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Improve Your Focus in 9 Minutes or Less With This Morning Routine

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It’s your body’s job to house and protect your brain, but did you know that you can also use your body to strengthen your mind? In this article, you’re going to learn how to use your body to ignite your day. This short morning ritual can be done in under 9 minutes (including showering), and will set you up to crush the day!

A strong mind-body connection helps you stay focused by synchronizing your thoughts with your body. When your brain and body are both on the same page, staying on task happens naturally. You’re also going to learn why your brain loves movement, and how to engage your body in a way that fuels your brain. The more movement you expose your body to, the more exercise your brain gets at processing information. In short, more movement and exercise equals a healthier brain. Let’s get after it.

Give Your Brain the Movement it Craves

The more practice your brain gets at processing incoming sensory input the better. Stick to this short 9-minute morning routine for just 5 days and feel the difference. Laser-sharp focus? Yes, please! You should notice that it’s easier to stay locked-in throughout the day when you snap your body to attention first thing in the morning.

Start taking action right now with this simple routine. You might not have the time in your schedule for a full-on workout, but we all have a few minutes to invest in ourselves. One of the best ways to jumpstart your brain is by getting an explosive start with movement. Since all healthy movement starts with quality breathing, we’ll start there first.

Here is the whole process which will take less than 9 minutes:

1. Take a Breather

This exercise borrows heavily from the Wim Hof method. An absolute force of nature, Wim Hof is a true explorer of the human condition. His personal development exploits have literally rewritten the science textbooks. Through breathing exercises and cold exposure, he’s proven in clinical settings that it’s possible to consciously control the autonomic nervous system.

How did Wim Hof prove this? He can maintain his core body temperature in freezing temperatures as well as avoid getting sick when injected with large amounts of harmful bacteria. Not only that but in one experiment, he was able to train a small group of students with no previous experience to do the same. All with breathing exercises and cold exposure therapy!

Deep breathing is a great tool for grounding yourself in moments of high stress. While you sleep, your breathing is shallow, as most sleeping positions restrict the expansion of the diaphragm, chest, and stomach. That’s why the first step in preparing for the day is to warm up your diaphragm and gain access to the full depth of your breathing.

This way, when you need to calm yourself with a deep breath, your body is ready for it. When your alarm goes off, hop right out of bed. Stand in front of the mirror, and take in thirty deep breathes, bringing as much air as you can each time, and emptying your lungs fully when you exhale. Do this at whatever pace feels comfortable.

On the final exhale, push all the air out of your lungs and hold for 10 seconds, then breathe in as fully as you can and hold for another 10 to 15 seconds. The final holding phase stretches your stomach outwards so you have better breathing mechanics throughout the day. If you find yourself having to pause to yawn, that’s a good sign; it means your brain is waking up.

Repeat 3 times. Breathing in this way improves brain chemistry by increasing the expression of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein critical to memory and learning.

“When you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what’s the big deal? Relax.” – Jacques Pepin

2. Test Your New and Improved Breathing with Movement

Follow-up your breathing exercise with 10 squats and 5 push-ups, all the while breathing as deeply as you can.

3. Take a Cold(ish) Shower

Now it’s time to make a quick and cold shower part of your morning routine. Tony Robbins used to do this religiously before getting cryogenic therapy installed in his homes.  Fair warning, he hated taking cold showers but took them anyway because nothing was more effective at putting him in the moment, ready for the day.

I like to take a hot shower, then blast it on freezing-cold for 10-15 seconds before flipping it back to warm. I leave feeling refreshed. It’s not as hardcore as the way Tony used to do it, but it’s easier to tolerate and build into a habit.

“Everyone who has taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

Conclusion

These are all ideas for how to quickly engage your body and brain to have a more productive day. You know yourself better than anyone else, so feel free to play around with different ways to invigorate your morning with movement (you can substitute any exercise you want for push-ups and squats).

Direct your attention to your breathing, and reap the rewards of a focused mind. The more comfortable you are physically, the more relaxed you’ll be mentally, and the more receptive people will be to what you have to say. So start off the day right by synchronizing your body and mind, and strap on your seatbelt for a productive day!

