The DecidingToBeBetter Wiki has over a hundred articles that can help make things better

Are you looking for articles that can help you improve happiness, good habits, confidence, self-talk, exercise, diet, friends, social skills, procrastination, etc.? There is a great list you can explore here:

The DecidingToBeBetter Wiki

You may also want to take a look at the top-rated articles on the D2BB area:

Top-rated articles

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The Best Relationship Advice He Learned

Ways to improve the quality of your relationships:

A Single Guy Quit His Job And Spent A Year Interviewing Couples In Love — This Is The Best Relationship Advice He Learned

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A nice article on the meaning of life

A nice article on the meaning of life:

Jung and Frankl on the Meaning of Life: It is widely agreed among psychologists that a sense of meaning and purpose is critical to a healthy psyche. Without a framework to give our lives purpose, we can find ourselves falling into an existential depression…

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10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy

10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy

It’s easy to think of happiness as a result, but happiness is also a driver.

One example: While I’m definitely into finding ways to improve personal productivity (whether a one-day burst, or a lifetime, or things you should not do every day), probably the best way to be more productive is to just be happier. Happy people accomplish more.

Easier said than done though, right?

Actually, many changes are easy. Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier…

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Update on looking at carbs like they are a poison

Last week I wrote about a new approach to carbs that I am trying out:

A new way to approach weight loss – a new way to think about carbs

This is the basic idea I am applying:

So here is a possible approach to weight loss. What if a mental change takes place that causes unhealthy carbs to go into the same kind of toxic/deadly category that cigarettes fall into? So, instead of seeing carb-rich foods as tempting, they start to be seen as poisonous. Into this poisonous category would go all the bad carbs like cookies, cake, ice cream, potato chips, pizza, soda, candy, french fries, etc. It might also be argued that bread, pasta, rice and potatoes all fall in the same category (for me they do). The only carbs that are safe are vegetables and fruits (and maybe beans). Vegetables – especially raw vegetables – can be eaten in unlimited quantities.

Here is the mindset: Carbs are as poisonous as cigarettes. Every time I look at something like a cookie or a slice of pizza or a candy bar, I say to myself, “Carbs are as poisonous as cigarettes”. Every time someone offers me a plate of cookies or a dessert, I say to myself (and sometimes out loud): “you know… those cookies are as poisonous as cigarettes.”

Does this work? Yes – it completely worked for me during the past week. I have been tempted by plates of brownies, bowls of potato chips, vending machines full of soda and snacks, my wife’s home made granola and pumpkin bread (both delicious), Valentine’s day candy, etc. for a week and I have been able to completely ignore it. Because it is poisonous. I have eaten nothing but fruits and vegetables, meat, cottage cheese and nuts for the last week.

Let me use the example of the bowl of potato chips. I was at an event and the potato chips were home made kettle chips. I have had them before from this caterer – they are unbelievably delicious. People were snarfing them down all around me because they are basically irresistible. But since they now fall into the “poison” category, I can’t eat them. What emotion went with not-eating-them? It was a weird emotion – kind of a sadness. Knowing that these potato chips are absolutely delicious and would bring pleasure, but also knowing that they are poisonous (because they cause me to get fat, leading to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), just felt sad. But I did not eat them.

I will be curious to see if this mindset is still working a month from now.

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How to increase your job satisfaction and advance in your career while making the world a better place

This video is entitled, “The ultimate customer service story is inspiring”. Notice how Ross Shafer relates the story and the effect that one employee had on him.

There are several things that we might take away from this story.

  • Maria Garcia had a big, positive effect on Ross Shafer’s life with her simple act of kindness and customer service.
  • If Maria garcia did this same kind of thing for a variety of people she comes in contact with, she is making the world a better place.
  • Ross Shafer had a big, positive effect on Maria Garcia’s life by taking the time to praise her with her employer.

Now think about how much better your world might be if you applied Maria Garcia’s mindset in your job. Would your actions make the lives of others better? Certainly. But also consider the side effects. Would your actions help your job security? Would they help your job satisfaction? Would they help increase your chances of advancement? Say that you applied Maria Garcia’s mindset across your life. What might happen?

And then look at Ross Shafer’s actions. We all interact with employees in stores, hotels, airports, etc. every day. What if we took the time to praise them when they go the extra mile, and to let their managers know that we appreciate the service? That would make the world a better place as well.

In these simple human acts of kindness we help others and we make the world a better, happier, more fulfilling place.

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25 Ways to Help a Fellow Human Being Today

This is an article that shows how to reach out and help others in such simple ways that you can do it today:

25 Ways to Help a Fellow Human Being Today

Too often the trend in our society is for people to be separated from either other, to be cut off from the great mass of humanity, and in doing so to be dehumanized a little bit more with each step….

The article shows steps you can take to re-humanize, and to help yourself in the process.

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A new way to approach weight loss – a new way to think about carbs

For many people, the problem with weight loss comes from cravings and temptations. Speaking from experience, a plate full of cookies or a big pizza sitting on the counter can be hard to resist. Is there a way to overcome these cravings? Is it possible to reframe carbs to make them less tempting?

