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9 Steps To Go From The Couch To A High Quality Life

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9 Steps To Go From The Couch To A High Quality Life Plan

If this title rings a bell, you may be familiar with the couch to 5k running plan. The idea is that even a relatively sedentary person can achieve the goal of running a 5k in a relatively short period of time (about 9 weeks).

The designers of the plan make no claim that you will be sprinting across the finish line, just that you will be able to run a 5k if you follow their plan, and suffer no unplanned setbacks. The plan has thousands of followers, and has spawned dozens of online support groups and runners clubs.

The question is, can you apply this approach to other goals? Can you go from the couch to a high quality life in two months? Just like following couch to 5k plan will put you on the path towards becoming a runner, following this high quality life plan will put you on the path living the life you want.

Here are the 9 steps to go from the couch to a high quality life:

1. Deciding what you want

The phrase “high quality life” is deliberately vague. The intention is that you fill in the details by defining what it is that you want to accomplish to measurably improve the quality of your life. Your goal can be related to your career, your family, your health, or any other area of your life that you believe, when improved, will make your life better.

“Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose” – William Cowper

2. Setting your two month goal

Now that you know which area of your life you want to improve, it is time to set your two month goal. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. After all, the purpose of this is that you can accomplish something that many people would think is impossible in a few weeks, as long as you are motivated.

 

3. Let people know

Accountability is key. Don’t give yourself a reason to quietly back away from your goals. Clue in a few trusted friends and family members and ask them to give you encouragement, and to check in with you. You may not always love the accountability, but you will appreciate the support.

 

4. Commit to a minimum of an hour each day

At first, this may seem easy. Who wouldn’t be willing to commit an hour a day towards making a life change? Don’t be fooled. In the middle of a hectic day, giving an hour will be a struggle. That hour will mean telling people no, and restructuring your priorities. It will also mean that you have to miss out on things that are important to you.

 

5. Days 1 thru 7: Identify and get rid of the barriers to your success

Who or what has the potential to stand in the way of you achieving your 9 week goal? Be honest. The sad truth is, it is often well-meaning loved ones who can be the biggest barriers to reaching your goals. In addition to this, it is also the activities that you enjoy the most that are likely to keep you from doing what you need to do to accomplish your goals. In order to achieve your new high quality life, there may be people that you need to limit contact with, and habits or hobbies that you need to put on the back burner for the next few weeks.

 

6. Days 8-15: Write out your strategy

Yes, you really should take a week to do this. The reason for this is that you should be observing your life while you are creating your strategy. This will help you to create a strategy for change that you can actually make work for you. Remember that you want to challenge yourself to accomplish something important, but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure.

 

7. Days 16-45: Begin implementing your strategy

What you do doing these 4 weeks depends on whether or not your strategy is iterative or if it is ongoing. For example, if your strategy is iterative, you will be performing the same task over and over again. Then, as you do so, you will become better and better at that task. You might implement an iterative strategy, for example, if you are trying to become a better writer. You could begin implementing your strategy by committing to write 30 minutes each day with a goal of simply getting words down on paper. Then, each day you increase the length of time that you write and hold yourself to higher standards of quality.

If you are implementing an ongoing strategy, you are going to be incorporating new actions and behaviors. Let’s say that your goal is to spend more quality time with your loved ones. You might begin with giving up 30 minutes of time watching television each day to spend time with your family, then you might add on to that by spending an hour each week writing emails to long distance relatives.

In either case, you want to start with the easiest to implement or least time consuming changes first. Then, you will increase intensity, or add new actions.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” – Calvin Coolidge

8. Days 46-53: Maintain, evaluate and adjust

After you have been working towards your goal for about four weeks, take some time to look back. First, congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished! Then, consider what has gone really well, and what hasn’t gone as well as you would like. Use this knowledge to make any adjustments to your strategy. For the remainder of these 7 days, keep up with what you have already been doing.

 

9. Days 54-63: Make the biggest changes

At this point, the changes you have already made should be habit. Spend the last days implementing the biggest changes or making the biggest efforts that you can. When you are finished with your 9 week journey, you will be amazed at what you have accomplished.

When are you going to start your program for your high quality life? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Rick Riddle is passionate about self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes that self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. You may find more his articles on this blog or follow him on twitter.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. ANIEKAN OKPO

    Nov 30, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Great article Rick. I love this. More of it please.

  2. Damien Thomas

    Nov 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Great article Rick,
    9 great steps over 9 weeks that anyone can start immediately to get on the road to a high quality life.
    Simple actions that are sure to help anyone make dramatic improvement in their lives.
    Well done.
    Damien

  3. Lawrence Berry

    Nov 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Great read! I loved the step of going out and committing at least an hour towards accomplishing your goal a day. I firmly believe in the power of habit and starting small to build up truly good habits that will make you more successful in all areas of your life. The steps to reaching a higher quality of life is something I support and it was great to be reminded on how I should continue my own path.

