What Happened to January?

image courtesy of shutterstock.com

I can’t believe the number of people who I’ve been chatting with recently, both professionally and personally, who are saying they can’t believe how fast this year is flying by already.

Seriously… what did happen to January?

One of the three lenses of trust I speak about during my conference presentations is the confidence and control required for Self-trust.

In this article I want to focus on the control element of Self-trust, because if you’re not working on your self-control, self-trust is at risk, and when self-trust is at risk the other two lenses of trust are also at risk – the other two lenses of trust are Trust Others and Earn Others’ Trust.

Gaining more self-control in your life requires clarity and one of my favourite academic researchers and authors, Dr Kelly McGonigal, has a really neat way to help us gain more clarity.

In her brilliant book The Willpower Instinct, McGonigal presents the following 3 Willpower Challenges:

  • “I will” power challenge: What is something you would like to do more of, or stop putting off, because you know that doing it will improve the quality of your life?
  • I won’t” power challenge: What is the “stickiest” habit in your life? What would you like to give up or do less of because it’s undermining your health, happiness or success?
  • “I want” power challenge: What is the most important long-term goal you’d like to focus your energy on? What immediate “want” is most likely to distract you or tempt you away from this goal?

McGonigal recommends choosing only one of the power challenges at a time.

I’ve been a long distance runner since I turned 40 and completed my first marathon. However, for a number of years now my knees have hurt so much, even on shorter distance runs, that I basically stopped.

Anyone who is a long distance runner will know, once you see yourself as a ‘runner’, it’s damn tough not to be able to run.

Toward the end of last year and right through January (and continuing into Feb) this year, I’ve personally been applying the “I Will” power challenge to strengthen my habit of exercising… and it’s worked a treat.

I’m using the CSIRO researched 30 minute interval training method on a spin bike plus a set of core strengthening exercises that I can do anywhere without a gym.

Now that my exercising habit is stronger, and really has formed part of my daily routine, I’m moving onto an “I won’t” power challenge.

I share this with you not to make this about me, but to demonstrate by way of an example to help you better apply McGonigal’s approach.

So my question and challenge to you is, which will you choose?

Quieten the Noise in Your Life

 If you’ve already caught yourself saying “I can’t believe how fast this year is flying” there’s more than likely a lot of distractive ‘noise’ filing your conscious mind.

This distractive noise includes working in disruptive, competitive and stressful work environments. In our personal lives it can be the noise created by financial concerns or relationship issues.

Your conscious mind is finite in what it can hold. The more noise in your world, you move from acting consciously or acting with awareness, to acting mindlessly.

When your conscious mind is full of noise, there’s a high likelihood that you move from one task to another; from one conversation to another; from one meeting to another; from one phone call to another… and suddenly, the day is over.

Having clarity can help silence the noise and allow you to be more mindfully present in more moments that matter more often.

While being ‘present’ isn’t easy, it can become easier when you stop every now and then through your day and ask yourself “How is what I’ve just done, or what I’m about to do, aligned with my ‘I will’, ‘I won’t’ or ‘I want’ power challenge?


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