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Habits

The Strangling Root

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     Recently my wife and I took a trip to Costa Rica. One morning we kayaked along the coast to a secluded beach where the rainforest came almost right up to the water. There were enormous, lush trees all along the hills sloping down toward the beach. One particular tree stood out because it was so big and the trunk bent at a 90 degree angle over the water.
I exclaimed to our guide how amazing that tree was.
“Too bad it is dying inside.” he said.
His response took me by surprise. “What do you mean it is dying? It looks so green and strong.”
“Look more closely. Tell me if you see anything out of the ordinary.”
As I moved in I did notice something.
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Could You Change If You Wanted To?

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    Is change good or bad? When you think about it, life is all about making changes. Self-improvement is nothing more than a string of small changes for the better. Self-destruction is a string of increasingly bad changes leading to our demise. Yet if we do nothing or are unwilling to change at all, we become stagnant and start moving backwards. So, to improve our lives we need to consistently change positions and take another step forward. We need to change.

Almost everybody that I coach tells me the same thing, “I know I need to make some changes but I don’t know if I can do it.” Businesses commonly tell me, “We want to achieve ______ but we’re not sure if that can work in our business.”

Today I want to talk about a theory introduced by psychologists Prochaska and DiClemente in the 1970’s as they studied methods that helped some smokers to be able to quit while others were unable.Read the rest!

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Increase Your Willpower!

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Editor’s note: This is a great post I found from Ian Newby-Clark of My Bad Habits.

“Control yourself!” We all say it, mostly to ourselves. We say it when we ‘indulge’ in behaviors that cause short-term gain for long-term pain…and guilt. I cite many of the usual suspects: eating the wrong things, being lazy, staying up too late, indulging in destructive behaviors. There are others, of course. Why do we do such things? After all, aren’t we entirely in control of ourselves all of the time?

Nope.

Research tells us that willpower is a limited resource. Each of us only has so much of it. The studies demonstrating this are rather ingenious. I will share one of my favorites with you, though there are many more.

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Entropy: The Silent Killer of Your Success

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Okay, okay, I know that nobody wants to read about Thermodynamics on a Monday but bear with me for a second because it applies to all of us and our struggle to improve our lives.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics basically says: The universe is constantly getting more disorderly. Things have a tendency to move from structure and order into disorder and chaos.

The name for this is entropy. More disorder = more entropy.

So everything in the Universe will always try to change from a very neat and orderly state into one of chaos and disorder.


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I know this is getting slow but stay with me for a second as we look at some examples:

1. An ice cube sitting on a counter-top will change from nice orderly water molecules, into flowing and disorganized water molecules.… Read the rest!

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“Future You” – The Reason We Order Big Macs

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A few years ago McDonald’s introduced it’s health-conscious menu with salads and fruit included. Amazingly, Big Mac and french fry sales jumped by 22% almost overnight! How does that make any sense? The answer lies in this little-known fact: there are 2 of you!Did you know that there are 2 of you? There is the current “You” and then there is “Future You” or maybe “You 2.0”. How are they different? Let’s find out:

“You” is the person you are today. You have good qualities and bad qualities, sometimes you are pro-active and sometimes you procrastinate. You may feel too tired to put energy into some activities. You may act on impulses or hate to exercise. You probably really dislike doing the laundry or yard work.

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“Why Did I Do That?” – Beware of Ego-Depletion

Lately I have been reading a lot of books about willpower and habit formation. I have been fascinated by some of the new studies suggesting that willpower is a finite resource. These studies show, in various ways, that we may only have so much willpower to utilize on any given day. If we make a lot of tough decisions early in the day, we are more likely to give in to a temptation later that evening. This phenomena has been termed “ego-depletion.”
Below is a great blog post from Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. This was posted on Tim Ferris’ blog earlier today:

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From your own experience, are you more likely to finish half a pizza by yourself on a) Friday night after a long work week or b) Sunday evening after a restful weekend?… Read the rest!

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The Day Michael Phelps Went Blind

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The summer Olympics are almost upon us and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on one of my favorite moments in recent Olympic history.

We all remember the scenes from 4 years ago when Michael Phelps broke just about every Olympic swimming record there was. He won 8 gold medals in Beijing in dramatic fashion.

But the race that I found the most impressive was the 200-meter butterfly. In this race, Phelps was going for the 10th gold medal of his career, making him the winningest Olympian of all time.
    Phelps already held the world record in this event and was looking to improve on his previous time. All indications were that he would win by a comfortable margin.

    Then disaster struck.

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