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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 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

5 Counterintuitive Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Time

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Do you think you’ll accomplish everything you want to before you die? Do you sometimes worry you won’t reach your goals? Do you have a plan to get what you want? If you’re like most people, you often have trouble squeezing in everything you want to do during the day, week or month, let alone everything you might want to accomplish in a lifetime. Updates from friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat come in to your phone at all hours of the day and night. Invites to activities, events, festivals, etc. blow up your phone on a regular basis.

At the office, things aren’t much better. Your Outlook inbox explodes with messages from clients, colleagues, or your boss, and everyone wants something different. You use multiple tools for managing your tasks, and every month something new seems to come out which promises to save you time and reduce the number of distractions in your life. Let me break the bad news, it won’t.

The truth is, you have more time than you think to accomplish what you want out of life. As of 2016, men tend to live on average 69 years, versus 72 years for women. If most people start work at 18 and continue on until retirement around 65, this means you spend 47 years of your life working. You have, most likely, more time than you think to accomplish all that you want to do in this life. I urge you to slow down and take a few of these suggestions to heart as you think about how to get the most out of your days in the future.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your time here on earth:

1. Take personal days

The idea of taking a personal day has been around for a long time, but few people really consider the value of taking one on a regular basis. Whether this means leaving work early on the third Friday of every month to do some “life-admin” or taking an entire day off in the middle of the week once a month to rigorously outline your plans and objectives for the future, the value of a personal day dedicated to reflection and personal development is completely underrated in today’s go-go society. I would urge you to set aside an entire day (half-days won’t work, as they are likely to be encroached upon) and make a concerted effort to spend that time reflecting about what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to get there.

 “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that other throw at him.” – David Brinkley

2. Structure in blank space for distraction free work

While taking time off to plan out your life and checking your personal progress is great, it is also important to structure small blocks of personal “switch off” time to let your mind wander during the typical work week. This may mean structuring in “strategic blocks” of one to two hours as suggested by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington in their book The 12 Week Year, or it may mean making a regular habit of doing “30 before 7:30” (30 minutes of concentrated work before 7:30am each morning) as suggested by Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule. Whatever you do, make sure you allow yourself some distraction free work time so that you can get into the flow.

3. Leave technology behind

We are tethered to our devices like never before, and we are rarely out of arm’s reach of something that can connect us to anyone (or any piece of information) in the world. I say this with some trepidation, because I am not entirely pleased about it. Sure, it is fantastic to have access to a device that can allow us to order food, call a car, create a professional looking video clip or photo, and post updates online all in the space of a few seconds, but it comes at a price.

Despite having the freedom to connect with anyone and do nearly anything from behind a touch screen device, we have effectively become servants for the same network of interconnected apps and platforms. So, at the risk of having you stop reading this article, I urge you to put down your device for at least 1 day a week and connect with people in more humanistic (face to face) ways.

4. Spend time with others not like you

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think hard about that, because it will help define how you spend the rest of your life. If you believe that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you will need to be careful that you spend time with people that add to your life, rather than detract from it.

The more time you spend with people that come from similar backgrounds and share similar views as you, the more you will become closed off to the world around you. This is an easy habit to fall into, but it is one that can have dire consequences if you are serious about stretching yourself and reaching lofty goals. Go out and explore, and spend time with people that push you in new and exciting ways.

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

5. Have more fun

I have noticed more and more that people tend to take pride in how stressed out they are and how much they work when they’re in the office. They then swing to the opposite extreme during the weekends, getting belligerently drunk and partying or staying in and watching Netflix for 48 hours straight. This is no way to live. It’s easy for me to call out because, truth be told, I used to be this way.

Too often, people find themselves caught up in a world that promotes stress, anxiety and long-hours as a badge of honor. Rather than promote and support this type of behavior by falling into the trap of stress and anxiety caused by overwork, look for ways to have fun in the moment. Talk to colleagues, give compliments, make connections, learn new things, and just try to connect with others.

