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Motivation

This Is More Effective Than Your New Year’s Resolution

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New Years Resolution Challenge

We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately most people never decide how they want to live. As a result they get taken wherever the wind blows.

But not Addicted2Success readers, you want more. You live consciously. You decide how you want to live and what you want to have. You build the habits conducive to the good life.

Aristotle famously said:

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

Unfortunately, most people never set goals, or challenge themselves. Year after year on December 31st whilst jacked up on alcohol, in the midst of self-pity they decide to set some new year’s resolutions. Their excitement may last for a few days, or even two weeks, however, because the resolution was formed on alcohol and emotion they rarely see this through.

How do I know? Because I was one of those frustrated individuals on every January the 15th. I decided 9 years ago to no longer be flimsy about my approach to life. I realised that if you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, you will most likely go with your emotions. This is the last thing you want to do. Success will rarely come on this path.

When you decide the life you want, you start to think about your daily, seemingly unimportant actions. To the onlooker what you are doing seems irrelevant and redundant; you know that those conscious daily actions will become habits.

Your habits will naturally draw your dream life into existence. Leaving that onlooker dumfounded.

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so masterful at all.” – Michelangelo

Habits and the examined life is something I treasure greatly. About 10 years ago I was, well, a bit of a no-hoper. I was failing school, university was a no go and I lacked any kind of direction. That was until I read my first personal development book. 100s of books later, I’m now my own best-selling personal development author.

It wasn’t just knowledge that awakened me to my greatness. It was the action that succeeded it, that truly made the difference. I started doing 30 day challenges. With the sole purpose of building good, constructive habits that put me on course for the life I knew I was capable of.

In 30 days you can remove a vice or learn a new skill. The time frame holds you accountable to see the challenge through. The main benefit I found from challenging myself was the increase in discipline. Where I was disciplining one area of my life, all the other areas of my life became more structured and productive because I was motivated from honing my mind.

Over the last 10 years I’ve done various challenges such as quit meat, stopped consuming sugary drinks, started writing a book an hour a day and quit masturbating (it was hard – pun intended).

You really can use this simple tool to improve your life drastically. Before you get started ask yourself some questions like:

  • What area of my life can I improve?
  • What could I give up that would make me happier/healthier?
  • What would excite me for 30 days?

From your answers you should have an idea where you want to start.

challenge picture quote
 

I have failed many times, so let me give you 5 tips to help you successfully complete your first 30 day challenge.

 

1. Know your success criteria

If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t know when you get there. By clearly defining your outcome and what you need to do (or don’t do) daily, you will be setting yourself up for success.

When I first started doing the challenges I would have a loose idea but never clearly define it. This caused many slip-ups, especially when I was quitting sugary drinks.

 

2. Nothing wrong with failing

Yep, it’s true. There is absolutely nothing wrong with failing a challenge. Mistakes happen, what matters is you learn from it and start again. Try not to leave it too long before you start the 30 days again, maximum of 3 days.

Life has a funny habit of getting in the way. Then it’s 2 months later and we never started again. See through what you committed to completing, after all there was a reason you started.

 

3. Visualise yourself succeeding 

Let’s say you are doing 5am wake ups for the 30 days. For a night owl this is an unbelievably hard challenge – I know I’ve done it. What helped me was visualising myself hearing the alarm clock, waking up (and being happy about it) and getting straight out of bed to make a coffee. You can do this daily, weekly or once. The more frequent you do it, the more impact it will have.

When we visualise a better future we are creating a neural pathway in our brain. This pathway will trick your mind into accepting this as truth.

 

4. Do one challenge at a time

It’s easy to get carried away. I’m still struggling to keep to one at a time. Now I just want change, hopefully you will too. If that’s the case it’s easy to want to do multiple challenges at once. The issue here is that we only have a finite amount of will power each day.

Some of these challenges can be very trying. To start with just pick one that will enrich your life.

Then after your first challenge, consider picking two that compliment each other if you have the desire to do more than one.

 

5. Reward yourself

It’s important to reward yourself. You may get disheartened at times throughout the challenge. Energy is low, will power fading and you are starting to forget why you even began.

It’s important to reward yourself each week with something that is meaningful to you. That may be your favourite meal, a hot bath or drinking with your buddies.

 

Conclusion

Most of my good habits that are building success in my life right now have come from doing these 30 day challenges.

By challenging yourself you will increase your motivation levels, clarity for your goals and be building success habits that will propel you towards your dreams.

So many people in life don’t try or at best set New Year’s resolutions, but you’re different.

Challenge yourself, I dare you!

 

New Years Resolution – Learning Better Habits

Stuart is author of the best-selling book ‘Challenge Yourself, I Dare You: A Better You In 30 Days’. Stuart’s focus is on empowering good people to realise the majesty that lies within them. You can find out more about Stuart here.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Athena

    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    great points altogether, you simply gained a new reader.
    What may you recommend about your submit that you made some days in the past?

    Any certain?

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  4. Trang, Dinh Thao Doan

    Jan 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Stuart,
    Firt and foremost, I wanna say thank you with all my heart for this useful post.
    I’m writing these lines for you with a strongly hope that you can help me or share to me what should I do to improve my status now.
    I’m 20 year olds. My body type is so sensible with weight. I used to lose weight successfully but in a unhealthy way. I study in university that far away from my house, living far away my mother so I don’t eat full. I always break the meal or only eat 2 meals a day and sleep when I’m tired. I lose 5 kilogram and have a shape body that I used to dream year ago. But now, when I finish my final exam of this semester, I come back home with mother & I begin back my unhealthy diet. I don’t know what’s the problem with my stomach ? Despite of eating full at lunch, 1-2hours later, I feel hungry, my stomach becomes bad, it makes me feel that I can’t stand unless eating so much sugary food. This status lasts around 10 days and now I raise 6kilogram, my body becomes so ugly and my mind is much worst right now.

