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Russian camera can see human soul

Source: RT.com

A wonder device can see the soul of a dead man pass away… or at least that’s what the inventor claims.

A publication of the popular Russian tabloid Life.ru gives a dramatic account of the experiments of an inventor from St Petersburg, who has created a device able to see human aura.

Accompanied by pictures suspiciously reminiscent of a series of thermal images of a woman at different temperatures, the report claims they are made with a special “gas discharge camera” built by Konstantin Korotkov, a professor at the Research Institute of Physical Culture and State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.The paper goes on to say that the device can register the circumstances of death, differentiating between a victim of a violent crime and a person who died quietly in bed. It also registers the changes in aura presumably made by a strong psychic working on somebody.Disregarding the glib comparison of the religious term “soul” with the new age “aura”, the claims – they can hardly even be expected to get support in peer-reviewed scientific papers in our opinion – prompted RT to take a little investigation into the wonder device.

Kirlian camera

The instrument, which was presented to us as something involved in the study of death, turned out to have been designed as a medical diagnosis tool. With about 15 years of development behind it, its inventor claims that it’s an affordable early-diagnosis tool, capable of identifying any disease, from an ulcer to a brain tumor, by scanning irregularities in an aura. Sort of a spiritual healer in metal and plastic, available to everyone for a small fee. No mystical stuff here – a patient can see his own aura on the computer screen, all thanks to the “gas discharge visualization” or GDV.
The spiffy name is actually modern application of a well-known phenomenon called Kirlian effect, named after Semyon and Valentina Kirlians, a Russian couple who greatly contributed to popularizing it back in 1960s. Kirlian experimented with photographing objects with high voltage applied to them.

The strong electric field causes faint corona discharges around the edges, which can even be seen with the naked eye. The visual appeal of the effect won the hearts of mystic-oriented people.

Starting with Kirlians themselves, many people claimed that the electrical phenomena was actually a way to visualize otherwise invisible auras of objects. Korotkov is one of these claimants. According to him, corona discharges around fingertips, which his GDV cameras cause, have information about one’s physical condition and this information can be used for diagnosis. The claim was never confirmed by clinical tests, but it didn’t prevent the device from becoming the cornerstone of a widespread business. With different models costing from $4,500 to $13,000, and official dealers all across Russia and abroad, the invention seems to generate enough cash for Korotkov to travel the world and promote his product.

Not for diagnosis

Meanwhile, critics openly call the GDV “quackery”. Back in 2002, when the device drew the attention of the Russian media, RTR TV channel (now called Rossiya) did an investigation of their own, producing a 20-minute-long report. They revealed that, in the testing of a GDV scanner done in the Military Medical Academy, one of the strong-points trumpeted by the producer was actually its ability to kill bacteria on hands, which it successfully did. It was never used for diagnosis of any kind.

Another selling point – the testing of the device on Russian sportsmen – showed that readings of the device may vary slightly with the state of mind of the subjects. As it does with variations in the environment, like a change of air temperature or humidity.

In an interview given to a newspaper two years ago Korotkov said his invention was like a knife: it could be used for good or for bad purposes. Indeed, the beautiful Kirlian effect can be used for dubious intentions, or for inspiring works of art like those of photographer Robert Buelteman here.

An Awesome Way to Make Kids Less Self-Absorbed (PARENTS THIS IS GOOD!)

I’ve been inspired by recent news stories of children who are working to make a difference in the world, committed to projects much bigger than themselves. There’s Malala Yousufzai, the young advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan; Craig Kielburger, who advocates for the abolishment of child labor; and Ryan Hreljac, who raises money to build wells in developing countries. The list goes on and on.

But there’s a flip side to these stories. Research suggests that some young people in the United States are actually becoming more self-absorbed and less connected to others.

A recent study that examined the empathy levels of almost 14,000 university students between 1979 and 2009 found that students have become dramatically less empathic over the years, particularly since 2000.

In addition, narcissism, which correlates negatively with empathy, is on the rise amongst university-aged students. Narcissists, by definition, are extremely self-focused and tend to see other people in terms of their usefulness rather than true friendship—not exactly a recipe for empathy.

What’s more, a 2006 survey showed that 81 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds think getting rich is an important goal, and 64 percent think it’s the most important goal. Sadly, only 30 percent believe that helping others in need is important.

