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“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”—Leo Tolstoy

Winner of the Medscape India award 2012 ISSN 2277 – 5153 „ VOL IX „ ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ ` 100 „ PAGES 100

Discover a surprisingly effective technique to help you change your life p20


Editor’s insights

Changing time

Manoj Khatri infinitemanoj ManojKhatri

The best way to change, it turns out, is to start small. If we commit to just one small change, we could achieve results beyond imagination 02 „ JUNE 2015 „ VOL IX ISSUE 08

T

here’s a cartoon doing the rounds of social media in which a man on the podium, a leader of sorts, is asking the audience, “Who wants change?” and everyone’s hands go up, faces all bright and eager. In the next frame, the leader asks, “Who wants to change? This time, no hands come up, faces all sullen. If you identify with this audience, you are not alone. It’s the story of our lives—we want the world to change but are not ready to change ourselves. Like Mark Twain once quipped, “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” The truth is, many of us do want to change, but still don’t. We have noble intentions to give up our self-defeating habits, to change our unhelpful a itudes and inculcate more productive behavioural pa erns. But intention without action is only a mental abstraction. Rhyming apart, why do we resist action even when we know it’s good for us? The reason is lack of faith—in our ability to do what it takes. And this lack of faith, in turn, is due to the way we approach change—in leaps. Such an approach is designed to fail, as it almost always does. We start off highly motivated but are soon overcome by the old pa erns. Mary Shelley, author of the gothic novel Frankenstein, would have been familiar with this very human tendency, when she remarked, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” The best way to change, it turns out, is to start small. If we commit to just one small change, we could achieve results beyond imagination, says Caroline Arnold, the author of our cover story this month. Introducing a technique she calls microresolution, Caroline reveals to us the surprising power of small changes. She tells us how the real action in personal development happens at the margin of our behaviour. “While it’s heartening to believe that we can transform ourselves from the inside out with a single decree-to-self to become fit, slender, organised, on time, thri y, or clu er free, the real traction in personal development comes from targeting marginal behavioural changes and practising them until they stick. In self-improvement, it’s working the margin that gives you the edge,” she writes. Using examples of fitness, relationships and workplace, Caroline demonstrates the power of microresolutions in bringing about those much desired and long overdue changes we have been intending. She also puts forth four rules that will help you make, and carry out, your microresolutions so that you begin to see instant and tangible results. Once you understand the power of small changes, you will never again find change daunting. Then, li le by li le, you can change everything that is not working for you, to finally build the life of your dreams. You can start by turning to page 20 now. Happy changing!

manoj.khatri@completewellbeing.com COMPLETE WELLBEING


www.completewellbeing.com Vol IX Issue 08 JUN 2015

RNI No. MAHENG/2006/21415

/CompleteWellbeing

EDITOR & PUBLISHER | Manoj Khatri CONSULTING EDITOR | Dr Grazilia Almeida-Khatri EDITORIAL COORDINATOR | Joycelin Sequeira ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR | Amit Amdekar

/StayWell

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

SR GRAPHIC DESIGNER | Mukesh Patel EDITORIAL OFFICE 502, A wing, Sagar Tech Plaza, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri-Kurla Road, Mumbai 400072. Tel/Fax: 022-6742 0900 E-mail: editorial@completewellbeing.com

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BULK SUBSCRIPTIONS Call: 022-6742 0900 SMS: ‘CW BULK’ to 7738387787 E-mail: copysales@completewellbeing.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Call: 022-6742 0900 SMS: ‘CW SUB’ to 7738387787 E-mail: subscriptions@completewellbeing.com PRINTED AT | Rajhans Enterprises PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY | Manoj Khatri, on behalf of Complete Wellbeing Publishing Pvt Ltd., at Rajhans Enterprises, No. 134, 4th Main Road, Industrial Town, Rajajinagar, Bangalore - 560044, and published from Complete Wellbeing Publishing Pvt. Ltd., 502, A wing, Sagar Tech Plaza, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri-Kurla Road, Mumbai 400072. Tel/Fax: 022-6742 0900 Editor: Manoj Khatri

