Category Archives: lifestyle

How to Overcome Procrastination

You’ve got a great idea for a business. You need to lose 10 lbs. You have a major report to write. But it’s not getting done.

You’re not alone and it’s not your fault.

For most people, the major challenge in life is not handling a crisis. No…it’s the daily demand to stay with the program. To accomplish your tasks day after day. To keep going in the face of drudgery, frustration, and boredom. Consistently choosing to do what needs to be done rather than what you want to do.

1. Don’t feel guilty — it’s not your fault. 
Mark Twain said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” 95% of people admit to procrastinating. A quarter of these say procrastination is a chronic characteristic. Is it laziness? Is it perfectionism? Only rarely. Instead, it’s evolution.

The limbic system, or “reptile brain“, evolved early in our primate history and is similar to that of most creatures. It is controlled by instinct and enables us to meet our immediate survival needs. The prefrontal cortex, or executive function, evolved much later. Its job is to analyze and plan future benefits. Usually the limbic system and prefrontal cortex work together effectively. But when the limbic system is stimulated by immediate sensations, procrastination results. The long horizon view of the prefrontal cortex is cast aside to satisfy immediate desires.

It’s not our fault but we have to deal with it.

2. Know when procrastination makes sense. 
Sometimes putting off tasks is more productive than compulsively tackling them. Do you have a niggling sense that you need more information, a different perspective, or better timing for your task? What you (and others) may see as procrastination may instead be resistance to the task due to an almost unconscious or instinctual recognition that delay is best.

When this happens, identify what you’re waiting for and plan flexibly based on this knowledge. Work on another task until you have everything you need to give ample attention to the first one.

3. Identify your procrastination triggers. 
The more impulsive we are (see #1), the more we avoid the anxiety related to deadlines or long-term tasks. No, it’s not logical. Yes, it’s self-defeating. And yes, we all do it.

Spend time identifying what triggers your impulsiveness. Are the birds singing and golf course beckoning? Ask a friend to hide your clubs until the project is completed. Does a nap seem more inviting than writing that report? Plan your most important work first thing in the morning while you are still fresh.

4. Keep moving. 
I’ve been reminded more than once that it’s easier to rudder a ship that is already moving. In those moments when you are tempted to take a break to avoid an unpleasant task, resist. Energy in motion tends to stay in motion. If you work at another task instead of resting, you will find it easier to approach the unpleasant task. Energy at rest tends to stay at rest. That one is self-explanatory.

5. Examine your self-talk. 
If you, like me, can easily justify tweaking your website rather than calling that difficult client, your creative self-talk is probably highly evolved. When it works against you, this is not a good thing. Take the time to listen to your reasons for procrastinating. Are they excuses or valid reasons? Most of the time, our justifications have enough truth in them to trick us.

Is your justification entirely true? If not, correct it. For instance, you dread cold calling and tell yourself “I can’t make that cold call until I feel more confident (or know more about the product, or practice, etc.).” Is that entirely true? Perhaps you can begin with a few low-risk prospects and learn your technique quickly through making a few calls. Identifying your false self-talk can lift major barriers to productivity.

6. Don’t visualize success…alone. 
Visualization has been all the rage for the past decade or so. All types of people are enjoying mental images of their future success in the hopes they will attract it. Does it work? Yes and no. Visualization alone tricks your brain into thinking you have already completed your task. This diminishes motivation.

Instead, imagine completing your task. Next, imagine what it will take to get you there. What obstacles and challenges will you face? According to the research, holding these two images in your mind simultaneously is the best guarantee you will reach your goal and overcome procrastination.

7. Use your energy wisely.
You are like a power grid. If you allocate physical, mental, or emotional energy in one area, it decreases energy in other areas. Worry about that upcoming presentation devours energy needed to complete your present task. Multitasking reduces your ability in every area.

At the beginning of the day or the night before, determine your goals and priorities for the day. If possible, tackle them one-by-one. Use the strategies above to keep your mind on the task at hand. You may be very surprised at how much more productive you can be. And at how much more you enjoy your work.

About the Author:

Kate Stewart, Ph.D. is a certified mediator, author, organizational consultant, and executive coach. She recently founded the web-based Gold Scaffold system scheduled for launch in July 2011. The Gold Scaffold portal will enable people to overcome procrastination, impulsiveness, and weak willpower to achieve their goals. 

What inspires you?

