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    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    If at first you don't succeed...

    By: Ivana Pejakovic Author of: Taking Responsibility For Your Action


    There is a reason the self-help industry is booming with success. It thrives due to our lack of success! We are thirsty for self-change and are constantly on the lookout for a new solution to improve our image, appearance, worth, and overall station in life. Our problem is that most of our attempts to change ourselves end up failing (whether we use the latest program available or try to change ourselves on our own). For example, how many times have you tried to lose those last 10lbs. and were able to keep them off? How many times have you tried to quit smoking and haven’t been able to yet? Have you kept your usual New Year’s resolution to go to the gym three times per week?

    Our bigger problem is, once we fail, we do not take time to properly evaluate the reason for our lack of success. Typically, we attribute our failure to external factors, such as, the ineffectiveness of the self-change program we used, social distractions, work, the weather, the kids, the husband or wife, etc. Once we believe we have pinpointed the reason we failed, we quickly move on to purchase or create a new self-change program, and start all over again. If this program does not succeed, no problem, we come across the next available program and make a resolution to try again, and again, and again.

    The lack of proper evaluation of what caused our failure sets us up for another disappointment as we fail to identify the root cause of the repeated negative outcomes. As a result, we set ourselves up for failure each time we make a new resolution to change.

    Since we are all, however, responsible for the outcomes we experience, the reason we fail is usually internal; something we personally do to interfere with our ability to succeed. What are the things we do that set us up for failure? Based on my many personal failures to change myself and observations of those around me, I’ve come up with six reasons I believe we tend to be unsuccessful in achieving many of our self-change goals.

    1.UNCLEAR or VAGUE GOALS. In order to get to where we want, we must clearly define our destination. We must invest time to understand where we want to go and what we want to do. If we don’t know where we are going, any path will take us there.

    2.IMPATIENCE. We want change immediately! Once we have a rough idea of what we want to change or achieve, we demand for change to occur now. Self-change, however, tends not work like that. Self-change, meet your long lost brother Mr. Snail. We must continually work in order to change our beliefs, our negative habits, and our attitudes. This takes time, it does not occur over night. It requires patience, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. If we do not accept ourselves as we are (weaknesses and all) we will have a tough time reaching our goal without getting discouraged and we’ll just give up before we even see any progress.

    3.FALSE PERCEPTION of the effort required to succeed. At the time of our resolution to change we are so energized and hyped up over our new commitment that we mistakenly assume the change will be easy. We do not fully understand or consider the day-to-day effort that will be required to achieve our goal (in addition to those other day-to-day things we have to do). Self-change (identifying false beliefs or negative behaviour, forming new beliefs or positive behaviour, and implementing the newly formed ideas into our daily living) does not happen effortlessly; it requires serious work, commitment, and persistence. The reward, however, when a goal is based on our internal values is invaluable.

    4.Unrealistic QUANTITY-to-TIME ratio. It is simple and desirable to assume that the big change we want to see will come in little or no time. Upon realizing that it will take a little longer to achieve the desired goal, we tend to get discouraged and quit. The time it will take to see change is relative to the size of the goal we have set for ourselves. For example, losing 10lbs will take a shorter amount of time than losing 50lbs. Becoming the CEO of the #1 company in the world will take a little longer than becoming the mailroom manager. While both are worthy goals, we must keep in mind that not all goals can be achieved in the same or a short amount of time.

    5.BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Once we make the resolution to change, we have strong confidence in our ability to succeed. It doesn’t take long however, for this initial faith in ourselves to wane. Once we start working toward our goal, we start getting discouraged by the slow progress and the amount of work required to succeed. In addition, we start questioning our ability to succeed. Guess what? If we don’t think we can succeed, then we will NOT succeed. We’ll give up before we see any results only to confirm our thoughts about our inability to achieve our goal (self-fulfilling prophecy). When we fail, we’ll say to ourselves “See, I knew I would not be successful.”

