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3d Cover -My Financial Bucket List WorkbookAlthough it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, you need money–and you need to have your financial life in order–to be able to achieve your bucket list. Use “My Financial Bucket List Workbook” to create a financial bucket list that will allow you to achieve every item on your bucket list.

This workbook–which is a digital product–is divided into the following main areas:

  • Initial Evaluation
  • The Mental Money Game
  • Financial Literacy
  • Spending – Expenses
  • Income
  • Savings
  • Debt
  • Purchasing Big Ticket Items
  • Investing
  • Taking Care of Your Family
  • Tax Management
  • Insurance
  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Philanthropy
  • Short-term, Mid-term, and Long-term Goals

“My Financial Bucket List Workbook” has ideas and prompts to help you create a list of goals–or bucket list items–that will address every aspect of your personal finances:

  • Creating a Financial Philosophy
  • Eliminating the Mental Barriers to Wealth
  • Getting Control Over Your Finances
  • Increasing Your Income
  • Applying Conscious Spending
  • Increasing Your Net Worth
  • Using Credit Cards Wisely
  • Eliminating Debt
  • Reducing Your Tax Burden
  • Protecting Your Assets
  • Becoming a Savvy Investor
  • Taking Care of Your Loved Ones
  • Preparing for Retirement
  • Leaving Your Affairs in Order When You Pass Away
  • Giving Back to Your Community
  • Financing Your Bucket List

“My Financial Bucket List Workbook” is a 105-Page PDF with over 11,500 words. It contains 42 worksheets, 50 images, and over 500 bucket list ideas to get your ideas flowing so that you can create a fantastic Financial Bucket List.

Here’s a sample page:

My Financial Bucket List Workbook Sample

“My Financial Bucket List Workbook” is a digital product, which means you’ll receive a download link immediately upon purchase (nothing will be shipped to you). It costs only $9.95. Buy it now!

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things to do to be happierHappiness is less elusive than a lot of people seem to think. Researchers and positive psychologists have discovered that there are concrete steps you can take in order to be happier. Below you’ll find 17 things you can do to be happier now.

1. Get more sleep. A study done at the University of Michigan found that getting just a little more sleep had a greater effect on your daily happiness than a large increase in income. Be happier in 2012 by resolving to discover the amount of sleep which your body needs, and then taking the necessary steps to make sure that you get it.

2. Break large goals down into small, manageable steps. Harvard positive psychologist Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage”, explains that research shows that when we feel that we’re in control of a situation, we’re happier. When a task is very large, we lose the feeling of control and we feel overwhelmed. This triggers fear and we feel stressed and uncomfortable.

You can regain control by breaking the task down into small, manageable steps. Achor recommends that you set large goals, and then you select a small area of that goal to conquer; he calls this small area of focus your “Zorro Circle”.

3. Keep a happiness journal. Something else that Achor recommends is that you keep a happiness journal.  Do Follow these steps:

  • Every day, journal for five minutes about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours.
  • Make it as detailed as you can.

Because your brain is not very adept at telling the difference between something that you’re visualizing and something that you’re experiencing, when you relive a positive experience by journaling about it, you get a positive double whammy from that experience.

In addition, when your mind thinks that lots of good things are happening to you, it has a tendency to start scanning your environment for the positive, instead of looking for the negative. Since we see what we look for, this means that you’ll begin to notice more of the good things that are going on around you. And when your attention is placed on the things that are going well in your life, you feel happier.

4. Overcome perfectionism.  A lot of people are caught in what Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., calls “The Myth of Perfection”. These people are obsessed with beauty, youth, wealth, success, and having it all. Ben-Shahar adds that constantly striving for perfection practically guarantees that you’ll be unhappy. After all, perfection is an impossible standard to meet. He explains that in order to be happy you need to do the following:

  • Start setting realistic goals;
  • See mistakes as an opportunity for improvement;
  • Accept that failure is a part of life; and
  • Focus on the journey more than on the outcome.

5. Let go of the “If . . . Then” Model.  Srikumar S. Rao, Ph.D., author of “Happiness at Work” explains that a lot of people have an “if – then” model when it comes to happiness. That is, they make their happiness conditional on something else happening. Here are some examples:

  • If I lose weight, then I’ll be happy.
  • If I start making more money, then I’ll be happy.
  • If I get married, then I’ll be happy.

Dr. Rao explains that there‘s nothing that you have to get in order to be happy. Happiness is something that’s innately within you; it’s not something that needs to be acquired or achieved. He adds that it’s a good idea to set goals, because they give direction to your life. However, you shouldn’t make your happiness contingent on achieving those goals. Allow yourself to be happy now, as you strive to achieve your goals.

6. Train your mind for happiness. The Dalai Lama believes that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness. He explains that the way to be happy is to deliberately select and focus on positive mental states which lead to happiness—such as love, compassion, patience, and generosity– and to challenge  negative mental states which lead to suffering—such as resentment, hatred, greed, and envy.

In addition, he indicates that cultivating positive mental states requires a systematic training of the mind. Inner discipline will allow you to be constantly aware of your thoughts, and to consciously make the decision of replacing negative mental states with positive ones; this, in turn, results in feelings of happiness and joy.

The Dalai Lama teaches that you can train your mind to return to a place of inner peace, regardless of what may be going on around you in the external world.

7. Do work that allows you to achieve a state of flow. You achieve the state of flow when all of your attention is engrossed in the activity that you’re carrying out, so that you have no attention left over to think about yourself.

That is, your ego—or your mental chatter—quiets down, and you’re no longer thinking about how you were slighted by someone the day before, or worrying about how your work will be received in the future. All of your attention is in the present moment, and you’ve become one with the activity that you’re performing. When you achieve this, your work becomes a spiritual practice.

8. Practice random acts of kindness. Studies show that helping and being kind to others has a strong positive impact on a person’s happiness.  When you’re kind to others, your brain releases dopamine, which is the feel-good hormone.

In addition, helping others makes us feel capable and strengthens our feeling of connection with others, both of which are happiness boosters. Take the challenge posed by Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the leaders in the field of positive psychology and the author of “The How of Happiness”, to perform five acts of kindness one day a week.

9. Increase Your Daily Pleasures. One of the tools that’s used by proponents of “Positive Psychology” to measure happiness is the Day-Reconstruction Method. To apply this method, detail everything that you do on a particular day, and rate how you felt at the time.

By analyzing your life in this way you can make changes to tip joy in your favor. David Schkade, from the University of California San Diego, explains that if you transfer even an hour of your day from activities that you dislike, to activities that you enjoy, this will significantly improve your overall level of happiness.

10. Remember the mind-body connection. In addition to getting adequate sleep, you need to exercise on a regular basis and eat a healthy diet. These positive habits will lead to both physical and mental health.

