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Altering Bad Habits to Better Your Life

Altering Bad Habits to Better Your Life

If you don't have any bad habits, you can skip reading this. 


You're still here. Good!  You've taken the first step in identifying your bad habits by admitting you have them.  They didn't seem so bad at first.  The bad habits were just insignificant and you could break them any time you want.  You've heard about the guy who could stop smoking anytime he wanted.  He's done it many times. 


Bad habits feel so good at first as you ladle more gravy on your mashed potatoes which go so well with the chicken fried steak.  One little snort of a non-addictive drug won't hurt. 


Lying to your spouse was hard the first time but it got easier.  Bad habits have a way of doing that - getting easier.  Bad habits are a lot like drugs, they're addictive and you find a way to rationalize them.


When you're ready to take back control of your life and do away with your bad habits then identify them.  Write them down.  A bad habit could be as simple as criticizing your spouse or being impatient in the grocery line and saying words you regret.  Admit you have bad habits, identify them and write them down.


Be specific.  How much do you indulge in this habit and how does it affect your life? The longer you've been addicted to the bad habit the more difficult it will be to give it up.  All the more reason to get started now.  If the habit costs you money, determine how much it has cost you over the years and how you could have better spent that money.


The bad habit may not just hit you in the pocketbook but your physical and emotional health as well.  It could be preventing you from achieving your goals and dreams for a better life.  Bad habits waste money, strength and time.  They eat away at your mind until you find a way to live with them rather than kick the habit.


Now, write down good habits that you want to acquire.  This could be just the opposite of your bad habit.  The bad habit could be drinking too much in front of the TV.  The good habit could be to stop drinking and spend more time outside with the kids or at the health center.  Give yourself a time limit when you say out with the bad and in with the good.


Put the list of good habits in a place where you see them every day.  Bad habits are easy to form but good habits come hard.  You'll need all the help you can get and if they're staring you in the face every day the positive constant reinforcement will begin to work wonders.  You'll feel uncomfortable at first but like nourishing a bad habit the good habits will get easier too.


Change your routine and stay away from anything, place or person that might tempt you. Replace that empty feeling as the bad habit leaves your body with something that feels good and is good.  Seek help if needed and become emotionally and physically strong. You can become a slave to bad habits or good.  The choice is yours to make today.



Perfectionism Can Be a Blessing or a Curse


It doesn't get any better than perfect, right?  If a project or task is done perfectly then it's the most we could hope for.  Perfection is what we all should strive for whether we're working for ourselves or someone else.  Employers always seek employees who make every effort to get it perfect.  Is this how you think?


These are a few of the thoughts most people have about people who are perfectionists and perfectionism in general.  Well, in theory this is good; but in reality, perfectionism has a few drawbacks.  The dictionary says perfection is an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence.  It's the act or process of perfecting something to a level for which most of us refuse to attain.


Perfectionism has been defined as when someone strives toward goals that are usually impossibly high but won't settle for anything less.  If it's less than perfect they view it as unacceptable. 


If someone else does a better job, the perfectionist can go into depression and become useless on the next assignment or project.  They feel they cannot be outdone. Rather than finish a job with imperfection, they had rather do nothing than risk not meeting their own self-imposed standards.


If you've been described as a perfectionist and want to change the way you are, the first thing you need to do is be aware of this condition and potential problems.  It can be a blessing or a curse.  It depends on how you handle it. 


Procrastination can be misdiagnosed as laziness.  You may delay getting started on a task because you're working to get it done perfectly.  Work is never begun because you're spending time planning every minute detail.


Perfectionists may be viewed as procrastinators and this can be true.  You put off working because the project may be overwhelming with its magnitude and you don't feel you can do it justice in the time allotted.  You won't settle for a vague estimate, you demand detailed figures before you begin.


Typically, if you're working for someone else, you must at least get something done every day.  Set deadlines for yourself on a portion of the project and see to it that these deadlines are met regardless if it meets your standards. 


What's unacceptable to you may be perfectly fine for others.  To help you meet your deadlines it might be wise to ask someone to keep a check on you to make sure you're keeping on schedule.


Learn to be flexible and how to bend your own requirements until you reach a compromise.  Allow yourself to do a less than perfect job and then listen to the critiques of your friends and co-workers.  They'll probably wonder how it could be any better.


Concentrate on the work you're accomplishing and don't worry about the end product. By doing this, the task you've tackled will eventually be complete and you'll find you can function with perfectionism in a less than perfect world.



Are You Plagued with Procrastination?


If you're one of the few people who isn't plagued with the problem of procrastination then you're blessed beyond all measure.  This thief of time can quietly rob you of precious minutes, yea hours, before you realize they're gone.  You search for them and wonder where the time has gone, but it's too late.


The task you intended to complete today was put off until tomorrow and there was good reason to do so, but you can't remember why just now.  Procrastination comes in many disguises.  It's called rationalization sometimes.   You say, "I didn't get started on that project because the weather was too hot or I didn't have all the parts."  One can always come up with many good reasons to delay a project.


Procrastination can become a habit and if you keep putting off getting new habits then procrastination will be your constant companion.  We find ways to delay a task because there are other things more important to do.  Many times, these are merely excuses such as checking your email, playing an on-line game or surfing the TV to see if you're missing something interesting.


You must recognize a real reason to delay as opposed to just an excuse not to do something you don't want to do.  Ask yourself if that job really needs to be done and, if your answer is yes, then get it done and then reward yourself for a victory over procrastination.  When the job is complete, step back and assess what you've done to see if it was worth the time and effort.  Perhaps you were procrastinating for good reason, but that's rarely the case.