For example, I do not smoke. As a person who had severe asthma as a child and teenager, the thought of doing anything that would further damage my lungs is unthinkable. Now imagine that I see a cigarette ad, or cigarettes being sold in a convenience store, or a pack of cigarettes sitting on a table. Am I tempted? Do I feel a craving? Do I have to consciously resist the cigarettes? Of course not. Since I decided not to smoke and have good reasons not to, I feel no temptation.

I do not drink alcohol. My father was an alcoholic and I learned everything I need to know about alcohol by watching that slow-motion tragedy. I took the lessons to heart. When I see a beer ad or a big beer display at the grocery store or when I walk into a restaurant that serves alcohol, am I tempted? Do I feel a craving? Do I have to consciously resist the alcohol? Not at all. I can sit in a bar all day and drink soda water. The thought never crosses my mind to order anything alcoholic. Since I decided not to drink and have good reasons not to, I feel no temptation.

But with carbohydrates, I tend to see them as tempting. Many people can start a diet and have it derailed by cravings. Many more can complete a diet, then go back to “eating normally” and gain the weight back.

So the question arises: is there a way to treat carbs in the same way that I treat cigarettes or alcohol, so that carbs are no longer tempting?

The case can be made that refined carbohydrates are toxic. This article…

Societal Control of Sugar Essential to Ease Public Health Burden, Experts Urge

…provides a nice summary of the problem:

sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

That is a lot of deaths. And at a personal level, no one wants to get diabetes. Diabetes is a disgusting, expensive, life-sucking disease that, for most of us, is completely preventable.

So here is a possible approach to weight loss. What if a mental change takes place that causes unhealthy carbs to go into the same kind of toxic/deadly category that cigarettes fall into? So, instead of seeing carb-rich foods as tempting, they start to be seen as poisonous. Into this poisonous category would go all the bad carbs like cookies, cake, ice cream, potato chips, pizza, soda, candy, french fries, etc. It might also be argued that bread, pasta, rice and potatoes all fall in the same category (for me they do). The only carbs that are safe are vegetables and fruits (and maybe beans). Vegetables – especially raw vegetables – can be eaten in unlimited quantities.

If this mental shift could be mastered, then it would be possible to live life without temptation. “Would you like a piece of cake?” would sound about as tempting as, “Would you like to smoke a cigarette?”, which is to say not tempting at all. The only problem with this approach is the fact that it may not be trivial – it requires un-wiring decades of sugar consumption starting in infancy.

With “bad carbs” out of the picture, weight loss and weight maintenance would become much easier. The daily food intake starts to look almost exactly like the Dukan diet or the Atkins diet.

I am giving this approach a try.

[OK - here is a progress report after 1 week: Update on looking at carbs like they are a poison. It worked really well!]

See also this article:

How to lose weight – the one true secret is revealed

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How your attitude can improve the quality of your life

If you take the time to read this short article…

Personal Development Challenge of the week

…you will find that it contains this insightful quote:

When you start to change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. To have a better experience it’s not about changing the experience it’s about changing the perception and attitude.

This quote points out, in a very succinct way, a simple fact of life: We each control our outlook. By changing our outlook, we have the ability to change our lives.

The following post describes another outlook-changing technique that is proven to work:

The incredible value of gratitude

Gratitude sets in motion a chain of thoughts, feelings and events that can bring about a great deal of happiness and well being.

See also: The Science of Happiness

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Great examples of kindness

There was a post on Reddit this week that exemplifies a simple act of kindness and a reward from it that far exceeded the investment:

The best $7.50 I have ever spent…

So, I walked into a Safeway today… and I stopped at the deli. A lady was waiting there. She looked to be an impoverished little elderly black woman (I am not being classist, or ageist or sexist or racist here, I just like to visually paint pictures) anyway, she said she had been waiting for 45 minutes and no one would wait on her. When they finally did, she asked the price of an egg roll and the fried wontons. It was evident she didn’t have much. Finally in frustration, she said, “Forget it,” and started to leave. That just felt so wrong. I called out, “Stop, stop, you can’t leave, come back here. Pick your dinner out. I’ll buy it.” It came to a mere $7.50 or so. The thought of someone walking home hungry, feeling broke and mistreated just felt so wrong. I told her that I had just sold a book and the meal was no big deal. She asked about the book and I told her about my friend, Darryl’s cancer and how it was important to get it done to honor what a gift he is to me and how much I love him. She said that her husband had cancer. We walked out and I grabbed her a copy of the book and signed it for her. She said she had a book she was working on. She hugged me and said, “I love you.” For a mere $7.50 I got an “I love you,” from a stranger. Best $7.50 I have spent in a long time.

You can find an even more powerful example here:

One way to create meaning in your life

I was day tripping to Vancouver from Seattle and stopped in for lunch at a little cafe. From my window I saw a young teenage girl out in the cold, squatted down in a closed up business’s doorway, holding a small bundle in her arms. She was panhandling, people were mostly walking by ignoring her. She looked just broken…

This video shows how simple little acts of kindness can have a ripple effect:

If you would like to learn more about kindness, these sites can help: RandomActsOfKindness.org/ and HelpOthers.org.

RAK week is coming up in February.

If you have comments, please leave them here

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