11. Simplify. Dr. Ben-Shahar—who has already been mentioned in this post—explains that one of the biggest causes of unhappiness is time poverty. We take on too much, and we’re constantly running around trying to get everything done. This inhibits our ability to derive happiness from any of the activities that we participate in. Therefore, one of the best ways to increase your happiness is to simplify.

Identify the things that are most important to you, focus on those, and prune out the rest. When you simplify you can begin to experience time affluence. Having time affluence will make you happier.

12. Laugh more. Over the past several years countless studies have been conducted that show the positive effects that laughing has on one’s physical and mental health. Laughter decreases stress hormones in the body–such as cortisol and adrenaline–, and it releases hormones and chemicals that have positive effects on our system. Joyful laughter is the fastest way to create a positive state of mind.

13. Act in a way that will lead to happiness.  Henepola Gunaratana–a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk–explains in his book “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness” that if we look carefully at our lives, we will realize that the choices we make lead to either happiness or unhappiness. Everything we think, say, or do is a cause, which will inevitably lead to some effect. Once we understand this, the following will happen:

  •  We will naturally want to think, say, and do things which will lead to positive results.
  • At the same time, we will avoid having thoughts, saying things, and doing things that will lead to negative results.

That is, happiness requires the following:

  •  That we remain mindful of what we are thinking, saying, and doing.
  • That we continuously ask ourselves if the choice which we’re about to make is likely to lead to positive or negative results.
  • That we make those choices which will lead to a happier life.

14. Practice gratitude. Robert Emmons, author of “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”, has conducted studies that show that when people regularly engage in the systematic cultivation of gratitude, they experience a variety of measurable benefits: psychological, physical, and interpersonal.

Giving thanks shifts your focus from what is lacking in your life, to the abundance that is already present. In addition, it makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. An easy way to start practicing more gratitude in your life is to make a list each day of five things that you’re grateful for.

15. Forgive. Positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky explains in “The How of Happiness” that 50 percent of individual differences in happiness are governed by genes, 10 percent by life circumstances, and the remaining 40 percent by what we do and how we think.

That is, 40 percent of our happiness is determined by our intentional activities and strategies. She adds that one of the happiness enhancing strategies which you should adopt is to forgive; let go of anger and resentment toward those whom you feel have wronged you.

16. Create a dream list. In “How We Choose to Be Happy”, Rick Foster and Greg Hicks present the nine choices that extremely happy people make. One of these choices is centrality, which means that they make central to their lives that which makes them happy.  Foster and Hicks recommend that you create a dream list, and that you make it the driving force in your life. To be happier, become devoted to doing what makes you happy.

17. Take responsibility for your life. According to Foster and Hicks, another of the choices that happy people make is to be accountable—or to take responsibility—for their lives. They explain that happy people don’t play the victim, and they don’t waste their time and energy blaming others. When something goes wrong, people who are happy look for ways in which they can improve the situation, and then they take the best action that they can, given the set of circumstances.

Start doing the 17 things above and live your best life by being happier now.

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Donald TrumpQuotes manage to pack a lot of wisdom into just a few words. The 70 money quotes below–taken to heart–will make you rich.

1. “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”
 – Donald Trump

2. “I don’t do it for the money . . . I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.” – Donald Trump

3. “I’ve known people who had fantastic ideas, but who couldn’t get the idea off the ground because they approached everything weakly. They thought that their ideas would somehow take off by themselves, or that just coming up with an idea was enough. Let me tell you something — it’s not enough. It will never be enough. You have to put the idea into action. If you don’t have the motivation and the enthusiasm, your great idea will simply sit on top of your desk or inside your head and go nowhere.” – Donald Trump

4. “Many people are afraid to fail, so they don’t try. They may dream, talk, and even plan, but they don’t take that critical step of putting their money and their effort on the line. To succeed in business, you must take risks. Even if you fail, that’s how you learn. There has never been, and will never be, an Olympic skater who didn’t fall on the ice.” – Donald Trump

5. “Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” ― Will Rogers

6. “Money is a great servant but a bad master.” ― Francis Bacon

Benjamin Franklin7. “The way to wealth depends on just two words, industry and frugality.”  – Benjamin Franklin

8. “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

9. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

10. “The more you learn, the more you earn.” ― Frank Clark

11. “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James W. Frick

12. “One penny may seem to you a very insignificant thing, but it is the small seed from which fortunes spring.” – Orison Swett Marden

13. “To acquire money requires valor, to keep money requires prudence, and to spend money well is an art.” – Berthold Auerbach

14. “More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went.” — Roger Babson

Suze Orman15. “What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases it’s simply a lack of belief. In order to become rich, you must believe you can do it, and you must take the actions necessary to achieve your goal.” – Suze Orman

16. “What you choose to do with your money shows whether you are truly powerful or powerless.” – Suze Orman

17. “Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.” – William A. Ward

18. “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” - Walt Disney

19. “To get rich, you have to be making money while you’re asleep.”- David Bailey

20.  “The only investors who shouldn’t diversify are those who are right 100% of the time.” - Templeton

John D. Rockefeller21. “God gave me my money. I believe the power to make money is a gift from God . . . to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.” — John D. Rockefeller

22. “If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.” – John D. Rockefeller

23. “The trouble for most people is they don’t decide to get wealthy, they just dream about it.” – Michael Masters

24. “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” – John C. Maxwell

25. “Wealth is largely the result of habit.” - John Jacob Astor

26. “The more you’re not taking action, the more money you’re losing.” – Carrie Wilkerson

27. “The only difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they use their time.” – Robert Kiyosaki

28. “The money you attract is the exact measure of value of the ideas you have succeeded in externalizing.” – Elizabeth Towne

29. “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” – Albert Einstein

30. “All my life I knew that there was all the money you could want out there. All you have to do is go after it.” – Curtis Carlson

HarvEker31. “A lack of money is never, ever, ever a problem. A lack of money is merely a symptom of what is going on underneath.” – T. Harv Eker

32. “It all comes down to this: if your subconscious ‘financial blueprint’ is not ‘set’ for success’, nothing you learn, nothing you know, and nothing you do will make much of a difference.” – T. Harv Eker

33. “Money is a lubricant. It lets you slide through life instead of having to scrape by. Money brings freedom, freedom to buy what you want, and freedom to do what you want with your time. Money allows you to enjoy the finer things in life as well as giving you the opportunity to help others have the necessities in life. Most of all, having money allows you not to have to spend your energy worrying about not having money.” – T. Harv Eker

34. “It’s simple arithmetic: Your income can grow only to the extent that you do.” – T. Harv Eker

35. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou

36. “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

37. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn

38. “Never spend money before you have it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Warren Buffett39. “Investing is simple, but not easy.” – Warren Buffett

