March 20th, 2012 — All, aussiebattery.com, batteries-company.com, batteries-company.com.au, Be Happy Tips, For Better Life Tips, How To, Improve Your Life Tips, My Self-development, Reading
As much as we say we want to change, tobecome better people, to improve ourselves, we often face change kicking and screaming. It’s one thing to envision yourself as slim, trim, and healthy, but quite another to put on your running shoes and break a sweat.
Even when we are highly motivated or inspired, change is hard. It is hard to initiate it, and it is hard when it’s thrust upon us. We are creatures of comfort, and every change (even small changes) requires some level of physical, mental, or psychological discomfort.
This threat of discomfort keeps us trapped in a cycle of desire and failure. We want to be better people, but we can’t manage to sustain the actions to get there. It takes a toll on our self-esteem. The more times we try and fail, the more like failures we feel. Then we lose hope of ever succeeding, so we stop trying.
Most of the time we view change as a giant leap from where we are now to the final place we want to be. We try to attack change like an ant pushing a bowling ball uphill. But if you view change this way, you are bound to fail.
Change is hard because most of us go about it in the wrong way. We don’t know why we keep failing. We think it has to do with personal weakness. But most of the time, it doesn’t. It has to do with a lack of knowledge.
What Is Change?
Change is nothing more than the formation of a series of habits. Look at your life as it is right now. Most of what you do, what you think, and how you behave is habitual.
- You get up in the morning and go through the same routines.
- You go to work and follow generally the same schedule.
- You interact with and react to people in the same ways.
- You come home and follow the same routines for dinner, relaxation, and bedtime.
Yes, there are small differences in your routine, but rarely do you insert some sustained, on-going activity or new way of doing something.
You have developed the patterns of your daily habits over many years. Some you carried from childhood, and others you picked up along the way. But most of your daily habits have been repeated enough times that your brain circuitry is entrenched in these behaviors.
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Rewire Your Brain
To change the behaviors, you must rewire your brain. And rewiring your brain takes practice, patience, and the knowledge of how to do it.
In my work as a personal coach and teaching The Habit Course (with my partners Leo Babauta and Katie Tallo), I work with people on a simple method for making sustainable life change. This is a method that has been tested and well-researched. If you follow it, you can make sustainable life change.
Here are the steps:
- Plan and prepare. You can’t just jump into a new behavior without preparation. You would be setting yourself up for failure right off the bat. You must get yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and practically ready and ripe to be successful. This includes creating a vision for yourself of the outcome, and planning a system of triggers, accountability, support, and rewards.
- Start really, really small. Every new habit is comprised of many smaller habits. For example, taking up running could involve getting up earlier, putting on your running clothes, stretching, etc. Break down each new habit into its smallest parts, and begin with just one of those small parts as your first change.
- Stick to 5 minutes. When you begin this small new habit, do it for 5 minutes only during the first 2 weeks. This will feel very easy (especially for some small habits), but it begins the process of retraining your brain to accept this new behavior. This 5 minute rule is critical to your success, so don’t break it!
- Find a trigger. A trigger is an established habit or action that you can use to “trigger” your memory to perform your new habit. You want to perform your new habit immediately after the trigger. For example, you might practice your new habit of meditation immediately after the trigger of brushing your teeth (an established habit). The trigger must be something that is firmly established for you.
- Set up accountability. Most of us don’t tell people when we try to change just in case we fail. We don’t want to be embarrassed. But actually telling people is key to your success. You want to find a place to report your daily habit work, whether it’s through social media, on a forum, or by email to a group of friends. When you know someone is counting on you, you will try harder.
- Acknowledge success. Set up a reward system for yourself that immediately follows the new habit. You have to plan a reward system to keep your motivation and positivity at a high level. Gold stars, a piece of chocolate, a nap, anything that feels like a reward will work to reinforce your habit. Our students in the Habit Course loved the gold stars!
- Create a support system. Communicate with those close to you about your plans for life change, and get their buy-in and support. If you don’t, you are setting yourself up for trouble. If your new habit disrupts the lives of others, and you haven’t communicated with them or gotten their support, they may sabotage your efforts.
- Plan for disruptions. During the planning phase of your life change, you create a “disruption contingency plan.” Unexpected things will happen. You may get sick. You might have to travel. You may need to change the time or place for your habit. Don’t allow these events to be an excuse for interrupting your change work. Plan for them in advance so you aren’t blindsided by the unexpected.
- Increase your time slowly. Be sure that your new habit is fully automatic before you increase the time past 5 minutes. If you have missed more than a day or two during the first two weeks, then add another week of practicing for 5 minutes only. Once it feels automatic, increase to 10 minutes. Keep adding time as the change feels automatic.
- One change at a time. Tackle only one new change in your life at a time. It can take 4-8 weeks for a new habit to be fully automatic. The more difficult the habit, the longer it will take. Don’t begin another one until you have to first one firmly established.
You probably have something on your mind right now that you’ve wanted to incorporate in your life. Maybe exercise. Or eating healthy. Or starting a project. Or meditating. Whatever it is, if you follow the method outlined above, you will have the key to sustainable life change.
February 16th, 2012 — All, aussiebattery.com, batteries-company.com, batteries-company.com.au, Be Happy Tips, For Better Life Tips, How To, Improve Your Life Tips, Reading
The “Every Day Mindset” is a simple, yet extremely powerful, way in which to live your life. What is this mindset? Put simply, it is a mindset that remembers that this day you are currently living will only ever happen once, and it therefore encourages you to make the most of it.
