Tag Archives: habits

3 ways to stick to your resolutions

Resolutions

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Rewire your brain to be happy…

Rewire your brain to be happy…

You can re-wire your brain to be happy by simply recalling 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days.

-Shawn Achor

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.  ]

Little habits mean a lot…

As I may have mentioned, several years ago I had a challenging year, and I felt that it set me back in many ways.

I lost both parents within 5 weeks of each other, I was temporarily unemployed, and I had losses with my investment property.

I was grieving, sad, depressed, I felt like I wasn’t living up to being a man, a father, etc.

My self talk and thoughts were probably the biggest problem. I worried a lot, thought negative thoughts, went over bad things in the past, focused on what wasn’t working.

Looking back now, trying to learn from the experience, the things that helped me the most were these items:
1. having a vision of how I wanted things to be – and thinking/talking about that vision as if it was already done, already here.

2. asking great, positive questions – like “Why am I so happy?” instead of “Why do I feel so down?”

3. Focusing on what is working, what I have that is good, instead of what doesn’t work, what isn’t good.

I adopted little habits that I tried to do each day –

  1. I would write down my vision and when I could, handwrite it/copy it again.
  2. I would write down my powerful questions on index cards and read them, even copy them whenever I could. I would pick one each day to really focus on.
  3. I started using passwords that were meaningful and helpful to changing my thinking. So instead of some random password like shoe$1lace I might choose whydoIwin6 or whatisgr8, Iamgr8ful and so on. Think about how many times you put in different passwords each day. We type them over and over. What if these were little empowering questions, messages or reminders? wouldn’t that help a little?

Have a good week!

Visualize-090604

14 Ways to Be a Happier Person

A great article to consider:

http://time.com/3433493/14-ways-to-be-a-happier-person/?utm_content=buffer72c3f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Billboard-worthy news: It’s possible to amp up your bliss every single day with these simple, unexpected strategies

Also tricky: keeping the glee going when you have work to do, kids to raise, bills to pay and more work to do. Mercifully, big, costly, splashy events are not the ultimate bliss bringers. As people get older, they tend to find ordinary treats—such as a latte or a manicure—just as joy-inducing as extraordinary ones like an around-the-world cruise, found a 2014 study by researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. With age, the authors speculate, we’re more aware of how fleeting time is, so we’re particularly likely to relish everyday bright spots.

What you won’t find here: a step-by-step happiness guide. How draining would that be? Instead, we tapped top positive psychologists for easy ways to infuse your days with more pleasure. Consider this a pick-and-choose list; even doing just a few will help. Ready for more joy? Plan on it!

First up: Make it your goal

Although increasing happiness levels shouldn’t feel like work, having a can-do mindset really comes in handy. In a study published in theJournal of Positive Psychology, people who were told to listen to music and attempt to feel happier had a greater boost in bliss over a two-week period than those instructed only to relax as they listened to the same upbeat tunes. It comes down to motivation: You can transform into more of a glass-half-full type.

While researchers believe that genetics are behind about 50 percent of the variation in happiness levels among you and your neighbors and that life circumstances account for maybe 10 percent, you’re fully in charge of the rest. “A lot of people think you can’t control happiness—you either have it or you don’t—which is totally not true,” stresses Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside, and author of The Myths of Happiness. “It’s like controlling your health. First you need to believe that you can do it before you take those first steps.”

Know your own bliss

When was the last time you mulled over what truly brings you pleasure, aside from biggies like your partner and the kids? “A key to steering your own happiness is reflecting on the things that make you come alive,” Fredrickson says. Perhaps it’s been so long since you’ve done some of them that they’ve fallen off your radar. Make a list, if it helps. “Think back to what gave you joy in your younger years,” says psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, founder of the National Institute for Play in Carmel Valley, Calif., and author of Play. Maybe you’re not jamming on a guitar in your bedroom anymore, but “you can recall the carefree state,” Dr. Brown says, “in which the outcome wasn’t as important as what you were experiencing.” You want to find what does that for you now and…

…Prioritize it

Sigh if this sounds familiar: You make a major effort to avoid future stress—say, staying up late to finish laundry so tomorrow will be a better day—only to suck your evening dry of all fun. Happiness researcher Robert Biswas-Diener, PhD, founder and managing director of the consulting firm Positive Acorn in Milwaukie, Ore., knows this treadmill effect well. He delivers a lecture regularly at Portland State University: “I give the students an hour off and tell them to do anything they want that’s legal that will make them happy. Some have a hard time with it—they even do homework! What they say is, ‘I’d be stressed if I didn’t get that task done.’ People think that working toward less stress will make them happier. That’s a minor form of insanity.”

