“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time” (Mark Twain). Focus on eradicating one poor ritual at a time. Replacing the bad habit with a positive, productive, and repetitive practice can eliminate the poor routine from one’s life. Setting a definitive time in the future, no longer than three months out, to stop smoking can build positive anticipation that facilitates the cessation process. Physical symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and irritability may last up to two weeks. After that short duration the winning battle is in the mind. The time and trouble to become healthier is extremely short compared to the wonderful life-giving payoff. Sugarless gum or candy, coupled with physical activity can help tremendously.
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts” (John Locke). Sometimes we need to get out of our own way, while striving for greatness. Do more and think less to avoid paralysis by analysis. Emotions are fleeting, while enduring habits are byproducts of the stuff we think and do every day that leads to success.
Furthermore, avoid making life-altering or rash decisions while physically ill, tired, stressed, or in emotional turmoil. Don’t become your worst enemy. Circumstances will likely be misrepresented and choices poorly managed. Wait until you are back in a peak mental state before critically deciding. This is especially true about becoming married and continuing or dissolving relationships, among myriads of other critical choices.
Prioritize what you want in major categories of your life. This includes relationships, parenting, education, spirituality, mindset, personal-growth, health, work, finances, and giving back to society and the world. List a minimum of five things you desire to achieve in each category during the upcoming one to five years. Following is an example of my desires. Make your goals relative to meeting your unique desires, needs, expectations, and standards set for yourself. Remember, this is about what you can do, not someone else, and not trying to change anyone, except you. Relationships can be many….
|Spouse||Say I love you upon awakening and departure, or more.||Perpetually date her as though we are first meeting.||Hug her daily and kiss her each night before bed, or more often.||Be fully present and engaged while listening.||Authentically care about and encourage her dreams.|
|Child||Say I love you and hug him two times daily, or more.||Read to him for 20 minutes daily, or more.||Together, play a game he enjoys twice weekly, or more.||Go someplace new once monthly, or more.||Ask and support what he is passionate about consistently.|
|Friend||Genuinely listen, love, and laugh.||Ask if he is upholding his moral codes?||Tell him I appreciate him.||Go on an adventure together.||Ask, “How can I help?”|
|Parenting||Teach the difference between right and wrong.||Show consistent unconditional love and acceptance.||Maintain boundaries backed with high standards or expectations, values, and principles.||Know his friends.||Tell him that he can come to me about anything at any time. Maintain trust and open communication.|
|Education||Write and publish a book to help people make positive life-producing choices.||Learn two new words, daily.||Step outside my comfort zone daily.||Read daily for at least 30 minutes.||Teach others what you learn through writing, speaking, and blogging.|
|Spiritual||Pray with a thankful heart throughout the day.||Live joyfully by being peaceful and grateful.||Engage with like-minded people offering hope and encouragement.||Read the Bible, devotionals or inspirational books daily.||Go off in nature for 20 plus minutes while meditating on its’ beauty at least twice weekly.|
|Mindset||Write for at least 10 minutes each day in a gratitude journal.||Self-reflect upon what is learned and done daily.||Listen to positive and inspiring podcasts, books or videos daily.||Read about uplifting stories of triumph daily.||Desire an abundance of health, wealth, love, and joy in the lives of everyone that comes my way.|
|Personal-growth||Be vulnerable by sharing life victories to help others.||Do what makes you uncomfortable, daily.||Read and write for 20 minutes or more, daily.||Read your goals and look at your vision boards three times daily.||Persevere by never, never, never, never, giving in or giving up on your passionate dreams.|
|Health||Exercise five times weekly, or more.||Eat mostly foods that are natural without synthetic fillers.||Be mindful of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and principles.||Ceaselessly, love and totally accept yourself, daily.||Know your triggers and maintain the rituals that minimize stressors and tempters, while maximizing the best version of yourself.|
|Work||Show empathy.||Help frequently.||Enhance my current skill-sets and knowledge.||Add more value by learning new skills.||Mentor and role model for others.|
|Finances||Pay yourself at least 10% first, no matter what.||Do not borrow money, except for your mortgage and education.||Focus on income as being the outcome.||Patiently be in it for the long term, while building assets and minimizing liabilities.||Think of ways to add more value to many.|
|Giving||Give free seminars and speaking events about enhancing quality of life.||Share my time generously with my family and friends.||Share monetary resources with causes I believe in.||Teach about health techniques to prevent pain and suffering, while maximizing energy and joy.||Give or create in yourself the tools necessary to offer more to your family and the world.|
“Strong reasons make strong actions” (William Shakespeare). Next, make a list of as many reasons why you want to accomplish those aims. The more whys in each category can make something on your list that was once number one priority, change to number three or four, while number two or five moves into the first place slot. Whichever target in each category has the most reasons why it is important and purpose-driven for you to achieve that objective, make it your number one priority and develop a single-minded focus on accomplishing those specific goals first. You can still do the others, just put more conscious effort into your primary focus.
