Creating and managing Holistic Resolutions for 2014

  • Get a blank sheet of paper
  • Draw a large circle
  • Divide the circle into seven segments – like a pizza – where each piece represents an area of your life as it is now.

categories

  • The general categories are:
    • Fun – Happiness, Hobbies
    • Romance/Partner – Current or future Life Partner
    • Career – Job satisfaction, Career path
    • Family/Friends – Children, Parents, Relatives , Friends
    • Health – Exercise, Diet
    • Wealth- Savings, Investments
    • Personal development – Self-space, Spiritual, Artistic
  • Once you have labelled your wheel
  • Assign a number from 1 to 10 next to each category.
    • Write 1 if you are unsatisfied in this area and 10 if you are totally satisfied.
  • Choose the areas you would most like to move forward on during 2014?
  • Create specific goals & linked activities – should not be more than 2 goals per category, and not more than 3 focus categories in a year.
  • Block time for activities related to goals in your calendar – goal is to spend time with family , block a dinner date with wife per week , block a weekly outing with kids in your calendar & set reminder.

And the most important thing : Make a PROMISE to yourself to keep your resolution

5 Exercises to change destructive thought patterns

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The most difficult thing to change in our lives is our thought patterns. Limiting thought patterns can lead to dysfunctional behavior and feelings, resulting in unsatisfying relationships with self, career, others, and health.

The first step in changing is recognizing our thought patterns and identifying those that limit us (see previous exercise).

Here, we will discuss various exercises to retrain the brain & change the destructive thought patterns

Exercises

  1. Alternate thought script

Use the following table to help you create an alternate positive thought script to replace the current script. If you write the thought scripts every day for a few weeks, you will come up with better alternatives & the repetitive reinforcement of positive thoughts will help you to change your thought patterns

Situation Initial Thought Type of Pattern Belief or Fact Challenge the belief Alternate Script
Made a major blunder at work I am a failure everyone will laugh at me and think of me as a failure Self-labelling & catastrophic Fact : I made a mistakeBelief : Initial thought I make mistake sometimes but am usually correct, I have achieved x , y , z in my career.  I learn from my mistakes. I don’t have to be perfect at everything. A mistake does not mean I am a failure
  1. Affirmations

What does research say about affirmations?

“An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure,” said J. David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Here we will use the power of affirmations to bring about a change in negative thinking process.

Anybody can create affirmations, self-created affirmations work better as they address the uniqueness in us. All that one needs to keep in mind while writing affirmation is

  1.              I.        It should always be positive : Instead of “I am not a failure” try “ I am successful”
  2.            II.        Affirmations should be in present tense : “I find it easy to think positively”
  3.           III.        It should be believable ,  take incremental steps in the process of affirmations

E.g. Situation: Introvert who is not able to talk to people

Thought : Everyone must be laughing at me , I make a fool of myself while talking with people , I can never make friends , I will never succeed.

You make like to start by affirming your positive qualities

“I observe & understand people”, “I am a good listener”

Moving on to

“I find it easy to talk with individuals who I know”

And later on

“I like talking with people and making new friends”

  1.           IV.        Repeat the affirmations as often as possible to allow them to be part of your subconscious mind

PS: Use the alternate script in exercise 1 to create relevant affirmations

  1. Gratitude Journal

Before going to the bed write down 5 positive things that happened during the day. This is a very important exercise as it will help you create alternate positive thought scripts and add weightage to your affirmations.

  1. Burn the Negative thoughts

At the end of everyday write down all the negative thought scripts & burn them, visualize negative thoughts being burned away from your brain slowly but steadily.

  1. Thought Ritual

Every morning – do 5 jumping jacks , look up at sky / celling , smile widely & speak aloud  – “I am going to have a great day” after this read your last night entry from gratitude journal and read / speak your affirmations & repeat positive thought script.

PS: The last two exercises are only rituals but the powerful imagery attaches itself easily to our subconscious minds.

Stay Positive !!!

Image courtesy of Archipoch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Identifying thought patterns related to self

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In the last exercise we tried to understand various categories of thought patterns. Now we need to understand if & how these thought patterns are limiting our growth.

Please answer the following questions about below

  • Am I happy with this aspect of my life?
  • What is it that I believe about this aspect?
  • What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities related to this aspect?
  • What would others say about this belief?
  • Is this belief practical?
  • How does this belief relate to limiting thought patterns discussed in previous exercise

Life aspects to be considered for answering above questions

1>     Appearance

2>     Competence

3>     Intelligence

4>     Personality

5>      Success

6>     Relationship with Family

7>     Relationship with Friends

8>     Relationship with spouse or significant other / if single with opposite gender

 The answer to above questions will tell you if you are self-sabotaging yourself because of your thought process. The next post will be about exercises to change thought patterns.

Image courtesy of kibsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Limiting Thought Patterns

Identifying thought patterns 

Oxford dictionary defines Thought Patterns as “a habit of thinking in a particular way, using particular assumptions”

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Our thought pattern determines the words we use, our non-verbal cues & body language, our reactions to various situation & our strategizing process. Sometimes limiting our options and holding us back.

In this exercise we will try to identify our thought patterns and we will learn to change them in our next exercise.

Limiting thought pattern types

  1. Extremity – disproportionately exaggerating or minimizing the things.
  2. Overgeneralisation – making broad conclusion based on one or two instances of an event. 
  3. Filtering – is looking at only one element of a situation to the exclusion of everything else , usually seeing only the negative aspects of a situation and “filtering out” the positives
  4. Personalizing – comparing yourself with other and thus devaluing others or yourself
  5. Mind Reading – we believe that we know what another person is thinking and react accordingly
  6. Fortune telling – predicting the events / outcomes , assuming them to be established fact
  7. Rules – we expect people “should” do things in a certain way.
  8. Polarizing – meaning that you see everything in terms of black and white, all good or all bad
  9. Catastrophizing – always expecting the worst

Do you identify with any of these common limiting thought patterns ? Do you see any of these limiting thought patterns having an impact on your vision for your life ?If so, you may be restricting your growth. Try to keep an open mind and be ready to challenge your beliefs. You will be amazed at the difference you make.

Create the life you want : Understand yourself

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Are you living a life without passion? Do you feel jaded and don’t know where to go ? Are you living a life that is not in synch with who you are? If you were to die tomorrow, will you be happy with the choices you’ve made ?

Exercises to help you create your vision for life

1. Last year of Life
Imagine that a doctor has told you that you just have a year to live. Please write down , how you’d like to spend this last year of life. You may want to consider the below factors , while creating your plan.
Career
Family
Friends
Self
Finances
Society

2. Write self – obituary
How would you like your spouse , parents/children , siblings , friends , colleagues & society  to remember you

3. Perfect Day

If today was the most perfect day in your life – what would it be like

 

These exercises will help you figure out what you want from life. But , remember no one else is going to/can build the life you want for you. You are the only one who know what you want and how to get.  Don’t let fear , society , validation from others stand in your way.

 

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Instant Confidence Booster 1

Fake it till you make it.

ID-100147009If you know , you will be in a situation which makes you feel nervous / uncomfortable. Be ready to bring out the actor in you. 

Pretend that you are the most confident person , smile & stand tall. Look people in the eye , ensure that your handshake is firm and use a few well rehearsed lines. 

Once the ice is broken and the first impression has been set , you will find it easier to manage  the rest of the event.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Instant Mood Lifter 2

Exercise or just have a brisk walk – the exercise will release endorphins , the happy hormones. Studies have shown that exercising regularly for 20 minutes or more can promote endorphin secretion.

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.