Gratitude Journaling, At Home Workouts, and Personality Tests

Dec 2020 - Evergreen Thoughts

What’s on my mind…



I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with lots of good food and as many friends and family as was safely possible.

For veteran subscribers, you know I’m a fan of habits. In the October edition I shared my all time favorite habit: chugging a bottle of water when I get up. Well, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, it’s time to share my second favorite habit: gratitude journaling.

I challenge you to try it. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for before going to bed tonight. If it’s helpful and you want to formalize and expand this habit, check out The Five Minute Journal (sample below).

A related mindset hack: whenever you find yourself with an “I wish…” thought, balance it out with an “I’m grateful for…” thought. While it won’t magically make your wish come true, it will help you realize you have plenty to be thankful for. Even in this crazy ass year that is 2020.


Winter Workout Wonderland

According to the NYT, we’re in for a long winter. All the more reason to find a doable at home workout routine to add mind and body boosting endorphins to your life.

Below are several at-home-friendly routines I’ve gotten into over the past 6 months:

  • ⏰ 7 Minute Workout: If you’re looking for something quick that requires zero equipment, this is for you. The standard version is 12 exercises that requires your body weight, a chair, a wall, and takes…7 minutes. Total. It’s benefits are even backed by science. After trying a bunch of different apps, my favorite is Seven. They also have a bunch other short High Intensity Interval Training (“HIIT”) workouts if you’re looking for some variation.

  • 💪 6x6 Stacks: Recommended by a friend, I’ve been enjoying a slightly longer and more equipment intensive HIIT routine. It’s highly customizable, but generally consists of 2 groups (aka “stacks”) of 6 exercises. For each stack, you start at the top and do the first exercise for 30 seconds. You then take a 30s break. You then do the 1st and 2nd exercises for 30s back to back. 30s break. You do this until you’ve completed the whole stack, ending with a “kicker” where you do an additional full stack (6 exercises in row, 3m total) going through the stack in reverse order. There are two different routines I alternate between (see below). For equipment, I use an adjustable Kettle Bell (“KB”) and resistance bands (“RB”).

  • 🚶‍♂️Power Walking: For those lucky enough to have a treadmill (an excellent perk I enjoyed while quarantining in the suburbs), I recommend power walking at an incline. Rev the incline up all the way (usually ~15 degrees) and put the speed at 3-3.5 MPH. If you have an  Watch or heart rate monitor I like to target >= 135 BPM. I find power walking to be less intimidating than going for a 30m treadmill run. I did it daily over the Summer and actually looked forward to doing it (unlike running which I enjoy once I’m out but commonly dread beforehand). I also find it just as good (if not better) from a calories and endorphins perspective. Bonus: It’s easy to watch TV or read a book while doing it!

Here are some example workout summaries:

And my two favorite 6x6 stacks:


Know Thyself

While I’m a big believer of the growth mindset, I’m also a believer that we all have natural tendencies. By better understanding our personalities and what types of behaviors we gravitate towards, we can better navigate work, improve relationships, reduce stress, and a whole lot more. Below are two of my favorite personality tests.

16 Personalities: Of all the personality tests I’ve come across, I find 16P to strike the right balance of simplicity and depth. They have 16 personality types which are organized into 4 different groupings. Each personality type can be broken down along 5 different spectrums:

  • 🧠 Mind: How we interact with our environment (extroverted vs introverted)

  • ⚡️ Energy: Where we direct mental energy (intuitive vs observant)

  • 🌳 Nature: How we make decisions and cope with emotions (thinking vs feeling)

  • 🎲 Tactics: How we approach work and decisions (judging vs prospecting)

  • 🦁 Identity: Our confidence in our abilities and decisions (assertive vs turbulent)

They have great visualizations and an endless library of tools and resources to help you navigate various traits to different aspects of your life. As for me, I’m a 🛡⚔️ Turbulent Defender ⚔️🛡.

VIA: The Values in Action Survey of Character Strengths (“VIA”) is focused on uncovering your strengths. It revolves around 24 universal strengths and helps you identify which 5 resonate most with you. Here are mine:

  • 📚 Love of Learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge

  • 👨‍💻 Humility: Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves

  • 🌎 Perspective: Being able to provide wise counsel to others

  • ⚖️ Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices

  • 👨‍⚖️ Honesty: Presenting oneself in a genuine and sincere way

Focusing on strengths improves performance, boosts energy, reduces stress, and increases happiness. I learned about VIA from Michael Karnjanaprakorn’s newsletter. He highlights how VIA aligns with a principle he follows that also rings true to me: “Be aware of your weaknesses but you’ll get 10x more leverage by playing to your strengths.”

If you like what you read, consider sharing it with a friend.

👋 Until next time,