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A Shove with Love – A Kickstart to Change.

A Shove with Love – A Kickstart to Change.

Stepping into reality

Thought we might be a little less theoretical and philosophical, and a bit more practical today. Always nice to get out of our head and into reality. We all have behaviours and habits that we need to change and from time to time we all need a little encouragement and support, possibly a vigorous shove, to get under way. So I’m here today to give you a shove. You can relax and feel safe in the knowledge that I am a fully qualified and vastly experienced shover. I have shoved many over my journey, including a few statues who have made the job pretty tough. I know that some of you are career procrastinators who have been about to address certain less-than-desirable habits forever; always at the brink of something life-changing but never quite there. And that some of you have even started (four hundred times) but never actually maintained.

The caring sledgehammer

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    Knowing that many of you are perpetually waiting for the magical and mythical ‘right time’ (it doesn’t exist) and knowing that many of you struggle to create and maintain momentum, I thought that today I might give some of you a shove with love. You may even like it. I’ll be gentle. Gentle like a sledgehammer. A caring sledgehammer.

    Yep, I want you to identify one habit which you really need to change right now. Not soon, now. Not when it suits you, now. Not when you’re comfortable to do so, now. It can be any behaviour which is impacting negatively in some area of your life. It might be about food or exercise, it could be alcohol or drug related, it could have something to do with how you treat yourself or others, it might pertain to work, home or somewhere else. It may have something to do with how you deal with or react to certain situations, circumstances, events or people. It might be about your lifestyle, your finances, your long-term goals or perhaps some other kind of destructive habit (lying, stealing, violence, self-abuse, obsessive behaviours). You know what you need to change.

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    We all want to move from the negative to the positive in our life, that’s why we come to this site. But there needs to come a time when we stop planning, talking and thinking and start doing. Thinking doesn’t create change, doing does. Some of you think too much and do too little. You know it.

    One habit at a time

    The reason I want you to identify one habit (only) for this 28-day project is because the more things we try to change in a short time, the less likely we are to maintain those behaviours (what we want) and create life-long results. By identifying our single most destructive habit and addressing that in a strategic, practical and un-emotional manner, we greatly increase our chances of success. People who try to undo years of bad behaviours and change fifty habits in a short amount of time invariably fail. So let’s do what works.

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      Of course 28 days isn’t a lifetime but it’s enough time for me (and the other readers) to help you generate some momentum, build some enthusiasm and hopefully start to create some new habits, behaviours and attitudes to get you where you want to go over the long term. Of course I can only get you started, and of course, ultimately it all comes back to you. But for some of you, this little project might just be a life-changing process – if YOU make it so.

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      How to get involved.

      Click on the comment thingy and tell me (us) the following.

      1. The habit you’re going to address over the 28 days.
      2. Why it’s necessary for you to change that habit.
      3. Why it will be different this time.

      Keep it short(ish), we don’t need an essay – just the facts, Jack (or Jaclyn). If you are uncomfortable leaving your name then do it anonymously but keep in mind that public declarations can often be an effective way to create and maintain momentum. Name or not – it’s not crucial.

      Okay, stop over-thinking, get off the fence, click on the comment thingy and tell us what amazing things you’re gonna do over the next 28 days.

      Ciao Kids.

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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