10 Ways To Stop Being Possessive Every Couple Needs To Know

Being possessive over your partner can only damage a relationship. There are many reasons why people might feel possessive, including having trust issues, being jealous, or having low self-esteem. Here are some tips to keep things in perspective if you feel yourself or your partner spiraling into a possessive state.

1. Forget about the past.

Maybe you’ve been cheated on or lied to before, but this is a new relationship. Don’t let the past ruin what you have going for you now. Your partner is a different person than your ex, and deserves a fresh start. Not to mention, you’ll feel better if you let the past go! You can’t change anything that’s already happened, so release the past hurt and focus on the relationship you’re in now.

2. Don’t be overbearing.

The more you worry your partner doesn’t love you or isn’t being honest with you, the more you will push him or her away. No one wants to be with a needy person, so don’t pile all your fears and worries about love on your partner. Trust that they love you because they’re choosing to be in a relationship with you. Let them go out without you, and don’t give them the third degree when they come home. If you make your partner feel like they’ve done something bad even when they haven’t, they might wonder what it’s worth to be good.

3. Live your own life.

This goes hand in hand with not being overbearing. If you have your own job, your own hobbies, and your own social life, then you’ll be a more interesting person to your partner. It’s important to spend time together, of course, but it’s also fun to spend time apart and have different things to share and talk about when you’re together.

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4. Don’t let the green-eyed monster eat you alive.

Jealousy is not only a fast relationship killer, but it will make you feel bitter and hateful in your daily life. That green-eyed monster is quick to cut you down and make you feel worthless. Turn that attitude into something positive by realizing that your partner is with you because you’re a great, quality person all on your own. You don’t need to be jealous about anyone else they may be spending time with. Make sure you know your self-worth and realize that your partner is lucky to be with you.

5. Know each other’s friends.

A great way to keep from being jealous is to be familiar with each other’s social circles. If you know who your partner is spending time with, you’ll know there’s no reason to worry. An added bonus is that you might like their friends and want to spend time with them as well.

6. Don’t try to change your partner.

You knew who your partner was when you got involved in the relationship—why do you want to change him or her now? Telling yourself that the other person needs to change could just be your easy answer to any problem you might be having in the relationship.

7. Try to find the root of the problem.

Why do you feel possessive in your relationship? Whether it’s a fear from a past relationship, or even something that happened in childhood, you need to figure out what is causing you to feel and act this way. It will help you come to terms with your issue and conquer it, which in turn will make you feel better and will help future relationships.

8. Trust your partner (and yourself).

Often people feel insecure about others because they’re projecting something they see in themselves. You might worry that your partner flirts when he or she goes out with friends because you flirt when you go out with friends. If you trust yourself to only flirt and not go beyond that, you should be able to trust your partner to do the same—it’s only fair!

9. Don’t spy.

It’s OK to admit—everyone’s done it! Checking emails of an account that’s been left open, scrolling through sent text messages, perusing the browser history…It might seem normal and harmless, but it’s creating cracks in the relationship. You clearly think there’s something to find, and that hurts the trust you have (or should have) for your partner. Not to mention, it’s really awkward if they catch you! Keep yourself busy. Do something in another room while they’re on the phone so you’re not tempted to eavesdrop. Make sure you each sign out of your email accounts before leaving the computer. Over time, if you don’t have chances to spy, it will slip from your mind and you’ll stop feeling the urge to keep tabs on your partner.

10. Be open about your issues.

Tell your partner how you feel, without making it sound like you’re blaming them. Tell them about the issue from your past that makes it hard for you to trust. Tell them how you feel when they do certain things. Make sure you’re presenting things as an open dialog, not as a fight. If you’re open and honest about things that bother you, your partner is more likely to hear you out. If you’re both on the same page, it will help you to stop being possessive. Once everything is out in the open, you can start working through it—together!

6 Fastest Ways to Stop Being a Possessive

 

Learn how to stop treating your boyfriend like your personal property and go back to being the girlfriend of the year by reading our quick guide! By Minot Pettinato-Little

Jealousy is a headache, both to experience from a partner and to deal with on a personal level. It can turn you into the green-eyed-girlfriend you used to hate back when you were sane. Often, those who suffer from the “curse” can sometimes feel more like a lobotomy victim than a romantic partner while in a relationship.

