I'm finally ready to change my life completely. There a few goals I want to achieve in 2016 and if I'm going to be successful, I have to create a different way of life. After reading this article, watch the video below which will teach you 5 steps to making life changes become permanent.
My biggest goal is to get off drugs so I have to begin attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and register at an outpatient harm reduction program. I've been in drug treatment programs in the past and in one outpatient program that didn't work out because I relapsed a few times.
I think I can be successful at a harm reduction program mainly because they understand that relapse is a big part of getting off drugs. The counselors accept clients whether or not they are sober and they're pretty good at meeting clients where they're at, as opposed to requiring clients to have a certain amount of clean time. The only requirement to join a program is a real desire to get clean no matter how many times a client relapses p
Changing My Life Completely Means Getting Help
No one can truly change their life completely without help from their family or professionals. I'm lucky I have a team of high level professionals which are helping me turn my life around with recommendations and advice. You can get help from any of the following:
Sponsor at AA
I have a social worker that's been a godsend the past year and a doctor that understands my struggles with addiction and has been supportive and non-judgemental
One of the things I'm going to do is mindfulness walking. It helps with emotion regulation which I need because most of the times I've relapsed was when I became angry over something trivial. I strongly believe if I can put my anger in check, I'll e able to remain drug free for the rest of my life.
Ready to Follow Advice
I'm also ready to follow any advice I can get which will help me change my life for the better. Throughout my life I have found it isn't hard to change. I've done it a hundred times. What is incredibly difficult is maintaining the change.
If you are facing the same struggles too, please post a comment. I truly want to change my life completely and I'm open to suggestions. Please be sure to post your website'slink so I can visit your site.
5 Steps To Change Your Life and Make It Stick
C'mon over to http://www.marieforleo.com where the main discussion happens after the episode!
Tired of trying to change your life only to revert back to your old habits? There are scientific reasons for what's going on in your body as you're trying to change your life, and knowing the right way to make changes stick can help.
In this video you'll learn the five secrets to change your life and make those changes stick.
Step #1: Know what you're seeking. To change your life, you first need a vision of change that's very clear and specific. If you're trying to break a habit or learn a new skill, figure out what specifically that looks like for you.
Step #2: Set trigger goals. Trigger goals are micro-changes you can set up in your life to help you achieve a larger goal. For example, if you are trying to build a new exercise routine, a trigger goal for yourself could be to get dressed in your workout clothing 4 days that week. This will make you more likely to stick with your larger goal, and ultimately change your life.
Step #3: Set improvement goals. Improvement goals are numbers with a date attached to them. These goals will help you set up a feedback loop so you can measure if you're moving towards your goal or not.
Step #4: Gather a tribe. This could be a coach, mentor, online community or even a friend who has gone through what you're going through before. These are people who can cheer you on as you change your life.
Step #5: Script your setbacks. Prepare for setbacks by knowing how you'll deal with them as they come up. Anticipate how you'll feel and react ahead of time so you're prepared and ready to respond in a way that won't throw you off your goal.
If you enjoyed this video, subscribe to our channel and sign up for your free weekly business and life advice at http://www.marieforleo.com.
And if you're interested in more videos on how to focus and be productive like this one, check out our YouTube playlist on that exact topic here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=....
Thanks for watching!
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/marieforleo
I just attended a meeting with Eric, the social worker here at the San Francisco Nursing Center. He said he's working on my discharge plan and showed me all the paperwork involved in creating the document. I was in his office 20 minutes, then he came to my room to ask me to sign a document.
Eric is very good at what he does. I'm going to miss this place and the employees who helped me get back in shape so I could walk again and be more independent. This place really helped me begin to change my life. and I'm grateful.
A guardian angel must've been looking out for me when I was brought here. I got really lucky because everyone here is is very professional and they truly want to help their patients change their life for the better.
Discharging SFNC in Two Days
I'm leaving here on Thursday, November 19th and, to be honest, I'm a little scared. They have taken care of me for the last three months and they've done such a good job that I don't want to leave just yet. If it we're up to me, I'd leave when I'm 100% mobile.
I'll be discharging on crutches because I cannot take the wheelchair. Eric asked me to leave it here when I leave because it belongs to the facility. He did offers an alternative. He said I can go to San Francisco General Hospital to request a wheelchair. However, it won't be worth the effort because by the time I'm approved for a wheelchair at General, I'll be fully mobile.
At any rate, I'm leaving in two days and moving into a new place at 44 McAllister Street. That has me a little scared too because it's going to be a new place with new people. I have to become more social in order to meet the other residents.
It's Time to Set Some Goals
One of the first I'm going to do at the new place is set some goals so I have an idea of what I want to achieve next year.
It's currently late November so we have only 1 1/2 months in 2015. The new year is quickly approaching and it's time for me to create a different life.
I know I want to start a new business but I'm not sure how I'm going to do it or how I'm going to make money to support myself. I'll be guided by my guardian angel so I'm not really worried.
Trying to change your life for the better is incredibly difficult. We know that because most of the time we fail when we try to change a certain part of our life. It's also difficult to change when our friends and family put pressure on us to do, or not do, something we are trying to avoid.
The text below is from the MyFitness Pal blog. It's from the article, What To Say When People Push Food on You. The article helps people recognize that change is difficult for not only the person trying to change, but for everyone in the person's inner circle.
Remember that change is hard. For everyone. When we were discussing food pushers, a client of mine who had lost a lot of weight let me in on her very unique strategy: “I remember that I’m not the only one dealing with change.”
She recognized that as scared as she was of people pressuring her, a lot of the people pushing food on her were doing it because they were scared.
They didn’t want their friend to change because it meant they might have to change. They didn’t want their friend to turn down a drink because it meant that they might have to reflect on why they needed that drink.
“So I started thinking of them like bears. You know, more scared of me than I am of them?” That change in mindset was enough to take some of the power back and more easily say “no” to an extra helping of pie.
I have been trying to change my life for a couple decades and I've experienced a few times when I created something good. A few years ago I launched a press release writing business which eventually expanded into a three-man operation.
The business was doing so well I purchased a washer and dryer set for my sister so she wouldn't have to go to a laundromat any longer. She was happy and I was elated. It's great to be able to help the people you love with something that makes their life easier.
Well, the change in my life didn't last very long. After two years I stopped giving my employees work and closed the business because I couldn't work any longer. I began using drugs again and couldn't work anymore.
What Happened to the Change in My Life?
In order for me to answer the question above, I have to go back to the beginning. I am a life-long drug addict and alcoholic who started drinking at the tender age of 10 or 11. I am now 50 years of age with a mind that doesn't work the same as it used to and a body that screams in pain when I walk too much.
