a monthly newsletter from Traci Duez & Break Free Consulting
because You Succeed "Head First"!
Resolutions and Change
You've made it to a New Year! This is the time of year
when you may be reminiscing about 2008 and making plans
for 2009. This can be both exciting and
Have you made any
resolutions? Resolutions are all about change. I like to
think of it as being all about GROWTH. (Change is
more difficult and sometimes feared, where as growth is
a natural process of living.)
Have you struggled with your
resolutions in the past? If so, we'll take a look
at change (growth) together in this newsletter and
hopefully, you'll be able to implement the steps
needed at the
end to realize your potential in 2009. Let's get
Change is Hard!
I bet you already knew that
change was hard but I bet you don't know just how hard it
Change or Die
What if that was your choice for
2009? Really. I'm not joking here. What if you had to change
or you died? I'm talking about life and death - YOUR life or
death. What if a super-smart, trusted authority figure
approached you and said you had to make difficult and
permanent changes in the way you think and act or your life
would end soon, would you be able to do it?
"Yes", you say?
Really? Try again.
"Yes!!", you say
with more emphasis as if I didn't hear you the first time.
The truth is you are probably
deluding yourself. You wouldn't change. Not if it was
too uncomfortable or difficult.
Don't believe me, [fname]?
Let's look at the statistics:
Let's look at
patients with severe heart disease who have undergone
coronary bypass surgery, a traumatic and expensive
procedure that can cost more than $100,000 if
complications arise. About 600,000 people go through
this procedure every year in the United States and
another 1.3 million patients have angioplasties - all at
a cost of about $30 billion. These procedures
temporarily relive chest pains but rarely prolong lives
or prevent future heart attacks. Many patients could
AVOID the need for repeat surgery or repeat chest pain -
not to mention changing the course of their disease and
adding years to their lives - simply by switching to a healthier
lifestyle. Yet, very few do. Their lives are at
significantly greater risk unless they exercise and lose
weight, and they clearly see the value of changing their
behavior. But, after just two years, over 90% of them don’t follow through.
Even though they know they have a very bad
disease and they know they should change their
lifestyle habits, for whatever reason, they don't.
There are people in the
legislative and executive branches of the US government who preach
about improving healthcare in the US. Yet, for the last 50
years, even with all the advances in technology and medical care, the US is
still plagued by the same five issues that it had
back in the 1950's. Eighty percent (80%) of the healthcare budget in
the US - estimated to be $2.4 TRILLION dollars annually = 15% of our
economy = over 50% of the US Federal Budget (minus the
bailout money) - is spent on these five issues.
If you could change these 5
problems, you would solve all of the healthcare issues here in the
US. That's amazing, isn't it. So, what are these
5 issues? They are all behavioral and VERY
Have you ever tried to change
any of these things in your life? Are any of these things on
your list of changes (again) for 2009?
Change is Pain!
Pardon me for a minute, but I'm
going to talk to you about your brain so that you can
understand why change is hard and why it is painful.
When you are using your active
brain (prefrontal cortex) to think about new things, it
takes a lot of energy. Your brain, however, likes to
conserve energy so when you think the same thoughts over and
over, your brain moves those thoughts to your habit center
(basal ganglia). The habit center functions exceedingly well
without conscious thought on any routine activity. Moving
thoughts from the working memory to the habit center frees
up your working memory for more thinking. It's a fantastic
Now, your habit center is
operating on automatic - sort of like the transmission in
your car. It will shift among its thought patterns of deeply
held habits for you - without conscious effort. Trying to
now change these deeply held habits requires your brain to
work harder. You've now got to apply a lot more attention to
your brain and use your prefrontal cortex which is
physically and psychologically uncomfortable. Why?
Because of the second part of
the equation... your brain is wired to detect "errors".
(That is why it's much easier to criticize than praise.)
