Why is it so hard to break out of your old ways and change your life?
Perhaps you want to start a new exercise regimen, eat healthier, or be more productive. Maybe you’d even like to further your education and start a new career that will give you better work/life balance, not to mention make you more money!
Most of us fail at these goals most of the time, instead taking the most comfortable path that offers the least resistance. There’s always tomorrow, right?
The Biggest Obstacle in Your Life Isn’t Time, Money, or Support…It’s You.
The way we think about our goals and even ourselves is the greatest barrier to making the types of changes we’d like to make. If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You’re your own worst critic,” then you know what I mean.
Do any of these describe you at some point?
You cheat on your diet once and then, because in your mind you’ve already lost, you throw moderation to the wind and make it ten times worse.
You make plans for social engagements, workshops, or activities that are good for you, but because you’re outside your comfort zone, you find a way out of them.
You have too much to do, so you procrastinate and allow yourself to get distracted.
When you’re less than perfect, you are overly critical of yourself.
You are afraid of change, so you stick with the difficult life you’re familiar with rather than risk failure trying to improve your circumstances.
We’ve all done these things at one time or another, but when we do, we’re getting in our own way. If we can conquer our doubts, fears, and insecurities, we’ll be able to handle future difficulties with far more success.
When we face uncertainty, we can freeze with inaction, even if our chances are pretty good. In many of us, the fear of failure is so high that we rationalize why we shouldn’t try in the first place.
You need to cross a stream and, conveniently, there are large rocks that you could probably use to hop across the water to where you want to go. Of course, there is a chance you could fall and get wet. Are you the type of person who makes the attempt, or are you more likely to say, “Nah, I didn’t really want to go over there anyway—this side of the stream is just fine”?
When you react to uncertainty with doubt, procrastination, and rationalizations, you are getting in your own way.
So, How Do You Get Out of Your Own Way?
You have to learn to become comfortable with failure and uncertainty. I’ll admit, this can be hard to do, particularly at first.
Step 1: Recognize self-defeating behavior when it happens.
Awareness of this tendency is the first step to overcoming it. When you are cognizant of self-defeating behavior, you can beat it by stopping to think about your reaction. One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned in my life is that our beliefs influence our behavior.
When you notice behavior you’d like to change, such as procrastination, rationalization, or distracting yourself, tunnel down to find what beliefs are the root cause of your behavior.
Maybe you don’t believe you’re good enough, or you think you don’t deserve something better. Perhaps you believe you will fail and feel shame in front of others. It could be a number of things. Just pause to think about it.
Step 2: Act.
The moment of truth comes after you recognize the feelings of getting in your own way. You need to do something about it.
Prolific writers often set rules for themselves. It’s easy to get a case of “the Mondays,” come down with writer’s block, or just not feel motivated to write. Disciplined authors might set a daily requirement. It could be, “write 2,000 words no matter what.”
Perhaps what they write on any given day is no good and they don’t use it, or it’s completely unrelated to the project that they wanted to work on but were out of ideas for. Whatever the result, the outcome is positive. They practiced writing, developing a habit of always writing no matter what.
Some days (whatever the project), you might only make a tiny amount of progress, while other days you end up pulling off something wonderful. Whatever the case, we know what the outcome will be be when you do nothing, so instead, act and do something.
Step 3: Accept whatever happens.
This doesn’t mean to be complacent—far from it. I’ve known many people who struggle with this concept.
Life doesn’t usually go according to plan.
Make a plan that leads you to your goal, and do your best to stick to it. But also realize that life has a way of throwing a wrench into your plans. That is true whether you are a student, a doctor, or a general.
Because there is no single path to happiness and a successful life, as long as you keep pushing in the direction you want to go, you’re likely to find both.
What Are You Waiting For?
Are you ready to take the next step toward your new career as a pediatric dental assistant, or are you going to get in your own way?
If you’re ready to take positive action, learn how the Pediatric Dental Assistant School can help improve your life. By registering with the PDAS, you’ll be ready for a new, rewarding career as a pediatric dental assistant in just nine short weeks.