I am trying to change because I want to achieve a few goals this year. One of those goals is to begin another writing and publishing business like the one I operated a few years ago. This time I want to be able to hire five or more employees before the end of 2016 which isn't too far away.
I know I can achieve that goal if I use the same spiritual laws I used in the past. There's one thing about success that I know to be true. It is that success is repeatable and once it's achieved, it will snowball into something big.
What Are the Spiritual Laws of Success?
Spiritual Laws work for everyone regardless of your status in life or how much money you have in the bank. As long as you follow the laws, you are guaranteed to get what you want out of life.
The video below is called the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. It is based on the best-selling book of the same name and it was written by doctor Deepak Chopra. He knows what he's talking about and what he's teaching people.
‘You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.’ ~ Mike Murdock
Start with a simple statement: what do you want to be? Are you hoping to someday be:
a manga artist
an expert at something
How do you get there? Do you write your intention on a piece of paper, and put it in a bottle and launch it to sea, hoping it will manifest? No.
The universe isn’t going to make this happen. You are.
Do you set yourself a big goal to complete by the end of the year, or in three months? Sure, but that doesn’t get the job done.
In fact, if you think back on most examples in your life, setting big long-term goals probably doesn’t work very often. How many times has this strategy been successful?
Nothing will Change in Your Life until You Change something Daily
I’m going to lay down the law here, based on many many experiments I’ve done in the last 7 years: nothing will change unless you make a daily change.
I’ve tried weekly action steps, things that I do every other day, big bold monthly goals, lots of other permutations. None of them work except daily changes.
If you’re not willing to make it a daily change, you don’t really want to change your life in this way. You only like the idea of learning to draw/speak Japanese/play guitar/program in php/etc.
You don’t really want to do it. So make a daily change. Let’s dig into how it’s done!
How to Turn an Aspiration Into a Daily Change
Let’s name a few aspirations:
write a book
fall in love
travel the world
drink more water
take more pictures
read more books
How do you turn those lofty ideas into daily changes? Think about what you could do every day that would make the change happen, or at least get you closer to the goal.
Sometimes that’s not always easy, but let’s look at some ideas: lose weight – start walking every day, for 10 minutes at first, then 15 after a week, then 20 … once you are walking for 30-40 minutes a day, make another change — drink water instead of soda. write a book – write for 10 minutes a day.
Stop procrastinating – I can already hear the ironic (and original!) jokes about how people will deal with procrastination later (har!).
Anyway, a daily action: set a Most Important Task each morning, then work on it for 10 minutes before opening your browser/mobile device.
Fall in love – go somewhere each day and meet/social with new people. Or do daily things that make you a fascinating person.
Be happy – do something each day to make the world better, to help people.
Travel the world – save money (see next item). Or start selling your stuff, so you can carry your belongings on a backpack and start hitchhiking.
Save money – start cutting out smaller expenses. Start cooking and eating at home. Sell your car and bike/walk/take the train. Start looking for a smaller home. Do free stuff instead of buying things. drink more water – drink water when you wake up, then every time you take a break (once an hour).
Learn Spanish – study Spanish sentences in Anki and listen to Pimsleur tapes 10 minutes a day.
Take more pictures – take pictures at lunch (but dear jeebus, not of your lunch) and post them to your blog.
Read more books – read every morning and before you go to bed. You get the idea.
Not all of these are perfect ideas, but you could come up with something that works better for you. Point is, do it daily.
How to Implement Daily Changes
This method is fairly simple, and if you really implement it, nearly foolproof: One Change at a Time.
You can break this rule, but don’t be surprised if you fail. Do one change for a month before considering a second. Only add another change if you were successful at the first.
Start Small. OK, I’ve said this two bajillion times. No one ever does it, though. Start with 10 minutes or less. Five minutes is better if it’s a hard change.
If you fail at that, drop it to 2 minutes. Do it at the same time each day. OK, not literally at the same minute, like at 6:00 a.m., but after the same trigger in your daily routine — after you drink your first cup of coffee in the morning, after you arrive at work, after you get home, after you brush your teeth, shower, eat breakfast, wake up, eat lunch, turn on your computer, first see your wife each day.
Make a Commitment to do Something Different
Make a huge commitment to someone. Or multiple people. Make sure it’s someone whose opinion you respect. For example, I made a commitment to studying/coding PHP at least 10 minutes each day to my friend Tynan.
I’ve made commitments to my wife, to other friends, to readers of this blog, to readers of a newspaper on Guam, to my kids, and more. Be accountable.
Taking my programming example with Tynan … each day I have to update a Google spreadsheet each day showing how many minutes I programmed/studied each day, and he can (and does) check that shared spreadsheet.
The tool you use doesn’t matter — you can post to Facebook or Twitter, email someone, mark it on a calendar, report in person. Just make sure you’re accountable each day, not each month.
And make sure the person is checking. If they don’t check on you, you need to find a new accountability partner.
Have Consequences if You Fail at a Commitment
Have consequences. The most important consequence for doing or not doing the daily habit is that if you don’t, the people will respect you less, and if you do, they’ll respect you more.
If your accountability system isn’t set up this way, find another way to do it. You might need to change who you’re accountable to.
But you can add other fun consequences: one friend made a promise to Facebook friends that he’d donate $50 to Mitt Romney’s campaign (this was last year) each time he didn’t follow through on a commitment. I’ve made a promise to eat whale sushi (I won’t fail, because eating a whale is repugnant to me, like eating a cow or a child).
I’ve promised to sing a Japanese song in front of strangers if I failed. The consequences can also be positive — a big reward each week if you don’t miss a day, for example.
Make the consequences bigger if you miss two straight days, and huge if you miss three.
Enjoy the change. If you don’t do this, you might as well find another change to make.
If the daily action feels tedious and chore-like, then you are doing it wrong. Find a way to enjoy it, or you won’t stick to it long. Or find some other change you enjoy more.
That’s it. Seven pretty simple steps, and you’ve got a changed life. None of these steps is impossible — in fact, you can put them into action today. What daily change will you make today?
Eric is back! Now we can get stuff done. Eric is the social worker here at the San Francisco Nursing Center (SFNC). He was on vacation for the last couple weeks in Mexico. I think. I know he was going to leave the country, but I'm not sure where he went.
It is Monday morning and it's a little cold outside. I'm glad I'm not homeless anymore because it's been cold in San Francisco for the last couple days.
Those of you who read this blog know I'm tying to get my life together. I've been hospitalized for the last few months so I kinda have a head start because I haven't consumed any crack cocaine or crystal meth since I've been admitted to the hospital, then a nursing center.
I have been changing slowly. I no longer think of suicide and I'm not angry all the time. I'm also no longer afraid of my mother leaving home. She's not going anywhere. My dad abandoned us when we were still in diapers and my mom threatened to leave when we made her angry.
