Did you know paint doesn’t stick to furniture if you don’t sand off the old, flaking layer first?

New ideas don’t stick much either if we’re trying to put them on top of old, deeply-rooted beliefs. We’re all creatures of habit but when the old habitual thinking keeps us stuck, it’s time to initiate change, and there’s no better time than right now. A little practice can yield amazing results.

Focus is key when it comes to creating change, and since acronyms are an easy way to remember, here’s a simple formula for creating lasting change.

F – Focus on what you want, not what you don’t. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet I’ve spoken to hundreds of bright, educated folks who tell me all that is wrong with a situation; every time I discuss a positive outcome they jump right back to the problem. It is fundamentally impossible to get where you want if you stay focused on the problem. Want an example? Think of a great memory, but every couple of seconds think of something that made you angry or frustrated and it’s impossible to retain the good memory. Focus is essential. And as you focus pay attention to the feeling associated with what you want, that’s the glue turning it into reality. Do you want to be excited, energized, happy, challenged? Emotion/feeling is the catalyst that makes you unstoppable in achieving what you’re focusing on.

O – Observe your thoughts and refocus the minute they start to spiral out of control. Create a visual of what you’re focusing on. Example, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps mentally creates a winning vision of each event; it works. And don’t get stuck in old paradigms of how things should be done, that’s just more old rigid beliefs sneaking back in.

Last summer I spent a night in a teepee with my daughter, grandson and assorted dogs. Intellectually I knew we were doing it but when I saw the teepee my daughter reminded me I was grimacing when we checked in. It was outside my comfort zone (little creatures that could crawl in under the flaps at night or fly in from the hole in the roof tend to worry me). However it turned out to be a wonderful adventure. Root out habitual thinking that isn’t allowing new, more productive thoughts. As a wise mentor once told me, you can’t outperform faulty thinking.

C – Communicate appreciation all the time. Nothing accelerates growth and prosperity like appreciation for what one already has. Say thank you to everyone around you; find something positive in the team, the meeting, the person. And if you’re thinking this isn’t your year to be thankful then think again. My young grandson was diagnosed with a potentially dangerous illness, and in the weeks he’s been out of the hospital he has improved exponentially. I now realize just how much I have to appreciate! Joy is optional, and always available.

U – Understand the power of forgiveness. One of my books, The FIDO Philosophy, is all about forgetting (or forgiving) what others have done because life is too short to waste even one minute staying angry about the past (the heaviest thing to carry is a grudge). And if you want to increase the speed of your success and happiness, remember to forgive yourself, it’s crucial for ultimate success.

SSmile, it transforms the world around you and it’s contagious. You feel better, others feel better and you are perceived more attractive. Want proof? Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress, according to Ronald Rigio in Psychology Today. These neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate and facilitate emotional messages. The neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin –feel-good chemicals–are released when you smile, and your body relaxes, which can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. If that’s not enough endorphins can act as natural pain relievers and serotonin serves as an anti-depressant. Finally, a study published in Neuropsychological said that seeing an attractive smiling face activates our orbitofrontal cortex, the region that processes sensory rewards, consequently when we see people smiling, we feel rewarded.

So in keeping with this month’s blog I want to tell you how much I appreciate you reading my blogs, passing them on when you feel they have value, and always sending me your wonderful responses. Have a great holiday season, feel free to checkout my website for last-minute book gifts and don’t forget to focus on an outrageously joyous and successful New Year!

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