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“What inspires you?”, is a question that I often hear people ask writers, artists, musicians  and actors. Any time I hear this question, I see it as though I am the one who’s being asked the question. I will tell you what inspires me in life. I will try to make it simple so that you can learn something from it.

What inspires me is when I see people who are extraordinarily capable of doing what they are doing. Yeah! I don’t care if it is how they sing, write, draw or act. If they are good at it, it inspires me! I see them as the ones who are really making the world a better place to live.

Again, I see them as the ones who are always willing to go the extra mile. Why am I saying this? We live in a world where many people do nothing. It is not that they cannot do anything; they simply DON’T DO IT. And if they try to do anything at all, they do it anyhow. But as for those who inspire me, they think about what they do everyday, and strive to make what they do better than before.

I see them to have this uninhibited passion to do whatever they love – whether scrubbing the floor or polishing someone’s shoes, or even their own. And that really inspires me and pushes me to work more than what I usually would be able to do by myself.

So you see? Inspiration sometimes comes from the little things we see around us. Whatever work you find yourself in, you can be inspired to do more. You can do more than you have achieved now. All you need is to go the extra mile. Remember, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary, is that little extra.

Don’t give up, when you fail. Don’t stay down, when you fall. Lift yourself up! You have more strength in you than you think. You are here on this earth to make a mark. You are here to influence others. Refuse to die, until you are known for something.

Believe in yourself…even when no one else does! It is not everyone in this world that you come into contact with, that will believe in you. Some will do, others won’t. Since you don’t have control over what people believe in, just believe in yourself. I know it may not be  easy but you still have to.You know yourself better than anyone else does.

Have you failed? This is no news, everyone does. Here’s what Abraham Lincoln said about failure, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” If you are not content with your failure, then try again! Don’t be afraid to fail. “Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd

Post by Kwabena Dwomoh. (Add me on Facebook)

 

Your Thoughts Can Change the World

Imagine I am the speaker before a large audience. I ask for a volunteer from the audience to come alongside me and help with a demonstration. I suggest that some people present may already be familiar with what I am about to demonstrate and that those for whom my exercise is new should know that it will demonstrate the power of thought.

I ask my volunteer to stretch out their arm perpendicular to their body. Then I ask them to resist the pressure that I am about to put on their forearm as I press it downwards. I perform this test and let everyone know that this is what I call my volunteer’s neutral position.

Now I face my audience with my back to the volunteer. I open a folder that displays one word and I ask the audience to send this emotion to my volunteer with every fiber of their being. The folder is showing the audience the word HATE. I ask that the audience be very serious and intense as they think, feel and send this thought to my volunteer.

I turn now to face my volunteer and ask that once again they stretch out their arm and resist the pressure that I put on the arm. The volunteer observes in stunned surprise that their arm has no resistance and I am effortlessly able to push it down towards the ground.

Once again, I turn my back to my volunteer and turn to face my audience and once again request that the audience send the emotion I am displaying, from my open folder, to the volunteer. The folder is now displaying the word LOVE. I petition the audience to be very serious and intense and keep thinking, feeling and sending this thought.

For the last time I ask my volunteer to stretch out their arm and resist the pressure that I put on the arm. This time my volunteer is confused because their arm is stronger than even the very first time it was tested. I explain to my volunteer that what the group was sending the first time was HATE and what they were asked to send the second time was LOVE. I thank my volunteer for their assistance and ask them to return to the audience so that I may continue. I now address all of my words to the entire audience.

I explain that we have just seen there is power in what we think and this energy has an effect on those with whom we interact. If you have negative thoughts about someone, this can weaken them and their instinctual response is to defend and strengthen by resisting… like when my volunteer tried to compensate for weakness. Positive thoughts about someone strengthen and support them and their instinctual response is to relax and be peaceful.

Now I ask the entire audience to participate in the next exercise. I ask that they each close their eyes and take a deep breath. I ask them to recall a time in their lives when they felt unconditional love from a parent, child, spouse, other relative, friend or even a pet. I ask them to recall a time when they gave love expecting nothing in return. I request that they sink into their recollections. I guide them to recall when love was given to them by someone who openly accepted them for who they are. I ask them to think of when they gave love to someone without expecting anything. I ask that they allow themselves a moment “to be” with these thoughts of love. Then I suggest that as they become ready, they open their eyes.

To my audience I now make these points:

When you think of love your whole vibration changes. Love changes the chemistry of the body and when you feel or think love, you know peace. Is everyone feeling peaceful? To be at peace, all we had to do was Think Love.

