1. 55

What small change(s) have made a large impact on your life?

These could be things such as reading, meditation, walking, new hobbies, learning a new language, additions to daily routines, etc, etc.

Little daily changes of your routine could lead to places you’ve never imagined, or changes you could have never dreamed were possible.

The idea behind this question came from this Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQMbvJNRpLE

    1. 66

      Giving up social media and HN.

      1. 16

        It was Twitter for me.

        1. 10

          lobste.rs except ~once a week for me, sadly. But having a reading diet, especially an online one, is in any event a good thing.

          1. 5

            When I stopped binging lobsters I started reading reddits r/all, so that didn’t improve anything for me - only made it worse ?

            1. 3

              Oof, yeah – r/all is a timesuck cesspool. I’m still working on getting off that.

              1. 8

                How can someone get stuck on r/all ? It’s full of nothing but pictures and memes. The current state of r/all was what cured my reddit addiction!

                1. 2

                  endless scrolling + sometimes something interesting to read - mostly like watching bad TV stuff (except I haven’t watched TV since 8 years)

      2. 3


        I still go back to HN, for the wide variety of content under the “intellectual curiosity” umbrella that gets posted. It’s something I miss if I don’t go on HN and I wish there were lobste.rs-like communities for this type of thing.

        1. 1

          I even would pay for such thing. Going through all low quality stuff posted on hn takes time and time is the money. I had some hopes with amazon’s “Singles Classic”, they have published “Secrets of the Little Blue Box” but it seems to be dead now.

      3. 3

        The social media resistance intensifies. I believe the early adopters will be some of the first to exit the platforms.

        That is, if they’re willing to torch their follower count to be free. My two cents: it’s worth it; and the influence you believe you have via those mechanisms is not quite what you think it is.

    2. 37

      Taking my sleep seriously, and pursuing a sleep apnea diagnosis.

      I went from being so constantly fatigued to to the point where I could fall asleep while driving, to feeling… well, normal I guess.

      Sleep has such a drastic effect on one’s executive function that almost every other aspect of my life has improved because of it.

      1. 9

        In that regard, being more careful with caffeine. Cutting my coffee with decaf in the afternoon or foregoing it entirely. On the days where I only have coffee once I am a little shocked at how tired I get by the afternoon.

      2. 8

        Yup, similar experience here! My dentist told me I have sleep apnea 3 years ago, which resulted in a deep journey into the topic of breathing, and a big improvement in my life. Even though I wasn’t sleepy! Most people don’t realize that tooth grinding and damage is often a sign of bad breathing at night. Also, many people are mouth breathers and unaware of it, and it is a sign of poor breathing and sleep apnea.

        A funny thing is that all these sleep, breathing, and teeth issues have been popping up on Hacker News over the last year or so. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between them and programming, or just general awareness, because a bunch of popular books have come out about sleep lately. Could be that the readership is aging :)

        Here’s a comment I wrote in response to one of these stories:


        Here’s a surprising claim that has scientific concensus: Basically ALL humans have problems breathing. That is, apes and other mammals don’t have these problems.

        The two main reasons are the anatomical changes due to the evolution of speech, and the advent of agriculture, which completely changed our diets and thus the structure of our jaw.

        The agriculture bit hit us twice: ~10,000 years ago when we stopped being hunter-gatherers, and 50 years ago with the rise of industrial cooking. Remember that the average body weight for a man in the US increased from ~166 in the 1960’s to ~196 today [1]. This can push your bad breathing over the edge, although in my case I found that going back to a medically normal weight (which is 20-30th percentile now!) actually doesn’t fix the problem.

        I think that “sleep apnea” needs to be divided into several different afflictions, because the general tendency towards bad breathing manifests in different ways for different people. It sounds like a specific thing that certain people have, but it’s not really the case. It’s also common in young, thin women.

        Basically everyone’s airway is a little bit obstructed. But it’s not something a doctor will tell you about, because it may not cause an emergency. It’s more of a thing that unfolds over 20, 30, or 40 years. Doctors tend to give you point fixes for the SYMPTOMS, not the causes. For example, poor breathing causes high blood pressure, and lots of people are on blood pressure meds. And you will also find lots of dentists who will drill your teeth without telling you what the underlying cause of the damage is.

