The New York Marathon – a runners perspective…

Hopefully I will be this cheerful at the finish...

Hopefully I will be this cheerful at the finish…

Many of my readers may not know, but I will be running in the New York City Marathon this coming November. I am raising $5,000 for Animals Asia and have called it the Moon Bear Marathon in honour of the moon bears I am helping to save from the horrific practice of bile farming in Asia.

Not being a marathon runner I am a little (a lot) nervous but having read this blog post from Pip Coates, an Australian journalist who blogs about running, I am feeling a wee bit better! See what you think:

If you’re contemplating a trip to New York, the best time to go is in early November and the best way to see the city is by taking a unique tour that covers all five boroughs- Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. The tour takes anywhere from three to five hours and all streets along the route are closed to traffic for your exclusive access; it’s the only New York tour to offer such a service.

Along the way you’ll be entertained by more than 130 live bands, each one a musical representation of the cultural diversity of the neighbourhoods you pass through. Food and drink is provided every kilometre. Numbers are limited to about 45,000 and entry costs from $327 but, despite this, every year it’s harder to score a ticket.

The tour is called the lNG New York Marathon and, yes, you have to run 42.2 kilometres- or 26 miles- non-stop, but that is actually what makes it fun. Especially as you’re doing it with runners from about 80 countries. This event is at once a race, an intense personal challenge, a cultural exchange, a sightseeing tour, a music festival and a giant carnival. If there’s only one marathon in you, this should be it because it’s the only marathon in the world with enough crowd power to help carry you over the line.

The race begins from Staten Island with a steady climb up and over the two kilometre-long Verrazano Narrows bridge that spans the Hudson River. Manhattan – your final destination –looks very far away. As the sun rises, 45,000 pairs of sneakers smack the bitumen. Some runners record the moment on their smartphones; others cheer. The adrenaline courses through your veins; the scene is so at odds with the hours of solitary training in pre-dawn winter darkness that you ‘ve endured to get here.

OMG!

OMG!

Once over the Narrows your marathon tour arrives in Brooklyn and a rapturous greeting from the first of some 2 million spectators who will be lining the course and waving signs saying “Black toenails are sexy” , “You’ve got stamina! Call me”, and “You are NOT nearly there”.

The sidewalk enthusiasm evaporates as you enter Brooklyn ‘s ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood where the locals appear to consider you an invading alien force, which to some extent you are. But a few streets later you’re back in the madness passing a yarmulka-wearing rock band with a banner out front declaring: “Shalom to all kosher marathoners. ”

After Brooklyn and Queens, you traverse the long and steep Queensborough Bridge. New York is the hilliest of the five major marathons (Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago are the other four)and here, at about the 15-mile mark, you need to stay focused . You descend into the exit tunnel, take a 90-degree turn and emerge at the southernmost end of First Avenue, Manhattan.

You know you’ve arrived in Manhattan before you see it. The almost deafening roar of countless cheering spectators ricochets off the tunnel walls and when you emerge onto the avenue the scene is staggering: thousands upon thousands of runners and fans stretch straight ahead of you for almost 70 blocks: Those 70 blocks get pretty tedious, however, and despite some entertaining signage (“Run total stranger, run “), it’s almost a relief to cross another bridge into the Bronx. This is the 20-mile mark and things can get a bit hazy. You’re tired and a little voice is trying to fill your head with negative thoughts. Then someone goes and waves a banner saying “It’s OK to cry”. Just as you consider doing so, the live music intervenes. This time it’s Alicia Keys (sounds like her, looks like her) singing Empire State of Mind. You kick on.

Your tour arrives back on Manhattan at 138th Street. It’s time for the return push south along the island – 48 blocks of straight grind up Fifth Avenue. Fortunately the crazy supporters haven’t run out of puff and when at last you turn into Central Park at 90th street, it’s a blessed relief. Yes, you will hurt and there will be scenes of carnage among some of the other runners, but the magnificent, dazzling display of autumn colours throughout the park can still fill you with joy.

