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How To Have A Brighter Future

How To Have A Brighter Future
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    Hold on for a brighter future…

    A lot of people might be dreading upcoming get-togethers with relatives during the holiday season because one of the things that will most definitely be brought up is how we all did this year. If you are going to be facing nosy relatives knowing that you failed in a relationship or business (or lost a job), you are already going into the holiday season with some negativity.

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    Some of your failures, losses or bad experiences might have been beyond your control but the negativity that comes with them can linger around more than you like. When one happens to get some bad luck on a repeated basis, this can have a really devastating effect on the soul.

    For example, let’s say that you keep having bad relationships from the dating scene. They all start out with much excitement but after a few months, all of your relationships turn sour. You then start to wonder if you will always end up with relationship disasters as if they were your destiny.

    It’s so easy to fall into this trap of being a perpetual victim or failure as your self-esteem goes down the drain. But there IS hope even if you have had a rocky past.

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    Past Does Not Equal Future

    One of the biggest advocates of the notion that your past does not equal your future is motivational speaker and author Anthony Robbins as he stated;

    “Your past does not equal your future.  What matters is not yesterday but what you do right now.”

    If you have ever had any failures or losses (and who hasn’t?), this is one quote that you should always keep in mind. Whether you’ve had failures in relationships, business, career or have been accident prone, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed for all time. Learn what you can from any bad experiences and move on. Apply your lessons to what you can do right now to move your future towards your desired future.

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    Let’s go back to the bad relationships example. Just because you’ve had a few of them doesn’t necessarily mean that you will continue to bomb in this area as well. Although for many people, this unfortunately will be the case only because they never take the effort to try and learn from failures in past relationships.

    Were there any repeated patterns on choosing the incompatible partners? How about patterns in how we deal with our partners? Can we take these lessons and apply them to future relationships so we are more careful in choosing more appropriate people to have relationships with?

    It’s What We Do Now That Counts

    If we make real efforts to actively make positive changes right now — despite failures in the past, our chances of success in the future are much higher. Don’t just make wishes for better outcomes. Again, it’s what we do right NOW that makes the big difference in the future rather than what happened in the past.

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    In my case, I’ve had everything from family tragedies to major sports injuries that required surgeries. I cannot let these past events jinx my future. I could have easily allowed these bad experiences to turn me into a chronic pessimist. But as long as I keep steady in doing the right things now, I will succeed in the future no matter what the past was like.

    As a result of my own past misfortunes, I’ve made such changes from taking steps on injury prevention to actively re-balancing my day-to-day lifestyle. These changes have paid off in much better results compared to my past.

    What you do now can drastically change your future for the better. Think about anything in your past that you would have liked to change if you could. Then make positive changes so that your future will look brighter than ever before.

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    Feel free to share what changes you will make to ensure that your past does not equal your future.

    (Photo credit: The Sun in Hands via Shutterstock)

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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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