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6 Stepping Stones to Become Your Best Self in 2018

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New Year resolutions are often wishful thinking. Being your best self is not something to be ticked off a checklist,  it is part of a never-ending continuum of learning and self-discovery.

What we think of as “self” is really a story we have strung together over time. What makes this an incredible masterpiece, is that given you created the story of who you are, you have the power to change it.

Being precisely who you are at your highest level is your greatest gift to the people around you, to magnetizing the things you want most in your life and a powerful contributor to this world.

Here are the 6 stepping stones towards your greatest self:

1. Letting go of negativity

Negativity can hold us back from many things in life. An attitude of ‘I have the worst luck’ or “nothing ever goes my way” infects the mind. Your perception creates your reality. When you invest all your energy in to what you don’t want, your brain conducts a transderivational search and conspires to provide the very thing you don’t want.

A few tips to let go of negativity:

  • Give yourself a window to complain for five minutes, once a day and then bolt that window shut. Time yourself or partner with a close friend to allow the complaining, moaning and whining to occur for 6 minutes only. Then stop it.
  • When you practice gratitude, nothing else exists in that moment. Your brain cannot immerse itself in fear and be grateful at the same time. Try it on. Invest in a journal and start with writing one thing down in the morning and before you go to bed, identifying what you are grateful for. What you focus on, is what you get.
  • Self-reflection. Negativity stems from a place of unhappiness. Adopt curious questioning to unveil what is triggering your responses, what you would like to change. Edit the story to how you can improve to live a happier existence.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

2. Kindness costs nothing

Kindness is the easiest thing you can do to become a better person. Every person has their challenges in life and it can take a random act of kindness to impact another human being in a single moment. The simplest of things, holding the door open, smiling at a person walking down the street or asking someone at work if you could make them a coffee. Priceless.

3. What do you stand for?

Unveiling who you are and the values that underpin how you want to live, illuminate the pathway to becoming the best you. Values are the emotional states that you wish to experience every day. When you get clear on your code, decision making become effortless. Living your code, creates the person you are becoming.

4. Kicking self-doubt in the balls

Doubts, fears and accusations echo through. When your inner critic is amplified, it’s time to kick self-doubt in the balls, really hard. Remind yourself of all the things that you have achieved, the incredible people around you, the times that made you smile and the moments you felt alive. As long as you exist, there is potential within you to exceed every expectation, to upgrade your standards and step into your best self.

5. Investing in You

Whether you spend time reading, pursuing a workshop or walking along the beach, investing in you is the greatest gift. Detaching from the outcome and enjoying the moment can be unfamiliar however the more time you invest in discovering who you are, the masks you need to remove, and learn to dance with your fears, the more confidence you gain in becoming the best version of you.

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

6. Ikigai – your reason for being

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai, although not everyone has yet understood, discovered or developed it.  To find it, it often requires deep enquiry of self. Ikigai literally translates “the reason for being”. It is often used to describe a healthy passion for something that makes you feel as though life is worth living to the fullest.

An intense internal desire to carry out a personal mission that you have a magnetic connection to. When we manifest whatever is pulling at you, you experience an intense internal satisfaction. You create a feeling of being fulfilled and adding new layers of meaning to your life.

Some questions to ignite your ikigai.

  • What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive?
  • Identify what you are great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What do you excel at even when you aren’t trying? What does the world need and how you can deliver?
  • What cause do you believe in? What change would you love most to create in the world? What would you give your life for?
  • What service, value or offering do you bring that adds value to others and people would pay for?

Reflect on how these elements relate to each other and ask yourself, what is one thing you could do today that would be an expression of your ikigai? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Angela Kambouris used to work with high risk kids in the streets of Melbourne, now she has her own consultancy business and writes for large publications. As a leadership coach and business leader having spent over 20 years in the field of vulnerability and trauma, she has built a high-level career as an executive and transitioned into a business owner. She has spoken on stages and worked with thousands of people in self-development, leadership, mindset, human behavior and business. Love to travel, experience difference cultures and mastermind with leaders and expert authorities in personal development and business all over the world. Connect with her through her website http://angelakambouris.com/ or through her Facebook.

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The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life. (more…)

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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