4 Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Managing time has become an all too real struggle for many people these days. With so much to do in both their work and personal lives, it can be challenging to get things done during a day. But there are many ways to improve their time management skills to help them get more accomplished in less time. Here are a few:

Make a Schedule and Stick to It

You can start to improve your time management skills by taking the time to organize your days and weeks in advance. While there will always be surprises that you’ll have to deal with, you’re more likely to be able to tackle those surprises better because you have an idea about what tasks and responsibilities you have to deal with each day.

Prioritize

Learning how to prioritize is another way to improve time management skills. If you want to execute your projects efficiently, then you have to decide which stages or components of the project are essential to meeting your goals. You have to be able to determine which activities and tasks will deliver the best returns for your efforts.

Set Boundaries

If you need to focus on what you’re doing or you need time to rest and maintain your health, then you also need to inform others when you’re not available. The other people in your life can’t read minds, so it is your job to set appropriate boundaries when necessary. Make sure that you communicate your limits in a polite, yet direct manner to ensure that you can have the time you need without unnecessary conflicts.

Account for Good Distractions

There will always be distractions that get the best of you, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. However, no one can work for hours on end, and to stay productive, we all need breaks. The best thing you can do is accept this reality and try to incorporate some distractions into your schedule. Try to block out some downtime every day. This might mean setting aside a few minutes to take a short walk, grab a cup of coffee, or find some other stress management activities that you can do.

Managing your time requires discipline, planning, and a healthy attitude. However, if you get it right, you will start to notice improved productivity and lower levels of stress.

Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Chaos. Everything is crashing down around you. Your life feels like the second half of Titanic when the ship is sinking but also on fire. What do you do? How do you stay calm?

Try Grounding

In mindfulness circles, “grounding” is the process of “getting back to what’s real.” Ask yourself, realistically, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ Because we can get a little confused when we’re scared or nervous, try asking this question out loud with someone else around so that they can help you to think through it.

Most of the time, when something goes wrong, we can perceive chaos when the worst thing that can happen isn’t really that bad. No matter how bad it is, once you realistically have a worst-case scenario in mind, you can more effectively focus on a solution or possibly a back-up plan.

Recognize Your Social Resources

While you’re finding that person to ask that question with, take a look at the other people around you. We tend to worry about material resources without thinking about our social resources. These are the people that can help to support you when you feel like you’re on that flaming, sinking ship. Look around you and find the people that will listen and care.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t lose hope. When you lose hope, you stop looking for solutions, and when you stop looking for solutions, you are far less likely to find them. In this way, coming to the conclusion that there is no hope can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Twentieth century American Industrialist Henry Ford is quoted as having said “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Focus on a Solution

On a related note, one way to stay calm is to focus on finding a solution. Trying to find a solution can give you hope and help you to feel like you are doing something. Further, it actually moves you towards a solution. Finding people to blame or just feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t help anyone – least of all yourself.

Remind Yourself of Your Past

A similar solution to grounding is to ask yourself when you’ve felt like this in the past and ask yourself what happened. Either you succeeded and everything was great or you failed but still survived long enough afterward to feel that way again.

As much as we might hate it, that feeling of chaos is very much a part of life. When we look at chaos as a part of life, it becomes much more manageable. That’s actually exactly what human civilization is all about – actively managing natural chaos to transform it into something more healthy, fulfilling, and productive. And our chaos today would probably seem a luxury compared to the types of chaos our ancestors endured to get us to this point, so even if your efforts now don’t get you to the goals you were hoping for, they are not without value because they still help push the next generation further ahead.

Focus on Things You Can Do Something About

Remember the words of the “Serenity Prayer:”

“Give me the Courage to change the things I can,

The Serenity to accept the things I can’t,

And the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Sometimes when we have that chaotic feeling, it’s because we’re dumping all of our emotional energies into worrying about things that we can’t do anything about. However, if you direct your energies into the things that you can change, you will find that you feel better about your life and can actually make a difference in the things that matter most to you.

Like pain, the feeling of chaos is mostly useful as a danger signal that we need to pay attention to and address something that could have damaging results if we don’t. Once we get that signal, we need to be able to clear our mind and look past the feeling so it doesn’t get in the way of coming up with solutions. Learning how to stay calm can help you to feel better and live longer, but it can also make you a more effective agent of positive change.

Do You Feel Powerless Over Yourself and Your Life?

When you can acknowledge how powerful you are, you will finally have power over your life. When you are feeling powerless, it is because you have lost sight of your power, you have given away to others, or you lack the confidence to embrace your own strength and capacity. If you are feeling powerless in your life and want to change that, then keep reading.

