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Time for Your “Mind Gym” – What Are Your Rituals?


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When people consider the word “routine”, they’re often alarmed as if that means spending mostly boring times. The safety of routines is attractive to many, but as a whole and to most people, a routine life weakens one’s drive, kills their spirit, and keeps one confined.

There’s a difference between “routines” and “rituals” if we consider our daily living. While routines are certain acts performed automatically without much thought or intent, rituals differ in purpose, in our attitude towards them, and what they end up giving. In our minds, rituals get us prepared; and the time put forth carrying them out is considered well-spent.

If you scan the biographies of famous leaders, artists, and thinkers, you’d notice their adopting specific rituals to maximize their productivity. Ernest Hemingway rose at dawn; Tchaikovsky walked every day for 2 hours without exception; Salvador Dali was known for his very brief power-naps; Winston Churchill would wake up at 7:30m and stay in bed till 11:00am reading newspapers and dictating to his secretaries; and the list goes on…

Many more genius level creative people who became historical peak performance figures tailored their lives around rituals that kept them rising. They structure their days, wire up their minds, and mobilize their bodies to keep thriving. They don’t wait for events to happen, or for inspiration to come. They’re actively seeking space for creativity triggers and know exactly what they need to refrain from.

Any high achievement and drive gets kicked off by various rituals that serve one well. I wonder if you’ve created your own set of rituals and whether you armed yourself with that kind of magic spell.

“Different strokes for different folks direct how well time is spent. There are routine acts that do nothing but pass time; and there are rituals that serve a higher intent.” ~ 3Ds

Are your thoughts gathered around time killers or mere gap fillers? Or are you more aware of constructive time use that serves the majority of your life pillars?

Are you sucked up in mundane routines? Or have you intently created rituals for self-care and for fulfilling your dreams?

Yah! Just few questions to get you to raise your standards if you haven’t set them high enough….

Gotta run now… Besides issuing this post, my Sunday is rich with other rituals and stuff…

Ciao 🙂

Your Personal Coach

Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What Are You Resisting?


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Have you wondered about the nature of what you often resist? These perhaps fall into two kinds: what’s good for you and what’s bad. You can resist specific things, people, and behaviors, or other things that fall in the more abstract.

 Resisting change, temptation, advice, power, beliefs, or new fads can be such notions. All may include both elements that harm you, or lead to your self-promotion. Many times, and if you have the inclination, resisting any of these can entail using a lot of energy coupled with unrelenting maintenance of emotions. It requires a steal-like mental set and persistent action steps to push and never surrender forward motion.

It has been said: “What you resist persists; what you embrace dissolves”. To me, the case neither applies generally, nor does it predominantly exists. It all depends on what you are resisting and what the target involves. There’s great value in accepting what we can’t change. That one is true…. but there’s, also great value in being stubborn and persisting on what’s good for you…

If I were to argue further, wouldn’t you, now, resist stagnating, feeling weak, being disempowered or ridiculed, ignorance, and the kind? Surely if these dominate lead you to having a restless heart and an un-quieted mind….

To resist your own evolution, is to keep yourself in chains. What you need to persist at is your own growth domains. You probably resist, most, the pain that comes with prospective gains. If you ignore the discomfort that comes with changing to the better, only focus on the rewards remains.

“Ironically what brings us great gain can be, at the same time, the source of grave pain.” ~3Ds

Isn’t that why you may resist initiating the move? It’s simple. You’re not focused enough on how you’ll improve. Just boost up your positive emotions; and make sure the negative ones you remove…

The game, hence, becomes rigged in your favor (eh, with a check-mate kind of move…)

Will you, now, get into the groove?

With your Personal Coach

Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s Your Obsession?


obsessessionWhen you think about obsessions, your immediate reaction is that these are necessarily bad; and predispose anyone to becoming sad. After all, they typically imply unwanted persistent thoughts you cannot easily dismiss; and when they’re very intense you’d think you’re on the verge of going mad.

