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Archive for the ‘discipline’ Tag

Momentum   Leave a comment

So I’ve been waiting until I get home at night to try and post and there’s one drawback to it. I keep nodding off before I post. My momentum has stopped because I’m sitting in bed doing nothing that requires energy. It wouldn’t take a lot to fix this, just a little movement. That would create enough momentum to keep me going.

How big can a little momentum be? I’ll answer that question with one of my favorite trick questions. I can give you $1 million right now or I’ll give you a magic penny that doubles in value every day that you can’t spend for the next 30 days. Which do you choose? Most people would give me a quizzical look and say “the million bucks, obviously”.

Here’s the reason it’s a trick question. While the penny is literally as close to nothing as you can get in US currency it does have value. Double that value every day for 30 days and that lowly penny becomes over $5 million dollars. If you take the million today you’re getting less then 20% of the money you could have if you were patient and waited for the momentum to build.

How does this relate to life? Well a lot of us will avoid doing small things based on the faulty premise that because the “penny” doesn’t have much value why bother. But even a penny doubled over time can have amazing outcomes. I’m not saying if you can do .01 push-ups today you’ll be doing over 5 million by the end of the month. I’m saying that if all you can do today is a penny’s worth of work do it and try to build on it tomorrow with the momentum you’ve created. Who knows how far that will take you? I do know if you do nothing you’ll stay where you are. Take care.

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Making adjustments   Leave a comment

Last post I talked about Hannibal Smith’s famous line “I love it when a plan comes together.”  I used to love tuning in every week to the A-Team just for that line.  But that’s a tv show, and this is real life.  At the end of every episode there was closure on that particular plan/event.  Occasionally it might take 2 episodes to wrap it all up.  But in short order the story goes from start to the plan coming together.  In life, having the plan come together generally isn’t so quick or efficient.

No matter how well you plan, or how good a plan it is, there’s always going to be something or things you just can’t account for in advance.  Even if it’s a great plan that gets you close to where you want to be, it’s likely there will be room for improvement.

That’s why you need to be agreeable to making adjustments.  It’s easy to get so caught up in your original plan that you don’t see that it isn’t working for you.  Or feeling that you should finish what you started.  It’s why a lot of people will keep reading a book they don’t really like.  Not finishing it is quitting, and you don’t want to be a quitter.

But is making an adjustment quitting?  Not really.  It’s learning to spend your time in a more efficient and beneficial manner.  If you stop reading a book you aren’t getting anything out of you have time to read a different book you may glean something from.  You’re still reading, it’s just more useful material.  Same with your plan.  Making an adjustment might take you off the original path, but you’re still moving towards your goal.  You’re just on a better route.  Maybe a faster one, maybe a more efficient one.

It’s only quitting when you stop trying.  It’s only quitting when you completely give up on your plan because you aren’t seeing the results that you want. Making adjustments is just smart.  Pilots do it all the time to get from location to the next.   So keep an eye on your goal off on the horizon. And if you need to, adjust the rudder a little bit to keep heading in the right direction.  Don’t be so married to your plan that you miss the goal entirely.

Hope you’ve had a great day and see you in the next post.

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together   Leave a comment

These were the words Hannibal Smith would utter at the end of most missions for the A-Team.  He’d usually have a big smile on his face and light up a cigar as the rest of the team looked on with incredulity. That’s because after all the planning they did, the plan would usually fall apart, and the team would have to rally to pull off the victory.  So the plan never really did come together, the team did.

What if you had a team like that?  A team that managed to triumph no matter how far off the rails the plan goes.  Well you can.  We’ll call the members of your team skills, habits, and mindset. And everyone can train these team members to allow them to rally against the worst case scenarios that appear in your life.

Skills are tools you can place in your “tool bag” to call upon as needed.  They can be physical traits (running fast, lifting heavy objects) or mental traits (the ability to strategize on the fly, seeing patterns, identifying potential outcomes or variations on current events).  So when you find yourself stuck at home and can’t get to the gym, no problem.  Using your skills you identify different workouts you can do with the supplies at hand at your house, develop a routine on the fly, and get the exercise in that you intended at the gym.  The plan fell apart, but it came together at the end.

Habits are patterns of repeated behavior.  Your mind and body actually miss them when they don’t occur.  People who feel bad when they don’t get to the gym do so because it is their habit to go there.  Their minds and bodies miss the stimulus a habit provides. The trick is to create positive habits, because your mind and body miss the stimulus whether it’s good or bad for you.  Being in the habit of reading broadens your knowledge.  Being in the habit of going to the gym strengthens your body.  Being in the habit of eating well does so as well.  When you’re in the habit of doing things that benefit you, this builds resiliency.  No matter what bad things befall you to take the plan out, you’ll find a way for it to come together.

And the final team member, mindset, is like your own Hannibal Smith.  A well schooled and creative leader.  If your mindset is positive and always tries to see the good in situations, hiccups in the plan don’t turn into bad feelings, they’re opportunities to try something different.

