punctual

Being on time matters; it matters a lot. However, a large number of people have a problem being punctual. In fact, surveys show that 15 to 20% of the US population is consistently late.

There are many negatives that go along with having a habit of being late. Here are a few them:

  • Being late signals to others that you have self-control problems. In addition, people who are not punctual project incompetence.
  • Being late is rude to those whom you keep waiting. It tells others that you don’t value their time (which is the same thing as not valuing them).
  • Being late will probably make you feel flustered and insecure, and this will be reflected in the way in which you conduct yourself during any meeting or appointment that you’re late to.
  • Being chronically late can make you lose clients, it can make you lose your job, and it can strain your relationships with the people who are most important to you.

In addition, there are several different reasons why a person might have a punctuality problem. Some of these include the following:

  • Some people like the adrenaline rush that comes from cutting it close. They can’t motivate themselves to take action unless there’s a mini-crisis looming on the horizon.
  • Disorganization is one of the main reasons why people are chronically late. It’s hard to be on time when you can’t find any clean clothes to wear, you misfiled the documents that you need for your meeting, or your car keys seem to have grown legs and walked off.
  • People who are easily distracted have a tendency to be late. After all, just when they’re about to walk out the door something shiny catches their eye and distracts them long enough to make them late.
  • Those who lack conscientiousness are chronically late. Conscientiousness includes regard for others and making deliberate choices.

Regardless of the reason why you have a tendency to be late, there are things you can do to adopt the habit of being on time. Below you’ll find 12 tips for being punctual.

1. Make Being Prompt a Priority. The first step in becoming punctual is accepting that you have a punctuality problem. Then, realize that it’s not a cute or quirky character trait. Instead, it’s a habit that’s having a negative impact on your career, on your business, and/or on your relationships.

Make a commitment to drop the tardiness habit and become punctual.

2. Know Why You Want to Be Punctual. Whenever you want to create a new habit, you need to be very clear on the reasons why you want to build that habit. The more reasons you have for wanting to adopt a new habit, and the stronger those reasons are, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to make the new habit stick.

Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and ask yourself what you’ll gain by overcoming your tardiness habit and adopting a habit of punctuality, instead. You can write down things like the following:

  • Being on time will help you to cut down on stress (after all, few things are as stressful as always running late).
  • Being on time will reduce friction with your co-workers; nobody likes to be kept waiting.
  • Being on time will let your boss know that you can be counted on, which could lead to a promotion.

Be very clear on the benefits that you’ll gain by being punctual, and then keep reminding yourself of those benefits in order to motivate yourself to become someone who’s prompt.

3. Track How Long Tasks Take. A lot of people who are constantly late have trouble determining how long it takes them to perform different tasks; even those tasks that they perform on a regular basis. For example, they might think that it takes them 25 minutes to get ready in the mornings, when the reality is that it takes them a lot longer than that.

If you fall into this group of people, do the following:

  • Make a list of all the tasks that you have to get done in the morning in order to get ready to leave for school or work (or wherever it is that you go in the mornings).
  • Then, spend a week tracking how long it takes you to complete each of these tasks. For example, how long does it take you to wash your face and brush your teeth? How long does it take you to take a shower? How long does it take you to get dressed? How long does it take you to fix your hair?

Once you’ve tracked how long it takes you to get ready in the morning, you may realize that it takes you 45 minutes to be ready to walk out the door, not the 25 minutes that you previously thought. If this is the case, accept that you need to start getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier in order to make it to your morning destination on time.

4. Use a Timer. Once you know how long it actually takes you to complete different tasks, use a timer to make sure that you adhere to those times. For example, if you know that it takes you three minutes to take a shower, set a timer for three minutes right before you step into the shower. Then, when you hear the timer ring, turn the water off and step out of the shower right away.

5. Be Ruthless With Your To Do List. One reason why you may have a tendency to be late is because you simply have too much to do. If your schedule is unrealistic, how can you possibly be on time for anything? It’s better to say “no” to something you don’t have time for than it is to say “yes” and then be an hour late.

Take out your to do list and ruthlessly cross out anything that’s not a priority. Make sure that you only commit to do the number of things which you can realistically get done, and which you can realistically be on time for. Punctual people accept that they can’t do it all.

6. Be Prepared to Be On Time. Preparation is one of the keys to punctuality. As an illustration, if you’re constantly late leaving your house in the morning, set up the night before. The night before, do the following:

  • Choose the clothes that you’re going to wear and lay them out.
  • Pack your briefcase and leave it by the door.
  • Make sure that your house keys and your car keys are by the door.
  • Make your breakfast —one idea is to cut up some fruits, put them in a container, and store the container in the fridge.

As a second example, if you’re constantly late to meetings because you can’t find what you need, start preparing for meetings long beforehand. At least an hour before the meeting, gather all of the materials that you’ll need and place them on a corner of your desk or on a chair.

Always be prepared to be on time.

7. Give Yourself a Time Cushion. Even if you know how long it takes you to perform different tasks—such as driving to work or driving to a meeting across town—give yourself some extra time  in case of unexpected events. It’s a given that things are not going to run smoothly 100% of the time.

Here are some of the myriad of things that could go wrong as you try to get to your meeting across town:

  • Just as you’re leaving your office you spill coffee on your shirt, so now you have to change into the spare shirt you keep in the closet.
  • There’s construction along the route that you usually take, so now you have to take a different, longer route.
  • It starts to rain, which slows down traffic.

One of the habits of people who are punctual is that they don’t just give themselves the amount of time that they need to get to where they’re going on time. Instead, they also give themselves a time cushion in case something goes wrong.

8. Be Prepared to Wait. People usually don’t like to be early because they feel that the time that they spend waiting for others is wasted time. That is, they prefer to be late rather than having some downtime. The key to overcoming this hurdle is to be prepared to have to wait. Waiting time doesn’t have to be wasted time.

Do the following:

  • Keep a manila folder filled with industry related articles and take it with you so that you can catch up on your reading while you wait.
  • Plan to answer emails on your iPhone.
  • Use the downtime to close your eyes for a while and meditate.
  • See the waiting time as “extra time” and use it to work on a personal project, such as working on your novel or on your business plan for the small business you want to start on the side.

The best way to avoid being late is to plan to be early. In addition, you can stop dreading being early by having a plan for how you’re going to use the waiting time.

9. Change Your Thoughts About Being Early. A lot of people think that those who are important keep others waiting. Therefore, being early is a sign that they’re not that important. And no one wants to feel unimportant.

However, being early is really a sign of being organized, having respect for others, and having good time management skills. And these are all character traits of important people. Keep telling yourself, “Important people are punctual”.

10. Always Leave on Time. The moment which ultimately determines whether you arrive where you’re going late or on time is the moment in which you walk out your door. Once you’ve reversed engineered the time at which you need to leave in order to arrive at your intended destination on time, force yourself to leave at that time.

Think of the following scenario: you’ve calculated that you need to leave by ten a.m. in order to get to your meeting with the board of directors ten minutes early. Therefore, at ten a.m. on the dot get up and go. Look at the following:

  • If an email comes in at 9:59 a.m., ignore it.
  • If a colleague walks into your office two minutes before you have to leave, tell them you can give them two minutes. When the two minutes are up, excuse yourself and leave.
  • If it’s 9:58 a.m. and you feel like trying to squeeze in one more task before you leave, have the discipline to stop yourself, get your things, and walk out.
  • If you get up to leave and you notice that your diploma–which is hanging on the wall– is dusty, make a mental note to clean it when you get back. Under no circumstances should you start looking for a dusting cloth to clean it before you leave.

