Showing posts with label change your habits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change your habits. Show all posts

The Power of Choice

Rohn: Change Begins with Choice... 

If you don't like how things are, change it! Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to make important changes in our lives. Any day we wish, we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish, we can start a new activity. Any day we wish, we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.

We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause.

As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves." We created our current circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth.

They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth. We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives.

And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life: If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life—and it all begins with your very own power of choice.

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Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Thinking

Positive and negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies: What we expect can often come true.  

If you start off thinking you will mess up a task, the chances are that you will: You may not try hard enough to succeed, you won't attract support from other people, and you may not perceive any results as good enough. Positive thinking, on the other hand, is often associated with positive actions and outcomes. You're drawn to, and you focus on, the positive aspects of a situation. You have hope and faith in yourself and others, and you work and invest hard to prove that your optimism is warranted. You'll enthuse others, and they may well "pitch in" to help you. This makes constructive outcomes all the more likely.  When it comes down to it, positive, optimistic people are happier and healthier, and enjoy more success than those who think negatively. The key difference between them is how they think about and interpret the events in their life.

So, how do you think about your successes and failures? Do you think you have a predictable thinking pattern?

The first step in changing negative thinking is to become aware of it. For many of us, negative thinking is a bad habit – and we may not even know we're doing it! 

Consider these examples of negative thought patterns: The guy on the subway who just made a face is surely directing his behavior at you. When the receptionist doesn't greet you in the morning, you must have done something to anger her. again! You go straight to the coffee machine, because it's Monday morning and you just know you'll be solving problems until lunchtime. When you finally get to your desk, your assistant is waiting for you. "Oh no," you think. "What has he done now? The first problem of the day.”

Imagine how it makes you feel to constantly surround yourself with negativity. Then ask yourself if this is the way you tend to think in your own life? Dr Martin Seligman, who has been described as America's most influential psychologist, has done extensive research on thought patterns. In particular, he looks at the impact of an optimistic versus pessimistic outlook on life and success. He uses three basic dimensions of Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalization, with optimistic people on one end of the scale and pessimistic people on the other.

Believing that something we are experiencing is either permanent or temporary. The pessimist statement implies that you think bad times will carry on forever. 

Pessimist: I lost my job and I'll never find one as good again. No point even looking!
Optimist: I lost my job. Thank goodness there are other opportunities I can explore!

Believing that situational factors cause an effect or that the effect is evidence of more universal factors at work. The pessimist statement shows that you tend to think that if you've experienced a problem in one place, you'll experience that problem wherever you go.

Pessimist: I lost my job. Companies are all the same; all they care about is money. I don't know why I bother putting in any effort at all.
Optimist: I lost my job. It's too bad our company has to reinvent itself to stay competitive. Thankfully I learned some great transferable skills!

Believing that something about you influenced the outcome or that something external to you caused it.  The pessimist tends to blame himself for bad things, rather than attributing the cause to more general factors. 
Pessimist: I lost my job. If I had been a decent employee they would have found a new job for me.
Optimist: I lost my job. I gave it my all, however they just can't use my skill set right now.

Re-shape Your Thinking
The way you view what happens around you can show whether you have a positive or negative pattern of thinking when you become more aware of your thoughts - and the effect they have on your life. 

When you're more aware of the way you think, you can take action to use positive situations to your advantage, and re-shape the negative ones. The goal is to think positively, regardless of the situation, and make a conscious effort to see opportunities instead of obstacles.

So if we look at one of the examples listed above, if you immediately think the receptionist is mad at you because she didn't say hello, how rational is that? Now change that thought to more rational outcomes like, she have been busy or distracted when you walked by or did you say hello to her? Maybe she wasn't feeling well, or she was in a negative mood herself. These are all more rational reasons for her behavior than simply assuming that you did something wrong.  Persistent negative thinking can cause mental health problems, including depression. While these positive thinking techniques have been shown to have a positive effect, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they are experiencing persistent unhappiness.

Key Points
Becoming more positive is always a good thing. The more aware you are of your thoughts, the better you'll be able to change them to emphasize the positive.  Positive thinking usually attracts positive people, events, and outcomes. If you want to create an environment where you're successful and satisfied, you'll need the power of positive thinking on your side.  You may not be aware of all of your negative thoughts and the effect they have on your life, however, by taking some time to understand your own thought patterns, you can challenge those irrational, negative thoughts – and replace them with more positive, optimistic and empowering messages.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world." - Buddha

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Learn How to Eliminate Your Bad Habits

It has been said that human beings are ‘Creatures of Habit’. Habits are routines of behaviors that occur outside of conscious awareness. Many habits are helpful, in that they help you to manage your time, and complete important and routine everyday tasks.

Do you have a habit you would like to eliminate? Is your habit your servant or your master? Are you aware that ultimately, your habits determine your future!

No matter what you might long for in life, you don’t just drift along into the life you desire, you have to create what you want by taking action in the direction of your goals.

Ask your self some questions about the habits you have developed. Some will be helpful habits, in that they are consistent with your values, while others habits are unhelpful and do not serve your life goals.

