The Self Improvement Toolshop

tools to make you a better you

Are you in the Habit…

scan001323.jpg  Well I got tagged again.  The good thing is that the question is something that I know you will want to read about.  It is a question about habits.  We all have them.   We are usually not that conscious of them until they hit us in the face.  So here is the question and subject provided by Dave.

 “if you wanted to improve your life by changing a habit – how would you set about it?”

Another question that taxes my brain. 

What habit do you want to change?  Do you think that the change will improve your life? 

First you must identify one habit.  Next you must decide how important it is to change that habit.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  You must give this one thought because you have probably lived with this habit for most of your life.  You may have cursed this habit yet there it is popping up just when you do not want to deal with it.

You may even be comfortable with this habit in as much as you dislike it.  If you are choosing one you have been unable to get rid of after many attempts then pick another one.  The one you can not control has become too embedded in your life to tackle at this point.  Try to pick one that is newer and that you have not tackled.

Getting rid of  a habit is tough.  It is a struggle.  My personal technique to change a habit may sound odd but I know it works.  I have used this technique and I am amazed at the results I got.  I know other people have also used this technique and it worked for them also.

The approach involves analysis.  The approach involves really looking at this habit and becoming and being aware of it.  Most habits are unconscious.  You just engage in them without much thought.  They are automatic.

You can change/eradicate a habit that is so automatic that you can barely control yourself.  The reason you can barely control yourself is because this is the only way you know how to react.  You can rack your brain for a new reaction but none come.  You are stuck.

That is another tip/insight about habits.  You are stuck with your habit.   You feel justified in reacting a certain way.  This is a habit you are stuck with.  So how do you get unstuck? 

Back to analysis.  First review what benefit this habit gives you.  Yes, habits you do not like have a secret benefit.  The benefit is not really a benefit but you see it as one in your warped thinking process.  Maybe you feel right about and with this habit.  Feeling right and justified is a strong motivator for a habit.

Here comes the example.  My friend, Julia has a husband that she is not too enchanted with.  The habit she is stuck in is sizing up her husband.  A habit does originate with a thought. 

Of course he does not size up well.  Due to this repeated habit/thought  she really can not see her husband in any light other than “bummy.”  Why?  Because she feels she is right and justified in her thinking.  Of course there is probably some truth in her thinking but most of it is false, stuck thinking.

Why?  Just because he was “bummy” at one time or in an area does not mean he is totally “bummy” and still being “bummy”  But Julia can not see this because she got into the habit of seeing her husband as “bummy.”  That is it.

Any time we discuss this she is closed minded.  She can not break the habit of seeing her husband as “bummy.”   Any time he does something Julia does not like her habit of seeing her husband as “bummy” is reinforced.  She is actually reinforcing her habit.  She would rather be right than open minded. 

She is now in dire need of reinforcement from herself to feel right about the habit of viewing her husband as “bummy.” 

She is stuck.  Without opening her mind she will be like this for life.  This will be a lifelong habit.  This could be you.

This is why it is important to analyze the habit you have chosen.  Julia gets a big secret benefit form this habit.  She is right, she is good and she is better than her husband.  The joke is how much better is she if she is comparing herself to a “bum?'”  She has probably never thought about that.  She is not conscious and she is on automatic.  She is acting out of habit.

Suppose Julia got conscious, aware and she analyzed this habit.  She would realize that her husband is not “bummy” 24/7. Once that happens she may review any time she resorts back to thinking her husband  is “bummy” .  She will stop herself and ask, “Is this really an indication of “bummy”?”  Next she will begin to think she is overreacting.  Yes we do overact to habits.  That also reinforces them. 

Once she has decided that she is overreacting she may go back and think about other times she may have overreacted.  Then comes the concept of giving up this automatic thinking.  This is the action and concept of pausing and thinking before she reacts.  Now she is on the path to breaking this habit. 

Pausing and thinking before reacting.  What a novel thought.  Yet we all do it and do not even think about it much.  Pausing and thinking can also be a habit. One you want to keep and do more of.  When we pause and think we are conscious.  We are sane.  When we react we are not sane. 

So now Julia is joining the conscious and sane.  She is aware.  She is pausing and thinking.  She is no longer reacting.  Major progress.

From this point on it is easy to control the habit.  You understand the habit.  You know you do it.  You stop reinforcing it.  You become enlightened.  You become aware of yourself and your automatic thought process that leads you to jump to conclusions.  You are freeing yourself from a habit that does not benefit you except in a convoluted way.  You are sane. 

I know this is not the “traditional” method for changing/breaking a habit.  I also know that you have probably tried a number of techniques to break/change a habit. 

I use the word break because I know that word is appealing.  Yet the truth is you do not break or eradicate a habit.  You replace it with one that is helpful and beneficial.  You get into a new habit that serves you.  If you view your self improvement this way you will find it easier to change/replace a habit.