If you leave for your appointments on time–and you give yourself a time cushion in case something goes wrong–, you’re practically guaranteed to be on time.

11. Set Up Reminders. Set up a reminder for meetings and appointments an hour before you have to leave. Also, set up another reminder for fifteen minutes before you have to go. That way, you can time yourself so that you’re ready to leave on time.

12. Practice the Day Before. For important events, such as a job interview or if you have to give a presentation, practice how to get to where you need to be the day before. That way, you won’t lose time on the day of the important event trying to find the right address.

Make a good first impression when it comes to important events by practicing the day before so that you can be on time.

Conclusion

When you’re on time you’re prepared to do your best. Being punctual signals to others, as well as to yourself, that you can be depended on. Use the 12 tips above to become more punctual.

Live your best life by adopting the habit of always being on time.

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do less and achieve more

Lots of people think that the key to productivity is to find ways to get more done. However, the real secret to optimum productivity is to do less while achieving more. Below you’ll discover eleven strategies for doing this.

1. Identify the Tasks With the Greatest Impact. Make an inventory of everything that you’re trying to do, identify those tasks on your list which will have the greatest impact in helping you to achieve your goals, and put those tasks at the top of your to do list.

Look at all of the tasks at the bottom of your to do list and eliminate, delegate, or outsource them.

2. Train Your Brain to Focus. Once you’ve decided what to work on—that is, once you’ve chosen the highest impact task—get to work on that task and calibrate your brain to focus on it completely. Look at the following two scenarios:

  • You work on a report for 45 minutes; during that time all of your attention is on the report.
  • You work on a report for an hour; during that time your attention wanders, you check your email, you make a phone call, and you check your Twitter feed a couple of times.

Obviously, you’ll get more done during 45 minutes of focused work than you will in an hour during which your attention wanders all over the place. You can get more done, in less time, by focusing on what you’re doing.

3. Listen to Your Body’s Clock. One of the best ways to get more done in less time is to work on your most important tasks when you’re most effective. We all have a peak time of day during which our brain capacity is at its highest. Identify when that time of day is for you, and set that time aside to work on your most important task for the day.

For most adults, the best time to do cognitive work is in the late morning.

4. Work on Your Strengths. It’s a lot more effective to work on the things that you’re good at, than it is to spend time working on things that you don’t do well. Think of the following: you have a plot of land and you’re trying to decide what to grow on it. You can choose between apples and pears.

When trying to make your decision, you need to take the following into account:

  • The conditions of the soil on your plot of land are such that apples grow well.
  • The conditions of the soil on your plot of land are such that pears grow poorly.

What are you going plant on your plot of soil? I really hope you said “apples”.

Working on your strengths is the equivalent of planting the crop that grows best on your plot of land. On the other hand, working on your weaknesses is the equivalent of planting crops that grow poorly. It doesn’t matter how hard you work at growing pears, they’re never going to grow well because the soil is simply not suited for pears.

5. Be Exceptional. You get much better results in life by doing a few things exceptionally well, than you do by doing many things at an average level. Therefore, instead of wasting time trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, focus your time and efforts on a few things that you enjoy doing, which you’re good at, and that get you the results that you’re after.

It takes less time–and you reap greater rewards–to learn to do a few things very well, than it does to learn to do lots of things reasonably well.

6. Sharpen the Saw. Leadership guru Stephen Covey identified “sharpening the saw” as one of the seven habits of highly effective people. Imagine trying to cut down a tree with a saw that has a dull blade. You’ll be sawing for hours with little to show for your efforts.

Then, imagine trying to cut down a tree with a saw that has a really sharp blade. You’ll cut down that tree in no time. A sharp blade gives you better and faster results than a dull blade. When it comes to you, the equivalent of sharpening the saw is doing the following:

  • Get enough sleep at night.
  • Take frequent breaks throughout the day.
  • Devote at least one day a week to rest and relaxation.
  • Take a vacation at least once a year.

7. Use the Best Tools for the Job. Whenever you’re going to work on a task, look for the best tool that you can find to get that task done. Here are three examples:

  • If you’re going to clean your house, get the best cleaning supplies you can find.
  • If the task you’re working on involves doing research on the internet, use the fastest internet access you can find.
  • If you’re going to manage a project, use the best project management software you can find.

8. Set Deadlines. Deadlines serve several important purposes, two of which are the following:

  • Setting a deadline for a project forces you to get started, since there’s a date by which you need to be done.
  • Setting a deadline tells you when to stop working on a project.

Knowing when to stop is very important in order to get more done in less time.

In theory, a project can go on indefinitely. No matter how good a job you do, there’s always room for improvement. You can get more done in less time by setting a clear “stop date” for each of your projects, instead of continuing to edit and polish your projects indefinitely.

9. Do What Works. It’s much more productive to spend an hour doing what works, than it is to spend that hour experimenting with things that may or may not work. While it’s important to be unique, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel is working just fine.

And how do you know what works? By modeling those who have succeeded where you want to succeed. Find out what has worked for others, and then emulate them. Of course, the idea here isn’t to rip people off by stealing their ideas. A good rule of thumb is the following: don’t copy what they did, copy how they did it.

10. Leverage Your Time. Look at the following three scenarios:

  • You work with people one-on-one teaching them a skill.
  • You set up a workshop and teach that skill to several people at once.
  • You create a course teaching others how to perform that skill and you sell it on the internet.

In all three scenarios you’re doing the same thing: you’re using your time to teach others a skill. However, depending on which scenario you choose, you’ll get very different results.

Doing it one-one-one is much less effective that it is to teach a workshop in which you can teach several people at once. In addition, you leverage your time even more by creating a course and selling it online to potentially thousands of people. Get more done in less time by leveraging your time.

11. Leverage Your Knowledge. Finding ways to leverage your knowledge is one of the best ways to do less and achieve more.  For example, if you have a core idea you can do all of the following with it:

  • Write a blog post and put Google AdSense on your blog so that you make money from the traffic that lands on your blog to read your post.
  • Take three tips from your blog post and create a video that you can put up on YouTube.
  • Create a slide presentation of your blog post and put it up on SlideShare.
  • Expand the blog post, turn it into an ebook, and sell it.

What you’re doing is repackaging your idea several times in order to get as much usage out of it as you can. That is, you’re leveraging your knowledge. The more you can leverage your knowledge, the more you can get done in less time.

Conclusion

Many of us were taught that in order to succeed we have to exert enormous amounts of effort and be constantly busy.  However, the most successful people do not necessarily work harder than everyone else; instead, they work smarter.

Live your best life by doing less and achieving more by applying the eleven strategies explained above.

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Christmas fun activities

December is here and ’tis the season to be jolly. The best way to feel joyful this Christmas is to partake in activities which will infuse you with the holiday spirit. Below you’ll discover 25 Christmas activities filled with holiday cheer.

1. Choose a Fun Way to Countdown to Christmas. How are you going to countdown to Christmas this year? Stretch out the Christmas joy by doing something fun and Chrismassy every single day from the 1st to the 25th of December. The options are endless. Here are some ideas:

  • Get 25 pieces of paper, write a Christmas activity on each one, and stick them in envelopes numbered one to 25. Activities can include things such as going to the mall to listen to carolers, watching “Elf” (starring Will Ferrell), and going to Starbucks for a Gingerbread Latte.
  • Get an over-the-door shoe organizer with 24 pockets, and number the pockets from one to 24. Put little gifts in each pocket.
  • Make a beer advent calendar and toast the holidays.

