THE HABIT focuses on how you start each day; your morning routine. Each day is your life in miniature. As you take control of your morning, you’ll take control of your life. Tiny improvements to our daily routine put our lives on a better trajectory.
Instead of waiting for January 1st to arrive, begin adopting a few small habits so that when the ball drops, you’ll already have built up some momentum. I will present a series of small habits you can adopt each week to improve your life.
Continue reading “THE HABIT: Week-2 (Motivation)”
A LIFE-CHANGING SPRAINED ANKLE
Growing up as an overweight kid, I lacked self-confidence. Obesity runs in my family. My father was always trying to lose weight. He struggled to change like we all do until we experience a seminal moment of inspiration or desperation. My commitment to change was born out of the latter. I remember being sent to the nurse’s office at school for a sprained ankle and overhearing her describing me as a fat boy. Her words struck me. I don’t know why they hit me as hard as they did, but I am glad they cause me enough pain to take action. I resolved to lose the weight. My plan consisted of just two things, daily exercise, and NO MORE DESSERTS. I decided that I would not eat another dessert until I lost all the weight.
It wasn’t easy, but I went over a year without eating a single dessert. I didn’t know much about diet and exercise; I was only ten years old, after all. My father read countless books on diet and exercise, but knowledge doesn’t change your life. Sometimes too much information and analysis can be a detriment to doing. It is our daily rituals that shape our lives. I committed to doing a little bit of exercise each morning and when I got home from school, inspired by my comic book heroes. My transforming body was a constant reminder of the value of taking consistent action. Exercise lifted me out of depression and improved my mental focus. I started doing better in school and became more confident. Eventually, I would become a National Honor Society member in high school and graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Continue reading “A LIFE CHANGING SPRAINED ANKLE”
Installing NEW routines and behaviors requires a herculean disciplined effort. Do not squander your desire. Put it to good use. Take immediate action. Hesitation allows your desire to install good habits that will improve your life to pass without being employed. Don’t allow the emotion to diminish through indecision. Indecision is mental paralysis. Indecision means what could be is postponed or may never be. Indecision means putting off what we could do, what we should do. Indecision means the opportunity waits. Indecision means the door remains closed. The longer we delay, the less likely we are to act. Our desire quickly erodes and fades from existence. The wisdom is wasted, and the idea is soon forgotten. “Indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity.” Jim Rohn
Deciding, finally replacing your “I SHOULD-s” with “I WILL-s” can be an excellent source of motivation, but once you decide, you must discipline yourself to act. Never leave the site of a decision without taking immediate action. It can be the smallest of actions. It isn’t the size of the action that matters most. Baby steps count too. You want to generate momentum, and that is done through movement. A decision not married to action is merely a wish. A real decision forces an action. Start small and begin building momentum. Start becoming a person that gets out of their head and into action. Real decisions change our behavior. True decisions are the only things that improve our lives.
Continue reading THE LAW OF DIMINISHING INTENT
Have you ever procrastinated starting a project because you felt overwhelmed? If you have, you’ve been the victim of subjective fatigue. Beginning a task carries the full weight of the commitment. Our mind looks ahead and calculates the work, which causes us to feel exhausted before we can start. What we think is laziness is often exhaustion. Mini habits are so silly small that they are nearly weightless. Mini habits kill procrastination. They carry almost no subjective fatigue.
Another cognitive bias that acts as an obstacle to starting is called the spotlight effect. Whenever we step outside our comfort zone, our mind magnifies the difficulty of the task. Like subjective fatigue, it causes us to feel overwhelmed. Mini habits don’t raise any cognitive red flags because they are so easy to do. Mini habits circumnavigate these mental roadblocks to starting. Once we begin, we can base our decision to continue on the task’s actual difficulty – not a distorted version of it. As we develop the habit, our perceived difficulty will diminish, not because it has gotten easier, but because we have gotten better. Continue reading MINI HABITS REDUCE OUR NATURAL RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
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What you are going to learn:
- Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous
- The Three Elements of a Habit
- How a Better Understanding of Habits can Help Us Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones
- A Simple Approach to Overcoming our Natural Resistance to Change
- Why We Often Blame our Lack of Willpower when it is usually our Lack of Commitment that is to Blame
People often say that change is difficult, and they are correct. Change is difficult, but we are all capable of change. Our lives are continually changing, learning to drive, marriage, having children, new job responsibilities, and new technological tools. Initiation is the most challenging phase of any change because when we are learning to perform new tasks, it is mentally exhausting. Learning to perform a new activity requires our cerebral cortex (“Conscious Brain”) to do the heavy lifting.
As the new task becomes routine, the more resilient basal ganglia, (“subconscious brain’), takes over. The action becomes easier and easier to perform. Our conscious brain essentially goes on autopilot, and the actions flow almost effortlessly. You undoubtedly experienced this when you were learning to drive. In the beginning, it required all of your mental focus, but now you can drive, adjust the cabin temperature, tune the radio, carry on a conversation, and heaven forbid, use your smartphone while driving.
Change is possible, but it starts with awareness. The hardest part of creating a change in behavior is just not repeating the behaviors of the past. Approximately 40 to 45% of the decisions we make are out of habit.[i] Unfortunately, these aren’t conscious decisions. These are decisions our conscious brain has delegated to the subconscious brain. Our subconscious mind controls the performance of repetitive daily activities which frees our conscious mind from making countless decisions each day, which would lead to decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. For this reason, we aren’t mindful of actions we have repeated enough times to make them habits.
Continue reading “CHANGE IS DIFFICULT, BUT WITH THE RIGHT STRATEGIES AND A LITTLE MOTIVATION, WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF GREAT CHANGE”