The Four Wheels of Behavior Change

By Jernavis Draughn

Change is inevitable, but progress is not. The new year is here, and most people are focusing on their new year resolutions. I believe change starts with one simple DECISION. Do I truly want to change? Is what I’m looking to change important enough for me to change my lifestyle, mindset, routine or ritual? Has my behavior caused me enough pain that I NEED to change? Am I too comfortable with my current situation that change is not a MUST? We change in a moment. Change doesn’t’ take long, it happens instantly when we make a commitment to our commitments. Here’s what I’ve learned about behavior “change”. Meaningful behavior change is very hard to do, and no one can make us change unless we truly want to CHANGE.

Our environment drives our behavior. Learn to control and create a healthy environment. Who we associate with, eat, learn from, grow into, religious and limiting beliefs are created by our environment. There’s an adage that says, show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. We become who we consistently hang out with and do daily. In the book Triggers by Marshal Goldsmith, he explains that we all have behavior triggers. He explains, it’s any stimulus that impacts our behavior. To avoid undesirable behavior, we must remove ourselves from hanging with people that live that lifestyle and then change those environments where it is most likely to occur. Goldsmith discusses we have four options in pursuing any type of behavior change.

  1. Creating. Represents the positive elements that we want to create in our future.
  2. Preserving. Represents the positive elements that we want to eliminate in our future.
  3. Eliminating. Represents the elements that we want to eliminate in the future.
  4. Accepting. Represents the negative elements that we need to accept in the future.

Asking yourself what you need to create, preserve, eliminate, and accept in your life is the first step to changing your behavior. Psychologist Carol Dweck once said, “Becoming is better than being.” Whoever you want to become, improve in or accomplished will require some type of change in your life. The questions that will start your journey of change will be, are you ready to make a real decision and are you committed to not quitting on YOURSELF.  

Word of the Day: “Changing your words, will change your WORLD.”

The Seven R’s of Superior Thinking!

By Jernavis Draughn

Pat Riley, once said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our life. Thinking is the number one skill set for all humans. Our decisions dictate our destiny. I’ve explored this topic previously in personal vlogs and blogs I’ve written in the past. There are four major keys to success in anything that you are trying to accomplish and improve. Mindset, clarity, focus and concentration. Your ability to control your emotions, understand where your thoughts are stemming from, why you are having these thoughts, how you can change and manage them. This requires you to live as a “lifelong student”, where you embody a “growth mindset”. Dr. Carol Dwyeck created the term and believes, “becoming is better than being.” Therefore, lasting fulfillment and happiness lives in consistent growth.

Nothing changes until we change our thinking. You can’t change what you can’t see. We live in an age of unlimited information that can help or hurt our thinking process. The beauty of the time we live in, is we have a plethora of books, psychologist, mentors, and people that have more wisdom than we do, in the area were having struggles in. Brian Tracy, one of the leading influencers for high performance has been a virtual mentor to me for almost 3 years. In his book “Get Smart, he explains the seven R’s of superior thinking.

  1. Rethinking: Requires you to take timeout and stand back to look at your situation objectively.
  2. Reevaluating: Practice zero based thinking, “knowing what I now know, would I conduct these same actions or behaviors again.”
  3. Reorganizing: Look for ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations by moving people around or changing your decision-making process.
  4. Restructuring: Moving your people and resources around into the 20 percent of activities that can account for 80 percent of your results. “Revenue Generation”
  5. Reengineering: Continuously seeking ways to simplify your work and life by delegating, outsourcing and downsizing.
  6. Reinventing: Commit to CANI, “Constant and Never-Ending Improvement.”
  7. Regaining Control: Taking massive action towards the area we want to improve in or accomplish.

If you look back at any of your failures, they all derive from the decisions we’ve made. You may have reacted before thinking about the outcome of the decision or over thought something, which led you to not taking action. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. I’m constantly focused on making better decisions in all aspects of my life. Our thoughts become our reality. We are in a daily battle with our mind. To win this game of life, you have to master your mind. “Winston Churchill once said, “behavior is the only truth.” Be mindful that your mind is the control system to every decision and action you take. You have to work on it like a muscle daily to strengthen it for any battle that you may face.

Quote of the day: “As a man thinketh, so is he.”-James Allen

The Root Causes of Negative Emotions

By Jernavis Draughn

All behaviors are belief driven. Where do our behaviors and emotions stem from? We are a direct reflection of our home foundation and the environment we were raised in. Our peer groups, mentors, teachers, instructors, and coaches have left an imprint on our intrinsic personal landscape. We become who we hang out with most of the time. We pick up behaviors, habits and mindsets of the people closet to us. Angela Oswalt, who is a licensed clinical social worker explains during early childhood, children start to develop a “self-concept,” the attributes, abilities, attitudes and values that they believe define them. By age 3, (between 18 and 30 months), children have developed their Categorical Self, which is concrete way of viewing themselves in “this or that” labels. For example, young children label themselves in terms of age “child or adult”, gender “boy or girl”, physical characteristics “short or tall”, and value, “good or bad.” The labels are used to explain children’s self-concept in very concrete, observable terms.

