In this episode of the podcast we dig into part 2 of Habits of Healthy People. The second habit is to ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to live in harmony with principles that support our goals
- How to focus on things that matter most
- How to use your imagination to design a new life and a new you
- How to make decisions that yield predictable results
- And much more
Welcome back to the GFE Podcast. This is the last episode of 2014 so I thought it would be a great time to revisit our Healthy Habits series.
Back in episode #66 of the GFE Podcast we had part one of the Habits of Healthy People series. I’ve derived this series from a book by Stephen Covey called ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’.
To be more proactive we need to become more self aware by listening to our own language, growing our own circle of influence by focusing on what we can change, to see where problems fall so we can focus on the right things and to make and keep commitments, especially to ourselves.
That was a great episode so go back and re-listen to number 66 and if you haven’t listened to it already, do it after you listen to this podcast because it helps sets the frame for where we are going with this series over time.
So here we are with habit number 2 and this habit is all about beginning with the end in mind. I’ve read this chapter again and have some quotes from the book and my own interpretations intertwined amongst it. So I truly hope you find some motivation and inspiration to help propel you forward in the next year.
Or if you’re listening to this during the year, use it to take those extra steps forward, to change your direction, to get inspired.
So let’s start with explaining the second habit by sharing a couple of paragraphs from the book that I think explains things quite well.
Remember, the second habit is to ‘Begin with the end in mind.’
“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re gong so you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy-very very busy- without being very effective”
What is the end goal? Have you thought about that? Whether it’s for your entire life or simply your weight loss goals, your health goals? What does the end look like? What does it feel like? And why do you want to achieve that goal? What does it mean to you?
Not just saying I want to lose 30 pounds. I mean, everyone wants to lose weight right? We all want that. Or we all want more money and less debt. But underlying what we say in these situations is the true value of what that means to us.
If I lose 30 pounds it means I will be able to run around with my grand children. If I lose 30 pounds it means I can leave the house without feeling embarrassed. If I lose 30 pounds I might actually start liking myself and stop beating myself up.
Now we are really starting to tap in, so let’s look at the values in those goals a bit closer.
If I lose 30 pounds it means I will be able to run around with my grand children.
At the core of this is a desire to give to the people you love. So the value is ‘I need to take care of myself in order to give to others. Now there’s a great focus for you. That even makes a great daily affirmation, wouldn’t you agree?! ‘I need to take care of myself in order to give to others.’
Let’s look at the next one.
If I lose 30 pounds it means I can leave the house without feeling embarrassed.
At the core of this is a desire for social acceptance but the real value in this is that ‘I want to feel good in my own skin, I want to feel comfortable representing myself as who I really am’.
And the last one, if I lose 30 pounds I might actually start liking myself and stop beating myself up.
At the core of this is a desire for self-love. We all deserve this and yet it is the hardest thing to give. The value in this is that the more I love myself the more I can be an inspiration to my grandchildren, to my social circles, and the more I will enjoy my life.
The point of this is that you have to set your sights on victories that are meaningful.
Here’s another quote from the book:
“People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty”
What the author means by that is that we focus on the wrong things. We put effort into the wrong things, things that don’t necessarily bring us value.
We need to know what is deeply important to us and then keep that picture in our minds constantly so we can be and do what matters most.
So in the first part of the Healthy Habits Series the key was to be more proactive in life and to become more proactive means to develop more self awareness and work within our circle of influence, meaning to work on the things we can change.
In this second part of Healthy Habits we bring in imagination and conscience.
Everything in life requires a two-step process to bring into life. For example: If we want to build a house, we first have to imagine it and then draw up the plans before we can start physically building it. The same kind of principles apply to our lives and yet rarely are we imagining our lives ahead of time, rarely are we making plans ahead of time.
Instead we are living out past habits, being pushed by circumstances or people around us. When I was reading the book this brought up the idea of a movie script. We are the actor in our own movie but instead of writing and living out our own script we are often at the mercy of living out a movie script we have not written.
So the concept of beginning with the end in mind is to start rescripting the movie. Our own life movie. With imagination we can visualize what it is we want for ourselves. With conscience we can use own unique talents and abilities to bring that imagined life alive.
In this part of becoming more effective, we can start to recognize the ineffective scripts we live out, the ones that are incorrect or incomplete and we can start to rescript the movie.
But rescripting isn’t as easy as it sounds because we have a tendency to ‘Get caught up in the thin of things’.
‘Getting caught up in the thin things’ – I got that from the book too. And this sentence, which I think explains it.
“What matters most tends to get buried under layers of pressing problems, immediate concerns, and outward behaviors.”
Have you ever felt buried under layers? I know for many people that’s what life often feels like.
We tend to become reactive in our every day behaviors and the way we go about our every day lives bears little resemblance to the way we feel we want to be.
Does that feel like you right now? Living a life you don’t truly want to be living? Not quite feeling like yourself?
This is an inner disharmony because often our actions are not in alignment with our desires, with our beliefs, and with our true values.
Look at that disharmony.
Because then we can begin to change it. You can learn to act in alignment with your goals and be true to yourself, be in harmony instead of agony.
Bring more balance into the things that are important to you. Is health important to you? Your family? Your career? Think about that.
How can you balance your actions in all those areas instead of being all or nothing in one thing or another?
