mature grad student, MA in March 2012) then worked on the best job in the world last year. It was a dream job I never even dreamed of and which I probably wasn’t really qualified to do – but no one can take the fact that I did it away from me!

    Now, I have one very short contract in front of me and I have to work on obviously getting more and although outwardly I may look confident, internally I do get scared and this leads to procrastination. I want to learn the scripts that stop me, so that I can stop them.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    – That I actually know this stuff, I think its fear that stops me from getting the good life I deserve.

  58. avatar

    1. Absolutely, these topics are so important and have been themes of mine for a while.

    2. I want to take control of my money. There is a two-fold situation with this one. I am currently working on growing a side business of my own. I’ve taken on some debt in order to do this. In 2013, I want to eradicate my debt and grow my side business. I want to be able to enroll in the Earn $1K program.

    3. The editing of the videos. I love this new feel! Get it, Ramit.

  59. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you? Yes!
    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I want to make more money this year and pay off half of my debt. I started a new business and I don’t have good systems in place and my productivity is suffering.
    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    I have always resisted the idea of “taking control” — it seemed rigid and limiting to me. I see now how that was a limiting belief. Actually, taking control will provide me freedom and allow me to reach my goals.

  60. avatar

    Q: Is this interesting to you?
    A: Yes, but then your posts always are interesting to me.

    Q: What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    A: I want to take control of my health. I am in ok shape. I look good, but feel meh. I could easily be in fantastic shape without a lot of effort, so I don’t understand why I do nothing at all! I wanted to become certified in yoga, for example, and wanted to teach it as a hobby, as a side gig, and just so I could be better at it. But then I got scared, don’t ask me what of, I just thought I couldn’t do it or it wouldn’t be useful or somehow I’d be wasting my time so I stopped even though when I was focused on it, I felt better and more focused at work, I had far less back pain than I do now and I just felt better in general. But I stopped pursuing it. I don’t know what happened! I just quit on it.

    Q: What surprised you about today’s post?
    A: That you know some of your readers are stupid. It made me worry that I was one of your stupid readers…

  61. avatar

    1. Interesting : Yes your perspectives are funny, acute and on point. (Lose the personal haberdasher, waste of fucking money.)

    2. Take control of my inability to break away from posting to news threads on the internet which interest me. Getting thumbs up from random assholes should begin to feel like a thumb up my ass because I am truly wasting my time being glib, brilliant, pithy and occasionally witty. Need to divert this energy to investment strategies, long walks and more random acts of kindness.

    3. Surprising : That I received and read your post. It will be even more surprising if my daughter reads this too.

  62. avatar

    – I loved this post. Thank you so much, Ramit. This is exactly what my focus is for 2013; it’s pretty interesting to me that once I decided taking control of my life is my focus this year, that I got this in my email.
    – Within productivity, 0I want to be excellent at working efficiently in the right order. I sometimes find myself working on the wrong things that don’t get me where I want to go. They’re good things, just not the right things that will help me accomplish my goal.
    – It was as if you were in my head. So many of the examples you shared were things I’ve experienced recently. I love this psychology stuff. Where did you learn it all?

  63. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    Yup…this is one area where I’ve kind of played around with looking at my invisible scripts and such, but I’ve never really gone all in. This year I want to really put my self in control and put my own bs behind me.
    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why.
    My job used to be great and I really enjoyed it…but its changed and now it sucks. It’s time to step up and make a move, either to a new postition with my existing company or someplace new.
    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    I guess the direction you are headed. It’s EXACTLY what I was hoping at EXACTLY the right time! Looking forward to the next few weeks.

  64. avatar

    Interesting, yes.

    I need to take control of my daily activities. I am currently on the road, traveling every 4-6 days to another location, so it is very difficult to create routines. Depending to where I am staying (sometimes friends, sometimes couchsurfing, sometimes hotels) and how I am traveling (sometimes quickly by train, sometimes very relaxed by hitchhiking) I can’t plan that much either. So sometimes it’s just “easier” to forget about the things I still “should” do and drink another coffee, have another chat, or read another chapter…

    Surprising: How similar the comments are 😉 We are not so unique after all.

  65. avatar

    You hit the nail on the head about the difference between SMART people and EFFECTIVE people being knowing what to tackle.

    I started my 2013 goals LAST WEEK by setting blocks of time where I prioritize different things I need to accomplish. This still allows flexibility but keeps me focused on the big picture. Thanks for the reminder and a great post to start the new year.

  66. avatar
    Arm L

    Is this interesting to you?
    – Yes it is! In fact it really points to the things I really want to do this new year. I can have head start with this. I will read this again

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    – Last year I am so stressed with what’s happening with my life. Debts, bills, and work. Soon I became less productive because I don’t know what to do or what should I start first: Tasks on my job, bills that are overdue, less communication with my wife (we often have fights due to conflicting schedules). If there is ONE SPECIFIC THING I want to take control, that would be my decision-making. Of course productivity too, but to me being productive is how you decide to plan and work for it.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    – I think I’m one of the people that were trying to do EXTREME VERSION of getting that goal. I’m surprised because this is what I am doing and its exactly right. I tried to improve things to make it less complicated, but it turns out worse because of this thinking! This year I want to make a difference for my family and for myself. Thanks for the idea Ramit, perfect post!

  67. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    – Heck yeah.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    – Income.
    Over 2012 I’ve doubled my income vs. 2011. However, in 2013, I want to not just increase 2012’s income by 100%, but earn it on my own terms:
    1) 50% less time
    2) Location Independence

    This will free me up to pursue things that bring me happiness. Travel. Martial Arts. Learning to play a musical instrument. Working on my culinary skills and language learning.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    Handling reader’s objections/invisible scripts well before the end of the post.

  68. avatar
    Elisa C.


    1.) This topic is so interesting and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us in the next 4 weeks. Thanks to you I’ve been reading Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit and have realized that by letting my habit of running 4 times a week go because I just didn’t have enough time in my day, (I’ve been working 7 am-10pm since September), that’s why everything else has basically gone to hell. Losing control of this one keystone habit has derailed my productivity, motivation, essentially my whole life (or so it feels).

    2.) So, your post just helped reinforce to me that I’ve got to get this habit of health/fitness back in control. I’ll do that by setting a goal on Nike+ to get out there 3 times a week for the next month, AND thanks to your post today, I went ahead and sent out an email to all my friends inviting them to join me on the trail this Saturday morning for a walk/run. I’m hoping this group will turn into a regular thing. I’d thought about starting something like this for a while but let the invisible scripts in my head stop me from even trying…

    3.) Which brings me to the most surprising thing this morning, which was realizing that with all your talk about invisible scripts, I’ve never really sat down, identified mine, and faced them head on… so today’s post really spurred me on in that, literally making me think, “Why am I afraid to try and start this exercise group?” A: “Because no one will show up and it won’t work. Then I’ll be super disappointed in my friends.” Once I made myself say that out loud, I saw how minor and ridiculous that seemed. So, it may not work and I may have to confront the disappointment with my friends, but if it does work, then that’s one extra way to insure I can succeed in my health goals this year. (One of which is to participate in my first triathlon before I turn 40 in May.)

    Thanks for all you do to help us live richer lives!! Happy New Year!

  69. avatar

    1. Actively working to change my habits for productivity is a huge goal of mine this year, and reading your blogs on actually taking action is a nice kick in the pants to get moving when I don’t feel like it. You take a high level approach, and I love that.

    2. One specific aspect of productivity I want to reign in, is the amount of time I spend writing each week. I have a tendency to put it off by playing video games, suddenly requiring food, or slipping into a catatonic ‘power nap’ that lasts 3 hours. To tackle this, I have downloaded the app “RescueTime” and am forwarding the weekly report to my spouse every week to hold me responsible. We also sat down and wrote out 3 medium size goals we could accomplish in a week using the, “I know I should…but I don’t” criteria, and hold each other accountable for each goal.

    3. I’m always surprised by how normal most of our invisible scripts are, and how normal it is to fail to address them. Time to be abnormal and do something about it!

  70. avatar
    tochi brown

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Very much so. So much has been said by so many about how to interrupt negative scripts/inner critic/mind movies/internal stories, yet we don’t think it applies to ‘us’ (“My situation is unique!”). “Uniquitis” disease.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    (I can’t believe I’m writing this on a public blog. Aaaarrrrghhhh! LOL) Okay, one specific thing I want to to work on is finally taking full accountability for my negative scripts. For instance, one script that often kicks in for me whenever I’m cornered in a difficult situation is “This one is different.” No, it isn’t. Someone, somewhere has faced the same thing and successfully gotten out of it. I need to rouse myself to find that person(s), learn what they did, then model it.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    Nothing, really. I expected no less from Ramit.

  71. avatar
    Ren Ying Lim

    Is this interesting to you?

    Dear Ramit, to use your word that keeps cropping up in your videos – this is fascinating. I wondered if you were psychic, because this came at the exact same moment in my life where my sense of control has become – literally – non-existent. Most of the things you said were freakishly applicable to my situation — and I believe to many others’ as well.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I know it is better to be extremely specific, but one GENERAL thing I would like to take control of is my overall attitude and approach towards life. I have many, MANY invisible scripts holding me back and I realised the times when I was NOT paying attention to them I was much happier and accomplished much more (pursued a skill – contemporary dance – quite seriously before getting daunted about it and then becoming very half-assed). Unfortunately I am rather neurotic and rather than revising positive scripts in my head I repeat the same old ones that hold me back. So I would definitely like to regain a sense of control that would enable me to develop my skills in these specific areas – career (currently thinking about applying to grad school, because I love what I am studying, and also – regretfully – because I am fearful about anything else), and above all my relationships with my loved ones – my family.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    It was not surprising so much as frightening, realising that every day that is spent giving in to despair and fear sinks one deeper into a bad place AND compounds the damage (irreversibly) over time. I’m 22 years old and really, life IS just beginning for me so I really want to not let my fear-driven habits continue. If it’s painful now… it’s going to be so much worse in the future.

  72. avatar

    I am well past my 20’s and thankfully have employed many of your techniques for debt reduction, automatic saving and such. Now, at 40, I find myself dreading my work day. I have a good job that pays well and is in a challenging industry but the work environment is toxic and I find myself cringing at the thought of returning to work after the holidays. The hardest part is I don’t know what else I would do with my career if not this. I have several “not so invisible scripts” that I play and I am committing to tackling them this year. I look forward to the next 4 weeks. Thanks for your frank communication. I am the type that needs blatant, direct, locker room pep talks.

  73. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yes, definitely.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? The strange thing with me is that when I really get angry with myself and my circumstances, then I take action to change it, and I’m usually successful. But when things are going good (or at least tolerable), I tend to coast. I also have an extremely hard time asking people for help with advice or anything else, so it would take a lot for me to email 20 people and actually set up meetings with five of them to get their help in order to find my dream job. I really want to take control (if possible) of my social life and networking. But even now I have doubts that getting others’ advice would help me.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post? How you took responsibility for your mistake with the coats and didn’t blame the store for it. Also, that people will react negatively to your self-improvement success. I used to naively think it was the opposite – that I would be more loved if only I made a certain change.

  74. avatar

    1) It is very interesting topic for me because I have been fighting with these issues all my adult life. Developing habits that make me more productive has been a lifelong challenge. Like how to get ready in the morning with least amount of hassle or how to organize my work during the day, so I don’t waste the best part of it surfing the internet. How to motivate myself to continuously improve my skills, professional and social. How to make sure that exercising 4 times a week doesn’t take a back seat to everything else that is going. Should I try and play another season of cricket with my poor past performance for the last 4 years. So the not so short answer is : Yah I do find it interesting and I do want to take control.

    2) I want to take control of 3 areas of my life
    – Career, I want to be in an Enterprise Architect position in the next 3 – 5 years.
    – Health, I want be fitter, more active and energetic, lose 5 kilos of fat and finally get a 6 pack.
    – Social, become better at social interaction at work and in personal life. (to be like, accepted and respected)

    3) As much as I like to think I am different and not held back by invisible scripts, I too suffer from the same problems. I haven’t made the move to the job I want because I need to get better at my trade. Get more experience. I need to figure it out.

  75. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    It’s hard to narrow it down to ONE specific thing that I want to take control of. I guess ‘it’ would have to be important enough to have a domino effect on the idea of controlling all areas of your life. For me being a perfectionist is a real shackle and often I won’t get projects completed because I talk myself out of it (I’m not good / young / skilled / social enough…. like so and so is.) So the one thing that I would like to get control of is COMPLETING the things that I set out to do. I always spend too much time planning how to get there and never even complete the planning stage. (Wow, that’s pretty bad huh?)

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    It surprised me that someone would be offended that you called your readers dumb. I think everybody is ignorant in some areas of their life. That’s why were here. To get better. I’ll admit to being dumb any day of the week if it helps me to find ways to stop being dumb in that area.

    Thanks Ramit.

  76. avatar

    I feel pretty in control with most areas of my life job, health, finances.

    What I am going to work on this year is making lifelong girlfriends in the city I now live in. I moved about 3 years ago from my hometown where I have a 10 really close girlfriends but have begun to feel the void of not having great girlfriend that I can go do things with in my new city.

    I work from home so no work friends and I’m single which means I have met and made a lot a of male friends but not female ones.

    My plan is to (a) join a yoga class and go 3 times a week. It will be mostly women and I think they’ll be in my age range.

    (b) I’m going to ask a female friends who I only know through online avenues to a real life lunch every week.

    wish me luck!

  77. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yes…I am an “Extreme Reach” goal setter so this post speaks to me.
    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? I want to control the de-motivating thoughts in my head. I have failed so many times to follow through on opportunities. When starting a new project, I will start to break things down and quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks and the de-motivation sets in. From that point on, it’s just a matter of thinking up the specific reasons to stop working on the current opportunity. I want to take control so that de-motivating thoughts cannot harm my progress.
    3. What surprised you about today’s post? That essentially, we can work too hard by taking the “extreme reach” approach.

  78. avatar

    -Yes, for sure.
    -This might sound strange, but SLEEP. I think at the moment lack of sleep is my biggest productivity killer. I’ve had a ton of freelance work lately (yay, in part thanks to your strategies), but I’m running ragged and have been staying up crazy hours of the night to keep up/get ahead. It’s turning into a cycle where my productivity is actually down during the day because I’m so tired, and then I stress about it and have a hard time sleeping at night. When I’m rested, I’m so much more alert and can accomplish my work faster and better (like, duh), but as a lifelong night owl (is that an invisible script?) I really struggle getting control of this.
    -The fact that you didn’t negotiate harder against the sales woman at the jacket shop. What?! Also, I was surprised by the concept of “extreme-reach” barriers. I totally do that when it comes to health goals and hadn’t thought of it in quite that way.

    Loved this post! That before and after pic of you in college vs. now is AMAZING.

  79. avatar


    1.Is this interesting to you?
    Yes. I have regained control over several areas in the last year (i.e. employment, finances) but have lost control in others (i.e. fitness, staying in touch with distant friends).

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    There are limited ‘free’ hours in the day, and I feel I’ve over-subscribed to financial, motivational and developmental newsletters and the like. I’d like to refine (control) my reading and developments, WITHOUT jeopardizing my health, recreation, etc

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    Your incredibly insightful comment:“Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive.” (and the fact that you give all this stuff away for free).


  80. avatar

    Ramit, I am definitely interested. One thing I need to do–and I’ve needed to do it for years, is to split up with my toxic husband. I’m scared since I haven’t been on my own in 20 years, but I have to do it if I’m going to be a healthy active person.

    I was surprised about the invisible scripts. Yes, people ask questions about your success to make excuses for themselves. I never saw that before.

  81. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? Yes. Enough to even make me respond.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I will be improving my health and productivity this year. Yes. I will. I’ve been waiting on your words of wisdoms for this year and I am motivated to put action into my dreams. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant this year and for a woman that’s looks like a model without trying… it is scary as shit. I don’t want to end up with love handle and ‘baby’ fat. So, I am being proactive and will be trying fit for my pregnancy.

    Secondly, my productivity because I love to work but lately it is usually those need to be there in person jobs and very far off my career path. In preparation for a child, I acknowledge that I won’t be able to do two of those jobs any more (as I currently do). And to be honest, I do not want to. I need and want the freedom to earn more and struggle less.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    That it prompted me to act. Great job Ramit.

  82. avatar

    1. Yes

    2. To take control of building and creating new relationships instead of waiting for a friend to invite me out to some place where there will be new people to meet with an easy way to be introduced. Also, I’d like to take control of my Daily Default Schedule so that I tend to automatically gravitate towards activities that work on my long term goals (smarter, funnier, have more friends). I have introduced semi regular workouts to my life, but have been unsuccessful in working on the other goals in a regular fashion.

    3. taking control of relationships instead of “letting them happen”

  83. avatar

    You’ve got an Insider’s Kit newsletter? Your newsletters are always valuable, Ramit.

  84. avatar

    Yes! Bring it! I am going to take control of my health. I already have a personal trainer and this year I am going to hire a nutritionist. I believe that this might be my keystone habit that will lead to success in other areas of my life such as career since my weight has been an issue I’ve grappled with since childhood. I am always surprised that you offer so much quality information for free, but what really caught my attention was the uncanny feeling that you had been sitting in on a private conversation between my closets allies and me. You really do check in on your blog followers and members of Brain Trust. My trust in you has increased significantly. Thanks. I’m looking forward to a spectacular year.

  85. avatar

    I am doing reasonably well in life. I run a film company that I secured significant investment in, and yet… Despite all manner of strategies when my Alarm clock goes in the morning, I ignore it to the point of self sabotage.

  86. avatar

    Happy New Year to all!

    Dear Ramit,

    I have been reading your emails for less than a year but they always surprise me
    positively! Communicating and trying to change our psychology is for me the number one thing that people should do in every area of our lives and our economy and I am glad you bring this on top so often. I do have some questiosn that I would like to talk with you thought since I really like your style and work but I do not think that altering our psychology in a permanent way is not an easy thing to do.

    Not being sure if I can contact you in private I will stop here. If this is the only place that I can reach you, I will continue my post after receiving an answer from you.

    Best regards.

  87. avatar

    A couple of things that stood out to me.

    “Yet when we see someone JUST LIKE US, doing it successfully, our barriers instantly surface to hold us back from changing?”

    A lot of times we think that successful people have found the magic key to success or that success comes easily to that person, but they are JUST LIKE US.

    I’ve gotten so angry at people when they ask me what I do to get fit so I tell them exactly what I do and they say “Oh you’re on the [insert fad diet that they hate] diet. Oh that’s dumb. You look great though.” I hate you. So I experimented and now change “diet” to “meal plan.” I get less of a negative response now and can hold a conversation without wanting to choke them.