How are you ever going to achieve your goal of education, a new career, or making more money if you can’t overcome your fears of change or failure?
Fear is very powerful. Even if we like to think it doesn’t affect us, its roots reach deep and impact every decision.
Even when weighing things that should carry equal weight, fear can move the needle more than it should. In scientific circles, this phenomenon is known as loss aversion, meaning that people usually prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring an equivalent gain.
For example, someone losing $100 will lose more satisfaction than another person gains when they find $100. Losses have a much larger impact on our mental-well being than gains of the same size.
Taking another example, would you take this hypothetical deal: I flip a coin, and if it lands on heads I’ll give you $20. If it lands on tails, you give me $20.
Most people wouldn’t take that deal. In fact, the potential gain would need to be at least double the potential loss before the majority of people would take the deal.
What does this have to do with education?
Don’t Let Your Fear Decide Your Future
We tend to shy from things we are afraid of, and some of the biggest fears of Americans involve the risk of failure and change. Many people prefer to stay in circumstances they don’t particularly like because by trying something different, there’s always the chance that it could get worse. This attitude is what limits us. It’s what keeps so many people from achieving something great that is within their grasp.
How many missed opportunities have you had in your life (and these being just the ones that you know about?). How many times have you been afraid to roll the dice and try something different?
Whether it’s pain, failure, humiliation, anxiety, or something else entirely, all of us have held back due to fear at some point or another. You might be able make a little hop and land on the sweet island that is your dream life…but you could also fall flat on your face. Rather than risk it, you’ve decided to stay where you are, watching a few brave others hop onto your island.
If you only take opportunities that are a sure thing, you might not ever have the life that you want to have. You won’t live the life that you’re capable of having, never reaching your full potential.
How do you develop the resilience needed to press forward and move towards your fear? How do you keep going?
Move Towards Your Fear
What do resilient people have in common? From Navy Seals to Fortune 500 CEO’s, people that are often successful in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges tend to have a few things in common. Here’s how you can be more like them.
Be optimistic. Even when things don’t turned out how you planned, look for the good that came from it.
Accept failure as a learning opportunity. Think of all of mankind’s greatest achievements and realize that likely none of them were accomplished on the first try.
Use your moral compass. It’s not just about “right” and “wrong” but how you can affect others. If you have an opportunity to improve the fortune of your family or the future of your children, facing your fears of failure might be the right thing to do.
Get social support. With support, you’ll be able to go further than you would alone.
Find a role model. It’s not only good to see someone take a similar path as you and do well, but when faced with a decision you can imagine what your role model would do in your shoes.
Always strive to improve. What skills or knowledge do you need to be successful? Make time to develop those areas.
Have a sense of humor. People who regularly have to face very scary stuff quickly learn to have a sense of humor about things so they can deal with issues rather than be consumed by them.
What are you afraid of?
Can you imagine what your life would be like with a new career, more money, and job satisfaction? Don’t let your fears hold you back. You can get started in a new career as a pediatric dental assistant right now.
There’s an old game out there called “Ratrace”. It’s a (depressing) simulation of the average modern American life, attempting to climb your way to the top of the social ladder. You begin with $200, a credit card, and involvement in a working class business.
Throughout the game you’ll run your business, get an education, and climb the ladder to High Society and retiring with $100,000 (lol). Your chances aren’t great at reaching the upper rungs, and failure means declaring bankruptcy and starting once again from the bottom.
Sound a little to similar to real life? How do you win the Ratrace in today’s society? Other than being exceptionally lucky, it takes hard work and a plan. If you’re looking for a way to live a happy and successful life and achieve financial independence, you’ll have to commit to a plan that takes you in the right direction.
Achieving Financial Independence
What exactly does financial independence mean to you?
For some, that could mean serious wealth, multiple streams of income, and the ability to stop working whenever they want. For others, it might just mean the freedom to take your life wherever you want to go and not living paycheck to paycheck, setting enough aside to prepare for retirement many years from now. Most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, meaning they are one lost job or emergency away from catastrophic disaster.
To get there, several factors that are crucial to success must be considered.