How do you tend to begin your mornings? Do you think it makes for a productive day? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Justin Faraday is a former EMT and avid health and nutrition enthusiast. After struggling with his health for many years, he got serious about feeling incredible. Get stellar mental health and nutrition advice at his blog: dopefreshfit.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/fullbodysmile/.

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Life

2 Shifts In Thinking That Can Change Your Life Forever

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mindset shift

During the first two years of building my previous company, my income was less than that of a McDonald’s employee. I was regularly discouraged by family members to “get a real job” and “pursue a different direction”.

Fortunately, I ignored this advice. It wasn’t until my company’s third year that we exploded in revenue and grossed millions of dollars in sales. So… what kept me going? Two major shifts in my thinking. Both of which come from Darren Hardy’s books (publisher of SUCCESS Magazine) The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and The Compound Effect.

Thought shift #1: Imagine a hand-pumped water well, which uses a lever and a pipe to extract water from beneath the ground using suction.

To successfully bring the water to the surface, you have to pump the lever consistently. If you only pump the lever for a few minutes and stop, you won’t see any water. On the contrary, if you continue to pump the lever, you’ll eventually begin to see small drops of water.

Unfortunately, despite realizing some progress, this is the point where most wantrepreneurs give-up and exclaim: “Only a few drops of water!? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why did I put in so much hard work for so long for this tiny amount of progress?

But as Darren explains, wise people persist. The wise person who persists by continuing to pump the water lever , in spite of only seeing a few drops of water , eventually break through and get a steady stream of water (results).

“Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them down with aggressive pursuit.” – Darren Hardy

Don’t be the person who starts a business, works hard for a few months (aggressively pumping the water lever) and quits after seeing little-to-no progress (small drops of water). Don’t be the blogger who writes a few posts and quits after only two people read your amazing content.

Don’t be the unhealthy person who gives up on their weight-loss program after not seeing immediate results by the end of five workouts. The bottom line is this: You must persist and remain consistent. It takes time for meaningful progress to materialize. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Thought Shift #2: The “Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.”

The second major thought shift that changed the trajectory of my life forever is the concept of the Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.

Here’s how it works:

On one side of the life pendulum, you have failure, rejection, defeat, pain, and sadness. And on the other side of the life pendulum, you have success, victory, joy, and happiness. With this pendulum, you can’t directly control the positive side.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their reception and response to failure” – John C. Maxwell

But what you can fully control is the pushing of the pendulum to the side of failure, rejection, sadness, and all the other painful things that are required to be endured for success to be achieved. Only pushing the pendulum to the side of great pain is what will yield great success.

No wonder why average people (who only allow their life pendulum to swing a small distance into the side of pain) experience the equivalent small degree of success! Extraordinary success requires extraordinary pain.

Just like exercising at the gym, big muscles aren’t built by enduring small levels of pain. There isn’t a single bodybuilder on planet earth who didn’t first go through massive amounts of pain to build their physique. Not one!

What are your plans for integrating these concepts in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

What I Do When I Have To Make Lots Of Big Decisions.

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I have to make lots of big decisions right now.

I’m suffering decision fatigue.

There’s an element of fear at play as much as I pretend there isn’t.

Most of the time my decision-making ability is at a very high level. Like anything, sometimes it slips (especially when I drink coffee because it makes me anxious). The key is to understand that you can’t always be amazing at making the right decisions.

 

There will be wrong decisions.

You’ll make dumb ass decisions sometimes and then wonder “How the F did I do that?” You won’t always know. The secret to success, if you haven’t learned it by now, is to stop being perfect. Doing is the key because everything else requires thinking.

 

Thinking becomes overthinking.

That’s why I have been able to have a crazy year of blowing my goals out of the water.

I’ve used the 5-Second Rule and focused on making quick decisions that use my instincts and allow me to follow my heart. My brain is just too used to overthinking and going into its default mode – being fearful.

 

How do we deal with the fear?

You make sure you tell yourself that fear is always going to be present. Then, you use fear to push you forward. Something I do is this:

I tell myself that nerves, fear and anxiety are all just signs that I’m breaking my comfort zone. Knowing the power of breaking my comfort zone is rewarding and so I do a victory lap.

