Start your day better, change your morning routine

I came across two posts today about how to start your day better. It’s simple actions, integrate them in your morning routine and your days (and nights) will be better.

The first one is Brighten Your Day With a Morning Routine!. There are six tips on that page, I highlight these ones.

Start the night before. Don’t wait to plan your day until after it’s started! By writing out your to-do lists and goals for the next day the night before, you’ll already have a plan in place when your feet hit the floor.

Another benefit of writing things down is that it clears our mind. It’s on paper (or in your computer) so there’s no longer any need to think about it.

Hydrate, right away Overnight is (hopefully) the longest period of time you go without drinking water. No one is trying to get in the way of you and your coffee, but chug some water while you wait for it to brew.

I start my day with a glass of water, before doing anything else. It’s a lesson from Ayurveda.

Set your intention. Negative thoughts never lead to good things, especially first thing in the morning! Set an intention for the day, even if it’s just making a note to smile. If you start to feel negative, remember your intention and refocus your energy toward staying positive!

Our intention and mindset matters a lot. Get it right and the day turns out better.

The second one is 6 One-Minute Morning Routines That’ll Make Starting Your Day Easier. Out of the six tips on that page, I highlight these ones.

For the Person Who Can’t Stop Pressing Snooze: Hydrate Instead According to The Huffington Post, hitting snooze only confuses your body more and can negatively affect you for two to four hours after you wake up. So, rather than pressing the button, try chugging a cold glass of water to rehydrate yourself—trust me, it works.

For the Person Who Always Wakes Up Stressed: Practice Mindfulness

For the Person Who Wakes Up Feeling Meh: Practice Appreciation Practice appreciation and you’ll be happier, simple as that. One study by the University of Manchester had subjects spend a couple minutes each day writing down three things that they were grateful for. As a result, each subject improved his or her quality of sleep and felt overall more refreshed!

Expressive writing

I often recommend writing, using pen and paper, as a way to get things out of our head. We get a distance to what we’re thinking about, it’s now outside ourselves. It’s also a way to gain clarity.

The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying says “Previous studies have shown that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events. This study suggests it also provides applications in everyday life.”

If you’re worried about a task, for example, write down your worries 15 minutes beforehand. “Get everything out and don’t hold back,” says Schroder. “You don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone, and don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Getting worries out of your head through expressive writing frees up cognitive resources for other things.”

This technique is also helpful for people who feel like they’re overworked or in a slump, adds Moser: “Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get ‘burned out’ over, their worried minds working harder and hotter,” writes Moser. “This technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head.’”

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How to handle your worrying

How to handle your worrying

As a way to deal with worrying I recommend writing down everything you worry about. The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying has the same message.

“Writing down your thoughts and worries makes you feel lighter because you’re getting rid of those worries that are weighting you down.” You’re also getting distance from them. “When you take a look at what you’re worried about, it’s often unrealistic things,” says Schroder. “Getting the thoughts out of your mind and out on paper is helpful.”

I actually recommend the following process.
1. Write down everything, big and small, that worries you. Use pen and paper, that stimulates more of your brain.
2. Read the Serenity prayer, it’s excellent guidelines.
3. Cross over those items on the list that you can not change or that are unrealistic.
4. Take a look a what’s left. Are they all things that you can change?
5. For each item that’s left, set a date when you shall act on them. Our brain lets go of things that have a date attached to them.
6. Act on the items that you can change.
Repeat the process above each time you worry too much.

More about worrying

Do You Have A Problem In Your Life?
Worrying gets you nowhere

A Ting about listening

Active listening is a key to great communication and a required part of coaching that works.

In a group on Facebook Kasia Gurgul mentioned that the Chinese character Ting nicely sums up what’s needed for that kind of listening. I of course got curious and I found two images that describes the Ting character in slightly different ways.

The first image comes from Mastering Ting: the Ancient Chinese Listening Secret. It’s a long interesting article about listening.

Based on the Ting-character there are six elements/areas that are important. I rank them different from the article, all are important.

