Habits – How to Break Them and Make New Ones

Habits – How to Break Them and Make New Ones

Habitual Behavior

We all engage in forms of habitual behavior.  Unfortunately the ritualized, unthinking things we do create impediments to change and growth.

Instead of being preprogrammed and robotic in our daily lives, we need to get outside our comfort zones.  We must confront what we want to change or achieve.  We cannot be on auto pilot, we must be fully engaged.

Habits are nothing but repetitive behaviors that become automatic.  You don’t think about it, you just do it.  You feel a certain comfort in the practice of these repetitive actions which makes it more difficult to get out of the ‘rut’.

In many cases it is a false sense of comfort, offering you a cloak of normality, even when the behavior is considered abnormal.

Habits Enslave

They trap you into behaviors that hold you down and are self destructive.

There are strategies to change your habits and get on your way to happiness. Break free and you will achieve what you want your life to be.

Triggers and Cues

We receive many cues during our daily lives. These cues or ‘set ups’ trigger responses.  A basic example is the time we go to bed, where most of us prepare ourselves to go to sleep by brushing our teeth.  The cue to go to retire for the night triggers the response, we don’t think about brushing our teeth, we just do it.   Nothing prevents us from brushing our teeth after eating our last meal or snack of the day but the actions are cued right before going to sleep.

Actions to Take

In order to achieve meaningful change in our lives we must alter the reactions to the cues in our lives.  Here are the steps –

  • Identify a behavior you want to change.
  • Identify the cue for the bad behavior.
  • Find a response that results in achieving your goal.
  • Commit to it by writing down a planned response.
  • Think about & read your plan for a day or two.
  • Engage in the new behavior for 30 straight days,  it will become habit and you won’t have to think about it!

Critical Key

Identifying your triggers or cues are the key. What situations trigger your current habit? For the smoking habit, for example, triggers might include waking in the morning, having coffee, drinking alcohol, stressful meetings, going out with friends, driving, etc. Eating after dinner when you watch TV can be replaced with a cup of tea, exercise, a diet soda…

Most habits have multiple triggers. Identify all of them and write them in your plan.  The replace the habit with a new response to the trigger. It really is that simple!

Watch Out

Have strategies to defeat an urge to fall back into your bad habit. Urges are going to come — they’re inevitable and they’re strong. However, they are also temporary and beatable. Urges generally last a minute or so and come in degrees of strength. You need to ‘defend’ yourself, ride it out and the urge will disappear. Some strategies for making it through an urge: deep breathing, self-massage, eat something healthy and calorically light, take a walk, exercise, drink a glass of water, call a friend, post about it in a support forum.

I urge you to give this method, which has been universally successful, a chance today!

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Self Esteem

Self Esteem and Confidence

The lack of a healthy self esteem is a dead weight on your life.  It’s like dragging around an anchor,  and it relegates you to the dark shadows of existence.

Low esteem is simply a self created falsehood.  Plain and simple.  Unless you are a truly bad person (i.e., murderer, child abuser and the like) you are an important, valued human being.

The problem is you have let others or importantly, your perception, make you feel worthless.


The origin of such misplaced feelings of inadequacy, are varied (cruel treatment as a child, lack of support, embarrassment over a physical state, failure on a large stage…)  However, let’s not confuse these feelings with the reality that you are a special, unique person who adds to the vibrancy of the universe and is entitled to participate fully in life.

Let’s play devil advocate; Someone or group thinks you are stupid, not wealthy, incompetent, ugly, overweight, boring etc.

So f-ing what? You still have to get up in the morning, live your life, go to work etc.

Tell Them To Go to Hell

Can’t you muster the will to blow these people off? Remember you may think you are the center of their thoughts but I can guarantee that you are not.  If someone is rude or embarrasses you, rest assured you will be the only person thinking about it an hour later.

The perpetrator will go on as if nothing happened, forgetting or not even realizing what they may have done.  You must get past it as soon as possible.  Dwelling on it will doom you.

Fears Become Monsters

The fears and nervousness we all feel will be virtually impossible to overcome without the confidence in ourselves that comes with having a positive image of ourselves.

Steps to Take

Stop with the negativity! Self criticism is bad!  Negative thoughts have a way of feeding on themselves, growing something minor into a major issue.

Everyone has good traits, talk up your small successes to yourself  and build upon them.  Don’t allow yourself to define yourself by external forces (maybe you are stuck in a crummy job, or are unemployed, have no fashion sense, are out of physical shape, etc…)

These things have nothing to do with who you really are as a person.

