Category Archives: psychology

Frey Freyday – Metaphor

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Metaphor-noun  met·a·phor \ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər\ –  a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them

My goal is to create a metaphor that changes our reality by charming people into considering their world in a different way. Chuck Palahniuk

Sometimes I think that creativity is a matter of seeing, or stumbling over, unobvious similarities between things – like composing a fresh metaphor, but on a more complex scale. David Mitchell

What draws me in is that a trip is a leap in the dark. It’s like a metaphor for life. You set off from home, and in the classic travel book, you go to an unknown place. You discover a different world, and you discover yourself. Paul Theroux

What you look for in a picture is a metaphor, something that means something more, that makes you think about things you’ve seen or thought about. Mary Ellen Mark

Metaphors allow you to make the complex simple and the controversial palatable. Conversely, metaphors allow you to create extraordinary meaning out of the seemingly mundane.  Brian Clark

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Metaphor – Metaphors are powerful figures of speech that can influence and persuade, for good or bad. They can influence our behavior and beliefs. They can change how we look at our lives.

Metaphors are often said to help explain complex topics.

Metaphors create vivid images in your head. Metaphors make it easier to understand and remember your focus, goal, values, priorities, etc.

Just like a story, a metaphor engages your brain – the right brain. Metaphors can by-pass rationality and lower defenses to concepts, ideas, beliefs. Metaphors can make you more persuasive, to yourself and others.

So – in life we all use metaphors whether we realize it or not. Did you ever hear “I’m at the end of my rope.” Or “I’m carrying the world on my shoulders.”? We’ve all said something like these perhaps, but they aren’t empowering.

Or maybe “Life is a battle”, “Business is war” – people who use these metaphors may have a different experience than people who say, “Life is a beach” or “Business is a game”. How do you refer to the world – “The masses are asses” or that humanity is “One big family”?

Behind metaphors are beliefs. When you choose a metaphor to describe your life or circumstances, you are choosing the beliefs that it supports.

So if you’re “Feeling fenced in”, then go open the gate and get moving. If you “Can’t see the answer”, then put on some glasses – or a VR visor? – and find the answer that will make things better. If you’re “swimming in a sea of problems”, just reach down and pull out the drain, so you can walk ahead.

Think about what you say; “Life is ___”, “I feel like ____”,   Is it a test, struggle, game, battle? Is it a mystery, dance, garden full of wildflowers?

Do you see what I mean? Change your metaphors. Be aware of them. Ask yourself if they’re empowering. Do the metaphors that you use help you or hold you back?

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

 

BONUS

http://www.ted.com/talks/james_geary_metaphorically_speaking

Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor. Friend of scribes from Aristotle to Elvis, metaphor can subtly influence the decisions we make, Geary says.

To Conquer Fear, A Man Turns Rejection Into A Game

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Editor’s note: This story first ran on Jan. 16, 2015, as part of NPR’s Invisibilia podcast. It’s about a man who decided he no longer wanted to be ruled by fear. Without realizing it, he used a standard tool of psychotherapy to help him stop dreading rejection.

And if you’ve been dreading a future without Invisibilia, fear not — we’re hard at work on Season Two! We can’t reveal what we’re working on right now, but rest assured that this season won’t include any snakes. Just a lion.

The evolution of Jason Comely, a freelance IT guy from Cambridge, Ontario, began one sad night several years ago.

“That Friday evening that I was in my one-bedroom apartment trying to be busy,” Comely says. “But really, I knew that I was avoiding things.”

See, nine months earlier, Jason’s wife had left him.

“She … found someone that was taller than I was — had more money than I had. … So, yeah.”

And since then, Jason had really withdrawn from life. He didn’t go out, and he avoided talking to people, especially women.

But that Friday, he realized that this approach was taking a toll.

“I had nowhere to go, and no one to hang out with,” Comely says. “And so I just broke down and started crying.” He realized that he was afraid. “I asked myself, afraid of what?

“I thought, I’m afraid of rejection.”

Which got him thinking about the Spetsnaz, an elite Russian military unit with a really intense training regime.

“You know, I heard of one situation where they were, like, locked in a room, a windowless room, with a very angry dog, and they’d only be armed with a spade, and only one person is going to get out — the dog or the Spetsnaz.”