        Another way to think of sleep apnea is like cancer. 100 years ago, fewer people died of cancer, because they would die of something else first. Breathing it the same way… If you don’t die of something else, the accumulated wear of bad breathing may do you in (heart issues, dementia, etc.). Breathing naturally gets worse over time. Obviously, some people have this problem more than others, but if you’re educated and talk to 10 people you know, you’ll almost certainly see signs of it.

        I list a bunch of books in the HN comment if people are interested, and feel free to contact me about it, as I have an ongoing interest here.

        [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/12/look-at-how-much-weight-weve-gained-since-the-1960s/

        1. 1

          I am interested in this.

          I have a diagnosis of “Vasomotor Rhinitis” which to me sounds like “we don’t know why but your nose canals are a little smaller”. During your research did you come by any tips for that kind of problem?

          1. 2

            Hm that’s interesting. I don’t recall seeing that term.

            But if you have a mild chronic and/or congenital problem related to breathing, I would check out Nestor’s “Breath”. It is not a conclusive book, but it goes through many different traditions that have uncovered overlapping knowledge.

            He says he has a narrow head, and he had a history of a lot of orthodontic work. And those 2 things are correlated with bad breathing.

            What really stands out as a big lesson is that every thing in your head is related! Doctors tend to treat things in isolation, so they will often give you bad or conflicting advice on these topics.

            Who knew that breathing can affect your teeth? And your diet also affects your breathing, etc.

            Unfortunately I don’t have a specific answer, but I will say that doing research into this topic paid off for me. And if you ask your friends, you will start to notice that everyone has these chronic problems that they tend to ignore, but that reduce their quality of life. Sometimes they can’t travel as well because of the issue, so they avoid this or that, etc.

            The analogy I’ve been using is that you can imagine hitting 100 pumpkins with a hammer. All of them will have some problem, but it won’t be the same problem!

            That’s like humans and breathing. As a species, we’re predisposed to bad breathing. But everyone has a unique problem, and so unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error involved in finding solutions. I have had partial solutions for 3 years, like sleeping on my side and an oral appliance. But am looking at even more solutions, now that I FEEL the great improvements!

            PS. I did hear of something called “Muller’s Maneuver” in a book to diagnose obstructions in the nose, but I don’t know more than that. The book “8 hour sleep paradox” by Burhenne recommends that you ask your doctor for this.


            I may start a blog … at the very least I should make a dump of all the books I’ve read. If you find anything interesting let me know!

        2. 1

          Very interesting morning read thanks ! :) Did you try some Wim Hoff techniques for your breath ?

          1. 2

            I’ve heard about it, I think through Nestor’s book “Breath”, but haven’t tried it. Yup I just checked Amazon and there are many references to Wim Hof:


            Nestor goes through many different traditions of breath work in his book. “Tummo” from Tibet is another one that stood out in my mind.

            What lends this a lot of credibility is that many people over the years, from different cultures, have rediscovered the same things, or at least overlapping things. I’m confident our understanding will grow in the near future!

      3. 3

        Can’t vote this up enough. If you snore or share a sleeping space with someone who snores, get a sleep test. Get a CPAP. Wow. An amazing change. It’s weird to get used to for a week or two then it’s nothing.

    3. 36

      Not a small change, but: getting a dog.

      With a dog, I have to go on walks outside way more often than I did before, and it’s doing me a lot of good physically, but also mentally: I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think about work when I’m on the trail with my boy. It’s also an amazing source of love and comfort after a tense Scrum planning or refinement.

      1. 1

        We’ve a puppy for 1.5month and yes, he is a life-changer. But before getting a dog I suggest to dig into this topic and understand: can you take care of someone who doesn’t understand your language(s) (not only the voice, but gestures so on).

    4. 27

      Accepting civilization’s doom and not worrying about the future.

      1. 14

        This position seems to be most often held by people who are unlikely to feel the impact of the current destructive path we are on.

        In other words: “civilization’s eventual doom” may be a hypothetical to you, but (taking an example) within ten years climate change is expected to cause 250k additional annual deaths, mostly in developing countries that are least equipped to handle these problems. That feels like something we should all worry about, no?

        1. 21

          God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference


          I would say worrying is good if it leads to productive action. Climate change is one place where that could happen, depending on the person.

          I’m less convinced with respect to US politics, which a lot of people seem to be worrying about. I think they are overestimating the ability of their words to cause anything meaningful to happen. And often the words have a net negative contribution, even if they’re well intentioned.