Remember, you’ve likely got around 65-80 years on this planet, you don’t want to spend the majority of that time stressed out, waiting for the weekend. Instead, take to heart a few of these counterintuitive tricks and embrace every day with newfound appreciation. You won’t regret it, I promise.

How do you maximize your time? Comment below!

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4 Ways of Handling a Mental Illness for the Optimists

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Not everyone is accepting of mental illnesses, especially when it’s people they don’t know. However, it’s important to understand how to better handle mental illness in order to get ahead in life. Below, are the four best ways to better handle mental illness conditions if you consider yourself an optimistic person:

1. Be Grateful

Research studies have shown that being more grateful can make you feel happier, more positive, and better overall. Don’t focus on the negatives of your mental illness, instead, be thankful for all you do have. You likely have a lot to be thankful for like a warm bed to sleep in and a family who loves you. Even as an optimist, you may have a hard time celebrating the small things in life, but being mindful of your advantages helps. 

You can help keep yourself in touch with your emotions and feel happier by noticing when your life is going well. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Overall, having gratitude and writing down your thoughts on some of the things you value and enjoy in your life, you can handle mental illness a little better. 

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

2. Look for Professional Help

If you seriously can’t manage your own thoughts and they’re interfering with day-to-day activities, you should consider looking for professional help. Therapy and counseling can help reduce your emotional suffering and improve self-growth with your mental illness. Try to find a professional who can help you understand your condition and keep your pathophysiological level.

Here are a few other things that can offer you support when handling your mental illness:

  • If you have a hard time taking care of all the tasks you need to account for every day, ask for help from your friends and family. Once you get back on track, you can start doing things on your own; it’s never shameful to ask for help when you need it. 
  • Ask for emotional support. Sharing what frustrates you, venting, relieving stress, and crying are totally normal for people who have a mental illness. Don’t be afraid to get professional help when you need it the most. 
  • Ask for advice from your friends, family, medical professional. Especially if you don’t know much about your mental condition, sometimes it’s best to get advice from the people you can trust. 

3. Focus on Your Strengths

It’s completely normal and only human nature to focus on the negatives in life, overlooking the positives that surround you. However, you can focus on your strengths and not obsessively care about the mistakes you’ve made. Doing this will only help project your life forward and give you the push in the right direction you need. If you find yourself having too many negative thoughts or thinking too harshly of the things you’ve done, you should take the time to pause and consider what you have done right so far. By doing so, you can look on the bright side of life and cope with your mental illness with ease.

“ Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” – Roy T. Bennett

4. Face Your Problems Head On

If you’re feeling stressed out about your mental illness, it’s important not to sit and play the blame game, but instead, solve the problems you may be having on your own. Doing so will only make you stronger as a result. To solve your own problems, you should first write down all the problems you’re having. Putting your thoughts down on paper is much more manageable than having them circling your mind. 

Next, you should try listing a few solutions to the problems you’re having. Even if they aren’t realistic, just write down everything that comes into your mind, and you can judge the solutions later on. Once you’ve done that, you can start assessing the list you’ve made. Of all the solutions you’ve created on your list, write down the pros and cons of each one. Ask yourself how you want your situation to end and figure out the best way to get there. Remember, you only want to use reasonable solutions that won’t end in failure, or else you’ll only feel disappointed in yourself. 

Now that you have the solution to handle your problem, you should break them into smaller chunks to create a solid plan of action. However, you should also create some deadlines for yourself as well, to keep yourself on track with your plan. If your plan doesn’t work and/or something falls out of place, you shouldn’t get discouraged and give up. Instead, simply try another solution. 

It’s never easy to self-manage a mental illness, especially if you consider yourself an optimist. However, with the help of this guide, you should be able to start taking care of your mental illness and take the necessary steps to make it more manageable for yourself. Now, you should be able to handle anything that comes your way.

How do you handle negative thoughts and make sure you are grateful for being alive? Please comment below and let us know!