    I really feel upset. I think that I’m a un-discipline person. I’ve read so many books about development-self , about how to change habit. But I still can’t control my stomach, my hand, my foot to find food.

    I find the support medicine to lose weight. It helps me, but, again, the lack of my discipline makes me fail. I addict in coffee, morning,afternoon and evening, whenever I sit in my work table, my mind think of coffee immediately. And coffee makes my support medicine useless.

    I really hope you can help me to find out a exit way for this bad status. Please help me !

    Wait your reply with all my hope !

    Best Regards,

    Trang.

    • Stuart Ralph

      Jan 10, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Trang,

      Thanks for your kind words and comment.

      Sorry to hear you have be struggling. The two best diets and ways to eat in my opinion is the Paleo Diet and the Slow Carb diet. They are both based on lots of vegetables and good meats/fish. They both limit and forbid carbs and refined sugars.

      You say you are having a tough time giving up sugar, this is because sugar is as addictive as some drugs. If sugar is your main issue do a 30 day challenge to quit it. Don’t go near any sugars, fully commit yourself to this.

      Or you could do the Paleo diet or slow carb diet for 30 days. However if you struggle with will power, maybe start with no sugary drinks or foods. The healthier you eat the more discipline and energy you will have.

      All the best!
      Stu

  5. RAM

    Dec 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

    WORTH READING . Well said . I am trying to build my body and am failing every time . The main reason is “I am not able to wake up early” I set alarm every night and thoguht of waking up at 6 !!! . But still I fail . I have missed my gym day today too . I am really worried about it .

    I KNOW IT . I have to make it as a habit to wake up at 6 !!! But I am not sure Whats making me not to do it . I have passion about it always . But now I am thinking IS IT REALLY MY PASSION . If its my passion then I could have been doing it right!!! I dont know how to figure it!!!

    • Cody Faldyn

      Dec 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      RAM do you read books? If so I recommend you check out either The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod or Limitless Energy by Brandon Epstein. If you like summaries like me, I work for The Entrepreneurs Library and we interviewed both authors. You can check em out on episodes 65 and 44 at theELpodcast.com/books.

      I was having the same problems until I met Brandon Epstein at a conference. He has been giving me endless amounts of tips and advice for the past 4 months and ive gotten alot better at seeing more energy and having an easier time waking up everyday at 5am. I suggest subscribing to his email list at entrepreneurfitness.com.

      Hope all this helps buddy! Stay strong there are many people willing to help you out. 🙂

      Happy 2015!

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for the comment RAM. To add to Cody’s great advice. Is there another time you can train i.e. evening, lunchtime etc? If not consider a 30 day challenge, give a friend some money that they can keep if you don’t get up. It worked for me and I’m not a morning person. If the morning is the only time you can train then get to bed as early as you can, have your alarm clock away from your bed and have a motivational quote or pic of your goal by your alarm clock which will inspire you. It’s all about building the habit. Know that it will be really hard and painful, but after a week you’ll start to love it!

      Hope that helps,
      Stu

  6. Cody Faldyn

    Dec 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    YES!! I am not alone! (LOL). I met a colleague at a podcasting conference who got me hooked on 30 day challenges. Although I’ve been mainly trying food challenges, I’m going on my 3rd 30-day challenge and it’s life changing for sure. My friends think I’m crazy, so it feels awesome to have read this article today. Good stuff Stuart…definitely going to check out your book. 🙂 Cheers to being crazy!

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Hi Cody,

      Haha you are not alone. I too get weird looks for my challenges. I find it funny.

      Great work on the challenges so far. My book should have a few nuggets in there for you. You are already well on your way to an excellent life!

      Keep it up,
      Stu

  7. Jazzel Yousef

    Dec 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    This looks like a great way to accomplishing my goals. Lets do this!!

  8. juliana

    Dec 27, 2014 at 12:09 am

    my 2015 resolution is to start another ablog via wordpress,wish me success ..Thank you,happy year

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hey Juliana,

      Thanks for reading. Good luck with your goal.

      To your success,
      Stu

  9. Tim Denning

    Dec 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I did a 30 day challenge back in 2012 after attending a Tony Robbins event and I have still kept up the habit of cold press juicing to this day. Its a great way to try something new and turn it into a habit. I also had someone who had the same 30 days challenge as me so I was accountable for keeping the habit going otherwise I would have the pain of telling that person that I failed.
    So often people make news years resolutions and never stick to it. I found it important to write the goals down and then actively track them weekly or even daily. This important step is so widely known yet very few people actually do it. This is because their reasons for wanting the change are not strong enough. This is the most important thing to figure this out first.

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Hey Tim, thanks for reading. Great work on doing one and keeping it up to this day!!!

      Good luck in any future challenges.

      Stu

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Motivation

You Snooze, You Lose! 4 Hacks to Get Out of Bed When That Alarm Goes Off

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Did you know that more than 57% of Americans hit the snooze button? That adds up to 3.5 months of our lives just snoozing! Why would we waste time snoozing when the intention is to actually get up to get things done? Is it laziness, a lack of discipline, motivation, or commitment? It doesn’t actually matter.

The fact is, you can’t be as productive as you want when you are getting out of bed late!  That is the obvious part. The not so obvious part is how to actually get of bed, when every part of you is screaming to sleep a bit longer. Let’s create a bit of pain first, because I’m assuming you actually don’t see the downsides to snoozing, or you are being ignorant and ignorance will never get you the results you want.