In a get-stuff-done world, it’s hard to avoid our efficiency instinct. The answer, then, is to focus on enjoyable stuff, along with the must-dos. “Don’t fit joyful activities into your days—fit your days around them,” Biswas-Diener urges. “Do you ever hear devoted church attendees say, ‘Can we reschedule church because something came up?’ You need to have that church mentality about whatever it is that gives you pleasure. If you say that your weeks are full, find the next blank spot in your calendar.” Protect that sacred time from “nibblers” (otherwise known as your family), adds productivity consultant Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out:“Announce to everyone that it’s your time to recharge your batteries.” Tap a friend to make sure you use that time strictly for fun.

Smell the shower gel

The act of savoring—mining pleasant moments for their joy—is a proven happiness booster. In one study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, 101 men and women kept diaries for a month, recording positive activities they participated in and how much they did or didn’t savor them. Those who tended to enjoy a good thing—and share their delight with others—maintained high levels of happiness no matter what the day brought, whereas nonappreciators needed positive events to get into a good mood. Savoring is a no-brainer—just tune in to your senses. Inhale that pinot grigio, feel the soft rug under your bare feet. “I leave a little time in the morning to savor my showers,” Lyubomirsky says. “I go out of my way to buy gels with the best scents.” You can even find ways to relish tasks; try running YouTube as you delete junk email. (Why hasn’t anyone yet studied the happiness powers of panda videos?!)

Ration your time

Gold, natural gas and your attention: They’re all scarce resources. Allocate wisely so you can max out time for pleasure, recommends Paul Dolan, PhD, in his new book Happiness By Design. “Every tweet, text or email distracts us from the good experiences and people in our lives,” he says. Some research shows that heavy social media users are less merry than others. One study published in the scientific journal Plos One found that the more people went on Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined. (Click: dis-like.)

Experts widely recommend electronic time-outs; shut off your phone for a couple of hours a night or do email-free Saturdays or Sundays. You also want to dump any activity that “should” make you happy but in reality doesn’t, like the book club that picks crappy reads or an overly earnest yoga class. It’s hard to walk away, Dolan acknowledges, “but you probably haven’t regretted breaking joyless commitments in the past. Remember: Lost happiness is lost forever.”

Think perky thoughts

On those days when you barely have time to breathe, recall something that made you happy and you can get a boost. In one study from Michigan State University, bus drivers who smiled as a result of thinking about a positive event, such as a child’s recital, were in more upbeat moods than workers who fake-smiled. Science suggests that a full, genuine grin—one that involves facial muscles around the eyes—sparks a change in brain activity related to a good mood. So, yep: Say cheese.

Buy some happy

As any woman who has ever bought a trendy, overpriced accessory knows, the kick we get out of purchases wears off fast. However, spending on experiences (like tickets to a Broadway show) rather than things (another black sweater) creates lasting contentment—with one new caveat. A study co-authored by Ryan T. Howell, PhD, associate professor at San Francisco State University and director of its Personality and Well-Being Lab, found that people fail to get pleasure from objects or experiences if they’re acquiring them mainly for bragging rights. That is, if you’re more of a local-Thai-restaurant person and you plan a 40th-birthday blowout at Le Fancy Schmancy Bistro, you may get admiration on Facebook but miss out on feeling personal delight.

Play around in love

If the words Honey, take out the trash! are your idea of foreplay, you know that running our domestic lives sometimes saps the fun out of relationships. “Playfulness energizes both of you and gets your brains in sync,” says Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD, a relationship therapist certified by the Gottman Institute in Seattle and founder of The Center for Relationships in Austin, Texas. “It also lightens the vibe of a relationship and helps us manage the business of our lives—otherwise it’s too much about dishes and bills.” She likes to tell couples she works with, “I can help you fight better, but that’s not nearly as effective as if I help you play better.” One recent suggestion to busy parents of three: Zap each other more playful texts. “They’d send links to funny sites. Or he would text her at work, suggesting she imagine him naked,” Meunier says. “The couple started looking forward to coming home instead of being grumpy. And they’d talk about the texts.”