Whenever you experience these three sensations, do a victory lap because you are going to the next level of life. You’re doing what so few are prepared to do.

 

Caution: making decisions is addictive.

When you get to a point where I’m at now and you’re able to make fast decisions, it becomes addictive. You figure out that you can do pretty much anything when you cut out overthinking. With every decision comes more growth.

I’ve found that continuous growth is recommended and it turns out I’m not the only one. Many of my friends have become success addicts and tripled their value in less than a year.

“Once we know we can be unstoppable, all of the right doors open up”

Opportunities that were previously hidden now become so clear like a deer in the headlights of your car. A sense of clarity takes over and you know what you must do.

 

So what do we do when we have to make a big decision?

1. You put on your big boy/girl pants and accept what you’re currently feeling.
2. You think about the decision and make the choice that feels right at the time.
3. You ignore how hard or easy the decision is and concentrate on reaching an end outcome.

Right now I’m faced with some monster decisions. I’ve made certain promises that I must keep. I need to look at my career roadmap as well and there’s a lot of uncertainty in this area of my life. At the same time, I also need to nurture my side hustles more and monetize some of them.

For the curious bunch out there, you need to have multiple sources of income and ideally at least one passive income source. This one idea will change your life and give you more time and freedom to take breaks. It sounds easy in practice but it’s actually challenging.

We all want to turn our passions into passive income and sometimes when we haven’t been down this path, we’re uncertain even though Google can tell us 101 ways to make money.

“It’s like we have the strategies but we’re too caught up in our head to pick one and launch it finally”

Recently, I’ve also had to make big decisions about my priorities. I’ve become a slave to too many tasks and I need to cull a few things. Using the decision-making process above, I’ve narrowed my life down to family, my girlfriend, blogging, public speaking and my career. Everything else I’ve decided to ignore for right now.

Getting to this final list of priorities has required me to make lots of decisions. Some big and some small. I’m glad I have made those decisions though because otherwise, I’d end up being busy like so many people I know.

“Busy often occurs when you hold off making the decision you know you must”

 

Making decisions sets you free.

Until you make those big decisions, you become a prisoner of your own life. That prison cell exists in your mind and you find yourself trying to ignore the decision you must make. The hardest part I’ve found is concentrating on making the decision and what can go wrong.

I constantly find myself saying “What happens if I can’t go back to how things were?”

The truth is that how things were is boring. You can’t progress from this place. Nothing stays the same and you have to make the big decisions to enter a world you never thought was possible. This new world will make you feel phenomenal though once you make the big decisions.

These big decisions will set you free and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

 

Bad news: the big decisions never stop.

That’s why you have to make big decisions and turn this skill into an art form. Exercise your decision-making ability. Know that no matter what happens, everything is going to work out for the best. Big decisions must be made and you can make them.

My next round of big decisions is right in front of me. I have to focus on my career for a bit and I have zero idea what that looks like.

“All I can do is trek into the abyss and make one big decision at a time”

 

***Parting Advice***

Consciously you know that there are big decisions that have to be made. Instead of avoiding them or putting them off, start following the above process and get clarity on what you want. Unless you make big decisions, you’ll always feel like you’re being held back.

You can do big things in this world.
You can be extraordinary.
It all starts with one big decision at a time.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

4 Ways You Can Make A Habit Last

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Wouldn’t you love it if your brain could run on autopilot? Did you know that habits are the brain’s own productivity drivers? In order to boost efficiency, the brain is constantly striving to transform tasks into habits. The brain works hard to process new information so that you understand how to perform a task before turning it into a habit.

Just imagine if you could program your system to do chores, exercise, and eat healthy in a minute! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But don’t despair! With just a small amount of discipline, you can create a new habit and stick to it.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to stick to new habits that can potentially improve your health, work, and life in general:

1. Commit To Doing It For 30 Days Straight

If you want a habit to last, the first thing to do is make it last for a month at least. Because, to make a habit, all you need is three to four weeks’ time – and you are set. Once you make it through the initial conditioning phase, the rest will be easy. A month can be considered a good amount of time to settle and get used to a habit.