    Health: I’m going to experiment with drinking two 1 Liter bottles of water before noon each day for one week. Even if I wake up at 11:59am. Suck it down.

    ‘“I can save $0.50 on saran wrap!” Great, you’re a moron.” I just love this statement.

  88. avatar


    One specific thing I want to take control of: my writing career. In the kind of writing I do, the model is totally focused on other people — yes, you do the writing and revising, but then you send it out for other people to publish or not publish, other people to distribute, other people to set the price points on and determine schedules for. I’m going to test various models of distributing content and generating income, be they serializations and subscriptions, pay-what-you-ant models, or virtual tip jars on free content. And I’m going to generate and test ideas on how to generate and retain readers for my fiction.

    One thing that surprised me: the way-confrontational tone of that “You made a MAJOR mistake” email. That seems like the kind of bluntness you can only get away with if you have an established relationship with someone or proof of your authority on the subject. Even if the point was correct, would it be an effective way to communicate that?

  89. avatar

    I really appreciate this post – both the content & the timing. I don’t know what you are selling – but i’m pretty sure i’ll buy because this speaks to me at a really deep level.

    The hardest part for me to come to terms with was that I was responsible for everything that wasn’t working out in my life.

    A few years ago I had a great life, a rich life even, all built on my own hard work & a climb-every-mountain attitude. Sure there were tons of areas of improvement – i mean who doesn’t want more money, love, fitness, friends etc right? But on the my whole life rocked. I was in control. Then came a bad couple of years, that i couldn’t cope with. I’d rather not go into the details, but lets just say that Coldplay’s Viva La Vida held a new meaning for me.

    Its taken me a more than a year of studying my own behavior & gradually making small but incremental changes to get back in control of my life. The real problem was my own attitude towards to my problems. Once i started chipping away at that – I started making some progress. For instance:

    – Before: Used to feel like i’m going to be misunderstood anyways so why bother going to social events. After: Forced myself to attend events & talk to at least 3 people. The first few events were really awkward – but i’m getting better at it.
    – Before: Felt stuck in my consulting business. I felt that the real value that I could bring my clients was completely untapped. After: Reworked everything. At the risk of not making much money, spent a considerable amount of time finding ideal clients, getting to know who they are as people & successfully converting a few into paying clients. Now I just bamboozle them with awesome service & sometimes they market me to their network.
    – Before: Completely shunned away from any attention from any guy. After: Read every book (almost) written for men as PUAs & men in relationships. Now I know exactly they’re up to & what is going on – I’m in control.
    – Before: Everything from being an endomorph, to genetics to being a woman was responsible for the baby fat i never lost. After: 10 mins of HIIT everyday.

    I’m really far from being the success I am capable of being. But I’ve slowly & successfully gone from a victim-state-of-mind to a victor-state-of-mind.

    Once again, this post speaks to me at a very deep level. I don’t know what you are selling, but i will buy it. And if i cant afford it, ill find a way to afford it.

  90. avatar

    I want to take control of my schedule and be able to prioritize the most important activities.

  91. avatar

    Spot on! I read this and you held a mirror up to my face. When I was single and dating one of my mantras ws, “the right guy won’t have excuses on why he can/can’t do something. If he wants to do something bad enough, he’ll do it with no excuses” Little did I know, or realize until this email, that the same goes for me. I don’t have to have it all in one lump sum, I just have to be willing to get off my ass and DO it and the rest will come.

  92. avatar

    I was so surprised by the costs of complacency!
    Totally appreciate how you’ve spelled it out so frankly – inspiring!
    Also a little shocked(motivated) by the white-knuckle vibe of the IWT readers in the first video.

  93. avatar

    1. Yes

    2. I want to take control of my earnings. I work two jobs, one is a salary/healthcare providing job 40/hrs a week. The other is my farm, which is what I want to do full-time in the next year or two. I asked for a raise at my salaried job, prompted partially by your previous posts on negotiating raises and earning more money. However, my negotiation did not go very well and I did not get the raise I felt I deserved. So, I’m open to re-negotiating with a job I like or finding a different job to support myself while I build-up the farm business (then that’s a whole other slew of increased-earnings potentials to work out).

    3. I was surprised about how many of the “hidden” scripts in your post I HAVE managed to get past. I want to conquer more this year!

  94. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. I generally am very happy and feel in control of my life, but there are always areas that could use fine tuning or improvement, plus always new projects to take on.

    I do think that this post and the issue of ‘feeling out of control’ is something that will resonate for most of my peers and people in my age group (20 to early 30 something year olds). I know many of my friends feel like they are drowning/overwhelmed, and don’t know how to get out of it.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?

    My current project is making more friends and meeting more interesting people. I know a lot of people from the business & legal worlds from all my years of schooling, but I’m trying to add more variety in my social network by meeting more artistic/creative types. I’ve surmounted the ‘meeting them’ hurdle, but am having more difficulty finding a way to create a meaningful connection and relationship.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    You nailed the reason why people always react strangely when they ask me how I accomplished this goal or that goal, or how I’m living the lifestyle I am: defensiveness over their own choices. People are always amazed by how much I travel, but it always gets awkward and strange when they ask me how I do it and I start to tell them. Or if they ask me how I dress so well, they’re looking for a specific store or quick fix, when really the answer is much more complicated. It’s a subtle insight, but will be very helpful in the long run.

  95. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes, it is. I’m looking forward to following-up this entry and see what I can achieve after four weeks
    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want to take control of my intent. I know your blog is the answer to my problems (most entries speak to me so so directly), I feel so motivated after reading your emails, but that doesn’t mean I take the next step. There’s always a better time to do this, or I’ll figure it out when I have some spare time (emotional barriers, anyone?). I need to overcome my barriers and become what I am supposed to be.
    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    To realize the lack of control I have of my life. There are so many things I want to do, and I do none…

  96. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Thanks! One thing: 2 hours a day 5x/week is a LOT. I’d rather have you aim for 3 hours a week — total — and hit your goal.

    There is a cost to setting goals too high. When you fail, you trust yourself less each time. One of the things we’ll do this year is focus on setting ACHIEVABLE targets.

  97. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Well, what are do you think? Think back to the times you’ve reverted to old eating habits. Why did it happen?

  98. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Ugh, yes, and look at how big that shirt was. I’m much bigger now and actually wear smaller shirts! Sometimes college kids are so dumb. I hate my past self

  99. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    First backhanded compliment of the year. I approve

  100. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Really good insight. Doing it on your own may make you feel in control, but if you’re not doing the right thing — or doing it correctly — what’s the point? That’s where outside help comes in.

  101. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    They are sitting in a bag in my bedroom waiting to give to the right person

  102. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Good. But one common trait of average people is they get “inspired” and “motivated” to “stop fucking around”…but a week later, that motivation wears off.

    This is where systems and habits become critical — not just fleeting motivation.

  103. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Thanks Sonia.

    I know a lot of top performers, and each of them has classic barriers and invisible scripts — me included. They are largely universal, though they can be managed.

    What you see on the outside is not always what’s on the inside. The difference is, top performers have recognized them and learned how to handle them (or in some cases, turn them to their advantage).

    More on this in the coming weeks, and in my Dream Job course.

  104. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Amazing comment. Everybody read this.

  105. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Jeff, re-read your comment. How do you think you come off to me and other readers?

  106. avatar

    This is very interesting material. One thing I want to take control of this year is finding my dream job. I majored in Hotel Administration and will be graduating in December. I only picked this major because I thought I needed the background knowledge to be able to interior design hotels. WRONG! Now I know more about my interests and want to hone in on them so when I graduate I’m not working at a job I hate simply to pay loans off. I think the part that surprised me about today’s post is the invisible scripts that show up in seemingly innocent inquiries. I used to think it was important to share your successes when asked but I see how that can backfire and create unnecessary tension. The asker thinks you’re bragging and then defend their Snowflake Syndrome position.

  107. avatar

    1. YES, I am definitely interested!
    2. I want to work on my social skills–in particular, being able to have a conversation with anybody. I know I’m shy, but I have a great built-in topic with my job (it’s pretty spectacular). But once I’m past that topic–or if it’s not appropriate for the situation–I tend to clam up or frantically reach for something, anything, to talk about, and things just get awkward.
    3. Frankly, I’m surprised at my reaction to this post. I thought I was more-or-less in control of my life (working at my dream job, in a solid marriage, have good friends), but as I read I became very excited about learning about my own invisible scripts and barriers to living a richer life.

  108. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Thanks. That single sentence, and all its intricacies, took me years to discover

  109. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    No. And when you write someone who probably knows what they’re doing, instead of being accusatory and patronizing, it might be smart to say, “Hey, I noticed you do XYZ…that’s not usually what I see, so is there a reason? I’m curious.”

    In short, use the D-to-C principle: Disparagement to Curiosity.

  110. avatar

    1. Yes. Very interesting. I have never been in debt and always had a bit of savings. But after moving twice and changing jobs in the last six months, I am now living paycheck to paycheck. It was quite a shock to me when my bank alerted me last week that a pending automatic payment was going to overdraw my checking account. For the first time, I realized that some things were a bit out of control.

    2. I want to take control of my finances and earn more money. Specifically, about $1K/month extra. I found a dream job last year, but it unfortunately pays like crap. I attempted negotiating my salary a few weeks ago, and was unsuccessful. This year, I want to refine those skills and negotiate again in several months. I also want to set up a side business to earn extra income on the side, and at the end of 2013, have a take-home income that is 10-12K more than what I currently earn.

    3. “Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive.” As a personal trainer, everyone asks me what to eat, how to exercise, etc. But of all of those people, I don’t think any have ever really adopted what I told them. I suppose that Ramit’s statement wasn’t entirely shocking to me, but I found it fascinating to read his explanation for it.

  111. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Yes. One key is learning how to respond to people. When my friend lost a bunch of weight and people would say, “Oh, but I’m Asian,” she called me for advice. I told her not to go into all the details. She learned that people wanted ONE thing they could handle, and you were actually doing them a favor by strategically withholding information.

    Even today, I don’t share everything with my readers — not because I want to withhold to make more money, but because it would be doing them a disservice to prematurely reveal material before I’ve laid the foundation.

  112. avatar

    1- Is this interesting to you?
    Yes, in the past I have read self help books fanatically- waiting for that perfect system that makes my path clear. It’s time to DO and TEST. This week I’m actually taking all the self help books and getting rid of them.
    2- What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I’m addicted to productivity and time management. I’ve written a great class that I want to convert into a book. I want to take control of that and get that knocked out this year. The other side of the coin- the home side- I have got to get my finances in order, make more money and get my savings up to take care of myself and my son by myself.
    3- What surprised you about today’s post?
    I hadn’t realized before today how I let others invisible scripts affect my decisions. Not only are they talking themselves out of things- they are sometimes talking me out of it. I’ve been working out 5 times a week now for 2 months and feel amazing- I notice that some of my heavy friends are really uncomfortable with me making this change as if Its an indictment on them.

  113. avatar

    1. I am definitely interested. Since I’ve gotten great results from IWT material so far with getting an awesome new job with a huge pay increase and automating finances, it’s time to tackle the next things on my list.

    2. Next, I will finally become fluent in Russian this year. For the past 1.5 years I’ve hovered at the same level without improvement, my wife and I can always revert to English because her English is so excellent. We are great at keeping a workout schedule but terrible at keeping up momentum for studying.

    3. It was surprising to realize that I never call out others on their excuse making. Internally I know when they are BSing, but I never say it.

  114. avatar

    I have been working strategically the last few weeks to become as effective as possible. My focus the last few years has been on Efficiency, my staff calls it the “E” word because I was always using it. However, I have come to realize my success depends on effectiveness not efficiency. My new focus is on effective processes. When all is said and done we want to be effective. Relationships for example: Do I want to be efficient and potentially miss out on something special because of haste? or have an effective process that will lead to fulfillment? good luck to all with our effective approach of taking control.

  115. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    – Yes. I’ve been struggling for over a year with getting control of my career path and have become less productive at my current job as a result of being overwhelmed with internal negative scripts.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    – getting a new job. I’ve been telling myself for a year that I’ll never get it done. And I haven’t.
    What surprised you about today’s post?
    – That Ramit does things like let the two jackets sit beyond the return policy. Its reassuring to know that even successful people fall into the inactivity trap.

  116. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you? – hells yes

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Studying for the coddamn CPA exam

    3.What surprised you about today’s post? You didn’t sell a course harder than simply name dropping dreamjob2.0

  117. avatar

    ““I can save $0.50 on saran wrap!” Great, you’re a moron.” – Effing HIlarious Ramit.
    Yes, absolutely interesting, love this stuff. You’re just getting better and better.
    I need to take control of my career. I’m an acupuncturist in Santa Monica. I opened my own practice 1 year and 9 months ago. Although it continues to grow and gain momentum, I find that I like this job, not love it. In order to explore a more satisfying and extraordinary existence while still including acupuncture, as of lately I’ve been creating side businesses of on-set acupuncture, in-home acupuncture and acupuncture retreats around the world. I’m in the process of doing all of this AND running my in office business. But am I on the right track? Who knows! I’m not sure if I’m caught in the “trying a bunch of stuff” bubble, and just fooling myself b/c it’s all categorized under acupuncture.

  118. avatar

    The only thing I want to care of is making more money in my side business. I know what I have to do. But getting a few tips from Ramit and taking action are what all of us shitheads need to do.

    I have a regular job as well and I take damn good care of myself. I workout daily, eat nutritiously every meal. I’m not kidding. My finances are fine. I don’t overspend.

    My friends never did what they wanted, but I knew i had to.

    Thanks Ramit

    Mark in getting colder Canada

  119. avatar

    Here’s a story for you…in my last year of schooling during my 3rd degree (ya, I said 3rd) I got pregnant with twins, so needless to say I couldn’t start working right away. So it’s been a year since their birth, have a mountain of debt…I mean Mount Everest mountain (CC, line of credit, student loan) that I can’t afford to pay…still not working…not because I don’t want to but because I can’t afford child care. My relationship has fallen through..went on an extended vacation to my parents across the country…ex wants me back “home” for the babies but can’t stand being anywhere near him (but will have to go…and would have to live with him…and I have zero support near that area). I need to find a way to support myself and my babies (food, living, care) and pay off my debt using my abilities and somehow finding a way to do that without having to worry about finding care. Oh ya and finish losing my post-preggo weight would also be great.

  120. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    -Yes, I like reading about how to be effective.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    -I’d like to start learning to program by finishing my 2nd online class, reading an introductory college book, and implementing personal projects – by dedicating at least 90 minutes a day towards these endeavors.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    -The difference between effective and efficient is choosing what you do rather than getting the right answer to every problem.

  121. avatar


    I discovered you a few years ago through the Pickup Podcast with AJ and Jordan. Since then, I’ve left my job and built my own business. I moved out of a crummy apartment and into a nice one. In terms of career and finances, I feel like I’m right where I want to be.

    What I haven’t taken control of is dating (ironic considering how I discovered you…) I had the guts to go to my employer and say, “I’m not returning to this job”, but I don’t have the guts to say “hi” to girls I see when I’m out.

    Having this fear is emasculating. It’s the opposite of being in control. It’s what I need to take control of in 2013.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  122. avatar

    1 – ABSOLUTELY. Like many people, I have let invisible rules, thoughts, intentions get between me and my goals. I’m a smart guy and I even know what to do but can’t seem to get there.

    2 – I want to make fitness a lifestyle change and first priority this year.

    3 – Your message spoke directly to me. You’ve either sniffed out your target audience so well that it feels personal or have found a universal desire that communicates to many.

  123. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?


    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I would like to take control of my energy levels. A year ago, I managed to slam my head into the inside of a bus and came away with a concussion that left me with persistent tinnitus and hypersomnia. I’m dependent on various chemical stimulants to get through the day if I want to stay upright for more than four hours at a time. While I doubt I’ll be able to get back to where I was previously, I know there are changes I can make to my diet, sleeping schedule, and possibly medications that could make me less dependent on stimulants that are becoming increasingly less effective. I’d like to make mornings like this, where I slept through my 7:30 alarms and woke up at 10, a rarity by the end of the year.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    “Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive.”

    One of my scripts – I have an energy surge between 9 and 11pm, I can’ t go to bed at 10 and waste it! Hmm…

  124. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    This is definitely interesting. There are several areas where I’ve been incredibly good at taking control of my life… Past addictions, health, nutrition, career. But in some areas, I still really suck at control, I’m interested to see what’s different about those parts of my life that make them more uncontrollable for me.

    2. One specific thing you want to take control of?
    One is hard. I think I have to go with social skills, with finances coming in a tight second. I think I do fine socially, but the truth is, I’m quiet, and upon meeting new people they often become offended by the quiet.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    The number of times “you’re a moron” applied to me or something I’ve done.

  125. avatar

    Ramit, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I *used to be* a top performer but have slipped into complacency and have become merely average. I still get awesome clients that I brag about. It all looks good on FB, but I know the truth! I am becoming a lazy ass and totally directionless. Please help! The only thing I’ve been in control of lately is my social life but, dude, drinking and flirting is not enough for the ambitious go-getter soul buried inside of me.

  126. avatar
    steve ward

    haha, but that a good thing right? Being able to do that before xyz happens?

  127. avatar
    Matt T

    So, questions for you:

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. This is the Ramit “year of ____” that I am most excited for.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?

    Time management. I “putz” away too much time between facebook, blogs, and I don’t even know what. Too many times I have no idea where all my time went at the end of the week when I’d like to kick butt at work while also carving out time to be fit and to go back to school. If I can find and properly manage those missing 2.5 hours per day I think I have it would move my life in the direction I want.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    The truth behind the comment about the need to be cautious discussing the work you have put in to be successful because people will be all over you with reasons why they can’t do what you did.

    And that it addressed my nagging fears that if at this point in my 26-year old life I can’t manage my time and improve myself what hope do I have once I am married with a family and have other increased responsibilities.

  128. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you? **of course it is!

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. **from my own viewpoint, it is not really about resolutions, tactics, or techniques. it’s about basics. most of us know 80%-90% of what we need to do to get control of our lives. and for the rest, we have people like yourself and the internet in general. but for now, i’m getting back to controlling the basics. you can’t complain about your weight if you just left IHOP. you can’t complain about your dragging energy levels if you aren’t getting enough sleep. basics.

    the other is going from excitment->motivation->commitment. that Commitment thing is really hard. excitement & movtivation help one create a plan that’s both awesome & viable. they help one get to the gym for a couple of weeks. but commitment; wow. Commitment is what keeps a person going to the gym daily, after their friends have given up, even when it’s snowing, even when it’s boring, etc.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post? **nothing. you kick ass as usual.
    : – > seriously though; thanks for what you do.

