Now, we’re ready to begin replacing them with new, more positive habits that will support the lives we desire. So how do we create and implement new, more effective habits in our daily lives?
Change Your Mind
Once you’ve identified a negative habit, you need to intentionally change your thought patterns in order to change the habit, and then replace it with a new, more positive habit.
One very effective way you can begin to “change your mind” is to practice saying affirmations each day–and to change a specific habit, develop a short, positively stated affirmation that you can recite anytime you notice the habit.
So, for example, let’s say your negative habit is obsessively checking your email and it distracts you from getting your work done. The next time you notice yourself checking your email when you should be working, stop what you’re doing and remind yourself what you want to do instead.
Your affirmation in this case could be something like “I check my email at scheduled times and I stay focused on my work.”
It doesn’t have to be fancy–just something short that you can say (or intentionally think) to yourself to help “reprogram” your thoughts.
Because, as you may know–thoughts become things. Remember too that you need to state your intention in positively because your subconscious doesn’t recognize negatives. So, if you say “I don’t obsessively check my email,” your subconscious will hear “I obsessively check my email.”
You create the life you have by attracting the things, people and situations on which you focus.
So, by intentionally switching the focus from your old habit (obsessively checking email and interrupting your work) to your new habit (only checking email at scheduled times and focusing on your work), you begin to immediately manifest that change–and before you know it, the new habit becomes second nature.
One Thing at a Time
While it is completely possible to become exactly who you want to be, it’s a good idea to change your habits one at a time.
I find that, in most cases, adding one new habit every week to two weeks works for me–but sometimes it takes a little longer.
Most experts suggest that it requires thirty days of focused intentional change before the habit becomes automatic.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Slip
This one’s important folks–and it can mean the difference between success and failure. If you slip into your old habits, don’t beat yourself up–but do get back on track immediately.
Forgive yourself and move forward with the plan, RIGHT THEN–don’t say “well, I messed up anyway, I might as well start again tomorrow” because tomorrow never comes!
Treat yourself like you’d treat someone you love (because, of course, you must love yourself first).
Change doesn’t have to hurt–but you’ve got to really want it. Just like that little caterpillar in the opening quote, stay focused on the goal, and remember why you’re making the changes in your life.
Write it down and post it on your fridge if you need to–whatever helps you to stay motivated.
Give yourself the gift of making intentional choices in your life, and before you know it, you’ll be living the life you’ve always wanted. What do you think?
Are you stressed out? Stress is one of the main factors that can negatively affect our mental and physical health. While there are medical treatments to help you deal with the effects of stress, such as sleeping tablets or anti-anxiety medications, these do not usually deal with the real cause of the problem.
Here are ten tips to help you deal with the stress in your life.
1. Discover Your Weak Point.
Learning to recognize your weak point will tell you when you are under too much stress. Some early warning signs include: headaches, tiredness, insomnia, indigestion, diarrhea, irritability, poor memory, crying frequently, or heart palpitations. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms – if there is no other medical explanation, you may be under too much pressure.
2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Stress.
A good way to find causes of unnecessary stress is through this exercise:
Make a list of all the things you plan to do this week. Put them into two columns – things you plan to do for OTHERS and things you plan to do for YOU. Which list is longer? Then circle your priorities on the list. What can you eliminate from what is left?
3. Show Your Emotions.
Many people are afraid to express sadness or anger because they believe it makes them appear vulnerable. However, holding in your emotions will only cause you more long-term stress. Cry when you feel sad, even if it’s just for a romantic movie. Laugh when you’re happy. Even smiling can do wonders to improve your outlook.
4. Organize Your Life
Perhaps you feel constantly stressed out because you’re not sure of what will happen next, or you worry about forgetting things. Try using a day planner. You can write things down and know that they will be there to remind you to plan ahead. At the beginning of each week, you can look at the week ahead and prepare.
5. Value Yourself.
Do you worry about what others think of you? Do you think you need to go out of your way to be appreciated? You are probably more valued than you think. Try making a list of all the skills you have and all the things you are good at. Or you could make a list of positive adjectives to describe yourself. It will also help to spend some time with friends and loved ones – they are the people who value the most and can help you realize how wonderful you truly are.
