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How to stand up straight

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Quick one today. A few days ago I baked my first ever loaf of bread, and although it was flat and a bit undercooked, I knew I was entering a new era in a small aspect of life. It’s very early in this culinary expedition, but the storebought bread phase of my life seems to be over. Making my own was easy and fun and way cheaper.

In this last quarter of 2013 I’ve quickly strung together a few of these kinds of “changes to go” — the ones you can make in a short amount of time, yet can apply to the rest of your life. My sixteenth experiment is quickly turning me into a daily reader. And after struggling for years, my writing process is a lot more structured and efficient, and I think the product turns out better too.

Last week I warned against trying to do too much at once, but I’m really on a roll with personal growth and I think I can fit one more lasting improvement into 2013 before the box is sealed. I’m not worried that this one will dilute my other efforts, because it’s very simple and it takes no time at all.

Before the end of the year I want to learn to stand up straight. I have a tendency to slouch. My head just pokes forward by itself, only because that’s where the involved muscles feel most at home. There’s nothing addictive or gratifying at all about slouching, I do it only because it doesn’t occur to me to stand up straight. As soon as I do, I feel better, healthier, more confident and for some reason even a little smarter.

In cases like these all you need to make a change is a way of remembering to do a particular thing differently. My mother has reminded me to stand up straight several times a year for thirty years now, but that’s not enough.

My girlfriend offered a simple and seemingly foolproof idea for remembering to stand up straight, and it will be my seventeenth experiment. I’ll just put little stickers (the dot-shaped ones you see on the spines of library books) in places where my eyes will naturally fall throughout the day: the end of my hallway, the corner of my laptop, the tiles behind my sink. Whenever I see one I’ll remember what they’re there for and I’ll stand up straight. Soon my muscles will prefer to settle into a more upright place.

I can’ t believe I didn’t think of something like this before. A few years ago I wrote a post about doing this to remember to be mindful, but instead of stickers as a trigger I recommended using doorknobs, so that you remember to be mindful whenever open a door. It worked so well I still do it.

I figure in two weeks I’ll be well on my way to establishing a new default posture, but I’ll keep the stickers up until I am certain I don’t slouch anymore. I’ll report my findings in the new year.

As usual, I welcome anybody who wants to join me. Why not get one more “level-up” in before the end of the year, if it’s something simple. Posture is just one possibility. It just has to be something that is super easy to do but also easy to forget to do. Report your progress in the comments of the experiment log.


Photo by Cordelia

Mike December 16, 2013 at 2:53 am

The smell of freshly baked bread is enough to make me lose all self control. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens and instead of slowly enjoying my bready creation over the course of a day or two, I usually stuff my face and finish the whole warm, delicious loaf (along with a thick coating of butter) within 90 minutes. It’s a pure momentary joy but it’s not worth the 24 hours of constipation that follows.

Regarding slouching: I agree that it would be nice to have a nice, straight posture. My head also pops forward and I think it makes me look rather ungainly. However, slouching FEELS so much better than straining to keep your back straight. Who wants to come home after a long day at work and sit on a chair with a bolt-straight back? I’d rather slouch, watch a dvd and let my muscles slacken. Now that’s real relaxation.

Pura Vida Nick December 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I believe you’re right – slouching feels so much better than keeping your back straight. But do you think this is a learned response? I will do this experiment, both standing straight and sitting straight. My thoughts are that once we learn to sit up straight that will also begin to feel much better than slouching. If we can teach ourselves to sit up correctly, with time it will actually feel better than slouching. What do you think?

Mike December 17, 2013 at 3:19 am

Yes, you are undeniably correct. I agree that we could train ourselves to have better posture and that a straight back would become a more natural relaxed state after a bit of training. I do feel however that it would probably take months of conscious effort, and possibly hours upon hours of dedicated yoga practice (or Pilates etc).

