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Is Your Life Predetermined Or Me Determined?

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Is Your Life Predetermined Or Me Determined?

    I’ve never been one to sit on my hands and wait for some cosmically pre-ordained life purpose to miraculously reveal itself via a series of dreams, visions or prophecies. Or for an angel to appear at my window with hand-written instructions from God. Although an angel would be pretty cool.

    Nor have I been the type to buy into the widely-held view of destiny and I’ve mostly considered (the concept of) fate to be the refuge of the indecisive, the lazy, the fearful and the deluded. But that’s just my (not-very-popular) view. For many people, the traditional concept of destiny provides a level of comfort and if there’s one thing we fearful, lazy creatures like; it’s comfort.

    In some ways, destiny is our (perceived) escape clause: life’s all predetermined anyway, so what’s the point of working hard, taking chances, getting uncomfortable and setting goals?

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    Destiny Schmestiny

    People talk about destiny all the time. Especially when they’re talking about big-picture life stuff. Or when they’re rationalising why something didn’t (or won’t) happen. “Don’t worry Darling; it’s not meant to be”. The term destiny has an almost romantic, mystical, feel-good kind of vibe about it. “That was always going to be her destiny” (as the orchestra comes to life in the background).

    It seems that no matter what she did (thoughts, behaviours, reactions, decisions, plans, goals) her life, or part thereof, was predetermined by destiny. It was always going to unfold in a certain way. Despite her; not because of her. Apparently some unseen, cosmic force was firmly behind the steering wheel of her life. She didn’t really have to touch the controls because her life path (destiny) was pre-ordained and non-negotiable.

    Am I the only person who considers this thinking to be a load of self-limiting, mumbo-jumbo crap? Am I missing something obvious? Why on earth would anyone buy into this? Oh, that’s right; it requires less effort and courage than the alternative.

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    Beyond our Control

    In my opinion, one of the most destructive notions we embrace is the traditional concept of destiny. Why? Because it teaches us that our life, and what we might do, be, create and achieve in this life, is somehow beyond our control. Some people embrace this kind of thinking because it takes pressure off them to steer their ship, shape their own future, and be responsible for what they produce in their world.

    Take a look at what conventional ‘wisdom’ teaches us about destiny:

    De-sti-ny (noun):

    1) The predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.

    2) The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one’s lot.

    3) A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control.

    If the above dictionary definitions are to be accepted and believed then I may as well sit on the couch and let life happen to me, around me and despite me, because apparently, it’s all gonna eventuate in a particular way no matter what. It’s predetermined. Inevitable. We’re all just helpless passengers on destiny’s back.

    I wish someone had shared this with me earlier; I wouldn’t have wasted so much time making those tough decisions, taking those chances, facing my fears, dealing with my destructive habits, overcoming those obstacles, going to university, working hard and busting my arse to create my best life.

    To think that people actually believe this “preordained, inevitable and beyond human power” crap? Give me a bucket. I’ll create my own destiny, thanks.

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    What about you?

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

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    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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