You’ll need to control your spending habits
You’ll have to establish and commit to a savings plan
You’ll need to control debt
You’ll need to invest in growth or education to increase your income
Control Your Spending Habits
Our first consideration is one of the hardest for any person to overcome. One of the most challenging aspects that families run into when they are fortunate enough to have increasing income is not increasing their expenditures. Their spending habits adjust to their new income, which means they’ve had a net growth of zero.
There is no limit for this phenomenon. Whether you go from making minimum wage to $30,000 or from $30,000 to millions per year, it’s far too easy to lose the discipline of keeping your gains. Just ask most former professional athletes.
According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 78% of NFL players are bankrupt (or near so) within two years of retirement. While they represent the extreme, the principle is the same. There are few people who make so much money that they find it difficult to spend. Learn to be comfortable with delayed gratification and your future could be secure.
Commit to a Savings and Investment plan
You don’t want to start saving later; there will never seem like a “good” time to start squirreling money away. If you can’t make it happen yet, your income or your expenses need to change (or both). Even if it’s just a little, you want to establish saving as a habit.
You need to start by creating a safety net. Your safety net is the financial buffer you need to protect yourself when someone gets sick, a vehicle breaks down, or a job is lost. Since those things occasionally happen and you might need to dip into your emergency funds, you need to keep it growing consistently.
After you’ve consistently saved and you’ve got enough of a safety net to run your household for a while, it’s time to get into investing. I’m not Warren Buffet, so I’m not going to give investment advice here. However, the interest gained simply through saving money is minimal, and that money you’ve saved could be earning more money.
Get Control of Debt
Debt makes the world go round. Without the ability to borrow, many of us wouldn’t be able to buy homes, get an education, or afford a vehicle that enables us to keep our job. However, poorly managed debt can become a prison.
In considering when debt might be a necessity, consider what the true cost of going to debt will be. Credit cards especially should be used sparingly. If you’re only paying the minimum due on such debt, most of your payment is going to interest. Consider these tips from NerdWallet to get a handle on debt.
Invest in Growth or Education
Your time is a nonrenewable resource, so you want to be compensated well for it. In achieving financial independence, you not only need to learn to live below your means, you also want to earn more. Investing in learning skills or trades that increase your earning potential are one of the few areas where it’s recommended to borrow if you need to.
That doesn’t mean you need to take out six-figure student loans to get a liberal arts degree. As with any investment, you need to evaluate the potential return for your time and money.
Spending an average of $30,000 and fours years of work to earn a degree in Theater Arts might not be a wise investment. However, the equivalent of a single semester’s tuition and nine weeks of training to become a registered pediatric dental assistant would be a great way to increase your quality of life and earning potential.
When we look at the long-term trend of rising educational costs, we wonder…is it really worth the price?
The most recent generations of students have been raised in a culture that rightly emphasizes the importance of education. Young students have been told for the last 30 years that they won’t be able to achieve the “American dream” without a college degree. Millennials are the most educated generation in history, and yet those adults ages 18–34 are earning far less than the generations that preceded them.
There are a lot of factors at play here that explain why millennials are struggling—among them a struggling economy, a skill gap (most of those who graduate from college work in a field unrelated to their degree), rising housing costs, and skyrocketing student loan expenses.
Millennials have, on average, 43 percent lower net worth than the generation that came before them, usually have little to no savings, and graduate from college with twice the debt of Generation Xers ($35,000 on average). Most are not even confident that public programs they are paying into (such as Social Security) will still exist by the time they qualify to use them.
Students enrolling at Georgia State this fall can expect their educations to cost them $47,544 just in tuition, fees, and books. Consider that students still need to live, have a place to sleep, buy health insurance, and have a way of getting around. An incoming freshman at Georgia Tech is advised to budget $28,096for the first year alone. These are both relatively inexpensive schools, and the numbers represent in-state tuition!
Some students receive scholarships for their academic achievements or for their athletic talent, and others might use military service benefits to finance their education. If you don’t fit into one of those categories and you don’t have a generous family member, it would seem that your only option to further your education is to take out massive student loans.