Obsessions can stem from specific or random fears. Many times, and in typical psychological disorders, obsessions are associated with compulsions (i.e. behaviors) to reduce what’s feared. They put one in an addictive cycle like a hamster on a wheel. On and on the “run” continues with great difficulty to change the steer…

But, not all obsessive thoughts lead you to distress. For instance, think about the falling in love experience and how it puts you in a state of bliss. Think about finding your passion, doing it daily, and how consumed in it you become that you’d never consider the quits.

Such obsessions have a different lure. Not only do you allow these; you perpetuate your state. In a charming way, you’re clinging to something that makes you feel more secure. Perhaps, these dissolve every other fear and alleviate any other uncertainty that could leave you unsure…

It is obsessive thoughts about succeeding that lead, in the end, to highly achieving. It is exactly these kind of thoughts that can transform earlier failure to the “yes I can do it” mode of believing.

“To win your way, you need to be armed with Obsessive beliefs in your ability. Such focus, is your tool to act on every possibility.” ~ 3Ds

If you scan history for major accomplishments, you’ll find that this was the secret behind it all. Each falls at least a hundred times, but obsessively rises again tall.

See? That blind to failure obsession isn’t necessarily bad or evil. Each trial creates a new upheaval…

The obsession to succeed doesn’t take “no” as a response. It persists there till, eventually, it gets its applause… To thrive, think and then do; Think and then do; Think and then do… After all, isn’t that how legends eventually yell that woooohooo!!!? Keep preoccupied with it and, soon enough, people will seek your autograph in queue…

I’ll be standing with them in line too. Till then, my thoughts will remain with you….

Your Personal Coach 

 Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – How Do You Compensate?


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If you review the times you wanted something, but didn’t get, you may notice that you tried to, somehow, compensate. Consider, for instance, a failed relationship, a desired post on a job, or in vain attempts on any other pursuit. You looked for a substitute to help cope you tolerate.

The way we compensate, though, can serve us well, or not, if I may say. Some would sublimate to a higher cause, change their target, or figure out a new way. Others would resort to substance abuse, binge in comfort eating, or soothe their frustrated emotions by seeking solitude in a somewhat safe bay.

Have you considered how, earlier, you resorted to compensate? Do you find a pattern that would generally predominate? Or is it that when you scan those incidents well, you find that your style is flexible and between different constructive ways you oscillate?

Have you noticed, at times, how the clock continues ticking or flipping despite your attempts to digest your dashing hopes? Remaining in idle mode won’t change the bad news, and eventually you have to step into the uncertain and navigate new slopes as a better means to cope.

“The question isn’t how do you compensate if you fail; rather how “well” will you compensate? What will you eventually allow to prevail?” ~ 3Ds

It’s like you’re meant to be waging battles all the time; and even initiating new ones. A survivor mode entails that you seriously keep sticking to your guns….

Neve dwell on whether you’ll be defeated. when you’re tired, you can always a rest, just for a little while, then resume whatever you have uncompleted….

And you know what will make a difference next time? It’s pretending that you’re already a champion from the start…. Role play every day the “as if you’re already a winner” kind of part…

Every breath, every move, every step,…. Have a fighter un-subsiding kind of heart….

To compensate right, make the new worthy venture a state of art….

Doesn’t this sounds like a class of Martial Art?

Bowing in awe before your new glorious start, your Personal Coach

Dania

Time For Your Mind Gym – What Scares You?


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There are things that we all detest having; go great lengths to avoid facing; do our best to escape their encounter at every chance. These could be good for us, or bad.

I’m interested today in those unshared distressing ones that scare you. They either haunt you & you can’t keep them out of your mind, or you do your best shove them away somewhere behind.

Are you anywhere on the two poles of this continuum? If you obsess about these, you’re probably drained. And if you’re disregarding these, you’re in another way pained.

In both cases, you’re mostly anxious & scared. There’s no way out but to face these instead of letting it drag. If you want to get it over with, this cannot be spared.

“What we avoid, escape, or deny does not make it invisible. Chasing it down will eventually be that awaited miracle.” ~ 3Ds

Get off that seesaw; disrupt its presence; get down to its essence; fight it with all weapons…. In brief, start a well-planned chaos…

You wouldn’t want to remain at the mercy of its omnipotence & you’re certainly liberated once you remove the power it threatens….