40. “Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” – Warren Buffett

41. “Your goal as an investor should simply be to purchase, at a rational price, a part interest in an easily-understandable business whose earnings are virtually certain to be materially higher five, ten and twenty years from now. Over time, you will find only a few companies that meet these standards – so when you see one that qualifies, you should buy a meaningful amount of stock. You must also resist the temptation to stray from your guidelines: If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes. Put together a portfolio of companies whose aggregate earnings march upward over the years, and so also will the portfolio’s market value.” – Warren Buffett

42. “Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.” – Ken Hakuta

43. “Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand

44. “Success is one-half working for money, and one-half working that money.” – Anon

45. “Money is neither my god nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving.” – Dan Millman

46. “If we don’t control our money, it will control us.” – Anonymous

Brian Tracy47. “All wealth comes from adding value, from producing more, better, cheaper, faster, and easier than someone else.” – Brian Tracy

48. “Today the greatest single source of wealth is between your ears.”- Brian Tracy

49. “When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it.” – Mark Victor Hansen

50. “There are three things you must do in order to become wealthy. You must have the right mindset, discover your purpose in life, and find a business that expresses that purpose.” – Andy Fuehl

51. “You want to look at your purpose in life. You want to find that meaning within. Once you find that meaning within, and you start to express your purpose, that’s when the money starts coming. That’s when you attract it.” — Andy Fuehl

52. “We should travel light and live simply. Our enemy is not possessions but excess.” — John R.W. Stott, English pastor and evangelist

53. “I think that much of the advice given to young men about saving money is wrong. I never saved a cent until I was forty years old. I invested in myself – in study, in mastering my tools, in preparation. Many a man who is putting a few dollars a week into the bank would do much better to put it into himself.” – Henry Ford

54. “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill

55. “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations. You have to pay attention to money, but it shouldn’t be about the money.” – Tim O’Reilly

56. “I got screwed over in some bad business deals, but as long as I focused on those past problems, I couldn’t move forward. I had to let all of that go and forgive everyone and everything first.” – Steve Pavlina

57. “You must assume 100% responsibility for your financial life. If you’re going to improve your situation, you have to put the full burden of doing so squarely on your own shoulders. First and foremost, you must hold yourself responsible.” – Steve Pavlina

Margaret Thatcher58. “Nevertheless, the Tenth Commandment—’Thou shalt not covet’—recognizes that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists or craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth?” — Margaret Thatcher

59. “Save a part of your income and begin now, for the man with a surplus controls circumstances and the man without a surplus is controlled by circumstances.” – Henry Buckley

60. “Economy does not lie in sparing money, but in spending it wisely.” – Thomas Henry Huxley

61. “The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to neither make money nor find much fun in life.” – Charles M Schwab

62. “Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.” – Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson

63. “Money problems can always be solved by a man not frightened by them.” – Robert Anson Heinlein

64. “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.” – Paul Anthony Samuelson

65. “If you’re prepared to invest in a company, then you ought to be able to explain why in simple language that a fifth grader could understand, and quickly enough so the fifth grader won’t get bored.” – Peter Lynch

66. “To be a successful business owner and investor, you have to be emotionally neutral to winning and losing. Winning and losing are just part of the game.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

67. “Great investors need to have the right combination of intuition, business sense and investment talent.” – Andrew Wen-Chuan Lo

68. “Wealth is not about having a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of options.” – Chris Rock

69. “Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” – Tony Hsieh

70. “The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.” – Jim Rohn

I hope these quotes are helpful to you in creating a plan for being able to finance your best life.

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limiting beliefsA few years back I watched a movie called “The Village”.

It was a psychological thriller about an end-of-the-19th-century village whose inhabitants never ventured beyond the village limits for fear of the creatures that inhabited the surrounding woods.  They referred to the creatures as “Those We Do Not Speak Of”.

Later in the movie it becomes clear that there were no creatures in the woods. The creatures were boogeymen—or a farce—created by the village Elders to keep the young people from leaving the village.

Limiting beliefs are a lot like “Those We Do Not Speak Of”. They’re just figments of our imagination—a lot of the time put there by others—that 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. Here are three examples:

  • Limiting beliefs about money.
  • Limiting beliefs about success.
  • Limiting beliefs about relationships.

If you’re having trouble in a certain area of your life, ask yourself what you’re saying to yourself about that area. Anything that you say to yourself to try to justify why you’re not getting what you want in that area of your life is a limiting belief. Here are some examples:

  • I’ll never have money; I’m just not smart enough to figure out how to be prosperous.
  • I’ll never be successful, no matter how hard I try; life just isn’t fair for people like me.
  • I’ll never be in a good relationship; women just want men with money.

The reason why limiting beliefs are so pervasive is that they seem real to you. In addition, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find evidence to support your limiting beliefs.

In “The Village”, the Elders had created elaborate costumes of fearsome creatures with gruesome faces and large hands with sharp claws. Periodically they would put on the costumes and walk along the edges of the village where the young people could see them. This kept the young people in fear of leaving the village: even though it was just the Elders dressed up in costumes, to the young people “Those We Do Not Speak Of” looked very real.

If there are certain areas in your life in which you’re not getting what you want, you need to identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, and replace those limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs. Below you’ll discover four strategies for overcoming limiting beliefs.

First Strategy for Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Journaling

You can’t overcome your limiting beliefs if you don’t know what they are. Therefore, the first step that you need to take in order to let go of limiting beliefs is to bring the sneaky little devils to the surface. You can do this by journaling.

You’re going to sit down for a block of time which can range anywhere from half-an-hour to forty-five minutes.  Choose an area of your life that’s not working out for you at the moment and write down your current situation. Then ask yourself how you got to this point.

As an illustration, if you’re currently going through a difficult situation regarding money, ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • What would someone have to believe about money to be in this situation?
  • Why do I believe that?
  • How do I act when it comes to money?
  • Why do I act that way?
  • How do I feel about money?
  • Why do I feel that way?
  • How do I feel about my financial situation?
  • How would I describe how I act around money (generous, stingy, thrifty, extravagant, responsible, careless, fearful, and so on)?

Journaling will help you to make your limiting beliefs come up to the surface.

Second Strategy for Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Use the Power of Observation

A great way to overcome negative beliefs is to observe the behavior of others. Observing other people can serve two different purposes. First, it can help you to uncover beliefs about yourself that you’re unaware that you have. Sometimes it’s hard to notice certain behaviors or reactions in ourselves. However, when we see someone else doing it we can say, “Yeah, I do that too.”

Second, by watching others who are currently succeeding in a life area in which you’re doing poorly you can begin to uncover the beliefs that lead to success in that life area, and which you can begin to adopt for yourself.

Third Strategy for Overcoming Negative Beliefs: Be Your Own Mentor

Pretend that you’re sitting across from your future self. Your future self is kind and wise. In addition, they’ve achieved everything that they wanted in life. Your future self is going to act as your mentor.

