Learn to Replace Any Habit in 7 Simple Steps

We all have a habit that we wish we didn’t, maybe it was biting your nails, eating junk food when we are stressed, or shopping when we feel lonely.

Since habits are so simple and easy to form, is it any wonder that we have problems in life?

So what is a habit and how does one go about forming new ones?

According to dictionary.com, habits are “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”.

So now the question becomes… How does one change a habit. The simple answer is, merely create a conflicting habit which takes over.

Want to stop stress eating? Practice deep breathing.

Want to stop caffine? Try drinking tea or decafe instead. Change your diet to a more health and energy promoting one, and go to bed earlier.

Want to stop biting your nails? Wear gloves.

Every “bad” habit as a remedy and the solution comes in the form of continuous reinforcement.

But Where to Start?

Once we recognize bad behaviors or behaviors which are less favorable, we can begin to change them by putting into practice systems that allow the good behaviors to flourish and the bad ones to die off slowly.

The first part of habit creation is noticing a behavior you wish to change.

The second part, and often the hardest part, is implementing system to support such change.

The third, and final stage of habit restructuring, is revisiting the system, evaluating the outcome (does it work?), and modifying the system for further support of the new habit creation.

An Example of A Behavioral Change Project:

Lets say you want to lose 20 pounds in the next 3 weeks.

Rather than go on a crash diet and then give up after 10 days of doing it, why not make an activity become your behavior change.

Your results won’t be instant, but you will be focusing on the behavioral change rather just the results, weight loss, that you desire.

Lets make a plan to drop some weight and do it through adoption of a healthier diet.

We will break things down into a series of steps which you can follow for any habit which you wish to replace.

Step 1: Recognize bad, or unhealthy behaviors, and document them.

At this stage we don’t need to try and change ourselves, at least not yet, our sole focus is to document what we are doing wrong and try to capture all of it on pen and paper or on a notepad on your phone or computer.

An example of a bad behavior could be eating junk food and fast food during the week or during times of stress. Don’t judge yourself, just write it down.

This could be due to not cooking at home, not being prepared with healthy food options at home, running out of time due to lack of preparation, or simply laziness, but again we aren’t judging or trying to change our behaviors in this stage, we are merely documenting them.

Step 2: Research a solution

Look at blogs, websites, ask friends, find an expert or a perceived expert who can help you.

Start by gathering 2-3 recipes which you wish to make that week from sources online like pinterest, forksoverknives.com, or another health food blog which you follow.

I found one on Pinterest i’d like to make (and in fact I’ve made this the last 3 years of my lifestyle change).

Next step is to print off the recipes and make a meal shop list for the ingredients.

Step 3: Map Out A Plan

I like to call this the “initial roadmap” for success.

In our initial weight loss example, changing that behavior, we could try cooking for ourself for a week and make all of our meals in advanced thus saving both time and money in the process and teaching us a valuable skill.

This is how you will replace the unhealthy bad behavior with healthy good behavior.

The best way to save time at the grocery store is to make a list before you go shop. You can literally save yourself hours at the store and walk away with more money in your pocket too. For more on why list shopping is superior to “free-balling it” check out: How to cut your grocery shopping time in half.

So make a list of all the ingredients you will need for the recipe to make 6 days of meals, give yourself a cheat day, they are good for you.

Cross anything off the list that you already have in the kitchen (spices, cream, almond milk, etc).

Take your refined list and save it to your iPhone.

Step 4: Take the first step, it’s always the hardest.

In our example it’s shopping for the groceries. The first trip to the store you might feel like it’s a major waste of time, you can’t do it, you spend too much time reading labels, or a number of other excuses that come to mind. That’s ok. You are learning.The first time I went to the store I sure as hell wasnt as efficient as I am today. I was reading labels for what felt like hours. Seemingly making little to no progress… but what I didn’t realize was that I was building up a mental library of every food that I bought, in addition to a mind map of the store. If you shop at the same store weekly you will begin to realize that you know where your staples are located. So the trick is to just go when there are no crowds, learn what you need, make a list before you go and eat something, then make the shop. You will save time, money and sanity if you do it like I’ve outlined in How to cut your grocery shop time in half.

