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How to Be Honest with Yourself and Get More Done

How to Be Honest with Yourself and Get More Done

“You can dramatically change your life but only if you have the desire to change, the decision to take action, the discipline to practice the new behaviors you have chosen, and the determination to persist until you get the results you want.” – Brian Tracy

  • “I just need to focus.”
  • “I just need to buckle down.”
  • “I just need to have more willpower.”
  • “I already know what to do, I just need to do it.”

I’ve probably said all of these things to myself at one point or another and I’m betting you have as well. Most of us already know what to do — eat the right foods, exercise consistently, get proper rest and recovery, and do more of what we love and less of what we don’t. Yet it’s so difficult to put it all together.

How can we avoid feeling lost, stressed out, and overwhelmed, and get more focused, more results, and more stuff done whether that be with regards to our health, career, or in our relationships?

The choices you make are yours and yours alone

The minute junk hits the fan, you make a mistake, or times get tough…accept complete responsibility. Refuse to make excuses and commit to not placing the blame on anyone else or the circumstances. Wherever you are now in your life is because of the choices you made. To get yourself over any hurdle you first need to acknowledge that it is there. Otherwise you’ll just keep running into it over and over.

There’s a wonderful poem by Portia Nelson entitled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” that is very fitting…

Chapter One

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

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Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

If you are making the same mistake over and over acknowledge it. Ask yourself why do I keep walking down this sidewalk? Then choose a new route. Any route will do. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s not the same one that keep leading you to fall down a hole. When you’re on this new path you’ll now know what to look for. If you see a hole you’ll walk around it and find another path the next day.

If you’re struggling with your nutrition find your hole. Are you always falling of the wagon at night when you get home from work? You’re exhausted and just want to relax? Instead of taking time to prepare a healthy meal are you opting for something processed and quick?

What’s another street you can take? Can you get up a few minutes early every day to make sure you have something prepared for when you get home?

Take a look at your street. Where are the holes? What can you do?

What do I need to do everyday to achieve what I want to achieve

We often don’t fail due to a lack of effort — it’s often consistent effort that we struggle with. Most of the things we want to accomplish take effort spread throughout an extended period of time.

And the honesty…

Most of that effort needs to be extended for a lifetime. Now thinking of things over the course of a lifetime can cause anyone to hyperventilate, but the cool thing is it gets easier and easier. And that effort will become automatic.

Getting up a little earlier to get in a workout will become a habit. Cooking in bulk on a Sunday afternoon so you have meals for the week will feel natural. Using that hour every night you use to reserve for watching your favorite show is now spent on starting your own business.

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But the key is to start with one.

Just pick one area of your life that you want to improve. Trying to do too much at one time will require so much effort that you’ll either burn yourself out or make it difficult to commit 100% to each area.

What is the single thing that needs the you want to improve. Start there, commit 100%, and once it’s a habit move on to the next.

My way or the highway leads to you on an empty road all by yourself.

Learn to adapt

There is one thing for certain in this world and that’s change. I can guarantee you one thing and I will never be wrong. Today is most certainly different from yesterday and tomorrow will be different from today.

Even though some days you might feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, subtle changes are happening every day. Just look back at your life. How different are you from when you were 10, 20, 30, and so on? I bet your job has changed a few times, I’m certain your body, some of your habits, your friends, where you live. Change is one thing I am certain is never going away.

Failure to adapt, try new things, experiment with new methods, techniques, people, and choices will cause you to be left behind.

What worked today might not work tomorrow. Can you eat like you did when you were a kid? Are you as active?

Your responsibilities and passions I am sure have changed as well. It is up to you to adapt to your new environment, your new role, or your new body and to figure out what it is you need to do in order to get where you want to be.

How do your nutrition habits need to adapt? Your exercise habits? Your lifestyle?

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Plan. Then plan again. Oh yeah, and plan some more.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

I know we’ve all heard that before…but it’s true. Hey, I like winging it as much as the next guy but if something is not going the way you want or expect take a look at your plan… or maybe failure to have one.

It may seem like you waste time planning but in the long run that planning will save you time as you avoid having to start from scratch if junk hits the fan. A plan is like a map. If you planned out your route and hit a snag or make a wrong turn it gives you a chance to see where you messed up and avoid it in the future.

