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Run Your Own Race ,Self Directed Change Program and Self Confidence

Chapter 2: Develop Good Habits

William James…

It may not seem obvious, but our lives are based on a series of habits. Think about how you start and end your day. Do you have a particular routine for getting ready? Do you sleep on the same side of the bed every night? Most habits are so ingrained that we are not even aware of them. You probably don’t have to remind yourself to brush your teeth or to put clothes on before you leave the house. You just do it. But this wasn’t always the case. You learned how to do those things, and overtime, those actions became so automatic that you don’t have to think about it anymore. You no longer decide to brush your teeth, you just do it out of habit.

 

Our habits are so powerful that a paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40% of the actions people performed each day were not actual decisions, but habits. In fact, a book titled The Power of Habits explored the effect habits have on how we operate our lives and business. He found that found that our brain cannot tell the difference between good or bad habits. Our brain operates in the same manner: cue, routine, and reward. His research also found that habits are especially powerful because they create a neurological craving- which is why bad ones are so hard to change. If you want to develop a habit, put together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivate a craving that drives it.

Habits not only influence our behavior but also our way of thinking too. If you have a habit of worrying about the worse case scenario then you will look for all the negative aspects of a situation and start expecting the worse outcome. In my twenties and thirties, I had a bad habit of selling myself short. I would shy away from trying tasks that I thought were too difficult for me because I didn’t think I had the smarts or know how to do it. Your father once told me that my worse habit was self-doubt. He remarked that it “permeated everything”. I reflected on this comment, and realized that it had merit. My habit of self-doubt required me to constantly look for reassurance in my relationship with others, in the choices I made, and how I handled sebacks. He expressed confusion about this because his impression was “you’ve accomplished so much.” But when you have a bad habit of self-doubt, it doesn’t matter how much you accomplish-it will never feel like enough. So I finally decided that I was going to develop a new habit of thinking. I can tell you that it wasn’t and still isn’t easy. I struggle against the tendancy to look at things a certain way, to interpret events a certain way. I have to consciously catch myself from falling into self-doubt. But the effort is well worth it. When you learn to look at life from a more optimistic point of view, then your circumstances don’t seem so unsurmountable.

 

 

What is one habit that you can change right now? Is it something specific like your diet, whether or not you exercise, or does it go deeper than that? Do you have to change a certain attitude? Find one habit that you can change and then do so. If possible, find a habit that automatically promotes positive change in other areas of your life. For example, exercise is a great habit. It not only burns calories, but it releases endorphins which improves your mood and gives you more energy. Also, people who exercise are more likely to eat healthy. There is nothing you cant’ do if you get your habits right.

 

Notes from “The Magic of Thinking Big.”

 

Never underestimate your own intelligence and never overestimate the intelligence of others. Don’t sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets.

STOP thinking: “I should have started years ago.” That’s failure thinking. Instead START thinking “I’m going to start now, my best years are ahead of me.”

 

If you have a problem, “What are you doing about it?”.

Act the way you want to feel!

We think in images.

Practice adding value to things. Look for ideas to making things worth more.

Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything.

To do anything, we must believe it can be done.

When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why. But, when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and helps you to find the ways to do it.

Think of something special you’ve been wanting to do but felt you couldn’t. Now, make a list of reasons why you can do it.

Use the “what do you think of this suggestion approach.” Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t announce a fresh idea as if it were handed down on a gold tablet.

Listening is more than just keeping your mouth shut. Listening means letting what’s said penetrate your mind. So often people pretend to listen when they aren’t listening at all. They’re just waiting for the other person to pause so they can take over with the talking.

COPY p. 114

 

 

CHAPTER: 1

 

Run your own race: Don’t compare yourself to others

 

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. If you believe that the dots will connect down the road, it will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.

-Steve Jobs

 

In running, it is said that stride is everything. I didn’t realize just how much work goes into preparing for a race until I ran my first 5K and then 10 K earlier this year.

One of the biggest challenges in running a race is staying pace with yourself and not others at the start of the race. It is tempting to start out strong and fast, to keep up with everyone else, but such efforts are often not sustainable. For example, if you start at a 6 minute per mile pace but your actual pace is closer to 9 minutes per mile, then you will likely run out steam before you reach the finish line. You want to push yourself to go beyond your comfort zone, but not so far that you “hit the wall.” We all have our own range of personal best. Spend the time finding yours. It will be worth it!

