Category Archives: psychology

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

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

by Patti Neighmond

July 28, 2014 4:57 AM ETWe know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.
To find out if having a sense of purpose has an effect on aging and adult development, Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, looked at data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Hill and his colleague Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center looked to see how more than 6,000 people answered questions like “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them,” and other questions that gauged positive and negative emotions.

They found that 14 years after those questions were asked, people who had reported a greater sense of purpose and direction in life were more likely to outlive their peers.

In fact, people with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower risk of death,compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.
Hill’s analysis controlled for other factors known to affect longevity, things like age, gender and emotional well-being. A sense of purpose trumped all that.

Hill defines it as providing something like a “compass or lighthouse that provides an overarching aim and direction in day-to-day lives.”

Of course, purpose means different things to different people. Hill says it could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity.

“Often this is individuals who want to produce something that is appreciated by others in written or artistic form, whether it’s music, dance or visual arts,” Hill says.
It’s not exactly clear how purpose might benefit health. Purposeful individuals may simply lead healthier lives, says Hill, but it also could be that a sense of purpose protects against the harmful effects of stress.

An experiment in Chicago tested this theory. Anthony Burrow, a developmental psychologist at Cornell University, had college student volunteers of different races and ethnicities ride rapid transit through the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago, recording their emotions as individuals of different racial and ethnic groups boarded.

Earlier research has shown that when people are surrounded by people of different ethnic or racial groups than their own, their level of stress increases. Burrow wanted to know if thinking about their sense of purpose might reduce that stress.

He had about half the students write for about 10 minutes about their life’s direction. The other half wrote about the last movie they saw. They were all then given packets that listed the name of every stop. When they got to a stop, they were asked to assess how they felt and how much they felt that way by placing an “X” in a box next to negative emotions such as feeling scared, fearful, alone or distressed.

It turned out that the students who wrote about the last movie they saw experienced the expected levels of stress as the percentage of people of different ethnicity increased. But the students who wrote about their sense of purpose reported no feelings of increased stress at all.

More research is needed, but Burrow says his findings suggest that having “a sense of purpose may protect people against stress,” with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.

philosophy
psychology
mental health

Richard Davidson: Exercise Our Minds for Happiness

 Richard Davidson: Exercise Our Minds for Happiness

 Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s_utwhETq_8

Richard J. Davidson, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, is the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, and Founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. He has published more than 275 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 13 books. He has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute’s Board of Directors since 1991. He is also the author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

In this episode of Office Hours, Dr. Davidson discusses his research and how we can exercise our minds – and change our brains – through meditation to be happier and more compassionate.

We found that just two weeks of [meditation] training actually produces reliable differences in the brain that were clearly measurable using our MRI procedures. And we found that participants actually engaged in more altruistic and compassionate behavior as a consequence of the two weeks of training.

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How to Reprogram Your Mind

A great video worth sharing….

FROM Brendon Burchard – and the High Performance Academy

“The first thing you have to do in order to improve your mind is to take total control of your attention and notice: Where are my thoughts right now? Are they positive or negative? Are they helping me feel alive, engaged, and grateful in this moment? Am I present with my current experience or trapped in the past? Are my thoughts supporting me or are they automatically coming up negative and self-protective in ways that are not advancing my life? Just to be aware, to be conscious of what’s going on in your body, in your sense of feeling and emotion now, this is the stuff of becoming mature, connected, and happy.”

JillSunnyOct12

From “How to Reprogram Your Mind”:

CLICK HERE

http://tmblr.co/ZTb1Dv1Kd3jTo

Survive the Unthinkable,

 

I am always on the lookout for good books.

I try not to ‘over-recommend’ either, but here is a great one….Survive the Unthinkable,

 

…here is some background…..you may know someone in a situation that this may be relevant…..

Violence against women remains one of the most common human rights abuses in the world. Women ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined.

Rape and attempted rape are very much silent assassins. Only 16 percent of rape victims actually report an incident to the police, which means that the statistics we have about rape in the United States barely reflect the grim reality. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries. And the majority of offenses are committed by someone the victim knows or at least recognizes.

Perhaps the most disturbing truth is that the rape perpetrator will probably victimize seven to nine women before he’s jailed.

In our increasingly violent collective, women must often yield to an incessant voice that warns: Be careful where you walk. Be careful where you park. Be careful where you go. Be careful what you wear. Be careful what you say.

The unnerving posture of gender violence is what prompted me to seek out the best self-defense instructor I could find for the women I care about in my life — who just happens to be the author of the book you’re holding in your hands right now.

Tim Larkin’s Survive the Unthinkable relays a message of empowerment, not panic. It’s the key that can unlock your personal power as a woman.