Steps to Regaining Power in Your Life

Step 1. Realize that You Matter

One of the reasons we give away power in our lives to others or to “fate” is because we do not think that our opinions or dreams count. But if those things do not matter in your life, then how do they matter at all? Your beliefs, feelings, and opinions should be the most critical thing in your life, and when you start vocalizing these and standing up for yourself, you will begin to feel more powerful over your destiny.

Learning to speak up to others is one way to sever the destructive and toxic relationships that have been robbing you of your personal power. Speaking your truth allows others to know how you deserve and expect to be treated, which is how they learn to have a healthy relationship with you.

Step 2. Know Yourself

Getting to know which parts of your life are working and which are not bringing you any joy or satisfaction can help you get back some of the control you have lost in the past. Take some time to really ponder just how well things are going in all areas of your life.

How satisfying is your job? Are your finances where you want them to be? What about the relationships you have in your life?

Break down all aspects from health to hobbies, from how you spend your time to how you relax. This is your current status, but it does not have to represent your future unless you want it to.

Step 3. Make a Plan

Now that you know the areas of your life that aren’t bringing you joy or fulfillment, you can plan for how you would like to change that.

Where do you want to be in a year? Five years?

To gain back your power and start having control over your life, you need to create a plan for how you would like to reach these goals, including the individual steps and milestones it will take to get you there.

Having a plan makes you feel in control of what is ahead, and it gives you something to look forward to. It also helps you strategize ways to overcome obstacles and fend off potential problems, which can help you feel more in control as well.

Step 4. Stay Positive

The obstacles that you will meet on your path to your dreams do not define your life. Your response to those challenges is what tells you and the world whether you are powerful or powerless.

When life hands you challenges, it is essential to focus on the positive, look at what you can learn from the situation and use that to propel yourself forward. Learning to control your responses to failures and setbacks is a considerable part of regaining your personal power, and the more you practice this, the easier it will become.

Final Thoughts

There are many things that you can do every single day to start reclaiming your power and take back control of your life. Not everyone may support you in this as, sadly, there are those out there who want to control others for reasons of their own, but the only person in this world who can make you feel powerless is you. You have the innate ability to control your life, and it is up to you to decide if you want to embrace that power or live a life of helplessness.

Financial Concerns for New Entrepreneurs

One of the biggest reasons people talk themselves out of being an entrepreneur is money, or lack thereof.  And then there are those who go all in but with limited resources.  They immediately feel the pressures to succeed, and succeed fast, because time and money are in short supply. 

Especially in the beginning phase of an entrepreneurial enterprise, money will be a main concern.  Is there enough? Where is it needed the most? Did you spend it wisely? Are you running low on money?  When will your business make money?  Will people even want your service or product enough to pay for it?  Was this all just a giant money pit of an idea?

If you do your research first, you’ll save yourself from lots of financial headaches, as many new entrepreneurs will dive right in and simply hope for the best. If a lack of money is their main driving force, then their desired result will usually poorly perform or fail.

There are many common financial issues that occur in the entrepreneurial world.  Let’s look at a few of the monetary problems that might be coming your way, and how to get through them without being paralyzed by fear in your business.

Is Your Bank Account Pressuring You?

In business we have to make all sorts of decisions, and some of them very quickly.  What’s more, we have to always be aware of the overall financial picture so we can make sound decisions. 

One very important distinction a new entrepreneur has to learn how to make is the difference between personal and business needs. For solo entrepreneurs especially, there is a high risk of dangerous overlap between the two because businesses are often started and maintained for very personal reasons, and there is nothing wrong (in fact, it can be a great asset!) for personal and business motivations and activities to be strongly integrated with one another. However, in accounting, they need to be clearly separated to keep a clear picture of what’s going on with each to recognize and deal with any threats or opportunities that may come up.

Once this is done, the next thing that needs to happen is to take your personal accounting just as seriously as your business accounting, because your business success depends on your personal stability to be able to manage and invest in it to it its full potential. While it’s ideal to get your personal finances to a good place before starting up a business, in reality this rarely happens since problems with personal finances are a common catalyst for pushing people into new ventures in the first place. So very likely you’ll be facing learning how to develop and manage two different systems of accounting at once, which may be very unpleasant but could well be the most valuable investment you can make early on since doing extra work to make extra money will just become wasted effort if that money is leaking out somewhere else in your system.

The Costs of Growth

It can be tempting to think of business as a simple input-output system where simply putting more into it will generate more out of it, but the truth is that most profits are made not from the value of the raw materials or effort involved, but from the business’ skill in processing them to their greatest potential.