TRENDING THIS MONTH >>

Break that paĴern By Caroline Arnold

© Complete Wellbeing Publishing Pvt Ltd., All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, in print, electronic or any other form, is strictly prohibited. DISCLAIMER | Complete Wellbeing is dedicated to providing useful, well-researched information on holistic health/wellbeing, but its contents are not intended to provide medical advice/diagnosis for individual problems or circumstances, or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers are advised to always consult their physician/healthcare professional/therapist, prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment, or practice, or with any questions they may have regarding a medical/health condition. The views expressed by writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor, publisher, or Complete Wellbeing. Using masculine pronouns ‘he’, ‘him’ or ‘his’ for subjects of unknown gender is considered prejudicial. We respect both genders and hence use feminine and masculine pronouns interchangeably. Complete Wellbeing is not responsible for advertising claims.

COMPLETE WELLBEING

20

RESOLVE >>

Self-help 34 Break the habit of judging others By Beverly Engel

EXPLORE >>

Relationships 38 The self-obsessed parent By David McDermott

Marriage and intimacy 52 A second chapter

Mind & emotions 46 Dealing with bipolar disorder

Parenting 80 Get your kids to eat healthy

Travel 92 Tiger sightings in Corbett

By Michelle Steinke

By Dina Rose

By Samindara Hardikar-Sawant

By Mitali Parekh

VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 03


90

DECIDE >>

Yoga 59 Can you self-learn yoga? By Laura Venecia Rodriguez

Self-help 66 How to love yourself unconditionally

By Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri

Living space 90 Seven ways to make a room look larger

By Maria Gracia

UNWIND >>

Humour 86 If Facebook would shut down By Johnny Virgil

41

MANAGE >> Career & workplace 30 Burn like a bonfire By Leo Babauta

Sleep 41 Why having a sleep routine is important By Joey Lott

DISCOVER >>

Marriage and intimacy 56 Why being married is like running a business By Phoebe Hutchison

Health & vitality 62 Don’t worry, be happy By Bijay Anand

50

UNLEARN >>

Relationships 50 Why being candid is not a bad thing

By PV Vaidyanathan

INDULGE >>

Food and nutrition 82 Zucchini recipes with a twist By Sreevalli

REGULARS >> 08 Events

10 Talkback 12 Happy happenings 16 Write notes

TRANSFORM >> Consciousness 70 Way of wisdom By Osho

74

To whom do you belong By JP Vaswani

37 Month freshener 76 CW Select 78 Confession Booth 88 Culture club 96 New kits on the block 98 Reflections

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COMPLETE WELLBEING


Happy happenings

She quit her job to construct toilets for salt pan labourers

The way a bus conductor conducts himself

FOR 24-YEAR-OLD SONAM DUMBRE, who was working as a sales executive in a reputed company in Mumbai, a visit to the SBI website changed her life. When she saw the SBI’s Youth for India fellowship, she decided to volunteer for it and soon found herself in the salt pans of Kovilthavu in Tamil Nadu—addressing the issues faced by the salt pan labourers. On interacting with the labourers, she got to know that most of them suffered from dehydration and poor health. There aren’t any toilets in the salt pans as it might lead to salt contamination. Due to this lack of toilets in the salt pans, the labourers are forced to travel a distance of at least one kilometre where they relieve themselves in the open. But this is not possible frequently so they consume less water to avoid frequent visits. Taking their plight into consideration, Sonam came up with a toilet design that could be constructed within salt pans. “The journey has transformed me completely… I feel great that I am doing something that will lead to a larger impact. The whole experience is liberating,” she says.