Be brave.  Become willing to be a better you.  Get into the habit of being conscious.  Get into the habit of pausing and thinking.  Get into the habit of making your life work for you.  Get into the habit of making your life joyous.  Get into the habit of seeing and seeking the truth about yourself.  Once you start this you will find out that you are pretty interesting and exciting to know.

If you still need more help in changing a habit get it now here.

 Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

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May 23, 2007 Posted by | assets, change, changing a habit, choice, education, how to succeed, self improvement, success | 3 Comments

Success

scan001321.jpg  I found some varied quotes on success.  Many people are quoted here from all walks of life.  Take a look at these quotes and see if they challenge, clarify or change your idea of success.
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The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
     –Vince Lambardi

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.
     -Abraham Lincoln

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
     –Albert Pike

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The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence.  To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
     -Pearl S. Buck

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Successful: coming about, taking place or turning out as hoped for.
     -Webster’s

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Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
     -Winston Churchill

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Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
     – General George Patton

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It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
     – Seneca

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The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.
     – Robert L. Schwartz

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According to aerodynamic laws,  the bumblebee cannot fly.  Its body weight is not the right proportion to its wingspan.  Ignoring these laws, the bee flies anyway.
     – M. Sainte-Lague

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
     – Helen Keller

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You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.
     – Henry Ford

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Hard work spotlights the character of people:  some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.
     – Sam Ewig

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The art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of our great men.
     – Captain J.A. Hatfield

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Success will not lower its standard to us.  We must raise our standard to success.
     – Rev. Randall R. McBride, Jr.

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It’s never too late to be who you might have been.
     – George Elliot

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Talk does not cook rice.
     – Chinese Proverb

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Rule your mind or it will rule you.
     – Horace

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It is when the well is dry that we know the price of water.
     – Ben Franklin

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Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.
     – George Halas

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Attach yourself to your passion, but not to your pain.  Adversity is your best friend on the path to success.
     – unknown

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A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.
     – Sidney Greenberg

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As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.
     – Paul Shane Spear

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To achieve the impossible, one must think the absurd; to look where everyone else has looked, but to see what no else has seen.
     – unknown

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A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.
     – Richard Nixon

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Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
     – Colin Powell

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I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
     – Talleyrand

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The mind is like a parachute – it works only when it is open.
     – Unknown

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Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.
     – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I can not do everything, but I can do something.  I must not fail to do the something that I can do.
     – Helen Keller

Try not to be a man of success, but rather to be a man of value.
     – Albert Einstein

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Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.
     – Norman R. Augustine

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Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all that he can.
     – Henry Drummond

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They may forget what you said, but they will never forget  how you make them feel.
     – Carol Buchner

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Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.
     – Norman R. Augustine

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Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.
     – unknown

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Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.
     – Henry Ward Beecher

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A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.
     – Arthur Golden

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Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
     – Samuel Johnson

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Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
     – Theodore Roosevelt

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Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
     – Francis Bacon

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The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation…The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.
     – Jacob Bronowski

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It is time for us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.
     – Vince Lombardi

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One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
     – Marie Currie

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Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning; but give me the man who has the pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing.
     – George Eliot

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Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
     – Thomas Edison

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A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
     – John C. Maxwell

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The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
     – William James

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Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.               
     – Henry Ford

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After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
     – Italian Proverb

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Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
     – Abraham Lincoln

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What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?
     – Robert Schuller

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We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.
     – B.J. Palmer

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The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
     – Confucius

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What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you.
     – Wayne Dyer

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Empowerment is all about letting go so that others can get going.
     – Kenneth Blanchard

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Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
      – Malcolm Forbes

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Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.
     – Cherie Carter-Scott

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Not every successful man is a good father.  But every good father is a successful man.
     – R. Duvall

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I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.
     – Mario Cuomo

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The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal.  The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.
     – Benjamin Mays

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Victory belongs to the most persevering.
     – Napoleon

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If you are to be, you must begin by assuming responsibility.  You alone are responsible for every moment of your life, for every one of your acts.
     – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity.  We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way.  We can never let up.
     – Ralph Bunche

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I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
     – Christopher Reeve

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Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
     – Anonymous

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The real contest is always between what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.  You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else.
     – Geoffrey Gaberino

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Success is never final. Failure is never fatal.  Courage is what counts.
     –Sir Winston Churchill

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Visit here to succeed.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

May 21, 2007 Posted by | assets, choice, competence, confidence, how to succeed, self improvement, success | 4 Comments

What do Other People Say About You

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Do you wonder what other people say about you?  Do you wonder what other people think about you?  Do you really want to know?

This is a common compulsion.  I call it a compulsion because no good will really come from it.  It is one of those deceptive questions that can occupy your mind.  It is one of those questions that does not need to asked.  The real question you should be asking is, “What do you think about yourself?”

Suppose you could find out what someone is saying about you.  Maybe it is complimentary.  That will probably make you feel happy for a minute.  It will not impact your life.  It will not be earth shattering. 

