8 Tips To Improve Your Relationship, Courtesy Of International Relations

February 28th, 2018 / No Comments »

al nik 466386 unsplash 300x198 8 Tips To Improve Your Relationship, Courtesy Of International Relations

Article by Andrea Jones Rooy (Reposted from FiveThirtyEight)

A big part of the science of international relations is the study of the causes of war. But it’s also about how nations can cooperate — like signing treaties, providing aid and generally promising not to kill each others’ citizens. It considers humans on the grandest, most violent scale — asking how we can overcome what might be a fundamentally selfish, fearful human nature to not just coexist but do better than we could alone.

But over 15 years of studying, researching and teaching international relations, I’ve learned that it’s also a deeply personal science, involving commitment, communication and trust. Those things can help reduce conflict and increase cooperation between nations … and people (in my experience, at least). So, seeing how it’s Valentine’s Day, I bring you eight pieces of relationship advice courtesy of international relations.

 

1. Say what you mean, and prove it

We’ve all heard the adage that you should pay attention to what someone does, not what they say. International relations scholars agree. Countries that send “costly signals” — taking an action that incurs some cost, such as moving troops away from a border or disabling a nuclear program — are better able to communicate their intentions in a convincing way to other countries.

You can see some of that idea at work on Valentine’s Day: Buying roses makes that “I love you” more credible, said James Morrow, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan and co-author of “The Logic of Political Survival.” “An engagement ring is also a costly signal,” he added.

You can apply this idea to other areas of your relationship too. If you want your partner to believe that you’ll finally make time for a vacation, for example, book the tickets.1

 

2. Have an audience

Proposing at a baseball game may seem cheesy and cliché, but there may be something to it. Leaders who generate “audience costs” — that is, they make public promises — tend to keep those promises more often than leaders who keep their intentions to themselves or confined to a small circle. The idea here is simple: accountability. The trick is you need an audience whose opinions matter to you. That’s, in part, why democratic leaders are often better at keeping promises than authoritarian ones — the former are more accountable to their public.

Likewise, you might consider proposing in front of your parents or a group of friends rather than a bunch of drunk strangers watching a ball game.

 

3. Reciprocity is king

Many scholars considered sustaining international cooperation without a central world government nearly impossible until they discovered the power of the simple rule of “tit-for-tat”: If another country does something nice for you, do something nice in return. They will then return the favor, then you will, and so on — until you’re both living happily ever after.

So, if your partner takes out the trash this week, do it the following week, and you’ll never have to discuss it again. Domestic bliss is yours! “You can also think about tit-for-tat as implicit punishment,” said James Fearon, a professor of political science at Stanford University, “If you don’t take out the trash, I’ll stop walking the dog….”

 

4. But so is forgiveness

OK, your partner didn’t take out the trash last week. You’re entitled to not take it out this week. But then, forgive and start over. Research shows that punishing someone repeatedly for one wrongdoing — similar to a strategy called “grim trigger” — is less effective at sustaining long-term cooperation than just punishing a nation once and moving on.2

 

5. No disagreement is an island

Your partner wants to use your first vacation in forever to go to the beach. But you want to go to the mountains. Stalemate! Well, maybe not. There are lots of creative ways to solve an impasse like this, including “issue linkage” — for example, where a person’s advantage in one domain can be countered by providing a benefit to the other person in a different domain, making what would be an otherwise lousy outcome much better. Let’s say Country A wants Country B to remove steel tariffs. Country B could agree, but only on the condition that Country A curbs its greenhouse gas emissions. So, go ahead and give in on the beach — but then you’re entitled to not do the dishes for a week.

 

6. Careful, conflict is easily escalated

One of the most enduring puzzles about war is that it breaks out even though both parties would be better off coming to a peaceful, negotiated settlement. The same thing can happen in relationships, where after a huge fight you wonder what it was you were fighting about in the first place.

One reason escalation is so easy in both scenarios is that there’s a temptation for each side to bluff about how far they’re willing to go to get the other side to back down. This is because each side has an incentive to act like they care more about getting their preferred outcome than the other side so that when the time comes to draw up an agreement, they get the better deal. The problem is, when both sides (rationally) pretend to care more than they do, they may find themselves in a position where they’ve escalated and can’t back down (thanks to the aforementioned audience costs, for example). In technical terms, this means they’ve shrunk the bargaining range. Trump shouldn’t threaten North Korea with a nuclear attack unless he’s prepared to do it; likewise, don’t threaten to move out unless you really think that’s the solution.

