Monday, 31 August 2015

From Failure to Success



“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

Failures are just as important as successes when trying to learn how to improve, especially when it comes to changing habits. I’m sure every one of us has tried to quit something and failed, or tried to do something positive and failed. The key, of course, is to not just give up after failure, but to reset and analyze what went wrong and why, and to plan to overcome those obstacles the next time.

1. DON'T TAKE ON TOO MUCH AT ONCE: Most of us have done this — I want to wake early, to start running, to eat healthier, to be more organized, and to write every day … all at once! No matter how much enthusiasm we have for all of these goals, taking on even just two habits at once is setting ourselves up for failure. It’s certainly possible, but it’s not for those of us who have difficulty changing habits. It's estimated that you triple or even quadruple your chances of success if you focus on one habit at a time, for one month at a time. Devote all of your energy to that habit change, and once it’s on autopilot, move on to the next one.

2. DO YOUR RESEARCH: With every habit change, it's important to read as much as possible about it, before and during. Do research to find out strategies for success, potential obstacles, good tools that will help you be successful and keep you motivated.

3. COMMIT YOUR PLAN: It’s easy to wake up, jump out of bed, and yell out loud, “I’m going to make a change today!” Who among us hasn’t done that? But just telling ourselves, whether out loud or quietly in our minds, that we’re going to change isn’t enough. You have to write down your goal. Write a start date. Write an end date (30 days is a good time frame). Write down exactly what you’re going to do. Write down how you’re going to be accountable, what your rewards are, what the obstacles are, what your triggers are: put it on paper and stick to the plan.

4. BE FULLY COMMITTED: I’ve done this a few times myself: I will say, “I think I’ll quit smoking today.” Then I would throw away my pack of cigarettes. Then I would go for as long as I can (often half a day) and then cave in and go buy another pack. Then I feel guilty for a little while until I half commit to quit again. That doesn’t work. You have to fully commit. That means tell the world about it — put it on your blog, tell your family, friends, or co-workers. The more people, the better! Publish your entire plan. Put up a sign on your desk and refrigerator. Make a solemn promise to your child (this worked for me when quitting smoking).




5. LOG YOUR PROGRESS: You can change habits without keeping a log, but a log just increases your chances of success — and why wouldn’t you want to do that? Things are hard enough without using all the tools at your disposal. A log helps you succeed because it reminds you to be consistent. It keeps you aware of what you are actually doing. It motivates you, because you want to write good things in that log. It helps keep you accountable before the people you’ve made a commitment to.

6. THINK THROUGH YOUR MOTIVATION: What people call discipline, I call motivation. Why are you disciplined enough to do something? Because you have the right motivation. When you lose the motivation, you lose the discipline. Before you start your habit change, think through your motivations. Why are you doing this? What will keep you going when you forget your reasons? Public commitment is a big motivator, of course, but you should have internal ones too. Write these down in your plan.

7. REALIZE THE OBSTACLES: Every habit change is a path littered with obstacles. Unfortunately, when we hit some of these, we often quit. Or we’ll try again, but hit the same obstacles again and again with the same result. Instead, think it through, and anticipate your obstacles. If you have failed before, think about what obstacle stopped you. If you have never done this habit change before, do some research and read about others who have succeeded and failed at it, and find out what obstacles you should expect. Then make a plan for what you will do when you face the obstacles.

8. KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS: This is an important key to changing habits. Every habit has at least one trigger — an event that immediately precedes the habit. Some habits have more than one trigger — for example, smoking triggers included waking up, eating, stressful events, etc. Each time these events happened, almost without fail, I would smoke — either that, or I would get the urge to do so. The more consistent the link to the trigger, the stronger the habit. So when you try to break a habit, you have to know all of your triggers (log it for a few days) and then create a positive habit to replace the negative habit for each of the triggers. Running, for example, can replace smoking when stressed. For positive habit changes, such as exercise, you need a trigger that will happen every day (or as often as you need it to happen). For exercise, you could exercise right after your morning coffee (if you have coffee at the same time every day already) or right after work, if you get off work at the same time every day. Put your triggers in your written plan, and be very consistent with them — when the triggers happen, do the habit immediately, every single time. The less consistent you are with your triggers, the weaker the habit will be. If you attach a habit to a trigger, you have to do the habit every single time, immediately following the trigger. If you do it sometimes and not others, you will not have a habit. Try not to miss a single time if possible, because once you miss once, you’ll be tempted to miss another time, and then a third, and then you’ve got nothing.




9. DON'T CHANGE FOCUS TOO SOON: Often we start a habit change, and within a week or two our focus changes to something else. The habit most likely isn’t firmly ingrained by then, and so we’ve wasted all that time trying to form a new habit and then abandoning it before it’s on autopilot. Instead, stick to this habit for at least 30 days, and be consistent as possible.

10. DON'T QUIT AFTER FAILURE: If you do miss once, or twice or three times, don’t give up. Just figure out why you missed, and plan to beat that obstacle next time. Then be as consistent as possible from then on out, until the habit is ingrained. If you quit, you’ve let the failure beat you. But if you reset your resolve, and learn from your failure, the failure then becomes a positive thing that helps you to succeed. Failure as a stepping stone to success.

11. HAVE SUPPORT: There will be times when you falter, almost invariably. Who will you turn to when you need encouragement? If you don’t have a good answer to this, you need to think it through. If you have a significant other, that’s a good choice, but have more than one supporter. Maybe your mom, your sister, your best friend, your boss. Maybe an online friend or three. Best yet, join a support group or an online forum full of people doing the same thing. Make the commitment to them, and ask them to help you when you hit rough spots. Make a promise to call them if you do. Put this in your written plan.