  4. Tim Denning

    Nov 29, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Thanks for your advice Rick I really got some good tips from your post!

    • Rick Riddle

      Nov 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      I’m glad you like it! 🙂

  5. Brad DeVore

    Nov 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” – Calvin Coolidge

    Great article and even better reference to letting people know that persistence and determination is a formula that will leave many smart folks (who aren’t taking action) in the dust.

    I also love that you mentioned that one’s habits start to change, which in my mind creates momentum across many areas of one’s life. -Brad

    • Rick Riddle

      Nov 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      People usually underestimate the power of habits. It’s HUGE.

  6. Daniel Miller

    Nov 28, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    This is a very eye opening and helpful article! thanks for sharing this knowledge!

    • Rick Riddle

      Nov 29, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      I’m happy it helps! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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Life

8 Things You Can Do to Rise Above Failure and Attain Success

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Highly successful people have tasted failure more than success. Whether its Nikola Tesla or Michael Jordan, everyone had his/her fair share of failures before rising to the pinnacle of success. Yet, most people I know are averse to the idea of failure.

When ambition fuels your desires, you become so conscious about avoiding failure that you forget to learn how to cope with it when you actually experience it. So, when you come face-to-face with adversity, it often overwhelms you.

This brings us to the question, how can you train yourself to overcome these difficulties and use them to your advantage? Here’s how:

1. Acceptance is important to overcome failure

When the going gets tough, one of the most frustrating things you may get to hear is “stay positive.” The idea of positive thinking has been misconstrued, misused, and abused continuously. Contrary to popular belief, positive thinking has nothing to do with smiling and being happy with everything that happens to you all the time. Anyone who preaches that is either lying or crazy.

Use positive thinking to learn, grow, and evolve from the experiences we gather in life. Positive thinking simply means that if you are faced with a setback, you work hard to overcome the challenges. When you experience hardships, it is alright to feel upset and disappointed. Our objective, however, is not to stay down.

2. Be honest with yourself

The most crucial part of dealing with a failure involves pausing for a couple of minutes and pondering over what happened. You need to be completely honest with yourself on why it happened.

It is easy to pull out the Smartphone, turn on the laptop or find other forms of distraction. Most people would do anything to distract themselves and keep their eyes shut to the mistakes they have made.

However, if you don’t confront, you don’t learn. And if you don’t learn, then you are setting yourself up for failure again. Albert Einstein famously stated that it was insane to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. If you don’t derive a lesson out of mistakes and failures in life, then you are doomed to keep repeating them, whether you realise it or not.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

3. Don’t beat yourself up over a temporary setback

When you have experienced a setback, many of you may succumb to the feeling that you’ll always keep failing. It is easy to convince yourself that you are indeed a failure. Don’t let such destructive ideas or thoughts creep into your head. Instead, keep reminding yourself that just because you failed today, it doesn’t mean you’d fail the next time as well.

It is also important that you treat your failure as a passing phase. When you keep moving forward, focus on the right things, and keep learning. Perceiving the setback as a temporary phase rather than something permanent is vital to developing an optimistic attitude in life.

4. Focus on nurturing and improving yourself

Failures don’t discriminate, and it comes to everyone at some point. The trick lies in learning to deal with it and what you do about it that makes all the difference. In many cases, failure happens because a person wasn’t prepared, didn’t invest time on planning or was ill-equipped. It can also be because Lady Luck decided not to shower her favours.

Except for the last one, the rest of the issues can be fixed. Prepare a list of all the things that you think resulted in your failure. Start working on them one at a time. Do everything in your capacity to rectify, improve, resolve, and develop.

5. Find inspiration and support in abundance

Interacting with someone close can be more helpful than you think. You can also learn from people who have been through similar situations and have achieved what you hope to. Gain insights on how they managed to sail through the setbacks or low-points before and during the moment of success.

Or you can gain the motivation or enthusiasm by listening to someone else from an audiobook or podcast for maybe 30-60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be focused on your current setbacks.  Change your mood and mindset back towards optimism again.

6. Adopt a constructive approach and learn from the adverse situation

Consider it as valuable feedback and take home something you can implement in the process of overcoming your failure. The following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What is the lesson for me?
  • How can I rectify myself to avoid making the same mistake and do better next time?
  • What can I do to enjoy guaranteed success?

You don’t need to rush through the process. Some of the answers may be immediate, while others might take an hour, a day or even a week to pop up. The significant thing is to start thinking about the situation from this perspective. Also, you need to be constructive about things rather than getting stuck with denial, negativity and apathy.