How often have we become impatient with the driver in front of us who is taking “forever” to merge into traffic? I’ll bet that none of you thought of sending this person love. I never used to. I had to have a bull moose come through my windshield and cause me weeks of anxiety driving before I considered I should be sending love and support to folks having difficulty in traffic.

How often have we become impatient with the person who is slowly crossing the street? Did we think they had no consideration for us and our schedule? It may be that they didn’t. However, there have been times in my life when walking anywhere required all of my strength let alone crossing the street before the light changed. How do you think I would have felt if the folks who were waiting for me had sent me loving thoughts instead of harsh impatient ones? How do you think they would have felt?

If you can, think of a person with whom you are engaged in a drama, someone with whom you are having some discord and send them love. Think Love now. Remember the exercises: sending love only requires a thought and your love is available anytime you think of it.

We have heard it said that people forget what we say and do but never how we make them feel. How could we make people feel if we would Think Love?

What a wonderful way to disarm folks we find difficult or challenging. Think Love.

What a wonderful way to promote peacefulness for ourselves and others. Think Love.

What a wonderful way to improve our world, even a little – if we would all Think Love.

Please… choose to Think Love. Your thoughts can change the world.

 

By  Emily Matweow

Article Source: selfgrowth.com

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DISCOVER YOUR WHY

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I enjoyed reading this article from http://www.sourcesofinsight.com, and I hope you will also enjoy it.

Every day you make a choice about how you show up in this world – at work, in your business, in life. Some of us show up because of what we do. We measure our success by the number of product features we build, how many goods we sell, how many client calls we make. Others show up because of how they do things. Their success is measured in quality and precision, speed and efficiency, even the depth of client relationships. The third, and smallest group – are people who show up for a distinct reason. They have a cause that drives them, a belief that inspires them. They want to challenge the status quo, help people find the power to do what matters to them, show others how to reach their full potential… For them, success is fulfilling their purpose.

Working for Passion Outweighs Working for a Paycheck

It’s these people who thrive, who do well professionally, and who love their lives. They make better choices about where they work and what they do, because they know why they do it.  And it’s simple. If you want a more purposeful life, then you should be doing things you love – not just the things you’re good at. Working for passion far outweighs working for a paycheck.
But how do you get clear about your purpose – how do you know what your real reason is for showing up?
Well, this past week I’ve had a flurry of resumes in my inbox. I’m not a recruiter. But I am on a mission to help people make changes that will let them find the jobs they want, be more successful in their careers and live more meaningful lives.

Why is More Important than What

For the people I help, my starting question remains the same: “Do you know your purpose in life?” When you’re looking for work, communicating why you want to do things is always more important than what you can do.  No matter how many Profiles and Objective statements I read, they mostly focus on skills, achievements, or ability to do the task at hand.  But we sell ourselves short when it’s all about what we can do, and not what we stand for.

It’s Not What You Think, It’s What You Feel

Any basic search of the Internet will return a plethora of purpose guides. That’s always a good place to begin. But if you really want to discover true purpose, you have to break through the limitation of saying what you think is expected versus what you really feel.

A Story …

Take my client, Summer. She went through a purpose exercise and announced that she was passionate about creating and building an energetic place to work, where it would be fun to come every day. That sounded good, but my first question to her was: why was it important for her to build that kind of work environment? She answered that if people want to really take care of stuff, they had to first look after themselves and then look after each other. I found her reply – all the “looking after” – interesting. So I asked why that was significant. She said she believed people could only do good work when they were enabled and empowered. Her belief was a strong clue to her passion. I asked her to explain it to me. Then Summer told me the story of how she’d been sickly and shy as a child, but when she joined a gym class, her coach helped her find inner strength to compete not just with others, but also to succeed in the world. Why did it matter so much to her? Because she discovered that when you help people through their vulnerabilities, you can show them that life gets better.
Understanding the why behind Summer’s passion helped her discover that she thrives in job roles where she can help people who are in vulnerable positions. And no, this didn’t mean that Summer was destined to be a nurse. Any job or project where she could help people overcome a challenge and find a better way would satisfy her passion.

Spot the Difference Between What You Do vs. Why You Do It

There’s a simple test that let’s you spot the difference between selling yourself based on what you do versus why you do it. It’s how it makes you feel. Because passion isn’t logic – its emotion.
If you were a manager, which statement would convey more to you about this person’s purpose?