While these studies focused on university students and young adults, the findings suggest that somewhere in their earlier development, they weren’t cultivating the skills needed to connect with others.

So how can teachers help students avoid the joyless path of self-absorption and instead cultivate a life in which they feel part of something larger than themselves—one of the keys to a meaningful life?

There are, of course, many strong programs that have been designed to help students develop empathy and positive relationships.

But new research suggests another way: awe.

Very little is known about the experience of awe; however, several new studies, many conducted by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner, have shown awe to be a potentially powerful positive emotion that might just help our students develop empathy.

Here’s how it works:

When we see a grand vista in nature such as Victoria Falls, or experience an inspiring work of art such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” or Michelangelo’s Pieta, or ponder the phenomenal inner strength of a great soul like Gandhi who non-violently led India to independence, we often feel two things: 1) a sense of vastness that gives us 2) a new perspective on the world and our place in it. This is awe.

Dacher’s lab has found that awe makes us feel very small and like we’re in the presence of something greater than ourselves. We also may lose awareness of our “self” and feel more connected to the world around us.

Imagine the potential of this life-changing emotion for students—and, in particular, for our hyper-self-focused teens! Since adolescence is a crucial period for identity-formation, some researchers have suggested that adolescence is a particularly important time to experience awe—it could help them see themselves as deeply connected to the world around them, not the center of it. Inducing the uplifting experience of awe could also be a positive way to keep narcissism in check.

While scientists haven’t yet examined if this temporary loss of self-focus directly impacts empathy levels, they do know that awe makes people feel less impatient and more inclined to volunteer their time to help others—strong evidence that it makes them feel more connected and committed to something bigger than themselves.

So can teachers actually create awe-inducing experiences for their students?

Absolutely! In an experiment to see if awe could be elicited, Dacher and his team had one group of university students look at a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and another group look down a long hallway. On a follow-up survey, the only difference between the groups was that members of the T-Rex group felt like they were part of a larger whole—a defining feature of awe.

It’s probably not too difficult to imagine something that might induce awe in teens, or kids of any age; I’ve named a few examples above. Stories of exceptional modern-day figures such as Nelson Mandela (consider his ability to forgive) or pictures of the universe such as the birth of a star may be engaging and effective—especially if you find the subject matter to be awe-inspiring. Many teachers already bring content like this into the classroom, and this research on awe validates that approach and suggests it should be tried with more frequency and focus.

Here are two important points to remember if you want to expose your students to awe-filled experiences:

1) Not all students will get it. Dacher has found that some people are more prone to awe than others—usually the ones who are comfortable changing how they see the world. So, if you’ve got some students who seem immovable, don’t fret. If nothing else, they’re still learning about “awesome” art, music, nature, and people.

2) Help students process what they’ve experienced. Awe requires what psychologist Jean Piaget called “accommodation”—the process of changing our mental models to incorporate something to which we’ve recently been exposed. Discussing and writing about experiences of awe will help students understand and process at a deeper level what they’ve just felt.

Awe is not a term heard very often in schools, but its potential is vast. Think of the enthusiasm and wonder and joy that awe-filled experiences could bring to our students—experiences that could not only help them out of the narcissistic funk of adolescence, but also put them on a path to a life lived in compassionate connection with others. Awesome!


This article is printed here with permission. It originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

9 Tips for Living A Good Life

You may know Mark Twain for some of his very popular books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He was a writer and also a humorist, satirist and lecturer.

Twain is known for his many – and often funny – quotes. What you may not know is that Twain is quite a philosopher of life himself.

Here are some of his top tips for living a good life:

1. Approve of yourself.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behaviour and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want.

This can, in a related way, be a big obstacle in personal growth. You may have all the right tools to grow in some way but you feel an inner resistance. You can’t get there.

What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of. They might tell you that you aren’t really that kind of person that could this thing that you’re attempting.

Or if you make some headway in the direction you want to go you may start to sabotage for yourself. To keep yourself in a place that is familiar for you.

So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time.

2. Your limitations may just be in your mind.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.

And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself.

If you, on the other hand, don’t mind then people tend to not mind that much either. And if you don’t mind then you won’t let that part of yourself become a self-imposed roadblock in your life.

It is, for instance, seldom too late to do what you want to do.

