Categories
mindfulness

how to replace multitasking with mindfulness

A quick animated video explaining multitasking and mindfulness.

Multitasking and mindfulness? I’m guilty of multitasking or doing more than one task at a time. I can read an article, text, promote my blog, and write at the same time. Do I get anything accomplished? Yes, but slowly and with much effort. Multitasking creates a paradox. You might think that you will be more productive, but in reality, you are not.

Brain in overdrive

Because all of those tasks are happening simultaneously, your brain is forced to react quickly, moving back and forth by shifting your focus. Studies have shown that not only individuals that multitask are prone to not get things done, but they’re more apt to face burnout. Other findings include higher levels of stress and a poor quality of life for those individuals who engage in endless multitasking. A study from the University of Pittsburgh showed that adolescents who have multiple social media accounts suffer from greater depression and anxiety. Clearly, multitasking has its drawbacks.

Your brain wasn’t meant to overload itself with sensory input in such little time. When you multitask, you’re splitting your attention between things on your to-do list and figuratively you’re also splitting yourself. You might be checking things off the list but your brain is not registering the present moment. You trigger a nervous reaction since your brain now cannot focus on a single item completely because it is processing the other items. For instance, when you’re in a relationship and your partner is speaking and you’re on your cell phone, you’re not truly listening to them. Taking a computer analogy, multitasking can overload the RAM in your brain.

Multitasking and Mindfulness

Multitasking can cause people to feel less empathetic toward others. People might not listen to your words, and they might not be aware of the full scope of the situation. There’s another downside to multitasking. When you’re not fully present with what you’re doing or who you’re spending time with, you miss things. You’ll discover that you have a tendency to spend a lot of time and energy on things that don’t matter.

Multitasking keeps you distracted. The cure for multitasking is mindfulness. This means that you’re focused on the present. You’re giving whatever task you’re doing 100% of yourself. It means whoever you’re interacting with isn’t having to compete for your attention because you’re 100% present with them. Being fully present can help to deepen relationships with those you’re keen on.

It can also make you better at your job, more understanding of your coworkers, and happier in all aspects of your life. When you’re being mindful, you’re focused. You engage your mind and your emotions together. By being focused, you’re aware of the task. Getting it done will be easier and you won’t be stressed.

When you focus on a person, you’ll be able to have a deeper connection without multitasking. You’ll be fully engaged in your own life and in the lives of the people you interact with. Mindfulness can teach you how to keep your focus on the moment. It can show you how to enjoy the day-to-day tasks and situations even if they’re mundane. Clearly, multitasking and mindfulness are not compatible.

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Self-care

8 tips for self-care: I wish it were self-care Sunday

Sometimes we are so busy with our daily hustle that Sunday meets Monday, and we tend to forget our self-care routines. An easy way to remember a self-care routine is to dedicate one single day of a week to fit it into your life. This is the start of self-care Sunday. 

Why Choose A Self-Care Routine on Sunday?

Sunday is the start of the week and a day of rest for many of us. It’s the perfect day to dedicate solely to yourself.  Forget chasing after the kids, the grumpy husband or the laundry. Self-care Sunday is all about you choosing a day to unwind from your weekly activities. It is a time to reflect and plan for the week ahead. By dedicating one day out of the whole week to your self-care, you are able to take advantage of the downtime. Also, you will improve your self-esteem. Let’s work on a quick routine

Setting Up Your Weekly Self-Care Routine

First, carve out time in your schedule for self-care Sunday. Don’t compromise your time with extra chores or rushing to get things done for Monday. Dedicate this time for you. Focus on your self-care on Sundays, whether that means an hour during the day, or changing the entire routine for the whole day. 

Think of self-care Sunday like a reset day. By resetting the button on your computer, you can reboot your life.  You not only get your planning done for the week, but you give yourself some time to relax and unwind. Your body rests and your mind grows in creativity with self-care. Remember our morning routine and how daydreaming helped us think of what we really wanted to accomplish. Downtime strengthens your imagination. It becomes your creative time.  

How is Self-Care Sunday Different from Ordinary Daily Self-Care?

There is no difference other than the day. In fact, you can probably carry out this routine on a Wednesday if you had the whole day off.  My work doesn’t allow that luxury. I chose Sunday because it is easy to remember and reminds me of the song by the Bangles. 

“I wish it were Sunday since 
 that is my fun day. My I don't want to run day.”


You still want to choose activities that help you to relax and that promote your overall wellness. Don’t feel pressured to cram all your self-care routines before or after work. 

Think About Your Current Sunday Routine

In order to turn Sunday into your weekly self-care day, you need to consider your schedule. This self-reflection helps you determine if these are things that can only be done on Sundays. Maybe if you move these tasks to another day you give more time to yourself.

Make a list of all you do every Sunday first. Then look at your list, and discard anything that isn’t really necessary or might no longer be serving you. With what is left, determine if any of those activities can be moved to Saturday. This is the trick to establishing a self-care Sunday.  

For instance, if you do a lot of cleaning and chores on Sundays, free some of your time on another day. Dividing tasks and running daily quick 5-minute room pick-ups works great. In this way, you will finish your daily cleaning in no time to free your Sunday.

Just because you have committed time to your self-care routine, doesn’t mean it becomes a recurrent boring task. For example, you might decide to practice belly dancing with your girlfriends one week or go on a solitary walk another week. We strive on variety.