 

7. The right third party can help

Third parties intervening in a dispute between two countries can help them keep peace, especially when the arbiter is seen as legitimate by both sides. Get a good therapist, and get everyone’s buy-in.

 

8. Even symbolic stuff can make a difference

Some research suggests that signing an international agreement, like the Paris Climate Accord, can compel countries to change their behavior, but other research shows agreements only attract countries that are already following the rules. Marriage may operate the same way — it could change your behavior, but it’s more likely only going to reflect the relationship as it is. Still, neither are necessarily useless — agreements of all kinds can serve as “focal points” that clarify what kind of behavior the other is going to follow.


So there you have it! All of these are easier said than done, of course. We still see countries go to war and we still see couples fight. But these are the strategies people use to cope with “uncertainty about the future and the intentions of others,” Alexander Von Hagen-Jamar, a postdoctoral fellow at Lund University, said.

“Leaders of countries and people in relationships are both constantly wary of having their territories attacked or their hearts broken,” said Sarah Croco, a professor of political science at the University of Maryland.

Yet, it all may be worth the risk of conflict if it helps us get to cooperation, because cooperation is more than just the absence of war. It means being able to accomplish things we can’t alone — like operate an International Space Station or, you know, fall in love.


How Your Beliefs Can Sabotage Your Behavior

February 15th, 2018 / No Comments »

samuel zeller 358865 300x200 How Your Beliefs Can Sabotage Your Behavior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Reposted from James Clear)

There are many reasons why it can be hard to stick to good habits or develop new skills. But more often than not, the biggest challenge is sitting between your two ears.

Your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new skills to blossom.

Recently, I’ve been learning more about the link between our beliefs and our behaviors. If you’re interested in actually sticking to your goals, building better habits, and reaching a higher level of achievement, then you’ll love the research and ideas in this post.

Let’s get to it…

How Your Beliefs Can Help You or Hurt You

Carol Dweck is a researcher at Stanford University.

Dweck is well–known for her work on “the fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset.” Here’s how Dweck describes the difference between these two mindsets and how they impact your performance…

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

—Carol Dweck, Stanford University

The benefits of a growth mindset might seem obvious, but most of us are guilty of having a fixed mindset in certain situations. That can be dangerous because a fixed mindset can often prevent important skill development and growth, which could sabotage your health and happiness down the line.

For example, if you say, “I’m not a math person” then that belief acts as an easy excuse to avoid practicing math. The fixed mindset prevents you from failing in the short–run, but in the long–run it hinders your ability to learn, grow, and develop new skills.

Meanwhile, someone with a growth mindset would be willing to try math problems even if they failed at first. They see failure and setbacks as an indication that they should continue developing their skills rather than a signal that indicates, “This is something I’m not good at.”

As a result, people who have a growth mindset are more likely maximize their potential. They tend to learn from criticism rather than ignoring it, to overcome challenges rather than avoiding them, and to find inspiration in the success of others rather than feeling threatened.

Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back?

Dweck’s research raises an important question about the connection between what you believe and what you do.

If you believe things about yourself like…

  • “It’s hard for me to lose weight.”
  • “I’m not good with numbers.”
  • “I’m not a natural athlete.”
  • “I’m not creative.”
  • “I’m a procrastinator.”

It’s pretty clear that those fixed mindsets will cause you to avoid experiences where you might feel like a failure. As a result, you don’t learn as much and it’s hard to get better.

What can you do about this? How can you change the things you believe about yourself, eliminate your fixed mindset, and actually achieve your goals?

How Your Actions Change Your Beliefs

In my experience, the only way I know to change the type of person that you believe that you are — to build a new and better identity for yourself — is to do so with small, repeated actions.

Here’s an example…

Leah Culver started running one year ago. This is how she describes the process…

I started running a year ago. I didn’t entirely start from scratch. In the past I had jogged every once in a while, maybe once a month.

My first run was just two miles at 12 minutes per mile. That’s pretty slow. However, for a non-athlete I felt fairly good about it. I jogged a couple more times that week. After a couple weeks of regular jogging, I set a goal for myself.