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7 Common but Unhelpful Conditioned Beliefs and How You Can Change Them

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Most of what limits us as people are personal beliefs based on past experiences, or unconscious conditioning that we have been programmed with or picked up during our education or development. The people I look up to and respect the most are those who have managed to unlearn what society has taught them by way of conditioning and have created their own lives in line with what works for them.

They still operate from a space of personal integrity and caring towards others and they can see the limitations in unquestioningly following what society has taught them. They have learned to listen to and follow their own internal guidance and values, create successful habits and win at life.

Some common beliefs that I’ve noticed trip up my clients and students are as follows:

1. Expecting anything from others, life and the world

“If it is to be, it is up to me” is my motto. That’s not to say I don’t collaborate with others, contribute and receive from them, but I am the driving force in my Universe. I know when others do something for me, an opportunity comes my way or something great happens. It’s always my legwork that’s created that association, opening or sense of gratitude or invitation and it’s something to be deeply grateful for and not to take for granted.

TIP: Look for inspiration that resonates for you and act from that space

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. Functioning from thinking at the exclusion of our intuition

Many of us have learned to mistrust our instincts instead of acknowledging what feels right deep down in our gut (which may offer seem counter to what we think about a situation). The term ‘stinking thinking’ exists for a reason. If logical thinking alone worked for running our lives, none of us would have problems. Instead, combine logic with your inner awareness and appropriate action to become unstoppable.

TIP: How can you begin to listen to that powerful voice inside, starting today?

3. Pushing aside our soul whispers because they seem too hard

How often have you ignored a constant urge to do something new/different because you couldn’t quite fathom why that was a good choice, because it felt messy or risky or just didn’t fit with what you have decided is best for you right now?

Staying stuck and perhaps miserable is safer and may seem easier than hacking a track that no one’s ever taken before, but the cost of ignoring our knowing seems to grow over time in terms of stagnation, regret and always wondering.

TIP: What if being truly you and following what excites you most is the only thing you’re supposed to do?

4. Not realizing that feelings are based on conditioning

We tend to associate particular emotions with how we think about certain events/outcomes because of past negative experiences or due to conditioning, even when it’s not actually true for us. When we are in our truth, our thoughts are of such a positive/freeing nature that not much can throw us off centre.

TIP: What is the underlying belief in a current difficult situation that you haven’t acknowledged? How can you change your beliefs about that person/situation to give you a different outcome?

5. Having Expectations of others based on their ‘Role’

People often expect family members/partners/friends or colleagues to behave in accordance with the values and behaviours that they have assigned to those roles. For example “Family must love me”, or “colleagues must be supportive”. In an ideal world these things are always true, but more often than not, our belief just hinders our ability to deal with the reality in this individual situation. People are only capable of being who they are and acting from that space regardless of their role in our lives.

TIP: Always assume who others are based on their behaviour not their relationship to you.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

6. Expecting others to have the same values/capabilities as us

People always show us who they are. Some of the most stuck clients I see, are those who repeatedly ignore who someone else is based on who they want the other person to be. People will always be who they are and do what works for them, regardless of your preferences. It’s good to understand why we are invested in someone being that way and to provide ourselves with that thing, instead of seeking it through others.  

TIP: When you see people for who they are instead of who you would like them to be life gets exponentially easier and you will have so much energy for you.

7. Thinking that the personal development journey is too hard

Realizing we have a lot of work to do is no reason not to start. A year from now, 12 months will have passed whether or not you have grown and developed the way you know you can. Personal growth can be tough, however can you live with staying the way you are now and depriving yourself of the opportunity to reach your greatness? Who are you to play small and not share your potential with the world?

I get it, you might put all that work in and it might be for nothing, but it’s extremely doubtful if you are able to be honest with yourself, devote a bit of time to the journey and follow some great mentors that you are the one person this stuff won’t work for.

TIP: Who do you want to look back and say you were able to have been in this lifetime? Now start doing what it takes to be that person.

Identifying and recognizing unhelpful conditioning and beliefs and changing them in a way that works for you is valuable process to master. It takes courage to look beyond we have been conditioned to believe, seek our truth and live according to that and the rewards are phenomenal.