  • Be present. With body and mind.
  • Undivided Attention. Focus on the conversation and what the other person says.
  • Hear what’s said and how it’s said.
  • Mind, keep it open.
  • Eyes.
  • Heart, feel.

The article linked above also describes “The 3 Levels of Listening”
1. The Internal Broadcaster
2. The Attentive Listener
3. The Universal Listener

The second image comes from Mindful Listening. I like that it also mentions mindful listening. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and situation.

A related approach is ‘mindful listening’, a concept taken from Buddhism and applied by the language educationalist Stella Ting-Toomey, to situations of intercultural conflict. She informs us that in the Chinese alphabet, the character used for ‘listening’ (as opposed to ‘hearing’) embodies ‘attending to the other person with your eyes, ears and heart’. The act of patient and deliberate listening is a sign of generosity, and an acknowledgement that you are taking the speaker’s needs seriously.

Udemy courses and discounts

I am a big fan of Udemy and their wide range of courses. There’s probably something for everyone. The amount of video in the courses vary a lot. I have courses in the range from 30 minutes up to 28 hours.

Discounts and tips

Before buying a course, check out the preview videos. Does the teacher work for you? Does the course seem to keep what the sales text promises?

After you’ve bought a new course, start the course a.s.a.p. and invest 30-45 minutes to really check it out. If the course doesn’t match your expectations then use Udemy’s 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

Udemy regularly runs campaigns with big discounts. There’s rarely a need to pay the full price for a course you want. I’ve only seen a few courses I’m interested in that sticks to list price. My average price on courses I’ve bought is 7% of the list price.

My courses

I had a pent up desire to study and I’ve signed up for 55 courses in four months. Out of those 16 courses are free. I have finished 39 of my courses, 7 courses are in progress. Here’s a list of topics I have courses on.

Professionally I have courses on:

  • Business ideas
  • CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Coaching
  • Habits
  • Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
  • Influence and Inspire
  • Leadership
  • Mentoring
  • NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming
  • Neuroscience (Brain)

Personally I have courses on:

  • Buddhism
  • Creativity
  • Drawing
  • Languages, so far German
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Writing

What do you REALLY want to do with your life?

We often have problems answering the question “What do you REALLY want to do with your life?” That’s often due to us blocking the true answer. We have tons of reasons.

  • “I’m not good enough at it” (tip – no one is great at something when they start doing it)
  • “I can’t make a living out of it.”
  • “I’m too old (or too young)”

It’s not about dropping everything else in life and going all in. Start small. Learn more about what you want to do. Start following people who do what you want to do. Your life will improve a lot once you start doing what you really want to do, even if it’s “only” ten minutes a day.

You might not be able to make a living out of it, so what. If it brightens your life (and it will), do it in your spare time.

  • What brings you joy?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
  • What would you do if you didn’t care what others think?

What are you waiting for? Figure it out and start doing it!

Related post: What If Money Was No Object?

Video: Don’t Know What You Want? – Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins has done a short (3 minutes) video about this. You can watch the video below or at YouTube at Don’t Know What You Want? – Mel Robbins

Motivation Is Garbage

I came across a really interesting interview / conversation with Mel Robbins. It’s 50 minutes long, in my opinion that’s a good investment of your time. I think motivation is overrated. Mel Robbins takes it one step further and says that motivation is garbage. “You are never going to feel like it.” Mel Robbins also talkes about her 5 second rule which is a really interesting concept.

Video: Motivation Is Garbage | Impact Theory

You can waitch the video below or at YouTube Mel Robbins on Why Motivation Is Garbage | Impact Theory

Which are you core values?

Values (per Collins English Dictionary) are the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person. Another definition is that a value is a principle or standard, as of behaviour, that is considered important or desirable

Core values

A core value is only a true core value if it has an active influence and if you manage to live by it. Going against a core value shall be rare and require a conscious decision.
Most people consciously or unconsciously use their personal core values when they select friendships, relationships and business partnerships.
Your core values are a natural selection tool. Is this action/person/job aligned with my core values or not?
Our core values can often be deal breakers, if people don’t share them it becomes harder to relate.