Tell your future self about an area of your life in which you’re currently having trouble. Ask your future self to help you with all of the following:

  • Uncover the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck in your current situation. For example, your future self can you uncover that you think that you can’t leave a job that you hate because you feel that it’s the best job that someone with your limited mental abilities can hope for. After all, you’re not very smart.
  • Identify how you formed that limiting belief.  To continue with our illustration, you and your future self may conclude that you formed the belief that you’re not very bright because your father was always telling you that you’re stupid.
  • Find a different interpretation for the situation that gave rise to the limiting belief. For example, if you uncover that you believe that you’re stupid because your father would constantly call you “dummy” or “idiot” when you were growing up, your future self can help you realize that your father called you names because he was angry and frustrated due to his inability to get what he wanted from life. It had nothing to do with your intellectual ability.
  • Based on your new interpretations, have your future self help you to come up with a new set of beliefs.

Fourth Strategy for Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Act As If

Once you’ve uncovered a positive belief which you would like to adopt for yourself—by observing those who are succeeding in areas in which you’re currently failing miserably, and by having a conversation with your future self—you need to start acting “as if”. That is, act as if the positive belief is true. Look at the following:

  • If you believed that you’re smart enough to make lots of money, what would you do?
  • If you believed that there are opportunities everywhere, and that they’re available to anyone who’s willing to pick the opportunity up off the floor and run with it, what would you do differently?
  • If you believed that there are women out there who value integrity, a good sense of humor, and loyalty over power and money, what would you do?

Now, get out there and do it. Until you can get yourself to truly embrace the new belief, act as if.

Conclusion

The next time that you find yourself holding back due to limiting beliefs, keep telling yourself that there are no creatures in the woods. Then, use the strategies explained above to overcome your limiting beliefs. Live your best life by overcoming the limiting beliefs that keep you locked up within your current comfort zone.

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3d Cover- My Fitness and Health Bucket List WorkbookThe first step in getting what you want is deciding what you want. And when you’re deciding what you want from life, the area of fitness and health cannot be left out. Fitness and health are the foundations upon which you build the rest of your life.

Use my eBook–“My Fitness and Health Bucket List Workbook”–to create a fitness bucket list that’s packed with fun ways to get fit, and to design an eating plan filled with healthy and delicious food.

This workbook is divided into the following five main areas:

  • Fitness
  • Sports
  • Healthy Eating
  • Well-being
  • Bucket List

It has ideas and prompts to help you create a list of goals—or bucket list items—that will address every aspect of physical fitness:

  • Health
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Longevity
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Muscle Endurance
  • Muscular Strength
  • Reaction Time
  • Speed
  • Healthy Eating
  • Fitness Tests
  • Disease Prevention

“My Fitness and Health Bucket List Workbook” is a 162-Page PDF with over 20,000 words. It contains 70 worksheets, 171 images, links to helpful web sites and videos, and over 1000 bucket list ideas to get your ideas flowing so that you can create a fantastic Fitness and Health Bucket List.

Here’s a sample:

Worksheet 14

“My Fitness and Health Bucket List Workbook” is a digital product, which means you’ll receive a download link immediately upon purchase (nothing will be shipped to you). It costs only $9.95. Buy it now!

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addictive behaviorI exercise six days a week, rain or shine, without fail. I’ve been doing this for years. I guess you could say that I’m addicted to exercise.

There are other positive behaviors which I’m addicted to, including the following:

  • I eat five serving of vegetables, every single day.
  • I eat at least three servings of fruits, every single day.
  • I drink lemon water every single morning.

However, there are other behaviors which I would like to turn into habits—that is, I would like to make them addictive—which I have more trouble with. Therefore, I was thrilled to come across a TED.com talk which claims that there’s a way to make any behavior addictive.

If there are certain behaviors which you would like to turn into habits—or become addicted to—you’ll discover the steps that you need to follow in order to achieve this, below.

The Six Human Needs

The key to making any behavior addictive is to focus on the six human needs as described by personal development guru, Anthony Robbins. Robbins claims that all humans have six fundamental needs, and that all behavior is simply an attempt to meet those six needs.

The six human needs are the following:

1. Significance: Feeling unique, important, special or needed. This is the need to be acknowledged and to feel like we matter.

2. Certainty/Comfort: Assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure. This is the need for consistency.

3. Uncertainty/Variety: The need for the unknown, change, and new stimuli. This is the need for situations that take us out of our comfort zone.

4. Connection/Love: A strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something.

5. Growth: An expansion of capacity, capability or understanding.

6. Contribution: A sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.

Robbins indicates that a behavior becomes addictive if it meets at least three of the six human needs in a powerful way. Of course, the more needs a certain behavior meets, the more addictive it becomes.

Applying the Six Human Needs to a Specific Behavior

StriivIn her Ted.com talk, Zoë Chance—an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Yale School of Management—explains that she became addicted to constantly taking steps throughout the day because this behavior allowed her to meet the six human needs.

Chance indicates that in March 2012 she bought a Striiv Pedometer. This is a pedometer that not only counts how many steps you take, but also has interactive features. By using the Striiv pedometer Chance not only reached the recommended quota of taking 10,000 steps per day, but she exceeded this amount by 14,000 steps each day.

This is how using the Striiv pedometer made the behavior of taking steps an addiction for Chance:

1. It made her feel significant. The developers of the game “Farmville” created a game for Striiv called “Myland”. You start out with an enchanted island, and your goal is to bring back the animals that inhabit the island by planting trees and building places to live. You accumulate points by taking steps, and then you can use those points to build things on your island.

In this virtual world you’re playing God.  The welfare of the island depends on you. Chance shares that this made her feel significant.

2. It gave her certainty and comfort. Chance explains that we like to feel safe, and that our expectations about the world are likely to be met, at least much of the time. Striiv gave her the certainty that with every step that she took, she would get one point if she was walking, three points if she was taking the stairs, and five points if she was running.

In addition, she knew that after taking a predetermined number of steps, she would get a trophy.

3. It gave her variety. Striiv creates personal challenges for you, so at any moment a challenge can pop up, such as: “Get up right now and take 100 steps.” You can get a challenge at any time, so you never know when it’s going to happen. Also, there are many different challenges. If you meet the challenge, you get awarded bonus points. Chance loved the Striiv challenges, and she would always strive to achieve them.

4. It made her feel connected to others. Striiv has a feature which allows you to “race your friends in real time”. As an illustration, if you and a friend decide to cross the Golden Bridge, whoever takes the amount of steps necessary to cross the bridge first, wins. You can also challenge yourself to meet your friends’ daily averages.

Chance explains that by using Striiv she was connecting with other Striiv users. One of Chance’s co-workers was also using Striiv, and they were constantly competing with each other.In addition, she became part of the Striiv online community.