What are some limiting beliefs that are holding you back? Comment below!

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2 Simple Keys to Open the Door to More Prosperity in All Areas of Life

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Prosperity is your divine right. You are here on this planet, at this time, with a divine right to create every single thing you desire. This is acknowledgement of the fact that you are a divine being having a human experience.

You are here to remember, and your desires are how you begin remembering. When you stop downplaying them and start allowing them to lead you to the path you were created to play out, life will become a lot more fun than it is currently. As a spiritual person, you may have bought into the general spiritual story that it is not okay to be wealthy and spiritual but that is just the story spread by those who did not choose to stay on track to receive all their desires.

The crazy thing is that something inside of you knows that what I am saying here is true. There is a deep acknowledgement inside you that your desires are sacred. So, why not stop fighting your true design, stop calling it greedy and instead choose to live to the fullness of your ability and open up to receive all that is yours.

Here are the 2 simple keys to open up the door to more prosperity in life:

1. Affirmations

Life and death lies in the tongue. What are your words creating into your life? Most people have forgotten that they are powerful enough to say something and then see it play out in their life.  We can no longer be ‘most’ people. You have to get very conscious about the words you let out of your mouth or even that you let run free in your mind. Those words are determining what actions you allow yourself to take and therefore what results you get.

From a spiritual perspective, your words go past just you into the energy of the universe. You attract what you seem to desire and the universe can only figure that out by noticing what words seems to keep coming out of your mouth. Essentially, what seems to be the default state of your mind.

Get deliberate about the words and phrases that come from you. Be aware of what you deeply desire and write out that vision as a list of affirmations. Start with “I give thanks that…” or simply use “I am now…”. Notice if your mind sends out any resistance to what you are writing down and tweak it until it represents your desires in a way that does not cause your mind to throw up too many objections.

For instance, a goal stated as “I give thanks for my growing ability to create x amount of money each and every month” is less likely to cause a negative reaction from your mind than “I am now creating x amount of money.”

Can you see the difference? Once you have your list, repeat, repeat, repeat until they become second nature to you to say what you want, rather than joking or talking about what you do not.  GET DELIBERATE about your words.

“My life is a gift. I will use this gift with confidence, joy and exuberance.”

2. Mind Movies

Your imagination is another superpower of yours and it connects you with the Divine. Most people imagine the worst a lot of the time, therefore sending out the message they want more of the same and then wonder why their life seems to represent what they do not want. Again, we can no longer be most.

As your imagination can be used to attract in low-level situations, it can also be used to attract high vibe situations taking you where you want to go. Deliberately choose to fill your mind with visions of what you choose to create. Take a few moments every 30-90 minutes to sit in silence and imagine DELIBERATELY the life you are creating – the best case scenario.

Be the star of the show. Do the things you would be doing. Have the things you desire to have and manipulate them in your mind movie. You must get into the feeling of your vision fulfilled because it only needs 90 seconds to create an elevated and open prosperity consciousness.  

Your mind cannot tell the difference between your imagined reality and your true reality so as you deliberately do this practice, you will find you are inclined to take different actions that you may not even have thought of because your mind is seeking to resolve the disparity between what you imagine and your actual reality – It will support you in making it happen now. Try it for a period of time and see for yourself the changes that are attracted into your life.

“You create your own reality. – Jane Roberts

These two simple keys, if practised, will open you up to a lot more prosperity than you are currently experiencing. Please do realise that there is no real lack of anything in the world, there are simply people who lack consciousness. Opt out of that, and become someone who chooses to see abundance for all and then take action to make it a reality firstly for you and then for the people you choose to serve.

Always remember prosperity is your divine right. Accept nothing less.

