Have You Kicked off Your New Habit? It’s Never Too Late to Start!

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I’ve been having a blast coaching people to new habit success. If you haven’t joined yet, it’s  not too late to learn how to successfully make and keep your New Year’s resolutions.

A completely revised version of my most popular webinar, 90 Days to a New Habit is now a FREE 12-week coaching program. You’ll get a free workbook and access to a live Q&A to give you guidance and structure in establishing a new habit.

I feel pretty confident that if you pick the right habit (and I’ll guide you in picking the right habit) you’ll have it well established by the end of this program.

  • Move an activity from your “REALLY should be doing” list to a behavior you do so automatically you don’t have to think about it!
  • Learn to avoid common booby-traps hardwired into the human brain that make it difficult to keep your new habit.
  • This is a 12-week email and text based coaching program. It’s practical, do-able, and science-based.

Want to make REAL change this year? Do you set the same intentions year in, year out — but they never seem to stick? Enroll in my new free class now!

Let’s make 2016 the happiest year yet!

Photo by Bor Bor





On Being a Wife and a Mother

Wow. Jada Pinkett Smith gives good happiness (and marriage, and parenting) advice. She sums up what is to me the most important component for a joyful and fulfilling life in one 5 minute video.





Back by Popular Demand! Free Live Coaching

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YOU’RE INVITED! 

What: A FREE live Q&A about HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT RESOLUTIONS
When: Thursday, January 14 at 12:00 PM PST
RSVP: Register here!

I’ll be the first to admit that my New Year’s Resolutions used to be a disaster. Seriously, I would spend the week before New Year’s crafting a perfectly ambitious new self (on paper) only to have given up at this point in January. I’ll teach you how to set goals that are realistic and achievable, and that will stick with you over the long-term. Start the New Year from a position of strength! I’ll answer the question you’ve posted on this Facebook page, and I’ll give loads of examples of how to make a resolution that will stick.

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Note: This one-hour webinar supports a 12-week coaching program, 90 Days to a New Habit (that Sticks!). If you haven’t already signed up for that email, text, and workbook based coaching program, it’s not too late to start, and it is also FREE. Enroll in the free 90-Day coaching program here.





Thursday Thought

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
—Mother Teresa





Tuesday Tip: Make a “NOT-To-Do” list

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You have a to-do list. But do you have a not-to-do list?

I just listened to a fantastic conversation between Ron Friedman and Peter Bregman that had some surprising suggestions for managing our time better in 2016. (You can listen to it, too, here — it goes live at 2:00 PM EST today, part of a Peak Work Performance Summit that is free until the 15th). One of Bregman’s tips was to create a “not-to-do list.” Why?

According to Bregman, our success and happiness are based as much on what we choose NOT to do as what we choose to do. I wholeheartedly agree. What things in your life keep you from doing other things that you value more? Which of your behaviors tend to thwart your goals?

When we aren’t clear about what we want to do and what we don’t want to do, then the things we don’t want to do often end up distracting us from our higher priorities. For example, I want to spend more time hanging out with my kids after dinner and after they finish their homework. Ideally, I’ll spend 20 minutes with each of them one-on-one. But instead, I often get pulled into my email or back into my work, and poof! Just like that, the time is gone, and the opportunity missed. (Now that my daughter Fiona is away at school, I’m painfully aware of how fleeting and precious that time is.)

I’ve used Bregman’s “6 box” method to establish my priorities and categorize my to-do list for a while now. I wrote about this in The Sweet Spot, and you can learn more about it in his interview. But now in addition to categorizing my to-do items by each of my priorities–and then scheduling my time accordingly–I’m adding something. To each priority, I’m adding a not-to-do list. So under the priority labeled “Nurture my family and close relationships,” I’ve written: Don’t go back to work after dinner if the kids are at home.

By being explicit about what I’m NOT going to do–by actually writing these things down–I’m increasing the odds that I’ll accomplish my goals this year, and increasing the chances that I’ll spend my time on the things that matter most to me.

Photo by Jack.Schultz





Five Steps to End Your Email Addiction

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I have been without my smartphone, unintentionally, for about 40 hours now. (I had a little mishap with an open water bottle and my phone in the same purse, and I’m not-so-patiently awaiting my new phone’s arrival.) I’m finding the experience of being totally unconnected disorienting. It feels like part of my brain has been dismantled–and I don’t even use my phone for email.

I do use my phone as a camera, a navigation tool, and a phone. I went to a concert last night and didn’t document it in any way. I had to look at a map and memorize it before getting in the car. And I had to borrow a landline at the Verizon store to call my daughter, whose number, it turns out, I didn’t know. Weird.

All this is hilarious, given that as a coach, I specialize in helping executives unplug from work while they are at home. I can’t even imagine how many of them would survive in the state of disconnection I’ve been experiencing.

Many of my clients spend most of their waking existence monitoring their email and social media feeds. They begin the day by turning off the alarm on their phone . . . and then they check their messages. Before they are out of bed. And in the bathroom. And at breakfast. Once at work, the emailing continues–before, during, and after meetings. Lunch? They “catch up” on email. The checking continues long into the evening, well after they’ve left the office.