2. Trim Your Tree With a Theme. Trimming the tree is always fun, but it’s even better if you come up with a theme. Ideas for themed Christmas trees are endless. Here are some of them:

3. Go on a Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Piling into the car to go look at the Christmas lights is fun, but going on a Christmas Scavenger Hunt is even better. Make a list of the things that you’re going to search for before heading out. Your list can include things such as the following:

  • A nativity scene.
  • A polar bear.
  • A reindeer.
  • A snowman with a top hat.
  • A Christmas tree in a window.
  • Three wise men.
  • Penguins.
  • Santa on his sleigh.

4. Have a Christmas Treasure Hunt. A favorite Christmas tradition for many families is to let each family member open one present on Christmas Eve (and the rest are opened on Christmas morning). Instead of just giving each family member a gift to open on Christmas Eve, make them search for their gifts.

Hide one gift for each family member, and then come up with a series of clues to help them find their gifts.Here’s an example:

  • Clue #1 leads them to the cookie jar in the kitchen, which contains Clue #2.
  • Clue#2 leads to them to the lamp on the coffee table; Clue #3 is under the lamp.
  • Clue #3 leads them to the plant by the entrance; Clue #4 hidden among the leaves of the plant.
  • Clue #4 leads them to the closet in the den.
  • The gifts are hidden in the closet.

You can come up with rhyming clues, jumble up the letters to make the clues more difficult, use cryptograms, or write the clues in a foreign language.

5. Create a Christmas Playlist. Make a list of your favorite Christmas songs, find the best version of each song, and create a Christmas playlist. Then, listen to your playlist from the 1st of December to the 25th. Include perennial favorites, such as these:

  • “‘O Holy Night”
  • “Jingle Bells”
  • “Let It Snow”
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
  • “White Christmas”

6. Have a Neighborhood Christmas Party. Host a Christmas party to kickoff the holiday season and invite your neighbors. Ask each of your guests to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to a charity that gives Christmas gifts to the needy. You’ll be strengthening your bonds with your neighbors, celebrating the season, and giving some holiday cheer to kids in need.

7. Take in the Smells of Christmas. Christmas time is an incredible olfactory experience. Make sure that this year you take in all the scents that make up the holiday season. Here are some of the smells of Christmas:

  • The smell of fresh pine.
  • Roasting chestnuts.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Honey-glazed ham.
  • Orange and cloves.
  • Peppermint.

8. Bake Gingerbread Men. Christmas isn’t complete without baking and eating at least one batch of gingerbread men. Gingerbread dough is made from flour, ginger, molasses, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Make sure to have cookie cutters shaped like little men, and icing to draw little faces and clothes on your gingerbread men. Of course, you can also make gingerbread ladies.

9. Make Gifts in a Jar. Gifts in a jar are all the rage, and for good reason. They’re inexpensive, easy and fun to make, and they’re always well received. Just get some nice jars–such as mason jars–and fill them with anything you can think of. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a journal jar by filling a jar with small pieces of paper, each one containing a journaling prompt. You can even add a nice journal and a pen with your gift.
  • Give them brownies in a jar. You can make these by layering all of the  ingredients that you need to make brownies in a jar. For example, the first layer is salt; then baking powder; then flour; then cocoa; then chocolate chips; last but not least, top it all off with walnuts.
  • Give them a sewing kit in a jar. Fill a jar with everything you would find in a sewing kit: a pin cushion; little scissors; spools of thread in different colors; needles and pins; and so on.

You can give gifts in a jar to anyone: teachers, neighbors, the mailman, other service providers, and so on.

10. Try Your Hand at a Holiday Craft. Buying Christmas ornaments is always fun. However, there’s nothing better than making an ornament yourself, and then proudly displaying it on the tree or on the mantle, or even wearing your handiwork. Even if you’re not crafty, there are lots of easy crafts you can try. Beaded safety pins with Christmas patterns are an easy holiday craft.

11. Watch Holiday Episodes of Your Favorite Sitcoms. Your favorite TV sitcoms almost certainly have at least one Christmas episode. My favorites are “The Christmas Story” from the Andy Griffith Show; “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from The Honeymooners; and all the Christmas episodes from “Frasier”.

12. Watch Christmas Cartoon Classics. Watching classic Christmas cartoons is a fun Christmas activity for the whole family. Christmas cartoon classics include “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”;  “Frosty the Snowman”; and “Garfield’s Christmas Special”.

13. Put Together Themed Stockings for Your Favorite People. There are few things as rewarding as spending the day putting together themed stockings for the most important people in your life. Do you have a little boy who loves trains? Get him a train quilted stocking, and then fill it with toys that are train-related.

Is your sister a bookworm? Get her a stocking decorated with books and fill it with all of the following:

  • An Amazon gift card (to buy books, of course);
  • A personalized bookmark;
  • The first book in a series you know she’ll love;
  • A rolled up tote bag (to carry books);
  • A coffee mug with a Shakespeare quote on it; and so on.

14. Go Look at the Christmas Window Displays. Go to the major shopping street in your city, or visit the biggest mall in the area, just to look at the window displays. Stores go all out this time of year, and each window display is more magical than the one before. Many of the displays are even animated.

15. Go Christmas Camping. Camp out in front of your Christmas tree one night. Keep the tree lights on and read holiday stories. Make sure to eat holiday treats: Krispie Treat Christmas trees; chocolate dipped pretzels covered in red and green sprinkles; Christmas caramel popcorn; and so on.

16. Play Christmas Trivia. Get the family together and play Christmas trivia. Here are some sample questions:

  • What are the names of the three wise men said to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus?
  • What are the three gifts which are mentioned being given by the wise men?
  • Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?

17. Attend a Performance of “The Christmas Carol”. Charles Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol”, was first published in December 1843. It tells the story of an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and how he’s finally filled with the Christmas spirit after a visit from the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.

For most local theaters, “The Christmas Carol” is the crown jewel of the holiday season.

18. Have a Gift Wrapping Party. Do you have lots of gifts to wrap? Turn it into a party. Pick a date, gather gift-wrapping supplies and invite your friends to bring over the holiday gifts they need to wrap. Everyone has a great time and leaves with a holiday to-do checked off their list. Here are the supplies you should have on hand:

  • Rolls of holiday wrapping paper
  • Ribbons
  • Gift Tags
  • Scissors and tape
  • Gift trims
  • Pens and markers

19. Shop for An Ugly Christmas Sweater. The ugly Christmas sweater has become a ubiquitous feature of the holiday season. The tackier and the funnier your sweater is, the better. Think bold red and green; large depictions of snowmen, reindeer, and Santa; and pom-poms. If the sweater lights up and plays holiday music, that’s even better.

20. Come Up with a New Family Tradition. Traditions and rituals keep us grounded, and some of the best traditions revolve around the Christmas holiday. Old family traditions bring back memories of childhood, and they help create that “warm” Christmas feeling. However, just as it’s important to maintain old traditions, it’s also fun to come up with new traditions.

One idea for a new tradition is the Christmas pickle. A decoration in the form of a pickle is hidden in the Christmas tree, and whoever finds it first on Christmas morning gets good fortune for the year to come. It’ll get the kids to take the time to really look at the tree!

21. Have a Christmas Karaoke Night. Consider giving yourself or a loved one a karaoke machine as a Christmas gift. Open the gift early, stock up on Christmas karaoke music, and have a Christmas karaoke night. You can also choose to rent a karaoke machine or visit a karaoke bar.

