Achieve what you want

We are creatures of habit. From the days our feet started pattering across the house at age 2 (and even earlier for some) we develop habits. Good and bad.They are influenced by our environment: observation and modeling. I know someone who is never late because it was ingrained by her dad as they grew up. Punctual in their family meant 30 minutes before the stated time. If you weren’t there you were left behind. For some of us 9am means anything between 9.15 – 10.00 or whenever we get there.

According to research, at least 40% of the things we do every day are based on habits and not new decisions. Kind of like being on auto pilot. Think about it… When you wake up in the morning you have a routine (comprising of habits) that involves the actions you take from the time your alarm rings until you get out of the house. Continue reading

Celebrate little victories

Boy don’t I love the feeling of crossing out all the items on my to-do-list on any given day at work. That feeling of a day well spent is priceless. Last week I wrote on the issue of self-criticism. Self flagellation of sorts. Today I am thinking of the other side of the coin. Reward. When you achieve a goal, no matter how small, do you reward yourself? Even a simple pat on the back or a little jig counts.

I am reminded of the carrot and stick idiom. Back in the days of donkey driven carts the “driver” would hang a carrot just out of the reach of the donkey and would hold a stick threateningly behind. The donkey moved forward spurred on by the motivation of trying to reach the carrot (reward) while avoiding the stick (punishment). Without motivation change is almost impossible. If losing weight has no advantages then what’s the point? If getting that degree has no benefit then why bother staying up late studying? Continue reading

My worst critic

Psychologists say that we are our worst critic. Indeed as a perfectionist-in-recovery (and yes I relapse many times) this is a fact I realized some years ago, when one of my friends told me that I am too hard on myself. Even my supervisor used to tell me that whenever it was performance appraisal time.

How many times have you heard someone say “It’s never that serious” to blow off the implications of something not done or forgotten? That’s not an easy statement for me since almost everything is serious! You should see my process for washing dishes. Whenever someone offered to do dishes for me in the past I’d either refuse – graciously – or stand by to supervise noting the ones that needed a second touch and of course to arrange them as they “should” be on the dish rack. I know you’re probably diagnosing me with OCD right now. Continue reading

When does the new year end?

So what’s your new year’s resolution? Yes, I am aware that it’s the first of February. Every year people make all sorts of resolutions. Top of the list are to quit smoking, lose weight, not drink so much, go to church more, stop complaining about almost everything at work. And then come February or if they try really hard come March they fall back to old habits. Maybe I should say we; because for the last couple of years I’ve started out wanting to lose weight, wanting to do all sorts of great-sounding things and then come February, March, April it’s fizzled out and I return to status quo, modus operandi, life-as-usual. Whoever said old habits die hard knew what he or she was talking about. So as this year begun I asked myself do I want to set myself up for failure? Again! Continue reading