10 Tips for Boosting Your Concentration

We’ve all had that frantic moment when our focus and willpower seem to fail us. You need to concentrate – that big exam or project for work is due tomorrow and if you don’t finish it now, you’re doomed. Calm down. Breathe. Here are ten ways to increase your ability to focus.

10 concentration-boosting tricks

Start Fresh

Those late night Netflix binges aren’t doing your concentration any favors. You can’t expect to be able to focus if you’re falling asleep. It’s very important to have 7-9 hours of restful sleep before you need to wake up and be productive.

This is all pretty self-explanatory, but if you want to get really scientific about it, there are plenty of sleep tracking apps that can monitor the regular rhythms in your sleep and wake you up within a window of time of your choosing.

Decide Where to Focus

It is impossible to focus if you don’t know what you need to focus on. Take the time you need to make an action plan for yourself, whether that means an overarching to-do list, or a list of simple steps required to complete a larger project. Even if it feels like a waste of time at the onset, it will save you a lot of time down the road.

Shut-Down Your Distractions

I don’t care what’s distracting you – just stop it, right now. Turn off your phone. Make a vow not to check your email until you’re done. Block Facebook if you have to. You’ll thank me later.

Get the Right Background Noise

Anyone who has ever had to study in a spot shared with a crying baby (hello, every airplane ride I’ve been on) or merry party-going roommates knows just how distracting certain background noises can be. On the other hand, try to work in a completely silent room and you may quickly find yourself going insane. It can be hard to strike a balance between a distraction and a motivational level of noise.

Personally, I find that listening to classical and instrumental music is great while I’m writing – music with words is just too disruptive when I’m trying to construct my own thoughts. But maybe working with music just isn’t for you. In that case, white noise is always a great option, like RainyMood (soothing rain sounds) or Coffeetivity (the ever-relaxing sounds of your local coffee shop). Or you could just head over to your local coffee shop. That works, too.

Do It Now

That’s right, now. Not after lunch. Not tomorrow. Not next week. If you’ve got a task you’ve just been dreading, tackling it will be a great concentration boost. Just imagine it: after you’re done you won’t have to worry about doing it anymore.

Move

I see you reaching for your latte. What if, instead of getting yourself so drugged up on caffeine that your heart starts racing, you took a brisk walk around the block, or at the very least, around your building? When you rely on caffeine, you build up a tolerance and an expectation where your body needs the drug to feel focused. But cardio is free and wakes up other regions of your brain.

Eat for Concentration

Feeling sluggish? Believe it or not, that may be due to what you had for breakfast or lunch. According to the Society for Neuroscience, walnuts and blueberries help maintain and may even reverse the aging of your brain. Spinach and carrots are power foods as well. Be sure you’re eating organic to get the full benefits of increased nutrients.  And if you love sushi, you’re in luck: eating fish gives your brain a huge boost, thanks to the Omega-3.

Get Hydrated

Feeling a little difficulty concentrating? It may mean you’re dehydrated. And this doesn’t only apply to when you are thirsty – as little as a 1.5% drop in your usual water volume can negatively affect your concentration. Next time you need to focus, prevent dehydration by drinking a glass of water beforehand.

Breathe

The sensation of breathing deeply – where you really listen to your breath as it goes in and out of your body – is great for your concentration. If you put a focus on the way you are breathing, it will automatically slow down and allow for increased thinking ability.

See with New Eyes

Totally stumped? Maybe you’ve been looking at your problems for too long. Take a moment to really observe. Try to see the issue with new eyes, as though you are looking at it for the first time, or you’re an outsider. You may notice things you otherwise would have missed.

Concentration isn’t an achievable zen-like status that few of us ever reach. By combining the simple tricks outlined above, you will be setting yourself up for success.

 

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

 

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

 

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings

“Don’t talk to her, you are not good enough”

The ‘encouraging’ thought welled up in my mind.

I was looking at my crush during recess. I thought of approaching her. My internal advisor advised against, and I listened. ‘Lucky….’

My mind had played a defensive script. I had more of these internal dialogues: ‘Just hang low, don’t attract too much attention.’ ‘I am just the quiet guy’ ‘Why are they looking at me like I am a weirdo?’

These self-deprecating thoughts dictated my mind. Somehow I thought I was a loser.

So that’s how I acted.

I didn’t dare do anything beyond my (perceived) capacities or status. I couldn’t even stand up for myself. Every time my bullies threw me in the garbage, I poorly objected.

After an arduous high school journey, college finally arrived.

I vowed to make a fresh start. This time I would be popular! So I impulsively joined a fraternity to compensate for my anxiety. Then I would be cool! Right?

Nope, I just started acting like a dick.

For a long time I mistook my misplaced arrogance, and that of my pledge brothers, for real confidence. I thought we were cool guys. But it was all vain status play. I was still being pushed around. By peers and my inner critic. To feel good I indulged in the theatre of cockiness – putting other people down to feel good. Not my proudest moments…

Strange how you act so counter-productive when feeling insecure.

After I was left heartbroken by my girlfriend, I hit emotional rock bottom. Something snapped.

What the fuck had I been doing? I could not go through life from misery to misery. Faking who I was, to have some intermittent highlight of joy. My circumstances should allow me to feel confident? Why wasn’t I ever feeling that way?

It was due time to get my shit together.

Two years later.

One of my (truly) best friend sits next to me. We are both a bit drunk and bantering away. He suddenly proclaims “You know most of your douchy frat brothers look up to you.” “Why?” I ask astounded. “Because you are always relaxed and confident. You are not swayed by what other people say or think about you.” “What? Are you kidding me? But I am just some nerdy guy?”

Only then it dawned on me.

I wasn’t a little pushover anymore. Somehow had I become confident. Besides I wasn’t acting like a dick anymore. Instead I was helping people because of my confidence. How did that happen?

Was I richer? Nope! Better looking? Definitely not. More intelligent? Me no thinksie!

Somewhere along the way I had discarded my misguided programming. Replacing it with constructive thinking patterns.

When I reached my low point years back. I vowed to improve myself. Immersing myself in motivational speeches and devouring self-help books. I knew that the positive words would rub off on my conscious and subconscious.

I started applying advices and mindsets. Using a growth mindset and most of all – I started taking action!

I am convinced anyone can grow to become confident. You too can gain mature and sustainable self-confidence. But it does mean a mental shift from the conventional.

Are you up to the challenge? Sure you are!

Time to take control.

Time to discard a life of limiting thoughts. Thoughts induced by fraudulent advertising, faulty upbringing and fake peers. Embrace the right way of thinking to be confident.

Let me introduce you to the basic confident mental models that helped me. With them I grew to someone I am proud of. Rethink yourself and your place in the world.

I give this advice because the world would be much better if we all were more confident. We would stop mitigating our anxieties and insecurities through destructive behavior. Instead you could use that confidence to support yourself, friends and strangers.

Let’s get started:

10 Essential Principles To Be Unbelievably Confident

#1 – Be honest about your life and accept who you are

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. – Tyler Durden

Let’s start from scratch.

Be brutally honest about where you are in life. Know it, feel it! Be honest about it to yourself and others. Stop denying and hiding from truths. What you deny, you can’t change.

Hard to grasp? Sit down and write it out.

I am a 28 year old guy in a shit job, wanting to travel the world. But can’t find the guts to cut some ties.

Your turn! The harder it is, the more you need to confront yourself.

Secondly – accept who you are.

You have strengths and weaknesses. And hey, you can improve them.

But not until you embrace who you are. Accept yourself as you are right now, with all your flaws and shortcomings. Find contentment in it. Because there is simply no other reality.

Through this utter acceptance you can you grow.

 

#2 Define your own values and framework

To grow confident you need to stop chasing illusions. Stop comparing yourself to what others demand of you. Or worse, what you think they expect from you.

Start by defining your own values. What is important to you? Why is it important? Start acting by these values.

Make a thorough analysis when defining your values. Make it profound.

Ask yourself: What implies my culture? And why? Do I agree? What did my parents teach me? Do I agree? And why? And so on. Get to the bottom of your thoughts and feelings.

