Category Archives: exercise
(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)
clar·i·ty- /ˈklærɪti/ Show Spelled [klar-i-tee] Show IPA
You just don’t feel right about it – often because you’re unclear about it, undecided, on the fence, etc.
- How many people do you want to reach today with your message?
- How do you want to contribute to the world/society/family/life?
- How much income do you want to earn this year/5 years/10 years?
- What kind of work do you want to do?
How many pages do you want to write?
- What things do you want to improve upon in _______?
- WHat does freedom/independence/the ideal life really mean to you?
What is the ideal day life for you?
- What do you want people to ‘feel’ when you talk to them?
- What is important to you – GET CLEAR!
Think about the recently famous Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Jump from the Stratoshpere (on October 14th, 2012). Have you seen it or heard about it? If not – it’s OK – I wrote a post about it here on this site.
The reason why thoughts of that jump filled my mind is because Felix Baumgartner accomplished a very clear goal he set for himself about 5 years ago… it took him that long to train for it… but his intentions were crystal clear even though that goal 5 years ago might have seemed a little unrealistic.
I know it took him 5 years to accomplish it but you’d be surprised what you can accomplish in 30 days.
Just as an example, when I got laser focused on my blogging almost 60 days ago now, my blog traffic went from daily visitors in the teens and twenties to hundreds .
I sometimes listen, watch, and read stuff from a marketing guy named David Wood. David Wood spends close to 2 hours on the subject of clarity in this one podcast (and much much more) and how to set goals in such a way that they become so crystal clear that you can actually feel them as being accomplished.
Also, here is a video by Tony Robbins where he emphasizes how important clarity is to accomplishing goals.
What Tony Robbins says in that video is right on the money…
“Life Will pay whatever price you ask of it.”
Without clarity, you cannot accomplish any goal that you set for yourself.
You too, can have clarity, implement these methods in your business and start making the income that you deserve.
Here is more from another website worth sharing.. http://thinksimplenow.com
Do you ever get so busy with the details of your life and the countless things you need to complete, that you end up feeling exhausted and disconnected?
The result: Your mind becomes clouded and unable to focus and you start to make poor decisions regarding your priorities. You end up working hard instead of working smart.
What do you do when this happens? Do you take the time to step out of the situation to regroup? Or do you continue with what you’re doing, all the while feeling that you’re running out of time, besides you still have a massive list of tasks to complete. In the past, my natural inclination was to do the latter and, in the end, I would be left feeling burnt out with my spirits down.
Lately I’ve been running around preparing for several major changes in my life. I’ve felt my mind becoming consumed by the problems revolving around these changes. My eating schedule became irregular and my decisions felt clouded. When my clarity started to fizzle, I found myself making decisions and judgments based on emotions rather than on logic or intuition arising out of clarity.
The following is a simple technique I’ve used to reconnect myself to what’s most important: my inner self. In doing so, Clarity came.
I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a Spiritual Day or a Clarity Day, in which you spend the whole day disconnected from the information world and the many distractions of modern life, and start to connect within yourself.
If this sounds too mystical, don’t get caught up with the words, they are just linguistic symbols to communicate ideas. When you really get into such a day, it can become a source of great bliss and understanding of one’s self. During these times, we can experience tremendous personal growth, peace, and satisfaction.
This is also the perfect chance to clear out the noise and mental clutter that collects in our inner space from the hectic demands of our life. Through better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, we gain more than clarity, we gain self confidence.
Similar to Self Dates or Alone Time, on a Clarity Day your goal is to spend an enjoyable day on your own and away from everyday distractions. Aim for minimal planning, so that you spend the day following your heart and enjoying the spontaneous expressions of the present moment.
Here’s an example of how I spent this past Saturday, when I deeply needed clarity and to connect with myself:
- Basics – From 8am to 8pm. I was doing everything on my own, without friends or family. All distractions such as cell phones, home phones, computers, and TVs, were turned off.
- Salon – I’ve always enjoyed getting my hair done. My favorite salon straightens my hair at each appointment. I sat there with my eyes closed and enjoyed being there. The girls kept asking me if I needed a magazine, and I would say “No thanks. I’m happy just sitting here.”