Ughgh .. that feeling of being controlled! Come’on, precious, let’s be bold!! Did I just hear a lion’s “roar”?

Shiver me timbers… You give me goose bumps 🙂

Your Personal Coach

Dania

Time for Your “Mind Gym” – Who’s Your Hero?


 

heroYou meet new people all the time, but move closer to some selected few. Some strike you as really outstanding – more like “heroes” who’ll save you in some way. Like magnet, they attract you with their most amazing qualities. Then, you find yourself seeking them in every possible way.

When that happens, it reflects something about you. You either want that person to bring out something in you, or you want to be like that other person. It’s not only about having them for company.

Think about your heroes for a moment. What do you appreciate most about each?

This is what you (probably) have missing. You may start modeling that person (with or without conscious attention). You may start wearing their mind. You may start walking in their shoes. They inspire your thoughts & influence actions.

“Your ‘inspiring hero’ gives you the idea of what you need to become. Your ‘ideal hero’ helps you become just that & that’s only YOU.” ~ 3Ds

It has been said that the best helping hand you’ll ever find is that at the end of your own arm; and that you can’t push anyone up the ladder unless they move their feet frequently upwards.

It, therefore, boils down to using your brain, senses, hands, & feet…. your whole body, if I may say…. to become another hero – even better – & inspire another…

No one WILL do it for you. No one CAN do it for you…

You’re a walking magic wand, precious…. You’re the best “Hero” there is….

Get moving “Hun”:) Wo-ho… Careful where you point that thing 🙂

Your #1 fan & Personal Coach

Dania

 

Time for Your “Mind Gym” – How Do You Face Failure?


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Success & failure are flip sides of the same coin. When you succeed, it’s like a dream come true. You rejoice. You’re thrilled to do more. You’re happy.

When you fail, & you do interpret not reaching your dream as “failure”, then you become discouraged, sad, & may consider giving up your dream, right?

But what if you re-frame that “failure” into a learning lesson of what does not work. This is what Thomas Edison did as he attempted to invent the light bulb some 10,000 times. Each time it wouldn’t work & he’d try again differently until he succeeded!!

Had Edison given up, we wouldn’t have enjoyed the luxury of electricity. Same thing goes for whatever you really aspire to do especially tough endeavors. You need to be aggressive at getting it right.

When things don’t turn out as you want them to, you certainly need to change your strategy. If you keep doing the same thing in the same way every time, you’ll get the same results each time.

So, “If success isn’t there when you show up the first time, keep showing up differently till it’s there. Eventually it’ll get bored of its hiding.” ~3Ds

Got the trick? Cshange your sad mask … Shrug your shoulders & say “oh, well… I’ll try something new”… Better yet, roar when you face a disappointment saying “I’ll fare better next time”….

The sky is definitely not the limit to what you can do when the world “failure” ceases to exist in your dictionary!

Some 10,000 reasons can be found for succeeding if you really want to …

Start counting…. The “hows” are just around the corner. Yeeee-haaa!! 🙂

Your Personal Coach

Dania

Work-Life Balance (before you go off edge)


ImageOne of the first things I do with my clients at the beginning of a “Coaching” contract is to examine their wheel of life (see picture up there). I consider it an “eye opener” to start the process of progress. It gives a bird’s eye view of the levels of satisfaction (from 0 to 10; with 10 being most satisfied) on their: Career, finances, health, friends and family, romance, personal growth, fun and recreation, and their physical environment. These identify life areas that are not working well and needing change to live life more fully. Great deficits in fulfillment in any one area can spill over to the rest; hence, negatively affecting general well-being. We cannot neglect any one area. Just as a house cannot be built on one pillar, so is life satisfaction. It’s a whole; and cannot be reliant on only one source.