 

In running, the trick is to notice people passing you at the start but not be distracted or discouraged by their speed or your position relative to theirs. More often than not, you will eventually pass half of those speedy starters later in the race because they haven’t yet learned the benefits of pacing themselves. You don’t want to give up halfway through the race simply because you put all energy at the beginning but left nothing for the end. Try to stay in the here any now and enjoy the process of reaching your goal. Think of your most recent challenge in life. Are you at the beginning, the midpoint or the end? How can you enjoy where you are right now rather than where you hope to be later on?

 

There are many times in your life when you cannot control the outcome of a situation or event. You may have worked really hard at something and still not get the results you want. When that happens, don’t let your disappointment or frustration get the best of you. Instead, use that energy to figure out how to best deal with the disappointment. Similarly, don’t worry about the other person in any situation because you can’t control the other person. You can only control yourself. The energy it takes you to look at what the other person is doing only takes critical energy away from you, and prevents you from reaching your full potential. Stay focused on your own progress , rather than the perceived progress of others. It’s not easy to see someone else have what you want. We have points in our life when we feel like everyone else has more than we do or is doing better than we are. If you are not careful, you may busy yourself with trying to get what the other person has instead of what may be better for you. If you stay focused on yourself and be grateful for what you have and what you can do then you won’t be sidetracked by all these comparisons. The following story from my life will illustrate this point.

 

I was a very good student and often received many academic awards. In high school, I continued to perform well, but wasn’t accepted into any “top” schools due to my mediocre test scores. I choose Cal State University, Long Beach (CSULB) because it was close to home, and it was a decent school. It was hard not to compare myself to others when I learned that several of my other friends were accepted into better schools. I was worried that a degree from a state college would put me at a disadvantage later on in life.

 

At the beginning of my second year at CSULB, I was selected for a 4 year scholarship program for minority students. I was surprised because I hadn’t applied for the scholarship nor considered myself eligible. In fact, I didn’t even consider myself a minority since I am part Caucasian. Yet somehow, I was accepted along with 5 other students. We were expected to conduct research on mental health issues and then present those findings to conferences around the United States. It was only natural that we would eventually find ourselves competing against each other for the best research projects, the best professors, and the best opportunities to present our work. If one of the other students attained the research project I coveted, then I would assume that it was because they were smarter than me or luckier than me, or prettier than me. Why else would someone else be so fortunate? Our minds like to fill in the blanks when we can’t find an immediate solution-even if the solution is illogical.

 

After many restless nights, I finally came to realize that the best use of my time was to stay focused on my own work and to perform to the my best of my ability regardless of the success of others because that it the only thing I could control. This insight served me well. Four years later, I received the Outstanding Student Award from the Psychology Department as well as the Golden Key National Honor award. Eight years later I was the only student from that group to earn a Ph.D.

 

If you base your success by comparing yourself to others then you will never be satisfied. It is easy to notice those who are taller than you, thinner than you, nicer than you or more fortunate than you. The truth is that there will always be someone who has more then you, and someone who have less than you. I recently read that test scores and measures of achievement only tell you where a student is at the time, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up. I was a good example of that. Develop a good mindset and you can take yourself farther than you ever imagined to go-even if that means going at a slower pace from time to time. Dare to believe that all the dots will connect down the road even when it looks there is no clear pattern in your life.

 

Similarly, try not  to measure your happiness against what you perceive of others to be or fall into the trap of “keeping up with the Jones’”.  First of all, you're probably only seeing the "best" part of their prosperity, either intentional on their part, or not.  People often live beyond their means, driving fancy cars, living in expensive homes and taking lavish vacations, while digging themselves deeper into debt, and or forfeiting their future; spending when they should be saving. Sometimes you have to make tough sacrifices to get where you want to be in life. Don’t be afraid to make tough choices. To every end there is a new beginning. And if for some reason, you choose something that is rewarding and fulfilling but doesn’t put much in your pocket- don’t worry. Studies by Sonja Lyubomirsky found that our external circumstances predict only 10% of our total happiness. The remaining 90% comes from our own mindset. We have more control over our happiness than we realize.

