Focus on Healthy Habits and Projects in Your Daily Routine by Alex Sal

This is a guest post from Alex Sal from New York.  

habitsHealthy habits and projects have life-changing potential. Both help to accelerate the process of achieving virtually all your goals because they require self-discipline, which is a quality that can be applied in all facets of life. In addition to this (as if that were not enough) healthy habits and projects also help reduce stress. And, who does not need to reduce stress?

After all, we all live in a fast-paced, highly demanding, stressful age. It’s an epoch where a multitude of demands are being made on our time, and we have a plethora of choices. Sadly, time is finite. You can’t increase it. But, you can manage yourself better by inserting healthy habits and projects into your daily rituals. The truth is that many people struggle with this – they’re easily distracted.

It’s your lucky day, if you sit a spell with me, we’ll explore how to focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects?

So, let’s focus on the task at hand. Let’s take a step back and ask ourselves what it means to focus. It’s quite simple, really, to focus on something means “to pay particular attention” to it.

The following are a few proven strategies:

  1. Leverage visualization and planning
  2. Use the power of frequency
  3. Destroy distractions
  4. Track your progress

 

1) Leverage visualization and planning

Visualization and planning are superpowers if you’d like to easily ritualize healthy habits and projects. You’d need to start by consciously creating new patterns. At first blush, visualization feels a tad like daydreaming, and some people may dismiss it. The truth is that there’s scientific evidence to show that it’s effective.

Consider that everything that manifests in our lives starts in our minds as pictures. When we visualize, we’re steering our attention in a particular direction. The images we generate can be so powerful they feel like virtual reality. When this is done regularly, and coupled with planning, inserting healthy rituals become easier because we’re engaging both parts of our brains to harness and direct where our energies flow. Planning makes it easier because we are providing clear instructions to ourselves.

Visualize your path and don’t let the concept of failure get in the way.

2) Use the Power of Frequency

Have you ever wondered how you could easily recall your favorite songs? It’s due to the power of repetition. It’s very easy for what we repeat to stick. The more we try to do those things the more we’re building neural pathways that make it easy to reproduce them with ease in the future. When you repeat your goals, you’re telling your brain your priorities. As you know, prioritization is a fundamental ingredient for being able to focus.

So, consciously block out time on your calendar for healthy habits and projects. Set reminders on your computer, tablet and mobile phone. Create posters with reminders and put them in different parts of your office and home. Create musical triggers – you could select 3 of your favorite classical recordings and mentally associate them with three major habits and projects you’re trying to insert into your life. Ideally, you want music that’d galvanize you. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is a great example. So, each time you hear this song, for example, you’d know it’s time to go jogging or time to start writing that manuscript that you’ve been putting off since the 80s.

3) Eliminate Distractions

If we are honest, a lot of people know what to do, to ritualize healthy habits and projects. Distractions are what many struggle with. In fact, most of us struggle with it. Just as we can consciously create new patterns, we must consciously avoid, reduce, or destroy those things that lure us away from a more evolved version of ourselves.

It could be television, it could be social media, it could be binge-watching movies…It’s actually relative. A scriptwriter, for example, may need to be watching a lot of movies. We need to realize how vital the concept of opportunity cost is. The time we spend on X, is the same time that could have been spent on Y. Let’s suppose Mr. M wants to be a software developer or work in organization design consulting but spends most of his time on activities that do not move him towards his goal. What’s likely going to happen to his dream of being a software developer? It’s the same for us. We must consciously and regularly ask ourselves if our activities are fuel for our main goals or if they’re subtly and slowly killing them.

4) Track Your Progress

It’s important to regularly compare our realities to what we visualized. If at the beginning of the year, you envisioned a fitter and healthier you, and every month you use an app to check some of your activities and stats – if you’re on the right track – this will serve as a stimulus for you to continue on the path. It would serve as positive reinforcement for you to accentuate your focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects. You would find it easier to be fixated on the healthy habits – the record of your progress will be highly motivating – because at the end of the day, leaders take their time but leaders light a fire.

