Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How to Get Back on Track with Motivation & Habits

By Leo Babauta

It happens to all of us: you are going strong with a project, with learning something new, with a new habit or two … and things go sideways. You get derailed.

This is a critical junction. If you let yourself quit, all your time and effort up until now has been for naught. If you can get back on track, things can be great again.

Most people don't know how to get back on track, and so fail repeatedly. Today I'm going to share a simple method that works for me.

Recently, I've had to use the method because of a few difficulties:

  • A learning project got sidetracked. For a couple months, I've been focused on learning something new, but I got discouraged because a) my learning efforts got interrupted by travel, which was a bummer, and b) I had a couple of failures that made me feel like quitting. As of a couple of days ago, I was on the brink of quitting altogether.
  • My eating habits have been crap lately. Well, not complete crap, but crappy enough that I've felt a bit unhealthy. And I haven't been able to get it back on track.
  • My focus hasn't been what it could be lately. In recent months, I was super focused on my mission, on mindfulness and meditation and helping others. In the last month, that focus hasn't been there, for a variety of reasons. I haven't given up, but have definitely been sidetracked.

Sounds discouraging, right? But not to fear, getting back on track is actually fairly simple.

The Key Principle

Here's the key idea to understand: getting off track and getting back on track is all about mood.

When we get off track, it's because things that affect our mood as it relates to the project or habit. For example:

  1. We get interrupted because of travel, illness, visitors, crises, etc. This interruption makes us feel discouraged. It's not the interruption that is the obstacle, it's the feeling of discouragement that gets in the way.
  2. We get tired because of travel, illness, a lack of sleep, etc. … and the tiredness makes us feel unmotivated towards our project or habit. Tiredness is a huge obstacle, because when you're tired, you don't feel motivated, your mood isn't as good, and you just want to comfort yourself with distractions and food (among other things).
  3. When things aren't going well, we can get very discouraged — we're not losing weight on our diet, exercise is harder than we fantasized about, language learning is very difficult, etc.
  4. When things get busy in our lives, we often have to skip the habit, which can make us feel bad about ourselves.

When our mood, as it relates to the project or habit, is bad … we often feel like quitting, and don't even want to think about the problem. We avoid thinking about it, turn away from it, and seek other comforts.

The Method

So how do you get back on track? Here's the method I use.

  1. Admit there's a problem, and ask a key question. We often want to ignore the problem, not even think about it. But this only encourages quitting, and doesn't help the problem. All we have to do is simply say, "I'm feeling bad about this. I'm discouraged and thinking about quitting." Then we can ask ourselves, "Do I really want to quit, or is there a good reason to get back on track?"
  2. Take one small, easy step. If you have good reason to get back on track, don't think about the entire project of getting back on track. That's too much, and can be overwhelming, which means we'll never start. Instead, just think of one thing you can do. For example, if you've fallen off the meditation habit … can you meditate for 30 seconds right now? 10 seconds? If you stopped listening to your language tapes, can you just do 2 minutes of the tapes today? If you stopped doing yoga or bodyweight exercises, can you just do a few minutes right now? It might seem ridiculously easy, but that's exactly what you need to do. Something tiny, anything. This is the key step, so don't take it lightly.
  3. Focus on getting any kind of victories. If you do 30 seconds, 2 minutes, whatever … you've had success! This is a victory, and a victory changes your mood. If you've been trying to play chess and you've been losing and become very discouraged, then focus on doing some tactics training for one minute. That's a victory! What other kinds of victories can you get? Look for anything: just doing another minute later today or tomorrow morning, doing a little practice on your commute, reading a little about the topic online, anything you can do. Nurture your mood — victories change your mood. Defeats and tiredness can bring it down. So see what you can do to lift your mood up, including talking to someone else about it or making it more social, playing some good upbeat music to make it fun, making some tea or lighting some candles to make it more enjoyable, etc.
  4. Build long-term strength with small steps. If you build little victories, take small steps, and nurture your mood as in the previous steps … you'll start to have a more solid habit or motivation for your project. After awhile, you become more robust, so that a little defeat won't really matter too much. You have room for some tiredness now and then. You'll be strong and won't need to worry about all of the little mood changes. But it takes a bunch of small steps and victories to get there. So focus on one small step, one victory, at a time. Don't worry about the long term, just focus on the short term. And the long-term strength will come.