Growth is expensive in many cases. For example, you may find your time slipping away and become desperate to have extra hands help you. This means you’ll have to pay for that extra hired help. Don’t be afraid to grow slowly if that’s the best route to maintaining stability while you build a good foundation for your business. Always remember that increasing your skills or processing capabilities through better education or tools can also be an option to increasing profitability without necessarily increasing workload. However, taking on some temporary costs to bring in greater revenue, move on unexpected opportunities, or free you up to attend to higher-value tasks can be a good investment provided you will see the returns quickly enough to not strain your vital operations. In making such decisions, timing is a critical factor to consider in addition to the numbers.

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is the driving force behind many of the decisions we make.  First of all, you really need to let go of the fear of failure.  Fears hold you back.  If you are playing it safe simply because you don’t want to fail, you aren’t making your decisions based on success.  And honestly, failure isn’t the end of the world.  In many cases, it’s actually one of the costs of doing business that you need to account for in order to gain the experience you need for long-term success.

Invest in yourself personally as well as professionally, as you are your business’ most valuable asset. No matter how great your business model is, it can all come crashing down quickly if you become too personally challenged in your health, education, or relationships to keep maintaining it. Plus, no matter whether your business succeeds or fails, what you put into yourself through the experience will remain yours to keep forever. As a matter of fact, most business owners don’t succeed on the first or even second try, but find success through the accumulated gains made through their ventures.

Are You Charging Too Little?

Oftentimes when we first start out in business, we haven’t done enough market research to find out what to charge others for our products or service.  We want to be fair and reasonable.  We want customer retention.  We want them to spread the word to their friends and family and let the whole world buy from our business. 

Therefore, we typically end up charging too little for our products or services thinking we will get lots of customers to get us started and we can always raise our prices later. 

Do the research and find out what others are charging, but more importantly what others are paying for the same thing you are offering in your business.  What is your time worth?  How much time do you spend filling an order or creating a product?  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth.  Because if it’s truly something the public needs or uses, they will pay a fair price for it.  If not, then you may need to adjust what you are offering to increase its market value or improve your processing methods to lower your costs of production.

How Exercising Helps with Anxiety

You probably already know that exercising is a productive way to keep physically fit, manage your weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and give you energy. But the benefits of moving your body go far beyond physical. There are also many mental and emotional benefits of regular exercise, including helping with your mental health.

Though the connection is not entirely understood, a clear link exists between physical activity and a decrease in the likelihood of anxiety and its co-morbidities, including depression and panic attacks. These effects occur biologically, psychologically, and emotionally.

Biological Benefits

Physical exertion releases endorphins – chemicals in the brain that function as natural painkillers. Not only do endorphins stimulate positive feelings, they also improve sleep. Sleep, in turn, reduces stress and improves anxiety. Endorphins aside, exercise energizes the body, leaving you feeling good both during and after the activity. Better mood, better sleep, and better feelings reduce the physiological and psychological symptoms of anxiety.

Psychological Benefits

Anxiety can be all-consuming, and this overwhelming sense of worry or dread can lead to panic attacks. Engaging in physical activity that you find both challenging and enjoyable distracts you from obsessive, harmful thinking. Your mind rests, in a sense, while your body works.

It is important to find an activity that does present a challenge and an activity you’re interested in participating for the greatest benefits in this regard. Halfhearted participation in exercise that feels more like a chore than a fun activity is not helpful and may lead to further stress and anxiety.

This activity does not need to be hardcore exercise. A game of soccer with friends, a swim in the pool, gardening, or a simple walk will do the job. It’s all about getting your heart pumping and your mind off worries.

Emotional Benefits

Giving yourself the goal of more physical activity and following through with it will leave you feeling accomplished. Pursuing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle, too, will grow your confidence. Self-contentment and confidence are incredibly beneficial in keeping anxiety at bay, since most anxiety is rooted in inner conflict.

Getting and Remaining Motivated

The most difficult part about increasing your physical activity to reduce anxiety is getting started. It can feel impossible for an overburdened mind to find the time and energy to decide upon and pursue change, but it’s not. A professional can help you develop a plan to get started on and stick to a new regimen of activity.

The most important thing is to find activities you enjoy that you can and want to fit into your life and schedule. As a supplement to psychotherapy and psychiatric care, physical activity is immensely beneficial in improving your mood.

Happiness Means Risking Feeling Vulnerable

When you think of happiness, you don’t often think of being vulnerable. However, to truly feel happy and confident in your choices, you have to be prepared to experience moments of vulnerability.