How do you make sure you are living your best life? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Counterintuitive Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Time

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Do you think you’ll accomplish everything you want to before you die? Do you sometimes worry you won’t reach your goals? Do you have a plan to get what you want? If you’re like most people, you often have trouble squeezing in everything you want to do during the day, week or month, let alone everything you might want to accomplish in a lifetime. Updates from friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat come in to your phone at all hours of the day and night. Invites to activities, events, festivals, etc. blow up your phone on a regular basis. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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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 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

5 Counterintuitive Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Time

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how to use time effectively
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Do you think you’ll accomplish everything you want to before you die? Do you sometimes worry you won’t reach your goals? Do you have a plan to get what you want? If you’re like most people, you often have trouble squeezing in everything you want to do during the day, week or month, let alone everything you might want to accomplish in a lifetime. Updates from friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat come in to your phone at all hours of the day and night. Invites to activities, events, festivals, etc. blow up your phone on a regular basis.

At the office, things aren’t much better. Your Outlook inbox explodes with messages from clients, colleagues, or your boss, and everyone wants something different. You use multiple tools for managing your tasks, and every month something new seems to come out which promises to save you time and reduce the number of distractions in your life. Let me break the bad news, it won’t.

The truth is, you have more time than you think to accomplish what you want out of life. As of 2016, men tend to live on average 69 years, versus 72 years for women. If most people start work at 18 and continue on until retirement around 65, this means you spend 47 years of your life working. You have, most likely, more time than you think to accomplish all that you want to do in this life. I urge you to slow down and take a few of these suggestions to heart as you think about how to get the most out of your days in the future.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your time here on earth:

1. Take personal days

The idea of taking a personal day has been around for a long time, but few people really consider the value of taking one on a regular basis. Whether this means leaving work early on the third Friday of every month to do some “life-admin” or taking an entire day off in the middle of the week once a month to rigorously outline your plans and objectives for the future, the value of a personal day dedicated to reflection and personal development is completely underrated in today’s go-go society. I would urge you to set aside an entire day (half-days won’t work, as they are likely to be encroached upon) and make a concerted effort to spend that time reflecting about what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to get there.

 “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that other throw at him.” – David Brinkley

2. Structure in blank space for distraction free work

While taking time off to plan out your life and checking your personal progress is great, it is also important to structure small blocks of personal “switch off” time to let your mind wander during the typical work week. This may mean structuring in “strategic blocks” of one to two hours as suggested by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington in their book The 12 Week Year, or it may mean making a regular habit of doing “30 before 7:30” (30 minutes of concentrated work before 7:30am each morning) as suggested by Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule. Whatever you do, make sure you allow yourself some distraction free work time so that you can get into the flow.

3. Leave technology behind

We are tethered to our devices like never before, and we are rarely out of arm’s reach of something that can connect us to anyone (or any piece of information) in the world. I say this with some trepidation, because I am not entirely pleased about it. Sure, it is fantastic to have access to a device that can allow us to order food, call a car, create a professional looking video clip or photo, and post updates online all in the space of a few seconds, but it comes at a price.

Despite having the freedom to connect with anyone and do nearly anything from behind a touch screen device, we have effectively become servants for the same network of interconnected apps and platforms. So, at the risk of having you stop reading this article, I urge you to put down your device for at least 1 day a week and connect with people in more humanistic (face to face) ways.

4. Spend time with others not like you

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think hard about that, because it will help define how you spend the rest of your life. If you believe that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you will need to be careful that you spend time with people that add to your life, rather than detract from it.

The more time you spend with people that come from similar backgrounds and share similar views as you, the more you will become closed off to the world around you. This is an easy habit to fall into, but it is one that can have dire consequences if you are serious about stretching yourself and reaching lofty goals. Go out and explore, and spend time with people that push you in new and exciting ways.

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

5. Have more fun

I have noticed more and more that people tend to take pride in how stressed out they are and how much they work when they’re in the office. They then swing to the opposite extreme during the weekends, getting belligerently drunk and partying or staying in and watching Netflix for 48 hours straight. This is no way to live. It’s easy for me to call out because, truth be told, I used to be this way.

