Finding New Habits

If you have bad habits and you do not want them, trade them in for good ones.  I do not wish to sound glib here, I just know you can do this.  You have proven you can build habits.  And you can actually stick with them.  Now, you need to find out the practices that are best for you and work with those habits.

Warning, the old habits are not going to go away easily.  The old ways were there first, and they feel they have earned their spot at the table. And yet the more you use new habits, the stronger they will become, and the less you use the old, bad habits, the less they will have control, and they will slowly fade away.

So how do you distinguish between good and bad habits?  Habits are different for different people.  My grandparents would have a shot of alcohol in the morning and a beer at night.  They lived rich lives well into their upper eighties. For others, drinking could be a bad habit.  You have to figure out what works best for you. 

If the habit does good things for you, such as better memory, closer friendships, more productivity, it is probably a good habit.  If your habits hurt your work, make you lose productivity, or drives friends away, you may want to find practices that work better for you.

We each have to take action for ourselves.  Others can help and coach you.  As you try new and better habits,  you will probably find some encouragement along the way. Just remember, you are the one who is doing the work to make yourself a better and more productive person.

Each of us is unique.  We cannot give up on ourselves, and we should not give up on each other.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow

Habits

Just as addictions try to control our lives, whether we are addicted to doing a good thing or addicted to doing a bad thing, habits can have the same effect, both good and bad. Where addictions try to control our lives, habits are things we learn and use to run our lives. We must stay in control of ourselves. Unlike the old Outer limits show, we’re the ones who are actually in charge of our sharpness and blurriness, our perspective, and our actions.

The trick to beating a habit is the same as ridding yourself of and addiction. 

The Trick? You have to want to make a change into something and someone you would rather be.  No one else can make your changes for you.  No one else can decide that this is your time to do something. And no one else can be you.  You are the one and only.  You are unique.  No one else has permission to change you. Only you can do it. Everyone else can only help.

However, once you make the decision to change, there will be a lot of help for you.  Although it is not easy, it is probably not as hard as you may have thought.  If you thought impossible, it would be easier than that.  Just bring some determination with you on your trip.

Find good mentors that you trust and want to emulate. Then find a good program or a good coach or therapist that can help you.  You want someone who you can relate to.  Someone you have good faith in. And, remember that faith you need to have in yourself.  After all, you are looking to build a better you.  And that takes good gumption.

Have faith in yourself, and even with all the triumphs and tribulations that will come and go, keep doing your best.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

We all Have Addictions

Addictions are nothing new, they have been around as long as people have.  I’m not sure if Eve ever really had an addiction to apples, it might’ve just been a phase. As for me, my number one addiction is breathing. Please trust me; it’s not my only addiction. Old science fiction movies, social media, computer games, burritos and trying to re-engineer everything I see, are just a few.

Having something that we like and doing it over and over again is not necessarily a bad thing. I want to point you back to the idea that I am addicted to breathing. At the same time, some addictions get in the way of living a good life. We all understand the addictions of smoking, drugs, alcohol, and some other addictions which devastate not only the person but all those around them. Yet there are so many other addictions which steal from you when you’re just not looking.

These addictions will sometimes take your money, and yet that is small considering what they really steal, your time. If you find yourself playing computer games when you should be doing something a little more productive, that is a red flag. If you can’t wait for the game to rejuvenate the power to keep on playing, that could be an addiction. It may not be illegal like drugs are, or as devastating as alcoholism, yet it is an addiction, and it steals from you your ability to reach more productive goals.

I’m not saying the electronic game itself is evil. What I am saying is if you would rather play the game than do other things you need to do the game is getting in your way. At this point, you have a decision to make. Are you going to continue on with the distraction stealing the time you need to do more critical tasks, or are you going to rein it in and only play it during 20 minutes of dead time during the day? If you cannot bring it into 10 or 20 minutes a day, then you are truly addicted. At that point, the best thing to do is to remove it from your phone or computer until you can better control it.

This does not have to be a game; it can be anything that takes your time away from more important work or tasks you would really like to be doing or really need to be doing. It can be anything. And only you know what that anything could be. The neat thing is you can control it if you want to. And you can decide what is most important in your life for you and do that.

The great thing is that we all have the freedom to choose. We also have the strength to overcome the problems and concerns in life with which we have to deal. I cannot tell you what is best for you, and neither can most other people. This is something that you have to look within yourself to decide and then act accordingly.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Habits, Good and Bad

Have you ever seen how different people will do the same task in different ways? If you ask them why they do the process that way, they will generally tell you they do it in that particular fashion because it’s the easiest way to get it done. I have enjoyed years of teaching people how to use a computer. Everything from simple typing to designing spreadsheets and waterfall charts. And through the years I have gained a few insights.  I would like to share a thought or two with you. Understanding these interesting interactions may help you in your line of work.

As we go through life, we learn how to get something done or make something happen. The more we study, train or work at a task the more likely we are to find different ways to accomplish it. Quite often I will ask someone why they do a process a particular way. They usually tell me they do the process the way they do because it is the easiest way.

Sometimes when I am told a student is doing a process the most natural way, I will show them some shortcuts that can save them time or extra work on the task. They thank me and try it a few times. Later on, I will notice that they are still doing the job the way they were doing it before I showed them new techniques. When I initially saw this, I thought they were just not paying attention, but I was wrong.

When you have five different ways to do a task (and many large and advanced computer programs have these ways), the question is no longer what is simplest or quickest. The question becomes ‘what is the best way for the user to accomplish the task.’ At that point, you have to consider the knowledge and habits of the student.