It also works when things go right. If you get to your destination you will have a route to follow and use again and again and possibly now have some guidance for when you embark on a new trip.

So whatever it is you want to do take time to create a plan. Don’t worry about it being wrong, as long as you’re willing to adapt you’ll make the necessary changes as you go.

Be see-through

As in crystal clear. It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go. Where are you now, where do you want to be, what do you want to do? Don’t concern yourself so much with the “How” but more so the “Why.”

What ever your goal, whatever you want to do define why you are doing it and why it is important to you. If building muscle, losing weight, or finding more work that you love is something you want to pursue define your why.

Here’s an example of how to do that.

“I want to lose fat.”

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  • Why do I want to lose fat? Because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.
  • But why do I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans? Because when I’m wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better.
  • But why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
  • But why do I want to feel good about myself? Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.
  • But why do I want to be more assertive and confident. Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.

Now your turn. Pick one thing that you want to work towards. Just one thing. Make the statement. I WANT TO _______________. Then keep asking yourself, “but why” until you get to the heart of the matter.

I’m almost certain that almost all problems could be solved by doing this…

By always treating others the way we would want to be treated.

Personal, physical, mental, and social problems could almost certainly be solved if we always treated people the way we wanted to be treated. If our coffee order is messed up there is no real reason to berate the barista. It’s not fixing the order any. The only thing it is doing is raising your blood pressure and stressing out the poor girl behind the counter.

When someone cuts us off on the freeway tailgating them, giving them the finger, and honking at them serves no real purpose. It doesn’t change the situation and doesn’t help to resolve any problems.

If you don’t want to feel stressed out, unhealthy, tired, or upset there is a pretty good chance other people don’t want to as well.

What’s holding you back

What is keeping you from getting the body you want, doing work you love, pursuing adventure and passions? Identify and remove. If a jar of peanut butter is getting devoured every night it might be sabotaging your fitness goals. Identify and remove.

Are finances keeping you from taking that trip you have been dying to go on. Identify where you are wasting money and remove.

What now?

Is there anything you know now that if your life started over today you would not get involved in? Well life starts over today. What can you change?

(Photo credit: Honest Abe via Shutterstock)

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    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

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    Last Updated on November 26, 2020

    The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

    The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

    “Good morning Sir. It’s 7 a.m. The weather is going to be cool today with chances of light showers.” From this wake-up call to working, cooking, drinking your cup of caffeine-elixir, and working out, do any of these activities involve you without your cell phone?

    A mere device of convenience has smoothly transformed to become a major intrusion. With cell phone distraction at bay, the increased dependence on screens has been an alarming phase for your life, maybe more than you care to admit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we even stated that this has become a complete addiction.

    Considering this addiction, we will be treading with caution. Our approach to its solution will be aligned with the 5 stages of addiction treatment.

    Let’s get started with this support group therapy, shall we?

    Stage 1. Pre-Contemplation

    This is all about denial—a denial that you can’t move your screen away from your eyes, denial that you may have Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia. We completely understand that. But with this stage, it is all about making you realize how strong the addiction is (maybe stronger than Biohazard’s 928mg of caffeine)!

    While you might have already internalized the damage, here’s offering some help with your addiction. We would be providing you a holistic idea about the consistent pandemic called mobile distractions and guide you around with hacks to tackle the addiction.

    That said, it’s time to dive into the details!

    Stage 2: Contemplation – A Peek at Cell Phone Distraction

    Look around you. Apart from the N-95 masks and frenzied use of sanitizers, what do you see in common? “Expressions projected at the screen held in front of the eyes.”

    It will probably be safe to say that smartphones have become quite the companion, so much that the real companion is often ignored for the virtual ones. You must have come across many memes based on this topic.

    Additionally, the terrifying statistics on your cell phone addiction are not going exactly subtle on the massacre that this distraction has become.

    Here’s to give you some perspective with the numbers:

    • Average mobile phone users click, tap, and swipe their mobile phones 2,617 times a day.[1]
    • Worldwide phone users have crossed the threshold of 3 billion and are predicted to have exponential growth of several hundred million in the coming years.[2]
    • 61.20% of the globe’s population own smartphones as of September 2020.[3]

    While the latter two statistics prove the rising reliance on phones, the first number is indicative of the twiddling-thumb syndrome following the addiction.