Personally, I think most people are like myself and start off with a firm intention to self-correct their posture, but quickly slip back into what their body has become accustomed to. Being mindful of posture alone is a very difficult feat.

Nevertheless, if anyone can achieve this I’m sure David can. David, updates on this practice would be much appreciated.


theFIREstarter December 16, 2013 at 4:08 am

Hey David! I tried doing almost this exact same thing about a year ago. I would slouch big time when I walked! I didn’t think of the sticker idea but would consciously look at my reflection if I ever walked past a reflective window etc to make sure I was more upright. It probably looked extremely vain to any onlookers thinking about it. :)

It took a while, much longer than two weeks infact, so maybe the stickers are a great idea to accelerate your uprightedness! I probably still slouch a little now so will follow along on your final experiment of the year and try to get that last bit of slouch out of my posture.

Now… off to find some stickers! (And happy xmas by the way!)

Maia December 16, 2013 at 4:12 am

Good luck with that David. I went through this too. And remember sitting straight backed at school so my back would be straight, but I am starting to forget that at work sometimes. Sitting at a desk is one of the most unnatural postions apparently. Also sometimes when we slouch it means some muscles (back and stomach) need to be strengthened and then standing up/sitting straight becomes easier. I find yoga makes me very straight.

Jerry December 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Another trick is to sit on a large exercise ball. That way, your core is engaged constantly. A woman at work who is also a part-time model has been doing it for years. Her posture is straight, confident and relaxed all at the same time. The are also companies that make exercise ball chairs.

aletheia33 December 16, 2013 at 4:34 am

excellent intention to stand properly. ramrod straight is not good for you either. what helped me the most finally, after years of neck pain from slouching while working at desk work and a couple of car accidents involving whiplash, was learning Pilates from a skilled teacher. building core (and other) muscles really helps to hold up the back, shoulders, and neck, and she taught me exactly how to carry the head, neck, and chest with the least amount of “work”–differently from how i’d ever conceived of doing. the conventional instructions on standing up straight are not much use and can even do some harm, but Joe Pilates was really onto some powerful body alignment techniques. private lessons can cost you, but only for awhile until you master the basic principles. and it’s important to find a good teacher who has mastered and can coherently explain the rationale behind the things you’re doing and the way your bones, muscles, etc. are put together and work together. Pilates is quite difficult to learn and practice but the rewards, for me, have truly been beyond what i could have imagined. interestingly, my Pilates teacher, who is the most graceful, strong dancer you could imagine, told me that even she, now in her sixties, still has to constantly remind herself not to slouch. personally i’ve found that after several years of Pilates practice (at which i’ve been rather lazy and slow, but i do hang in, sometimes just barely), i now notice all the time when i am slouching when standing. when sitting and walking, not so much, but i hope to achieve the same habitual attention i now have with standing. it’s got to the point where i truly do not like to slouch when standing–it’s become a joy to stand upright because when doing so i now feel lighter in all ways, not just the physical! PS i’m 58; you’re so smart to start now.

kabamba December 16, 2013 at 5:04 am

Was playing guitar at a live event yesterday. Watch the video of my band playing, I noticed my tendency to tighten my face muscles when I am playing. I loved what I was hearing (the music) but was not particularly happy with what I saw. I immediately decided i should consciously do something about it.
Best of luck David.

Greg December 16, 2013 at 5:19 am

I have been baking bread using this no-machine-needed technique for the last two years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU

Baking bread really brought back atavistic memories of survival. I think everyone should learn how to do it. One secret is to have the pan, that you dump the risen dough into, be very hot. Otherwise the bread can stick to the bottom.

As for rising, dough rises better in summer than winter (in my apartment) so I either place the covered dough bowl near a radiator in winter, or you can also let it rise in an oven that is just warm (like 50C) for a few hours.

David Cain December 16, 2013 at 9:21 pm

The loaf I made today was way better, and I attribute that to letting the dough rise in the oven instead of on the table in my cold apartment.