And that gave him an idea. Maybe he could somehow use the rigorous approach of the Spetsnaz against his fear.

So if you’re a freelance IT guy, living in a one-bedroom apartment in Cambridge, Ontario, what is the modern equivalent of being trapped in a windowless room with a rabid dog and nothing to protect you but a single handheld spade?

“I had to get rejected at least once every single day by someone.”

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Courtesy of Jason Comely

He started in the parking lot of his local grocery store. Went up to a total stranger and asked for a ride across town.

“And he looked at me, like, and just said, ‘I’m not going that way, buddy.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you!’

“It was like, ‘Got it! I got my rejection.’ ”

Jason had totally inverted the rules of life. He took rejection and made it something he wanted — so he would feel good when he got it.

“And it was sort of like walking on my hands or living on my hands or living underwater or something. It was just a different reality. The rules of life had changed.”

Without knowing it, Jason had used a standard tool of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. You force yourself to be exposed to exactly the thing you fear, and eventually you recognize that the thing you fear isn’t hurting you. You become desensitized. It’s used in treating phobias like fear of flying.

Jason kept on seeking out rejection. And as he did, he found that people were actually more receptive to him, and he was more receptive to people, too. “I was able to approach people, because what are you gonna do, reject me? Great!”

That was when Jason got another idea.

He wrote down all of his real-life rejection attempts, things like, “Ask for a ride from stranger, even if you don’t need one.” “Before purchasing something, ask for a discount.” “Ask a stranger for a breath mint.”

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Cards from the Rejection Therapy game.

Courtesy of Jason Comely

He had them printed on a deck of cards and started selling them online.

Slowly, the Rejection Therapy game became kind of a small cult phenomenon, with people playing all over the world.

Jason has heard from a teacher in Colorado, a massage therapist in Budapest, a computer programmer in Japan, even a widowed Russian grandmother. She’s using rejection therapy to pick up men.

“That’s really cool — so, there’s an 80-year-old babushka playing Rejection Therapy,” he says.

So what has Jason learned from all this?

That most fears aren’t real in the way you think they are. They’re just a story you tell yourself, and you can choose to stop repeating it. Choose to stop listening.

“Don’t even bother trying to be cool,” Jason says. “Just get out there and get rejected, and sometimes it’s going to get dirty. But that’s OK, ’cause you’re going to feel great after, you’re going to feel like, ‘Wow. I disobeyed fear.’ ”

Frey Freyday – Transformation

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.-Rick Warren


First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.-Napoleon Hill


Transformation literally means going beyond your form.-Wayne Dyer

Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.-Marianne Williamson

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.-Joseph Campbell

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.-Hermann Hesse


We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish. We can begin transforming into someone new in just one moment, once we decide and take action.-Tony Robbins

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.-Ben Okri

Words To Live By:

trans·for·ma·tion – [ˌtransfərˈmāSHən] – change in form, appearance, nature, or character. Metamorphosis. To move beyond a form.

We can all transform our lives in a heartbeat, with one decision, with one action.

We can choose our own path and become someone else.

We can become a better person regardless of our past circumstances, biology, genetics, choices, parents, society or anything else. Others have come from far worse and done great things. Look for those people in the world that have transformed, there are many. Let their successes empower you. If they can do it, so can you.

Find a few models or mentors to emulate. Find someone who already did it and learn from them. Focus on what you want (not what you don’t want), focus on the good things and things that are working in your life (not on the things that aren’t working). Have a plan. Visualize the end result. Stay focused on that good image of the end result and take action each day.

So many of us get stuck in a rut. We believe that we can’t do better. We limit ourselves. We think that because something has happened in the past, we are limited moving ahead.

Instead, that event that we label as “bad” fortune can always give our lives meaning and we can use that event or experience to transform our lives into something of value.

The transformations may be small things in our everyday lives. They can also be huge life changing things that make a big difference. The process and possibilities are the same.

Ask yourself “Why can I now transform into the person I want to be?” and “Why do I have courage to transform?” and “Why do I have permission to transform?”

Sometimes we may believe that we lack the courage and permission to transform.

You have the courage to transform. You have the permission to choose your life.