With about 2.2 miles to go it’s time to draw on all your reserves of mental strength and remind yourself how to run properly as your body is close to seizing up in protest. It’s time to think about why you signed up for this tour, how much it means to you, who you are doing it for.

A few more bends in the road, the faces flash by and then you hear the blissful sound of the race announcer counting down the final few hundred metres. It’s all you can focus on: the finish line, the blue timing mats, the crowds in the stands, the overhead electronic timing clocks.

You run so hard to the end- and then it’s over. You can stop, but you can hardly stand, the emotion is overwhelming. Someone wraps you in a heat sheet, someone else pins it together and then someone drapes a heavy medal around your neck and takes a photo. You’ve completed the world’s biggest marathon. And you’ve got a medal to prove it.

If you would like to help me achieve my $5,000 goal towards the rescue of  moon bears from bile farming feel free to donate here!

Read Pip’s blog here. 

Timeless Travel Uses for Ziploc Bags

IMG_1100zip-loc

A Ziploc for every occasion!

As a frequent traveller, I cannot go anywhere without my Ziploc bags. They are perfect for so many uses, they are waterproof, see-through and you can write on them. And they hardly cost a cent!

Travel Bloggers.ca wrote a great article  on them which will certainly give you a few ideas before you pack your bags:

  1. Underwear: It makes it a lot easier when if the customs people decide to open your suitcase and rummage through it – no tell-tale underwear dropping out for all to see! Also great for keeping socks together.
  2. When I’m on a trip I use one to hold all the travel-related ‘stuff’ I pick up like brochures from hotels and attractions.
  3. Souvenir Protector: Pack fragile souvenirs in your suitcase, surrounded by two or three Ziplocs filled with air – or you can use the ones with socks/underwear to help protect the souvenirs too.
  4. Waterproof Billfold: Keep your passport, money, and other precious documents dry by storing them neatly in a sandwich-sized Ziploc. Ever get stuck in a rainstorm with your passport in your pocket? This will keep everything nice and dry.
  5. Jewellery Keeper: Put earrings or other small items into a sandwich-sized Ziploc and slip it into your bathroom bag. It’ll save your more precious items from getting lost.
  6. Electronics: Store all of your electronics, wires, chargers, MP3 players, etc. in a large Ziploc. You can see what’s in it while it’s closed, and it’ll keep your things together in one place so they don’t get lost in the nooks and crannies of your suitcase/bag.
  7. Swimsuit Bag: Put wet swimsuits into a large Ziploc until you get home or back to the hotel – works great for other wet clothes too.
  8. Inspection Bag: We put all of our liquids for our carry-on into one for quick inspection at the airport counter.
  9. Make Up & Liquids: Double-bagging all makeup and liquids such as hair spray, shampoo and conditioner means if there’s ever an explosion or leak it won’t ruin clothes.
  10. Camera Bag: Store your camera in a Ziploc to keep it safe and dry – especially if you’re going to be anywhere near water such as kayaking, boating etc.  It’s easy to remove, take some pictures and return it to safety. If the kayak or boat tips, your camera will be fine if it ends up in the water.
  11. Ice Pack: We travel with a small collapsible cooler for storing bottled water on our trips and just fill a Ziploc with ice every day to keep our drinks cold.
  12. Foreign Currency: Use a Ziploc bag to hold your home currency while travelling, and for storing foreign currency at home between trips.
  13. Wet Wipes: Wet washcloths and add some soapy water to have your own wet wipes on the go. The bag holds the water effortlessly and you can be use the cloth to wipe sticky fingers and lips or clean up a spill.

Read the entire article from Travel Bloggers here.

Timely Travel Tips…

One small bag for man - one giant leap for avoiding airport crowds!

One small bag for man – one giant leap for avoiding airport crowds!