Kenoryn December 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Put the dough in the oven to rise and turn the oven light on – provides just enough extra heat for the perfect rising temperature. Or, if you don’t have an incandescent light in your oven, you can put a bowl of warm water in the oven with the dough.

Glynis Jolly December 16, 2013 at 5:35 am

Just out of curiosity, do you slouch when you’re sitting? I have found that the way a lot of furniture is made will enforce the slouch, at least for those of us that are vertically challenged. My grandmother (passed on now) always sit in a chair with a straight back and sat in it properly. The woman never slouched, certainly not when standing either. Maybe our society has become too relaxed. This could be hurting us both physically and mentally.

Adam December 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

Hey man!

I too have suffered from bad posture my entire life. A few weeks ago someone posted this youtube link on reddit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4DFgoJ1p1o&feature=youtu.be .
I’ve been doing the exercises from the video since, and for the first time ever I feel like my posture has actually improved.
I’ve also realized how much my bad posture has affected me psychologically, in the sense of how others perceive me but mostly in how I feel about myself. I can literally feel how my confidence improves every day linearly as my posture gets better. It’s like I’ve been in the dark of something obvious for years. Here is a interesting TED talk concerning this:
http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html .

Good luck!

BrownVagabonder December 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

Standing up straight has been a problem for me all my life. I had a growth spurt which made me the tallest person in my high school basically in six months. All of that growth instead of making me ecstatic, made me self-conscious. All of a sudden, people who never spoke to me before noticed me and chatted with me, they expected me to start playing all of these sports (basketball, specifically) because I was tall. I kind of tried to slouch to shrink myself, but ended up hurting my back. Yoga was the way I strengthened my back again and now my posture puts every one to shame.. :) Maybe try yoga as a way to improve your posture?

Brent L December 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

Interesting topics, in particular the slouching piece. I had the opportunity to watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk and she speaks to the conclusive scientific evidence for the impact your body posture has on your general health and self-esteem. It seems kind of odd that something as simple as being conscious of the way you stand can generally impact you, not only on the mental, but the physiological level as well (particularly hormonal). Take a look at one of her papers for further evidence: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/9547823/13-027.pdf?sequence=1
Good luck with your experiment David.

Erika December 16, 2013 at 9:48 am

Wow….for the first time and probably the only one time I’ll ever experience, you’ve written about something I’ve actually “mastered” pretty damn well in my life. Holding my tummy in, standing up straight. :-) I’m a “baby” in my personal growth but I’m a “great gramma” in posture! I just wanted to say that the best benefit, in my opinion from this is, it is the one key exercise to working your abs! No gym, no crunches, not even any sweating but if you actually hold in your stomach, in all that you do, you are getting a killer ab workout! I did ballet almost my entire young life, stopped at 17 but because of the habit it created for me, I have strong and amazing looking (if I may brag a little) abs. So not only will holding in your stomach benefit your back, make you look a little taller, work your abs out, you’ll also instantly look a little thinner and I have no idea what your weight is or if you care about looking thinner but I’m pretty sure most people, most women especially love the thought of looking a little leaner. :-) So great idea with the stickers, it will eventually become a habit with great rewards!
Also I wanted to say I am ALWAYS so happy when I receive an email that you’ve written something new! Thank you for the time you spend, then sharing it with us. Your website is still one of my very favorite places to go to
for reading about life and how to do it “for real”
Thank you

Sander Owen December 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

I came across a great resource on the subject of posture:http://www.marksdailyapple.com/improve-posture/#axzz2nedL6cU7

Aaron December 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

There’s actually a way to make this whole goal easier on yourself by strengthening your core muscles as well, and it only takes four stretches on the main sets of complimentary muscles that mostly control posture.

For your upper body, do a doorway chest stretch: http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/Doorway.html

And wall slides: http://www.menshealth.com/video/wall-slides#/video/all

And for your lower body stretch your hip flexors like in the position here: http://eplerhealth.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/thoughts-on-hip-flexors-and-health/

And do a glute bridge: http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness_programs_exercise_library_details.aspx?exerciseid=49

Doing those four twice a day will make what you’re trying to do easier.