Sometimes, what you choose as your self-care activity changes because of illness or a change in weather. Continue to make adjustments based on your schedule. Revisit what you are doing for self-care often. As your needs change, so will your self-care and what is actually going to benefit you the most. Remember that what works best for you is going to be an activity that helps you feel relaxed and improves your mood. Choose an activity that you love to do!

Ideas for Sunday Self-Care Activities

Self-care Sunday is more about dedicating a day to yourself each week. This dedicated time is important especially if you are too busy during the week to really focus on you. Here are some activities that can be great to do on Sundays: 

1. Let yourself sleep in 

This one is the hardest for me since my body wakes up before the alarm. This is the day that I allow myself to snooze it.  If you don’t get to sleep in during the rest of the week, at the very least give yourself this time on Sundays! Your body (and mind) needs the rest. 

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2. Make brunch at home

This is my friend’s Sunday routine tip. Her husband actually cooks up brunch every Sunday even if she is on a diet. Her home is like a restaurant. Sometimes, I visit her just for the crêpes and omelets. She pops open a bottle of champagne every Sunday. No wonder she is my best friend.

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3. Go outdoors

 You can also enjoy more time with your kids without cell phones and video games.  Go outside and literally play! Enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Ride bicycles around your neighborhood or have a picnic at the park. Walk a new nature trail, bird watch, and take photographs.

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4. Have an hour or a whole day of pampering 

You might not be able to dedicate the entire day just to self-care. So, another solution is to at least fit in some pampering time. This includes spa time.  Buy yourself a manicure set and follow a Youtube tutorial.  Unwind with a quick facial routine. I watch Dr. Dray on Youtube and her tutorials are from the drugstore. 

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5. Catch up on your reading or creative projects 

This is the perfect time to pick activities you enjoy. Maybe there is a book you have been wanting to finish or play the piano. Learn to read music or a new language. 

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6. Get ready for the week 

Self-care can also mean just giving yourself to meditate by doing nothing.really reset and prepare for the week ahead.

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7. Volunteer your time

Looking for something more meaningful and fulfilling? You might like to volunteer somewhere as your self-care. Look into local community centers or animal shelters that are open on Sunday and see if they need any help. 

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8. Join a local club 

Another social activity that helps with your self-care is joining a local club, like a book club. It will encourage you to read more. You can get together once a week with your book club to chat over tea.   I personally enjoy my camera club meet-ups.

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Categories
Morning routine

a new morning routine for the summer

Open your window and let the sunshine into your home. Make it cozy and follow Marie Kondo’s lead by making your new morning routine spark joy. Today I thought about the COVID-19 quarantine and how much we have accomplished by creating a new morning routine for the summer. If you follow this blog, you know that we have been working together in setting our new morning routine. So far, we have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. Now, it’s time to put it all together.

Choose a preliminary time 

The best place to start is with the new set of tasks that are most important to you. Figure out a preliminary time during which you want to get these tasks accomplished. Maybe your goal is to meditate each morning so you may decide it would work best after you’ve had a cup of jasmine tea. Perhaps your goal is to find some time for reading the latest summer thriller. Maybe another goal is to take photographs of your garden for Instagram before everyone else gets up. The same applies for wanting time in the morning to work on your business or learn a new language.

Work the rest of your morning chores around these new plans. It may take some shifts in your current routine. With a bit of creative thinking, I’m sure you can come up with a working plan.

Making over your morning and turning it into a new routine isn’t something that comes natural. It takes a little while to step into the groove. 

Write Your New Morning Routine

For right now, my suggestion is that you write your new routine for the summer down in a journal or sticky note. 

It’s easy to forget what you’re planning to do. Writing it down will not only give you a reference, but also solidify your new plan in your mind. Place your new plan on your night table or somewhere else where you’ll see it first thing in the morning. It will serve as a reminder of what you’re intending to do and your action plan.

Even though you’ve written your plan down, it’s important to realize it’s not written in stone. Well-laid out plans don’t always work when put into action. Adjust your plans and make changes as needed. Create a new morning routine for the summer that works well for you and the rest of your family.

The Importance Of Habits And Routines

With your morning plan figured out, it’s time to not only to put it into action, but make it your new morning routine. Why is this important? It’s because you want to make sure that your new plan happens each morning. Turning your plan into a routine is the best way to make sure that happens.

Before something becomes a habit or a routine, you expend energy and willpower for things to happen. That’s energy that you will need for other things throughout your morning and busy rest of the day. Once you are set with your routine, it will become automatic like brushing your teeth before bed.

Stick To Your Routine

The key is to stick to your new routine for a few weeks. That’s the best way to turn it into a strong habit. Before long, it will feel like the new normal and you no longer have to remind yourself to do each thing along the way. It will take less effort and less growth mindset work to get things done.

Watch out for moments when you slip back into your old habits and routines. It’s going to happen. The key is to catch it early and get back on track as quickly as possible. For example, let’s say you’ve been doing well with waking up 30 minutes earlier and going for a run before you start your day. Then one day you oversleep and it’s raining so you can’t make it out there. That’s life. It happens. What’s important is what you decide to do the next morning.

Your most important job whenever life gets in the way of your new morning routine is to get back on track. Do what you can as soon as you notice the disruption. If the weather is bad, do a quick workout at home on the treadmill. If you overslept, try to squeeze in a few minutes of meditation. Most importantly get back on track with your regular morning routine as soon as possible. You’ll be glad you did when you start to see the results you’ve been hoping for.

