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The Four Habits that Form Habits By Leo Babauta

My daughter wants to work out more, but she has a hard time forming the habit (many of you might be familiar with this problem). From having to get dressed to go to the gym, to actually going to the gym, to the thought of a hard workout … our minds tend to put off the habit.

The solution is exceedingly simple: just do 3 pushups. Or tell yourself you have to walk/jog for just one minute.

Make it so easy you can’t say no.

http://zenhabits.net/habitses/

Of course, most people will think that’s too easy, and tell themselves they have to do more than that. Leo’s advice is for other people! Unfortunately, it’s this mindset that causes people to fail at habits — we think we can do more, despite past evidence to the contrary, and so we aspire to greatness. We try to climb Everest before we’ve learned to walk.

Learn the fundamentals of habits before you try to do the advanced skills. If I could convince people of that, I could get millions to change their habits, be healthier, simplify, procrastinate less, start creating amazing things.

Today we’re going to go over the fundamentals of habit — four key habits to form habits. If you can learn these four habits, you’ll have the foundation to form pretty much any habit.

Habit 1: Start Exceedingly Small

Another common habit that too few people actually do is flossing daily. So my advice is just floss one tooth the first night.

Of course, that seems so ridiculous most people laugh. But I’m totally serious: if you start out exceedingly small, you won’t say no. You’ll feel crazy if youdon’t do it. And so you’ll actually do it!

That’s the point. Actually doing the habit is much more important than how much you do.

If you want to exercise, it’s more important that you actually do the exercise on a regular basis, rather than doing enough to get a benefit right away. Sure, maybe you need 30 minutes of exercise to see some fitness improvements, but try doing 30 minutes a day for two weeks. See how far you get, if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Then, if you don’t succeed, try 1-2 minutes a day. See how far you get there.

If you can do two weeks of 1-2 minutes of exercise, you have a strong foundation for a habit. Add another week or two, and the habit is almost ingrained. Once the habit is strong, you can add a few minutes here and there. Soon you’ll be doing 30 minutes on a regular basis — but you started out really small.

Try the flossing habit — try to floss every tooth every night, and see how far you get. You might succeed … but if you fail, try just one tooth per night and see how far you get. Your mileage will vary, but on average most people get farther with a habit when they start small.

One glass of water a day. One extra vegetable. Three pushups. One sentence of writing a day. Two minutes of meditation. This is how you start a habit that lasts.

Habit 2: Be Mindful of Negative Thoughts

Most people will skip this habit, because they don’t think it’s necessary. Then they wonder why the habit failed.

When I quit smoking in 2005, I finally learned to watch my thoughts. I saw that I had a lot of self-talk I wasn’t aware of. My mind would start rationalizing the idea of smoking just one cigarette. “One won’t hurt!” “Why are you torturing yourself?” “Is this really worth it?” “Just give in, it’s much easier.” “You can’t do this, it’s too hard.”

Think about those thoughts for a second. How many did I have that I wasn’t aware of? How powerful were they, when I didn’t realize they were there? How many times did they cause me to smoke when I had previously tried to quit? And how often do these kinds of thoughts act on you?

The same thoughts happened when I tried to start running the next month — my mind would say, “You should stop now. It’s too hard. You’ll feel much better when you stop.” And of course, thoughts like these are very tempting, very powerful.

Then I started to learn to eat healthier, and repeatedly failed because I would give in to chips and pizza and ice cream. My mind would say, “You’ve been doing good, and this food is your reward!” Or, “Why are you denying yourself pleasure — life isn’t supposed to be hard!”

I learned to let these thoughts go. They are just thoughts — they don’t control me. They are just things that happen, like a leaf falling from a tree as I run by. Interesting phenomena, but not a determination of my life.

Watch the thoughts. Learn to let them go. Get good at discomfort. Triumph over the childish selfish scared mind.

Habit 3: Savor the Habit

This is the converse of Habit 2, but just as important. Your new habit isn’t some sort of sacrifice, some sort of chore you need to get through to get to your better life.