I knew I would never be fast enough to impress anybody so it didn’t make sense to make speed my goal. I could have picked a race to train for, a 5k or half miler, but I knew how those ended. Everyone seems to quit running right after their big race. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to not quit.

My goal involved not going too long between runs. If I skipped more than a couple days, wouldn’t that be quitting? So I started running four and five days a week. The longest I went between runs was three days when I was in Hawaii for vacation.

My goal made all the difference. I was still slow, but I could at least feel good that I was running a lot. I’d have good days where I would run fast and feel great but I also had lots of bad days where I was tired and just didn’t feel like running. In retrospect those days were almost better than the good days because they reinforced my goal — I didn’t quit.

I ran my first 5k on Halloween, nearly five months after I had taken up running as a hobby. I wore a costume — fairy wings — and tried to keep up with a random guy with an owl on his head. I finished in 28 minutes and was super happy. I learned that racing wasn’t always about being the fastest, but doing my personal best.

I signed up to run a full marathon in December, hired a running coach, and set a regular running schedule.

I’ve started to think of myself as a runner.

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be working out almost every day and running 100 miles a month I would never have believed you. Running really snuck up on me. I had modest aspirations and didn’t really care if I was great at running.

I just wanted to stick to my one goal: don’t quit.

Did Leah start by thinking about how much weight she wanted to lose? No. Did she start by thinking about how fast she wanted to run? No. Did she start by thinking about the marathon she wanted to complete? No.

She didn’t start by thinking about the results.

She simply focused on the process. She focused on showing up. She focused on sticking to the schedule. She focused on “not quitting.”

Eventually, the results and the self–confidence came anyway. Her actions shifted the way that she saw herself. “I’ve started to think of myself as a runner.”

The best musicians practice every day. The best athletes practice every day. The best writers practice every day. These are people who have a high average speed.

Yes, their results are fantastic and they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor … but it’s not the results that set them apart, it’s the dedication to daily practice. It’s the fact that their identity is centered on being the type of person who does their craft each day.

This is the process of identity-based habits that I’ve written about before. People with a growth mindset focus on the process of building a better identity rather than the product.

Identity-Based Habits vs. Rapid Transformations

So often, we overestimate the importance of a single event (like a marathon) and underestimate the importance of making better choices on a daily basis (like running 5 days per week).

We think that getting “that job” or being featured in “that media outlet” or losing “those 30 pounds” will transform us into the person we want to become. We fall victim to a fixed mindset and think that we are defined by the result.

The graphic below shows the layers of behavior change. Sustainable and long–lasting change starts with building a better identity, not by focusing on results like your performance or your appearance.

habit layers How Your Beliefs Can Sabotage Your Behavior
Graphic by James Clear.

Here’s the truth: it’s your daily actions that will change what you believe about yourself and the person you become. It’s about setting a schedule, showing up, and sticking to it. It’s about focusing on building the right identity rather than worrying about getting the right result.

In my experience, identity-based habits tie in directly with the research from Dweck and her contemporaries. When you let the results define you — your talent, your test scores, your weight, your job, your performance, your appearance — you become the victim of a fixed mindset. But when you dedicate yourself to showing up each day and focusing on the habits that form a better identity, that’s when you learn and develop. That’s what a growth mindset looks like in the real world.

What You Should Do Now

In case I haven’t made it clear enough already: skill is something you can cultivate, not merely something you’re born with.

You can become more creative, more intelligent, more athletic, more artistic, and more successful by focusing on the process, not the outcome.

Instead of worrying about winning the championship, commit to the process of training like a champion. Instead of worrying about writing a bestselling book, commit to the process of publishing your ideas on a consistent basis. Instead of worrying about getting six pack abs, commit to the process of eating healthy each day.

It’s not about the result, it’s about building the identity of the type of person who gets to enjoy those results.


Choice Architecture

February 14th, 2018 / No Comments »

burst 530182 300x199 Choice Architecture

I’ve been setting myself up lately.  Setting myself up for success that is.

How?  By applying the basics of a concept called choice architecture…to myself and my own habits.

Wikipedia defines Choice Architecture as the “design of different ways in which choices can be presented to consumers,” manipulating the number of choices available, the location of the choices and the insertion of “default” choices which encourage specific behaviors.  For example, choice architecture can be used for good by shifting the presentation of desserts in a cafeteria, steering people towards salad and away from chocolate cake.  It has been used to encourage people to sign up to become organ donors, or to make saving for retirement easier and more automatic.  It can also be used in less healthy ways, for example by making you walk by the slot machines on the way to the bathroom in a casino (you’d be amazed how many people stop and play the slots, delaying taking care of themselves).

