How to break (or start) any bad habit in three weeks, max

Dislaimer: If you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or if you are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, then you may find this advice incomplete for your needs. It’s my moral obligation to encourage you to get professional help for these things.

Okay, we’ve all read the reports from articles like “Psychology today” that tell us it takes exactly 21 days to form a new habit. But the truth is, very few people actually do anything for 21 days perfectly. So maybe you want to get in the habit of not biting your finger nails. Well, that is a poor habit to try this with, because that deals with not doing something moment by moment. Someone who bites their nails, or curses, or interrupts, will have to monitor their behavior moment by moment, and it may be very hard to track.  So this exercise I am going to give you must be applied to a habit that is trackable on a daily basis….and not on something that you can’t track unless you monitor it ALL Day.

Quick note: smoking is an addiction. My father hyperventilated when he tried to quit cold turkey and they called an ambulance. My husband cried in  a restaurant after going all day without a cigarette (I said I wouldn’t marry him unless he quit smoking). And I have personally witnessed loved ones act like living brain donors when they didn’t taper off cigarettes slowly. Please treat smoking like the physical addiction that it is. You can be treated medically to quit smoking.

But now, let’s talk about what this exercise will work on. If you

  • Want to start an exercise routine that you do each day
  • Want to get in the habit of journaling every day
  • Want to practice learning a foreign language every day
  • Want to learn how to master playing a musical instruments

than these are goals that you can do every day.  Just make sure you choose a goal that is:

a definite, specific goal:

Something that is measurable, not vague

an actual daily goal:

So, again, getting slim by the end of this year is not a measurable, daily goal

an achievable goal:

something that you can definitely achieve on each of these 21 days. If you make the goal too difficult, then you will most certainly not finish the 3 week time period; you’ll just…quit 😦

It’s more important to set a goal that you know you will reach. For example, with nail biting, set a goal of not biting your nails between 12 and 1 oclock each day (that’s a trackable daily goal), and then ask your friends to monitor your beahavior during your lunch break (believe me, other people will love being asked to hold you accountable for something). After 21 days, you should find that you are no longer biting your nails during lunch time. Then, go for supper time the next 21 day period. You don’t want to give yourself too many habits to form or break during each 21 day period.

Just in case you don’t know, 21 days is that length of time which has been medically proven to cause a habit to “stick”. In other words if you can do or not do something for 3 weeks straight, then you can develop or break any habit–in theory. The reality though, is, with a bad habit, you may need to reinforce the 21 day exercise after several months. That’s because, it’s easier to form a habit than to delete a long held habit

The Rock Solid New Year’s Resolution

Here’s the only New Year’s resolution I have ever seen work, and I want to share it with  you….resolve to give yourself ONE FULL MONTH to come up with systems that actually work.

You don’t want to have a New Year filled with failure. But come on reader, don’t  you know, you set yourself up for that every single year? New Year’s resolutions are just things that you resolve to do in the New Year. They aren’t things you resolve to do perfectly every time. I wrote about this extensively in last year’s article.

This year, set yourself up for success. Give yourself ONE FULL YEAR to develop systems that work. Determine what your year end goal is, and then take one month (January) to break those year end goals down into smaller goals.

Wednesday, read my article on How To Start Your New Year right.

“The Slacker”|Personality Thursday

 

'It's almost five o'clock. Barstow should start showing some initiative any moment now.'

Hi all. It’s personality Thursday and again, and today, I’d like to talk about “The Slacker”.

I can’t really call the Slacker a specific personality type, because so many different types and sub-types can exhibit this behavior.

In fact, even type A, “driven” personalities are subject to procrastination from time to time.

The information you are receiving today can help you with all but the most resistant slackers, whether they are going through a slump, suffering a depressing situation, or just seem really lazy in general

Lighting the fire under the slacker.

Isn’t that what we all want to do? Don’t we secretly want to give every person who is slacking “the boot”? Whether that means firing them from our lives or lifting their backside three feet in the air with our unending pressure on them.

I know I certainly have felt this way.

And though there are so many different variables, situations and people types out there to weigh and measure, in the end, I find that this one question seems to bring all inactivity on their part to the forefront of the conversation.

