Staying On Track – A Hygge-lism How To

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As you journey into minimalism and adopt a hygge lifestyle, you begin to create routines and start establishing healthy habits.  Whether it is a new morning routine involving a cup of coffee and a moment of meditation, or your end of the week budget assessment and tracking.  You are no longer stressing about what clothes to wear each day because your closet is organized, minimized and comfortable. You are no longer scrambling to figure out what to cook for dinner after work each day because your meal plan is established, prepped and successful, and your cruising through your reading list thanks to your evening cup of tea in your hyggelig reading corner.

You are comfortable, at ease and relaxed.  You feel that you are finally in a good place and that things seem to be coming together just right.  A month passes, or maybe just a couple of weeks, you notice that you are missing one of the ingredients for your Tuesday night meal.  You hit the snooze button an extra time in the morning and miss your usual meditation. A couple more days pass and you realize you are burning through your Netflix watch list faster than your reading list.  Instead of listening to your favorite Podcasts on the ride home from work, you start making business calls…


It’s time to refocus.  It is inevitable, especially when starting something new, for old habits to creep back into your new habits.  These old habits have been ingrained in your routines for so long that they aren’t even a second thought. They are comfortable, easy and stubborn.  Your screen time, be it TV, cell phone, laptop or tablet will start to increase slowly.  You will stay up a little later in the evening to finish up the last episode of a show and start hitting snooze a few extra times the next morning.

A key point of hygge-lism is to be present in the moment and mindful of not just what, but why you are doing what you are doing.  Routines have a habit of becoming…well…routine, and therefore require less and less thought to accomplish them.

It is important to stop, refocus, realign your mindset and remember what you are doing and why on a regular basis.  Just a quick elbow nudge for when you are getting off track.

Here are a few things you could do to keep yourself focused:

1. Set an alarm on your phone.

Something monthly, weekly or daily.  Name the alarm, “refocus”, “remember why” or “hygge-lism”.  Whatever words suit you as a reminder to stay focused and on track.  Set the alarm for a time when you tend to fall back on one of your old habits.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on

2. Write a note for yourself.

Use a dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror, or have a sticky note next to your coffee supplies or on your work computer monitor.  A quick motivational quote or reminder phrase in a place that you know you will run across it.

3. Find an accountability partner.

Whether this is your spouse, significant other, a friend or family member.  Someone that you talk to regularly is a great way to keep you on point.  Bonus, if they are pursuing a similar lifestyle.

Don’t get discouraged, and don’t let small slips deter you from your ultimate end goal.  Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into even our best laid plans. All of these detours and speed bumps along the path are what makes the path worth following.

What are some other ways that you stay focused and remind yourself to get back on track, feel free to comment below.

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Bike Build Step #3

Bottom Bracket and Crank Set

The next step for my single speed mountain bike beast build is to get the bottom bracket and crank set installed.  I have received all the components necessary and will begin with the bottom bracket.

Bottom Bracket

I am converting the bottom bracket from the 1 piece crank set that it came with, to a 3 piece square tapered bottom bracket.  This will improve the ability to customize and update these components in the future if/when I decide to do so. Using the bracket adapter pictured, I am able to reuse the previously existing cups, that I left in the bottom bracket.  The old cups cleaned up nicely and did not have any dings or scratches that would inhibit smooth rotation of well greased bearings.

I begin by greasing the inside of the cups, and packing the bearings.  Do not be stingy here, you will want to roll grease between each of the ball bearings and make sure that there is plenty of grease.  The last thing you want is to have to pull everything back apart and re-grease it again.

Installing the shaft of the bottom bracket, you will notice that there is a rib on the interior of the threads on only one side (pictured).  This is the non-gear side, and the nut on this side will be installed completely to that rib. **Note** When installing the nuts be sure to check and recheck the smooth rotation of the bracket, do not over tighten or leave the nuts too loose, you need to find that sweet spot right in the middle.

On the non-gear side, only the one bracket nut is used.  On the gear side, a washer with a guide notch (pictured) is installed, followed by another nut (pictured).  Once you install the additional washer and nut, recheck the smooth rotation again. Bottom bracket installation complete.

Crank set

The next step is the crank set/chain ring.  As I mentioned this beast is going to be a single speed.  So there is only 1 chain ring being installed, no derailleur, no shifting gears…simple, minimal and just right.  In order to take full advantage I went with a 34 tooth oval chain ring.

There are a multitude of reasons on why I chose this style of chain ring and I will be writing a separate post explaining the science behind oval chain rings soon, so be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss it.

First, I installed the chain ring onto the crank, if you notice in the picture of this particular chain ring you will see a triangle/arrow printed on one side of the ring, this is the direction that the crank is installed.  If you get a brand that does not have this guide, you just need to know that the widest part of the ring should be vertical when the crank is horizontal. The reason for this will be explained in my oval chain ring post, so you will just have to take my word for it for now.

Attached the cranks onto the square tapered bottom bracket and secure them with the nut that was provided with the bottom bracket.  Rinse and repeat with the non-crank side. Crank set installation complete.


What good is a crank set and bottom bracket without some way to power them…The last step for this assembly is to install the pedals.  Most pedals are labeled as to which side they belong on, but in the case that they are not you just need to make sure that they thread in by spinning them towards the front of the bike.  Right side threads in clockwise, and the left threads in counter-clockwise. The pedals can be tightened by either using an open ended wrench on the pedal side, or an allen wrench on the inside of the crank arm.  Make sure these are nice and tight. Pedal installation complete.

