Why Breaking a Habit Is So Important

Do you have more good habits than bad ones? Name three habits that you would like to get rid of right now. I could name five of them easily!

Most of us are dukes of habit, and it’s normal. Habits help us perform tasks that don’t require a lot of thinking. However, sometimes they become our enemies. When we do too many things without consideration, we don’t leave enough room for creativity. Our moves and our behaviors become predictable, and we don’t give ourselves enough food for new ideas.

If you want to train your creative muscle, it’s time to break some of those habits. They might be absolutely harmless, like taking a certain route to work, or sitting at a certain place at your dinner table. Nevertheless, try to change your standard way of thinking and doing things. Allow yourself to acquire new habits and adopt changes into your life.

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Listen to a different radio station
  • Go to a new coffee shop
  • Choose a different kind of tea or coffee
  • Eat something unusual for breakfast
  • Go to a restaurant that you’ve never been before
  • Pick a newspaper that you’ve never read before
  • Try a new recipe
  • Go for a run instead of biking
  • Bike instead of going to a gym
  • Take up photography, dancing, pottery or any other new hobby
  • Try learning a new skill every month
  • Change your morning and evening routines

There could be more options, but I am sure you got the idea. The most important thing is to break the habitual cycles that block creative way of thinking. Try to change just one thing tomorrow, I dare you! ūüôā ¬†And then tell us which one you changed!

 

To Sleep or Not to Sleep, That Is The Question

150513194606-01-better-sleep-exlarge-169It’s not really a question, whether we should sleep or not. A lot¬†of research proves that sleep is extremely important for being able to function normally during the day. However, the biggest question for me is – how much and when.

Should I sleep 7-8 hours like Arianna Huffington and many others suggest? Or should I sleep 5-6 hours like many successful entrepreneurs claim they do? When should we go to bed and when is it better to wake up? There are so many controversial opinions, and all of them seem credible. How can we choose the right answer for us?

As a matter of fact, having read a lot of articles and books on productivity, I can say that everything is individualized. We all should experiment and find our own perfect magic number.

How much?

In fact, in the last two years I’ve been experimenting with sleep and got interesting results. It seems my perfect number is 6.15 – 6 hours, 15 minutes. Presumably, this is the amount of sleep that my body needs to feel rested¬†and wake up energized. Several experiments showed that sleeping even a few¬†minutes longer made me groggy and tired. However, there were cases when I slept 5 hours 15 minutes or 7 hours 15 minutes, and the result was also not bad.

When?

Another question arises – when should we go to bed and wake up? I think it depends on your schedule. Some people can go to bed early because they are home after 6. For others (like me) it’s impossible because we come home from work after 10. In the same way, it’s hard to state one perfect formula for getting up in the morning.

Another set of my experiments proved that going to bed before 12 am helps to sleep more efficiently. I wake up more rested than after going to bed at 2 am, even if the amount of sleep was less.

Conclusions

All things considered, we can make a conclusion – every person is unique. You should try to experiment and find your own formula of efficient sleep.

Share with us in the comments below what is the best time for you to go to bed and wake up. How much do you usually sleep? Is it easy for you to get out of bed?

How to Become a Marathoner

TUK_2301Have you ever wondered if running a marathon or at least a 10K is for you? I want to assure you – yes it is. If you think you can’t do it, I have good news for you, my friend. Anybody can do it with enough motivation and training.

Almost 6 years ago my friend encouraged me to run a marathon. “No way!”, I said to him then. Little did I know that one year later he would be meeting me at the finish line of my first marathon in rainy Venice.

So, what do you need to run your first marathon? I will share 5 most important points with you. In the same way, you can apply them to a half-marathon or any other race. As a matter of fact, it’s much wiser to start with an easier race than 26 miles. So, let’s dive in.

1. Motivation

If you’ve ever tried to accomplish anything without motivation, you know how hard it may be. You could force yourself, but it won’t last long. Eventually, you will say to yourself – enough, I’m done with this. Motivation is what keeps us going. It’s like fuel for a car or power for a computer.

Find your motivation. Would you like to lose weight and feel more confident about the way you look? Or maybe, you have been running for years, and now you feel like it’s time to take it to another level? Perhaps, you’re like me, and you need an upcoming race to motivate you to run every day. Whatever it is that drives¬†you, use it for your benefit. Take advantage of it and let it motivate you to start preparing for your first marathon.

Strangely enough, but my decision to run that¬†first marathon was motivated by the desire to show my boyfriend that I can. I was also desperately trying to connect with him and running was our common interest. Paradoxically, we broke up two days after the race, but I am still thankful to him for inspiring me to run a marathon. It was an incredible experience and honestly, it got me addicted. There’s nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line and hearing the cheer of hundreds of people you don’t even know!!!

