Ean Weichselbaum

~Transcendence~

Category Archives: Success Habits

The Magic Of Making Your Bed

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I am not your mother. I could never be. It is physically impossible for me because I am a man. Still for the sake of this article allow me to pretend like I was and suggest to you that you make your bed. But I will not just say that so your room looks tidy. I will give you proper and tangible reasons. Reasons that will shock you, astonish you and make you feel eager every day to make your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. You will be jumping out of bed only to make it!

  • Reason 1: Making your bed in the morning is a little success – a single doable task – and you did it! When I’ve made my bed in the morning I pat myself on the shoulder and smile: “well done!”. Maybe ridiculous but it cheers me up and motivates me! This feeling of success carries over into your day. One little success leading to another and before you know it your whole day will have felt like a big sucess. This. Changes. Your. Neurochemistry.
  • Reason 2: Habits give you familiarity. Stability. If you are having an intense or rough morning (maybe something has happened the day before or the day ahead is going to be very challenging) – this routine will give you something to hold onto. Stability. Peace of mind. A predictable little part of your morning. A ritual.
  • Reason 3: Doing this communicates to your subconscious:”Order is importan to me. Order is good.” This can help you become and be more structured and organized in other areas of your life as well. It seems simple but do not underestimate this habits’ power!
  • Reason 4: This is like dry-humping. It’s a harmless exercise for the real thing. Learning this habit you can experience yourself in the process of learning a new habit. You are learning how to adopt a new habit by adopting  a really simple behaviour. Plus when adopting the next positive habit you will think: “I can do that. Remember how I successfully trained myself to make my bed? *glances at made bed*”. Notice how good building a new habit feels and how easy it can be. Amazing, isen’t it?
  • Reason 5: The feeling you get when you go to bed in the evening – to a made bed! You can’t help but feel like a VIP.
  • Reason 6: Making your bed daily because you believe in the aforementioned reasons helps you build a success identity. One easy step that makes you feel more successful every day. You begin thinking about yourself as a person who optimizes, who is constantly improving and learning. As a consequence you are more likely to do other things that are in alignment with this identity – it becomes easier and easier for you to succeed. It reshapes how you view yourself. Research has shown that behaviour is always in alignment with and heavily influenced by identity (who we think we are). This reminds me of a quote by the Buddha: “Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.”

I started consistently making my bed on my own when I was on my first Vipassana course in October 2015. Since then I have barely missed a day. I do it everywhere: I do it when I sleep at a friend’s place, when I sleep at my girlfriend’s place – even when I sleep at hotels. It just feels amazing to start my day like this. I love it. Give it a go and let me know!

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On Self-Love And Self-Respect

Growing up I had a terrible sense of Self-Love. I was a complete perfectionist, always beating myself up and never happy with the results I produced. This led to me feeling frustrated most of the time and not following through with projects because „I could never get it right“. I was afraid of not being good enough. Other people unconsciously picked this up and they too did not treat me as well as I would have liked. Not fun. If you are treating yourself poorly that is an invitation for other people to treat you poorly as well. Why should anybody respect you if you do not respect and love yourself?

Let’s imagine a different situation:
You love yourself. You have challenging but realistic expectations for yourself and you fulfill them most of the time. You respect yourself. You accept yourself. Suddenly someone treats you poorly. What do you do? Firstly you are not really that affected. Because you have your own love and respect. Secondly: you do not tolerate it. If you do not tolerate you yourself treating yourself poorly, why should you let anybody do that. Once you know how good it feels to treat yourself good and love yourself there simply is no way you are going for either treating yourself poorly or accepting other people’s bad treatment. It’s a no-brainer, once you have experienced on a regular basis how good it feels to be treating yourself amazing you just want to keep doing it. Nobody should be able to treat you as well as yourself. If you find someone who treats you better than yourself then you’re doing something wrong.

So here are some simple and actionable tips for developing your sense of Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self Acceptance.