Tools used for this step:

Allen wrench set

Adjustable wrench


Total cost for this step: $94.03 (84.76 Euro)

Muc-Off Bio Grease – $13.30 (11.99 Euro)

3 piece bottom bracket adaptor kit – $17.75 (16.00 Euro)

34 Tooth oval chainring crankset – $42.99 (38.75 Euro)

RockBros pedals – $19.99 (18.02 Euro)

*Each component description is linked to the same or a similar component to the one I used, prices may vary.

Bike Build Rolling Total – $104 (93.75 Euro)

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Into The Wild

A Hygge-lism Book Review

**Caution** This review pays no mind to “spoilers” and a book that was released 24 years ago should be exempt from spoilers by now anyway,  I mean really.

“Into the Wild”, by Jon Krakauer was released in 1996.  I have read the book and I have also watched the movie of the same name, in that order, so forgive me if I get my facts mixed up between the two at some point.  There was also another film made about it called “The Call of the Wild”. I have not yet seen this one, but I will.

If you don’t know, “Into the Wild” is a semi-biographical story about Christopher McCandless, a.k.a Alexander Supertramp as he traveled across the United States and up into Alaska from 1990 to 1992.  “Tramp” being a reference to someone who is homeless, and travels from place to place typically on foot. 

After graduating college, McCandless followed an invisible pull, which is said to have been derived from his favorite authors, to travel the roads, towns and cities across the United States with nothing but a run-down car, which didn’t last very long, and a little bit of cash, which also didn’t last very long.  He was nothing if not determined, once the car and the money was gone he did not tuck his tail and run home. He traveled and worked his way all the way across the States where when he hit the west coast he took a sharp right and started circling around the north central, west and southwest United States, including a stint in a canoe that takes him into Mexico briefly.

During this time period, I found myself occasionally envious of his travels.  I would imagine myself having similar experiences, living with next to nothing and bouncing from city to city and experience to experience.

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Chris’s ultimate end goal was to travel up into Alaska and onto the “Stampede Trail” to try and live off of the land.  Just him, his pack and the wild. He begins this northern trek from South Dakota.

Reading up to this point, I was right there along with him.  The decision to head up into Canada towards Alaska is where he lost me.  Over and over he runs into obstacles that are nearly insurmountable and somehow fate intervenes and help arrives, typically in the form of helpful passers-by.  I feel he was blind to these “miracles” and allowed himself to become cocky after having survived for nearly two years, “on his own”. He was never truly on his own though, he repeatedly put himself in dire situations and had to be saved.

Nevertheless, off he went towards Alaska, ill-prepared and ill-equipped. After yet another helpful intervention by a stranger he headed off down the “Stampede Trail” with a new pair of boots, never to be seen alive again.  He lasted about 4 months alone in Alaska, we know this because of a journal that was found where he stayed along the trail. It is believed that he mistakenly ate a plant that he shouldn’t have and died as a result of it.

The location that he ended up living in was an abandoned van in the middle of the Alaskan forest, yet another curious, convenient man made happenstance, I would like to point out. 

So despite every opportunity, McCandless was blind to every subtle and not so subtle life preserver that life threw to him and he died because of it.  The lesson learned here – Learn to take a hint and try to look beyond your own ego but also, don’t be afraid to take a chance and follow the beat of your own drum.  Rather than be herded like sheep along the beaten path, feel free to buck the norm and blaze your own trail.

This book also served as a reminder to myself while I embrace a minimal, hygge lifestyle, that there is more than just applying these aspects to my external life.  If I don’t look inward I am not gaining the meaningful, purpose driven life that I am striving for. Living with less, and living for experience and quality can only be achieved if I’m willing to look inward first and foremost.

Despite my conflicted feelings about Chris McCandless and his ill-fated travels, I highly recommend both this book and the film of the same name.  I actually enjoyed the film more than the book, and that is not typically the case I assure you.

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Financial Freedom – Update #1

February – 1 Month Update

Welcome to the first of my monthly Betterment investment updates.

February marks 1 month with Betterment.  We opened two accounts, a High Interest Savings and a General Investment Account.

High Interest Savings – Initial Deposit $5,000.00; Interest Gained $7.74; Running Total $5,007.74.

General Investment Account – Initial Deposit $10,000.00; Betterment Performance -$220.83; Running Total $9,779.17.

I have now fully incorporated my supplementary retirement accounts to be tracked along side my Betterment account, but not managed by them. 

Bringing my personal retirement savings up to a grand total of:


I also adjusted my 22 year Personal Retirement Investment Goal from a lofty 1 million dollars, to an even more lofty 1.25 million.  I did this using the 4% rule, I am confident that my employer supplied retirement will cover a good portion of my monthly financial requirements, but I don’t want to have to rely on that.

I am also basing the 4% rule off of my current annual income, as our monthly budget is still being tweaked and adjusted.  Once our budget is solidified, I will adjust the end goal once again.  

This month, we are not investing any additional funds into our savings or investment account due to the establishing of our budget and having our emergency savings built back up to where we are comfortable with it.

Each month I will be posting an update on the Betterment performance, so be sure to subscribe if you don’t want to miss one.
If you are interested in investing with Betterment, my established account could benefit you with 3 months of fee free account management by clicking this referral link.

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