Welcome to the Diary of Davis: a monthly chronicle of curated content for self-improvement – written for aspiring freelancers, soon-to-be business owners, early-stage entrepreneurs, and anybody ready to make change and lead a fulfilled life.
Entry #2: 02.01.21
Well, January was fun, wasn’t it? I mean, it’s not like we were in lockdown for the whole month or anything… 🙄
In all seriousness, this time around has been a lot more difficult.
My mental health has taken a shot; I’ve reverted on some of my recently adopted habits and positive behaviours; while unhealthy habits are digging their claws in deeper and deeper.
I’ve also taken my relationship for granted, which brings guilt along with knowing I need to step up and be a more supportive partner.
Internally, I view this as failure, and I am extremely hard on myself.
This leads to horribly negative self-talk, which leads to crushing self-doubt, which leads to a halt in self-improvement, with the dominos continuing to fall faster and faster.
If I let them.
Get your shit together, Davis!
I’ve said that to myself several times over the last couple of weeks – and as we start anew in February, I intend to do just that.
So, this month’s entry in the Diary of Davis is a reminder to be kind to yourself when things start to slip (as they inevitably do).
- Your state of wellness begins with a healthy mind—monitor your internal dialogue and check yourself when negative thoughts start creepin’ in.
- Nurture relationships, with yourself and the people you love—stay connected, communicate openly about the way you’re feeling, and don’t underestimate the power of fresh air.
- Positive habits can always be reestablished—focus on small wins and better-than-nothing behaviours that compound over time.
With that in mind, let’s get to this month’s resources.
The Month’s Mind Material
🧠 February’s brain matter is a mix of productivity tips, wellness advice, and insight into how to get your brain to think differently. Featuring:
- 🗞 One newsletter to help you find more meaning in your daily work;
- 🎥 Two digital deliverables to stretch your wellness and flip your perspective; and
- 📝 Three blog posts (one by yours truly) to help boost your productivity and progress.
Remember: invest in yourself above anything else – unless you caught wind of the GameStop stock, of course.
🗞 Mind Maker from Anne-Laure Le Cunff, founder of Ness Labs, provides “neuroscience-based content and conversations with a community of curious humans who want to achieve more without sacrificing their mental health.”
I found issue #074 about creating habits especially helpful – it’s packed full of curated content, from short reads to deep dives, about how to instil positive behaviours, while remaining motivated and inspired along the way.
Anne-Laure also offers a sneak peek at her productivity courses and workshops, with a behind-the-scenes look at what members of Ness Labs have access to.
A video + a podcast
🎥 Yoga with Kassandra is another YouTube channel similar to Yoga with Adriene. Kassandra offers free weekly Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Flow classes for yogis at any level, including 30-day challenges and guided meditation.
What I enjoy most about her videos are the short and soothing morning sessions.
Practicing yoga daily is one of the failing habits I spoke of earlier, and the negative impact both physically and mentally is more than obvious – I am far from balanced at the moment.
One of my goals this month is to get back on the mat consistently. And while hour-long classes are great, Kassandra’s quick 10–15 minute videos are way less intimidating and so much easier to commit to as a result.
🎙 Connect the Dots with Matt Ragland is a podcast about the interconnectedness of ideas, habits, and behaviours as they relate to productivity.
I’ve mentioned Matt Ragland before on the Davis Daily and in Daily Dose of D videos. He’s been a huge influence on me over the last two years, particularly when it comes to bullet journaling and time-management.
Connect the Dots is Matt’s most recent initiative, and within the first few episodes, I’ve already found value in the show. In episode five, Build Lifelong Habits with Simple Systems, for instance, he shares his three step habit loop, which is a combination of methodologies developed by:
- James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
- BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything
Productivity and time management are directly related to your habits, good and bad. So, if those two things are on your self-improvement to-do list, I highly suggest checking out Matt’s podcast as well as his YouTube channel.
And three blog posts
📝 Get in the Habit with Better-Than-Nothing Behaviour is a lesson in how to form habits by setting ridiculously small goals. When the objective is too lofty, the tendency to quit is much higher – setting the bar low isn’t always a bad thing.
“Stop placing obstacles in your path by being overly ambitious. Focus on tiny habits and better-than-nothing behaviour instead.”
📝 Why Small Habits Make a Big Difference is a quick read for those who don’t have the time to read a full book. If you’re interested in James Clear’s aforementioned Atomic Habits, this post delivers a succinct summary.
“Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”
📝 Overcoming Learned Helplessness is from the Ness Labs blog and uncovers the nature of learned helplessness, a mental state that leads to low self-esteem, low expectations of success, low motivation, less persistence, and an inability to ask for help.
“The key to overcoming learned helplessness is to change the way you look at the causes of events in your life. And believe it or not, exercise is one of the most effective ways to flip the script on a negative mindset.”
🐇 Here’s a small, three-foot rabbit hole of a thought to finish off this month’s entry in the Diary of Davis.
- The history of Valentine’s Day is scandalously ripe with controversy—its origin stems from the Roman festival Lupercalia, a fertility rite with women being paired off with men by way of a lottery (last I checked, this is frowned upon in the 21st century).
Another legend of the holiday surrounds a Christian named Valentine who was martyred around 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus.
- A martyr is defined as “a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle,” or “a great or constant sufferer.”
- And life is full of ups and downs—if our internal dialogue is consistently negative during the lows, we eventually turn ourselves into the constant sufferer. Which is less than ideal.
That’s it for me, I hope you found something that resonated.
Thanks for reading.
Cory B. Davis
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