7. Stop mulling over and move on

Processing the situation and accepting it is the ideal way to deal with failures. Any individual who has experienced failures will know that it is quite easy to stay stuck in the loop of similar thoughts. In fact, this may go around and around for weeks or even months.

Now, in order to be free from this trap, the one habit that might help you is the set of questions like the ones shared above. You can also create a rough plan for how you wish to move forward from here. So, take some time to sit down and write them down.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

8. Purge out all the negativity

Another impactful way to handle the emotional meltdown and the thoughts that emerge from experiencing failure is to purge out all the negativity. In order to let everything out, you need to confide in someone close to you. There are two ways to go about it: Engaging in a conversation with someone will allow you to see it from a different perspective. The person you talk to can assist you in grounding yourself in reality again and motivate you to look for a way forward.

Or you can simply vent about it while the other person who is listening can sort things out for you. He/she can help you accept what happened and boost your spirit by instilling a sense of hope.

The significant thing to remember is that while you can’t stop obstacles from appearing in life, you can devise smart ways to handle them. If you persevere, you can easily discover opportunities that have been waiting for you on the other side. Now, as you become more efficient at dealing with the failures, you will allow yourself to see the positive side in even the toughest of scenarios.

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How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life

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Naturally, those of us who experience less stress in our lives are more likely to succeed. So, it’s important that you learn how to reduce your daily level of stress, right? Maybe not. Recent research has shown the common wisdom about stress might be dangerously inaccurate. Psychologists tracked the health of 30,000 adults in the United States over an 8-year period. Participants were asked two important questions:

1.    “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?”
2.    “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?” (more…)

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The Truth About the Law of Attraction

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When we want something, we generally imagine the form it will take when it manifests. If we’re not careful, however, we can find ourselves attached more to the imagined form than the actual desired outcome. This is like placing an online order and expecting it to come in a blue box shipped by UPS. If we then receive a red box delivered by FedEx, we might not realize that it’s what we ordered, and never even open it!

For example, most of us say that we want money, but when money comes in the form of a free coffee or a gift or a discount, we don’t see it for what it is. We overlook it, and maybe we even say “No, thanks” and decline the gift which is, in one way or another, still money. In doing so, we fail to appreciate the value of the discount, the gift, or the freebie. If it isn’t cash being handed to us, we don’t see it as a manifestation of our desire.

The law of attraction is a funny thing.

It is much more complex and much more intricate than what it seems to be and yet, at the same time, it’s so very simple: We always get what we want. We always receive more of the energy at which we vibrate. Always.

However, if we’re acting from the energy of “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t think I’m worthy,” then whatever it is that we receive will be negated and essentially unseen. On the other hand, if we are open, observant, and maintaining an abundance mindset, we will receive our request on numerous levels and from plentiful sources!

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

This is because we “place our order” not only through our words, but through our actions, our beliefs, and our thoughts.

Last month, I was open to receiving a new client. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I’d set my intention: I was going to get a new client. That night, out of nowhere, I got a message from an old student of mine. She was looking to hire me again as her coach for the upcoming college entrance exams in the U.S. But wait! I didn’t want an entrance exam client.

What I actually wanted was to get life and business coaching clients. This student was my “red box from Fed Ex.” I wanted to decline at first, but as I was about to reply, something made me stop. I asked myself, “Why am I rejecting this?”

This student is an amazing client. She pays on time. She’s not needy. She does her part. Best of all? She doesn’t short-change me. So I said yes, because I realized that the Universe was simply responding to the essence of my desire.

You see, my “Big Why” in everything I do has always been to facilitate an accelerated personal and business growth for my clients, and this student fit the bill in every way. She wanted the personal growth, she was ready to go all in and she reached out to me.

It didn’t look like the package I was expecting so I didn’t recognize it at first—and I nearly turned it away—but she was the perfect answer to my request.

Serving people like her has always been a driving force in my life.

The Universe knows that. It also knew that I wanted a client asap so that I could re-invest the money into my business, so it responded in the most ideal way… but in an unexpected form. And I came so close to missing it!

How many times have I missed other opportunities like this? How many times have I dismissed a “red box” because it wasn’t “blue?” I’ll never know. But I do know that, had I not stopped myself from sending a “No, thanks,” I would have felt as though the Universe wasn’t listening.

That’s the thing: the Universe is always listening.

The more open we are in receiving, the more we thrive. The more open our energy is, the greater the possibilities. Don’t just return that red box to the post office and keep waiting on a blue one. Ask yourself, first and foremost, if what you’re receiving at the moment matches up with your underlying desire.

