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6 Fundamentals Needed for Action and Habit

Lights, Camera, Action!

  • Speed Peek & Understand More  (Action & Habit)
  • Anti-Challenge Reframing©
    (Part 4 of  5  Action & Habit - Staying Self-motivated)
  • A Story About Lead Photograph (“Lights, Camera, Action!”)

Speed Peek and Understand More

[Action & Habit:  6 Fundamentals Needed to Motivate Action]

This week combines the first two sections of this blog, as they are both condensed versions expounding on: Tip #4  Action and Habit
(From November 17, 2018 -  Life with Holley post):

ACTION and HABIT ~  "My magic wand is made of two components:
Action and Habit!  Without action, nothing changes.
Repeating action makes taking action easier.
Repeating action becomes a habit.
Positive habits feel like magic!”

Life with Holley, November 17, 2018

Indeed, action and habit feel like magical words to me; they bring results I had been wishing for.  Looking at my own track record, regardless of whether I have hesitated to start actions; started then stopped; or followed through in a smooth, steady stroke, the results from my action, matched the amount of effort I put in.

Here are SIX (6) FUNDAMENTALS that help me center my thoughts.   
These self-evident rules work especially well when I'm having a tough time getting into, or resuming, action (resulting in the creation of positive habits).  I Hope you can mull them over for a moment.  It's not a list of typical “what you should do”;  it’s a first hand knowledge list of  “what I did” to actually bring positive change.

1)  Decided I really wanted to feel different.
(Literally asked myself: “What makes me think I want something to change?” If you are thorough enough to make a mental or written list with the answer to these question, as I did, here’s another tip for you: “Keep it handy!”
There may come a time when you’re not sure you want to bother with the effort of earning a positive outlook.  The list you have made will be a handy little bit of evidence you can use if you need re-convincing.  By the way, don’t worry if you misplace or forget your list, I did.  Sure enough, even though I had misplaced my list, it came back to me; when I again felt the discomfort that prompted me to want change in the first place.  Keeping your list is merely a handy shortcut.)

2)   Took a hard look at what was causing my discomfort.
(Asked myself: What is “causing it”.  Here’s the tricky part:  I had to look for the answers no farther than the end of my nose.  Meaning: No matter what, or who, I think caused the feeling of discomfort, I only looked at what it stirred up "in me”.  The simple reason for this:  I am the only one I have real influence over; I am the only variable I can change to make myself more comfortable.)

3)   Accepted as fact:  Nothing changes, until something changes.
(Period. Things don’t change by only wishing for change; some action must take place.)

4)   Actually tried doing what was suggested to cause change.
(Just as important as trying in the first place, was my trying AGAIN, every time I failed.  Whether I had partial or no success in my previous attempt, the magic was found in repeat, repeat, repeat, ad infinitum.  We all have the gift of opportunity to try as long as we wake up breathing.

5)   Situations that fed negativity had to go.
(Not only was it common sense to cease fueling a fire I was trying to put out, but also, negative situations began to lose their appeal.  Once I felt the difference between happy vs feeling frustrated, mad, etc., there was no contest between which I truthfully preferred.)

6)   Accepted, without reserve, that forming habit takes time.
(I initially concluded this to be fact through personal trial and error over several years’ time.)

If you want to take a deeper look at the subject of habit, one reference that I’ve since found insightful is an article by James Clear, in which a study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, reported a new behavior takes up to 256 days to become habit. (Personally, I've experienced both shorter and longer periods of time to be necessary).  Two other mentions in the article especially caught my attention, as they mirror the personal convictions I began developing over 20 years ago, which are:
*  It doesn’t really matter how long it takes me to form a habit, so long as I keep progressing. (I see it as a positive to not feel the pressure of matching a quoted ‘norm’.  The feelings of ease and relief I gain come from focusing my attention on the formation my habits, not a deadline set by someone else’s actions.)
*  My second conviction, touched on by Clear, is:
It’s okay that I don’t execute my new behavior perfect every time; I won’t lose what I’ve already learned.
As long as I don’t give up trying, I’m getting closer to taking action through automatic habit; which in turn, makes my life easier.

6 Fundamentals for Action; LwH4

(Talking Yourself into Action)

Part 4 of 5: Action/Habit
Goal of Exercise:

  • SECTION 1: Understand the type of action needed, and the order action is carried out in
  • SECTION 2: Understand how succesful my technique has been
  • SECTION 3: Understand the How To for my technique, and why it works for me
    • If for no other reason than curiosity, try some self-talk the next time you recognize you’re procrastinating.


Understanding action that facilitates change -
The action referred to in this post is not knee-jerk, emergency response action, or basic everyday movements.  I’m talking about taking purposeful action; doing what is necessary to cause change.  Particularly, taking action when you don’t really want to, or aren’t looking forward to the process (As in the familiar: “I really should do this... but, um, maybe I should do this other thing first...” I don't know about you, but I know with me, I do realize deep down that the thing I'm chosing to do first is a stall tactic.)
The main components of the way I successfully take action are:
>  Learning about the change needed, and what needs to take place for it to happen.
>   Jump in and start applying action to make it happen; countering stalls with “conversations with myself”.
>  Have conversations with myselfas often as needed. Long term change relies primarily on my ability to take the time to re-motivate myself when I start giving up.  It is easy for me to temporarily be convinced by outside sources to take action, but continuing the action requires continued motivation.


The technique I use to get into Action
The technique that has successfully worked for me, roughly 80% of the time, is: Having a conversation with myself.
You may want to try it, see if you have success too.  Below is the format I use, including specific questions I ask myself.