I decided to run a little experiment on myself recently when I realized that I had a poor showing on a very basic health behavior: eating my fruits and vegetables.  I was only eating about 2-3 fruits and veggies a day.  Since the generally recommended standard consumption for fruits and veggies is 5-9 per day, I was falling far short and was worried about the long-term effects of having a carbs and cheese diet, rather than that lovely colorful plate the nutrition gurus advise.

No one can convince me to give up cheese, but I was easily convinced to increase my fruits and veggies.   I ran into problems, however, when I realized that I was buying them but not consuming them.  So, I started to do a little research.  When would I eat them?  What did I like the best?  How could I help make more balanced nutrition an easy go-to instead of an “oops I’ll eat that tomorrow” occurrence?

The proponents of choice architecture advise decreasing the overall number of choices a person has to make, while increasing the likelihood that the person will make a healthy choice.  First, I set my goal: minimum 5 fruits and veggies per day.  Second, I changed my environment to increase my odds of getting to my goal.

Now, when you come into my office, you will see either a fruit or an open container of a veggie or both on the right-hand side of my desk.  Why the right side?  Well, I’m right handed.  Why an open container in plain sight?  Turns out I don’t eat the stuff in the fridge upstairs and I’m less likely to eat things if I have to fuss with opening a container.  What I DO well is eat either my fruit or veggie in between sessions, munching away while I do my progress notes or check my messages.  The visual of the fruit/veggie stimulates my memory of my goal, and it is SO EASY I can’t help but make the right choice.  At home, I also changed my environment, putting fruits and veggies on the counter or in the front of the fridge, and having a minimum of one with each meal.  I’m finally eating like a grown up.  Good news:  so is the rest of my household!

What choice do you need to support yourself in making and how can you use the concept of choice architecture to improve your odds?  You can make it in a “make things easier” direction like I did with eating fruit/veggies.  You can also make it in a “make things harder” direction like my client who put his cigarettes in the trunk, so he wouldn’t automatically smoke when he got in the car.  Either way, you are setting yourself up for success.  Have fun with this!

Best wishes for a productive, enjoyable 2018.  Looking forward to helping you live your best life!

Dr. Carrie


Why Everyone Should Lift Weights

October 17th, 2017 / No Comments »

 

Depositphotos 20872969 original 300x200 Why Everyone Should Lift Weights

(Reposted from James Clear)

I’ll say it plain and simple: you should be lifting weights. But not necessarily for the reasons that you might think.

For example, I don’t believe that strength is the main benefit of weightlifting.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love being strong as much as the next person, but there is more value in weightlifting than simply gaining muscle or losing fat.

When I think back on the time I’ve spent training (around 10 years now), here are the most valuable benefits I’ve discovered…

1. Pushing Yourself Physically Reveals What You’re Made of Mentally

A few weeks ago, I posted an update on Twitter that asked the following question…

Just had a great talk about the value of sports vs. reading in life. Have you learned more from pushing yourself physically or mentally?

Many of you sent in great answers, but I particularly liked this one from Tom

Not sure which — there’s tremendous value in each. Mental teaches you about others, physical teaches you about yourself.

Tom explained what I hadn’t quite been able to put my finger on: there is an incredible amount to be learned from both reading and playing sports, but you’ll learn more about yourself when you push yourself physically.

My experiences have mirrored this. While I’ve learned a great deal about myself from mental pursuits like writing and photography, I’ve discovered far more about my mental strength and my ability to overcome failure by playing baseball for 17 years, competing in olympic weightlifting, and battling to achieve certain strength goals.

Challenging your own body is the greatest method for discovering the strength of your mind. Nowhere is this more true than with strength training. There will be days when you don’t feel like coming into the gym. There will be sets that you don’t feel like finishing. There will be times when everyone else in the gym will see you fail.

And if you keep showing up anyway, then you’ll develop the mental fortitude to get past failure, work when you don’t feel like it, and discover what you’re really made of mentally and physically.