5. It made her feel like she was making progress. We like to feel like we’ re making progress from day to day. With Striiv you can see the numbers growing as you take steps each day. In addition, you reach different levels and you get awarded trophies. Chance indicates that as her trophy collection grew, she felt a sense of growth and achievement. In addition, she was feeling fitter as a result of all the exercise she was getting.

6. It made her feel like she was making a contribution to others. Striiv counts every step you take toward a donation to charity. By taking steps, you’re helping those in need. Chance explains that this was one of the aspects of Striiv that she liked the most.

As you can see, by taking steps using Striiv, Chance was getting all of her six needs met. Therefore, the behavior of taking steps turned into an addiction for her.

As an aside, if you watch Chance’s Ted.com talk you’ll see that she took things too far: she started neglecting important areas of her life because she was almost entirely focused on taking steps throughout the day. Taking steps became an unhealthy addiction.  The objective here is to develop healthy addictions, without taking things so far that they become unhealthy.

How to Apply this Framework in Your Own Life

Choose a behavior that you would like to make more addictive so that you’ll carry it out on a regular basis. Then, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I make this behavior more significant, or more ego-gratifying?
  • How can I feel safer doing this? Is there a skill that I need to develop in order to feel more comfortable doing this? What steps can I take to ensure that I’m going to get the results that I’m expecting by carrying out this behavior?
  • How can I make this behavior more challenging? How can I make it more fun?
  • Who can I do this with? Can I join a group or forum?
  • What milestones can I set? What will make me feel like I’m moving forward?
  • How can I help others by carrying out this behavior?

Keep asking yourself the questions above until the answers that you come up with are powerful enough to turn the behavior into an addiction.

Conclusion

Think of a behavior that you’re trying to turn into a habit and make it addictive by applying the framework explained above. Live your best life by turning the actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goals into addictions.

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learn a new languageMost people have “learn a second language (or maybe a third or a fourth)” at the top of their bucket lists. However, how do you learn a new language quickly and effectively as an adult?

Chris Lonsdale is a psychologist from New Zealand who runs a company in Hong Kong. He’s been interested in accelerated learning his whole life. After spending many years assessing all of the research available on language learning, he was able to formulate five principles and seven actions that will allow any normal adult to learn a new language and speak it fluently in six months.

I discovered Lonsdale’s approach when I came across his TED Talk. Below you’ll discover Lonsdale’s five principles and seven action steps for learning a new language in just six month.

The Five Principles

Lonsdale’s five principles of rapid language acquisition are the following:

1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you. Why do you want to learn to speak a second language? Look at the following:

  • Do you want to learn Italian so that you can understand opera? If so, then concentrate on words and phrases that you would hear in Puccini’s operas.
  • Do you want to learn to speak Mandarin so that you can communicate with your business partners in China? Then focus on learning words and phrases in Mandarin that are related to business.

2. Use the new language as a tool to communicate. Instead of simply learning the language in an academic setting, put yourself in situations which force you to use the language in order to be able to communicate with others.

3. When you first understand the message, you will unconsciously acquire the language. When you’re first trying to learn a new language, instead of trying to understand the words that someone is using to talk to you, try to understand what they’re trying to say through their gestures, body language, and facial expressions.

That is, at first you don’t derive meaning from the language, but from the interaction. This is something called comprehensional input, and it’s been well documented.

4. Learning a language is not about acquiring knowledge. Instead, in many ways it’s about physiological training.

First of all, we have filters in our brains that filter in sounds that we’re familiar with, and that filter out sounds that we’re not familiar with. And if you can’t hear it, you can’t learn it. Therefore, you have to continually listen to the sounds of the language that you’re trying to learn in order to train your brain to let in the new sounds.

In addition, talking requires using your facial muscles. You have 43 muscles in your face. You have to coordinate those muscles in a way that makes sounds that others can understand

5. Your psychological state matters. If  you’re  sad,  angry,  worried,  or upset, you’re  not  going  to  learn the new language. If  you’re  happy,  relaxed,  and  curious,  you’re  going  to  learn  the new language quickly. In addition, you need to be tolerant of ambiguity. At first when people speak to you in the language that you’re trying to learn, you’ll understand very little. But that’s OK.

The Seven Actions

Based on the five principles that were explained above, there are seven actions that you need to take in order to learn a new language quickly and efficiently. The seven actions which Lonsdale recommends are the following:

1. Listen; a lot. Lonsdale calls this brain soaking. It doesn’t matter if at first you don’t understand what you’re listening to. You’re listening to recognize patterns, words that repeat, and things that stand out. In addition, you’re listening to the rhythm of the language.

2. Focus on getting the meaning first, even before you get the words. From body language you can understand a lot of communication. You’ll be acquiring the language through comprehensional input.

3. Start mixing. If you know ten verbs, ten nouns, and ten adjectives in the new language, you can say 1000 different things. Language is a creative process. Look for ways to get your meaning across by using the words that you know.

4. Focus on the core. With every language there’s high frequency content. As an illustration, in English, one thousand words cover 85% of anything you’re going to say in daily life. Three-thousand words give you 98% coverage. All the other words in the English language are the icing on the cake.

5. Get a language parent. When you start learning a language your progress will probably look like the following:

  • Week 1: Continually ask “What is this?”, “How do you say . . .”, “Can you say that again?”, “Can you repeat that?” Always ask these questions in the language that you’re trying to learn.
  • Week 2 and 3:  You should be using very simple nouns, verbs, and pronouns (“you”, “me”, “that”, “hot”, “give”, and so on).
  • Week 4:  You’re using glue words, such as “and”, “but”, “even though”, “therefore”, and so on. These words tie bits of language together so that you can make more complex meaning. At this point you’re talking in the new language.

This is where you want to get a language parent. That is, someone who will treat you like a parent treats their child when the child is learning to speak. This language parent can recognize what you’re saying, even when others don’t understand. They create a safe environment for you, which makes you more confident in your ability to learn the new language.

The four rules for a language parent are the following:

  •  They will work hard to understand what you’re trying to say.
  • They don’t correct your mistakes.
  • They confirm understanding by using correct language.
  • They use words that you know and also communicate with gestures and body language.

6. Copy the face.  In order to learn to make the sounds that will allow you to speak the new language, you have to watch the face of people who speak that language. How does their face move when they’re speaking? Mimic their facial movements.

7. “Direct Connect” to mental images. Most people learning to speak another language will make a list of words that they want to learn in their mother tongue, and next to each word they’ll place the equivalent in the language that they’re trying to learn. Then they just go over the list repeatedly in the hopes of memorizing the words in the new language. This is very inefficient.

Everything that you know is an image inside your mind. For example, if you talk about fire you can smell the smoke, feel the heat, hear the crackling, and see the flames. What you want to do is to focus on the image that’s currently in your head for “fire” and create a new pathway that leads from this image to the word “fire” in the language that you’re trying to learn.

Conclusion

Is learning a new language on your bucket list? If so, use the rules and principles explained above to start learning the new language. Just think, in six short months you could be crossing another item of your bucket list.