- Walk – I walked out of the downtown Salon and drifted randomly uphill to the Capital Hill neighborhood. The day was so beautiful. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and passing by families of tourists and Saturday shoppers.
- Café – I found a comfortable corner seat by the large windows at a local café. I pulled out my book and my journal. Periodically, I would sit back with my book in my lap and enjoy watching people. People are so interesting, and if you try, you can sense what people are feeling. I had a fantastic seat for people watching and deeply enjoyed the experience.
- Meet a Stanger – I started talking with an interesting new friend who sat next to me. We talked about happiness, art, and creativity. It was very simulating and felt good to connect with another human being; they add meaning and dimension to your life.
- Read – I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. A short but enlightening read. It is full of bite sized wisdom to help find the stillness within you.
- Meditation – 35 minute guided meditation. When I opened my eyes after the meditation, I felt like I was seeing the world with new eyes. I felt calm and happy. I followed this up by lying down on my yoga mat and visualizing all of the things I am grateful for. I got up feeling incredibly centered and present.
- Journaling – with my new found clarity, I wrote out my thoughts and feelings. In doing this, it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts (which were the source of my problems), along with options for dealing with them. I’ve learned that recording emotional events and personal realizations in a journal can be a fulfilling experience. Especially when you read the entries several years later.
I stepped out of the day in a peaceful state and had regained my clarity. I felt like my spirit had been recharged. It also became clear that my problems are only as big as I perceive them to be, in my mind.
MORE FROM THE CHANGEBLOG.COM below…..
Henry David Thoreau famously wrote that most people (‘the mass of men’) live lives of quiet desperation. Most of us probably wouldn’t describe our daily experience as ‘desperation,’ but there may be an uncomfortable feeling that we are drifting along, not having a clear aim, not having achieved what we dreamed about in the past and yet not knowing quite why.
Usually, this feeling is not painful enough to drive us into making any real changes, so the danger is that we can drift along like this indefinitely. Many people who have made significant advances in life have had periods of intense discomfort which have forced them to go inside, reflect and become more aware.
For most of us, there are things we can do to become clearer about where we are, what we want and how to get there. These practices may be less radical that sudden upheavals and painful experiences, but they can be uncomfortable – learning new things usually is – and a gentle persistence will be an important attitude to adopt if you attempt them seriously.
The kind of meditation the Buddha is said to have taught is most closely reflected in Vippassana or ‘insight’ meditation. The technique is extremely simple: no special apparatus or prior knowledge is needed, just a quiet place and a period of time. All you have to do it sit comfortably with a straight back and observe your breath. Nothing more. In time, the practice is intended to bring about clarity and insight into the nature of the self, and that of reality.
Some years ago, I attended one of S. N. Goenka’s famous ten day Vippassana retreats. The Goenka organization is a worldwide group dedicated to teaching the practice of insight meditation. The retreats are tough – many hours of meditation, only two small meals per day, basic communal facilities such as dorms, and a strict code of silence. Attendees are not allowed phones, books, journals or any other form of intellectual stimulation.
The Goenka courses are excellent in the sense that they force you to meditate – there are quite literally no distractions, and one is forced to face up to the many obvious – and subtle – ways in which we try to avoid a practice which is so alien to our restless mind and which forces us to face some uncomfortable realities. But for those not quite ready to take the plunge, there are plenty of online courses available, such as those offered by Wildmind. It is also usually possible to find a local meditation centre offering guided evening sessions.
Meditation is a way of focusing on the present moment in a very intense kind of way; the practice of mindfulness is a way of being present throughout the day. It just means watching yourself, being a silent witness to your own feelings, thoughts and reactions, in order to gain clarity about everything you do, feel or think. We usually move through life in a fairly unconscious state, responding to circumstances in a conditioned way, unconscious repetition of learned behaviors.
Becoming more mindful is not easy – it requires a great deal of practice but will, in time, lead to a great deal of clarity and insight into what drives us. With this knowledge, we can make better choices and exert more control over how we respond to situations and hence what we experience.