BASUKI NANDAN WAS commuting to office in a BMTC Volvo bus and it was only two-anda-half hours of ge ing down that he realised he had forgo en to collect his change of ` 420 from the conductor. He had li le hope of ge ing his money back, but he decided to try his luck. He visited the nearest bus depot to enquire about the bus, but was told to call on the general enquiry number that was provided on the ticket in order to get the details. He called the enquiry office and reproduced his ticket ID to the receptionist who was a ending to him and then asked for the conductor’s contact number. A er proper verification, the receptionist gave Basuki the number. He immediately called on the number and reminded the conductor that he hadn’t collected the change on route to ITPL. Right away, the conductor called him to meet and collect his dues. When Basuki met the conductor, he showed him the ticket and got his money back. The amount may not have been a lot, but the conductor’s honesty was precious.

19-YEAR-OLD ZHANG CHI is suffering from muscular dystrophy, a condition that affects the skeletal muscles, making it extremely difficult to walk. However, his best friend Xie Xu has been carrying him to school and around the corridors of their school located in Northern China just to ensure he doesn’t miss a single class. The pair lives in dorms close to their school. Xie carries Zhang around for at least 12 times in a day and also helps him with the cooking and washing—he has been doing so for the past three years. The deputy headmaster, Guo Chunxi said, “The story of the two students is so inspiring and touching. They aren’t family, but Xie has been doing this for three years. He’s the most beautiful student. He also exerts a positive influence on other students, who readily help Zhang. With their assistance, Zhang has never missed out on one single class.”

Pic for representational purpose only Pic: Licensed under [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Ramesh NG [flickr]

A friend to lean on—we mean that literally!

If you have an inspiring or heart-touching story or incident to share, email us at editorial@completewellbeing.com and we’ll publish your story here. References: www.sunnyskyz.com, www.logical.indian, www.goodnewsnetwork.org, Anant Education Initiative,

COMPLETE WELLBEING

https://www.facebook.com/DignityForWomen

VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 05


Discover

marriage & intimacy

THE BUSINESS OF

BEING MARRIED Drawing parallels between business and marriage, Phoebe Hutchison offers advice that will help you improve the quality of your relationship with your spouse manifold

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COMPLETE WELLBEING


Phoebe Hutchison is the author of Are You Listening? Life Is Talking to You and Honeymooners Forever: Twelve Step Marriage Survival Guide. She has worked extensively with couples and clients in crisis. Reach her at www.honeymoonersforever. com.au or www.areyoulistening.com.au

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE ge ing divorced? Why are so many people having trouble staying in a relationship? Why does being married seem so hard, to so many? Well, let’s look at what marriage is—it is two people living together, sharing all associated duties of their home and their lives. So, when you think about it, a marriage is similar to running a business, where people contribute in a team environment, towards a common goal. The business of being married is based on—supporting each other, being best friends, meeting each other’s needs, enjoying each other by being romantic and passionate, managing conflict, running a household, bringing up children, paying a mortgage and much more.

What you need is a strategy If we look at the model of running a business, different people would have different roles, and more importantly, there would be a strategy. People would have their designated roles and, if managed well, there would be few problems. Nonetheless, a good business runs smoothly, just like a good marriage does, on one condition: Everyone knows exactly what their roles are and happily fulfills their duties. These duties are based on a strategy. The strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Your strategy may include: Let’s talk every day [for at least 30 minutes] without distractions. Let’s reconnect once a week on an intimate date night, where we dress to impress, take the night off from cooking, and devote the night to enjoying each other. And let’s make passion a priority, so let’s go to bed early, more o en, and make time to make love! COMPLETE WELLBEING

What is not working? And of course, like a business, people don’t function well in their roles if there is tension. So we need to work out what causes the tension in a marriage—what is not working? So, let’s make time for serious discussions [meetings], and let’s have simple rules about these discussions. Let’s meet, let’s talk, let’s really listen to each other, treat each other with respect, and most importantly, let’s both get what we want and need from this relationship. I heard this quote years ago, “Angel at work and devil at home”. When at work, are you being kind and considerate to workmates, giving out compliments and smiling all day? That’s great… as long as you keep up the charm when you get home. Or are you too tired to be nice or listen to your partner when you get home? Do you sit on the couch, grab the remote control, and ignore your partner? So what do you think happens when you want to be intimate? Well, I can imagine how this turns out? A er 11 years of talking with married women, I have a theory about what I consider to be the biggest leg crosser, in women. It is resentment! Resentful women are not enthusiastic lovers. VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 07