Through reading, discussing and reflecting you can develop your set of standards and values. Use your own instinct, feelings and reasoning!

Recognize influence from group dynamics. So you won’t blindly follow the herd. Thinking for yourself means creating or choosing your own path in life.

Explore many sources to hone your thought and values. Read books and blogs. Have discussions and conversations. But always be critical and keep your wit.

Confident men and women define others by their standards. Not themselves by other people’s standards.

Create and follow your own moral compass.

 

#3 Go from outer reference to inner reference

There is definite proof that social media makes people feel bad. Why has he so many likes? Why is she going to cool parties etc.?

You might display similar behavior in the analog world. Why is he richer? Happier? Or more successful?

Strange how we make these unfair comparisons. We take a look at appearances and then compare it to how we feel inside.

We compare our inner-self, to the highly curated image of other people’s outer self.

A good recipe for misery.

Stop this unfair equation. Instead focus on yourself. To develop, think about how you make progress compared to your old self. Did I do better than the me of a month ago? Or a year ago? Did you make progress? That is success!

Progress of self is important for confidence.

And who is responsible for this confidence?

Who is responsible for success? And who for your failures? Where do you think control lies?

Confident people think it lies within themselves. They have cultivated an inner locus of control.

This means taking responsibility for your actions and results. You think you are responsible for how you feel and what you think.

Compare this to blaming everything on external actors. Like your boss, parents, the weather, or divine will. If you don’t think YOU are responsible, you won’t be inclined to improve.

Making yourself responsible will.

Granted, some things definitely are out of your control. But you are responsible for your reactions to these events.

 

#4 Adapt a growth mindset

As mentioned, developing and confidence go hand in hand. To stand still is to go backwards.

A fatal flaw people are susceptible to, is thinking their skills and character are set in stone. This deterministic mindset is incompatible with progress. It’s a limiting self-fulfilling prophecy.

If this is you, start adopting a growth mindset instead.

Know you can improve any skill! Know you can develop your character!

As long as you are alive, your body and mind can adapt to new challenges. Never think you can’t grow any further.

Furthermore, a healthy growth mindset acknowledges failure.

There is a lot of sketching before you draw a Mona Lisa. Redefine failure not as something stupid or dumb only for losers. But define it as a part of the learning process.

Failures will occur. Anticipate the impact and plan for getting back up!

Every failure is another lesson learned.

#5 Stop seeking validation and acceptance from others

As a person led by inner values you won’t need attention, validation and acceptance of others.

You might get it. You might even enjoy it.

But you don’t need it!

Stop actively seeking and craving it. Stop pleasing people to get it.

You can be nice to people! Of course! But it should come from a position of strength and compassion. Not from seeking acceptance and attention. Your own acceptance and moral integrity are the most important. Others can follow if they want.

If you condone behavior opposite to your values, or give away status to be accepted. You act without integrity. Losing confidence in the process.

Instead, stand by your values!

 

#6 Cultivate a Bias for the Positive

People have this amazing power to decide how they feel about events. A small pause between stimuli and reaction. As mentioned by  Victor Frankl.

Cultivate this little pause.  And use it to choose a more positive reaction.

Guide your responses away from annoyance, anger or fear. Go instead for interest, gratefulness or excitement.

You can actively rephrase your thought patterns. Train different ways of thinking and speaking.

Examples of redefining your view on the world are:

–    Think in solutions instead of problems
–    Reflect on past achievements instead of past transgressions.
–    Enjoy the process instead of only seeing the goal.
–    Never let a good crisis go to waste
–    Focus on what you want instead of what you avoid

Of course there will always be old negative thinking patterns. Try using them as little as possible and actively immerse your mind with positivity.

Read uplifting books. Use mantra’s to rewire your brain. Let go of toxic people and environments and embrace uplifting ones.

All little steps to be more optimistic and confident.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Frank Outlaw

 

#7 Lose self-limiting beliefs

When we grow up, we create models of the world.

We construct beliefs that explain what happens around us. X happens because of Y. End of story.

These beliefs can be deeply ingrained in our thinking.

But, a lot of beliefs are flawed. They limit your progress and possibilities. They prevent you from action and enjoying life.

Grow beyond these scripts.

First recognize them. When you think “I can’t do X because of Y.” Or anything similar, be alert!

Analyze whether that statement is true. And why. Reason even furthers. ‘Why do I think that?’ ‘Are not other people doing the same thing?’ Find prove that it is possible, contradicting your initial limiting belief.

Then redefine your scripts. Because these imposed scripts will limit you. Instead of thinking I can’t do this. Think I can do X despite Y.

This is a hard and elusive problem – but it can be countered!

#8 Forgive yourself and others

We all fuck up in life.

It’s a good idea to remind yourself everyday of your mistakes. And make yourself feel very miserable.

No of course not!!

You should learn from your mistakes. Absolutely. But wallowing in negative feelings won’t help. There is little you can change about past events. It has happened.

Instead: Own up to it, fix the problem if you can, forgive yourself, learn and move on. Don’t waste time and energy feeling bummed out about it.

Take the time to forgive yourself for mistakes.

Also – stop holding grudges. It is no good to keep being mad or grieved at others for their mistakes. Let go of it, you’ll release yourself from emotional poison.

Forgiveness allows you to focus on the now and the future instead of dwelling in the past.

 

#9 Be Self Reliant

Part of being confident is you know everything will be all right. Especially when shit hits the fan.

Got dumped? Got laid off? Dust yourself off, and tell yourself it will be all right.

No spiraling down in destructive self-pity. No bouts of whining and comfort seeking from friends and family.

Of course you can mourn. You can be sad or melancholic. It is not about being happy and joyful all the time. We all experience a wide range of emotion. Important emotions that are part of the human experience.

But inside, you know you the bad times will pass.

So you will tell yourself.

You will feel good and grow stronger in the future.

 

#10 Don’t take yourself too seriously

We are all insignificant bags of meat and bones. Trying to make meaning of a collection of random events called life.

People seeking power, fame and money are just looking for that bliss they had as a child. When life wasn’t that hard, when we weren’t putting so much pressure on ourselves.

Were you taking things seriously back then? I guess not right. Is there any reason to be serious about everything now? In a world filled with randomness? No reason at all.

Go with the flow and laugh about your own mistakes, successes and theatrics!

The world’s a stage and we are best in fooling ourselves with our performances! Choose the role you want and enjoy it. Knowing fully well, it is all a game if you just choose to play and have fun.

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.  –Elbert Hubbard

—————–

Becoming confident comes at a price.

Change. 

A change of heart and mind. Believe me, it is well worth it. If you succeed, you will still have ups and down in life. But also a steady level contentment. An anchor of stability that keeps you going without all too much problems.

So how can you possible make this shift? Small consistent steps. Here are some action to get started:

  • Define your own values
    • Sit down and reflect, evaluate and define what is important to you
    • Reflect and refine your values over your life
    • Live true to them
  • Start a meditation practice to gain insight and control over your mind
  • Stop watching social media compulsively
    • Read positive, growth focused books, blogs and movies
    • Start slow, you will get there step by step. Start taking control and responsibility for your mind.

I love to hear your thoughts on all this. Let me know what opened your mind? Where are you struggling to become confident?

 

Lacking Self-Esteem? Here’s How to Get More Confidence

 

https://motivationgrid.com/how-to-get-more-confidence/

Self-esteem can have a massive impact on every area of your life.

Sometimes our upbringings and life experiences can lead us to ask “how can I be confident in myself when I feel like a failure?”

Every one of us has things in our lives that make our confidence waiver. Whether you are shy and have difficulty meeting new people, have body image issues, or have experienced a recent breakup, there are many things that can negatively impact our self-esteem.

The good news is, this state of mind isn’t permanent and there are a variety of confidence-building activities that can teach you how to gain self-esteem.

This article will explore the significance of self-esteem, provides a self-confidence test and examine different self-confidence tips and strategies.

How Does Self-Esteem Impact Our Lives?

Let’s start by taking some time to go over the importance of self-confidence.