  129. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? Yes

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. I want to control my work habits to increase productivity to be more consistent. I have up and down days and up and down weeks. Ex Last week was a down week at work so there wasn’t a lot of pressure to get anything done, so I didn’t. I could have gotten a bunch of things done for work, set up a good strategy for both work and hobbies and start working on setting up a system for networking more consistently. But I didn’t. I did the bare minimum to make sure I got by.

    What surprised you about today’s post? When you said something about taking control doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. That is exactly what I think. I think I need to do it all myself because If I don’t I am lazy. I then get so overwhelmed I do nothing and truly become lazy.

  130. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?

    In a way.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I want to take control of my income by building up a freelance writing career on the side and turn that into a lucrative career (or continue side career) writing feature stories about people. Basically, I want to tell interesting stories and get paid to do it. 🙂

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    Nothing really surprised me. Just that people are so taken aback when somebody is honest. We’re missing that.

  131. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    1. I am definitely interested. I have started taking control of the health area of my life and am excited to watch it run over into other aspects.
    2. Specifically, I want to take control of my career – by owning my job search and overcoming invisible barriers.
    3. The full-circle nature of today’s post surprised me. I enjoyed it.


  132. avatar
    Camilo Oliveira

    1) Yes, sure!

    2) The money I get from my work – my daily job and my freelances. Being in control of money gives me peace of mind to planning interesting things to do. I can say yes to some good places my friends asks me to go, or can travel more times in a year (and meet new people from these places), or get some courses or good material to learn more on things I want. I like my job and want to be better and earn more money from it – from my employer and my personal clients. It would be pleasant, I know that. And by doing this, I know my self and can say the other things (productivity, social skills, health) would then work better.

    3) Your specific comment about people getting defensive even after an answer they wanted.

  133. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Most definitely!

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity”–tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    Social skills. I have discovered that most, if not all, of my friendships were formed because the other person approached me first. I’m usually the one being asked to do stuff and I want to switch that this year. I want to get more comfortable asking people out and creating mentor-like relationships with my professors. I want to be more active than passive when it comes to social skills.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    That people who are in control of one aspect of their life usually have control in other areas. I just realized after reading this post that once I got my finances automated so I didn’t have to do anything, I sort of applied that to losing weight. So I feel more in control of both my finances and also my health.

  134. avatar


    I am 20 and I am building my company on paper : ) because I don’t know yet what my business will be. I think that is because of a “brainstorming” in my head and this is what I want to control and by this steps i have no doubts i will make it done.

    Is this interesting to me?
    ” Top performers know there’s a game being played around them, and if they do what everyone else does, they’ve already lost. They deconstruct the game, analyze it, then systematically study how to get what they want, ethically and rapidly. This works for finding a dream job, earning more, traveling more, improving relationships, even working out.”
    Of course it is interesting. Thx Ramit.

  135. avatar

    Your story totally hit home… I got so frustrated when my apartment manager didn’t let me hang out in the public office space a few days ago because they were closing. There were some family members I didn’t want to see visiting my house (long story), so I wanted someplace warm to hang out for an hour or so. When I walked in a mailman was leaving and said they were closing; I said I just wanted to sit in the office area for a little while. The manager repeated that they were closing. I huffily replied “FINE” then trekked off to sit in the freezing weather until everyone left.

    The manager is actually an understanding person. If I had just taken the time to explain what I was feeling, my situation and that I’d only be there for a short time (they could have arranged the door to lock after I left) she probably would have sympathized or at least opened up one of the other areas for me to wait for a while. But I didn’t tell her anything, expecting her to magically read my mind and understand why the situation was so irritating. It was my fault, not hers, yet I still felt insulted.

    I guess I’d like to hear about a reliable way to stay level-headed in situations like that, so you can deal with people without letting your emotions get in the way.

  136. avatar

    I know the feeling with the coats… I’ve made some online purchases that didn’t work out while busy and they just loom around if you don’t just accept that you’re taking a loss due to stupidity on them. Now I seek out places with long return policies.  Zappos is great because even if it is a bit more expensive I can take my time with trying the shoes on around the house and return them up to a year later. For the coats, you can still sell them on ebay or consign them. At least then you know someone will get good use out of it and you can get some $$ back.

    For specific goals, I have two:
    1. Develop a system for my job search. I have some issues with meandering between approaches, no direction, etc (basically fuckarounditits).
    2. Develop or reinstate systems to help with my ADD. I managed the negative aspects pretty well in college, but since I’ve started working and gotten married things have changed and what I used to do either isn’t working or is not longer compatible with my lifestyle.

  137. avatar

    1) This is definitely interesting to me.
    2) One SPECIFIC thing that I want to take control of is the future direction of my career. I am about 18-24 months from finishing a Ph.D. and after that I will need to find a “real” job. I love doing research and I love teaching, but a lot of academic posts look like a slow descent into madness, and I’m not really sure what sorts of jobs are available in industry, if I should do a PostDoc position, or pretty much anything else. I plan to address this by developing one new network contact (using your scripts and techniques) each month starting when I complete my dissertation proposal, which will happen by the end of January. I would LOVE more advice on FINDING people to talk to. I plan to start by tapping the Alumni from my grad school and I plan to ask them for other people that I should talk to to help build, but I honestly find the process a bit intimidating and overwhelming.

    3) The four scripts in four sentences surprised me. The scripts seem completely obvious when pointed out, but I honestly would not have given them a second thought (maybe an eye-roll, but that would be the end of it) until they were brought to my attention. .

  138. avatar
    steve ward

    1) Is this interesting to you?

    Yes! mainly because there scripts in my current system that i dont understand or can deal with. It as if im in a forest and i keep picking the poison food and not understanding why.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    To develop a stable income, in the past weather it be a job or a business they all seemed to fall apart. Although bastard (=P) you want one thing to beable to use the skills i have built over the 38 years in this world to wipe out all debt to have the money to do what i want/need to do.

    It like the song 8mile by eminem, (Sometimes I just feel like, quitting I still might Why do I put up this fight) (a small story about my last business) I was sitting there looking at the screen not sure why i was doing wrong? The screen was to my ebay account showing how many sells had there was $200 in the account.

    Which is bad the business should be pulling in $1000 a month from my research, that when i knew i had to close the account and see what went wrong in the system.

    To this day im still not sure what i was doing wrong, Although i’m useing the knowledge i got from there and the 1000 on the side (This guy named Ramit have you meet him? I could introduce you Ramit? =P) to, well the plan is to complete my system so i can use it to make money.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    It was a pleasant surprise, that someone besides me realized that this person does not know im (WHY) I’m upset or happy or sad they just see the but end of stuff. Funny thing is Brent from social life? (I think that the name) he gives advice on relationships mainly dating but just how to change the talk to something else.

    Brent said that he and a buddy was checking in to stay at a hotel, well them being who they are all ready KNEW, that the people working the desk most likely already had some dick make there day awful.

    So what they did was go up to the desk and instead of taking out there frustration on the clerk they started chating them up. Bantering with them and turning there day around guess who got a room upgrade?

    For me the take away is that we are people, we have emotions, so we have good days and bad. Yet humans are not mind readers so we have to sometimes explain are selves to them.

  139. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    Absolutely. I was planning to get things back in order after the holidays (I know, I know, putting things off). After discovering your blog and following a lot of your advice last year, I was able to land a new job that I love, but over the last 5 months I’ve stagnated, stopped reading, learning, and progressing. I’ve already identified a few small things I need to do to help me get back on track. For example, after I moved I lost my laptop charger, so I don’t use my computer when I’m at, which stops me from doing code academy tutorials, reading long articles/books, etc. In fact, after work today I’m going to buy a charger on my way home. Getting back on the wagon!

    One specific thing I want to work on.
    I want to learn more. I want to be more productive in my time at work as well as at home. As a designer at a tech startup, it’s inefficient for me to hand off static images to developers. I need to get better at HTML, CSS, and javascript, something I was actively working toward until about 5 months ago when I started a new job, got busy, moved apartments, etc. I want to be able to code all of my own designs by June.

    One thing that surprised me:
    I was surprised that even you are merely mortal. I did the exact same thing (buying something online and then waiting too long to return it.) Except in my case it was shoes, and I can’t have those tailored. :/ They’re still sitting in a bin of clothes and shoes I keep meaning to take to goodwill. Or, more likely, have an exec take to goodwill.

  140. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    Oh yeah!

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    My social life. Although I was taught this lesson a while ago, it was over the last year or two that I learned that the life I was living was EXACTLY the one that I chose for myself. I moved to another city 2 years ago and have spent countless hours longing for old friendships. As time passed, it became clear to me that those old frienships weren’t all that great. My friendships were based on commonalities like work, church, alumni groups, service orgs, etc. My frienships were based on convenience… I was hanging out with whoever was there. I was often bored, irritated, and annoyed because I wasn’t being true to myself. I wasn’t doing the things that I enjoyed. The worst part had to be that I wasn’t dating the kind of guys I wanted to date. I’m looking forward to taking control of my social life this year!

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    First, I was suprised that the topic is something that has been on my mind recently. Perfect timing! Second, I was suprised that my first reaction was NOT to do the same dumb stuff I usually do – read a book, do some research, draft some random action plan that I know I won’t stick to. My first action step is to simply stop saying yes to activities that I don’t want to do.

  141. avatar

    Definitely interesting.

    I think my current productivity need is completing the professional training I’ve already bought and paid for. (It’s home-based go-at-your-own pace learning. Like an idiot, I’m just letting it sit. I know it’s foolish, but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to ACTUALLY DOING IT.)

    I was surprised by that guy who assumed he’d be unemployable after twenty years. Why? Is experience worth nothing? Is he incapable of learning new skills? Can’t he work as a contractor, or own his own business? (I mean a business where he employs other people.) What’s this guy thinking?

  142. avatar
    Catherine Renee'

    1.) I enjoy reading what you write Ramit. It is quite refreshing and great reminders as well as learning.
    2.) I have several courses I have purchased over the past few months that I have not put my focus upon. I am in a position for the next month whereby I have the time to complete and implement these courses which will greatly improve my cashflow. I want to take control over my time to complete these courses and to challenge myself to look at the discomfort and beliefs that I know will be uncovered which are not serving me in a positive manner. It is exciting and scary at the same time. Thank you for this platform to share with you and others. The first step I am making is to join a Co-Working Space today and get out of the home to do this work where I can meet others and have an office space for the next month. It will cut down on distractions at home and manage my time more efficiently.
    3.) I loved what you said about the “I can save .50 cents on Saran Wrap” you moron!!! love it! Why? because I am working on my relationship to money and having to transition the ‘what I can save’ to ‘what I can earn’. I think it is similar thought process but the flip side of the coin.

  143. avatar
    Jess H.

    This year, I want to take (increase?) control of my career. Things are going incredibly well – in fact, using Ramit Techniques, I turned a consulting gig into a six-figure contract and have hired eight people to work for me – but I want to make sure that I’m in control of my next steps instead of having them be in control of me.

    Specifically, I want to sign two new contracts this year so I have a more diversified client base. I also want to hire someone who can assist me with the one mission-critical part of the business that no one else can currently handle, so that I can finish writing my dissertation even while my business takes off.

    I’m interested because Ramit’s insights have worked incredibly well for me in the past, and I know that I’m good at figuring out how to apply them to my own situation.

    I’m surprised by the defensive reaction Ramit describes, above; I think I just surround myself with amazing people, because when I talk about my success, my friends are like, “We knew you were eventually going to get there – tell us more!” And then they go out and make amazing positive changes in their own lives, in service of achieving their own goals. Some of it’s big (going freelance full-time) and some of it’s small (starting a yoga class), but my community is super willing to just DO things instead of arguing about why they couldn’t.

  144. avatar
    Aubrey Williams

    1.Is this interesting to you?

    Absolutely. I particularly liked the idea that you don’t have to be in control of everything to be in control, but you do have to be active and trying something instead of giving up or just researching endlessly. Do something! Get out there! Talk to someone! Try something!

    So few people actually try that you will set yourself apart by this alone.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I want to take control of finding my next job, whether it’s in my own company or a new company. I want to retain as much as possible the things I love about my current work while increasing the autonomy and income I have.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?

    That there were 3 videos in it!
    I really liked that you tackled relationships right alongside money, health, and jobs, because it is my observation that these external manifestations are driven by similar if not the same internal scripts, patterns, and habits.

  145. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yes, very interesting. A fresh take on tired new year’s articles on resolutions. It is definitely time to take control!
    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. -I want to take control of setting goals. I get too caught up in the “big picture” that I get too overwhelmed, and forget the basic fundamentals of breaking goals down. I also feel like I cant get specific enough or know what it is exactly that i want to achieve. THIS WILL BE THE YEAR THAT I TAKE CONTROL and change this!
    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    Your writing never ceases to amaze me. I was surprised at my own self doubts after reading this. I had never really thought about my own barriers blocking my perspective before ive even tried something!

  146. avatar

    Hi tom I think 6.6 is a fantastic height some thing positive. u should take advantage of. U would stand out in any gathering I’m sure people would love to talk to you. However I think because u beating urself too much people can read that vibe and will probablly stay away!I decided to talk to u precisely because you mentioned your height!( Big smile)

  147. avatar
    Matthew Rayfield

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Heck yeah! I’m always interested in improving myself.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    Waking up early! I’m excited that it is something you’ve mentioned explicitly. Even though I don’t sleep too much, the feeling of waking up later than I want to starts the day on a sour note. Something I’d definitely like to fix.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    I’m surprised that I read it all! These big long posts about new programs I usually skim. But today, I sat and consumed the whole thing, videos and all. Not sure if that says more about the post or the mood I’m in today.

    Looking forward to the coming week’s posts!

  148. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yeah, definitely. I’ve made some very specific new years resolutions so I’m working on building the discipline to do them.
    2. One specific thing to take control of. I want to run a marathon by the end of the year, so in order to do that, I need to run. A lot. Right now, the step I need to take is to begin running three times a week. So tomorrow, Thursday, I will run. Then on Saturday, and on Tuesday. I want to take control of when I run.
    3. What surprised me? Just how many subconscious barriers I’ve placed on myself. I’ve been freaking out a lot lately about the future, worrying about where I’m going and how to get there. Through this and a lot else in life lately, I’ve been realizing I just to need to take it a day, a step at a time and not worry too much.

  149. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yes

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want my new business to actually start.
    I founded UPO International in April 2012 with my partner. We are creating the first food drying eco-industrial plant in Cameroon which is called UPOCAM.
    There is so much things to do I tend to choose the easiest ones and avoid the most difficult ones.
    Of course, I need to do the latter so my business can actually start.
    I clearly can be more productive (or procrastinate less) but I think I also fear failure so much that I avoid these difficult tasks with a higher risk of failure.
    I give myself excuses but I need to take control of my business in 2013.
    I hope you’ll be able to help me with that.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    I’m almost in control of my life. I’m in a good shape without major health issues. I’m a happy husband and soon to be father. I like most of what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. I just need to actually start my new business to retake control of my money.
    On your 3 steps, I think I’m already finishing the second one.
    I read IWT since 2009
    I understand psychology not so bad : not working against myself but using my limited cognition and willpower in my favor, for example by automating my savings; getting into people heads which helps me a lot when I teach math, etc.
    When I have a problem, I solve most of it like the top performer you describe.
    I have trouble picking the right things to tackle or working enough to tackle them before I give up.

    2013 will be a great year thanks to you (and maybe an handful of other people).
    Thanks for all.

  150. avatar
    Kelci Crawford

    Is this interesting to you? F@#$ YES.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    My freaking career. I used to work as a caricature artist until I realized it was one of the most well-paid but unsatisfying job out there. So I quit and I’m working two part-time jobs until I get into my next job. I got a few freelance gigs which have helped pay for unexpected bills, and I would like to grow on that. I’ve been reading up on freelancing and the market specifically for artists, but I just need to get the courage to find and contact potential employers.
    However, my biggest goal in my life is to be a comic artist and make graphic novels. I already have two graphic novels in the editing process and I plan to get one ready to pitch to editors by November for New York Comic Con.
    If anything, my big concerns right now are making sure I stay on track to accomplish what I want to, instead of getting derailed by the slightest distraction, and making sure I have enough money to pay for the roof over my head.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    That people go to extremes when they want to deny something or say “I want to do that but…”. I know it’s true, but I never noticed it before.

  151. avatar
    Annika S

    1. Is this interesting? – Absolutely! I decided 2 weeks ago that this year (actually 18 months) is all about taking control of my life, and achieving location independence in my work. I already have a plan, and I have a feeling that using your material to discover my invisible scripts will be invaluable!
    2. One specific thing I am taking control of over the next 18 months? My job. I intend to become self-employed and location independent
    3. What surprised me? – the fact that the coming material is SO relevant to my already existing goal. The past year on dream job has been interesting, but as I already knew I wanted to be self-employed, it wasn’t too practical for me. Still enjoyed it though!
    Thanks Ramit, I look forward to taking control in 2013 with your help!

  152. avatar

    1. All of your articles are interesting to me. Especially the barrier/invisible script focused ones.

    2. I want to take control of how I respond to people. Today I have been living at a drug rehab for 8 months. Each day being surrounded by people who need help, but are so frustrating creates a negative response out of me. By responding with care and compassion we will both be able to get what we want. I want to help influence and change their lives for the better. They want to see that someone cares and looks past the immediate, seeing the big picture.

    3. What surprised me most about this post was my reaction to it. While reading I was defending myself and thinking “I’m not like that”, yet knowing I was. Going through that was positive though. Getting and staying clean was being able to see the big picture and goals. I still need to work on staying solely focused on what I want. Your article helped me to refocus and recommit to the change my life needs.



  153. avatar

    1. Very interesting
    2. One thing to take control of– salary and income. Tearing apart the nitty-gritty of my field to find the niche jobs that I want to be a part of. Finding a mentor whom I love and want to work for.
    3. Not so much surprised, but I loved the story about the return and how being mad at others is often being mad at yourself, and the story about color and the difference between smart people and effective people. You always touch upon these themes and each time you do it with a different context the idea gets stronger and I remember it better.

    Thanks for this, Ramit. I’m so often surprised by how just writing these things down can help spark the chain of action

  154. avatar

    This was actually fascinating. I’ve caught myself saying the whole bit about who you know often, and find myself knowing only the same people I knew a year ago. I just had a long conversation with a friend about what’s “wrong” with me that I can’t overcome the barriers that I have.