You must look beyond any criticism that anyone levels at you or that you hear whispering in your own head! Start believing in yourself, you will be amazed at how life will change!

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Read an E-Book Week

E-Book publisher of Push Back is offering 50% discounts for Read An E-Book Week!



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Comparing Yourself to Others

Be Careful When Comparing Yourself to Others

There is a huge difference between using a role model or icon’s accomplishments as a goal and comparing yourself to that person.

One can be a motivational tool but comparing yourself to someone else can be deflating and inhibiting.

We always seem to be comparing our lives and situations against others.  This can be very dangerous leading to an erosion of our self esteem.

Comparisions Are Trouble

The problems and distortions they present are many fold, including these;

  • The media presents images they ‘sell’ as perfection causing you to be intimidated
  • You only see a small slice of the person’s make-up
  • Their flaws are not examined, only their particular area of excellence
  • They may excel in one narrow area and not be well rounded at all
  • They can be great at something but horrible as human beings.

As you can see it is incredibly superficial and best to avoid the practise.

You Are Unique

There is only one of you.  Agreed?  Therefore, comparing yourself to anyone else is a zero sum game.

Everyone is different, everyone has their own set of ‘pimples’ and plus and minuses, some you see while others are hidden or disguised.  Do not allow some unrealistic portrayal or image of someone to trick, intimidate or depress you.  Everyone, including you, has things they are good at and things they are not.

You are who you are, now try to improve yourself or reach a goal you have set.

Compare yourself to no one but who you were yesterday! It is the only measure that makes sense and once you get the hang of it, a confidence and self esteem builder.

A Word About Set Backs

The average number of failures people experience on the way to any success is four.  When you look at someone remember the struggles and failures they had to experience in order to achieve their success.

Be prepared for at least four set backs before you reach any goal.  It is a realistic way to insulate yourself emotionally when and if set backs occur.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… 

Set your goal and get moving towards it today.  Make progress each and every day by committing to doing something that helps to achieve what you want.  Get up each morning looking to improve yourself that day, making progress on your goal.

Remember to compete with yourself and to compare yourself only to who your were yesterday.

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Dream Big

Shoot for the Moon

Why not dream? Why not have outrageous goals?

If you set your sights on a lofty goal and really commit to it, you guarantee yourself a measure of sucess.  It’s as simple as that!

What is the worse that could happen, you fall short of the true goal but get close?  In any case you have made progress.

I can make an argument that if you set a low, easy to achieve goal, while it has nice benefits in building confidence, and make it, that you would probably make more progress shooting for a higher goal and not making it.

Break the Mold

Don’t let the culture limit your existence.  You can still make it,  the people who are achieving their dreams (or importantly what you percieve to be their dream!) are just like you. The difference is they have acted and commited to the goal.  I can not emphasis enough the need to act, to take steps in the direction of the goal you have.

Do not get boxed in by your personal situation, such as age or weight, economic status, lack of contacts etc. etc.  There are countless people who have overcome the odds that our culture puts on us.  (First off ditch the most common mind set that you’re too old to be doing that!)


Each of us have met people with a passion or purpose. They seem more alive than most people!  They are engaging and pumped up! (some of us say they are nuts or crazy but that is just a manifestation of jealousy)  Whether they achieve their dream or not is beside the point; its the damn journey that counts. I know it sounds like a cliche but if you get down to it, its the pursuit of whatever interest you may have that counts.  It does not matter what you do as long as you enjoy the activity and improve at it.

Don’t be a bystander in your own life.  Start doing the things that improve your life and that interest you.

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Energy Saving Light Bulbs

LED, Fluorescent, Incadescent – What to buy??

Like alot of things in life, light bulbs are now complicated!  The light bulb used to be an easy purchases. Now we must consider if it Is energy efficient? Will it switch on quickly? Can I use a dimmer? What is a lumen? How long will it last? The cost? The color? Etc.

A recent article by WSJ’s Katherine Boehret answered some of the questions I had and I thought it might be a useful subect, even if it out of my wheelhouse.

Bulbs can be divided into three main categories: incandescents, compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). We now mainly use incandescents, they are cheap but throw off heat and use up alot of energy. An incandescent lasts about 1,000 hours.

Recently, halogen incandescent bulbs have become popular. The bulbs, which cost as little as $3 for two, look and act like incandescents by dimming and turn on fast, but use less energy. The Philips EcoVantage line uses 28% less energy: A 72-watt bulb replaces a 100-watt, and a 43-watt bulb replaces a 60-watt. They last as long as a traditional incandescent bulb.