Step 5: Batching your work for better, faster results.

Follow the recipes and make large enough batches to prep food for the whole week, portioning them out and labeling with datesIf you are making food for one meal it takes a whole lot less effort to make an additional 5 meals all at once rather than 6 individual meals separatly. So save time, and energy, and make bigger batches of your meals and you will find weight loss will happen naturally as well. Which leads me to my next point…

Step 6: When your result is completed ahead of time you can focus the energy on other things.

Just open up the container and eat the meal when you need it, it’s ready and delicious, and the best part Is that you know exactly what’s in it. When you have a result delivered directly to you and you pay a smaller amount, whether it’s in time, money, or energy, you gain back additional energy you can use on other more important projects.

Step 7: Incorporate one new habit a month until you have 12 new habits a year.

With our meal example, you can simply add one new recipe to the rotation each week and by the end of the month you will know 12 new recipes, one for each meal of the day. You will know exactly what goes into the meals and you will have full control over your budget for your meals too, spending less money on what doesn’t matter and reinvesting the difference in the betterment of your life.

Also, one last thing…

Don’t forget to track everything. Measuring your results, be it weight loss, money saved, time saved or happiness gained, it’s important that you benchmark where you are and where you were.This system will help facilitate a healthy habit and end with the results of losing weight and feeling better. If you take this approach to everything you do, this approach of systematizing everything, you may actually find that you become more creative in the process.

How to Change Any Habit

How To Move Past Paralysis By Analysis

Are you feeling stuck? Are you struggling to make progress towards your goals? Have you felt information overwhelm?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then listen up. This little nugget of wisdom will help you break free and make progress

Are you feeling stuck? Are you struggling to make progress towards your goals? Have you felt information overwhelm?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then listen up. This little nugget of wisdom will help you break free and make progress

Don’t Over Analyze Things Before You Start

One of the biggest challenges to getting started with you know paying off your debt starting up your own business starting to develop a lifestyle that you choose to have is overthinking.

I remember that I tend to think a lot about things and have a very analytical mindset or so I’ve been told.

I tend to analyze things and I’ve actually noticed that I have paralysis by analysis by not “doing”.

Something that I’ve found it’s not just a struggle I have, it’s a struggle that a lot of people have and the only solution that I can think of that can help solve this is to take action. 

I know, you hear it all the time in self-help circles and internet marketing circles and in online business circles like Amazon and eBay. You always hear “just take action, take action, take action” and it’s like alright I right I get it I’m supposed to take action but you’ve given me eight 18 hours of content how am I supposed to take action whenever i’ve I’ve got 17 days worth of videos to watch?

The simple truth is that you are not supposed to have all the answers when you start. If you continue to research and research and “think” before you act then you are going to get stuck in that “paralysis by analysis stage”. 

So the simple solution is to take small actions and small steps, small commitments, and then grow those small steps and actions into bigger ones. 

Now if you’ve got only $400 to your name, or even just $200 to your name, right we’re HECK! Seth from Just One Dime  had literally “Just One Dime” to his name he grew a business to the $1MM + mark

In the beginning he was working for someone else and was making his money to only be able to pay his bills and stuff but his actual startup capital was a dime, as in a single coin.

He just went down to downtown Austin and kept asking people to double his dime until he got to $400 and then once he got up to about $400 and he re-invested in products he could sell online

A simple example of you how you don’t have to have much to get started. You could start with only 50 bucks, going out to garage sales on the weekend and find some stuff to sell on ebay and amazon. You could also start up a blog, or start up a Shopify site and learn how to get traffic to your Shopify site. 

The point is, you can get started with a small amount of investment capital and scale things up really big.

