THE NEED TO REVIEW OUR LIVES

We always wait till the end of the year to review how we’ve spent it, or till the New Year season to make a resolution. This tradition though a good one gives people a wrong idea about reviewing their lifestyles and goals in life.

There are 365 days in a year with January and December as the starting and ending points respectively. However, every day should be regarded as a ‘New Year’ because a complete year has to pass before that same day arrives once more. Looking at the concept of birthdays for example, even though an individual may be born in 1999, it doesn’t mean that when the year 2018 starts, one would be 19 years. The individual’s new age or year starts from the day of the year he or she was born.
We, therefore, should not only consider the Yuletide season or New Years to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far in the previous year.

So many of us live for others:

This can be viewed from two perspectives: striving to live up to the expectations of others and harboring anger at others for so long. For the latter, it lies in the same vein as the previous option—are you holding on to anger because it makes you feel justified and right? Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is let go of the situation by forgiving the other person. When we are willing to forgive others, we aren’t saying what they did is OK. We are saying that we value ourselves too much to waste any more time on this situation. On conflicts, the two major causes of conflict are a basic misunderstanding or a genuine problem. Most often we rush to conclude the latter and this affects our approach to things.

Another issue to look at:

There is a fundamental problem which has been going on in Ghanaian homes before most of us were even born: Although parents want what’s in their children’s’ best interest, some parents force their children to make decisions which may not be what the child intended to do initially. We have a lot of doctors, lawyers, teachers or even librarians who are in the field not because it was their preferred choice but they were fulfilling the dreams of others: their parents. Let us reflect on what we really want to do in life and muster the courage to resist some influences in our lives.

How you can begin to review your life on the go

Watch your inner dialogue, your thoughts

One thing that we often take for granted but yet has a very significant impact on our lives is what we think and our general thought patterns. We all have that friend who never sees anything good in anything at all. They are always angry and complaining about life and what life has done to them. They see the smallest of mistakes and ignore the biggest of achievements. Their general thought pattern is toward such things so that is what they observe no matter the situation. There also others who tend to see the good in every situation no matter how bad it is, they always believe in something better and bigger. These two groups of people may witness an exact situation and both have contradicting views of the situation because of their basic thought patterns. My question to you is, what is your basic thought pattern? What do you tend to observe and see from almost every situation and event?

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Make the change exactly when you observe the problem

One thing about our mind is that it takes time to make certain changes because they have been in existence for such a long time that we nothing but that. These constitute our habits. I will touch more on habits later on. But there are also habitual thoughts which tend to affect our lives. Thoughts affect our lives because of what we think, we become. If you think you were born to succeed you will succeed out of the odds presented to you. However, if you think you are a failure, you have certainly written your autobiography as a failure. That’s the great secret of what we think. So you want to begin to rebuke your mind on any bad thoughts. For instance, if you get an idea to start a business venture and your mind comes up with the thought that you won’t succeed, you have to right away rebuke your mind and reaffirm to yourself that you will make it at all costs. Begin to do this daily and very soon you would no longer have to worry frequently because of bad and negative thoughts.

Little drops will make  mighty

I have observed with a keen interest in how we live the same life every day never even knowing that we are in a sort of habit loop. Today, you decide that you won’t eat any more snacks because you feel you will only worsen your weight problem. Yet any time you see them cookies and biscuits, you can’t simply resist and you are back to the comfortable and dangerous loop and eating snacks al the time. The fact is, a snack isn’t a bad thing but taking snacks frequently becomes the problem. You can apply the technique in dealing with thoughts. Watch the times you crave for snacks and begin to be accountable to yourself. Say no to the snacks when the craving comes.

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Observe your associations

Friends contribute a lot to our success or our failure but we hardly notice it. You are the average of the 5 friends you hang nost around. Right now, think about your friends and ask yourself whether you being the average of these 5 friends you hang around the most, are you headed for success or doom?

The habit Loop – Plan Your escape

Habits are subtle life creators. You are basically your habits and this can be seen in overweight people. As their habit of frequent eating and snacking drives them to actually embody their habit. Warren once said, each person has the knowledge and ability to become successful, the extra is for them to develop the habits of the wealthy and successful. This statement is powerful in highlighting the importance of habits. A huge percentage of what we do on a daily basis is based on our habits. Therefore if we manage to change our habits, we can dramatically change our lives within a short period op time. Now habits are hard to change, in fact as hard as becoming successful and wealthy if that’s the man difference between rich and wealthy and the poor and unsuccessful.

How you can begin to change your habits (Adapted from smart and stuck)
In Charles Duhigg’s book the power of habit this what he says about a habit. “When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard or diverts focus on other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically”. Habits have a great influence on the result we get in our lives, they are part of us and mostly we do them unconsciously. If we examine our life, it will help us get rid of unhealthy habits and cultivate the right ones in our life. The question is what are your habits:

at the workplace?

at home?

in class?

in relationship?

5 steps to breaking habits

    1. Identify the habit you want to change; When you identify that something is always reoccurring in your life on a daily basis, it can qualify as a habit. You wouldn’t want to change the good ones but you would definitely want to change the bad ones. That’s when you have to identify the bad habit. Mostly identifying the bad habit isn’t difficult though in some situations it may be. It may be to stop eating snacks, or to become calmer, etc
    2. Identify the cue which triggers the habit; Identifying the cue may be more problematic. Habits can typically be triggered by a place, time, people, emotions and actions. To identify your cue, ask yourself some questions. What time is it? Where are you? Who else is with you? What did you just do before the habit kicked in? etc Do well to ask these questions when the habit kicks on so you can keep accurate data. Be prudent enough to write these in a book so you can track your progress and findings. Now identify which of these cues occur anytime you engage in the habit and take note of it
    3. Identify the reward you get for engaging in the habit;  You can identify the reward by testing different rewards with the habit. If for instance, you crave to have coffee, you can replace the coffee with maybe green tea. If the craving stops which means you actually crave green tea. But if the craving stays, it means you engage in the habit for some other reason. Keep trying until you find a reward which stops the habit. then you have your reward.
  1. Insert a new routine to replace the old routine (Habit); To do this, you need to find an activity or a good habit which can replace the old one. The new routine must be triggered by the same trigger as the old bad habit and the reward must also be the same. What changes is only the new routine installed.
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These have been adapted from Charles Duhigg –  check out his “How to change habits flowchart

Our lives are so important for us to live by heart and chance. We have to constant;y review our daily lives, what we do and what we wish to achieve. Most importantly we must examine why we live in the first place. Engaging in daily review as a habit would fetch you much success than you can imagine. My hope is that you begin to review and examine your life because you have great potential and the world needs your service.

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