The time slot is just enough to commit to a change. If you want to make your diet more healthy, you should first commit to cutting down on junk and eating more healthy foods for a month. Once you consistently stick to a habit on a daily basis, it will be imprinted into your brain. They say it only takes 21 days to get addicted to something, so make the most of it.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Will Durant

2. Start Simple And Gradually Improve

When you try to inculcate a habit, don’t go all out at once. It is difficult to condition your mind to adopt a habit in a single day. Even if you manage to do it, it won’t last long. It is common to get over motivated and take on too much at once. But, if you start slow and gradually incorporate it, then the transition will be more steady. That way your brain won’t be able to forget the task.

For example, if you are planning to put in more time at work, then it’s not easy to put in too many hours at once. Start small and build it up gradually – then it will be easier to stick to. Don’t expect to see immediate improvements and don’t get disappointed; all good things take time. When you gradually ease your body into a routine, then chances are you will successfully get your body used to it.

3. Find Inspiration Or Something That Triggers

For a habit to last, you could use a push mentally. Something that motivates you to keep going. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who has a habit that inspired you to get started. Observe how they kept going and keep that in mind every time you think about giving up. Find other ways that will help you make the habit last a month until you get habituated to it.

For instance, if you want to exercise, then look at someone who has managed to drop those kilos with dedication. Spend more time with those people who have the habits you want to mirror. This can trigger you to work on yourself until you get what you want. Even learning new habits with friends can improve the experience and ensure that you stick to them.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

4. Set Goals And Know The Benefits

You should always channel your habits towards long term goals that motivate you. Being aware of the consequences and the benefits work in a great way to give you the push you need. Be familiar with the benefits of the change you are making. Like how your body will react to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Read books and research on how you can improve the quality of life with just these few changes.

That way you can be sure that your habits last forever. If your energy and motivation are not enough, you stand the risk of giving up too soon. Setting targets will only help you put in more effort towards achieving it. Withhold judgment until at least a month, and that will give you enough time to notice the change it has brought about in your life.

Forming a habit and making it last is quite a challenge. There is a lot of science behind the process of habit formation. It’s all about how you channel your mind into that particular cycle of habit. These are a few ways in which you can transform your life. Everything is a result of your habits. And it is in your hands how you want to improve yourself by forming new habits. With a proper plan and framework, you can make and stick to good habits.

How do you maintain your habits? Comment below!

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Life

Negative Self-Talk: 3 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Those Thoughts

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negative self talk

Who else suffers from negative self-talk and wants to liberate themselves? I used to have a  terrible opinion about my skills, my abilities, and myself in general. It is difficult and distressing to live this way. I mean, who feels good talking down about themselves all day? Nobody! Not only does it make you mentally sick, it is also holding you back from your dreams and successes.

I lived this destructive way for decades. Fortunately, I realized that I was wasting my life, if I didn’t get that BS out of my head. I was sick of it, and decided to find a way to stop my negative self-talk. My ultimate goal was to accept myself.

Here are three simple ways that have made the difference for me and gave me a sense of freedom:

1. Disconnect

The next time you catch yourself talking about yourself negatively, stop. Take your thoughts and put them into a story. Tell yourself the story in the third person, and use a different name than yours. This way you can disconnect yourself from the negative thoughts.

Here is an example what such a story could look like:

“Once upon a time, there was a woman named Pia. Her dream was to become a successful entrepreneur. It is not easy and Pia encountered some challenges. Pia talked down about herself and thought that she would never become a successful entrepreneur. She told herself that she is not good enough and does not have the right qualities. Pia met a friend to talk about her struggles. Fortunately, her friend pointed out that she had just hit a short-term challenge that is related to one specific situation, but does not relate to her skills and qualities. Pia’s friend told her that she could grow with this challenge. That changed Pia’s view of her own situation. She was happy and wanted to continue her journey straight away.”