Someone that is confident about their value, skills and abilities will convey this to the people around them. They are more likely to succeed with social, professional and personal ventures.

Now picture someone with low self-esteem. They are likely to have a difficult time in all of the areas addressed above. They may not go after what they want because they believe they will fail or they are not good enough to achieve what they desire. Even if their skills and abilities are identical to the person with higher levels of confidence, they have a harder time convincing themselves of their worth and ultimately succeeding in critical life areas.

Do you suffer from low confidence?

Take the self-confidence test below to determine if you might have a problem.

How Much Self-Confidence Do You Have?

Self-esteem is an essential component of personal satisfaction, fulfilling relationships and life achievements. Answer the following questions with a “yes” or “no” to begin your confidence test.

  1. Do you believe that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to your goals that you’ll achieve them?
  2. If you don’t experience success the first time you try something, do you try again or simply give up?
  3. If you work hard to solve a problem, do you believe that you’ll eventually find the answer?
  4. Are you likely to keep trying after others have given up?
  5. Is rejection and criticism something that you can overcome relatively easily?
  6. Do you feel that you are worthy of love and affection?
  7. If you were to suddenly disappear, do you think most people would notice?
  8. If you disagree with someone, are you likely to express your opposing thoughts and feelings?
  9. Do you initiate new relationships and feel that others enjoy your company?
  10. Do you feel like you bring value to your relationships, employer and community?
  11. When you compare yourself to others do you still feel good about yourself and your achievements?
  12. Do you feel like you can be yourself around others and still make a good impression?
  13. If someone points out your mistakes or shortcomings do you take it as an opportunity for self-improvement?
  14. After you complete a project, do you feel good about it even if no one recognizes your work?
  15. Do you like yourself for who you are?

Once you’ve finished answering the questions above, count the number of times you responded with a “No.” If seven or more questions were answered with a “No” then you might have a problem with self-confidence.

So, now the focus should shift to “how to get more confidence and self-esteem.” If you’re ready to do this, then continue reading for some helpful self-confidence tips and strategies.

How To Get More Confidence ~ Everyday Tactics

Which comes first, confidence or success?

While success can certainly give your confidence a healthy boost, it is not necessarily what creates confidence.

If you start out with the confidence to try to achieve specific goals, and accept the possibility that you might fail, then you will be much more likely to achieve them.

For example, let’s say you are a new student of the English language. You may be wondering “how to build confidence in speaking English?”

The important thing to keep in mind is that this type of confidence will develop over time. As you practice and embrace the fact that you will make mistakes, your small successes will slowly build up to large ones and your confidence will also begin to increase.

When we look at making overall improvements to self-confidence, there are a variety of methods to help make this happen.

The following list examines a few powerful ways to get started:

  • Exercise: This may seem unrelated to building confidence in relationships or your professional life but it can have a very large impact on your general self-esteem. On a basic level, increasing physical fitness can improve your self-image and elevate your perception of yourself. The act of completing the challenge of exercise itself offers regular proof of success and your body and mind will become accustomed to believing that you can achieve your goals.
  • Shift Your Focus: Take a few minutes every day to focus on your positive characteristics and achievements. This can be difficult if you’re used to dwelling on your shortcomings, but with some practice it will become easier and easier to change your perspective and build up your confidence.
  • Fake It: It can be hard to act confident when you’re not really feeling it but the results can be pretty profound. Tailoring your appearance and actions to convey confidence can actually create real feelings to emerge. One powerful way to employ this tactic is through “power poses.”
  • Prepare Yourself: Oftentimes, showing up to a situation unprepared can wreak havoc on our confidence levels. Our anxiety shoots up and we come across as unsure and awkward. Whether you are going out on a date with your long-time crush or giving a performance management presentation to the executives at your company, taking the time to prepare for the event can really help your confidence levels and set you up for success.
  • Embrace Self-Improvement: It may not be fun, but when we actually look at the things we are not fond of about ourselves, it gives us a chance to fix them. Sometimes we lack confidence because we haven’t taken the time to work on building our skills, knowledge, etc. This strategy is a long-term one but it can go a long way toward improving your self-confidence.

Action Steps to Take

We’ve established the impact that confidence can have on your relationships, work, ambition, and your everyday life experiences. Most of us could use some extra self-confidence and there are many ways to get to a place where we can effectively give our confidence a boost. Once you determine your level of self-confidence, it’s time to pick some tactics to improve it.

While some may find exercise and prep work to be a good route, others might have better results with a shift in focus, power poses and a plan for self-improvement.

The most critical step in the process is deciding to move forward and get started. Low self-confidence is definitely a problem but it doesn’t have to be a permanent state of mind. Do you have any other tips for improving confidence? We’d love to hear about them.

 

Source 

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Procrastination is something many people suffer from daily. Fortunately, it’s also something that is purely mind over matter to overcome.

Typical procrastination excuses we tell ourselves

  • I’ll do this tomorrow, there’s not enough time to do this today.
  • I work better under pressure, I’ll wait until it’s almost due and then the work will be even better.
  • This is such a huge project, I don’t even want to think about it yet, I’ll put it off for one more day.
  • I don’t really need to do this yet; it can wait until sometime in the future.

Unfortunately all of these lead to the inevitable day when you must actually complete the task. And while most people actually do get it done under that time pressure, working that way does not always produce the best results, and allows less time to proof and make it perfect.

The causes of procrastination:

Perhaps procrastination is a part of the human condition, having an extended period of time to accomplish something makes us put it off into the future, even if we can begin it now.Perhaps it is modern society, which often times seems to focus on immediate and instant results, rather than something carefully crafted and refined over a longer period of time.

Part of the modern business world for most of us also involves a constant connectivity. Cell phones, office phones, email, Blackberries, etc. are constantly ringing, buzzing and updatinginterrupting us with communications. Our friends, parents, co-workers, bosses, managers, etc. all are vying for our attention for sometimes trivial and sometimes important messages.

While these are all part of modern life, and we have learned to function efficiently with them, they can be a hindrance when in the midst of a project which requires complete focus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in touch and being friendly/social with your peers, co-workers and friends, and giving proper attention to your loved ones – in fact I encourage all of those things. But there is a time and a place, and unfortunately being distracted can sometimes make you lose focus and motivation with the task at hand.

6 ways to minimalize procrastination and maximize motivation:

  • To be the most proficient, successful and happy at whatever it is you do in life, especially if you are producing intellectual products; you need to have a distraction-free environment. This will guarantee your mind is completely focused on the task at hand and you’ll always get the best results.
  • Start projects immediately if you have idle time. Once you actually start something and get into the flow of it, you’d be surprised how easy it is. Don’t think about starting something, act. You can always tweak the project and make changes as you go along.Getting that first start is vital.
  • Remove all distractions from your environment. Anything that will make you lose focus is something that will potentially set you up for procrastination and destroy your motivation.
  • Eat well, sleep well and get exercise. From personal experience, a healthy mind and body is less likely to procrastinate. You’ll feel better, you’ll be more upbeat and active, and more optimistic about accomplishing your goals sooner rather than later. If you’re tired or hungover, you’ll be less productive and more likely to procrastinate a task until the next day.
  • Mix up your projects and assignments so you’re not simply doing the same exact thing every day. If you keep things fresh they will be more interesting and compelling for you to work on, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate them.
  • Keep your thoughts positive, and recognize when you’re entering a cycle of procrastination. Here is where you will need to address mind over matter. Start by just getting into it and doing step one of whatever your task is and go from there. Sit down and break the project up into consumable parts that are less daunting.

9 Hard Things You Have to Do to Move Forward with Your Life

 

Maybe it’s the life lessons I was forced to learn the hard way, or the toll of loss and failure I had recently endured, but a decade ago, in the midst of a panic attack on my 27th birthday, I had to admit to myself right then and there that the youthful world of possibility I once felt now seemed dead inside me.  I wanted to feel light and free and ambitious and passionate again, but I didn’t know how.  Luckily, I had a wise mother nearby who gave me some good advice.  She told me that she could still see a positive, passionate young man inside of me, but that I needed to do some soul searching to reconnect myself to him.