    6.MISPERCEIVED BENEFITS. Why do we want to change ourselves? Do, we seek self-change in order to attract the right partner? Do we try to pursue a more prestigious career because we will obtain the validation we seek from our friends and family? These types of self-change are propelled by the wrong reasons. We want to attain something that is outside of our control. How can we be sure that self-change will attract the RIGHT partner? How do we know that our family and friends will gives us the validation we seek based on our career choices? The disappointment will soon set in when we realize the response we were hoping for does not materialize. If we decide to change ourselves, than it only makes sense to use an internal guideline of what we want to become. Changing ourselves for another’s benefit is a recipe for unhappiness and overall disaster.

    The six factors listed above will greatly impact the probability of a successful self-change. The most important thing to understand is that these causes are internal to us and therefore, controllable. It is our lack of goal clarity, our impatience, our false perceptions, our lack of faith in ourselves, our unrealistic expectations, and our misperceived benefits that cause the negative results. No problem! With a little extra work these can be changed.

    Keep in mind that we are accountable for our own behaviour. This includes successful self-change and a lack of self-change. No one or no thing can stop us from being the person we truly want to be, other than ourselves. To succeed at any self-change attempt, we need to come up with a clear picture of what we want to achieve. We need to be prepared to put in the required amount of effort for as long as it is necessary, that is, until we achieve our goal. Patience, persistence, self-acceptance, and determination are important. If we are to achieve our goal and maintain the result, we need to keep working at it.

    So, before you run out to purchase that fantastic new self-change program, think about why your last attempts at self-change were unsuccessful. If the problem came from the inside, than how can you expect a solution from the outside to be effective? Would you use a band-aid on your car’s hood when the engine breaks down? Of course not, since the problem is deeper and more complex than that. If the band-aid solution will not work for the car, it will most definitely not work for you.


    EXCERCISE

    Get a pen and paper to record your answers.

    Past Failures:

    1.Pick 3 different types of self-change you attempted in the last year in which you were not successful.

    2.For each type of self-change list as many reasons for your failure that you can think of.

    3.Review your list. Are the majority of the reason’s you listed external to you (e.g. social distractions, kids, work, etc.). Remember that you are accountable for all your outcomes!

    4.Go through the list again and think about what you personally did or did not do that caused the failure.

    5.Consider the things you did or did not do that caused you to fail (unrealistic expectations, misperceived benefits, etc. ). If you were to eliminate these internal factors, would you have been likely to succeed? What would have been different?

    Past Success:

    1.Pick 3 different types of self-change you attempted in the last year in which you were successful.

    2.For each type of self-change list as many reasons for your success that you can think of.

    3.Review your list. Are the majority of the reason’s you listed external to you (e.g. social distractions, kids, work, etc.). Remember that you are accountable for all your outcomes!

    4.Go through the list again and think about what you personally did or did not do that caused the success. Give proper credit to where it belongs!

    5.Consider the things you did or did not do that caused you to succeed. If you were to eliminate these internal factors, would you have still been likely to succeed?

    Future Attempts:

    1.What about your next self-change attempt? How will you prepare yourself so that you do not fail?

    2.The next time you make a resolution to change something about yourself, review the list above. Look at what contributed to your successes and what contributed to your failures.

    3.Make a plan for yourself. Go through each of the 6 factors listed in the article and make note of your thoughts. Based on what you have learned from my article, are you setting yourself up for another failure?

    4.What can you do to ensure future success?

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    2 comments:

    Peter said...

    Stumbled on your blog through a mutual online acquaintance. Fantastic stuff!

    Working on this test -interesting how it's much easier to identify our failures than it is our successes.

    And wish you much success. Will continue to keep reading.

    San said...

    Great tips, as ever, Bruno.

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    Ten Powerful Self-Coaching Tips

    By Bruno LoGreco

    Are you living the life of creativity and happiness that you've always dreamed of, or are you allowing your fears or other outside factors to influence you?

    Following the path that your heart's desires requires courage and might require a shift in attitude. There are several methods you can use to act as your own life coach and start working toward the life you dream of.

    Ideas for self-improvement

    You don't need to change every aspect of your life at once in order to improve your attitude and outlook on life. Self-improvement can feel daunting if you try to change everything at once.