Too often, people find themselves caught up in a world that promotes stress, anxiety and long-hours as a badge of honor. Rather than promote and support this type of behavior by falling into the trap of stress and anxiety caused by overwork, look for ways to have fun in the moment. Talk to colleagues, give compliments, make connections, learn new things, and just try to connect with others.

Remember, you’ve likely got around 65-80 years on this planet, you don’t want to spend the majority of that time stressed out, waiting for the weekend. Instead, take to heart a few of these counterintuitive tricks and embrace every day with newfound appreciation. You won’t regret it, I promise.

How do you maximize your time? Comment below!

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4 Ways of Handling a Mental Illness for the Optimists

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Not everyone is accepting of mental illnesses, especially when it’s people they don’t know. However, it’s important to understand how to better handle mental illness in order to get ahead in life. Below, are the four best ways to better handle mental illness conditions if you consider yourself an optimistic person:

1. Be Grateful

Research studies have shown that being more grateful can make you feel happier, more positive, and better overall. Don’t focus on the negatives of your mental illness, instead, be thankful for all you do have. You likely have a lot to be thankful for like a warm bed to sleep in and a family who loves you. Even as an optimist, you may have a hard time celebrating the small things in life, but being mindful of your advantages helps. 

You can help keep yourself in touch with your emotions and feel happier by noticing when your life is going well. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Overall, having gratitude and writing down your thoughts on some of the things you value and enjoy in your life, you can handle mental illness a little better. 

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

2. Look for Professional Help

If you seriously can’t manage your own thoughts and they’re interfering with day-to-day activities, you should consider looking for professional help. Therapy and counseling can help reduce your emotional suffering and improve self-growth with your mental illness. Try to find a professional who can help you understand your condition and keep your pathophysiological level.

Here are a few other things that can offer you support when handling your mental illness:

  • If you have a hard time taking care of all the tasks you need to account for every day, ask for help from your friends and family. Once you get back on track, you can start doing things on your own; it’s never shameful to ask for help when you need it. 
  • Ask for emotional support. Sharing what frustrates you, venting, relieving stress, and crying are totally normal for people who have a mental illness. Don’t be afraid to get professional help when you need it the most. 
  • Ask for advice from your friends, family, medical professional. Especially if you don’t know much about your mental condition, sometimes it’s best to get advice from the people you can trust. 

3. Focus on Your Strengths

It’s completely normal and only human nature to focus on the negatives in life, overlooking the positives that surround you. However, you can focus on your strengths and not obsessively care about the mistakes you’ve made. Doing this will only help project your life forward and give you the push in the right direction you need. If you find yourself having too many negative thoughts or thinking too harshly of the things you’ve done, you should take the time to pause and consider what you have done right so far. By doing so, you can look on the bright side of life and cope with your mental illness with ease.

“ Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” – Roy T. Bennett

4. Face Your Problems Head On

If you’re feeling stressed out about your mental illness, it’s important not to sit and play the blame game, but instead, solve the problems you may be having on your own. Doing so will only make you stronger as a result. To solve your own problems, you should first write down all the problems you’re having. Putting your thoughts down on paper is much more manageable than having them circling your mind. 

Next, you should try listing a few solutions to the problems you’re having. Even if they aren’t realistic, just write down everything that comes into your mind, and you can judge the solutions later on. Once you’ve done that, you can start assessing the list you’ve made. Of all the solutions you’ve created on your list, write down the pros and cons of each one. Ask yourself how you want your situation to end and figure out the best way to get there. Remember, you only want to use reasonable solutions that won’t end in failure, or else you’ll only feel disappointed in yourself. 

Now that you have the solution to handle your problem, you should break them into smaller chunks to create a solid plan of action. However, you should also create some deadlines for yourself as well, to keep yourself on track with your plan. If your plan doesn’t work and/or something falls out of place, you shouldn’t get discouraged and give up. Instead, simply try another solution. 

It’s never easy to self-manage a mental illness, especially if you consider yourself an optimist. However, with the help of this guide, you should be able to start taking care of your mental illness and take the necessary steps to make it more manageable for yourself. Now, you should be able to handle anything that comes your way.