It is not about recklessly living life as if there is no tomorrow. The future is important to plan for, but it is important not to obsess about it to the extent that you neglect the present. Remember, the only way to get to the future is through a series of todays. Since this Every Day Mindset has changed my life, I would like to share with you 3 specific ways in which I apply it:
I choose to enjoy every day. I wake up early at 5am because I am excited about the day ahead, and throughout the day I try to maintain a positive attitude. Yes, sometimes “shit happens” and I don’t have a good day. But I figure if I at least try to have fun and be happy there is a good chance I will enjoy myself.
What I am particularly interested in is ways to enjoy my time at work. Most people know how to enjoy their leisure time, but many people struggle to imagine being happy at work. If this is you, here are a few quick tips:
- Do what you love: this should be your ultimate career goal. I know it’s easier said than done, but just remember it is possible.
- Make friends with your co-workers: in so many ways, it is our relationships with people that give us the most happiness in life. So take the time and effort to become friends with the people you work with.
- Take pride in your work: even if you aren’t saving lives, chances are you are contributing in some positive way to society. Take pride in your work and you are sure to feel better about yourself.
- Stop waiting: stop waiting for something to occur before you are happy. Because guess what? Chances are that a better title, more money, a car bay, or that nice corner office with the great view will not make a significant and lasting difference to your level of happiness.
2. Take Smalls Steps
I have some big dreams and ambitious goals for my life. I’m also human, which means I suffer from fear, self-doubt, and procrastination. This means that if I’m not careful, big and ambitious become overwhelming and intimidating. And the danger with feeling overwhelmed is that I won’t take actions towards my dreams and goals.
What I have discovered is that the big things can result from taking small steps. As Lao Tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What this means in the context of the Every Day Mindset is that each day I try to get a little bit closer to fulfilling my dreams and achieving my goals. And so long as I am making progress, I feel happy. Here is my favorite tip for taking small steps towards big dreams and goals:
- Try to improve 1% each day: this doesn’t seem like much, but imagine how much you will have changed after just one month. So try being 1% happier, healthier, and productive than yesterday and see what happens.
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3. Make Your Habits Daily
Motivation is an ongoing struggle for me because I find it comes in peaks and troughs. What I discovered was that during these troughs, many of my good habits would slip away. For example, when it came time to exercise I would tell myself “I will exercise tomorrow”, despite having previously committed myself to exercising at that particular time. When I changed my mindset to one in which I exercised every day, this excuse disappeared. And guess what? It made all the difference.
So to make a habit stick, commit to doing it daily. Here are a few of my favorite habits from the aforementioned articles:
- Exercise Your Brain: exercising your brain is as important (if not more!) than exercising your muscles. In the past year I taken to Sudoku and Kakuro as ways to stimulate my brain and have fun. Other suggestions are crosswords, quizzes, and brain teasers.
- Celebrate Your Successes: I find its so important to take time each and every day to celebrate your successes. This doesn’t have to involve opening a bottle of bubbly – quite often a mental pat on the back will do.
- Ping a Friend: I try to send a quick email or text to a friend each day. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends when I am extremely busy.
How do you like to make the most of each and every day?
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February 3rd, 2012 — All, aussiebattery.com, batteries-company.com, For Better Life Tips, Improve Your Life Tips, Reading
Oh, Valentine’s Day. When it comes to this emotionally loaded holiday, everyone has a different opinion. I’ve made peace with the chocolate, red, perfumed, floral explosion that bombards me at every shop I visit leading up to the holiday. I’ve eased up on the self-inflicted pressure to prepare a spectacular romantic gesture each year, and I’ve dropped the expectations of receiving something of similar grandeur in return. Honestly, the best part of the day is the reminder that love of any kind is awesome. I enjoy the opportunity to surprise my loved ones with a little token of my affection, and the chance to indulge in the incredible color combination of hot pink and red is pretty great, too.
It is in this spirit that I decided to round up some of my favorite gifts and gadgets for Valentine’s Day. Nothing too grand or luxurious here; just some great-looking, useful, sometimes silly products that I think your friends and loved ones would appreciate. With this great selection of gifts big and small, you can easily find a little something to send to your loved one, best friend, sister, brother–maybe even a secret crush perhaps? Give a little extra love this Valentine’s Day, and I guarantee it will make you feel the love in return. Enjoy!
There’s still time to plan, and I’d love to get inspiration from fellow romantics out there. Have any special Valentine’s Day plans or gift ideas? Let’s hear ‘em!
- 1. 4GB Red Zip Zip drive, $25
- 2. Drink Clip in orange, $5
- 3. Mophie Air juice pack for iPhone 4 in red, $80
- 4. Cross My Heart wooden yo-yo, $12
- 5. Mountain notebook by LittleAlexander, $12
- 6. DANNIJO Stache iPhone 4 case, $98
- 7. 16GB Victorinox USB drive, $80
- 8. Rope bottle openers, $28
- 9. Jawbone Jambox speaker in red dot, $200
- 10. Society6 I Like You case by Gemma Corell, $35
- 11. Herschel Supply two-tone varsity backpack, $75
- 12. Leather iPad 2 case (monogram available), $98
- 13. Rifle Paper Co. “You’re a Fox” card, $4
- 1. Crosley Retro Spinnerette portable USB turntable, $170
- 2. PostcupTM from Bailey Doesn’t Bark, $52
- 3. Mini robot vacuum, $26
- 4. Rebecca Minkoff set of two Best Friends iPhone cases, $68
- 5. Native Union Pop phone set in red, $35
- 6. Face mug, $18
- 7. Gummy Bears earbud headphones, $12
- 8. Dancing Lion speaker, $70
- 9. Tunes for 2 heart-shaped headphone splitter, $18
- 10. Personalized “Smitten” snuggle mitten for two, $23
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