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REBTMany of us have established “being happy” as one of our main goals in life. However, our own self-talk often interferes with our ability to achieve this goal.

We express our beliefs through our self-talk, and these beliefs can be rational or irrational. While rational beliefs are realistic, irrational beliefs are those that don’t accurately represent the world. There are several categories of irrational beliefs, and we’ve all been guilty of having thoughts that fall into one or more of these categories at some point or another.

One of the best ways to increase our happiness is to replace “irrational” self-talk with more realistic and adaptive self-talk. This post will explain a great tool for doing this; it’s called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) In a Nutshell

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” – Epictetus

In the mid-1950s, Albert Ellis–an American psychologist– developed a form of psychotherapy which today is known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). The philosophical basis of REBT is the principle that a person is not affected emotionally by the events that take place in his or her life, but rather by his or her interpretation of these outside events. In short, our thoughts cause our emotions.

Keep reading to discover how you can begin to apply REBT in your own life in order to increase your happiness.

The ABC Model

Albert Ellis created the ABC Model to demonstrate the link between our beliefs, and our feelings and behaviors. Here’s how the ABC Model works:

  • A – Activating Event (Something happens which is the activating event, or the trigger).
  • B – Beliefs (You have certain thoughts about the event that occurred; your thoughts are based on your beliefs.)
  • C – Consequences (As a consequence of the thoughts that you have about the event that took place, you feel certain emotions. These emotions lead you to take some action.)

The ABC Model highlights the fact that feeling an emotional disturbance at point “C” only partially stems from the activating event at point “A”. The real cause of any dysfunctional emotions that you may experience–such as anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, and so on–, are your own irrational beliefs at point “B”.

Here’s an example:

  • A woman that you met recently at a party, Sarah, passes by you as you walk down the street. You call out a greeting, but she just walks on by.
  • You have the following thought: “She’s ignoring me; she must not have liked me. I must not be very likable.”
  • You feel hurt, sad, and resentful, and you go home and sulk.

Of course, the ABC model doesn’t just end there. The next step is to begin to identify your irrational, self-defeating beliefs–which are rigid, extreme, unrealistic, illogical and absolutist–, and then question and dispute them. In our example of Sarah, you could ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • Am I sure that Sarah saw me? Could it be that she was distracted?
  • Sarah was nice to me at the party, so what evidence do I really have that she doesn’t like me?
  • What if she was just having a bad day?
  • Even if it’s true that Sarah doesn’t like me, is that really such a big deal?
  • If Sarah doesn’t like me, does that really mean that nobody likes me?
  • Is it really imperative that everyone like me?

The last step is to replace your irrational beliefs with more rational and self-helping ones. Here are some examples:

  • Sarah must not have seen me.
  • If Sarah did ignore me, that’s a reflection of her need to work on her social skills; it says nothing about me.
  • We all have bad days; I should give Sarah the benefit of the doubt.
  • Not everyone is going to like me, and I’m OK with that. There are plenty of people who do like me.

Basically, you need to develop a more rational and self-constructive philosophy of yourself, others, and the world. By doing this, you can alter your emotional responses to what happens to you and respond to the world around you in a more life-serving and adaptive way. And this will go a long way toward increasing your happiness.

The Three Basic Musts

According to Albert Ellis, the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs. These three beliefs are the following:

Belief about yourself: “I absolutely MUST, under practically all conditions and at all times, perform well (or outstandingly well) and win the approval (or complete love) of significant others. If I fail in these important-and sacred-respects, that is awful and I am a bad, incompetent, unworthy person, who will probably always fail and deserves to suffer.”

  • This belief shows a lack of self-acceptance.
  • It places unrealistic expectations on oneself.
  • It shows an over-concern with the opinion of others.
  • It equates self-worth with achievement.

Belief about others: “Other people with whom I relate or associate, absolutely MUST, under practically all conditions and at all times, treat me nicely, considerately and fairly. Otherwise, it is terrible and they are rotten, bad, unworthy people who will always treat me badly and do not deserve a good life and should be severely punished for acting so abominably to me.”

  • This belief is non-accepting of human fallibility.
  • It assumes that you are at the center of the universe and everyone else must cater to your needs.
  • It assumes that you have the final decision on what’s right and what’s wrong.

Belief about the world: “The conditions under which I live absolutely MUST, at practically all times, be favorable, safe, hassle-free, and quickly and easily enjoyable, and if they are not that way it’s awful and horrible and I can’t bear it. I can’t ever enjoy myself at all. My life is impossible and hardly worth living.”

  • This belief is inflexible and unrealistic.
  • It underestimates your ability to cope with adversity.
  • The underlying premise is that having a trouble-free life is your right.

These three beliefs sound ludicrous and completely nonsensical. However, the next time you find yourself feeling upset, monitor your own thinking and see if you can detect any of these rigid and extreme beliefs lurking in the back of your thoughts. You’ll probably be surprised by what you discover.

Ten Types of Irrational Beliefs

The three musts explained above can be fleshed out into the following ten types of irrational beliefs:

1. All-Or-Nothing Thinking – You see things in black-and-white. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. As an illustration, an “A” student gets a “B” on an exam, and she tells herself that this is proof that she’s not all that smart after all.

2. Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. If your girlfriend breaks up with you, you tell yourself that you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.

3. Mental Filter – You pick out a single negative defeat and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of reality becomes distorted.

4. Disqualifying the positive – You dismiss positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other.

5. Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. In turn, this can lead to two different errors in thinking: mind reading and the fortune teller error.

  • Mind Reading. You arbitrarily assign intent to the actions of others, as if you always know why others do what they do.
  • The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you’re convinced that your prediction will come to pass.

6. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization- You exaggerate the importance of things (such as someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (such as your own desirable qualities).

7. Emotional Reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

8. Should Statements – Should statements don’t cut anyone any slack. It doesn’t matter what you do, or what others do, there’s always more that should be done.

9. Labeling and Mislabeling – This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I made a mistake in the presentation, which means that I’m a loser.” When you’re unhappy with someone else’s behavior, you attach a negative label to him or her: “He didn’t return my phone call; he’s an unfeeling jerk.”

10. Personalization – You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Whenever you feel upset and you want to determine whether an irrational belief is at fault, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this really true?
  • Am I jumping to conclusions?
  • What evidence am I basing my conclusions on?
  • Am I exaggerating or over-emphasizing a negative aspect of the situation?
  • Am I catastrophizing? Am I making things to be a lot worse than they really are?
  • How do I know it will happen?
  • So what if it happens?
  • Is it to my advantage to continue looking at things in this way?
  • Is there another way to look at this situation?