As I attempted to follow my mother’s advice, I remembered that I used to have two quotes written on post-it notes hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a kid:

  • “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in your journey.”
  • “Don’t be scared to walk alone down the path less traveled, and don’t be scared to love every minute of it.”

So I wrote those two quotes down again, just as I remembered them, and posted them up on the wall over my nightstand.  I woke up to these quotes every morning for several years thereafter, and they helped keep me centered.

 

1.  Practice thinking better about yourself.

You have to admit, you’ve spent a lot of your life subconsciously belittling yourself.  Thinking you’re not enough.  Trying to be someone else.  Someone who fits in.  Someone who’s less sensitive.  Less needy.  Less flawed.  Less YOU.  Because you felt broken, and you didn’t want to scare people away.  You wanted them to like you.  You wanted to make a good impression.  You wanted to be seen as worthy and loveable.  So you could feel healed and whole.

And so for the longest time, behind a facade of fake smiles, you have inadvertently betrayed yourself for the purpose of pleasing everyone else.

And for longest time, your heart has ached.

But you’re at a point now where you’re seeing things differently.  The heartache just isn’t worth it anymore.  Belittling yourself for one more day just doesn’t make any sense.  And more than that, you now realize no matter what you do or how you change, some people will never be pleased anyway.

You now realize you have to start doing things for the right reasons.

Not because it’s what you think everyone else needs, but because you finally know yourself to be worthy of your own love and care.

Not because other people approve of you, but because you are breathing your own air, thinking your own thoughts, and occupying a space no one else ever could.

Yes, you are indeed worthy!  Your ideas are worthy.  Your feelings are worthy.  Your needs are worthy.  And without everyone else’s constant validation, you must be who you are and live your truth.  Even if it makes people turn their heads.  Even if it means walking alone down the path less traveled for awhile.

Even if your own confidence in yourself has been shaken!

The real battle is always in your mind.  And your mind is under your control, not the other way around.

You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but YOU are not broken.  So don’t let others convince you otherwise.  And don’t let your mind get the best of you either.

Heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself.

Choose to take up a lot of positive space in your own life today.  Choose to give yourself permission to meet your own needs.  Choose to honor your feelings and emotions.  Choose to make self-love and self-care a part of your daily rituals…

Choose to think better about yourself, so you can live better in spite of yourself.

2.  Consciously embrace the fact that you are more than the one broken piece of you.

When times are tough, and some piece of you is chipped and broken, it’s easy to feel like everything – ALL of you – is broken along with it.  But that’s not true.

We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are.  When this idea gets even slightly harmed or threatened, we tend to react defensively and irrationally.  People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism.  Someone falsely accuses us of something and this damages our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and attack the other person, or we cower and cry.  And the list goes on.

But the craziest thing is, oftentimes we are actually the ones harming and threatening ourselves with negativity and false-accusations…

Just this morning I was struggling to motivate myself to work on a new creative project I’ve been procrastinating on, so my identity of myself as someone who’s always productive and motivated and has great ideas suddenly came under attack.  When I realized I wasn’t getting things done, it made me feel terribly self-conscious and upset because I began subconsciously worrying that I wasn’t who I thought I was.  I felt like a slacker.

My solution was to realize that I’m not just one thing.  I’m not always productive – sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m unproductive too.  I’m not always motivated – sometimes I am, but other times I’m a bit lazy.  And obviously I don’t always have great ideas either – because that’s impossible.

The truth is, I can be many things, and remembering this helps me stretch my identity so it’s not so fragile – so it doesn’t completely shatter when a small piece of it gets chipped.  Then it doesn’t matter if someone occasionally thinks I didn’t do a good job, or if I sometimes catch myself not doing a good job – because I don’t always do a good job.

I make mistakes.

I am less than perfect.

Just like YOU.

And that’s perfectly OK.

3.  Change, evolve, and start over when you must.

“Starting over is not an option!”

Unfortunately, that’s a lie many of us hold on to until the bitter end.

The idea of starting over being a bad thing is baked right into the fabric of our society’s education system.  We send our children to a university when they’re 17 or 18, and basically tell them to choose a career path they’ll be happy with for the next 40 years.  “But, what if I choose wrong?”  I remember thinking to myself.  And that’s exactly what I did, in more ways than one.

Over the years, however, through bouts of failure and hardship, I’ve learned the truth through experience: you can change paths anytime you want to, and oftentimes it’s absolutely necessary that you do.

Yes, starting over and making substantial changes in your life is almost always feasible.  Of course, it won’t be easy, but neither is being stuck with a lifelong career you naively chose when you were a teenager.  And neither is holding on to something that’s not meant to be, or something that’s already gone.

The truth is, no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward; sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  And this is a perfect metaphor for life.  Sometimes when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path.  Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine.  Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed.  So turn around when you must!  There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction.  And there are three little words that can release you from your past mistakes and regrets, and get you back on track.  These words are: “From now on…”

So… from now on, what should you do?

Anything.  Something small.  As long as you don’t just sit in your seat, strapped down to a destiny that isn’t yours.  If you mess it up, start over.  Try something else.

Let go and grow!

No doubt, one of the absolute hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss.  Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.  But letting go is generally the healthiest path forward.  It clears out toxic thoughts and choices from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present.  You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from some of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.  Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus yourself, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster!

And oftentimes letting go is strictly about changing the labels you place on a situation – it’s looking at the same situation with fresh eyes and an open mind, and then making the best of it.

It’s thinking better about the past and present, and then building small, life-changing daily rituals so you can start over again, and live better going forward.

4.  Let go of the things you don’t need.

Eventually, most of us end up settling in some part of our life.  We let go of certain ideals and dreams, we compromise, and we make trade-offs.  We gradually learn that we can’t have everything we want, because not every outcome in life can be perfectly controlled.  But if we pay close attention, we also learn that we can make the best of every outcome, and still get a lot of what we want in life, if we manage our time, energy and attitude appropriately.

And these realizations collectively lead to an interesting question:

When should you settle, or compromise, and when should you continue fighting hard for what you ideally want to achieve?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but when you encounter a situation that forces you to choose between compromise and fighting forward against the opposition, it might help to also ask yourself:

“Do I really need this, or do I just kinda want it?”

Being able to distinguish needs from wants is essential in every walk of life.  Never let go of an outcome you truly need in your life, but be reasonably flexible on the outcomes you want but could live fine without.

In other words, choose your battles wisely, and don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “great.”  Remind yourself that what you pay attention to grows.  So focus on what really matters and let go of what does not.

Don’t give up 50% of your life working 50-hour weeks at a day job that makes you absolutely miserable.  Don’t abandon your sanity for the wrong reasons.  Don’t neglect lifelong goals and dreams that have withstood the tests of time, and still bring incredible meaning into your life.

If you really need something, fight hard for it!

But for everything else, let go a little.  Loosen your grip, compromise… settle.

Settle on less of the unessential, to get more of what you really need and want in life.

5.  Accept and embrace daily discomfort, for the right reasons.

Discomfort is a form of pain, but it isn’t a deep pain – it’s a shallow one.  It’s the feeling you get when you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone.  The idea of exercising in many people’s minds, for example, brings discomfort – so they don’t do it.   Eating a spinach and kale salad brings discomfort too.  So does meditating, or focusing on a difficult task, or saying “no” to others.  Of course, these are just examples, because different people find discomfort in different things, but you get the general idea.

The key thing to understand is that most forms of discomfort actually help us grow into our strongest and smartest selves.  However, many of us were raised by loving parents who did so much to make our childhoods comfortable, that we inadvertently grew up to subconsciously believe that we don’t need discomfort in our lives.  And now we run from it constantly.  The problem with this is that, by running from discomfort, we are constrained to partake in only the activities and opportunities within our comfort zones.  And since our comfort zones are relativity small, we miss out on most of life’s greatest and healthiest experiences, and we get stuck in a debilitating cycle.