This is typically seen when individuals must make decisions or changes in order to be happier. While the choices are hard, they certainly aren’t easy to endure.

If you’re currently in an unhappy state and want to improve your overall state of well-being, prepare yourself for moments of vulnerability by taking an introspective look at their connection.

Expressing Your True Desires

It takes courage to be your true self and express what makes you truly happy. Especially when you’re used to assimilating.

This involves not being afraid to state your preferences. When you stand up for your true self and what you enjoy, you’re running the risk of being made fun or even shunned. That’s why it’s so important to be confident in yourself and not worry about what others think.

One way to do this is to have faith in your interests. If your preference makes you happy, own it. Your happiness is far more valuable than the approval of others. When you start to put yourself first, you’ll begin to notice a shift in your self-esteem.

Not Being Afraid to Say No

When you want to take control of your happiness, there will be things you have to give up or stand up for. These could be cutting off negative people, saying no to a heavy workload, or just saying no to plans.

Saying no in order to achieve happiness puts you in a vulnerable situation because you don’t know how your actions are impacting someone else. You may feel like you’re letting someone down because you’re choosing to say no. This could cause a great deal of stress.

In order to overcome this, put yourself first. If you’re compromising your happiness just to appease someone else, is it really worth it in the end? Will you feel good about your decision? Probably not.

Therefore, never be afraid to say no when it comes to making yourself happy. This will help you to make better choices that are beneficial to your future and well-being.

You’ll also develop a healthy self-confidence in the process. You won’t be faced with the struggle of living a life that wasn’t designed for you. Instead, you’ll take full ownership of your actions and future.

Making Hard Choices

When you have to leave a toxic job or relationship in order to feel happy, this can bring on a host of vulnerable feelings. To begin, you may not know what will happen next. You may not have the appropriate savings established to go out on your own.

In addition, you may run the risk of hurting someone else in the process of making yourself happy. This can bring on feelings of guilt, loneliness, and regret.

Therefore, when you make hard choices that are beneficial to your overall happiness, it’s best to ride through the vulnerable stage with the hopes of becoming a stronger person. In time, you’ll feel happy that you stuck it out and made the best decision for your future.

In summation, feeling happy is an awesome emotion that comes with a host of benefits. Unfortunately, those benefits may require some tough times and hard decisions.

That’s why it’s best to move past the uncomfortable issues and seek your happiness first and foremost. Once you push through the challenging aspect of your journey, you’ll begin to see an overall improvement in your disposition and happiness. This makes the journey worthwhile and meaningful.

Are You Overthinking Too Much in Your Life?

Have there been times in your life where you’ve felt like the simplest decisions and tasks become high-pressure situations? Many people feel like absolutely every decision they face is a high-pressure situation; they overthink everything they do, are filled with anxiety, and find it incredibly difficult to make even the simplest decisions, like what to eat for lunch.

In case this might apply to you, we’re going to show a few signs of overthinking too much in your life so you can work to rectify it and ease your anxiety.

Continuously Seeking Confirmation or Approval

If you find yourself constantly asking friends to make decisions and then following it up by asking them repeatedly if they’re sure, you probably have a problem with overthinking decisions. The same is true if you seem to be compulsively searching for approval among your friends and loved ones for the decisions you make.

Constantly seeking approval and confirmation is not only annoying to those around you but also a clear sign of anxious overthinking.

Over-Explaining

If you find yourself frequently talking in a loop trying to explain what you’ve done, how you feel, or a choice you’ve made, you’re likely overthinking it. If you feel the need to over-explain everything you do, think, and feel, you likely are anxiously overthinking too much in your life.

Over-Apologizing

Do you find yourself apologizing for absolutely everything, even things that aren’t your fault? This is a classic example of overthinking everything. If you find yourself apologizing for absolutely everything in your life, even just thoughts you’ve voiced, you’re likely anxiously overthinking things in your life.

Over-Analyzing

When you over-analyze conversations or text messages constantly, it does far more harm than good. If you find yourself fretting over every single text message you get or asking others to help you determine what a conversation might have meant, you likely have a problem with anxiously overthinking things in your life.

Jumping to the Worst Conclusions

We can all be guilty of jumping to conclusions every once and a while, but if you find yourself constantly doing this, your mind could be trying to tell you something. If in every scenario you jump to the absolute worst conclusion, most likely an illogical one, you’re likely struggling with anxious overthinking.

What to Do About It

If you checked off most of the things on this list, you likely struggle with overthinking. There are a number of things that can cause overthinking, but most of the signs point to a struggle with anxiety. Admitting the problem initially is half the battle, while the other half is addressing the problem by seeking out help and working on it.