Did you know that the physiological responses of fear and emotion are the same?  What separates them is mindset.  If you view it as negative it’s fear, if you view it as positive it’s excitement.  Seems to me that excitement is the better mindset.  And that’s why it’s important to develop a positive mindset.  How you look at things shapes how you react to things which shapes which actions you take.  Do you want to be positive mindset Hannibal Smith who loves it when a plan comes together?  Or do you want to be Colonel Decker, the negative mindset that’s always flustered by how the A-Team always gets away?

These are your team members.  And just like on the show, these guys didn’t just become the A-Team the day they showed up.  They became the A-Team because they worked at it and trained to be the best.  To be the team that can take on any obstacle. So starting today spend time meditating on the skills, habits, and mindset you need.  Begin training your team.  Don’t wait until the plan falls apart.  It’s too late then.  Work your mind and your body.  Create productive and healthy habits.  Reinforce the positive in your thinking.  Spend time each day developing your team.  The team that can have a plan fall apart and still have it come together in the end.

Keep Going   Leave a comment

This morning when I woke up I wasn’t feeling well. I had a really bad headache and was tired, even though I had just slept the night away.  The easiest thing to do in that situation is just go back to bed.  I have a job that offers paid sick leave, so why not just call in, roll back over, and go back to sleep.  But the easiest way isn’t always the best way.

I had another choice I could make.  Get up and get moving and see how things played out.  So I headed to the bathroom, took some Advil, and took a shower.  When I shower I start off with a warm shower to wash myself, and then finish off with a 5 minute cold shower.  This, as you might imagine, usually wakes me right up.  Not so much this morning.  I was still a little tired and the headache was still there.

After my shower I will meditate for about 20 minutes.  So I lay there in my bed and tried to meditate.  With a pounding headache that wasn’t so easy.  But I persisted.  Over the course of the 20 minutes the headache lowered in intensity but was still there.  The relaxing while helpful for my headache left me even more tired.  I would usually take a 15 minute walk after the meditation but I knew that wasn’t happening this morning so I went straight for my morning coffee.

The coffee helped a lot.  But still not feeling 100% and a bit ahead of schedule since I didn’t do that walk, I decided to give myself a short nap.  I told myself if I still felt under the weather when I woke up I had permission to call in.  I set the alarm for 45 minutes later and laid back in bed.  A little before the alarm went off I woke up on my own feeling way better.  My headache was gone and I felt alert and awake.  I got dressed and headed into work.

At work today I was paired off with a female coworker to do a job.  It was just the two of us so we could speak freely.  We had a great conversation and had a lot of fun hanging out, I mean working, together.  It made my day.  And it wouldn’t have happened if I had just called out, turned back over, and went back to bed.  I’m not advocating ignoring your body and pressing on no matter how much your body tells you to stop.  I’m just saying don’t give up right away. Try to make a day of it.  If you can, keep going.  Who knows what your day will bring you.  What I do know is you’ll never find out if you just take the easy way out.

Dartboards   Leave a comment

In the last post I talked about finding out your why.  And once you’ve found out your why, walking the path towards your why.  Today I’d like to talk about dartboards.  This seems like an odd right turn, but the dartboard is very connected to walking your path.

You see, staying on the path is a series of foot placements. One right in front of the other. And where each foot lands determines how well you stay on the path and how quickly you reach your goal.  And that’s similar to a dartboard.

Now, keep in mind I don’t play darts so this is a very rough analogy.  The dartboard is divided in two ways.  It has a center circle, the bullseye, surrounded by ever larger circles until you reach the outer edge. It’s also divided into 20 wedges starting at the bullseye, getting wider towards the outer edge of the board.  Each subdivided area of the dartboard has a numeric “score” attached to it.

So the goal in darts is to get to zero by subtracting the points obtained from where the dart lands on the board.  The exact rules aren’t important for this analogy, only making sure your darts land in the right segments is.  Each dart can be looked upon as a step.  And each dart that hits the board gets you points which are subtracted from your score. Just like every footstep reduces the distance between you and your goal.

Here’s the important thing about darts.  You can’t get points if you don’t throw the dart.  The time you spend standing there worrying about how many points you’ll get, or not get, from the throw is time you’re not making any progress.  Which is silly.  Simply throw the dart.  Assuming you don’t miss the board, the lowest score you can get is a 1.  While a 1 may be the lowest progress you can make, it is in fact progress.  Even if all you get are ones you’d still, eventually, hit zero (your goal).

But of course it’s always best to aim.  The better you aim the dart the greater the chance you’ll get a higher score. And that moves you to your goal quicker.  It also has a side effect.  The more darts your throw with aim (intention) the better you get at it.  The better you get the more likely your aim will result in accruing the points you are trying for.  Just as the better your intention and focus is will result in a quicker journey down the path.

Again though, all this is contingent on actually throwing the dart.  So don’t be fearful or hesitant.  Don’t get frozen by concerns that may or may not ever come to pass.  Just throw the dart knowing that with each dart (or footstep) you’re getting better and better at achieving your goal.

