How To Focus, Simplify, & Choose The Right Goals {with Leo Babauta} - Episode #1


Today’s guest, Leo Babauta, shares his journey from being stuck in a 9-5 that held him back from being the amazing dad, blogger, minimalist, & author he is today.  He teaches us how to focus, simplify, & choose the right goals, just as he has for over 2 million readers on his award winning blog, Zen Habits. As a father of 6 kids, Leo discusses the balance of parenthood, growing his business, and finding time to live out many (MANY) epic adventures. Take a listen (or check out the cliff notes below).

Leo’s pains of his past can relate to so many:
-  Unworthiness
-  Guilt
-  Depression
-  Debt
-  Clutter
-  Overweight

But Leo CHOSE to save his life for his kids (and himself) by these simple steps.

  1. Start with ONE thing to Focus on, just one (Leo chose to quit smoking).

  2. Create a ROUTINE that works.

  3. Allow yourself to have discomfort and uncertainties.

  4. Open yourself to curiosities by asking questions of “who am I?” and “who do I want to be?”

  5. Simplify life by reducing clutter.

Start with a single bad habit

Once Leo chose the first thing to attack, stuck with it, overcame uncertainties and found success - then there was a ripple effect into other aspects of his life.

“The real change was the internal stuff that lead to me starting Zen Habits — the idea of being able to stick to something (quitting smoking), believing I could do it, having the self-confidence, and then having success with it... which led to being able to create Zen Habits."

Many can get caught feeling overwhelmed because they focus on ALL THE THINGS they want to change. I felt this before my career shift — knowing I wanted to create new habits - like getting up earlier, eating better, meditating, being in better relationships. I would THINK about them a lot, but never knew where to start. But by starting with one small step (for me it was becoming a morning person) I was able to get momentum and the confidence to take bigger, and bigger, and bigger steps.

Loosen your identity

I was NEVER a morning person - I identified as a “night owl” - and still do, quite frankly. Leo talks about how he was “fat and unhealthy”, and he always thought “that’s how I am”. While theses might FEEL like solid identities to us - they actually are NOT. You’ll discover by making a tiny shift - that you can overcome these barriers (rather quickly) and find groundbreaking personal (and professional) success. Case in point… now I am a morning person (the kind that loves 5am morning routines) and Leo is a (crazy town, ultra marathon) runner.

Open yourself to curiosities in loosening your identity - ask yourself…
-  Who am I?
-  Who do I want to be?

Lead a minimalist life

Leo leads an epically beautiful and inspiring minimalist life. I’m still trying to minimize my closet, let alone my life - but in the process I have experienced MANY of the things we talk about - such as:
-  Letting go of attachments, and finding more time for meaningful things
-  Getting more done, because of less distraction
-  Finding more brain space to focus on the important things, not just the urgent

Balancing fatherhood and launching a new business

Leo discusses the balance of adjusting to his new lifestyle, starting a business, and being the best dad he could.
-  He established brand new priorities for his family & his “dream business”
-  He set aside non-negotiable time for his family
-  He set aside windows of “focused creativity” time to start his blog and write his books
-  He constantly reminded himself that his new healthy lifestyle and business would make him a better role model
-  He began to consistently reflect on “how we showed up”, “what he was really proud of”, “who he wanted to be” in all aspects of life, work and relationships

Dealing with uncertainty & discomfort

It is common for this to show up in any aspect of our lives— when we start something new, when we go through hard times, and when we make changes to our norm. All areas of our lives are filled with uncertainty and discomfort - yet we still fight it. We try to run away from it through distractions or neglect. Leo encourages us (including my husband and I) to practice reacting with mindfulness and positivity in the middle of uncertainty. A call to arms to find curiosity in the midst of discomfort so that we can move forward.

Leo’s new program on “Mindfulness in the Midst of Uncertainty” in awesome, you can check it out here. AND you should also follow Leo's RAD blog.

My one small change was altering my morning routine. Starting with getting up 15 minutes earlier for 30 days. This simple change ignited my ability to tackle habits and make lifestyle changes. My Morning Routine Planner can now be downloaded to inspire others to join the journey of making one small shift (as well as my 15 minutes a day blog).

Hope you loved this episode as much as I did!

xx, Kelsey

Other links mentioned:
-  Leo's blog on loosening your identity
-  My blog on curiosities
-  Leo's amazing books