Seize the Moment

As I work on the new book on habits that Making Life Easier morphed into, I had an insight that I think is really important and want to share with you sooner rather than the year or so that it will take for this book to be finished. There was an important point missing from my recent newsletter, Helping Resolutions Succeed, because I had not realized how much difference it can make.

The insight is that the moment of inspiration is the moment of greatest clarity, power, energy and motivation to put into action any change you wish to make. These moments are nearly magical in their strength and intensity. Seize the magic by taking some action, however small, as soon as you realize what you need to do. The moment that you realize you need to make a change is the moment you will be most able to make real progress on that action. Postponing action (such as until a specific date like New Years or the beginning of the month or next week) denies the importance of the insight, muddies your clarity, dilutes your energy, and undermines your motivation to take effective action.

Postponing action leaves your demons/inferiors/gremlins, or ANT’s in charge. These creatures don’t want you to do anything that diminishes their power or their ability to be in charge by making your decisions.

This moment of clarity does not mean jumping up in a frenzy of activity and rushing around wearing yourself out trying to implement some major new plan. It means thinking about how to best do it. Change is most advanced by breaking the total task up into tiny bits that you can gradually implement.

Other tiny steps to implement the new behavior you could take are actions like putting up sticky note reminders, throwing out things that support a harmful habit (like getting rid of ashtrays to make smoking less likely), or scanning websites to look for a product that might encourage the positive action. Make a list of a dozen ways this new behavior is important to you and every day add one or more new reasons (when you can’t think of any more new reasons, just review your list). List ways that the old behavior is harmful and keep adding to it. List barriers to the new behavior and how to overcome them or ways to discourage a harmful behavior. Put the new behavior on your to-do list every day for a month (or every month) would help. Do a practice run (or several) of the new behavior and look for ways to improve on the first try.

The point is, if it matters, start to work on it in some form immediately. Always be working on it. The more it matters, the more you should work on it.  

Above all else, control your mind around the new action. Do not tolerate thoughts of what a sacrifice it is to give up X, or a deprivation to have to do Y. Train yourself to consider the hassles of implementation as intriguing puzzles to solve. Identify ways to make the new behavior fun, entertaining, or interesting. Write a commitment list – offer yourself some reward for doing the new action but be very strict about not allowing the reward if you did not do it.


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© Gloria Valoris, 2015

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