She didn't know she was hurting us when she said that. To her, we just became quiet like she wanted. She simply wanted a little peace around the house and that's something that's hard to come by with a house full of kids.
A CNA (certified nursing assistant) just finished changing the dressing on my wound and while it was exposed, I noticed the skin graft is healing as well as the doctor expected. There's a tiny section that's the size of a penny that isn't accepting the new skin, but the doctor said she'll be able to fix it without any complications.
The black ring around the wound is dead skin which was put in place by the surgical team during the skin graft. There is a before and after picture on this blog which shows what the wound looked like immediately after two surgeries and about a few weeks ago before the skin graft operation was performed.
In total, the wound required 4 surgeries and nearly 3 months of nursing care to heal up to the point it is today. I have an appointment with the podiatrist on November 23rd at which time the doctor will remove the 20 staples that are holding the graft in place. The podiatrist said I'll be able to begin walking on the 23rd as well.
Currently, I am confined to a wheelchair and crutches if I want to get out of bed. I hope this entire episode will help me change my life for the better once and for all.
In my last blog post I wrote about a tentative discharge date and I may have jumped the gun, because late in the afternoon on Friday, I got a discharge date from the San Francisco Nursing Center. I'll be leaving the facility on November 19th in the morning. I'm excited and nervous at the same time.
I'm also feeling a little scared because I'll be moving in to a new place on the same day. The apartment building I'm moving into is named CCR which is short for Civic Center Residence and it's located at 44 McAllister Street which is in the heart of downtown San Francisco.
I know someone who lived at CCR in the past and, according to my friend, it's a nice, modern building with an elevator and a front desk clerk. It's a half block from a lot of illegal activity.
Ready to Make Positive Changes in My Life
Visitors to the property will have to sign in and present a valid identification card to be able to see me. I think I like the idea of moving into a secured building because it'll help me remain drug free and away from people that may be a bad influence on me.
Amenities in the building include a laundry room, a room with a large screen television and a full kitchen that can be used only by the residents. The apartments come with a small kitchenette which includes a small sink and a microwave oven so access to a full kitchen is a needed amenity. Other amenities include the following:
TNDC, The property management company, provides 24-hour desk clerk coverage. The building has eight-floors with two elevators. Accessible units are available for individuals with mobility impairments. Other accessibility modifications may also be requested.
I really hope I can change my life for the better in my new place. I'm tired of moving from place to place. I plan to Live there at least two years or more.
Those of you who read this blog know I have been a patient at the San Francisco Nursing Center for nearly three months. Back in September I suffered a lower leg infection on my right leg near the ankle which required 4 surgeries and almost 3 months of nursing care in order to heal properly.
I'm beginning to see a light at the end of this tunnel. In a visit last week my podiatrist said I could begin walking again and go home on November 23rd. On that day, she is going to remove the staples they used to hold a skin graft in place and I'll be formally discharged from her care and from the SFNC.
I can't wait to be discharged so I can enjoy lazy Sundays at home again. It's great to be able to drink coffee, read the newspaper and relax without any pressure from people, places or things.
The good new is I didn't waste my time while being a patient here at the SFNC. I wrote blog posts on this Trying to Change My Life blog and on other blogs and I've improved my writing. I know I have a lot of work to do to be a better writer, but I'm willing to put in the work.
I have been trying to get my life together for more than 25 years, if not longer. I am currently 50 years of age and I consumed my first alcoholic drink when I was 10 or 11years old.
It's been a long, hard road for me mainly because of a lifelong drug and alcohol addiction. Excluding the past year, I have been homeless for the better part of the last decade. I've slept on the sidewalk and I've eaten food out of garbage cans to sustain myself all while drunk or stoned. I know what adversity is, and I know what success is.
I have Enjoyed Successes in My Life
There have been times in my life when I was able to attain sobriety and those are the times I am most proud of. I've worked for companies such as Aetna, Payne Webber and Jacob's Engineering. And I've been self-employed and responsible for two employees and countless customers.
Something I've engaged in this year to help me change my life for the better is mindfulness walking. Walking mindfully isn't difficult and the benefits are well worth the effort that's required to perform the exercises. The benefits of mindfulness walking are numerous, but the first one you'll realize is that mindfulness is incredibly relaxing.
I'm aware it's paradoxical, but walking mindfully really is relaxing. What's better, is if you perform the meditation right before you go to bed because you'll wake up feeling incredibly relaxed.
Get Your Life Together with Mindfulness Walking
You can download a guided mindfulness walking MP3 exercise using the link in this sentence. Right click on the link then choose 'Save As'. The file will automatically be saved in your downloads folder. The MP3 was created by the professionals at the Living Well website.
Set a goal to walk mindfully every day for twenty minutes at a time and before you realize it, you will be a better person. And you'll enjoy the following benefits:
More tolerant of others
Reduce or eliminate back pain
Compassionate towards the self and others
Lower stress levels
Increase body awareness
It'll take at least two weeks before you notice changes in your posture and your demeanor so be patient and continue to perform the exercises. Once you begin to notice changes in your body, you may want to perform the exercise twice a day.
How to Perform Mindfulness Walking Exercises
Here’s a simple set of instructions for one form of walking mindfully. Remember, there are many variations to this exercise, the one I describe here is the one I perform. It's the exercise that's helped me achieve the benefits I outlined above.
This exercise relies on a pace that is close to how we might walk in everyday life, and in fact, it can be adapted for walking on the sidewalk.
Walk at a steady pace, slightly slower than in daily life but not funereal style pace. Place all your attention on your feet. When your left foot makes contact with the pavement, say, 'left foot' and when your right foot makes contact say 'right foot'. Continue saying left foot, right foot, when each respective foot touches the ground.
When your attention wanders, bring it back to the sensations of your feet touching the ground and continue acknowledging when a foot touches the pavement.
Perform the exercise for twenty minutes. Why does this work so well? Think about this: when your left foot touches the pavement and you acknowledge it, you literally are stepping into the present moment because your foot is actually touching the pavement!
I'm finally ready to make positive changes in my life by staying sober and changing certain habits. I don't smoke a pack of cigarettes every day any more and I don't smoke crack cocaine or drink alcohol anymore, so I'm on the right track.
The funny thing is I'm fifty years of age, but I don't feel like it until my bones and muscles remind me that my body can't do what I'm used to doing. I can't walk around the 'hood all day hustling money to buy drugs anymore and I can't stay awake for weeks at a time anymore.
The one thing I'm sure about is the only way to make positive changes in my life is by making better choices and the right decisions throughout the day. I begin making decisions as soon as I get out of bed. The wrong decisions could lead to a bad day or a bad year.