This isn't a difficult method — anyone can do it. All it takes is a small admission of struggle, a willingness to ask whether you want to get back on track, and a focus on small steps and victories. That's doable, and awesome.



Original Content: How to Get Back on Track with Motivation & Habits

Gratitude (+ Ready or Not! Shopping Lists)

Gratitude by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Holy smokes. I can't even begin to describe the past couple of weeks.

As many of you know, since August 1, I've been on my Ready or Not! cookbook tour, and in just the last 14 days, I've made pitstops in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Ontario, and now, New York. Until a few days ago, Henry and the boys accompanied me, dutifully lugging suitcases full of Nom Nom Paleo swag wherever we went. (Don't worry—we built in enough time between their sherpa duties to play tourist. Check out the Instagram posts tagged with #NOMNOMBOOKTOUR to see what we've been up to!) Sadly, with school starting today, the rest of the family had to head home and return to real life.

I, on the other hand, still get to hopscotch around the country, meeting loyal Nomsters and new readers alike. I'm incredibly grateful and thrilled to have the opportunity to do this book tour. The solitary months of developing recipes and writing a cookbook (not to mention blog posts and email newsletters) often fool me into thinking that I'm just shouting into a void, but when I'm greeted by smiling faces at my tour stops, I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have such a generous base of support behind me. Without you, I wouldn't be able to do what I love.

Gratitude by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

What I'm trying to say is thank you. Your support allowed me to devote myself full-time to Nom Nom Paleo, and to write cookbooks for a living. And you're the reason why Ready or Not! debuted stronger than I could have ever dreamed possible. In fact, our new book landed at #3 on The New York Times bestsellers list in our category, and #1 on both The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestsellers lists for hardcover nonfiction! According to BookScan (think of it as the Nielsen ratings of book sales), Ready or Not! was the #1 bestselling nonfiction book, and the 5th-highest selling of all books—both nonfiction and fiction—in the week it debuted.

Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo

How crazy is that? (Answer: Pretty freakin' crazy.)

Again, I have you to thank. And the best way I know how to express my gratitude is with a thank-you gift: Printable shopping lists to accompany the dinner plans in Ready or Not!

As those of you who've flipped through our new cookbook know, Ready or Not! features 4 weeks of dinner plans and shopping lists; these plans pull together recipes from different sections in the book to create incredibly tasty meals throughout the week. We've already gotten tons of fantastic feedback about these shopping lists and dinner plans—many of you are already using them to cook your way through the book! Still, we've also heard from you that a heavy, hardcover tome isn't the most convenient object to haul to the market for grocery shopping. To solve this, we've tweaked the shopping lists to make them printable checklists. Just click the images of the shopping lists above (or this link) to download 'em!

And before I go, I wanted to remind you of two things:

COME MEET ME!

I may have completed Part One of my book tour, but Part Two is just getting started! In fact, I just added a slew of new tour events, including signings hosted by Whole Foods Market in Phoenix, San Diego, Sacramento, Berkeley, Fremont, Fresno, and Reno. Come meet me, and I'll happily personalize your books and hand out some fun Nom Nom Paleo swag (while supplies last), too. For more information about tour stops and to RSVP, visit this link or click the image below:

Book Tour Part 2!

SPREAD THE WORD!

We love seeing all of your social media posts about Ready or Not!, so keep 'em coming!