 

How do you run your own race? Look within yourself.  What is important really important to you?  How do you really wish to measure your worth?  By how much your fancy shoes cost, or by how good your word is?  Will you measure your success by what titles you have after your name, or by how brave you are in the face of physical and/or ethical challenges?  By how much money or possessions you have compared to others or by how much quality time you spent with those you love?  The truly ironic thing is, the most respected and admired people, are those who strive to be respected and admired by themselves, not others, and not for the “things” they may have, but for the ethical people they have become[*. *]

Abraham Lincoln is a good example of someone who ran his own race. Most people remember Lincoln for being one of the most influential presidents of our nation’s history. What many people may not know is that it took many years and numerous political setbacks and losses to finally achieve his goals. At age 23, Lincoln ran for the state legislature, lost his job, and was turned down for law school. That same year, he started a business on borrowed money, but a year later he was bankrupt. At age 28, he was defeated as speaker of the state legislature. At 33, he ran for the United States House of Representatives but lost. He tried again at age 39, and lost again. At age 45, he ran for the US Senate and lost. At 47, he ran for his partry’s vice presidential nomination and lost. He lost again at age 49. Finally, at 53, he became the 16^th^ president of the United States. He had a lot of opposition, even within his own party, when he tried to end slavery.

What qualities do you value? Is it being compassionate, kind, or patient? Then strive to make those qualities your own, and practice them until they become habit, especially when there is no one there to notice. One of the best measures of a person’s character is how they act when no one is watching, and how they act towards others who cannot help or promote them.

 

Be wise. There will be many times when it is reasonable and even advantageous to look to others for inspiration, ideas, or encouragement. But do so only if it serves as a positive motivator, and thus brings you closer to your goals. If such comparisons only drag you down or lead you to ruminate over what you think you cant do or don’t have or don’t know, then discipline yourself enough to stay focused on what you can control. Use that energy to learn, grow, and share your knowledge with others. I like the saying “never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”

Here is one technique that you can practice for running your own race. It is called visualization. There is a lot of research on how to apply visualization to achieve your goals. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to using visualization as a means of improving the peak performance of athletes. Studies have shown that visualization increases athletic performance by improving motivation, coordination and concentration. It also supports relaxation and reduces fear and anxiety associated with performance. Indeed, studies have been done with runners who visualized running the race while being hooked up to a biofeedback machine. The results of these tests showed that the muscle and brain wave activities were similar to what they would have been if those athletes were actually performing the act.

 

According to research using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brain, cells that transmit information, interpret imagery as equivalent to real life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This establishes a new neural pathway that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we visualized in our minds. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity itself. In essence, our brain cannot tell the difference between reality and visualization. Let’s imagine that your goal is to run a10K. Close your eyes and imagine yourself finishing the race and crossing the finish line. Hold that mental image for as long as possible. Try to visualize this image in all it’s details. What do you notice? What does it feel like? Take time to look around and see everything. What do you

hear? Is there a crowd? Is there someone shouting your name in excitement? Imagine what it feels like to touch someone’s hand, or to stretch your legs. Try to engage all of your senses such as vision, touch, taste, and smell. The more you can engaged you can become with this visualization the better. Another type of visualization involves envisioning each of the action steps necessary to achieve the outcome you want. As mentioned earlier, try to focus on completing each of the steps you need to achieve your goal, but not the overall goal itself. If you are running a race, then it would be visualize your legs running well- arms relaxed, breathing controlled. In your mind, break the run into sections and visualize how you will run each part, thinking about your pace, gait, and split time. Imagine what it will feel like when you hit “the wall” that point in the race where your body wants to stop, but your will doesn’t. What will you do to break past it?

 

Rather than using your mental energy to compare yourself to others, use it to stay focused on your progress. Anticipate that setbacks will happen, and then figure out how you are going to get past those setbacks when they do. If you have to slow down, then simply adjust your pace. Remember, you are only racing against yourself. There are a few techniques that you can practice to run your own race…. REVISE

Visualization is a way of creating a mental image of a desired goal. This is not the same as day dreaming or “think it and you will be it” philosophy. It helps to stay positive in the face of adversity, but that alone when not get you the desired outcome. Visualization involves practicing all the steps you will need to get where you want to be. You start with one manageable step at time, develop mastery, and then go on to the next step until you have completed all the steps related to your goal.