Have a bad-day backup plan

You have backup in case your electricity goes out, even if it’s just a stockpile of flashlights. Time to come up with one in case your moodfails. Michele Phillips, a performance coach in Piermont, N.Y., and author of Happiness Is a Habit, has a group of friends who’ve dubbed themselves the Village. “I can call them anytime my day is going badly, and they will change my frame of mind,” she says. She recalls sitting in a bar in Colorado after her divorce, feeling lonely and, she says, “like I had loser written on my forehead.” She called a Village friend, “and she said, ‘Look around: You’re in Vail, skiing!’ She helped me shift the thinking from ‘poor me’ to ‘lucky me.’”

Find purpose in pleasure

For total happiness, you need a mix of activities that give you joy and a sense of meaning, what Dolan calls the pleasure-purpose principle. “If happiness were only about pleasure, what would be the point of having kids or helping others?” he says. “To be truly happy, we need feelings of purpose, too.” Think volunteer work or taking a cooking class. The positive feelings that come from these sorts of activities can help train the brain’s neurons to overcome its negativity bias. As neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, explains in his bookHardwiring Happiness, the brain is all too good at remembering adverse experiences, which he traces to ancestors who had to focus on threats like predators in order to survive. But when you rack up feel-good experiences that give you a sense of achievement, they can serve as a buffer against the disappointing ones.

Think less “me” time, more “we” time

Truly sunny people have one thing in common, and it’s got nothing to do with their paychecks, IQs or gender, Biswas-Diener says: They have plenty of good social relationships. These include interactions that psychologists refer to as social snacking—little ways of connecting with other human beings, including strangers. In one 2014 study by Nicholas Epley, PhD, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and author ofMindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel and Want, participants heading to work by train either refrained from engaging with fellow passengers or made conversation. Chatty commuters—both introverts and extroverts alike—reported having the most pleasant commute. In another recent study co-authored by Elizabeth Dunn, PhD, at the University of British Columbia, people kept a running tab of social interactions with folks with whom they had either a strong or weak tie. Regardless of the type of person they connected with, they consistently felt more chipper on days when they mingled.

Yes, camaraderie is comforting—that feeling that we’re all in this crazy world together. “But when you talk with strangers, there’s also the pleasant surprise of finding stuff in common and sometimes the exhilaration of their opening up your world when they tell you something interesting you didn’t know,” Epley says. Surprisingly, having conversations with new people can even keep things upbeat at home. As Dunn puts it, “Trying to be pleasant and cheerful ends up improving your mood in ways you can’t foresee.”

Go off the grid

Weekend getaways continue to trend; cruise lines are even creating shorter jaunts for time-crunched travelers. And yet for deeper joy, you can’t beat a long trip. “One of the biggest deterrents to happiness is that we adapt to our situations—you buy your house and it has a beautiful view, but at some point you stop deriving pleasure from it,” Howell says. When you take only a quick journey, the elation spike is brief. How high you go! How quickly you return to reality! An extended vacation—even to somewhere familiar like a beach town three hours away from home—may create more impactful, lasting memories. And having a bank of them to tap into can add to happiness, research shows. So try to budget for a two-week trip. Even just planning gives you a boost: One study from the Netherlands indicated that the bliss of a trip can start months before it begins, owing to the anticipation.

Be nicer

Nobody is calling you evil, but committing to a few do-good gestures a day can increase your general level of contentment. “I’ve found that when people are told to try to do three to five acts of kindness a week, they get happier,” Lyubomirsky reports. “It does not have to be a grand gesture, given that women are already doing so much caregiving. At the store, let someone get in line ahead of you. Give a compliment. Smile at someone.” Or simply do something thoughtful for your significant other, she continues: “We just finished a study in which we asked someone to choose a person in her life to make happier, like her husband, three times a week. It also made the giversignificantly happier.”