Two books I particularly recommended are Awareness by Anthony de Mello and Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. De Mello’s book is full of anecdotes and stories which underline the importance and the (sometimes surprising) consequences of being more ‘awake .’
Our connection with the natural world
Although we might sometimes be tempted to see ‘nature’ as ‘something out there,’ separate from our experience, we are, of course, very much a part of the environment, and we naturally feel more centered and clear when we are close to our natural environment. We haven’t been living in houses and apartments for very long, and city living is a particularly new innovation which can be very stressful.
It is helpful to find time regularly to spend time in a more natural environment. This doesn’t have to mean trekking through the jungle – even walking through a park or a garden can bring great benefits. In Hong Kong, where I have lived for many years, it can be extremely difficult to find the time and the opportunity to get out into nature, but it is possible, and making a conscious effort to do so enables me to maintain more balance and perspective. If I can do it here in Hong Kong, I think almost anyone can!
“Put me in coach”
Often we think that to be successful, strong, good people, we need to control ourselves each and every day, we need to control our habits, our will power, and we need to control our behavior.
Actually, it can often be to the contrary. People who are successful at things often understand human behavior enough to ‘let go’ of aspects of their choices/behavior/habits/routine to others.
Like a fitness coach – someone who holds you accountable at the gym to show up, eat better, do the routine as it should be done, etc. Sure you can go solo and do it cheaper but it’s a little harder getting out of bed, showing up, and doing it all 100% when you’re on your own versus when there is someone coaching you.
Like a financial advisor – whether it is a planner, advisor, whatever – it helps to have someone there to talk about your financial decisions so that you don’t react and make them purely based on emotions, so that you look at the big picture, so that you stick to your plan. Again it may seem like doing it alone is feasible, and it can be, but when the market crashes or when you have a major life event, your decision process can be clouded (I can vouch for that – unemployment, loss of family members will do that). Actually sometimes an advisor can actually save you money in some cases versus some choices.
Certainly a life coach or success coach, or whatever you want to call them, acts the same way.. Plus you gain from all of their experience and resources – and all of their clients’s experiences! Certainly a good friend can help instead of a coach – maybe even a two-way relationship. Make sure that friend can speak freely without ruffling your feathers or feelings. A coach or friend sometimes needs to speak frankly!
So it isn’t a weakness to ask for help, to have someone remind you, to have someone help you act better. Actors, athletes, doctors, millionaires and other successful people do it all the time. Taking the temptation away, helping make your life ‘goof-proof’, helping yourself be more disciplined isn’t a solo job – get a coach or friend to help.
HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE BY SHAWN ACHOR OF CNN THAT IS WORTHY OF SHARING. I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT, USE IT, AND GET HAPPY!
Is happiness the secret of success? – CNN.com
By Shawn Achor, Special to CNN –—
Is happiness the secret of success?
Editor’s note: Shawn Achor is the author of the Happiness Advantage. He spent 12 years researching at Harvard, and is now CEO of Good Think Inc.
(CNN) — Scientifically, can happiness be an advantage?
Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational societal misconceptions about
When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.
Many people think happiness is genetic. That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes. When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers — people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence — a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.
Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your single processor brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. If you scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the things you are grateful for or the meaning embedded in your work. But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing advantage.
Now that there is research validity to these claims, the working world is starting to take notice. In January, I wrote the cover story for the Harvard Business Review magazine on “Happiness Leads to Profits.” Based on my article called “Positive Intelligence” and my research in The Happiness Advantage, I outlined our researched conclusion: the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.
A decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and
educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements.
Given the unprecedented level of unhappiness at companies and the direct link between happiness and business outcomes, the question is NOT whether happiness should matter to companies. Given this research, it clearly should. The first question is: What can I do in my own life to reap the advantage of happiness?
See also: Ambition could make you rich, but not happy (on cnn.com)
Training your brain to be positive at work is just like training your muscles at the gym. Sounds simple, right? Well, think about how easy it is to make yourself go to the gym. The key with any new resolution is to make it a habit. New research on neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to change even as an adult — reveals that moderate actions can rewire the brain as you create “life habits.”
In The Happiness Advantage, I challenge readers to do one brief positive exercise every day for 21 days. Only through behavioral change can information become transformation.
- Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
- Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;
– Exercise for 10 minutes a day;
- Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;
• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).
But does it work? In the midst of the worst tax season in history I did a three-hour intervention at auditing and tax accounting firm KPMG, describing how to reap the happiness advantage by creating one of these positive habits. Four months later, there was a 24% improvement in job and life satisfaction. Not only is change possible, this is one of the first long-term ROI (return on investment) studies proving that happiness leads to long-term quantifiable positive change.
In a study I performed on 1,600 Harvard students in 2007, I found that there was a 0.7 correlation between perceived social support and happiness. This is higher than the connection between smoking and cancer. So if in the modern world we give up our social networks to work away from friends and follow celebrities on Twitter, we are trading off with our happiness and health.
Following up, I switched around the questions and asked how much social support employees provided (instead of received). The results were off the charts. Those high on provision of social support are 10 times more engaged at work and have a 40% higher likelihood of promotion over the next four years. In other words, giving at the office gets you more than receiving.
The greatest cultural myth in modern society is that we cannot change. My research proves that you can not only become more positive, but if you prioritize happiness in the present, you can reap an extraordinary advantage.
OK, you’ve read other blog postings of mine, can I ask you to listen to a quick story?
Would you picture something for a moment?
See a father of two beautiful daughters, great loving wife, who used to make a bunch of money, in his house. See that guy in his 40’s as a caring, dynamic person who was successful. The economy changed, he made choices and suddenly, it seemed, he made a lot less money. He is sitting on the couch peering into the distance, blankly staring. His daughter asks him something but he misses it first, she asks again and he gives her a terse response, and later feels bad about it. NO reason to do that, he thinks.
Now the mortgage was a little too high, the tuition was a little too high. The ‘gap’ between the income coming in and the expenses going out was very, very small. Sometimes it was negative. Debt became a huge factor and fear.
In the mornings he would wake early, lie in bed and get a tight feeling in his chest.
He sometimes got an upset stomach, and sometimes even felt like throwing up. This guy, who typically was happy, confident, easy going, fun to be with, was now an anxious guy, lacking confidence, lacking his patience and humor.
He felt bad. He felt like he let his family down. He felt like he got to where he was in life and had nothing to show for it. He was scared, uncertain, nervous.
Picture him in the morning eating breakfast while his kids ate breakfast and got ready for school. Since he sometimes felt sick, he had difficulty eating breakfast. Sometimes he’d try to swallow his breakfast and had to pause so he didn’t get sick. Imagine his daughters sitting there looking at him and asking, “Daddy are you OK? You’re not eating your breakfast very fast. ”
Picture our dad at a party with other families. Everyone is having fun, our guy is somewhat withdrawn. Typically he is engaged and joking, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends. See our guy hanging back at the party. Notice his posture.
Notice his face. When you shake his hand and say hello, notice how he speaks, how he looks at you and looks away. How does he interact with you?
Imagine seeing our guy at a party. Notice his posture. Notice his face. When you shake his hand and say hello, notice how he speaks, how he looks at you and looks away. How does he interact with you? How is he dressed?
Would you take a moment and imagine one other brief story?
This one is better!
Picture our good father and husband again. All the above is true. It happened, and it is in the past.Hear him humming an upbeat song from the radio that his daughters love to dance to….he gets a little smirk on his facing thinking about it.
Our guy has some good friends and family around him. Imagine him sitting with some friends and getting some good support, some ideas, some connections. He is having a good time talking and laughing a bit. See our guy in front of his computer getting emails about networking, about a place to send a resume, about a new opportunity.
See our trusty dad and good guy talking with connections on the phone. One quick, casual conversation uncovers a business opportunity. It seems like a great fit.
See our guy excited. He sits up a little straighter. He has more confidence. He is thinking about the future and the future is brighter. Instead of negative worrying, he is thinking of ideas how to solve problems, improve things, improve his finances.
His face seems different. He is more focused and driven. He does smile more often. He has a purpose. He reflects that he put himself where he is and accepts where he is, he also accepts responsibility and doesn’t blame the economy or others like he sometimes did before.