        2. 3

          Can’t speak for soc, but I think the non-hypothetical eventual destruction of all of human society could not come sooner. It’s better this way.

          1. 1

            This is the way.

        3. 3

          There is nothing hypothetical about this.

        4. 2

          The US lost 250k people to Covid-19 and many people there are still don’t worry even if it happens in their own country.

    5. 26

      Avoiding culture war issues. I found any engagement to be highly stressful and rarely constructive

      1. 4

        I avoid it as much as I can, I never willingly participate in these issues, but sometimes I find myself explicitly targeted by combatants in this war.

    6. 25

      Negatively: Drinking when I got stressed. Now I drink all the time, to the point where it’s an unreasonable portion of my outgoing expenditure and I’ll usually pour myself something to take the edge off before standup. If I could offer any advice to anyone reading; please only drink alcohol during fun, social occasions.

      1. 10

        When I was a cable guy, the only outlet I had was drinking. 4 out of 5 mornings I had a hangover, was still buzzed, or even drunk. My (horrible, universally hated) boss reprimanded me for it multiple times a month. The only thing that stopped me was quitting that job in June.

        With some help, (a week in the hospital and a lung injury) I’ve also quit smoking cigarettes and avoid nicotine. I now have a very nice and infinitely more affordable green tea habit.

        I drink still, avoid keeping liqour around, and ceased my habit of staying drunk or getting shitfaced regularly. Stress kills, folks.

        1. 5

          Thanks for sharing. I think avoiding keeping liquor around is a good point I hadn’t really considered, by now it’s part of the furniture. Maybe I’ll give my liquor shelf to my parents.

      2. 11

        A relative taught me these rules when I was a kid:

        • Never drink on an empty stomach.
        • Never drink alone.
        • Drink for the taste, not for the effect.

        Works for me.

        1. 6

          I’ve heard these rules a couple of times, and, to me, they always sound patronizing. It feels on par with telling an addict to “just stop”. How can the advice work when you want to drink on an empty stomach, alone, and for the effect, and it’s out of your control?

          1. 16

            These aren’t guidelines for an alcoholic, they’re guidelines to prevent one from becoming an alcoholic.

            1. 9

              Sorry, I realized my first comment was a little intense.

              I understand this. I just don’t think they very good guidelines – they’re more of a description of “patterns of people who aren’t alcoholics”. I think what makes someone an alcoholic is a very complex, and often genetic thing. For some, these rules are essentially impossible to follow from the get-go. Additionally, someone can choose to break all these rules all the time, and still not become an alcoholic.

              1. 2

                I get your point, but if it’s genetic, then a list of rules won’t make a difference one way or the other.

    7. 20

      Creating a fresh todo list in my notebook every morning.

    8. 20

      Regular physical exercise. I have noticed that if I go too many days without a proper workout I start to feel down, more tired, etc.

    9. 19

      Seeing a therapist. I call this “small” since it’s 1 hour per week (for me), but I’ve been at it for almost two years now. I don’t need to go into the details here, but suffice to say I’m much happier and more resilient.

      Doing 15-30 minutes of yoga in the morning or before bed. Even when I’m not programming I’m probably sitting at a desk. Doing a little bit every day is better than doing an hour once per week. I’m still not very flexible, but part of yoga is accepting that you are where you are and learning to be ok with some discomfort.

      Getting a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamp. I’m not sure which part wakes me up more, forcing myself to get out of bed and sit in front of a bright light, or sitting in front of a bright light. It also doubles as a very bright diffuse light source so I now look even more beautiful in my video chats/meetings[1]. Since I’ve been using this I’ve found that I have more energy throughout the day and don’t have days where it’s 11am and I still don’t feel like I’ve woken up. Take this with a grain of salt because my energy level can also be dictated in large part by how work and/or therapy are going or whether I got enough sleep.

      [1]: This is not a joke.

      1. 4

        Which lamp did you get?

        1. 6

          I got this one. I pretty much just bought the model recommended by this Wirecutter article.

          1. 1

            Thanks. I’ll try it out!
            (I had been thinking about it, but this pushed me to finally order one and try it)

          2. 1

            Thank you for posting this; I bought the same lamp and have found it quite helpful.

      2. 1

        Thanks for the tip. Just ordered a lamp!

    10. 17

      Controlling and eliminating most of the barrage of ideas given to me every day. Instead I do directed research on topics which interest me and try to check a few quality resources only daily.