Benefits of Acting with Purpose   Leave a comment

A few posts back I talked about acting with purpose.  This is all about keeping your focus on the here and now.  We go through a lot of life on auto pilot, doing the same thing over and over again, simply because it’s the habit we’ve developed.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  You couldn’t possibly live your life if you had to make a decision on every thing you do.  But when you let it get to the point where you just let your life happen by the patterns you’ve already formed you’ll get the results you’ve always been getting.

The biggest benefit of acting with purpose is it teaches you to evaluate your actions.  Why are you doing what you’re doing?  What benefit are you getting out of it?  What could you be doing differently right now that would make things better?  You can’t change things you aren’t aware you’re doing in the first place.  Again, this doesn’t mean every little thing you do, just being more mindful of the things you do that have an impact on how you feel about yourself.

Another benefit from acting with purpose is a sense of control.  Right or wrong, good or bad, you know you’re making the decisions.  You stop feeling like you’re at the mercy of the tides.  And that can reduce the overall stress you feel.  While a small amount of stress is necessary, and even beneficial for you, being constantly stressed out is not.  When you reduce your overall stress levels your body performs better.  It can focus more energy on healing.  Your mood will improve.  And you’ll feel more relaxed.

And finally, acting with purpose teaches us to become more and more comfortable with making decisions.  One of the hardest parts of the journey to a better you is just getting started.  With all the possible decisions and all the variable and all the possible outcomes, each with a different set of variables and decisions attached to them, it can make the decision making process scary.  And fear is the biggest obstacle we have to overcome to get started down the path to a better you.  How do we overcome that fear?  Just make a decision.  Take one small step in any direction.  Right or wrong you’ve just demonstrated to yourself that you can make a decision and still be here to make another one.  If the decision turned out to be right, keep making decisions to stay on that path.  If the decision turned out to be wrong, decide on a different path.  Every time you make a decision it’s a reassurance to yourself that it’s ok to make mistakes. It’s also a reminder that you can’t get better if you don’t move from where you are toward where you want to be.

That’s it for today’s post.  Hope you all had a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Spending Challenge Update   Leave a comment

I said a while ago that I was adding accountability to my spending habits. I laid out new rules governing my spending for the next six months.  I got this idea from the book “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders.  I’ll leave an Amazon affiliate link to the Kindle version of this book, and two others I’ll mention, at the end of this post (just click the book covers).  So I decided for today’s post I will give a quick update.

I’ve had remarkably little issues sticking to this game plan.  I have had a number of items I’ve come across that I was at first very excited about, and would have gone on to impulse buy.  Then I thought about having to come back here and admit I broke the rules and the urge just went away.  I didn’t even really have to spend a lot of time going over it in my head. Or running through the reasons I wanted to start getting my finances in shape.  I just knew that there was no way I could justify the purchase because it was just an impulse buy.  And that is the habit I’m trying to break.

As I did point out, though, I’ve had little issue sticking to this, not “no trouble at all.”  I had a minor transgression today that I wanted to share.  I love reading, and more importantly I love reading about things that make me a better person.  I started reading a book called “Hustle: The Life Changing Effects of Constant Motion” by Jesse Tevelow.  I purchased this book before I started the challenge so this book wasn’t a violation.  I haven’t read the whole book yet but I’ve read enough to know I like Jesse as an author.  The book is, obviously, about hustling and how hustling can benefit your bottom line.  I’ll do a better review after I’m done with the book.

In the book he mentions another book he wrote called “Authorpreneur: Build the Brand, Business, and Lifestyle You Deserve.  It’s Time to Write Your Book.”  One of the reasons I started this blog is way back in the day I used to write, a lot.  And it felt so good writing.  So I wanted to get back into writing to recapture that feeling.  I’ve been considering ways to turn my enjoyment of writing into a way of making money as well.  While I understand how to write (although as I’m sure you’ve gathered by my posts so far I’m a little rusty) I don’t really know much of anything about how to make money off of it.  While I am published, it was in high school and collegiate level literature anthologies.  So no paycheck involved in those.  This book will help fill in my knowledge gaps to get from where I am, a writer, to where I want to be, a paid writer (hopefully well paid).  So I purchased the book.  And then I realized right after I did it that I was violating the rules.  I didn’t use my reward points to get it, I just instinctively clicked the 1-Click buy button on Amazon.  Now the offense totaled a whopping $0.99 but it’s still an offense so I share it with you today.  I just hope that, once read, it leads to knowledge that allows me to recoup my investment and a lot more.  That’s the only oops I’ve made.

So that’s where I stand on the spending challenge.  With just one little slip up I’m calling it so far so good.  I’ll update my progress again soon.  If I slip up again I’ll update you sooner.  On the whole though I’m feeling really good about this challenge so I’m guessing I’ll stick with it.  As promised here are the links to the books below.  Have a good day, people.