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There Are No Shortcuts To Real Success

There Are No Shortcuts To Real Success
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    So many people are in such a hurry to success that they eagerly take any shortcuts that come across their way. In reality, shortcuts usually lead to disappointments rather than quicker success. The key to any long-term success is to take the necessary steps to steadily progress rather than skip any of them. This would be true whether the goals are financial or health or relationship related.

    I’ve seen gullible people buy into the many ‘get rich quick’ or ‘lose weight fast’ schemes out there only to find out that none of them work except in relieving you of the money paid for such products or programs. A friend of mine even bought one of those home devices that electronically stimulate belly muscle contractions thinking that weight lost is possible while watching TV. This friend, who did not want to put in the work of exercising in a gym, is still overweight today.

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    Shortcuts can result in loss of success

    As a certified ski instructor, I’ve seen many beginners who try to come down slopes that they are clearly not ready for. Such folks have not reached a level where they can consistently stop and turn on their skis while even on the bunny hill yet. For some reason, these same people ventured onto steeper slopes serviced by chairlifts and they end up frozen stiff with fear at the top.

    I’ve had to physically climb back up a slope to rescue such novice skiers by holding them all the way safely back down the hill. Imagine how embarrassing this must be for an adult as this is how we usually start little three or four year-olds on the bunny hill.

    If they do manage to start coming down on their own, they will usually panic, lose their focus and end up going straight down the hill with increasing speed. Of course a ‘yard sale’ (a ski phrase which describes a fallen skier with skis and poles ending up all over the slope) will be the result.

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    We always tell beginners that they must be completely comfortable in making solid turns and stops on a bunny hill before going onto slopes serviced by chairlifts. This is achieved only by extra practice outside of lesson time. But some are just impatient and decide to go on the chairlifts anyway before they are proficient on the easier slopes.

    They thought that they could take shortcuts and bypass the steps required. Imagine the shock when they realize that even the easier slopes serviced by the chairlifts are way beyond their abilities and comfort levels when they are looking down these larger hills compared to the relatively flat bunny slopes.

    Unfortunately, some of these beginners may never put on skis again because of their terrifying experiences. This is a real shame since they did make the initial efforts to come out to try skiing as a way to embrace winter. If they do come back to try again, sometimes it is the following winter when they have already loss the momentum of any progress as they have forgotten the basic skills.

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    The shortcuts they thought they could get away with resulted in a loss of success. These poor folks usually have to start all over again from scratch in terms of learning how to ski even the bunny hills. Their initial fears will take twice as much work to get over compared to those who did not take shortcuts in their learning.

    Take the same steps as other successful people have done

    Although it is wise to get proper coaching, instruction and mentoring for your goals, these are not considered shortcuts. They are just more efficient ways to learn the skills required for success. However, time with a coach or instructor does not replace the steps one must take in order to be successful.

    You still have to do your part of the work whether it’s working out at the gym, building wealth, starting a new relationship or practicing your ski turns on the bunny hill. The bottom line is that there are no true shortcuts to real success.

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    Many of the goals we want to achieve have already been achieved by countless numbers of other people. Follow their examples and take the same type of steps they had to take in order to be successful. Each step is very much like a little success on its own and little successes do add up. Pay your dues to steadily develop towards success rather than take detours on shortcuts that can actually set you back.

    (Photo credit: Ski, snow, sun and fun – skiers on winter vacation 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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