Take Time To Review Your Morning Routine Regularly

Creating routines and habits for your mornings motivate you. They allow you to do what you need in order to move ahead. There is no need to spend too much energy or time thinking about it. That’s a good thing. It can also be a dangerous thing when you’ve focusing on the wrong things that don’t help you reach your goals.

When we get into a routine, it’s hard to stop and ask ourselves if it’s working as well as it should be. Even more importantly, with a routine and a set of habits firmly established, it’s easy to keep going even when our circumstances change. That’s why it’s important to take some time now and then to review our routine and habits.

Set aside a little time every few weeks, or even months to review your routine. Just put it on the calendar and make sure you do it. It won’t take long and it will be a very valuable exercise in the long run. Our lives and circumstances change. Our routines should change with the times. Just because something has served us well over the past few weeks and months, doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. 

When you sit down to review your morning routine (or any routine or habit you’ve been working on for that matter), ask yourself this:

Is it working?

If your morning routine works, simply keep calm and carry on.

If it isn’t then, it may be time to make some changes and tweak it until you find something that works well for you.

Another way to look at it is to find what you love and what you hate about your new morning routine. Change it accordingly until you get as close as possible to loving wanting to get up in the morning. 

Remember, this morning routine will change and evolve over time as you grow your mindset. You grow by accepting the circumstances of your life. Embrace the changes and look at them as an indication that you’re making progress.

Keep tweaking and improving your routine and don’t be afraid to mix up your goals for it. Maybe you started out by making exercise a priority first thing in the day. As time passes you reach your goal, so then you can switch focus to meditation or learning a new language. Keep evolving and keep using those precious first few hours of each day to establish some positive change in yourself and those around you.

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Categories
mindfulness Motivation procrastination

7 productivity tips and tricks for perfectionists to gain mindfulness

Are you a perfectionist? 

Let’s be clear. If you have very high but rigid standards, then you might have trouble adjusting to the daily demands of life. To overcome perfectionism, it’s important to grow your mindset. Accept that you will give it your best shot instead of feeling as if you are cutting yourself short. By trying one of these seven simple productivity tips and tricks, you can motivate yourself back into action. 

Give each of these tips a try over the next few weeks and find the ones that work best. You will know that they positively work for you when you suddenly realize that you are dancing in your kitchen out of pure joy. Your to-do list will be checked off automatically with no excuses. Whenever you find yourself procrastinating, needlessly postponing decisions or actions, come back to this list. Then, employ one or several of these productivity tips and tricks. Your productivity will soar. 

Sure to Work Productivity Tips and Tricks

Girl with hand on forehead.  Blog graphic pointing towards "now" sign.

Being mindfully aware of procrastination is a skill in itself because those individuals who procrastinate can do a great job of hiding it from themselves. You might find excuses like waiting for inspiration or needing more information before tackling a project. You convince yourself with more excuses and it becomes harder to differentiate which are the true hurdles. Be honest with yourself and you will start overcoming true challenges not those which you have imagined.

1. Pick Something Small 

One of the big reasons we procrastinate is because we become overwhelmed. There’s too much to do, so we choose to forget about it for a little while. It’s a coping mechanism, just not the one giving you accurate results. Instead, pick one thing, something small that you can do right now to move you in the right direction. Making small choices creates momentum and forces you to take action. 

2. Set A Timer and Go 

Another trick that works like a charm is to set a timer. Your cell phone has one built-in, as do most smartwatches. If you misplaced your smartphone or are procrastinating, setting the alarm, then let Alexa know that she needs to remind you. She usually replies that she didn’t get that. But no worries, Alexa understood you correctly. She’s just procrastinating like you. Repeat your command and allow double the amount you need for a particular task to complete it. For instance, if you plan for fifteen minutes to pay your bills, make that thirty. The same applies for uncluttering your closet. Again, the goal is to start and do something. 

3. Bribe Yourself 

Make up your own rewards. Remember there’s nothing wrong with bribing yourself if that’s what motivates you. Your boss bribes you with a paycheck, so you know this tip works to perfection. Work on a home improvement project for an hour. Then watch as someone else does the same work on an episode of Property Brothers on HGTV. Maybe promise yourself ice cream when you finish painting the living room. Just come up with something that motivates you and go for it. Remind yourself of the prize at the end of the project whenever you’re tempted to put things off for another day. 

4. Find An Accountability Partner 

It’s all about competitive accountability and peer pressure. First, find someone else who’s either trying to be more productive or beat procrastination themselves. Second, start check-in with each other daily. Third, share what you want to accomplish and what you will get done today. Knowing you have to report to someone else makes you take action. It’s also motivating to see the other person do the same.  Accountability is the principle behind weight loss and other self-help groups. It is widely recognized as a highly effective approach. 

5. Measure Your Progress 

When you’re working on something long-term, such as losing thirty pounds, it can be tempting to procrastinate. Simply, it doesn’t seem like you’re making much progress. Your confident that those initial fluctuations are just changes in water weight. Instead, prove to yourself that you are getting closer and closer by tracking or measuring it. Make a chart, use a spreadsheet, keep a bullet journal. Find a way to measure your progress towards your goal and use it to motivate yourself to keep going. 