It could be the way you were brought up, or because of insecurity and jealousy – regardless of your reasons, many people suffer from being overly-possessive in relationships. And in turn, the entire relationship suffers.

How to quit being so possessive

So what can you do when you feel like you’ve wandered down the road of the over-possessive girlfriend?

#1 Have a talk. You need to have an honest and open talk about your possessive attitude. If you truly love your partner and understand that you are being too possessive, tell him that. Your partner is going to be more understanding, if you are honest and if they can see that you acknowledge your possessive quality as a problem.

Often, the issue of being possessive has to do with lingering trust issues. If you don’t trust your partner, but you love them, you’re going to feel antsy about having them go out with other people and understandably will want them all to yourself. You will need to be completely open with your partner about these issues, if you ever wish to resolve them.

#2 If he cheats, there’s nothing you can do to stop him. This one is a hard pill to swallow, but if your jealousy has moved on to the point of being possessive then you need to acknowledge one hard fact: you can’t prevent him from cheating.

If a man is set out to cheat, he’ll find a way come hell or high water, and no amount of snooping, telling him “no”, tantalizing sex, thrilling conversations, or emotionally shared moments can prevent this from happening. He’s either going to be a good boy to you, or he isn’t. Acknowledging this, while terrifying, can actually allow you to let go of some of the anxiety you feel with regards to him being around other people.

All relationships are a risk. Take a risk and let your relationship grow instead of cutting it back before it has the chance to blossom. That’s not to say it’s okay if he does cheat. No, no, no! If he cheats, you kick him to the curb and never look back.

#3 Snoop it out of your system. If your possessive attitude means that you get full access to his phone, e-mails, Skype account and overall social media passwords, then you need to grab hold of this addiction and have one final hurrah.

Yes, snooping his social media accounts will let you feel in control and yes, you may get a sense of relief from being able to openly look at his private goings-on. But know this, if you only trust your man because you’re able to check his life behind closed doors, you will never really trust him.

Preventing someone from having a private life is wrong. It’s an invasion of privacy, and it shows a severe lack of respect for the partner that you claim to love. That being said, weaning yourself off of someone’s private socials can be hard. It’s addicting to watch the goings-on from the shadows, like your own personal soap opera. Not to mention it brings you comfort when you see that he hasn’t done anything wrong.

But you do want a relationship based on true trust, don’t you? If your fellah knows you snoop his socials, then tell him that you want to work on building back trust, and that in one week you want him to change all his passwords. Explain to him that you are really trying to change your possessive ways, and kindly request this as a security blanket until you’re adjusted to a non-snooper’s life. Taper down the frequency of your snooping sprees until you finally let go of that nasty habit.

#4 Do a role reversal. It may do you some good to swap the situations. Do you have male friends? If so, would you appreciate your boyfriend telling you that you weren’t allowed to see him any longer just because it didn’t sit well with your guy? As women tend to react emotionally to things, you may want to take a step back and look at the situation, if the roles were reversed. Remember, relationships are about trust and respect. Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.

#5 You had a past, they have a past. For those whose possessive attitude stems from jealousy, you’d do good to remember that he has a past, and so do you. You’ve both been with other people, both made mistakes, both had great sex, both had bad sex – so what? Remind yourself that this is a small part of your relationship now.

Take a night to yourself and go through your old photo-albums. Look at pictures of your ex from when you were 15-years-old, or from just a couple of years ago. This is your life, and you are entitled to your memories, just as he is entitled to his. So the next time you stumble across a sentimental trinket that he’s decided to keep around, take a breath, count to 10, and remember that it was this incredible past he lived that’s made him the incredible man you love today.

#6 Seek therapy. If you feel you’ve tried everything and you still can’t kick your bad habit, you may try seeking some form of therapy, such as couples counselling. And don’t just do it for your relationship, do it for yourself, too. Seeking therapy for deep rooted emotional issues can only help you down the road. Perhaps counselling won’t save this relationship from the damage that’s been done, but it may just prevent you from making the same problems in your next one.

Just because you’ve trotted down the road of the possessive girlfriend doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Take a good, hard look at the reasons behind your actions, and take the appropriate steps to fix it. Jealousy is a bad look, especially on you, so drop the attitude and just go back to being fabulous!

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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5 Simple Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp

 

The importance of keeping your mind sharp cannot be overstated. We’re all part of a fantastic intellectual and information economy, which thrives on ideas, creativity and intelligence. Keeping your mind sharp is sure to give you the edge over the competition, and more importantly lead to your own higher levels of happiness.