    A good way to embark on your journey of self-coaching is to make one change and see what kind of impact it has upon your life. The following tips are designed to help you improve your life and become your own life coach. Try out one of the following tips at a time to positively impact your attitude and daily life.

    1. Find some ‘you' time. Everyone needs time alone to meditate and recharge. You may think you don't have extra time in your day. Start with 10-20 minutes to use for meditation or silent reflection.

    2. Ask yourself what you truly want in life. Are you living your life according to your true dreams and desires? You may be unaware of your desires that lie hidden beneath your surface needs and wants, so take the time to find out.

    3. Write everything down. Even if your thought seems silly, write it down! You may be surprised by the inspiration and ideas you can come up with.

    4. Journal daily, but with a twist. Instead of just writing about today, try writing about yesterday.

    5. Keep track of the "happy moments." Each day has potential for many small moments that bring joy and happiness. If you don't make a special note of them, you may not even recognize the small joys in your day.

    6. Choose one task each night to complete the next day. This way, you have focus, and you accomplish at least one task. Tasking and taxing yourself with effort is important in reaching goals.

    7. Smile when you wake up. Smiling is contagious. By smiling you improve your mood and can potentially improve someone else's day as well.

    8. Give thanks each night. Gratitude will improve your outlook on life and help you see all the good and wonderful moments of your day.

    9. Try something new. A new experience fuels creativity and your enjoyment of the day.

    10. Create at least one memorable moment each day. Make each day unforgettable, even if in a small way!

    Taking the next step with a life coach

    Self-coaching tips are great ideas for helping you improve your life. However, you can take your life to the next level with a life coach and mentor. A professional life coach can help you set goals and help you move forward with your dreams. If you're looking for the right path toward happiness, a life coach can help you discover the path your heart truly desires.

    Want to learn more about self-improvement? Bruno LoGreco is a Life Coach Toronto and mentor. Visit BrunoLoGreco.com and find out how to unleash your potential for success and happiness.

    The Success Indicators on Your Life Path

    Many people seek out a particular goal in their life path and are content when they achieve it. The chance to broaden their horizons or learn new things within an existent structure is not as appealing to them as it is to some others. This is an issue that arises in many individuals because they mistakenly think they have achieved what they wanted to in their lives. The plethora of environmental noise around them begins to infringe upon their goals and forces them to lose sight of what they truly wanted.

    A good way to think of this problem is to envision a large square box. This is not just any box though. Rather, in this case, your box has been divided into three separate, but equally shaped rectangular boxes, all stacked on top of one another. Each of these rectangular boxes is a highly important expression of your life goals -- individual levels of success. Within each of these levels of success is an indicator that tells you how close you are to becoming successful in this area of your life.

    Every area of your life that you identify as a potential path for success can be further divided, containing the many different events and obstacles you will encounter as you strive to reach your goals. Think of each sector of your life as being divided even further, with three new sections within one of the three stacked boxes (sectors). Within each stacked box are three separate sections, divided by dotted lines that make up the life path you will follow. These dotted lines are not the same as the solid lines dividing the sectors -- they are a path that you have envisioned since childhood -- a series of goals and pathways to success that you want to follow.

    As young people, these life paths may not be fully formed. Or they might be crystal clear in our minds--long, straight life paths from the early days of college and adult living to the ultimate goal of success that you have always strived for. You can see exactly what you need to do to reach each success indicator and achieve what you have set out to accomplish. And you probably did just this. After all, your goals as a youth were to be successful in the same way that you saw thousands of others live their lives. You wanted to reach your success indicators and experience the measure of success by which you would measure you life for decades to come.

    However, nothing is ever as simple as we envision it during youth. There are countless factors that interfere with your ability to clearly see those success indicators and life paths to success. These factors, or "Environmental Noise," can be detrimental to even the most focused of individuals. Think of what would happen if you dumped the contents of downtown New York into your box and tried to maintain your focus on those goals. Would you even be able to see your life path anymore?

    Everyone must travel their life path with environmental noise inundating them from all sides. It begins to become cloudy. The dotted lines, our life paths, begin to look like the straight lines and the success indicators start to be confused with any number of different distractions.