Using Georgia State’s numbers from above, that means you’ll graduate college with a nearly $500 monthly bill using standard repayment plans—or if you qualify for an extended plan, you’ll pay $270 per month…for 25 years. In the end, you will have ended up paying $80,907 for that bachelor’s degree based on current interest rates.
“Just Go to College” Is No Longer Good Advice
To be clear, I absolutely believe a college education can be of immense value. After all, I spent more than my fair share of time in the system. What I question is the general advice and expectation of everyone going to a traditional university.
Of course those seeking professions that require an advanced education should go, particularly if their earning potential is high. Doctors have an extremely expensive and tough education, but they are compensated well for it. And those who can leverage scholarships or tuition assistance shouldn’t miss a golden opportunity to take their lives in a direction they would otherwise be unable to.
However, most people who earn their bachelor’s degree aren’t even using it. The traditional argument is that college isn’t just job training but is about expanding and developing your worldview and learning how to think critically. A degree shows employers that you at least have the fortitude to finish something big, that you can be trained, and that you’ve developed problem-solving skills.
Those traits do have value, but you have to weigh them against everything else. Obtaining a diploma to show off your academic achievement is great, but the mountain of debt is a hard pill to swallow when you aren’t able to turn that piece of paper into a paycheck.
I am a stout believer in education, but with the costs of a traditional college education exploding, it might not be wise to obtain a degree just for the sake of having one, especially if you don’t think you’ll get a handsome return on your investment.
What was great advice a few generations ago doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. Competition for cubicles among college graduates is more fierce than ever, and the student loan bubble is about to pop. But some professions seem to be immune to such problems.
A degree simply isn’t required to make a great living and have a fulfilling life. Certain trades such as plumbing, HVAC, or pediatric dental assisting compensate well and are reliable. Your job can’t be exported, a robot can’t do it so you won’t lose it to automation, and your training won’t leave you buried in debt. You can accumulate years of professional experience before you would have even completed a college education.
Your future can be secure. You can protect yourself and your family by opting for career training. In as little as nine weeks and for less than the cost of a single semester’s tuition at Georgia State, you can become a pediatric dental assistant.
America has become a nation where most families need two incomes just to get by. The “Leave it to Beaver” family of previous generations is no longer the usual circumstance, as 66 percent of households have two or more incomes.
If you are a woman in Georgia, you are probably making less than $28,896 (men, $32,307) if you lack a college degree. Without some big changes and potentially massive investments, your income isn’t likely to change much in the future.
Whether you’re an independent woman looking for a rewarding career, a stay-at-home mom looking for a change of pace, or you’re just keeping a job you don’t like to help support your family, you can make a change right now and become the breadwinner of your household.
Those who aren’t preparing for the future face bleak prospects. It is becoming harder and harder to attain the American Dream or even a middle-class lifestyle. College might be able to help get you there, but most will end up buried in debt. Jobs in manufacturing and production are leaving the country or being automated, and most careers in service industries and retail aren’t growing.
If more traditional careers in the U.S. are fading, where should job seekers look? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the fastest-growing occupations with a great return on investment are in healthcare (and renewable energy).
What Are the Fastest-Growing Occupations?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks information related to occupational growth and wages. Most of the careers with the fastest growth rates present obstacles that make them difficult for most people to attain.
While wind turbine service technicians are the top-growing job in the country, they require extensive training, the right location, and you have to stand on top of wind turbines. Nurse practitioners are also experiencing great job growth, but to get there you’ll need good grades and a graduate degree, with years of full-time study to prepare.
How does the future look for pediatric dental assistants? The most recent findings indicate a job growth rate of 18 percent by 2024, which is much greater than most industries. In 2016, they commanded a respectable median pay of $36,940 annually or $17.76 per hour, and that is forecasted to continue climbing due to increased demand for the position.
Simply put, dental assistants, and pediatric dental assistants, are in high demand because they help dental practices be more efficient and profitable. Just as hospitals rely on nurses or certified nursing assistants to handle areas of treatment that don’t require the physician, dental assistants are trusted to handle much of the care in a dental practice. By handing off some tasks to dedicated team members, the dentists can apply their extensive training and education to many more patients per day.
