6 Simple Habits That Can Make a Significant Difference

I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of February. It’s the shortest month on the calendar but can seem like the longest. Other than my son’s birthday and the Super Bowl, I’d love to jump to March. At least there’s a chance I’ll see grass then. Spring is hopefully around the corner, but Winter does it’s best to remind us…not yet.

 

Blah Blah Blah

February is also the time many 2017 goals and ambitions fall off, leading to feelings of discouragement, frustration and apathy. Maybe that’s you today. Are you dealing with the Winter blahs? If you are, you’re not alone.

I’d like to suggest 6 simple habits that you can initiate today that can have a greater impact on your life than you might want to believe. 6 lifehacks if you will, that are easy and effective in improving our lives. So without any further ado, here we go.

Make Your Bed

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes that “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.

It may seem silly, but making your bed can give you a sense of accomplishment and it can reduce your stress level too. By accomplishing a simple task such as making your bed you have accomplished something and organized your space.

It might seem too small to matter but starting your day by making your bed gives you an instant feeling of success and the feeling that you are on top of things. You feel organized and ready to take on the day. This two minutes of work sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

By making your bed, you are starting to declutter your space. And a decluttered space lowers your level of stress and very calming. Who doesn’t want some calm? You are in control of your own space and how it looks and therefore, how it makes you feel. Why not start with making your bed? 

Kiss Your Spouse Goodbye                                                                                                                                                                      

No, I don’t mean for good. I mean each morning as you leave the house. I came across research suggesting that men who do this live 5 years longer..even if that’s anecdotal, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

Run Your Own 2-Minute Drill

In football there is a scheduled timeout when there are 2 minutes left in each half. The team with the ball is usually trying to score or run out the clock to prevent the other team from scoring. This is called the 2 minute drill.

Every day we have the opportunity to run our own version of the 2-minute drill.

Think of the transitions that occur each day as your 2 minute drill; here’s an example.

When you come home from work and the family is home, the first 2 minutes can determine the tone of the entire evening. How you greet them, your body language, facial expression and tone of voice are all part of the drill. Use them wisely.

How you enter the office at the start of the day can impact the relationship you have with your coworkers.

Whatever transitions you have, decide ahead of time how you will approach them. Determine that you will smile, give a warm greeting, a hug or kiss (if appropriate), use a positive tone of voice and offer a genuine greeting. It could have a dramatic affect on you and those around you.

Express Gratitude

Writing in a gratitude journal has become a popular practice. It’s a great way to start the day (after you’ve made the bed). According to Amy Morin, being grateful and can have a significant impact on your health, relationships and even improve your sleep.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Don’t Let The Dishes Pile Up

In this current season of my life I wash a lot of dishes. Whether at home or at our cafe. And truthfully, I don’t mind at all. I’ve written about this before, you can check it out here . But essentially, washing dishes can be refreshing, relaxing and provide time for reflection. So don’t avoid the dishes, wash them.

Ask How Someone Is Doing…And Listen For Their Answer

The other morning I was clearing the sidewalk out front of our cafe. A woman walked by and I said hello and asked how she was doing. She stopped, paused, and with trembling in her voice said, “I talked with my dad last night and he called me names.” She started to cry as she shared some of the harsh words directed at her.

I told her that I was sorry she had such a conversation and that she wasn’t the things he called her. That she wasn’t those things. She smiled, thanked me and went on her way.

The whole encounter took less than a minute but hopefully the exchange encouraged her. It wasn’t a bad way to start the day for me either.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to make some big decisions that can have a huge impact on the direction our lives go. But we can also make simple decisions that don’t take a lot of time or money, just focused effort.

The winter months can take their toll on our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual well-being. But these 6 simple habits can make a difference.

If you begin practicing all these habits, they might take you thirty minutes a day. But even implementing one or two is a good start.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

If Anyone Can Do What You’re Doing, You’re Doing It Wrong

As a teenager I really frustrated my dad…my mom too but I think my dad was more obvious about it. There is so much that I wish I could take back from that season in my life. But you can’t rewrite history.

There were numerous reasons for his frustrations…my lack of interest in school (grade 10 was mostly spent at the pool hall) and my extra-curricular activities that flew in the face of the values I was raised on.

It was tough on my dad…watching me coast through life with no ambition other than taking the path of least resistance every chance I could. It took it’s toll on him. It was a slap in the face and a deep disappointment.