Since we are literally heading out the door to do a road trip for July 4th weekend, this post from Unclutterer.com was very timely! I love being able to take off at the drop of a hat and having your bags packed and ready to go is an essential step:

“I absolutely love getting away, be it a day trip or an overseas adventure. As an avid traveler, I’ve picked up a few tricks to eliminate the stress of getting out the door and onto the road in a timely manner. One of my favorites is to keep items in luggage that I never unpack. It’s always ready and saves me a lot of time. Plus, it keeps me from having to store my travel items in other locations when they’re not in use — the luggage is a great place to store my travel gear. The following are items I keep bagged, even when I’m at home.

I keep a travel toiletries bag packed and ready at all times (very important!)

A small bag for on the plane

If you’ll be flying or traveling by bus or train, it’s helpful to pre-pack a small bag of things you might want to keep under the seat in front of you. It might include extra chargers for your electronic devices (many bus and train seats have outlets), copies of prescriptions for active medicines, a little cash (you may want to buy on-board food), and your own empty water bottle.

I recommend buying an extra charger for your phone and keeping it stashed in this bag. Yes, it’s an additional cost but forgetting it at home or worse, at your destination, is a major hassle. Put it in your bag and forget about it.

Also consider bringing your own earphones if you want to watch TV without using airline freebies, a neck pillow and something light to throw over yourself in case it is chilly. Finally, don’t forget ear plugs, gum or an eye mask/sunglasses for sleeping. Again, these can be purchased and packed well ahead of time.

Read the entire article here.

What’s around the corner – fear of uncertainty

Where will the road take me?

Today’s post is by the fabulous blogger Leo Babatuta from Zen Habits. For those of you who don’t know, I am moving to the United States in December so this post rang very true for me. What will the next two years bring? I am very excited to find out!

Fear of an uncertain future: it can stop us from doing great things, and it can keep us holding onto things that are hurting us.

For example: you might be holding onto clutter for reasons of comfort and security, even if the clutter gives you anxiety and costs a lot of money.

And: you might be staying in a job you don’t like, because you’re afraid of taking the plunge, because you’re afraid of failing.

And again: you might not travel to a country that feels very unfamiliar because you don’t know what will happen — and miss out on an amazing life-changing experience.

This is just the start of how fear of an uncertain future affects our lives.

A reader recently asked “how to be at peace with uncertainty, how to let go of fear of the future.” It’s a great question, because we all deal with this fear. All of us.

What’s Going On Here

Where does this fear of uncertainty and the future come from? It might seem like a silly question, but if you think about it, there’s nothing inherently scary about the future, even if you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not more likely to be painful or disastrous than the present already is — it just seems that way.

Think about it: the odds of you getting into a car accident is not greater tomorrow than it is today. The odds of anything bad happening are not greater next week than they were this week. The odds of something great happening are also just as great next month as they were this month.

So why is it scary? Why is not knowing so scary? If you roll a dice and don’t know what it will be, is that scary? No, it’s not the “not knowing” that’s the problem … it’s the possibility that what comes up on that dice will bring us pain, suffering, loss.

And this imagined pain isn’t physical pain (most of the time we’re not fearing physical injury) … it’s the pain of loss and change. We are comfortable in this cocoon we’ve built up around ourselves — these routines and possessions and people we know and places that are familiar and safe. Losing this comforting environment, and going into a place where we’re vulnerable and might fail, might not be good enough, is painful and scary.

We grasp, clinging to this comfortable idea of how things should be, and of course it will change, and we will feel the pain of that change.

The change itself isn’t the problem — it’s fighting the change, fearing the change, not wanting things to be different.

 How to Get Good at Uncertainty

And so we see that the answer is becoming good at change. If we are good at dealing with new things, with things as they come no matter how different they are, then we don’t fear it. Then change itself becomes comfortable.