      I noticed so much information that gets shoveled on me constantly from endless-scrolling pages, notifications, email and forums is low quality ephemeral noise. It’s designed to cause reactions to drive clicks, whether that be from anger or fear, to get you to react viscerally and that prevented me from thinking deeply about things, thinking I could control my own circumstances, and forming my own opinions.

      I’m happier, sleep a lot better, think more clearly, and in general don’t have the popular emotional malaise going around. I now believe strongly that happiness is a choice independent of circumstances, and once you allow yourself thinking time to make that choice, it affects your circumstances, and already has for me.

    11. 15

      Setting a reminder on my phone to tell me to “be nice” every morning.

      It reminds me to be good to everyone, sets the tone for the day, and makes my whole family happier.

    12. 10
      • Mindfulness Meditation
      • Melatonin
      • Touch typing (not a small change, also “impact” here is questionable, but I feel good about it)
      1. 4


        Just curious how you are incorporating this in your life. I use it occasionally (small doses, typically for no more than a couple of nights in a row) to “reset” my sleep cycle (I generally drift to later and later hours). I’m always curious how other people are using it.

        1. 1

          Personally I don’t know through what mechanism it would “reset” (???) your sleep cycle as it appears to solely improve quality of sleep… I take 300mcg every night for lack of a reason not to.

          1. 3

            I’m pretty sure the mechanism it resets is your Circadian rhythm. That is, the daily fluctuation of natural melatonin in your body. Fun fact, everyone’s circadian rhythm takes a drop in the early afternoon for an hour or so, probably due to humans previously having a biphasic sleep schedule.

          2. 2

            It makes me tired a little while after I take it, and helps me fall asleep earlier.

    13. 10

      As a kid, going to the public library and picking up my first programming book. I knew what I wanted to do the rest of my life after compiling my first program.

    14. 10

      Going for a 45 minute walk every day, rain or shine. I live near a park on a big hill and I can just get up and down and back home in that time.

      Best investment in my physical and mental health I’ve ever made, after quitting drinking. (Which was not a “small thing.”)

    15. 9

      Drinking 2-3 litres of water/tea during work. I have noticed that I am much sharper and focused when I drink plenty of fluids. I usually cold brew 1.5 liter of a Chinese green tea in the morning. In the early afternoon, I do a second infusion with the same leaves.

      1. 2

        What kind of green tea do you use, and how do you cold brew it? I somehow never thought of doing it with tea, but we’re heading into summer here and it’s getting too hot. Just started doing coffee cold brew and this seems like another great idea.

        1. 2

          My go-to green tea is “Imperial Green” from Mei Leaf: https://meileaf.com/tea/imperial-green-pre-qing-ming/ Their teas are a bit pricey, but they have a wonderful selection.

          Usually, I put 5-6 gr tea in a pot which has a metal strainer, pour water in the pot and let it sit on my desk for 15 minutes. After that, I take out the strainer and done. But sometimes I forget about the tea and end up brewing for 1-2 hours. Fortunately, it does not ruin the taste. :D

          I have also tried cold brewing overnight a few times. But I am too lazy to do it consistently every night.

      2. 1

        I recently started cold brewing iced tea as well, specifically yerba mate. I used to buy a canned yerba mate, but I realized it was getting expensive and it has a loooot of sugar. I mix it with some spearmint or peppermint and let it steep over night. I’ve been super happy with it so far, though I have some minor complaints with the pitcher I use.

        1. 1

          I love yerba mate. But I stopped drinking it because I haven’t found any shops which sell quality mate. Where do you get your tea?

    16. 9

      Giving up Facebook, Instagram (Twitter is hard to give up).

      Deleted my accounts, and installed pihole rules to block their surveillance.

      1. 1

        I’ve got twitter in check by getting logged out when I close my browser and having no smartphone app installed.

        1. 1

          Yeah I use it exclusively in browser too, no app

    17. 8

      I bought a rowing machine. It turns out Reddit is absolutely uniform in advice that

      1. rowing is one of the better aerobic exercises you can do in that it’s low impact and works a surprisingly large degree of your muscles, and
      2. more surprisingly, the only answer for what rowing machine to get is a “Concept 2” brand. i’ve never seen such a uniform product opinion from everyone about anything. try searching reddit for “which rowing machine should i get?”. Amazon (which is sold out) has >5k reviews @ 5 stars. want a cheaper rowing machine? “buy a used concept 2, or just save up”, they say.

      so I got a Concept 2 rowing machine. Unlike many other types of exercise, I don’t hate it, which means I’ve been much more likely to actually do it.