He spends a little more time eating right, exercising, and even tries to dress a little better. Picture a toned dad, trim, in some stylish yet casual clothes. See him and his wife talking about the budget, working in front of a spreadsheet. They’re excited about paying off a credit card that has been around for too long.
Now that couple hundred dollars is available to pay off something else, for reserves, for a fun fund, or whatever. Notice the relief and calm that has returned to his face.
There is another summer party with the families again. Many of the same people are there and new people attend. It is a nice night, a great party with twinkle lights in the background. People are interacting, talking, laughing while the kids play. There is some corn, chicken and beef on the grill. You catch a whiff of the food and it smells great. You hear some music in the background softly playing. Maybe it is a Bob Marley song?
Our dad is there at the party. Life still isn’t perfect but his attitude seems to have changed.You walk over and greet him again. Notice how he stands differently. His posture. His smile? Notice how his handshake, eye contact, and confidence seem this time. He throws in some humor. He has a good smile. What is he wearing? Does he have a different “feel” about him? His voice has a strong tone to it. He sounds confident.
He asks more about your life this time. He is more engaged and listens to what you say. Our guy shares an idea about something in your life; it is a helpful idea, something he recently read and it could actually be something you could really consider. You’re happy to hear about it. You talk more and there is a good feeling going on.
You ask him about his life and he comes across as being very grateful for things. He is happy with what he has in life; friends, family, home, work, income. He feels like celebrating, he says. He is upbeat about the future.
Were you able to read that OK? Maybe these weren’t great stories but you were interested for a little while right?
You were able to imagine these things weren’t you?
You had a story, a movie playing in your mind. You now have an image of “our guy”. You probably have an image of his daughters, his wife, the party, etc.
Notice how, especially in the second story, there were details all around, senses, feelings, images, sounds, smells. Emotions are key. I probably should have included more and bigger emotions in the second one.
That is visualizing! That is mental imagery. Easy!
You don’t need a huge Vision Book, some complex outline, and you don’t need to spend 20-30 minutes a day.
The Vision Book will help, outlines help, and you can spend more time but 5 minutes a day is fine.
Create a story of you already “there”, as if you’ve arrived. Imagine that you got a DVD of you from the future – but this DVD has more features..you can also feel and smell what the future you feels and smells. What are the feelings having accomplished things?
How do you feel/look now that you have more income (or whatever)? What is life like? What kind of music is in the background? What kinds of food do you smell? How much are you laughing? Who are you talking with and what does that conversation look like.
Write a story about you and have fun.
After my last post about Habits, two people asked what sorts of things I say/repeat/do each day.
IN honor of my daughter’s birthday, I also wanted to dedicate this to her. She is one of those people who just plug away at things and never seem to complain. She may have a bunch of homework that is daunting and difficult. She just starts the work and keeps on moving until done. She has a great work ethic. I often try to emulate her work ethic in regards to my habits….just face the day, go through all the good habits, affirmations, exercises, be consistent and keep moving ahead. We can learn a lot from our kids! Happy Birthday!
First, I think different things work for different people. Second, my stuff evolves and changes all the time.
I have a little notebook that I carry around. Too often I don’t open it. But more and more I do open it and I must confess, there have been some days that have not been going well and I’m upset, tense, negative, whatever – I open it up and I take the time and I almost always feel better. The world doesn’t change and my problems are still there but I face them in a better state of mind.
The first thing I read in that notebook is a vision – thinking from the end. In the vision I’m sitting on the veranda of a beach house. Inside the beach house are loved ones. We’re there to have a good time. I am reflecting by myself on the veranda how fast things have changed for the better in my life. I am happy, I have lots of friends, I’ve laughed a lot, I have much more income each month, I have much more income than expenses, I am creatively fulfilled, and I am grateful for all of the above, etc. etc. (I have 2 other versions available that I sometimes use – one at my desk, one traveling with my family on one of our roadtrips)
Then there is a list of things that I found by Harv Eker. He wrote the Millionaire Mind stuff. Nothing earthshaking but they are quick thoughts on ways millionaires think differently than others. Frankly, I don’t even think it has to be millionaires – it is more of a mindset whether you want to be responsible, accountable and take action in life or blame others/circumstances, and sit back and wait/complain. A few examples : “rich people are committed to be rich, poor people want to be rich. Rich people believe “I create my life”, poor people believe “life happens to me.””