Suppose someone said some negative things about you.  That will probably get a more intense reaction.  You will probably want to correct them.  You will want to defend yourself.  You will have a judgement about how wrong and ignorant the other person is.  You may feel hurt, angry, insulted.  You may even agree with them and get down on yourself.  It could alter your relationship with them and others.  And they could be off base.

Should someone’s perception and opinion of you matter?  I would say the answer to that would depend on how you react to this information.  If you can step a back and look at it objectively then perhaps you can get some insight.  If you are going to react and freak out then better you do not know.  There will be no value to you hearing this info.  It will put you on an emotional roller coaster.

So what do you say about yourself?  What do you think about yourself?  This is a deep question.  Perhaps you have pondered it.  Perhaps you have conditioned yourself to think poorly about yourself.  Perhaps you are riddled with negativity.  Perhaps you do not measure up to your own standards. 

Is your perception and opinion accurate?  Most likely not yet you live your life as it it were true.  Can you be objective about yourself?  Probably not. 

So how do you get in touch with yourself, the real you? 

The first way is to add some positive feedback to your conversations with yourself.  If you can do that it will open a door to seeing yourself differently.

You need to start to weed out the untruths.  These are things that you automatically think about yourself.  An automatic thought is an unexamined thought.  They can be positive or negative thoughts.  Once they become automatic they are misleading thoughts. 

You need to re create the image you have of yourself.  Once you can examine the automatic thoughts you will start to see the image you have created of yourself.  You need to let go of that image and start to put a new one in its place. 

This new image will be one that is rich in complexities.  If you can define yourself in four words you are missing out on a big part of yourself. 

To learn more about this and to learn how to do this in minimal time please check this out.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

May 16, 2007 Posted by | assets, change, choice, confidence, knowledge, self improvement | 4 Comments

Honesty

scan001311.jpg   Am I too honest when I tell you that I have a great product that will help you?

Am I too honest when I tell you to buy that product? 

Can you be “too honest?”

I do not believe that you can be “too honest.”  You have to ask for what you  want.  You have to ask clearly and directly.

Is that being blunt? Perhaps but it is also being straightforward and clear.  If you beat around the bush then you can be misunderstood.   You can  be considered wishy washy, weak, meek, a pushover.  Which is worse?  To be misunderstood and be thought of as wishy washy, weak, meek, a pushover or to be understood and thought of as blunt, straightforward and clear?  I think you know the answer.  

Let’s be clear.  Asking for what you want is not insulting someone.  It is about you and your wants and needs.  Asking for what you want clearly and direclty is an affirmative statement. 

You may not get what you want but if you ask for it you will know where you stand.  It is always better to know where you stand.

If the place you are employed at has no intention in the near future of giving you what you want you can make an educated choice.  Stay or go.  You now have control of your life.  You now have the information to make a decision. 

If you are reticient then you are afraid of what you will find out.  Why?  The truth will not change because you do not seek it. 

So ask for what you want.  Be honest.  Be clear.  Be straightforward.

Help is here.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

May 11, 2007 Posted by | assets, confidence, home business, self improvement, work, work at home, work at home business | 2 Comments

What is Your Addiction

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We all have a mental picture of ourselves.  We have a list of our assets.  We also have a list of our shortcomings.  If you wrote down your list and showed it to someone that knows you fairly well I bet you would be surprised at their reaction to your list.  Possibly they would they would add to your asset list.  They may also add some shortcomings.  But they would probably also subtract some of the short comings you listed. 

You may believe that the shortcomings they subtracted are real.  You may disagree and believe that those shortcomings should remain on your list.  Are you addicted to these shortcomings?  This is the definition of addiction. 

  1. The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

Are you compulsively and habitually occupied with these shortcomings?  Probably.  Your friend that knows you well is asking you to cross off these shortcomings.  You do not want to.  Sounds like you are attached to these shortcomings.  Why not let them go?  Why not give them up?  Why not get over your addiction to these shortcomings?  Why not increase your asset list by getting rid of these shortcomings?  If you got rid of these shortcomings you could add to your asset list.  You could add “ability to end my addiction to non factual shortcomings.”  Or it could be worded as, “ended my addiction to the following shortcomings.”

If you end your addiction to these shortcomings you will free yourself.  You will free yourself to focus on your asset list.  Once you end your addiction to these non factual shortcomings you will find more assets. 

Shortcomings are okay.  We are not perfect.  It is important to recognize your shortcomings.  Once you recognize your shortcomings a world of solutions open up to you.  Now you can ask for help.  Or you can embark on path way to learn how these shortcomings influence you and get in your way.  You can decide that you will live with these shortcomings because they are not that important in the path you are on.  You can also take a look at these shortcomings and turn them into assets.  For example the short coming ” I am aggressive”  with some work on your part can be turned into “I  am assertive.”  Big difference between being aggressive and being assertive. 

So take your list and end your addiction to those shortcomings that are not yours. 

Sign up for my free newsletter.  It is inthe links section.  Send me your questions and comments.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 15, 2007 Posted by | addiction, assets, shortcomings | 2 Comments