Breaking a habit involves will power! Habits differ from addictions because they can be controlled by the will, whereas addictions are negative behaviors that are no longer under the control of the will. Many people hang on to unhelpful habits because they meet an important emotional need in the form of a Reward. Habits are not innate; rather they are learned and influenced by the environment by a process known as Reinforcement (reward). Think about the reward you derive from the habit you wish to eliminate. Do you have the will power to give this up and make a change?

Identify one unhelpful habit in your life and ask yourself; What keeps it going? Does it meet a social or emotional need in you? How does this habit impact on your life? Does it affect your sense of the future? How would you like it to be different? In what way would your life be different if you could break free of this unhelpful habit?

Studies have shown that in order to break free of unhelpful habits it is necessary to Replace them with habits that promote and serve your goals.

Can you think of a helpful habit you could develop so that you can replace your unhelpful habit?

The findings of psychological research demonstrate that habits develop through repetition, with very little or no thought involved.

So, we know that habits become automatic through consistent repetition and reward. This applies to both helpful and unhelpful habits, whatever it is you repeat and reward in a consistent way for 30 days will become a new habit, whether it is helpful or unhelpful, good or bad!

Understanding the factors that influence the formation of habits will help you to apply them to creating the habits you want to develop; habits that serve your goals.

If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you will accept in life, you will find it easy to slip into behaviors, attitudes or quality of life that falls far below what you deserve.

If you are ready to eliminate an unwanted habit you will find some guidelines below.

  • When attempting to eliminate an unwanted habit, it is much easier to deal with one habit at a time, so that you do not set yourself up for failure by taking on too much at once.
  • Write down a start date and give yourself a 30 day time frame to replace an unwanted habit with a one that you would like to develop.
  • Write down your goals and tell others about your intentions, this will help you to take responsibility for your decision and make you accountable to yourself for follow-through.  
  • List the pros and cons of eliminating your unwanted habit; this will help you to strengthen your motivation, by focusing on what you want and what you don’t want in your life.
  • Be sure to find out what your triggers are. All habits have a trigger point; it may be time of day, or other context, which acts as a trigger for you to exercise your unwanted habit. For instance; do you eat in the context of being hungry or when you see food?!
  • Use self-talk to help you cope with temptation. Access support from others who believe you can do it and are not likely to sabotage your progress.
  • Identify the obstacles that might get in the way of you reaching your goal. Make a plan so that you can manage blips and setbacks to progress. Expect blips as part of the process and don’t give up!
  • Use your pros and cons list to help you to stay motivated on a daily basis, add pictures or photographs as visual aids to prompt you to stay on target.

On your ‘start day’, consistently replace the unhelpful habit with the helpful one you have chosen. Remember that repetition and rehearsal establishes a new pattern, so stick with it! Change the environment so that the relationship between your trigger and your response is disrupted. Be consistent!

Follow these instructions for 30 days minimum and then review your progress. If you have a blip, look for the trigger, and plan to be more vigilant next time it occurs.

Make your habits your servants; do not allow unwanted habits to prevent you from living your dreams! You are able to choose, and you have the power to make change happen in your life, no-one else does. If it is important to you, it can be overcome. Ultimately, it is what you DO that matters in life. Helpful habits lead to positive futures.

Take Action!

Use these tips to help you identify problem behaviour, move forward and stay on track.

What will you be doing differently 30 days from now?
Write it down here:

If someone was watching you what would they be noticing about you?
Write it down here:
Now live what you have described, live it consistently every day
for 30 days!

If you would like further information on Habit Formation or elimination of unhelpful habits, here are some useful reading suggestions:

The Habit Change Workbook; How to break bad habits and form good ones by J Claiborn.

Habitually Great: Master your habits, own your destiny by Mark Weinstein.

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Define Your Purpose!

Success and progress towards achieving your goals in life begin with knowing where you are going. The starting point of all human achievement is the development of a Definite Major Purpose. Without it, you are as helpless as a ship without a compass.

Your mental attitude gives power to everything you do. Once you have a definiteness of purpose you will know where you are going and how you are going to get there. You must create a path to attain your goals. The plan can change along the way but the incremental steps taken will guide you toward accomplishing the things that are important in your life. Attainment is dependent on having clarity of your purpose!

If this thought is overwhelming for you and you don't know where to begin, start on a small scale by thinking just about this very day before you. What is your purpose today? Do you have a definite direction toward that purpose, a plan of action steps to get you to achieve what is necessary to make your day productive? Without one, you most likely will end the day wondering where the time went, why nothing got done or why all the things on your mind never developed into anything accomplished or completed. A clear sense of purpose can transform obstacles into opportunities, frustration into determination, and defeat into victory.

Once you develop a daily habit of living your life with purpose you will start to feel a great sense of accomplishment and direction. It will give you the confidence to move forward with the same clarity to then attain your long term goals. The next step will be yours to take!

You can get the tools you need to excel in your life by working with a Business and Life Management Coach who has over 20 years’ experience empowering individuals, executives and business owners to attain self-defined success in their professional & personal lives. Book a complimentary session at to get started in reaching your personal and professional goals today! National phone, e-mail and local on-site coaching available.