(Related: Free Video Reveals How To Break Free From Your Limitations)

3. Lighten up and have some fun.

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

Humor and laughter are amazing tools. They can turn any serious situation into something to laugh about. They can lighten the mood just about anywhere.

And a lighter mood is often a better space to work in because now your body and mind isn’t filled to the brim with negative emotions. When you are more light-hearted and relaxed then the solution to a situation is often easier to both come up with and implement. Have a look at Lighten Up! for more on this topic.

4. Let go of anger.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Anger is most of the time pretty pointless. It can cause situations to get out of hand. And from a selfish perspective it often more hurtful for the one being angry then the person s/he’s angry at.

So even if you feel angry at someone for days recognize that you are mostly just hurting yourself. The other person may not even be aware that you are angry at him or her. So either talking to the person and resolving the conflict or letting go of anger as quickly as possible are pretty good tips to make your life more pleasurable.

5. Release yourself from entitlement.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing.It was here first.”

When you are young your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older you may have a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something.

This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something.

You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want.

6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.

“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

I think this has quite a bit of relevance to self-improvement.

If you start to change or do something different than you usually do then people may react in different ways. Some may be happy for you. Some may be indifferent. Some may be puzzled or react in negative and discouraging ways.

Much of these reactions are probably not so much about you but about the person who said it and his/her life. How they feel about themselves is coming through in the words they use and judgements they make.

And that’s OK. I think it’s pretty likely that they won’t react as negatively as you may imagine. Or they will probably at least go back to focusing on their own challenges pretty soon.

So what other people may say and think and letting that hold you back is probably just fantasy and barrier you build in your mind.

You may find that when you finally cross that inner threshold you created then people around you may not shun you or go chasing after you with pitchforks. :) They might just go: “OK”.

(Related: Free Video Reveals the Secret to Living A Good Life)

7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

What you focus your mind on greatly determines how things play out. You can focus on your problems and dwell in suffering and a victim mentality. Or you can focus on the positive in situation, what you can learn from that situation or just focus your mind on something entirely else.

It may be “normal” to dwell on problems and swim around in a sea of negativity. But that is a choice. And a thought habit. You may reflexively start to dwell on problems instead of refocusing your mind on something more useful. But you can also start to build a habit of learning to gain more and more control of where you put your focus.

8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

This may be a bit of a counter-intuitive tip. But as I wrote yesterday, one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make someone else feel good or to help them in some way.

This is a great way to look at things to create an upward spiral of positivity and exchange of value between people. You help someone and both of you feel good. The person you helped feels inclined to give you a hand later on since people tend to want to reciprocate. And so the both of you are feeling good and helping each other.

Those positive feelings are contagious to other people and so you may end up making them feel good too. And the help you received from your friend may inspire you to go and help another friend. And so the upward spiral grows and continues.

9. Do what you want to do.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Awesome quote. And I really don’t have much to add to that one. Well, maybe to write it down and keep it as a daily reminder – on your fridge or bathroom door – of what you can actually do with your life.

Jim Rohn – how to have the Best Life Ever

15 changes you should try to aim for in 2014

Resolutions? Fuck them.

It’s tough to hold on to them. Let’s aim for changes instead.

I am game. Are you?

Let 2014 be your blank slate. So what then, do you want to put on this slate? What do you want to make for yourself this year?

This is life man. It’s all about making good decisions and change for the better. Let’s let go of resolutions cause they’re annoying and easy to fail.

Let’s make a change now. Let it be so that at the end of 2014, you’ve developed new habits.

Here are 14 changes you should try to aim for in 2014:

1) Cut down on social media. Stop mindlessly surfing Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. You’d have a lot more time in your hands then and also become more aware of what’s going on around you.

2) Read more. Read more books. Blogs too, but make sure they add real value. Go to your library.

3) Appreciate being alone.

4) Stop being so pissed and upset over little things. Do you want some totally, uncontrollable event ruin your entire day? I don’t.

5) Stop procrastinating. Just get off your ass and do something. Do one thing first, then let it flow. It WILL flow.

6) Meditate.

7) Let go of toxic friendships which aren’t doing you any good any more. Seriously, dump the friends you don’t need.

8) Loving yourself with full compassion, because you don’t really need others to give you that.

9) Exercise more.

10) Appreciate the art of doing absolutely nothing.

