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How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

Daniel Dowling is waging a war against distraction at MillennialSuccess.io, where he teaches the art of planning and making sh!# happen.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Christopher Moskowitz

    Feb 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I saw a Ted talk that also talked about self-affirmation and even wrote it down to do it, but this is the best guide on how. I’ll start adding this to my daily routine!

    • Dan

      Feb 28, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Thanks Christopher! Yeah, it’s super simple:

      Set the tangible self-encouragement goals,
      Look at them frequently through the day,
      And check those suckers off every time you’re reminded of them or do something awesome.

      Stay consistent!

  2. Harsh Tiwari

    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Simply brilliant

    • Dan

      Feb 28, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks Tiwari! Give it a try.

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

Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

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

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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how to achieve your goals
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan. (more…)

Meghan Olsgard is the creator and writer of www.infinitesoulblueprint.com where she writes articles about self-empowerment and creating a fulfilling life. She shares her personal experiences and the obstacles she has overcame to help and inspire others to do the same. You can get more information at her website or follow her on Facebook.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Christopher Moskowitz

    Feb 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I saw a Ted talk that also talked about self-affirmation and even wrote it down to do it, but this is the best guide on how. I’ll start adding this to my daily routine!

    • Dan

      Feb 28, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Thanks Christopher! Yeah, it’s super simple:

      Set the tangible self-encouragement goals,
      Look at them frequently through the day,
      And check those suckers off every time you’re reminded of them or do something awesome.

      Stay consistent!

  2. Harsh Tiwari

    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Simply brilliant

    • Dan

      Feb 28, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks Tiwari! Give it a try.

Leave a Reply

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

Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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how to achieve your goals
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

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

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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Life

7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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