      1. 4

        so I got a Concept 2 rowing machine. Unlike many other types of exercise, I don’t hate it, which means I’ve been much more likely to actually do it.

        I was going to comment about exercise filling me with energy, and giving me a cool hobby that keeps me away from the keyboard and gets me stronger and healthier in the process.

        For me it was calisthenics. I stumbled upon the YouTube and IG communities with all the kids doing cool stuff like muscle-ups and front/back levers. Working towards an exciting skill turned workouts from being a chore to being a reward and one of the best parts of the day. I train every day now - why wouldn’t I?

        Thanks for the Concept 2 rowing machine recommendation! I’m looking into rowing as a running alternative this winter.

        1. 3

          my wife is a runner and former cross country coach, but has kind of worn out her knees. she says the rowing machine is better than any elliptical she’s used and at this point she uses it more than me. it is definitely a good indoor choice

          1. 3

            I think elliptical and rowing machines are both excellent, probably the best two out of all the machines, as they both exercise much wider sets of muscle groups than most of the others. Can understand elliptical not being great for people with bad knees, although it’s a lot better than running in that regards as there’s no impact. One thing to watch out for with rowing machines is lower and mid back - it’s really important to pay attention to posture and not curve your back too much while rowing as it can put a lot of strain on your spine.

      2. 3

        I’d say the same! I row in front of my TV year-round. Perhaps the only cardio I’ve really enjoyed. It helps me sleep longer and eat more intentionally. I’m not suddenly an Olympic god pulling sub-7s, but I feel better. I’m getting better!

        I’ve almost 3 Mm on my Model D, on the waiting list for the Dynamic rower. There are other rowers, like the RowPerfect3 and the Oartec DX, but I too lean towards C2. I love how they maintain the workout servers, charts, metrics, & CSV downloads.

      3. 2

        Concept 2 are very good for the money. I decided against them in favour of a WaterRower because it uses water resistance instead of gears, which means there’s no messing about with levels or anything, you just pull harder if you want more resistance, which seems much more natural to me. And it never ever clicks or clunks and you don’t have the weird fan noise effect. I also think it looks a lot nicer in wood (totally subjective of course), and you can store it upright against a wall so it takes up a lot less space. They are more expensive, admittedly, but lots of the parts have a lifetime guarantee and they’re really good about replacing them. Had mine for over 5 years with barely any problems - just one of the seat rollers broke after maybe 3 years, so I got in touch and told them, and they sent me a pack of 4 new ones, no questions asked. Good company (which I’m not affiliated with!) and a really really nice piece of kit.

      4. 1

        I used to row in high school and have nearly completed a basement refurb and reorganization project in part to make space for an erg (aka rower). It’s amazing that such an uncomplicated machine can afford such an excellent, all-body, joint-friendly aerobic workout. The Concept II has been around forever and is excellent.

    18. 7

      Doing 30 seconds of breath meditation whenever something I don,t like happens.

      1. 4

        I’m big on this, especially when I’m stressing on something:

        1. inhale 3 seconds
        2. hold 3 seconds
        3. exhale 3 seconds
        4. hold 3 seconds
        5. repeat
        1. 3

          I’ve heard it called “square breathing”, presumably because the pattern looks something like this:


    19. 7

      Blocking Netflix, YouTube and other streaming sites at home. Stopped me from mindlessly binge watching tv shows in the background. I still get distracted in other ways, but there’s something about TV that gets me hooked for days at a time.

      1. 2

        I do the same in my house. We use adguard home installed with home assistant. All news sites and social media sites are blocked during the day. The block turns off at 1900.

        To say it has changed my life is a huge understatement

    20. 7

      Reading about retirement planning. Some family backgrounds prepare you for this and some do not. To me the entire domain was mysterious and I didn’t know where to begin, and I grew numb to the topic, except every once in a while I’d dread that it wasn’t going to end well. Getting a bonus at work dislodged something. I studied, made a few changes, felt competent. Now I have just as steady a course as anyone and no block about learning more when I ought to. The most striking benefit is that I have a certain long term confidence. Security is a feeling we could all use more of.

    21. 6

      A keto-like diet consisting mainly of green vegetables and fish.