  • I have 14+ years of experience with computers: installing and configuring operating systems, and doing many various hardware/software upgrade. I have experience managing and maintaining a well-running IT environment, configuring/securing/encrypting wired/wireless networking, and much more. I am looking for a role as a IT / Tech Support / Network Administrator.

OR…

  • I am passionate about helping people find solutions that make their lives easier. That’s why in the jobs I’ve had until now I have become the natural go-to-guy who is always interested in solving problems, helping people make smarter choices and finding better and more efficient ways to get things done. I am drawn to working in IT because technology is at the heart of all the things people do these days – it’s how we manage our lives, keep organized and connect with others. A role in IT / Tech Support / Network Admin would therefore allow me to help people live more fully. I have 14+ years experience managing and maintaining a well-running IT environment…

Purpose is Powerful

Helping people find their purpose is powerful, because you watch them have a visceral response to something that they feel deep inside, and have a hard time expressing. So when you think about your purpose, remember to ask yourself why at least five times: why is it important, why is that significant, why do you believe that, why do you feel strongly about your belief, and why does that matter to you?
The answer may surprise you! You’ll find some guidelines in the attached Purpose Pack PDF, but if you’re curious to know more about your purpose, try this quick two-step process.

Step One: Answer 10 Purpose Questions

The trick to this exercise is to be candid with yourself, and to write down the first thing that comes to your mind. After your initial answer, write down why you feel that response is significant to you – why does it matter to you?

  1. What one thing do you wish your parents had known about life that would have made things easier or better for them?
  2. What did you miss most in your childhood – the thing you would like as a do-over?
  3. Is there any guidance that would have influenced your life positively that you wish someone had given you when you were a teen?
  4. What is your believe statement? (I believe that … )
  5. How do you support or contribute to this ideal or principle that you believe?
  6. What profound impact would you like to have on other people’s lives?
  7. How do you know when you have done a good job?
  8. If you had $10 Million to spend on any charity of your choice, how would you spend it?
  9. What personal qualities or achievements do you want to be remembered for?
  10. If you could supersize one thing you do well, what would be your superhero skill?

Step Two:  Identify Your Purpose

In this step, you boil your answers from the 10 purpose questions down into a one-liner purpose statement.  To do so:

  1. Review the answers to your 10 Purpose questions.
  2. Write down the empowering words that appear most often.
  3. Choose the words that inspire you, that make you feel good – link them back to times you felt happy and successful.
  4. Write one sentence that sums up why those words or phrases are important in your life.  Keep this sentence as simple and clear as possible.

Here are some other people’s purpose statements that answer the question: Why do you do what you do?

  • I love to empower others to overcome limits so that they are free to keep pursuing new challenges.
  • I want to help others find their power so that they can make better choices.
  • I believe in working with others for the benefit of all.
  • I want to inspire people to do the things that inspire them, so they can find their special contribution to the world.
  • I love to connect people and opportunities so that potential can be realized.
  • I believe in helping others find the best life has to offer, so that they can achieve great things.
  • I make good things happen, so people can be more and do more.

And remember. The next time you apply for a job, don’t tell people what you want. Tell them why you want it!

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How You Can Beat the Odds

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Q: Every year I drop my New Year’s resolutions by February. What can I do to keep them?

A: Unfortunately, for many of us, by Valentine’s Day your New Year’s resolutions feel long forgotten. Let’s face it-it’s too hard to keep them.

Yet, successful resolution-makers often unknowingly take steps that, collectively, restructure the brain’s wiring for pleasure and therefore success.

Let’s first explore why resolutions are so hard to keep.

1. We like pleasure and mastery.
Our brains are wired for survival. As a result, we tend to like sweet foods and foods that smell good because, in part, our ancestors learned that bitter and foul-smelling foods are toxic. Some anthropologists think that these smart and lucky survivors experienced brain wiring that favored the safer choices. No wonder cake tastes better than celery.

We also survived because, by necessity, we had to master tasks such as killing animals, planting crops, cooking food and tending to injuries. We learned by trial and error, but we triumphed because we had to come up with solutions.

But, even though mastery is part of survival, if something is too difficult, we often don’t try or we give up too soon.

2. We like even more pleasure.
We don’t like depriving ourselves of pleasures such as eating good food, drinking fine wines or shopping for fun things. When we participate in pleasing activities, we feel good, satisfied, excited and good about ourselves. Biologically-driven activities such as eating or having sex are especially hard to resist.

