“Potential has a shelf life.”

― Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

“Inzlicht says exerting self-control requires that the brain shift out of “autopilot,” and this shift demands attention and effort. Anything that distracts the brain — whether that distraction is an emotion, a need, a choice, a belief, or a new piece of information — is going to limit the brain’s ability to abandon its autopilot setting.”

—From Don’t Worry, You Can’t Deplete Your Willpower.

Scientists are now looking at self control in the context of mindfulness and distraction—rather than the flawed model of ego depletion.


Can music help you buckle down and get just a spot of work done? Yes—and Shamay Agaron has a complete rundown on choosing the best listens for getting something accomplished:

Food is many things, and sometimes it’s a self-soothing tool that we use in negative ways. But I love Edward Schneider’s expression, Dinner Is Travel, for Now. That’s the right…

Inappropriate apologizing puts a burden on the other person. Have you ever sensed the people in your life getting more aggravated at you as you apologize more and more? @a.m.vancleef…

Working on ourselves as an everyday practice—and not something beholden to the calendar

I’m always a little relieved on January 2. Every year I seem to forget how demanding the holiday season can be.

I look forward to times of quiet and darkness and a chance to reflect, but what happens instead seems to be a carnival of negotiating between that quiet time and what other people in my life want from me. For me, maintaining good boundaries can be exhausting (though not as exhausting as allowing them to be overrun.)

So January 2 becomes my day of the big sigh of relief that the holidays are over.

I used to feel like I’d missed something; I didn’t get all my review and planning done by January 1 and start working on some huge overhaul that day, that I’d missed an opportunity. …

Beyond New Year’s Resolutions

More than 80 inspiring articles, curated to give you the highest quality advice for reaching audacious goals in 2021

Sparklers light up the darkness.
Sparklers light up the darkness.
Image credit: phive2015.

Here’s a curated list of our best advice on common new year’s goals. Use it to target the tips to make you more successful in your own goals, or browse it for inspiration on how to liven things up and pull yourself out of your COVID-19 rut. (Hint: the Bucket List section is particularly inspiring!)

Change takes work. It also takes a realistic approach; a goal worth reaching is not one that you reach overnight. That’s the simple reason why New Year’s resolutions fail: it’s because being resolute is only one piece of a much bigger puzzle.

That said, you are capable of making tremendous positive change. We see it every day in our writers, who share their experiences and advice with our readers so they can do the same. …

Trustworthy advice, written by people who have been successful themselves

An easy way to find our articles by topic and tags—along with our top picks to inspire and delight

Better Humans is a long-term project in finding the best self-improvement advice from real practitioners. Our writers show you how they have implemented their own advice.

We’ve published over 1,600 articles. To help you find the articles that will help you reach your goals, use the directory below. We’ve grouped them into general categories and listed tags to help you dial in to the specific advice you’d like to find.

We’ve also included links directly to some of our top articles. That means you can browse this list for inspiration as well as for researching specific topics.

(If you’re interested in more about our editorial point of view, see our previous take: A Directory of Advice That Works—but keep in mind we’ve published several hundred articles since then!) …

Sunday mornings are for Field Notes from Christopher Brown—urban nature writing from the edgelands of Austin, TX, usually in the form of essay followed by fascinating links.

From this week’s installment: Lost in America.

The cool kids used to call it the dérive, the psychogeographical idea of hacking one’s mode of traveling through the city. Not so much a technique as an attitude, an active but intuitive way to alter normal patterns and ways of experiencing one’s environment that, done right, can break the malaise and rekindle wonder. Almost like surfing. The drift. Following the flow, while actively trying to get lost, and thereby creating opportunities for unexpected discovery. …


Terrie Schweitzer

Editor, Better Humans. Coach.me. Bubbler. Hawk watcher, birder. Permaculture fan. RPCV (Ghana 2011–2013). http://terrie.me

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