If we become comfortable with change, it’s not scary. We can then embrace it, find joy in it. You can see this in people who we call “adventurous” — they seek new experiences, because they know they’ll be fine, and that it can be amazing. (Note that this is different than the “adventure-seeker” types who have turned excitement into their form of comfort — when the excitement is taken away, then they feel the pain and loss of this change.)

So how do we get good at change? Some suggestions that are working for me (I’m still learning):

Try something new, but small and safe. New things can be scary because we’re afraid we’re going to fall on our faces. But if it’s something small — learning to juggle beanbags in our living room, learning to balance on a rope that’s close to the ground, listening to a language-learning podcast, for example — it’s not as scary. There’s no real risk of getting hurt. And the more we do this, in small, non-scary steps, the more confidence we’ll gain that new things are not painful.

When you mess up, don’t see it as painful failure. When you’re doing new things, there will be times when you make mistakes, mess up, “fail”. But these words are associated with negative things, like pain … instead, start to look at mistakes and “messing up” as something positive — it’s the only way to learn. Messing up is a way to get better at something, to grow, to get stronger.

See the wonder and opportunity in change. Change might mean leaving a comfort zone, and losing something (or someone) you love, but there’s much more: it’s the bringing of something new and amazing, a new opportunity to explore and learn and meet new people and reinvent yourself. When change happens, look for the wonder in it, the new doors that have opened.

Ask “what’s the worst-case scenario”? If you’re exposing yourself, getting out of your comfortable environment, leaving behind security … it can be scary, but when you think about what is the worst thing that is likely to happen, usually it’s not that bad. If you lost all your possessions today in a disaster, how bad would that be? How would you cope? What opportunities would there be? What new things could you invent from this blank slate?

Develop a change toolset. Learn how to cope with changes, no matter what they are. Have a fall-back plan if things collapse. Have friends and family you can call on.

Develop some skills where you can get a job or start a new business no matter what happens with your current job or the economy. Learn ways of making friends with strangers, finding your way around a strange city, surviving on little. With a toolset like this, you can feel confident that you can handle just about anything that comes.

Become aware of your clinging. Watch yourself clinging to something when you feel fear and pain. What are you clinging to? Often it’s just an idea — the idea of you and a romantic partner, an image of who you are. Become aware of what’s going on.

See the downsides of clinging. Once you see your clinging more clearly, see the pain that results from it. If you’re clinging to your stuff, see the space it takes up, and the extra rent that costs you … see the mental energy it takes to live with all the stuff, the money you’ve spent on it, the lack of space you have to live. Anything you cling to has a downside — we only see the good side of it, and so we want to cling to it.

Experience the joy in the unknown. When something new happens, when you don’t know — we often see this as bad. But can we re-frame it so that it’s something joyful? Not knowing means we are free — the possibilities are limitless. We can invent a new path, a new identity, a new existence. This can be joyful.

Read the entire article here: http://zenhabits.net/uncertainty/

How you can build the life you desire…

Today’s post is by the fabulous Rosina Bond from Women 2 Success. This is so true for me right now and no doubt many of my readers will also be able to relate:

Who knows what lies ahead?

How can you build the life you desire, attract a soul mate, build a business and create the financial freedom you deserve?

The startling reality is that, in spite of their dreams, many people are struggling financially, experiencing the pain of debt or bankruptcy, and living a life alone or in neglected relationships.

Why are so many people falling so far short of living the life they desire? What’s missing in them and why cant they find a solution. There are thousands of books to inspire you to gain a life of fulfillment and success but why does success come easy to some, while others struggle and fail?

The truth is, no one is missing anything and every individual has potential to take charge of their lives, no matter your circumstances, level of education, or business experience. Whatever fulfillment means to you, YOU have the innate ability to make your unique visions a reality. When you read this what do you feel, does your inside jump for joy or shrink with fear.

Being driven by a sense of purpose, making a difference in peoples lives reaching goals and targets that you have created from a small seed brings intense satisfaction.

When an opportunity knocks do you even recognise it and know what to do? Successful people grab opportunities and squeeze every drop out to attain more success, are they simply clever or lucky.