Good luck!

Tara December 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

Like a previous poster, I studied ballet when I was young, and at 47 still have very good abs. I unfortunately tend to hunch over when I walk, so I am working on standing up straight, shoulders back and face upturned. It does affect my self-esteem when I am standing up straight this way.

Karah December 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I grew up doing ballet and in high school I did marching band. Everyone consistently complimented my excellent posture and I was grateful for these daily activities I did as an adolescent that made it natural for me to stand up straight without thinking about it.

A few years ago I began to have intense back pain. It started in my lower back, and would make it so that I couldn’t even move. Then once I started working in offices it radiated into my upper back.

I finally started to see a physical therapist a couple months ago, who told me that what everyone thought was perfect posture was actually incorrect straightening on my lower spine. This caused a whole host of problems including the upper back pain, as well as headaches and pain in my hands. She instructed me to remember to slouch, as sitting up straight engages and tires muscles just like any activity (as well as giving me lots of exercises to correct years of muscle memory).

My reason for writing this is just to say: be careful. Of course it’s good to remember to stand up straight, but it might be good to check with someone to make sure you’re doing it right. I wasn’t, and it caused me a lot of pain.

David Cain December 18, 2013 at 9:01 am

I will be careful, thanks Karah. I want to be clear that I’m not talking about a major adjustment here. Nothing feels forced about it, it actually feels quite natural. But I forget to do it.

Monika December 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Hi David,
you will probably receive dozens of bread recipies but this one is really worth.
If you ever want to try a really, really easy whole grain/whole wheat bread that is healthy, delicious and does not require any time for rising, here it is ( it is translated from German, so my apologies if there are any mistakes):

Ingredients for 1 loaf :

• 1 pkg pkg dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon bread spice (I do not like that – but take quite coriander and cumin)
• 3 tsp salt
• 500 g spelled flour or whole wheat
• 30 g each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, oatmeal
• 1/2 liter of mineral water sparkling


Mix all dry ingredients,add honey and mineral water and stir everything well
• Line a loaf tin with baking paper – fill in the dough – sprinkle with oatmeal
and bake at 180 C degrees about 1 1/2 hours
• Allow to cool well


David Cain December 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm

It sounds great, I’ll try it. Question: it says sparkling water. Does that mean it’s carbonated?

Monika December 24, 2013 at 7:18 am

yes, I actually used Seltzer water.

Sara December 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I’ve had a problem with slouching since I was a child. I tried so hard but could never manage to pull off a long time effort of standing up straight. I recently started crossfit and even without trying I have been standing up straighter with a lot less effort. I guess because I had been slouching for so many years, those muscles atrophied. Perhaps weight training could help u out too

Jacki Maynard December 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

what and awesome idea! I was a sloucher for a long time–I am fairly tall for a girl, I think it was because I was always taller than my friends, and trying to fit in by slouching. I still find myself slouching sometimes but a year of consistent yoga has really helped. The doorknob idea is genius, I guess I never got to read that post. Looking forward to trying that for the rest of my day today. I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle and I’ve been returning to the text constantly to keep that mindset in my head. Perhaps some doorknobs will be of further help.

Jacki Maynard December 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I was a sloucher for a long time–I am fairly tall for a girl, I think it was because I was always taller than my friends, I was trying to fit in by slouching. I still find myself slouching sometimes but a year of consistent yoga has really helped. The idea is genius, I guess I never got to read that post. Looking forward to trying that for the rest of my day today. I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle and returning to the text constantly to keep that mindset in my head. Perhaps some doorknobs will be of further help.