By telling yourself a story, you take another perspective of the situation. From an external view, everything seems to be less difficult, because it is disconnected from yourself. This is the reason why we can give good advice to others, but struggle in similar situations when it directly affects ourselves. So, step out of yourself and take the view of a third person by telling yourself a story about your limiting thoughts.

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” – Terry Pratchett

2. Contribute

The challenge with negative self-talk is either to reframe our thoughts (e.g. seeing them from another perspective by telling a story) or to get out of our own heads. The latter does work when we can manage to focus on something else other than our challenge. I’ve learned that contributing to another person’s life really gets me out of my head, because I’m busy thinking about them.

There are two main benefits by serving beyond our own needs and doing something good for others:

  • We get out of our heads through focusing on another person’s needs.
  • We feel good because we know we are doing something great.

“The secret of living is giving!” – Anthony Robbins

Soon, this becomes a healthy habit. The focus shifts from ourselves to how we can contribute to others and the negative self-talk disappears. In fact, the self-talk changes from being negative to positive, simply because internally we know that we are doing the right thing by helping someone.

Try it out this week or month by volunteering at an event. Google local events. Volunteers are always welcome.

3. Compete

In general, it is not recommended to compare yourself with others. In this case, I’m telling you to do it! But the “others” are your former selves. See how much you have grown from where you were then to where you are today. Often, we overlook the progress we have already made. Without seeing progress, we tend to get discouraged and talk ourselves down; this is where negative self-talk starts.

Now, you can play against yourself. Compete with your former self regularly by practicing, for example, self-regulation. That means, instill healthy habits like exercising, eating healthy food, and getting up early, or habits that are beneficial to your specific situation. By strengthening your self-discipline, you’ll automatically feel better. And, you can tell your former self that you are better! That turns the negative self-talk into positive self-talk.

Eliminate the BS

Now you have three possible ways to either reframe your negative thoughts or to get out of your head completely. Experiment with them and have fun! Be a creative story-teller, a love-giving individual, or a successful competitor with several gold medals.

What relief would it be to get rid of the BS you tell yourself? What opportunities would come up, when you stop talking yourself down? Comment below

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7 Steps to Building Real Relationships With Influencers

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building relationships with influencers

They say your net worth is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. This is also true for your level of influence, where your “net influence” is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. So how do you build a network of influential people and start becoming an influencer yourself? (more…)

I’m Sina Fak. I believe the greatest businesses in the world are creating something more than just a product or service. My mission is to understand the motivations behind human decision and work with people and organizations who are out to make the world a better place.  You can learn more about me on my website and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Life

2 Shifts In Thinking That Can Change Your Life Forever

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mindset shift

During the first two years of building my previous company, my income was less than that of a McDonald’s employee. I was regularly discouraged by family members to “get a real job” and “pursue a different direction”.

Fortunately, I ignored this advice. It wasn’t until my company’s third year that we exploded in revenue and grossed millions of dollars in sales. So… what kept me going? Two major shifts in my thinking. Both of which come from Darren Hardy’s books (publisher of SUCCESS Magazine) The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and The Compound Effect.

Thought shift #1: Imagine a hand-pumped water well, which uses a lever and a pipe to extract water from beneath the ground using suction.

To successfully bring the water to the surface, you have to pump the lever consistently. If you only pump the lever for a few minutes and stop, you won’t see any water. On the contrary, if you continue to pump the lever, you’ll eventually begin to see small drops of water.

Unfortunately, despite realizing some progress, this is the point where most wantrepreneurs give-up and exclaim: “Only a few drops of water!? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why did I put in so much hard work for so long for this tiny amount of progress?

But as Darren explains, wise people persist. The wise person who persists by continuing to pump the water lever , in spite of only seeing a few drops of water , eventually break through and get a steady stream of water (results).

“Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them down with aggressive pursuit.” – Darren Hardy

Don’t be the person who starts a business, works hard for a few months (aggressively pumping the water lever) and quits after seeing little-to-no progress (small drops of water). Don’t be the blogger who writes a few posts and quits after only two people read your amazing content.

Don’t be the unhealthy person who gives up on their weight-loss program after not seeing immediate results by the end of five workouts. The bottom line is this: You must persist and remain consistent. It takes time for meaningful progress to materialize. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Thought Shift #2: The “Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.”

