Friday, January 18, 2013

Creating a Safety Net

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. - Thich Nhat Hanh

The first step in the The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, is to create a safety net. The goal is to learn how to lessen your fear of failure and to bounce back from your mistakes by creating an inner self-worth that does not depend on how well you'll do at the task at hand.

The following thought experiment is from the book. The task in your life is to walk a board. Consider how you would feel about the task in each of the following situations:
Situation A: The task before you is to walk a solid board that is thirty feet long, four inches thick, and one foot wide. You have all the physical, mental, and emotional abilities necessary to perform this task.
Situation B: ...the task is just the same...only now the board is suspended between two buildings 100 feet above the pavement.
Situation C: are still on the board suspended between two buildings, 100 feet above the ground...While thinking about what to do, you suddenly feel heat behind you and can hear the crackling noise of fire. The building supporting your end of the board is on fire!
Situation D: You're back on the board again, 100 feet above the ground...But there is no fire this time, only a strong, supportive net, just three feet beneath the board.

How would you feel about the task in Situation A? What about Situation B?

When we over identify who we are, our worth as a person, with the outcome of our work, we move our task from Situation A to Situation B. When a failure or a mistake makes us feel worthless fear can make it impossible to start our project. Perfectionism raises the board 100 feet from the ground.

In Situation C we can choose between possible death (walking the board between the buildings) or certain death (waiting for the fire). Most of us would take the chance and walk the board. When we procrastinate we are setting that fire, we are moving from Situation B to Situation C. If we think that our performance reflects our inner worth, procrastination gives us a buffer...we do not have time to do our best, thus our work is not revealing our real ability.

If we are in Situation C we need to find a way to turn it into Situation D. We need a way to let ourselves know that failing does not mean the end of the world. We need a sense of inner worth that does not depend on our success, our performance, etc. We need to know and remember that we have a spirit, an inner self, that is perfect, and will always be perfect.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly Commitment 1: eating mindfully

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the first habit is to be proactive. One thing that the author Stephen Covey encourages as a way to become more proactive is to make small commitments and keep them.

Starting today I will make small weekly commitments every Monday. Hopefully some new and healthy habits will come out of this, but my focus is only on one week at a time.

My first weekly commitment is to eat mindfully, i.e.:
  • turn of distractions such as computer, tv, radio, etc. while eating
  • put down the cutlery between mouthfuls
  • always eat of a plate, i.e. nothing goes straight from the fridge/cupboard to my mouth
  • concentrate on the taste and texture of the food
  • focus on my body, my feelings, and my reaction to the food

Bon App├ętit!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Here is a list of some of the things that I want to do in 2013

I still want to focus on my impeccable year that I outlined last May. However I also want to make sure that I focus on the basics.

In January I will:

  • Make meditation part of my daily routine
  • Write in my journal every day
  • Read again about the 1st Habit in Covey's 7 habits and blog about it
  • Write at least 1 blog post on the Now Habit
  • Do Random Acts of Kindness 4x

And as January is health month I will also:

  • Re-establish my exercise routine
  • Do yoga and focus on Wide-Legged Forward Bend
  • Find two ways to improve my diet (any ideas??)
  • Define my health goals

cheers, D

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


In 2012 I completed a chapter, and started a new one. I finished my ph.d. and got a job. It was an end of an era. I learned so much in the last few years, and at times I really felt that I was pushed to my limits and way out of my comfort zone. I was also stressed and had no sense of peace or balance as many areas of my life and personality were heavily neglected. After I could close this chapter, I really felt that I needed to reinvent myself. I needed to work on myself, my happiness, my habits and attitudes, and I needed to find better balance in my life. So I started my happiness project and I started blogging.

I've already learned a lot, and although the progress has often been slower than I would have liked, I feel like I took the most important step...that is the first step.

The Yogi Tea Quote above says "Wisdom becomes knowledge when it is personal experience". I feel like that in 2012 I have perhaps become a tiny bit wiser;) I understand better what it means that happiness comes from within, that people make their own reality, and that anything is possible. On the other hand, while anything is possible - not everything is possible at the same time. And while our personality is perhaps more malleable than many would like to believe, changing your attitudes and habits is not easy. It takes time and effort. Persistence and resilience are very valuable personal traits, and I feel like I managed to strengthen these characteristics a bit in the last 6 months.

Now I am thinking about the year ahead, what I want to accomplish. I am sure that 2013 will be an amazing year where I will find more balance and grow a lot as a person:)

Happy new year to you lovely people who visit my blog. You mean a lot to me. May 2013 be the best year ever for all of you.