You can transform anytime you decide, anytime you want to take action.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called Words To Live By”(WTLB).

Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally,sometimes accidentally.

……So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

BONUS; TED Radio Hour – summary podcasts

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/347104878/transformation?showDate=2015-07-24

Transformation

Are we simply the sum of our experiences? Or can we choose our own path? In this hour, TED speakers share stories of undergoing remarkable transformations despite extraordinary challenges.

This is dedicated in memory of a great teacher, Dr. Wayne Dyer.

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT CAN STAND ALONE AND SPEAK BY ITSELF. NOTHING MORE THAT I CAN REALLY ADD OTHER THAN PLEASE READ AND USE IT !

From Psychology Today Magazine………

Fulfillment at Any Age

    How to remain productive and healthy into your later years
    by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

Giving thanks: The benefits of gratitude

      Why gratitude is good for your mental health

We all like being thanked. It’s a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn’t stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the good fortune of receiving some heartfelt thank you notes from students, pausing as they got ready to leave campus for the summer, or perhaps for good, to take a moment and let me know that something I said or did proved helpful to them. I’ve also had the good fortune of having favors done for me by people who went out of their way to help me solve a problem, fix something, or in fortunately only one case- return a lost cellphone. Being thanked and having reason to thank others are two sides of the same gratefulness coin. Both exemplify the positive in human behavior and provide us with a positive charge that boosts our emotional balance.

On the surface it seems like gratitude has everything to recommend it. There are a few gratitude traps, though. Some people feel uncomfortable about being thanked. They get truly embarrassed, dismissing the thanker by insisting that “it was nothing” (though clearly the thanker felt otherwise). There are also some uncomfortable aspects about thank-yous when it comes to thank-you presents that are overly generous or could be interpreted as bribes.

If you’re at the receiving end of a thank-you, you may feel unsure about how to reciprocate. Does a thank-you present require a thank-you note? What about thanking someone who’s helped you? Do you reward a person who returns a lost item with cash or just allow your relieved face to serve as its own reward? Then there’s the guilt factor: What if you let a few weeks slip by without sending a thank-you note for a birthday gift? Does it look worse to send a belated thank-you note or just to forget the whole thing and hope the gift-giver won’t notice? Thank-you notes inspire their own particular forms of angst, as was pointed out in one particularly insightful Social Q’s column of the New York Times (for the record: this column is a treasure trove of psychological insight on quirky behaviors).

It might be reassuring, then, to learn that the expression of thanks can be its own reward. Being the recipient of a favor can also make the favor-giver (if there is such a word) feel good too. Everyone benefits when thanks are freely given and just as freely acknowledged. 

There are always exceptional circumstances involving acts of extreme altruism. Heroes are known as the people who put the needs of others above our own. These cases put in bold relief the fact that a hero doesn’t expect thank-you notes or little gift baskets as acknowledgement of his or her sacrifice.

Many real-life heroes also do not expect thank-yous. Yet, when we benefit from the labors that others put out for our sake, we feel internally driven to and want to express our gratitude. And that’s a good thing, in more ways than one.

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough point out that gratitude is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness. People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.

Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders. In a review article published this past March (see below), researchers found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.

Now how can you apply these ideas to your own life? Here are some suggestions to boost your own, shall we say, GQ’s (“gratitude quotient”):

1. If someone thanks you, accept the thanks graciously. Let the person know you appreciate being thanked. That’s all you need to do. Really.

2. If you find that difficult, think about why gratitude makes you uncomfortable. Do you not feel worthy of being thanked? In my study of personal fulfillment in midlife, I identified a subgroup of people whose own fulfillment was hampered by their lack of faith in their own worth. Chronic feelings of inadequacy can make it difficult for people to benefit from any thanks that come their way.

3. Look for small things to be grateful for. Not all acts of kindness have a capital “K.” A driver who lets you ease into a busy highway deserves a wave just as much as someone who holds open a door when you’re loaded down with packages. A smile will boost your GQ and make both of you feel better.

4. Don’t fret about gratitude infractions. If you forget to send a thank you note don’t worry about it and certainly don’t use elapsed time as an excuse to avoid the task altogether. Send a quick email and then get to the real thing. If you’re a chronic forgetter, though, you might try to figure out why. By the same token, if someone forgets to thank you, don’t ruminate over it, thereby raising your BP if not your GQ.