    22. 5

      Turning off notifications on my phone.

      Deleting all group chats app from my phone.

      Giving up on breakfast, which by itself caused me to go from 90kg to 60kg.

      1. 1

        Turning off notifications on my phone.

        I’ve started doing this since Monday this week. I was already aware of my bad smartphone usage habits and decided to take some measures against it after reading this article in which a mother shared how her daughter turned into a smartphone junkie. The easiest way to achieve this on Android is to permanently activate do not disturb mode. This also forces you to do good old phone calls instead of writing text messages and asynchronously waiting for a reply. I really forgot how easy it is to plan things with a quick phone call.

        Deleting all group chats app from my phone.

        I just turned off notifications, but this is the next step to go.

    23. 5

      Taking (some of) the core questions of philosophy and religion seriously, and not assuming that the things I was taught or raised with at $very_young_age were right, and not assuming that the things I learned, heard, read about and were quickly impressed by at $youthful_age were necessarily right, and not assuming, at any point in time at $current_age that I am right just because $current_age > $youthful_age > $very_young_age. Giving – by default – people, religions, philosophies, ideologies, thoughts, propositions and ideas a fair and balanced assessment, no matter if they agree or disagree with my own stances or opinions at the time, or even if they evoke a negative emotional response in me at first. Learning to think critically and logically, and to avoid and recognize logical fallacies.

    24. 4

      Starting cycling again after 15 years. I take advantage of working from home to go cycling at least one hour every day: I lost weight, I am feeling better mentally, I can sleep better in the night, my cycling fitness is improving day by day and I know my body better every day.

      1. 1

        Indoor or outdoor? If indoor, what vendor/model are you using? I’m looking at getting a cycling bike (Schwinn I think because I don’t have Peloton money) due to the colder weather.

        1. 2

          I am living in Italy and the weather right now is still good for cycling, then I prefer go outdoor. I have also a turbo trainer that I am using when it’s raining or when I did not have the time to go out on daylight. It’s just a simple one (Tacx Blue) without any frills. Anyway I don’t like too much training indoor, I think it’s quite boring but I recognize that an indoor training session is a big boost for the fitness and you can have a more accurate structured workout.

    25. 4

      I disabled all notifications on my phone pretty recently (~1 month) and that too after watching Social Dilemma but I’m glad I did. I’ve opened my phone less often, I’m less anxious and I feel better in control of my daily life. I never thought it would have such an impact but I guess you need to try it for yourself.

    26. 4
      • Prioritise my sleep
      • Take a multi-vitamin every day (surprising how much better I felt the first time I tried)
      • Set aside 1 hour every morning to learn something or work on a personal project
      • Learning how to bake bread
    27. 3

      Electronics off at 9pm, in bed by 9:30, wake up at 5:30. Many reasons why:

      • Forces me to have good time management, because I can’t put things off until late at night
      • I get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night
      • The whole morning is relaxing (exercise, meditation, watching the sunrise, etc.)
      • I start work at 7:30 and am done at 3:30.
    28. 3

      Deciding: to stop waiting for people to change; to stop trying (too hard) to change people; not to let, whenever possible, my happiness or anger depend on other people’s words or behaviour. Deliberately looking to distinguish between what I can control and what I cannot, and consciously making myself relax and not fret about what I cannot.

    29. 3

      Weight lifting.

      I’ve been going to the gym semi regularly for a couple of years now but I started taking free weights more seriously recently and it’s been incredible. On a day I do heavy squats or deadlifts I feel amazing all day. I have a gym next door to my apartment that I can be in and out of in a half hour and the time spent pays for itself 100 times over. I’m planning on going on a strength training program next year to actively try to improve now that I’ve proven to myself I can go consistently.

      But seriously I wish I had known what a positive impact something so small can have before now.

    30. 3

      taking drugs and indulging in other forms of (unharmful to others) decadence unapologetically. self destructing here and there, but building sturdier structures in vital demolition sights. leaving some others as a museum. listening to everybody, while delegating the filtering of bullshit wisely, precisely, as needed for the context. living up to my ideals, fine-tuning them to the world i occupy. doing what i can, not more, sometimes less.

      small wasn’t defined, and etc etc leaves it up to me to fill the void !i

    31. 3

      Getting advocacy.