    Considering your widened eyes over the numbers, we can safely assume that you have moved on to stage 2: contemplation. This stage will let you see the change that you need to undergo to ensure a screen-free healthier lifestyle.

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    While we acknowledge the crucial role that screens play for some activities, we believe you can easily do away with some of these engagements, reducing the time consumed to a bare minimum.

    Think of the physiological, psychological, and sociological impact. With so much at stake and the distraction breaching all ages, it is time to start on with some hacks to break up this cell phone distraction.

    Stage 3 & Stage 4: How to Break Up the Distraction

    Let’s not get obvious here. We won’t tell you about the:

    • reduced attention span,
    • potential loneliness,
    • mitigating eye-health, etc.

    That’s something that parents all over the globe have been putting out on banners. As a result, these facts are much likely to be considered ‘preaching.’

    We, on the other hand, have a greater concern—your cell phones, most likely, are gnawing away your me-time and hence, your creative potentials. That is something that should never be compromised. Thus, it’s time you follow up on the hacks from the pros that have been proven to be effective across all ages.

    Here let me fire away the life-altering, screen-shattering hacks that pose as Stage 3 Preparation and Stage 4 Action to cure your addiction:

    1. Lean on an App to Track Your Daily Usage of Cell Phones

    It would be safe to say that you have some tiny “time thieves” lurking in your mobile phones, crunching and munching away your precious hours. For the hacks, we start with the most convenient one—installing phone usage tracker apps.

    Here is a list of the best ones for both the Android and the iOS platforms in 2020.

    • QualityTime – My Digital Diet
    • YourHour – Phone Addiction Tracker and Controller
    • Stay Focused – App Block (Control Phone Addiction)
    • Social Fever App Usage Tracker
    • PhoneUsage Tracker

    With either of these apps playing the ‘personal trainer’ or referee, your hours spent on social media platforms and your phone, as a whole, are tracked down. While you check the hours for the first time, beware: the numbers may not be for the weak hearts!

    2. Re-Subscribe to Your Hobbies

    The price that you pay for your cell phone distraction is your growing distance from your hobbies. While you kill time with your screen-related engagements, you lose the roots of your hobbies.

    So, make sure to do the following steps:

    1. List down your hobbies.
    2. Put it up on your headboard or sticky notes.
    3. Start slow on your hobbies.
    4. Set realistic goals, dividing the time spent on your phones and your hobby.

    Once you rekindle your old, highschool-sweetheart of love, the attachment with the screen will eventually wither away.

    3. Take a Vow of Silence From Social Media Platforms

    When was the last time you ate without taking a click or went out with your friends without hashtagging the pic on Instagram? How often do you giggle while scrolling down Facebook feeds or go ‘aww’ at the cute kitty and doggo videos?

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    We are guessing, a lot!

    The numbers confirm our opinion. As per the World Economic Forum, Millennials spent approximately 2 hours 38 minutes and Gen Z 2 hours 55 minutes daily on social media platforms.[4]

    Additionally, if you thought Covid-19 changed Ecommerce only, you are mistaken.[5] The recent pandemic state and its lockdown and social distancing have unfortunately brought you closer to your screens.

    The landscape looks something like this:

      So, here is the most challenging hack of all—go nuclear on your social media apps. Before you go AWOL on us after listening to this, hear us out!

      The potential impact of social media platforms goes even beyond the mere time spent on it. You tend to take more interest in others’ lives, ending up comparing that with yours. And this, our ‘friends, Romans, and countrymen,’ has innumerable adversities.

      Remember, even if you delete the apps, you still have your accounts there. Also, if deleting it seems too much of an anxiety trigger, follow up with the time spent (using the apps on Hack 101) and put a realistic cap to it.

      4. Get Your Silent/Do Not Disturb Mode Working Occasionally

      For this hack, acknowledge first the fact that introspection or “me” time is incomparable. The diverse ringtones and tunes emerging from your cell phone are baits that will draw out hours from your life.

      While putting your phone on silent during meals or work meetings is a matter of manners, doing the same at other times means you are just prioritizing yourself. This will help you go back to your old habits and stay away from technological labyrinths.

      5. Set a Realistic To-Do List for the Day Sans Any Screen-Involvement

      How often do we treat ourselves for a great performance at work? Maybe a pizza or a bowl of ice cream? Why don’t you do the same for your cell phone distraction?

