The Simple Hack to Write More and Break Bad Habits: Interview with Maneesh Sethi

Making a positive change in your life is challenging. With the failure rate of resolutions at 80%, it’s no wonder people give up on setting goals altogether. What if there was a simple, scientific hack to help you break bad habits and get more writing done?

The Simple Hack to Write More and Break Bad Habits: Interview with Maneesh Sethi

This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life got his first book deal at 12 years old, travel hacked his way around the globe, worked with Tim Ferriss to launch The 4-Hour Chef, appeared on Shark Tank, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Listen in as bestselling author and habit hacker, Maneesh Sethi and I talk about how his revolutionary wearable Pavlok came to be, his journey as a nomadic entrepreneur, and how he wrote 5 months of content in 5 days.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Maneesh and I discuss:

  • How a hero crushed his dreams
  • Writing a 80 pages in 4 days and landing a book deal
  • Repurposing existing research and content for a niche audience
  • Being motivated by people who don’t believe in you
  • Studying abroad in Italy and moving to Buenos Aires
  • Buying a camel and riding him to school
  • Trying to become a famous Berlin DJ led to working with Tim Ferriss (and sleeping on his couch)
  • Paying someone to slap him every time he checked Facebook
  • The fleeting fame of going viral
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome
  • What really happened on his Shark Tank appearance
  • Winning the wildcard slot to get incubator funding for Pavlok
  • Discovering the impact of self-administered aversion therapy
  • The most impactful hack to writing more and losing weight
  • Getting death threats
  • The value of helping people solve tangible, life-changing problems


“You’re not broken. You’re designed to fit in to a group of people who allow you to extend your strengths, and not feel bad about your weaknesses.” –Maneesh Sethi

  • Finishing is not always the goal, the idea has intrinsic value.
  • Temperament is a tool to help you understand yourself, not a box to live in.
  • Reduce complexity to increase feasibility.
  • Work with people you inspire, and who inspire you.
  • The right tools allow you to externalize your willpower.
  • You don’t have to do stuff that you hate to do.

Optimize the path to your goal.

Maneesh Sethi

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How far would you go to stop a bad habit? What lengths have you taken to start a new habit? Share in the comments.

8 thoughts on “The Simple Hack to Write More and Break Bad Habits: Interview with Maneesh Sethi

        1. If I remember correctly, you briefly mentioned that you were working on some kind of accountability or tracking app for writing? Not sure if that’s integrated into your main app or what.

  1. SleuthFest 2018

    Dear Jeff Goins,

    Would you include information about SleuthFest for your readers on your blog?

    SleuthFest is a writers’ conference sponsored annually by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. 2018 will be its 24nd year.

    2018’s Keynote is Andrew Gross, the Forensic Guest of Honor is Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D. The Guest Authors are James R. Benn, Hallie Ephron, Kristy Montee (PJ Parrish), and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

    All the Guests of Honor will be giving intensive workshops and participating in panels and other sessions.

    While SleuthFest’s emphasis is on writing mystery/thrillers/suspense, over the years, it has become one of the best conferences for writers of all genres. There are four tracks of workshops, presentations, and panels in writing craft, business & marketing, and forensics.

    Other features are the annual Freddie Awards for Writing. There are cocktail parties, a raffle, informal mingling and pitch sessions with top agents and editors.

    For many writers, SleuthFest is where they met their agent or editor. Unique to SleuthFest is the Strategy Sessions with professionals. Attendees can arrange for one-on-one time to ask about issues pertaining to their manuscript.

    SleuthFest 2018 will take place March 1-4 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Boca Raton, Florida. More information can be found on the website at, or contact Victoria Landis & Michael Joy, our Co-Chairs, at

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Philip Butera
    SleuthFest Publicity Co-Ordinator
    561 445 7784

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