    I can only pick one thing to work on? 🙂 I’ll go with the most visible, I would love to improve my networking skills. I work in a high end field, and having grown up in a middle class immigrant family, I think I have a HUGE blocking script about finances, and how I’m “different” from my clients.

    I was surprised by the brutal honesty of this post, no sugar coating, eh? I can see myself in so many of the examples. Thanks Ramit!!!!

  155. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you? Yes. Best post in a long time.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I am so in control of my money and finances that I can see the lack of control in other areas of my life, and looking at other people. I can’t stand their excuses ”I work too hard for a side job”, ”I’m in college, how can I work part time? Scholarships? They are so hard to get…”. That I try to avoid that BS talk when finding reasons why I have no control about what I eat or the little exercise I do. Truth is I have been lazy and don’t have a true motivator like I do for money. Which makes me no better than people who complain all day. I want to take control of my body this year. I don’t mind my weight, I want to stop being out of breath after a flight of stairs, I want to continue fixing my house without having to take a break because my arms can’t hold a weight anymore.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    That you are human :). When you got annoyed in the shop, you didn’t admit to your personal shopper that you knew you were late for the 30 days and that the shop had no obligation whatsoever. You were sure you were right. Yes, turned the way you thought about later, considering your purchase history and relationship with them, you could have bargained a discount. People can’t read minds and no one will fight your interests for you. Happy New Year Ramit!

  156. avatar
    Worth It

    Somehow I didn’t get how “after writing about psychology for 8 years, I’m lucky to be sane” gives a good reason to use demeaning names for some of your readers. One thing that has given me serious second thoughts about enrolling in any of your courses, despite noting plenty of brilliant insight is what comes across to me as a quickness to be abusive of others. I certainly understand that people can cause frustration and be clueless. So I wonder how the name calling serves you, how it fits into your system. Is it a way of screening out people who don’t believe they or their peers in an instructional setting deserve to be called derogatory names? How is it part of your system for attracting and retaining top-rate clients? How likely are you to mistakenly dismiss someone as totally without worth simply because they don’t get your point or see totally from your perspective?

  157. avatar

    Is This Interesting.
    Yep. Great discussion on raising awareness to scripts, identifying them, managing them going forward. Curious how many a day kick in.

    Take control item. My biggest scripts and calling BS on others’

    Biggest surprise. How common these factors are for everyone.

  158. avatar

    Ramit – this was like a smack upside the head. You have provided me so much to think about – and I’m not a 20 something – I’m a 60 something. (It’s never too late, right?)

    I realize that I am writing scripts in my own head about what I can’t do that prevents me from doing what I want to do. I have been working on some craft designs which I want to get published – and there is an outlet for it, but it requires me to get some good photographs of my work and I keep convincing myself I’m not good enough for that. I now realize that what I really need to do is find someone who is good at that to do it for me, so that I don’t need to wrooy about it and can focus on what I can do well.

    Thank you for this great post – I’m ready to be in control. And, right after I read this post a friend wrote asking for my support (our mutual support) to get ourselves healthy and slim again. I immediately sent him the link to your blog. We are both so ready to take control.)

  159. avatar

    Is this interesting to me? Yes!

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story

    I am currently unemployed, not excited about returning to the traditional work environment and grateful for the time I have to focus on redirecting myself. However, I am not sure which direction I should go in. I feel like I have good ideas but not great ideas that excite me. I feel like once I have a handle on that I can feel more in control of my situation.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    Synchronicity. The word CONTROL has literally been in my mental vocabulary over the last 48 hours. That I don’t have it in the areas I need it. Your post is confirmation that I am on the right track!

  160. avatar

    1. Yes, very.

    2. I want to get control of my health. I know a better diet and exercising regularly will change so many aspects of my life. I’ll have more energy, likely be sharper, feel better about my appearance, and by proving to myself that I could stick to that would help me feel like all the other things I want to change or achieve are more attainable.

    I know the benefits way outweigh the cons….but I still have trouble. I just read The Power of Habit (now my favorite book of 2012) and I’m trying to be really thoughtful and strategic this year instead of “trying really hard”. Example: putting my gym clothes on right when I get home, leaving them out where I will see them, and replacing specific things in my diet like tea instead of coffee.

    3. “Because in one of the oddest quirks of human behavior, even if someone genuinely asks you what you’ve been doing to improve, when you answer, they will get defensive.”
    I feel like this one line will change the way I both approach others and the way I respond when asked. Very insightful.

  161. avatar
    John Neil

    Is this interesting to you?

    Yeah it was a great post Ramit. I like how you put fools on blast without remorse, but what’s really great is how you stand your ground when people call you out for your perceived ‘impoliteness’.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I want to finally shed my “baby fat.” I’m not obese, but I have a bit of a ‘soft look.’

    To do this I’m going to take two seperate but important LONG TERM approaches-

    One reason that I might be a bit soft is that my body doesn’t move optimally. I sat a lot in school and my posture shows it. My body is misaligned from left to right, and this causes me to get injured whenever I ramp up weight training. So to avoid those injuries that set me back, I need to address the underlying issue — the imbalance — so I can get the full benefits of my exercise habit.

    The second reason is my diet isn’t completely dialed in. I’ve strictly followed low carb paleo before so the discipline wasn’t an issue. I did notice problems sleeping and mood swings, so I now suspect that I was dropping calories TOO LOW or the types of foods I was eating weren’t helping me reach my goal.

    So I’m now experimenting with drinking raw juice (mainly from green vegetables and low calorie citrus fruit) for 1-2 meals a day, while eating denser meals at night to get enough calories.

    Incidentally, I hope this explanation inspires other people who can relate to my problems to attack theirs and I’d like to hear their results

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    The untucked shirt in college. Made me realize that the image you portray on your videos was the result of hard work, and didn’t ‘just come naturally’ through ‘knowing the right people’ or whatever bull crap people assume.

  162. avatar

    1. This very much so interests me.
    2. I want to take control of emotions overwhelming me into distractions from doing/reading things to improve myself/my life.
    3. Nothing. You are as straight forward as always. Being one of your stupid readers, I love it.

  163. avatar

    1. I am very interested in this, and actually have “read IWT archives” on my January goal list for this exact reason – taking control in 2013.

    2. I need to work on those psychological barriers. I’ve been laid off since June, living off unemployment which I’m not even managing as well as I could, trying to decide what I want to do next. I just recently overcame the barrier blocking me from applying for some “big” jobs and the one blocking me from applying outside my geographic region, but there are still a lot of internal scripts stopping me from taking control of my life.

    3. I don’t think anything surprised me about today’s post. It all makes sense to me!

    (P.S. After I was diagnosed with depression at the beginning of 2012, and told a couple of friends in a moment of weakness, one person told me that “you just need a husband” and the other said “you just need a baby.” Not quite the same as needing a wife to cook, but your anecdote reminded me of that. I can laugh about it now.)

  164. avatar

    1. This was very interesting and a great way to start of the new year! Your writing not only provides motivation but also also a sense of confidence that I can “figure things out.”

    2. One concrete thing I’d like to achieve this year is applying/attending graduate classes. I’ve, in essence, been waiting for my employer to make the decision for me–even though I know it will be beneficial for my career wherever I am. The comments you gave the woman who wanted to run 3x a week really made an impact. I should stop putting the decision off because I’m not sure I can handle completing a full degree. I plan to apply for one course that will better my skills and then see how I manage balancing work and school before moving forward.

    3. I was surprised, and reassured, that even you still make realizations about your own behavior. I was also surprised that when I thought of my excuses for not doing many things, the reason is fear. In some instances I can see how to overcome that, but not all.

  165. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Definitely. I’m only just beginning to grasp the power my terrible invisible scripts has over me.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    Something that frightens me A LOT – beginning my career in journalism. I have MASSIVE barriers with this one. I feel pressured to start a career as I’ve spent too long studying. I’m not even sure if I really want to be a journalist but I’m running with it because I have no other ideas. I’m scared by the fact it’s a shaky industry at the moment. I have terrible social confidence right now etc. etc.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    It’s the first post of yours I’ve actually read, Ramit, so the idea of invisible scripts is only sinking in now. It’s actually funny picking out my scripts in my answer above. I’ve always known that most of my barriers were internal/mental so it’s nice to see that reaffirmed here and I’m keen to know how to break them down now.

  166. avatar

    1. Yes, this is very interesting & relevant to me.

    2. The 1 thing I want to take control of is my time. I procrastinate & arrive late to practically everything. This habit has cost me dearly with work, relationships & much more.

    3. I was a bit surprised when you mentioned a link between people who succeed in the 4 areas: health, career, money & relationships. But once I thought about it, I totally agree. I did not expect you to emphasize having control, yet that is what most of us want out of life. It’s very encouraging to know that if I can be in control of one area, I can use the same skills to succeed in the other ones.

  167. avatar

    1. Yes, definitely interested.
    2. I want to work on increasing productivity on getting Actual Grown-Up Things Done around my house and for my family. I have four teenagers, a full-time job, and my partner is chronically ill — needless to say, I have too much to do and I keep dropping my obligations.
    3. Nothing really a surprise, just lots of good stuff.

  168. avatar

    Ramit, I have been reading and internalising your lessons for a few years now. This year my eldest is starting school and I have applied to resume my degree as well. Emotionally, I have found someone unexpected to connect with. These are both things i control, for myself. But so often I hear other people’s scripts loud and clear, (husbands family) which as a positive and self-motivated person can be crippling. I allow myself the indecision and fear, I refuse it power and don’t act… then I move on, clear headed. It interests me that your posts motivate me the way others don’t (use of language) and I’m surprised I can’t watch the videos (non US).

  169. avatar

    Awesome post, My goal for this year is to kick my family (mother and brothers) who have slowly accumulated in my house and are taking over.

  170. avatar
    Jesus Magana

    –Is this interesting to you?
    Yes that’s why I did read in calm the whole post

    –What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want to take control of the time I waste when starting to work everyday. Almost everyday I go to my desk and then instead of starting to work I spend several minutes or hours doing nothing.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    I self sabotage a lot, even unconsciously.

  171. avatar

    Boom. I needed this.
    This article interested me, as soon as I read the title. I want to take control of my freelance sideline, because it looks like it’s getting bigger than I expected. I also want to take control of my finances, seeing as my husband and I want to start our small coffee catering business this year. And honestly, what surprised me about today’s post was that skinny photo of yourself!

  172. avatar

    First, yes I find this post as well as many of your other posts interesting. I wouldn’t follow them if I didn’t.

    Second, I want to have control of my financial future. Let me elaborate. I have my dream job as a technical writer; however, the position is a grant-funded university position so negotiating a pay raise won’t happen until the grant is renewed. In fact, in June, I may not even have a job (the grant is funded by the NSF which is part of the government and the program may be cut by a cut in federal spending). Right now I am struggling to pay off a small amount of credit card debt (approx $2500 accumulated when I bought my house) and have zero wiggle room in my budget for anything extra right now or I’d sign up for your Earn1k program tonight. So what I want to take control of is finding ways to earn more that makes the most of my introverted nature.

    Third, that you managed to go from skinny minny to sort hunky is surprising and cool.

    Happy New Year!

  173. avatar
    Jeremy Meyer

    I think this is great! In fact, my resolution this year is: Stop deliberating and start DOING. Personally, I want to take more control of my relationships. Over the summer, I was reading books about dating and making better progress, but after a hard breakup, I gave up for a few months. This year, I’m going to take all of my personal relationship seriously, not only dating, but also to help build my professional network. One thing you said that surprised me was about the cascading effect. I’d never really thought about how one area of control could have such an impact on the others.

  174. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Absolutely! I feel like you know me personally as everything you described above is just how I feel/act.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    Getting in shape. Not just losing weight but getting fit! I am older and have allowed myself to fall into the traps that you talk about. Now it is harder than ever to get back to doing what I know I NEED to do. I am motivated but I just can’t seem to get up off the couch!

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

  175. avatar

    1. Yes
    2. I NEED to take control of my thoughts and allow them to guide me into finding the right career.
    3. I’m always surprised at how it sounds like your message are designed specifically for me. Everything else I read seems to be just off to one side, like they are trying to correct an issue that isn’t exactly what I need to have corrected, but you are right on.

  176. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    Controlling behavior and understanding the substance behind a thought has always been intreguing.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I want to take control of how effective I am in my relationships. I want to be the teacher and coach in my school who can lead students and faculty in projects and achieving goals. I should be a person who can offer solutions. It’s important for me to close on my photography and online commodity sales using effective dialogue with clients and potential customers. Ultimately, being effective as a teacher/coach and business woman, should lend me some additional peace of mind to be an effective wife 🙂 I could eventually hire someone to cook us healthy meals and dust the book shelves!

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    “She would rather dream about running 3x/week…than ACTUALLY run once/week.” <<< When I have a student or an athlete that says, "I can't…this is too hard… this is stupid", I typically reply, "Baby steps.' The students who hated having to type with proper technique eventually say that they love it and how fast they can key. The athlete grins/refrains from puking, when they ran their sprints faster than they imagined.
    BUT. What. About. Me??? I've always been a dreamer and able to accomplish what I truly set my mind to. Where's my fit bod and dream job?! Tonight, my ass will be in the gym. Tomorrow, I'll be following up with a hiring manager. C'mon BIG WINS!

  177. avatar

    Very interesting! Thank you, Ramit. I was reading your blog and recognizing my own behavior, my friends’ behavior.
    It was surprising to learn about people’s defenses coming up. Like one of your readers mentioned, when people realize it’s not a “quick fix”, they loose interest or respond with their script.
    Wanting results but not doing anything for it – also very true. I have forwarded your blog to my daughter. I hope it is an eye opener for her just like it was for me.
    Thank you!

  178. avatar

    You should run, not walk, over to Karen Kelsky’s website to get a ton of free advice (and paid consulting, if you want it) on how to manage either pursuing or leaving an academic career. She is a bit like Ramit’s long-lost older sister for the academic crowd. No-nonsense advice on how to survive or leave academia from someone who has been there (she was a tenured faculty chair when she decided to leave it all for personal reasons — great post about it on her blog).

  179. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Hell yes! This is my own theme for the year too! In fact just yesterday I was talking to my friends about possible career paths that I can pursue in the next few years, and the specific skill sets that I need to build in the mean time. I was planning to take on projects that would help me hone those skills.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    So far I want to take control of my fitness. I’ve been a lazy ass slob since I started work – eating whatever I want, sitting at my desk for 8 hours a day, not exercising much. The past few years I’ve tried to go to gym but to no avail, I could never force myself to consistently run on the treadmill or ride the bicycle – it’s just too boring! So this year I’m planning to play sports instead, something that in itself is fun and rewarding, and which would boost my fitness at the same time. So far I’ve approached one friend who plays sports and have invited myself to join his weekly sessions. I’m planning to approach another soon.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    The fact that me and Ramit share the same theme this year! I guess geniuses do think alike huh? :p

  180. avatar

    Ramit, I have been reading and internalising your lessons for a few years now. This year my eldest is starting school and I have applied to resume my degree as well. Emotionally, I have found someone unexpected to connect with. These are both things i control, for myself. But so often I hear other people’s scripts loud and clear, (husbands family) which as a positive and self-motivated person can be crippling. I allow myself the indecision and fear, I refuse it power and don’t act… then I move on, clear headed. It interests me that your posts motivate me the way others don’t.

  181. avatar

    Been reading your stuff for a few years, Ramit. I’ve always thought of myself as a top performer; yet looking back, I’m unsure why. Of course I’ve done some of the things you’ve talked about before regarding personal finance, just like I’ve done different exercise habits. The common theme is just what you mentioned above in one of the videos: I’m on a pendulum, moving back and forth, making some progress and losing it again.

    For example, I’ve been the “female supermodel” build just like you were previously, hovering between 135 and 140 lbs. This summer I managed to hit 150, and still have the picture of the scale as I ran around jumping for joy, for that was my initial goal. I know the process that led me to that moment, and wanted to continue going, but here I am back to my original weight, more demoralized than ever.

    I’m a senior in college about to graduate in the spring, and am working constantly to try and prepare for it. I feel worn down and battered from constant working, and it never feels like enough. I work in video with some animation, so kind of a creative field, and yet I always feel like I don’t have any ideas, and because of that, will never make anything of it anyway. I type and feel that now, and yet two weeks ago I was happy and confident in my future.

    I read the post above and got to the point about what the average performer would say and, lo and behold, some of what is written there are EXACTLY THE THINGS THAT I SAY SOMETIMES. Obviously this does not bode well for me being able to continue thinking I’m a top performer.

    The thing that’s really killing me is that I’ve made progress before, I’ve felt like I know I should, and yet here I stand yet again at the other end of the pendulum. The one thing that gives me hope is that over the years, I’ve always made progress; slowly but surely, kicking and screaming, I have dragged myself to something much better than I was before, and I fully recognize that. The trick is in being able to hold onto it, to sustain it, to stay in the middle ground, as you say above.

    I want to take control of my enthusiasm and confidence; I want to clamp down on my internal negative self-talk and work on eliminating negative influences from other people. I want to find the middle ground and be able to sustain the things that I mentioned above that I always backtrack on; I want control of the pendulum so that I won’t swing so far to the wrong side.

    In terms of specific things (ie exercise) I’ve been where I want to be before, or at least on the way there; I want to get there again and stay there. I want to find whatever internal block and invisible scripts there are that are preventing me from accomplishing this and get rid of them.

    So, I think that answers all three questions, in a roundabout way. I apologize for being a terrible reader all these years. Thank you for all that you write, trying to help people like myself.

    I must make it work.

  182. avatar

    Put your 4 teenagers to work doing stuff around the house. I was expected to cook as part of my family duties when I was in my teens and my mom was a healthy stay at home mom. I also helped with the laundry (hated it but it was part of helping with the family) and other things.

  183. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Totally. I am knocked off my chair when you talked about losing control. The first step is realize that I have lost control over my life right now, which I am unaware previously.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    For me, it has to be reading faster with good retention. The problem I have is, once I focus on a topic that I wanted to deep dive, and select only materials that can have the biggest impact (80/20 rule), I cannot absorb fast enough and longer time is needed.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    On the consequence of losing control.