What’s it like to be a pediatric dental assistant? Let some of my former students tell you. The benefits of such a career are many, but unlike most of the other careers that are in high demand, the field is relatively easy to get into.
For less than the average cost of a single semester’s tuition for an in-state resident at a public college, you can complete your training as a pediatric dental assistant with the Pediatric Dental Assistant School and become qualified to work in Georgia!
The PDAS Can Help You Be the Breadwinner
Our society has definitely changed over the last few generations. Many people feel as though the deck is stacked against them. Whatever your particular circumstances, once you have fallen into the rat race, the endless cycle of barely getting by is very hard to break.
How can you improve your lot in life if you don’t have the time, money, or circumstance to train for a new career? The PDAS offers a rare opportunity that is both affordable and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Few careers offer such great benefits while still being so accessible. You can keep your current job while studying for your new one, and you’ll start your new career in as little as 10 weeks.
It’s not easy, but if you have the right stuff to become a pediatric dental assistant, I’m confident you can handle it. The Pediatric Dental Assistant School is your chance to break out of the cycle and become the breadwinner of your household.
Do dental assistants (and dentists for that matter) need to continue learning through their entire career? At what point can you hang up your hat and rest on everything you’ve learned?
It used to be that you could learn a profession and not much would change over time. For most of our history, dental care did not change very much, outside of an occasional advancement in materials or machining.
That has all changed. Just during my lifetime the field has advanced tremendously. As our technology has opened new options in dentistry, there is a constant need to keep up with the latest tools, research, and methods.
Continuing Education for Pediatric Dental Assistants
Whatever your long-term goals, continuing education will always be an important part of your career in dentistry. Most states have some level of continuing education requirements for dental assistants and pediatric dental assistants. There are usually some options available; from conferences, videos, seminars or workshops, or new certifications, there is usually more than one way to meet your educational need.
The internet has proven a valuable tool to put the lectures and seminars from the greatest dentistry educators into the hands of dental assistants nationwide. Distance learning can allow you to see procedures up close, interact with other professionals, and develop your base of knowledge.
Workshops and conferences allow you to gain hands-on experience, often coming away with new skills or certifications that will help you lead a distinguished career.
After graduating from the Pediatric Dental Assistant School, you’ll see that your education has only just begun. As new technologies and methods emerge, you’ll need to consistently attend workshops and conferences provided by organizations like the PDAA.
The PDAA (Pediatric Dental Assistants Association) is the only professional organization focused on the needs and development of pediatric dental assistants. The PDAA Annual Conference is a recognized provider in the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program, so you can earn your needed CE credits with your participation.
PDAA members also gain access to more than 80 distance-learning training modules, with new courses added as new methods become available.
Where do I start?
Dental practices will change frequently, so it’s important for dental assistants to stay on top of the latest techniques. Many states even require that dental assistants complete a specific amount of continuing education training to remain eligible to work in the field.
While learning about the latest technology is very important, I would stress that the most important factor in becoming the best you that you can be is to increase your knowledge. Continuing education is an opportunity to quickly reap the benefits of someone else’s research and experience. New methods and best practices can still advance, even if the underlying technology remains unchanged.
I’d invite all pediatric dental assistants to connect with a community of your peers. Share knowledge, insights, and training to improve yourself and the care that you provide. If you’d like to continue your education as a pediatric dental assistant, you can learn more about our conference and curriculum at our site, www.thepdaa.org/.
February was National Children’s Dental Health Month. Last month, everyone in our professional community should have been working to promote good oral hygiene in children. As children rely heavily on their parents, teachers, and caregivers to teach them these habits, our emphasis should actually be on reaching the grownups in a child’s life.
The unfortunate truth is that many children are not being well served in this area. This makes the role of a pediatric dental assistant especially vital during this time. You are the front line, the one that will spend the most time with children in the office, and the one that will have the most contact with the parents.
Many parents just haven’t been getting the message. Maybe they aren’t concerned about primary teeth, perhaps they are distracted by the other thirty things on their to-do list; whatever the reason a great number of children aren’t getting the attention and instruction they need with oral hygiene.