6. Remind Yourself Of Your Why 

There’s a reason you’ve decided to do that thing you keep putting off. Think about why you want to get it done. Is it so that you can get your tax refund? So you can find the clothes you want to wear? Find out your reason why. Write it down and then keep it front and center on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Look at it every day before you get ready to get to work. 

7. Just Start

I’ve saved the best for last. It’s the easiest but also the most powerful. Just get started. That’s right, sometimes all you have to do is just get moving in the right direction. Do something. Do anything even if it’s something minimal. You get over that initial hump and start to build some momentum with the use of these productivity tips and tricks.

Disclaimer: Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. That means that you will not just break it overnight. Habits are broken when act on not practicing them. Please use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of overcoming procrastination. 

Don’t let your perfectionism stop you from reaching your goals

You wake up in the morning motivated and ready to tackle whatever it is you’ve been procrastinating on. Maybe you’re excited about a new project. You drink your coffee, get dressed, and get ready to get to work. Then something suddenly comes up. You are a perfectionist so you get suckered into a non-productive task because you find your to-do list not good enough or pretty enough. 

Perhaps you open your Instagram and get sucked into spending the next few hours on your phone. Maybe you feel that you need to finish your binge-watch marathon on Netflix. It doesn’t matter what it is, the point is that there are things that will try to distract you into procrastinating. 

Gain Mindfulness

Listen to the clip above. In less than one minute, you will gain mindfulness to overcome your challenges.

Take Action With A Simple Productivity Strategy

There’s a simple strategy you can use to keep procrastination from happening. It’s to make the important project you’ve been delaying a priority and work on it first thing every morning. The whole process starts with planning the night before. Before you call it a day, sit down, and think about the tasks you want to get done the next day. Identify what needs to get done.

Write these three tasks down in your journal. 

These tasks don’t have to be long (see tip. 1). In fact, I find it helpful if they are all items I can take care of quickly. When you get up in the morning, look at your list and work on these three most important tasks before you do anything else. Don’t look at your email. Don’t text. If at all possible don’t even answer the phone or attend meetings before these three tasks are crossed off. Make them your number one priority. 

Aside from that, simply being mindful of smart devices that decrease your productivity is helpful. When you find yourself putting something off, look back and see if you can pinpoint what caused it. Then take action towards preventing it from happening in the future. 


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Categories
Morning routine Time management

find time for morning meditation

To tell you the truth, mornings can be quiet hectic. It’s so difficult to find time for morning meditation. If you have a young family and children to get dressed and out the door, you know this first hand. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter how busy you think you are first thing in the day. Earlier, I shared with you how the first few hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day. Do you want that to pull out you hair out of frustration? Do you want to be frantic? Or do you want to be in control? It’s up to you to make the change by embracing two simple concepts to form a habit.

Form a Habit

To form a habit, you form a three-part psychological pattern called a “habit loop.” First, there’s a trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic pilot. Neuroscientists have traced our habit-forming behaviors to the basal ganglia, a part of the brain. The basal ganglia deals with pattern recognition. Second, there is the routine that forms from practicing this new behavior. Thirdly, your brain receives the benefits of the reward, which is the peace found in meditation.

1. Get up Earlier by 30 Minutes.

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button first thing in the morning to catch a few more minutes of sleep. It’s even harder to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you need to get done. If you’re as lazy as I am, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be rough. Think about your goal. You want to wake up to meditate. Be clear about what you want to accomplish. After those first few mornings, it won’t be so difficult and challenging; it’s something you’ll get used to.

Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an unrushed morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short or hitting the snooze button too many times. It gets you behind even before you get a fresh start. You have to rush to make it out the door in time and any little challenge along the way turns into a huge problem. Like me, not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a major life crisis.

Remember, your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you start chasing down time and running around in circles, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of your time.

Make a new habit by getting up early and move on to a new morning routine. You are able to control what needs to get done. By taking one small step, getting up early enough, you set yourself up for a sunny disposition and an amazing productive day.

2. Restructure Your Routine

Spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and where you’re spending time. Look for things you can change to find more time for the things you really want to do. For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, look at what you could take care ahead of time. Plan, eliminate or delegate to make that extra time.

If you spend a lot of time running to Starbucks like me, get in the habit of calling ahead. Or get your spouse to get coffee ready, so all you have to do in the morning is push a button. Teach the kids to make their own breakfast. They should take the dirty dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. Make sure clothes are set out the night before and that book bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys have a designated spot. I keep my car keys in a hanger in the mud room. I’m ready to go each morning. Small changes like this to your morning routine can make a positive difference.

Think of yourself as a time saver! I challenge you to come up with a few small changes that will save you at least 30 minutes each morning.

Determine That Meditation Is Crucial to Your Well-being

Your morning is not about cramming a to-do list. Your morning is focusing on what is important. Sometimes when you read about time management, you star thinking that “doing” is the important step to become productive. Although, “doing” can create momentum, as a short term strategy but not long-term. The more you do without determining your outcome, the more likely you will burn-out and blame yourself.

To set out to meditate for 15 minutes, evaluate your current morning routine. Ask yourself what is the best use of your time in the morning. Compare your perfect morning with your existing morning routine. What aren’t you doing on your ideal morning? If you start by cutting things out, finding time to focus on what’ important to you becomes so much easier. 

When you start setting time for mediation in your morning routine, consider that the practice of meditation is important for your general health. The key word here is practice since it requires commitment, consistency and perseverance. By making time, for meditation your well-being will improve. 