Many people do not take up opportunities due to fear of the unknown or fear of failure but moslty because they fear looking bad.

To create a dream you must first create a new mind set. You must develop a willingness to take risks, to find new ways of putting your dreams and desires in motion. The only way to achieve this is to look and find doorways open to success.

How often have you said about someone you know or a celebrity, they are lucky or were in the right place at the right time? Many people attain success, financial wealth and a great life style and called it luck. I know people create their own luck just as they attract negativity into their lives and this is all from their limiting belief or lack of desire to achieve and gain success.

Every cloud has a silver lining, one door closes another opens. We have all heard sayings like these and most of us have experienced them at least once.  How many people have left unhappy job or been made redundant and find the new job more exciting, more money and increased satisfaction, I know I have. So often these new situations were forced on us even though we complained constantly how unhappy we were but were too afraid to move as fear got the better of us. I believe your inner belief can create a negative opportunity to bring about the change you desire.

I have seen people in business become so negative and only see how hard business is, they no longer see any opportunities  and their belief slowly creates a negative door of opportunity and the business goes under. In these situations the initial feeling can be relief but slowly the feeling of failure can immobilise and restict them from jumping forward.

Opportunities are based on an open view and choice. When you get a chance you make choice. You can turn crisis and defeat into success and frustration into fulfilment. To embrace on opportunity you need courage and be willing to move and make sacrifise. It is easy to feel intimidated and ignore adventure and then you can lose out and remain standing where you are now.

You need a creative and adventurous mindset to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Someone comes to you with a business opportunity, it requires time, effort and resources and there is a cost. What is your first response, probably shock or intimidation by the costs! Next you find people who will confirm your worst fears, eventually you will be turned against the idea and again you stand still.

There is no shortage of opportunities in the world, only a shortage of opportunists. Successful people make the most of every circumstance. Opportunities happen at inopportune moments not convenient ones. Don’t get me wrong it is not easy to embrace change and create new; it takes hard work, perseverance and sheer determination to move forward. Don’t do the same as everyone else as you will only achieve the same or even diluted results.

The ways they think and behave literally set them up to fall short, therefore, leading them over and over again into patterns of frustration, helplessness, overwhelm then, ultimately, failure. They are taking the same actions each time expecting a different results which, as we all know by now, is the definition of insanity.

“Entrepreneurship,” says Sir Richard Branson, “is the golden highway to economic freedom, plus It’s an exciting and fun way to make a living.” More than a road to riches, entrepreneurialism is a path to true fulfillment. The experience of putting a great team together, launching a company from the seed of an idea, hitting every goal you set, and building wealth. To be driven by a sense of purpose, ideally, making a positive difference in your life and others.

One Reason people struggle to see how they can embrace change is…they act as if the very thing they aspire for is something outside themselves when in actual fact it has been thee all the time. What life are you aspiring to live now? And how can you get it.

I would love to hear from you and for you to share with me what you feel is blocking you in your quest. I am offering 5 people from Kerri Rodley’s contacts a change to get a free 1-question reading from me. All I need is for you to tell me your date of birth, first name and what you want to achieve and why you feel blocked. I will email you back with anything I pick up on this and what options you have ahead.

To receive this special offer, please email Rosina: roselore@xtra.co.nz

 

 

 

10 Days to a New Year’s Transformation

Hmm...is blue really my colour?

10 days is all it takes to a new you! Be sure you are ready to face the Chinese Year of the Dragon by doing some clearing out (dragons love a good clear out!)

DAY 1 Purse: go through your purse and clean it out. File all old receipts, dispose of all expired / unused cards. Does your purse reflect who you are now…perhaps it’s time to consider a new purse which is functional and fabulous! Your attitude toward money and abundance is reflected in your choice of purse.