2. Weightlifting Solidifies Your Sense of Self–Worth

Here’s one thing I’ve learned from a year at the gym … it doesn’t matter how much weight I can or can’t pull, I can grow, build up strength, whatever’s necessary. I’m not defective.

There’s confidence that comes with that — wisdom enough to know when it’s too much weight, confidence enough to know what I can do.

Today’s fluctuating sense of worth, whether man or woman, is dangerous stuff. Confidence changes the kinds of thoughts you have.

— Chase Reeves

There is nothing more personal than your own body. Having confidence that you can move yourself through physical space with control and competence is a deeply satisfying feeling that filters into every other area of life. If you set a new personal record in the gym this morning, you can be sure that you’ll be feeling more confident at work this afternoon.

But weightlifting goes deeper than that. Weight training gives you something to stand on, something to define yourself by. It clarifies who you are in your own mind.

“I can lift X pounds. I can do X sets. This is what I’m capable of. This is who I am.”

With weightlifting, there’s no lying to yourself about what you can and can’t do. The weight forces you to be honest and self–aware.

Strangely, even if you’re weaker than you thought you were, there is a satisfaction that comes from knowing where you stand. Most days, life seems to be lived in the gray areas. It’s hard to know if you’re making progress as a parent, a friend, an employee, or a person. Weightlifting is more black and white. It helps you get past that fuzziness and closer to understanding yourself.

Combine this type of clarity with gradual improvement and your sense of self–worth will skyrocket. You know who you are and you are proving that you can become better than you were before.

“I lifted 10 pounds more today than I did last week. I can become better. This is proof.”

What could possibly be more confidence–building than direct, undeniable proof that you are becoming a better human?

Sometimes, this concrete proof of your improvement can do more for your confidence than all the positive thoughts in the world.

3. Strength Gives You More Opportunities to Contribute to Life

After spending more than 10 years analyzing the top regrets of dying patients, nurse Bronnie Ware said, “Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

I believe that this freedom — this enhanced ability to explore, create, connect, and contribute to the world around you — is one of the greatest benefits of weight training.

What I have gained from weightlifting — the resistance to illness and injury, the confidence in my abilities and the awareness of my limitations — has positioned me to make a bigger impact and contribute more value than I could have before training. In my case, that means writing about health and wellness, volunteering for the Red Cross, and taking photos around the world.

This is one of the biggest benefits of weight training: it enables you to transform into a better version of yourself (more confident, more self–aware, more mentally and physically strong), so that you can become a better person for the people around you.

This is why I believe so strongly in our community here. We have a small and committed group of superhumans who care not only about developing strong bodies and minds, but also about contributing to the world.

Our community is filled with people who are challenging themselves to become better physically and who are excited about helping the people around them at the same time. Imagine if you spent your entire day surrounded by people like that? What would your world look like?

Get the Benefits of Weight Training

If you’re already a weightlifter, keep at it. If you’re not, get started.

You are on this planet to do amazing things, and I honestly believe that lifting weights can help you do those things better.

Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don’t take that for granted.


Realistic Life Balance

October 9th, 2017 / No Comments »

 

girl 2193272 1920 300x200 Realistic Life Balance

 

 

 

 

The other day, a client asked me to explain, “how do you get to it all?” She wanted a concrete explanation of how to actually field the various roles and responsibilities life throws our way, while also maintaining some semblance of health, without a sense of constant overwhelm. She was talking about how to manage the myriad responsibilities that come with being a middle aged adult…parenting, helping our aging parents, attending to friends and partners, working, and, OH! – squeezing in some self-care. It’s a lot.

There are many suggestions about how to set up a system of balance, but I think it is less about the particular WAY you try to balance things and more about HOW you think about the whole concept. Thus, whatever system works for you is fine, but I believe there is an underlying philosophy that can help make whatever system you choose work the best.

The Philosophy: Balance appears to be achieved by addressing both what you want and what you are actually able to do. Essentially, this is a compromise between what you desire and what reality will let you achieve in the current timeframe you are working with.

This philosophy can be broken down into 5 steps.  Once you’ve identified the steps for yourself, I suggest they need to be revisited regularly, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes on a weekly or monthly basis. For the few lucky folks who have very, very predictable schedules, you may only need to do a review of these 5 steps every quarter or so. I’ll identify the 5 steps and then show you how I am actually implementing them in my life these days.