In my personal opinion, this has proven to be the most effective way to get the slacker to wake up, own it, and get it in gear.

Here’s the Question:

“So, Slacker,”(uh…no..don’t call them that, no matter how much you’d love to. Just insert their name).

Uh hem. Let’s try again.

“Okay Mr. Lazy-pants-don’t-give-a- flip …” (oops…sorry. As you can see, I’m agitated, like you, even thinking about their nonsense).

“So, Sam, you’ve been saying you’d take out the trash since noon today. I do realize that you have quite a lot on your plate. There are three episodes left for you to watch of your favorite movie. There’s a fried chicken and a two liter of coke you haven’t killed yet, and your best friend is still waiting for you to come over and play pool with him. It doesn’t look like you’ll be able to take the trash out today and that’s fine.”

Nah, just kidding, but I do feel better after thinking it anyway.

Gee, I’m really struggling with “the nudge”, and sarcasm comes so easily in these “try to be tactful” sessions

Sheesh.

Okay.

ONce More.

“Sam, you told me this morning that you would take out the trash as soon as you got a round to it. Here you go…”

Then you hand him one of these

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That’s all it takes!

Now, what do you do if you are in a situation where the other person is, for instance, your boss. And they have been saying that you could have a day off real soon?

Well, one of the things that I have found to be effective, 100% of the time, is to appeal to their fairness.

“Good morning Mr. Wilson. How are you today?”

“Just fine, just fine, Johnson. What’s on your mind?”

“Well, Mr. Wilson, you’ve been promising me a Thursday off for 6 weeks now. I think I’ve been pretty patient and I was just wondering what you think is a fair amount of time to keep me waiting”

Whew! Was that bold or what? But I swear it works.

You just need to remember to save this for one of those “over-the-top, they already know they’re being unreasonable” types of situations (though it may work in a milder situation too).

Anyway, just remember to be respectful. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

My one and only New Year’s resolution

tieEarlier, I told you that a lot of people make the mistake of stopping their New Year’s resolution, when they don’t do each and every day one specific thing.

The one thing I didn’t emphasize to you, though, was how.

How to do that resolution every single day. I probably gave you the impression that it wasn’t possible to do something each day, hence, look at the year as a whole.

But this morning, at the breakfast table, I had an epiphanal moment. I realized that I can reach each and every goal I want to, and do the accompanying steps each day, if I just

Write down every day what needs to be done

Schedule a time

Adjust as needed.

Yes, reader, that is my one and only daily goal, and it is all I ever need to do in order to reach my New Year’s resolution.

I already do it, just not each morning. I think it is the most important daily goal one can have, and it is my only goal. That is, to

Wake up every morning and write down what needs to be done that day.

That’s it.

Okay, well, almost. See, I also work off of several Categories.

Category One: Businesss;

Daily:

  • Post an article and schedule
  • Add tags.
  • Work on (current) ebook
  • Check feedback
  • and notifications
  • Add tags and categories to missing articles

See what followers are up to

Category Two: Health and Hygiene.

I’m a marketer. And I know I’m not the only one who has ever neglected their health, drooling on a keyboard at 2 a.m. cranked out on coffee and no sleep. So this year, I’m not resolving to fix anything. I’m just getting  up in the morning to write down what I can do today in this area

  • Make salads (so I’m not skipping this, I make a loaded salad with grapes, croutons, onions, every single green in the fridge and I load it in a ziplock bag so when I’m craving something, it’s ready.
  • Write down what exercises I’m up to.

Come on, people. I’m not a teenager. Do I really think I’m going to run around the block in January, lungs searing, legs aching? Get real, self. No way. I’m going to watch aerobic videos on my rump and feel exhausted just watching.

Forget that! But I do know what will work….every day, I’ll wake up and do a few

  • arm circles
  • a few leg lifts
  • a few SECONDS (reality check people) of running in place. And maybe ten minutes of brisking up my business walk ( you know what I’m talking about. Your circling the dining room table talking out your future. Own it. Or, the mirror talk)

Okay, so now I’m running around the table, speaking out my future, and it’s time to jump on the keyboard and

POST EVERYDAY. Oh reader, listen, when it comes to the blogging department, forget every other goal and make it your goal to do just one post a day.