Today, on a scale from 1-10, whereas 1 is very unlikely and 10 is extremely probable, how ready are you to begin exercising, quit smoking, eat healthy, abandon bad relationships and poor influences, decide to do or create your best work, stop spending more income than you produce, give your time and talents freely to someone without thought of return, learn something new, eradicate an alcohol or drug problem, hug and kiss your spouse and kids, recognize and rid a bad habit, clean and organize your house and car, or relentlessly love and accept yourself completely? You cannot pick number 7. After selecting your question(s) and number(s), ask yourself, “Why didn’t I choose a lower number?” If you picked the number 1, please use discretion toward seeking expert counsel in whichever area necessary.
”Never mistake motion for action” (Ernest Hemingway). Be specific and meticulously detailed about goals, while writing your objectives down on paper every day so time does not slip away into eternal lost yesterdays. Be precise so your navigational mapping system allows exact action-based directions to get you desirable triumphant results. Read the goals you’re working on three times daily, upon awakening, mid-day, and prior to departure. Additionally, dedication, commitment, determination, and perseverance are helpful advocates supporting goal and dream attainment, which cannot be delegated.
Go defeat your worst enemy, which may be yourself, and take control of your destiny. Make your enemy your best friend. Be honest and genuine, full of integrity by keeping your principles, values, attitudes, beliefs, words, behaviors, and life philosophies in harmony with each other. Win by mastering the life only you can live. Begin now.
“It is a human nature to think wisely and act foolishly” (Antatole France). Rise above the past by allowing your renewed character, values, principles, moral code, and life philosophies describe and drive who you genuinely are. Hold those beliefs and principles close to your heart and soul, while constantly thinking about them, therefore acting in such manners. Be genuine through your integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, goodness, self-discipline, hard work, love, forgiveness, consideration, hope, and tranquil state of mind, high personal standards, and everything that makes you an authentic one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Listen, learn, and lead. Heed opportunities to keep your mouth closed. Being grateful equates to already, right now; not when or what if. Live in the now. This moment is your life. Not yesterday or tomorrow, only now. Live always in the now. Leave the past behind, be present—forgetting about time. Worry divides the mind. It’s not focused on the present, but past or future problems or mistakes. This leads to heightened anxiety. Let forgiveness wipe clean the suffering of memories. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize or change past events, only brightens and broadens the future. Replace if’s with gratitude, jettisoning the fight-or-flight response of real fear. Perception is not the problem, only the way you see it. Let a positive teachable attitude be the resolution. Remember Zig Ziglar’s wisdom, “quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Decisions create destiny.
“The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do” (John Stuart Mill). There is not tomorrow, only right now. Live courageously by the motto, carpe diem, which means seize the day. In the tragic, yet emotionally poignant movie, Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams showed his students a trophy case in the school he taught at while describing to his pupils that all those trophies and pictures of people once their ages who were then old and gone had won at sports and in life do to seizing the day. Robin Williams profoundly said, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”¹⁰ Live with a sense of urgency and make your dream life a reality, today.
Eating healthy entails not storing high-calorie low-nutrient foods in the house. The types of food calories consumed are more important regarding our well-being than the quantity because of synthetic chemicals and certain ingredients. Look at food labels to minimize or eliminate ones having sugar as the first ingredient, while abstaining from trans fats, such as partially or fully hydrogenated oils found in many cakes, pastries, margarine, donuts, crackers, frosting, cream-filled candy, frozen pizza, biscuits, and fried food, among others. Trans-fatty acids can elevate low density lipoprotein (LDL-bad cholesterol), decrease high density lipoprotein (HDL-good cholesterol), and increase triglycerides, promoting the risk for coronary artery disease, stoke, systemic inflammation, obesity, and type II diabetes. Parts of New York City limited or banned trans fats in 2007 with a tentative U.S. nationwide mitigation and eradication plan set for the middle of 2018, which continues to be worked towards. Various countries either prohibit trans fat or mandate restrictions upon the amounts allowed in food.
“Success in life comes not from holding a good hand, but in playing a poor hand well” (Dennis Waitley). We can become, do, and accomplish anything desired once a radically transparent decision is made, backed with focused action and belief in ourselves. Work on you so you can live the extraordinary life you’re fully, utterly, and completely capable of living.