Conclusion

If there’s a situation that’s upsetting you, apply REBT by following these steps:

  • Write down what the situation is.
  • Go through the 10 patterns of distorted thinking listed above and see if you’re applying any of them.
  • If so, ask yourself if there’s a better way to look at the situation.
  • As a fourth step, ask yourself if there’s an even better way to look at it. Then, write down your new interpretation of the event. Keep repeating this new interpretation to yourself in order to fully integrate it into your subconscious.

REBT is a great tool for increasing your happiness; and all you need to do in order to apply it is to modify your own thinking. Apply REBT right away and start living your best life.

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be more resilientResilience is one of the basic ingredients for happiness and success. After all, adversity is a fact of life. How well you respond to adversity—how resilient you are and how fast you can bounce back after a failure, a setback, or a disappointment—will determine your life satisfaction to a large extent. Being resilient increases your well-being.

Resilience is the difference between facing your problems bravely and confidently, and feeling helpless and like you can’t move on.

Below you’ll discover 14 ways to be more resilient so that you can bounce back from adversity and continue on your way toward the achievement of your goals.

1. Work On Your Mental Flexibility. Mental flexibility is having the ability to shift gears when the context calls for it and being able to generate and evaluate several different options in order to respond effectively to any situation. Mental flexibility allows you to adjust to the conditions that you’re facing—instead of struggling with the way things are—and to problem solve more effectively.

Melissa Mullin, Ph.D., recommends that you develop your mental flexibility by playing games. There are many board games which force you to constantly reevaluate your plans and change your strategy in response to the actions taken by other players. Once you’ve acquired these skills you can apply them to real life, which will make you more resilient.

2. Look for Ways to Derive Meaning From Adversity. Looking at an unexpected situation as nothing more than a waste of time and resources is emotionally draining. When facing adversity or a negative situation you need to look for ways to derive some positive meaning from what is happening.

For example, ask yourself what new skills you need to learn in order to handle the present situation which will come in helpful in the future. In addition, ask yourself how going through this adversity will help you to become a better-rounded individual.

3. Transform Hardship Into a Challenge. Labeling something as a challenge–instead of labeling it as a hardship–is much more than simply a matter of semantics.  Hardship connotes suffering. Challenge connotes opportunity. Ask yourself how you can turn the negative situation which you’re facing into a productive one.

In addition, David J. Hellerstein, M.D., a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, explains that if you view a situation as a threat, your fear response systems are set off. This mean that your body will release hormones which increase blood pressure and blood glucose level, and increase anxiety.

In contrast, when a situation is viewed as a challenge your body releases hormones which  promote cell repair, trigger relaxation responses, and stimulate efficient energy use.

4. Avoid Thinking Traps. When things go wrong, do you get stuck in a spiral of asking yourself over and over again how or why something like this could have happened? Do you start looking for others whom you can blame? Do you make problems more pervasive than they really are? If so, be warned that these are all thinking traps.

Avoid any line of thinking that leads to a dead-end. Instead, engage in thoughts that help you look for a way out of the situation that you’re currently in, or help you to solve the problem that you’re facing.

5. Shift to Active Thinking. Active thinking leads to action, and in order to get yourself out of a negative situation you need to act. In order to shift into active thinking, ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • How can I contain the problem so that it doesn’t get worse?
  • What can I do to limit the scope or the duration of this problem?
  • How can I reduce the potential downside of this adverse event?
  • How can I increase the potential upside of this event?
  • What aspects can I control?
  • How can I best respond?

6. Look for a Role Model. In their book “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges”, psychiatrists Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney recommend that you become more resilient by imitating a sturdy role model. Study people you admire who are resilient, analyze how they deal with adversity, and create rules for yourself based on your findings.

The authors of “Resilience” explain that they interviewed a young woman who was born with spina bifida and had difficulty walking. She chose U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was crippled from polio and had difficulty walking, as her role model.

When she feels down  because of her illness, she asks herself the following: “What would Franklin Roosevelt do?”  This helps her find the strength to overcome any negative feelings she’s experiencing. It helps her to overcome the adversity that comes from the disease that she was born with.

7. Inoculate Yourself Against Stress.  Inoculating yourself against stress works on the same principle as medical immunization. A physician inoculates his or her patient against disease by introducing small amounts of a virus into their bloodstream. This activates the body’s natural immune responses.

You inoculate yourself against stress by intentionally exposing yourself to various stressors – that is, anything that’s outside of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas:

  • Go out to dinner by yourself;
  • Learn something new;
  • Do something that frightens you; and so on.

Build up your immunity to stress in the same way in which you would build muscle by lifting weights at the gym: start with something small and gradually work your way up to bigger and more difficult challenges. By inoculating yourself against stress you’ll be much better prepared to deal with the stress that comes from adversity. Therefore, you’ll be increasing your resiliency.

8. Practice Realistic Optimism. Resilient people feel that they can cope with whatever life throws at them.  This doesn’t mean that when something goes wrong they pretend that everything is fine and that things will fix themselves. What it means is that they see the situation for what it is but they’re confident that by taking right action they’ll be able to overcome the adversity and continue on their way.

9. Visualize a Positive Outcome. This point is related to the previous one. When facing adversity ask yourself the following. “What do I want my life to look like on the other side of this adversity?” Visualize what you want as clearly as you can and then think of a series of steps that you can take in order to start moving in that direction.

10. Adopt a Strengths Perspective. Think of an adversity that you’ve had to face in the past and ask yourself what strengths you relied on in order to get past it. As an illustration, you may have relied on your great sense of humor or on your spiritual faith. Then ask yourself how you can apply those same strengths to the situation that you’re currently facing.

11. Nurture Yourself. Ask yourself what you can do in order to nurture yourself. Examples include spending time in nature, listening to uplifting music, reading something motivational, watching a movie you find inspiring, and so on. This will help you to shift your outlook from dejection to hope, and to transform anxiety into positive energy.

12. Be Connected. By building strong, positive relationships with others you’ll be creating a support system which you can rely on when things go wrong. It’s easier to get through adversity if you’re surrounded by people who are willing to listen and offer a helping a hand if need be, than it is to try and go it alone.

13. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation.  In the book “Bounce: Living the Resilient Life”, Robert Wick explains that mindfulness is a tool to “replenish the self and maintain perspective.” Meditation teaches us to simply observe our thoughts, rather than judge them.

Meditation and mindfulness cultivate an inner life of self-knowledge, self-nurturance, and peace which acts as a buffer from external pressures.  Having this buffer makes us more resilient.

14. Embrace Wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese world view rooted in Zen Buddhism which is centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The essence of wabi-sabi is reflected in the following verse from the song “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

In the book “Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers”, Leonard Koren defines wabi-sabi as follows:  “Wabi sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental.”

Conclusion

Adversity is built into the fabric of human existence. Resilience is the ability to deal with adversity so that we can achieve our goals, be happy, and succeed in life in spite of negative events and setbacks. Use the 14 strategies explained above to become more resilient so that you can bounce back quickly from adversity and live your best life.