Sabotaging Success

Did you know that every time you set yourself an intention to wake up early and you don’t follow through with it, you dramatically lower your confidence and belief in yourself? Your word to yourself start to mean less and less. You can say to yourself, I will do this, but you know you probably won’t.

Nothing will sabotage your success more than losing faith in your own word. You need confidence to get results in life! Are you somebody who follows through with their word or not? You either are or you aren’t.

The second consequence, is that you are losing income and awesome results you could be having sooner. Why choose the easier things now and have a harder life later on, when you can choose the harder things now and have an easier life later on?  Don’t settle in life, this will never ever fulfill you.

4 Hacks to get out of bed when that alarm goes off:

1. Don’t negotiate with your brain 

If you start negotiating with your brain, you will always lose. So don’t go there, don’t even start that conversation in your mind! If you have decided to get out of bed, then do it, follow through with your word. Why change your mind in the morning? 

The ‘pleasure seeking’ part of your brain is always on automatic and it’s so strong, your ‘pre-fontal’ cortex doesn’t have much chance of winning this battle when you are half asleep in bed. Once you are out of bed, habit stack. It’s the 5 second rule – you are up already – don’t you dare go back.  Do exactly what you would do habitually. Do you go straight for the shower or do you get a glass of lemon juice? Know what you are going to do already to take any thinking out of it!

“Lose an hour in the morning and you will spend all day looking for it.” – Richard Whately

2. Look at your identity 

You behave according to what you believe. You believe what you repeat. Look at your own language, what do you say to yourself about getting up? Do you say things like; “It’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning” or “I’ve never been a morning person.” What you say becomes your reality of yourself and either motivates or demotivates you.

What you want to be saying to yourself is: “Just get out of bed. It’s easy, just get up. I can do this because I want to, I decide and control my actions. I am in control.” I can almost guarantee, if you struggle to get up when your alarm goes off, there is a part of your identity that believes this is who you are. If you change how you talk to yourself, about who you are, and tell yourself you can do anything, because you said so, your actions will be completely different.

3. Leaping out of bed

Unless I have a very compelling reason, I know it would be hard to get out of bed. We need to use our minds to motivate us into action, and the best way to do this, is to get excited the day before. Write down at least 5 reasons on a piece of paper; list why you want to leap out of bed tomorrow. This can take 2 minutes! The next morning, when your alarm goes off, look at that piece of paper, immediately so you know what awaits you and get up.

4. Use accountability and peer pressure

Create a game with your friends, family members, coach, colleagues, or business partner, I don’t care who it is, as long as you know that person will hold you accountable. Have fun with it, take a picture fully dressed and showered and send to your accountability partner, or call a ‘penalty’ if you don’t, like taking your friend out for dinner or spouse every time you sleep in. Get creative and use your support system.  The point is, it doesn’t matter what system you set up, how crazy it might seem, what matters is if it works!

Remember, you don’t need to make big changes from the outset, if you feel like an hour or 30 minute change is too much, start with 5 minutes earlier each day or 10 minutes earlier each week. You must be getting enough sleep and not over sleeping either. You have one life and if you are a business owner, I know you are missing out on results and lowering your confidence indirectly too.

“Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.”

You can have the best intentions to get up earlier every day, but if you let that snooze button control you, you will never follow through with your intentions or get your results! It is the small changes that can give us the biggest results. Try one these hacks to finally get out of that bed in the morning and finally take back your time! Don’t allow it to be more powerful than you.

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Motivation

Why It’s a Great Thing for Adversity to Push You to Your Breaking Point

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If you are not finding challenges that knock you flat on your back then you are missing out. A darker side of success that some have touched on is that you need to fail more. In addition to this, we should consider finding the challenges that punch us in the mouth and knock us unconscious.

The easiest place to be in life is one of comfort and knowing what tomorrow will bring. This brings little growth and requires very little effort because it’s safe. However, if we look at our role models who have done great things, then we will surely see that they have failed spectacularly.

Michael Jordan locked himself in his room and cried after he didn’t make his varsity basketball team as a sophomore. Walt Disney’s second business that failed miserably was called Laugh-O-Gram. JK Rowling was rejected by 12 literary publishers before she found any success.

Most likely you can think of some challenges that you rose up to beat in your own life. I would venture to say that the most difficult challenges that meant the most to you knocked you on your back right before you conquered them.

“Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

These obstacles are there for a reason. They are an important part of the puzzle for you. So if you find yourself in a place where you feel stuck or overwhelmed by a burden that seems insurmountable then this is a very good thing.

Life gives you everything you need

Life will give us everything we need, including the message that you have to get back up and go back at it with more determination, more will, and more fight than what you had before. Sometimes the moment we are down and out is the moment we have to regroup, reorganize, and come up with a new strategy to overcome those impending obstacles.

The reason the challenge knocks us down is because we need it. Just like an ocean wave knocks down an inexperienced surfer, it’s just a sign that the young surfer has to grow and become better.

Just like a surfer, the same is true for you and wherever you are at now. You have faced many things in your life which force you to become stronger for what is now in front of you.

However, what is most important in all this is having a challenge that can move you. For the surfer, the thrill of riding that perfect wave is worth the cost of getting beaten down by ocean waves again and again. For the man creating a business and putting his heart and soul into it, the reward of being a success and changing lives is worth battling each and everyday to get his enterprise up and off the ground.

For the woman who runs a marathon, the thrill of running across the finish line and having that experience was worth all the training and the grueling exhaustion she had to endure so that she could get to that point.

