It’s not about willpower.

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

Today is Tuesday, and I don’t write on Tuesdays. Or Sundays. I write once in a blue moon, and I don’t like that.

My one resolution for 2020 is to write and publish regularly. It’s March now, and I haven’t published yet. This doesn’t surprise me, because as a productivity coach I’ve found it takes a while for us humans to commit to a specific goal. We can be committed to writing more and not write. We don’t know how, yet.

Writing skills vs. sit-in-the-chair skills

We can agree that successful writers write regularly. What makes them different from us is that they have built…


Wonder Is Near from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin
Wonder Is Near from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin
Wonder Is Near from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

Habits are the key to automating your goals. When I set goals with coaching clients, we turn each of them into 1–3 tiny habits. Habits are the HOW that will get us to the end result the client wants.

The beauty of habits is that once they’re established, they require little effort and willpower on our part. That’s why they are such effective tools when we’re working towards a goal.

Now we’ve all had plenty of failed attempts in building habits. How do you make a habit stick for good?

There are three important steps.

#1 Find a habit that you trust will get you results.

If a client wants to…


You can’t rely on your school tactics anymore.

14x14 Vision from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

You move to a new city. How do you avoid loneliness and find friends?

Research says it takes about 50 hours to make an acquaintance a casual friend, 200 hours before you’d call them when you’re troubled. That’s a long time, right?

We spend most of our waking hours at work, so that would be the most obvious pool of possible friendships. But if you only spend time together at work it will take you longer to become friend with someone. Hanging out with each other is what builds a friendship.

How to make friends as an adult

So what can you do to make friends? Be…


You didn’t automate them.

She exists beautifully from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

I’ve just stepped out of an academic seminar on motivation. The teacher asked us what we, graduate psychology students, associated with motivation.

“Motivation is what makes me stick with things.”

“When you’re really motivated you’ll do anything to reach your goal.”

“Without motivation, I can’t sit down to study.”

The problem is; that’s not true.

Motivation is not necessary for perseverance. So don’t rely on it.

Instead, automate your goals with tiny habits. They are easy to do and once they have become routine, your goal is on autopilot.

If you want to become a writer, go to a café…


Because you can fall back in love, and here’s how

The jungle of love. Photo by Peter Mason on Unsplash

Falling out of love is one of the most accepted reasons for a break-up.

It shouldn’t be.

My boyfriend and I have fallen out of love many times in our 11-year relationship.

It hasn’t stopped us from staying together and working to fall in love with each other again. When love dies, you bring it back to life.

You can fall out of love with someone, but you can also fall in love with them over and over again.

Because loving someone is a choice. That’s what people mean when they say “relationships are hard work”.

Why did we fall…


There’s always cat videos.

It doesn’t have to end like this. It’s likely. But it can be avoided in 10 easy steps! Source: Giphy.

I’m sitting in our living room, a steaming cup of tea to my left while I’m waiting for the oven timer to go off (feta and veggies, if you must know. I resisted the frozen pizza Gods today).

I’ve had a splendid day, wrote a lot and even made a loaf of Italian bread during my writing breaks.

Perfect! Great!

The only issue is that the day is now over and the blank space that is Friday night is staring…


It makes things harder.

Leave Her Wild from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

Picking up the phone to call a friend after a fight with your partner can be such a relief. They get us. But what if that emotional release had negative side effects?

How you see your partner is everything in a relationship

Relationship researcher John Gottman has an important piece of advice for us:

Seeing your relationship as a good one is vital for relationship satisfaction. Sharing that appreciation with each other makes us happy.

But what if you don’t see your partner in a positive light anymore? They irritate you to no end. …


It’s a survival thing.

In The Quiet from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

There might be less stigma around depression, but that doesn’t mean you want to tell everyone about it all the time.

Even if you don’t feel ashamed of your depression in the hallway of work might not be a good situation to introduce someone to it. “I’m late because I dreaded getting up this morning. I actually struggle with depression” is a more complicated answer than “The bus was stuck in traffic”.

The stigma is real

In a way, lying about your depression becomes a survival skill you need to add to your toolkit. Not all circumstances permit you to be straightforward about having…


What researchers found surprised me.

Everywhere Is Up from the At Wild Woman series by Amanda Sandlin

For many of us love is a rollercoaster of emotion. It doesn’t have to be though. Researchers have looked into the differences between stable and dramatic relationships. What did they find? Passion is the difference. It’s there in both steady and drama relationships, but it’s not the same type of passion.

At the start of a relationship it’s very hard to distinguish between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship when it comes to passion: Both are madly in love, they yearn for each other and think about their crush 24/7.

But there is a difference in the type of…


An easy morning hack to make it a no-brainer.

This looks complicated. Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.

I track my calories with Lifesum. It also gives me a score on my veggies and fruit intake. When you eat three portions of each a day, you get a reward: A dancing Broccoli or a weight-lifting apple. Those guys can be very motivating!

Recently I hadn’t been doing well on the fruit and vegetable front. I decided to come up with the simplest of plans to get my 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.

I knew I didn’t want to overhaul my regular meals. I didn’t want to rely on lunch or dinner, because that felt complicated…

Iris Barzen

Productivity coach & soon-to-be psychologist. I help entrepreneurs + professionals procrastinate less + develop bespoke productivity habits. www.irisbarzen.com

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