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increase your productivityBrian Tracy is a highly successful and influential motivational speaker and author.

Today I came across a YouTube video in which Tracy explains a 7-step formula for increasing your productivity by 1000%, and I wanted to share the formula with you.

Tracy explains in the video that when he was just starting out in his career, the first year his income totaled $14,400. However, twelve years later that number had jumped to $1,440,000. He had increased his income by 100 times in twelve years.

Tracy sat down to analyze how he had achieved this incredible increase in income and he realized that he had been applying a formula which he gradually articulated and came to call “the 1000% formula”. The formula is based on incremental improvement, or what the Japanese call “kaizen”– getting a little bit better each day.

Tracy asks his audience to think about the following: Could you increase your productivity, performance, and output by one tenth of one percent (.1%) each day? That’s such a small change that everyone would probably conclude that it is something they can do. After all, it just means being a tiny bit more efficient, or working a little bit harder each day on an important task.

Tracy goes on to say something which he wrote about in his book, “Focal Point”:

“If you become one tenth of one percent more productive each day, five days per week, at the end of one week you will be one half of one percent more productive (1/10 x 5 = .5%). At the end of four weeks, you will be two percent more productive (4 x .5% = 2%). At the end of fifty-two weeks, you will be 26% more productive than you were at the beginning of the year (13 x 2% =26%).

By becoming 26% more productive over the course of a year, and continuing to improve by one tenth of one percent per day, five days a week, you will actually double your overall productivity, performance and output in 2.7 years.

If you continue learning, growing and becoming more effective and efficient, an improvement of 26% per year, compounded over ten years, will result in an increase of 1004% in your overall productivity in one decade.”

Tracy goes on to say that as your productivity goes up, your income will almost undoubtedly increase by a similar percentage. That is, increased productivity–doing the right things more efficiently–results in increased income.

The seven steps of the 1000% formula are the following:

  • Step One: The Golden Hour
  • Step Two: Plan Your Day in Advance
  • Step Three: Prioritize
  • Step Four: Focus
  • Step Five: Turn Your Car Into a Mobile University
  • Step Six: Review Your Experiences
  • Step Seven: Treat Everyone Like a Million-Dollar Customer

Each of these seven steps is explained below.

Step One: The Golden Hour

The first step is getting up an hour earlier each morning and investing that hour in yourself. Tracy refers to this hour as your “Golden Hour”. You invest your Golden Hour by reading something that is uplifting, educational, motivational, spiritual, and so on.

Here are some ideas on what to read during your Golden Hour:

  • If you’re in sells, read something that will help you improve your selling skills.
  • If you need to increase your motivation, read something motivational.
  • If you’re spiritual, read something spiritually uplifting.

Tracy explains that reading for an hour each morning will prepare your mind for the rest of the day.

Step Two: Plan Your Day in Advance

At the end of each workday, or before going to bed, make a list of all the tasks which you need to achieve the next day. In other words, plan your day in advance. By doing this you’ll be making sure that each day you work on the tasks which will move you closer to achieving your goals, instead of working on the wrong things or wasting time wondering what you should be doing next.

In addition, by planning your day the evening or the night before you’ll be programming your subconscious mind to think about the best ways to tackle the tasks that you need to get done the next day as you sleep at night.

Step Three: Prioritize

When you’ve written down everything that you need to get done the next day, you have to prioritize. Determine what’s most important, what’s second most important, what’s third most important, and so on. By prioritizing, even if at the end of the day you’ve left some tasks undone, you can still rest easy knowing that you got the most important things done.

Step Four: Focus

Once you’ve determined what your most important task for the day is, you have to make sure that you work on it before doing anything else. In addition, give the task your full focus and all of your attention. Work on the most important task–the one that will give you most value–until it’s done.

When the most important task for the day is done, go on to task number two in order of priority and do the same thing: give one hundred percent of your focus  to the task until it’s completed.

Step Five: Turn Your Car Into a Mobile University

Tracy recommends that you turn your car into a mobile university by listening to educational audio programs in your car. He indicates that a study at the University of California concluded that if you listen to educational audio programs as you drive around, you’ll practically get the same benefits as full-time educational attendance.

In fact, listening to audio programs in your car is even more beneficial than taking college courses since you get to pick and choose exactly what you want to listen to. Therefore, you can choose those audio programs which are most relevant to your needs.

Choose audio programs on sales, time management, overcoming procrastination, communications, building your self-confidence, goal setting, and so on, depending on what skills you most need to develop and which topics are most valuable to you at the moment.

By reading every morning during your Golden Hour and turning your car into a mobile university, you can easily go through one book a week, which means 50 books in a year. In order to get a PhD you have to read anywhere from 30 to 50 books and combine them into a dissertation.

If you read 30 to 50 books in your field in the course of a year, you get the equivalent of a doctoral degree. This can be in selling, business, entrepreneurship, or any other field. Because you’ll be reading material that is practical to you, and which you’re applying in your life in order to get better results, you’ll be doing the equivalent of preparing a dissertation.

Step Six: Review Your Experiences

As you go through your day, after every event you need to review the experience by asking yourself two questions. Tracy refers to these questions as “the magic questions”. He indicates that these two questions will change your life. The two questions are the following:

  1. What did I do right?
  2. What would I do differently?

After every experience you have throughout the day–whether it’s a sales call, a meeting with your boss, a presentation, a job interview, and so on–the first thing you want to ask yourself is what you did right. Write down everything that you did correctly as you were going through that experience.

Next, you should ask yourself what you would do differently if faced with a similar experience or situation in the future. Write down all of the things that you could do to improve the situation the next time you have it. An important observation here is that you shouldn’t ask yourself what you did wrong. Instead, ask yourself how to do better the next time.

Step Seven: Treat Everyone Like a Million-Dollar Customer

The seventh and last step in the 1000% formula is to treat everyone you meet like you would like to be treated yourself. In other words, treat everyone like a million-dollar customer. This includes the people you work with, potential customers, your family members, your friends, and so on. The better you treat other people, the more they’ll want to work with you and be around you.

In addition, the better that you treat others, the better that you’ll feel about yourself.

Conclusion

Tracy explains that you don’t move forward in life by making quantum leaps. You don’t become rich overnight and there’s no such thing as making easy money. Instead, you work on yourself. Bit by bit, day by day, week by week, and month by month, you get a little better. Continuous improvement is the key to living your best life.

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banner make it happen

banner bucket list

banner guidebook of dreams

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Related Posts:

  1. 5 Life Lessons From Motivation Mega-Star Jim Rohn
  2. 15 Extremely Useful Things You Can Do In 15 Minutes
  3. An 18 Minute Plan That Will Make Your Productivity Soar
  4. Productivity Tip: Think Small

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “Daring to Live Fully” by RSS or by email, and get free updates.

 

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