These experiences are the ones that can move you, but if your goal can have such a positive affect on you, then it can also have a dramatically negative affect as well. This is why you need challenges that can break you.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J. K. Rowling

Why you need failure

The surfer is devastated after breaking his arm and having to spend time away from his passion, but after his recovery he is reinvigorated. The business fails and the man is crushed, but he comes back stronger and more experienced with another business. The runner fails at finishing her marathon, but trains harder and comes back even better.

For this reason, failure is only feedback and something to be used as a positive for getting to where you want to go. If you get knocked down you might just need to rest and try again. Or it could mean that you should go get some help and try again.

Remember, failure isn’t final and success within failure is having the opportunity to try again.

You should only be alarmed when you have failed challenges that aren’t breaking you. This means that you are playing it safe and need something more compelling to propel you forward.

If the challenge breaks you then you know it means something to you. Even more importantly, you have the opportunity to go again, harder and even more determined.

How do you handle failure? Let us know in the comments below!

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Motivation

What To Tell Yourself During A Tough Time.

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We all go through tough times.

A few examples of mine are:

  • Multiple consecutive breakups
  • Walking away from a business that could have made me a lot of money
  • Having my career come to a grinding halt
  • Dealing with mental illness

The list is very long and I’m sure yours is similar. It’s not about the tough times we go through though because they are guaranteed and you already knew that before you clicked this article.

What matters during tough times is what you tell yourself.

This is what I say to myself during tough times — well there’s actually four things I say to myself depending on the tough time I’m facing:


“This will pass”

No event in your life lasts forever. Today may be a really tough day, but that won’t last forever. We delude ourselves at times by saying in our head “I’m always going to be like this.”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“Here we go again.”

These negative phrases tell our brain that things are never going to get better. When we say these phrases to ourselves enough, we start to believe them. During a difficult period in your life, in that moment, things will suck.

The way to get out of your head is to see the truth: this will pass. In one day, one month, or one year this tough situation will have passed and you’ll be onto the next part of your life.

Nothing lasts forever unless you allow your mind to trap you in the moment and believe a lie which is that this moment won’t pass. It will. You will come out the other side.


I’ll be stronger having dealt with this situation

When you reframe your tough times into strength building exercises, they take a whole new meaning.

All of a sudden, your current situation that may be wearing you down becomes like reps at the gym. The reps are a struggle and it hurts, but if you keep moving forward, you end up with mental toughness and strength.

“Exchange your tough times for mental toughness”

See this challenging situation for what it is. It’s the chance to come out the other end stronger.

Stack your tough times up like gold medals.

Have you dealt with cancer? Good, then you won’t take your health for granted ever again.

Have you lost a loved one? Then you’ll never take the rest of your family for granted and care for them more than you did before.

Did you lose your job? Amazing! Now you can work somewhere else and discover more of your hidden talents!

Without tough times, you won’t have the strategies you need to deal with the impossible. Your heroes are your heroes because they’ve used their tough times to become stronger.

Failure and rejection are the building blocks to whatever your definition of success is. Tough times make you hungryand that’s a good thing.


Keep taking baby steps forward

Tough times can feel like quicksand sometimes.

If you don’t keep moving forward though, you’ll eventually sink into the quicksand. The best thing you can do during the toughest of challenges is take baby steps.

When I battled severe anxiety, I took baby steps such as these:

  • Walked 15 minutes a day
  • Drank an extra glass of water each day to hydrate my body
  • Read one book a month on anxiety
  • Exposed myself to one small fear each day. It started with going two levels in a lift (something I couldn’t do before). Then I’d go three levels the next day and so on.

That last dot point is critical. Overcoming tough times requires you to take baby steps in the form of being uncomfortable. When you’re growing each day, you don’t have time to be too concerned about a particular tough time.

My battle with anxiety eventually led me to flying long distances (another thing I couldn’t do before) and then speaking on stages in front of a lot of people.

As you can see, the first few steps — like going two floors in a lift — are quite small. Then the steps get bigger and bigger until what used to seem impossible becomes a piece of cake.

Take baby steps.


“It only takes one person”

Tough times often require someone to believe in you. From my experience, you only need one person.

One person to believe in your idea.
One person to love you.
One person who has gone through the same tough times as you.

This one person exists. You have to go out there and find them. That one person for me was a team leader when I was working in a call center. He believed in me enough to take me aside and coach me one on one.

He believed I was going to go on and change the world through personal development. He was right and I did!

Don’t give up. Your one person exists as well.

<<<>>>

These four things are what I tell myself during a tough time. One of these phrases will always be the right one depending on the circumstance.

Believe that there is a way out and you’ll find one. It’s during the tough times that you’ll develop the skills and experience to help others.

What I’ve learned is that to get through the tough times, one of the best hacks is to focus on helping others. When you’re focusing on how you can serve, your own selfish problems become insignificant.

Seek out people who have even bigger problems than you do and listen to them. See if you can help them.

That’s how you deal with the tough times.

Tell yourself the truth. You deserve to hear it.

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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Motivation

This Can Be Your Life If You Choose It.

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I was sitting down last week with a friend for lemongrass and ginger teas — because that’s how we roll in Melbourne.

My friend was telling me his recent life challenges and why he’d stopped replying to everybody’s messages.

I’ll get to the point: he’d got stuck in the daily grind.

Your life is not this:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to work
  • Have lunch
  • Come home
  • Ask your partner how their day was
  • Play with kids (if you have them)
  • Look forward to the weekend
  • Go to bed
  • Rinse and repeat

If this is how your life is, chances are you’re going to have challenges. Not because these daily activities are a problem but because there’s so much more to life.