11) Eliminate shyness. Don’t hold back on socializing.

12) Lower expectations.

13) Create.

14) Have fun in everything you do. Because most of us forget to.

WRITTEN BY Alden Tan HE HAS A GREAT BLOG CHECK IT OUT  http://alden-tan.com/about-me/

Want to jump start your changes this year? Check my books out. I’m pretty sure they can help you out.

Get Over Yourself: How Your Ego Sabotages Your Creativity

ne of the most destructive of creative sins is an over-inflated ego. When many people hear the word “ego,” they immediately think of the know-it-all manager charging into the room and insisting that everyone bend their life and work around his every whim. This is certainly one exhibition of ego, but there are less obvious types that we must be careful to avoid if we want to do our best creative work consistently.

Brilliant creative work requires a willingness to take risks, to experiment, and to venture into unproven territory in the pursuit of great ideas. When an inflated ego becomes the norm, you may become inflexible and unwilling to take the small personal risks necessary to break out of your comfort zone and pour yourself fully into your work. Others hover close to their safety zone, because they’d rather live with the perception of invulnerability than to take a risk and find that they have limits. This is obviously a recipe for underperformance, so be aware of these hidden ego-fueled dangers that can come with creative work:

Ego Trap #1: Playing the victim

I recall several instances as a child when playing a game with others that there was a disagreement over the rules. When the argument got heated, the disagreeable party would inevitably say something like “Fine! Then I’m taking my ball and going home!” They would rather opt-out of the game than be flexible enough to find a compromise and continue playing.

While very few people would actually be so obvious about their protest in a work context, the results can be comparable. It plays out in a much more subtle, behind-the-scenes kind of way. When we’re playing the victim, our internal dialogue goes something like “if they won’t listen to my ideas, then I’m just not going to offer them any more” or “there’s no use in trying very hard on this project, because my efforts won’t be valued anyway.” At first, this may not seem like a form of ego, but it is. You are putting your own need for recognition ahead of the work and ahead of the mission of your team.

Unfortunately, this kind of disengagement means that you are not putting yourself fully into the work in front of you, and thus are abdicating your contribution. You are allowing someone else to control your efforts rather than taking charge of your own engagement. You must stay alert to the “victim” voice inside your head and not allow it to cause you to withhold your best work.

Ego Trap #2: Aggressive defense of your “turf”

When you sense that someone else is encroaching on something you perceive as your area of influence, you feel a need to protect your standing or authority and refuse to allow others to become the leading voice. You may even take credit for the ideas of others, or refuse to allow them to stand in the spotlight. This can also play out as snark, cynicism, or extreme criticism of the work of others. You immediately call out things as “too obvious” or “amateurish” in the effort to make your own work look more valuable.

There is a vast chasm between confidence in your abilities, and an over-inflated ego. Ego says “I can do no wrong”, whereas confidence says “I can get this right.” Confidence says “I’m valuable” while ego says “I’m invaluable.” This is a critical difference in mindset. Be aware when you are generally contributing and when you are simply trying to protect the status quo. Losing some of your “turf” may seem scary, but it’s really an opportunity to stay one step ahead.

Confidence says “I’m valuable” while ego says “I’m invaluable.”

Ego Trap #3: Being easily offended

Have you ever met “that person” who perceives everything as a personal attack? It doesn’t matter what you say to them or how nicely you say it, they will somehow twist it into an insult. Similarly, some people treat any disagreement as an indication that you are questioning their competence. Both of these are a subtle displays of inflated ego.

When you put your self-perception ahead of the work, you are in danger of compromising your best efforts. Collaboration also becomes more challenging, because others grow tired of walking on eggshells. You must nix the tendency to be easily offended, and instead embrace the opportunity that disagreements or disconfirming information provide to sharpen your thoughts and skills.

For sure, there is a right and a wrong way to deliver criticism. The correct response to poorly delivered criticism isn’t to get offended, it’s to offer a helpful suggestion on how you’d like to receive feedback in the future.

***

Do not allow the subtle effects of an inflated ego to rob you of your contribution. Yes, be confident, but also be adaptable. Pour yourself fully into your work, but be willing to listen to disconfirming information and opinions. If you do, you will be far better positioned to unleash your best creative work every day.