When your mind is in top shape, you will:

  • Have greater motivation and focus
  • Get more done
  • Come up with more creative ideas
  • Find inspiration more often
  • Remember more
  • Experience a better life

I’d like to share a few practices I’ve found are extremely beneficial in keeping my mind sharp and can help you as well:

1) Continue reading, absorbing knowledge and experiencing culture
Sorry to use a clichéd quote, but education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. It should be something pleasurable and done for intrinsic reasons above all else. Read blogs on subjects both within your field and in new fields you know nothing about; read books; watch lectures on fascinating new subjects; read about ancient societies; take in a new form of art you’ve never experienced; you get the idea. Challenge your mind to continually broaden your horizon and soak up new information like an infinite sponge (that’s pretty much what it is, you should use it to do just that).

2) Learn a skill or craft you’ve never tried before like playing an instrument, composing music, painting, building a model airplane, or even coding computer programs. 
Engage your mind in learning a new skill. You’re never too old to do this, but this is definitely something you should start as young as you can. I started composing my own music at around 17, and in retrospect I wish I had started even younger. You’d be surprised how much learning a new skill will open up many new paths in your mind and help you become even better at whatever you are already an expert at. You’ll also open yourself up to tons of new connections and intellectual social circles by engaging yourself in a new hobby, form of art, or trade.

3) To improve memory don’t write everything down
If you can, try this for a week: write down everything you need to do at the beginning of the week, as you normally would, but take your list and put it out of sight. Instead of keeping that list visible at your desk, internalize your projects and simply remember and know what needs to be done, prioritize it in your mind, and do it. Your brain is extremely powerful and you’ll find that, in time, you may not have to write anything down to remember everything (you can still keep a list for reference, but it’s great not to need it).

4) Give your mind time to assimilate knowledge
We live in a culture where we are constantly experiencing and learning new things and taking in new information. This is a great thing, I’m not going to go into the information overload spiel, I don’t really believe in that anyway (you are in total control over how much information you take in at once). But in your process of absorbing new skills, knowledge and life experiences; internal analysis of yourself, what you have learned and where you are going is vital to put everything in proper perspective. Some people do it well during running, others through listening to music, and some people through making art. Find your own place that allows you to assimilate all you have learned and frequent it often.

5) Eat well, sleep well and exercise often
Giving your mind the proper rest and energy is essential to getting the best performance out of it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but people often forget that you need proper fuel and proper rest to function optimally. Also, putting your physical body through the paces is a surefire way to rejuvenate yourself mentally. If you’re ever feeling stressed, out of inspiration, or depressed, a few days of nutritious food, good sleep and vigorous exercise will put you back to your full self soon enough.

 

Credit http://thefuturebuzz.com/2008/03/11/5-simple-ways-to-keep-your-mind-sharp/

I no longer need you.


I thought it would be painful, letting you go.
I thought I would suffer, that my heart would be anguished with the loss of you. Or worse, maybe it would stop beating altogether.

Maybe without you, I would simply cease to exist.

I thought I would become adrift, for you had been the anchor I had formed my identity upon, the compass I had relied on for my direction. I thought without you I would become lost, disoriented.

I had expected to taste salty tears as they fell upon lips that once spoke so fondly of you; that my head would lay on my pillow damp with tears for as many nights as the moon continued to kiss the stars.

But one day, I just knew.

I hadn’t expected such a feeling of relief as I cut the ropes that once shackled me to you. One instant of tremendous clarity. One instant, where I finally knew.

I no longer needed you.

I no longer needed your opinion of me, your affirmation, your approval.

I no longer needed your judgments, your criticisms, your condemnations.

I no longer needed your expectations I could never meet; your hoops too high to jump through, your goal posts that shifted with every changing breeze.

I no longer needed your blame, your excuses, your justifications.

I no longer needed your pseudo love, fraught with conditions and attached with strings.

I thought I needed you. I didn’t.

I thought it would be hard to let you go. It wasn’t.

I thought I would miss you. I don’t.

For in one instant my heart was awakened to the truth of who I am.

I am more than the lies you made believe about myself. I am more than the look of failure in your eyes when I fell short of your demands. I am more than how worthless you made me feel. I am more than the ways you tried to break me.