I try to review a list of things for which I am grateful for. Gratitude really helps anytime!
Then I have a bunch of affirmations and ideas that I’ve written down. As I mentioned, two people asked me to share these thoughts, so here are some. I hope they help you.
- The world is out to help me and do me good. I see little and big things that fall in my lap, that bring me good luck, each and every day.
- I celebrate that I am alive and well.
- I am so very thankful for being employed, receiving income, and earning lots more money than I spend.
- I am so grateful for the opportunity to go out each day, help people, earn more and more money, share ideas, contribute, and be creatively fulfilled.
- I take time each day to meditate, reflect, and pray.
- I am so grateful for my wife, for my two daughters, for my good health, and for all the loved ones in my life. I am grateful for our safety, the laughter we share, the support and love that I feel each day. I am thankful for our home, the beauty that surrounds us, and the people in our lives. I am grateful for all the surprises and new people I run into each and everyday. New things bring fun, opportunity, and good luck.
- I ask myself, what would the person that I most want to be like do in this moment? How would that person act/think/feel?
- There is always a way. I always find a way. There’s a lot I can do to make more money/
- The world is conspiring to bring me good things each day!
- What can I do or say to make people in my life feel special? To feel more important? To feel loved or cared for?
- Things have already begun to change for the better. I can see that my past and current actions are compounding and results are beginning to show for the better now!
- I enjoy the moment, I live in the present and I live life each day, right now. I engage others and I dig for what is important to them.
- I control my destiny. My self worth is based on my and my own thoughts. My future is unwritten, the past means nothing. I control and use my emotions.
- Good things often happen in my life that seem magical – like miracles. I am blessed with little miracles and big magic in my career, with my family and with my loved ones. I enjoy seeing what is coming today!
- I focus on what works. I focus on what I want and what actions I can take today.
- How can things get any better? What else is going right for me?
(the key to all of the above is to infuse emotion with it! Try it while exercising or just after exercise. AND/OR put on some upbeat music and get pumped!)
I have all sorts of lists, note cards, things posted on my bathroom mirror, and other devices to help make positive thinking, affirmations, and the right state of mind a habit.
Yet, I still struggle with it each day. I have often carried my notebook full of affirmations, note cards, visualizations and visions, and lists to and from work without even opening it. I think how often I shave and look in the mirror, leaning slightly left so that I don’t need to look at my Questions of Power, which are there to start my mind correctly each morning. Below that list is a short version of a visualization exercise, one that I shared on one of the first blogs on this site.
I confess that I am not consistent and I don’t have a great habit of doing it all each day. I know that I need to wake up and generate positive, upbeat emotions. I should do pushups, jog, stretch, meditate or exercise. Sometimes I do.
All we can do is try, right? True.
We need to build a habit. From reading the book mentioned above, I have learned how some things help and hurt habit building. A habit starts with a cue. Something may trigger or cue us. We then move into the habit or whatever it is that we do/eat/avoid/etc. We then get the reward. If we eat a few cookies each day around 2pm, the reward is the craving and the sweet taste of the sugary snack, and the fat and tasty stuff there. Or is it? Maybe you get bored. Maybe you crave other people’s company and you wander into the cafeteria where you see others and have a quick chat. Make sure you really know what the reward is.
What is the cue? This is key. If you can discover what the cue is – what triggers your craving/desire/addiction, then this is a huge step. When you realize the cue, you can replace the behavior. The book suggests that it is much harder to simply remove the behavior or habit. It also suggests that it is almost impossible to remove a habit if you try to simply remove a reward.
So let’s take the cookie example. You need to replace the cookie with something instead. Let’s say you get that 2pm cue – from whatever. Can you take a walk outside? Write in a journal? Eat an apple? Eat a protein bar? Go chat with friends without a cookie? The book suggests that you actually try different things to replace the cookie eating. Try all things over a period of time and see what works. You need to replace the behavior or action with something else. You need to still have that reward there – maybe it is the interaction with others, maybe it is some kind of snack. Often we won’t know until we try and it may take a little testing or experimenting.