Away-from values

An away-from value, for instance dishonesty, is usually something that breaks or blocks trust.

How do you work with this assessment?

1. Pick your core values, no more than five. See list with examples of values below.
2. If you want to, pick some away-from values, what are you not willing to accept. Maximum three.
3. Define what YOU mean for each chosen value, write 1-3 sentences for each.
Why do I state a maximum number? It’s like setting priorities, everything can’t be top priority. Your core values shall be values you live by, things that really matter to you.
Our core values shall be our guiding light and help us stay on a course that’s right for us. Too many core values lead to conflicts of interest, which value overrules another.
Since the values are not unambiguous, we interpret words differently, I want you to explain what the values you have chosen mean to you. It is also a way for yourself to get a deeper understanding of your own core values.

Cluster values

It’s OK to cluster values if you consider some values as integral parts of another value. Make that clear in your description of what your core values mean to you.
To me honesty, authenticity and fairness are integral parts of integrity.
Love to me includes compassion and kindness as well as self-love.
Open-minded to me includes curiosity (inquisitiveness) and a willingness to learn and grow.

Examples definitions

Accountability: Responsibility of your actions
Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Check your values

After you’ve selected your core values it’s time to check them against your life and your vision.

  • Do your selected core values make you feel good about yourself?
  • Can you (and do you) live by them?
  • Would you feel comfortable telling people you respect and value about your core values?
  • Would you stick to your core values even if your choice isn’t popular?

When you consider your core values in decision making you’re true to yourself. It shows integrity, it helps you achieve clarity and you act in line with what really matters to you.
Making choices based on our core values may not always be easy. However, making a choice by our true core values is easier and feels better in the long run.

Do the work

You can download a list of values and the text above here: Value assessment sheet

Habit List app

The app Habit List with the tag line “Build a better you” is an exellent assistant when you want to create new habits or maintain existing habits.

In Strides, Habits and Goals I wrote about my test of the app Strides: Goals & Habits Tracker that I used for a while. The Strides app does more than I need so I returned to using Habit List.

Here’s a list of the habits that I track using Habit List, in no specific order. I limit it to ten habits simply because that’s the maximum I can see at the same time on my phone. For some of the habits I have added time. That time is a goal – it matters more that I at least spend some time on the habit each day.

  • Create 1 hour – write, draw or whatever, something creative
  • Reflect – what works, what doesn’t work, changes needed?
  • Meditation
  • Read books 1 hour
  • Study 1 hour – Udemy and any other courses
  • Gratitude – it’s important (at least to me) to be grateful for what I have and can do
  • Interact & connect – online or offline, it’s important to interact with family, friends etc.
  • Walk daily
  • Exercise daily – gym or my own practice at home
  • Yoga & stretch daily

Those ten habits covers what’s important to me. I revise them now and then, I just replaced two of them.

Habit List is only available for iPhone, similar apps can be found for Android.

Prioritize and Manage Attention

In the post Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning the first tip is “Prioritize and Manage Time.”

Rather than trying to do everything at the same time, the most productive people prioritize and block off their schedules to focus on one task at a time. “The idea is that if you become more efficient in time management, it allows for more spontaneity and creativity in the day, every day,” Levitin said.

I squirm at the words “time management” since no one can manage time. We can manage our attention though, what shall we actually do and focus on.

While researching his book, “The Organized Mind,” Levitin spent time with very successful people to try and figure out what they did differently from others that allowed them to get more done. While many of these people had a legion of employees working to organize their schedules and set priorities for them, the basic principle of focusing in on one task at a time holds true for anyone. “When they’re doing something, they’re really doing it,” Levitin said. “They get more done because their brain isn’t half somewhere else.”

The key to being productive and succesful (however you define success for you) is to focus on one task at a time.

Read more

Start Managing Your Attention
An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused
The Pomodoro Technique – manage your attention
Multitasking? No Way!

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