Dan December 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Look into the Alexander Technique, I’ve heard it does wonders. It’s mainly taught to actors and performance artists, but it’s often recommended for day-to-day motion/living. Here is a very cursory overview (from a post with emphasis on musical performance):

“The basis of the Alexander Technique is that the head leads in all integrated movement of the body, and we see this in most babies, Fred Astair dancing, and Muhammed Ali boxing in his early years. These examples of people who have not distorted the instinctive, beautiful, graceful movement of their bodies through the poor use habits of our chair and stress oriented society.

The third action is thinking the head leading up and lengthening the spine during performance (directing). This is the essence of the Alexander Technique. If I repeatedly think of my head moving up, freeing my neck, spine lengthening and creating a longer and wider and more easeful back, it will happen. This allows the arms, legs and back to do what they need to do and creates a free flow of the musculature in the body. I feel this in myself, and I feel and see it in others when I put hands on them, when we are both consciously directing. This is moving with thoughts of release, and it is how the Alexander Technique reconnects the mind and instinct to rediscover what most of us have lost in our bodies.”

“Thinking the head leading up,” “think of my head moving up,” and “spine lengthening” have been useful phrases/devices in helping me regain and/or maintain my posture.

There are a few books out there that cover the technique, but I’ve heard you should find a skilled teacher if you want to learn it properly (kind of like yoga, in that respect).

Nik Gervae December 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Yeah, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method (along with a few other somatic disciplines), can be very good for improving posture and freedom in movement. That feeling of strain some people get in trying to “stand straight” often comes from distorted understandings of “straight”. One major purpose of the skeleton is to make upright posture as effortless as possible; properly stacked, the bones require minimal muscular work to keep vertical. Thinking of the head rising or even floating is a much better cue than trying to push the chest out or stomach in or what have you.

David Cain December 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

This sounds helpful, I’ll check it out. Thanks Dan.

Dan December 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

My pleasure! Nik added a few more valuable insights there. Forgot to mention that Aldous Huxley (one of my favorite authors) swore by it as well, going on to say:

“The Alexander Technique gives us all things we have been looking for in a system of physical education: relief from strain due to maladjustment, and constant improvement in physical and mental health. We cannot ask for more from any system; nor, if we seriously desire to alter human beings in a desirable direction, can we ask any less.

Together with improved physical and mental health I have found that the Alexander Technique has brought about a general heightening of consciousness on all levels.”

More brief quotes/testimonies can be found here:


George December 22, 2013 at 4:12 am

Check out the book ‘How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live’ by Missy Vineyard. Discusses AT but with a couple of extra ideas about attention which are very helpful:


Really recommended.

Yeah, you don’t really want to be trying to make yourself stand up straight by effort. How are you doing to maintain that, or make it relaxed position later? Correct posture should be effortless; your muscles being used only to prod your skeleton into a self-supporting alignment with gravity, not to ‘hold yourself up’.

Just doing the Constructive Rest Position twice a day will work wonders.


Also of interest, regarding the temptation to fix things by fiddling with the body rather than aiming to leave it be:


Dan December 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm

That Learning Methods article was great! Brings home a great deal of Alan Watts’ teachings, like:

“There is not any thinker of thoughts or feeler of feelings. We get into that bind because our language has a grammatical rule that states that verbs must have subjects. The funny thing about this is that verbs are processes, and so are subjects and nouns, which are supposed to be things. How does a noun start a verb? How does a thing put a process into action? Obviously it cannot, but we always insist that there is this subject called the knower, and without a knower there cannot be knowing. However, that is just a grammatical rule, not a rule of nature. In nature there is just knowing.”


“Almost all civilized people have been brought up to think of themselves as ghosts in machines, as Koestler put it: as souls or spirits in alien bodies, as skin-encapsulated egos, or as psychic chauffeurs in mechanical vehicles of flesh and bone. We have learned to identify ourselves exclusively with that part of the brain which functions as a sort of radar or scanning apparatus and which is the apparent center of conscious attention and voluntary action…The basic problem is, of course, that law and reason are linear systems expressed in verbal, mathematical, or other forms of notation, of symbols strung out in a line to represent ‘bits’ of info selected by the narrow spotlight of conscious attention. The physical worlds, by contrast, is at any moment a manifestation of innumerable and simultaneous energy patterns which, when we try to translate them into our clumsy linear symbols, seem impossibly complex.