  1. Reward yourself regularily for little and big successes. Good job! Well done!
  2. Forgive yourself for failures. Really learn to fully forgive yourself. The price you have to pay for not forgiving yourself is simply too high. Forgive. It. Feels. Good.
  3. Learn from your failures (also called learning experiences). Develop a constructive mindset.
  4. Find more and more things you love about yourself. Make a liste every day. Think about 3 things you love about yourself right now.
  5. Do something good for yourself every day. Find out what feels amazing to you and do more of that. Eat something healthy, really enjoy a shower, go for a walk, meet with friends, say something nice to yourself. Feel how good it feels.
  6. Value your opinion about yourself over other people’s opinion of you. Not easy? Practice. You are the #1 authority on your life. You write the script. Everybody else is just an actor in your movie.
  7. Have clear rules for when you have succeeded. By YOUR definition, not by other people’s. If you say something is a success – it is. Period. Even if your boss or your friends say otherweise. Your reality. Once this is firmly established you can gently open to feedback and start learning. From a strong stance and with you valuing your opinion over other people’s.
  8. Make it easy for yourself to succeed. Set attainable and clearly defined goals so you know when you have succeeded. Create many little opportunities to succeed, like making your bed in the morning as you get up. Little successes create momentum.

Trying even only of of the above will help you to be on the way to developing more Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self-Acceptance every day. Enjoy the increase in your quality of life. Yes!

Good job reading this and hopefully now thinking about implementing some of it. Investing time and energy in constructive and practical self-development is a great habit to cultivate. As is consciously practicing Self-Love. Have an outstanding day because you deserve it!

The Value Of Celebration (or why rewarding yourself is so important)

So I went to the UPW 2016 Anthony Robbins seminar in London about a month ago. One of the things I learned there which really blew my mind was how important and beautiful it is to actually reward ourselves after we have achieved something (and I mean even little things, not just big goals once in a while). I’m talking every day. Multiple times a day. I’m talking about making it a habit to reward ourselves!
So what this looked like at the seminar was that after we learned something new (quite intense sessions with a lot of information at a very fast pace) then hey were like: “Okaaaaay. Great. Now let’s put down our workbooks and GET UP!” And then everybody got up, patted themselves on the back and started dancing and celebrating like crazy with music playing! Like there was no tomorrow. Often times without an apparent reason (what reason do we need to feel good anyways?). They said it was to condition our nervous systems to quickly go into a peak state. This and it felt amazing and wole my body and brain up! This is when I realized: That’s how school was supposed to be.

But another reason is to reward ourselves after we have learned something new or achieved something in our day. This makes our brain learn and remember so much better and also very important: we want to do more of what we did before the reward!

So what has happened since I started adopting this new habit? 

In the past I might have worked for 2 hours straight without a break. Then when I was finished I immediately went on to the next task. No celebration, no self-reward, no break. This led to me feeling overworked and then being confronted with the next task (already feeling pretty tired! after 2 hours work) resulting in feeling overwhelmed. Then I felt like I was failing (already having forgotten about the success of the previous task).

Now when I get to work and finish a certain segment (and with many tasks I really have to define a segment and plan a little break and reward) I usually get up, dance like crazy or just simply pat myself on the shoulder, do a gesture of „yes“ and focus on feeling proud of myself. I look at what I’ve done and feel a sense of fulfillment! “Aaah.. that’s how success feels!”, says my brain.

Yes sometimes this feels a little artificial (because it’s a new habit I’m building and I didn’t do this regularily in the past).

The result?

I feel amazing about myself. I help my brain realize „Hey, we just finished something here! We did a good job. Yes!“. And then my brain goes like: „Okaay. Working and achieving is desirable! We feel good when we do this. Yes!“. This enables me to do more work and to be more productive while having a deeper sense of fulfillment, joy and feeling successful overall. It is really just an entirely different experience of living… I totally recommend giving it a try.

So what actually happens when you reward yourself?

