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I've long eschewed self-improvement books of the secular sort for the simple reason that, if they have any merit, they are merely rehashings of lessons you can learn from the saints, who not only teach and embody the lessons but tie them into a coherent worldview that reflects Ultimate Reality.

My explorations of self-help articles at has reaffirmed this view, but still, there's something "efficient" about getting nuggets of secular self-help, even if they're presented in a manner that rips them from their sacramental base and fails to recognize that they are merely rehashing lessons that can be found, even if nascent form, in the New Testament and developed over the past 2,000 years in the lives and words of saints, monks, and fathers.

One of my recent favorites in this regard is this article about "micro-habits." These are small things you do every day that aren't hard but, cumulatively, make a huge difference. It is the truth embodied in Christ's observation that you need to handle the small things faithfully before you can be trusted with big things, but still, it's useful to see the Gospel truth embodied in such a concrete format.

The author suggests nine micro-habits:

Delay your reactions.

Push yourself to complete tasks even if you don't feel like it.

Spend a day away from social media.

Prepare your next day the night before.

Eat mindfully.

Use a timer for your tasks.

Place your phone on the opposite side of the room.

Set a spending waiting period.

Write down every idea.

That last one is pretty important, I think. Many of us suffer from a quiet, often not noticed, fear that we'll forget something. Just carry around notecards and a pen, jot down ideas throughout the day, and move on. It'll allow you to focus on the task at hand, which is crucial for living in the present moment.

“In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.” Simone Weil