We need to become vividly aware of our ecology, of our interdependence and virtual identity with all other forms of life which the divisive and emboxing methods of our current way of thought prevent us from experiencing.”

Lauren December 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm

It can be tiring to stand up straight for too long, and the reason we tend to slouch is that most of us never quite learned how to stand up correctly. Some quick tips would be to center your weight over your heels, tilt your pelvis down and back, and don’t thrust your ribs out. Of course, I am not an expert (yet), so here’s some resources to read on the subject:
Look into Katy Bowman’s blog, Katy Says: katysays.com
She’s a biomechanist that shares her knowledge on body alignment with the world. She is funny, awesome, and has inspired me to get a degree in massage therapy. She has a book that recently came out that compiled a number of her blog posts called Alignment Matters.
Another great book on the subject is 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back by Esther Gokhale.

Matt December 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I’ve been trying to string together 21 days without complaining before the end of the year thanks to a prior post.

I don’t complain often, and my difficulty comes from forgetting my goal. I need a way to keep it in my conscious mind.

I’ve also been working on taking colder showers to toughen me up and help with muscle recovery. A much easier goal to remember… Also not as bad as I thought it would be. It has the nice side effect of making me do something physical prior to showering to get my body temp up.

Cynthia Stevenson December 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Lauren, thanks so much for the reference to Katy Bowman’s blog – so informative! I was also impressed with the exercises I found here – http://www.restorativeexercise.com/alignment-snacks/
If I can avoid reading exercise instructions and just follow a video, that’s my preference, and $5 is a small price to pay for a potentially big pay-off. Tai-chi and yoga also work small miracles on posture and correct body alignment. Thanks, David, for leading the way on this important health topic.

John December 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

What a brilliant idea by your girlfriend! Standing/sitting up straight is a challenge, no doubt. I think much of it is attributed to the (mostly) sedentary lifestyles we are accustomed to. For much of the day, we either sit at a computer or are stationary in general. As I write this comment, I have to remind myself to sit up when typing. Perhaps some sort of reminder/picture on my wall above my desk would be beneficial to remind me to WANT to make eye contact with it?

Cassy December 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I am going to spare leaving anymore suggestions for improving your posture, but I just wanted to write in solidarity with you as I have been working on my posture for the past year. I will say that I have found yoga to be particularly helpful as spinal alignment is an important component. About a year later I can definitely feel the difference – more confidence, more presence, and a more open heart.
Thanks for sharing!

Kenoryn December 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I find it’s just a matter of muscle strength. Standing up straight is pretty tiring after awhile. I used to work at a renaissance festival where my work uniform was a corset, and it makes it much easier to maintain good posture. That option probably works better for women than men though…

David Cain December 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

I don’t think I will try the corset because I don’t have a lady-in-waiting right now

Terri Lynn December 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

As someone who was braced for scoliosis in adolescence, I have become acutely aware of posture. I noticed my children had incredible posture until they reached school age and were forced to sit for hours daily. I am regularly calling them on their posture when they are at the piano, sitting and reading or playing videos. Awareness is key and remembering to self check, which the stickers may help out a lot with. Also, body follows mind. It might be useful to explore third chakra belief systems.

Sebastian December 18, 2013 at 8:19 am

First of all, hi, as it’s (I think) my first comment on Your site. I’ve been following your posts since 6 months I think. Your getting through procrastination helped me get through mine and finish my engineer’s degree. So seriously, big thank you David ;-)
This idea of stickies is great – I myself have a prolonged problem of biting fingernails. It makes everyone, including me, nervous. (Duh…). I will try this out in the future – the catch here is for the stickies to be everywhere, not just on the desk for example. Trust me.

