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Have you heard of procrasti-pain? (DW#565)

Did you know that you can feel physical pain when you think about doing something that you are procrastinating on?

Barbara Oakley shares some fascinating research about procrastination in her book A mind for Numbers.

She claims that you can take people who hate doing math and scan their brains and actually SEE their pain centers light up as they contemplate having to do math! In other words, when they think about math, they feel physical pain. Weird right?

But it gets very interesting. When her research subjects actually start doing the math (rather than thinking about it) those pain centers turn themselves off!!

In other words, the anticipation of doing a task which they thought was unpleasant caused the pain. But the pain went away when they actually started doing the task.

This point is worth reading again and again and memorizing:

PROCRASTIPAIN IS THE ANTICIPATION of doing something unpleasant. And the cure for procrastipain is to start doing the task.

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The ultimate cost of procrastination (DW#564)

Let’s talk about our tombstones.

Imagine that you are walking in the cemetery and you come across your own tombstone. The cemetery has certain rules about what you can put on your tombstone. The choices are:

Full of potential. Had many talents and gifts. Had very good intentions of using them. Ran out of time. Died while planning.

OR

Spent. All used up. Tried (and failed many times). Played full on. Did what s/he could. Died while engaged with life.

Which would be yours right now? Which would you rather have?
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The cost of procrastination (DW#563)

Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush that comes from doing things last minute. We tell ourselves that we work best under tight deadlines.

Research shows however, that procrastination comes with many costs. 

University of Calgary psychologist Piers Steel’s studies show that procrastinators perform poorly, experience low self esteem, make poor economic and financial decisions and suffer more medical problems than their non-procrastinating peers. 

And sadly, procrastinators don’t just delay completing unpleasant tasks. They also end up procrastinating on opportunities to enjoy themselves, such as waiting too long to buy tickets for vacations, concerts or sporting events and either miss out on these or end up paying a lot more for them.

Think of a recent time when you procrastinated on something. What did it end up costing you? Was the cost financial, relationship-based or a reduction in self-esteem? 

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What is procrastination (DW#562)

Before we go any further, let’s define what we mean by procrastination.

Here is how Piers Steel (among the world’s foremost researchers and speakers on the science of motivation and procrastination) defines it:
Procrastination is the act of needlessly voluntarily delaying an intended action despite the knowledge that this delay may harm the individual in terms of the task performance or even just how the individual feels about the task or him- or herself. 

In other words, procrastination is not rational. We fail to act even though logically we know that delaying this action is not in our own best interests. 

Timothy Pychyl in his book Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change defines it as a failure of self control. 
"Procrastination is a form of self-regulation failure. We fail to regulate our behavior to achieve our own goals. We make an intention to act, but we do not use the self-control necessary to...

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Let’s talk about procrastination (DW#561)

Most of us know a lot more than we put into action. We may even have a goal or a plan to do something of value to us but we haven’t started on it. We will start tomorrow; next week or next month we may tell ourselves. Or when we have time.

In other words, we procrastinate. We delay or put off something that needs to be done.

If you procrastinate, you are not alone. By some estimates, about 20% of adults have regular bouts of procrastination. Students are of course notorious for putting off things and apparently 70-90% of students chronically procrastinate. I have a theory that students procrastinate about as much as anyone who is engaged in a creative pursuit (writing, preparing a presentation, creating art work or designing anything – anything that will be up for public scrutiny).

For the next few weeks, we will explore the topic of procrastination, why we do it, what it costs us and how we can work around our tendency to delay things that need to get...

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Have a State of the Union Meeting (DW#558)

Time investment: One hour a week

It is one of life’s great mysteries that people who like to discuss all issues as they arise are often married to people who do not like to discuss any issues at all. Ever.

The state of the union meeting addresses concerns of both these types of people.

If you ritualize a weekly meeting to discuss issues in your relationship, both spouses can relax for the rest of the week. The conflict avoidant person can relax because they know that conflict will only be brought up once a week and not everyday. And the person wanting to discuss issues can also relax knowing that there is at least one hour a week where their concerns will be heard and addressed.

Dr. Gottman’s research has confirmed that when couples spend just one hour per week discussing areas of concern within the relationship, it transforms the way partners manage conflict. 

When I work with couples in conflict, they find that this dedicated space to discuss issues gives them the...

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Go on a date (DW#557)

As your marriage ages it is very easy to let go of the rituals of early romantic love. The masters of relationships, however, know that the intentionality of continuing to date your partner is a wise investment for the long term health of your marriage. 

So what makes a date a date? 
1)   It is "we" time when you focus on connecting with your partner and catch up with what has been on their mind and occupying their attention. 
2)   It is NOT a time to problem solve or talk about issues in your relationship (that is a very different ritual)
3)   Try to stay away from the business of running a house and a family.  Your children are very important and if you focus on connecting as friends you will be better parents to your children
4)   It is time to focus on your friendship as a couple apart from the issues that may be plaguing your relationship at the time. Intentional love means that you don’t...

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Express affection (DW#556)

This week we are continuing with our series on hacking your marriage which simply means developing and implementing short but powerful rituals for a strong relationship.

Time investment for today’s hack is about 5 minutes a day or a total of 35 minutes per week.

Do you believe that in order to express affection you have to necessarily feel loving or affectionate? Do you wait for the feelingof affection before you engage in affectionate behaviour?

Research shows that happy couples actually develop habits of affectionate behaviour which in turn lead to feelings of affection.


In other words, expressing physical affection when you’re together is vital to feeling connected to each other. So for today’s marriage hack, make sure to take a few moments to cuddle each other before falling asleep and take a moment to kiss goodnight. 

These moments of affection are a great way to let go of the minor stressors and annoyances that have built up over the...

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Show off (a little) (DW#545)

Today’s marriage hack is especially important for women: we women tend to bond over sharing our woes and life’s challenges. We believe that it brings us closer to others. And one of the challenges that we sometimes talk about and bond over, are the (perceived) failings and foibles of our spouses.

Make no mistake: this habit (which we think is harmless fun) is destructive for our relationships. Our spouses do not think it is funny or cute when we are sharing their idiosyncrasies in public.

This habit is also destructive in another way. It normalizes low expectations from men and marriage, and it normalizes talking about our spouses in a disrespectful way. It is no wonder that modern society in general and young people in particular are so disenchanted with the institution of marriage.

So instead of complaining about your marriage or your spouse, try this hack: Try bragging a little. Compliment your spouse in public. Point out their positive qualities. Talk about what they...

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Play footsie or hold hands (DW#544)

When people first get together with their spouses, they find every opportunity to touch each other. (Remember playing footsie under the table or holding hands while watching a movie?)

Couples who have learnt to hack their marriage know that it is vitally important to maintain pleasant and playful touch in their relationship beyond the physically intimate relationship. 

Why is touch so important? 

Firstly, it is a fundamental human need. Touch is essential for babies’ development for their physical, emotional and eventually social health. In fact, touch is the first of the five senses to develop. The need for positive touch, the connection, and reassurance it can bring is hardwired in us. We now know that touching someone in a loving and positive way releases Oxytocin – a feel good and bonding hormone which results in attachment to the person who causes the release of this hormone within us.

Moreover, to touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence...

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