With many things in life, the truth is often nearly 180 degrees from what your imagination might suggest. The principles and methods that Tim Larkin shares in this critical book are perfect examples of this:

  • Women need NOT be vulnerable to attack, and they already have the tools necessary to avoid violence or protect themselves in those rare instances where avoidance isn’t possible.

  • Even the most violent sociopaths are incredibly vulnerable once you know the psychology of what drives their behavior.

  • The people who are most effective at “self-defense” typically have no formal training.

Being able to protect yourself doesn’t require muscle, fancy techniques, or months of practice at the martial arts studio. All that you need to live confidently and joyfully is knowledge and the willingness to apply it.

As a woman, you have people who depend on you — perhaps your partner, children, siblings, friends. Please consider the ability to defend yourself a responsibility, not a luxury, in much the same way that you might exercise, wear your seatbelt, or get regular medical checkups.

This book presents imperative components that ensure peace of mind, which ultimately allows us to find fulfillment in our daily life. The emotional edge my friend Tim Larkin presents helps to create a better life through key adjustments to our perception, psychology, and awareness. You can trust, as I do, that Tim Larkin’s teachings are the most effective, thoroughly tested, and reliable way to ensure your safety, confidence, and self-assurance, which will in turn enable you to effectively cooperate with others, operate at optimal productivity, and get the most enjoyment out of every day of your life.

www.timlarkin.com

Approximately   1.9 million women are physically assaulted annually in the United   States alone. In his New York Times bestselling book Survive the Unthinkable, Tim Larkin empowers women to   understand that surviving a potential attack isn’t about being   physically bigger, faster, or stronger; it’s about knowing how to   self-protect, not self-defend. – See more at: http://www.timlarkin.com/book.php#more

(Foreward by Tony Robbins)

Bridges out of poverty

I recently heard someone speak about a book, DVD, seminar, and nationwide program that is all based on the book “Bridges Out of Poverty.”
I strongly recommend that you check it out http://www.bridgesoutofpoverty.com/faqs/
In short, it discusses how different classes have different mindsets, perceptions, and priorities. It also helps businesses and the community bridge those differences to communicate, work and help each other better. Likewise, the program provides tools and strategies for those in poverty to get out of it, if they want.
I grew up with two parents who came from poverty. My mother’s family was always living paycheck to paycheck and she often spoke of the day ‘they’ came to repossess her parent’s furniture. She had to wear hand-me-down shoes and clothes from her relatives and her brothers. My mother’s toes were actually permanently injured because she had to wear shoes that were too small. All the kids had to work and give their parents their money.
My father’s family was a little better off but, like my mother, he lived during the Depression. Jobs were tough and even though his family had a better work ethic, he, too, wore second hand clothes.
They married and struggled for many years. I recall one story when my parents had $0.59 in the bank, one can of soup, and my father brought someone home for dinner. My father started a business from a chicken coop and grew it to 30 employees and later sold it. They retired comfortably and he was actually a savvy investor.
They sent me to private school and I rubbed elbows with all sorts of classes and people, including the very wealthy.
As I sat through the lecture of “Bridges Out of Poverty”, the speaker discussed the three classes; Poverty, Middle Class, and Wealthy – and how they think differently. I found that I had thoughts or perspectives from all classes. My parents probably instilled in me thoughts from their years of Poverty. I lived a middle class, maybe upper middle class life. I learned some wealthy thoughts from classmates and the school.
Lessons? Each class has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Those in poverty often can achieve great success because they believe in destiny of some kind and also believe that they have little or nothing to lose. They can just let go and go for it. They work hard. However they have ‘tyranny of the moment’ often because their lives may be ruled by bills and immediate needs.
  • Those in the middle class have future vision – they can think about and plan for the future. They also have a network of social and business contacts that can work together. However there are sometimes examples of conditional relationships.
  • Wealthy classes have the relationships and connections to do well. They have expertise. However, there are examples of conditional relationships (vs unconditional) and loss of work ethic.
The program is not about judgement, labeling, or otherwise. It points out rules of thumb for each group and simply the awareness of these things can help – it helped me. The program can then point out ways that each of us can change or think differently if we want to change a class.
How do you prioritize in life? What do you think about social and business connections? What about your work ethic? Your thoughts on destiny, risk, taking chances? Do you have a future vision?
here is more….
Bridges Out of Poverty is a powerful model and book for economic and social change, sustainability, and stability. It inspires innovative solutions in those looking to counter poverty and its impact at all levels in a community. This approach helps employers, higher education, community organizations, social service agencies, hospitals, individuals, and others address poverty in a comprehensive way. People from all economic classes come together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and support those who are moving out of poverty
Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World is a program that supports people in poverty to create their own plan for stability. It embeds the concepts of Bridges Out of Poverty into a format where groups examine the impact of poverty on themselves and their communities.
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