Don’t Over Commit and Allocate All Your Resources to Just One Venture

Don’t commit 100% of your finances to starting a business that isn’t proven yet.

Don’t commit your mortgage, don’t take a second mortgage on your home in order to get a loan to start a business that you don’t have experience in

If you had experience you’d have cash flow coming in from your business you could then use to fund another venture. 

Don’t commit a hundred percent of your money, don’t commit a hundred percent of your finances unless you’ve only got 400 bucks to your name.

Test small at first and buy stuff for ten bucks or something. Once you start turning a profit then you can reinvest that into bigger purchases.

If you are just starting out, you can afford to gamble more of what you have and lose it all, but if you can manage to gamble less than 10% of your total investment capital then do that and test small. By lower cost items at first or start up something free like social media and learn how to provide value first and get paid to do so.

Once you have some capital to reinvest then begin spending more and aim for lower cost investments where you can maximize your return first.

Why Multitasking is the Death Of Productivity

Why do we think multitasking is a skill?

I know countless job postings which claim that applicants “must be able to multitask” and yet, when we actually look at the research, not only is multitasking not actually a “thing” but it’s actually a great way of reducing your productivity. So why is it that employers feel the need to put it on job application criteria? Do they want us to be less productive and pay us to be that way?

I’m going to answer these questions below. But first. Why do we “multitask”?

You may say, “To get more done” or “to appear like we are working harder than we really are”, “To ‘stand out’ in the market place better”, or  even “to feel like we are more productive than we truly are”.

But the simple truth is that multitasking, though it may seem like it’s working, is really simply task switching and is in fact decreasing our productivity and results. 

Here’s why.

Two critical thinking – left brain activities, or two creative thinking – right brain activities, are not possible to perform with our current human monkey brains.

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The single most important skill moving into the future will be task focusing or single tasking. 

In a world where we will have, and already have, seemingly infinite choices, multitasking seems to be the norm. But in fact, the most productive and happy individuals know that focus is key to success.

But Where’s the research on this?

After doing a little bit of research on the subject by running a quick search through google for the terms “multi-tasking” and “task switching” I was able to find the following:

How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work) – Forbes

Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again : NPR – NPR

Multitasking Damages Your Brain And Career, New Studies Suggest – Another Forbes article

Based on the articles here are the highlights:

  • Multitaskers think they are more productive then they are when they aren’t
  • People who frequently “Multitask” have difficulty organizing thoughts and are slower at “task switching”
  • IQ scores of “Multitaskers” decreased when they multitasked.
  • According to Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT, “People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves…”

So, if I heard you correctly there is really no such thing as “multitasking”, at least not when it comes to thinking activities.

And I want to mention, if you are reading this and rubbing your belly in circles while patting yourself on the head, CONGRATULATIONS! you have successfully learned a duel motor-skill with absolutely no real world application…#losing

If you want to try truly multitasking, try playing the violin while doing calculus.

Or better year do accounting while trying to paint.

Solve a riddle while drawing shapes with your left hand…

Ok, So How Does One Go About Single Tasking? 

First you must create a list, then decide on which items need to be done first in level of importance. 

Then, you must turn off external distractions and trust in the list that you created being the path to reaching your destination at the end of the day.

You may be tempted to get distracted with social media sites, friend messages, and emails, but you must fight the urge to forego your most critical tasks for these nice little distractions.

There is a time and place for social networking and it is not during your productive hours.

Here’s a little exercise you can do

Get a blank piece of paper. (Yes, that ancient thing that people once used to use to convey ideas and messages on).

Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down all the things floating around in your head. All of your ideas and thoughts for everything you must do for the entire day, write them down write.

Once you have that list, now set another timer and write an “a””b” or “c” next to the task in level of importance. 

(A) These are the things that will make a major impact on your life, these are your “must do’s” or your critical tasks with time lines on them. Grocery shopping (you gotta eat), making sales (again, we have to eat), working on your business, working on projects that are mission critical for work, spending time with family, oh and going to sleep, etc.