What you want to do is to think up the major categories in your life, think of the three most important things to do in each category that day, and then schedule a time for all of these.

Well, that’s how I do it. I wake up and write it down. I schedule it. I look at it. And here’s the secret to me reaching my goals. If I get up every day and JUST WRITE IT DOWN it will get done.

If I don’t get it all done, the next morning I get up and write it all down. And listen; if may take you several weeks to fine tune your list and schedules. Make it a singular priority to get your schedule and list in order (everything flows from it)*

Try making this your ONLY New Year’s Resolution, for a month, and let me know what you think

*(Write the vision and make it plain that he may run that reads it)

 

 

How to make a New Year’s Resolution that works

britney-spears-one-more-time-pencil-tapping-gifHow to make a New Year’s Resolution that works

The biggest problem with New Year’s resolutions is bait and switch.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s Resolutions lately and their astronomical failure rates.

I would like to share some of my insights with you.

One of the things I have noticed is the mis-defining of what a resolution is.

A new year’s resolution is not a daily resolve, but a year long resolve.

Here’s how to create a resolution that a has a hope in hades of surviving.

Think about planning a plan, rather than just a vague absolute.

So what exactly is a vague absolute? Is that just an oxymoron?

Nope. See, most goals are really vague (like “be happy”) AND absolute

As in “be happy every day”.

A better “resolution” would be “Find out what makes me happy, and then GO for it”

After you do the first part, give yourself a week to plan out HOW to do it.

For example: this year, I want to be happy. I want to find out what makes me happy. And then, I want to do, every day, what it takes to make me happy.

The biggest problem with New Year’s resolutions is bait and switch.

Let me explain. A resolution is just something that you resolve.

The only thing you need to do to have a resolution is just an inward resolve that you are going to do something.

A New Year’s resolution is just something that you resolve to do in the New Year.

And a year is a long  time to achieve that.

Resolve what you would like to accomplish this year.

Resolving that you want to do push-ups every day for a year is not a good resolution.

That’s an “everyday resolution”, not a goal for the new year as a whole.

Yes, you can do push-ups every day, but that’s not your new years resolution… your new years resolution should be your “why”. Why do you want to do push-ups? To get a flat belly. That’s your new years’ resolution: to get a flat belly.

Remember, a New Year’s resolution is just something you resolve to achieve this year.

As long as your belly gets flat, you have met your new years resolution.

Breaking that resolution down into Quarterly, monthly goals, etc., comes after the resolution.

Remember, you’re not resolving to do push ups each day. You’re resolving to get a flat belly this year.

Why do we set ourselves up for failure each year? It’s because we mistake a resolution with a daily goal.

Very few people who get a flat belly do pushups every single day without fail. That’s because life happens.

When we mistake a resolution for a goal, we quit the first time we hit a hard day. Oh. I missed pushups today. I “broke” my New Year’s resolution.

No you didn’t. You can still be “resolved”, as in determined, to achieve that goal.

Remember, a New Year’s resolution is just something you resolve to achieve this year.

Write down what you have resolved to accomplish BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

Break that down into Seasonal goals. For example, take that waistline measurement and subtract what measurement you want your waist to be, from that. If you have, for example, a forty inch waist, but you think you can make it 32 inches, do the math; you need to get from 40 inches to 32 by December 31st.

So, decide how many inches or centimeters you need to loose each month, and develop an action plan.

Now, you need to know that just because you don’t meet your goal the first month, doesn’t mean that you won’t reach your year in goal. When I first started doing push ups, I could only do three. By the third day, I could do eight. By the end of the week, I was doing 20. At months end, I could do fifty.

See, sometimes your goals will wax and wane in spurts. Daily goals shouldn’t be something you beat yourself up over, because A. they are not good indicators of your chance of success and B. they are not resolutions. You need over-all goals AND daily goals to help you get there.

Remember…you aren’t a failure if you miss a day or two (or three  or four. Or even a whole month learning this stuff). You are only a failure if you stop trying to reach your YEARLY resolution.

Keep the end in mind and the daily goals will happen.

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