 Specifically how I go about having CONVERSATIONS WITH MYSELF -
 When The minute I know action should be taken, but chose to hesitate.
What I ask myself  “Tell me again, why did ‘you’ believed change should be considered in the first place? What was the problem you were trying to solve?”
My Response: I remember, and I agree; change is needed.
Answer: Great! That was easy; get started on action.
My Response: I begin stating “reasons” why I can’t take action.
Answer:  Time for a real conversation with myself!
Note: I pay close attention to the words used in the conversation with myself; specifically trying to notice if I am using the words “but”, “because”, and “I can’t” in my response.
Why?  These words have excuses attached to them which can be countered.

Now, if the reason I give myself is legitimate, if indeed it is not feasible to get into action that moment, the remedy is:
Set an appointment with myself, to begin action.
mark the agreed date and time on the calendar, and stick to it.

Committing to a date and time is important, as it’s easy to dismiss the value of spending time to create positive change.

Commitment to a specific time, specially notched out to remotivate myself and get into action again, is vital.  Without the feeling of an obligation to follow through, working toward creating positive habits tends to take a backseat, becoming something you say you will “get around to, one day”.  Working towards positivity deserves a priority ranking on the To-Do list.  I honestly believe it should be given as much regard as a doctor’s appointment, a job interview, or anything that I would have consequences for not attending to.  After all, acquiring a positive outlook on life is something that affects every area of my life, and there are very real consequences paid when pessimism steers my thoughts and actions.

A word about making an appointment time with myself to work on implementing positive action:  I tried using the excuse that my days were already packed to the max; almost every minute already scheduled, which was true, sort of.  A closer look, and a little thought, found this was not exactly accurate.  Yes, there were things scheduled in all the slots, but, was it mandatory to keep them scheduled as they were?  Nope, not all of them!  Several things, as a matter of fact, could be rearranged, or skipped entirely for a short while, without the World coming to an end.

This is where “but, because, can’t” usually try to trip me up.  They are so sneaky, and they know how to push my buttons!  Eventually, I did learn how to stand up to them and say, “Sorry, but you lose, tricky little excuses, rationalizations, and justifications; I’m onto your game now!”  (One time, they even had the nerve to try and sway me by leveraging my tight budget to confuse me.  They tried to convince me that I could not move the time of day for laundry, because the water rates are less expensive only during the time I usually have scheduled.  What they failed to mention, was the “extra cost” was only 8 cents a day.  You guessed it, I told them: "Excuse me, but my peace of mind is worth far more than a few pennies."  Laundry time got moved, and I was able to get into action on the footwork for building a positive lifestyle.)

What if I’m still unwilling after my conversation with myself?
Well, I do the only thing I can; I give myself permission to refuse cooperation.  That is, provided I do one thing first:  Take less than 5 minutes to try and write down why I think I should not take the action or commit to a specific time that I will take action.
The reason it is important to write or type this is based on my experience, which is:

I can talk myself into, or out of, just about anything, when the whole conversation takes place in my head.

Taking a look later, at my own words in writing, where I am trying to explain why I feel I cannot, or refuse to, take action is a whole other story than just letting the thoughts run around in my head.  In short, when I step away from my written words, then read them later, it is much easier to spot any excuses, refusal to compromise, or valid reasons I may have over looked before. (It also provides a  better chance of my spotting any non-truths, which  I may not have been aware I was telling myself.).  At the very least, I’ll be better prepared for the “next conversation”.
A side note: I’m never actually harsh with any part of myself.  Eventually, talking myself into action always manages to make all of me smile.

* Life with Holley
“Anti-challenge Reframing©2018” was created from an idea, and partial
terminology, derived from a comment made on my June 25, 2018 Instagram
spoof-post: “International Anti-Selfie Day”.  Thank you to Vaughan
(@vaughan.knight  Instagram) for your insightful, witty words: “You could offer
a ‘reframing’ service; new opportunities from old!  Start a new
anti-challenge whenever life doesn’t live up to expectation. Therein lies
something not to be found in the successful events.”


A Story About The Lead Photograph

(Lights, Camera, Action!)

I love shooting the sculpture featured in this post!  Located just East of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, California, U.S.A., it is situated in a lovely trailhead park.
Really blows my mind, how amazingly different this metal beast looks each and every time I approach him with my lens!  360 degree access to this stallion provides more shot perspectives than I've had the chance to investigate; not to mention, there is a wide range of other elements which I can tell would be great for scores of composition combinations.
Partially open fields on two sides of the park make for a wide open sky background; breathtakingly beautiful at sunsets, for the record.  Then there are the two backdrop orchards, supplying interesting depth and distance contrast, depending on the time of day.
I've been observing this area for about 10 months now; every season bringing a different look to these surrounding orchards:  From the lush greenery of Spring and Summer to the dazzling assortment of vivid Autumnal colors, to the beautiful bare branches of Winter.  This little corner lot on the outskirts of town has so many components of a photographers dream location, all in one spot.
“But wait, there’s more!”  This sculpture is also lit from the inside at night! Oh my goodness, does this steed ever look different when lit!  I have a nervous laugh right now, just thinking about how... “creepy”... he is at night; yes, creepy!  I’m uncertain if this work of art is a rendition of a mythological creature, or strictly a creation of the artist’s imagination, but I kid you not, this horse has fangs!  At least they look like fangs to me; I have not inspected them super close yet.  (You should have seen my face the first time I noticed the "night look" of this new favorite find, haha; indeed, my eyes were wide!)
A tiny taste of what the sculputure looks like when lit at night can be seen in the "selfie" shot, just above this story.  No, you can't see his fangs in this distance photograph; nor do I have a clear image taken yet.  I'm still working up the nerve to study perspective possibilites at night.  I'm sure I will soon though... maybe.

Image: “Lights, Camera, Action!”
f/8 – 1/500– ISO 320
focal length 220mm
Post processing: Shadows lightened 35%
Canon EOS Rebel XT


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