The concept of work-life balance is common and implicitly warns people not to get too consumed in having a career at the expense of nourishing the rest of their life support systems. It is a known fact that most of the working force spends their entire day on the job. They become so busy making a living that they forget to live their lives.  Even non-working house-wives assume the career of a “full time mom” or a “full time house-wife” that they sometimes drift in the mundane neglecting vital life ingredients until they feel a huge void. If you give it some thought, each of us has multiple roles (especially the sandwiched generation): the true self, career role, son/daughter, parent, spouse, friend, community volunteer, etc…. The true self, sometimes, suffers the most. Every so often, competing and conflicting roles and priorities can be very difficult to handle. We become defocused and find ourselves thrown off balance suffering health problems, depression, poor performance, stress, strain, or complete burn-out.

It’s not so simple to balance it all, but at least we can be more aware of maximizing the use of our time. Time being the most valuable, yet limited, asset we have which once used cannot be retrieved. Life can easily slip us by; and if we’re not alert to how we’re investing our time, by the end of our path, we may find ourselves filled with regrets. Just imagine you’re at your “death bed” contemplating your life. What would you be saying? Scary thought to many, huh? So, how can you best balance before everything hits the fan?

Here are some few guidelines to face the challenge:

  1. Fill in the wheel of life: Find out which life areas you’re very dissatisfied with and need your attention most. What can you improve? What are you willing to improve? (see? there’s a difference between “can” and “willing”). The first step to any change is awareness. It has been said that 50% of solving any problem lies in knowing what it is, so get clear on what’s not working for you. Then, start getting focused on taking serious gradual steps to implement changes. Things will never get resolved on their own.
  2. Set SMART Goals: Once you nail down the opportunities for improvement, set the baby steps to rectify. The acronym SMART for goals refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. These ensure rectifying the dissatisfied areas and having a map for a clearer journey ahead. For instance, if you found that you are not so content on the area of family and friends perhaps for being over-worked on the job, specify that you need to “spend more quality time on the weekend with family or friends”. The way about it may be to arrange for gatherings, or more outings. Always get specific: “how”, “when”, “with whom”, “number of times”,…  and make sure it doesn’t conflict with others’ plans. Gather your SMART goals with the specifics on a sheet of paper and read it every morning.
  3. Manage your time: Make the best use of those 86,400 seconds each day. Managing how you spend your time can be the key to your productivity on all levels. Many claim they don’t have the time, for instance, to read (i.e. feed their personal growth), or generate more income (i.e. feed their finances). Well… that’s not very accurate. You can always make the time for important things. It’s just that you may not have taken a deep decision to actually commit to doing things of importance. Why would most people adopt a certain regimen as per their doctor’s advice when their life is threatened? Suddenly, you find them having extra time, right? Think hard of that wheel of life. What should you do to become happier? Incorporate it into your schedule. This is when the SMART goals’ sheet needs updating to specify “when” to get things done.
  4. Establish healthy rituals: It can be difficult sometimes to kick off new habits when you find out that these are needed to feed into better balance. Take exercise for example. To kick it off as a habit requires a lot of planning and self-discipline in the beginning. Most research suggests a period of at least 21 days to establish habits. This is when the neural pathways in the brain become strong enough to make the behavior automatic. The habit, then, becomes an addiction that you cannot easily do without. The constellation of healthy routines (e.g. sleeping patterns, eating right, social media use, responding to emails,..…) eventually provide structure and make a big difference in your life. Rituals and habits are automatic acts you don’t spend much mental effort on; thus, allow you to have more energy to spend on other worthy and effortful tasks. So, what healthy routines can you plan among your goals now?
  5. Use a journal: Be it for your personal, or professional life, having a journal to plan your days in line with your goals will provide the necessary structure, clarity, and commitment. It facilitates organizing your time and taking the necessary steps to balance your life. Journaling your “to do list” will enable you to become more realistic in what you can achieve in one day, throughout the week, or for the whole month. Avoid writing one “to do list”. The sight of it may be overwhelmingly scary that many end up procrastinating about it. A dated journal has the advantage of allocating your targets over a period of time while ensuring you take care of urgent matters first. Remember to remain flexible as you proceed throughout the days and shift what you couldn’t do on a specific day to a later time. Your journal will eventually reflect your productivity and help you keep things on track.
  6. Manage your stress: Keep an eye on your life stressors and take measures to reduce their effects. After all, too many stressors can throw you off edge all of a sudden. When faced with stressful situations, focus on changing either the situation, or your reaction. Changing the situation means you either alter it (e.g. change your job) or avoid it (e.g. take a different route while commuting to escape traffic). When changing the situation is not possible, you can only change the way you feel about it. You need to stop fretting about what’s bothering you and accept that it just is (e.g. a negative colleague working in the same office), or adapt to it (i.e. looking at the big picture of what truly matters). It’s important that you avoid bottling up any tension by using quick stress-busting techniques frequently; like: deep breathing, positive self-talk, music, seeking social support, etc…