Our self-concept, the preview of our identity is formed by 3 years old. With that being the case, the root causes of where our negative emotions are birthed, start from the time we are born. Over the course of our life, we pick up more baggage and beliefs that don’t serve us. In the book Get Smart, by Brian Tracy, he breaks down the 4 root causes of negative emotions.

  1. Rationalization. Negative emotions are created when we attempt to explain away a situation or behavior in our lives that is unpleasant for us. We rationalize things with excuses.
  1.  Justification. We justify our negative behaviors by explaining them away in some fashion, we tell ourselves we are entitled to experience this negative emotion, because of something that someone else has done to us or to someone else.
  1. Judgementalism. Some of our negative emotions come from our tendency to judge other people. We tend to judge others instead of self-reflecting within ourselves.
  1. Hypersensitivity. We are hypersensitive to the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others. We see criticisms and problems where they don’t exist.

I’ve learned the key to limiting negative emotions, while improving your self-esteem, confidence, reliance, respect is to take full responsibility for everything you are and all you will become in life. Remember, “Life is always happening for you, not to you.” Accountability is the foundation of all emotional, spiritual, mental, physical and financial success. Forgive yourself first and then forgive everyone else you feel has hurt you in anyway. Life begins with FORGIVENESS. Negative emotions will always be there to make your day eventful. How you respond and react to those emotions, will determine how happy your life will be. 

Quote of the Day: “Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation. It is still happening even on days you may not realize it or feel like it.” -Lalah Delia

Five Factors shown to IMPROVE your well-being

By Jernavis Draughn

What does well being mean? The dictionary defines it this way, “it’s the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. When do you feel the happiest or healthiest or prosperous in your life? What actions are you doing daily that creates a positive feeling in any of these areas? What we do daily determines our worth. When we live our core values we attract more things that gives our lives meaning. In the book “Think Small”, by Owain Service and Rory Gallager, they discuss 5 actions that will help improve your life’s well-being.

  1. Strengthening your social relationships. We become the people and things that we associate with most. We are the sum total of the 5 closet people we spend our time with. When we choose wisely the company we keep, our personal growth is expedited. Listen to only voices of value!

2. Getting healthier and active. Our body is our temple. We must feed our mind and body healthy fuel in order for it to perform at a high level.To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”-Buddha

3. Learning something new. Commit to lifelong learning. Becoming a person of value requires you to never stop growing. “Try Not To Become a Man of Success But Rather Try To Become a Man of Value.”-Albert Einstein

4. Being more curious. What types of things sparks your interest? What inspires and motivates you? What is another stream of revenue that you could focus on building? What can you do today that will help you reach that goal faster? The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.

5. Giving to others. The secret to living is giving. We reap what we sow. In order to move forward we have to give back. The law of reciprocity means, when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. “We rise by lifting others.”-Robert Ingersoll

What we do today will either empower or restrict us tomorrow. We are creatures of habit and our well-being is connected to what we do daily. What we eat, the amount of work we accomplish, how often we exercise, and the people we connect with socially, emotional and spiritually. All of us have the same amount of time daily to produce the results we want in our lives. Take time out today to look at these five areas of your life to ensure they are meeting your standards on all levels. Remember, our time is our most precious gift, and all of us MUST be selfish with it.

Quote of the day: “Act as a master of your life by putting your health, well-being, and happiness FIRST.”-Marianna Olszewski

3 Ways EXERCISING Improves LEARNING!

By: Jernavis Draughn

In the book Spark by John Ratey, he explains the benefits of exercising and how it increases our learning ability. Physical fitness has a positive influence on memory, concentration and classroom behavior. Better fitness equals better attention and thus better results. Our brain is constantly being rewired with new information daily. In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.

There’s been many studies regarding the positive effects exercising has on the brain. You can start walking, jogging, or even signing up for a fitness class to start this process. Here’s some important facts that stood out to me from the book Spark, by Jack Ratey that provides a simplistic breakdown on how the brain works:

  • The brain has 100 billion cells
  • Serotonin, helps keep brain activity under control. It influences mood, impulsivity, anger and aggressiveness
  • Dopamine, creates happiness and excitement.
  • Norepinephrine, amplifies signals that influence attention, perception, motivation and arousal.
  • Prefrontal Cortex, is the boss of the brain. It controls your planning, judging and predicting.
  • Amygdala, part of the brain that controls what you fear or any intense emotional state or feeling.
  • Hippocampus, provides storage for long term memory. That includes all past knowledge and experiences.

Understanding how the brain works gives us clarity on what part of the brain helps us learn, focus, react and respond. Studies shows exercising and physical activity lowers stress and anxiety. It improves mood and overall psychological health. Exercising keeps the brain from rotting and reverses the cell deterioration associated with aging.

Here’s 3 Ways Exercise Improves Learning:

  1. It optimizes your mindset to improve alertness, attention and motivation.
  2. It prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another. Which is the cellular basis for logging in “new information”.
  3. It spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus.

Quote of The Day: “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Book recommendation: Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain: By John Ratey