How to Get Organized

Creating productive habits will help you get organized, simplify your life and get everything under control so you can get things done. Look at all the improvements you can make to your daily routine and pick one at a time to incrementally change the way you do things so you can improve your life. Once one habit is changed then move on to the next one until you have a revamped your way of life to stay organized in everything you do. Its’ not that difficult if you take one thing at a time and put some action into it!

Collect information wherever you go. If you carry a capture tool with you whether it’s a small notebook, smart phone or anything else that works for you it will allow you to write down tasks, ideas, projects, phone numbers or anything else that pops into your head each day. I like to start my day by writing a physical list in the morning and use it to check things off as the day progresses. I also put certain reminders in my phone to make sure I address tasks that are very important.

The key elements of the capture habit are: take your capture tool with you wherever you go, write everything down before you forget, and empty your notes of what still needs to be done into your future to-do list when you get back to your home or office.

Process all information that comes to your inbox and create an action to follow. An inbox is any place where you check your messages or read incoming information. The first thing you have to do is minimize your inboxes. List all the ways in which you receive information, evaluate each to see if it gives you value, and find ways to combine or eliminate inboxes.

Make sure that all the papers, letters, bills etc. that come into your home get placed in the one inbox so you can address all of them at the same time preferably at the end of your day or week.  If you use a smart phone make sure you get all your messages together in one area whether they are in different email accounts, text messages or voicemails. Once you scroll through them you can then decide what to do at that moment.

Start with the top item on your inbox and work your way down, making immediate decisions as you go along, delete or trash it, delegate or save  it. If it’s something you can deal with in two minutes or less, do it immediately. File it if it’s something you need for reference. Add it to your to-do list or calendar to do at another time. Work your way down through each item until the inbox is empty. Leave nothing in the inboxes.

Plan at the beginning of each week the larger tasks that you want to accomplish and schedule them first on your list. Prioritize your tasks to get the most important ones done in the morning each day to ensure that they get done. Planning gives purpose to your week because you’re not just checking items off of a to-do list, you’re doing what’s important to you and what will take you closer to achieving your goals.

Do One Thing at a Time without distractions and select a task and decide that you’re going to work on it either until it’s done, or for a set amount of time. Before you get started de-clutter your desk and eliminate all distractions, shut off your e-mail and cell phone, get off the internet if it isn’t part of your work, and so on. Focus on the task you’ve selected to the exclusion of everything else during the time that you’ve allotted to that task. If you get interrupted or think of something else that needs to be done while you’re focusing on a task, write it down for later and get back to the task until completed.

Use an Easy System instead of getting caught up fiddling with tools and making things too complicated. Concentrate on “doing” and not on the tools. What will work for you is what is best, so think about what is the easiest to implement and start. I create a paper list each morning that I carry with me to add and cross off things as the day progresses. I use my Blackberry to complement my schedule with reminders and put future tasks into my calendar as they come to play. This works for me but you can also separate your tasks in each area for everything work related, all your personal tasks, for calls you can make from anywhere, your list of errands, things you need to follow up on and a list of stuff you don’t want to or can’t do right now, but want to check on later.

Keep lists simple so you can stay focused. All you really need is one list to work off of daily and a master list that you review and update weekly/monthly. I use Outlook as my master list and sink it with my Blackberry. You can also add the small less important tasks as well and whatever doesn’t get done you should put on the following day’s list. If it’s still there at the end of the week then take it off your list because it doesn’t seem to be worth your time…lol

Everything Has Its Place and your life can be completely organized by following two rules: everything you own should have a home, and when you’re done using any item, put it back where it belongs. Create a simple filing system so that you can keep things organized and quickly file any papers that have been finalized or that you’re going to need for future reference.  Putting things where they belong, immediately, is a good productive habit. Treat it like any other habit and focus on it for a month to turn it into something automatic.

Set and Keep Routines. It’s important to create productive routines and eliminate the habits that you have that no longer serve you. You should make sure that you are mentally and physically doing what is in your best interest each day. Find routines that work for you so they are within your comfort zone. It’s important to create structure so your routine will work within your home and work life. Following a routine that is flexible as well reduces stress and leads to living an organized, focused life. Knowing what you will be doing each day creates a sense of calm internally.

Do a Weekly Review so you can see the progress you have made with each task completed. It is important to focus and look at your accomplishments so you see improvements to your life and acknowledge the steps that were taken to bring you closer to your goals whether they are daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Focus on what is important and make sure that your projects/tasks lineup with your goals concentrating on what matters the most. A plan for the future is great but you must live in the now to make each day productive, organized and purposeful.

Tap Into Your Passion and do those things that bring joy to your world. Embracing something that you feel passionate about will replenish your soul and give you the energy and focus to stay on track. If you’re passionate about your work, your family or your home, then your task list will almost seem like a list of rewards.

Get Organized and A
chieve Your Full Potential! Work with a Business and Life Management Coach with over 20 years experience empowering individuals, executives and business owners to attain self-defined success in their professional and personal lives. Book a complimentary session at to get started in reaching your goals today.