When every day is the same, and you don’t know why, you become lost.


What do I mean by lost?

You go back to old ways. In my friend’s case, his mental health issues kicked in again. He started feeling sorry for himself. He lost his way.

For me, getting lost looks like going back to a state of negativity. A state where the world is against me and everything feels impossible.


Your life can be different if you choose it to be.

This is not hyperbole. Your life can be different.

How?

By not getting stuck in the daily grind. The way you do this is by being present. Noticing right now instead of looking down at your phone.

You can also break your routine. Don’t do the same thing every dayAdd some small twists and turns to how you do things.

Your life doesn’t have to be boring and full of routines. Habits are good to have as long as they don’t become 99.9% of your day. Having nothing but habits takes the variety out of your day.

You end up thinking the same way day in and day out. This stops you from seeing the endless opportunities that are available to you if you can only see them.


There has to be meaning.

No matter how big or how small, meaning gives you a reason to wake up outside of just following some pre-defined routine.

My friend that was going through issues last week didn’t have a meaning. He’d forgotten why he came to work. To shake up his reality, I told him about the day before where I’d volunteered at the local homeless shelter.

He asked me why I did it.

I told him It gets you out of your head. It makes you think and feel completely different. You stop feeling sorry for yourself. It reminds you of what it’s like to have a meaning.


We make the mistake of thinking everyone’s life is perfect except ours.

“I get this all the time. People think I live some rockstar blogging lifestyle full of free lunches, endless high-fives, smiles and opportunities. The reality couldn’t be further from this fake idea”

I have the same battles and challenges.
I get stuck in routines too.
I sometimes chase productivity over meaning as well.

No one has a straight flush of perfect days where all their hopes and dreams come true. Rejection, punches to the face, and disappointment affect us all.

The way you choose the good life is to acknowledge and push through the difficult parts of life.

As hard as I try, some days just suck. Some days I don’t feel like writing or my career is in the dumps.

The only difference is what you choose.

For me, I choose to keep moving forward. I choose optimism even when nothing makes sense and all the chips are stacked against me.

There’s no secret hack other than choosing to not settle for a life of routine and one that contains no variety.

You get to make that choice. That’s the difference.

The life you want is your choice. It’s not made for you.

Choose to change things up.

<<<>>>

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

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. (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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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Athena

    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    great points altogether, you simply gained a new reader.
    What may you recommend about your submit that you made some days in the past?

    Any certain?

  2. Santo

    Jun 6, 2015 at 10:59 am

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  3. precio del oro

    May 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

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  4. Trang, Dinh Thao Doan

    Jan 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Stuart,
    Firt and foremost, I wanna say thank you with all my heart for this useful post.
    I’m writing these lines for you with a strongly hope that you can help me or share to me what should I do to improve my status now.
    I’m 20 year olds. My body type is so sensible with weight. I used to lose weight successfully but in a unhealthy way. I study in university that far away from my house, living far away my mother so I don’t eat full. I always break the meal or only eat 2 meals a day and sleep when I’m tired. I lose 5 kilogram and have a shape body that I used to dream year ago. But now, when I finish my final exam of this semester, I come back home with mother & I begin back my unhealthy diet. I don’t know what’s the problem with my stomach ? Despite of eating full at lunch, 1-2hours later, I feel hungry, my stomach becomes bad, it makes me feel that I can’t stand unless eating so much sugary food. This status lasts around 10 days and now I raise 6kilogram, my body becomes so ugly and my mind is much worst right now.

    I really feel upset. I think that I’m a un-discipline person. I’ve read so many books about development-self , about how to change habit. But I still can’t control my stomach, my hand, my foot to find food.

    I find the support medicine to lose weight. It helps me, but, again, the lack of my discipline makes me fail. I addict in coffee, morning,afternoon and evening, whenever I sit in my work table, my mind think of coffee immediately. And coffee makes my support medicine useless.

    I really hope you can help me to find out a exit way for this bad status. Please help me !

    Wait your reply with all my hope !

    Best Regards,

    Trang.

    • Stuart Ralph

      Jan 10, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Trang,

      Thanks for your kind words and comment.

      Sorry to hear you have be struggling. The two best diets and ways to eat in my opinion is the Paleo Diet and the Slow Carb diet. They are both based on lots of vegetables and good meats/fish. They both limit and forbid carbs and refined sugars.

      You say you are having a tough time giving up sugar, this is because sugar is as addictive as some drugs. If sugar is your main issue do a 30 day challenge to quit it. Don’t go near any sugars, fully commit yourself to this.

      Or you could do the Paleo diet or slow carb diet for 30 days. However if you struggle with will power, maybe start with no sugary drinks or foods. The healthier you eat the more discipline and energy you will have.

      All the best!
      Stu

  5. RAM

    Dec 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

    WORTH READING . Well said . I am trying to build my body and am failing every time . The main reason is “I am not able to wake up early” I set alarm every night and thoguht of waking up at 6 !!! . But still I fail . I have missed my gym day today too . I am really worried about it .

    I KNOW IT . I have to make it as a habit to wake up at 6 !!! But I am not sure Whats making me not to do it . I have passion about it always . But now I am thinking IS IT REALLY MY PASSION . If its my passion then I could have been doing it right!!! I dont know how to figure it!!!

    • Cody Faldyn

      Dec 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      RAM do you read books? If so I recommend you check out either The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod or Limitless Energy by Brandon Epstein. If you like summaries like me, I work for The Entrepreneurs Library and we interviewed both authors. You can check em out on episodes 65 and 44 at theELpodcast.com/books.

