Saturday, November 28, 2009

Incorporate good habits in your daily activities


All of us are creatures of habit. We all have good and bad habits. The challenge is to change bad habits into good ones. Habits are a combination of internalized principles, ways of thinking and doing, and lifestyle behaviours. Healthy habits can be learned by anyone who is willing to put in the necessary effort. You too can cultivate good habits that can enhance your life enormously if you have the discipline to pay attention to what you think and do. At first the implementation of any new habit is difficult and awkward, and demands a lot of effort. After some persistent repetition, you will find it easier and eventually the habit becomes almost effortless to put into practice. Habits become a part of your nature by willpower, practice and repetition. Cultivate good habits to the point that they become second nature. People with a wide range of winning habits are likely to have more effective responses in their repertoire. Successful people understand the importance of good habits and religiously practise them in their daily process of living. You must remain alert to the effects of your habits to ensure that they are still serving a useful purpose. Be ready and willing to change your old bad habits and embrace new winning ones which will serve you better. Try substitution. For example, instead of a chocolate bar, have an apple for a snack. Be committed and force yourself to hold tight to the new habits for at least 21 consecutive days. Let the good habits be the little extras you choose to do. Think how much difference the incorporation of a repertoire of winning habits can make to your life, say five years from now. Let your imagination and visualization motivate you to put them into practice right now.
Much of our behaviours and habits are so well developed that they become automatic responses. It is important that we choose and develop good habits when we are young rather than to change bad habits when we are older because breaking bad habits is very difficult. Just look at the millions of people who know that smoking is bad for their health. They know that every cigarette they smoke can potentially reduce their life expectancy by approximately fourteen minutes. They are desperate to give it up but find it almost impossible to break the addiction. Many people also have temporary bad habits which are perpetuated by fuss, punishment and encouragement which may pass away of themselves if left unnoticed. To change entrenched bad habits, one has to put a lot of effort into spotting the triggering process, stopping the automatic response, and substituting more appropriate behaviour. People with bad habits due to serious addiction such as drug abuse, smoking and drinking problems, need to seek help right away.
Make your habits serve you, not the other way around. Ask yourself whether any habit is contributing to your well-being or not. If you change your habit, what will be your positive benefit? So long as you are hanging on to habits that are not enhancing your life, you are limiting your potential. It is within your power to cultivate the habit of reminding yourself that you can make wiser choices. Make it a daily habit to read materials which expand your mind. A good habit worth stressing is to laugh at yourself and with yourself. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laughing at yourself is a good way of acknowledging your imperfections and humanness. Get in the habit of surrounding yourself with positive minded, effective and wise people. All the principles and advice in this book will be much more useful to you if you practise them. You can have a fulfilled life by simply incorporating good habits into your daily activities.
Here are some of the good habits, in no particular order, that you can acquire to enhance your life. Most of them are developed in greater detail in this book. They were the one-line ideas and guidelines from which I started to write this book. I hope they are as useful to you. May these good habits empower you to really live your life to its fullest!

* Know your priorities
* Establish realistic goals and expectations
* Align your goals with your values
* Commit yourself with dedication
* Eat nutritious food
* Don't smoke or stop smoking
* Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation
* Exercise on a regular basis
* Smile and feel happy
* Greet people with a smile, handshake, kiss or a hug
* Develop and maintain a positive mental attitude
* Start and end your day with positive thoughts or thanksgiving prayers
* Do things you enjoy
* Be generous with compliments
* Enjoy the little things in life
* Cultivate humour and laugh at yourself
* Become a master of the fine art of listening
* Communicate using all your senses
* Practise to become a good public speaker
* Learn to negotiate through listening and communicating
* Be open and honest in your communication
* Be proactive and do important things first
* Be ready and willing to learn
* Learn a new word everyday
* Develop a sense of well-being and contentment
* Find your own balance
* Know your strengths and limitations
* Remind yourself to be positive and enthusiastic
* Adopt the qualities of healthy families
* Take delight in whom you love
* Cultivate teamwork and cooperation
* Learn to cope with adversity and failure
* Avoid frustrations and bursts of anger
* Learn to relax and enjoy the moment
* Treat yourself and your loved ones
* Nurture the love and affection for your family
* Count your blessings and be grateful for them
* Realize that your happiness lies within you
* Be honest and responsible
* Take control of your precious time
* Arrive on time for your appointments
* Honour your commitments and agreements
* Retain a long term perspective
* Let your actions speak for you
* Develop a good character
* Enhance your self-esteem
* Become your best friend
* Keep a personal journal
* Write down your thoughts, fear, and aspirations
* Use your instinct to your advantage
* Live within your means
* Manage your money
* Pay yourself first
* Learn to invest wisely
* Pay off your debts and mortgage early
* Beat the cost of living and save income tax
* Eliminate financial stress and worry
* Have a financial plan
* Be selective in your reading
* Read only the positive and important materials
* Visualize yourself as you want to become
* Plan and reassess your goals and objectives
* Commit to improve yourself with dedication
* Have the will to prepare
* Read inspirational books
* Use the public libraries
* Associate yourself with positive and wise people
* Develop a network of friends, business associates and mentors
* Profit from other people's experience and expertise
* Express your gratitude for any help you receive
* Seek models of successful people to follow in their footsteps
* Look at things and problems from different perspectives
* Think like a winner
* Use and challenge your brain
* Examine every idea you encounter before you adopt or discard it
* Develop your memory
* Feed your mind with positive thoughts and empowering beliefs
* Flex your paradigm
* Share your prosperity and knowledge
* Help people become successful
* Reach out to help somebody in need
* Search for the seed of good in every adversity
* Let your love flow
* See the good in everyone
* Share your many blessings with others
* Trust your intuition
* Treat every day as a special gift from God
* Become a peacemaker
* Do and give your best at all times
* Put all the good habits into practice
* Become your best