Lack of direction can cause you to procrastinate because you're not sure what to do next.  Disorganization could be the father of procrastination.  Get organized with a to-do list with the most urgent at the top.  Make a deal with yourself that you cannot do anything else until you accomplish at least one thing on the list.  You can make giant strides with tiny steps.


Huge projects can be daunting whether you're writing a book or building a house.  You can't see the light at the end of the tunnel because the elephant is standing in the way.  Cut a slice out of that elephant one day at a time and soon it will be gone.  A small manageable task is much more palatable than trying to swallow the entire project.  No matter how small the success it's another step toward completion.


Make a decision on what needs to be done and do it.  Even if it's wrong at least you've done something.  Indecision can cause major delays in both your business and personal live.  It's easier to make a decision if you create a list of the pros and cons of what needs to be done.  Once you have a clear direction, your mind clears and the path becomes apparent.


Fear of failure can cause procrastination.  The failure lies in never getting started.  Difficult and dreaded tasks are rarely as bad as they seem at the beginning.  Stop procrastinating today.  Don't put it off until tomorrow.



Organizing Your Home or Office for Increased Productivity


Organization is essential in your home, office or in your home-office if you're to function at maximum efficiency and strive for increased productivity.  If you're searching for a place to sit or an empty space to place a file it's time to organize. 


Some will claim that if they clean up and get organized, they would never be able to find anything; but this is rarely the case.  These people waste a lot of time saying, "I know it's here someplace."  They're blameworthy of an old law that states if there is an empty space, it will be filled.


Most of the following suggestions hold true for both home and office or if you're working out of your home in a designated office space.  Find a place for everything and put everything in its place.  This will mean filing and storing.   If you have a home or office that's overwhelmed with clutter, divide the task into individual areas.


Have plenty of file folders and storage bins on hand before you begin.  If it's your home you can be less formal and use colorful wicker baskets if you want and even have a "read me later" file. 


A good rule is that if you've not read or used a piece of paper, a file or a notebook filled with remarks in the last six months you can probably trash it.  But, if you're still not sure and think you may need to keep it for legal reasons then prepare a long-term file bin.


Try not to handle each piece of paper or file more than once.  Don't get bogged down with in depth reading of an article or you'll never get finished.  Save it for later.  Right now, your goal is to clear clutter and get organized. 


Once the top of your desk is clear and everything is in its place, start with the drawers.  Clean desk drawers provide more storage space.  Keep your filing system simple.  Don't make it so complicated that it's hard to retrieve an item.  If you're afraid you might lose track of an article, store it in a clear container or label it in bold letters.


Keep only the essential items on your desk top such as a phone, calculator, computer, and office supplies you need daily such as tape, pens and paper clips.   Okay, go ahead and make a space for a family photo or your significant other. 


You tend to get much more accomplished if the environment is user friendly.  Other personal items however, should not be in plain view or on your desk.  Designate a separate drawer for personals and keep them to a minimum.


Create a to-do list and keep it where you see it constantly.  If you forget to do something don't use the excuse that you didn't check your to-do list or your calendar.  Keep your appointment calendar up to date and check it often.  The top of your desk should have only one project at a time to keep you focused.


Reward yourself once you've completed your organization.  Now, keep it that way.  When a project is finished, put it away.  Straighten your desk and work area at the end of each day so you meet the new day with a clean desk and a clear mind.



Improving Relationships That Need Your TLC


Is there a relationship so true and pure that there isn't a conflict from time to time?

Maybe.  But it's doubtful.  No matter who is involved in the relationship a clash is sure to occur occasionally. 


It could be a difference of opinion with your spouse, a friend, your children, a teacher or even your minister.  Life is filled with opinion and not all those opinions are going to agree with yours.


That's when you need to reach down deep and summon your TLC, or tender loving care.  We've heard about TLC most of our lives and have expressed a need for it more than once.  It might be good to add a U to TLC making it TLCU.  The U is understanding.


One of the first steps in improving relationships is understanding the problem.  Once you understand the problem or the underlying cause of the disagreement then you're more likely to be generous with your TLC. 


You may remember the movie that expounded the philosophy that love means never having to say you're sorry.  Others have said if you love someone you wouldn't have hurt them in the first place.


No one is always totally right and no one is always totally wrong.  Step back and view the problem through your friend's eyes and heart.  They probably feel as you do that, they are right and you are wrong.  When you take this perspective, you grasp the situation from a different angle and broaden your ideas and ideals.


Remember, it must be about more than being right.  Sure, it may be a matter of pride but if you truly respect the other person then just being right is not enough.  You must respect your friend's dignity and self-respect.  They expect and deserve your empathy just as you deserve theirs. 


Truly empathize with the other person with more than just words.  It's easy to say that you understand how they feel but, if it's only words, you're saying then you're no closer to improving the relationship than you were.  If there is something physically you can do then do it.  If the argument is about something tangible bring it into play to show your sincerity.


Listen to what they have to say and communicate.  Communicate in a positive and tender way without being accusatory.  Even if you're certain they're wrong, don't make them feel responsible.  Keep it positive and happy.  Let them explain the disagreement from their point of view.  Remember, it's about more than just being right if you value the relationship.


Show your appreciation and express forgiveness.  To forgive another is to be forgiven.  There is more to life than trivial matters.  Learn to compromise.  Forgiveness and compromise take practice. 


You may want to blame others, but examine yourself.  Blame is oftentimes a shared responsibility. Keep your expectations high. Expect to improve the relationship but be realistic.  You may have to give more than you get.  Giving TLC becomes easier with TLCU. 

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