SEE RELATED POSTS:

Detox Your Mind
Mindfulness Practice
Rewrite Your Story





30 Days to Transformation



To change an old habit or form a new habit, it takes anywhere from 21 to 66 days. This of course, will depend on the individual and the habit or change being implemented. As change or growth is an ongoing process, I have chosen 30 days (or 1 month increments) to incorporate these new habits. This time-frame is not cast in stone. If it takes two months or more, or even less, due to various circumstances, so be it. There is no pressure 'to get it done' in any specific number of days. Stay focussed on the goal at hand and not the time.

If you could pick just one or two habits to create in the next few months — habits that will have the most impact on your life — what would they be?

I have shared some life changing habits below for consideration to develop and transform your life. If you have others that you would prefer to work on, please feel free to make those changes. I want to make this as stress-free as possible. Following one's own goals are much more motivating and productive then following a list that is of no interest or value to you.

I will set up a 'journal' section online if anyone wishes to share their progress or road-blocks publicaly, either for motivation or support.




How to Develop the Habits

• Do a 30-day challenge, focusing on just ONE habit.
• Write it out on paper, along with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
• Commit fully.
• Log your progress.
• Remain accountable — journal on your progress each day.
• Have support for when you falter — either in real life or online.
  —>For anyone wishing to journal their progress and support online, please click on the following link:  Journal - Progress and Support
• Reward every little success.
• If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.

Six Life Changing Habits

1. POSITIVE THINKING: Positive thinking is the keystone habit that will help you form the other important habits. Positive thinking by itself won’t lead to success, but it certainly goes a long way to motivate you to do the other things required.

When I allowed myself to think negative thoughts, I would end up failing. But when I learned how to quash negative thoughts and think positive ones instead, I succeeded. Practicing this over and over, until I was able to form just about any habit I needed, has been invaluable.

Focus on this habit first, and you will have a much easier time with any of the others. Start by becoming more aware of your negative self-talk — journal throughout the day, making an entry each time you notice a negative thought. Soon you will recognize them, and be able to quash them.

2. FOCUS ON ONE GOAL: Focus on one task, one habit and one goal at a time. While it might seem difficult, focusing on one goal at a time is the most powerful way of achieving your goals. When you try to take on many goals at once, you are spreading your focus and energy too thin — the two critical components for achieving a goal.

If you have many goals you want to accomplish, pick one to focus on first. If it’s a long-term goal, break it into a mini-goal you can accomplish this month. Pick an action you can do today. Keep doing this until the goal is accomplished — complete an action every day, pick the next mini-goal to work on, then when your One Goal is completed, focus on the next goal.

Some goals are ongoing ones — like blogging every day, or exercising every day. In those cases, turn them into habits — focus exclusively on turning the goal into a habit, until the habit is ingrained. Then focus on the next goal.

3. ELIMINATE THE NON-ESSENTIAL: First, identify the essential — the things in your life that are most important to you, that you love the most. Then eliminate everything else. This simplifies things and leaves you with the space to focus on the essential. This process works with anything — with your life in general, with work projects and tasks, with emails and other communication.

This will change your life because it will help you to simplify, to focus on what is important, and to build the life you want.

See also: DETOX YOUR MIND

4. DAILY ROUTINE: It’s so simple, but creating a daily routine for yourself can make a big difference in your life. The best routines, I’ve found, come at the start and end of the day — both your workday and your day in general. That means, develop a routine for when you awake, for when you first start working, for when you finish your workday, and for the end of your evening.

This will help you get a great start to your day, and finish your day by preparing for the next day. It will help you firmly root the productive habits you want to firm in your everyday life. It will help you focus on what’s important, not just what comes up. It will help you make sure you get done all the things you really want to make sure gets done every day, and that can mean a lot.




5. SINGLE-TASKING: The opposite of multi-tasking — This is life-changing! A couple powerful reasons:

• You’ll be more effective with your tasks and get more done. It’s hard to achieve important things if you are constantly switching tasks and distracted by other “urgent” things.
• You will be less stressed overall and (in my experience) happier throughout your day.

6. KINDNESS: Kindness is a habit that can be cultivated. Focus on it every day for a month and you will see profound changes in your life. You will feel better about yourself as a person. You will see people react to you differently and treat you better, over the long run. It’s Law of Attraction … what you give, you receive.

First, make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day. At the beginning of the day, figure out what that kind act will be and then do it during the day. Second, each time you interact with someone, try to be kind, be friendly, be compassionate. Third, try to go beyond small kindnesses to larger acts of compassion, volunteering to help those in need and taking the initiative to relieve suffering.

7. EXERCISE: (Feel free to change or add additional goals, such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, meditation, etc.) Sure, exercise is healthy and all that, but how exactly is it life changing?

• It makes you feel better about yourself, and more confident. That leads to better success with other positive changes.
• It reinforces the positive thinking habit — you need to think positive in order to sustain exercise.
• It relieves stress and gives you time to think — this leads to better mental well-being in your life overall.





Journal - Progress and Support

Rewrite Your Story






Feed Shark

Monday, 24 August 2015

Friday, 21 August 2015

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

Friday, 7 August 2015

Karma








START thinking what could go right!








My heart is every temple - Rumi








We worry about what a child will become









Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Prayer for Inner Peace







Prayer to Grow in God's Love



                   Dear Father,

                 May I continue to grow in my capacity to
                 understand Your Love. May the reality of
                 Your feelings towards me put my heart at
                 ease and fill my soul with gladness. May
                 the rush and worry culture have no impact
                 on me. May You set my pace and establish
                 me in Your purpose. Your work is precious,
                 beautiful and divine.

                   Amen.






Love is like a butterfly








Attitude - Ordeal or Adventure








Start loving yourself








Fear has two meanings









Monday, 3 August 2015