Lead a vivid life that does good

Tag: habits (Page 1 of 2)

Waiting for change

waiting for people to change can be frustrating - SQWaiting for somebody to change can be frustrating.

As a leader, friend or parent, you’ve probably shared greats ideas.

Encouraged them.


Yet they’re still not changing, or if they are it’s far too slowly.

In our mind we wonder ‘why can’t they just do it!

When it comes to seeing change in others, we are often incredibly impatient.

But when it comes to us, and our long road of changing life long habits.

That’s different.

We want people to be patient with us.

Thanks to all those people who are patient with me as I slowly tweak my life for the better.

And sorry to those of you whom I expect to change immediately. I’ll try and be more patient, and I love that you aren’t giving up.

How to rewire your brain

How to rewire your brainMy neighbour’s bach (holiday home) sits on the sand dunes a short distance from the beach. The walking track from the bach to the beach sort of dog-legs through the sand dunes. It doubles back, and makes the walk longer than it could be. But while the path is longer, it is considerably easier and faster than trying to force a new path where one doesn’t exist.

Which is how our brains function.

Over the years we form habits, good and bad, that create neuro-pathways in our minds. These paths make it faster and easier to do things and they eventually become habitual. They become automatic. And the more you use the path, the faster and easier it becomes.

Which is why it is so hard to break old habits. Because the path already exists and has become the default pathway. New habits, like trying to make a new track to the beach, means creating a new path which takes an incredible amount of hard work.

But, you can create new paths. You just need to walk the new track over and over again.

That’s great news!

Our brains are plastic.

Our behaviours are changeable.




Recently I was making my morning cup of tea and without thinking I added sugar. I haven’t had sugar in my tea for years, but while my mind was somewhere else, my brain chose the old neuro-pathway.

My brain spotted the mistake before I added water, and it reminded me how established the old paths are.

When we are trying to break old, lifelong behaviours, often they will pop up when we least expect it.

That’s OK.

It takes a long time for the old path to become overgrown.

Just keep walking the new path.

Stopping unintentionally

Stopping Unintentionally is the worst kind of stoppingA few weeks ago three people, over the course of a week, reached out to ask why I wasn’t blogging? One example is from a young reader who private messaged me, “I was just wondering what happened with your blogs – I really enjoyed reading them”

I looked back and saw I hadn’t blogged in almost 6 months!

How did that happen?

Did I stop because it wasn’t part of my essential intent? No… one of my goals is to have an evocative voice.

Did I stop because it was a creative burden? No… I love the creative outlet for the random thoughts I have.

Did I stop because I was too busy and had to focus on other things? Sadly No… You make time for what is important.

The truth is I stopped unintentionally. Which is the worst kind of stopping.

It wasn’t a decision.

I just stopped.

For no good reason.

Thank you to the people who asked about my blog.

The implication for me is… Start. Blogging. Again! Which is going to take discipline and habit building all over again.

The implication for you…

What have you recently stopped doing, unintentionally?

Maybe it’s time to start again!

My 1000 day habit of taking photos.

1000th Photo of the day
Today, I have taken my 1000th photo of the day in a row. It all started on 25th April 2013, having successfully completing one 365 project in 2009/10 and failing one in 2012, I decided I would give another year of photo of the day a go.

1000 days later, I’m still at it.

Some days choosing a photo means selecting from 100s of photos. Often it meant selecting from one. A couple of days I didn’t miss by sheer luck. I have one photo of the carpet at work that I accidentally took, and another is of Damian’s business card, which I took when I was demonstrating an app. On more than one occasion I got out of bed to take a photo of an inanimate object at home.

I haven’t personally taken every photo, but I was present at every one. Every photo hasn’t been taken on my camera. And on one occasion I had to get emailed a photo of a whiteboard image I asked someone to take in a meeting (riveting).

But I have 1000 photos.

And more importantly because it is my daily habit, I get to set the rules. And my rules from the outset were very loose. Any camera, any photographer so long as I was present, I wasn’t going to post to Facebook or social media each day, so no obligation to anyone else. I made it as easy as possible and as a result, it was tenfold easier than the first time round.

I would encourage everyone to take a photo a day for a year.

I love being able to look back on 1000 days and have an image for each one. Apart from these images I barely remember what I did 2 weeks ago.

I also love the habit.

Start anytime. Set a goal of 50 days. Tell no one. Just enjoy it.

So now that I have hit 1000 days, the big question I’ve been asked is “will I stop?

That’s actually a harder question than it seems…

Right now I’m on holiday, taking a photo a day is easy.

3 x 365 is just around the corner.

So is 4 x 365.

And 5.

I will stop eventually. But I now have an automatic habit of 1000 days. To stop, will require breaking the habit, and habit making or breaking takes a lot of energy and hard work.

Re-solving the New Years Resolution problem.

Happy New Year!

By now a few of you are 5 days into your New Years Resolution. While others, like me, are yet to set some as we come back from our summer holidays.

Wherever you are on your resolution cycle here’s a thought …

resolve - new years resolutionResolution comes from Resolve.

Resolve means to have a determination to take a course of action. Like going to the gym, or learning french, or blogging.

Resolve comes from two words ‘re-‘, meaning to do again and again. And ‘solve‘, meaning to find a solution to a problem.

And so a big part of having resolve is to know what problem you are trying to solve. The goal of going to the gym is generally not going to the gym. Rather its Losing weight, getting fit or having rock hard abs. Knowing what you are trying to solve is the key to the story.

Once you have the story, and the power for self-discipline is in the story. Use the story to ‘re-‘mind yourself almost daily so that you have the ‘re-‘solve, the determination to actually head to the gym.

Or learn.

Or blog.

Self discipline is hard. I believe for me personally it becomes almost impossible without ‘re-‘solve, without the story.