The only way we can positively change our lives is through the choices we make every minute of every day. We choose what to eat and who to talk to, without realizing all of those decisions are what makes our life what it is.
I Can Make Positive Changes in My Life by Making Better Decisions
The key is recognizing that we make many more choices than we realize. The choices we make every day pile up one on top of the other until they become habits. Think about the following:
We choose to go to work every morning.
We choose our friends.
We choose which T.V. shows to watch.
We choose whether or not to live in the suburbs.
We choose to get married.
We choose to have children.
We make some choices so often they are no longer choices. They're the way we live our life. For example, you may choose to watch Seinfeld on channel 10 every day until it's no longer a choice. You simply grab the remote then switch the channel without giving it a second thought.
It's no longer a choice but a way of life.
Habits and Normative Behaviors
Some choices don’t seem like choices at all. These generally fall into two categories: habits and normative behaviors.
Habits are choices we make so regularly that over time they demand less and less executive control. They occur without much thought every day.
As a consequence, they start to seem automatic. But they aren't. When it comes to bad habits, we may even be motivated to cede control by telling ourselves the choice was made long ago and that we are now at the mercy of the habit until we change it.
I'm ready to make positive changes in my life. I'm going to begin by becoming aware of habits and by making better decisions.
People have been performing self-healing for thousands of years so it's nothing new. However, most of those healings are few and far between and the media only report the healings which will benefit them in some way, so we don't always know what's happening in our society.
The video below demonstrates how a man used his mind to cure his cancer after he'd been told he had only a few days to live. The mind is incredibly powerful. As the doctor in the video reveals, the mind can heal us while at the same time it can induce illnesses. It works both ways.
If we can heal ourselves, then we can make our life better using our mind. Read the paragraphs below before you watch the video.
Improve Your Life with Your Imagination
Can you see the difference between yourself right now and the image of yourself in your mind? Your job, believe it or not, is to become as much like the version of yourself in that picture as you can.
Begin today to walk like that image. Talk like that now and behave like that now. Don't wait until tomorrow because tomorrow never comes.
Use the 'Act as if' trick to begin to slowly change your life. It will benefit you tremendously if you begin a self-help program today because, when you become the person in your imagined picture, you will have shifted yourself to the frequency of your desire, and it must AND will manifest in your life.
Identify Roadblocks that are Holding You Back
If you find yourself not being able to begin a self-help program because of work or family constraints, try to pinpoint the exact issue. A problem solving technique that works well is to reword the problem.
Stating the problem differently often leads to different ideas which will help you get to the root of the issue.
To reword the problem look at the issue from different angles. Answer the questions below to get more clarity.
Why do you need to solve the problem?
What's the roadblock here?
What will happen if you don't solve the problem?
On this blog I've written about my problems with drugs and alcohol and I've also written about my successes in business and being able attain sobriety at certain stages of my life.
The successes I've experienced can be achieved by anyone as I used my mind just like the man in the video. We all have the same mind, so we all can achieve great things.
One of the reasons I started this blog is because I'm trying to change my life. And I've been doing well so far. I haven't consumed any crystal meth for more than two months and I've been off crack cocaine for a good stretch of time.
Granted, I've been in the hospital, but 'clean time' is clean time whether I'm in jail or in a rehab facility or a hospital. The thing that matters is that I am not consuming drugs. What remains to be seen is whether or not I stay clean when I am discharged from the San Francisco Nursing Center.
The discharge plan I'm working on includes getting into a harm reduction program. Those programs accept clients as the are. Whether they are using drugs or not and the staff are non-judgemental. They provide resources and advice and they are more supportive than in-house treatment programs when a client relapses.
I've never been a client at a harm reduction program, but the research I've performed leads me to believe it's a good idea to pursue. The paragraph below was pulled from a harm reduction information website.
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
Maybe I stand a good chance to change my life for the better. I'm certainly going to try to remain drug free. I've been able to do it in the past so I don't see why I cannot do it again.
I created this blog because I want to change my life and I want to create a life that's worth living. From my experience, I can say it's not that hard to create something different than what your accustomed to (watch the video below).
The trick is to maintain the change. If we're not careful or if we don't guard our thoughts, the old habits will creep back in and before we know it, we're right back where we started.
How Many Times Have You Changed Your Life?
How many times have you changed only to end up right back to the same bad habits and people you wanted to avoid? I know the feeling because it's happened to me so many times I lost count.
I've helped elect a mayor and I've attended lunches with senators and governors. But I always ended up back in the ghetto injecting or smoking drugs. I've even worked for a presidential candidate and had dinner on a regular basis with a federal judge whom I consider a close friend.
As you can see, I've done very well at certain parts of my life. I want to change my life to what it was like at my best points. I have launched businesses and worked for some of the best corporations in the United States only to end up back where I started.
Currently, I am 50 years of age and I want to change my life for the better once and for all. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired... the italicized words are used in Alcoholics Anonymous repeatedly because they work. Just like the questions below, it is designed to motivate people.
Questions to Answer to Begin Creating a Different Life
If you don't make time for what matters to you, how can others value your importance? The questions below are designed to help you create different thought patterns. Some people might say the questions are food for thought and they'd be right because that's exactly what they are.
Take your time reading the questions and pick those that are important to you. Write the questions you want to focus on then begin writing your answers. The exercise doesn't have to be completed in one sitting. Work on it for a few days or longer. As long as your focusing and thinking about them, you are on the right track.
Who am I?
How do I think of myself?
What are my strengths
What are my weaknesses?
Who do I want to be?
Why am I important?
What is my mission?
What am I missing?
Why am I afraid of making changes or of taking risks?
Do I fear failure or the responsibility that could come with success?
Could I embrace change as an adventure?
What has stopped me from keeping resolutions in the past?
Video - I Want to Change My Life (5 Steps)
Do you want to change your life for the better? Do you want to reach a goal? This short video lays out a strategy of 5 steps you can use to create a better life.
Thanks for visiting. Please be sure to post a comment and include a link to your website so I can visit to post a comment too.
I have been successful at changing my life for the better in the past so you can rest assured I know what I'm talking about. I write about my experiences with certain self-help techniques and the struggles I face every day.
Change Your Life for the Better with Visualization
The imagination is incredibly powerful. I have used it to change my life for the better more than once and I've unwittingly used it to ruin my life as well.
For example, by using my imagination I was able to become an eBay power seller in only three months. It takes most eBay sellers six months to a year to reach power seller status. I was able to grow my eBay business so fast simply by imagining myself packing customer orders every night.
I also duplicated that success by launching and growing a press release writing services business. I received so much work every week, I had to hire two additional writers to help me keep up with the demand.