You condition an idea-effort-success cycle. Basically you’re learning how to succeed and finish a task and then feel good for doing it. Plus you get in the habit of doing that new task more and more often! Because what you enjoy usually becomes a habit. Only if the reward at the end is there – and I mean a real, emotionally impactful reward that touches you. Doing something where you really feel successful, like giving yourself a high five, moving a certain way, smiling and getting a big grin on your face. Only if a proper reward ar the end is there then your brain effectively learns that new habit.

So you might have been putting in a lot of work like I used to do and then feel unsuccessful at the end, because you forgot to seperate tasks and celebrate little victories. Or because you forgot to celebrate and reward yourself at all, maybe even moved on to the next task at hand without taking a break like I used to do. Not a good strategy to get more of that productive action or work done in the future, don’t you agree? So why not start getting used to a more successful way of doing things – especially if it feels that good? Easy!

How to do it? How do I reward myself?

It can be a simple gesture or something you say to yourself. Most efficient is if you use multiple channels of communication with yourself.

Gestures (making a fist, putting your hands in the air, doing a victory-sign, pulling your elbow down while making a fist going “yes”, breathing full and strong, jumping up and down, dancing and shaking your bum, making a proud face, putting your hands on your hips and standing tall while nodding at yourself in a confident and self-contented way). Dancing to a song I enjoy (3-5 minutes) works amazingly well for me. Also great as a little break before going back to work feeling rejuvenated.

Facial expressions (big grin, open mouth and open eyes like „wow“, everything you can think of that you enjoy 😉 Experiment!

Voice & language: Tell yourself: “Yes! Well done! Great job”. If you cannot be loud you can also talk or shout “silently” – just act like you’re shouting or talking loudly or even singing but don’t actually use your voice. Yet do push air through your throat. This can also be very effective.

If you’re alone – just go crazy to your own liking… If not you can do it more subtly and it’s still effective as long as you really use your body and try to feel it.

Notice what triggers you to feel proud, happy, rewarded and successful. Then be really good to yourself for a few minutes! It might take some experimentation but it’s totally worth it.

Oookay..feeling weird doing this? (or even thinking about doing this)
Okay I get it.. One might feel a little awkward doing this. So the main reason for that weird feeling in general is because the new behaviour is not yet well-known to our nervous system. To experience this first hand let’s do a little 1-minute-exercise:

Raise both of your hands above your head (without smashing anything), then clasp your fingers together.

Done that?… Keep your hands up!

Now you should notice that one of your thumbs is on top of the other. Notice how it feels in your hands. Now change it up so that the other thumb is on top (you might have to change all finger positions).

Now feel how this feels in contrast to the other hand position. Just notice. Does this feel good? Does it feel better or worse?

Great! Relax your arms again and congratulate yourself for learning something new, or for reinforcing something you already knew.

In case you didn’t enjoy the exercise (come on!!) you at least tried something new. Give yourself a big pat on the shoulder or grin or get up or whatever you feel like giving to yourself as a reward. Try it! Then notice how this feels in your body.

Okay so the point of this exercise is to illustrate that things that are not habitual usually feel weird. So this is reason enough that rewarding yourself and celebrating like crazy over little stuff might feel weird at times. If you keep doing it (and it’s pretty easy to keep doing it because it feels really really good and makes you more productive!) then it will feel comfortable in no time (yay!).

So if you feel like giving it a go and trying it out yourself, so you can see why this stuff makes sense and it’s not just all talk:

Here are the simple steps

1. Pick a task.

2. Finish that task or part of the task until you feel you should take a break and reward yourself for the work already done.

3. Reward yourself and celebrate so that you can actually feel the impact in your body!

4. Notice how you now feel in comparison to before. Is this a behaviour worth adopting?
A little addition: celebrating for “no apparent reason” and getting into a peak state sets free neurochemicals in your body that make your brain tune-up. You feel better and are more engaged with the little tasks and things in your life (and also the big things). This has totally changed the quality of my life. I really recommend dancing if you like it. Even a few minutes of timid dancing can totally change your day (and the day of people you come in contact with!). The more passionate and expressive you dance, the more impact it will have on your nervous system though 😉