The Smart Creative’s Guide to Dressing for Work

With designer labels and high heels, we’ve come a long way since clothing was about nothing more than modesty and warmth. And yet, for many of us, what we wear for work has become automatic and habitual. We drag on a suit each day, out of routine, nothing more. Or we slouch about in baggy casual gear because we’re freelance, or working remotely, so we can.

By dressing mindlessly like this we’re ignoring the large amount of evidence showing the profound effect of clothing on our thinking style, on how we feel, and on the way others perceive us. Starting today, you can use clothing and props to improve your work performance through these simple steps:

Dress for the task: the “Lab Coat” effect

Consider the findings of a study published last year by the Kellogg School of Management. They showed that students were far more accurate on tests of attentional focus and sustained concentration while wearing the white lab coat of a scientist. Crucially, spending time thinking about the lab coat didn’t have this benefit, it had to be worn.

These results suggest that donning symbolic apparel can alter our thinking style in beneficial ways that are consistent with the meaning that the clothing holds for us. So whatever project you’re currently working on, consider dressing for that role. Think what clothing symbolizes the attributes you need to succeed and wear those threads while you work. If there’s nothing as obvious as a lab coat, why not look to role models in your field and see what they wear – perhaps something flamboyant for when you want to be creative, a shirt and tie for when you’re working on the accounts. The important thing is that the clothing has the right symbolic meaning for the work you’re doing. In the study, the white coat had no attentional benefits when the students thought it was a painter’s jacket, not a scientist’s coat.

Be yourself and respect your own style

As well as affecting our mindset, our clothes can also alter how we feel about ourselves. U.S. research published in 2007 found that employees described themselves as feeling more productive, trustworthy, and authoritative when they were wore a business suit at work, but more friendly when wearing casual clothes.

An important detail here was the employees’ style preferences. It was smart types with a clear preference for wearing formal work attire whose feelings of productivity were most adversely affected when they’d worked in an office with a casual dress code. On the other hand, it was hipster staff with a strong preference for laid-back wear who felt most strongly that suits hampered their friendliness and creativity. Of course not all work places give you the freedom to choose, but if you can, these findings show it pays to respect your own style.

The white coat had no attentional benefits when the students thought it was a painter’s jacket.

Choose your weapons (and accessories) wisely

The psychological effects of clothing on performance extend to tools and props. A 2011 study led by Charles Lee at the University of Virginia showed that university students perceived a putting hole to be larger (thus making more putts) when they used a putter that they thought belonged to the pro player Ben Curtis, as compared with a standard putter

Whether it’s a lucky pen handed down from a mentor, or a mouse-mat from your first successful product launch, the symbolic power of the objects we work with is more than mere superstition or sentimentality. Their meaning can alter our mindset and improve our performance. The same principles also apply when choosing what to wear – that lucky tie or necklace really could give you an edge at an interview.

Dress to impress

If you want to appear authoritative it really does make sense to dress smart. A raft of studies have shown that people in more formal attire get served more quickly in shops, have more luck soliciting charity donations, and are usually judged to be more intelligent and academic. A study that looked specifically at female applicants for a managerial job found those who dressed in a smart masculine style were perceived as more forceful and aggressive and were more likely to get hired.

If you can, pay attention to detail. Research published this year using faceless photographs, found that a man dressed in a bespoke suit was rated as more confident, successful, and flexible than a man dressed in an off-the-rack suit. “Minor clothing manipulations can give rise to significantly different inferences,” the researchers said.

This suggests it could be worth going the extra mile when dressing yourself for an important meeting or interview. The same principles also apply when it comes to group image. A survey in 2009 found that business students rated companies with a formal dress code as more authoritative and competent, while those with a more relaxed approach, were seen as more friendly and creative. So if you’re a manager in charge of your organization’s dress code, think about the kind of image you’d like to cultivate. Which leads to the final point …

Studies have shown that people in more formal attire get served more quickly in shops and are usually judged to be more intelligent and academic.

Consider your audience

Formal suits aren’t always the way to go. Research shows that people who wear more daring outfits are perceived as more attractive and individual, which could be advantageous in more creative industries. Casual dress can also be more persuasive, depending on your audience. In 2010, a female experimenter reported that students were far more diligent in following her detailed instructions when she was dressed casually (like they were), as opposed to smart and professional. This similarity effect echoes a study conducted in the early 80s in which experimenters sought a dime for a telephone call. Smartly dressed researchers had more luck at an airport, where more people were dressed formally; casually dressed researchers had more luck at a bus station.

