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How To Move A Mountain

How To Move A Mountain


    We are heading into the time of year when we evaluate how we did with our goals during the past year and plan our new goals for the year to come. We reflect and look ahead all within a short span of time. When we do this, many of us will be disappointed because we have fallen short of our goals.

    Why is this?

    Is it because we didn’t do enough to make our goals a reality? Is it because we didn’t have a system in place to keep track of our progress?

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    Actually, the problem is that sometimes our goals are so big that they are like mountains — they end up being too overwhelming. These are the goals that we usually never achieve no matter how worthwhile they are.

    Here are some common examples to consider:

    The Lose Weight Mountain

    For a lot of people, losing weight is such a mountain. Many will make losing weight as one of their main New Year’s resolutions. Some will even join a gym and go with “full gusto” even if they haven’t exercised in years.

    Of course, many will end up quitting once February or March rolls around.

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    Many will go for those “lose weight fast” programs or go on extreme diets. These folks expect to lose a significant amount of weight within two weeks. Of course, results don’t happen like this. In the end, these desperate actions are abandoned and the person is left at where they originally began.

    The Make Money Mountain

    Another common mountain is to make money — fast. People still get suckered in easily by signing up to various “get rich quick” schemes as they are lured in by the reports of others who claim to be living the high life within weeks of starting. The tough economic times certainly have made many people even more gullible to such scams.

    Unfortunately, these people end up poorer after coughing up the initial funds to get into such moneymaking schemes. Quite often, friends are lost in the process as well if they were pressured to buy all sorts of supplements or other products as part of these systems — all designed to make money.

    Mountains: Chinese Proverb

    So just how do you move a mountain then?

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    Well, this brings us to an ancient Chinese proverb:

    “The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.”

    The trick with very ambitious goals like losing weight or making lots of money is to take things in small steps slowly but on a regular basis, much like carrying away those small stones a bit at a time. When giant goals are broken down into small steps that can be handled easily, the results of all those small steps turn into giant goals being achieved over time.

    Once you realize that big goals are achieved bit by bit, you won’t be as gullible to buy into the claims of losing weight or making money quickly. Instead, you will take on logical, proven programs to get healthy or financially wealthy.

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    You will “carry away small stones” by exercising regularly at paces that are suitable for you and gradually increase intensity when you can handle it. You will slowly build your financial wealth with wise investing, saving or building of viable businesses over time.

    Conclusion

    So if you have ambitious goals, don’t make the mistake of trying to do everything at once hoping that you will succeed. It doesn’t work like that. If you have already abandoned such big goals, maybe revisit them — but with a new strategy.

    Don’t expect to rush through big goals. Instead, just start working towards them a little at a time but on a steady, regular basis so you still have forward momentum. Then in the future, you will be able to proudly look back and see what a big mountain you have moved.

    Feel free to share what big mountains you have moved in the past and which ones you plan to move in the future.

    (Photo credit: Alpamayo Peak in Cordilleras Mountain by Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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