DAY 2 Keys: symbolically unlock your hidden potential and open the doors to new opportunities. Ensure all of your keys are facing the same direction and are on the key ring from largest to smallest. Remove any unused keys from your key ring and add a positive symbol which can enhance the energy of your keys.

DAY 3 Car: wash your car, clean and vacuum the interior. Ensure that your car is safe and is in good mechanical order. Your car is an extension of yourself and represents your direction in life. Same applies for other modes of transport – bicycles, motorbikes and most importantly your feet! These are your primary mode of transport so ook after them!

DAY 4 Wardrobe: it’s time to go through your clothing and shoes and let go of all that does not represent who you are today. Items which have painful memories or associations must go. Give them away, donate them, or sell them. Items which no longer fit must go. Letting go of the old allows new energy to enter your life. It is now time to create a new image of who you are today.

DAY 5 Windows: clean the windows and glass doors of your home to provide clarity. The windows are like the eyes of your home and clean windows will heighten your insight and clarity.

Prepare Your Home For The New Year With Feng Shui

The Chinese New Year starts February 23 this year – will you be ready? If you missed the January 1st New Year deadline, don’t worry: the Chinese New Year isn’t until the 23rd of January so you’ve still got time!  To greet the New Year, set aside a couple of hours to give your house a head start with my suggestions below.
Out with the old!
1. De-clutter: Grab a box, set a timer for five minutes and take it with you from room to room. Throw out old newspapers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again.
2. Vacuum: Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry: Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around; throw on a load or two while you declutter but be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom: Make it sparkle.
5. Empty all garbages: You don’t want last years’ garbage hanging around, do you?
6. Clean out the refrigerator: Throw out half-empty jars of who knows what. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old or mouldy food lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter: Clear off the kitchen and bathroom counters, your desk, wherever there is a flat surface. Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for them.
8. Garden: Make sure the lawn is mown, the edges down and the paths are swept.
9. Change the sheets and towels: Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car: both inside and out.
In with the new…

Is getting organised one of your New Year resolutions?

It’s that time of  year folks – crack open the bubbly, count down the minutes and make those New Year’s resolutions you know you won’t keep post January 31! Hey we do it every year, so why change now? Well, when it comes to decluttering and getting organised, if you can stick with it, it can really change your life for the better – 365 days of the year!

Unclutterer.com had an interesting post today about making (and more importantly keeping) your New Year’s resolutions – especially when it comes to becoming organised:

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers in theUS, the phrase “get organized” is one of the top 10 resolutions people make every year.  If you add uncluttering into the “get organized” category, it’s likely a top 5 resolution.

If you fall into the group of resolution makers who wants to be better organized in 2012, the first thing to do is specifically identify why you want to be organized. Being organized isn’t usually a goal. Being organized is merely a path to achieving another goal.

For instance, you might want to be better organized with your time after work so you finally get your business idea off the ground. You might want to be more organized with meal planning so you have less stress surrounding mealtimes with your family.

Knowing why you want to be organized will help you with the remaining steps of the resolution-making process and with ultimately achieving your goals.

After you have identified why you want to be more organized and have a rough idea of the resolutions you wish to achieve, your next step is to create a detailed plan of action.

Read the entire article here: http://unclutterer.com/2011/12/29/making-resolutions-and-creating-a-2012-resolution-action-plan/

7 tops tips for simple, stress free travel…

Hooray for iron free clothing!

The professional organisers association had our montly meeting this morning and we got onto the topic of travelling and packing tips. Then lo and beyond, here in my inbox is Zen Habits once again with the very same thing: we must certainly be on the same wavelength! I am heading off to Sydney tomorrow and Thailand in a couple of weeks so this blog post certainly appeals to me.