  184. avatar

    HI Ramit and happy new year! Love this post, your approach to behavioural change is really interesting to me. Some of the stuff you wrote last year starting me thinking about barriers and how to make change. The thing that made the most impression was about changing one small step at a time. So I decided I was going to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill once a week. I would have previously thought this was a waste of time (like the person you mentioned above). However, I managed it and after a couple of months upped it to twice a week. Then I read somewhere else about not wasting time at the gym, so I switched gradually from a 45m walk to a 30min jog. I now do a (slow) 4k run twice a week and have lost 6.5kg in 7 months. I haven’t changed anything else, and still eat too much chocolate, but I’m winning. Sure, it’s slow, but that’s ok! I’m going to stick to the twice a week but see if I can’t get up to 5k. So, thanks Ramit. 🙂

  185. avatar

    I want to find and address my invisible scripts that hold me back. I was aware of the idea for years but until I started watching your videos I wasn’t aware how they presented themselves. I have found some of them just by making a list of things I knew I could never do, free flow style. Just start writing I could never… and see what comes out. I know there are more in there but I have found a number, most of them center around money and popularity.

    Like I could never fit in with highly effective, very well known people I admire and I listed specific examples.
    Or I could never make 50k/year without being employed by someone else.
    Or I could never be comfortable managing a lot of people as part of my business.

    I had a lot more.

    I know a lot of tactics that I have studied over the years and I could never get out of my own way to completely commit to doing them. By learning how to control my scripts, I will accomplish that.

  186. avatar

    I never miss one of your emails. You are such a terrific writer. Every single time I find something that makes me laugh out loud, and something else that makes me think. I know you want me to tell you how I’m changing my life and all, and I don’t blame you for wanting to hear that, and my life is already a pretty damn peachy adventure if you want to know the truth. I did buy your IWT book and I’m reading it with great interest, and I also read the Power of Habit by Duhigg which was marvelous, so thank you for the recommendation.

    Just the other day I experienced a person getting defensive as soon as I answered her question about how I made an change in my body. The thing of it was, it was HER question! I didn’t come on to her about it, she asked me. And as soon as I answered she was right there with the reason why she couldn’t do it. Hmmm. It was a bogus reason, too. She wanted me to get into the tug of war with her but I dropped the rope. I’m mean like that.

    I absolutely adore success stories and I’m going to read ALL of them. I’m very enthused about your work. In case you can’t tell.

  187. avatar

    I always find what you have to say interesting and different (in fact, your salary negotiation class got me an unheard-of raise this year) it is just that the time it takes me to read it is not something I am willing to do most nights. I generally just peruse the important points from my phone and add whatever book you’ve recommended to my wish list on Amazon (which works, by the way). I finally hacked it though! I took a speed reading course this year as part of my “always learning” goals and now I just copy and paste your articles into their accelareader (you type in how many wpm you want to read, how many words flashed on the screen at once) and I just have to watch as the words flash on the screen and done! Here is the link, I’m so excited that I finally got through everything! ( ) .
    My goal this year is to pay down my debt (starting with my credit cards…halfway there!) every month so I can actually join your dream job course when it opens up! (The payment plan that you did for your salary negotiation course was perfect for me and very much appreciated! I’d rather do monthly payments then a lump sum because I’m better at budgeting monthly).
    I also liked what you said about being “efficient” vs. “effective”. I am really good about dealing with everything that comes across my desk every day but I never get to do my own projects….which sucks in the long run when I am constantly reacting to situations rather than having a plan.

  188. avatar

    I am very interested in this subject. I do realize I have invisible scripts and would like to conquer them. In particular, I have an invisible script that tells me I’ll start something and eventually fail or quit. This year, I plan on turning my photography hobby into a profitable business. Therefore, I would like to take control of keeping myself on track with my goals.

    As far as surprise about this article, I suppose it’s the perfect timing of it.

  189. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    It’s called a joke. This stuff can be fun. People who don’t get my jokes don’t stick around very long around here.

  190. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Great insights on your second and last paragraphs. Also, I like your testing mentality. Actually, I love your entire comment. Really glad to have you as a reader.

  191. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    – Definitely! I want to get up earlier and get my planned tasks finished!

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    – I want to get up earlier… I procrastinate too much and I’ve just wasted so much time on my bed!

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    – That before taking my major career move 3 years ago, I had also been saying to myself for 6 years “If I could just figure out what I want, I could achieve what I want!”. I’ve wasted so much time doing nothing to make a change.

  192. avatar

    Sounds like you’re spending a lot of “control” energy depriving yourself. If you allowed yourself to answer “yes” to “do I really want this chocolate chip cookie” sometimes then it’s a lot easier to answer “no” when you really don’t. Likely a couple of yes votes a month – or even a week – would add up to fewer cookies than your 2 week binge. It’s worked for me, anyway, for 30 years of maintaining a 45# weight loss in my 20s.

  193. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes. I just quit a job (in the profession/work that I adore and am really good at) because the environment and philosophy of the organization was making me crazy. I don’t know exactly what’s next but I know it won’t come if I don’t open doors that will make it happen.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    My courage – I want to take the time to ask, “What do you really want?” and find a way to act on it.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    that it’s so youth oriented. If life ended at 40 I’d be rotting away rather than making major changes in my life at 56.

  194. avatar

    Yes, this is interesting to me!

    The one specific thing I want to take control of is a half hour of work on my professional portfolio, six days a week. I know from past experience that once I start, I’ll typically do much more than half an hour, but that’s my goal.

    What surprised you about today’s post? How closely it matched my own thinking in the last month or so. This is the time of year when people assemble lengthy lists of goals, but I felt in my gut this was a mistake. I’ve taken on just three goals: 1. To take a multi-vitamin every day, 2. To go for a 30 minute walk six days a week (can be — and often is — a run, but the point is to get moving), 3. Stand up for ten minutes every hour (@ 13 minutes past the hour, to help me remember)

  195. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?

    Definitely. Looking at how our psychology functions and the steps we need to take to effect real, meaningful and sustainable change is the key to mastering any core area of our lives/reaching any significant goal. I get so tired of blogs that put things in terms of “ten steps to change your life” or “nine ways to save $10 now. Those are meaningless without greater attention to the overall systematic way we are running (often ruining) our lives.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?

    My health, because everything else rests on that. More specifically, I need to adopt eating and excercise patterns that keep my volatile blood sugar under control. I have been hypoglycemic since I was a child, and have long known how bad sugar is for my health (mental and physical). But I still indulge. As I have gotten older, weight control has become a struggle, and my dissastifaction/discomfort with my weight impacts my performance/satisfaction with other areas of my life as well. So, not doing better with diet and exercise leads to a downward spiral in other areas.

    I need to get it under control. I will get it under control.

    Today I have already taken the following steps toward that goal:

    1) I have printed out my first 8-week training plan to get back to running, which makes me feel great when I do it consistently. I’m starting with the novice Hal Higdon 5km routine. I was following his training plans for several months last year, but got derailed by work schedules and injuries. So though I could probably start at the intermediate level, I think it is smarter to start slow and ensure I get into a good pattern. I will turn it up a notch every 8 weeks, advancing to more rigorous plans (tentatively intermediate 5 k, then novice 8k, then advanced 5k, then intermediate 8k, then novice 10k — that’s 48 weeks worth of scheduled, structured training, which should be doable even if I need to take a break now and then due to work/family commitments).

    2) Before I leave work today, I will print out at least 5 new low-carb recipes to try in January. I had good results switching to a low-carb diet a little over a year ago, and just need to plan ahead so that I am not tempted to fall back into old patterns.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    How much it resonated with thoughts I had already been having, and how it encouraged me to set SMART goals so that I actually have a plan I can commit to. And how important it was for me to document that here. Accountability is really important.

  196. avatar
    Joao Soares

    Extremely interesting. I want to take control of my body fat, reducing it to below 14% by the end of March. To do that, I will try out a Ketogenic regimen for 6 days a week, and measure/weight every 7th day. I was surprised by the way you quickly identified so many invisible scripts in a simple everyday conversation.

  197. avatar

    I finally decided to start breaking down these fricking barriers,scripts, and fears. I stumbled upon your content sometime in Oct/Nov 2012 and have grown to love your sarcastic writing (You keep it Real!). I often think the same things or same way but never say it.

    Anyways I started automating some all the bills I could going to Credit Card and a few from checking, which I hate because I feel out of control when someone else is taking from my checking account. Because like your jackets next to the bed, I would often do the same with bills

    I had already started taking care of my body a little more and changed my diet, removed the soda, removed fried food, limit the bread, eat whole foods..much of my success came from using a product called WholeBody Green. No worries It’s not a multi level marketing scam- just a really good product that I use everyday for breakfast check it out

    So the biggest fears I have had for many years have to do with career. This is the category I am feeling like a complete loser. Imagine working at a place where you know you are the smartest person, you are not challenged, you can’t improve pay, you can’t improve position because you don’t go to the right church..but yet you stay because it’s safe, secure, you run the show somewhat, you are home everynight and you get nearly 6 weeks vacation that you never freaking can take because you are so valuable….then one week before Christmas at the Christmas luncheon which is a sad joke of Olive Garden- barely enough for everyone..the Chief Nursing Officer addresses your division and says you could become unemployed within a few weeks..Merry Frickin Christmas. Thanks Appreciate that!

    Doesn’t feel too good. One minute I am energized because it seems like there are lots of opportunities and I needed to get off of this go nowhere train and the next minute I feel like crawling into a hole because there might be one person on earth that might have or meet all of the stupid HR requirements. I am sitting here almost unemployed and feel helpless as $hit. Why? Every person I am trying to link up with tells me something different.your resume needs changed, you need a skills resume, your job titles suck so use a skills resume..or go to this stupid networking event in a city you don’t want to work in..

    Then to top it off..I have the extra $1000 monthly but its not going anywhere and I’m the minority partner who will never get his share of nothing…

    I’m sick of living like this, barely getting by always helping others for free, never being able to sell myself into the right situation/job. What gets me is some of the dumb assess you meet that are making six figures with a job title they don’t even know what it means..and you say to yourself man how did that guy get into that situation I am just as good or better than him…

    Hoping for a better 2013. Thankful for your blog!

  198. avatar

    1) yes- it was a very interesting post

    2) I would like to build my social skills. I could be sometimes aloof and freeze when i meet new people.

    3) it gave an amazing insight into how we sabotage ourselves

  199. avatar

    Count me in.

  200. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. I definitely need to understand the psychology behind the choices I make.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I want to take control of my time, money, and change careers. I make decent money, but I owe lots of student loans, and shop to try and escape. I have wanted to work for myself for a long-time, have an idea for changing careers, but it’s going to require training and money. I need help planning a strategy.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?

    That you talked about psychology. I realize that if I can’t get my mind together, the rest is pointless. What’s even more surprising is that I’m actually commenting on your post. I signed up for your email blogs, but I’ve been deleting your email for months now. This year MUST be different. I have to change.

  201. avatar
    Dan N.

    1. Yes, this is interesting.

    2. I want to control my information diet and how it affects my productivity. I work in an environment where I often have to wait 15 minutes or more for a build to complete. During this time I often tell myself “Oh, I will check my Google Reader / Facebook / whatever while I wait.” inevitably I don’t snap out of my passive reading hypnosis until long after my build has completed having wasted a significant amount of time.

  202. avatar

    Thank you for this Ramit. I just tweeted this out, I have some friends who are always saying they “need to figure it out” I hope one of them clicks the link.

  203. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. I’ve been reading IWT for 4-5 years I’d say, and I’ve noticed the evolution from intelligent personal finance to E1K to Dream Job, and now a fuller focus on psychology and soft skills. My own evolution is opposite. The stuff you’re talking about now is stuff I NEED. It’s actually required in order for me to follow through on E1K, etc. I kind of love it. You’re hacking at the barriers that prevent folks from succeeding at the stuff you did in the past few years. Well done.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    Waking up and having a plan EVERY DAY. My work is highly self-directed, and if I don’t wake up with a sense of what I’m doing for the day, it can completely sabotage my whole day. Planning for a day, a week, a month. If I can control that, I will be sailing.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    Nothing comes to mind. I’ve done enough work about this to have a good sense of my barriers, and what I need to work on, but it’s OVERCOMING the barriers that is the real issue. You’re right to point out how powerful our barriers and negative scripts are.

  204. avatar

    Yes, these topics are very interesting. I need to take control of my career as I no longer enjoy what I do and feel that I am no longer learning.

    I’m surprised at how many different areas of my life I need to take control of!

  205. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?


    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I want to improve my productivity in the amount of time I spend writing and drawing. I tend to procrastinate and I don’t always practice my writing and drawing consistently. I’ll play a video game or get distracted by something that my family wants me to do, etc.
    I want to get into a writing career and now that I have developed an interest in drawing, I want to start working on a graphic novel or a web comic when I feel confident enough with my drawing skill. I’d like to combine both of my interests into something that I can use in the gaming industry, maybe.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    What surprised me was that I can be selective about what I control in my life.
    I always thought I had to have control over everything and I wasn’t getting anything done!

  206. avatar

    1. absofuckinglutely!!
    2. i have recently taken control of my weight.losing 12 kilos. next step is to take out the carbs and clean eat 4hr body business.. any ways… the one thing that is on my mind is my communication. I love photography but my communication skills is shit. I get flustered and i judge myself thinking im making a fool out of myself. So this stops me from stepping out and talking to more ppl about my business (if youd call it a business). I want to be free of my judement.
    3.I dont think you surprise anyone Ramit, you always have awesome content.
    HI 5

  207. avatar

    “Then one day, we wake up and wonder how our lives turned out the way they did…” This is the statement that really jumped out at me. I’m in my mid-thirties, I’ve got a decent job, but it’s certainly not my dream job. If I continue on my current career path, I have an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder with a successful company. The thought of this though makes me want to puke. I cannot fathom working in a corporate office for another 30 years. I have always wanted to start a business. However, I have terrible restraint when it comes to managing money, so the steady paycheck with my employer gives me a sense of stability. To even think about starting a business, do I first need to have a tighter grip on my finances? Can I even begin planning out my own business without knowing how to effectively manage money?

    I am working towards solidifying my goals for 2013 and am really looking forward to the upcoming posts that follow this. Thanks!

  208. avatar

    1. Yes very. I’ve used excuses and scripts most of my life to avoid developing social skills and I’m paying for it.

    2. I want to talk to a beautiful woman without acting like a wuss! How to become a man women will want to date and improve social skillsto talk to anyone.

    3. Its everything II’ve told myself most of my life and I’m finally admitting it.

  209. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    YES!!!!!! Finally- it took me a long time of bullshitting around, “Oh I’m a free spirit!” Yeah, how has that been working out for me? Not. What I’m discovering right now is that productivity in my business will FREE me like I’ve never been freed before. EVERYTHING in me is 100% devoted to being EFFECTIVE and not just efficient in my career and finances.

    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    Growing my business EFFECTIVELY and elegantly to generate six figures this year. Yes.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    How flippin’ awesome you are. I already knew that, but gosh. You don’t mess around! And I laughed out loud for a long time at the “‘I just saved $0.50 on saran wrap!’ Great, you’re a moron” piece. Wow. Love it!

  210. avatar

    Ramit, you always have interesting material because of the research you put in before you start writing. Thank you!

    You were dead on with taking control of my relationships and social skills. I’ve been on vacation with my brother’s family and inlaws. I’ve been mildly pissed about going to so many of their family functions. I’m not even part of their family. This morning I plainly told them I would be at a coffee shop reading. And the world DIDN’T END! I spent today doing exactly what I wanted: grabbed a morning coffee, read, went hiking and enjoyed my day. Yay for a quick win.

    I have never approached other skills with the same framework as money. The sooner I build on the social and health skills the more it will pay off over my lifetime.

  211. avatar
    Shoba Haridas

    This is more than interesting to me. It’s echoing exactly what I was thinking.

    I want to start my own business and I’ve been tinkering with the idea for a year but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing tinkering. And at the end of last year, I realized I spent an inordinate time doing stuff and there has been no result. It’s very demoralizing.

    The bit on what an average person and a top performer does surprised and embarrassed me. I think like an average person. But I need to start thinking like a top performer. I need to have a plan.

  212. avatar

    Hi Ramit 🙂

    1. Is this interesting to you? OMG yes! You are a rockstar, this is just the kind of stuff I am working on this year. Control!!

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    OK – I was just thinking about this today, actually, so I’m glad you asked. I have a MASSIVE internal script that says that life is so much easier for everyone else, and that success and happiness are out of my reach, more effort than I can muster.

    But what is it about me that makes my life more difficult than everyone else’s? Nothing at all. I am beautiful, intelligent, and filled with love and other awesome gifts. And I live in a country with one of the strongest economies in the world where everyone is entitled to a fair go.

    People with brain injuries, or who have lost their house in a fire, or who were born into extreme poverty and hunger in the third world – THEY are the ones whose lives are more difficult than others, and for good reason.

    The only thing about me that makes my life more difficult than everyone else’s is that I have this script running that says so.

    This year is the year I have decided to change it. I’m well on the way already, and I’m so excited about it. Even more excited now that I have read this post and know that I’ll be getting sage advice on taking control from Ramit!

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    That it moved me so much! I’ve always liked your stuff but you’ve really impressed me today. Great work 🙂

    In particular, the costs to not being in control made me think about a few things. I am working on ditching the procrastination, and thinking about what it costs me is very helpful.

  213. avatar

    For this year I want to focus on taking control of my earning. I have already spent 2012 working endless hours on projects that pay almost nothing and I have to focus on projects and clients that pay more.

  214. avatar
    Sagar Lakhani

    This post is extremely interesting and relevant, since taking charge of one’s destiny is in everyone’s best interest. Changing one’s mindset is crucial in changing one’s behavior. Ramit’s tips on productivity, social skills, and one’s career will definitely be helpful.

  215. avatar
    Joshua D

    Haven’t really noticed the amount of psychology that goes in to life. Makes me wonder if mastering social psychology will help understand the way we are. I want to start looking in to that for a life skill or even a career.

  216. avatar

    Yes this is interesting more than I thought at first.

    I would like to be more productive with my online business and manage my time accordingly. As I work a day job and have a online business as well. There are days I feel totally overwhelmed and I lose total focus.

    Today’s post made me realise that if I can set my mind to it, then I can achieve. Sounds simple right, but somehow there is always an excuse “invisible scripts”
    Now that I know what is stopping me, I need to focus on what I want to get where I need to be getting to.

    I am super eager to do this course!

  217. avatar

    It’s interesting to me, or I wouldn’t be reading it.

    I want to take control of my eating habits–specifically, to eat more mindfully and eat less! I eat too much food, much of it while doing other things (reading, watching TV, talking on the phone), which means I don’t enjoy it (it’s hugely rewarding in a rat-pushing-a-lever kind of way, but not actually enjoyable) and I’m overweight.