      I was having the same problems until I met Brandon Epstein at a conference. He has been giving me endless amounts of tips and advice for the past 4 months and ive gotten alot better at seeing more energy and having an easier time waking up everyday at 5am. I suggest subscribing to his email list at entrepreneurfitness.com.

      Hope all this helps buddy! Stay strong there are many people willing to help you out. 🙂

      Happy 2015!

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for the comment RAM. To add to Cody’s great advice. Is there another time you can train i.e. evening, lunchtime etc? If not consider a 30 day challenge, give a friend some money that they can keep if you don’t get up. It worked for me and I’m not a morning person. If the morning is the only time you can train then get to bed as early as you can, have your alarm clock away from your bed and have a motivational quote or pic of your goal by your alarm clock which will inspire you. It’s all about building the habit. Know that it will be really hard and painful, but after a week you’ll start to love it!

      Hope that helps,
      Stu

  6. Cody Faldyn

    Dec 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    YES!! I am not alone! (LOL). I met a colleague at a podcasting conference who got me hooked on 30 day challenges. Although I’ve been mainly trying food challenges, I’m going on my 3rd 30-day challenge and it’s life changing for sure. My friends think I’m crazy, so it feels awesome to have read this article today. Good stuff Stuart…definitely going to check out your book. 🙂 Cheers to being crazy!

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Hi Cody,

      Haha you are not alone. I too get weird looks for my challenges. I find it funny.

      Great work on the challenges so far. My book should have a few nuggets in there for you. You are already well on your way to an excellent life!

      Keep it up,
      Stu

  7. Jazzel Yousef

    Dec 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    This looks like a great way to accomplishing my goals. Lets do this!!

  8. juliana

    Dec 27, 2014 at 12:09 am

    my 2015 resolution is to start another ablog via wordpress,wish me success ..Thank you,happy year

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hey Juliana,

      Thanks for reading. Good luck with your goal.

      To your success,
      Stu

  9. Tim Denning

    Dec 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I did a 30 day challenge back in 2012 after attending a Tony Robbins event and I have still kept up the habit of cold press juicing to this day. Its a great way to try something new and turn it into a habit. I also had someone who had the same 30 days challenge as me so I was accountable for keeping the habit going otherwise I would have the pain of telling that person that I failed.
    So often people make news years resolutions and never stick to it. I found it important to write the goals down and then actively track them weekly or even daily. This important step is so widely known yet very few people actually do it. This is because their reasons for wanting the change are not strong enough. This is the most important thing to figure this out first.

    • Stuart Ralph

      Dec 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Hey Tim, thanks for reading. Great work on doing one and keeping it up to this day!!!

      Good luck in any future challenges.

      Stu

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Motivation

You Snooze, You Lose! 4 Hacks to Get Out of Bed When That Alarm Goes Off

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Did you know that more than 57% of Americans hit the snooze button? That adds up to 3.5 months of our lives just snoozing! Why would we waste time snoozing when the intention is to actually get up to get things done? Is it laziness, a lack of discipline, motivation, or commitment? It doesn’t actually matter.

The fact is, you can’t be as productive as you want when you are getting out of bed late!  That is the obvious part. The not so obvious part is how to actually get of bed, when every part of you is screaming to sleep a bit longer. Let’s create a bit of pain first, because I’m assuming you actually don’t see the downsides to snoozing, or you are being ignorant and ignorance will never get you the results you want.

Sabotaging Success

Did you know that every time you set yourself an intention to wake up early and you don’t follow through with it, you dramatically lower your confidence and belief in yourself? Your word to yourself start to mean less and less. You can say to yourself, I will do this, but you know you probably won’t.

Nothing will sabotage your success more than losing faith in your own word. You need confidence to get results in life! Are you somebody who follows through with their word or not? You either are or you aren’t.

The second consequence, is that you are losing income and awesome results you could be having sooner. Why choose the easier things now and have a harder life later on, when you can choose the harder things now and have an easier life later on?  Don’t settle in life, this will never ever fulfill you.

4 Hacks to get out of bed when that alarm goes off:

1. Don’t negotiate with your brain 

If you start negotiating with your brain, you will always lose. So don’t go there, don’t even start that conversation in your mind! If you have decided to get out of bed, then do it, follow through with your word. Why change your mind in the morning? 

The ‘pleasure seeking’ part of your brain is always on automatic and it’s so strong, your ‘pre-fontal’ cortex doesn’t have much chance of winning this battle when you are half asleep in bed. Once you are out of bed, habit stack. It’s the 5 second rule – you are up already – don’t you dare go back.  Do exactly what you would do habitually. Do you go straight for the shower or do you get a glass of lemon juice? Know what you are going to do already to take any thinking out of it!

“Lose an hour in the morning and you will spend all day looking for it.” – Richard Whately

2. Look at your identity 

You behave according to what you believe. You believe what you repeat. Look at your own language, what do you say to yourself about getting up? Do you say things like; “It’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning” or “I’ve never been a morning person.” What you say becomes your reality of yourself and either motivates or demotivates you.

What you want to be saying to yourself is: “Just get out of bed. It’s easy, just get up. I can do this because I want to, I decide and control my actions. I am in control.” I can almost guarantee, if you struggle to get up when your alarm goes off, there is a part of your identity that believes this is who you are. If you change how you talk to yourself, about who you are, and tell yourself you can do anything, because you said so, your actions will be completely different.