(B) These are activities which are important but may not necessarily be urgent or may not drastically impact your life but would benefit you. These can include writing for your site, writing a book, working on building relationships with other business owners, conferences, reading books on your area of expertise, other personal development, family vacations, etc. 

(C) These are the nice to do’s or the things that really aren’t that important and if they don’t get done then it won’t really matter. Things like trying out that one restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try, watching tv, getting your shirts dry cleaned personally, disputing credit card transactions with the carwash down the street, taking out the trash, etc. Things in this category can often times be delegated. 

In Conclusion

Two critical thinking, or left brain activities, or two creative thinking, or right brain activities, are not possible to perform with our current human monkey brains. 

They are Duel core processors (if you will humor me) which allow for one critical thinking task at a time on either lobe. 

Detailed analysis of stocks while analyzing your search traffic? Nope. 

Want to write the outline for a novel while painting? Not going to happen. They both use the same areas of the brain. 

So why not give your brain a break and focus on just one critical activity at a time, scheduling out your time during the day, so as to accomplish the most important first, then trickle down to the next, and the next? 

“How to Master Your Time” By Brian Tracey.

It is a fantastic book, which you can get on audio as well, and you can listen to it while driving to work or while on the bus or train. In it you will learn how to effectively plan your day, how to delegate more efficiently and often, how to energize yourself with positive results feedback loop, and how to develop a sense of self worth from being the master of your own time even if you work for someone else at the moment. 

Also if you are a freelancer or a business owner and you do creative work, I suggest getting Timing. It’s a useful app that allows you to setup and seamlessly track activities that you do on the computer which makes tracking billing hours easy and seamless, allows for more accurate reporting, and even produces a productivity score on your work flow for better analysis. 

To download a copy of timing click here: timingapp.com

In a world with many distractions, learning to focus and track results is becoming an ever increasing skill. Learning to master your time and focus with laser precision will be the next step in your personal and professional development.

 

 

How To Cut Your Grocery Shopping Time in Half Or More Each Week

Tired of long lines at the grocery store? Waiting at the gas pump? Don’t like taking hour long lunches with only 10 minutes to actually eat?

In this short little video talk about how I spend as little as 45 minutes a week grocery shopping and how you can use these simple hacks to save yourself tons of time and money too.

If you’re tired of wasting needless time waiting in lines then try use this simple productivity hack to cut your wait times in half or more each week.

This simple little hack has saved me hours each month on shopping for food alone let alone countless other activities and tasks I need to get done throughout the week.

By the time you drive there, get to check out, and drive home most week days you’ve spent somewhere around an hour shopping.

Why not cut that time in half with this simple little trick?

Music: Bat City Rhythm “I know” check out their full EP on iTunes

How To Finally Eliminate Telemarketer(s)

If you’ve ever had an annoying call come through from a telemarketer, you know those guys with a thick accent who are trying to sell you viagra or some crap you don’t need? Then you know the pains of dealing with these people and how you can hang up on them 100 times and they still won’t stop calling…

Obviously they are still stuck in the 90’s with their boiler room esk call centers and their repeated attempts to hawk crap… but I’m wondering why they are still doing this when it doesn’t do anyone any favors except for the occasional con man whom makes a quick buck.

The Question Still Begs to be Asked, How Does One Avoid These Pesky Goons?

I think I may have an answer my friends, and it comes in the form of a free call screening assistant.

Actually, I have 3 useful tools to help reduce the number of pesky “pill salesman” and unwanted insurance quote calls and here they are:

Number 1: Mr Number

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I just recently heard about this application and I think it may have been through an application search on the iPhone iOS store, I’m not certain to be honest. I will say though that since I downloaded Mr. Number, my number of fraud calls has declined by at least 20% I would say, and of the remaining spam and telemarketer calls that do come through, between Mr. Number and t-mobiles fraud screening I answer about 0% of spam calls now adays.