A COUPLE WHO RESPECT EACH OTHER, SUPPORT EACH OTHER, ALLOW THE OTHER TO HAVE INDEPENDENCE, AND ARGUE WELL [EVEN OFTEN], VERY SELDOM END UP WITH RESENTMENT Resentments dissolve intimacy What causes resentment in marriage? A lot of things: Unresolved anger [usually from ineffective arguing], living together but not connecting, not making time for each other, and couples who a empt to control the other, and not allow them personal freedom. A couple who respect each other, support each other, allow the other to have independence, and argue well [even o en], very seldom end up with resentment. Most couples who are experiencing marriage issues need a be er argument strategy. So don’t be scared to argue, as arguing is a perfectly normal part of marriage. Simply ensure that arguments are resolved, issues are not swept under the carpet, and you avoid ‘sleeping on an argument’ or in separate beds. Yelling, name calling and long silent treatments must be avoided. Instead, own your feelings, and argue from an ‘I’ standpoint, without accusations. For example, instead of saying: ‘You lazy, good for nothing, slob! You never help me around the house, or with the kids!’ You may wish to say: ‘I feel really overwhelmed today, and I’d really love just a few minutes help. It takes time to change the way we interact, but it’s only a habit, and a habit can be changed in as li le as 21 days. So here are six tips for running your marriage as you would run a business:

1

Use a strategy. Ensure that your daily routine includes quality ‘talk time’ with your partner, and your weekly routine includes date nights, time for passion, and family time each day, and on the weekends.

2

Have designated roles. To avoid confusion and frustration, ensure everyone has a role, and adheres to it. For example, you may be the cook in the household, your child may take the rubbish out, and your partner may help with the dishes. If these roles are well defined, tension will be reduced, creating a more peaceful household.

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3

Effective communication of needs. If both parties are communicating their needs using ‘I’ statements, thus being assertive instead of aggressive, the home will be a happier place. For example, if one partner does not pursue their hobbies, they may feel restricted and oppressed, which could lead to a depressed state. In an ideal marriage, each partners’ needs are met in the relationship and in life. It’s vital that these needs are communicated!

4

Treat one another with respect. Just as you treat your workmates with respect and kindness, get into the habit of listening, caring and being considerate with your family members. Neither of you should ever swear, beli le, or raise your voice at the other.

5

Have regular meetings. To reduce the chances of resentment, communication must be efficient. If you need to discuss anything, particularly about needs that are not met, hurt feelings, anger and so on, schedule a meeting. Conduct this meeting in a quiet place, with no disruptions such as television or computers. Feel free to have a glass of water, a pen and paper, and take turns in speaking and listening.

6

Conflict Management. If either of you become angry, ensure you calm down first, before speaking. Schedule a meeting for later that day or night, and talk in a professional manner, using ‘I’ statements and avoid the blame game by using ‘you’ statements—stay focussed on your own needs, not your partner’s shortcomings.

Don’t become emotionally bankrupt. Use a strategy to ‘run your marriage’, stay on track and be happy. To subscribe to Complete Wellbeing, send ‘CW SUB’ to 07738387787

COMPLETE WELLBEING


MONTH FRESHENER Infuse life into your days 1

World Milk day Treat yourself to a glass of your favourite milk shake for breakfast.

TUE

2

WED

3

Donating a pint of blood can save four lives. It could be your good deed of the month!

4

WED

For healthy gums and glowing skin, eat amla, the richest source of vitamin C.

THU

Make a room smell nice by spraying some perfume on an unlit bulb. The bulb will spread the fragrance when it gets heated.