Does this sound familiar? If so, here are five steps that will help you check less, but work—and play—more.

Step 1: Decide what to do instead of checking constantly. If you are going to spend less time monitoring your email (and social media feeds, and anything else that is constantly nagging you for attention), what would be more productive or joyful for you? My clients often want to spend more time doing focused, intelligent, creative work during the day, and more time relaxing, exercising, and hanging out with their families before and after work. Actually block off time on your calendar for stuff like “Read with hubby” or “Do focused writing/thinking.”

Step 2: Schedule two or three specific times to check your email and messages during the day. I check my email first thing in the morning, and in the late afternoon. Here is the key: Block off enough time to get all the way to the bottom of your inbox in one way or another. If a particular email is going to take more than 5 minutes to read and respond to, I put it in a folder (“to do this week”) and add whatever it entails to my task list. If you need X hours a day to deal with your email, make sure you’ve scheduled X hours daily.

Step 3: Turn off all your alerts. Unless you are actively checking your email and messages, you don’t need to know what communication is coming in because you’ll be devoting your full attention to something else. So turn off all notifications on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Vibrate counts; turn it off. Now do this for your text messages and all of your social media feeds. Breathe.

(Note: Even if, through the strength of your ironclad will, you are able to resist reading a message that comes in, if you see or hear or feel a message notification, your brain has still been interrupted by that alert. Even a millisecond attention hijack like this will make you less focused, less able to resist other temptations, and more irritable.)

Step 4: Hide the bowl of candy. If you were trying to eat less candy, would you carry a bowl of it around with you? Would you put it on your nightstand and reach into it first thing in the morning? And then carry it with you to the bathroom? And then set it next to you while you try to eat a healthy breakfast? And then put it on your dashboard? I didn’t think so.

So keep that smartphone tucked away until you actually need it. (Maybe make sure your water bottle isn’t leaking before you keep it stashed in your bag, though.) Think of it as a tool, like a hammer, that you don’t need to pull out until one of your strategically designated times. Make adjustments: Dig up your old-fashioned alarm clock, update your car’s navigation system, and put that digital camera back in your bag for the times when getting a call or text will tempt you.

Step 5: Notice what happens. Notice the difficult bits with curiosity (and maybe humor). How do you feel as you detox from constant checking? How are people reacting now that you don’t respond to everything instantly? Notice also the moments of ease and focus. Your tension levels will likely drop, and you’ll probably be less stressed. How does this feel in your body? Really see the people around you, now that you are looking up from your phone. Smile.

Looking for support to unplug? 90 Days to a New Habit is my FREE 12-week coaching program. You’ll get a workbook and access to a live Q&A to give you guidance and structure in establishing a new habit. If you pick the right habit (and I’ll guide you in picking the right habit) you’ll have it well established by the end of this program. This 12-week email and text based coaching program is practical, do-able, and science-based. Enroll now!

 

Photo by BuzzFarmers





Lafayette Library Science Cafe

Please join me at a fundraising event in support of The Lafayette Library and Learning Center on January 13 ,2016 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

0b238b6d-5563-448f-b5d7-c9b0940096b7Science Cafe: How to Achieve More by Doing Less
Presenting the latest research on productivity and elite performance, Christine Carter, PhD, demonstrates a sweet paradox: by doing less we can actually accomplish more. Using surprising science and lively anecdotal evidence, Carter offers a practical game plan for mitigating stress by working with our brain’s innate hardwiring to increase happiness, balance and ultimately, success.

When: Wednesday, January 13, 2016, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Where:Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Community Hall
RSVP: Register here.

Registration required.
Tickets: $10 payable at the door
$5 Foundation donor tickets are available in advance by calling (925) 283-6513 x103

 

 





Focus | Gratitude Revealed

Do you have a lot of options? This is often a quick ticket to anxiety. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg explains how guiding your focus back to the present moment can help create clarity and gratitude.

If you enjoyed this, check out filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s Gratitude Revealed series — 16 film shorts that explore what gratitude is. Over the next few months, we’ll highlight one film a week, illustrating why gratitude is important and what we can all do to live more gracious lives.





Thursday Thought

thursday_thought_christine_carter_morley“There is only one success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.”
—Christopher Morley





You’re invited to my FREE live Q&A – TODAY!

YOU’RE INVITED! 
New Year’s Resolutions 101

What: A FREE live Q&A about HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT RESOLUTIONS
When: TODAY!! January 6 at 2:30 PM PST /5:30 PM EST
RSVP: Register here!

I’ll teach you how to set goals that are realistic and achievable, and that will stick with you over the long-term. Start the New Year from a position of strength! I’ll answer the question you’ve posted on this Facebook page, and I’ll give loads of examples of how to make a resolution that will stick.

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Note: This one-hour webinar supports a 12-week coaching program, 90 Days to a New Habit (that Sticks!). If you haven’t already signed up for that email, text, and workbook based coaching program, it’s not too late to start, and it is also FREE. Enroll in the free 90-Day coaching program here.