See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.” – Rhonda Byrne

The key is to be willing to receive anything and everything. How? Keep on reading1

1. Get clear on your “underlying desire.”

Identify exactly what it is that you really want—in my case, it was an ideal client (underlying) as opposed to a coaching client (surface)—and focus on that. Clear out all the mental noise and static that clouds your awareness.

2. Be flexible

Keep your eyes and mind open for anything that fits the description. When you ask for money, recognize that free coffee for what it is: $3 you were going to spend anyway, that can now remain in your pocket. Every penny on the ground, every coupon, it’s all money.

3. Keep an attitude of gratitude.

The more you appreciate what you have, the more that comes your way. Your grateful mindset opens the energetic door for more to flow your way, because “where attention goes, energy flows.” The more you focus on the things you want, the more you will draw them into your experience.

Remember, that the Universe responds to our requests in whatever way fits best within the big picture.

It’s a picture so big that we couldn’t possibly begin to see how it comes together. Trust it. Know that when you ask, you will receive. It may not come in the form you anticipate, but always in a form that responds to your underlying desire. You just have to be ready to see it.

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Life

7 Simple Ways to Master Your Emotions When Making Decisions

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A lot of people have big regrets when lying on their deathbed. These regrets are often related to bad decisions or decisions not taken. Thus, as it turns out, decision-making is dependent on great self-confidence. A person who has confidence in their decisions has an easier time making them.

Emotions also play a big role in all of this. This is a debate that has confronted two great thinkers. According to Descartes, “decisions are the product of the rational mind.” In other words, decision-making is essentially based on facts and mathematics.

But this thesis was refuted and proven to be wrong by Antonio Damasio in one of his works called “The Error of Descartes”. This was partly based on the story of Elliott, a kid that was very smart, who had above average rational capabilities, but incapable of making a decision, after a surgery to remove a brain tumor on the surface of his frontal lobes. After all his work in that matter, he concludes that a person who is incapable of emotion is incapable of making the most rational decisions.

The management of emotions is therefore completely inherent to good decision making, especially when making the most important decisions. To this end, here are 7 tips to put into practice to really master your emotions thus making the best decisions possible and never regreting them.

1. Take a step back

You must learn to take the time to identify and understand your emotions. Since physical reactions are emotionally related, also take the time to detect the reactions you have to some of your emotions. To be able to take the distance necessary to make decisions, it’s important to refer to your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of ​​the brain responsible for reasoning. To do so you need to put yourself in a stress-free environment for a few minutes.

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent and committed decision.” – Tony Robbins

2. Breathe

The best way to do this is to learn to breathe deeply. This will allow activating your prefrontal cortex again, therefore, to have better control of your emotions so you do not react to them, let alone to the event that causes these emotions. Do this exercise for at least 15 minutes. It’s amazing how you can train yourself never to react, no matter what the situation. Ideally, let at least 24 hours go by before responding to a situation that would normally cause tension.

3. Pay attention

Once you are in the prefrontal cortex, put one hand on your abdomen, at the level of your intestines, and the other hand on your heart, and take the time to listen. These two parts of the body are the two major centers of vibrations and emotions. This is why it’s important to listen and pay attention to them.

The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of your gut and heart. What you need to remember is that the only person you need to trust is yourself. By practicing this exercise, one thing will become very clear: what the emotion you feel seeks to convey to you about the decision you have to make.

Since everything is energy, first make sure that the vibration of the decision you are about to make and that of your heart and gut are in sync. You will then know whether to go ahead with your decision or reject it based on whether you feel serenity or heaviness.

4. Discern untruths

It is important to know whether your nervousness is the result of an untruth you’ve told yourself. These can corrupt the vibrations that should help you make the right decision. You have to throw out all of these untruths and come to the decision-making without any filter. Stop thinking that you’re unlucky, that you’re in a bad situation, that your life is a failure, or that you are a victim.

5. Become aware of your emotions instead of avoiding them

To become aware of your emotions, you must learn to coach yourself. Ask yourself questions: How did you feel the last time you had to ask these types of questions? What did you get in return? Rename what you felt and the result you obtained from what you decided to do. You will thus be much better at assimilating, understanding, and welcoming your emotions.

6. Be as present as possible

There is no point in focusing on the big events surrounding the decision you want to make. Concentrate instead on the present moment, without analyzing the events. Judge based on emotions rather than the event. By being more present, you will be better able to listen to your emotions and feel them.

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell

7. Make your emotions your allies

Each of your emotions speaks to you through the physical and physiological reactions that they generate in you. Look to the weight of their impact on you as an indicator. Only by listening to them, using them, and managing them can you manage your emotions.

Habit comes with practice. With time, these 7 points will become much more natural and will become automatic. You will make better decisions for yourself.  This is one of the best ways to not end up with one of the big regrets.

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