3. Leaping out of bed

Unless I have a very compelling reason, I know it would be hard to get out of bed. We need to use our minds to motivate us into action, and the best way to do this, is to get excited the day before. Write down at least 5 reasons on a piece of paper; list why you want to leap out of bed tomorrow. This can take 2 minutes! The next morning, when your alarm goes off, look at that piece of paper, immediately so you know what awaits you and get up.

4. Use accountability and peer pressure

Create a game with your friends, family members, coach, colleagues, or business partner, I don’t care who it is, as long as you know that person will hold you accountable. Have fun with it, take a picture fully dressed and showered and send to your accountability partner, or call a ‘penalty’ if you don’t, like taking your friend out for dinner or spouse every time you sleep in. Get creative and use your support system.  The point is, it doesn’t matter what system you set up, how crazy it might seem, what matters is if it works!

Remember, you don’t need to make big changes from the outset, if you feel like an hour or 30 minute change is too much, start with 5 minutes earlier each day or 10 minutes earlier each week. You must be getting enough sleep and not over sleeping either. You have one life and if you are a business owner, I know you are missing out on results and lowering your confidence indirectly too.

“Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.”

You can have the best intentions to get up earlier every day, but if you let that snooze button control you, you will never follow through with your intentions or get your results! It is the small changes that can give us the biggest results. Try one these hacks to finally get out of that bed in the morning and finally take back your time! Don’t allow it to be more powerful than you.

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Motivation

Why It’s a Great Thing for Adversity to Push You to Your Breaking Point

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If you are not finding challenges that knock you flat on your back then you are missing out. A darker side of success that some have touched on is that you need to fail more. In addition to this, we should consider finding the challenges that punch us in the mouth and knock us unconscious.

The easiest place to be in life is one of comfort and knowing what tomorrow will bring. This brings little growth and requires very little effort because it’s safe. However, if we look at our role models who have done great things, then we will surely see that they have failed spectacularly.

Michael Jordan locked himself in his room and cried after he didn’t make his varsity basketball team as a sophomore. Walt Disney’s second business that failed miserably was called Laugh-O-Gram. JK Rowling was rejected by 12 literary publishers before she found any success.

Most likely you can think of some challenges that you rose up to beat in your own life. I would venture to say that the most difficult challenges that meant the most to you knocked you on your back right before you conquered them.

“Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

These obstacles are there for a reason. They are an important part of the puzzle for you. So if you find yourself in a place where you feel stuck or overwhelmed by a burden that seems insurmountable then this is a very good thing.

Life gives you everything you need

Life will give us everything we need, including the message that you have to get back up and go back at it with more determination, more will, and more fight than what you had before. Sometimes the moment we are down and out is the moment we have to regroup, reorganize, and come up with a new strategy to overcome those impending obstacles.

The reason the challenge knocks us down is because we need it. Just like an ocean wave knocks down an inexperienced surfer, it’s just a sign that the young surfer has to grow and become better.

Just like a surfer, the same is true for you and wherever you are at now. You have faced many things in your life which force you to become stronger for what is now in front of you.

However, what is most important in all this is having a challenge that can move you. For the surfer, the thrill of riding that perfect wave is worth the cost of getting beaten down by ocean waves again and again. For the man creating a business and putting his heart and soul into it, the reward of being a success and changing lives is worth battling each and everyday to get his enterprise up and off the ground.

For the woman who runs a marathon, the thrill of running across the finish line and having that experience was worth all the training and the grueling exhaustion she had to endure so that she could get to that point.

These experiences are the ones that can move you, but if your goal can have such a positive affect on you, then it can also have a dramatically negative affect as well. This is why you need challenges that can break you.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J. K. Rowling

Why you need failure

The surfer is devastated after breaking his arm and having to spend time away from his passion, but after his recovery he is reinvigorated. The business fails and the man is crushed, but he comes back stronger and more experienced with another business. The runner fails at finishing her marathon, but trains harder and comes back even better.

For this reason, failure is only feedback and something to be used as a positive for getting to where you want to go. If you get knocked down you might just need to rest and try again. Or it could mean that you should go get some help and try again.

Remember, failure isn’t final and success within failure is having the opportunity to try again.

You should only be alarmed when you have failed challenges that aren’t breaking you. This means that you are playing it safe and need something more compelling to propel you forward.

If the challenge breaks you then you know it means something to you. Even more importantly, you have the opportunity to go again, harder and even more determined.

How do you handle failure? Let us know in the comments below!

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Motivation

What To Tell Yourself During A Tough Time.

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We all go through tough times.

A few examples of mine are:

  • Multiple consecutive breakups
  • Walking away from a business that could have made me a lot of money
  • Having my career come to a grinding halt
  • Dealing with mental illness

The list is very long and I’m sure yours is similar. It’s not about the tough times we go through though because they are guaranteed and you already knew that before you clicked this article.

What matters during tough times is what you tell yourself.

This is what I say to myself during tough times — well there’s actually four things I say to myself depending on the tough time I’m facing:


“This will pass”

No event in your life lasts forever. Today may be a really tough day, but that won’t last forever. We delude ourselves at times by saying in our head “I’m always going to be like this.”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“Here we go again.”

These negative phrases tell our brain that things are never going to get better. When we say these phrases to ourselves enough, we start to believe them. During a difficult period in your life, in that moment, things will suck.

The way to get out of your head is to see the truth: this will pass. In one day, one month, or one year this tough situation will have passed and you’ll be onto the next part of your life.

Nothing lasts forever unless you allow your mind to trap you in the moment and believe a lie which is that this moment won’t pass. It will. You will come out the other side.


I’ll be stronger having dealt with this situation

When you reframe your tough times into strength building exercises, they take a whole new meaning.