David Cain December 18, 2013 at 8:40 am

I’ll keep that in mind. I have them pretty much anywhere in my apartment where I might be standing, which doesn’t amount to that many. And I have one on the door to remind me before I leave. It’s making a difference so far. Have you had progress with your fingernails?

Sebastian December 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

So far the progress is pretty much nonexistent, since I was too busy to make the stickies. Plus I left my flat for Christmas ;-)
The problem is I’m not renting alone so I can’t have a sticky on my main door. I can, however, stick it to my room doors. Could work.
Second problem is that, even when my fingers don’t land in my mouth, I still sorta ‘scratch’ my fingers/nails with each other. So really these are 2 addictions in 1 haha.
My girlfriend helps me a lot – she makes irritated noises & keeps my hands away when she sees I’m ‘doing it’ again :-) So that should potentially help make my mind learn NOT TO bite my nails or scratch them nervously.
Last tricky part is – I have to stay focused (really, really focused) all the time in order to remember that I’m calm enough not to bite my nails. When my self control is off even for a while, I could do it subconsciously.

Ardis December 20, 2013 at 2:42 am

Hi David

I’m a first time poster, love your blog tho! I just finished Esther Gokhale’s book on retooling your posture. It’s geared towards managing pain but via standing, sitting, lying and walking in ways that work with the natural shape of human anatomy, so I reckon it would be relevant to just standing up straight too. It has brilliant step by step instructions. I think she has a Ted talk as well. Now I’m going to try eye level stickers too to help remind me.

Also, congratulations on starting to make bread.

Andres December 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Great post, David!

You have inspired me to start my own blog. Raptitude is always full of great content and your style is amazing.

Keep up the good work!

Ric December 27, 2013 at 5:59 am

Without wanting to cloud the experiment with more ideas, have you seen this:
After reading this a little earlier int he year, I moved out of my desk and now work standing at a bench. I have lost a little weight (just about the right amount) and my posture is much better. Also back ache is a thing of the past.
Good luck for 2014 (although of course I’d say we make our own luck!)

Edward January 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I’m 6’5″ so naturally slouched a lot because everyone else was always “down there”. A decade ago I met an equally tall Chilean guy who worked at the resort where I was staying in Mexico. He began banging on my door at 8:00 in the morning and dragging me down to the beach for his yoga group. I’d curse him under my breath but then feel amazing (and a little of that “good sore”) the rest of the day. Every time I saw him around the resort, he’d pretend to walk over to say “Hello,” but he’d flick my forehead with his fingers and say, “Stand up straight!” After a week of this guy flicking me in the forehead all the time the upright posture stuck with me. Permanently. And I’ve done yoga for my back once or twice a week ever since. So, at the time he was sort of a drill sergeant in what was supposed to be a completely relaxing Caribbean vacation but his improvements to me have been of immeasurable value. Ivan permanently changed my life. …And I’ll be forever grateful to that crazy S.O.B.

Vol-E January 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I resolved to make 2014 the year I stopped falling so much. I’m 55 but noticed that over the past 7 years or so, I’ve fallen several times — at least twice in 2013. I think my posture plays a large role. In the process of looking down to make sure there’s nothing to fall over, my body bends forward at the neck and waist, so if I do lose my footing through tripping or walking on an uneven surface, it’s that much easier to fall forward.Stretching up a bit in the middle, as though I’m trying to make myself taller, really feels better, and doesn’t stop me from watching the ground.

Angelina Brighton January 29, 2014 at 11:05 am

Hi David,

This is an excellent plan to use the stickers as reminders. I am using the produce stickers from the tangerines that my husband consumes by the pound. He thinks it is funny to stick the labels all over the kitchen so I began putting them in strategic locations for the purpose of remembering to stand up straight. Thanks for your great idea.


David Cain January 29, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Good luck! I definitely recommend moving the stickers around every now and then, because they do become invisible.

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