FRI

How about leaving a thank you note for your loved one before leaving for work today?

11

12

FRI

World Environment day Plant a tree in honour of someone you love and nurture it.

SAT

Pop some cash in an envelope and send it to someone having a hard time financially; they will remember it forever.

6

17

10

THU

5

WED

SAT

13

SUN

14

THU

18

Before getting out of bed in the morning, do 10 stomach crunches.

FRI

Spend the day in company of the things you really love—books, music, family or friends.

MON

Avoid reading any tragic news today and stay positive all day.

26

FRI

19

SAT

If you have any surplus books in good condition, donate them to a library or a senior citizen’s centre.

SUN

Father’s day Book a membership at a gym for your dad—he is going to love this gift!

20

21

Plan a surprise candlelight dinner for your spouse—a perfect beginning for a romantic weekend.

29

TUE

30

WED

7

8

For an instant facial, rub a slice of cucumber on your skin. It is great for dark circles too.

25

SUN

MON

THU

31

World Ocean’s day Show your concern by volunteering to clean the beach in your city.

TUE

16

WED

24

Wash your brand new clothes before wearing them to soften the fabric and remove any toxic or skin-harming chemicals.

MY NOTE

Go cycling—it’s fun [besides keeping you fit and healthy]. If you don’t own a cycle, borrow one. www.completewellbeing.com

MON

June 2015


Decide

self-help

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COMPLETE WELLBEING


htoomyoeurself Come

Want to know the secret to health, happiness and peace? It is to love yourself unconditionally, says Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri

We o en find it hard to love ourselves, so loving another and allowing ourselves to be loved, seems like a different trajectory altogether. So how does one love, especially in the face of stress, anxiety and strains of daily life? Why does it become so difficult to look beyond the feelings of anger, doubt, fear and hurt? How can we actually love unconditionally? Is it even possible? Unconditional love is not just a concept, it is a reality. The truth is, to love unconditionally, you need to dive deep into the ‘self’ and do the inner work of unconditional acceptance. To heal the past, allow and accept it the way it is, free from all judgment and expectation.

It makes life effortless In reality, loving unconditionally makes life effortless. It can release stress in a millisecond. When you give up the story of expectation, blame, fear and control, it can be experienced in every moment, no ma er what is transpiring on the outside. My journey to unconditional love started COMPLETE WELLBEING

with the question—how do I love all of me? It was only when I hit rock-bo om that I was ready to go within. Soon, I learnt over 200 methods of alternate therapy and wellness and now, I teach others how to be free from the past and live in the moment. The secret to health, happiness and peace is unconditional love. Below are some of the keys to mastering the art of unconditional love:

and accept even in the face of stress 1 Love

One of my greatest teachers of unconditional love has been my mother. I recall an incident when I was 13 years old and hormonal. My mother walked into my bedroom to just say hello to me, an innocent hello. Yet my response was in the language of rage and anger, “I hate you mom. Leave me alone. Go away!” My mother looked at me with so much love, it extinguished all else. She did not u er a word, she le the room leaving me consumed in her love. She is an example of unconditional love. Even at the face of her daughter towering her rage at her, she still exuded love. Mom knew in her heart of hearts that her daughter was going through some pain on the inside and it was being VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 11


Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri, PhD is a heart-centered dynamic leader in the field of wellness, personal development and spirituality. She graduated from Oxford University and now leads a global learning organisation. www. vitalitylivingcollege.info

projected outwardly. For many years, I felt guilty and sad of having spoken to my mom in a language that took control of me in the spur of a moment. I did not have the courage to go up to her and say sorry. And yet, when I learnt to love and accept myself fully, I had the humility to be seek her forgiveness and, most importantly, forgive myself. Love tip 1. To love and accept at the face of stress, breathe in and out and say to yourself, “Even though I am stressed out, I still choose to love and accept myself fully. I am love. I am love. I am love.” Breathe in and out again.

within, no maĴer what is transpiring on the outside. We ought to realise that the other person is just operating from their frame or model of the world and it is not personal. Love tip 3. When triggered, breathe and stand on the ground and say out loud, “I release you now. I release this trigger. I am safe. I am strong. I choose to be confident in myself. I am love”

yourself first and then 4 Love others

Love tip 2. To love yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, while tapping slightly below your collar bone, “Even though I have judged you and verbally abused you, I am so sorry, please forgive me. I deeply and profoundly love and accept you, just the way you are.”