2. A race planned

Frankly speaking, I am not a very disciplined person. I always strive to be one, but it doesn’t come easy. So, getting myself out of bed and out of the apartment to go for a run is a constant struggle. There’s one huge motivation that helps me get into running clothes and get out of the door – a future marathon or a half-marathon.

My friend Debbie and I love traveling to different cities and countries to run races. It’s our way of seeing the world and experience new cultures. Moreover, it’s a great motivator for me – if we have a race scheduled, I know I have to train for it.

LGC_5132Therefore, after you got your motivation to become a marathoner, you need to plan a race. First of all, check if there’s one nearby. Probably, there’s a marathon or a half coming up in your own city. Otherwise, look through possibilities to travel within your country or even abroad. Believe me, it’s going to be a fascinating adventure for you and those you’ll be¬†traveling with.

 3. Training for a race

As soon as you have a race scheduled, it’s time to start training for it. There are lots of different training plans for beginners. If you can’t find anything decent, message me, and I will send you the plan I was using for many years. It’s doable even for those who don’t like to run much, but would love to finish a marathon.

Training for a race is extremely important even if you don’t care about the result, but only hope to finish. Your legs and your whole body are most likely not used to such extreme challenge. You need to train your muscles, your core and your legs so that on the race day you can endure pain and fatigue.

Don’t try to run without preparation. You might be able to accomplish it, but the consequences will show themselves much later.

4. Clothes

When I first started running, I didn’t think much about clothes. I grabbed the first thing that looked like it was for fitness, put it on and went out. Later, when my milage started growing,¬†I realised how crucial it was to wear the right shoes and the right clothes.

For instance, if you run in a cotton T-shirt or shorts made of natural fabric, you might¬†have bloody wounds on your skin after 40-60 min of running. It turns out to avoid chafing you should run in clothes made of wicking material. It will absorb moisture and won’t rub your skin creating sores.

Similarly, you should be careful with what type of running shoes you’re wearing. A lot of people try minimalist shoes nowadays. I am a big fan of my 4 mm heel drop shoes – they are light, easy to run in and have helped me avoid¬†injury for 5 years already. There’s so much to talk about when it comes to clothes and shoes. So, I might write a separate blog just about that. The story of my experiment with “barefoot” running is worth telling.

5. Food

When you’re preparing for a race, it’s very important to watch what you eat. First and foremost, fat, greasy food should be avoided. It’s bad for us even if we’re not going to run a marathon. Next, you need to make sure you have a balanced diet – protein, unsaturated fats, carbohydrates, necessary minerals and vitamins.

TUK_2108Also, when your race day is approaching, it’s important to train your body to eat the same food before the long run. In this case you will know what to expect when you have the same meal the evening before your marathon. Usually people try to eat carbs (pasta, not greasy pizza) the evening before and something light in the morning. A piece of white bread with jam or honey and a banana for breakfast have worked miracles for me.

Another thing to remember is fuelling during your marathon. If you’re going to run a 5K or a 10K, even a half-marathon, you might be ok without any food during the race. However, if you plan to run 26 miles (42 km), it’s important to have special energy gels or bars along with you. Don’t forget to try them during your training. Your body should be used to them and not surprise you with sudden cramps at the race.

Bringing it all together

In conclusion, running a marathon is an incredible adventure that is totally worth our efforts. When you cross the finish line, the feeling of relief, accomplishment and personal victory will be a great reward for everything that you have to endure.

Overcome Fear

What is fear, really? “An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” It’s just an emotion, sometimes strong, sometimes not. Why are we so affected by it? Why do we let it rule our lives and tell us what to do and what not to do?

Fear can be very useful when we need to flee from danger. However, more often it paralyses us when what we really need is to act.

I have recently watched a movie called “Arrival”. It’s about the power of communication and the value of human contact and unity. What struck me the most is the behavior of a woman-scientist. ¬†She was extremely scared, it was obvious, but it didn’t stop her from stepping forward and going into the unknown. As a result of her conquered fear she was able to save humanity from destruction.

In our life and business we face much simpler tasks and dangers. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that our fears have no power to cause destruction. The scale is smaller, of course, but the importance and the aftermath for each of us is huge sometimes.

Are you scared of a new job or a new position? Are you afraid to make that step and finally start a business? Are you horrified that she might say “no” if you ask her out? Overcome your fear and make that next step. Ask for a raise. Change the job. Start a company. Propose. Go on a journey. Take a course. Invest. Live. You’re worth it!

Judge or Not Judge?

HW8_7804Why is it so hard not to judge people? Why do we have such an obsessive need to express our opinions even if nobody cares and nobody wants to hear them?