I am a warrior, sculpted by the hands of creation, fashioned into being by the very hands that created the oceans and the stars and the mountains and air.

I am strong, I am brave, I am wise. I am gentle of spirit with the heart of a lioness.

I am creative, passionate, sensitive, and kind. I am of open heart and open mind. I am powerful, generous, thoughtful, daring, empathetic, raw, complex, courageous, understanding, forgiving.

I am everything you are not.

I will no longer carry the shame you made me suffer under the weight of.

That shame belongs to you.

And I will no longer carry my hate for you.

For that will only ever bind me to your darkness and give you permission to destroy my light. It will allow you to stay within me, to destroy my peace, to blacken my heart with the malice that lives within you.

It will tie me to your soul-destroying bitterness, your ugliness.

It will anchor me once more to you, who tried to drown me.

Instead, I will choose to go into the world and love more fiercely, show more compassion, be more generous, offer more kindness.

I will choose to forgive. For me, not for you.

I will choose to sow what I wish to see reaped for my children’s future.

I will choose to dis-empower hate.

I will choose freedom.

I will choose love.

I will stand firm upon the unshakeable truth of who I am.

And I will soar to heights you will only ever dream of.

For I have let you go.

No longer am I held down by all I allowed you to be in my life.

I no longer need you.

I am free.

Written by Kathy Parker

( with permission)

You Alone Are Good Enough

I don’t deal with change well. Actually, I would rather stay in the same place, with the same people for the rest of my life. Kind of in my own bubble. But life just doesn’t work that way. I don’t like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. It scares me to even fathom trying new things. But when I finally do, I find this new sense of identity and direction every time. It’s a feeling I can’t describe.

Before I lost my dad to cancer I had the perfect family, perfect childhood. We went on vacations, had big family dinners, parties and always spent the weekends doing things as a family. I guess you could say I was naive and oblivious to what was set to happen, which would change the course of my life, entirely.

I don’t think any 10 year old can ever understand what battling a terminal illness is like.

I was still playing with stuffed animals and barbies, holding onto my favorite red blanket any where I went.

I had that security that a lot of other kids didn’t have. My parents were happily married, had respectable jobs, we lived in a comfortable, modest townhouse and I had lots of toys and friends.

I was in paradise.

That brief point in my life is now, only remembered through the dust-stained photo albums.

Fast forward to four years later, in some ways I ache for the comfort and security I had before.

I never had to worry if we could afford to pay the bills, food on the table or a place to sleep. That luxury was given to me.

Until it wasn’t anymore.

My family struggled. Emotionally, physically, financially. But we did it together. That’s what kept me strong.

The day my dad died we stopped going out together on the weekends, we no longer ate family dinners and I couldn’t pick all the toys off the store shelf.

His funeral ate a big chunk of my mom’s savings. We were uncertain what was to come.

I had to mature and be resilient without a choice.

Since then I have always built walls around the people in my life in order to protect myself. It was my main coping mechanism when my dad I was receiving treatment and continued after he died.

I am naturally out-going and very social. But now I find having meaning relationships is something I’m yet to discover.

I’ve been so used to others walking in and out of my life. They all leave to find other people who suit them better or just get tired of me.

I struggle with anxiety. Every little thing is like a mountainous journey. I procrastinate and worry about everything. I have always been afraid of showing people who I really am.

Because it’s not easy grieving and feeling like your always alone.

So I shut myself out even when I don’t mean to. I can’t control when I’m about to break down or just snap.

I want so badly to feel control. To feel like I can cope and organize how I feel.

But right now it’s a catastrophe.

I can only find serendipity in music and dance. I am in another world. I am a different person when I’m on stage.

That’s what keeps me going.

I thrive on the memories of the relationship I had with my dad to keep me going.

So even when I lose and gain friends I know that there is that constant that I will have for the rest of my life.

And though I am fearful of where I go and what happens, I know that deep down the world is a beautiful place.

Despite tragedy, loss and change.

Because this is how I grow. Through every little victory. Because every day I look up to the sky and know that my dad and who I really am is out there floating among the clouds and I just have to try.

There is hope and possibility in every moment and every challenge you may face.

You are built to fail. But you are built to overcome.

No one can help you find your identity, only you can. Who you are is a multitude of misadventures, fails and plenty of heart break and loss.