Meditation is a mind and body practice that focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior. It may reduce blood pressure and irritable bowel symptoms (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Meditation may help those who suffer symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are also studies that have shown that people with insomnia have improved their sleep through meditation practice. In short, meditation is beneficial for your health and should be part of your morning routine. It’s all about finding time for morning meditation. 

1. Eliminate Busy Work

Remember, the autopilot mode. Busy work is something you do out of habit that doesn’t have to be done every day. Even Elon Musk, sets up a system to check crucial emails pertaining to Tesla or Space-X in the morning. If you are doing it out of habit, then it’s time to rethink.

2. Earn Back Precious Time

The second way to quickly earn back time is to see if you’re doing things for others that they can do themselves. Kids are the perfect example. We start by fixing their breakfast, making their lunch, cleaning up after them, and making sure their backpack is packed and ready to go. When they are little. We focus on these things, but all too often we continue to do them long after they’re capable of doing things on their own. The same applies for our spouse. Maybe there was a time when you had less to do in the morning. It made sense to take on the majority of morning chores. It’s time to get help from your partner. A few small changes may be all it takes to make time in your busy morning for what’s important to you.

How To Find Time for Morning Meditation

The best way to plan for a morning meditation is to set aside double the time you will need. Let’s say that the meditation is for 15 minutes, then set up for 30 minutes in your calendar. The point is that you have enough time to complete the meditation and self reflect without feeling rushed. This extra time gives you the desired space to create a moment of self-compassion in your meditation. It shows that you are taking the first step to care about yourself. 

To meditate on the go, you can resort to YouTube videos such as this one on Mindful Poetry. This will the subject of a whole new blog post soon. You’ve already taken the first step to find time for morning meditation.

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Categories
grit mindfulness mindset

finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness

Finding you growth mindset with grit and mindfulness blog post cover graphic with pink background.  A woman with a business suit on top of a cliff.

Scrolling down my Instagram feed this morning, I noticed that there is so much speculation over mindset, especially on social media. Influencers and business coaches on Instagram sell online courses on achieving a positive growth mindset and overcoming negative thoughts. On Facebook, there are dedicated groups on the subject to grow your business presence. The posts in these groups are all about manifesting through unlimited positivity. The exact definition of a growth mindset becomes lost in a sea of posts. After my morning tea, I thought about the possibilities of finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness.

What is mindset?

Carol Dweck
Photo: Carol Dweck Credit: Satheesh Gopalan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

According to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, mindset is the view you adopt, which determines how you live your life. It determines how you see the world and make decisions. In other words, it is your perspective or your view of the world. It’s your beliefs about your abilities and qualities that form how you do things or see things. It’s your usual attitude or mental state.

Think about your many strengths and talents. Are you artistic? Are you creative? How you answer these questions defines your mindset and provides clues as to how you view the world and yourself. Your mindset shapes your reality and your perception of what you can do beyond your limits.

growth mindset is created by believing that your talents can be reached through effort, hard work, and strategies. It is not innate like a fixed mindset, which depends on your gifts. The growth mindset strives to achieve through learning, while the fixed mindset can stagnate.

Let’s be mindful of the matter.

Most influencers have a distorted view of a growth mindset. One of the pitfalls is thinking that our mindset is always in a state of growth. As you encounter new experiences, your mindset develops and evolves. To do so, we need to become aware of our mindset, including failure. Take, for example, the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. He successfully pioneered telecommunications with the iPhone and grew his company, but he lacked growth in relationships, especially with his daughter.

What is mindfulness?

Almost all mindsets are mixed. Hence, this is where the concept of mindfulness fits in. Mindfulness is a state of awareness in the present moment, when your mind is conscious of your experience. It includes thoughts and feelings, sensations, and breathing. In mindfulness, you accept everything with an attitude of non-resistance and balance. Thus, you can experience everything fully without self-judgment.

With this mindful awareness, you will notice that there are moments in which we fail to reach our goals or compare ourselves to others. Once we recognize our vulnerability, our fixed mindset, then we can nurture it. If we become mindful of our unresolved issues while acknowledging the unsung moments of joy, then we can handle our mixed mindset.

Your mindset is the force behind whether you thrive or avoid challenges, view failures, setbacks, or persevere. It is more about the process than the destination.

Grit

You will also need grit, which refers to a passionate perseverance toward a goal even when overwhelmed with challenges. Mindfulness will make you aware that grit is needed to reach your goal.

These two concepts, grit and mindfulness, are compatible but not exclusive. A new study showed that being aware is correlated with grit in students in individualistic societies, such as ours. Collective societies might not depend on mindfulness. Definitely, more research is needed in this area.

Grit is the tendency to maintain effort and interest towards long-term goals.