      What you need to do is:

      1. Sit down with a daily bucket list before sleeping off at night.
      2. Make sure that the list of activities involves minimum screen time.
      3. Accomplish the listed jobs and then reward yourself with some social media scrolling.

      So, do we have a deal? Get started, ASAP!

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      6. Where Have Your Books/Magazines Gone?

      Ask around, and your last generation will tell you the attraction of the tangible books—the tranquility involved in flipping the pages while your palm hugs a cup of your warm caffeine.

      With Kindles, Ipads, and tablets, that charm is long lost. However, for those looking and determined to dig away from this distraction, we suggest you try this reconnection. Reading, not on screens, but with the physical and tangible books will help you feel grounded and rekindle yet another hobby that will be responsible for your personal growth.

      So, dust the cobwebs off your bookshelf, and get your mind its treat of imagination!

      7. Go Serial Killer on Your Notifications

      Don’t get us wrong! We are not asking you to go all ‘Ted Bundy’ on your notifications but also, can you do that, please? Hear us out before freaking out completely.

      All of your sneaky apps frequently give out tiny beckonings via notifications, reminding you of their existence.

      While being notified is appreciated occasionally, it can surmount to considerable distraction if the phone goes off every 5 minutes.

      The best way out? Turn off notifications, even if for a couple of hours. You will then have the power not to be distracted from your contemporary activity and enjoy scanning through notifications at your preferred time.

      8. Get the Screen Glares Away an Hour Before Sleep

      What’s the best excuse that you put on for keeping your cell phone on your nightstand?

      Let me guess. Alarm?

      Quit the excuse queue, your alarm clock can serve the purpose well! Additionally, you won’t have the ‘convenient access’ to your screen right before you sleep.

      Seems harsh? Follow through and you will experience a sudden and considerable improvement in your daily schedule. Without your phone in an arm’s reach from your bed, you also won’t start your day by scrolling social media feeds.

      9. Go for a Black and White Mode

      OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode is the latest call of the display technology in cell phones. With promises of better black themes and incredible pixel-views, the color contrast in this display is too attractive.

      However, it is this color-coding that fetches and attaches you for a longer time on your cell phones. For those seeking to get rid of your cell phone distraction, your best way forward is by opting for grayscale. This makes the screen much less desirable to look at.

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      As of recent, multiple phones come with ‘bedtime mode’ that switches off the phone to grayscale mode. With the color drained from your phone, the social media platforms become immediately unattractive. In case you are seeking a reference, think of the memory Dump ground in Pixar’s Inside Out.

      10. Be Ready for the Withdrawal Symptoms

      Much like any addiction, acting on the cell phone distraction also brings in withdrawal symptoms (read up Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia). While planning to leave your phone at home might seem a brave move, agitations, distractions, stressing out, and getting upset are surefire consequences.

      Considering that cell phones have become the representative for connectivity, staying away from them is a huge stress. Researchers have also gone their distance to say that compulsive cell phone behavior is a resultant of the Pavlovian conditioning system.

      The tune of cell phone notifications somehow sends a signal that some great news is on its way, and you are compelled to check your phone, considering that the notification meets up to your expectation leading to a release of dopamine into your system. With that dopamine release around, your anxiety is sure to kick in. So, prepare yourself for that!

      11. Pro Hack: Embrace Your Smart Speakers

      Do you know that grey pretty piece of technology greeting you with the weather update? Your Alexa/ Siri/Cortana/Google at play via smart speakers? They can be quite the acquaintance when you are trying to get rid of your cell phone distraction.

      Considering that you need the support of your phones to carry out daily activities, you can always rely on screen-less technology. This will help keep the smartphone away from your hands for a prolonged period.

      The Final Stage

      Nearing the end of your addiction recovery, the last stage matters the most.

      This 5th and final stage is all about maintenance or recovery. Don’t let your cellular bridles go loose thinking that you are over your cell phone distraction.

      You can always rely on the ‘hair band technique’ to keep the scrolling thumbs away. Maybe, you will be reminded that those opposable thumbs of yours can do much better—the guides of which you can find in the diverse blogs posted on the site or our social media sites.

      What say, you game?

      More Tips to Avoid Cell Phone Distraction

      Featured photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

      Reference

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