If you don’t think you can get through your anxiety alone or just need some guidance, see a psychologist to help you through it. It’s no easy feat, but if you work at it, you can overcome your anxiety and finally put a stop to the behavior of overthinking.

If you find yourself making every situation in your life a high-pressure situation, you might be struggling with anxiously overthinking. Overthinking most everything can cause additional stress and strain on your already anxious mind, making it all that much worse.

If you find yourself exhibiting the behaviors listed here, contact a professional or ask your loved ones for assistance. It’s a difficult challenge to overcome your anxiety and stop overthinking and unnecessary worry, but the benefits are well worth the effort.

5 Signs That You Are a Genuine Person


There is a Native American saying that no one is nobody, everyone should be somebody, but some people are anybody. You probably know some “anybodies.” You know the type – they change the way that they walk, talk, dress, and maybe even think, based on who is around. But, do anybodies know that they’re anybodies? No one who’s somebody knows how to answer that. So, to make sure, here are 5 signs that you are a genuine person – that is, a somebody.

1. You Tend to Be Confident

Most of the time, people who behave in non-genuine ways do so not because they want things from people – though that is sometimes the case – but because they are afraid of not fitting in. If you’re generally pretty confident in your own skin, chances are you don’t feel the need to be non-genuine. If you’re usually insecure, you might be an anybody.

So what’s an anybody to do? Be yourself. Not everyone is likely to like you but some people will. It’s easier and more comfortable to be yourself around your friends than to keep switching hats every time that you encounter a new group.

2. The Friends of Your Friends Are Friends

We opened with a Native American saying, but there’s also a great French saying: “Les amis de nos amis sont amis.” It translates to “the friends of our friends are friends.” It speaks to the idea of an expanded social network, that you should be able to get along with people that your friends get along with.

But what if your friends don’t get along? If your friends tend to dislike one another, it could be a sign that not all of them are really your friends and maybe you haven’t been genuine with everyone. It’s possible that you’re just a really likeable person, but it also could be a sign that you’re an anybody.

3. You Don’t Get along with Everyone

On a related note, not a lot of people get along with everyone. If you do get along with everyone, it could be that you aren’t the same person to everyone that you meet. This doesn’t mean that you should get into fights or be rude to people; it just means that it’s okay for you to not like people and for people to not like you.

4. People Tell You

This one might feel a little easy, but it’s true. Genuine people aren’t as scarce as you might think, but they’re very valuable and the people around them tend to notice. If you’re a genuine person, you probably hear a lot that you are unique, or special, or that you stand out.

Similarly, most anybodies are eventually found out, often when two people or groups of people who don’t get along come together and the anybody gets caught in-between. Some people will call others in-genuine (or “fake friends” in the parlance of today’s youth) as a weapon, but if you hear it all the time it might be true.

5. You Know

It’s not always the case, but some anybodies know that they aren’t being genuine with people. For whatever reason, it’s something that they deliberately do. If this is you, it’s not too late to stop. It might be awkward or even painful at first, but it is more rewarding to be yourself rather than constantly wondering who is looking.

Conversely, you might know that you are genuine. You might even actively try to be genuine, pursuing your own interests and doing your own thing, even when it’s unpopular.

You have a personality, you should use it. Being genuine, you will lead a more rewarding and freeing life. There will always be people trying to get you to do what you’re told or be one of “the flock,” but never lose sight of who you are, and never let anyone else lose sight of it either.

Creating a Personal Development Plan

You’ve probably heard the saying before, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” However, even understanding that comment, we often forget about it in our personal lives. Most of the time, we apply that type of rational thought to our work life while sadly forgetting that planning our personal development is also an essential part of achieving everything out of life that we desire. In addition, personal development does include career development as we can only achieve professionally what our capabilities allow for personally, but there is also much more to life than just our vocation.

By creating a personal development plan, you devise a plan that enables you to avoid distractions and instead act on each day with intent, knowing it’s going to lead you to the future you want. When you create a personal development plan, you’re primarily asking yourself to identify where and how you are going to focus your efforts toward reaching your goals and living a life with purpose as you personally define it.

Benefits of Creating & Implementing a Personal Development Plan

There are numerous benefits to creating and implementing a personal development plan. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can get a lot out of a personal development plan. Let’s look at some of these benefits. Keep in mind that you may experience even more positivity due to implementing this in your life.