If the student has done something for several years, they have developed a habit of doing the task in a certain way. As long as the job is completed and the end result is correct, the student has acted correctly. We find that a habit which completes the process precisely is a robust tool for someone to use. And, we should use the information to our advantage if it works better for the end product.

Some habits are destructive in nature because they can skip critical steps that must be completed to correctly complete the procedure. These habits are the ones we want to train out of people. How hard is it to remove a bad habit? Many supervisors prefer to have new people who have never perform the process work for them simply because they don’t have to train out bad habits. The supervisors would instead train the people themselves.

Some of these thoughts can be debated back and forth, pro and con, and never come to us satisfactory conclusion. It does put the onus on us as trainers to ensure that the people we teach, understand the proper ways to do a task, and why other methods will not work. We can help them to break bad habits and reinforce good habits. Yet, we cannot do it for them, we can only show them the way.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Habits

We had an adage in the Air Force, ‘To be early is to be on time.’ And the saying has a deeper meaning than just being to appointments on time. It means to take care of concerns as soon as possible. Take care of those problems before they turn into significant issues.

Considering the planes that we flew in, the spacecraft we used, and the missions we had, a small concern not taken care of could quickly grow into a massive problem. It was vitally important for us to stay on top of what was going on and keep everything working well. Staying on top of things in your work life and your home is just as vital to you as my mission was to me.

You need to stay on top of those things you count on, and the things that would be problematic if they failed. Missing a payment to the utilities could leave you in the dark. Running out of some medications might cause severe medical problems. Not filling the car with gas and checking the tires could end up with you stuck in the middle of nowhere and you may not have enough bars on your phone to call for help. You need to stay on top of what is essential.

The good news is if you do something long enough it becomes a habit. You do good things you have good habits. If you do bad things, you have bad habits. I cannot tell you which habits will be your good ones, and which habits will be the bad ones. All I can do is recommend you take a look at what you do and find out what works for you and what seems to be problematic.

If something is actually working in your favor and possibly even helps others you interact with, it may be a good habit, and you may want to keep it. If you find yourself running down to the utility company the week after the payment was due, or if you continually have to call your doctor for new medications, maybe those habits are not your best ones. The good news is if you want to fix that you can.

A habit is nothing more than doing something over and over again in a certain way. If you like what you’re doing and it helps you, keep doing it. If you find yourself doing something the same way time after time and it causes you a problem, you need to replace it with something that does work for you. And to replace it all you have to do is pick something different that you think will work for you and try it out. If it works well, keep doing it.

Many people who try to get rid of a bad habit do so cold turkey. This leaves a vacuum where the bad habit used to be. And vacuums cannot happen in our world, and that is why picking a bad habit is hard to do. Instead of stopping cold turkey and leaving a void, start a good habit that replaces the bad one. This way you have no gap to contend with because you’re busy doing the new good habit.

No one else can tell you what is going to work and not work for you. You have to try and then figure that out on your own. The only thing anyone else can do is give you encouragement and possibly help you consider ideas. In your life, only you are in charge.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

What Have You Done for #21 Lately?

We do a lot of things for many people.  The higher we grow, the more we do.  If we do our job well, we often find ourselves with more and more people attaching their projects to our time and less time for us to have to ourselves. It is all right to do well for others as long as you take care of #21. I have to ask you today, are you taking care of #21?

Granted, #21 is not at the front of the pack. Usually doesn’t get all the limelight deserved. And can often get lost in the stampede to get things done. Yet, the team would not be a whole one without this valuable player.

When you’re checking your roster of contributors and lineup of required actions, be sure to look out for the little guy. Ensure that even #21 is given a calculated blend of playing time, training time, and time for recuperation. The balance is essential because without the correct balance you will not get your best performance.

Thank you for being here with me and allowing me a little play on words. This blog contains a puzzle, and in solving it, please tell me a little bit more about #21 in the comments section. I’m not sure where everybody is reading this from. I do know where #21 lives.  #21 lives within our hearts.

I hope to be with you again soon, in the meantime don’t forget to take care of #21.

Getting It Done

Some days it seems hard to concentrate. I don’t know if the lack of concentration is from age, or from too many things pulling me into many directions. I just know that I often feel as though I should be doing something else.

When I am working on the lessons I’m learning, for new projects I am about to undertake, I feel I should be working more on my courses or writing my books. When I’m writing my books, I think I should be marketing. When marketing I feel as though I should be doing something else.

I know that I tend to take on more than I can do. And, I tackle it head-on. I like to stay busy. The fact that I have a lot to do means I can get a lot done.

If I watch television shows of interest, they can give me a real guilt complex. Why am I watching TV when I have so much to do? And we’re not even getting started on iPad computer games. If you want to know what addiction feels like innocently find a game to play. Three weeks later, you can see yourself playing it when you first wake up, and before you go to sleep at night. You will be trying to find time during the day to play it.  Kids hooked on games, never stand a chance to get other things done.  Having multiple apps and playing them when you really should be doing other things is a guilt trip you would not believe.

The thing to do is limit game time. List and rank-order what you must get done, what you would like to get done, and what is just some minutia you can do whenever you find free time. The next thing you have to do is schedule what you can, and then fit the rest of the items in, as they fit.

The trick is to schedule the big things first. Those are the things which will take the longest time. Then I can fit smaller jobs in around the more significant time blocks. Then, add the minutia wherever possible. You can also use computer office assistant, and apps such as automatic bill pay or calendar reminders, to take off some of the burdens and keep you on schedule.

I’m not going to say you have to do this or should do that. There are plenty of great systems and applications on the market for setting something up. The trick is to find what works for you, and the ones that you will follow.

We hope to see you tomorrow, have a great day