The whole premise of beginning with the end in mind, Habit number 2 is to get closer to principle centered living.
Here’s another quote from the book.
“Principles always have natural consequences when we live in harmony with the principles. There are negative consequences when we ignore them.”
Principles are like a universal law and even if we don’t have the self awareness to know that we have our own principles we still suffer the consequences of ignoring them.
What are principles?
Well they are different for us all but they are our beliefs, our values, our truth. Whether we are living them right now or not we all have them. The key is to work out what your principles are and base your actions around them, live in harmony with them.
Base decision on principles with long-term predictable results, this makes decisions highly effective.
For example, if we eat lots of sugar and junk food we know it’s not good for us. We want to stop doing it but we don’t. What is the predictable result of that? It’s not going to be weight loss. It’s not going to be more energy. It’s not going to be better health, right?
If we look at that logically we can see that when we are making those decisions, which aren’t truly aligned with our principles, we will suffer the consequences but they are unlikely the consequences we really want.
On the other hand if we took the time to think through our true priorities and align our behaviour with our beliefs, we’d eat better every day, we’d take a little time out to exercise. And as a consequence of that we’d lose weight, gain more energy, and achieve better health.
When we live in harmony with principles, we get better results.
So let’s talk about a couple more things here before we end today’s podcast. Let’s talk about goals and the importance of a morning ritual.
Here’s another quote from the Habit number 2 about goals.
“An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activity. It identifies where you want to be and in the process helps you determine where you are. It gives you important information on how to get there and it tells you when you’ve arrived. It unifies your energy and efforts and translates into daily activities that you do”.
Setting goals is not an easy task, and I know at this time of the year many people will be thinking about a New Year’s resolution. Well forget that, it’s stupid and it doesn’t work.
You want to do something different this coming year so really think about this stuff.
When setting goals you need to think about your roles in life. Our roles in life are important. Things like being a mother, a wife, a colleague etc, because the people around us are involved in our life.
So in habit 2 we are thinking about our roles in life and how they affect us but more importantly, how we want to be in those roles, who we want to be and what values we want to align ourselves with.
We are also focusing more in the habit on our long-term goals and visions that will guide us through life and making the right decisions. So project yourself forward 5 years, 10 years, even to the end of your life.
What do you want it to look like? How do you want to feel? What do you want people to say about you?
When we can start with a long-term goal and vision, it helps us realize our true principles, what’s really important.
Write a personal mission statement do this by breaking down specific role areas in your life and working through the goals you want to accomplish there.
Use a vision board, I find this is something that helps me align with m goals and visions evey day
So what about the importance of a morning ritual?
I’ve heard many people speak of the importance of a morning ritual; perhaps you have too. I’ve had better ones myself in the past and am now establishing new ones again. When I say ritual I simply mean what you do first thing in the morning can affect your entire day.
So here are 2 examples:
Number one: You get up and the first thing you do is check Facebook and your emails. I’m sure many of us can relate to this because it can become an addictive habit but the thing about this habit is it’s not getting us into our own space is it. Immediately we are drawn out of our own inner circle and into the direction of circumstance, into other people’s lives, dramas, or even into demands that we might be faced with via email. It’s not a productive or effective way to start the day.
Instead we could wake up, go for a walk, do some yoga, sit in a quiet space and do some journaling, or some other inner activity of choice that brings us in alignment with our true self. Beginning each day with a small ritual and reminding ourselves of our deepest goals and values helps us stay in tune with our big picture plan.
Then when the onslaught of the day begins, when those temptations come, we can be better aligned and make the right decisions and choices for ourselves because we have already established a positive inner space that is in harmony with our principles.
Think about that and see if you can establish a morning ritual that helps put you into a better space.
We’ve covered a lot of ground today so let’s just do a recap.
Habit number 2 is to ‘Begin with the end in mind’
The end is really our end goal, where we truly want to be, how we truly want to live our lives, which is in harmony with principles that support us and our goals.
Have a clear understanding of your destination, then you can better understand where you are now. And this helps you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go. Stop achieving empty victories and focus on goals that are meaningful and have substance. Put effort into the right things, things that bring you value.
Always keep the picture of what’s important to you in your mind.
Use your imagination to design a new life, a new you. Then use a conscious effort to rewrite the script and the movie that you are the star actor in.
Balance your actions in all areas in your life, instead of all or nothing so that you can experience more harmony and happiness.
And work out what your priorities and principles truly are so you can base decisions on long-term predicatable results, not dreams and desires that will never come to fruition.
What do you truly want out of life? Project yourself forward 5 years, 10 years, even to the end of your life.
What do you want it to look like? How do you want to feel? What do you want people to say about you?
And develop a morning ritual to help you align with your inner self and the goals you are pursuing each day.
There’s loads of stuff to use there in motivating yourself for the New Year, or even mid year or any time you are listening to this.
I hope you find it useful. I know I will be aligning myself even more with my principles and long-term visions in 2015, what about you?
Thank you so much for sharing 2014 with me here on the GFE podcast. Enjoy your New Year celebrations.
I may see some of you at the Goal setting workshop on the 29th, if you want the details about that go to GFE.com/goals. If I don’t see you there I’ll see you on the 2nd January for our next podcast, our first one of 2015.
Take care and go and think about some of that stuff we shared today.