These are only the basic steps when your aim is to have a more balanced life. To really work it out, you have to have a whole hearted intention to have a new mission. Writing things down and organizing your path is a pre-requisite to succeed in doing that. Research after research documents that those who thrive have clear well written goals. You can assess and revise these as you proceed. Finally, and to add new things into your routines, entails giving up some other things in place. Why don’t you start off by making a “don’t do list” to identify your life “time-wasters”? Then, continue to MAKE the time to do things of greater value to balance it all….

Let’s Make Change Easy: 8 Simple Ways


To effect positive change is not as easy as we’d like to think it is. Most people (as not to say all) think of changing to the better one way or another. We think of changing our life style, overcome bad habits or kick in new ones, acquire new skills, or change the way we think, the way we look, react, or behave. We even consider changing our situations and dream of things to happen, but dreams remain mere fantasies. Many times we rightfully postpone the decision until we resolve some other battles first, but we never cross that bridge. At other times, the need becomes beefier and, finally, a shift to action from complaining takes over. We take the first step towards that bridge.

The impetus to change can be triggered by external or internal forces. External forces can be enticing; pushing us or pulling us to seek change. It could be someone else inspiring (or even threatening), or it could simply be an attractive other situation. The more powerful motivator stems from within. No doubt extreme dissatisfaction (and many times pain) can push us more forcefully towards change. And how many times do we wait to hit bottom before deciding that something should be done?

In all cases, change is not simple despite our highest motivation. It means we have to put in some effort; to give up an easier old pattern of living. Leaving the familiar and changing the status quo could be terrifying; so is stretching beyond our comfort of zone. What we need to keep in mind is that the catalyst of change is a moment of decision followed by commitment to effect that change. The “stretching” further can be facilitated through the following 8 simple steps:

  1. Identify what you want to change in a positive manner (your ultimate goal as opposed to what you don’t want). Make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Timed). Work backwards in creating the baby steps (mini goals) to simplify it and keep track.
  2. In writing, list the benefits and reasons for change. This wraps change in a sense of urgency. You need plenty of arguments to outnumber any resistance in expending the effort. Get clear on the advantages and how your life will be transformed. You need to appeal to your cognitive mind. And when that takes place, it starts to “feel right”. Eventually, it will similarly appeal to your emotions.
  3. Observe a role model who has already gone through the process of change. This enables perceiving that what you aim for is doable not impossible. Model what that person did and save yourself some “trial and error” attempts.
  4. Build on your own achievements. You surely have had a success (most likely many) of some sort in the past. Remember those times. Self-coach and self-motivate as hard as you can (see step 8 if you can’t do it on your own).
  5. Visualize yourself “as if” already having changed (how you behave, look like, the whole situation, etc…). The brain doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined. This is a process of instilling a new pattern and it takes time to replace the old one. Fake it till you make it.
  6. Pay conscious attention to your self-talk; to how you’re behaving or feeling. It’s easy to be guided by that same old autopilot and this is where most of the effort resides. You are now on a new mission.  Keep reminding yourself of your new purpose.
  7. Reward yourself on achievements periodically. We do have a tendency to forget to celebrate. “Little wins” and those baby steps have to be acknowledged. These are great motivators. Capitalize on such positive emotions.
  8. Hire someone who can give you an extra push to make it happen. Yes, pay for the service of a coach or therapist (I’m not advertising my services here J Naaah J ). The idea that you’re investing some money in the change process psychologically makes you feel obliged. You also have multiple other benefits beyond discussion here (a change in perspective, a listener, a cheerleader to name a few)

