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Time Management

5 Easy Strategies to Break Bad Habits

Let’s face it: we all have a bad habit or two that we would like to get rid of! Whether it be smoking, biting our nails, overeating, or a host of other break-the-bad-habits-and-make-better-onesafflictions, it may be easier to eliminate it than you imagine.

First, Let’s Define the Word Habit

According to the dictionary, a habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that has become almost involuntary as a result of frequent repetition.

Even though your habit may seem automatic, behind it stands a thought, a choice, and a decision. You are going to be developing the skill of awareness throughout this empowerment course. You will be conscious of your choices and why you choose them. All actions have consequences. It’s time for new actions that bring new results.

With a little perseverance, willpower, and determination, you can be free from that nasty little habit!

Here are five strategies that can help:

1.  Commitment. Make sure this is something you truly want to accomplish. It’s wonderful to “talk the talk,” but you’ll need to back that up by “walking the walk” as well. Be honest with yourself. Do you truly believe that this is the right time to kick your bad habit? Remember, it has to be done for the right reasons.

  •   Don’t let yourself be pressured by others.

2.  Start a journal. Jot down every time you practice your bad habit. This isn’t to be used as a punishment, but to give you more of an idea when your undesired behavior is occurring, so that you can better devise ways to break it.

·         Include your thoughts and feelings that precede or accompany the behavior.

3.  Choose an alternative behavior. This behavior can either remind you of your desire to quit or be a permanent replacement of your bad behavior with a desirable one instead.

  •   One of the things I love to do is to take a walk.  You can also try  reading a book, singing a song, or cookomg. Any activity can be used as an alternative behavior. Of course, you don’t want to replace one bad habit with another one, but anything that can redirect your focus works well.

4.  Start a replacement schedule right away. Start immediately replacing your bad habit with your alternative, but a gradual shift may work better for you than a complete change.

  •  Remember, this won’t happen overnight, so please practice patience. People learn different behaviors at a different pace. Don’t be discouraged if your best friend stopped smoking in three weeks and you’re on your fifth week and still craving a cigarette.

5. Don’t keep this a secret. If you’ve made the decision to break a habit, tell others. This is the time when you need the support of your family and friends to help you be successful.

 ·         Whether you succeed or not, you’ve taken a major leap in a positive direction. That’s why it’s so important to share what you hope to accomplish with family and friends. Those who love you will be there to encourage you, offer support, and help you wherever they can.

Breaking a bad habit can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Use these techniques to make your journey easier, then celebrate your accomplishment when you’ve succeeded – you deserve it!

 

Persistence and The Bamboo Farmer

One of the classic writings about living as a champion and reaping the rewards of successful living is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and images (1) Grow Rich.”  There is an entire chapter devoted to persistence.  In fact, he references the word 97 times throughout the book.

He was good friends with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. He said that the only difference between these men, both innovators and inventors, was persistence.  They stuck with their vision until they succeeded in bringing it into the world.  And they changed the world, Edison with incandescent light bulb and Ford known for his automobiles and the assembly line.  People with a champion mindset are able to carry on even when everyone else has given up.

There is an Asian bamboo plant which offers a great metaphor for the concept of persistence.  There’s an old Chinese tale of a farmer.

He lived in a small rural community and had farmed traditional crops like corn and wheat of his life, just like his neighbors.

But this farmer wanted more than what his neighbors had, so he started researching alternative crops.

After studying a variety of options, he decided on bamboo.

The climate, soil conditions and equipment at his disposal could make growing and harvesting bamboo a profitable business. He was convinced he was making the wisest choice and began making the changes needed to become a bamboo farmer.

Upon telling his fellow farmers his idea, they mocked him, calling him foolish, all the time warning him of his impending peril.

However, our farmer remained unshaken, he had done extensive research and was confident that he was making the right decision.

If you know anything about bamboo, you know that the first year after it’s been planted, nothing happens.

You don’t get so much as a twig or a leaf!

His neighbors mocked him. They had all harvested their crops while he had nothing at all to show for his efforts.

He was undaunted and confident in his decision.

The second year nothing happened either, not a sign of a bamboo tree anywhere.

Again he was forced to endure a year of ridicule by his heartless neighbors.

And a third and a fourth….

Then suddenly, his crop grew a foot a day!

By the end of the fifth summer he had a virtual bamboo forest. He harvested his crop and sold it for a huge profit. His neighbors were astonished. It looked as if it happened overnight.