You are where you are and what you are today because of your choices and your established habits. You can change for the better by simply choosing to incorporate more good habits in your daily life.

Excerpt from my book: Become your Best

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspire and Motivate Yourself


Through daily affirmations, visualizations, and inspirations you can motivate yourself to grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Self-inspiration and motivation take a lot of practice but they are skills that can be learned. They give you the discipline and resilience to try harder when everybody else is about to quit. They strengthen your resolve to improve yourself in areas of your choice and reward you with self-esteem and confidence among other things.
It's hard to feel motivated to do anything if you can't see any reward for your effort. Visualize the rewards of becoming more self-confident: the power of believing in yourself, the feeling of accomplishment, the healthy self-esteem you'll have, the respect others will have for you, the rewarding relationships you'll enjoy, the opportunity you'll attract, and so on. Imagine yourself at a business meeting, feeling certain to be able to respond to the demands of the moment in the most effective way you know. Tell yourself you are confident in your ability to deal with new situations as they arise. Feel the sense of confidence in being able to scan any situation, think on your feet and deal with the issue in whatever way you determine is best for your own needs and purposes. You can be inspired and motivated to put in the extra effort today by focusing on the future rewards.
Look at everyday as an opportunity to explore your world for the sake of learning something new and meaningful. Get to know your wants and needs very well. Use your personal mission statement to inspire and motivate you to go ahead with your goals and purpose in life. Look at all the goals you have already achieved so far in your life for inspiration and motivation. When you find an inspirational quote that means something to you, remember to write it down and use it to motivate you. Keep a notebook handy to record the things you hear and read that inspire and motivate you. Meaningful quotes can change as you get on with your life. The best affirmations are the ones you compose for yourself. Write your own affirmations and inspirational phrases based on your current philosophy, beliefs and values. Make a positive statement on something that is beginning to happen in your life. Try to incorporate the eight most inspirational and motivational words used by lots of successful people: I am, I can, I will, I believe.
I am a worthy person who is contributing to society,
I can develop loving relationships,
I will always help others in anyway I can,
I believe in the teachings of ........ e.g. spiritual leaders.
Make your own meaningful slogans and motivational quotations. Repeat the phrases over and over for a long period of time with enthusiasm until they, together with your philosophy and values, eventually become part of your belief system. Through this conscious programming you can give yourself inspirational and motivational messages automatically. Through repetition of these thoughts in your mind and by taking action in alignment with them, you can make behavioural changes in yourself. These changes can be as subtle as becoming more comfortable with yourself, improving your relationships or developing a more positive attitude toward life. The possibilities are limitless. Try to keep the phrases short, simple and meaningful. Select one or two messages to start with, depending on what is most important to you at the moment, and make it part of you. It is very effective to repeat the inspirational and motivational messages just before you go to sleep. Repetition is important, do it every day to develop the habit and make it part of your life. Remember that repetitive conscious programming without actively practising what you believe in is not going to be very effective. You have to be participating actively in creating an environment, relationship or behavioural changes which reflect your inspirational and motivational messages.
Read inspirational books and get motivated to better yourself. Look for role models, mentors and positive people that can reinforce your motivation for self-actualization. Join fitness clubs, public speaking groups, discussion groups on spirituality and any other association that can motivate you to develop yourself further. When you feel down, try to recapture the times when you were creative, appreciated, and rewarded for your effort. Think about those times in which you have felt most fully human and alive: being kind and helpful with no thought of return, overcoming your fear, and being filled with pride for something you did. Excite your imagination and inspire your creative vision with your enthusiasm. Use your positive attitude and self-esteem as a driving force for inspiring and motivating yourself. Keep telling yourself and, more importantly, believing that you are a worthy person who has a lot to contribute during your lifetime. Remind yourself that you are responsible for your well-being and you have the resources to do it.
Keep a personal journal to record your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams. Commit your objectives to paper, write your goals in it. Make sure you record the goals you have achieved in it too. List your values, skills, strengths and interests in it. In your journal, write about your ideal life. Keeping a journal is an invaluable tool for recording your personal growth and development. Occasionally, read over what you have written for it can inspire and motivate you when you realize how much you have progressed along the way.