6. Don’t Be Bored.
Do you have any hobbies? Is there something that you have always wanted to do but haven’t given a try? Discovering a new hobby can be a way to relieve the stress in your life. You may even consider volunteering with non-profit organization – making a difference in others’ lives can be incredibly fulfilling.
7. Learn to Relax.
A great thing to do after a stressful day at work is to simply relax. Sit or lay down in a comfy place and close your eyes. Imagine you are someplace peaceful, such as a grassy meadow or a beach. Try to feel yourself there –think of the sun on your face and the sounds of nature around you. You may even try relaxing one part of your body at a time, starting with your feet and gradually moving to the top of your head. Just 15 minutes of total relaxation will benefit your mind and body.
8. Stop Worrying.
If you feel stressed out because you worry frequently, you could try letting them out. Write them down as a list or in a journal. This may help you think about WHY you worry about these things and what you can possibly do to stop worrying.
9. Go on Vacation.
Some people go years without taking a vacation. If that’s you, then now is the perfect time to get away. Even a 4-day weekend can do wonders to take your mind away from the stress around you. You’ll come back refreshed and revitalized.
10. Do Nothing.
Seriously. Many people, especially Americans, feel stressed because they are constantly on the go. There is nothing wrong with “doing nothing” every once in a while. It’s a great way to clear your mind of all that stress.
About the Author
Patricia Duggan has a Masters in Psychology and has been practicing for 11 years. She maintains the site Psychology Degree Guide. She writes about various subjects within the psychology field.
Want to make your whole life better, but you’re not where to start?
It all seems simple enough. Focus first on the parts that need attention the most and work your way down, right?
Sounds easy, but what if you aren’t sure how to prioritize the changes you want to make?
If you’re you’re a fan of flowcharts and visual aids, the “perfect 10” strategy might be just what you need to get started on creating the life you want.
Maybe you’ve already tried rating the different areas of your life. And even when the lower-rated areas of your life were improved, maybe they only got as good as a six or a seven at best.
But guess what? You’re not stuck. You can still reach that “perfect 10.” Try these strategies to help you get started.
Analyze Your Approach
When parts of your life get stuck, it might be time to change your approach. Any strategy has a maximum result, and the techniques that draw most people will never get them above a five-to-seven range.
For example, strict adherence to a 10-minutes-a-day exercise program won’t get you to swimsuit model status.
No matter how perfectly the strategy is implemented, your results from that strategy can only take you to a certain level. You must be ever-evolving.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to start fresh.
I hear that professional golfers occasionally get stuck in their progress and completely redesign their swings. For a while, they’re stuck at what they consider to be a two-three level, but frequently they are then able to push through and finally reach a 10 with a new strategy.
Even with a more effective strategy, you might feel that it will take too long to get to a ten from a six. Yes, it can take some time, but the time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well spend it making your life better. You can keep growing, and keep seeing new levels of satisfaction in what you can become.
What is a ten?
You have to define it to find it. The first step is to consider what a ten actually is–what does it look like to you? If you’re talking income, is it $200,000 a year? Is it $1 million a year with less than 20 hours of work a week? You’ll only get where you’re going if you know your destination.
Set goals to move toward that perfect ten.
Now that you know where you’re going, get started on the journey.Be aggressive but smart. As long as you keep moving forward, it’s impossible to fail. You only fail when you stop trying–think of setbacks as a blessing. Now you now what NOT to do to succeed.
Evaluate your progress.
It’s important to take a hard look at the progress you’re making toward that goal. If your path isn’t working, do something else–it’s that simple. Just try a different strategy. Don’t waste your time sticking to something that isn’t giving you the results you need.
And when things are working, keep going.
What Happens When You Reach Your Ten?
When you reach your ten, you’ll realize that your original six was actually a three or a four, based on your new perspective.
Realizing how big a ten really is shows you how much higher you can go as you reach each milestone.
Truth is, you’re far more capable than you may have imagined–and it never ends.
A billionaire, for example, has far more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, but he still feels the need to see if he’s capable of more. Being fixed in one spot is never satisfying for long. The pleasure is in the progress and experience, not in hitting some milestone.