Your new habit is your better life.

The new habit, whatever it is, should be something you enjoy. Otherwise, don’t do it.

If you want to eat healthier, learn to enjoy the taste of this delicious, fresh, healthy food. An apple can be just as delicious as any junk food snack, if you pay attention and savor it.

If you are exercising, pay close attention to and enjoy the moving of the body, the feeling of exertion, the flow of blood through your brain, the focus.

If you are writing, sit with the words and enjoy the quiet concentration, the exhilaration of creation.

Learn to enjoy the habit, and the habit will become its own reward. The goal isn’t some distant achievement, but the process itself.

Habit 4: Have a Plan for When You Falter

This is really key — I can’t count how many people I know who have done really well with their habit for 6-7 days, and then when some disruption happened (it’s incredibly common), and then never re-started.

Get in the habit of re-starting when you falter.

How do you do that? Get some accountability — promise a friend or your spouse that you’ll pay $25 if you miss your new habit two days in a row … and then double that the next day ($50), and double that if you miss four days in a row ($100), and double every day you miss in a row after that. Or promise to mow someone’s lawn or wash their car if you miss three days in a row. Tell everyone on Facebook that you’ll personally clean their bathrooms if you miss three days in a row.

Missing one day in a row is not the end of the habit. Missing two days isn’t great, but you can recover. Miss three days, and the habit is shot. So don’t allow yourself to miss three days, and try your damndest not to even miss two days.

Forming the Four Habits

So how do you form the habits that form all other habits?

As simply as possible.

Choose one incredibly easy habit to do in the next two weeks. Floss one tooth. Drink one glass of water. Eat one fruit. Exercise or meditate or write or do yoga for 2 minutes a day. Just two minutes.

Then apply all four habits to those two minutes, every day. You’ll start to learn how to form a new habit, and that’s a skill that will pay off for a lifetime.

Need Help?

If you need some help with forming habits, consider joining my Sea Change Program. I’ll give you the accountability and reminders you need, along with some guidance each month, and you can form new habits along with everyone else in the program.

The Sea Change Program for forming habits.

ORIGINALLY POSTED: 02.13.2013

People are the next technology™

In his opening keynote to young global leaders, at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Mexico, Professor Klaus Schwab (founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum) referred to his blog “The end of capitalism…what’s next ?” and restated his conviction: “it is fair to say that capital is losing its status as the most important factor of production in our economic system. As I outlined in my opening address in Davos, capital is being superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate — and therefore by human talents — as the most important factors of production. If talent is becoming the decisive competitive factor, we can be confident in stating that capitalism is being replaced by “talentism.” Just as capital replaced manual trades during the process of industrialization, capital is now giving way to human talent.” More at the following link: http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/blogs/corporate/2012/04/the-new-era-of-talentism/

How to invent the future of your business

Stimulating people to act and giving them the power to do so is one of the most important differences between companies that stagnate and those that develop and sustain a competitive edge.
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Designed for individuals at all levels from top executives to emerging leaders, Leadership: Inventing the Future is a three-day program that expands leadership capacity, improving corporate performance and positioning organizations to thrive.

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  • earn up to 28 CPE credits

Participants gain fresh perspectives and enhanced ability to lead people successfully in taking on the company’s future as their own—creating the generative force of the organization.

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Tuition:
$3,920 (with meals & lodging)
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20% discount available for groups of 4 or more

http://som.gmu.edu/lead

People are the next technology

In his opening keynote to young global leaders, at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Mexico, Professor Klaus Schwab (founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum) referred to his blog “The end of capitalism…what’s next ?” and restated his conviction: “it is fair to say that capital is losing its status as the most important factor of production in our economic system. As I outlined in my opening address in Davos, capital is being superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate — and therefore by human talents — as the most important factors of production. If talent is becoming the decisive competitive factor, we can be confident in stating that capitalism is being replaced by “talentism.” Just as capital replaced manual trades during the process of industrialization, capital is now giving way to human talent.” More at the following link: http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/blogs/corporate/2012/04/the-new-era-of-talentism/

Radical Results Coaching

Let’s get YOU taken care of TODAY.