Once your behaviors activate your brain hormones of pleasure such as oxytocin, vasopressin and endorphins, you obviously want to continue what you’re doing. It’s easy to see that the more you deprive yourself and the more difficult the task the more likely you are to give up and abandon your resolve.

3. Your pleasures become habits.
Your brain makes neural connections with past and present experiences that gave you good feelings. If eating a bag of chocolates or betting on the ponies makes you feel happy, sated and powerful, then you are likely to select these activities whenever you are not so happy. Your genetics, personality, family adaptive styles and your life experiences all conspire to keep you doing what you often shouldn’t be doing-or at least not doing so much.

4. Self-examination is too scary and unpleasant.
We are afraid to face ourselves and admit that we need help in an area. Facing your shortcomings is not pleasant, so naturally, your inclination is to avoid it.

5. We have trouble going without too many pleasurable things at once.
We try to do too many things at once. Willpower fades when we take on too much because we don’t like going too long without something that feels good.

6. We allow ourselves to be driven by shame and social pressures in selecting our resolutions.
We humans are meaning-makers. If something is not important to you, then you tend not to do it. So why vow to lose weight or stop drinking if right now these issues are not the ones that bother you the most?

7. We have hidden motives not to change.
Since pleasurable activities are, well, pleasurable, you might begin to wonder why you can’t go very long without them. Why, you secretly think, can’t I feel good without eating two boxes of donuts? Often, habitual or compulsive behaviors are masking deeper issues.

For example, my client “Wendy” was a nurse. She knew the importance of keeping her weight down, but still she was very overweight. She realized, after much soul-searching, that she feared that if she were thin that men would be attracted to her. Ever since her swim coach sexually abused her repeatedly, she vowed never to be attractive to men.

Wow-no wonder it’s easy to break resolutions. But don’t give up. Here are some tips to increase your chance that you can make them–and keep them.

8 Tips for Sustaining New Year’s Resolutions

1. Focus.
Write down issues that bother you. The most common topics are taking charge of finances, weight gain, drinking too much and procrastinating.

2. Select.
Choose the issues that are important to you. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself: “Which ones endanger my health? Which ones make me feel very ashamed or insecure?” Another big mistake is to set too many goals at once. You set yourself up for failure if you try to do a complete overhaul of yourself.

3. Or, select one that you have tried before.
Usually, resolutions are not plucked from the sky. Instead, they are often issues that you have already tried to work on but failed in your attempts. Now is the time to review what went wrong.

4. Identify your triggers.
Often, there is something that sparks your unwanted behavior. For example, people who are trying to quit smoking are often told to give up spicy foods which can stimulate the desire to smoke. Think about your unwanted behavior and ask yourself: What prompted me to eat that half a cake or smoke another pack of cigarettes?

5. But don’t eliminate the pleasurable activities.
We don’t like depriving ourselves of pleasures such as eating good food, drinking fine wines or shopping for fun things. The more you deprive yourself and the more difficult the task the more likely you are to give up. Your sense of giving up too much and for too long will make you indulge big time!

6. Instead, build in rewards of your favorite things so that your brain can make a connection between discipline, deprivation and pleasure and inner peace.
Weight Watchers and most of the prepared meals of diet plans know about the need for building in pleasure and rewards. They address the issue by allowing you to eat a brownie or some carbohydrates. The secret is portion control and frequency.

Some people need to reward themselves daily while others can delay their rewards. One of the couples I helped put a dollar in their travel jar every time they avoided smoking. Eventually, the pleasure of the reward was more important than the pleasure of the unwanted behavior.

7. Break up the large goal into small steps and doses so that you don’t take on too much or increase your anxiety.
Alcoholics Anonymous recommends “taking one day at a time.” You might even have to take it one hour at a time. Eventually, you will be able to check your progress daily and then weekly. And don’t get down on yourself if you experience a setback. Remind yourself that progress is often in fits and starts. Forgive yourself and get back on track right away.

8. Get a buddy or a whole roomful of them.
Weight Watchers and alcoholic support groups succeed because they don’t allow you to take such big steps alone. Others who are going through similar problems can provide tips and emotional support.

If your partner or other family member does not want to make changes with you, joining a support group is even more important. By taking the initiative–and sticking with it–you increase your chance that your significant will change.

Don’t give up. Tell yourself that you deserve to be happy, healthy and in charge of your life.
Happy New Year!
By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

Article source: http://www.selfgrowth.com