How to Visualize Your New Way of Living
Visualization is not difficult to perform. You simply imagine doing what it is you want out of life. For instance, if you want to become a surgeon visualize yourself operating on patients and you imagine yourself talking to your patients. Your subconscious mind will take care of the rest.
Don't worry about how it will happen. Your job is simply to visualize what you want, then go about living your life.
To be effective, visualization should be performed for ten minutes non-stop. What you do is set your alarm clock for ten minutes later, lay down and use your imagination to 'see' yourself doing what you want.
Video - How to Visualize Correctly! (Law Of Attraction) Great Stuff!
The video below will help you understand visualization a little better. It is only eight minutes long so it won't take a lot of time to learn how to change your life for the better.
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I have been a patient at San Francisco General Hospital for nearly a week. I was admitted last Thursday for surgery and I'll be discharged Tuesday which is tomorrow.
My doctor's plan is to discharge me to a skilled nursing facility so the nurses can perform daily wound care. The surgery included a skin graft and lengthening of the achilles tendon on the right foot, both of which need professional care.
I Have to Do Something Different with My Life
My plan is to get into a harm reduction program as soon as I am discharged from the San Francisco Nursing Center which is where I may go tomorrow. I have to do something different with my life and I think a harm reduction program is a good place to begin.
I was a patient at the San Francisco Nursing Center for more than a month prior to being transferred to General, so I don't think there will be a problem getting accepted again.
The SFNC is one of the top nursing facilities in The City so I'm going to a good place. In fact, they are in the top three of facilities General Hospital recommends on a regular basis.
Those of you who read this blog know I am trying to get my life together. In fact, this blog is named Trying to Change My Life because that's exactly what it's about.
I write about my dreams and past successes with visualization and affirmations as well as my current problems and new hobbies such as creating abstract images for fun (I created the image on this blog post. And I write about my stints in rehab and my desire time get into a harm reduction program.
Last month I launched a new blog which I titled Background Images because I've taken up the hobby of digital art. I am no where near the artists on platforms such as DeviantArt.com and PicsArt.com but I'm learning how to create amazing images and it's helping me to change my life for the better.
I have had successes in the past as I wrote about already and I hope to reproduce that part of my life again. I really do want to get off drugs again.
Trying to Get My Life Together to Start another Business
I am a business man at heart and I can't wait to begin another business with several employees. The last business I launched grew so much I had to hire two girls time help me run it. It felt so good every time I paid my employees. I felt as if I was really helping them while serving my clients at the same time.
It's hard to go back to a job working for and reporting to someone else. Ask any entrepreneur about it and she'll say the same thing.
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I've been doing a lot of thinking about getting into a harm reduction program as a way to help me overcome a lifelong drug addiction. And the more I think about, and research the topic, the more I think it's a good idea.
The text below was written by the professionals at the Harm Reduction Coalition which is a great organization that's doing a lot of work for drug addicts who are serious about creating a better life for themselves and their families.
Definition of Harm Reduction
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence to meet drug users “where they’re at,” addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.
Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction.
Meeting Drug Addicts Where They're At
In the video below, Dr. Kellogg discusses the essential aspects of harm reduction which involve meeting people "where they are at" and developing an alliance via a welcoming attitude.
Principles of Harm Reduction
The Harm Reduction Coalition considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice.
Accepts, for better and or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
Quality of Individual and Community Life
Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
Addicts Participate in the Creation of Life Changing Programs
Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.
I'm having problems being able to smoke cigarettes here at San Francisco General Hospital. They have a no smoking policy that's enforced throughout the entire campus.
I had the same issue at the San Francisco Nursing Center. I even got busted by the administrator once. He asked me to give him my cigarettes and I declined. I continued to smoke outside the facility in one of their courtyards and didn't get caught again.
Now I'm sticking my head out the window here at General. What I do is light a cigarette then take 2 or 3 puffs and blow each puff out the window. I haven't been caught yet. I have only a couple more days here and I think I can get by with a few puffs here and there.
If you've read only a few of the articles on this blog, you know I am trying to change my life for the better. It's no secret that I'm a lifelong drug addict and that I am currently fighting my addiction... again.
I have enjoyed clean time in the past which is why I wrote about fighting my addiction again. While I was clean I started a couple businesses both of which began earning serious money really quickly. I was able to achieve success so quickly simply by following the two universal laws discussed in this article.
Change Your Life by Changing Your Thoughts
The first spiritual law is thoughts are things. Anything, and I mean anything you want to achieve begins with a thought. Make time every day to visualize what you want for at least ten minutes. Allow yourself to daydream, visualize, and use your imagination to create scenarios of what you want your life to be.
I became an eBay power seller in only three months because I visualized myself packing customer orders every night as I lay in bed and eventually fell asleep. Learn to use your imagination for the better.
Think about what you want your life to be like. When your mind drifts to something you don't want, simply bring it back to your goal. Don't allow yourself to think about what you don't want.
Change Your Life with this Spiritual Law of Success
The second spiritual law I want to discuss is tithing. Give away 10% of your income every week. No, I'm not crazy!
I learned about tithing in Dr. Deepak Chopra's book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. At the time I read the book, I was earning $10 an hour so I began to give away $33 every week. After only 2 or 3 months of tithing I was fired from that job and within a week I found another job where I earned $12 an hour.
Why do you think the rich are getting richer? Because they give away a lot of money! They understand spiritual laws.
You are meant to thrive and that means doing great things and enjoying life. Employ the two spiritual laws I talked about to create the kind of life you want.
The video below was produced by Kati Morton who's one of my favorite YouTube therapists. In the video, she discusses six dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) distraction techniques which will help us change our life for the better.
If you've asked the question, what is DBT, you'll get a better understanding of it after viewing the video. She talks about how we can distract ourselves using simple methods, instead of hurting ourselves or causing pain to the other people in our life.
The text below was written by Kati and edited by Ramiro Rodriguez. Most of the text is the same as in Kati's YouTube channel, I simply reworked some parts so I don't get in trouble with Google for pasting text verbatim.
You ask and you shall receive! In this video I talk about six distraction tools as well as how to create a distraction plan which will help you change your life for the better.
I would encourage all of you to grab a few 3x5 cards to help you create your life changing plan.
Using the six tips outlined below, you can come up with different distractions to use regardless of what time of day it is or where you are. Put your ideas on your card and keep it with you at all times.
The six distraction tips are:
Use safe alternatives to self-harm behaviors.
Distract with pleasurable activities.
Think about someone else! Make up a story about the people you see.
Distract your thoughts.
Distract by leaving! If you have self harm items around you and you are struggling to fight the urges, get out of there!
Distract with chores.
I hope you find this helpful and are able to use this to fight back against those self-harm or even negative depression voices!