    Nothing about the post really surprised me; I find that your posts often clarify something that I already know or suspect, and that their value is mostly in helping with implementation. Like coaching.

  218. avatar
    Kipp Kahlia

    This was an encouraging blog post for me! (and trust me, I needed that).

    I’m a lead and rhythm guitarist (female, so it gets bizarre at times), and a vocalist. I am getting back into performing live after a long, unplanned sabbatical, PLUS I’ve changed musical genres (from reggae to soul), and people in my new genre are just beginning to know that I EXIST.

    I want to gig (as often as I want, and for nice money), and I want to get my own musical project off the ground. I’m putting myself in all kinds of new and different situations and talking to new people (sometimes awkwardly, but I do it anyway). Things are going to click for me somehow, some way very soon, but in the meantime I have to dodge the naysayers who want me to go and get a minimum wage job. They say this because they feel that, after investing more than 2 decades of blood, sweat, musical education and being regularly hit on by the rest of the band members (I work freelance, so it happens over and over again), I clearly don’t have the kind of “luck” that’s needed to be successful as a pop musician.

    What I would like to take control of is the feeling of “alone-ness.” I want to meet/find people with whom I can strategize and who are making their way along a similar path. I know people who haven’t gotten as far as I have, and I know people who are way ahead of me, but I don’t seem to know any really-motivated, strategic thinkers who are trying to get to that happy place from where I am right now. In the meantime, I’ll continue to deliberately make friends with the nice people who are already THERE. I’m learning a lot, but psychologically, it just seems so roller coaster-ish! I know that will change once I’m being compensated for my work again. And when I’ve found a support team. Those are the two things I want.

    So, not to be a know-it-all, but I really wasn’t surprised by anything in the post. It mostly confirmed and supported the conclusions that I’d already come to by reading and listening to people like you. I did, however, like the “website color” story, since for me, every day is a major exercise in prioritizing. There are a billion different ways to become a successful musician, and it’s really easy to get lost in all the options available. I get up every day and ask myself, “What are the right things for me to work on today?” The fact that you brought that up in the blog made me feel more secure about how I’m approaching things. Today was especially tough, but I figured it out and was productive in the end!

    THANKS FOR THE BLOG. Seriously. Oh – and I’ve been having totally conflicting feelings about Coinstar, but hadn’t thought it through. Lol- you’ve cleared up that confusion for me, too!

  219. avatar

    1.I feel like I’m not in control of anything in my life at the moment, so, yes, this is interesting. The more things I “fail” at, the more new things I start. I pick up new interests from every bloody where from worm composting to minimalism just so for once I might succeed and this success might spead.
    2.I want to be able to finish things. I’ve been working on my master’s thesis for more than a year and I’m still not done (oh, I hate it so!). I have so many unfinished projects lying around – not at the end of this year!
    3. That the feeling of not being in control seems to be normal – what went wrong in history/ society?

  220. avatar

    1. YES…. relevant and spot on
    2. My career. I’ve been stuck in the same job for 5.5years blaming everyone and everything around me for the lack of fulfillment I’m feeling. I kept thinking that as soon as I have a baby (we have great maternity benefits) then I will find a career more exciting, more me, but my twins are now 16 months, and now I’m finding myself making new excuses. I work close to home, My team are great, my boss understands that I have kids… blablabla. Bottom Line, I need to be a beter example for my sons. Practise what you preach, right?
    3. I was surprised that you post touched on so many of the insecurities that plays in my head all the time. Most blogs or books usually touches on a few and only zone in on “deactivating the alarm and not on what triggered the alarm in the first place”. I feel I need to first sort out my personal pshycological barriers (what triggered the alarm) and then find a new job which will then automatically be more fullfilling as I will be more in touch with myself and who and what I really am and want to be (deactivating the alarm).

  221. avatar

    Is this interesting? Hell yes! This is exactly what I was telling myself I wanted to do this year, so having you cover it at the same time is ace.

    One thing I want to master. Not letting my children be an excuse to not do work or go out and meet people. Finding a way to have quality time with them while still living my life and pursuing my goals.

    I was surprised that anyone would tell you that calling someone dumb was a mistake. Sure, you write for your readers, so alienating them might be a problem, but your particular style is all about allowing people to take that first step and keeping them moving – sometimes you nee to be told you’re being dumb to get past a hurdle, and if you didn’t do that you’d be failing your audience more.

  222. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    Yes it is. I have some areas where I am not taking control, or only just started to get more in control.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I have a few different areas, but one of them is my fitness. While I don’t have health problems right now, I know that exercising will do me a lot of good, but there is always some reason why I stop doing it (too rainy to run outside, I don’t like the class times at my gym, I don’t have a good sports bra). Even while I know that when I do it, I look and feel much better.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    That I have the same reactions to many of the things you mention: I cannot give up cheese and carbs! I don’t want to track every cent I spend! But at the same time, I am not stupid enough to think that I have to.

  223. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. Despite wanting to stop reading as I found it a long post. I thought to myself. That’s what I always do. I can confidently say that’s my habit year in year out. Then at some point in the year. I’m frustrated, depressed, angry with myself/the world because I’m not where I want to be, certainly financially.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I love the ONE SPECIFIC THING – normally most of use don’t know what specific really means. We say a word and think it is specific yet it isn’t. “Specific” is made up of ‘steps’ or parts. i.e. My specific thing would be ‘ growing my internet business’. Yet, what specifically do I want there? What’s the result I want in my business. Then I think: generating a consistent monthly passive income amount. I know the specific BIG monthly amount I want. But then reading your article why worry about the BIG win, why not get a consistent passive income amount first!

    From there I can ask myself, what do I need to do to get there? In my head (since I know what I want my business to look like). I need to create more products. I’ve several products, yet I can always find reasons to stop the creation process, normally I’m waiting on somebody to do something for me. Yet, I don’t need to!

    So I think my one specific thing would be daily, tangible, really product creation, despite what is going on around me. i.e. record just 5 minutes every day

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    I finished reading it! Having a great BIG win end result is fabulous, but the question you need to keep asking yourself and then DOING the answer is: What are you going to do TOMORROW to move towards it or even better What are you going to do TODAY to move towards it?

    I could re-write the answer to question 2. Written as getting over the inertia of writing the goal and doing nothing about it which actually requires me to feel uncomfortable. The pain and emotion is in my head and body. Yes I know, yet in my experience emotions win out. The end result (what I want) doesn’t seem to be as strong a pull as what is stopping me.

    So writing here is a commitment to myself: getting what I want DONE.

  224. avatar
    José Filipe

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes. I really need to take control of my life. My work can be interesting but I’m stuck because I don’t know how I should do it.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I want to be able to inspire and have people respect me at my job. I want to be the very best and make a difference. This year is the safety year for the company where I work. I’m an occupational safety professional so this focus on safety should make me happy and egaer to work. What I do feel is that I’ll have a lot more work to do, a lot more pressure and I don’t feel capable of doing it. I genuinely don’t care about safety. I have to create and deliver a presentation on safety issues and I don’t even now where to start. I’ve been procrastinating for more than a month and I have to deliver it during January.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    “Finally, not taking control of your career means hating the alarm clock EVERY MORNING. It means being stuck doing something you don’t love — or worse, hate — being underpaid, losing thousands of dollars a year (compounded over a lifetime). Worst of all, it means not living up to your potential.” This is exactly what I feel.

  225. avatar

    The concept of not taking control really resonated with me. My husband always says everything after “but” is BS, and once again, he is right. I realize I let a few circumstances stand in my way of taking control and getting what I want. My financial picture is going to be much brighter this year by staying focused, setting realistic goals and doing inventory more often.

  226. avatar

    This email couldn’t come at a better time I have come to the realisation that i relinquished control of all areas of my life after a bad break up a few years back.

    I had an excuse for everything that would come my way and my quality of life has really diminished.

    But of late I’ve started to take back control, and all the stupid rational for things like “I’ve got lots if friends that I hang out with individually why would i want to mix those group!”
    I’m beginning to see as just I’m scared that they might expose me for not being the great guy I portray.

    So what do I want to take control of most?? Fixing the belief that I should do everything on my own. That I should shut myself off from the world and work on my projects only surfacing when I’m done.

    When in real life I know that by involving people and connecting with people my projects will be better, finished quicker and will improve many more areas of my life than I ever intended when the project began.

    What surprised me about the email today. Just how much of it I know to be true but constantly deny to myself!

  227. avatar

    Hi. Strait to your questions:
    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes. It’s in line with what I have been thinking for the past several months.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I don’t know is this specific enough, but let’s try: Due to some risky business, instead of earning money I got myself in debt, about 30k euros. Not owning it to a single bank or person, but to a lot of them 🙂 Not that anyone will break my legs or something that dramatic, but still it’s a huge problem. I want to end this year with no debts. Surprisingly, I think that in order to do this i need to take control of my emotions. Every minute I spend on whining and feeling sorry for myself is wasted time. Need to take control of my warrior mentality. And I need a good strategy, case so far I have been a great tactician but a poor strategist. That needs a change too 🙂

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    Hmm… Actually, what surprised me is the fact that I liked it so much 🙂 I have read a lot of stuff lately and most of it doesn’t stand out. Somehow I forgot why I marked your website in the first place, this reminded me of it.

  228. avatar

    Interesting? Yeah your articles are always interesting even when I have read them more than once.

    My goal is to pick one thing to worry about and follow it through until I find an insight as to why it worked or didn’t.

    Your comment on invisible scripts are so true and I refused to believe it when I first read it on one of your blogs but I definitely have them!

  229. avatar

    Aw come-on, Ramit, *everything* you write is interesting, even the stuff that has no direct application to my life now or in the foreseeable future. (I’ve inherited a small manufacturing company; not my dream job, but a job I’m enjoying (most of the time). I won’t be looking for a “real” job … for the rest of my life …. if I’m able to keep this company afloat, which I think I will.

    Thanks to you, I think I’ve gotten my financial life in the chute that leads to being controlled. Still paying off massive (massive!) (personal) debt, but it’s all lined up and, with time, will be taken care of. I need to continue taking control of the arcana of owning and running a company I was not planning on, not exactly trained to, and about which I still have great gaping holes in my knowledge. (I’m NOT an engineer, so I can’t easily / knowledgeably make substantive changes in the devices. I AM consulting engineers to consider changes I might be able to / choose to make in the devices… but I absolutely do NOT feel “in control” of what changes might be salutary and what might totally destroy the company! Terrifying position to be in.)

    I chuckled at the example conversation. Since I am quite often “lecturing” folks (maybe a thing I should take control of, eh?) about low carb and paleo, and good foods and bad foods, and good science and bad science, and Doug McGuff’s “Body by Science” weight-lifting (and I even carry around “hand-out cards” with a list of URLs for folks who might want to know more… {eye roll} None so convinced (or is that, as annoying?) as a new convert!), I hear those “excuses” (and make them myself…) a lot. (I’m sitting here watching the clock because it’s weight-lifting and water aerobics day and I AM going to make it!)

    I’m looking forward to this facet of your knowledge, as I do all the things you teach! Let’s go 2013!!

  230. avatar

    Yes this is interesting to me, I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself I’m going to take control and create my life the way I would like to see it. . . then I always lapse into old habits. I would like to finally stick to some of the ideas and goals that I’m always thinking about.

    I want to increase my monthly income (to save for a trip to visit family) by completing freelance design jobs online. I start a project and then I let time, discouragement or my everyday life stop me from finishing.

    I was surprised by your parts about psychological barriers and the scripts we play in our heads or out loud in conversation. I would like to be more aware of where I limit myself and move beyond it.

  231. avatar
    Sean Oliver

    Interesting stuff Ramit, I like it. I’d like to be able to specifically take control of how i’m perceived by others. Putting your advice into practice has led some folk to shield their eyes in the face of awesome, I don’t want to slow down, but I’m not great at managing that currently.

    I’m surprised it took this long for you to get to this subject area. 🙂

  232. avatar
    Johnny Mean

    1.This should be an interesting year as we move deeper into our own personal psychology and barriers.

    2.I want to take control of holding back my personal story when interactive with others. I get many similar red flag questions, especially while traveling abroad for several months with my wife. (How do you manage financially, what do you do for a living? ; how could you possibly do X?:Sometimes being accused of straight Bull shitting, or needing to “relax/tone it down”.) I’ve also compiled a number of destructive behaviors that will be addressed as well. Being productive is easy, keeping it all is hard work!

    3. What surprised me about today’s post is even though I have participated in basically every IWTYTBR program. The timing of this message felt the most relevant.

    I am on a no holds barred, merciless mission to refine myself, while living out of a 50litre pack traveling the world. To most I meet, they would consider traveling provides enough personal growth.

    I look forward to this year with a sly grin and much anticipation.

    Much personal thanks Ramit,
    Johnny Mean

  233. avatar
    Jess H.

    Seconding the Karen Kelsky recommendation. Or as I like to call her, Karen “Ramit” Kelsky.

  234. avatar
    Kristin S

    1. Very interesting and timely 🙂
    2. ONE THING – I want to take control of my career, I’ve been letting it sit stagnent while I work on other things but I need to take control and find my dream job. As opposed to trying to “figure it out” which is something I’ve been saying for two years now..

    3. I’m not sure how surprising this actually was to me but it did hit me in the face that I’ve been being an idiot, the fact that I’ve been saying that I need to “figure it out” for two years now is just a delay tactic and didn’t allow me to take control of my career, health, finances.

  235. avatar
    Raphael Linhares

    – Is this interesting to you?

    Definitely, because it focuses on areas I consider “CORE” for all the others.

    – What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    To maintain my motivation level above average.

    – What surprised you about today’s post?

    The fact that it wasn’t focused solely on finances, but mostly on “soft/social” skills. It has also intrigued me a lot, it’ll be interesting to see you apply the structured approach you deliver in other areas on this one. Totally looking forward to it.

  236. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Yep, #3 was a big insight. So many of us believe “control” extends to all parts of life, but it doesn’t.

    I’m in ultra-control of some parts of my control, and other parts are just average. That’s OK — I pick the important ones to focus on, and let the other ones be “whatever.” As cognitive misers, we can’t control everything.

  237. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    I LOVE that you identified the “I’m a free spirit!!” script. Really good.

  238. avatar

    1. yes, it is very interesting and different than usual. I like it.
    2. I want to learn every day, or at least few days a week when I have my days off and don’t work, more about graphic design since I would like to find additional work in that area…
    3. Although I read about invisible script before in your mails/blogs i forgot a little about it. This article reminds me about it. I got clearer picture about my own barriers.
    Also, like some of your other readers, I also got New Year resolution to improve myself and do more in this year because I was disappointed in myself for doing little in 2012.
    Since last 5 days I was satisfied with my doings since I finally managed to finish my 5 free lessons for Photoshop I got for free almost a year ago. But, my invisible scripts was telling me that I don’t have time to do it. Like you said, we always have time for everything, just have to use it the right way.

    Thank you, Ramit.

  239. avatar
    gina mangano

    it is very interesting
    my state of mind has always been to be in the zone-whether it be work or home or relationship–
    my goal this year is to be able to divide my energies to all my endeavors without overwhelming myself with just one

  240. avatar

    You’re right. Whenever I recommend Ramit’s stuff to my friends, I warn them about this: He’s a jerk about a lot of things.

    I also think you’re misreading. Ramit is very, very snarky and sarcastic. But — and this is a big but — he’s almost never mean, at least for my tastes. I don’t read him as kicking people when they are down — and in fact, I find this site is one of the more respectful to people in genuinely hard circumstances. He doesn’t pretend that this is a purely meritocratic society and we all have our destinies according to our deserts. He’ll mock folks for their self-imposed barriers to success, but I’ve not seen him attack someone for real barriers. I have seen him be supportive and kind. Don’t tell him, but he’s often very sweet.

    He does, however, kick people where we are smug (including himself). He does it in a funny way that some people like and some people don’t. And, you know, it’s totally ok when people don’t like it — de gustibus and all that. But there’s a difference between not being nice and being actually abusive.

    You might not agree with this analysis at all, but I think it’s worth looking at the language that bothers you to see where you feel Ramit is directing his snotty remarks.

  241. avatar

    Let’s go!

  242. avatar

    1. It’s very interesting to me…I like the focus on figuring out which things are worth controlling.

    2. I have a few things I’m focusing on in 2013, but one of them is fitness/weightloss. Specifically, I’m focusing on losing 1 pound per week…rather than coming up with a laundry list of habits to change and fitness milestones to hit, I’m taking it week by week and my approach is “what can I do today that will help me lose my pound this week?”…the things that will help that will naturally help improve my health/fitness, too…choices fall either into the “helps me” or “hinders me” category, and I try to minimize what hinders me. So far, so good. And way less stress/time/busywork than tracking every calorie or drop of sweat.

    3. I was really surprised by the woman who didn’t see the value in running 1x/week if she couldn’t run 3x/week. I think that often, not doing something at all is less of a failure than doing less than your “ideal” amount (how you arrive at what’s “ideal is a whole different conversation)…somehow running once a week smacks of failing to run the other two times (instead of achieving one run!), and not running at all is less of a failure. Makes no sense, but I’ve caught myself in this mindset, too.

  243. avatar
    Krista B.

    Is this interesting to you?

    Absolutely–My plan for 2013 is the same and so this should make for an interesting journey.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? My health and fitness. I have already started simple stretching and exercises to do first thing in the morning to wakeup and get my body working. I know for long term success that it is establishing habits that I will be successful.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    No surprises really, but an acknowledgment that even when others are being successful it is hard to tear down our fears and also be successful.

  244. avatar

    Connie, this may be way off because this line is the only thing I know about you, but this sounds like you’ve given up on yourself. And if that’s true, and that attitude is any influence on them, then they’ll need luck too.

  245. avatar

    I want to finally, and completely, take control of my & my husband’s finances. I got halfway through your book 3 years ago and never finished. Life got in the way… wedding, graduation, new job (ended up hating it), now my first baby.
    I am so ready to finish the job and have our financial goals in place so I can stop thinking about it! It occupies a huge amount if my brain space. It will be my Big Win, after which I look forward to focusing on my next Big Win
    Thanks Ramit for all of your work and encouragement!
    On a side note, I just realized an invisible script I have had due to a degenerative disease I that I have (multiple sclerosis). Hmm…

  246. avatar
    Timothy Moser

    One of your best posts yet, Ramit. Really convicting and yet inspiring at the same time. I’m very much looking forward to this year.