Let’s use diet and exercise as an example…

  • First, we become unhealthy because eating healthy food and exercising feels uncomfortable, so we opt for comfort food and mindless TV watching instead.
  • But then, being unhealthy is also uncomfortable, so we seek to distract ourselves from the reality of our unhealthy bodies by eating more unhealthy food and watching more unhealthy entertainment and going to the mall to shop for things we don’t really want or need.  And our discomfort just gets worse.

Amazingly, the simple act of accepting a little discomfort every day, and taking it one small step at a time, can solve most of our common problems, and make our minds happier, healthier and stronger in the long run.

But, again, it’s hard – really, really hard sometimes!  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  That’s not how we’re made.  We’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall sometimes.  Because that’s part of living – to face discomfort, learn from it, and adapt over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

So when you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.  Just because today is uncomfortable and stressful, doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be wonderful.  You just got to get there.

6.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”

Goals are important.  All journeys of change must begin with a goal.  And you also must have determination in order to achieve your goals.  However, what do you think happens when you are too determined, or too obsessed with a goal?  You begin to nurture another belief: who you are right now is not good enough.

Years ago, I had become overly obsessive in my efforts to meditate.  As my interest in meditation grew, I began to increasingly say to myself, “I am not good enough,” and, “I have to be better at this.”  I began to notice various imperfections within myself that needed to be “fixed.”

My over-the-top efforts to meditate for extensive periods of time had opened the doors to lots of self-criticism and stress.  Thankfully, however, I realized that my obsession toward meditation had made me forget one of the basic objectives of meditation – self-acceptance.

So the bottom line is this: you have to accept yourself as you are, and then commit to personal growth.  If you think you are absolutely “perfect” already, you will not make any positive efforts to grow.  But constantly criticizing yourself is just as counterproductive as doing nothing, because you will never be able to build new positive changes into your life when you’re obsessively focused on your flaws.

The key is to remind yourself that you already are good enough; you just need more practice.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”  The second mantra is far more effective because it actually prompts you to take positive action every day while simultaneously accepting the reality that every effort may not be perfect.

7.  Be mindful.

Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge and practice.  It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity.

Ready to get started?

It’s simple, but far from easy.  Practice…

  • Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
  • Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
  • Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)

Ritualize this kind of mindfulness into your daily routines, and you will undoubtedly change the way you spend the rest of your life.

8.  Find something to be grateful for in the present moment, despite the situation.

Happiness doesn’t always make us grateful, but gratitude always helps us smile.  Some may say that’s a cliché, but it’s not.  Gratitude is the foundation.  And happiness is simply the sacred experience of living with a genuinely grateful heart.
Expressing gratitude is so simple though, right?  How could it possibly make that big of a difference?

Yes, being grateful seems simple enough, but a grateful state of mind is unbelievably hard to maintain when life disappoints us.  And that’s the kicker – when we’re feeling down and disappointed, that’s exactly when a dose of gratitude is most powerful.

So what’s the best approach?

Being grateful starts with being present.  You can’t appreciate your life when you’re not paying attention to it.  And the truth is, we make our present situations much worse when we replay difficult past situations in our heads (“How could she possibly have done that to me?”), or when we ruminate over all the situations that might be problematic in the future (“What if he cheats on me?”).  In the present moment, our real situation is rarely as convoluted as we make it out to be.  And we can meet this moment with grace and gratitude, if we can truly stay in the present.

When our mind drifts into the past or speculates about the future, we must do our best to catch ourselves, and then refocus mindfully back on the present.  Once we’re back, the key is to accept the moment as it is.  Our reality can ruin us if we deny it and fight it … or we can accept it for what it is, be grateful for it, and gradually make the best of it.  This takes practice, of course, because gratitude tends to escape us when we feel let down.  But this is the real world, not an ideal world.  And your reality always contains a silver lining of beauty, if you choose to see it.

For Angel and me, working through life’s difficulties has grown significantly easier for us in recent times.  Instead of focusing on how arduous everything is, we have ritualized the practice of gratitude into our lives, and we use our gratitude rituals to find glimmers of hope and joy in the small steps of progress we make every day.

9.  Do something small for someone else – make them the center of your universe for a little while.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us.  And this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect, to feeling lost and alone with our issues when we’re having a bad day or going through hard times.

So whenever I catch myself lingering at the center in an adverse state of mind, I do my best to briefly shift my focus, away from my own issues, and onto other people around me that I might be able to help.  Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing alone in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need.  I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question.  The central question now is about what others need.

Thus, thinking about others instead of oneself helps solve feelings self-consciousness and inadequacy, which in turn makes you feel a lot less broken and alone when you’re struggling to move your life forward.

It’s one of life’s great paradoxes: when we serve others we end up benefiting as much if not more than those we serve.  So whenever you feel a bit lost or stuck with your own issues, try to shift your focus from your circumstances to the circumstances of those around you.  Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” ask, “How can I help you?”  Find someone who could use an extra hand and make a small, reasonable offer they can’t refuse.  The perspective you gain from doing so will guide you forward.

Angel and I initially developed this strategy in our lives over a decade ago as we were struggling with the near simultaneous loss of two loved ones.  It was really hard to find motivation when we didn’t think we had the strength to push forward – when we felt downright horrible and sorry for ourselves.  But we took one small step every day – oftentimes just writing a short blog post to share some lessons learned with others who might find our stories and insights helpful – and it felt good, and we gradually got stronger.

This morning, as I caught myself struggling with some inner conflicts, I followed suit again – I took a small step forward… just turning on my laptop, opening up a new document, and writing a single sentence.  Such an action is so small as to seem insignificant, and yet so easy as to be possible when I was feeling down.  And it showed me the next step was possible, and the next.  And the end result is this blog post you’ve just finished reading.  I sincerely hope you’ve benefited from it in some small way.

Your turn…

What else would you add to the list?  What’s one hard thing you do that has helped you move your life forward?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

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9 Sure-Fire Ways To Motivate Yourself

Are you struggling with a lack of motivation?

Have you noticed how your motivation can come and go, quite unpredictably? One day you’re totally fired up and taking massive action and the next day you literally have to drag yourself out of bed.

I’m guessing, like me, you’re wishing you could control this elusive thing called motivation.

What if you could. What if there was a way to consistently motivate yourself to perform at your best, day in and day out?

Want to find out how?

Here are 9 Sure-Fire Ways To Motivate Yourself:

1. Progress from a VISION, to having a MISSION

When you lack vision for your life, your desire to do anything remarkable will be low. You’ll seek out things that entertain you and thrill you rather than important work that challenges you, because of lack of vision. So your first step has to be: get a vision for your life.

Done that? Okay, now go one step further. Find your mission.

Have you noticed how people who’ve done something really significant with their lives have had a strong sense of not just vision, but a mission?

Nelson Mandela

Take a look for example at Nelson Mandela. He lived for something far greater than being the leader of an anti-apartheid party.

His words in the dock before going to prison were :

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Being willing to spend 27 years in prison to fight for this ideal means this was not just a vision, it was his mission.

So what is a mission?

Some define it as a quest or a calling. I define it as a cause you’re willing to fight for, to sweat over with hard work, tears and supreme effort.

It may be a deep burning desire to do something that impacts society and the way we live. It’s often something that, if accomplished, will make the world a better place.

Here’s the thing: If you have a mission, you’re unlikely to give up when you face hardships, setbacks and disappointments in the pursuit of it. When it’s just a vision, you may find it harder to persevere. Therein lies the distinction.

Find your mission, make it clear and put it in writing.
(Tip: What injustice angers you? What burns you up? What stirs you? Find that and you’ve found important clues to your mission)

2. Tap into your Fear of loss and Desire for gain

According to the late achievement expert, Zig Ziglar, we are motivated by one of two things :

  • Desire for gain
  • Fear of loss

Those two things will drive all of our behaviour.

Think about it – sometimes you’ll be motivated at work because of a fear of losing your job if you don’t meet your targets (fear of loss); or because you want a promotion (desire for gain). You may be motivated to lose weight because of the benefit of increased self-respect, health and happiness (desire for gain). Or perhaps you become motivated to lose weight when your doctor tells you that your diet and lifestyle may lead to disease and limit your life (fear of loss).