6 top tips to finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness to deal with the following belief system:

  1. Poor self-image. If you constantly see yourself as a failure, sending self-defeating messages to your mind that you will fail at whatever you try to accomplish. Solution: Turn failures into challenges. Keep a journal describing your thoughts. It will help with problem solving no matter the challenge. 
  2. Self-victimization. If you’ve been a victim of bad experiences or been hurt by others, then you might still be holding onto those moments. Solution: Use mindfulness to let go of the past and live the present. 
  3. Social media envy. If you see the unnatural glamorous lifestyles of other people online then, it might make you feel worse about yourself. You might devalue what you have. You focus on what you don’t have or aren’t doing. Solution: Think about what you do have and show gratitude. Own it up!
  4. Feel work is a burden. If you dread going to work or complain about doing the work, then change your outlook. Solution: Think about your job as a means of providing value to others and as having an impact on you and others around you. Being able to work gives you the opportunity to contribute to society.
  5. Obsess about things you can’t control or change. If you complain about what you can’t control then your mind will fill up with everything you don’t like. Solution: Identify how you can change and control your own actions and thoughts to make the experience more positive. Stop complaining and start taking actions that will bring you a greater sense of accomplishment and abundance. 
  6. Lack gratitude for what you have. If you focus on what is wrong with things or the world then it is difficult to learn to let go of the negative. Solution: Focus on identifying the positive things you are grateful for every day.
Infographic on mindset vs. mindfulness.

Failure

If you want to learn more, listen to the top six ways that failure is as important as success in this 2 minute audio podcast:


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Book cover:  Growth Mindset.
Categories
Morning routine

daydream: what is your ideal morning?

As I drink my morning cup of tea, I ask myself what is most important now.  What is the one major goal that I want to accomplish in order to make a difference, but I just can’t seem to find the time for?  What good habits would you want to nurture to impact your life? Visualize this for a moment. It could be any area of your life from exercise, healthy eating to time management.  It could be working on your relationship with your significant other, finding time for creative pursuits, or getting in the habit of reading every morning. 

Once you have thought out what you want to work on, what needs to improve, and what’s most important to you, think about how you can make it part of your daily morning routine. Sit back with a cup of tea and daydream about your ideal morning.

It isn’t stressed or rushed. Most importantly it’s a day when you have time for everything on your list. Maybe it means having time for a long warm shower. Maybe it’s going for a brisk walk or practicing meditation before breakfast. Maybe it’s having a few minutes to connect on Instagram with your friends or maybe it’s carving out a twenty minute YouTube work out. Perhaps it’s time to work on yourself by reading self-improvement blogs, such as this one. 

Tip: Write it down in a journal or so like me you can refer back to as needed.

The key to a successful morning routine plan is to start with what’s most important to you and think about the different possibilities.  Become an options person like we discussed in the previous post. How could you fit it into your morning routine? Remember, this is the creative motivating step where we think about our choices.  We’ll work on the procedure of figuring out where to find the time to fit it in and how to make it all work out. For now, I simply want you to paint a vivid picture of what your new morning could be– I want you to become very clear on the visualization aspect so you can concentrate on your goals.  Imagine it in as much detail as you possibly can.

Why is this so important? Because you can’t start to make any meaningful changes until you know what your goals are. You need to know your destination before you can start the GPS and figure out the stops and turns on how to get there. Today’s task is about figuring out where you want to go.

Don’t stop until you have figured out your destination firmly pictured in your mind. 

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Meditation for Complete Beginners
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Motivation

how to find motivation and your way on the Yellow Brick Road

“There were several roads nearby, but it did not take Dorothy long to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time, she was walking briskly toward the Emerald City; her Silver Shoes tinkling merrily on the hard, yellow road-bed “.

The Wizard Of Oz

It’s difficult to become motivated when you can’t find your way on the yellow brick road. Perhaps you don’t have the job you want or the relationship, or maybe you’re not in the best financial situation. Deep inside, you probably know what you don’t want, but you haven’t figure out your goals.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a close friend of mine died of breast cancer. She was always motivated and so lively. She reminded me that in life, you need to dream and reach your goals. She studied social psychology and worked as a business coach in New York. My friend struggled with dyslexia and a learning disability. She inspired me to write this blog post since she had the habit of writing her goals in a journal. I know that she was fully committed to living life to the fullest. She always worked hard and methodically. She always had a strategy for everything.

The sky is the limit, so ask yourself– How do you envision your life? What would you need in life for it to be more fulfilling and meaningful? How will you find the yellow brick road?

Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz

If suddenly, you’re a multimillionaire, what will you do with the rest of your life? Will you continue working at your job? Will you spend more time with your family or travel to Africa? Will you start your own business or spend more time with your hobbies?

1. Dream and balance.

All of these are dreams—dreams about possibilities. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

According to Shelle Rose Charvet’s Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence, metaprograms in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) determine how we communicate with each other. A dreamer without a method is an options person. Those persons who view possibilities use modal operators such as “could” or “can.” They give you a long list of alternatives.

Many of these options persons are usually creatives, designers, and business entrepreneurs. Somehow these persons seem to gather on Instagram and sell you the dream. I’ve witnessed this “dream selling” quite often on my feed. Some Instagram influencers promise that you will attain their lifestyle easily– travel to Egypt, frolic with ponies in Iceland, ride elephants in Vietnam, and tango in Buenos Aires. These promises sell you a Hollywood ending, a dream come true. They work well for click and bait since you feel as if you know the person you follow as a friend. You watched them grow into someone special. Like them, you believe in the dream, but carrying it out is another story. You buy the webinar and find out that there are too many steps and that it requires money and connections. Before trying, you give up, which is fine because this dream is a possibility for those who run on the options metaprogram; it is not a reality. There are too many possibilities, so you move on to Tik-Tok, Youtube, or Twitch. The cycle continues over and over again.