  • Discover Your Purpose – If you’re not sure exactly what you are supposed to be doing with your life, seeking help by working on your personal development is a sure-fire way to find your purpose. You cannot find it by doing the same old thing every day. You may not have even yet tried the thing you’re meant to do in life.
  • More Self-Awareness – When you have more self-awareness, it merely means that you are super honest with yourself about who you are. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and you’re sure of your ideas, beliefs, emotions, and you know what motivates you and why.
  • Better Sense of Direction – Nothing ensures you get where you want to go than knowing the path it takes to get there. This is the main reason for having a plan. You cannot reach goals intentionally without a plan.
  • Improved Effectiveness – When you do things that are planned out so that you’ve thought of potential roadblocks, problems, and risks before you set off on the journey, you are more likely to be successful in your endeavors. 
  • Better Focus – It’s easier to stay focused when you have experienced some success. When you realize that following a plan and implementing the plan truly ensures you experience more success, it’s easier to keep focus because you know it works.
  • More Motivation – Obviously, you’re going to be more motivated to succeed when you have those successful experiences. When you set a plan in motion and start experiencing success, you’ll be even more motivated to act than if you did not have a plan.
  • Greater Resilience – When you are sure of yourself, setbacks don’t set you back as far as they would if you did not have a plan. You can look to your plan and adjust in a way that doesn’t cause you to stop moving forward.
  • Stronger Relationships – When you understand yourself, it’s a lot easier to understand and relate to others. It’s easier for you to put yourself in their shoes, to explain how you feel about things, and to be more proactive in keeping relationships healthy.
  • Greater Success – The fact of the matter is simple, when you create a plan and follow it, you’re going to be more successful. It’s just true. Take one small thing, such as learning a new language. If you learn one new word each day by the end of a year, you’ll have at least 365 new words.
  • Higher Sense of Confidence – Success breeds confidence. Because you are doing your plan, you are experiencing more success. When you have more success, you become much more confident in your decision-making abilities.
  • Enhanced Goal Setting – Just the act of creating a personal development plan means that you need to understand how to set the right goals. Usually, the right intentions are SMART goals, meaning that they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
  • Overall Happier Life – When you plan for happiness, you will achieve it. You really cannot help it because living a life of purpose and direction is a lot more satisfying than leading a volatile life where you just hang on for the ride and have no idea what you’ll do next.

For every person who creates a personal development plan, it will be different. The benefits you experience are going to be personalized to you. For example, if during the development of this plan, you determine you really want to live a completely different life than you thought you did, you can now do that.

You don’t have to accept life as it is. You have the power to change yourself, your actions, and your feelings. Having the power to take control is exciting, but it also can be a little scary until you get accustomed to being in charge. Once you realize you have it, nothing is impossible.

Why Do Many Personal Development Plans Fail?

Before you embark on creating your personal development plan, it’s crucial for you to understand that most people fail at personal development. They fail for a variety of entirely preventable reasons. For that reason, you need to know these roadblocks, but only so that you can put something in place to ensure that you don’t make these mistakes.

  • Limiting Beliefs – If you have ideas and beliefs that are incompatible with success, it’s important to rid yourself of them. If you don’t believe you can lose weight, become a bodybuilder, write the next great American novel, or whatever it is that is your goal – you can’t. Limiting beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • The Illusion of Action – Sometimes it happens. Something goes wrong and you want to fix it. So, you try to do something, anything! You do all the things you know to do in order to try to stop it. However, you are doing it without a plan in mind and it’s not working. If you feel like you are busy a lot but you don’t see many results from all your work, it’s likely due to the illusion of action. One more swipe with the brush on your hair, one more font change on that page, or one more pass through Copyscape all seem like a good idea at first. However if your “one more try ” doesn’t produce the results you want, you need to do something differently. In short, you need the right move and not the illusion of action.
  • Negative Mindset – If you have the mindset where no matter what good is happening around you, you can still always find the negative, then you have a negative mindset. This can kill the hopes of improving your situation. However, it’s not hopeless. You can change it. To let go of negative thoughts, try to find positive replacements like meditation, affirmations, or keeping a gratitude journal.
  • Unrealistic Expectations – This is where goal setting comes in again. If you have unrealistic expectations, they may lead you to set unattainable goals. There is no point in setting goals out of your reach, so don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Not Developing Habits – Just as you can develop a bad habit in your life, you can cultivate good habits that pay off. For example, drinking a glass of lemon-water each morning will help you stay hydrated and make your skin look fabulous. To stick to your newly forming habit, you need to turn it into a ritual until it becomes second nature.
  • Forgetting Systems & Routines – One way to develop habits is to create systems and routines. For example, if you want to train yourself to toss the unneeded clutter, you’ll need to place trashcans in places where you usually leave items laying around. If you want to start getting up early, set your alarm and put it on the other side of the room or far enough away that you can’t hit snooze. These little changes in a system or routine help a lot.
  • Lack of Self-Discipline – No plan will succeed if you don’t implement the plan. If you are lacking in discipline, this is one of the first things you need to work on. If you cannot stick to something for the duration of the time it takes to experience success, you will not succeed.
  • Not Focusing Enough – One of the signs of adulthood is the ability to wait for gratification. It’s imperative that you can laser focus on a task or a plan for the time required to experience success. If you notice super successful people, they develop tunnel vision for what they want.
  • Not Setting Goals Correctly – This can range from not bothering to set goals at all to being unproductively vague about your goals. Goals must be very specific to be useful. For example, instead of saying, “I want to learn a new language,” you should state your goals this way: “I want to learn Spanish. To accomplish this, I will learn one new Spanish word each day using the language app for the next year.” Writing down goals correctly will help you develop more clarity in your direction.
  • Forgetting the Backup Plan – When you are creating your personal development plan, one of the processes is to figure out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for any area that you want to improve upon. When you accomplish this, you can create “what if” scenarios so that you’re ready for the backup if you need it.
  • Poor Time Management Skills – The great equalizer in life is time. Everyone on earth gets the same number of hours in their day and year. What you do with it is what matters. You cannot change time, but you can try to organize and manage it better. Be realistic about how much time you spend on any task so that you plan your days better.