Visualization is a way of creating a mental image of a desired goal. This is not the same as day dreaming or “think it and you will be it” philosophy. It helps to stay positive in the face of adversity, but that alone when not get you the desired outcome. Visualization involves practicing all the steps you will need to get where you want to be. You start with one manageable step at time, develop mastery, and then go on to the next step until you have completed all the steps related to your goal.

 

There is a lot of research on how to apply visualization to achieve your goals. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to using visualization as a means of improving the peak performance of athletes. Studies have shown that visualization increases athletic performance by improving motivation, coordination and concentration. It also supports relaxation and reduces fear and anxiety associated with performance. Indeed, studies have been done with runners who visualized running the race while being hooked up to a biofeedback machine. The results of these tests showed that the muscle and brain wave activities were similar to what they would have been if those athletes were actually performing the act.

 

According to research using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brain, cells that transmit information, interpret imagery as equivalent to real life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This establishes a new neural pathway that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we visualized in our minds. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity itself. In essence, our brain cannot tell the difference between reality and visualization. Let’s imagine that your goal is to run a10K. Close your eyes and imagine yourself finishing the race and crossing the finish line. Hold that mental image for as long as possible. Try to visualize this image in all it’s details. What do you notice? What does it feel like? Take time to look around and see everything. What do you hear? Is there a crowd? Is there someone shouting your name in excitement? Imagine what it feels like to touch someone’s hand, or to stretch your legs. Try to engage all of your senses such as vision, touch, taste, and smell. The more you can engaged you can become with this visualization the better. Another type of visualization involves envisioning each of the action steps necessary to achieve the outcome you want. As mentioned earlier, try to focus on completing each of the steps you need to achieve your goal, but not the overall goal itself. If you are running a race, then it would be visualize your legs running well- arms relaxed, breathing controlled. In your mind, break the run into sections and visualize how you will run each part, thinking about your pace, gait, and split time. Imagine what it will feel like when you hit “the wall” that point in the race where your body wants to stop, but your will doesn’t. What will you do to break past it?

 

Rather than using your mental energy to compare yourself to others, use it to stay focused on your progress. Anticipate that setbacks will happen, and then figure out how you are going to get past those setbacks when they do. If you have to slow down, then simply adjust your pace. Remember, you are only racing against yourself.

(For the second technique look at notes on The Magic of Thinking Big).

 

 

But in a different chapter….

The first comes from a theoretical perspective called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT. This perspective is different from traditional Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT because INSTEAD of identifying and challenging negative thoughts patterns you use “diffusion” to change your relationship to the thought (i.e.comparison) or feeling. Defusion operates under the premise that we become fused with certain negative thoughts about ourselves, our abilities, or our circumstances. Suppose you think that you are not “good enough” or “can’t” do a task as well as someone else. You may ruminate over and over about your perceived weaknesses. You may even start to notice more and more weaknesses if you look long enough. If you are not mindful and aware of this internal dialogue then you will begin to believe and then act as if those thoughts were true. Psychologists call this a “Self Fulfilling Prophosy.”

 

The goal of defusion is to form a different relationship with your thought so that you are able to separate yourself from the negative thought or feeling that you are having at the moment. Three of my favorite defusion strategies are: “Thanks Mind”, “I am having the thought that”, and “Putting the thought or feeling into a musical tune such as Happy Birthday.” For example, I have a friend who is an accountant. He was worried about being audited by the government. He started to compare himself to everyone who had been audited in the past and soon convinced himself that he would lose not only his job but his livelihood as well. He started to act as if the anticipated negative outcome was already happening to him.

 

To remedy this, I suggested that he do the following. Every time he experienced a negative thought or feeling, I instructed him to first say, “thanks mind for reminding me that I have been worried about this”. Such acknowledgement creates an awareness of what we are thinking and feeling at the time, and this can slow down those negative thoughts. Next, he would sing the thought that most frightened him to the tune of Happy Birthday, “this could happen to me, this could happen to me, this could happen to me, this could happen to meee” Finally, he was instructed to redirect his attention to what he could control rather than get caught up on what he feared would happen to him. Sometimes it was focusing on his breathe going in and out, sometimes it was staying grounded on the here and now, and sometimes it was visualizing a positive outcome.

