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6 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life in 2013

6 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life in 2013

Do you sometimes feel like you are in a rut and you can’t get out? We all do from time to time. When I was younger, I remember lying in my bed most evenings before I fell asleep, and all I could think about was everything that was going wrong in my life, and played a video of all the things I wasn’t happy with over and over in my mind. I would think about all the things that I wasn’t achieving and wished that something would happen one day to make everything better, a miracle. Unfortunately, that miraculous day never came and the video kept playing over and over each night before I slept.

Did you know that only 10 percent of your happiness comes from external circumstances? At that time, I didn’t know that. When things aren’t going as well as you want them to, perhaps you aren’t getting the results you want or you feel like you are in a dip, it’s difficult to see how things are really going to turn out the way you want them to.

Sometimes when we are so caught up in our “problems”, we are unable to see any solution ahead or we keep trying to fix everything on the outside, when in fact, it is the inside that needs a little tweaking as well. Sometimes the smallest changes have the most influential impact and can change your life forever.

Over the years, I learnt some really powerful principles that transformed my life and it took a complete 360 degree turn, the results have been unbelievable. If you practice just a few of these principles below, I know you won’t deny how powerful they are

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1.  Change your focus

Why? Because what you focus on, you create more of. The worst thing to do when something bad happens is to keep thinking about how unfair, how crazy, or how unbelievable it was. The fact is that we can’t change what happens, but we have a choice in how we respond and deal with what happened. If you only focus on what isn’t going right, how will you be able to see what can go right?

Start to focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want; start to focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do. Focus on what is going well and not on what isn’t going well. Do you get my point? We do it subconsciously, but we are only sabotaging ourselves in the end because what we focus on is what we bring about.

2.  Question every thought

Your thinking is shaped by your beliefs about the world, your paradigms, and beliefs, and how you see the world is different to everybody else. Your experiences as a child, your parents, friends and family influenced your views and the way you perceive the world—basically, how you think. Unfortunately,  the beliefs you formed might not all have been good for you, but may hold you back instead.

If you want to change your results, start by looking at the related supporting belief. Your beliefs give you thoughts, which give you feelings. Then you act on your feelings, and this gives you your behavior, which in turn leads to your results. Question your thoughts and identify the limiting ones. If you don’t think something is possible, it isn’t. If you don’t think it will work out, it won’t. Take control of your thoughts or they will control you.

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3.  Aim to change or re-develop a bad habit

We all have some bad habits that are obviously not helping us very much. Habits can be the most challenging to overcome. but it is definitely worth the time and effort put in to try. Habits are formed from repetition, and the best way to undo a habit is to replace it with a better habit, also through repetition.

Which habits are undermining your results? What new habit could you develop to transform your results? Choose one habit to change and start with that, even if it’s just checking your email every 2 hours instead of 10 minutes—your results will change!

4.  Take Responsibility

If you want to change your results, you need to accept responsibility for them. It’s not empowering to feel like a victim and to blame others for the results you have. You can either be on the “cause” or the “effect” side of the equation; which side do you choose to be on? You have control over the results in your life, and you have influence, if you want. It is up to you to decide to take hold of the reins again and take responsibility for the things that you are not happy with. If you take responsibility for your results, your results will change.

5.  That one skill!

What is one skill that, if you excelled at it, would change your life forever? Sometimes, the thng that keeps holding us back is a constant; something we feel that we are generally lacking in. Is it public speaking, communication, time management or positive thinking? Imagine how different your results would be if you could master the one skill that keeps holding you back? Here are some great ideas 

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6.  Make a 30-day plan

Another great way to change your results quickly is by using the 30-day plan. The idea is to think about what you want to achieve/change in the next 30 days only, so it is not so overwhelming and easier to start.

You can do this in 3 easy steps.

1. Think about what you want to accomplish in 30 days. How many new clients do you want? How much weight do you want to lose? Etc; Write down your 30 day goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, and attainable, but still challenging and exciting!

2. Think about what you need to do to accomplish each goal. Write down all the action steps you are going to need to do, break them into weekly and daily tasks and put them in your calendar.

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3. Think about your obstacles—what could happen that would prevent you from achieving this goal. Be prepared for the moments you normally hesitate and make a plan to overcome your obstacle.

These ideas have worked for me and millions of others. Some of the ideas may seem simple, but if you are not seeing the results you want, your solution might not be so complicated!

I challenge you to take up one of the suggestions in this article. Share your comments; I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories!

 

 

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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