The fact is none of us are going to wake up tomorrow and drastically transform our life in 24 hours.
“Small changes eventually add up to huge results” – Unknown
This reality is okay though. We can start small and then build our way up. That’s how I’ve transformed my own life and you can do the same. This post is about a fourteen-day plan that you can use to get you well on the road to personal transformation.
The fourteen-day plan is easy, simple, clear and a bit of fun too.
The first few days will start off with small activities and then we’ll gradually build up to some bigger changes you can experiment with.
As a side note, I used the phrase growth hack in the title of this article for you cool techies who are obsessed with this phrase or even the startup life. Either way, the advice in this article will work for anyone who’s willing to execute on the plan.
Here’s the 14-day plan to transform your life:
To start off with, this week is all about creating space and minimizing everything in your life.
Start with a clean slate. Everything you tried up until now is in the past. Throw away any failures you may have had and start the first day fresh.
Visualise how you want to feel at the end of the 14-days. I don’t want you to do anything else on day one. Empty space and time to think are so important.
Write two big goals you want to achieve in the next twelve months (no more!). Write down why they are crucial to your life and how you’ll feel at the end.
Connecting with positive feelings gives you a jolt of motivation. As humans, we’re driven by how things make us feel.
As an example, my two big goals right now are to nail five speeches and change careers. Nice and simple and both are major changes.
With your two goals floating around in your head, let them simmer for a bit. In the meantime, we need to create space in your life. This starts with one huge clean-up. Throw out everything that doesn’t bring you joy or makes you feel bad (feelings again are front and center).
When I did my own clean out, I threw away more than 50% of my possessions and donated lots to charity. Your stuff is taking up space in your life which will be needed to execute on your two big goals.
Continuing the theme of minimalism and making space, today is all about cleaning your work area. We all have one space that we use to sit down and do work. That work might be reading, browsing the internet, writing, doing business stuff and preparing presentations.
“Taking objects away from your work area will give your mind a feeling of freeness that is hard to describe”
I also want you to take objects away from your digital workspace as well. I recently deleted more than 500 GB of junk that I never access on my computer.
At the same time, I also threw away six hard drives that were storing more junk on them which I no longer needed. The biggest space to clean is the desktop of your computer. Put things in folders and get them off the desktop!
Today is all about analyzing your calendar. Where is all your time spent? After this exercise, I decided to wipe my calendar and only have the following: gym, writing, time with my girlfriend, public speaking and that’s all. Everything else was deleted.
There are many tasks we sign up to that stop us from going deep on our priorities.
“Until you look at your calendar with a fine-tooth comb, you’ll be blindsided by the time you waste”
It’s time to book your next holiday. As Tim Ferriss described on his popular podcast, scheduling holidays in advance gives you something to look forward to and it allows you to start getting the benefits long before you leave for your trip.
I recommend booking your next holiday six months in advance. Pick somewhere you want to go and then book it. There’s nothing like a financial commitment to keep you accountable. I never used to do this and then somehow, I always seemed to be too busy for a holiday.
Your mind needs space if you are really going to be able to get the benefits from this 14-day transformation. Holidays are a time to reflect and avoid distractions.
To finish the first week off I want you to adopt an “I don’t give an F attitude to life.”
This doesn’t mean you should take drugs, party hard and be reckless. The attitude I want you to adopt is the following:
– No longer getting upset by people’s opinions.
– Quitting the comparison game and living your own life.
– Be you both at work and at home. Remove the mask.
– Do stuff because you want to not because you have to.
– Stop overthinking and follow your gut.
This week is focused on your health and adding new habits.
The first item for health week is to see your doctor or naturopath and have some blood tests. You can’t do much unless you know where your health is at today. I had this done recently and my naturopath found that I had both high amounts of mercury and arsenic in my blood from too much seafood. This problem was making me both tired and sick.
The tests you need to take will vary based on the individual. I’d recommend at least a heavy metals test, a cortisol test and a hormone test to get you started. When the results come back, you’ll have a good guide of what you need to change. Health equals energy to do your two big goals.