So is there an area you would like to be more motivated in?

a)   Put the fear of loss on your side. Write down all of the things you will lose if you don’t take action.
b)  Now utilise the desire for gain in the same area. Write down all the things that you will gain by taking action towards the area where you’re lacking motivation.

3. Adopt a long-term perspective of your life

People with a long-term perspective are more motivated to take action towards meaningful goals than those with a short-term instant gratification mentality.

When we’re highly motivated by a chocolate craving more than the health benefits of cutting down on sugar, it’s because we’re focussing on the short-term gain (pleasure for our taste buds!) rather than a long-term goal of health or becoming our goal weight.

To get a long term perspective, start to pay more attention to your daily habits.

Then ask yourself, ‘If I continue to do this every day like I am now, what will this look like in 1 years’ time? In 5 years’ time? In 10 years’ time?’

‘Am I happy with that?’

If you don’t like the answer to that question, then I’m hoping you feel uncomfortable enough right now to make a change!

According to Aristotle ‘We are what we repeatedly do’, so we need to like what our repeated actions are leading us towards long-term.

5. Gamify your work

This works well with work that you can do easily and is repetitive for e.g. phoning prospects, talking to a desired number of people within a certain period or getting a repetitive admin task done quickly.

Create a challenge for yourself to fulfil 20, 50 or 100 of your key tasks as quickly as possible, within a certain timeframe – put a chart up on the wall to tick off your progress. Or Compete with yourself to see how long you can work before stopping to have a coffee break.

Have a contest with yourself to beat a previous own score. Devise fun incentives for yourself for completing challenges.

According to motivation expert Dan Pink in his 2009 TED talk, these extrinsic rewards are great for tasks that don’t require much cognitive effort – but remember that it’s not an effective motivator for more creative endeavours.

5. Find out what your ‘Hot Buttons’ are

Are you motivated by helping people? By making money? By doing satisfying, challenging work? By problem-solving? By leading others?

Find out what unique things most motivate you. Create a list of those things – and find out ways you can incorporate your unique motivators into your work.

6. Create your own Motivation ‘Playlist’.

Create your own collection of motivating songs, movies and youtube clips of speeches that motivate you. And when you feel the need for some, press play!

The great thing is that Cris Nikolov, founder of motivationgrid.com has done a lot of the work for you. Check out his motivational videos and bookmark your favourites.

One of my favourite is : “Enraged” (watch here), featuring excerpts from a Les Brown speech.

7. Stand Guard over your Mind

You have to stand guard, like a sentry, deciding who and what gets access to your mind.

You get to decide what thoughts you entertain. You also get to decide what you feed your mind with. The books you read, the movies and videos you watch and the people you hang around with all have a powerful influence over your mind.

And what goes into your mind will radically affect your mood and your motivation.

We are powerfully influenced by our ‘mental diet’ – Constantly surrounding yourself with negative people, tragic news, mind-numbing TV and a consumer, entertainment-driven culture will literally suck the life out of you. And your motivation and drive will be sucked out with it.

So be vigilant and diligent. Evaluate your influences. Drastically reduce the negative ones and surround yourself with positive influences. If your current environment doesn’t have any, you’ll have to substitute by listening to training, watching youtube clips, speeches or reading books by inspiring people.

8. Seek out opportunities to work in a field, career or business that utilisies your natural strengths and talents

This may take time, but you can work towards this as you progress in your career or take the entrepreneurial leap into the business of your dreams.

Do the self-analysis needed to find out what environment you love to work in, what people you enjoy working with, what type of work you most love to do and where you’d most like to spend your working hours. Look at every aspect, whether or not you’d rather work in a team or alone, in an office or outdoors or working from home.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be alert to opportunities that come your way to take the work that you love, where you love to do it, and with whom.

You’ll be at your most motivated when doing the kind of work you most love, in the kind of environment in which you know you thrive.

Money is not enough of a motivator. According to Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, authors of ‘Your money or your life’ there is a point at which we reach the stage of having ‘enough money’. Earning more money after that point no longer motivates us.

We are more likely, in our businesses and our work, to be motivated by work that is meaningful to us and utilises our talents. We are also more motivated when we enjoy and respect who we work with.

9. Act ‘as if’

Science reveals that our physiology can affect our emotions. So if you act motivated, your emotions will follow suit and you’ll start to feel motivated.

Put on the appearance of being motivated, ‘dress up’ for your day, smile and behave with others as though you are motivated and you will become what you’ve ‘put on.’

If you’re feeling demotivated, just get started. Action can kickstart motivation. Your feelings will follow your actions.

Next Steps

Finally, here’s a few steps to take right now to implement these strategies :

1. Pick just 2 of your favourite ‘motivation’ strategies.

2. Write down what action steps you’ll need to take to apply them to an area where you need more motivation.

3. Either apply that strategy now, or put the steps on a list and book time in your calendar to complete it.

Do you use any of these strategies already? Or do you use other ways to motivate yourself, not mentioned here? Are any of these strategies new ones that you’d like to try out? Let me know in the comments!

 

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How to Organize Your Life Right Now In 10 Easy Steps

 

 

 

As a global business consultant, I travel. A lot. And I must admit that, at first, I wasn’t very good at it. Being in multiple countries with multiple time zones in just a few days’ time meant that I needed to be really organized. After a few missed meetings, late night appointments and near-missed flights, I decided to seek the help of productivity specialist, Lori Krolik, President of More Time for You. She taught me the magical life lesson of mastering checklists.

I’ve learned that without them, you’re doomed.

Here’s what she told me:

“Create checklists for the places you travel to, especially globally, when you might need special medicines or articles of clothing. For example, you might need Malaria medicine in certain humid, remote, climates. Or that easily packable down coat when traveling to cold weather. Pull the checklist out each time when you’re getting ready to go to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.”

It was as if that advice opened a Pandora’s box of how to organize my life. Not only was I able to be in the right place at the right time no matter where I was on the globe, but I began to physically and mentally cut through clutter in all aspects of my life—professional and personal.

And, now that I have it together, I want you share with you the ten secrets of how to organize your life, too.

How to Organize Your Life Right Now In 10 Easy Steps

Prioritize.

First, you’ve got to believe in yourself that you can be the conqueror of clutter. The way to do this is to hone in on what needs to be organized. Don’t be daunted. Think, what areas are the most disorganized? What areas are stressing you out and making it difficult for you to achieve certain tasks like scheduling meetings or fixing supper? Start that checklist and tackle one before moving onto the next.

Get dressed.

There’s a trend among organized people. They start their mornings with the same routine every single day—no matter if they’re going to work or staying home. A lot of successful people like to start the day by making their bed – this way they start the day with a small achievement. This simple act of getting ready for the day no matter where it may take you can change your perspective and help you be more productive. It’s the simple knowledge that you’re prepared for anything—inside or outside the house.

Write everything down.

Sure, we live in an age where pen and paper is antiquated but it’s a great way to remember things. Write out those checklists and savor the triumphant feeling you have when you get to mark things off. For important dates and errands, feel free to use your smart phone. But no matter what, write (or type) it somewhere. To-do lists do no good floating around in your head.

Master the calendar.

Speaking of dates, my productivity guru, Lori, also shared some important advice when it comes to scheduling meetings—be sure to use the notes section in your calendar. Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to recalling who is calling who, or what is on the agenda, or for me, what time zone the call is meant to take place. Auto-conversion doesn’t work sometimes, so she advised me to put all relevant times and time-zones manually in the body of the invitation.

Be an anti-procrastinator.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but procrastination only adds to stress—and disorganization. The longer you wait to do something, the harder it will be to get the task done (plus, you’ll likely do a worse job because of the pressure and time constraints). Getting things done as soon as you can nixes the feeling of having something hanging over your head. Try it! It can be liberating!

Give everything a home.