Excerpt from my book: Become your best

Friday, November 6, 2009

Set your goals


Setting goals is the foundation of all success in life. Goals are very important because they give you a sense of direction, progress and achievement in life. Meaningful goals can be basically anything that you intend to accomplish that will enhance your life and will benefit others too. Effective goal setting comes from having a clear conception of what you want to accomplish and what you want to become. Make sure your goals reflect your priorities, values, principles and beliefs. You don't want to wake up one day and realize that you've wasted your time and energy to achieve goals that were not in harmony with who you really are. Your goals should be intended for good things to happen in your life and the lives of others. Opportunities do not come knocking at your door, you must create your own goals. Government, institutions, parents and partners can support and encourage you but they cannot give you exactly what you want in life. Only you know your dreams and goals, and only you can make it happen. Be as clear and specific as you can. Unless you have a detailed idea of your goal, it is difficult if not impossible to achieve it. Each person who has achieved lasting success had goals and devoted his or her time and energy to plan and implement them.
It's not enough to set goals in your mind, write your goals on a piece of paper. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that because you know your goals mentally, it's a waste of time putting them on paper. I learned my lessons the hard way. I did not believe it would make any difference whether my goals were written down or not. I was proven wrong. Like most people, I used to think of some goals I would like to achieve. Without writing them down, I was limited in the number of goals I could mentally remember. After a period of time, I would reach a few of my goals and I would forget about a few others that were still important to me. It's only when I started to record them on paper first and later in my computer that I was reminded of all my goals whenever I needed a reminder.
Recording my goals on my computer helped me to make wise choices and to set priorities. The process gave me an opportunity to reassess the goals and ask myself whether they were based on valid principles. I started to make a lot more progress once they were on paper. One goal after another was achieved and I got a lot more feedback. I could refer back to all the goals that I had already achieved which previously without any record I could not do. As a result I became more focused and motivated. Guess what? My self-confidence and self-esteem got a big boost. I was riding the "virtuous circle" since confidence breeds confidence. As my goals were reached, I set new and higher goals. Now one of my most important goals is to write and talk about the principles of personal management and development which I believe are essential life skills.
Building up your self-image and your self-esteem has to be one of the most worthwhile goals you can have. Together with a positive mental attitude, it is a prerequisite to your self-management and self-development. You need to focus on measurable, manageable and meaningful goals. It is better to set your goals slightly higher than what may seem realistic. For one thing, easy goals are not challenging and are usually of no great benefit to you. By aiming big, you have to be more committed and more creative. At the same time, be reasonable and set goals that are fitting to your degree of expertise. Don't set your goals so high that they overwhelm you and keep you from starting in the first place.
Remember that goals based on greed more than anything else have destroyed many ambitious people. Appropriate expectations prevent grievous disappointments and frustrations. In any case, reality will take care of itself and will dictate adjustments accordingly. As long as you remain flexible in your approach, there is no point in limiting yourself unnecessarily right from the start. Little changes along the way do not mean that you have to abandon your goal. Successful people who accomplish major goals remain open to new information and change, and are persistent in their commitment and resourceful in the face of problems and challenges.
You can have a number of goals related to all aspects of your life, for example: family and social life, financial security, spiritual growth, physical health, relationship, education and career. Don’t just have material and financial goals. Have a variety of goals in all aspects of your life.
While it is essential to have some plans and goals, try not to impose too much order and rigidity in your life. It is also important to maintain flexibility and to remember that life is not just a series of predictable achievements. If your goals are set with the intent to make good things happen in your life and in the lives of others including your family, you can expect some positive results. Set goals that resonate with what your heart desires based on humane values.
It is very rare that one accomplishes all one's goals all the time. You may not achieve all your goals completely as you would wish but you can expect to accomplish most of them provided you commit yourself and have the discipline to work at them. Once you have mastered the habit of establishing goals in alignment with your core values and beliefs, you begin to experience a sense of accomplishment. Believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities. By setting your goals and taking action, you will start to feel an increase in confidence and in your ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles along the way.

Extract from my book: Become your best