One night, I came home late as usual, and my dad came to me and said, “Son, anyone can do what you’re doing.” At first I was confused, then just annoyed. He would go on to repeat this to me over and over.

Are you kidding me? I thought. I didn’t know too many kids my age doing the things I was doing. To me I was not following the crowd, but doing my own thing. Every kid should be good at something right? I was good at not being good. I was good at thumbing my nose at authority and going my own way.

But my dad never gave in and  would continue to remind me that, “Anyone can do what I was doing.”

What I failed to understand back then is that I wasn’t living up to who I could be. I wasn’t reaching my potential or even trying. I was essentially taking the easy road, even though I was convinced I was wasn’t.

My dad was trying to tell me that I was falling short…that I was not reaching my potential.

While that was true of me back then, it’s true for many people today too. Hey, it could be true of me too.

Do you know someone like that? Maybe you’re feeling this way.

Most of us do similar things that don’t really set us apart…we sleep, we get up, go to work, we eat, we watch TV, we meet with friends.

But what sets us apart? What sets you apart from everyone else? How do you know?

Here are some clues that you may not be living up to your own potential:

  • You’re not striving for anything
  • You’re bored with your life
  • You don’t know what your strengths are
  • You compare your life to others around you
  • Your life looks the same today, as it did last year at this time
  • You dream about doing something but never commit to an action plan
  • You haven’t failed in a while

Would any of those statements describe you? Which ones and why? Consider some of these ideas to jumpstart the changes you really want to make:

  • What have you been putting off, knowing all along it’s something you want to pursue? Say it out loud…write it down…tell someone. 
  • Take a personality test…learn more about yourself. Who are you…really? 
  • Get input from those you trust. Ask them to tell you what they see in you. (I’m not suggesting you make a FaceBook post searching for responses from people you hardly know) but have a conversation with a few who know you well. Get a fresh perspective. 
  • Instead of comparing your life to someone else’s, just to beat yourself up about where you’ve fallen short, connect with someone you respect and learn from them.  
  • Stop thinking and start doing. In many cases, you already know what to do…it’s time to do it.
  • Embrace failure as a path to success.  

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Michael Jordan

If my dad was alive today, I hope that he would see something very different in me than he did back then…some of the fruit from his parental labour. 

I do remember one special day. I was graduating from Seminary. A high school dropout had finally made it through college then graduate school to complete a Masters degree. I will never forget when I returned to my seat after receiving my degree, seeing my dad…giving me a standing ovation.

I guess he got a glimpse that day and maybe his words “Anyone can do what you’re doing” finally did not apply.

If you knew you couldn’t fail (even though it’s okay to) what would you do that you’re not doing now?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

So You Have Goals for 2017. Now What?

I hope you have goals for the coming year or at least are working at identifying them. I have three. Not thirteen, not thirty…three. How many do you have?

Whether you have one, three, five or more goals for 2017, there is one thing that you need to do to give yourself the best chance of accomplishing them.

Stop focusing on your goals!

That’s right. If you want to accomplish a significant goal this year, stop focusing on it. Simply writing something down on a piece of paper isn’t going to change a thing. Six months from now you’ll still be overweight, in debt, and in a bad relationship. I’m sorry to sound so pessimistic, but it’s true…someone has to say it.

Actually others have. Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide is famous for saying, “It’s the discipline of the process.” when asked about the success of his program.

It’s the discipline of the process!

Monday night was the College Football National Championship game, Alabama vs Clemson. A rematch of last years championship. This year Clemson came out on top. It was a great game and even though Alabama lost, Saban’s comments still ring true.

The Crimson Tide football program is successful because of processes in place; the routines and the systems they practice every day. Sure even before the season started back in September every player on the team wanted to win another championship. But their focus as a team is always the day to day habits and routines that they believe will give them the best chance to reach the goal.

You can’t control every outcome but you can control the process. 

Sometimes there are outside forces that can influence outcomes. In football, teams deal with injuries, weather and of course the other team. But daily routines are basically ours to make and to follow.

Our lives are made up of daily habits and choices.

Think about it. From sunrise to bedtime your life is a series of choices. You might as well be intentional about them. It’s been said that our future is made up of our daily habits. How you look and feel next year will be a reflection of what you do today, tomorrow and so on. How much money you have saved will be as a result of your regular spending and saving habits now.