Some people love, love, love label makers. And, I never quite understood it. Those little machines seem to have an underground fan club of highly organized people. And now I know why—I’ve learned those little things can be a powerful weapon when it comes to getting organized. Pick one up and head to the Container Store and get a host of bins, boxes, and folders. Then go crazy. Give everything in your life its designated place. If everything has a home, you’ll lessen your chances of losing anything. Think of the time you’ll save not looking for your keys! This goes for email, too. Create folders and send those emails home.

Get rid of junk regularly.

A big key to how to organize your life is spending time on a regular basis, whether it be every week or every month, to go through and declutter. Get rid of things you don’t need. A rule I have for clothes and personal items is, if I haven’t used it in a year, to bring it to Good Will or a consignment shop. Also, if I purchase something new, like a new sweater or pair of shoes, that means I must get rid of something. This also helps fight the clutter war.

Put things back where they belong.

Now that everything has a “home”, make sure it stays that way. Don’t use that flashlight and then stick it in a nearby cupboard. Take a moment and place it back in the neatly labeled container you got it from. That way when you need it next, you’ll know where to look.

Share the work.

One of the perks of being really organized is freedom from being really stressed and overwhelmed. And freedom from being really stressed and overwhelmed means demands that you not have too much on your plate. Really organized people know how to delegate. If you find that your plate is overflowing, prioritize and consider dropping or delegating the less important tasks. It’s okay to cancel plans so that you have time to think. Or, even, just to breathe.

That brings me to my last secret of how to organize your life—

Stop trying to be perfect!

Organized people have the image of being perfectionists but the truth is, they aren’t. It’s just the illusion they’ve created because they have the space and time to do what’s important well. If you feel like you must do everything perfectly, you’re not going to get anything done. So try to do the best you can for the most important stuff, and be okay with “good enough” for the others—or ask for help. This will help you combat procrastination and free up your time.

Since I discovered these secrets of how to organize one’s life and work, I’ve been much more productive while being less stressed. It seems contradictory but by investing a little bit of time into organizing every day, I’ve been able to have more time to do the things I want—and do them well.

 

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How To Create a Compelling Vision For Your Future

Opening the door to the spirit of possibility

Have you ever been standing there in the doorway of what’s next? Are you wondering, what should I do with my life?   So often we pull back from these moments not prepared to execute a plan, not because we don’t want to change but simply because we just don’t have one.  What you’re looking for is a new “vision” for yourself.  One that will ignite your spirit, remain fueled by the energy within your heart, and transform your life into a new reality.  Here’s the good news, believe it or not you’re in the right place for change. Step through this doorway with the spirit of possibility and a focused new vision for your future.

So often we pull back from these moments not prepared to execute a plan, not because we don’t want to change but simply because we just don’t have one.  What you’re looking for is a new “vision” for yourself.  One that will ignite your spirit, remain fueled by the energy within your heart, and transform your life into a new reality.  Here’s the good news, believe it or not you’re in the right place for change. Step through this doorway with the spirit of possibility and a focused new vision for your future.

6 Ways To Create a Compelling Vision For Your Future.

1. Slowdown

All too often we are in such reaction to what’s going on around us, the phone, the car, the job, the continuous pressing noise that surrounds our daily life. Hang it all up for a little while. Sometimes we never put aside any time for ourselves to heal and adjust to our surroundings, forget set a course for the future.  Stop, take some vital time for yourself, use this time to just be by yourself for a little while free from all the distractions in your life. Sit and think about what you want your life to be like and what you want it to represent.

2. Clear your Mind

Find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts for a while, really spend some time with your inner self.  Take some deep diaphragmatic breaths in and out, just feel the air passing your lips while you clear your mind.  When you arrive at a clear open space in your mind, what do you hear? What is your inner voice saying to you? What’s actually important to you, what are you really passionate about, what are you great at?

3. Think Big

Now is not the time to hold back, now is the time to let go. Think about what you are capable of and reach for the maximum outcome. If you aim high your successes will be monumental.  If you shoot too low, who cares right? Take this time to dream about the possibilities and what you can do if you put your heart and soul into it. Truly step outside the norm and think about what you could accomplish if you put your heart into it, genuinely let go and dream about the possibilities for a while.

4. Get Focused

Once you have a clear picture of what’s important to you, and what you’re capable of, now it’s time to focus on what that really is.  See your vision for yourself in full detail as if it were already completed.  See every single angle of this vision, know what it feels like to accomplish it and feel what it would be like to represent it. Clarity is key, you must completely know what your vision will look like from front to back, side to side, inside and out. Visualize your future as rewarding and exciting.

5. Believe in Yourself

Your spirit exists primarily in your belief of “what if” and the possibilities of what you are capable of.  When you find yourself on the edge of self doubt, stop and say, “yes” I can do this, this is truly who I am and whom I am about to become! Accept nothing less than your personal best for yourself and take things one step at a time. Small steps lead to giant leaps over time.  Remember a time when you experienced success, hold those thoughts and feelings close to your heart and remember, you can do it, and you’ve succeeded before and this time there’s no stopping you.

6. Take Action

Once you’ve developed your vision, you must take a step towards it in order to start the process. If not, your new vision will just dissolve into nothing, and slowly wash away and be forgotten.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming just a small step to symbolize the beginning of this next journey in your life. Prove to yourself that you are committed to making this a reality, serve yourself a taste of the future.

Remember this is only the beginning, time is ticking off right in front of you. What you do with your time shape’s your destiny, so make every second count.  Where you focus your heart is who you really are, and what you leave behind. What you do with your spirit will light up your soul forever.

What you see with your vision, you will live today and make decisions for tomorrow.  Open the door to the possibilities, be the true you, and live the adventure of a lifetime, your lifetime.

How To Crush Negativity And Achieve Success

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. ~ Marcus Aurelius

Most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves when we think about our flaws or shortcomings and let’s face it we are all perfectly imperfect.

If you find yourself stuck in some struggle in life that you know can be solved but you just don’t know where to begin.

If you fear the consequences of getting it wrong, because after all, you’ve got it wrong before.

If you’ve lost faith in yourself, remember this: you will find talent, you will find genius you will find grit, wherever you look for it.

Don’t allow negativity to crush your dreams.

Don’t doubt your potential.

Don’t compare yourself to those who you think are doing much better at life than you.

There’s always someone who can do something better than we can, don’t allow it to distort the view you have of yourself.

It’s time to practice a little self-compassion.

1. Speak kindly

We know cars that aren’t maintained eventually become wrecks and homes that aren’t taken care of become run down, and the same is true of you. Maintain kind thoughts and loving feelings towards yourself.

Words have the power to build you up or tear you down.

Stop allowing the critical voice in your mind to control your life.  As you keep your mind focused on peace and harmony you quiet your inner critic.

Give yourself permission to ignore the voice in your head when it’s not speaking kindly. Give yourself permission to defy your inner critic and dream big, risk new ways of living, go after what you want, and become unstoppable.

Remember your thoughts are always trying to manifest themselves so the next time negativity speaks, reframe what it has to say.

When you hear it can’t be done, at least not by you. Remind yourself it’s just the inner critic wanting control. Think back to when something went well and acknowledge yourself for that.

I recently did something that didn’t please that inner critic one little bit.

I ate every piece of Cadbury’s chocolate in the house, setting off that whispering voice in my mind, making it plain that I should be feeling embarrassed and pretty pathetic, so naturally, I did…briefly.  Then I reframed the conversation with myself.

  “So you had a lapse in judgement. So it didn’t feel that great afterwards. So it wasn’t one of your best moments. So what!  Big deal!”  I didn’t habitually scoff every piece of chocolate in sight…the world didn’t come tumbling down. It was all okay and suddenly the inner critic lost its power.

If you’ve had lapses in judgement lately, don’t waste another minute in regret.   Whatever you did is done.   We all do stuff we really wished we hadn’t.   Everybody messes up and you forgive others all the time.  Don’t forget to forgive yourself. 

Keep speaking kindly to yourself; you as much as anyone else deserve a little loving kindness.

2. Reinvent your universe

How daring are you?

Have you allowed mental blocks to control your relationships, your career, your health and peace, your finances? 

What do you dare to believe about yourself?