Heart-break, separation/divorce, job loss or grief can be great springboards to open to self love. Hurt hurts, loss creates loss and separation is like being ripped from the illusion of ‘safety’ to the truth of who I really am. A patient of mine came to see me about an issue in her personal life where she had met someone whom she considered to be her soul mate and had the most exhilarating 10 days of her life with. She was sucked into a fairy tale romance and had a single-minded focus on her beloved. Then, suddenly, it broke and she broke inwardly with it. Every single day, she would come home from work and lock herself in her bedroom and cry uncontrollably. She could not get him out of her mind and she became stuck in a vortex of grief, loss, separation, anxiety, anger and despair. Even when confronted with all that pain and trauma, she still found it in her heart to do the inner work. To go within and to empty out all the pain and to accept it… and him. Eventually, through the process work, she had a spontaneous opening into unconditional love and the veil of physical and romantic love stripped away. The past addiction to being needed and cared for disappeared and all that remained was unconditional self love and acceptance.

3

Love tip 4. For self love, get present to this moment and just breathe. Just this moment. Breathe in and out and notice who you really are.

yourself just the 2 Love way you are

My body has been one of my teachers of unconditional love. AĞer the age of 13, I started to increase in size and began to gather puppy fat, which grew into an excess of 30kg over the years. I became tired, lethargic, angry, sad and alone. I was at war with my body and whenever I looked in the mirror, I used to abuse myself internally and say really nasty things to myself about my body—you are ugly, I hate you, I do not like you, you are so fat, nobody loves you. Meanwhile, I was eating healthy and had a regular exercise routine, and yet not even 0.01kg of my weight shiĞed. How could it, when I was holding onto all the weight? Only when I truly accepted myself for just being the way I was that my weight finally began to leave my body.

Stay strong in self-love, even when triggered from the outside

Our greatest teachers of unconditional love are the ones closest to us—our loved ones, significant other, children, parents, family, bosses and work colleagues—those we interact with on a day-to-day basis and those who know exactly which buĴons to press and how to trigger us. Unconditional love is about developing inner confidence and staying strong 12 „ JUNE 2015 „ VOL IX ISSUE 08

Loving unconditionally involves separating yourself from the illusion and coming home to ‘Self’, free from judgment and expectation in total and complete allowance and acceptance of what is. To subscribe to Complete Wellbeing, send ‘CW SUB’ to 07738387787

COMPLETE WELLBEING


New kits on the block

newly launched products and services

Limited edition power banks from Boat

A

er the successful launch of Bluetooth speakers, Boat has launched its limited edition power bank. It comes with a bold design and is available in a range of trendy a ractive colours like pink, red, blue, black and yellow. It features dual USB ports which enable you to connect and charge two electronic devices simultaneously. Price: ` 1490 – ` 3999

YaP Organics range TM

from VLCC

R

Saberry drink mix from SAMI Direct

T

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elax and refresh your tired muscles with the YaPTM Organics range, consisting of products combining the finest and most efficacious ayurvedic herbal oils and ingredients. It provides a refreshing and soothing feel to your tired muscles on every application. This is suitable to use before and a er gym, sports activities, long drives and a er work. This range is available in gel, oil and spray forms. Price: On request

Make up removal wipes from Epique

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hese oil-free cleansing and makeup removal wipes rejuvenate your skin with every use. Enriched with vitamin E and aloe vera, these alcohol free wipes gently clear the dirt, makeup, oil as well as waterproof mascara, leaving you with healthy, hydrated, refreshed and smooth skin. An easy solution to renew and repair your skin during the summers. Price: ` 400

The information provided in this section is only on an as-is basis; Complete Wellbeing is not associated with the products listed here and does not endorse them. To have your product listed, email us on editorial@completewellbeing.com. Complete Wellbeing reserves the right to refuse publishing information about a product without providing any reason whatsoever.