"Errors" are perceived differences between expectations and
actuality or reality. When your brain notices errors, there are intense
bursts of energy that come from neural firing. These error
signals are generated by a part of the brain called the
orbital frontal cortex. Located above the eyeballs, it is
closely connected to the brain’s fear circuitry, which
resides in a structure called the amygdala. So, when your
behavior is contrary to your habit, your brain detects it to be in 'error'.
There is a lot of
activity going on in your brain - some of it you can
actually "feel" in terms of muscle tightness, headaches,
pressure behind your eyes and so on. These error messages
grab your attention, and they can readily overpower your
rational thought. It takes a strong will to push past
these mental activities, but YOU can do it.
Change is Possible!
So, now you may be asking why I
have spread such 'cheerful' news to you in this New Year.
Well, I've told you all the difficulties regarding making
changes, but there is also a lot of good news.
YOU CAN CHANGE!!
Yes, it will be hard and yes, it
may even be painful - but that doesn't mean it isn't
Of all the abilities that you
have been given, the greatest is that of change. Think about
it, no matter where you are in your life today, you can
change for the better. And, throughout the year, my
newsletters are going to focus on just that... change and
So, where do we start? All
real, lasting change involves changing the way that you
think, the way that your brain processes information,
expectations, and perceptions. We will work on changing your
Now, many gurus out there
emphasize focusing on your end-goal... that big dream
that you want to achieve. (Let's say it's losing 30 pounds.)
Some will even tell you to put pictures of that dream around your
house, on your bathroom mirror, and add a date to it as to
when you will achieve that dream or goal. (So, that would
mean you should put up pictures of a beach or swimwear or an
article of clothing that you'd like to fit into.) DON'T DO
IT!! Sure, you have to have a destination in mind, but
it doesn't have to be constantly shoved in your face every
day reminding you that you aren't there. That can be VERY
frustrating (as you have probably already found out).
Frustration can be a motivator but for most of the
population it is NOT. In fact, for most of the population is
does just the opposite. (Studies have shown that only 1-2% of the
population is positively influenced by this 'cognitive
Instead, try these steps
to get you going in the right direction:
Focus on the little things.
Have you ever noticed that when something big catches
your attention you stop to stare at it? You see a hot
air balloon going across the sky or big machinery
building a bridge. That is soooo cool! It is
almost mesmerizing. Well, my friend, that is exactly
what can happen if you focus your attention on your big
goal. You will stop, you will stare, and in the meantime,
you will not be taking any action. Standing in the
middle of the road watching the unusual 'big' event
occurring won't get you closer to the event although it
may get you run over by a moving vehicle.
So, focus on the little things... what should you
do today or tomorrow to get you closer to your goal? If
you're trying to lose those 30 pounds, don't focus on 30
pounds, focus on making the right choices for breakfast,
lunch, dinner and snacks... focus on exercising a little
more... focus on taking the stairs - even if just for a
flight or two - instead of taking the elevator. Do the
little things EVERY day.
Focus on the little things... Why not let at
least one car per day cut in front of you (instead of
racing to block them)? (Is that 3 seconds really
going to matter?) Why not wipe your nose on a
Kleenex instead of your sleeve? Why not take your
dishes to the sink instead of leaving them on the table?
Why not put your dirty clothes all the way into the
hamper instead of leaving them on the floor? Why not
park in the first space you see when you go to the store
or mall instead of trying to win the "I parked really,
really close" (so somehow I'm better than the person who
parked farther away) competition ?
Make your decisions ONCE.
Do you realize how much time and energy you could save
if you just made your decisions once? What does that
mean? Well, let's look at the goal above of losing 30
pounds... if you decided today (and decided to decide
only once) that tomorrow you were going to limit your
caloric intake to a certain number (say, 1200 calories -
300/meal and 3-100 calorie snacks) and eat healthy
foods, then tomorrow you when you saw the leftover
cookies and candy from the holidays, you wouldn't have
to decide whether or not to eat them because you made
that decision yesterday.