Good news, the book suggests that once you can ‘replace’ or rebuild a habit once, it seems that we can all gain momentum and rebuild other things well. Once we learn that we can cut back on the cookies and replace that with something else – and we still feel fine and get some kind of reward, then it is often easy for us to move on to other habits. The book talks about how people have had successes, often small at first, compound and move into other aspects of their lives.
So start small. Look for the cue, the behavior/habit, and the reward. Remember the reward may not always be what you think. Test a replacement. When the cue comes up again, try different behaviors that produce some sort of reward. The awareness alone helps, the replacement behavior helps, and the replacement reward should help you keep going ahead. (Focus on what you have here now what you’re missing out on…)
Tell me about your habits and your successes.
Pro surfer’s 78-foot wave sets record
I was listening to NPR and heard this interesting segment about how a little bit of walking, standing can really help you.
from npr.org “Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just For ’20 Minutes’ 5/9/12
If you’re sitting at a desk reading this article, take a minute and stand up. That’s the latest advice from New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, Reynolds details some of the surprisingly simple ways you can combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Federal health guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as walking or jogging — every single day. But new research shows that even regular exercisers may not be doing enough to counteract the health hazards of sitting down at a desk all day long.
More Health And Exercise Tips
Getting your rate into your target zone can help you get more out of a workout.
You don’t have to lift heavy weights to build muscles. More reps with lighter weights works.
A researcher says one secret to keeping the pounds off is eating slowly and savoring each bite.
“Sitting for long periods of time — when you don’t stand up, don’t move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles,” says Reynolds. “You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat … in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you’re moving.”
Reynolds recommends standing for two minutes every 20 minutes while desk-bound — even if you can’t move around your office. “That sounds so simple,” she tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “But that actually has profound consequences. If you can stand up every 20 minutes — even if you do nothing else — you change how your body responds physiologically.”
Studies have shown that frequent standing breaks significantly decrease your chances of getting diabetes, she says. “If you can also walk around your office, you get even more benefits. You will lose weight, you lessen your chance of heart disease, and you will improve your brain. But if you can do nothing else, stand up!”
Reynolds says she’s started standing up every time she answers the telephone. “I bought a music stand, which costs next to nothing, and I can put papers on it,” she explains. “I read standing up. I try and walk down the hall once an hour. I walk outside and turn around and walk back in. That’s enough to break up the physiological changes that sitting otherwise causes.”
Reynolds’ book also details the latest scientific research on running, stretching and hydration techniques. Here are some of the findings:
Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer
To Stretch Or Not To Stretch?:
- Research now suggests that stretching before a workout isn’t necessarily a good thing, because it causes the brain to think you’re about to tear those muscles, says Reynolds. “When you stretch and hold a pose, the brain thinks you are about to damage yourself and it then sends out nerve impulses that actually tighten the muscles,” she explains. “… The result is, you’re less ready for activity, not more ready for activity.”
Don’t Skip The Warm-Up: Science suggests that a very easy warmup — a light jog, for example — may be all that most of us need. “What you want to do when you warm up is warm up the tissues,” she says. “You want to get the muscles, the tendons — all of the parts of your body — warm, and the best way to do that is to use those tissues.” Reynolds recommends jogging before a run or an intense sports match.
Running’s Rewards And Risks: Running reduces the risks of heart disease and diabetes, helps maintain your weight and improves brain health. “There’s very good science that running for even 30 minutes or so doubles the number of brain cells in certain portions of the brain related to memory,” says Reynolds. “Running is wonderful for the health of your body.” But the injury rate among runners, she cautions, is extremely high — with as many as 75 percent of runners getting one injury a year. “So running can be very hard on the body at the same time it’s very good for the body,” she says.
Humans Were Made For Walking: Walking may be the single best exercise that exists on the planet, Reynolds says. It’s low-impact and has a relatively low risk for injury. “Walking appears to be what the human body was built for,” she explains. Even 15 minutes will reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Gretchen Reynolds writes the Phys Ed column for the New York Times.