Keep these roadblocks in mind as you craft your personal development plan. You can avoid these by knowing they exist and developing a plan to prevent them while developing the best plan for your life.

Areas of Life That You Can Improve with A Personal Development Plan

A personal development plan can enhance your life in every single way. It doesn’t matter if it’s your love life or your professional life you want to improve. Crafting a plan will help with all aspects of your life. Let’s explore the different ways in which you can improve your life with a personal development plan.

  • Career – When you construct a plan for your working life, it’ll help you become more aware of your skills, including identifying skill gaps. You can then focus on areas to study as well as help you locate resources that you can use to move forward in your career.
  • Love/Marital – One of the most important aspects of any human being’s life is their relationships with their spouse or life partner. Embarking on personal development can help you improve your experiences in many ways by focusing on you and how you can change in your capabilities and interactions others.
  • Intellectual – Most people who pursue any type of personal development have a love for lifelong learning. Even if you don’t right now, as you work on yourself, you’ll be able to identify ways you can boost your intellectual abilities by going back to school, reading more books, listening to podcasts, and so forth, but with a plan so that you strategically learn the things that will help you the most.
  • Emotional – As emotional creatures, our feelings play a big part in our lives. Learning how they play out for you can help you become more thoughtful about your actions. You’ll learn how to take time to consider your actions before acting emotionally. Even if you have severe issues like high anxiety, professional development plans can help you deal with it if you are honest from the start.
  • Physical – If you want to improve almost anything about your physical appearance such as by losing weight, or gaining muscle, or taking steps to look and feel younger, a personal development plan can identify to you want is possible.
  • Family – If you want to experience a more satisfying family life, there are ways to ensure that you do. You just need to know what you want and how to ensure you have it by modifying your behavior when you need to.
  • Social – If you want to learn how to become better at networking, making friends, and being there for your friends in social settings, personal development can do that for you, too. Again, it’s all about knowing what you want, figuring out the steps needed to achieve it, and then implementing the plan.
  • Financial – Your financial life is a big deal and one that a lot of people aren’t managing very well. Stagnant wages, the high cost of necessities, and a poor understanding of money and credit can damage anyone. However, if you make it a priority to learn what you can and then develop and implement a plan for yourself, you will experience a lot more success.

Anything you want to improve about your life in any category can be improved with a well-thought-out personal development plan. But it’s a good practice to tackle one thing at a time so that you can perfect your implementation chops before you move on to the next item on the list. Let’s look at this process so that you can get started crafting your personal development plan.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis of Each Area

One of the very first things you need to do when you want to craft a well thought out personal development plan is to choose from the areas above to study more in-depth. You can do all of them at once, or you can do one at a time.

Regardless, you’ll want to make a list for each of the SWOT analysis areas.

First, for each of the life areas, you may want to work on your goals for that area. You can have more than one goal for any area. When you are setting the goal, look at your life in two years, or five to ten years to see right where you really want to be at that time.

Once you have written out the goals individually, then, you can conduct the SWOT analysis.

Goal Example

  • Career: Within the next two years, I want to earn $100,000 a month in revenues by selling at least 36 units of our youth skin lotion per day through our retail website by boosting the targeted traffic using social media ads. (Note: Assuming a 2 percent response rate, that means you need to send at least 1800 people to the landing page per day.)