22. Make a Christmas Piñata. Did you think that piñatas are just for birthdays? Think again. Make or buy a piñata in the shape of Santa, a Christmas tree, a candy cane, or a snowflake. Fill it with Christmas favors,  lottery tickets, Christmas candy, and so on.

23. Watch the Classic Claymation Christmas Specials. The stop-motion animation Christmas specials from the 1960s and 1970s are still some of the best holiday films that exist. These are the best four:

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
  • Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
  • The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)
  • Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)

24. Have an Eggnog Tasting Party. For many, including myself, eggnog is synonymous with the holiday season. And what better way to discover the best eggnog to have during the holidays than to have an eggnog tasting party? Try different brands of store-bought eggnog.

In addition, you can make several batches of eggnog yourself and try adding different spirits to each batch. Although eggnog is traditionally made with rum, you can also make it with bourbon or brandy. You can also try white chocolate liqueur, Godiva chocolate liqueur, or come up with your own twist.

Gather all of the supplies that you’ll need–such as punch glasses and tasting grids for taking notes–and make sure to have finger food.

25. Have a Christmas-themed Game Night. Family game night is always fun, and it’s even more so in December when you get to play your favorite games, but with a holiday theme. There’s everything from Christmas Bingo to Charlie Brown Christmas Uno. Here are some more Christmas-themed board and card games for the family:

  • Nightmare Before Christmas Scrabble
  • Christmas-opoly
  • Holiday Yahtzee

Conclusion

There you have it: 25 Christmas activities filled with holiday cheer. Which ones are you going to try this year?

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prompts for 2015

The holiday season is here, which means the New Year is just around the corner. It’s never too early to start thinking of ways to make 2015 even better than 2014.

Below you’ll find 36 prompts to help you plan an awesome 2015.

1. One habit I’m going to build.

2. One bad habit I’m going to break.

3. One person I’m going to forgive.

4. One person I’m going to befriend or reconnect with.

5. One person I’m going to spend more time with.

6. One way I’m going to strengthen my personal relationship.

7. One thing I’m going to create.

8. One negative belief I’m going to drop.

9. One positive belief I’m going to reinforce.

10. One unhealthy food I’m going to stop eating.

11. One healthy food I’m going to start eating.

12. One book I’m going to read.

13. One new place I’m going to visit.

14. One adventure I’m going to go on.

15. One hobby I’m going to try.

16. One personal development goal I’m going to achieve.

17. One fitness goal I’m going to achieve.

18. One new food I’m going to try.

19. One fear I’m going to overcome.

20. One risk I’m going to take.

21. One thing I’m going to throw out.

22. One thing I’m going to save for and purchase.

23. One way I’m going to make more money.

24. One expense I’m cutting out.

25. One way I’m going to stop wasting time.

26. One skill I’m going to learn.

27. One class I’m going to take or workshop I’m going to attend.

28. One way I’m going to make myself indispensable at work.

29. One thing I will no longer tolerate.

30. One way I’m going to keep my energy high.

31. One way I’m going to relax and de-stress.

32. One way I’m going to get better sleep.

33. One way I’m going to have more fun.

34. One small way in which I’m going to make the world a better place.

35. One bucket list item I’m crossing off.

36. One way I’m going to follow my bliss.

Use the prompts above to help you plan how to make 2015 the best year of your life.

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morning jog

Good habits make all the difference in life. When you’ve created good habits you do the right things, without even having to think about it. That is, you put the behavior that will allow you to achieve your goals on automatic pilot.

Choose the habits that you want to adopt, follow the eight tips below to build those habits and make them stick, and then watch in amazement as you achieve your goals and your life is transformed.

1. Believe that You Can Build New Habits. The first step in building a new habit is believing that you can. You may have tried and failed several times in the past to create good habits such as exercising, becoming an early riser, and adopting a meditation practice. However, stop telling yourself that you’re a lost cause.

Although it’s true that some people are naturally better at creating new habits than others, by following the right strategies everyone is capable of building habits and making them stick. That is, it’s not that you don’t have the ability to build new habits, but that you’ve been doing it wrong.

2. Start Tiny. Most of us get really ambitious when it comes to creating new habits. For example, a lot of people who haven’t exercised in years decide that they’re going to start walking on the treadmill for forty minutes, five days a week. However, this is setting the bar so high, that failure is almost guaranteed.

A much better strategy is to set the bar so low, that you practically trip over it. Make the decision to start walking on the treadmill for one minute a day. After a while you can raise the bar to two minutes a day, then three minutes, then four, and so on. It’ll take you a while to build up to forty minutes a day, but you’ll get there.

3. Be Specific. Almost everyone wants to adopt healthy eating habits. However, “healthy eating habits” is so general and ambiguous, that it’s unlikely to result in any concrete action being taken. Instead, you can decide that you’re going to start taking the following specific actions:

  • When you’re at the grocery store, buy whole-grain pasta.
  • Start buying 2% milk.
  • Each weekday morning stick a handful of nuts and some raisins in a Ziploc bag, and put the bag in your briefcase. Have the nuts-and-raisins mix as a mid-afternoon snack instead of getting a chocolate bar from the vending machine.

The more specific you are as to what you’re going to do, the more likely it is that you’ll do it. And the more often you do it, the more likely it is to turn into a habit.

4. Reduce Barriers. Sometimes there’s an action that we want to start taking on a regular basis, but when we think of taking the action, one or more barriers get in the way. For example, let’s say that you want to start riding your bike every morning in order to lose a few pounds. However, you store your bike in the garage and in order to get to it you have to move a few boxes out of the way.

Having to move those boxes is a barrier. Even if it doesn’t take more than one or two minutes to get your bike out from behind the boxes, that’s enough of a barrier to reduce the likelihood that you’ll go out for a bike ride. Therefore, you need to find a way to make your bike as easy to reach as possible.

The fewer barriers that exist between you and your bike, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to turn bike riding into a habit.

5. Tie It To a Trigger. Tie the action that you’re trying to turn into a habit to something that you’re already doing on a regular basis. For example, if you want to start following along with an exercise DVD five days a week, tie it to some action that you do on a daily basis, such as walking the kids to school. Do the following:

  • As soon as you walk into the house after dropping the kids off–which is the trigger–, press “play” on the DVD player and get started huffing and puffing.
  • Every day follow up the trigger with the new habit, without fail. This will create a bond between the trigger and the new habit.
  • Sooner than you think, you won’t be able to do one without immediately afterwards doing the other.

6. Reward Yourself. In his book, “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg explains that there’s something called “the habit loop”. That is, every habit can be broken down into three components:

  • The cue: The trigger to start the behavior that you want to turn into a habit.
  • A routine: The actual behavior that you’re trying to turn into a habit.
  • A reward: When you complete the action that you’re trying to automate, reward yourself.

Duhigg explains that giving yourself a reward after performing the action that you’re trying to automate reinforces the habit loop in your brain, so the habit is more likely to stick. He goes on to say that research shows that the best way to get yourself to start exercising is to reward yourself with a piece of chocolate once you’re done.

Eventually your brain will enjoy exercise for exercise’s sake. However, at first you have to trick your brain into creating the habit loop—that is, trick it to develop the neurological patterns of a habit– by giving it a piece of chocolate after each exercise session as a reward.

7. Forgive Yourself If You Fall Off the Wagon. Picture this: you decide that you’re going to start having a fruit salad as a mid-afternoon snack at work instead of taking a donut from the coffee room. The first week, everything goes well. Every afternoon you take your fruit salad out of the fridge in the coffee room and walk triumphantly past the donuts.