The caller id, again thanks to Mr. Number, shows up as either 1 of 3 options. (1) Potential Spoofing a little yellow triangle with exclamation point (2) Telemarketer with a little yellow triangle with exclamation point, or (3) Scam calls with a little red minus sign (not shown above).

And if you so choose you can even send these calls straight to voicemail without having to avoid the call.

Now another thing I really like that this app does is it allows you to copy the number of a call that “slipped through the cracks” into the app and you can add the number to the Mr. Number database of spoofy numbers and thus help out everyone else in the community too avoid the unwanted pill salesman from overseas…

For the link to itunes where you can download mr. Number for free click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mr-number-call-block-lookup/id1047334922?mt=8

For where to download it on the Android Play store go here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mrnumber.blocker&hl=en

Number 2: Get Your Own Call Screening Assistant For Free

Now this second one is a little more old school and after mentioning the above resource I kind of feel like this is not really necessary; however, it is definitely good for anyone using android or another operating system if Mr. Number is in fact only on the iOS platform.

Google, back in 2009, launched google voice a free service through Grand Central. This program allowed it’s users to claim a telephone number with a local area code, have calls screened real time, sent to voicemail, then transcribed for the user to view through text and/or email. Now this was the bee’s knees (no kidding) back when it launched in 2009 and you had to jump on the opportunity to get a number in your local area code or you might miss out.

Since then though area codes that were previously unavailable have now become available, and my guess is that folks have dropped out of the program as now there are area codes which were formerly unavailable.

Either way this program is still a great program to use for call screening as most of the telemarketing calls and the spammy craigslist pyramid schemes go straight to voicemail where you get to read them in a convenient (fairly accurate) text format.

To start using google voice you need a google account and to follow their basic setup guide which you can find here: https://support.google.com/voice/answer/115061?hl=en&ref_topic=1707989

Number 3: Use Your Voicemail and Text Message

Last but certainly not least, good ol’ voicemail and text. If you are like me then you really dispise being bothered by unwanted calls of people trying to sell you junk you don’t need. Being in sales for so long, one can truly appreciate the time and effort going into crafting a quality message for an amazing product and have it reach clients whom are interested.

One can also begin to lothe all the amatures and the people out there trying to peddle cheaply made products and services that leave a customer desperately needing to fix the problem the “cheaper” option created… even though had they sought out the right help in the first place it would have cost them a fraction of the time and headache that they “discount” option did.

With that being said, I have now created a short message that I have on my voicemail that all folks whom are not saved in my phone contact list will get to hear. It goes something like this:

Hi, thank you for calling _______ phone. Due to the abnormally high number of telemarketing calls that I get on a daily and weekly basis I will be sending all calls to voicemail. I apologize in advanced if this has caused you inconvenience if you are someone that I do business with; however, in order to ensure that I am available to answer calls from you and from other welcomed business associates I have had to take measures into my own hands and stop relying on the national do not call registry (ha! What a joke). With that being said any friends or family that need to reach me you know how to get a hold, and if I don’t have your number saved in my phone and you got sent to voicemail, maybe there’s a reason why I didn’t take your call… I hope you all have a wonderful day and if you are still doing telemarketing please look for a real job in your spare time.”

With this message I get to weed out the last 5% of callers that still think they will some day get that last pack of overpriced sugar pills in my hands. My rational is that with these three systems in place, I’m only getting the calls that I truly am looking to get and I haven’t had any issues with receiving the calls that actually matter. Friends and family that I want to speak to are saved in my phone and can text me, email me, or hit me up on social media messengers. Business associates have my business email, and unwanted spammers are kept in their place (right in my voicemail box where I can add their number to Mr. Number and delete their message).

Now I also learned that often times telemarketers will not text, so when they don’t text back it’s an immediate sign that they are spammers. Likewise, if someone really needs to get a hold of you, they can send you a text message or an email to reach you.

