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How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It

How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It

I know you’ve had a night at the house with your homeboys or homegirls, maybe partaking in a glass of wine or two or some other adult beverage and rattling off philosophical ideas and theories about broad subjects including life, love, health, and wealth.  There’s nothing like a good back and forth with some good friends, am I right or what?

A lot of those discussions were most likely rooted in happiness. How to get more of it, how to keep it, and what to do with it once you’ve found it.

I’ve mentioned it in posts before but it bears a little repeating.

Happiness is like currency. It is the essence of life.

Somedays you have more of it, other days you don’t, you’re willing to trade or buy things for it and you probably have even given it up in exchange for something else. Usually that something else is thought to bring you even more happiness.

You may eat certain foods because they make you happy, buy certain items because you’re convinced they’ll make you happier, get into relationships because that’s what you need right now in order to become happier, and chase the green because if you only had more of it you could finally do all of the things you’ve wanted to do that will make you happier.

But all of those things are a means to an end. They provide you with brief spurts of happiness and in reality all of us need those little jolts of mojo from time to time, but in the long run that’s not what’s going to get it done.

All this leads us to is the bigger is better cycle with no consistency or clarity on what it is that actually provides us with consistent and long lasting positive emotions.

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Virtue is the true path to happiness.

Great Justin, but what the heck is virtue?

Old school wisdom spitter Aristotle has said that, “A good life is one where you develop your strengths, realize your potential, and become what it is in your nature to become.” ~ Jonathan Haidt from The Happiness Hypothesis

Blaine Flower, author of Virtue and Psychology calls Virtues character strengths such as; generosity, loyalty, and honesty; that make it possible for people to pursue worthwhile goals.

I’ve talked about the integrity gap on this site before but finding virtue is in closing that integrity gap as much as possible.

Just as a refresher that gap is the distance between what you do and what you know to be true. It’s your ability to align your behaviors with your strengths and the things that are most important to you and then finding a way to do them consistently.

About a year ago I participated in Brain Johnson’s Optimal Living 101 course and one of the activities I was asked to do was to find my strengths.

I took the signature strengths test created by Martin Seligman and other researchers over at the authentic happiness site (I highly suggest you do the same) and discovered the following personal strengths.

  • Creativity
  • Persistance
  • Self-control
  • Vitality
  • Bravery
  • Optimism

Because these were my greatest strengths I wanted to know how I could live these as often as possible. How could I display these characteristics in the areas of life that were most important to me.

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Shoot, now I had to figure out what is most important to me?

A few weeks ago I was at an event with James Franco and he was discussing the importance of defining the different roles you play in life. I had remembered hearing this somewhere before but I couldn’t place my finger on it.

I went home that night and shuffled through some notes of mine and found the life plan I had created based on Michael Hyatt’s life plan template.

The things that were most important to me were the current roles I was playing in my life.

You may play some if not all of the following:

  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Student
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Lover
  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Daughter
  • Son
  • Yourself (this is not selfish. If you can’t take care of yourself it will be damn hard to take care of others.)

I’m sure I am missing some as I bet there a few that are unique to you.

After you have become clear on the current roles you play it’s important to prioritize them in order of importance to you.

Before you automatically put yourself on the bottom of this list consider this for a second. If you play the role of a husband how are you going to be the best husband you can be if your own health is deteriorating? You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

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  1. Purpose statement: What is your purpose for each role? I also like to find a powerful quote that goes well with how I define my purpose in each roles.
  2. The future as you see it: This is where you envision the best possible scenario of yourself in that role.
  3. Reality: Check in time. Where are you currently at in each of these roles? What gets measured gets managed and you have to have some sort of sense of where you are in order to know where and how far you have to go to get to that ideal visions of you in that role.
  4. What do you need to do: What are some commitments (behaviors) you need to start making TODAY that will help you bridge the gap between your current reality and the future as you see it?

How to display your strengths in your roles more often

1. Move away from having goals to being goals: Having goals are the desire to see a specific outcome. To lose so many pounds, to make so much money, to be with the love of your life. They don’t require you to do anything, there’s no action associated with them. With having goals you simply state them and hope that they come true. Their more likes wishes.

Being goals establish action. They force you to actually do something. In order to active your weight goals what do you have to do? You have to exercise consistently and eat more real food. In order to create more wealth what do you have to do? In order to find love you have to love more.

What areas in your life can you give more?

That’s where the next step comes in.

2. Create morning rituals surrounding your signature strengths: As the day progresses your willpower will drain and make it less likely that you do those behaviors that lead to the outcomes that you desire.

Your best course of action is to do the toughest things first. Setting aside time every morning to build consistency around your signature strengths is one way that you can build the habit of displaying those strengths everyday.

If you’re the creative type spending a few minutes writing, practicing your art, doing something creative for your spouse or coming up with unique and unusual ways to solve problems at work might be something you want to spend time doing when you first get up.

3. Discover the things that are working not what you think you should be doing: There is a movement happening that is really picking up steam lately. It’s called the quantified self movement in which you incorporate technology to acquire data about various aspects of your daily life.

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  • Food consumed
  • Exercise
  • Daily activity
  • Mood
  • Sleep

And a host of other lifestyle variables. Some of the tracking can be done through wearing sensors like Fitbit, Jawbone, or using apps like Sleep Cycle and Moody Me.

What gets measured gets managed and if you are aware of what you are doing everyday you’ll have the ability to decipher if it is working for you or not. After that, you’ll have the ability and knowledge to make changes as necessary.

4. Start with the easiest first: When you establish changes that need to be made go with the easiest first in order to build momentum, confidence, and the habit.

If you are looking to be more active but have been sitting on the couch for the past three years walking may be easier then running. If you are trying to reduce stress taking a hot bath daily might be easier then starting a meditation habit.

And if all else fails

Simplify the heck out of everything. What is one big thing that you can start doing today that will have the most positive influence on the roles that you play? What is one big thing you can stop doing that creates the most stress, anxiety, and confusion?

It’s easy to get lost in this self discovery and constantly trying to figure yourself out. I’d say most of us already know who we are. We’re husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters, lovers, friends, caretakers, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and the list goes on.

I think most of us already know who we are. Now it’s just a matter of acting like it.

With gratitude.

More by this author

Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week The Habits of the Highly Healthy How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It The Beginners Guide To Slacklining A New Way to Create a Bucket List

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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