      A recent event led me to fill out a form to a local lgbtq advocacy organization and they contacted me the day after – I did two assessments last week (They’ll contact me after this weekend to start on tangible things, I expect) and already just responding to those questions has helped put some things into perspective, and helped me think about where I need my life to be. Things already seem more stable than they’ve felt for years, and the idea of getting assistance for getting access to things like, benefits, housing, therapy, have been a huge boost to my mental health and stability.

      I wish I had contacted them sooner.

    32. 3

      Taking a few minutes once a week to ask myself: “how can I make my existing relationships more enjoyable?” This could be as simple as thinking up a few mutually enjoyable conversation topics to bring up when getting in touch with family members with whom I am prone to argue.

    33. 3

      Making it a point to deliberately spend time with my wife and son. As Paul Graham says, you only have 52 weekends with your three year old.

    34. 2

      I’ve made a couple small changes recently that seem to be contributing to a virtuous cycle. Hopefully the fact that they’re really so small will be useful to someone!

      I have had the intention to exercise more for a long time, but it’s been really hard to actually build the habit. I recently alighted on yet another exercise regimen, but this one actually seems like it’s sticking.

      The difference is that this style of exercise focuses more on practicing specific movements (crab walking, hopping in a squat, eventually rolls and handstands and the like) rather than building certain muscle groups, and the directions are about focusing on form rather than pushing yourself as hard as you can. Those shifts seem to have made me much more interested in actually doing it again the next day.

      Similarly I’ve been a meditator for a long time. So the small change is not ‘start meditating’ (which I would argue is a huge change); but rather, feeling a little more energetic in my body and a little more attuned to where I’m feeling tight and where I’m feeling strong has led me to change the position I sit in- I’ve started sitting seiza, which is a kneeling posture.

      Similarly, this change has led me to greater energy and awakeness when sitting, meaning that I actually am much more eager to do it again.

      Both of these things are habits I have known are good for me; the important shift has been finding subtle ways to make myself more likely, rather than less likely, to do them repeatedly.

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      • never have started Twitter, FB, Insta, myspace, all the other antisocial time munchers, and having ditched TV in 1.1.2002 has saved me a huge amount of life. easier than thought, it’s only a bad habit.

      • exacerbation of my dad’s parkinson’s disease symptoms, changing medication plans three times this year alone. munches easily away 3/5 of my spare time by now.

      • using f.lux and redshift on my machines: made sleeping much easier!

      • ditching my phone number, splitting 1 multi-SIM smartphone with all the bells and whistles into 3 single-SIM smartphones (“company/office”, “family/friends” and “dating”) and 1 featurephone (my “phone booth” nokia when i’m cycling or in the garden), and paying attention on handing out which new number to whom. Makes it possible to get quality analog silence again. The phones are pretty stock, and used/cheap/prepaid. I do not use mobile internet any more… no more “Install app y/n”?, no more “You need to succumb to our list of cookies” , no more obnoxious mobile ads, no tedious perpetual apps/maps/firmwares updates. I do not use my time and money any more to modify my phones into useable state, I just minimized useage of the mobile platform entirely.

      • similar plan for my notebooks. Skype for business is only on my company computer, if the hours are done, close the lid, silence. Telegram is only on my private notebook. WA and Wechat for chatting with the ladies in the orbit ;) is on my old private notebook. When I’m done with one of my roles for that day, just close the lid, put the phone on silent and on its charger, and leave the house, offline, analog, silent.

      • after x*10^7 times of watching pressurewashing and sandblasting videos, this personally rather boring year I got myself some training and tools for sandblasting. No idea why, but it gives deep peace of mind when I’m blasting away grime dirt and age of something old and make it new again. pro tip: do not start cheap, good tools are kind of expensive, bad tools even more so (because lim(usage) -> 0, and you’ll have to buy twice).

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      • Eating basically half a portion, nothing after dinner and no alcohol for a year: doesn’t seem like much, but I lost >35kg now and feel much better. Also my bloodwork now vs a year ago is like night and day. Still have ~15kg to go before I’m in the ‘normal’ bracket.

      • Don’t watch the news, read online news maybe twice a week: coupled with the weight loss I feel a lot less stressed out and am in a far better mood in general. I had some anxiety issues but they seem to have faded since.

      1. 1

        I recently started the journey of eating smaller portions and only eating when I’m hungry. Limiting soda/caloric drinks to once a week, and otherwise sparkling water or water.