About a decade ago I used to think that being opinionated is cool. One of my closest friends called me opinionated, and I was almost proud of that. But times change, and it sounds almost like an insult now.

There are three facts that I want to say about judging others.

  1. We can’t help it.

Is it in our nature? I want to say – no, but unfortunately, I can’t. We were not created with this need to judge everybody. However, we were created with the free will to whether say what we think or keep silent. And our twisted human nature just can’t let us be silent. Our twisted mind can’t help it. Whether out loud or in our head, we start judging and spraying poison onto our relationships.

2. We even love it.

Recently, an old classic best-seller caught my attention, and I decided to finally read it. I am sure you’ve heard about it – it’s Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote this book in 1930s, and the lessons from it are still relevant. He talks a lot about the human nature and emphasizes that we’re all selfish. Each person spends 95% of the day thinking about him- or herself. Most of us love the sound of our own name and prefer talking about ourselves rather than listening to others.

So, to sum up, we love ourselves more than anything.¬†We care about our needs, desires and opinions more than about anybody in the whole world. And sometimes it all turns into judgement of others. And then this judgement turns into gossiping. And we start savoring it, enjoying it, like it’s the most delectable dish we’ve ever eaten in our life.

3. We should stop it.

How can we stop it? Is it even possible? Maybe it’s hard to stop doing it completely, but we should at least try. And then try again. And after the next failure we will not give up, but try once more. And it will work. With God’s help, we can fight it and defeat it!

I know, we can’t do it alone, but we can help each other. If you hear me being judgmental, say it directly to my face. Especially when I judge those who judge, because that’s my problem. I judge judgmental people and can’t help it. It poisons my mood and darkens my days. Help me fight it and join this battle together with me!

5 Principles of Creativity

There are actually hundreds of creativity techniques, principles and tips to be shared. However,  today I would like to focus on these 5 ideas. The first principle is the one that I have already written about. It is by all means the most important one.

1. You ARE creative.

There are so many people in the world who don’t consider themselves creative and still believe that creativity is something only artists have. This conviction should be exterminated from people’s minds. You’re creative, your child is creative, your friends are creative. Give them and yourself a chance to tap into creativity, to free it from the prison of doubts and wrong beliefs. You will see how much can be accomplished with this new mindset.

2. Creativity is a skill which can be developed.

Do you still think creativity is something you’re whether born with or not? Do you consider it a personality trait? I am happy to bring you the good news – creativity is a skill. You can develop it even if now you think you’re not creative. There are exercises and techniques to get better at this. Just like reading and writing, creativity can and should be learned and practiced.

3. Positive attitude is crucial for generating ideas.

Have you heard about the researches done by Gallup and other organizations on emotional intelligence? It’s proven that our creativity flourishes when we’re in a good mood. If you adopt negative attitude and start thinking that you have no imagination, how can you expect to generate great ideas? You need to believe in yourself and your own creative abilities to be able to achieve success in this process.

4. There is power in team creativity.

“Two are better than one”, “a¬†threefold cord is not quickly broken” – I am sure you’ll agree with these statements based on your own experience. Solo brainstorming can be quite effective, although if you involve other people in your creativity session, the result might surprise you. You will be the one making the final decision, but ask as many people as you can for their opinions, team up with your friends and you will have¬†more ideas to choose from.

5. We should constantly feed our imagination.

Do you know why everybody says children have better imagination? Because they constantly learn something new. They discover the world every day, and while their brain gets new information, it has enough food for creating new images. We as adults, can also feed our imagination by reading new books, getting new experiences, meeting new people. We can learn a new language or acquire a new skill. The possibilities are endless!

These are only a few principles to remember if you want to be more creative. There’s much more that I cover in my new online course and in a guide to creativity power.

The guide is free and it offers you 7 steps to finding ideas for business and life. You can find it here. Enjoy!

FREE Creativity Power Guide

Happy Women’s Day!

It’s an International Women’s Day today. Did you know? The world is celebrating all women, not just mothers, and it’s a great thing. No offense to you, guys. Men are very important, but we’ve known that already, right? The majority of cultures in the world are patriarchal, so men established their influence and importance long time ago. Although, women started defending their rights only in the past few decades.

I wish all women to believe in their great potential, wonderful gifts and talents, abilities and strengths. I wish us all to unleash our creativity, use our potential and¬†do our best to change this world for better. Steve Jobs said that only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. I believe we can, ladies! Let’s do it!

I wish all men to appreciate their women, see their wonderfulness, and regularly tell them about it. Let her blossom! If your woman flourishes, your life will change, and your success will soar! I dare you to try.