Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reinvent Yourself: MAKE A 10-MINUTE COMMITMENT

Subtitle: Don't Let Yourself Off the Hook

How often do you say you're going to do something - and then fall short of actually doing it?

Do you let yourself off the hook more often than you should?

Have the people in your life stopped taking you seriously, or have you stopped taking yourself seriously?

Well, friend, I know your pain.

And as a living, breathing example of someone who lets himself off the hook way too often, I believe that we pay a severe price for this behavior.

When we say we're going to do something, then don't - aren't we, in essence, lying to ourselves?

(Now, you can choose to believe that it's not a lie, but then my question becomes, when does it become a lie? At what point does saying something (and not doing it) become a lie? -- a month? A year?)

The point is, putting off important things compromises the trust and belief we have in ourselves. The longer we put off important things, the more doubt creeps in. Our brains start asking the wrong kinds of questions, start seeing the wrong kinds of outcomes - and we stop moving forward. Inertia sets in, then paralysis - the result of no longer believing in ourselves.

We can start believing again.

By doing what we say we will do.

Take that first, tiny step.

In my case, the first tiny step is often just sitting down. Sitting my butt down and focusing on something for five minutes.

What important things do you need to do? Can you do them for even five minutes?

Do you have a paper due? Can you work on it for five minutes?

Do you need to lose weight? Can you exercise for five to ten minutes?

Or is it as simple as your dishes piling up? Can you wash five glasses or plates right now?

Is your house a mess? Make the bed!

(Making the bed only takes two minutes, yet completely changes the look of the room!)

Just get started!

Even a small change to our environment can help us feel like we're taking action.

And before you know it, things are starting to look up.

But don't overdo it. (I'm talking to the beginners here!)

For things to change, you need to take small, consistent actions. But don't overdo it!

If you write for two hours today, you may not feel like writing tomorrow. I'd rather you go slowly everyday than risk overdoing it, scaring yourself, or wearing yourself out, and never getting back to the matter at hand. (I'm speaking from experience here.)

We want to offset the sinking emotions you've been feeling recently, but we don't want to overwhelm you. So take small, gentle action everyday.

Don't let yourself off the hook!

With those small, focused, consistent actions, momentum begins to build. Sometimes it takes a while. (Some argue that it takes a month for new habits to kick in.) But even before that you'll start to see that you're getting back on track. Moving forward. One step at a time.

My friend, Elwin, and I get together to write once a week. At first, we'd spend a majority of our writing-time catching up with each other, or getting into very interesting conversations about this or that. (It was mostly my fault.) But as the weeks went on, as we got comfortable with our writing-time, we found ourselves getting to the important stuff (the writing) much more quickly. Yes, it took weeks, but we stayed consistent, and now spend the majority of our time doing what we need to do - the important stuff.

We can't afford to lie to ourselves for long. There's a time-limit on life.

Things change constantly. One day an opportunity may present itself, then the next day it could be gone forever.

To get ready for these opportunities, we need to stop lying to ourselves, take tiny, focused action, re-establish a level of trust and faith in ourselves, and move on to the next thing as soon as possible. 

All we need is a 10-minute commitment.

(We'll add more time later.)

Today. 10-minutes. Don't let yourself off the hook. This is important.

We're training ourselves to be consistent. We're training ourselves to stop lying.

We can do this.

We got this.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Hop on a Hog - or Sail Through the Fog

Nothing like hitting the open road on a big bike to clear one's head. You can rent a Harley in California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin through Street Eagle Motorcycle Rentals, (800) 717-7970; www.streeteagle.com. Additional state and European rentals are offered through Eaglerider Rentals & Tours, (888) 900-9901; www.eaglerider.com.

Or go around the world on a freighter. It worked for Douglas Fetherling, author of Running Away to Sea (McClelland & Stewart, 1999), who during a period of personal turmoil decided to spend four months on a converted Russian ice-breaker traveling to the South Pacific and back. Try TravLtips Cruise & Freighter Travel Association, (800) 872-8584; info@travltips.com. Find additional listings for freighter travel at www.freighterworld.com.

[Source: "25 Ways to Reinvent Yourself" originally published in Modern Maturity January - February 2000, transcribed by Greg Olszewski.]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Take a Sabbatical

Getting away from work for an extended period, often with pay, may not be as tough to arrange as you think. Six Months Off by Hope Dlugozima, James Scott, and David Sharp (Henry Holt, 1996) is a how-to book for those who need more than a summer vacation. It contains more than 200 interviews with people who have had productive sabbaticals. [Source: "25 Ways to Reinvent Yourself" originally published in Modern Maturity January - February 2000, transcribed by Greg Olszewski.]