I've always said you get to know who your friends are when you're in jail or you're in the hospital. Having said that, I can say without a doubt, I have two close friends.
One of those friends is Ignacio Núñez who is running for mayor of San Francisco. He's on the 'write in' ballot and he has no chance of winning, but he's put in all the leg work to get in the race for mayor.
At any rate, Ignacio Came to visit yesterday. He'd been smoking marijuana and he laughed uncontrollably at some points.
It was a fun visit. I hope he comes back this weekend. I'm going to call him later to see what's going on.
I'm currently a patient at San Francisco General Hospital. I came in for surgery yesterday, and I'll be here at least five days according to one of the doctors. It's going to be a tough five days.
The doctors performed a skin graft and they lengthened my achilles tendon. It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. In fact, I don't feel any pain when I take my pain meds. If I begin to feel a little pain, I can ask for a breakthrough pain med and that usually stops the pain before it gets worse.
The hospital changed it's procedures since a patient went missing last year and it now closes individual units, which helps nurses keep track of who enters and exits each unit. They also changed some of the things patients can and cannot do.
One of the new rules is patients cannot leave the hospital. I'm not sure if we can leave with a visitor, but I know we cannot go off the unit alone. My nurse told me we're not allowed out, but we can walk around inside the unit. Patients who are in a wheelchair can cruise around the unit.
I Hope this Hospital Visit Helps Me Change My Life for the Better
Something I've been to doing to help me change my life is I stopped judging myself harshly and I have to say it makes a big difference! I am nicer to myself and I am more accepting of other people.
It's a great way to live. Practicing self-compassion isn't difficult. You simply treat yourself as you would a friend. You're nicer to yourself and you give yourself advice just as you would if someone came to you for help.
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YOU'RE SO STUPID! I say to myself sometimes. And I call myself other names as well, and I'm sure other people do the same thing. Why do we do that to ourselves? What can we do about it?
If you too, say the following words to yourself, maybe this article and video below will help you overcome that sort of thinking.
You're an idiot
You're so stupid
I look ugly
You can't do...
We also criticize ourselves and expect things of ourselves that we don't expect of other people. Very rarely do we talk to people the way we talk to ourselves. Unfortunately, that's a part of the negative thinking we learn as children.
Maybe your parents yelled at you and called you names, or the other kids at school criticized your clothes or the way you performed at sports or in class. Whatever the reason, there is a way to combat those negative thoughts.
How to Stop Judging Yourself Harshly
There are several methods we can use to stop judging ourselves harshly. I've found the following two methods to work well. Both have helped me change my life for the better.
Self-compassion is treating yourself as you would a friend or family member. It's not too complicated to be nice to yourself, or to give yourself the same advice you'd give to a friend.
When you call yourself stupid, stop, then tell yourself, "I did the best I could" or something along those lines. Be nice to yourself every day and before you know it the negative thoughts will slowly diminish.
When you find yourself saying bad things, immediately tell yourself it's okay to mess up. It's okay not being perfect at everything. In fact, being kind to yourself in everyday life is in my experience, one of the best things you can do for yourself.
The best part about being nice to yourself and treating yourself with self-compassion, is that you'll begin to accept people as they are. You won't be as critical of others as well, which is a great way to live.
Listed below are three ways to be kind to yourself. The text was copied from the Positivity Blog.
Invest in yourself.
Spend 15-30 minutes in the morning or evening with reading, listening to or watching material that uplifts you, that helps you to understand yourself and the world or that helps you to live a better life.
Then, if possible, take one small action on what you have learned.
Find the truth and exception when an inner critic or outer critic attacks.
Your own inner critic may not always say nice things about you. People around you may attack you or try to bring you down to serve one of their own needs.
If you or someone else does this, ask yourself this question:
What is the exception to this though?
This is effective to change your train of thoughts, to find the truth and to not get down on yourself.
For example, if you or someone says that you are not doing a good job in school then you can ask the question and find answers that tell you that isn’t really true. If you question the attack and look for the exception you may for instance see that you are actually doing a good job in most of your courses, but may be a bit unfocused and lazy in math and geography.
That is a more nuanced truth that helps you rather than just brings you down.
Take a long bath and read something to escape. Or work out. Or talk to someone about something that is on your mind and let it all out.
Video - Be Kind to Yourself
This video isn't too long. Take the time to view it now. It may help you change your thinking for the better. Remember, it's not hard to practice self-compassion.
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There are many ways to change your life, but I can talk about only a few methods because they are what I've used in the past. The methods I know well are saying an affirmation over and over, practicing self-compassion and visualization.
Watch the Anthony Robbins video below after you read the text for more information on how to change your life. It's a good video. He talks about how raising your standards will automatically change what you want and cause you to take a different path.
Currently, I am practicing self-compassion and I have to admit it works extremely well. I don't beat myself up as much and I'm nicer to myself most of the time. It truly is a great way to create changes in my life.
Self-Compassion Creates Change from Within
The great thing about self-compassion is that it alters your thinking slowly and thereby creates lasting change. It's a change from within which has a lasting impact and it's noticeable in your speech and the way in which you treat yourself.
Self-compassion isn't difficult. You simply treat yourself as you would a close friend. You respect yourself more, you give yourself advice and you're nicer to yourself.
Another Way to Create Life Changes is by Repeating Positive Affirmations
I've had great success with affirmations and because of that I highly recommend it. I call it performing a mental exercise.
Positive affirmations don't 'stick' sometimes so you may have to begin again. For example, I had a bad case of bleeding gums in 2006. Every time I brushed my teeth my gums would bleed profusely. They bled so much the blood would cover my teeth and the water in the sink would turn pink.
To solve the bleeding gums issue, I created an affirmation that read, "My teeth and gums are healthy." I repeated the affirmation for 10 minutes every morning after I brushed my teeth. After two weeks my gums stopped bleeding. I wasn't surprised because I knew the power I had.
The Positive Affirmation didn't Create Lasting Change
What did surprise me was that my gums started bleeding again after a few weeks. The affirmation didn't stick, so I began performing the same mental exercise and a week later my gums stopped bleeding and they haven't bled since then.
In fact, after the second time my teeth felt as if I'd just had them cleaned and they still feel that way today. The last time I visited the dentist she advised me that I had a very clean mouth. She said I had strong saliva that killed the germs responsible for creating gingivitis. I just smiled at her because I knew the real reason my teeth were clean.
To be effective, an affirmation should be repeated for 10 minutes non-stop every morning. If you have time, you should perform the mental exercise every night right before you go to sleep.
Anthony Robbins Greatest Told Story and Creating Lasting Change
If you want to change your life give out what you want most because it will come back to you. I'm not saying that just to have something to write about.
