We live in a society that always need more from us. More effort, more concentration, more energy, and more productivity. But we are the same, sure we have our computers, we have our clouds and we have our smartphones. But ask yourself, how much time did it take you to start using your new to-do app in your smartphone? Hmmm, that long huh? Did you decide which app you will use? Frustrated about all the choices?
Well, let me tell you a little secret it’s not an app fault it’s yours and yours only. You did not learn some basic skills and habits to be using this tool. Someone once said monkey with a tool is still a monkey.
So I know what is on your mind, these tools are not so difficult to use. I just have to take some time and start using it. It will be like my second skin. I will be diligent, I will write everything on it. I have this thing always with me, I will set reminders and I will be productive deem it! I will be organized whatever it takes!
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So this is like a day or two, one week at best, but there come some busy days, some troubles here, some problems here and your app gets forgotten and you think, to hell with it I didn’t record the last week so it’s pointless.
You eventually find new software or try Siri or Google now or miss M that is the new rage from big blue F. You find it fancy, you find it easy to use (or not!), your life could not be any better. One week later it’s the same story all over again.
WHAYYYY?? You ask… This should not be so difficult!
And you know what it is not you just need to learn some tricks, obey some rules and have some patience (well a lot…). I will not lie to you, this is not kindergarten stuff, but at the beginning it will look like.
First secret → Take baby steps
You know, how you begin to walk? Baby steps right? Take it slow and with small steps (patience remember?). Your brains need to adjust for your new process, they are fast but not that fast. Your whole body needs to play along if you want any chance for your habits to succeed.
Think of the habit that you will like to master and then break it into pieces, what’s the smallest step you can take?
Let me give you an example
I would like to be fitter, so I will exercise more. You see in all newspapers, blogs and fitness that you need to work out at least 3 times a week so this is your goal.
WRRROOONG! If you are mostly a couch potato your goal is once a week of medium or intense workout for 30 minutes. That is a minimum for you and you should start with that. When you do a month (4 times in month) you can go for more, but you really need to let your body adjust.
Like in the book The chimp paradox by Steve Peters we all have some kind of monkey that is dragging us down. We would like so many things, better jobs, better life but that damn monkey is not letting us go and we procrastinate and enjoy our TV and smartphones imaging when all will be different.
So we have to trick this monkey to let us do stuff.
Come one it’s just once a week, we can do 30 minutes. Look it’s just around the block and we will be finished in no time. In time, this monkey starts to like our new habits and we can do it more and more. But if we upset the monkey with more that she can handle we will have a big problem.
This is the time when the excuses start…. My muscles are still sore, I don’t have energy today, I have to wash the dishes…. You know the drill.
So when this happens, you still need to talk to your monkey and explain to her that, after the habit you will be much more happy and you will be better off and this create positive reinforcement in your brains. We will talk about motivation more later.
So take it slow OK? 🙂
Second secret → How to plan your habits
One of most known but not used things are plans. People don’t do plans because they are hard to make and even harder to keep! The main reason is that it takes time and research. But in back of your mind that also means commitment and commitment is scary! If I write this then I have to actually do this!
The other thing you have to do research, that means that you need spend more time and energy if you want to do it right. So you either lie to yourself that you will do this in 2 weeks and you guessing that you could do it or you just write something so you don’t have a blank paper.
When plans don’t go as planned you are not a happy camper, you accuse everybody else and this planning thing is just stupid! I guess you figure it by now that you are the one that is to blame.
How to do it right? Well there is a whole science behind it, but here are the basics
First you take your goal let’s say putting up a blog so that everybody will have the privilege to read what you write:
What have I to do to for blog to get it up?
I have to have content
I have to install WordPress
I have to buy a domain
I have to find a host that won’t make me broke
I have to install plugins
I have to find a name
and so on and on.
So now we have a plan? No, now we have a task list. Next step is to carefully examine each point and see if we got everything that we need.
Have to have content
What will I write?
Is this interesting?
Do I have to make some more research?
Do you know how to do it?
Will you pay somebody?
Do you know somebody?
You go thru all your points like this until you have all your answers, and you are happy with what you got. To make it a real plan, you will have to add the dates when you can execute this task.
For this, you use reverse goal system. It goes like this
Vision your success, your blog in all your glory
So now you look the next thing back what to do like write content. What do you need to do.
What to write
ask a friend
see youtube video
When you have your list in right order, at least that you think that it is right, don’t be afraid to change the order if you see it wrong way. When you are happy just go again at the list and assign the dates
Write content → 15.10.2015
Research details → 10.10.2015
What to write → 7.10.2015
Install WordPress → 5.10.2015
ask a friend → 3.10.2015
see youtube video → 1.10.2015
Be true to yourself don’t cheat on dates, they are set by you and if you know, you can’t make deadlines move the date now, not when it’s already too late.
You can use many tools for this like asana or trello.
If you share this article you can watch a video of Tony Robins which will tell you why we do what we do.
Third secret → What gets measured gets managed
Now that you took it slow, made your plan the right way and now ready to get your habits and improve your lifestyle!
But there is this thing that we mention … it’s called willpower you need it to do stuff, solve problems, work out, be patient when answering stupid questions and so on and so on… And when it’s gone you need a motivation to get the things going, but if there is no motivation either you my friend are f***ed. There will be no habits form, there will be no muscle build and there will be life improvement. But lucky for you (and all of us!) all that can be helped. Here is how.
You need to keep a score, what you did, how you did and how far from your success you are.
There are old pen and paper, but it is not as motivational as our electronic friends.
You can set this as your homepage in a browser so you don’t forget to fill it up. Or set up reminders that you need to do this. At the end of the week, you will see why you failed or is time to move on next habit or level up the existing one.
Second you can use apps on your mobile phone:
Habit bull → nice app which reminds you to click on a day to signal that you did the habit and has nice message for doing that
There is a ton of apps out there if you are in food or you need to count something there is an app for that 🙂
So use this data, to see your progress to change your failure points and correct yourself
Fourth secret → Tell somebody, anybody
Accountability, social and yours.
This is tough for anybody to master. But when you do it right it repays 1000x. So the more of accountability for your action you recognize, the more likely your habit / project will succeed.
So first you have to get out of your shell and tell people what you do or what are your plans.
This is the first step to committing that you are willing to change, to get out of your comfort zone. This is not easy to do and you can reward yourself for doing it.
So how are you doing this? Use facebook, use forums or tell your best friend or co-workers what you do.
You can talk about this over morning coffee or lunch break and it can go something like this.
You: Hey, you know, I’m going to go for it. I’m going to do 10 push ups every day and try to work out like this for a month to see what happens.
Co-worker: But why, what are you going to achieve
You: Well I need to start working out and this is the first step to building a habit. I’m telling you this so you can hold me accountable and ask me every few days how is it going or you can join me and we can do this together.
Many people have in their minds that they have to do something like that, and if you start your habit, there is good chance that they will start theirs. You can then go thru road bumps together.
The more people know that you will do 10 push ups the more accountability, you will get. So in the morning when you set your time for pushups your brain will go…. jeeez I don’t want to do this… but the other part will say… shit John will ask me today how my habit is going, I can’t tell him that I give up already… So you go down on the floor and do the 10 push ups which takes you like 30 sec and after that you feel happy.
After this, you HAVE to reward yourself. The best way is to use some kind of app for keeping habits, like Habit bull (link do ) or coach.me (link do). You can also drink a glass of water or something like that.
Yo can do the same on forums and facebook groups. You can find more people there that are struggling with the same issue.