New Castle News

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January 10, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: Your life is a series of habits — and, yes, you can change them

NEW CASTLE — “Food is fuel. Food is medicine.” — A sign on my pantry door


We all desperately desire it.

And we’re all deathly afraid of it.

Today, as many of us slodge through Week 2 of our New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to share a couple of ideas concerning change that may help you in your battle.

1) View change as a process, not a project.

In other words, we need to change the way we change. You must rid your mind of those “quick-fix secret” infomercials. Success doesn’t work that way.

Instead, your life is comprised of a series of daily, seemingly insignificant choices.

So is mine.

Your diet. Your exercise routine. What time you go to bed. What time you wake up. Whether or not you watch 16 hours of TV this week. How you talk to yourself.

All of those are simply habits that we’ve picked up through the years. Some we don’t even think about, like brushing our teeth, showering or grooming our hair. Mundane and routine.

But let’s say we fail to do those three things for a week.

Yeah, don’t stand next to me either.

I’m currently reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. The information he shares in the book is quite simple, but it’s powerful and thought-provoking:

•Habits can be good or bad.

•Every habit we have we’ve learned.

•Every habit, good or bad, can be unlearned.

In essence, you have the power within you to change.

Today. Right at this very moment.

Does that scare you or excite you?

It should excite you because our changes don’t need to be massive. In fact, it’s better if they aren’t. Just daily, small deposits — or a drip-drip-drip — work best.

Trying to lose weight? Don’t jump into a celery and carrots diet. Just try giving up soda for a month and drink only water with your meals.

Trying to get into better shape? Don’t begin by signing up for a marathon. Start with a simple walk around the neighborhood three times a week.

Working to become a better athlete? Researchers say you’re better off practicing in “daily snacks” as opposed to once a week practice binges.

As a wise coach, or maybe it was just me, once said: “Practice only on the days you eat.”

It’s well-documented that a habit takes about three weeks to form. Make those small, simple changes for a month and soon you’ll have a desire to change other bad habits in your life — as in a compound effect.

2) When it comes to change, just DO it.

I know the folks at Nike took that phrase global back in the day, but they really were on to something. I’ve since made a point to focus on the DO’s in my life, and remove the word “Don’t.”

For example, stop telling yourself “DON’T eat that donut!” or “DON’T sit down in front of the TV.”

Instead, get the DO’s in your head:

•What DO I want to become?

•What DO I want to feel like?

•What DO I want to weigh?

•Where DO I want to be next year?

•What skill DO I want to master?

Cast your own vision. Then create good habits to achieve it.

Here’s a direct line from Hardy’s book:

“I’ve met and worked with many great achievers, CEOs and ‘superstars,’ and I can tell you they ALL share one common trait — they all have good habits.”

He continues:

“Successful people aren’t necessarily more intelligent or more talented than anyone else. But their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better skilled and better prepared.”

In other words, it takes exactly the same amount of effort to lift a carrot up to your mouth as it does a hotdog. It takes exactly the same amount of effort to click the remote or open a book.

You can choose to stand out this year. Or you can choose to fit in like you’ve always done.

But you can’t do both.

So choose wisely.

And remember, it’s always your choice.


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