I've experienced giving and receiving many many times during the last couple decades. When I first began giving away money in 1992 I was earning $10 an hour. Every week I would give away ten percent of my income and in a few months I got another job earning $12 an hour.
I've also given away drugs and received drugs in return. The universe operates via universal laws one of which is called tithing. Simply give away ten percent of your income if you want money and you'll get more money.
There is abundance in world. You just have to learn to follow immutable laws to get what you want to change your life.
I'm still a patient at the San Francisco Nursing Center. Today during dinner we learned the facility ran out if coffee. David, my roommate, is in disbelief.
He said, "How can a place like this run out of coffee!? Who runs out of coffee? Allowing the coffee reserves to run out is an indication of poor planning by management and it's an indication that the kitchen employees don't care.
We were offered tea with dinner instead of the coffee we normally get. And we're getting tea with the eight o'clock snacks.
I'm sure management will purchase coffee tomorrow which is Monday. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.
When I decided to move to San Francisco more than 10 years ago, I also decided I was going to change my life once and for all. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as I'd planned because I began using drugs as soon as I arrived in the City.
I have changed a lot and I have had a good amount of 'clean time'. In fact, I launched a press release writing business which did so well, I eventually had to hire two writers. And I started a mindfulness meditation walk that showed me there is a better way to think and to live life.
The problem is none of those life changes lasted longer than a six months. I invariably turned to drugs again and again. I have to give up drugs if I'm going to create the kind of life I've been dreaming about.
San Francisco is now my home. I've been living here more than a decade and I don't plan to leave any time soon. Before coming here in 2005 I lived in Denver, Colorado for 6 years and before that I lived in Miami, Florida for 6 years. I lived in West Hartford, Connecticut for three years and on and off throughout the years in Houston, Texas.
As you can see I've lived in many different cities and states. It's time to change my life. Again.
My surgery date is set for October 29th, which is less than a week away. I've been through surgery in the past and I haven't been afraid, but this time I'm a little scared. And I'm wondering if I'll be able to change my life for the better.
There are risks with any kind of surgery so I'm sure it's okay to be Scared. However, I'm wondering why I wasn't scared before. What's different now than in the past?
What has Changed in My Thinking?
I think I'm scared because I had a consultation with my anesthesiologist yesterday . She asked me a lot of questions and I signed a few papers which is something I hadn't performed in the past.
I asked the doctor why I had to go through all that and she said I was hospitalized before the past surgeries so the procedure was different. That makes sense. But it's scary nonetheless.
As always, I'm positive and I'm sure the surgery will go well. In fact, I'll be 100% better after the operation. I'll be walking normal and as good as new.
I have to change my life after I'm discharged from the hospital if I don't want to go through something like this again.
I copied the text below from the Greater Good website. There is a link at the end of the text that leads to the site.
Normally I don't copy and paste a full article onto this blog, but I did this time because it's a very short article and because it is very powerful... and I want to make sure you read the full text.
After reading the article you will change not only your definition of forgiveness, but how you view the people that hurt you both of which can be life changing events.
One of the best ways to overcome anger or being hurt is to not take the offense personal which is one of the agreements in the Four Agreements. That in and of itself is incredibly powerful.
How Do You Feel about the Infraction? Can You Communicate it Effectively?
1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a couple of trusted people about your experience.
2. Make a commitment to yourself to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and no one else.
Try Not to Take the Offense Personal
3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciling with the person who upset you or condoning the action. In forgiveness you seek the peace and understanding that come from blaming people less after they offend you and taking those offenses less personally.
4. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts, and physical upset you are suffering now, not from what offended you or hurt you two minutes—or 10 years— ago.
5. At the moment you feel upset, practice stress management to soothe your body’s fight or flight response.
Learn to Give Up Expections to Change Your Life
6. Give up expecting things from your life or from other people that they do not choose to give you. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, friendship, and prosperity, and work hard to get them. However, these are “unenforceable rules:” You will suffer when you demand that these things occur, since you do not have the power to make them happen.
7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you.
8. Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving power over you to the person who caused you pain, learn to look for the love, beauty, and kindness around you. Put more energy into appreciating what you have rather than attending to what you do not have.
9. Amend the way you look at your past so you remind yourself of your heroic choice to forgive.
Most of know we have to change our thoughts if we want to change our life and the article below confirms that theory. When we change our thinking we also change the way we view the world, so things that bothered us in the past, no longer matter.
The article is pretty lengthy but well worth the time it takes to read because it teaches us how to look into our past to see how our upbringing affects us as adults. There is a link at the end of the text you can use yo continue reading the article.
Before reading the article, you may want to watch the video below. It explains CBT and it's only about 10 minutes long. It's well worth the effort to watch the video as you'll gain a deeper understanding of cognitive behavioral therapy.
As you may realize as you read the articles on this site, the underlying core issue for many problems resides with irrational thinking styles.
That, of course, is the basic premise of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). We develop styles of thinking based upon our learning experiences, our parents' thinking, and societal/community beliefs and expectations.
Childhood Learning Experiences Shape Our Life as Adults
1) Learning Experiences. When we are growing up, we have many experiences and the outcome of these experiences contribute to beliefs or ways of thinking that we develop.
For instance, as a child I was very shy and fearful of speaking in public due to fear of making a mistake and being ridiculed. In the 7th grade I had a teacher who encouraged me to attend speech competitions.
I was so excited that she thought I could be good at this that I was willing to face my fear and engage in speech competitions which I continued even throughout high school.
As a result, I developed the belief "Even though talking in front of people causes anxiety I am capable of doing it."
Now, if I had not had that experience and my main experience was being embarrassed in front of my class because I couldn't say the word "peculiar" when I was reading out loud (it sounds different than it looks and I couldn't get my brain to switch from the visual to the auditory because I was so anxious), I may have developed the belief "Talking in front of people leads to embarrassment which I must avoid."
Black and White Thinking is Irrational but Easy to Correct
The problem that causes this belief to be irrational is that it is black and white--it leaves no room for alternatives. I would be assuming that talking in front of people always leads to embarrassment.
Instead, by doing speech competitions I learned that talking in front of people could be enjoyable and could lead to awards.
Childhood Trauma can Shape Your Beliefs and May be Hard to Alter
Trauma is an important subset of learning experiences that severely affects an individual's belief system. For example, an individual who survived a fire has a fear of low probability catastrophes.
Due to the fact that a low probability catastrophe occurred to him or her, it is more difficult to challenge the thinking with a statement such as "It is unlikely to occur."
Or a person who was raped and then told it was her fault because she left her door unlocked may tend to unreasonably blame herself for things that happen.