All of a sudden, your current situation that may be wearing you down becomes like reps at the gym. The reps are a struggle and it hurts, but if you keep moving forward, you end up with mental toughness and strength.

“Exchange your tough times for mental toughness”

See this challenging situation for what it is. It’s the chance to come out the other end stronger.

Stack your tough times up like gold medals.

Have you dealt with cancer? Good, then you won’t take your health for granted ever again.

Have you lost a loved one? Then you’ll never take the rest of your family for granted and care for them more than you did before.

Did you lose your job? Amazing! Now you can work somewhere else and discover more of your hidden talents!

Without tough times, you won’t have the strategies you need to deal with the impossible. Your heroes are your heroes because they’ve used their tough times to become stronger.

Failure and rejection are the building blocks to whatever your definition of success is. Tough times make you hungryand that’s a good thing.


Keep taking baby steps forward

Tough times can feel like quicksand sometimes.

If you don’t keep moving forward though, you’ll eventually sink into the quicksand. The best thing you can do during the toughest of challenges is take baby steps.

When I battled severe anxiety, I took baby steps such as these:

  • Walked 15 minutes a day
  • Drank an extra glass of water each day to hydrate my body
  • Read one book a month on anxiety
  • Exposed myself to one small fear each day. It started with going two levels in a lift (something I couldn’t do before). Then I’d go three levels the next day and so on.

That last dot point is critical. Overcoming tough times requires you to take baby steps in the form of being uncomfortable. When you’re growing each day, you don’t have time to be too concerned about a particular tough time.

My battle with anxiety eventually led me to flying long distances (another thing I couldn’t do before) and then speaking on stages in front of a lot of people.

As you can see, the first few steps — like going two floors in a lift — are quite small. Then the steps get bigger and bigger until what used to seem impossible becomes a piece of cake.

Take baby steps.


“It only takes one person”

Tough times often require someone to believe in you. From my experience, you only need one person.

One person to believe in your idea.
One person to love you.
One person who has gone through the same tough times as you.

This one person exists. You have to go out there and find them. That one person for me was a team leader when I was working in a call center. He believed in me enough to take me aside and coach me one on one.

He believed I was going to go on and change the world through personal development. He was right and I did!

Don’t give up. Your one person exists as well.

<<<>>>

These four things are what I tell myself during a tough time. One of these phrases will always be the right one depending on the circumstance.

Believe that there is a way out and you’ll find one. It’s during the tough times that you’ll develop the skills and experience to help others.

What I’ve learned is that to get through the tough times, one of the best hacks is to focus on helping others. When you’re focusing on how you can serve, your own selfish problems become insignificant.

Seek out people who have even bigger problems than you do and listen to them. See if you can help them.

That’s how you deal with the tough times.

Tell yourself the truth. You deserve to hear it.

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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Motivation

This Can Be Your Life If You Choose It.

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I was sitting down last week with a friend for lemongrass and ginger teas — because that’s how we roll in Melbourne.

My friend was telling me his recent life challenges and why he’d stopped replying to everybody’s messages.

I’ll get to the point: he’d got stuck in the daily grind.

Your life is not this:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to work
  • Have lunch
  • Come home
  • Ask your partner how their day was
  • Play with kids (if you have them)
  • Look forward to the weekend
  • Go to bed
  • Rinse and repeat

If this is how your life is, chances are you’re going to have challenges. Not because these daily activities are a problem but because there’s so much more to life.

When every day is the same, and you don’t know why, you become lost.


What do I mean by lost?

You go back to old ways. In my friend’s case, his mental health issues kicked in again. He started feeling sorry for himself. He lost his way.

For me, getting lost looks like going back to a state of negativity. A state where the world is against me and everything feels impossible.


Your life can be different if you choose it to be.

This is not hyperbole. Your life can be different.

How?

By not getting stuck in the daily grind. The way you do this is by being present. Noticing right now instead of looking down at your phone.

You can also break your routine. Don’t do the same thing every dayAdd some small twists and turns to how you do things.

Your life doesn’t have to be boring and full of routines. Habits are good to have as long as they don’t become 99.9% of your day. Having nothing but habits takes the variety out of your day.

You end up thinking the same way day in and day out. This stops you from seeing the endless opportunities that are available to you if you can only see them.


There has to be meaning.

No matter how big or how small, meaning gives you a reason to wake up outside of just following some pre-defined routine.

My friend that was going through issues last week didn’t have a meaning. He’d forgotten why he came to work. To shake up his reality, I told him about the day before where I’d volunteered at the local homeless shelter.

He asked me why I did it.

I told him It gets you out of your head. It makes you think and feel completely different. You stop feeling sorry for yourself. It reminds you of what it’s like to have a meaning.


We make the mistake of thinking everyone’s life is perfect except ours.

“I get this all the time. People think I live some rockstar blogging lifestyle full of free lunches, endless high-fives, smiles and opportunities. The reality couldn’t be further from this fake idea”

I have the same battles and challenges.
I get stuck in routines too.
I sometimes chase productivity over meaning as well.

No one has a straight flush of perfect days where all their hopes and dreams come true. Rejection, punches to the face, and disappointment affect us all.

The way you choose the good life is to acknowledge and push through the difficult parts of life.

As hard as I try, some days just suck. Some days I don’t feel like writing or my career is in the dumps.

The only difference is what you choose.

For me, I choose to keep moving forward. I choose optimism even when nothing makes sense and all the chips are stacked against me.

There’s no secret hack other than choosing to not settle for a life of routine and one that contains no variety.

You get to make that choice. That’s the difference.

The life you want is your choice. It’s not made for you.

Choose to change things up.

<<<>>>

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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