The second major thought shift that changed the trajectory of my life forever is the concept of the Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.

Here’s how it works:

On one side of the life pendulum, you have failure, rejection, defeat, pain, and sadness. And on the other side of the life pendulum, you have success, victory, joy, and happiness. With this pendulum, you can’t directly control the positive side.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their reception and response to failure” – John C. Maxwell

But what you can fully control is the pushing of the pendulum to the side of failure, rejection, sadness, and all the other painful things that are required to be endured for success to be achieved. Only pushing the pendulum to the side of great pain is what will yield great success.

No wonder why average people (who only allow their life pendulum to swing a small distance into the side of pain) experience the equivalent small degree of success! Extraordinary success requires extraordinary pain.

Just like exercising at the gym, big muscles aren’t built by enduring small levels of pain. There isn’t a single bodybuilder on planet earth who didn’t first go through massive amounts of pain to build their physique. Not one!

What are your plans for integrating these concepts in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

What I Do When I Have To Make Lots Of Big Decisions.

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I have to make lots of big decisions right now.

I’m suffering decision fatigue.

There’s an element of fear at play as much as I pretend there isn’t.

Most of the time my decision-making ability is at a very high level. Like anything, sometimes it slips (especially when I drink coffee because it makes me anxious). The key is to understand that you can’t always be amazing at making the right decisions.

 

There will be wrong decisions.

You’ll make dumb ass decisions sometimes and then wonder “How the F did I do that?” You won’t always know. The secret to success, if you haven’t learned it by now, is to stop being perfect. Doing is the key because everything else requires thinking.

 

Thinking becomes overthinking.

That’s why I have been able to have a crazy year of blowing my goals out of the water.

I’ve used the 5-Second Rule and focused on making quick decisions that use my instincts and allow me to follow my heart. My brain is just too used to overthinking and going into its default mode – being fearful.

 

How do we deal with the fear?

You make sure you tell yourself that fear is always going to be present. Then, you use fear to push you forward. Something I do is this:

I tell myself that nerves, fear and anxiety are all just signs that I’m breaking my comfort zone. Knowing the power of breaking my comfort zone is rewarding and so I do a victory lap.

Whenever you experience these three sensations, do a victory lap because you are going to the next level of life. You’re doing what so few are prepared to do.

 

Caution: making decisions is addictive.

When you get to a point where I’m at now and you’re able to make fast decisions, it becomes addictive. You figure out that you can do pretty much anything when you cut out overthinking. With every decision comes more growth.

I’ve found that continuous growth is recommended and it turns out I’m not the only one. Many of my friends have become success addicts and tripled their value in less than a year.

“Once we know we can be unstoppable, all of the right doors open up”

Opportunities that were previously hidden now become so clear like a deer in the headlights of your car. A sense of clarity takes over and you know what you must do.

 

So what do we do when we have to make a big decision?

1. You put on your big boy/girl pants and accept what you’re currently feeling.
2. You think about the decision and make the choice that feels right at the time.
3. You ignore how hard or easy the decision is and concentrate on reaching an end outcome.

Right now I’m faced with some monster decisions. I’ve made certain promises that I must keep. I need to look at my career roadmap as well and there’s a lot of uncertainty in this area of my life. At the same time, I also need to nurture my side hustles more and monetize some of them.

For the curious bunch out there, you need to have multiple sources of income and ideally at least one passive income source. This one idea will change your life and give you more time and freedom to take breaks. It sounds easy in practice but it’s actually challenging.

We all want to turn our passions into passive income and sometimes when we haven’t been down this path, we’re uncertain even though Google can tell us 101 ways to make money.

“It’s like we have the strategies but we’re too caught up in our head to pick one and launch it finally”

Recently, I’ve also had to make big decisions about my priorities. I’ve become a slave to too many tasks and I need to cull a few things. Using the decision-making process above, I’ve narrowed my life down to family, my girlfriend, blogging, public speaking and my career. Everything else I’ve decided to ignore for right now.