5. Keep your thank you’s short, sweet, and easy to write. One reason people procrastinate about writing thank you’s is that they want them to be original and not seem hasty, insincere, or ill conceived. This doesn’t mean the thank you should be one that is short enough to tweet but if you don’t build it up in your mind as having to be a magnum opus you’ll be less inclined to put it off. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses or lie about having sent a thank you that you never did (for more on lying and excuse-making, check out my previous post).

I’ll close by saying thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to add their comments to the discussion or wishes to forward the blog link. It’s the least I can do!

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, “Fulfillment at Any Age,” to discuss today’s blog, or to ask further questions about this posting. 

Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2010

Frey Freyday – Language

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.-Maya Angelou

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.-Mark Twain

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.-Nelson Mandela


Text messaging is just the most recent focus of people’s anxiety; what people are really worried about is a new generation gaining control of what they see as their language. Texting has added a new dimension to language use, but its long-term impact is negligible. It is not a disaster.-David Crystal

Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.-Unknown

The art of communication is the language of leadership.-

James Humes

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.-Tony Robbins

WORDS TO LIVE BY:

Language – [lang-gwij] – communication of meaning in any way; medium that is expressive, significant, etc.:

Our language, not only the words and phrases we use outside with others, but more importantly, the words and questions we use inside our own heads really can make a huge difference in our lives. When people experience emotions, they are actually saying things to themselves silently. The specific role of language is that of meaning- whatever you focus on, language takes it up, gives it structure, and passes on the meaning to others and yourself.

It’s never the environment and it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events – how we interpret them – the labels we use – that shapes who we are and how we act or react and who we’ll become. What if there was no “bad” or “good” experience, just an experience?

Also, Instead of saying “What’s wrong with me?” ask “What is working in my life right now?”  Do you say things like “I can’t do it” or “I don’t know” or “whatever..” or “that makes me so mad” a lot? Other things?

What do you say to yourself when you’re overwhelmed? Frustrated? Be aware and watch yourself as to those negative ‘incantations’ you might say. You can just as easily access good questions, positive incantations and empowering language.
Language can empower us or make us weaker. You have the choice when you pick your words. Add good posture, good physiology and good emotions to better language and you’ll make a much bigger impact.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….
BONUS: Ted Talk #1

http://on.ted.com/McWhorter

Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it’s all good news.

BONUS: Ted Talk #2

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought

Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds — and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.

How to Make New Habits Stick for Good –

How to Make New Habits Stick for Good –By James Clear

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.

  • How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
  • How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.
  • How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.

But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? How would you go about it?

Turns out, there’s a helpful framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general. Let’s talk about that framework now…

The 3 R’s of Habit Change


1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)

2. Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)

3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)

I call this framework “The 3 R’s of Habit Change,” but I didn’t come up with this pattern on my own. It’s been proven over and over again by behavioral psychology researchers. I first learned about the process of habit formation from Stanford professor, BJ Fogg.

More recently, I read about it in Charles Duhigg’s best–selling book, The Power of Habit. Duhigg’s book refers to the three steps of the “Habit Loop” as cue, routine, reward. BJ Fogg uses the word trigger instead of cue. And I prefer reminder since it gives us the memorable “3 R’s.” Regardless, don’t get hung up on the terminology.

+ It’s more important to realize that there’s a lot of science behind the process of habit formation, and so we can be relatively confident that your habits follow the same cycle, whatever you choose to call it.

What a Habit Looks Like When Broken Down Before we get into each step, let’s use the 3 R’s to break down a typical habit.

For example, answering a phone call…

1. Your phone rings (reminder). This is the reminder that initiates the behavior. The ring acts as a trigger or cue to tell you to answer the phone. It is the prompt that starts the behavior.

2. You answer your phone (routine). This is the actual behavior. When your phone rings, you answer the phone.

3. You find out who is calling (reward). This is the reward (or punishment, depending on who is calling). The reward is the benefit gained from doing the behavior. You wanted to find out why the person on the other end was calling you and discovering that piece of information is the reward for completing the habit. If the reward is positive, then you’ll want to repeat the routine again the next time the reminder happens.