  • Straight talk
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Coaching and Corporate consulting

Carolina creates unique agreements with corporate clients based on their particular needs. She coaches the owners/executives of the company directly. The appropriate implementation, through out the remainder of the company, is carried out by her highly trained and skilled team of coaches working with various management teams. The ratio of Carolina’s time to her coach’s time in the beginning, with the executive team, is 80% Carolina and 20% her coaching team working with the rest of the company. In the implementation phases the ratio will alter moving towards 20% Carolina with the executive team and 80% her coaching team with the rest of the company. A typical corporate agreement would be anywhere from 10-20 hours total a week depending on the phase of the business we are working on. We can step into any phase of a company; from start-up to well established companies with urgent situations.

Some of the needs we address with our corporate clients include:

  • Company Vision creation and implementation
  • Re-organization/ Re-structuring
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  • Re-branding
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  • Marketing strategies
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Some specific outcomes include:

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Find out more here: http://carolinaaramburo.com/coaching/

What does our typical coaching look like?

  • A brief look at your prior week (most status updates are done throughout the week by email)
  • A series of questions & inquiries to move anything unseen to the surface
  • Breakthrough Coaching – A conversation to transform and shift what needs to be transformed and shifted
  • An alignment of action items for upcoming week
  • Delivery of any assignments designed to install the new transformation over the upcoming week and begin to uncover what needs to be transformed next.

A TYPICAL WEEK IN BETWEEN CALLS

  • Work on assignments
  • Hold you accountable for action items
  • Capture new things that come up as stops, slow downs or barriers
  • Produce desired results in area/areas we are currently working on

Find out more here: http://carolinaaramburo.com/coaching/

Coaching plans

All of our plans are designed to provide you with breakthrough transformational conversations. Our plans are designed to fit any budget or level of urgency. Naturally the more time we have in conversation with you, per month, the faster we can move you AND you will move with any plan. Our suggestion for picking a plan is to look at the urgency of your situation and create a plan that will propel you forward at the speed you want to move. Know that once we start working with you momentum will build quickly and areas of your life and/or business, like your finances, will begin to alter immediately. Most of our clients start immediately with a plan that is a stretch for them both time wise and money wise then swiftly move to upper level plans as we transform their weekly cash flow and productivity. We also allow for mixing plans to accommodate times when our clients have more or less urgency.

We have a 6-month minimum with all of our plans. We have found, in working with clients at all levels, that it takes that long to distinguish old patterns that are not serving clients, establish new patterns that will produce the new vision they create for themselves and/or their businesses and implement all of the changes that are necessary to keep the new patterns in place such that they become a way of life and/or business. The patterns we have were not created overnight and dismantling them takes commitment. New patterns require diligent daily/weekly/monthly practice in order for clients to completely own them as their own. Results will begin to show immediately and we will be there each step along the way until you do not need us any more.

Find out more here: http://carolinaaramburo.com/coaching/

 

What is Transformational Coaching?

Transformational Coaching works from the inside out. Transformational coaching works at an individual level and since companies consist of individuals it works for any business/organization. The work of transformation includes the following impacts:

  • Having individuals/businesses always be at the source of and, therefore, having complete power with their current circumstances and their future
  • Ability to identify and STOP being run by past patterns that have dictated how life/business has gone and therefore, remove barriers that have shown up
  • Creation of new patterns that will produce consistent desired results
  • Removal of drama, conflict and upsets
  • Relationships that are juicy and fulfilling beyond belief 24/7 in every area of your life/business
  • Recognition that anything can be created and accomplished beginning NOW
  • Mastery over yourself as THE ONE who gets to say how it goes for your entire life/business
  • Having life/business be a very clear series of quantum leaps vs. gradual improvements
  • Dispelling boring, unfulfilling problems and having a life/business that is filled with intentions worth living/working for

Find out more here: http://carolinaaramburo.com/coaching/