Getting to this final list of priorities has required me to make lots of decisions. Some big and some small. I’m glad I have made those decisions though because otherwise, I’d end up being busy like so many people I know.

“Busy often occurs when you hold off making the decision you know you must”

 

Making decisions sets you free.

Until you make those big decisions, you become a prisoner of your own life. That prison cell exists in your mind and you find yourself trying to ignore the decision you must make. The hardest part I’ve found is concentrating on making the decision and what can go wrong.

I constantly find myself saying “What happens if I can’t go back to how things were?”

The truth is that how things were is boring. You can’t progress from this place. Nothing stays the same and you have to make the big decisions to enter a world you never thought was possible. This new world will make you feel phenomenal though once you make the big decisions.

These big decisions will set you free and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

 

Bad news: the big decisions never stop.

That’s why you have to make big decisions and turn this skill into an art form. Exercise your decision-making ability. Know that no matter what happens, everything is going to work out for the best. Big decisions must be made and you can make them.

My next round of big decisions is right in front of me. I have to focus on my career for a bit and I have zero idea what that looks like.

“All I can do is trek into the abyss and make one big decision at a time”

 

***Parting Advice***

Consciously you know that there are big decisions that have to be made. Instead of avoiding them or putting them off, start following the above process and get clarity on what you want. Unless you make big decisions, you’ll always feel like you’re being held back.

You can do big things in this world.
You can be extraordinary.
It all starts with one big decision at a time.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

4 Ways You Can Make A Habit Last

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habits

Wouldn’t you love it if your brain could run on autopilot? Did you know that habits are the brain’s own productivity drivers? In order to boost efficiency, the brain is constantly striving to transform tasks into habits. The brain works hard to process new information so that you understand how to perform a task before turning it into a habit.

Just imagine if you could program your system to do chores, exercise, and eat healthy in a minute! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But don’t despair! With just a small amount of discipline, you can create a new habit and stick to it.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to stick to new habits that can potentially improve your health, work, and life in general:

1. Commit To Doing It For 30 Days Straight

If you want a habit to last, the first thing to do is make it last for a month at least. Because, to make a habit, all you need is three to four weeks’ time – and you are set. Once you make it through the initial conditioning phase, the rest will be easy. A month can be considered a good amount of time to settle and get used to a habit.

The time slot is just enough to commit to a change. If you want to make your diet more healthy, you should first commit to cutting down on junk and eating more healthy foods for a month. Once you consistently stick to a habit on a daily basis, it will be imprinted into your brain. They say it only takes 21 days to get addicted to something, so make the most of it.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Will Durant

2. Start Simple And Gradually Improve

When you try to inculcate a habit, don’t go all out at once. It is difficult to condition your mind to adopt a habit in a single day. Even if you manage to do it, it won’t last long. It is common to get over motivated and take on too much at once. But, if you start slow and gradually incorporate it, then the transition will be more steady. That way your brain won’t be able to forget the task.

For example, if you are planning to put in more time at work, then it’s not easy to put in too many hours at once. Start small and build it up gradually – then it will be easier to stick to. Don’t expect to see immediate improvements and don’t get disappointed; all good things take time. When you gradually ease your body into a routine, then chances are you will successfully get your body used to it.

3. Find Inspiration Or Something That Triggers

For a habit to last, you could use a push mentally. Something that motivates you to keep going. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who has a habit that inspired you to get started. Observe how they kept going and keep that in mind every time you think about giving up. Find other ways that will help you make the habit last a month until you get habituated to it.

For instance, if you want to exercise, then look at someone who has managed to drop those kilos with dedication. Spend more time with those people who have the habits you want to mirror. This can trigger you to work on yourself until you get what you want. Even learning new habits with friends can improve the experience and ensure that you stick to them.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

4. Set Goals And Know The Benefits

You should always channel your habits towards long term goals that motivate you. Being aware of the consequences and the benefits work in a great way to give you the push you need. Be familiar with the benefits of the change you are making. Like how your body will react to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Read books and research on how you can improve the quality of life with just these few changes.