These numbers should be concerning to all of us, as well as the fact that childhood tooth decay is the top chronic childhood illness.
What the AAPD has to say
Sometimes the amount of information and debate that comes out can be overwhelming, misleading, or confusing to the average family. Just last year, we were bombarded with headlines about how there’s no need to floss and that fluoride is bad for you.
It’s up to us to combat such bad information and to use our proximity to our patients to show them the way. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) President Dr. Jade Miller adds his thoughts to the conversation:
“Parents are bombarded with unsolicited advice and health findings that are constantly changing. We don’t want to add to that stress, but there are a few common misconceptions, that if cleared up, could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health – which is linked to their overall health & wellness.”
As tooth decay is nearly one hundred percent preventable, what are a few fundamental things that we can instruct parents to do to keep the problem at bay? The AAPD gives these four tips:
1. When it comes to sugary treats and beverages, it’s how often, not how much. Grazing on candy or soda throughout the day leads to prolonged sugar exposure, which greatly increases their risk of tooth decay. Instead, sticking to designated meal and snack times can help minimize the risk.
2. Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle.
Many new parents are completely oblivious to “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay,” now known as Early Childhood Caries. Milk contains sugar, which means that their young teeth are being attacked by mouth acids from that sugar all night. Give water rather than juice or milk as a thirst quencher to your baby.
3. Wean children off of their pacifier by age three.
Prolonged use of a pacifier (and thumb sucking) can increase the risk of cavities and interfere with the normal development of the jaws and teeth.
4. Avoid topical teething gels and rings.
The FDA warns against the use of teething gels to numb sure gums because they contain benzocaine or lidocaine, and even the use of teething rings, as they could be harmful to children.
Don’t Forget the Basics
This year’s slogan for National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) was “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” Simply getting the majority of children drinking fluoride containing tap water and brushing their teeth twice a day would be a great achievement, as it is the basics that are the best at preventing tooth decay.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about what you can do to help keep little teeth healthy.
Consciously create habits, because habits unconsciously control your life.
This time of year many people are attempting to change up their routines, hopefully transforming into an ideal version of themselves. Whether it’s diet and exercise or simply reading more, most will fail.
Why is keeping a New Year’s resolution so difficult?
Have you ever driven home from work, lost in thought, and not even remembered the drive itself? The entire sequence of driving a car requires a complex series of actions and choices that must be executed correctly and precisely, yet most of us can perform these actions without even thinking about them.
The brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort, grouping sequences of actions into an automatic routine. This is very familiar to us when we consider athletic skills.
Swinging a bat or a golf club is a very complicated and precise action, and when learning these actions, we have to learn each individual, minute motion. With practice, this complex sequence is eventually coded into a routine. When we wish to perform this sequence after we’ve mastered it, we no longer have to consider each individual action; our brains simply push the “swing the bat” button and we follow the routine.
While that example sums up the creation of motor skills, how does that relate to forming a habit like daily flossing?
Skillful marketers have long since mastered the art of creating habits. They understand that habits are formed in behavioral loops, where the desired (or undesired) behavior is linked to a specific trigger, even if they are unrelated.
Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book, The Power of Habit gives several great examples of marketers putting this idea into action.
Prior to World War I, few Americans brushed their teeth. Then Claude Hopkins (who is responsible for the success of Goodyear and Quaker Oats) arrived on scene to market Pepsodent, expanding toothpaste usage from 7% to 65% in only ten years.
How’d he do that?
His ads read,
“Just run your tongue across your teeth. You’ll feel a film – that’s what makes your teeth look off color and invites decay.”
He then showed them pictures of beautiful people with shiny, white teeth and informed them that Pepsodent removes the ugly, yellow film.
Despite the fact that what he said about ‘film’ wasn’t correct, nearly anyone who viewed that ad is going to run their tongue across their teeth, feel the film, and feel self conscious about it.
After brushing with Pepsodent, their teeth felt clean and looked clean. Thus, a feedback loop, based on incorrect information, still left a positive result that triggered a habit of teeth cleaning all across the country.