How do you handle negative thoughts and make sure you are grateful for being alive? Please comment below and let us know!

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7 Common but Unhelpful Conditioned Beliefs and How You Can Change Them

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Most of what limits us as people are personal beliefs based on past experiences, or unconscious conditioning that we have been programmed with or picked up during our education or development. The people I look up to and respect the most are those who have managed to unlearn what society has taught them by way of conditioning and have created their own lives in line with what works for them.

They still operate from a space of personal integrity and caring towards others and they can see the limitations in unquestioningly following what society has taught them. They have learned to listen to and follow their own internal guidance and values, create successful habits and win at life.

Some common beliefs that I’ve noticed trip up my clients and students are as follows:

1. Expecting anything from others, life and the world

“If it is to be, it is up to me” is my motto. That’s not to say I don’t collaborate with others, contribute and receive from them, but I am the driving force in my Universe. I know when others do something for me, an opportunity comes my way or something great happens. It’s always my legwork that’s created that association, opening or sense of gratitude or invitation and it’s something to be deeply grateful for and not to take for granted.

TIP: Look for inspiration that resonates for you and act from that space

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. Functioning from thinking at the exclusion of our intuition

Many of us have learned to mistrust our instincts instead of acknowledging what feels right deep down in our gut (which may offer seem counter to what we think about a situation). The term ‘stinking thinking’ exists for a reason. If logical thinking alone worked for running our lives, none of us would have problems. Instead, combine logic with your inner awareness and appropriate action to become unstoppable.

TIP: How can you begin to listen to that powerful voice inside, starting today?

3. Pushing aside our soul whispers because they seem too hard

How often have you ignored a constant urge to do something new/different because you couldn’t quite fathom why that was a good choice, because it felt messy or risky or just didn’t fit with what you have decided is best for you right now?

Staying stuck and perhaps miserable is safer and may seem easier than hacking a track that no one’s ever taken before, but the cost of ignoring our knowing seems to grow over time in terms of stagnation, regret and always wondering.

TIP: What if being truly you and following what excites you most is the only thing you’re supposed to do?

4. Not realizing that feelings are based on conditioning

We tend to associate particular emotions with how we think about certain events/outcomes because of past negative experiences or due to conditioning, even when it’s not actually true for us. When we are in our truth, our thoughts are of such a positive/freeing nature that not much can throw us off centre.

TIP: What is the underlying belief in a current difficult situation that you haven’t acknowledged? How can you change your beliefs about that person/situation to give you a different outcome?

5. Having Expectations of others based on their ‘Role’

People often expect family members/partners/friends or colleagues to behave in accordance with the values and behaviours that they have assigned to those roles. For example “Family must love me”, or “colleagues must be supportive”. In an ideal world these things are always true, but more often than not, our belief just hinders our ability to deal with the reality in this individual situation. People are only capable of being who they are and acting from that space regardless of their role in our lives.

TIP: Always assume who others are based on their behaviour not their relationship to you.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

6. Expecting others to have the same values/capabilities as us

People always show us who they are. Some of the most stuck clients I see, are those who repeatedly ignore who someone else is based on who they want the other person to be. People will always be who they are and do what works for them, regardless of your preferences. It’s good to understand why we are invested in someone being that way and to provide ourselves with that thing, instead of seeking it through others.  

TIP: When you see people for who they are instead of who you would like them to be life gets exponentially easier and you will have so much energy for you.

7. Thinking that the personal development journey is too hard

Realizing we have a lot of work to do is no reason not to start. A year from now, 12 months will have passed whether or not you have grown and developed the way you know you can. Personal growth can be tough, however can you live with staying the way you are now and depriving yourself of the opportunity to reach your greatness? Who are you to play small and not share your potential with the world?

I get it, you might put all that work in and it might be for nothing, but it’s extremely doubtful if you are able to be honest with yourself, devote a bit of time to the journey and follow some great mentors that you are the one person this stuff won’t work for.