  247. avatar

    1. Yes, very. And goes along with some other concepts I’ve been working on.

    2. Focusing on one thing at a time… I like to “multi-task” but, when I’m honest with myself, I’m simply enjoying the distraction (and delay) of jumping from project to project without accomplishing a whole lot. BUT within this “focus” I want to plan X to help with Y (ie, I want to complete in (and win) Mountain Trail Competitions (horse events) this year – In order to support that goal I am training for adventure races which will improve my fitness level… improving my performance in the Mountain Trail competitions.)

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    Being cautious of “well meaning” questions of other…. It’s true though… When I answer those type of questions (we recently got out of cc debt and are nearly debt free save the mortgage) peoples answers / responses (I could never cancel my cable!) tend to drag me down.

  248. avatar

    Dear Ramit,

    I came back to check if you answered my first post and although you did answer posts that followed mine I did not see any reply here. Did you miss it or I did not get an answer on purpose?

    Best regards!

  249. avatar

    #2. Upping the pace of the metronome in my head. I want to be pumping to “Staying Alive” and not “I Will Survive”.

  250. avatar
    Stacy McKenna

    1. Absolutely! Last month everyone in the house was diagnosed with varying degrees of ADHD, and so this month has been all about understanding how our brains work, and the kinds of tools we need to remove barriers and get our focus working effectively. We’re already seeing improvements in housekeeping, paperwork, and physical exercise arenas. Now, to keep it up…
    2. I want to get back on top of my bee-related stuff. As secretary of my local bee group, I’m horribly behind on writing up notes from conventions and reading trade publications. It’s embarrassing.
    3. The point about “Not taking control of relationships/social skills” – intellectually I understand this, but emotionally I am still/continually surprised (and frustrated) by the massive significance this has in daily life/success.

  251. avatar

    1. Yes this interests me or I wouldn’t bother to respond.
    2. In terms of productivity, I often get overwhelmed by the amount of new material I feel I should be reading or want to be reading and would like to get in a routine (I feel I had one before but have somehow lost it) of reading 3 newspapers today and like 75 pages of a book.
    3.Just thinking about my productivity example, I realized I’ve been using correspondence as an excuse to avoid reading.

  252. avatar

    1. Extremely! Thanks!!
    2. The fear of “getting myself out there”.
    By now I have figured out quite specifically what I would really like to do in my life (I’m 35!), BUT I have been noticing recently that I am finding a lot of excuses not to start.
    To be honest there are 2 excuses – “I’m not ready yet, I should prepare more” and “I don’t feel properly inspired, I’ll do it later”. I have also started working on a project with a friend, who is a “total doer”, I would have an idea and half hour later she calls me and says that it’s done and I should take over. After getting over the first period of constant shock and surprise, I’m slowly learning that it’s definitely better to start doing than to wait for “the perfect” circumstances. And also I became very aware that my actual problem is the fear of failing and being judged, not not knowing how to do things.
    3. This is the first time I read your post and I was mostly surprised by the very direct approach. The surprise was pleasant, I’m a fan now.

  253. avatar

    i am really excited for these 4 weeks to kick off! the one main thing that i want to take control of is the habit of waking up early. there are a lot of daylight hours lost sleeping, and i want them back!

  254. avatar

    1. Yes, I’ve read your previous articles about psychological barriers – very interesting stuff. It’s crazy how invisible the barriers really are to oneself.

    2. I want to take control of my career. Everything you mentioned in your article above regarding careers describes me to a T.

    3. The number of people who relate to this article. When you get so frustrated about something, you begin to think everyone else has it much better than you do.

  255. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? –
    Yep! It’s amazing how many aspects of life this touches on. So excited for 2013!

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? –
    To commit to a yoga or pilates class 4x/month.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    Efficient vs. Effective. I can be hyper-efficient, but I’m interested in learning more about where to focus my energy.

  256. avatar
    Logan York

    (1) Is this interesting to you?

    Yes. Here’s why: I’ve been working through your material for three years, and it’s helped me to achieve some truly life-changing things (dramatically increasing my income/standard of living, maxing out investment accounts, saving 6+ months of expenses in the bank). But I want to work towards CONSISTENCY in my action and attitude, to have control over not necessarily super-detailed goals, but over daily habits and a mindset that just add up to positive outcomes in my life.

    Right now, I’ve scripted myself to think that if I’m going to accomplish something that it always has to be in a dramatic, Herculean way for it to “really count” (i.e. the EXTREME VERSION of a goal). But I’ve come to understand and accept that for 99% of effective people, they don’t confuse the grand after-the-fact life narratives of Steve Jobs and other supermen with the less sexy habits of just striving to make things happen, one day at a time. I’d like to be more like that and see what happens.

    (2) What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?

    Making my portfolio more remarkable. De-commoditizing it. I landed some very notable meetings with superstars in my industry last year, and this is what they all highlighted: I need more personal / interesting / noteworthy work in my portfolio.

    (3) What surprised you about today’s post?

    “To be in control, you don’t have to be in control of everything.”

    That headline hit me as a revelation. And then I realized: This has always been one of your core principles! But the way you FRAMED it to be about general control in life–not just monthly finances or productivity alone–caused me to see that I could gain a sense of clarity and calm, not from more effort, but by going to the heart of the problem and simply rewriting my definition (script) of control.

  257. avatar

    >Is this interesting to you?
    yes, I’m posting!

    >What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I need to be able to write in English like I write in my mother tongue or even better. My country is failing hard and with English I can make more money and help family and friends who are in need (also I like money).
    I’ve always read and listen a lot, so I can understand English perfectly but I never took the time to improve my writing skills. This made me miss some opportunities in the past, and the worst thing is that I’m currently training very little, I’ve done like 25hours of training in the last three months, and I’ve already got a lot better at it (infact I’m writing this post which I hope will not outrage anyone when grammar mistakes appear). “I wish I would have started sooner”, and I wonder how many people say the same in regards to various stuff.
    I also want to be able to talk in English well, since my accent is ridicolous, but I’m scared I will not be able to get results. Not a good excuse, so I will try to overcome this barrier and train my accent too.

    >What surprised you about today’s post?
    I never thought about the barriers. Now I hope I will be capable of see them more often, so I can fight them when they try to stop me.

    Also I already knew that little efforts are better than no efforts, but I keep forgetting so thanks for reminding me.

    Thanks for the post Ramith, it was cool

  258. avatar

    1. This post was definitely interesting! I’ve already shared it with a couple of people in the hopes that it will it inspire them just as it has inspired me.

    2. A specific thing I want to take control of is my health, even more specifically get back in running shape. I used to be extremely athletic, but as I have become more involved in my other passions, I’ve basically stopped working out. I’m not overweight or particularly unhealthy; in fact I’ve lost 10 lbs since I’ve slowly ended my regular trips to the gym (mostly in muscle mass). I’ve always been a part of a team sport up until about 3 years ago. I ran cross country and track in high school, as well as participated in a paddling sport called “dragonboat” and rowing during my first year of college. After realizing that participating in a collegiate level sport was too stressful on my schedule, I quit both teams and was content with working out on my own. What I soon realized is that I have an extremely difficult time motivating myself to workout, so as the years have gone by, I’ve basically stopped working out and continually been bummed out about it. It’s actually made me depressed at times thinking about all of the time I spent working on my physical fitness in the past and how I’ve lost most of that. This year I hope to change that and get back in shape!

    3. What surprised me about today’s post is how much I’ve been using those “invisible scripts” you’ve been talking about. I feel like I already knew what I needed to change, yet I’ve never been able to steer myself away from all of my self-imposed negative thoughts that keep me from making permanent changes.

    Looking forward to your posts to come!

  259. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? Yes.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. Being less of a slacker in my job.
    What surprised you about today’s post? You didn’t try to sell any products in it. You’ve got so much crap for sale on the start page it looks like a spam website I immediately try to leave.

  260. avatar

    1. Yes.
    2. Create good habits around spending and paying off the rest of my little debt that I have, and continue to follow my career path and bringing home more than enough money by doing what I love. One thing I want to control, is unconscious spending and creating healthy patterns around financial/life choices.
    3. That we were on the same page for 2013. I just chuckled when your email came in and said, “go figure.”

  261. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Love when delusional people accuse me of selling too much on my site. I don’t even think you can buy more than 1 of my products directly from my site. 90%+ of my courses are not available except to people on my email list — which you have to subscribe to even see.

  262. avatar

    Absolutely interested! For me, the ONE thing I want to take control of is my career. I’m in my early (approaching mid) 30’s and still have PLENTY of time left, but don’t want to wake up at 50 wondering what the hell happened. As far as what’s surprising? It’s that I’m still reading your digital gold without having done much of anything! Time to shed some invisible scripts and move forward.

  263. avatar
    Greg P

    To answer:

    -Is this interesting to you?

    Yes, very much so… I’ve only become aware IWTY over the past few weeks and have been using the strategies in the book to start exerting control over what were my runaway financial practices (as in my money was running away from me, often times at near warp speed with very little to show for it). The next step on the list was exerting control over aspects of my life I had been lax on, so the timing on this is very applicable to me.

    -What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    With finances in the process of being put back in control with automatic transfers, a conscious spending plan and more money going towards investments (401K, IRA and standard brokerage account) than they have in a good long while, the next main area I’m trying to re-exert proper control of is my free time. Namely: instead of doing very little productive with it, I plan to take control and do more productive things with it. This could be everything from picking up a new fitness goal beyond boxing (such as a martial art or crossfit/proper weight training ala the linked post), leaning new skills or ways to utilize the ones I currently have and so on. With the macro set of “do more with my free time”, the next step for is figuring out what more I’d like to focus on. I suspect next weeks post on productivity and habits will be useful in achieving this goal.

    -What surprised you about today’s post?

    The timing being very applicable to actions I had started to take in my life to do just what the topic of this post was: take control before more is lost.

  264. avatar

    Do you have a list/post about all the invisible scripts somewhere?

  265. avatar
    Kishan Shah

    Ramit – I really enjoyed this post. I don’t think anyone has control over all parts of their life (there is no such things as perfection, we can all do better). In terms of exercise, your readers may find my 220 lb weight loss story helpful:


  266. avatar
    Nick Brown

    I am very interested in your programs Ramit.

    I want the ability to go from a vague idea and to realized, tangible product/service/project.

    I guess nothing really surprised me about your post since I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. Even when you call your readers/audience stupid. 🙂

  267. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Wow, that is an AWESOME story. Well done. Thrilled to have you as a reader.

  268. avatar
    Dane Johnson


    My brother actually works for you and I am that person who has been told 100x how much you can help and I have ignored all advice. I finally started reading and I am on board. To bad I wasted so much time.

    Is this interesting to you? Yes, I feel that my life has pretty much happened around me and I want to really take control.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. – My personal life. I feel like I have always been reacting to my surroundings and letting other people, friends, and family dictate my life’s direction and purpose. I would love to feel in control of my time and life. I know that if I felt in control of my life my career and everything else would improve even more.

    What surprised you about today’s post? How much it hit me personally. I have tried reading your work before and it didn’t stick, or I wasn’t ready. Today I felt like I was ready and you were speaking to me. Excited for what is to come. Going to order the book and dive in. I also have said I didn’t like your harsh words to readers before but I realized that not coddling somebody is the opposite of being mean. I know tough love is exactly what I need now.


    Dane Johnson

  269. avatar

    I want to take control of my discipline and consistency. The Pendulum you talk about where we go from manic work sprees and periods of lethargy describes me perfectly. I’ll be all gung-ho about taking control of an area of my life and I’ll implement a system to take control of that. Then 2 – 6 weeks later I’ll have some success but I’ll self sabotage.

    One recent example is I wanted to get in shape. I’m 5’6″ and 125 lbs. Pretty good but I wanted to add muscle. I read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour-Body and implemented his program of ridiculously short workouts and it worked. I gained 5 lbs in 2 weeks but then I got sick. So I decided to stop exercising and get my health together as drinking so much diary to gain weight was taking its toll. I got better but lost the weight, back to where I started. Now I’m trying to balance , meditating every day, eating well, exercising, studying to get my real estate licence, helping an addiction counseling center, working a job making and delivering pizza and doing construction for real income, and going out 3 nights a week to work on my social skills.

  270. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?
    Absolutely. I feel that the coming weeks are going to be difficult, but invaluable.
    I look forward to your next post!

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want to improve my social skills so that I feel comfortable and confident
    when conversing and interacting with anyone I meet.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    Probably the general topic of control. Looking back on 2012, I see now that a lot of my frustration came from a lack of control in the areas of career, productivity, social skills, and money.

  271. avatar
    Lance Goyke

    Ramit, did you work with Martin for your diet changes? My distance client from Sweden is dating him.


  272. avatar
    Jack Armijo

    This post really hit home for me. I’ve had the same goals for years in the areas of financial independence, health and fitness, and fulfilling relationships. I’m 40 years old so I’m a little older than your typical visitor but your posts really connect with me which is why I keep coming back. Over the years I’ve been successful in each of the areas above but apparently I lack stamina because eventually I get out of shape, stop moving forward in my career or professional goals, or lose contact with some close friends. It feels like I’m always starting over. That’s why this post was interesting to me.

    As for big wins or areas of improvement; this year I want to actually generate some positive income outside of my “job”. I have a successful career but I’ve become bored with it. I’m excited to move on but have talked myself out of it yet continue to pay for courses like Dream Job that I lose focus on. My goal for the next 4 weeks is to use the tools you provide to identify my invisible scripts/barriers and implement steps immediately to overcome AND generate some income on the side.

    Most shocking or interesting thing in this article is the person who didn’t’ realize running once per week was still better then not running at all. I guess she didn’t consider that by building the habit of running once per week she’s 1/3 of the way to running 3 times per week. What’s also shocking to me is I’ve had the same goal recently and haven’t started for the same reason. In years past that wasn’t the case; I’ve been able to break down goals easily and hit milestones; most recently it’s been an issue. Thanks for the wake-up call. I’m dusting off my running shoes today; even if its only once a week.

  273. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?

    Yes! I want to feel in control of the important facets of my life, but approaching that task is often daunting.

    2. What is one specific thing you want to take control of?

    I want to become better at identifying important tasks so I don’t waste my time with useless minutiae, no matter how efficient I am.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?

    Most surprising was how I could identify invisible scripts rising up as I was reading the post. I could just leave my life as it is right now, and it’d probably be fine. No better than that, though. You know, “Sure I could do that, but I don’t need to right now. I’m fine!” The thing is, I want to. I know I can be better.

  274. avatar
    Kurt Hauck

    This will be a very interesting year.

    I always cave in to family demands.

    I always knew it is hard for people to be happy for others but I hadn’t made the jump to the idea that it is a self defense strategy.

  275. avatar

    The girl is a moron for more reasons than not improving herself. She’s only been on a couple dates and can’t figure out why this guy who she barely knows hasn’t changed his life around her yet… Hello, wreaks of desperation.

  276. avatar
    Barbara Weary

    I am very interested in getting in control. I see myself as a control freak. Lots of planning, goals, and vision. Most of the time this has worked for me. When I feel in control I feel safe. And when I’m not I become anxious. I’m not a youngster. I’ll be 71 in six months. So I have had a lot of life experiences and lessons learned. But I like the way you put things–simply and honestly.

    One specific thing that I will be working on is my health. Without good health it’s very difficult to do much else.

    What surprised me most about your writing is that I can recognize the barriers other people have but can’t recognize in myself. I can tell other people how to improve, but find it hard to look in the mirror at myself. I’m looking forward to the psychological aspects of your writings.

  277. avatar
    James Lett III

    Sure, I’ll bite. Here’s your data point, Ramit. 😛 It’s always fun discussing yourself anyway.

    1. Very interesting. I’ve bought and paid for Earn1K and haven’t gotten the investment out of it I planned to, which is entirely my fault. I’m going through the early modules over the next few days to see how I can apply them to my job search. I need a stable salary right now, not unstable freelance income.

    2. I’m interested in learning how to wake up when I want to. I’m nocturnal. I LIKE being up until 2-4am, but I can’t seem to get up with less than 7-8 hours of sleep anymore. I realize 8-10 is recommended but if sacrificing a bit of sleep short-term improves my productivity, I’ll gladly do it. Sadly, I can’t test this, as I can’t reliably wake up with less than 7-8 hours of sleep.

    3. I was surprised at the DJ:E video. From the original clips you released during the sales period, it looked like they all were doing VERY WELL in their fields but wanted to take it to the next level. I feel more capable and confident in myself knowing that they didn’t all start out as A’s.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    What surprised you about today’s post?

  278. avatar
    James Lett III

    Replying to my own comment, as I just realized after scrolling and reading through some comments (admittedly mostly Ramit’s. I value seeing others’ perspectives but too much time spend doing any one non-productive thing when I’m not where I want to be is a bad habit to get into)….just because I can’t test how waking up with different amounts of sleep affects my productivity doesn’t mean I can’t test different methods to ALLOW me to get up with less than 8 hours of sleep.

  279. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    I love this. My material isn’t for everyone, but I am a big fan that you recognize now is the time to change. Thanks for reading. Your brother is great, btw.

  280. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want to spend less time online and more time getting things done.

    What surprised you about today’s post?
    A few things actually. Until you pointed it out, I had no idea how defensive I am every time I have those conversations with other people about weight loss and self improvement. But the biggest surprise to me was your point that much of what we are dissatisfied about in our lives has to do with a lack of being in control. If you had asked me before I read your article why my house was dirty, my work life disorganized and my free time wasted online … I would have told you that I was “too busy” “too stressed” “too tired” to get everything done. I would have gone into the minutiae of why I couldn’t possibly take care of all of these things. Having read this post, I see what I’m not doing as all symptoms of the one problem – not being in control. I see this in contrast to other areas of my life which are very much in control.

    I’m looking forward to reading and learning more. I think this is going to be a great focus for this year.

  281. avatar
    Franklyn Roth

    Is this interesting to you?
    Yes this is the root issue of all halting of success I have had in my past. I have grown to enjoy psychology in the past year and enjoy advice like this that does not pull any punches.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    I will take control of college/career, I am jumping from idea to idea in college and will to pick a major and graduate and develop a career. I will develop a system in place in 2013 that will take care of that with the help of Ramit.

    What surprised you about today’s post?

    That we have invisible scripts all around us every day.

  282. avatar
    Steven Brown

    I recently moved to a new city after finding my first dream job, and I still don’t know many people here. A big focus of mine for 2013 is learning to meet new people and build quality relationships. It’s never been a strength of mine in the past, but it soon will be.