How to Create New Habits
To build a new, desired habit, you first have to deconstruct the habit-forming process. Duhigg describes a “Habit Loop” in simple terms:
You need a cue. This is a trigger that tells your brain to execute a program. Have you ever accidentally driven to the wrong place while you let your mind wander?
You need a routine. This is generally the behavior we are trying to turn into a habit, such as flossing, exercise, or reading.
You need a reward. Positive reinforcement works. It’s easier to form a habit when the behavior make us feel good afterward.
In order to change our habits, both removing undesired behaviors and consistently performing the desired ones, we have to pay close attention to our cues and rewards. The rewards might be easier to identify, but cues can often be easily overlooked because while they will correlate with the behavior, they might not be directly related.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Let’s take a look at Duhigg’s formula to figure out the best way to form a new habit.
1.Identify the routine. This is the behavior you want to change. Perhaps you want to exercise more, floss regularly, or wish to stop your habit of eating junk food at work.
2.Experiment with rewards. The reward might seem easy, but if you want a habit to stick you need the reward to satisfy your urge to complete the routine.
Do you find yourself heading to the vending machine every afternoon for a snack? Rather than getting a cookie, try other things like a healthy snack or going for a walk. Your afternoon cookie venture could be fueled by cues of hunger, boredom, a desire to chat, or fatigue.
Finding rewards that seem to work will help you pinpoint the actual cue that is triggering the routine.
3.Isolate the cue. You might have an idea of your cues already, but we must dive deeper! The Power of Habit separates cues into five categories:
– Emotional State
– A Preceding Action
Once you’ve discovered what makes you tick, it’s time to create a new routine that provides the same reward and works off of the same cue. You’ll find that most habits will fit into these three steps, even if the individual pieces are hard to identify. Understanding the process will help you replace undesirable behaviors with new, healthy behaviors.
Your life could be described as the sum of your habits. The things you repeatedly do make up who you are. This could be the year that you become who you want to be. You just have to make those habits stick.
The holiday season is the time when the craftiest among us demonstrate their skills and creativity. Perhaps you feel you don’t have the time to pull off a Christmas miracle, but my top five holiday hacks are quick and easy ways to help your family feel the magic.
The Custom Cookie Box
Many of us will be delivering cookies to friends, family, and coworkers. Rather than a boring paper plate covered with Saran Wrap, make an impression with your own custom-made cookie box!
We’re going to use a Pringles can for our project and a few scraps from our present wrapping. Using double-sided tape and a dab of glue, we adhered the paper to the can and simply added a bow. Our cookies were carefully crafted for an optimal fit in the container.
The Elf on the Shelf Has a Big Appetite
Santa’s eyes and ears are the little elves that find their way into our homes during the month of December. Every morning, children catch them in their final poses from their mischief of the previous night.
Some elf-sized snacks are a great way to make an impression with the young ones, who can share in these holiday treats with their little buddy. We’re going to be making our elf Chloe a box of donuts!
Use Cheerios dipped or rolled in various toppings around your house to make your donuts, as well as a small tin or box that can hold them. We used powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles, and a small amount of chocolate. An old mint tin works great, too!
Spice Up Everything with Candy Canes
You can be prepared for any food-related opportunity that comes along with this holiday hack. Crush up some candy canes in a blender into a fine powder and store in a jar. Whether it’s ice cream, coffee, or toppings for Rice Krispie Treats, guests will be impressed at your forethought.
Place Card Holders
Don’t use all of your candy canes for the previous hack, because these place card holders are so adorable you will want to use them everywhere.
Hold the candy canes in place with a rubber band while you do your work. A dab of hot glue works great to hold the candy canes together. I put a ribbon around mine for a little flair.
Wrap Christmas lights on a hanger
Photo from wikiHow via CC 2.5
Pretty soon we’re going to have to put all of this stuff away. The most troublesome area is always the string of Christmas lights, so I use this method from wikiHow to stay organized. Wrap your lights around a heavy-duty hanger, securing the ends with tape or a rubber band.
Many people have resisted the temptation to stand in line for four hours on Black Friday in order to save $15 on a toaster, instead looking forward to Cyber Monday to take advantage of the great online deals being offered.