Step 1: Identify your top 3-5 values that drive you in the world. Values can range from kindness to competence, taking care of animals to putting yourself first. If you do a google search on “lists of values” you’ll get lots of options to choose from. Pick your top 3-5. Don’t worry; you can always rearrange or change them. Just start with the top 3-5 that are inspiring you most right now.

My current top 3 values are: joy, connection and health. I have chosen these 3 because they most neatly sum up what I am striving for in my life.  I enjoy feeling joyful and love to help others feel more joy in their lives. I am fueled by connection and feel like my best self when I am well connected to my partner, my family and my friends. Health for me encompasses mental and physical wellbeing. My life’s work is to improve the mental health of my clients, and I need to attend to my own mental and physical health to be the best that I can be, both personally and professionally.

Step 2: Identify the behavioral action steps that go with these values. If you value learning, for example, maybe you will be taking a class. If you value honesty, you will probably be the kind of person who tries to be direct and truthful. For me, I am making sure that I am doing the type of activities that make me feel joyful (hiking, cooking, learning new things, reading, being playful). I am connecting regularly with friends, and even challenging myself to make eye contact and connect with strangers when appropriate, for example, greeting my bank teller by name, I’ll let someone in line in front of me at the grocery store who only has one item. Even brief connections can count!  For health, I make sure to get enough sleep, workout at least 4 days a week, track my nutrition and meditate at night.

Step 3: Take a look at reality. Make sure that you are being realistic about your current reality. For example, how much money do you make? The reality of your income gives you a check on how much you should be spending. How much time can you realistically spend on things like working out? For example, I have several friends who are bike racers. It is a cool sport, but not for me because it requires much, much more time than I have to train. Therefore, I will ride my bike for fun, but for working out I train at the gym for an hour.

What other realities do you have? New baby? Reality is that you’re not sleeping as much as when you were single and childless. Two working parents? Reality means you and your partner will likely have to plan date nights! For me at the moment, one of my realities is that 3 days a week I am in charge of picking my daughter up at school at 3:30. This means I only see clients after work 2 days a week. Also, I don’t have loads of free time, so my nightly meditation practice (which sounds really good) is actually only about 2-5 minutes of time. Reality constrains what we are able to actually do. Some chafe at the constraint, but life becomes much easier if you acknowledge and work with your current reality.

Step 4: Put the puzzle pieces together, week by week, month by month, or however it works best for you in your current life situation. Don’t like how the pieces are fitting? Well, then you need to either change your values, shift your reality or accept this a phase in your life. For example, using the new baby scenario above, almost no one likes to get less sleep, but remembering that this is a short term phase of life tends to make it feel more bearable. Another suggestion is to combine values and actions that can complement each other. For example, almost every Friday I either go out to lunch or go for a hike with a friend or colleague. This hits all 3 of my top values but works around my limited amount of time available, and combines activities in a way that is both enjoyable and time efficient. By working with your values AND your reality, you can determine what actions you can take in any given time frame (day, week, month). Some week’s you may place one value above another, or need to shift your week’s plan due to unexpected realities (company in town, illness, other external obligations). Work with your daily, weekly or monthly schedule to make your actions as congruent with your values as you can, while dealing with the constraints of reality.

Step 5: When you are stuck, it is important to determine what value and accompanying behavior you are willing to give up. Sometimes It is a hard trade off. For example, many Wednesdays and Thursdays I eat a lousy lunch because it is more important to me at this time in my life to pick my child up from school at 3:30 than to take a decent lunch break and work later. Now is this something I recommend to many people? No! Eating a protein bar for lunch is not the best health choice. However, reality dictates that I have a really short work day on these days, so I am willing to compromise one of my values (health) in the short term for a longer term benefit (connection with my child). Here, my connection value outweighs my health value. Work with yourself and your situation to identify short cuts that might work for you.

In cases where you are regularly compromising one of your top values, it is important to ask yourself if that is really a top value, or if it is just one that you WISH was a top value. If you believe it is actually a top value, then it is time to adjust your schedule, priorities and actions to get closer to honoring that value.

Enjoy working the steps and matching your schedule to your values. Understand that this is a fluid process that will change over time, requiring a new assessment of top values, behaviors and how they fit into reality. Let me know how this goes for you, or if you’d like me to help you identify your values and look at your schedule to see where we can honor more of what you’d really like to see in your life.