    And then something will happen and you will realize that you are in fact nowhere near the original success indicators you set for yourself. Everything has changed and yet you are stuck in a way. You are deep within the center of the middle rectangular box and you have no idea which way to go or how to get back on track. The noise only grows louder and you grow dizzy trying to regain your focus.

    It is in this instant that you must clear the noise and return to the basic, almost instinctive mode of thought you experienced as a child. What did you want from life? Where did you want to go? What do you need to get to that point? What was my life path? All of these questions must be asked without the distractions of the world around you muddying up your thought process. When you can revert to a very simple perspective of the world and only spend time thinking of what you want from life, you can be that much more successful.

    You can succeed in life despite the environmental noise, cruising down your life paths and moving through your rectangles with ease, but oftentimes you need a helping hand to clear away the noise and look at life with fresh eyes. There is nothing wrong with asking for help to weed out these distractions and remove the clutter from your life sectors with a professional life coach.

    Is your life path inundated with environmental noise? Learn how you can lift the noise and begin reestablishing your success indicators today. Visit www.brunologreco.com a Life Coach Toronto today.

    Chapters.ca

    Top 10 Benefits to Journaling

    By Bruno Logreco

    There are countless reasons to maintaining a journal. The top ten benefits of journaling may differ from person to person. However, there seems to be general themes that are attractive in the collective unconscious. Many people are looking to daily entries of their personal experiences to reap some of the following rewards.

    Maintaining a journal is a natural way to exercise the brain. People who make regular entries are taking time to develop writing and communication skills that are very valuable in everyday interactions. This mental exercise also helps to allow your thoughts to flow freely.

    Creativity is a second benefit to consider. This is an important aspect of journaling. The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with visual, imaginative and intuitive facets of thought. When you take time to write, you free the right hemisphere. The ideal entry will be one that puts the inner editor on hold. Thoughts and ideas should flow freely and naturally.

    The uninhibited nature of this form of writing serves a third benefit of developing self awareness. People often create different faces to meet various circumstances. We tend to recreate in distinct situations including the work environment, the community and even when at home.

    The process of keeping a journal helps you recognize the various aspects of your unique personality. The growing self awareness is a powerful force that can lead to even greater benefits in the future. Gaining insight into the self is among the most important aspects to maintaining a journal.

    The fourth benefit is the ability to set priorities. Once you get a grasp on the thoughts and emotions that are filtered through your personal experience, you begin to gain control of them. The process eventually leads to a greater understanding of what is and what is not important.

    The ability to re-see the past is another great benefit of keeping a journal. The pages can be revisited with a fresh perspective. It can be very surprising how much your understanding of an event changes over a relatively short period of time. Some writers find great moments of epiphany when rethinking and rereading entries.

    Journaling is a fantastic problem-solving resource. The approach of using entries to come up with various solutions to troubles is a little different than approaches for self awareness and growth. Many people choose temporary brainstorming techniques that serve to give viable solutions to problems.

    The seventh benefit of journaling is variety. You can choose what kind of entries you want to make. Common choices include brainstorming sessions, automatic writing and reflective notes. Personal journal entries can be made upon inspiration, when you first wake or right before you fall asleep. Some choose to do a combination of these.

    Purging is the eighth benefit to this practice. Many people find it helpful to place negative thoughts and feelings down on paper. Once the negative energy is placed on the page, they are free to let it go. This practice also works well when dealing with anger towards another individual. Purge the negativity and work towards a constructive approach.

    The ability to communicate with others is another benefit of keeping a journal. Those who work with life coaches can find a wealth of resources for sessions. Journaling can help you tap into your fears and dreams, helping your coach gain insight through entries that you choose to share.

    The tenth benefit is improvement in your overall health. Journaling reduces stress. It provides time for you to meditate. The process helps to make the positive forces in your life surface and it helps to bring the harmful elements into light. The result of personal journaling is a new perspective on how you can take control of many aspects of your life.

    Want to learn how online journaling can help you reach goals and problem solve? Learn more about life coach Toronto at brunologreco.com and journaling at iijournal.

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