Remember: in a couple of weeks, we'll be randomly giving away a 6-quart Instant Pot Ultra—the fanciest new version of my favorite multi-use cooker ever—to THREE loyal Nomsters who help spread the word about Ready or Not! We'll also throw in a bunch of exclusive Nom Nom Paleo swag into each of the three prize packages!

To enter this giveaway, just post something nice about Ready or Not! on social media (like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest) in the month of August 2017 using the hashtag #READYORNOTROCKS so we'll be sure to see it! (To be eligible, please note that you'll have to post publicly, as we won't be able to see your private Facebook or Instagram posts.) We'll diligently collect all of your social shares, and on September 1, 2017, we'll randomly pick three winners. (Unfortunately, the Instant Pot won't work outside of the U.S. and Canada, but if you're a non-U.S. or non-Canadian Nomster and you're picked as a winner, I'll personally send you a $150 Amazon gift card instead!)

Okay—I gotta get going. Hope to see you at an upcoming signing!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You'll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!

The post Gratitude (+ Ready or Not! Shopping Lists) appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.



Original Content: Gratitude (+ Ready or Not! Shopping Lists)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

These Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, an easy 3-ingredient side dish, can be grilled outside or indoors if you have a grill pan. Perfect as a side dish, or as an appetizer (makes a great addition to your charcuterie platter!)

These Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, an easy 3-ingredient side dish, can be grilled outside or indoors if you have a grill pan. Perfect as a side dish, or as an appetizer (makes a great addition to your charcuterie platter!)

These Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, an easy 3-ingredient side dish, can be grilled outside or indoors if you have a grill pan. Perfect as a side dish, or as an appetizer (makes a great addition to your charcuterie platter!)(more…)



Original Content: Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87). So sad summer is ending, but I am finally taking advantage of all the tomatoes I have in my garden! Here's this week's meal plan…

Pictured below is The Skinnytaste Meal Planner where I plan my dinners for the week (you can of course use any meal planner). Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We're a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it's either packed up for everyone's lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week's dinner plans, click here

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87)

Monday: Best Skinny Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach and a salad
Tuesday: Blackened Fish Tacos with Cabbage Mango Slaw
Wednesday: Pepper Steak with brown rice
Thursday: Chicken and Shrimo Laap (Larb)
Friday: Naked Salmon Burgers with Sriracha Mayo
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday: Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes

(more…)



Original Content: Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 87)

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro is a quick stew cooked in a light, tomato coconut broth with a hint of lime and cilantro. Simple enough to make for a weekday dinner yet sophisticated enough to serve to company. Serve with a little brown basmati rice to soak up the delicious broth.
Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro is a quick stew cooked in a light, tomato coconut broth with a hint of lime and cilantro. Simple enough to make for a weekday dinner yet sophisticated enough to serve to company. Serve with a little brown basmati rice to soak up the delicious broth.
A quick shrimp stew cooked in a tomato coconut broth with a hint of lime and cilantro. Simple enough to make for a weekday dinner yet sophisticated enough to serve to company. Serve with a little brown basmati rice to soak up the broth.

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro is a quick stew cooked in a light, tomato coconut broth with a hint of lime and cilantro. Simple enough to make for a weekday dinner yet sophisticated enough to serve to company. Serve with a little brown basmati rice to soak up the delicious broth.

(more…)



Original Content: Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Pepper Steak

Pepper steak is quick, easy and perfect to whip up any night of the week. Strips of beef and bell peppers are stir fried in a wok to create a delicious main dish, ready in no time! I love it with brown rice, but cauliflower rice would also be great on the side.

Pepper steak is quick, easy and perfect to whip up any night of the week. Strips of beef and bell peppers are stir fried in a wok to create a delicious main dish, ready in no time! I love it with brown rice, but cauliflower rice would also be great on the side.

Pepper steak is quick, easy and perfect to whip up any night of the week. Strips of beef and bell peppers are stir fried in a wok to create a delicious main dish, ready in no time! I love it with brown rice, but cauliflower rice would also be great on the side.

