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Become An Independent Person In 7 Simple Steps

Become An Independent Person In 7 Simple Steps
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On the fourth day of every July, Americans celebrate our independence. Freedom is one of those things that is hard to explain, but it’s easy to notice the lack thereof. Anybody can be a follower – in fact, it’s hard not to find people looking for followers. One must only exist to be dependent, but these steps are necessary to become independent.

1. Fake It Till You Make It

You don’t have to be successful to act like it. As long as you are confident and friendly, people will generally accept you are who you say you are (provided, of course, you can back it up when necessary). As a matter of fact, I’m writing this piece from Denver, CO, where I’m attending the Cannabis Cup as a journalist. I didn’t have a press pass when I showed up, but I have one now, because I acted like I belonged. Now I do.

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2. Create A Plan

If you’re independent without a plan, you’re not independent – you’re actually just blind to how dependent you actually are. This drives your friends and family absolutely crazy, so stop it. Get yourself a plan, and make it a good one. Sticking to your own plan is how you avoid following or obstructing others.

3. Form Habits

Now that you have plans, turn those plans into habits by making a conscious effort to continue following them. Every time you follow through with your plan, you’re one step closer to making it a habit. Habits are much easier to follow, as they’re ingrained in your very nature. You become unconsciously drawn to these actions to the point that it actually takes effort to stop. This is when you know you have made it.

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4. Make Decisions

As you become more and more comfortable in your independence, it’s vital to exercise your freedom. It’s in exercising your freedoms that they become stronger. Deciding is the easiest way to exercise your freedoms. By deciding, you’re creating your path, your way. Start deciding what you want and learn to get it.

5. Learn Your Role

Remember you are never isolated. You’re always in a world surrounded by other people, and it’s important to be compassionate to those around you. Just because you’re independent doesn’t make you an automatic CEO, nor will you be treated as one. Learn where you really fit in and play your cards to the best of your ability instead of wishing for a new hand.

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6. Take Chances

The only way you can survive independently is to take chances. Even if you have the best plans in the world, there will always be someone ready, willing and able to stop you. You’d be naïve to think you’re the one exception, so be willing to take risks. When these risks pay off, you’ll be a success, and if they fail, you at least have a great story.

7. Think Independently

If people are agreeing with you, you’re not disrupting enough to be independent. This isn’t to say you need to be an obnoxious jerk, but you do need to shake things up. Anyone can be agreeable up to a point, but if you’re always agreeing with people, you’re following them. Think for yourself and play devil’s advocate every so often, just to keep everyone on their toes.

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Our forefathers fought and died in the name of freedom. In July 1776, they drafted our Declaration of Independence to provide guidelines to preserve the independence of each and every one of us. In order to honor their sacrifices it’s important for each of us to become independent. Get started right now… because I said so…

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

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

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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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 Creating 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

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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