So when you start to struggle to meet your goal, and you will, don’t forget to remind yourself of the story of who you are trying to become, and remember …

You can and will achieve it!

The hidden power of belief

believe_in_yourselfI was reading a study where people were given the opportunity to buy the exact same pain-killer, but packaged in different ways and costing different amounts of money. They then followed up to see which drugs worked more effectively, and discovered that the more expensive the drug, the better people ‘believed’ it worked.

Think about that. We buy a more expensive version of EXACTLY the same pain-killer, and because we believe it’s better … it is better!

Belief is probably one of the most powerful predictors of success I can think of.

Want to lose weight? If you believe you can do it and believe in a programme, you are half way there.

Want to become a more patient parent? You need to believe you can be more patient.

Want to change a habit? Belief is critical.

You can achieve things you never thought possible.

You just need to believe in yourself.

The issue with belief, is so many of us have stopped believing we can. Which means that we believe we CAN’T, and changing what we believe is incredibly hard. Our self-talk is incredibly powerful.

Often believing comes from small successes, so if you are struggling with belief start by setting a really small, short-term goal (maybe 3 weeks away) and work on it every day.

You will nail it.

I know you will, because I believe in you!



Do you have a minute?

Havea minute?I hate running on a treadmill!

Nothing does my head in quite as much as watching minute after minute tick by, while I stay in one place and move exactly nowhere.

It’s funny how one minute can feel like a blink of an eye, but when things are moving slowly or you are watching a countdown each second feels slow and a minute takes forever.

1 minute in the scheme of our lives is not much time. Even in the fullness of a day, one minute only equates to 0.07% of your day. There are 1440 of them each day.

1 minute is nothing. Unless you make it something. A minute every day … can radically transform your life.

The thing about minutes is they build-up. If you were to do a new habit for just a minute a day, you would spend 6 hours on that habit over a year! All from just one minute.

Maybe its writing in a journal. Or meditation. Or prayer. Or exercise (yes 1 minute counts). Or Reading. Or playing with your kids. Or … ?

Do you have a minute?

Just one minute.


Maybe it could change your life!

The other thing about minutes as they seem to extend. Sometimes spending a minute on something daily, is just enough to get you started, and very soon you are spending 5 or 10 minutes a day.

Start small with just 1 minute.

Start today.


One step that changed your life.

live-courageouslyYou are courageous.

Seldom have I seen or met a person with the courage and determination that you have.

The way that you replaced your old habit and made the positive change in your life is amazing. I wish I knew how you got it, but the resolve you have is inspirational and I love the humble joy you carry from succeeding.

When I speak to you I’m reminded that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’ and that you just took one step after the next. As with any journey worth doing it has been hard. There have been times you have tripped and fallen, yet you just seem to get back up and keep going.

Now, you are so radically changed that people who meet the new you, cant fathom who you used to be.

Thank you for deciding to take the first step.

Your enthusiasm is contagious.

I cant wait to see what you will do next.

This post is written to YOU.

It’s to Thank You for who you have become a month, or a year, or a decade from today, as a result of the steps you are taking now.

You truly are courageous.


3 steps required to become fit and healthy.

JohnsonvilleI was running around the hills of Johnsonville recently, which if you come from a relatively flat Hamilton, can be very taxing. As I ran and navigated the streets that I used to live on, I thought about how I’ve run more in Wellington, since I’ve left Wellington, than when I actually lived there.

When I was in Wellington, I was eating crappy food, not exercising, and really putting on weight.

At the time I thought I was busy, but I was not as busy as what I am now.

At the time I was in my 20’s and thought I was bullet proof, despite the fact that I’d been given high cholesterol warnings from the doctor, and people commented on my putting on weight.

I would like to say that I took those as a warning and started to improve my health, but it’s sad to say that my health got significantly unhealthier and it would be over ten years before I made the change.

As I ran the streets that morning I realised that it would have been good to get healthier earlier. I thought about how much exercise and eating right helps me. It gives me better mental energy, less stress, better health, better fitness, and a better life in general.

I regretted the fact that I hadn’t got healthier earlier, that I hadn’t run the streets of Wellington when I was young and actually lived here.

I think there might be some strange link between exercise and energy. Shock horror!

Every time I stop exercising or eating well for a season I quickly get stressed, put on weight and feel tired.

At those times I know there are three steps I must take:

  1. Resolve | If I don’t decide to do something, nothing will happen. I need to give myself the proverbial kick up the butt and get moving. Without resolve I rarely make it.
  2. Equip | I make sure I have the tools to build a routine and pattern. Maybe it’s apps like Lift.do, ShapeUp or a gym membership, or a friend to spur me on.
  3. Start | I generally start small and try to do something every day. Just create the habit and then let the habit move me forward.

If you are in that space… you should do something.


Nip ‘But’ in the butt and replace it with…

BUT - HT amt-group.comI was chatting with a guy recently who was asking to be involved in some work I do. As we discussed what we were doing he didn’t seem to agree with my approach as he used the word ‘BUT’ in every other sentence.

I agree, but…

Yes, but…

That’s good, but…

‘But’ gets used just before you contradict or contrast the previous statement. ‘But’ completely disregards their point of view and even experience.

We need to nip ‘BUT’ in the butt, and replace it with ‘AND’

‘And’ builds, it takes the experiences and knowledge of the other person and adds to it.

‘And’, acknowledges what you are saying is cool and let me contribute more.

‘And’, says I respect you.

When you start noticing how often you say ‘but’ on topics you have strong opinions on, it will blow your mind. Changing any habit is hard and resetting language habits is no exception. When you catch ‘but’ being used, correct yourself, use ‘and’ then see where it leads the conversation.

‘And’ means you will contribute more AND you might even learn something along the way.

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