COMPLETE WELLBEING

VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 13


Trending this month

Discover a surprisingly effective technique to help you to

14 „ JUNE 2015 „ VOL IX ISSUE 08

COMPLETE WELLBEING


Breaking a habit or inculcating a new one is always a challenge. We start off with grandiose goals and plans but soon find that it is almost impossible to keep the momentum going. Our old pa ern creeps in from the back door and we are back to the starting point. But what if you discovered a way to bring in lasting change? Caroline Arnold offers you a technique that will ensure you never again break a promise you make to yourself. What is the power of one small behavioural change to improve life prospects? Can a single shiĞ in behaviour really lead to beĴer health, stronger relationships, greater success at work, increased financial security or a more orderly existence? You can answer this question for yourself simply by examining your self-improvement objectives. If your goal is to lose weight, is it because you woke up 5kg overweight this morning? More likely you woke up 15 grams overweight on many mornings [around 333 mornings, to be exact]. Did the overflowing pile on your desk materialise in an instant, or did it creep up one razor-thin paper at a time? Did your relationship sour due to a single, epic argument, or did small gestures of disrespect and discontent slowly creep into your daily interactions? Did you fail to complete a top priority at work because you deliberately ignored it day a er day, or did a hundred small distractions keep you from ever gaining traction?

It’s the margins that matter Once you acknowledge the power of small actions to create a negative effect, it’s easy to understand how just one behavioural change can create a positive trend with lasting results. The truth that I discovered for myself and wrote COMPLETE WELLBEING

about in my book Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently is that the real action in personal development happens at the margin of our behaviour, what I sometimes call the vital margin. While it’s heartening to believe that we can transform ourselves from the inside out with a single decree-to-self to become fit, slender, organised, on time, thri y or clu er free, the real traction in personal development comes from targeting marginal behavioural changes and practising them until they stick. In self-improvement, it’s working the margin that gives you the edge. Let’s take a simple example of how a small move can lead to a big change in a classic selfimprovement area: diet. Dropping pounds weighs in at number one on the global list of New Year’s resolutions, a midnight pledge that o en leads to a crash diet which itself crashes a er a only a week or two of effort. As an alternative to taking such drastic actions, what might the benefits be of making a microresolution not to eat a er dinner?

>> >> >> >> >>

Fewer calories consumed Be er sleep [smaller digestive load] Earlier bedtime [because food acts as a stimulant] Be er hormonal balance [because the key hormones that regulate appetite and satiation require 7.7 hours of sleep] Increased appetite for breakfast [the most important meal of the day]. VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 15


As if that weren’t enough, a new study 1 conducted by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, and published in Cell, demonstrates that restricting food consumption to a 12-hour period creates the conditions for maintaining a trim profile. The study found that rats whose eating was limited to 12-hour time span were leaner and healthier than rats fed the same number of calories without time restrictions. Rats that got fat eating around the clock lost weight when they were switched to the restricted hour regime. This is just the latest piece of research demonstrating that when you eat can be as important as what you eat, and that a change at the margin can have a big impact. New weight loss models reinforce that trimming calories at the margin of your daily diets can have a major impact on weight loss. For every 100 calories you eliminate [that extra piece of bread, half cup of rice, a cookie], you’ll lose ten pounds over three years, five in the first year. The key to lasting weight loss is identifying routine eating behaviours that can be modified to achieve a sustainable reduction in calories. Do you

MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION IS TO QUIT SMOKING!