        One thing I’ve found helpful is drinking a full glass of water before eating and then one afterwards. Slowing down and enjoying food as well seems to help. It’s amazing how “less” hungry I feel.

    37. 2

      Curating my list of RSS feeds I follow. Over time I guess I just accumulated too much, and I kept feeling like I was falling behind the feeds and not staying caught up. This started feeling like a chore – more like a full email inbox. Trimming down my inflow helped me enjoy it again and check for updates less compulsively (less worried about “falling behind” again).

    38. 2

      I can’t believe I didn’t think to post this earlier, but holy crap, get a bidet. :) A bidet attachment for your toilet is one of the greatest home-improvement uses of $30 and 5 minutes (easy installation!) I can think of.

    39. 2

      Uninstalling social media from my phone and specifically setting aside blocks of time during the day where I close email and instant messenger clients.

    40. 2


      I started going to therapy about 2 years ago. It has been, no question, one of the most profound sources of change (for the better) in my life since becoming an atheist nearly 15 years ago. I’ve had trouble with anxiety and fear dictating a lot of my life, and preventing me from doing, saying, or just being things I wanted to be; Therapy has radically altered my relationship with those feelings in a way that seems trivial at first, but in reality is deeply elegant in the sense of mathematics.

      Therapy provides a perspective which you can, after sufficient due-diligence, entirely count on to be consistent and explicit about it’s pre-existing biases. That simple provision – knowing that there is at least one person who will not bullshit you, nor allow you to bullshit them, is such a useful tool for efficient introspection; the best analog I have is it’s pair programming for your own mental operating system. Refactoring your own mind to better serve your interests is at first a little scary, but the results cannot be argued with. I feel less terror at the things that would leave me apoplectic. I feel more in control of who I am and what I do. It’s honestly just the fucking greatest. I heartily recommend it.

      (This not to say it’s for everyone, it’s also not a cheap endeavor (though many therapists provide sliding scales in terms of cost), but if you can spare it, it’s worth the money IMO. If I had my druthers, it’d be on offer for everyone, for free, but I’m a filthy Communist, so take that for what you will).

    41. 2

      Turning off my computer when I’m not using it. Using bookmarks to avoid tens of thousands of open tabs.

    42. 1

      Sorry to complain in this thread (i welcome threads like this) but I once posted a video of Alan Kay, who is an incredibly important figure in computing talking about the existential threat of global warming. It was quickly removed by the moderator because they claimed Lobsters is about tech stories and my post was irrelevant to technology (global warming is obviously relevant to the technology industry ).

      Yet here we are talking about nothing related to computing. I suspect people here aren’t taking computing seriously? It’s upsetting that this story gets through but something so obviously related to what we do everyday gets moderated. Is there any reason left to read lobsters?

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        Although I agree that:

        global warming is obviously relevant to the technology industry

        It is only tangentially related and there are a lot of tangentially related topics to technology that could be discussed. But if all stories tangentially related to technology were discussed, they could drown out the tech articles, like they do on HackerNews.

        I like that I know I can go to Lobsters and only ever get articles directly related to technology. I think HackerNews already fits the niche for tech and tech related stories.

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          Very good response. I have have a couple comments.

          It is only tangentially related

          Do you still want to program computers in 10 to 20 years? I do, so I take global warming very seriously. It seems to be the biggest topic we should be discussing. Will Rust be a programming language we use in 10 years? Well, depends if GW is solved right?

          I think HackerNews already fits the niche for tech and tech related stories.

          I disagree that HN fills that niche. What Lobsters has going for it is being invite only. The discussions should be higher quality here. If you look at the discussions about global warming and how it relates to technology on HN, you still see lots of climate denial. I would not expect that on Lobsters. I would expect we talk about ideas of mitigation, adaptions, and how computers can help solve this huge catastrophie looming over us. You don’t get that discussion on HN as people can’t get beyond the “it’s real” argument.

          We have very prominent people in Tech like Alan Kay who are talking about it and are begging us to talk about it. But the discussion around the topic is so poor in the tech community I’m starting to lose hope.

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        Do you remember how it was tagged? I personally enjoy these sort of weekly/thought-provoking posts. Even if indirectly - I think these posts effect folk’s day to day life which in a way effects computing.

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          I really enjoy these kinds of posts too. Computing is about people and I want to see more of that.

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        I’d say there’s generally an exception made for ask posts as they’re often more community-building in nature.