Charvet explains that those who operate on procedures tend to be great salespeople. Take a look at Kim Kardashian’s post:

Kim K: I wake up, workout and change into fresh pajamas every day LOL, so I had to make the best, most comfy pajamas and loungewear w/@skims

Clearly, she is describing her morning routine in steps and in which she sells the pajamas. Her language is about sequential order. Hence, her success in salesmanship.

Once you balance the why (options) with the how (procedures), you can strive to evaluate your dream. The time you take to dream is time for your creativity to grow. Don’t undermine this moment; be mindful of it, accept it, and write down your dream in vivid detail.

List the things that get you out of bed in the morning. These are all the things you are willing to devote time and energy to each day.

I wrote the following list in my journal:

Faith
Family
Friends
Finances
Romantic relationships
Personal growth
Being healthy
Being organized and using time wisely
Being happy at work.
Contributing to the world.

2. Prioritize.

Ask yourself what is most important, and when you are finished writing your list, take a few moments to prioritize the items. Figuring out your priorities is crucial because we often have so much “stuff” going on in our lives that we lose track of who we are and what we want out of our life. We end up moving from one crisis to another. We run around in circles with paying bills, fixing the car, or rushing to work to value the moment. It’s easy to neglect ourselves, friends, and family. Find your purpose by asking yourself a series of exploration questions.

  • What would inspire me to get out of bed at 5 AM on a Saturday?
  • What haven’t I experienced yet that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What haven’t I given yet that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What haven’t I learned that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What part of me haven’t I healed yet that I still need to?
  • What are my passions?
  • Am I doing now what I really want to do?
  • If not, do I even know what I would like to do?
  • What can I do to serve others?

Write down the answers to these questions and journal. These should be your honest answers–not what you should do out of obligation or what others expect you to do.

3. Combine all your answers into a life’s purpose or mission statement.

Your purpose statement will answer the question, “Why am I here? What is my true calling in life?” You get to define your mission, so what do you genuinely want to do with your life? In your journal, write, “My purpose in life is…” Then, expand on your objective, reflecting on your dreams, priorities, and the questions listed above.

My journal reads like this:

My purpose in life is to be caring, mindful, and passionate about my relationship with God, my family, and friends. I want to be motivated to help others every day to the best of my ability. I wish for those surrounding me to feel special and loved. I want to learn how to let go instead of becoming defensive when met with demands and stress.

4. Think of how you can use your passions and dreams to serve the world.

I will make the world a better place by standing for what I believe. It is essential that in times of crisis, you can stay strong in your values but, at the same time, take a non-judgmental stance.

Write down the following prompt. “I will make the world a better place by…” and elaborate. Get all of your ideas down on paper. This journaling exercise will probably take you at least 10 minutes – though it could take hours if you overthink the task. Then, go back and read the content.

Is it a wake-up call? If not then, keep writing until you find clarity.

When you do define your life’s purpose, it will feel and be an emotional awakening.

If your purpose is clear, then you can concentrate on steps to set up your main goals and become motivated. Daily motivation enables us to strive to work towards future goals and lead us to fulfill our life’s purpose.

5. Set your goals.

It worked for Dorothy when she went to see the Wizard (another options metaprogram person at best). With the help of her friends, the Tin-Man, Lion and Scarecrow, Dorothy paved her way down the Yellow Brick Road. She accomplished the goals she set out once she figured out the procedure.

The mere act of setting a goal motivates us to work to achieve success. Goals drive an individual’s daily motivation. It is best not to get overwhelmed with attaining a huge goal too quickly; instead, you should take small steps to accomplish it. Divide them up into phases to achieve your goals. Make sure that they are measurable for you to take accountability. Don’t be afraid of failure without trying. And if you do fail, then accepting defeat drives persistent motivation and problem-solving.

6. Define your attitude.

A positive attitude is a source of daily motivation. Believing that one of your goals is too difficult to achieve will eventually prevent you from achieving these goals. A negative attitude will set you back and lead you off the Yellow Brick Road towards being attacked by flying monkeys. To complete your goals, you must be able to tell yourself that every goal can be attained with effort. If you tell yourself that you can do it, most likely you will. Never underestimate the power of the mind and of creating daily motivation.

7. Focus on faith.

Spirituality and religion can also improve daily motivation. Religion – no matter what kind – encourages mindfulness and internal motivation. People often depend on their faith when life challenges them. Prayer and meditation inspire those who might otherwise turn to alcoholic beverages, doughnuts, or heroin to nurture their spirits. Religion may help some people to be more mentally and physically healthy. Even taking pleasure in nature’s beauty by hiking on a trail can trigger a sense of peace.

We all feel a little off-balance, but by focusing on routines, our balance can be restored.

Quick tips:

  • Limit your online time (emails, forums, instant messaging) to two hours a day.
  • Leave the house every day in the morning, even if you don’t need to be somewhere. You can go to a coffee shop and read the paper, visit a library or a museum, or go for a long walk or bicycle ride.
  • Keep regular sleeping hours. If you are having difficulty sleeping, at least assign certain hours for sleeping, resting, reading, or quiet television (if that makes you drowsy).
  • Save the last hour of the day for quiet and reading books or television – no phone, no computer, no work.
  • Step away from people who are pulling you off balance with drama or their own negativity. Usually, you only need to do this until you feel balanced again.
  • Occupy your thoughts and time, mostly with positive ideas and activities.
  • Have an assortment of healthy friends in different areas of life. You will obtain emotional support from positive friends.
  • If you have been watching a lot of television, limit your time to no more than 3 hours a day.
  • Balance the time in your day between different activities and efforts, even at work. When too much energy is placed on one task, it can make you feel more stressed or dissatisfied. Pace yourself with deadlines so that you won’t have to carry out marathon sessions to catch up.
  • Laugh and love yourself!