16 „ JUNE 2015 „ VOL IX ISSUE 08

eat while cooking? While clearing up? Do you accompany every beer with a he y snack? Just one or two adjustments to your eating routine can reverse an upward weight trend. A er years of desperate dieting with no long-term results, I began targeting small behavioural changes through microresolutions and lost 22 pounds in about 14 months [and kept it off ]. My very first microresolution: never to eat a conference room cookie again.

The role of routine Understanding the role routine plays in your life is critical for success in self-improvement. Most of your daily activity is managed by a kind of personal autopilot, operating mindlessly in the background while you’re thinking big thoughts, solving problems, and experiencing new things. You don’t have to concentrate to tie your shoes, lock the front door, or navigate to the bus stop—autopilot does that for you. But autopilot also snags that last sweet le by the coffee machine, skips the gym and snaps at a loved one. Learning how to re-engineer an autopilot routine to your advantage is the key to sustainable selfimprovement. Autopilot’s genius is its very mindlessness. Its quiet efficiency ensures that you have adequate mental capacity to meet challenges in professional and personal life. The precious commodity we call willpower is widely misunderstood to be a facet of personality, and we o en accuse ourselves of being weak in character when we fail to keep our resolutions. But willpower is actually a neurological function, part of a limited pool of mental resources that also includes decision-making and active initiative. Whenever you exercise willpower, make decisions, or initiate action you are making debits against this scarce resource. Reforming autopilot means shi ing behaviours that are operating mindlessly in the background to the foreground where they require conscious effort. The grander your personal

1 hĴp://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S15504131%2814%2900498-7

COMPLETE WELLBEING


makeover plan, the more behaviours you must move from mindless to mindful, from easy to effortful. Most New Year’s resolutions are so ambitious that they are a virtual declaration of war on autopilot. Dozens of behaviours you would normally pay no a ention to must now be consciously managed. The effort of enforcing all this behaviour change is emotionally stressful and mentally expensive. This is why over 90 per cent of New Year’s resolutions end in defeat— willpower is generally no match for autopilot. But once you understand the dynamics governing personal change, you can leverage them to your advantage. By narrowly targeting a behavioural shi , you can conserve enough willpower to sustain your new routine until it becomes habit. That new behaviour will support you for a lifetime with hardly a conscious thought once it works itself into autopilot. The genius of a microresolution is that it creates mindfulness around a behaviour pa ern in order for that behaviour to ultimately become mindless autopilot.

The rules of microresolutions So, what’s the first step in making a microresolution? Begin by examining a routine in an area of your life that you’d like to improve and zero in on a single behaviour change that you believe will have an impact and be sustainable. Then cra your microresolution according to the rules below, and off you go!

Rule #1: Don’t make resolutions you can’t keep — A microresolution is easy A microresolution is a resolution you absolutely have the power to keep—a no excuses resolution.

Autopilot snags that last sweet left by the coffee machine, skips the gym and snaps at a loved one

Resist that fatal impulse to go for broke and stretch your commitment to the breaking point; instead focus your microresolution on a reasonable behavioural change you are sure you can sustain. Let’s take the general goal to be fit as a starting point. If you decide that a good way to increase your fitness level is by walking more and you don’t walk much now, suddenly resolving to walk to work every day wouldn’t be reasonable or realistic. Instead, commit to walking just one day [or walking half the way, or parking your car in the furthest reaches of the lot]. Your microresolution should represent a small change to your routine as it exists today, rather than what you hope your routine will become tomorrow. Your aim should be to master a simple behavioural change that will improve your fitness at the margin. Feel like walking more than one day this week? Go ahead! A microresolution doesn’t limit what you may do, only what you commit to do. I started out with a microresolution to walk one day a week and now I walk every single day unless something major intervenes. Walking has now become my preference, but I began by forcing myself to walk just once a week. Had

Begin by examining an area of your life that you’d like to improve and zero in on a single behaviour change that you believe will have an impact and be sustainable COMPLETE WELLBEING

VOL IX ISSUE 08 „ JUNE 2015 „ 17


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Break that pattern - June 2015  

Discover a surprisingly effective technique to help you change your life

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