Conclusion

We’ve explored some of the strategies to help you focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects. Interestingly, it’s not difficult. It all starts with making a firm choice. It starts with envisioning a better you.

What are the main challenges you experience when trying to focus?

Alex Salcioglu

Alex Sal is a business journalist, startup entrepreneur, and frequent contributing writer for Markitors.com. He is also a recent graduate of economics from Queens College.

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Be a Leader – It Is Worth It!

My 13 year old son had an assignment in a class this week.  I was checking his homework online to be sure it was getting done.  I came across this submission:

Favorite leader

My favorite leader is my dad. He had the courage to influence others by creating a business where he helps everyday citizens become confident with what they do. The business is a non-profit and meets once every month. He brings in some of Fort Wayne’s top leaders and lets them help others.

He is fearless in meeting new people. A few months ago he went to Canada to speak at a university in front of hundreds of people. He has integrity, because he loves doing his job but, he also has the integrity to help others learn and grow as leaders.

He is amazing at communicating. He gets the message out to people, that no matter where they work, no matter if they don’t have a job, they can still be great leaders in their community. When they meet they talk about how to lead others to become leaders. He and my uncle came up with the idea at a coffee shop downtown. They were having a get together, and they said they wanted to have the community grow in leaders. They have been extremely successful and are still working hard to get new leaders in the community.

He has been very supportive of people when they feel they aren’t doing a good enough job at work. He ran the student counsel at Haverhill Elementary, and talked to us about how we can be leaders at school. He would also be glad to come in and talk to our class about leadership sometime. (I gave you his card)

This came at the right time for me.  There are times when you can wonder if you make a difference.  I was in that spot this week.  Then I read this assignment.  My son’s words reached not only my head but my heart.

Karsten and Carmen at airport

I am grateful for my son, and I am humbled that he sees this in me.  I am grateful for my great team at work.  I am grateful for my brother and the work we are privileged to do together.  I am grateful for a community of leaders here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

 

Photo:  my son with our Romanian “daughter” (exchange student)

 

what we teach our children

                                                                               John Maxwell

Become a Detective by Jim Johnson

CEO Next Door

I have been reading the new book, The CEO Next Door, by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell.  In today’s reading, I came across the phrase “become of detective.”  The context of this speaks of when a leader is trying connect with their team, stakeholders, board members, customers, etc.  Becoming a detective means to work to truly understand the other person’s perspective so great decisions can be made and meaningful directions can be set and navigated.

 

 

So what do the authors state as the key elements of becoming a detective?

  1. Ask questions.  Become curious.  Asking versus telling will help you learn so much more about the other person’s values, needs, wants, concerns, etc.
  2. Engage intellectually.  No simple patronizing nods.  Ask more probing questions.  Follow up.  Follow through.
  3. Listen.  Engaging intellectually means you are actively listening and asking great questions based upon what you have heard.  Listening communicates to the other person you are investing in them – right now.
  4. Gather information to understand.  Don’t make decisions in a vacuum.  Your actions of asking/listening are the vital part of your information gathering.  And all of that should lead to better understanding the situation.
  5. Harness what matters to them.  Nothing frustrates customers/team members more as when a leader appears to have listened and then acts in a way that seems to ignore all of the previous interactions.  If you truly want to connect with your customers/team members, harness what matters to them based upon your interactions with them.

This book will be available at the first of March.  I received my copy through LeaderBox.  Or you can follow this link to pre-order your copy today.  It’s worth the read!

 

Coaching – what happens to YOU when your team gets better through your coaching by Jim Johnson

If you lead a team, you are coaching (or, at least, I trust that you are).  I just gave a presentation this morning on why coaching is so important for our team members.  I also shared the following on what happens to the COACH when he/she becomes a better:

  1. Your reputation improves in your company.
  2. Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
  3. Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
  4. Your future will reveal more opportunities for you.

There is no down side to working hard at becoming a better coach.  Yes, your team members will become better, but YOU have benefits when you commit yourself to becoming a better coach.

Remember:  “You influence from a distance.  You impact up close.”  Dwight Robertson

Commit to impact.  You will create a better world around you.

when leaders become beter