TIP: Who do you want to look back and say you were able to have been in this lifetime? Now start doing what it takes to be that person.

Identifying and recognizing unhelpful conditioning and beliefs and changing them in a way that works for you is valuable process to master. It takes courage to look beyond we have been conditioned to believe, seek our truth and live according to that and the rewards are phenomenal.

What are some limiting beliefs that are holding you back? Comment below!

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2 Simple Keys to Open the Door to More Prosperity in All Areas of Life

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Prosperity is your divine right. You are here on this planet, at this time, with a divine right to create every single thing you desire. This is acknowledgement of the fact that you are a divine being having a human experience.

You are here to remember, and your desires are how you begin remembering. When you stop downplaying them and start allowing them to lead you to the path you were created to play out, life will become a lot more fun than it is currently. As a spiritual person, you may have bought into the general spiritual story that it is not okay to be wealthy and spiritual but that is just the story spread by those who did not choose to stay on track to receive all their desires.

The crazy thing is that something inside of you knows that what I am saying here is true. There is a deep acknowledgement inside you that your desires are sacred. So, why not stop fighting your true design, stop calling it greedy and instead choose to live to the fullness of your ability and open up to receive all that is yours.

Here are the 2 simple keys to open up the door to more prosperity in life:

1. Affirmations

Life and death lies in the tongue. What are your words creating into your life? Most people have forgotten that they are powerful enough to say something and then see it play out in their life.  We can no longer be ‘most’ people. You have to get very conscious about the words you let out of your mouth or even that you let run free in your mind. Those words are determining what actions you allow yourself to take and therefore what results you get.

From a spiritual perspective, your words go past just you into the energy of the universe. You attract what you seem to desire and the universe can only figure that out by noticing what words seems to keep coming out of your mouth. Essentially, what seems to be the default state of your mind.

Get deliberate about the words and phrases that come from you. Be aware of what you deeply desire and write out that vision as a list of affirmations. Start with “I give thanks that…” or simply use “I am now…”. Notice if your mind sends out any resistance to what you are writing down and tweak it until it represents your desires in a way that does not cause your mind to throw up too many objections.

For instance, a goal stated as “I give thanks for my growing ability to create x amount of money each and every month” is less likely to cause a negative reaction from your mind than “I am now creating x amount of money.”

Can you see the difference? Once you have your list, repeat, repeat, repeat until they become second nature to you to say what you want, rather than joking or talking about what you do not.  GET DELIBERATE about your words.

“My life is a gift. I will use this gift with confidence, joy and exuberance.”

2. Mind Movies

Your imagination is another superpower of yours and it connects you with the Divine. Most people imagine the worst a lot of the time, therefore sending out the message they want more of the same and then wonder why their life seems to represent what they do not want. Again, we can no longer be most.

As your imagination can be used to attract in low-level situations, it can also be used to attract high vibe situations taking you where you want to go. Deliberately choose to fill your mind with visions of what you choose to create. Take a few moments every 30-90 minutes to sit in silence and imagine DELIBERATELY the life you are creating – the best case scenario.

Be the star of the show. Do the things you would be doing. Have the things you desire to have and manipulate them in your mind movie. You must get into the feeling of your vision fulfilled because it only needs 90 seconds to create an elevated and open prosperity consciousness.  

Your mind cannot tell the difference between your imagined reality and your true reality so as you deliberately do this practice, you will find you are inclined to take different actions that you may not even have thought of because your mind is seeking to resolve the disparity between what you imagine and your actual reality – It will support you in making it happen now. Try it for a period of time and see for yourself the changes that are attracted into your life.

“You create your own reality. – Jane Roberts

These two simple keys, if practised, will open you up to a lot more prosperity than you are currently experiencing. Please do realise that there is no real lack of anything in the world, there are simply people who lack consciousness. Opt out of that, and become someone who chooses to see abundance for all and then take action to make it a reality firstly for you and then for the people you choose to serve.

Always remember prosperity is your divine right. Accept nothing less.

How do you make sure you are living your best life? Let us know in the comments below!

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