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Stop Reading This (and Start Doing More)

Stop Reading This (and Start Doing More)

    Nike’s slogan, Just Do It, goes far beyond the athletic field. It really can serve as a mantra for a successful life.

    But in order to turn “Just do it” into a mission statement for living wisely, it’s important to get off the couch, take a hard look at your life and fix what’s broken – without beating yourself up about what might have been.

    So wrap up your reading, grab a piece of paper to take down some notes and get ready to make some changes. It’s time for your new life, and that time starts NOW.

    Forget regrets

    Don’t let past mistakes rob you of your future. It’s easy to look back and see how our mistakes have creates bumps in our road of life, but that doesn’t mean they have to become a compete roadblock that robs us of our future. Regret provides an opportunity for growth. Stop shoulding all over your self. I should have done this. I should have done that. There’s plenty more to get done. Get started today!

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    Take a cue from their actions, and forget the regret, opening the doors to a different, brighter future.

    Assess your needs

    Take time to think hard about what  it really is you want to accomplish in your life, and look at what you’re doing that will make that possible. Also think about the things you may be doing right now that are holding you back.

    Erase the things that prevent your dreams from seeing fruition, like the after-work drink that turns into ten and prevents you from being on top of your game the next day, and focus on what works.

    Ask yourself this question every day. What is one thing I can do right now that will guarantee I have a great day? What is one thing I can stop doing right now that almost certainly guarantees a bad one.

    Surround yourself with greatness

    Make sure that the people you are hanging out with are people you admire, people who are living a life that you want for yourself. The close proximity to success is a great way to make it part of your own world. They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

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    The time is now

    There’s never the perfect time for taking action. If you wait around for perfect conditions – when I lose weight I’ll do it, when the economy looks better I’ll try to branch out – that day will likely never come.

    Try to look at today’s conditions as right, no matter what they are, and work with what you’ve been given. You always have the greatest resource available to you. That resource being choice. You choose to take action or not.

    Break it down

    If a task seems completely unmanageable, break it down into smaller parts.

    If you want to write a book, but the idea of it is so overwhelming you can’t seem to get started, it pays to start small. Write a page a day, and within a year, you will have written 365 pages, bringing you that much closer to your goal.

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    No place for procrastination

    Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Taking charge now will not only leave tomorrow free for tackling some other project, but will also erase the guilt you feel when you do procrastinate.

    Just take a deep breath, grab the paperwork, and do it. Write the first page, sign up for the gym membership or send out a resume to the firm where you’ve always wanted to work. You can’t get the job if they don’t know who you are.

    Focus on the essentials, and let the other things wait

    Sure, you’d like to volunteer, plant a garden, get a degree, and take a vacation.  Eventually, you will do all those things. But in the hectic, stress-filled now, choose the most important and most pressing of your goals, and weed out those things that can wait.

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    Don’t be afraid to say no to the one-acre garden plot and plant a container garden or a few pots of herbs instead. Take a single class as you aim for a degree and plan a weekend away to Vegas with your partner or some friends, making it a temporary stand-in for that backpacking trip across Europe.

    What are some goals you want to accomplish? What’s on your bucket list? What is holding you back? Share them in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Stop Reading via Shutterstock)

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    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

    How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week The Habits of the Highly Healthy How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It The Beginners Guide To Slacklining A New Way to Create a Bucket List

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    1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

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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)

    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.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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