However, on Monday of the second week you succumb to temptation: you take a donut and you guiltily gulp it down. Afterwards you can’t stop berating yourself:

  • I’m such a pig!
  • I have no impulse control.
  • I’ll never be able to change my eating habits. Why do I even try?

However, studies show that beating yourself up when you fall off the wagon is counterproductive. Instead, you should be kind to yourself. Tell yourself that you’ve had a minor setback, but that this happens to everyone when they’re trying to build a new habit. Then, resolve to do better the next day.

8. Build One Habit At a Time. Changing your behavior requires willpower, and willpower is a limited resource. That is, you simply do not have enough willpower to tackle several habits at once. Therefore, you should only try to build one habit at a time.

Once the new habit is ingrained it no longer requires willpower to be sustained, which means that you can get started on building a new habit.

Conclusion

For almost any goal that you set for yourself, you’re going to have to build one or more habits in order to achieve that goal. The good news is that there are strategies that you can follow in order to make it easier to build those habits.

Apply the eight strategies explained above and live your best life by building new habits and making them stick.

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success tips

Let’s get right to it. Here are 60 tips for success in 140 characters or less:

1. Constantly plant seeds for your future success.

2. Prepare yourself for success by polishing your craft, strengthening your body, and sharpening your mind.

3. Know that success is about quality.

4. Have a vivid vision of what you want.

5. Act “as if” you’re already a success.

6. Always seek to create value.

7. Be well-groomed and well-dressed.

8. Invest in yourself: read good books, attend seminars, and learn all you can.

9. Each day do the best that you can, where you are, with what you have.

10. Honor your worth.

11. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

12. Demonstrate ease: stop complaining; stop making excuses; don’t overreact to problems; and don’t take on more than you can do.

13. Come up with your own definition of success.

14. Know that happiness breeds success; not the other way around.

15. No matter how many mistakes you’re making, or how slowly you’re moving, you’re still ahead of the people who are not even trying.

16. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

17. Success is the result of hard work and persistence.

18. Learn from failure and defeat.

19. Persist, but know when to quit.

20. Have goals for your life, for each year, for each month, for each week, for each day, and for each hour.

21. Have the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be.

22. Make educated decisions and take smart risks.

23. Each time life knocks you down, get back up.

24. Always be on the lookout for opportunities.

25. Find a way, or make one.

26. Develop good habits.

27. Break bad habits.

28. Do more of what works: quit doing what doesn’t work.

29. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

30. Learn to master fear.

31. Put yourself out there.

32. Think about what you want; stop thinking about what you don’t want.

33. Focus on your work and avoid distractions.

34. Learn to manage your time.

35. Treat others with respect.

36. Feel genuine joy and excitement for the success of others.

37. Be mentally strong: be resilient and conquer worry and self-doubt.

38. Be a realistic optimist.

39. As long as you have goals and are working toward achieving them, consider yourself a success.

40. Don’t give away your power: don’t allow others to control what you do or how you feel.

41. Roll with the punches.

42. Stop wasting time worrying about what other people think of you.

43. Act, and then make adjustments as you go.

44. Believe in yourself and in your dreams.

45. Know that there’s no such thing as an overnight success.

46. Success is about being resourceful with what you have.

47. Wake up early.

48. Every minute you spend dwelling on the past is a minute you’re not spending creating a better future.

49. Don’t compare yourself to others; compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

50. Stop waiting for the perfect time to start; the time to start is now.

51. Have confidence that you can attain your goals.

52. Work on your character.

53. Work on your attitude.

54. Enjoy the journey.

55. Be impeccable with your word: say only what you mean and follow through with what you say you’re going to do.

56. If you want to improve your circumstances, improve yourself.

57. Choose wisely who you spend time with: you’re the average of your five closest associates.

58. Stop fixating on things over which you have no control.

59. Eat the frog: do the most important things first.

60. Recognize that problems and difficult individuals are just obstacles to be overcome.

Succeed and live your best life by following the 60 success tips above!

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 change the world

Most people underestimate their ability to make a positive change in the world. They’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that need to be done, all the people that need help, and all the worthy causes that exist. However, lots of individuals making small efforts can change the world.

“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

From The Book of Good Cheer : A Little Bundle of Cheery Thoughts (1909) by Edwin Osgood Grover

Begin by asking yourself what small thing you can do right now, where you are, with what you have. If you need some ideas, here are 25 small ways you can help to change the world:

1. Grab a Snack That Gives Back. When you’re hungry and in need of a snack, have a gourmet nut bar called “This Bar Saves Lives”. Each time that you buy one, they donate a life-saving meal to a child who’s starving. Here’s a quote from their web site:

“Every year, severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children. That’s one child every 12 seconds.”

You can help put an end to that, just by having a snack. Here’s their mantra: “Buy a bar. Feed a child. We eat together.”

2. Give Nut Bars to Homeless People. Keep a few “This Bar Saves Lives” (or any other nut bar that is healthy, filling, and delicious) in your car and hand them out to homeless people.

3. Rescue a Dog From an Animal Shelter. There are many healthy, lovable dogs scheduled for euthanasia in shelters. Instead of buying a dog from a pet store, rescue one from a shelter. You’ll be creating a lifelong bond with a dog that really needs a second chance.

4.  Share a Holiday Meal. Anthony Robbins, the famous self-help author, shared during an interview that when he was 11 years old and living in poverty, his family didn’t have food to celebrate Thanksgiving. Then, a stranger brought them groceries.

This had a profound impact on Robbins. He resolved right there and then that one day he would help others, just as this stranger had helped his family. When Robbins became successful he started giving away holiday meals to people in need. Through his foundation, he has given away millions of meals to people across the US.

This holiday season, help those who have less than you do by giving them a holiday meal. It’s likely that they’ll never forget the kindness shown to them by a stranger.

5. Become a Weekday Vegetarian.  A what?! A weekday vegetarian. We all know the reasons why we should become vegetarians:

  • In order to keep up with the demand for meat products, cows, pigs and chickens are packed like sardines in factory farms where they live tortured existences.
  • Being a vegetarian is better for your health. By limiting the amount of meat that you eat you’ll be reducing your likelihood of having heart disease.
  • Being a vegetarian is better for the environment. Meat, amazingly, causes more emissions than all of transportation combined.

However, a lot of people may intend to become a vegetarian, someday, but they just can’t get themselves to get to that day in which they eat their last hamburger, pork chops,  or some other favorite meat dish. In order to solve this dilemma, Graham Hill came up with the following solution: become a weekday vegetarian.

Being a weekday vegetarian means that from Monday to Friday, you’re a vegetarian. During the weekends, if you want to eat meat, you can.

6. Pack a Care Kit for a Homeless Person. Kylyssa is a woman who was homeless twenty-five years ago. She now creates HubPages, many of them about the experiences she lived through while being homeless.  In one of her lenses she tells the story of how finding a $100 bill in a discarded cigarette pack, when she was living out on the street, saved her life. She explains what she bought with the $100 to share with others what the homeless need.

Visit her HubPage and use the information you find there to create a care package for someone who’s homeless: What To Buy If You Are Homeless.

7. Start a Christmas Jar. Find a jar–it can be a pickle jar, a peanut butter jar, a Mason jar, or any other jar you have lying around. That’s your Christmas Jar. At the end of each day, empty out your pockets and place all of your spare change in the jar. The week before Christmas select someone who’s going through a tough time financially to give the jar to anonymously.