Repeat the same action enough times and it becomes a habit. Every habit follows this basic 3–step structure.

How can you use this structure to create new habits and actually stick to them? Here’s how…

Step 1: Set a Reminder for Your New Habit- If you talk to your friends about starting a new habit, they might tell you that you need to exercise self–control or that you need to find a new dose of willpower. I disagree. Getting motivated and trying to remember to do a new behavior is the exact wrong way to go about it. If you’re a human, then your memory and your motivation will fail you. It’s just a fact. This is why the reminder is such a critical part of forming new habits.

A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to remember to do your new habit. A good reminder makes it easy to start by encoding your new behavior in something that you already do. For example, when I wrote about the secret to sticking to little healthy habits, I said that I created a new habit of flossing by always doing it after brushing my teeth. The act of brushing my teeth was something that I already did and it acted as the reminder to do my new behavior.

To make things even easier and prevent myself from having to remember to floss, I bought a bowl, placed it next to my toothbrush, and put a handful of pre–made flossers in it. Now I see the floss every time I reach for my toothbrush. Setting up a visible reminder and linking my new habit with a current behavior made it much easier to change.

No need to be motivated. No need to remember. It doesn’t matter if it’s working out or eating healthy or creating art, you can’t expect yourself to magically stick to a new habit without setting up a system that makes it easier to start.

How to Choose Your Reminder

Picking the correct reminder for your new habit is the first step to making change easier. The best way I know to discover a good reminder for your new habit is to write down two lists.

In the first list, write down the things that you do each day without fail. For example…

•Get in the shower. •Put your shoes on. •Brush your teeth. •Flush the toilet. •Sit down for dinner. •Turn the lights off. •Get into bed.

You’ll often find that many of these items are daily health habits like washing your face, drinking morning tea, brushing your teeth, and so on. Those actions can act as reminders for new health habits.

For example, “After I drink my morning tea, I mediate for 60 seconds.” In the second list, write down the things that happen to you each day without fail. For example…

•Traffic light turns red. •You get a text message. •A commercial comes on TV. •A song ends. •The sun sets.

With these two lists, you’ll have a wide range of things that you already do and already respond to each day. Those are the perfect reminders for new habits. For example, let’s say you want to feel happier. Expressing gratitude is one proven way to boost happiness.

Using the list above, you could pick the reminder “sit down for dinner” and use it as a cue to say one thing that you’re grateful for today. “When I sit down for dinner, I say one thing that I’m grateful for today.” That’s the type of small behavior that could blossom into a more grateful outlook on life in general.

Step 2: Choose a Habit That’s Incredibly Easy to Start

It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to make massive changes in your life. We watch incredible weight loss transformations and think that we need to lose 30 pounds in the next 4 weeks. We see elite athletes on TV and wish that we could run faster and jump higher tomorrow. We want to earn more, do more, and be more … right now.

I’ve felt those things too, so I get it. And in general, I applaud the enthusiasm. I’m glad that you want great things for your life and I want to do what I can to help you achieve them. But it’s important to remember that lasting change is a product of daily habits, not once–in–a–lifetime transformations.

If you want to start a new habit and begin living healthier and happier, then I have one suggestion that I cannot emphasis enough: start small. In the words of Leo Babauta, “make it so easy that you can’t say no.” How small? BJ Fogg suggests that people who want to start flossing begin by only flossing one tooth. Just one. In the beginning, performance doesn’t matter.

Become the type of person who always sticks to your new habit. You can build up to the level of performance that you want once the behavior becomes consistent. Here’s your action step: Decide what want your new habit to be. Now ask yourself, “How can I make this new behavior so easy to do that I can’t say no?”

What is Your Reward?

It’s important to celebrate. We want to continue doing things that make us feel good. And because an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit, it’s especially important that you reward yourself each time you practice your new habit.

For example, if I’m working towards a new fitness goal, then I’ll often tell myself at the end of a workout, “That was good day.” Or, “Good job. You made progress today.” If you feel like it, you could even tell yourself “Victory!” or “Success!” each time you do your new habit. I haven’t done this myself, but some people swear by it.

