December 31, 2011
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New Year’s resolutions rarely last. Too often they are just nice ideas rather than actions that we can measure. So this year skip the list and choose 1 thing to DO differently. Focus on that 1 thing for 365 days, keep track of how often you do it successfully, and I’ll bet you will make more progress than if you had a list of good ideas as long as your arm.
My 1 thing for 2012? Letting other people shine, appreciating them for the talents they have, and learning from them, and not trying to top their ideas and experiences by offering one of mine in comparison.
And yes, I’ll be keeping score.
December 17, 2011
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For anyone who wants to change something in their lives, it seems to take forever before they see any results. This is because our habits and ways of thinking don’t change quickly. And we don’t want them to. Imagine that these were easy to change and that they could be changed every few hours. After a short time you would lose your sense of who you were. You wouldn’t be able to tell your new experiences from the old. And you would cease being able to function effectively.
So be grateful for gradual change. Work with it.
One way that I personally use this fact to my advantage is to use a daily checklist of things that I want to work on. Right now my daily list looks like this:
How many times today did you:
1. Smile at others.
2. Show appreciation for someone for what they did for you.
3. Make someone feel important / allow them to talk about themselves without interrupting them.
4. Try to prove you were right or win, even in something trivial.
5. Tell someone why their idea won’t work.
6. Use another person’s name when greeting them.
7. Talk to others in terms of their interests (instead of your own).
Quite a list. Most days I don’t score all that well. But I’m now aware of what I need to change, and I can focus on these skills and not worry too much about the other 1,398,641 things that I might get wrong on any given day.
I’m making progress, and it certainly isn’t dramatic. But it is progress and I know that the changes I make in this way will last.
November 28, 2011
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Setting goals is a key practice in the process of improving your life. Most of us can easily come up with a list of things that we want to be different in our lives. We want more money, more time, more friends, less stress, a nicer car, bigger house and more satisfaction. I’m all for keeping a list of things that would make life better. But in my experience making lists rarely leads to change.
Why is this? At least part of the reason is that every “what” also needs a “why”. We need to know the reasons behind what we want, because the “why” drives the “what”. For example, if I want to change careers, it’s important to define what my new career should look like. It’s equally important to know why I want to make this change. If my “why” isn’t very strong, it’s unlikely I’ll achieve my “what”. If all I want to do is escape my current situation, I’ll probably give up after I have a few good days at work. But if my reason for wanting a change is to have the chance to take on new challenges that I can’t find in my current job, or to work in a completely new environment, then I’m more likely to follow through on making the change.
So make sure you know the “why” (or “why’s) behind all the “whats” on your wish list.