8. Pay It Forward. In the movie “Pay It Forward”, a 7th grader named Trevor is given the following assignment by his social studies teacher: “Think of an idea to change our world – and put it into action!” Trevor comes up with the idea of paying it forward: you do a big favor for three different people and tell each of them not to pay you back, but to pay it forward to three other people who, in turn, each pay it forward to three more.

Go ahead and pay it forward to three people who need help, and tell them not to pay you back, but to make a commitment to help three other people when they can.

9. Donate Your Old Bike. Your old bike can provide transportation for low income people in developing countries so that they can get to school or go to work. That is, it can help to take them from poverty to self-sufficiency. Donate your old bike to Bikes For the World.

10. Buy Fair-Trade Goods. Fair trade guarantees farmers a fair price for their products. In addition, it helps to eradicate unethical practices such as slave labor and poor working conditions. The fair trade movement focuses on products that are typically exported from developing countries, such as handicrafts, coffee, chocolate, flowers, tea, bananas, and honey.

11. Show Kindness. It’s simple to show kindness to others:

  • Hold the elevator door open for someone hurrying to catch it.
  • If the person standing behind you in line at the grocery store only has a few items, let them cut ahead of you.
  • Help a handicapped person cross the street safely.
  • Give someone an honest compliment.

Kindness has a ripple effect. It’s bound to come back to you.

12. Give the Gift of Life. Place yourself on the organ and tissue donors’ registry in your country. In the US, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants. The problem isn’t that the organs aren’t there; it’s that not enough people are donating them.

13. Live With Less. The web site Consumer Consequences has a quiz you can take that will show you how many earths it would take to support 6.6 billion people if they all followed your lifestyle. Then, when you’re absolutely shocked at the results, visit the site Make Me Sustainable to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

14. Pick Up Trash. Pick up trash at a local park. Just walk through the park with a trash bag and pick up any trash you find on the ground. You’ll be beautifying the area around you, not just for your enjoyment, but for the enjoyment of everyone. Invite people that live near you to get involved as well and make it an event.

15. Take a Volunteer Vacation. A great way to make a change in the world is to take a volunteer vacation. On your next vacation, go abroad and help build houses in a rural African community, help save an endangered species from extinction, or teach English to disadvantaged youths in a developing country.

16. Vote with Your Wallet. Every dollar you spend is a vote. Buy from–and invest in–companies that are socially responsible.

17. Teach Your Kids Tolerance. Combat racism and xenophobia by modelling tolerance at home and encouraging your kids to make friends with kids from many different cultures. You can also do the following:

  • Read books to your kids with characters from other cultures.
  • Introduce your kids to foods from different countries.
  • Hang up art from other cultures in your home.
  • Play music from different countries to your kids.

18. Join Freecycle. If you haven’t heard of  Freecycle, the idea is two-fold: help conserve the environment by reducing waste, and get items you don’t need into the hands of those who do. Join your local Freecycle group–or start one in your community–and then post items you don’t want to the list and wait for people to respond. When they do, arrange for them to pick up the item.

19. Help Stray Cats. Help stray cats survive outdoors by doing things such as the following: setting out bowls of water where they can get to them; giving them tuna; and covering an area from the sun so that they have a shaded spot to cool off in during the warm summer months. In the winter you can help them stay warm by modifying a dog house and insulating it with straw.

20. Send Someone a Happiness Kit. If a friend or family member has been feeling blue lately, send them a happiness kit. Include things such as the following: a joke book; a funny movie; a mug with a smiley face on it; chocolates; confetti; cards with happiness quotes written on them; and so on.

You can also include some of the bestselling books on happiness, such as “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar, and “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.

21. Do Something for An Elderly Person. Help an elderly neighbor by mowing her lawn, watering her flower bed, or getting her groceries. One way to find out if your elderly neighbor needs help is to just drop by for a casual visit and listen to them. It’s very likely that you’ll pick up on something that they need done. Then, volunteer to do it.

22. Use Crowdsourcing to Give. GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. You can look through the site and help fund potentially world-changing projects, or set up your own project and ask others to help you fund it.

23. Leave Something Good Behind. Make it a habit to leave something good behind. Here are some examples:

  • If you’re done reading your magazine or newspaper, leave it behind for someone else to read.
  • If you buy a soda from the vending machine, leave some spare change behind for the next person to use.
  • If you stop by a colleague’s office and they’re not there, leave them a note wishing them a good day.
  • When you eat at a restaurant, leave a generous tip; and so on.

24. Loan $25. Kiva allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs around the world. For example, you can choose to donate $25 so that Pedro–a farmer in Bolivia–can buy a tractor for his coffee growing business. Once 100 people have each donated $25 to Pedro, he can buy the tractor and make his business grow.

As his business grows, Pedro pays back the loans. That is, you get your $25 back. You can choose to re-donate your $25 through Kiva to someone else who needs a loan, or you can choose to withdraw your money. Here’s a quote from Fiona Ramsey, public relations director at Kiva:

“When a small business is successful, that can really have a life-changing effect for the family of a business owner”.

25. Be There for a Child. Build at least one informal, ongoing, caring, relationship with a child. Listen to them when they need to talk. Be a positive role model.

Conclusion

You don’t need a million dollars to change the world. All you need to do are small things, like those listed above. Live you best life by changing the world.



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benefits of gratitudeHaving an attitude of gratitude is beneficial for every aspect of your life: being grateful improves your health, your mood, your relationships, your career satisfaction, and on, and on.

If you’re looking for reasons why you should be grateful this Thanksgiving, and every other day of the year for that matter, here are eight life changing benefits of gratitude:

1. Gratitude Can Help You to Create Healthy Habits. Dr. Robert Emmons, Ph.D., the world’s foremost expert on gratitude, explains that grateful people take better care of themselves than their less grateful counterparts do.

This includes adopting healthy habits, such as eating more nutritious meals and getting regular physical examinations. In addition, one study found that if a person keeps a gratitude journal it’s more likely that they’ll exercise on a regular basis.

Therefore, if you’ve been meaning to improve your eating habits, start an exercise program, or create other habits that will allow you to take better care of yourself, making a list of the things that you’re grateful for will make it easier for you to make those habits stick.

2. Thankfulness Can Help You Achieve Your Financial Goals. Being grateful can even help you to create positive spending habits. A group of researchers divided participants into three groups. Each group was asked to write about an experience that generated an emotion.

  • The first group was asked to write about an experience that made them happy.
  • The second group was asked to write about an experience that made them feel grateful.
  • The third group was asked to write about an experience that didn’t really generate much emotion (something they felt neutral about).

After completing the writing exercise, participants were asked to choose between the following two options:

  • Getting some money now: or
  • Getting more money at a future date.

The better choice, of course, was to wait and get more money in the future. Of the three groups, participants in the group that wrote about an experience that generated gratitude were much more likely to delay gratification and wait for the larger amount.

3. Increase Your Happiness Set Point by 25% by Showing Gratitude. In his book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier ”, Dr. Emmons explains that your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point. This means the following:

  • If something good happens to you during the day, your happiness level rises momentarily, but then it returns to your happiness set point.
  • Likewise, if something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness level drops. However, it soon goes right back up to its previous level.

Nonetheless, there are things you can do to not just momentarily alter you levels of happiness, but to change your set point all together. One of these is being grateful. A practice of gratitude raises your happiness set-point, so you can remain at a higher level of happiness on a continuous basis, regardless of outside circumstances.

In addition, your happiness set point can go up by a whopping 25%. Imagine being 25% happier than you are now as a matter of course. I wrote about this in my article for the Change Blog, “How Gratitude Can Change Your Life”.