Here are 7 top tips for packing light and travelling easily:

Essential

  1. Pack little. Take a small backpack, and don’t pack it too heavy either: one pair of jeans, 2-3 T-shirts, 2-3 quick-dry underwear,  maybe a light sweater. Wash things in the shower if they get dirty and hang them to dry overnight. Minimal toiletries: deodorant, toothbrush, liquid soap, dental floss, basic makeup. There is no need to check your bag for flights and you can pack in 5 minutes.
  2. Have no agenda. I often ask for recommendations from locals, and get a list of incredible things. I’ll also put everything on a Google Map, so I can see where everything is. Then I toss all that out and let the day lead me where it will. Having no set agenda means you aren’t pressured to get anything done each day, which means you can enjoy yourself fully.
  3. Walk a lot. The best way to explore any place is to walk. Walk all over, with no set directions. Get lost.
  4. Eat lightly. Eat anything you want, but don’t eat a lot. I like to mix fruits and veggies in with the heavier stuff, so I don’t feel so heavy.
  5. Find space to relax. Most people try to do too much, and rush around all day. Stroll casually, find good coffee shops or tea shops to relax in, or a good sidewalk cafe with good wine. Find parks and enjoy them. If it rains, walk in the rain. Read a lot.
  6. Be present. Don’t be on your smartphone or laptop all the time. Don’t always think about what you’ll be doing later, or work stuff. Be fully present, and you’ll have a great time.
  7. Smile at people. Talk to the locals. Ask for recommendations. Find out about their lives.
Read the entire Zen Habits article here: http://zenhabits.net/travel/

5 Steps to Beating a Bad Habit

Which direction will you choose?

Last weekend I went to a master class where we learnt to breakthrough our fears and leave bad or unproductive habits behind. And lo and behold, Leo from Zen Habits writes a post on the very thing – he must be reading my mind!

Here are the 5 steps that he suggests can overcome beating our bad habits:

1. Figure out what your trigger is. Every habit has a trigger — something in our routine that directly precedes the habit. For smoking, I used to have multiple triggers — drinking coffee, eating a meal, stress, drinking alcohol with friends, meetings, waking up in the morning, etc.

2. Find a replacement habit. A small, positive habit to replace the old habit. Ideally it fills at least some of the needs of the old habit. Start very, very small in the beginning or you’ll be facing an uphill battle. If you want to write morning pages, don’t try to write three long-hand pages — do just five minutes. If it’s small, you beat the obstacle of dreading to do the new habit. When you check email, for example, you don’t say, “I’m going to do an hour of email now!” You say, “I’ll just check it for a second.” It often turns into more, but the point is there is a very low entry barrier.

3. Engineer positive & negative feedback. If positive feedback has built up your old habit, and negative feedback is stopping you from quitting the old habit, you need to make these powerful forces work for you and not against you. You can’t beat them, so use them. Engineer positive feedback for your new habit: make the writing (for example) really enjoyable, with a cup of coffee and a quiet, peaceful setting, and focus on the enjoyability of it, not the hard parts. If you want to meditate, focus on how relaxed it makes you, not how difficult it is.

Do the same for negative feedback for not doing the new habit. If you don’t do the new habit, what’s the consequence? Usually, nothing. You check email, feel a little guilty, but no one knows, nothing bad happens. So engineer a different consequence: tell the world (or a small group of friends) you’re going to change — announce it through Twitter, Facebook, G+, email, blog. And report your success (or failure) every single day. When the world is watching, you want to succeed. Have accountability partners. Don’t let yourself slide secretly.

4. Do the new habit immediately after the trigger, consistently. If you can do it for a month, you’ll probably have a new habit. A new habit is built by doing an action immediately after a trigger, repeatedly, for a certain number of repetitions. There is no set number — it depends on how easy the habit is (which is why I suggest starting as easy as possible) and how consistent you are in repeating it. Report to your accountability group after you do the habit.

5. Beat the urge to do the old habit. The urge will come, I guarantee you. This is where you say, “But I don’t have the willpower!” Yes, you do. Everyone does, but they just don’t know the tricks. I’m going to teach you the tricks so you have no excuses:

Continue reading the full article here: http://zenhabits.net/will/#more-8349