  283. avatar
    J Diven

    1) Interesting to me? Yes. Also find it interesting that you’re asking your readers to “verbalize” their interest as it probably helps us mentally make the switch to commitment and help us follow through as the opportunities to act on this advice present themselves
    2) My Priority for 2013? Increase my comfort level with letting small stuff go or be automated so I can focus on and be present for the big things that will move the dial on my happiness: My wife and new baby, adding value for my company at work, investing in my development. Those are pretty vague at the moment but part of the work will be making those focus areas more specific and building habits around them.
    3) I was surprised by the conclusion of your jacket return experience where you realized that you were mad at yourself rather than just at the store policies. I definitely have had similar experiences but hadn’t made the connection to my own behavior or ways I could shape the interaction to a more favorable outcome for me.

  284. avatar

    1- Yes, very interesting
    2- My career. I want to find a career path and work hard to succeed in it
    3- I think like the average person when it comes to my career

  285. avatar

    1. It’s beyond interesting. It’s coming exactly when I need it.

    2. I want to take control of my career and well-being by making a consistent living, which I currently do not as a freelancer in a field I don’t enjoy anymore. Specifically, I want to start podcasting and be making my entire income from Internet radio by the end of the year, and establish myself as a media personality.

    3. That for once I wasn’t mildly offended by your use of the word “losers.” I guess I’m having a wake-up call recently where I’ve realized I gave up control of (and my zest for) my life in the last few years, due to personal life troubles that really negatively affected my self-image and outlook for the future. I guess I’m ready to hear what you have to say this time.

  286. avatar
    Lori Sarabia

    It is very interesting to me. The specific things I want to take control of are allowing outside influences to affect my mood, and my mood to affect my productivity. Also allowing my relationships to dictate my actions. What most surprises me is not that we have these self-defeating scripts, but how insidiously pervasive they are. Even when I think I’ve weeded them out, I catch them sneaking back in the back door. However, I have made progress. I used to tell myself I would never be published because the publishing industry was just too hard to break into. It was rigged. It’s who you know….. blah, blah. But, I changed my thinking, got online, and almost immediately found a publishing house that accepted unsolicited manuscripts. Now my book is in the first stages of production, and will be on bookshelves nationwide this summer.

  287. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? YES, I am excited about the opportunity this could give me

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.
    I actually have two things, my health and social skills. I really want to work on improving my health. I need to get out of the excuses that I give my self for not being healthy, alot of which are procrastination and laziness. I think these excuses line up with my lack of social skills as well. I want to work on improving those things.

    What surprised you about today’s post? Nothing…it was like a wake up call that I knew I needed. thank you!

  288. avatar

    I split with my toxic ex of 13 years, three years ago. It was scary and I had never lived on my own. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and although I can’t get my 30’s back, I’m looking forward to new challenges and successes.

  289. avatar

    You can do it! May you have continued success with your recovery.

  290. avatar
    Joe V

    1-Is this interesting to you?
    Absolutely. You touched upon a lot of what I already knew but couldn’t put into words. Taking care of things not just efficiently but effectively as how I try to live my life.

    2-What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I want to control how I generate income. My employer has been pressuring me to research new things and come up with ways to create new channels of revenue. If I’m going to put that much effort into discovering ways to make money I should just do it for myself.

    What surprised you about today’s post? How well it was written and there was no sales pitch. I kinda expected to be asked to buy a book or something at the end of every paragraph. Your really putting out some excellent advice and don’t seem to be asking for anything. Well done.

  291. avatar

    Thank you, Ramit. I really don’t know how I started getting your emails but today I actually read this one all the way through. I like what you are saying even though I’ve already worked for over 30 yrs in the corporate world and had every unimaginable thing happen to me because I played by the FAIR rules. Now I’m layed off, working a $9/hr job that I’m good at but not making any real money. I have run out of excuses and I am ready, eager and looking forward to week 1. Don’t kick me out just yet because I can do this.

  292. avatar

    1. YES!
    2. Specifically I’m going to be more in control of how I collate and account for my business finances. I want this because I realise not having done so for a while has meant I’ve been unable to make properly informed decision because sometimes key info has been, which for instance has lead to me paying more tax than necessary sometimes.
    3. I’m am struck by just how much information you keep giving away! Thank you Ramit 🙂

  293. avatar
    Heidi Coone

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    Yes, that is why I commented.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why.
    I want to start posting 2 times a day on my blog for a month to get my post count up and I want to start guest blogging at a few places.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    It made me think about what I really want to do ,and I was surprised about your reader comment.

  294. avatar

    I am a teacher at a high school. It really made me smile about the part in not controlling your career. I’ve had situations where my alarm clock disapproves of my relationship with the bed. But I have always told myself that I left out all of the prospects given to me in going corporate (I graduated business) because of my fueled desire to teach. Because 2013 will be my first full year in the job, 2013 will be a year of taking control – especially in my career.

    Thanks a lot for the motivation, Ramit!

  295. avatar

    EB –


    I appreciate your insight about not disclosing current projects or goals, even to close friends. It seems that to have the courage to take the seemingly counter-intuitive approaches (“Take 5 people out to coffee? Nah, I think it’s better to use that time sending my resume to Craigslist postings.”) necessary to engage the game being played around you, you have to defend yourself against naysayers. If that requires some strategic secrecy, so be it.

    I’d like to ask you a couple quick questions about your process of launching and evaluating freelance writing projects. Would you mind if I emailed you?

    — Sarah

  296. avatar

    Sweet cravings relate to lack of grounding, over thinking or worry as all of these are part of the earth element in Chinese medicine. I’d start looking there for emotional triggers.

  297. avatar

    This was really interesting and its not new things at all thank you for the motivation and hopefully I will be able to take control on my life I am on my late late 30s and my life is in shambles

  298. avatar

    1.Is this interesting to you?

    Absolutely! I am one of Ramit’s readers who is NOT in his 20s. I will be 54 this year, and I find the energy and perceptiveness of Ramit’s posts to be enlightening and inspiring. Actually, Ramit, your material is universally applicable, especially in his economy. I took your dream job course beginning last January and it made a difference. I had been underproductive for over 4 years. I gained a reputation for too many job changes, though the experience I have in my field is staggering, in terms of both breadth and depth. At the same time, though I had been much sought after in the past, the constant rejection really zapped my confidence, triggered my old internal scripts (as well as a few new ones) and sent me into a vicious circle in which my whole demeanor and body language was “defeated and desperate.” Your course helped me with a step-by-step deliberate plan. It was a lot of work but nothing I’ve ever done that was worthwhile didn’t come without a price tag. It’s usually worth it. I didn’t land my dream job yet, but I did land a great position with people who appreciate what I have and where I can make a contribution. I’ve got my confidence back. So, thank you. I look forward to redoing the course this year.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why.

    I want to double my income without doubling my working time (ideally I’d work half as many hours). I enjoy what I do and I’m really good at it.

    I want to finish the book I’ve been writing for the past 3 years and get it out there in some form.

    3.What surprised you about today’s post?

    What surprised me at first was Ramit’s revelation about the defensiveness of others. I’ve experienced this in the past and it’s one of the reasons I keep most of my personal and professional development activities to myself. Someone will always be willing to tell me why I’m wasting my money or “fell for some scam.” One person saw a personal development CD in my car and made fun of me… “What does that say about you, John?” I was embarrassed and angry. It wasn’t until much later that I came to be more aware of the persistent cynicism and resignation out there. I want to learn more about how to deal with it, both internally and externally.

  299. avatar
    Patrick Foley

    1.Is this interesting to you?
    2.What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    I’ve fixed a lot of things in my life over the last few years: Saved my marriage (we’re doing great – one day at a time). Got out of debt and back on stable financial footing. Got in shape (I’m a “streak runner” – I just passed 13 months of running at least a mile every day). Those are all really good things.

    But what I’m working to take control of now is making good on ALL of my commitments to others and doing what I say I’m going to do (in the book The Four Agreements, this is #1: “be impeccable with your word”). Right now, I’m probably 80% true to my word, which is not good enough. Somewhere along the line, I developed the bad habit of overcommitting. It usually comes from good intentions – I genuinely like people, and I get swept up in the excitement of the moment. Before I catch myself, I blurt out, “sure, I’ll do that” or I even offer something that wasn’t asked for because I want to be helpful. I meant it at the time but did not fully think through my ability to deliver (or sometimes even just remember).

    Ultimately, it’s just a habit. I’m taking control and working to change the habit. I’m catching myself before I commit to things. A big step is simply noticing when I make commitments (big or small) and considering them more carefully. I’m writing down everything I promise to people. If I can’t deliver, I’m owning up earlier in the process so that everyone can adjust.

    The people I like most are at least 90% at doing what they say they’re going to do. The people I admire most are close to 100%. I want to approach 100%. That’s what I’m taking control of.
    3.What surprised you about today’s post?
    How many comments you take the time to reply to. I think that’s very generous and kind of you. I admire that.

    Thanks for your work!

  300. avatar
    Ian Giohuhi

    This article was very interesting.

    I have problems with procrastination and not wanting to share my problems with people.
    I have wanted to start a passive income working on a niche site. Been reading about it for close to 3 years, started a blog last year and it stagnated. I have not tried anything else.

  301. avatar

    why your emails are too long? we are busy with our own life but reading your email some time is too much. why keep short and interesting ????

  302. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Because for the right people, length doesn’t matter — they care more about sucking every morsel of insight out and making real changes, rather than people who want an intellectual snack. Those are not the people I want. P.S. I measure this.

  303. avatar

    Is this interesting to you?-Yes!
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? – My life! specifically figure out what i want to do with my life/ career, and take proactive steps towards it
    What surprised you about today’s post? – how tantalizingly accurate it is…

  304. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to you?
    YES. I graduated last June (undergrad) and have been flaffing about ever since. I’ve already started to take more control, and the fact that your emails will be helping me along the way is GREAT.

    2. What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    The most major thing is my physical and mental health — treating myself well by eating the way I used to (no dairy, lots of vegetables, lots of healthy fats) in order to lose excess fat and regain some mental clarity, meditating for at least 5 minutes every night before I fall asleep in order to improve the quality of my shut-eye, getting back my core strength so my back stops hurting (scoliosis!), drinking water and taking my multi so my skin stays lustrous, and laughing more – because, well, because.

    3. What surprised you about today’s post?
    I expected that the “Taking Control” video would include personal relationships, too, since they are SO SO crucial in how we treat our bodies, our finances, and our careers. If all your friends are chubby deadbeats, your chances of succeeding with investing or exercising significantly decreases. It’s even worse if your love interest is a lameass who doesn’t strive for anything. I’ll be interested to see how you address this issue going forward into the year.

  305. avatar
    Erica Pottorff

    Is this interesting to you? – Yes this is a super interesting topic and I can’t wait to explore it more.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story.

    -One specific thing that I would like to take control of is my fitness routine. I usually go to the gym once or twice a week and I really want to start going 3 times a week. But more than that I want to get to the point where I absolutely crave going and I know I can get to that point. This will aid in my weight loss goals (I only have 40 more pounds to lose!)

    hat surprised you about today’s post? – I read it over the course of the day while I was at work. I had to run home in the middle of the day to deal with my cable installation and while I was waiting for the cable guy, I got some things done around the house that I’ve been putting off for a couple of months. I felt so in control of things around my house after getting those few things done. I can’t wait to tackle the rest of the things I’ve been putting off.

  306. avatar

    Is this interesting to you? – yes. i can always improve.

    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Don’t just say “productivity” — tell me what part of being productive you want to improve, and why. Share a story. – in one of my (too many to be distracted) startups, i’ve been delaying the launch of an e-book for months (tips & stories by/for/about people affected by rare diseases). have been procrastinating and sometimes blaming others for delay. tonight i picked up the phone and went through specific tactics with a biz partner then sent an email to our virtual assistant to get the ball rolling with specific deadlines. set a goal of launching by end of month. feel free to hold me to it.

    What surprised you about today’s post? – how many people responded here. nice work on your list. then again, if you really have 160k list, wtf are the other people doing reading but not going for it!?!?

  307. avatar

    Hey Ramit,
    I’m relatively new to reading your blog but love what I’m reading so far.

    To answer,
    Is this interesting to you? – Yes taking control of productivity, habits, social skills, natural networking and careers is definitely interesting.
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of? Definitely productivity but more in a discipline over motivation way. I start off on all my goals with the best of intentions and all fired up but somewhere along the lines, the enthusiasm just fizzles out even when I’ve put hard earned money to the tune of 1K down atleast.
    What surprised you about today’s post – That I could identify with so much of what you’ve written 🙂

  308. avatar

    1. Yes this is incredibly interesting!
    2. I want to take control and become productive in regards to my career as a musician/producer. I’m very smart, talented socially and musically and yet, I have for the past 5 years allowed myself to buy into several of my own “invisible scripts”. I let a job that pays me too little and exploits few of my biggest skills be what consumes most of my time. I have justified this job for so long because it is tied to music and production, but it doesn’t allow me to focus the necessary energy to really be successful in what I’m best at. I’m realizing only I can change that.
    3. The most surprising thing about this article is that as I’m reading, I’m nodding in agreement the whole time because you’re telling me things I know deep down are true, but have not had the courage to put language to and face head-on. And I suppose, an even bigger surprise is how simple of an approach I would have to take to achieve that success I crave; that I have always craved.

  309. avatar

    Yes this was very interesting
    What is ONE SPECIFIC THING you want to take control of?
    My time table. Every now and then I improve it but cant seem to get it all right. I am a medical student and am usually dan 4 the day at 3 and then i have a few 1 or 2 hr meetings(one day) and i sleep at 10pm but the rest of the 5hrs I cant seem to take control of (i have learning on my timetable for those times). i know there is an invisible script somewhere in that sentence but i am unable to figure it out

  310. avatar

    Yes this is very interesting to me, there are definitely areas of my life where I am not in control and I desperately want to be so it’s the perfect thing to start of 2013.

    I want to take control of my new Pampered Chef business. I found something fun that I enjoy doing to make some extra money on the side, it’s easy and a really great opportunity that I have but I am really just letting it sit there, and not putting in any effort, not taking control. I really want to start making those booking phone calls, start host coaching, start really being passionate about it and sharing it with everyone I know because it’s a great business to have. I really want to organize my time better, and succeed in this business and reach my goal of earning a trip to Portugal next year.

    What suprised me the most is the thing about the oddest quirks of human behavior where people will get defensive when you tell them what you are doing to improve and how hard it is to improve. You desperately want to change something but it can be SOO HARD.

  311. avatar

    Huh, Connie, I didn’t get that impression at all. To me it sounds like you are just saying that you hope they pay attention to Ramit sooner, rather than later, which is not at all a commentary on yourself.

  312. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Dear god Brett. You got all that from one line? Come on man.

  313. avatar

    Yes this is interesting because I have never taken control of things in my life. I have always let things happen to me. I ended up being a lawyer in a large law firm for 8 years. Hated it. Ran away from it. Got married and had kids. Now after being a SAHM for 15 years, I need to control and make important decisions about my future.
    I want to take control of my career. Currently I am not licensed in the state I live in. I need to take the bar. I used to work in finance. I want to work in family law now. Currently I am volunteering as a court appointed special advocate. I need to network and find out how to make this transition.
    What surprised me about this post is that I did not realize how passive I had been about MY life. And I did not realize it until I read this post for the second time.

  314. avatar

    1. Is this interesting to me?

    2. The one thing I want ot take control of: My productivity habits, but more precisely my focus. I want this year, to develop a habit of working in 90 minutes chunks of insane focus on IMPORTANT tasks, and bring them to completion.

    3. What surprised me?
    The fact that so few people truly know how to change.

  315. avatar

    I don’t necessarily read posts in order. Coming back to this one, I found it most interesting, and while reading, recalled several instances when, in conversation, I mentioned something and immediately got a “why I can’t do it” back. Never had a name for it, but it is definitely an invisible script. I’m noticing my own invisible scripts and working to change them to positives. I want to take control of the earning part of my life. I’m self-employed, have been employed, would like to stay self-employed but doing something different. Over the last couple of years, I’ve actively researched/investigated several ideas/products, but none were viable. Still working on it. I’m not sure anything surprised me. I’ve always observed people and their behaviours, noticed things like how people immediately say why they can’t do something. Mostly, I’m just learning from Ramit’s vast education, knowledge and experience. The biggest take-away so far is testing. I am actively testing different approaches.

  316. avatar

    One specific thing I want to take control of:

    Changing one bad habit I’ve had since college: staying up all night reading internet novels. Sometimes I have a deadline to catch or some task to complete that I’m not very motivated for, and it’ll prevent me from going to bed early. But instead of working productively, I’d get grumpy and read novels online — and strangely, I pick really long novels with more than 100 chapters. So, many times, this leads to me staying up all night, and still not catching the deadline or finishing what I should have finished. In this year, this would be the one thing I want to stop from happening.

  317. avatar

    I just wanted to say that you’re an incredible writer and I look forward to reading more of what you’ve written!! 🙂

  318. avatar

    1. Yes, I am extremely interested in taking control of my life.
    2. I want to take control of how I feel about my physical appearance. I eat vegan, am lean and monitor my calories/exercise via the LoseIt! app, and my brother and I hold each other accountable. But I have not precisely defined my fitness goals and don’t know how to measure those goals…scratch that, I want to forget about fitness goals and be happy. I am proactive and willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of the negativity in this part of my life…it is an anxiety-provoking mess. Help please.
    3. I was surprised how similar your post was to David Burns’ CBT book “Feeling Good.” The intention sounds good, but how do I turn the words into your post into action items to achieve my goal?

  319. avatar

    1) I’m going to help my brother get a job.
    2) Create my personal website.
    3) Start a website to make money on the side.
    4) Make sure my family is very happy!

  320. avatar

    1. Your message has remained consistent since I check out your site a few years ago, but you’ve gotten so much more refined at what you’re doing.


    Haven’t gone on a date in several years. Part of it is because I moved four times and don’t have financial stability yet.

    I keep telling myself that I’ll date once I ‘get this job’, or get to “x thousand per month in income’, then when I try to make that happen and it doesn’t work, it’s frustrating.

    I really don’t want to settle for people who are just talking to me. I want to settle for the people who aren’t talking to me.

    You’re right, feeling out of control in one area can really leak into another if you’re not careful.

    3. I’ve failed to continue implementing your suggestions and fell off the path for a while. Nothing really surprised me, but I do need to let go of the guilt, and get back on the path.

  321. avatar

    Yes, very interesting.

    I want to take control of my social skills and networking skills.

    I’ve given up control of my business and left it to chance blaming my lack of business on not knowing the right people and not being able to connect with the right people.

    The only thing that surprised me is that I’m not doing this. I used to, but I think I’ve become tired and beat up. Now I’m tired of being tired and ready to get back to work.