I prefer not to spend my Thanksgiving weekend mixed up in a melee battle for shopping dominance, so I love the online alternative of quickly and efficiently shopping from my home. I feel like I’m cheating the system somehow, as the presents come with a supply of boxes that are just the right size for wrapping!
In keeping with the new tradition of Cyber Monday, some of the best deals of 2016 are going to be in the electronics department. Here are the best items to watch for sales during this shopping season, and some of these high-tech toys might have people asking “are you from the future?”
Best Cyber Monday Deals
ASUS Chromebook Flip
Chromebooks are becoming a must-have item for students, providing the basic necessities for schools that are now always online. This particular model comes with a special twist, a hinge that allows you to “flip” it into tablet mode or stand it up to watch videos.
The price of the Chromebook Flip has bounced around from a floor of $229 to a high of $299, the latter of which is pretty close to the price you’ll find in most stores. You should be able to find it on CyberMonday for $230-$240.
Amazon Echo Dot
What’s an Echo Dot? In it’s simplest form, the Dot acts as a wireless speaker to play music, read the news (to you), or listen to audiobooks. Just for that, the normal price of $49.99 is pretty fair, considering I’ve paid that much for a simple Bluetooth speaker before.
But that’s not all! The Echo Dot (from Amazon) can do a wide array of other tasks simply by talking to it, via the Alexa Voice Service. You can have Alexa order pizza, call for a ride on Uber, or find directions. You can even connect to other smart devices in your home, controlling the thermostat, lights, or garage door.
The Echo Dot has kept a stable price of $49.99 since its recent release, but expect deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I expect to see a good sale on bundles. You can currently get $20 off of a three-pack or get one for free when you order six.
TiVo Bolt (1 TB model)
Your regular cable box just isn’t enough. In my home we have cable programming, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, as well as frequent use of YouTube. Dare I even mention what’s available on the major networks? The TiVo Bolt is the one box that can rule them all.
As expected, the TiVo Bolt can record your cable shows for later viewing, but also anything coming in through the antenna or through your streaming services. Instead of having to switch between inputs, the Bolt unifies all of your shows and options into one interface, and it works out of the box with your 4K TV.
A year ago these were selling four around $400, with the lowest price of 2015 being $319 on Amazon. You will be able to find it there for around $245.
NES Nintendo Classic
I can hear you saying, “I thought this was about future tech?” Apparently in 2016 we go back to the future of 1985, as Nintendo’s Classic Edition is being released again and all of the millennials just have to have it. I can feel the nostalgia oozing through my computer monitor right now.
The slightly updated console comes stock with 30 popular games and is configured to hook up to your new TV, but good luck finding one. This is 2016’s hottest item, and it’s selling out within moments anywhere it is sold. Nintendo has reassured the panicking masses that they will be shipping many more to help fulfill the holiday demand.
The NES Nintendo Classic has a low retail price of $59.99, but due to demand the third party market price is $200 and up. Watch for the next release and have your mouse finger ready to click.
This morning I received a text message from a relative. Their phone had died, so they texted me from their Apple Watch.
You can also check box scores, the weather, and track your fitness level with an Apple Watch.
With Apple just releasing the upgraded Series 2 Watch, expect to see great deals on its still-relevant predecessor, the Series 1. With pre-holiday prices in the $269-$300 range, significant price drops are planned for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that can take that below $200.
Samsung Gear VR
Good virtual reality seemed to be science fiction for a little while, and then suddenly during 2016 it became accessible and relatively inexpensive all at once. There are a few models out there, but the one making waves is the Samsung Gear VR.
Using the power of your smartphone, you can play amazing games, watch movies, and interact in a new way with the world around you. There are many apps available for your virtual reality headset. During my brief experiment with one, I explored space, fought a 3D dragon in my living room, and toured the Grand Canyon.
The normal price for the Samsung Gear VR is $100. Starting on Black Friday and continuing through Cyber Monday, most of Samsung’s gadgets will be on sale, and you’ll be able to snag a VR headset from them for a measly $69.99.