As much I yearn for friends that I once had, that are now a distant memory and the life I used to have with the most important person in my life, I know that my life ahead of me is going to be better. Not because people tell me it is. Because I know that I have experienced alot more in fourteen years than some people experience in their lifetime and that’s what makes me who I am.

I have a lot to give to the world and that’s what I’m going to do.

Everyone has a story. Big or small. Everything matters.

You are beautiful. Who you are is so important to this world, I hope you never lose it.

Life is beautiful and never forget that you alone are good enough.

 

How to Be Strong After a Breakup

 

When a relationship is over, feelings of rejection can numb your sense of self and wreck your balance. For many jilted lovers, the first impulse is to try to fix what’s broken or recover what was lost. But often, the beloved has moved on and reconciliation is not possible. And still you persist. How can you ever move on?

 

how can you believe an affirmation of worth when you are convinced of your unworthiness? And why would you use strategies for moving on when you’re still trying to find a solution that will win back your beloved? These are excellent points. So let’s examine “coping with a break-up” from this very different perspective.

If you are still distressed by feelings of failure, idealizing the one who rejected you, and intent on recovering the lost relationship, you’ve essentially granted this relationship the power to consume your life and create your misery.

Powerless, you’ve become invisible, even to yourself, and certainly to this desired person– or any other person who might be a potential mate. You may harbor a sense of being stuck, or feeling suspended from truly living. In fact, it’s quite difficult to win anyone’s affection while you’re feeling like a loser.

So here is a set of strategies for reclaiming your power and recovering yourself, including your emotional equilibrium, your vitality, and your self-worth.

Forget about moving on.  Moving on and away from your beloved before you’re ready only increases your distress. Where you are right now is precisely where you belong.

Instead, envision moving forward. Moving forward means not staying stuck in the same place that’s getting you nowhere fast. In other words, if a life strategy isn’t working after many months, don’t think “must do this harder, longer, faster, stronger”. Instead, think, “must find a new life strategy.” And if you’re destined to be with your beloved, moving forward simply brings you into a better place to make that happen.

See your reactions as normal. Our brains and bodies are wired to have powerfully painful reactions to rejection. The break-up of a relationship can trigger a cascade of chemicals that make you feel lonely, depressed, and worthless—especially if you see the rejecter as “the one for you”.  You are not crazy– you’re in a natural state of distress.

Face your grief. It can be tempting to avoid grief. You may be fearful that it will be too painful, especially since you’ve lost someone and something precious. But repressing your grief can result in depression, anxiety, obsession, suppressed immune system, and chronic despair. Avoiding grief keeps you feeling stuck and powerless.

See grief as a necessary reaction to loss. Grief includes feelings of disbelief, anger, fear, and sadness, as well as physical symptoms of fatigue, tension, emptiness, distractibility, and changes in appetite and sleep. It is painful, to be sure, but it is also a byproduct of your ability to invest in meaningful relationships.

See grieving as a process of healing. Grieving is how you gradually let go of what might have been, and adjust to what is. And over time, your outlook will naturally shift from “I must demonstrate I am a worthy mate for her/him” to “I can reclaim my own sense of worth.” Grieving is what sets you free from the pit of despair.

To move through the grieving process, get out of your head and get in touch with your body. Believe it or not, it’s hard to move through an emotional experience by staying in your head. While you’re rationalizing your sense of worthlessness and wracking your brain for solutions, you’ve probably put your emotions on hold and cut off your bodily awareness.

Your bodily sensations tell you the truth about what’s going on for you. Whenever you feel an emotion welling up or feel a contraction somewhere in your body, simply observe your bodily sensations of emotion as they move through you. Particularly if meditation and mindfulness don’t work because intrusive thoughts keep derailing your efforts, you may benefit from this body-centered, somatic approach, with support and coaching on attending to the physical sensations in your body. By training your attention on your body, your mind stays out of the way rather than escalating your pain with inflammatory thoughts.

So, for example, when you’re thinking s/he is what I want and I must demonstrate that I am a worthy mate— or s/he’s just not that into me— or her/his rejection means I’m a failure, switch your focus to your bodily sensations, whatever they might be. I feel tightness in my jaw. Or I have a lump in my throat. Or I have butterflies in my tummy.

Anger (including frustration, irritation, guilt) tends to be expressed as tension in the jaw, head, neck, shoulders, and hands. Sadness (including sorrow, disappointment, despair) is often felt as pain or constriction in the throat, chest, and arms. Fear (including anxiety, worry, dread) might be felt as discomfort or uneasiness in the belly or legs. You may have your own unique responses.

