Tack your next one-week vacation onto a three-day weekend to stretch it to a little more than a week--but just a little. Sadly, no matter how long a vacation may be, its impact after you return to work is likely to be minimal. The same study found that on the first day of work resumption, the positive health and well-being effects from the time off vanished entirely. For every 100 people, only 3 are actually on the right track, thinking the right thoughts, feeling the right emotions, taking the right actions, developing the right habits, and getting the life they want. A lot of us are pretty close, but we're not quite there yet. We just need that extra boost, motivation, education, and whatever it takes to eliminate the habits, distractions, and nonsense getting in our way. Only 3% of us are actually willing to do whatever it takes to have our act together as much as possible. We're willing to put in the time, energy, and effort. We're willing to endure the pain. We're willing to endure the boring times. We're willing to take risks. The rest of us are wasting time, unfocused, following the crowd, worried about what others think, hesitant, making excuses, avoiding pain, and letting our emotions run the show. We're making fun a priority and putting activities and habits that push us closer to being the person we want on the back burner. From birth through high school, a quarter of your life, is spent growing up, learning, and figuring out the basics. In your 20's and 30's, you're having fun, enjoying some money, and not feeling anything will take a turn for the worst anytime soon. In your 40's and 50's, you're feeling the pain of your decisions from your 20's and 30's and scrambling to figure things out. In your 60's and 70's, regret sets in, the pain and consequences of your bad decisions become more permanent, and you wish you had done things differently. No person, place, situation, or circumstance is causing you to not have your act together. You're making that conscious decision yourself. Every little choice you make every second of every minute of every day is pushing you towards having your act together or away from it.

No one is forcing you to go out, "have fun", drink, and stay up later than you should knowing you have to work the next morning No one is forcing you to stay up until midnight taking selfies, playing games, and scrolling through the newsfeed on social media so you can compare your life to everyone else's fake "social media life" No one is forcing you to hit the snooze button and get up late No one is forcing you to show up late to work No one is forcing you to eat fast food or at restaurants instead of saving money, buying groceries, and making your own food No one is forcing you to drive a car or live in a house you can't afford No one is forcing you to be broke instead of saving for something better No one is forcing you to stay at a job you hate and to keep making the same amount of money you do You're choosing to be unhappy, feel like other people are "luckier" than you, feel like you need to "get it together", to be lazy, to stay in your comfort zone, and to not do anything about it! Personally, I think one of the best ways to meet people, whether you're looking for a new friend or a date, is to join up with clubs and meet up groups in your areas of interest. Then, you don't have to pretend or research to be interested in what other people enjoy. If you meet someone at a soccer outing who is into soccer, there's a good chance you have a love of soccer in common - otherwise why would you both be at a soccer outing? But, finding these meet-up groups is often easier said than done. The Internet makes things easier, but it is still pretty hit or miss as to whether you'll enjoy yourself or find the type of group you're actually looking for. Be prepared for a few disappointments as you look for the ideal outings to hone your social skills. Groups are all over the place, but you need to have an in before you just jump into them. Technology simplifies this quite a bit, allowing you to essentially inject yourself into a group with the click of a button. But, even if you do this, make sure to develop a sense of your value to the group before meeting people. For example, if you meet people on Facebook or Meetup.com and want to join them at their next official gathering, make sure to email or chat with at least one other member so you have a pillar you can rely on when you go to the event. It will make your life much easier in getting to know people and building rapport. Everyone enjoys their hobbies in different ways and more often than not people who get together at these hobby-centric events are very invested in what they're doing. You may be just a casual practitioner - most people won't judge you for that, but it can put a strain in how you discuss things with your new friends. Meetup.com is built exactly for this purpose and it takes quite a bit of the awkwardness out of these meetings. People are inherently comfortable because more often than not no one knows anyone else and the roster rolls change over so fast that you'll very rarely be the only new person in the group. To join a Meetup group, visit the website and sign up as a new member. It's completely free unless you plan on creating your own Meetup group, in which case it costs $19 per month. Some Meetups may cost money too, but that will always be posted on the group's page by the organizer. Make sure to provide as many details as you can when signing up.