•Floss one tooth. “Victory!” •Eat a healthy meal. “Success!” •Do five pushups. “Good work!” Give yourself some credit and enjoy each success.

Related note: Only go after habits that are important to you. It’s tough to find a reward when you’re simply doing things because other people say they are important.

Where to Go From Here

In general, you’ll find that these three steps fit almost any habit. The specifics, however, may take some work. You might have to experiment before you find the right cue that reminds you to start a new habit. You might have to think a bit before figuring out how to make your new habit so easy that you can’t say no. And rewarding yourself with positive self–talk can take some getting used to if you’re not someone who typically does that. It’s all a process, my friend.

[Ed Note: James is a writer, photographer and avid weightlifter. His mission is to help as many people as he can by showing them simple but effective ways of changing their habits.  ]

7 Steps for Creating the Life YOU Want

7 Steps for Creating the Life YOU Want

Stairway in blue heavensWe all aspire to do, be and have great things. Yet most of us simply aren’t creating the results we want. We complain that we don’t have enough money, romance, success or joy in our lives. We point fingers and blame outside problems that “happen” to us and make life more difficult. But what we need to understand and keep at the forefront of our minds is that greatness exists in all of us. It is simply up to us to pull it out of ourselves. Regardless of personal circumstances, economic climates, and access to resources, it helps to maintain faith in the fact we each are more powerful than we think. We all have the ability to create the life we want. We just need to learn how to do it. Is there an exact “formula”? No, but there are certain common features that successful people exhibit and that anyone can practice. They are what can jumpstart your success and attract what you want in life. You’d be hard pressed to find any high achiever who doesn’t live by the following 7 tips:

1. Take No Less than 100% Responsibility for Your Life

One of the greatest myths that is pervasive in our culture today is that you are entitled to a great life and that somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, exciting career options, nurturing family time and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist. But the real truth is that there is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live. That person is you. Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing. Income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors. That person who reflects back at you in the mirror is the chief conductor in your life. Say hello! I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but the mind can play games, tricking plenty of people into thinking external factors are the source of failure, disappointment, and unhappiness. But the truth of the matter is that external factors don’t determine how you live. You are in complete control of the quality of your life. Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don’t waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.

2. Be Clear Why You’re Here

I believe each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do, and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, then just tune in to the signals around you. Looking toward others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, likes and dislikes, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. You might be surprised by what you discover.

3. Decide What You Want

It sounds so simple, but here’s the problem: I see plenty of people who are overly-busy yet who feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. They are physically tired, spiritually drained, and far from where they’d like to be—as if they’ve been running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. Why? Because they haven’t clearly mapped out what they want and then taken the steps to get there. Rather than identifying specific goals, milestones, and dreams (and I’m talking BIG dreams and goals here), they go through the motions day in and day out tackling unimportant tasks. They end up…you guessed it…going in circles and wasting lots of energy. In the meanwhile, they grow increasingly uninspired and out of touch with their authentic selves. This, of course, sets anyone up to living a life out of balance. One of the main reasons why most people don’t get what they want is they haven’t decided what they want. They haven’t defined their desires in clear and compelling detail. What does success look like to you? Not everybody’s definition of success is the same, nor should it be. Don’t let your inner devil’s advocate (or that incessant but unimportant To Do list) inhibit you from dreaming big. As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, but they also compel others to want to play big, too.

4. Believe It Is Possible

Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they’re learning that instead we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver literally everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible. As you commit to believing in yourself, also make a commitment to toning down the complaint department. Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my father. I’ll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.

5. Believe in Yourself

If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes; the abilities, inner resources, talents and skills to create your desired results. Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to believe that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.

6. Become an Inverse Paranoid

This one is straightforward: Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that.

7. Unleash the Power of Goal Setting

Experts on the science of success know the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work day and night to achieve. To engage you subconscious mind, a goal has to be measurable. When there aren’t any criteria for measurement, it is simply something you want, a wish, a preference, or a good idea. Sometimes we need to make just one initial goal to get started, and that’s okay. At least it comes with a few actions to achieve. A first step simply can be making an immediate change in a single area in your life. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable and overwhelming for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain? You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices. Bear in mind that you have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan more steps to keep moving you forward faster. Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else? So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this: Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it is much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!


  WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com
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