(more…)



Original Content: Pepper Steak

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Eternal Dilemma: Revenge or Forgiveness?

By Leo Babauta

It's easy to get upset at someone who has hurt you — but what's the best way to get them back? What kind of revenge, served cold perhaps, can you dream up?

I recently had someone write to me about this:

"Recently one of my family members hurt me badly. They believe I am an easy target since I don't want to retaliate or cause conflicts. My question is should I take the risk of getting revenge, knowing that it is never ending (not the best solution) or should I forgive this person? The problem is I don't want to let them walk over me anymore. How to make them stop and respect me? Or maybe there is another solution?"

There are some important issues going on here:

  1. You've been hurt, which isn't nice. It certainly doesn't feel nice.
  2. You want to lash out at the person for hurting you. This is a natural reaction from the anger and indignation that can result from being hurt.
  3. You don't want someone to walk all over you. This seems unfair, and seems like it's just adding to the bad treatment.
  4. You want to be respected.
  5. You are worried about the bad consequences of getting back at them.

I'm obviously going to argue against revenge, so I should just say that now rather than acting like it's going to surprise you. Instead, let me present my arguments against revenge, then offer up a different approach.

A Few Arguments Against Revenge

So why not just do what feels right, and lash out at them somehow?

There are some big problems with that:

  1. It doesn't actually make you feel better. Retaliating might feel good in the moment, but you won't feel better about yourself. You'll just be sinking to a lower level and feeling bad about yourself.
  2. It hurts the relationship. You lash out because you're hurt, but in doing so, you're going to hurt and anger the other person. Your relationship actually gets worse. You might argue that it's their fault, but actually, no, you're contributing to this as well. You might argue that you don't care, you don't want a relationship with a person who would hurt you, and that might be true. Just be sure you're not saying that out of anger, but you've calmed down and made that rational assessment.
  3. You're just allowing yourself to act on impulse and fear. When we lash out at someone because they mistreated us, it's not from a rational assessment of what will be best for us, or best for the situation. It's an impulse that is borne from fear and anger. While this is a natural reaction, I've found that it's not the best idea to just follow our impulses without pausing to consider. This leads to impulse problems like eating too much junk food, distraction, procrastination, addiction to video games or TV, and more. Instead, we should get in the habit of pausing whenever we have an impulse, letting the fear subside, and instead considering what's best for the situation. We shouldn't let ourselves get caught up in a story in our heads about what this person did to us and how wrong they are. That's not helpful.
  4. It doesn't actually make people respect you more. Lashing out in anger or fear is not a recipe for earning people's respect. In my experience, people actually respect you less if you retaliate against others. Maybe they'll want to be around you less. But that's out of fear or dislike of your behavior, not respect. I tend to respect people more who can handle things maturely and with calmness and compassion.
  5. You're not being your bigger self. It's easy to act on our impulses, but what we really want is to become out bigger self. That means the best version of ourselves that we can be —
    and forgiving ourselves, of course, when we don't do that. The bigger self is one that forgives, is compassionate, doesn't act out of fear or anger, and handles things maturely. This isn't always easy to do, so we shouldn't think of it as an "ideal" to always strive for, but as a guideline for how to act when we're able to consider things with calmness.

So if retaliation and revenge aren't the best ideas, what's better?

A More Compassionate Approach

I believe a more compassionate approach is better, because:

  • You're being your better self.
  • It makes you feel better about yourself.
  • You earn the respect of others by being more mature.
  • It helps your relationships.
  • It is a kind thing to do to the other person, who is obviously having difficulties.
  • It makes the world a better place, one relationship at a time.

You might disagree with these reasons, but I've found them to be true.

Here's how to do it.