You have more control than you think

If your life is a collection of daily habits, then you get to choose what they will be. You have control. You can choose to make changes. This may take away any excuses you want to hang on to, but the good news is positive changes are within your reach.

A clear process with consistent habits give you the best chance for success

Have you ever been part of a team that worked on a project where the outcome was okay but the process stunk? You know, like it was disorganized, or constantly changing or one or two individuals made it almost unbearable to work with them? I have. Most of us have at some point I suppose.

But even if the goal was reached, the event went off or the project was completed on time, you’ll never know how much better the outcome could have been. That’s because a clear plan, with regular habits will set you up for success.

Do the math

When I was in private practice, I met with a lot of struggling couples. They usually wanted to give me a history lesson on why their marriage was bad. But instead, I would simply ask them to tell me what the previous day looked like. I’d have them walk me through it, moment by moment, hour by hour. More times than not, it became clear that their daily habits were sabotaging their relationship.

I never did well in math, but I know this much. Either your current process will move you closer to your goals or they will move you farther away. Does your current process equal a better chance of achieving your goals this year or not?

What do you think? Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you.

Q. Where are your current daily habits taking you? 

Q. Are you confident that your current process will help you reach your goals? Why or why not? 

Q. What is one change that you need to make, starting today? 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

One Question You Need to Answer To Have a Successful 2017

The new year has arrived which means most of us have at least considered the changes we’d like to see happen this year. If your inbox is like mine, you’ve had more than your share of blogs, webinars and course on how to achieve more and succeed this year.

There is one question that I think needs to be answered before going any farther however. Answering this one question is crucial to future success but one that many don’t have an answer for…here it is.

What do you really want?

Simple, right?

Maybe.

But many people I run into don’t seem to have a clear answer. They just don’t know what they want for their life. There are probably many reasons for this, but let me suggest just a few.

We don’t take the time

Hey, I get it. Life is busy and there are seasons where we can hardly stop long enough to take a breath, let alone set aside the time needed to reflect and consider what we really want in the future.

We want too many things

One of the reasons resolutions fizzle out and our goals fade is because we try to do too many things…make too many changes. We end up trying to make so many changes we end up making none. We get discouraged after effort doesn’t translate into real change. If you have 20 goals for this year, you’ve already set yourself up to fail.

We don’t want anything

The statistics don’t lie. The majority of resolutions made on Jan 1 are abandoned within the first couple of months. It stands to reasons, that the more goals you’ve failed at reaching the less motivated you may become. Maybe you just don’t think it’s possible anymore. If you have no goals for this year, you’re set yourself up for boredom.

We think it’s wrong to ask the question

I think for some, they feel this question is too selfish. If you’re a person of faith, you might believe that it’s wrong to think about what you want. I address this in detail here, but here I would simply suggest that our wants and desires are not necessarily selfish but necessary. They reflect who we are and how we are uniquely created by God. Plus, if you think about it, most of our lives are made up of choices we make which must in some way reflect what we want…where we live, the job we choose, the activities we engage in on the weekend, the people we hang out with, what we eat, how we spend our time and money…from paint colours to life partners…all reflect our wants to some degree, don’t they?

Another reason so many resolutions fail is because they are often things we don’t really want to do. Do you want to lose 30lbs really? If not, you’ll likely quit sooner than later. Do you really want to read through the Bible? There’s nothing wrong with reading the Bible, even the entire thing in a year.  But if you set out to do it because someone else did it or it sounds like the spiritual thing to do, you’ll likely get to Leviticus then check out. Do you really want to read 75 books this year? Do you really want to run a marathon? You get what I’m saying, right?

So what do you want? What do you really want? Not sure yet? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Give yourself permission. Allow yourself the freedom to think freely.
  2. Give yourself time. Start with 15 minutes. Turn off your phone, the TV and your computer and sit quietly and ask yourself; “What do I want?” Give yourself 15 minutes a day until you can clearly start to get clarity about what you want.
  3. Give yourself specific answers that reflect your season of life, not someone elses. Consider your health, wealth (building, saving and giving) personal growth and relationships…where are you strong and where can you grow?

Q. What will you regret not doing, looking back 12 months from now?

Q. What do you want to do but are afraid to do? (Fear is often a clue that it’s something to pursue)

Q. What have others encouraged you to do?

Q. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?

 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.