Or, let's say that you decide to get up 30 minutes early
tomorrow morning to workout. Now, it's tomorrow
morning, since you already made the decision, when your
alarm goes off you don't have to re-make it. When the
alarm goes off, you just get up (regardless of how you
"feel") and follow-through on your decision to work-out.
What would be different in your life if you just made
your decisions ONCE? Can you imagine it? You've decided
to do the little things, so when someone doesn't hold
the elevator for you, you don't get frustrated or angry
because you decided that you were going to take the
stairs up a couple of flights and get the extra
Learn to FORGIVE yourself and
KEEP MOVING in the direction of forming new, good habits.
When did you start believing that you had to be perfect
or that mistakes were "bad"?
Many of my clients talk about their fear of failure or
making mistakes. This year, embrace your mistakes! John Maxwell
wrote an entire book on the subject: "Failing
Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for
Success". You can't reach success without failing.
Did you get that? You can not possibly ever reach
success without failing. So, don't fear it - embrace it.
Forgiveness is simply the act of releasing an
expectation which is causing you to suffer. Expectations
only exist in your mind. Instead of standing
still and staring at the "big" mistake, put it into
perspective... you can't do anything about it now except
learn from it. Shift your expectation
to a positive preference or position. This way
you won't be frozen but will keep
moving in a positive direction...
on the little things (that you can control) and
your decisions once.
Og Mandino says, "In
truth, the only difference between those who have failed and
those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their
habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad
habits are the unlocked door to failure... As a child I was
slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are
all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years
of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have
already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my
future. My actions are ruled by appetite, passion,
prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the
worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be
a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My
bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for
good seed. I will form good habits and become their slave."
Practice these three simple
steps throughout 2009 and you will become "a slave to good
habits" - habits that you consciously created by doing the
right things every day.
and my passion is helping you to do these three steps by teaching you to
understand your current thought habits and their impact on
your present and future. If you'd like to learn more, please
give me a call - it won't cost you anything, but it might
just change your life.
also try a pain-free 20 minute assessment by
clicking the link on the right. You will get your
results via an emailed web-link (I don't have access to
them.) You can then talk to me about them in your free 30
minute consultation where you can share as much or as little
of your results as you'd like. If you like what you see,
then we can talk about the next step.
have already tried the 6 Advisors assessment and are ready
to drastically improve your world, please check out the
group coaching that will be starting in January and
February (top right side of this email). You can also
sign-up for personalized, individual coaching with me as
look forward to adding value to your life in 2009!
Vol. 3, Issue 5
Click here to view online.
Upcoming Leadership Coaching Classes
Plan to achieve your success in 2009!!
January 27, 2009
7:30 - 8:30 P.M.
February 20, 2009
11:30 - 12:30 P.M.
ALL Classes are
limited to the FIRST 12 registrants!
2009 Speaking Engagements
PMI Houston - North
Spring, Texas 77379
6:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
PMI Houston - Galleria
5430 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77056
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
PMI Clear Lake /
Mario's Flying Pizza and Italian Restaurant
618 W Nasa Rd 1
Webster, TX 77598
5:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
PMI Syracuse, NY
Genesee Grand Hotel
1060 East Genesee Street
Syracuse , NY 13210 (315) 701-4319
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
PMI Rochester, NY
7:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
PMI Buffalo, NY
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
PMI New York City
1290 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Ave) between W 51st and W 52nd
Streets, 6th Floor
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can
start today and make a new ending."
- Maria Robinson
"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life
- Keri Russell
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are
for what you could become."
"If you don't create change, change will create you."
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."
finished changing, you're finished."
"When we are no
longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change
"The great thing
is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as
interruptions in one's "own" or "real" life. The truth is, of
course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely
"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
- Mary Engelbreit
"Change can be a scary word so don't focus on change. Focus
on GROWTH. Sure, you can't grow without changing, but at least
with growth you'll know you're headed in the right direction."
Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success
difference between achieving people and average people is
their perception of and response to failure. This book shows
you how to master fear instead of being mastered by it.
FREE 30 minute
I promise it will be well worth your time.