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Time management

get over yourself: set a goal

Getting over yourself takes action. Of course, this is easier said than done. Today, I’m going to share a simple three-step process that will help you get more done than you ever thought possible.

  1. Define the goal 

Every person’s life depends on the process of choosing goals to pursue; if you remain passive, you are not going to thrive as a human being.”  (Locke, 2019)

It all starts with a goal. You have to know what it is that you want to accomplish. If you don’t know what your goal is, then it’s hard to prioritize on what you should be doing now to move towards action. So, what do we do instead? Basically, we procrastinate.

It’s important to remember that goal setting is based on commitment.  Your goal is merely to place what needs to get done into written words.  By goal setting, you increase your motivation since you establish a mindset of desiring an attainable goal.  The goal moves from dream to reality. It becomes tangible.

By reaching this goal, you achieve a level of success. To write your goal, answer this question first– How committed are you to make a change?  If your goal lacks clarity, will you be able to carry it out?  Not likely.

Research shows that an achievable goal leads to greater work satisfaction and motivation. Firstly, a goal is attainable based on your own skillset.  For example, if I am good at organizing, I can use this strength to carry out my goal.  Secondly, a goal can also challenge you to improve your skills because you are motivated to achieve it.  This type of achievable goal is measurable and has a set deadline. 

Goals don’t have to be overly complicated. Here’s a simple goal we all strive to accomplish. We have to file our taxes this year by July 15th. The deadline was moved because of the COVID-19 national emergency. You certainly have a good idea of what forms will be needed, paperwork, and receipts. So, you gather them up as a step to achieve this goal and you download the software needed.  In other words, when you have a well-defined goal like filing your income taxes on time then you create action.

2. Write it down. 

It doesn’t matter if you write it down on a stickie, a bullet journal, or type a note on your phone. The important part putting your goal in writing. Firstly, it helps you clarify what your goal is. You need to be specific when you try to put what you truly want into writing. Secondly, writing it down serves as a reminder and as a tool that you can use to stop you from procrastination.

Complex goals that lie out of your skill level may overwhelm you.  Making simple goals that rely on what you are good at and challenge you just slightly will drive you towards success.  Sometimes, “I will try to do my best” won’t be good enough; it is too ambiguous and shows lack of motivation. However, complex goals that are achievable because of their clarity and your improved skillset can help you reach success. 

3. Get started

Last but not least, it’s time to get started. That’s often the hardest part, isn’t it? You’re tempted to skip your workout until you lace up your shoes and get started. Once you’re off and running, it’s much easier to keep going. Once you have your goal written down, think about something you can do right now to move you in the right direction. 

I happened to do just that.

The goal-setting plan

I planned to set up a morning routine so I can get out the door and to work by 7:30 am.  I can measure the time it takes for me to fulfill this routine.  (Right now, it is taking me forever, but this is the subject of another blog post). I wrote down that I wanted to achieve it by next week. I’ve already taken action by reading the routines of other bloggers, mainly those involving celebrities, famous CEOs, and bloggers in quarantine.  Each morning, I will start looking at my goal and challenge myself to carry through the steps required to achieve it.   Before you know it, I will have made some serious progress. 

What are your goals for today?   

Categories
Morning routine

why you should makeover your morning instead of snoozing

Quick video on how to makeover your morning.

I love sunny mornings and rainy ones too.  Each new day brings fresh possibilities and a chance to wake-up to life’s challenges.  How you spend the first morning causes a huge impact on the rest of your day. It sets the tone for your entire day.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself.

You set an early alarm to wake up and get out of bed. You plan to make time for a Yoga class or grab a cup of coffee. You have every intention of living your day to the fullest, but you never take the first step.

It happened to me before.  I planned to get up at 6:00 am and suddenly an hour had passed on snooze. Some mornings – hopefully, most mornings unlike me- you get up when the alarm sounds. It bolts you out of bed and you go for a walk outside. Then there are those days when you just can’t seem to get out of bed. You hit the snooze button multiple times, or turn the alarm off altogether, pull the covers up and go back to sleep.

Think of how the rest of those days went.

I noticed the difference in how I felt when I snoozed my cell phone alarm. I know that I yelled at Siri, but that’s another story.  I felt tired and sluggish.  I figured out that maybe my sleeping habits should change too.  Going to bed at 2 am isn’t exactly energizing the next day.  Maybe I should drink less caffeine.  I began analyzing my morning routine.  

Maybe that small change would be helpful to get more accomplished.  I set off to wake up on the first alarm.  I was able to carry through the morning without getting flustered.  Even the barista at Starbucks smiled kindly back when I thanked her.

This time around I was able to get to work without any setbacks arriving 5 minutes before my expected start. My routine was definitely smoother, but I certainly had a lot to work on since my to-do list hadn’t vanished into thin air either.

But face it, you might have a similar rushed routine too that might improve from a morning makeover.

In the next series of posts, I want to guide you through the process of a morning makeover. For the next day, observe how you feel carrying out your existing morning routine starting at the time the alarm goes off.   Write it down in a journal. Not only will you enjoy your mornings more, but it will also make the entire rest of your day go much smoother. 

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