  1. Pause instead of acting on impulse, fear and anger. Notice when you're about to lash out from anger and fear. Instead of acting on that impulse, pause. Breathe. Take a timeout. Consider your actions before acting.
  2. Stay with the physical feeling, instead of the story. When you're angry or afraid, there is a story in your head that's causing it ("They're being so rude!") … instead of dwelling on this story, bring your attention to how this feels in your body, physically. Where is the feeling located — in your chest, stomach, neck, face? What physical sensations can you notice? Stay with these feelings as long as you can, returning to them when you notice your attention going back to the story ("Why do they need to act this way?"). Stay with the feeling, and give it some compassion.
  3. Enlarge your perspective to see their difficulty. Once you've stayed with the feeling for a few moments, see if you can get out of your you-centered story, and embiggen your perspective to include what the other person is going through. Are they having a bad day? Are they suffering through some difficulty? Feeling fear or anger? Do you know what it's like to go through that yourself? When you realize the other person is probably having a difficult time, struggling with something … you might find some compassion in your heart for what they're going through, in addition to the offense you feel. This is the space you want to enter.
  4. Ask: What is the most compassionate thing you can do for both of you? Is it having a gentle conversation with them? Is it ending the relationship so you don't hurt each other? Is it getting a third party involved so you can resolve the situation? Is it just listening to their complaints? There are lots of options — try to consider ones that don't originate from your anger or fear, but instead are compassionate.
  5. What do you need to do to respect yourself? I'm not suggesting that you be a "pushover" and let other people walk all over you. Compassion isn't about not respecting yourself — in fact, it's the opposite. You often need to take steps to protect yourself, so you don't get hurt. Or at least to speak up for yourself. It's not compassionate to remain silent when you're being hurt. But at the same time, you can respect yourself if you make your concerns clear in a gentle way. Or set your boundaries with the other person firmly, but without anger.
  6. What's the most loving thing you can do for them? This might be listening to them, giving them a hug, showing them that you care. But it also might be letting them go, because your relationship with them isn't helping them. Or creating some space, at least for a little while, so they can have time to cool down (and you can too). There are lots of options, but considering this along with how to love and respect yourself, is where you want to be.

None of this is easy. I'm not claiming there are miracle solutions. But it's not easy to hurt your relationship with escalating retaliations, and it's not easy to deal with resentment and anger in yourself. Compassion isn't easier, but it does bring greater happiness all around

The Magic of Forming New Relationships

I'd like to invite you to join me in my new course in the Sea Change Program to help others get good at making friends and dating … it's called "The Magic of Forming New Relationships," and it has just started. Join me!

The course features a guest expert, other than myself … my good friend Tynan, who is a blogger, author, coach and expert on topics ranging from minimalism, travel, productivity, habits, social dynamics, awesome cruise travel and much more. Tynan is a former pickup artist (he's a good person, I swear) who learned to not suck at talking to girls, not suck at storytelling, and apply what he learned to making friends. I'm honored to have him as a guest expert.

So what's this course about?

We'll talk about making new friends and also dating — both involve getting out of our comfort zone and making new connections. It can be life-changing stuff.

Here are the video lessons — the first two have just came out:

  1. Overview — What Most People Do Wrong at First
  2. The Approach (Or, how to get someone to want to talk to you)
  3. The Art of Storytelling
  4. The First Three Dates
  5. The Preliminaries: Developing Your Confidence
  6. Making a Great Connection
  7. Building a Friendship (or Romantic Relationship)
  8. Avoiding Long-Term Pitfalls

It'll be amazing. We'll also talk about telling good stories, creating a great experience for the other person, and other awesome stuff that will help anyone, no matter where you are in life.

Here's how it works:

  1. Every week this month I'll publish two video lessons
  2. There's a challenge to spend 5-10 minutes each day to working on one of the skills presented in the video lessons
  3. There are weekly check-in threads in the forum and discussion threads for each lesson
  4. I'll hold a live video webinar on with a talk and a Q&A session on Aug. 19

This is all included in my Sea Change Program, which you can sign up for today. You also get access to a huge library of other courses and content for changing your life, one step at a time.



Original Content: The Eternal Dilemma: Revenge or Forgiveness?