4. Being Grateful Helps You Sleep Better. A 2009 study found that grateful people sleep longer per night and have an easier time falling asleep. In addition, they feel more refreshed upon waking. Therefore, if you want to sleep soundly, instead of counting sheep, start counting your blessings.

5. Gratitude Can Improve Your Romantic Relationship. Amie M. Gordon of the Department of Psychology at the University of California led a series of studies that looked at how appreciation and gratitude influenced the relationship satisfaction and stability of committed couples.

Along with her colleagues she created something called the Appreciation in Relationships (AIR) scale. The scale captures how much partners felt appreciated and how much they exhibited appreciative behaviors.

The results of the studies indicate that having an attitude of gratitude and appreciation has a significant positive impact on relationship satisfaction and stability. Here are two additional findings:

  • Appreciative partners were more committed to the relationship than those who were non-appreciative.
  • Appreciative partners were more likely to receive appreciation in return. That is, when a person feels valued by their partner they’re more likely to show appreciation toward the other person in return.

6. Being Grateful Makes You More Resilient. One of the best predictors of happiness and success is your level of resilience. That is, your ability to bounce back from setbacks and disappointments. And one way to become more resilient is through gratitude.

In a study conducted at Eastern Washington University, participants were asked to recall an unpleasant open memory: a betrayal, victimization, or other upsetting experience. They were then divided into three groups:

  • The first group was told to write for twenty minutes on an issue that was unrelated to their unpleasant memory.
  • The second group was told to write about their unpleasant experience.
  • The third group was also told to write about their unpleasant experience. However, they were told to focus on the positive aspects of the experience. That is, they were asked to discover what about the unpleasant experience made them grateful.

The results of the study showed that the third group demonstrated more closure and less unpleasant emotional impact than the other two groups. In other words, redeeming the unpleasant experience with gratitude made it less painful and upsetting.

In addition, the participants who found reasons to be grateful reported less intrusive memories, such as ruminating about why it happened or how it could have been prevented. Gratitude can help you to get over upsetting experiences, and it can help you to move on.

7. Improve Your Health by Giving Thanks. Dr. Emmons also argues that gratitude has not only emotional benefits, but physical benefits as well. He and his colleagues have studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and have found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of health benefits. Here’s three of them:

  • They have stronger immune systems.
  • They’re less bothered by aches and pains
  • They have lower blood pressure

One way in which gratitude makes you healthier is by reducing stress. The link between stress and several leading causes of death—such as heart disease and cancer—have been well documented. Emmons says the following:

“Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress”.

The bottom line is, if you want better health, focus on the things you’re grateful for.

8. Gratitude Gives You Peace of Mind. Another of Emmons’ findings is that people who are grateful have greater peace of mind. Here are some of the ways in which this inner contentment is demonstrated:

  • People who are grateful tend to be less materialistic than those who are not.
  • Those who give thanks are less likely to judge their own success—as well as the success of others—based on the amount of possessions that they have accumulated.
  • Grateful people are less envious of others.
  • People who exhibit an attitude of gratitude are more likely to be satisfied with what they already have.

This is in line with what the world’s great spiritual teachers have always said: give thanks.

Conclusion

The eight benefits of gratitude explained above are just the tip of the iceberg. Adopting a grateful orientation toward life truly can perform miracles in your life. Live your best life by being grateful.

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go from dud to superheroThere’s been a slew of superhero movies out recently, and there are many more to come. In fact, there are forty superhero flicks due to be released before 2020.

Why do we love superheroes so much? Because they speak to something deep inside of us. We all want to become superheroes. And it turns out that we can, in a way.

Below you’ll find a 12-step process that will allow you to become a superhero.

1. Turn Your Misfortunes Into an Origin Story. An origin story is an account of how someone became a superhero. For example, Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by a mugger when he was eight. This lead Bruce to take an oath to rid Gotham City of the evil that took his parents’ lives, and that’s how he became Batman.

Instead of allowing the bad things that happen to you to drag you down, use them as a catalyst to push yourself to become stronger, smarter, and better. Heroes become heroes through adversity

2. Know that Being a Superhero is a Mentality. Obviously, you can’t fly, you don’t have X-ray vision, and you don’t have accelerated healing. However, being a real-life superhero isn’t about physical strength, but about mental strength. Here are some of the elements of the superhero mentality:

  • Superheroes want to do good for others. They want to be of service.
  • Superheroes take initiative. Nobody told Peter Parker, the student behind Spider-Man’s secret identity, to start catching criminals. He made the decision to do it on his own.
  • Superheroes have confidence in their abilities and their own competence.
  • Superheroes believe that they can accomplish anything that they set out to do.

That being said, getting into great shape will give your credibility as a superhero a nice boost (it also helps if you look really good in tights).

super powers (2)3. Identify Your Superpowers. Your superpowers are your strengths, or your true talents—what you’re naturally good at, enjoy doing, and have developed through practice.

Examples of strengths include creativity; being analytical; being logical; getting along well with others; excelling at strategic thinking; and so on.

Whatever you decide to do–whether it’s starting your own business, helping another person with a problem that their having, or finding a way to travel the world–, apply your strengths in order to achieve it.

4. Beware of Your Kryptonite. Kryptonite, of course, is the only thing that can weaken Superman. We all have our own personal kryptonite; that is, we all have weaknesses. And, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to turn your weaknesses into strengths. However, what you can do is identify your weaknesses and remain vigilant so that they don’t cause your downfall.

As an example, your kryptonite might be your temper. You may be quick to anger and act impulsively when you become irritated. If other people—such as a competitor–discover that this is your weakness, they can try to provoke you into saying or doing something that will give them an advantage.

However, if you’re aware that your temper is one of your major weaknesses, and you develop a strategy for calming yourself down when you start getting upset, you’ll lessen the probability that your kryptonite will become your undoing.

5. Listen for the Call. Joseph Campbell, author of “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, argued that every hero is called on a heroic journey. That is, the hero begins in a mundane situation. Then, something happens, or they receive information, that acts as a call to step out from their comfort zone and set out to accomplish a mission, go on a journey, or go out on an adventure.

Is there something that you feel you should be doing? Is there something that you’ve been wondering about? That could be your call. Sometimes the call is very loud—almost like being hit over the head–, but other times it’s very soft, like a whisper.

6. Answer the Call. Campbell goes on to say that the hero often refuses the call, at first. This may be from a sense of duty to something else, from fear, from a feeling of inadequacy, or because of many other reasons. However, a hero must sooner or later answer the call.

We’re all potential superheroes, until we hear and answer the call. Then, we complete our transformation and become full-fledged superheroes.

7. Have a Plan. Superheroes are action-oriented. However, before they act they take the time to analyze the situation, and they create a plan that will allow them to achieve their objective. Then, they execute their plan.

8. Overcome Your Fear. All superheroes embody the virtue of courage. It’s not that they don’t feel afraid, but they push through the fear and do what needs to be done despite their feelings. That is, they acknowledge that they feel fear, and then they rise above it.

If you want to be a superhero, you have to overcome your fear. You can always call on your inner Hulk.

9. Know that All Superheroes Have a Nemesis. All superheroes have a slew of villains who are constantly out to get them. Batman alone has the Riddler, the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Mad Hatter, and on, and on.

In real life, we each have our own villains: the colleague at work who’s constantly spreading false rumors about us; the business partner who cheats us; the “friend” who’s always trying to convince us that we don’t have what it takes to succeed; and so on. Superheroes confront and defeat the villains that get in their way. They don’t back down, and they don’t let the villains get the best of them.