It’s all about evolving–ever-evolving.
Ultimately, the amount of fulfillment you feel can be proportional to the amount of action you’re taking.
So get out there and do as much as you can to meet your goals. A perfect 10 is within your reach.
What “perfect 10” are you working on right now? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!
“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.” ~Steven D. Woodhull
As human beings, we are almost universally less than stellar at evaluating risk and reward.
Are you ever willing to bet $10 on a roulette wheel or the slot machine even though the odds are better than 50% that a loss will occur?
What about buying lottery tickets? Are those wise decisions according to logical assessments?
On the other hand, how willing are you to take social risks, like going up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and saying hello?
The risk is almost exactly zero, but the potential payoff is huge. Yet not many people will take this perceived risk even though this is a nearly perfect situation: very low risk and very high reward potential.
Are you assessing your life choices wisely?Our actions are largely determined by where we choose to focus our attention. If you emphasize the positive aspects of something and minimize the downside, you’re likely to take that action. If you have the opposite focus, you’re unlikely to do it.
So what’s the right way to make a decision?
Consider the Positives
Are you considering all the ways the risk could pay off? In the example above, you could make a new friendship.
You might get a new career out of it. You might meet your spouse or a new golfing buddy. Think about all the potential benefits of taking the risk you have in mind. Make a mental list.
Some people try to minimize the upside as an excuse not to move forward.
Be honest with yourself. Avoid giving in to anxiety and making light of the potential rewards. And remember, People who are guided by fear tend to have smaller, less satisfying lives.
Don’t Forget the Other Side
Are you maximizing or minimizing the downside of your decision? Are you focused on the fact that you might be embarrassed or rejected? Or do you tell yourself that it’s no big deal and that at the very least they’ll probably be flattered?
One approach will get you where you want to go. The other will likely keep you where you are–so, in a normal, relatively safe situation, try adjusting your perspective to the most positive possible outcomes.
Read carefully, friends: maximizing the imagined risk is a sure way to stay stuck.
Minimizing the risk will make it much easier to move forward. If you’re 100 percent honest with yourself, you’ll see that you probably have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Really consider this for a moment. What would you do that you don’t do now? How would your life change? Imagine the freedom you would have to move through the world according to your deepest needs and desires.
If you can learn to laugh at yourself and not take these types of things too seriously, you’ll be much better off.
You can either laugh now and smile when you get older, or you can kick yourself when you get older because you squandered so many opportunities. Be brave, be true to yourself and go out there and take some (calculated) risks! You deserve to be happy, successful and fulfilled. Here’s just one more way you can get there.
So the next time you’re faced with a decision that involves your ego, think about the real risk involved rather than an imagined risk. The average person’s aversion to embarrassing himself is a huge handicap to reaping all the great things that life has to offer.
Do your best to accurately assess risk and then take the action that makes sense. This gets easier every time. Before you know it, your friends will say you’re the bravest person they know.
How do you handle decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!
I always joke that I wasn’t born with the logic gene. I tell people that, regardless of my obvious intelligence (insert wry grin here), logic is something I’ve had to learn over the years.
Besides dealing with my uncanny ability to get lost in a paper bag, my other big challenge is getting and keeping my time organized. Like many right-brained people, I tend to get easily distracted.
It could be that the daydreams still take over occasionally. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m always trying to do fifteen things at once…or it could be that I happen to have the luxury of working from home (and that I happen to have very loud and demanding children for whom I’m very grateful.) Or maybe it’s the fact that Facebook calls my name when I get bored.
(Oh wait, did I just get distracted?)
I’m not sure–but whatever it is, time management is something that I’ve always had to intentionally implement in my life.
Why do I care? I mean, shouldn’t I just let myself wander through life, being creative at my every whim? Isn’t time management going against my true divine desires? Do I have to become a slave to the clock?
Nope. Time management is one of those things that some consider a necessary evil.
I, on the other hand, consider it a true gift–because without it, I couldn’t be who I want to be. Because my pursuit of fulfillment involves more than one focus–because there are many areas in which I’d like to rock, obviously.
