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Michelle Woo
Senior platform editor at Forge @Medium. Author of Horizontal Parenting: How to Entertain Your Kid While Lying Down, coming this August.

Forge wants to highlight the strategies, life hacks, and bits of wisdom that have made your life better.

Have a weird morning ritual that makes you feel 12% less groggy? A conversation trick that you swear by? A journaling method that gives you an impressive amount of clarity? A phone hack you’ve been telling all your friends about? An uncommon yet brilliant use for index cards?

We want to know. After a year of sharing our best daily tips, Forge is looking for yours — the ideas and strategies that are making your life a little bit happier, calmer, better


👟 Tip: Talk into a voice transcription app while you walk.

If you’ve been staring at a blank page on your screen for longer than you care to admit, one of the best things you can do is put on your sneakers and flee. That is, go take a walk. Turn on a voice transcription app (here are some options) and, if an idea strikes, start talking. On Medium, Emma Pattee explains that she wrote most of her novel this way, carrying her newborn in a baby wrap or pushing him in stroller. …


😴 Tip: Tell yourself a bedtime story about your day.

Here’s a lovely ritual that works just as well for adults as it does for kids: Tell yourself a story about your day. It’s a spin on the research-backed “third-person pep-talk.” Basically, before you go to bed, you narrate your day in your head, spotlighting yourself as the imperfect hero. For example: “Today, Michelle woke up and was feeling overwhelmed and sluggish, so she decided to take a walk and think through her priorities. That helped her a lot.” It sounds a little silly, we know. But there’s power in…


👵 Tip: Tell yourself you can restart the habit when you’re 80.

In quitting smoking, Better Humans editor Terrie Schweitzer shares what worked for her: Reassuring herself that she could pick up cigarettes again when she turns 80. (She is nowhere near 80.) The reason why this mental trick was so effective has to do with identity. “I was grieving the loss of my identity as a smoker and the overwhelm of trying to make such an inconceivable life change,” Schweitzer writes. “This little practice of reassurance helped get me push through that, until I no longer needed a way…


1️⃣ Tip: Change “any” to “one.”

“Do you have any feedback on my script?” “Is there any way I can support you?” “Please share any ideas with the team.” Put these requests out into the world and you’ll likely hear … crickets. “Any” is too big, too vague, too passive. To spark stronger, more concrete responses, try saying “one.” “What’s one way I can improve my script?” “What’s one way I can support you during this time?” “Let’s all share one idea. I’ll go first.” When people hear that number, their minds instantly become more focused. Hmm, one thing, they…


🐸 Tip: Give your inner critic its own wacky persona.

If your inner critic is preventing you from being your best self, here’s a piece of advice from Yi Shun Lai: Give it its own weird persona. As she writes on Forge, her inner critic is “Clarence,” a bumbling, warty toad that likes to hang out on her shoulder. The trick is empowering because the moment you anthropomorphize your imposter syndrome/writer’s block/whatever-it-is-keeping-you-from-your-full-potential, it’s no longer a part of you or something you have to take responsibility for. It’s just an annoying little critter who sometimes overstays his welcome. …


🏃‍♀️ Tip: Break down a long-term goal into sprints.

Maybe you’re curious about a pursuit—say, learning how to cook or taking up graphic design—but you’re overwhelmed because it seems like such a big thing. Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal, suggests breaking down the goal into a series of “sprints.” As he explains on Better Humans, you start by completing one specific, self-contained project in order to gain information on whether you should keep going with the idea or let it go.

“One author and entrepreneur, for example, was curious about podcasting,” Carroll writes. “It was something he knew…


🧶 Tip: To be a better listener, visualize a ball being passed back and forth.

In a conversation, listening isn’t the price you have to pay to finally be able to say your thing. As Don Johnson explains on Human Parts, it is “an active process that signals genuine interest in the other person.” If you have a tendency to be absorbed in your portion of the chat (and no judgement—we’re all guilty of this at times), try picturing a ball being passed and forth, a metaphor that Johnson shares. The other person speaks and then tosses the ball to…


🤷 Tip: When you need to say “no” to something, say you have a rule.

If you need an easy and straightforward way to decline a request—perhaps an acquaintance on Facebook is asking if you want to hear about their latest MLM business or a colleague has just invited you to an event that starts at 8 p.m.—Ryan Holiday suggests saying you have a rule, something he learned from Nerd Fitness founder Steve Kamb.

Holiday writes on Forge: “‘I have a rule that I don’t decide on the phone.’ ‘I have a rule that I don’t accept gifts.’ ‘I have…


🏠 Tip: Ask yourself: “What small step can I take to make this space functional?”

When cleaning your house feels like an uphill battle, KC Davis—known as Domestic Blisters on TikTok—suggests asking yourself a simple question: “What do I need for this space to be functional?” Not sparkling clean. Not Pinterest-worthy. Not ready to be judged by your mother-in-law. Just functional.

Maybe in order to cook dinner, you need a small section of your kitchen counter to chop some veggies. So then clear off that section. After that, if you have the capacity to keep cleaning, go for it. (Davis…

Michelle Woo

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