Our Parents Unwittingly Teach Us Irrational Thinking
Parents' Thinking. Sometimes our parents teach us irrational thinking directly such as "What would the neighbors think?" if they saw a dirty house implying that the neighbors would think we are bad people because the dishes aren't done and the beds aren't made.
They may catastrophize about situations and pass their worries onto us "I don't want to fly because the airplane might crash."
Often, they don't recognize that their thinking is irrational and so they don't tell us there might be alternative ways to think. For instance, they don't typically say "I have an irrational fear of crashing but airplance travel is actually the safest form of travel.
Even if our parents don't directly tell us how to think, they impart certain ways of thinking based on their behavior and how they handle situations.
For instance, I remember my father speeding past a bunch of cars and then coming to a stoplight which caused all the cars he had passed to catch up with him and he slammed his hand on the steering wheel and said "They're all laughing at me."
At first I was confused, but then I came to understand what he meant and that others laughing at him was a catastrophe. From this I came to learn that I had to be careful in how I behaved so that people wouldn't have the opportunity to laugh at me.
Teachers and Society Shape Our Early Life
3) Societal/Community Beliefs and Expectations. We learn a great deal of thinking based on the culture we grow up in. For instance, a professor of mine once described his experience as a teacher in the Virgin Islands.
He said they did not have the same concept of time that we do in the U.S. College students in the U.S. typically arrive to class on time but as soon as the class is over they are out the door even if the instructor is in mid-sentence.
However, in the Virgin Islands college students might arrive 20-30 minutes late but they also tended to stay longer and be involved in discussions after class.
Neither of these scenarios are right or wrong, they are just different behaviors based upon cultural influences. However, sometimes those societal beliefs and expectations can lead to problematic behaviors.
Here in the U.S. the perfectionistic tendencies that are imparted to us as we grow up can lead to being overwhelmed and not trying. I believe much of our problem as a society with obesity can be related to these attitudes: "I can't make myself stay on a diet and exercise daily, so why should I bother trying?" (see Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight)
Cognitive Restructuring Can Change Your Life
Therefore, due to these various influences we develop our thinking styles, both rational and irrational. You may already recognize some of your irrational thinking styles and how they developed, but you want to know, "How do I change this thinking?"
In fact, many times you've probably have had people tell you "Think this way!" But no one tells you how to "Think this way!" So, you still have the question, "How do I think that way?"
The answer is that you are already halfway there. Half of the battle is recognizing the thinking that is problematic for you. You can do this by reading other articles on this site as well as the recommended books.
The next step however, is the part that requires more active work and that is challenging the thinking, repeatedly and often. This part of therapy is known as "cognitive restructuring" and can change your life for the better.
To learn any new skill, we first have to identify how to complete the skill correctly and then we have to practice the skill repeatedly.
So, for instance, if you want to learn how to hit a ball with a bat, you need to learn how to hold the bat and how to stand and when to swing. But, just because you know intellectually how to hit a ball doesn't mean that you will be able to.
The next step is to practice swinging the bat at the ball and adjusting your stance until you can hit the ball. However, even then it doesn't mean that you can automatically hit the ball whenever it is thrown to you.
At this point you need to practice swinging the bat at the ball again and again until you develop the muscle memory to do it automatically.
That way, when you are under the stress of two outs in the ninth inning, you will be able to automatically engage in the behavior you need to hit the ball.
Change Your Life by Altering Your Thoughts
Well, learning a new way of thinking is learning a new thinking skill and the process is the same as learning to hit a ball with a bat.
You need to identify the thinking you want to learn and then you need to engage in it repeatedly until it becomes automatically. Just as your body doesn't feel comfortable at first when you are learning to hit a ball, your brain doesn't feel comfortable at first with a new way of thinking.
However, the more you engage the new thinking, the more comfortable you will become with it and the more you will believe it and be able to rely on it.
The most difficult part of creating the new way of rational thinking for most people is the repetitive practice. Some people, however, may have difficulty with recognizing how their thinking is irrational.
In which case they may need further assistance from a therapist. However, for everyone else, the process at this point is to develop methods of practice.
Sometimes the hurt is very deep, such as when a spouse or a parent betrays our trust, or when we are victims of crime, or when we’ve beenharshly bullied. Anyone who has suffered a grievous hurt knows that when our inner world is badly disrupted, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything other than our turmoil or pain. When we hold on to hurt, we are emotionally and cognitively hobbled, and our relationships suffer.
Forgiveness is strong medicine for this. When life hits us hard, there is nothing as effective as forgiveness for healing deep wounds. I would not have spent the last 30 years of my life studying forgiveness if I were not convinced of this.
Many people have misconceptions about what forgiveness really means—and they may eschew it. Others may want to forgive, but wonder whether or not they truly can. Forgiveness does not necessarily come easily; but it is possible for many of us to achieve, if we have the right tools and are willing to put in the effort.
Below is an outline of the basic steps involved in following a path of forgiveness, adapted from my new book,8 Keys to Forgiveness. As you read through these steps, think about how you might adapt them to your own life.
1. Know what forgiveness is and why it matters
Forgiveness is about goodness, about extending mercy to those who’ve harmed us, even if they don’t “deserve” it. It is not about finding excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. Nor is there a quick formula you can follow. Forgiveness is a process with many steps that often proceeds in a non-linear fashion.
But it’s well worth the effort. Working on forgiveness can help us increase our self-esteem and give us a sense of inner strength and safety. It can reverse the lies that we often tell ourselves when someone has hurt us deeply—lies like, I am defeated or I’m not worthy. Forgiveness can heal us and allow us to move on in life with meaning and purpose. Forgiveness matters, and we will be its primary beneficiary.
Studies have shown that forgiving others produces strong psychological benefits for the one who forgives. It has been shown to decrease depression, anxiety, unhealthy anger, and the symptoms of PTSD. But we don’t just forgive to help ourselves. Forgiveness can lead to psychological healing, yes; but, in its essence, it is not something about you or done for you. It is something you extend toward another person, because you recognize, over time, that it is the best response to the situation.
To practice forgiveness, it helps if you have worked on positively changing your inner world by learning to be what I call “forgivingly fit.” Just as you would start slowly with a new physical exercise routine, it helps if you build up your forgiving heart muscles slowly, incorporating regular “workouts” into your everyday life.
You can start becoming more fit by making a commitment to do no harm—in other words, making a conscious effort not to talk disparagingly about those who’ve hurt you. You don’t have to say good things; but, if you refrain from talking negatively, it will feed the more forgiving side of your mind and heart.
You can also make a practice of recognizing that every person is unique, special, and irreplaceable. You may come to this through religious beliefs or a humanist philosophy or even through your belief in evolution. It’s important to cultivate this mindset of valuing our common humanity, so that it becomes harder to discount someone who has harmed you as