Let feelings flow. When an emotion is triggered, notice how your physiology ramps up at first. Attend to your bodily sensations as you ride the wave, so you can disregard any painful thoughts. Stay on task by scanning your entire body and describing your physical sensations to yourself. You’ll reach the crest, and as your physiology calms down, you’ll slide down into calmer waters. Observe how the wave has passed through you — within a mere minute or two. That’s what emotion is– energy in motion. Your physiology ramps up and then quickly calms down, as long as you don’t sustain it with painful thoughts. It’s just a wave and not a flood, unless you make it so.

That’s why focusing only on your physical sensations is a powerful tool—it renders you incapable of thinking painful thoughts (including repressive ones such as, I can’t feel this grief; it’s too painful; it will destroy me) that needlessly ramp up your pain.  By focusing on your body, you’ve put a halt to that endless loop of mental anguish and existential suffering, and allowed your feelings of grief to flow through and out of you.

Practice this technique every time a wave of emotion comes up, and you’ll never have to experience that particular wave again. Letting your feelings flow through you frees you from their grip and eases your emotional burden– and enables you to naturally move forward.

Granted, letting it flow can be totally scary, especially when your feelings promise to be painful or overwhelming. But by riding the waves, you get to go with the flow and find healing.

Practice deep, slow breathing. Physiologically, the only difference between excitement and fear is whether you’re breathing or not. Fear is excitement without breath. Focusing on your breathing, even for a few minutes a day, can put your brain into a more soothing stateCalm breath also makes it easier for you to practice being a nonjudgmental observer and letting your painful feelings flow when you are triggered. Getting out into nature (ecotherapy) has a similar calming effect. Breathe.

Take one day at a time. There are no deadlines. Trust the process and understand that your adjustment can be as gradual as you need it to be. It’ll happen as you become ready for it.

See hope as an important part of coping. For now, you may be holding onto the hope that you’ll figure out how to win back your beloved. But as you grieve and adjust, your hope can change direction—perhaps to hoping that you can create a happy life for yourself—with or without this person.

 

Source: Deborah L. Davis

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!

 

Source 

Stay Single Until You Meet A Forever Person That Looks Like This

Stay single until you find someone who makes an effort. The effort in surprises. The effort in planning dates. The effort in you. Investing time and energy into the things you care about.

Forever starts with the effort and commitment someone invests in you. As you should them.

Stay single until you find someone who works to build your trust. The one who takes things slow. The one who really wants to know about every sharp edge you have and about the past you regret. Someone who teaches it okay to have made mistakes as long as you learn. But more that that learn from each other.

Forever starts with a foundation of trust.

Stay single until you find someone who flirts with you like you’re the first love. Protects you like they would their siblings. You fight like a married couple but you always make up and talk like best friends.

Forever starts with being friends first then falling into love carelessly but knowing someone will catch you as you fall together.

Stay single until it’s the best sex you’ve ever had. Because intimacy is more than just sleeping with someone. When you care about the person it’s an experience so much more than that.

Forever starts with someone who walks into the room and you feel everything just looking at them. Like they are the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

Stay single until you meet someone who wants to build a future with you. Someone who talks about it but more than that works towards it. Someone who puts money aside because they see you as their wife even though they haven’t said it yet.

Forever is that person you just know with complete confidence they are it.

Stay single until you meet someone who wants to know your family and friends. The person who asks about them constantly. The one who knows how much you value them and would never make you choose between you and them.

Forever is that person who wants to be apart of the life with people who are already there.

Stay single until you meet someone who is willing to make sacrifices. The person who meets you halfway. The one who proves they are as into it as you are.

Forever is that person who doesn’t make you give more than you get. It’s that 50/50 thing when maybe in the past you didn’t know what that felt like.
Stay single until you meet the person who wants to make you a better version of yourself. The one who pushes you towards your goals and help you to achieve things you didn’t think you could.

Forever starts with the person who believes in you before you believe in yourself.

Stay single until you meet the person who makes you happier than you ever thought you could be. The person who sheds a light in your life and fills your heart in such a way you didn’t think was even possible. The person who after meeting them you can’t imagine your life without them.

Forever starts with the person not only you can’t live without but the person who doesn’t want to live without you either.

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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