For many of us, the arrival of 2011 means setting new goals or “resolutions.” On last week's Indie Business podcast, Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World (affiliate link), joined us to discuss how combining mindfulness and focused intention with new habits can help you achieve more this year.
According to Christine, as you develop and refine positive habits, you also naturally reshape how we invest our time. In so doing, you create a powerful, natural rhythms that lead to your stated goals. Christine's book contains an entire chapter on replacing poor habits with positive ones, and it's the perfect follow-up to last week's show, where I interviewed Martin Grunburg, author of The Habit Factor® (affiliate link), and the Droid and iPhone app of the same name. Here are 10 things Christine says we must do to replace destructive habits with new, life-enhancing ones.
- Give yourself the habit test. Record every single thing you do in a typical day, then take one of those things you think should be changed and replace it with something else to see how it impacts your life. Assess how the new behavior compares to the old habit. You may decide you don't like the new behavior, or are simply not ready to change. Identify some poor habits that you can shake up and proceed toward making changes accordingly. (And it's OK to start with just one thing!)
- Identify your life's purpose. Unless you know what it is you are trying to do, you will eventually run out of steam as you replace old habits with new ones, because you don't have an overall life purpose in mind. Take the time to identify your life's purpose so your behaviors can more naturally support your purpose.
(Many years ago, I used The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life
(affiliate link) to articulate my life's purpose. I highly recommend it!)
- Implement the “replacement” strategy. Now, you're ready to actually replace old habits with new ones. Delete things from your life that are not serving you well. Replace them with things that do. (Easier said than done, I know. A coach or “buddy” will be a good asset at this stage.)
- Identify “pain point(s)”. As you look for destructive habits, look for areas of your life where you feel the most pain or discomfort. Start with those because they are the ones you are most likely to turn the corner on.
- Resist feelings of overwhelm. If any part of the process begins to overwhelm you, push away from it and break it down into smaller, bite-size pieces. Remember that being overwhelmed is different from being challenged. Challenge is good. Overhwlem may not be so be in tune with yourself enough to know the difference. You can challenge yourself to success, but if you feel a sense of overwhelm, you need to take smaller steps and take a more measured approach.
- Break the cycle through breathing. Sometimes, we overlook the stress relief that's right in front of us! Use your breath to relieve stress and attack the challenge after relaxing your body through intentional breathing. To do this, pretend your stomach is a balloon and take deep, slow breaths to fill up the balloon, and then exhale through your mouth. This will help you slow down and regain your composure when you need to.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Remove the things that are distracting to you. Example: you may not be able to stop eating the cookies altogether, but you can move change up their location now and then so they are not always in your face tempting you.
- Take mini-breaks. Take mini-vacations to regroup and reassess. Full-fledged vacations are of course necessary, but you don't have to spend a fortune or go away for a whole day to regroup. A mini-vacation can be a few hours, or even a few minutes if it takes you away from where you are long enough for you to clear your head.
- Create the opening. Being mindful, as described here, about your life will result in new openings, new opportunities, new doors for you to walk through. The process literally creates one opening after another for you to step through. You are doing all the work on the front end, and the results manifest themselves in the new opportunities that come your way as a result of a more mindful approach to each day.
- Stay in charge. Christine cautions you not to take so long to change that, by the time you do, you absolutely have to. She says that the best way to implement change in your life is to do it in a proactive way, where you identify the changes you want and the results you seek.
Change it because you want to change. Not because you have to. Be proactive. Control your life, don't let you life control you.
About Christine Hohlbaum
Christine Louise Hohlbaum is an American thought leader in the area of time management, and often conducts webinars to help executives create a more deliberate, mindful existence. She works as a PR consultant for several international companies and lives near Munich, Germany with her husband and two children. Christine occasionally appears on television and feature films, playing small roles to satisfy her inner thespian. Writing and acting are her passion. Her biggest dream is to change the world through words.
Listen to the Show
This post contains my paraphrases of the fantastic information Christine shared. To hear it from the horse's mouth yourself, listen to the entire show, and benefit from Christine's and my exploration of these topics first-hand. You'll get great tips that you can apply to your life and your business each and every day! (Note: Christine called into the show from Germany so there are a few times when the audio skips a tad.)
- You can download it on iTunes. (It usually takes a day or two for iTunes to feed the show there.)
- You can stream or download it at my radio show website.
- You can stay where you are and simply click on the arrow at the bottom of this post to listen right now!
- Because I have not had a chance to load all of my shows to this blog, you can listen to hundreds of interviews from 2005 to 2010, each one as relevant today as it was when I recorded it, at my Indie Business Radio site.
You can also join the conversation about my interview with Christine on FaceBook.
Coming Up January 17!
Coming up on January 17 at 1:00pm EST, my guest, Jim DeBetta, author of The Business of Inventing
(affiliate link) joins us to share tips on getting your invention into America's thriving marketplace.
See you then!
Question: What do you think of the power of slow? Are you creating new habits so you can achieve more in 2011? Please share your comments and insights below.