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4 Reasons You Just Can’t Stick With A New Habit

4 Reasons You Just Can’t Stick With A New Habit

It’s that time of year. The January crowds are already out of the gyms, smokers are sneaking out for smoke breaks, and workaholics are powering through 12 hour days again. The enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions fades away, and you can’t seem to stick with a new habit. Why does this happen? And, more importantly, what do you need to stop doing in order to form new, healthy habits?

1. You believe in “no pain, no gain.”

Many people swear by this old saying. And, while it may work like a charm for some folks, it actually discourages most people. We convince ourselves that we have to struggle and suffer in order to be who we want to be. The most common example of this is in the dieting world. For example, a woman will relentlessly tire herself out at the gym, hoping to fit into a smaller dress for an upcoming event. But, she creates such stress in doing this that all she wants to do is chow down on donuts. The change becomes something that she dreads, and the escape is that safe old habit of overeating. If you incorporate change in a negative, torturous way, it is simply human nature to give up on it.

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Lesson: Do everything you can to ensure a new habit is enjoyable and empowering.

2. You hold yourself to another’s standards.

Another classic and well-intentioned mistake: we try to emulate people we look up to when introducing new habits. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but if taken too far, it can sabotage you. For example, your brainiac coworker reads a new book every week. You decide that you want to be as well-read and intellectual as she is, so you try to force this same habit upon yourself. A week later, you fail to finish your first book, you don’t even like the book, and you feel like a failure. What went wrong? Basically, you failed at being another person. You tried to reach a goal through someone else’s process – what works for them. This invalidates any other techniques that may have worked for you. In addition, it places other people on a pedestal and tricks you into believing that external validation will fulfill you. While having a partner in change can help you stay motivated, don’t forget to do what actually works for you.

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Lesson: Don’t compete with others; compete with your old limitations.

3. You think mistakes are a reason to quit.

Any successful person will tell you they fail on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many of us see small setbacks as justification to quit, which blocks us from the actual work of habit formation. Instead of letting our brains and bodies move through the challenging process of change, we look at any mistake and use it as a reason to slip back into old habits and give up. However, mistakes are one of the most critical aspects of habit formation. They give us insight into why we do things (e.g. you realize that stress makes you avoid cleaning your house), while teaching us resilience and patience. In addition, mistakes desensitize us from the fear of failure – something that everyone must overcome to achieve great things.

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Lesson: Mistakes are part of the learning curve, and the learning curve lasts a lifetime.

4. Your identity is rooted in failure.

One of the most devious mental health issues that plagues humanity is a negative self-perception, which will quietly undermine any progress you make. We’ve heard dozens of stories about lottery winners who lost it all, squandering fortunes in a short period of time. And stories of those who lost hundreds of pounds, only to gain back even more once their diets ended. What is this odd phenomenon? Many people chalk it up to human stupidity or laziness, but it’s much deeper and more sophisticated than that. In these situations, we’re dealing with subconscious self-sabotage. Whether you obtain money, fame, fitness, or anything else, you can’t maintain it if your identity is rooted in its opposite.

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For example, if you hit the lottery but still possess a belief that poverty and scarcity surround you, your decisions will reflect that belief. You’ll be broke again in no time. The same goes for the guy or gal who loses 100 pounds – if they still view themselves as unhealthy, unmotivated junk food eaters at heart, that is what they will lapse back into.

Lesson: See yourself at your greatest potential – no matter your circumstances.

Keep these subtle adjustments in mind when aiming to stick with a new habit.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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