So how can a creative soul manage time effectively? And does it have to suck?
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun (Or Not)
Where is your time going? Do you really know? The first step to organizing your time is to get a clear idea of exactly what you’re doing.
Get a small notebook and sketch a little time table. Divide it into three segments: morning, afternoon, and evening. For five days, carry the notebook with you. (If you’ve got mad texting skills, feel free to use your Crackberry, cell phone or PDA instead.)
At the end of each time segment, record your activities and the amount of time spent on each. For example, a morning segment might begin like this: Sleeping in, 30 minutes. Shower, 15 minutes. Grooming, 45 minutes. Getting kids ready, 30 minutes. Breakfast, 10 minutes. Commuting, 45 minutes…and so on.
At the end of five days, take a serious look at how your time is spent. Could you be doing more, or are you doing too much? You might be surprised to find that you spend more time procrastinating and preparing to get things done than actually doing them.
And before you say it–yeah, I know this doesn’t come naturally to creative minds. Just do it anyway. It won’t kill you–in fact, I’d be willing to bet it helps you figure all this stuff out.
Set Your Priorities
What are your priorities? The next step is to determine exactly what you need (and want) to accomplish. Take a few minutes to list your day to day responsibilities and goals. Give each a rating from one to three, three being most significant. Use this rating to determine what’s worth your time and what isn’t.
You may find that some of the things you thought were priorities actually aren’t all that important. Don’t be afraid to say “no” once in awhile. You’re not the only one who can organize that committee or host that party. When it comes to your home and family, you are allowed to ask for help. Delegate chores to your children or spouse, or even hire outside help if necessary.
Make a List
Yeah, I said it. Even creative souls can benefit from making lists. According to J. Robin Powell, PH.D., author of The Working Woman’s Guide to Managing Stress, list making alone can reduce stress levels.
Each night before you go to bed, make a simple list of what you plan to accomplish the next day. Don’t go overboard. It’s important that it is actually possible to accomplish your goals.
You can also keep a working list of more time-consuming (and less immediate) projects, like painting your office or rebuilding your website. Make a point of completing one project from this list each week, and be sure to update it often.
You’ll sleep like a baby knowing that you’re already organized for the next day.
Commit to a Plan
I know it sucks, but planning is absolutely necessary. Get an appointment book or use your cell phone to record daily, weekly, and monthly activities. I like to use my Outlook calendar and a plain old list on a Word document (since I work in front of a computer all day.)
For your day to day matters, plan like activities together. For example, plan to run all of your errands in one afternoon. This will help you to avoid running in circles (thus, saving time.)
But remember, flexibility counts! Expect unplanned interruptions or events, and be willing to change your schedule if necessary to focus on what’s important. Have a back up plan.
And speaking of focus, try to avoid dividing your attention. You’ll just end up with a bunch of unfinished masterpieces–which, in layman’s terms, means you’ll end up with nothing done.
I know that multitasking is necessary these days. But when it’s important, turn off your cell phone and focus on one thing at a time. You’ll get more done, and you’ll feel less stressed. (And feeling good is what it’s all about!)
Organize Your Stuff
Creative types are notoriously disorganized. But here’s the deal…you don’t have to measure your level of organization by anyone else’s standards. Just know where everything is, and be able to access it easily.
Like your mom used to say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
Be sure your home, your car, and your office are as orderly as possible. Organization promotes a sense of well being and helps you to feel more in control.
And remember, it takes time to make time. Time spent organizing is an investment in yourself. If you find that things are already out of control, schedule several evenings or a weekend to do a good once-over to put everything in order.
Throw out or give away what you don’t want or need, then organize the rest. After that, do a little each day to keep it together. If you’re having trouble getting started, Flylady.net offers a free home management system that is ideal for the logically challenged.
Aside from taking necessary inspired action, you gotta keep your head in the right place. Focus on staying positive and owning your desires. Need some help getting there? Don’t worry, friends. As always, I’ve got your backs.
Give It a Shot
So are you in? Can you do it? My challenge to you today is to take one step toward managing your time more effectively. Even a tiny step can be the beginning of significant positive change in your life. What do you think?