Make Sunday future-fun day

One enjoyable thing you should do every weekend: Make plans for the next one. “The anticipation powers you through the workweek,” Morgenstern says. The tactic also helps you avoid making passive, meh plans, like accepting the Saturday dinner invite from that couple you don’t totally like just because you have nothing better on tap. Morgenstern has a formula for a blissful weekend: PEP (physical, escape, people). In other words, a mix of physical activities that energize you, escapist activities that relax you and people who inspire you. “It’s a good framework for putting together weekends that leave you happy,” she says. Not to mention entire happier weeks.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Being rich is all about having the right habits

Being rich is all about having the right habits. That’s the message from Tom Corley, who spent five years observing how rich and poor people lived, worked, and even slept. Then, Corley wrote about his research in a book called “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”

Here’s what he found:

First: Be an early bird. Because among people making six-figures a year, about half wake up at least three hours before they have to be at work. Then, Corley says they use that extra morning time to focus on self-improvement like reading and exercising, because those things help them be more productive at work.
Another daily habit that can make you rich:Don’t gossip. According to Corley’s research, wealthy people are a whopping 14 times less likely to say they spread gossip, compared to people earning less than $30,000 a year.


Also: Spend less time using the Internet. Corley says most people who struggle with money spend at least an hour a day surfing the Web, or watching TV. But rich people are HALF as likely to go online every day. Instead, they spend that extra hour connecting with others in the “real world,” doing things like networking, socializing, and volunteering.


Another helpful habit: Make more “to-do” lists. Because wealthy people say they cross off 70% percent of the tasks on their to-do list every day – including short-term and long-term goals, meaning, rich people love getting stuff done.


Finally: According to the book, wealthy people are calorie counters. They generally limit alcoholic consumption, keep their junk food snacks to less than 300 calories per day, and weigh less. And it makes sense that successful people would weight less, 75% of executives in a recent survey said that being overweight is a “serious career impediment.” Overweight people are 3,000 times more likely to get passed over for a promotion. And fair or not, overweight applicants get turned down for jobs more than any other group.

http://www.tesh.com

Why the heck are you doing it?

Why-Image
Why the heck are you doing it?
Why are you doing “IT”? Seriously why?
Why are you working at your job or pursuing the education or chasing that dream?
Why are you there?
Did you ever think about that?
Are you at your job so that you can bring peace and joy to your family?
Are you there so that someday you can save up and start your own business?
Why are you chasing that goal?
Seriously, take a moment and write it down. Spell out why you are doing something or why you are taking action.
(Also congrats for taking action and working or whatever you’re doing).
Why do you want a goal?
Spell it out.
Some people really benefit from writing it out in story form. “I am investing in this rental property so that it will be enough extra income so that I can take my family away to the cabin each year for 2 weeks, where we can get unplugged, enjoy time alone, connect with nature, and exercise in the wilderness.” (Just an example, make your own) Others benefit from some bullet points.
  • Make sure that you include powerful, positive emotions and experiences, words, images, and ideas. Don’t just write anything down, make it powerful and emotional – to you!
Don’t worry much about the “How”. That will take care of itself later. Our brains will work that out. Too many people get caught in ‘how’ they will do something and don’t focus enough on the why.
“If the Why is big enough, the How doesn’t matter?” Unknown.
For instance, I work hard and strive for extra income so that I can spend more time with my wife and daughters, so that we can go on trips or long weekends together, and enjoy fun, memory making events. I also do what I do so that I can save for retirement so that my wife and I can save and invest enough to have the option to slow down a little, if we chose to do so, after we reach a certain age. (I probably will still work but I prefer to have it be a choice rather than a necessity). Your “WHY” may be completely different. Maybe you do something for charity, or for a dream or hobby.
Knowing why you have to go through something, why you have to show up, why you have to do something helps you ‘show up’ in a better state of mind, to feel better about it, and to try harder at it. Think about a task that you have to do but don’t always enjoy.
Meaning is everything.
If you assign a good ‘why’ to it – a good meaning – you will probably approach it better and enjoy it, at least a little more right?
You can choose to ‘just go through the motions’ or you can actually do things with feeling, passion, enthusiasm. The latter is more fun and you’ll probably do a better job.
Spend time writing out your “WHY’s” as soon as you can.
My “why” for writing this blog many days a week is that I enjoy writing and pulling thoughts out of nothing, sharing great ideas from others, and for possibly helping just one person.
Please leave a comment and share your “WHY”.
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