10. Accept that You’ll Have to Confront Obstacles and Challenges. When I was a kid I used to watch “Batman”, starring Adam West. Inevitably, Batman and his trusty sidekick, Robin, would get caught by the villain and his or her henchmen, and the dynamic duo would be placed in a deathtrap. However, through their resourcefulness they would always manage to escape.

Each time you find yourself in a dilemma or facing an obstacle, remember that a superhero always keeps their cool and searches for a way out.

11. Collect an Arsenal of “Weapons”. All superheroes possess an arsenal of weapons. For example, Wonder Woman (my favorite superhero) has the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and an invisible airplane.

Your weapons, or your resources, can include all of the following: knowledge, skills, personal development tools, positive habits, positive character traits, potential allies, and so on. The more weapons you have at your disposal, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed in your mission.

12. Stay the course. Once a superhero has chosen their path, they stay the course. They always complete their mission, in spite of failure, misgivings, discomfort, and setbacks. A superhero perseveres and fights to the end.

Conclusion

Follow the steps above and live your best life by becoming a superhero. Now, go save the day. Wearing a cape is optional (but encouraged).

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happy and sexyWe all want to enhance the quality of our lives, become better people, achieve more, and overall be better rounded individuals. That’s why we set personal development goals.

Below you’ll discover 16 personal development goals that will make you happier and sexier.

Reminder: A life list–or bucket list–is a great tool for creating a life that rocks. Discover the transformational system for creating a life list and then turning it into reality. Click here to find out more.

1. Become More Confident. Your self-esteem, or your self-confidence, is basically what you think about yourself: how competent you think you are in dealing with life’s challenges, and how worthy you feel of happiness and success. One of the reasons why bolstering your self-confidence is important is because is there’s a strong correlation between confidence and success.

In his book, “The Magic Lamp”, Keith Ellis refers to a study conducted in 1921 by Dr. Lewis Terman of Stanford University involving over 1,500 gifted children. The study revealed that IQ is not the most important ingredient for success. Instead, Terman found that there were three factors that were much more important than intelligence in determining success.

One of these factors was self-confidence (the other two were setting goals and persevering).

2. Improve Your Body Language. Body language is nonverbal communication which involves gestures and movements. Studies have shown that the right body language can help you with all of the following:

  • It can help you to connect with others and get your message across more effectively.
  • It can communicate confidence and assertiveness.
  • The right body postures can make you more persistent.
  • Certain body postures can improve your performance.

You can read about seven ways in which body language can positively influence your life here.

3. Learn to Get Along With Others. Yesterday I was watching  a TV show called “Person of Interest”. One of the main characters–Reese–is working as a detective and his supervisor tells hims that he has to start meeting with a psychologist. During his first appointment Reese does the following:

  • He takes coffee for the psychologist.
  • He notices a photograph of the psychologist with her cat and initiates a conversation about the animal.
  • He leans in when he talks to her and tells her a personal story.

The psychologist quickly calls him on it: He was trying to manipulate her by giving her a gift, talking to her about her interests, and simulating trust and closeness.

I’m telling you this story as an illustration that there are things that you can do to create rapport with others. Of course, you should be honest and your objective shouldn’t be to manipulate other people, but it’s always a good idea to learn ways in which you can better relate and get along with others.

4. Stop Procrastinating. Procrastination has been called the thief of time, opportunity’s assassin, and the grave in which dreams are buried. Fortunately, procrastination is not a character trait, but a habit. And just as you learned the habit of procrastination, you can unlearn it. Make better use of the time that you have by overcoming procrastination.

5. Become an Early Riser. There are many benefits to becoming an early riser, including watching the sun rise, getting some early morning exercise, being able to work on a project just because it’s important to you before the day officially gets started, and so on. In addition, studies show that early rises are happier, healthier, and more productive than their late rising counterparts.

6. Become More Proactive. In his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey explains that the first habit of people who accomplish what they set out to do is that they’re proactive. Proactive people do the following:

  • They see themselves as being the creators of their lives.
  • They don’t identify themselves as victims of external conditions.
  • They don’t allow others to dictate their fate.
  • They take responsibility for the results that they get.

If you’re going to create the life that you want for yourself, you need to be proactive.

7. Acquire Conflict Resolution Skills. Conflict is a part of life. After all, people can’t be expected to agree on everything (I once read that if two people always agree, one of them isn’t necessary). The question is whether conflict–when it arises–will be resolved effectively or lead to discord.

Having the ability to resolve disagreements rationally and settle disputes amicably will make you happier and more successful.

8. Release the Past. Most of us are haunted by the ghosts of our past: that opportunity that we let slip by; those kids who bullied us in the playground; that love interest who left us for someone else; that professor who graded us unfairly; that parent who was constantly putting us down; and so on. In order to be happy in the present, we each need to release the ghosts of the past.

9. Read More. You may have heard that knowledge is power, and one of the best ways to acquire knowledge is by reading. In addition, researchers have found that gaining new knowledge can satisfy our need for competence, which makes us happier.

Read books that will help you to learn skills that will allow you to do better in life. Here are three examples:

  • Read business books to improve your performance at work;
  • Read parenting books to be a better parent; and
  • Read personal development books to become better at setting goals, coping with setbacks, dealing with perfectionism, and so on.

10. Become More Resilient. Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity. It’s the difference between facing your problems bravely and confidently, and feeling helpless and like you can’t move on. Fortunately, you can learn how to bounce back from any problem or challenge stronger and smarter.

11. Manage Stress Effectively. Stress is the body’s reaction to anything that requires a response. Feeling stress can keep us alert and motivate us to pursue our goals. However, if there’s too much stress this can lead to distress. Distress can cause headaches, elevated blood pressure, and chest pain. It can lead you to have problems sleeping and can even make you sick.

Knowing how to manage stress effectively–using good stress to learn and grow, and being able to release stress once it starts to reach a negative level–is vital for personal development.

12. Overcome Limiting Beliefs. Limiting beliefs keep us trapped in our comfort zone and prevent us from trying new things and taking risks for fear of getting hurt. We can have limiting beliefs about anything–money, success, relationships, and so on. You can even have limiting beliefs about yourself and what you’re capable of.

Allowing limiting beliefs to hold you back is not sexy, and it certainly will not make you happy. Identify your limiting beliefs, overcome them, and replace them with positive beliefs that will allow you to achieve what you want from life.

13. Increase Your Willpower. Willpower is essential to your ability to accomplish anything worthwhile. It influences your health, your finances, your relationships, your professional success, and all other areas of your life. Whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, you need willpower in order to achieve them.

14. Become More Mindful. Being mindful helps us to recognize the abundance and the good that is already present in our lives. However, we spend a lot of time thinking about things that aren’t happening in the present moment: remembering the past or thinking about the future. This is called mind wandering. In addition, psychologists have found that mind wandering makes us unhappy.

An important component of happiness is learning to live in the moment; that is, becoming more mindful.

15. Learn to Make Better Decisions. I’ve written several posts on this blog on how to make better decisions. That’s because the choices–or the decisions we make–determine the quality of our lives and the outcomes that we get. Our decisions shape our lives, so the better you get at making decision, the better your life will be.

16. Work on Your Attitude. Your attitude is your state of mind. It’s also the way in which you respond to situations and to other people. One of the best ways to get what you want from life is to constantly adopt the attitude that is most conducive to getting you what you want.

Conclusion

Live your best life by setting personal goals that make you a better person. The 16 personal development goals explained above are a good start.

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