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To Have Better Control Of Your Life, Remember To Focus On Your Own

To Have Better Control Of Your Life, Remember To Focus On Your Own

People say you can’t control much in life. Partly true.

You can’t control 100% about what happens in your life, but you can choose how to live with them. This is what differentiates successful people from unsuccessful ones.

This seems to be easier said than done. Indeed we need some concrete ways to do so. Below are 5 tips to help you focus on yourself and have a more fulfilling life.

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1. Measure what you can control, don’t obsess over what you can’t.

When working towards a difficult goal, it’s easy to fall short of the targets you set for yourself. That’s because you’re setting the wrong targets. You might be thinking, “I should have a new job in two weeks’ time,” when a more helpful goal would be, “I should send out 10 job applications this week.” By measuring what you can control, rather than what you can’t, you’ll feel more empowered.

The act of measuring something turns a scary unknown into something real and quantifiable [1]. Instead of feeling lost and confused about why you’re not achieving your goals, you can consult your measurements and see where you might be falling short.

2. Stop blaming others for your problems.

Life owes you nothing. It’s a harsh truth, but accepting it will give you the motivation to create the life you really want, without expecting it to be handed to you [2].

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Next time you find yourself thinking, “Life is so unfair,” stop. Ditch the victim mentality, and focus instead on actions you can take to change your situation. If you’re unhappy with your weight, take the first step and sign up to a gym. If you hate your job, start sending out applications. It’s down to you to create the life you want.

3. Be proactive, not reactive.

Do you go through life only taking action when you really need to? You’re not alone, as most of us behave in a reactive way, even though it doesn’t help us. There’s a theory that explains the four stages of motivation, and the higher you are, the more successful you’ll be [3].

1. You’re motivated by fear. You act only to avoid punishment or negative consequences.

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2. You’re motivated by reward. You take action when there’s something you’ll get in return.

3. You’re motivated by duty. Fear and reward no longer play a part in your decisions to act, and you’re on the way to success.

4. You’re motivated by love. You aim to bring as much happiness to the world as possible, and you no longer worry about your own needs. This is the level you’re aiming for.

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Next time you catch yourself being motivated by fear, or by the desire for a reward, stop and think about your true motivations. What do you really want to achieve? Once you’ve worked that out, you’ll be ready to take proactive action to get there.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is one of the easiest ways to damage your self-esteem [4]. No matter what you achieve, you’ll always find someone who has done more or done it better. This behaviour is completely self-defeating, and won’t help you achieve anything. Focus on achieving your personal goals, rather than basing your self-worth on external factors.

5. Be your own biggest supporter.

While support from others is great, the only person you can truly count on is yourself. When working to create the life you want, you might find that friends and family cast doubts on your plans. Remember that nobody knows you better than you know yourself, and work on becoming your own biggest supporter.

Changing your mindset truly can change your life. Stop blaming your problems on external factors, and start taking control of your actions.

Reference

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Eloise Best

Content Writer

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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