Or so it seemed. Did the plants lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?   Or, were they silently growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?   The answer is, of course, obvious.  This bamboo plant lies practically dormant for 5 years.  The bamboo farmer is persistent in believing that one day he’ll be able to harvest the bamboo and build a hut for his family to live in.

Sometimes, we have a goal and take action towards that goal, but it looks as though we aren’t making progress.

Perhaps it’s a business that hasn’t taken off yet.

Or a blog that’s yet to find an audience.

It could even be a parenting goal that has yet to be fully realised.

Let me encourage you today to hang in there.

If your goal is noble and your actions right, the day will come when you will reap a harvest.

Thinking Point

Amazing and true.  So here’s the question for you to ponder. Did it take over five years for the bamboo to grow 90 feet, or did it take 6 weeks?

Let me know!

Take Care of Yourself Set Boundaries Not Endless Acts of Generosity

If you are a natural giver like me this is actually tougher then it looks to implement.  For a natural giver it can be difficult to say no 1808642and set boundaries.  But I will tell you this natural takers will never stop taking.  You can never out give to them and they will never feel like they have taken enough.

We all learn that it is important to act unselfishly, but can you take it too far?  In 1984, psychologist Nancy McWilliams coined the term “pathological altruism.” It refers to someone who has a compulsive need to offset guilt, shame, or other negative feelings at the sight of another’s suffering by devoting their life to humanitarianism.

This altruism turns destructive when people end up hurting the very things they want to help. Think animal hoarders.  However, there are various shades of grey which can appear in your professional or social life.

It may be you turning into a pathos altruist or perhaps an employee or co-worker.  Similar to hoarders or cults, the behavior does require some intervention as it can lead to tension and bad feelings in the workplace.  It can also affect work deadlines and family priorities when you are tied up helping everyone else.

According to Lynn E. O’Connor, director of the Wright Institute’s Emotions, Personality, & Altruism Research Group, there’s a practical solution.

If you feel the urge to swoop in as someone’s savior, take a moment to consider whether the target of your altruism actually wants or needs your assistance.

It’s a lesson in learning to say “no” and setting personal boundaries of involvement.  Establishing a champion mindset means asking yourself how this type of commitment helps you achieve your goals.  It’s not all about selfless service.

Is Your Office Sending YOU the Wrong Message?

Mindset is everything.  When you’re office ain’t right your business ain’t right.  Have you ever walked into your office and though49297833873e912fcd152c9716908c13t

“where to I start”

“How do I start”

“Should I start”

Well if that’s happened to you you’re not alone.  Having an organized messy office creates a messy work environment and that in turn creates messy work.

Something a simple as rearranging your office furniture can communicate a better message about your strengths.  Your office space is a statement about you and your brand so it pays off in impressions by arranging your office space to portray the right visuals.

Also, your furniture arrangement can improve collaboration and agreements.  Consider where a member of your team or client sits when discussing a project with you. Is the chair directly across from yours? Does the person sit a bit lower than you and have to look up when speaking directly to you?  This positioning places them at a disadvantage and elicits a more competitive than collaborative spirit.

Try placing the guest chair to the side of your desk instead of across the space from you.  If space allows, create a conversation area away from your main desk.  A smaller circular table with 2-3 chairs placed around it is more conducive to collaboration.  King Arthur had the right idea using a round table for strategy sessions with his Knights of the Round Table.

Action Step

How does your office space look?  Is it cluttered and disorganized? It’s time to clear the desk and evaluate your office setting.

“Atten Hut” Change Your Energy…Stand Tall

Sitting in front of my computer sometimes for hours on end if sometimes that my shoulders feel stiff, I ache and worse yet I fee Posture-at-Work-Infographic1sluggish.  Not a very good feeling if you are working hard to try to build a business.

Have you ever watched soldiers marching in formation?  Perhaps you attended a military function where the battalion marched on the parade field or even in a movie.  Maybe it was your own child wearing a uniform.

Did the soldier have sagging shoulders or assume a slouched posture?  Training soldiers to establish a strong posture whether they are standing still in a formation or marching on a parade field has a strong impact to both the individual as well as the observer.

Standing tall with shoulders back and solid presents a confident personality. And this practice is backed by research.  Results from a study by the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA reported that posture indicates a lot about your self-esteem. The research linked sitting or standing with expansive posture (wide open and tall) with personal feelings of power, confidence in decision making, and control.

Your posture indicates a lot about your self esteem. Another study completed by the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario revealed that people with an upright posture easily recall positive thoughts and tend to have a stronger self-image. This can also help them push aside negative thoughts and worry.

