17 May 2012

Powerful Tips....

Once in a while you come across powerful tips related to personal challenges....Here are a few of them.

Tip 1: Leave the last morsel on the plate: A weight reduction tip that I found very useful is to 'Leave the last morsel on the plate'. The logic is that when you see an empty plate, you want to refill it, but if you have some food on the plate, you won't go for refill.
This is a very powerful approach. It is very difficult to leave the last morsel on the plate. It is heart-wrenching to see the last morsel on the plate and decide that you are not going to eat it. 
And it is these kind of sacrifices that help you lower your weight !!!
Tip 2: Complete one task in the morning before checking your mails. Another problem that we face is 'How do we get things done in the day'? You have a set of items planned in the 'to do' list. In the evening, you find that you still have most of those items as 'to do' at the end of the day. How do you ensure that you start well in the day?
The tip is to complete at least one activity at the start of the day before you check the mails. Always check the mails only 'AFTER' you finish the first task in your 'to do' list.
I tried it and found that it provides excellent results. Only caveat? you should have planned your tasks for the day. With out a plan for the day, you will not get anything done.
Tip 3: Alternate goal approach to goal setting. Another tip is related to goal setting. Many a times, we find that it is difficult to achieve the goal that we set for ourselves. The tip is to set an 'Alternate / pleasurable / enjoyable' goal, the achievement of which will directly lead to achievement of your primary goal.
Take the example of weight reduction for example. Assume that your goal is to reduce your weight by 5 Kgs. (Trust me, very difficult). In your goal oriented world, you will focus on dieting, on eating more fruits and vegetables, walk every day as activities to achieve your goal.
Suppose you have an alternate goal of participating in the 50 Kilometer Cyclothon taking place in your city. So you strive to meet this goal by regularly cycling more than 50 Km and focus on achieving your daily target of cycling kilometers. Since this goal is time bound and achievable (and pleasurable?), you will focus on this goal and in all probability achieve this goal. Through achievement of your alternate goal, your primary goal of weight reduction will be automatically achieved.
And you would have eaten tasty food too...
Once I tried this alternate goal approach. Instead of focusing on the weight reduction as a goal, I focused on consuming about 400 KCals per day on the treadmill. I named  this goal as '10000 in 25' (10000 KCals to be consumed in 25 days). Since this was a clear and measurable goal, I was able to track the daily progress on an MS Access database that I created.(So I learned MS Access in the bargain !!). Once you have a goal to measure and track, it is very easy to achieve the goal. 
I easily achieved the goal with about 3 days to spare. In the bargain, I lost weight and my belts and pant became looser. 
In the process, I became more confident about my ability to set goals and achieve the same.
Tip 4: Plan for 'Exceptional Things'. In his book '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', Stephen Covey talks about things which are urgent and things which are important but not urgent. Most of our 'Tasks to do' programs focus only on the 'Urgent' tasks to be done. Focus on 'Exceptional Things' help us to prioritize our 'Important' tasks over 'Urgent' tasks. At the beginning of each week, plan for the 'Exceptional' things that you want to do during the week. This can be as simple as updating your CV to as complex as completing the first chapter of the book that you always wanted to write. The only criteria is that the task should not be mundane like 'I will have a hair cut today' or 'I will send a mail to my friend' or even 'Buy the ticket to Mumbai'. The task should be 'Exceptional' for you.
The theory is that the moment you start thinking of 'Exceptional' things, the brain wakes out of the inertia of thinking mundane and starts focusing on the things which are truly important for you. Try this for a day. You will come to know the tasks that are important for you.
Tip 5: Take decisions. This is a lot tougher than it sounds. While it is very easy to think about alternatives, it is not easy to take decisions.
For example all of us have known about people who do not like their current state of life but are not able to move on. They will keep on talking about 'how bad the situation is' but will not take any decisions. They could evaluate the options and 'decide' to stay put. Once they do that, staying in the current situation becomes 'their decision'. You can see that, while the situation has not changed (they are still in the same position as before), the perception of control has been internalized. And that is a big change.
By helping you to internalize the control, decision making help you a long way in self development.

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