Compact fluorescents, the spiral bulbs, use less energy than incandescents but can appear harsher in color and don’t turn on immediately. They cost about $5 to $10 each and have an average lifespan of 10,000 hours.  They contain mercury and should be recycled at stores like Home Depot.

LEDs, which look like the incandescents we’re used to, are the latest in energy-efficient bulbs. They’re also the most expensive, costing around $20 to $60 a bulb, though this will drop as they become more prevalent. These bulbs don’t contain mercury, turn right on and many can be dimmed. Their light-emitting surfaces remain cool to the touch and the hue of light from these LED bulbs are more like traditional incandescents. They are estimated to save up to 85% more energy than incandescents, with a lifespan of 20,000 to 50,000 hours, or 20 to 40 years.

Watts = Lmens = What?? Help!

For years, we’ve measured light bulbs by watts, which show how much energy a bulb uses. But bulb brightness is measured in lumens. Many of the new light bulbs’ boxes list lumens and include info about how the bulb compares with the wattage you want to replace. An incandescent 40-watt bulb gets replaced with a 450-lumen bulb; a 60-watt bulb with a 800-lumen bulb; a 75-watt bulb by a 1,100 lumen; and a 100 watt by a 1,600 lumen.

Many bulbs are now packaged with a “Lighting Facts” label. Besides lumens, this may include factors like lumens per watt (bulb efficiency); watts (energy used to make the light); correlated color temperature, which indicates cool or warm color (about 2700 Kelvin replicates what we’re familiar with a traditional incandescent); and a color-rendering index (the measurement of a light’s appearance on objects).

Consumer Reports recently tested several bulbs for factors like brightness, warm-up time, light distribution and actual lumens. The $10 GE Energy Smart SAF-T-GARD earned the highest overall ranking for 60-watt equivalent spiral CFL bulbs.

The $25 Philips AmbientLED 12.5W ranked best overall in the 60-watt equivalent A19 style (the typical pear-shape found in incandescent bulbs) covered bulb category.

Helpful Tool

Light-bulb savings calculators are online, like one from National Geographic, giving you a rough idea of how much they may save over time.

Now your are armed with some lighting knowledge!

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Limitless and Ambition

No Limits


Some people just seem ridiculously ambitious, attempting to achieve either a high or broad based level of success.  I have been accused of being somewhat ambitious myself, but so what?

When I hear people make negative comments about someone with a lot of ambition it drives me crazy.  Most of it is envy or jealousy.  Just because some people seem to have resigned themselves to a ‘treadmill’ existence, does not mean everyone has to.


Ambition is a form of positive energy that can be infectious.  Life is infinitely sweeter because of it.

First off, you simply cannot accomplish anything if ambition does not help to drive you to make the attempt in the first place.

Secondly, ambition glosses over a lot of mistakes as it provides the stimulation to overcome the inevitable setbacks that come with every pursuit

Ambition also makes the attempt more important than the results.  In other words, it’s a journey not a destination.  Results are important but the geniune pursuit has be invigorating.

Confidence Connection

I have discussed confidence in several other postings, use the search bar to find them, as I am convinced it is the key to a fuller life.  I would like to look at the connection between ambition and confidence.

It appears clear that a person’s level of ambition is directly related to the amount of confidence they possess. With a healthy dose of confidence and a solid self esteem, you are much more likely to get ‘tuned’ up about trying something new.  Building on small ‘wins’, which increases your confidence, leads to a sense that there is nothing to fear in attempting to reach a goal.  Its a self feeding cycle!

Success Connection 

Success and ambition are also indelibly linked. It is your ambition that leads you to make the attempts for success.  An ambitious person leads a fuller life, positively approaching what others view as road blocks to be nothing more than challenges that will be overcome.

Blind Ambition

The term blind ambition, can be both negative or positive. It is used most often negatively to describe someone who is blind to the realities or does not understand what it will take to accomplish something.  That is true to a degree, you can not just have ambition, you have to take action.  Reckless ambition, pursuing things in the search for security to fill whatevr voids one may have is also dangerous and I have written a novel on this called Ambition Cliff.

On the other hand, if you are willing to take action and are blind to the difficulties, it can be a blessing.  How many times have you heard someone remark, “If I would have known it was going to be that hard I wouldn’t have tried it!”

Think Big

Get pumped up about something, even if you need to muster up some false bravado! Get excited and getting moving towards getting a new job, losing weight, stop smoking, learning to dance, play a sport, etc, maybe even blog!  Let me hear from you!

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