Action Point

If you spend a lot of hours slumped in a chair make it a practice to check your sitting posture throughout the day. Another strategy is to spend more time standing while you work.  Do you think you’ll get your tasks done more quickly if you do them standing instead of sitting? Check out stand-up computer desks.

 

Inspirational Quote – Worry Doesn’t Work

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.

It empties today of its strength

Worry-does-not-empty-tomorrow-of-its-sorrow.-It-empties-today-of-its-strength.

Inspirational Quote – It’s Okay To Change Your Mind

 

You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future or a different past

What are you going to change your mind about today?

 

You-are-always-free-to-change-your-mind-and-choose-a-different-future-or-a-different-past.-Richard-Bach

 

Living Without Fear Part 5 Today Is A New day In Your Life.

The closer and closer you get to the end of the mini-series, the further and further your problem with fear will fade away.  5

You’ll get the help you’re so desperately seeking, and the economic recession won’t seem like such a weight on your shoulders.

Just keep reading for solutions…

Here’s the bombshell:   The more you try to avoid discomfort, the harder it will be to make important changes.

Change involves risk.

Change requires you to face your fears and  step out of your comfort zone – both of  which point to one thing…

…Change will usually give rise to uncomfortable feelings.

By now you’re well aware of the whole vicious cycle that results when you try to avoid discomfort and ignore your fears.

The only effective solution is true ACCEPTANCE. Not tolerance or “putting up with it.”

So, make room for the discomfort your fears cause, and focus on taking effective action.

The mind is an expert at coming up with reasons for not doing the things we really want to do.

But the first thing to realize is that reasons are just excuses.

The second thing to realize is that thoughts don’t control facts.

Does this surprise you?

Just check your own experience. How often had you been fearful of something that never came to pass?

With me you can learn to stop the struggle.  That is IF you are willing.  Whenever a fear presents itself, you can either say yes or no to it.

If you say yes to your fears, your life stagnates and shrinks.

If you say no to your fears, your life gets bigger and better.

If you keep saying no, there’s no guarantee life will get easier, because the next fear may be just as difficult, or worse.

But saying no to fear will become more of a habit, and the experience you gain from this gives you a reservoir of strength.

Even if you don’t WANT to say no, you can still CHOOSE to.  And each time you make that choice, you grow stronger.

And, at the same time, the more you practice this, the less discomfort you’ll actually have to deal with.

Eventually your fears will become a lot easier to live with because they don’t get amplified.

In other words, you’re willing to accept your natural fears, even though you may not want them.

So now, turn your attention to giving yourself the opportunity to undermine the struggle that fear has created in you.

At this point, you have a choice.

You can turn back or keep going…

I suggest you keep going….

Good luck and if you’re still  having struggles dealing with fear drop me a line.

Living Without Fear Part 4 – What’s Keeping You Bound To FEAR?

How’s it all going? Are you taking action?

Have you begun to make some meaningful changes in your life? Are your recession fears starting to ease?4

If not, you’ve probably come up against at least one or two obstacles…obstacles so universal that they’ve sideswiped us all.

You see as soon as you start to set a goal such as getting rid of your fears your mind will start to broadcast:

“I can’t do it”

“I’m wasting my time”

“I can’t change”

…or any other your habitual thoughts.

If you give these thoughts attention, you’re in trouble.

The solution is to let them come and go and re-focus back to taking effective action.

Let’s spend some time discussing excessive expectations and how they  bound you to fear.

So let me ask you, are your goals for beating this fears too big?  The trick is not expecting to do too much, too soon.

Don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism. This increases your fears and only stifles your progress.

Do you expect to achieve your goals even though you lack the necessary skills or resources?

For example, if this recession has forced you to change jobs, you may need to take the necessary time to learn new skills. This can cause a tremendous amount of fear!  And if you lack the resources you need  to achieve a particular goal (such as time, money, healthy, energy, support, equipment, or knowledge), then you’ll need to figure out how you can find them.

If there’s no way to find these resources in your current situation, then you’ll need to let go of that goal for now and set yourself a more realistic one.

And another thing… don’t  sweat the mistakes.

Know that making mistakes is a fundamental part of being human. You learn by making mistakes and you’re made stronger with each obstacle you overcome.  When you stumble, you learned what *not* to do and how you can do it differently.   This is how you grow wiser!

Making mistakes is an essential part of learning to beat your fears.  So embrace it.

Let go of perfection.

Tomorrow, you’ll learn to escape your fears and find true satisfaction in life…