If you need to be persuasive at work, the lesson from these studies is that there’s no single rule for how to dress. You need to balance the power of authority, which you get from smartness, against the allure of camaraderie, which comes from dressing like your audience, and may require going more casual.

The next time you’re getting dressed for work in the morning, be mindful of the psychological impact that clothes can have. Your choice could literally affect your mindset, so try to match your outfit to the type of work you’re planning to do. If interacting with other people is on the cards – consider who they are, the impression you want to make, and especially whether you want to impress them or be one of them. A polished professional look can certainly give you authority. But if you’re collaborating with quirky creatives, or you want to cultivate a friendly atmosphere, you may find it’s advantageous to adopt a more casual, individual style for the day.

More insights on: Office Dynamics

Christian Jarrett

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Dr. Christian Jarrett seeks out exciting new research and showcases its relevance for life. A psychologist turned writer, he’s editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog and author of The Rough Guide to Psychology. On Twitter @Psych_Writer.

What to Do When You Fall Back Into Your Old, Less Productive Ways by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

What happens after you’ve tried a new productivity routine for a few hours, a day, or even a week only to then find yourself seemingly right back where you started? Do you give up? Or try once more with renewed determination to make the habit stick?

Your answer to the above question plays a massive role in your ability to bring about change in many areas of your life, including your time investment. Losing weight doesn’t happen in a completely linear fashion, and neither does retraining yourself to make a new behavior stick. New habits happen in a two steps forward, one step back pattern. It’s not just having the right system that matters, but grooving the habit so that you reflexively respond in the correct manner.

Here’s how to keep at it, even when faced with the inevitable discouraging relapses that can happen in the process of creating lasting behavioral change:

Determine what led to the relapse

When you notice that you have reverted to an old way of behaving, it’s tempting to take the easy way out by blaming the system or blaming yourself. Whether you take the “Stupid Technique” or “Stupid Me” approach, you end up diminishing your desire to try again because you see yourself as a victim of external circumstances. To experience lasting habit change, you need to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn what you can do to create a different outcome in the future. Instead of overreacting to the blip, step back from it, see it as an incident instead of an indictment, and then examine it like Sherlock Holmes looking for clues.

For example, you could ask yourself: What happened before the slip? Did I encounter a specific trigger event such as a last-minute client request? Was there an unusual circumstance such as sickness? When did I first notice the reversion in my behavior? Is some part of this routine unsustainable and if so, how could I adjust it to make it more realistic?

It’s tempting to take the easy way out by blaming the system or blaming yourself.

Determine solutions

Once you determine what happened that led to the relapse, proactively decide what new pattern of replacement behavior you want to practice. For example: If I start to feel frantic, then I will step away from my computer and plan out my day instead of jumping into more work. If I receive a last-minute client request, then I will think through whether to accept it or to decline the short deadline. If I am sick, then I will reduce my exercise routine and increase my sleep time.

Recognize deviations quickly by checking in daily

Recording what you do on a daily basis can help you more rapidly notice when you get off track. For example, I’ve had clients who have benefited from writing up their daily accomplishments in Evernote or going down a checklist at the end of each day. These reviews of the past 24 hours help you to pick up on deviations from your routine before weeks or months have passed by. By “checking in” on your habit every day, you’ll be more aware of any changes and less likely to slip up.

Remember that relapses happen

If you become afraid of any “slip” in your behavior, you can end up paranoid about falling back into old habit patterns. The way to bypass fear of failure is to give yourself permission to take life moment by moment.

By ‘checking in’ on your habit every day, you’ll be more aware of any changes and less likely to slip up.

When a thought comes to mind like “Why are you even trying? You’re just going to screw this up.” You can calmly acknowledge that yes, you may get off track in the future, but right here and right now you will focus on what you can do in the moment. Letting go of fear of failure lowers your perception of risk and heightens your chance of success in lasting habit change.

With the right attitude and approach, you can overcome relapses and move forward on your time investment goals.

How About You?

How do you respond when you notice a relapse in a new behavior?

Elizabeth Grace Saunders

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Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training and author of The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress. Find out how you can accomplish more with peace and confidence at www.ScheduleMakeover.com.