If you knew, really knew, that your world was shaped by the way you see yourself, and by the beliefs you currently hold, what would you choose to accept about who you are?

If you knew that by changing the inner attitudes you had towards your self you could change the outer experiences in your world, what would you choose?

Reinvent your universe. Begin to believe nothing is impossible for you. And remind yourself of this daily and I mean daily, once every now and then won’t cut it…believe me, I’ve tried that and it honestly doesn’t work.

Acknowledge how strong you are. After all you’ve come this far, you’ve climbed many mountains and overcome all kinds of obstacles and you’re still standing.

Once you choose to see yourself in a new light, you stop worrying about all the things you can’t do and start dreaming about all the things you can.

Waste no more time wondering what a great life could be. Live one.

3. Forget mastery

Think commitment. 

Are you willing to take the time each day and use it in ways that most of us won’t, in order to live the kind of life that most of us never will?

Needing to be a master of all you do creates stress, decreases motivation and makes you less likely to be happy about who you are and what you’re doing.

Think getting better. 

Excellence is reachable, perfection not so much.

Let go of the mirage of perfection and it will no longer weigh you down.

Incredible change is possible when you choose getting-better goals and accept that the only mastery required is of right thinking.  If you want to change your whole world begin with one or two positive thoughts a day.

Pay attention to the flow of thoughts you have and you’ll find, as you focus your mind on being successful by getting better at something, you’ve taken your first step towards a new, more fulfilling life.

You’re aligning yourself with the energies of abundance and you get to experience more well being, a sense of  satisfaction and even more success. It’s one of the lovely things about life.

Don’t make it harder than it need be…crush negativity as soon as you become aware of it, simply by replacing it with something more positive.

4. Spiritually speaking

Changing the thoughts you think and the feelings you feel will change your destiny. Be wise by choosing more positive thoughts and replace old negative beliefs as you become aware of them.

Your inner consciousness is a powerful force and it’s the main reason for your success or failure. And although a single thought hasn’t much power, through persistence and repetition it’s force is magnified and then it can be manifested more easily.

The happiest people feed their mind, their consciousness, with things that are lovely, that are a delight to the soul.

In fact happy people rarely allow negativity to have too much power. They never stop feeling something great is about to happen. They’re smiling at life and life smiles right back.

I hope you can follow in their footsteps.

Stop waiting for things to happen, start creating.  Remember your consciousness creates your reality and you direct your consciousness.

Never stop believing in yourself. 

As always I appreciate you being here and would love your take on crushing that inner negativity and achieving greater success and happiness.  Why not make a difference to someone in the Live Purposefully Now family and leave your ideas and wisdom in the comments below. It’s always great to hear from you.

Feel free to share this article and remember…

Encourage one another.

If You Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life, Read This.

You feel like you are drifting on a sea of dreary, unexciting, monotony and you cannot see the shoreline of the comforting, satisfying island where your raison d’être (a.k.a. your reason for being) is waiting for you.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, you are a part of the largest group of people on this planet. You don’t know what to do with your life and you don’t know how to find out either.

The first thing to understand is that this is perfectly normal; people are not born knowing what their ultimate role in society is going to be. Instead, they are born with endless possibilities from which to discover their calling. The problem is that while the choice is immense, the choosing is ever so difficult.

What’s more, life is in constant flux and the right choice changes as your journey
unravels. No wonder so many of us find ourselves with a nagging feeling that there might be so much more out there if we could only reach it.

If you’ve stumbled across this article, chances are that you are one of these people. With this in mind, here are some pointers for you to follow that should steer you in the right direction to finally uncover the thing(s) you really want to achieve in life.

The Future’s Not Ours To See

“The future’s not ours to see” are lyrics from a famous Doris Day song and they are true to a large extent. We may only begin to imagine what life has in store for us and we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking we need to plan for our entire lifetimes.

You just can’t ever know what might be around the corner; your health, your work situation, your family, and the wider society may all see considerable change and many things cannot be planned for.

 
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You can, however, look forward in the short term and try to do as many things that bring you joy as you can. Whether this involves your job or simply your hobbies, by chasing positive moments, we can at least make the journey more enjoyable.

A by-product of this approach is that you may discover hidden talents or desires purely by seeking out opportunities to experience true happiness.

And for those things you aren’t able to foresee, you can only try to roll with the punches and take them as they come. Uncertainty cannot be avoided and some events will bring about great turmoil; one way to cope is to try and view each negative as a positive waiting to happen – if you make it one.

Embrace Discomfort To Achieve Happiness

Life’s road is rarely ever smooth, which means that you’re going to come across stretches of great discomfort. Whether that is a physical lack of money that prevents you from doing something or an emotional earthquake that turns your world upside down, you just have to accept that knocks and bumps cannot be totally avoided.

Each time you experience such discomfort, you will learn a little more about yourself and what your wishes are for the future. You will find out what you are and are not willing to endure and this will guide you towards more suitable waypoints along your journey.

For instance, you may initially want to become a lawyer, but find yourself 3 years into your training with many more years ahead of you, virtually penniless, working 70 hour weeks and dreadfully unhappy. You have undergone a period of great discomfort, but you’ve learned where your limits are with regards to pushing your mind and body for the purpose of a career. You can now adjust your course and seek different opportunities that better fit with your mental and physical tolerances.

Ditch The Distractions And Pull Away From Procrastination

Never forget that time waits for no man. You may want to discover and chase a dream, but you won’t be able to do so if you keep putting off the inevitable. Maintain your hobbies, your family time and other things that you truly value, but seize all of the otherwise wasted time and do something with it.

Uncovering your ideal path in life is not without its own hard work and effort. You need to put your mind to work, engage your body and utilize what time you have.

Research potential avenues of work, speak to people with experience in the field, even volunteer if possible to get a sense of whether or not it is right for you. You can’t ever tell for sure how much you’ll enjoy something until you’ve got your hands dirty doing it for a while. And you can only do that if you stop making excuses and stop finding ways to waste your time.

Ask Questions (Both Big & Small)

You can’t gain knowledge without asking some questions, but when you are searching for a driving purpose to guide your future movements in life, you’ll often need to ask yourself and not others.

Sometimes you’ll find the big questions helpful, such as what you are most passionate about, where you stand on major moral issues, what would you prioritize if money and time were no object – that sort of thing.

Other times, it might be the smaller questions that help you to refine your direction. Do you like working in an office environment? Do you prefer city, town, or country living? How many social activities is enough for you? Is downtime important to you?

The more you explore these and other questions, the closer you come to understanding who you are and what your ideal calling is in life (or, at least, in your current stage of life).

Be Willing To Make Sacrifices In The Short Term

Right now you probably feel lost; you don’t know what to do with your life and you want to reach a place where you do. However, between where you are now and where you wish to be, there is a hard road to travel.

Discomfort is something that has already been mentioned, but something else that you might have to get used to is sacrifice.

You see, we only have so much time and energy at our disposal and while you may currently find ways to use up both, if you want to take that leap to a life of more contentment, you will almost certainly have to give up some of the things you currently take for granted.

Perhaps, after doing your research and asking yourself the right questions, you decide that you want to start a business. But you don’t yet have the necessary money to get it off the ground. You may have to put in extra hours at your current job, be more frugal with your spending, and even give up current luxuries like flash cars and foreign holidays in order to make your dream a reality.

You must be willing to forego in the present to thrive in the future, because if you are not, you will struggle to change your situation and move along the path to happiness.

Knock Knock

Sometimes you have to spot the opportunities that come knocking at your door and you have to be willing to answer their call. Remember, trying something out is one of the most effective ways to discover how suitable it is for you, so when life seeks to show you the way, don’t ignore it – grab on with both hands and see where it takes you.

You might worry that it’s not the right time or the right opportunity, but you will never know unless you take a leap and find out.

Sitting on your hands and doing nothing is a choice, but it is one that you will most likely regret as you grow older. People rarely regret their adventures, but they often regret not going on one in the first place.

 

source https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/2729/if-you-dont-know-what-to-do-with-your-life-read-this/?c=ACR