And once change is implemented in one area, other things appear simpler to control. The process kicks in and the momentum snowballs. Gradually, the sense that you are able to turn things round to your advantage makes you more empowered. Change begets change and life fulfillment is but an escapade. The process continues; it’s not another blue- print. You may also need to consider maintaining the change by surmounting the inevitable obstacles you face. These need to be considered mere challenges that are part of your dynamic journey towards change. To those who didn’t know these steps, of course change wouldn’t seem easy. But now you know. Let’s make it easy….

The Omnipotence of Self-talk


As you read these lines, don’t you hear your own voice in a whisper like tone echoing behind your eyeballs? Most probably you do; and it is not deliberate. You’re always engaged in self-talk and despite this being a characteristic of your mental chatter, you seldom monitor it or pay attention to. This is the way you think. That voice creates your inner idiosyncratic world; so private no one knows what’s going on in there.

 HOW ABOUT WHEN YOU READ THESE LINES NOW?? WITH ALL THE LETTERS WRITTEN IN CAPITALS?? DID THE TONE OF THAT VOICE INCREASE IN VOLUME SOMEHOW? I bet it did. The tone of your self-talk changes volume all the time. Similarly, the type of language you use varies. Like it or not, your mind is constantly buzzing with thoughts and ideas. Your internal dialogue is quite a phenomenon of the mind; however, it is a double edged sword. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It steers your emotions and is the commander in chief of your behavior. Let me elaborate.

Think for a moment about a time when you did a grave mistake. Did you drone in endless self-reprimand? Did your self-talk resemble barking orders at yourself like an angry mother whose child had just dreadfully misbehaved? What sort of language did you use? How did that make you feel? Guilty as hell, right? Words like “Shame on you” and other inflammatory accusations could ignite a sense of being a failure. Invective language can swallow your self-esteem. How can you later be confident in anything you do? This activates a cycle of hesitation and inadequacy in dealing with the new.

 Now, can you recall a time when you applauded yourself on a job well done? You probably used affirmative language recounted in the sweetest cheerful, even, sexiest tone ever. Your positive self-talk compounded your feelings of triumph till you were full to the brim. This process may have sent waves of euphoria to the rest of your body till you were ecstatically numb. And what a feeling! What a state to experience! It gives you an impetus towards further action. Now you’re full of yourself; more confident in doing the right things.

These are but few examples to demonstrate the influence of your inner voice on your feelings. Your emotions are so tied up to your self-talk; and consequently so are your actions. You not only engage in external battles with opponents or situations; you top it up by internal mental battles between thoughts that may sway you in disperse directions. There’s a dialogue running in your head constantly and it ranges from minor assessments of what you or others do, to making all sorts of decisions. You internally speak the ideas roaming in your head. You tell yourself what to do or how to do it. Your internal dialogue can focus your attention narrowly or makes you open to a world of new possibilities. It can cripple you dead, or serve you well.

 Your self-talk makes you an almighty human being. Change your inner dialogue when you’re feeling down and your mood changes. To err is human, but you don’t need to keep whipping yourself for something past and done. “Note taken, I’ll learn from it” and then move on….. If you aspired to keep empowering yourself, you need to be a master of your thoughts. Change your language and be gentle with yourselves before your self-criticism escalates into self-destruction. And when negative self-talk seeps in, refuse to empower it by denying it further energy. Stop, and change that detrimental chitchat.

 If you hadn’t before, start paying attention to that inner voice of yours. Befriend it and use it as a tool to appease you, guide you, and pull you towards progress. After all, self-hypnosis lies squarely on such self-talk. It’s what you want to become that you tell yourself. It’s the new “to be created you” that you converse about. And you don’t have to be hypnotizing yourself to change your inner language to affirmative statements. Just practice positive self-talk until it becomes an iron-clad ritual that works for yo; not against you.

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