I recommend adding a photo as well. Photographs are good to personalize your membership and provide a pre- introduction. People are also more likely to recognize you when they meet-up with you in real life. Once you've signed up for the site, you can join any open groups and apply to join others. Some Meetup groups require you to be approved by an Organizer or to pay a small fee for the Meetups. The best part, though, is that you are under no obligation to attend a Meetup event or even meet anyone until you're comfortable with it. If the group has three meetings a month and you have skipped 12 of them, no one will know. In fact, most of these groups have attendance to member ratios of 1:10 or higher. A lot of people join these groups and very few of them actually participate. That may seem disheartening, but it will open you up to do pretty much whatever you want in the comfortable confines of your digital profile. Watching the second episode of Mad Men and skipping spinning class are examples of getting trapped by your TRAP. To catch the daily moments when you get trapped by your TRAP, monitor. The more you monitor, the more you can catch a choice-point moment, in the moment. From there, you can be in a stronger position to hit pause and extend the length of time between the action urge and the action pattern. The best way to catch it is to first gain insights into your triggers. I'll walk you through how to start a routine of monitoring your own sequences. You can download a blank form by visiting http://www.newharbinger.com/39430, record answers in your journal, or use any additional formats I will describe. Please keep in mind that the spirit of this monitoring is not punitive or judgmental. The point is to increase your awareness of how your sequences transpire. What makes you tick?

You may find it interesting to learn about yourself and the contexts that elicit rising emotions and go-to behaviors. You react to triggering situations throughout your day. Observing one per day can be a good way to ease into it. The ultimate goal is to catch all behaviors that take you away from, rather than toward, your goals--including those goals that are effortful and, technically, optional. Catching these can happen both forward and backward, and you can start in the middle. Your starting point is what you first notice about the TRAP, then all the other observations can unfold. Do you have predictable moments in your day that are triggering for you? If you have a repeating trigger, feel free to start from the very beginning and note the cascade that follows as soon as the situation presents itself. Especially if you are struggling with persistent sadness, anxiety, anger, or any HN or LN states, you can follow your emotions to find out what behaviors your coping leads to. You could track when your emotion was most intense that day and use that to identify what triggered this response. Then fill out the subsequent actions and consequences. Do your go-to behaviors create more triggering moments in the future? Or do they help soothe you in the short term and keep you on track for the long term? You can also pick one instance when you acted in a way that you now feel guilty about or regret because you lost sight of your goal. After identifying that action, you can work backward, writing out the trigger and response that led up to that choice. Then you can describe the consequence, which includes those feelings of regret. Take note of the fact that you benefitted your present self at the expense of your future self. Work backward from there. You might notice all kinds of patterns along the way. Do specific types of triggers get you to: Isolate?

Call your best friend? Get in a fight? Give yourself an emotional hug? Feel hopeless? Sleep in too late? Drink too much? Stay in with a good book? Monitoring will help you notice when similar behaviors are effective under certain circumstances and ineffective under other circumstances. The goal is to give you the opportunity to learn from your own experience and, based on those observations, to develop strategies for coping in optimally healthy ways. I hope you will have opportunities to learn from coping effectively, just as I anticipate you will have opportunities to learn from coping less effectively. Both will give you useful information for what to try the next time your trigger repeats...because that's the thing about triggers. They repeat themselves. Getting to a response level will be easy for some, moderate for others, and harder for those with treatment-resistant depression. As mentioned in chapter 4, treatment for depression is not a one-size-fits-all experience. If you're taking medication, genetics will play a role in finding a suitable antidepressant for your symptoms. If you're in psychotherapy, your improvement will depend on many variables. If you have a nonresponsive type of depression you may need to go beyond the scope of classic treatments toward experimental ones to find relief. The bottom line when it comes to response is try not to compare your level with anyone else's. Instead, focus on your biology and biography to set realistic goals. While many individuals promise to continue with treatment once they reach this response level, others jump ship as soon as they feel relief.