 

 

Chapter 2: Develop Good Habits

William James…

It may not seem obvious, but our lives are based on a series of habits. Think about how you start and end your day. Do you have a particular routine for getting ready? Do you sleep on the same side of the bed every night? Most habits are so ingrained that we are not even aware of them. You probably don’t have to remind yourself to brush your teeth or to put clothes on before you leave the house. You just do it. But this wasn’t always the case. You learned how to do those things, and overtime, those actions became so automatic that you don’t have to think about it anymore. You no longer decide to brush your teeth, you just do it out of habit.

 

Our habits are so powerful that a paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40% of the actions people performed each day were not actual decisions, but habits. In fact, a book titled The Power of Habits explored the effect habits have on how we operate our lives and business. He found that found that our brain cannot tell the difference between good or bad habits. Our brain operates in the same manner: cue, routine, and reward. His research also found that habits are especially powerful because they create a neurological craving- which is why bad ones are so hard to change. If you want to develop a habit, put together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivate a craving that drives it.

 

Habits not only influence our behavior but also our way of thinking too. If you have a habit of worrying about the worse case scenario then you will look for all the negative aspects of a situation and start expecting the worse outcome. In my twenties and thirties, I had a bad habit of selling myself short. I would shy away from trying tasks that I thought were too difficult for me because I didn’t think I had the smarts or know how to do it. Your father once told me that my worse habit was self-doubt. He remarked that it “permeated everything”. I reflected on this comment, and realized that it had merit. My habit of self-doubt required me to constantly look for reassurance in my relationship with others, in the choices I made, and how I handled sebacks. He expressed confusion about this because his impression was “you’ve accomplished so much.” But when you have a bad habit of self-doubt, it doesn’t matter how much you accomplish-it will never feel like enough. So I finally decided that I was going to develop a new habit of thinking. I can tell you that it wasn’t and still isn’t easy. I struggle against the tendancy to look at things a certain way, to interpret events a certain way. I have to consciously catch myself from falling into self-doubt. But the effort is well worth it. When you learn to look at life from a more optimistic point of view, then your circumstances don’t seem so unsurmountable.

 

 

What is one habit that you can change right now? Is it something specific like your diet, whether or not you exercise, or does it go deeper than that? Do you have to change a certain attitude? Find one habit that you can change and then do so. If possible, find a habit that automatically promotes positive change in other areas of your life. For example, exercise is a great habit. It not only burns calories, but it releases endorphins which improves your mood and gives you more energy. Also, people who exercise are more likely to eat healthy. There is nothing you cant’ do if you get your habits right.

 

Notes from “The Magic of Thinking Big.”

 

Never underestimate your own intelligence and never overestimate the intelligence of others. Don’t sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets.

STOP thinking: “I should have started years ago.” That’s failure thinking. Instead START thinking “I’m going to start now, my best years are ahead of me.”

 

If you have a problem, “What are you doing about it?”.

Act the way you want to feel!

We think in images.

Practice adding value to things. Look for ideas to making things worth more.

Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything.

To do anything, we must believe it can be done.

When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why. But, when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and helps you to find the ways to do it.

Think of something special you’ve been wanting to do but felt you couldn’t. Now, make a list of reasons why you can do it.

Use the “what do you think of this suggestion approach.” Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t announce a fresh idea as if it were handed down on a gold tablet.

Listening is more than just keeping your mouth shut. Listening means letting what’s said penetrate your mind. So often people pretend to listen when they aren’t listening at all. They’re just waiting for the other person to pause so they can take over with the talking.

COPY p. 114

 

 

 


Run Your Own Race ,Self Directed Change Program and Self Confidence

www.shannontranphd.com gives the inspiration and guidance on how to win at your own pace! Learn how to use visualization effectively to achieve goals, and how to let go of unhealthy comparisons.

  • Author: insochtek
  • Published: 2015-11-19 07:40:07
  • Words: 5154
Run Your Own Race ,Self Directed Change Program and Self Confidence Run Your Own Race ,Self Directed Change Program and Self Confidence