That way you can be sure that your habits last forever. If your energy and motivation are not enough, you stand the risk of giving up too soon. Setting targets will only help you put in more effort towards achieving it. Withhold judgment until at least a month, and that will give you enough time to notice the change it has brought about in your life.

Forming a habit and making it last is quite a challenge. There is a lot of science behind the process of habit formation. It’s all about how you channel your mind into that particular cycle of habit. These are a few ways in which you can transform your life. Everything is a result of your habits. And it is in your hands how you want to improve yourself by forming new habits. With a proper plan and framework, you can make and stick to good habits.

How do you maintain your habits? Comment below!

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Life

Negative Self-Talk: 3 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Those Thoughts

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Who else suffers from negative self-talk and wants to liberate themselves? I used to have a  terrible opinion about my skills, my abilities, and myself in general. It is difficult and distressing to live this way. I mean, who feels good talking down about themselves all day? Nobody! Not only does it make you mentally sick, it is also holding you back from your dreams and successes.

I lived this destructive way for decades. Fortunately, I realized that I was wasting my life, if I didn’t get that BS out of my head. I was sick of it, and decided to find a way to stop my negative self-talk. My ultimate goal was to accept myself.

Here are three simple ways that have made the difference for me and gave me a sense of freedom:

1. Disconnect

The next time you catch yourself talking about yourself negatively, stop. Take your thoughts and put them into a story. Tell yourself the story in the third person, and use a different name than yours. This way you can disconnect yourself from the negative thoughts.

Here is an example what such a story could look like:

“Once upon a time, there was a woman named Pia. Her dream was to become a successful entrepreneur. It is not easy and Pia encountered some challenges. Pia talked down about herself and thought that she would never become a successful entrepreneur. She told herself that she is not good enough and does not have the right qualities. Pia met a friend to talk about her struggles. Fortunately, her friend pointed out that she had just hit a short-term challenge that is related to one specific situation, but does not relate to her skills and qualities. Pia’s friend told her that she could grow with this challenge. That changed Pia’s view of her own situation. She was happy and wanted to continue her journey straight away.”

By telling yourself a story, you take another perspective of the situation. From an external view, everything seems to be less difficult, because it is disconnected from yourself. This is the reason why we can give good advice to others, but struggle in similar situations when it directly affects ourselves. So, step out of yourself and take the view of a third person by telling yourself a story about your limiting thoughts.

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” – Terry Pratchett

2. Contribute

The challenge with negative self-talk is either to reframe our thoughts (e.g. seeing them from another perspective by telling a story) or to get out of our own heads. The latter does work when we can manage to focus on something else other than our challenge. I’ve learned that contributing to another person’s life really gets me out of my head, because I’m busy thinking about them.

There are two main benefits by serving beyond our own needs and doing something good for others:

  • We get out of our heads through focusing on another person’s needs.
  • We feel good because we know we are doing something great.

“The secret of living is giving!” – Anthony Robbins

Soon, this becomes a healthy habit. The focus shifts from ourselves to how we can contribute to others and the negative self-talk disappears. In fact, the self-talk changes from being negative to positive, simply because internally we know that we are doing the right thing by helping someone.

Try it out this week or month by volunteering at an event. Google local events. Volunteers are always welcome.

3. Compete

In general, it is not recommended to compare yourself with others. In this case, I’m telling you to do it! But the “others” are your former selves. See how much you have grown from where you were then to where you are today. Often, we overlook the progress we have already made. Without seeing progress, we tend to get discouraged and talk ourselves down; this is where negative self-talk starts.

Now, you can play against yourself. Compete with your former self regularly by practicing, for example, self-regulation. That means, instill healthy habits like exercising, eating healthy food, and getting up early, or habits that are beneficial to your specific situation. By strengthening your self-discipline, you’ll automatically feel better. And, you can tell your former self that you are better! That turns the negative self-talk into positive self-talk.

Eliminate the BS

Now you have three possible ways to either reframe your negative thoughts or to get out of your head completely. Experiment with them and have fun! Be a creative story-teller, a love-giving individual, or a successful competitor with several gold medals.

What relief would it be to get rid of the BS you tell yourself? What opportunities would come up, when you stop talking yourself down? Comment below

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