Ultimately it leads back to one thing, as one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, once said “you must go from unwanted pest to welcome guest”. I believe this is a great lesson for all the people out there desperately clinging to that call center job, Ditch the job! You’re better than that… As long as you randomly dial numbers for a living you are going to be an unwanted pest, and if you are reading this wondering how to keep the pests off your lawn, well I gave you the tools that I use to get rid of them critters. It’s up to you to use them.

 

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Top 4 Productivity Apps I Use

It’s been brought to my attention that i’m spending way too much time on the laptop. Mostly i’m spending unnecessary time, and that results in stress and burnout. So to counter this, I’ve made a move to test out a new set of Productivity App s to get more organized, become more efficient, and to put data behind my decision making.

Now here are the apps that I will be using to further enhance my productivity.

Timing

This productivity app allows for tracking time on your computer to help you become more efficient and to invoice clients. I get a free license through work so I thought I’d try it out. Useful to get data behind timing and not just set timers all day. You can bill clients with this, get insight into your most productive hours of the day, and use it to schedule your tasks and projects better.

Update: after using this for a week I quickly realized that I have difficulty staying on task and not task switching. So to prevent this I actually disable the internet on my computer for non-internet critical tasks and worked to block out more hours. I’m still working on testing the rest of the software because it’s really robust, definitely worth the sticker price of $49 for pro and $29 for the basic productivity tracker (good for 3 and 2 Macs respectively).

Things

Getting everything organized in one application to let you review your todos, projects and tasks for the day. I’ve been using things3 for about 2 weeks now and the $50+ price tag initially got me wincing, but after using this I realized pretty quickly that I’m just not efficient with my time if I use any other reminder/project management system right now.

Reminders and calendar just weren’t cutting it so I dove in and got the full software. If I were to do it again I would probably do their free trial (its 14 days for free) and you can get used to the software before you buy it. You can get a free 14 day trial here at https://culturedcode.com/things/

Things3: Organization productivity app
Things 3: getting organized in the modern day with productivity apps.

iCal: For daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendar notifications I just use the built in Mac calendar app iCal. I like it because it’s built in and I can pull my personal calendars and work ones into a single screen for viewing. I have my two gmail accounts syncing with my Mac calendar app and my 3 personal accounts so that I can see what everyone on my team is doing and who needs to be doing what.

iCal

Calendar productivity app for macOS, comes installed on all Mac computers and iPhones. This is a simple and easy to use application which provides integration with all your favorite calendar accounts such as icloud, outlook, gmail, etc.

What I like about iCal is that it’s a simple, easy to use calendar client which is always found in your doc right down at the bottom of the site.

Zoom

Free web conferencing software allows you to host one on one meetings, client coaching calls, record calls for clients, and to share video recordings with your team. Definitely a plus to have one application that does video conferencing, call recording and screen casting during said calls.

I am still getting used to these applications and learning about how to use them, but I will keep you updated as I become more versed in them and share any findings I have with you along the way of how they effect my productivity or if they get in the way.

 

Update: I’ve been using things3 for about a month and a half now and find that it’s really simple but not necessarily easy to use. Though you can pull all your reminders in from the Mac reminders app and you can see everything on your calendar I kinda feel as though it’s a little cluttered. I would suggest getting used to trimming the fat and getting rid of needless todos or outsourcing some of that such as grocery shopping or house cleaning so that you can stay productive on what wins the bread.

Also I really love timing, it’s great at what it does, smart tracking. It shows you from a daily and a weekly view what you are most productive at and where you may be wasting time on needless internet sites. I’ve used it only for a week and already notice my focus constricting.

As far as iCal, I use it about the same, I recently had to forego using my Mac due to an issue so I’m using my GF MacBook Pro (my old one) to write this. Thanks to my password manager and web apps like WordPress and gmail I am able to continue writing and working on my business without the need for a physical computer (I’m in the cloud baby). More on that later.