Sugar is messing with your health. You know it, your dog knows it and so does your neighbor. Let’s not try and go zero sugar from the start or you’ll relapse. In this 14-day transformation, I want you to delete only one sugar habit. This will give you the willpower and discipline to delete more sugar habits by yourself later on.
Sugar habits include the following: coffee with sugar, soft drink, bread, cow’s milk dairy, lollies, milk chocolate, etc. All of these items spike your blood sugar which gives you cravings and helps to make you a crack addict for sugar. Dr. Hyman talks more about these in his latest book if you’re interested.
Now we need exercise to help boost your mood and make you healthy. You’ll be requiring 30-minute sessions, with three doses a week – just what the doctor ordered!
Again, this is not brand-new news. Exercise is crucial to any transformation process because it puts you into momentum. Physically moving also helps your mind move forward and create momentum as well.
“I recommend locking in an exercise session right before you want to do one of your big goals”
Lock in twenty minutes of reading per day. It’s how you’ll gain the knowledge to crush your two big goals and it will feed your mind. Reading gives you ideas and reorganizes existing information that is stored in your brain.
Self-development books and biographies of people who have achieved their own big goals are where I’d start. These books can be read on your phone or in physical paper form (old school).
Part two of day eleven is to add one podcast to your phone to listen too on the way to work. The commute is a good time to pick up further ideas and learn new skills. The only requirement here is to pick podcasts that you actually enjoy otherwise you’ll ditch your habit faster than a broken-down car.
The two podcasts I recommended starting with are Tim Ferriss’s and The Tony Robbins Podcast.
Distractions are a dangerous hazard. Today is all about removing apps from your devices that mess with your attention and don’t contribute to your big goals. You’re allowed to keep two social media apps which we will use tomorrow.
I recently deleted Twitter, Instagram and about three dining apps. The first two were distracting me and they no longer serve my two big goals. I also had dozens of dining apps and realized I only use one. The rest were deleted and I’ve never looked back.
At the same time, I also recommend turning off all notifications except text messages. You don’t need them and they distract you. Try it and watch your stress levels reduce when using your devices.
Share one story, three times a week on social media. Sort of seems counter-intuitive given yesterday’s challenge. Sharing stories by documenting your life is how you’re going to do the following:
– Build an audience to be utilized together with your two big goals
– Watch yourself grow
– Create content
There are some boundaries: each story should be short and take around fifteen minutes to write, record or film. The second rule is you can only share your story on no more than two social platforms. I’ve chosen LinkedIn and Medium. Try a few and then see what comes naturally.
If a certain platform feels like hard work when you share your stories, then ditch it. You’ll quickly see whether it’s words, audio or video that are your strength.
Okay today is the final day of your transformation. We’re going to add one uncomfortable activity per week from now on to your to-do list or calendar. The uncomfortable activities I have to pick from in my life are public speaking, flying and business networking,
Yours could be eating vegetables, starting a side business or if you’re single, it could be going on dates. Whatever the uncomfortable activity is, doing it weekly is the final step to massive transformation.
Eventually, what is uncomfortable will become much easier. You’ll get better at crushing your fears and this will compound the results in your life further.
I hope you enjoyed this 14-day transformation list and decide to implement it. From the outside, it looks kind of simple and straight-forward. It’s almost so simple that your mind could decide to opt out and utilize a mindset of “I’m superior and these dumb tasks are for amateurs – not me.”
The best advice is often the simplest and it’s the little things you don’t do that stop you from having the life transformation you’ve always wanted – and probably needed.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)
How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost
A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.
Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
Why Problems Overwhelm Us
As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?
Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.
How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.
Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.
Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie
How to Take Action in the Face of Problems
Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”
In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”
To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:
1. First, I acknowledged the feeling
Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”
Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.
2. Next, I prepared for the worst
We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.
In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.
The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Lastly, I examined the situation
Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.
I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.
Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.
The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.
Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.
Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.
How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!
8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing
You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.
Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.
With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.
Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.
2. Stay Physically Active
As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.
You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.
“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.
Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.
4. Develop a New Hobby
Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.
Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.
5. Eat Healthy
Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.
Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.
6. Laugh Your Heart Out
Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.
And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?
7. Try Relaxation Techniques
‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.
Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.
“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy
8. Count Your Blessings
We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.
You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.
There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.
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