Notice that the goal is a SMART goal. It’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. You’ll need to work on writing down your goal for each area of your life that you want to work on improving with a personal development plan. You can have multiple goals for each area of life.

SWOT Analysis

  • Strengths – This will include what you’re good at, what helps you move forward, and all your qualifications, resources, and positives you have going into this category for the area of life you’re working on.

Fantastic product, cosmetology expert, large personal Instagram following, personal YouTube channel is growing, and $2500 to devote to ads.

  • Weaknesses – This part is critical; you will build on your strengths, but you want to identify the gap so you can improve. You can improve it by learning about it, or you can outsource (or delegate) that to someone else. What do you still need to learn, what do you want to be better at, and don’t forget to identify anything you really dislike doing in that category?

Need more content, no brand name recognition, competition is fierce on Amazon FBA, don’t know how to run ads yet.

  • Opportunities – Depending on the area of life you’re working through right now, you may want to note anything you see as a future opportunity. For example, if you are working on career development and you have identified the potential for internships or certifications that will help note them.

FBA, influencers, social media advertising expert, SEO, PLR, content marketing.

  • Threats – Anything you have identified that is a stopper or roadblock to you archiving the goal that you have identified in that area of your life should be listed here. Whether it’s a killer app changing everything or a person you have no control over, or something else, it’s important to note them.

Tariffs, quality control, credit cards, Amazon, not focused, not in belief.

The point of this exercise is to get to the root of any roadblocks and deal with them while also propelling yourself forward by taking advantage of opportunities and maximizing areas where you excel.

5 Steps to Creating Your Personal Development Plan

When you decide to create a personal development plan, you can follow this guide to help you get it right so you end up with actionable steps when you’re finished crafting the plan. Ultimately, these steps and details are most important because you cannot succeed at anything without implementation.

  1. Chose Your Focus Area
  2. Start at The End
  3. Opportunities Resulting from Reaching This Goal
  4. Threats Standing in Your Way
  5. Knock Out the Details

It’s just like math. When you get the order of operations right, you usually won’t fail. Let’s get into depth about what to do in each step of creating your personal development plan.

Step #1 – Choose Your Focus Area

Go through each area of your life to figure out which change is going to make the most impact. For example, if lack of income is affecting your life more than your lack of a diet and exercise plan, focus there first. The main goal here is to begin with the thing that most affects multiple areas of your life and aligns with your vision and values.

Step #2 – Start at The End

Start with the end in mind. The end is the result or goal of whatever it is that you’re doing. When you start with the end as if it’s just how you imagine it and then work your way back to today, it’s going to be much easier to schedule the proper tasks in your calendar that you need to do to reach this goal. Try this: Close your eyes and focus on the result you want from any goal. Be very specific when you think about it. Then open your eyes and write down what the goal is the SMART way. Remember that means the goal must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Step #3 – Opportunities Resulting from Achieving this Goal

One thing you want to do when you write down your goals is to think beyond reaching the goal itself. What is life going to look like when you achieve this goal? If you lose that 100 pounds like you want, what changes will result? If you get a certificate in SEO, what happens now? If you make a choice based on the steps required for reaching that goal, what new opportunities may come your way? Opportunity recognition is one of the enormous benefits of personal development.

Step #4 – Threats Standing in Your Way

Whatever goal you’re working on will require addressing the steps and tasks you need to do to meet your goal and what threats or roadblocks might get in your way. It may be something about you, your resources, your knowledge, etc. It might be competition or even bad weather. It might be the fact you have no money but you need to create a great, effective landing page. Whatever it is, make a note of it and plan for it.

Step #5 – Knock Out the Details

This is where you need to put it all in writing. Schedule it into your task calendar with all the details for each thing you need to do. Break down the big goal into smaller goal milestones so you can achieve a reinforcing sense of success all along the way to the big goal. This also makes the process easier when you create your step-by-step task list that will then be put into your calendar. Include the resources, support, and steps you will do to reach your goal.

Once you have this plan in motion, remember that it is ever-changing. It depends on what you are working on for yourself, but most of the time, you’ll want to periodically measure your progress and adjust and adapt as needed to ensure your success.

Tools & Strategies to Maximize Your Potential

Now that you have the idea of why and how to create your personal development plan, let’s talk about some tools and strategies that you can use to maximize your potential, save time, and reach your goals.

  • Save Time – If you want to save time and reach your goals faster, you may need to address ways this can happen. You may want to hire help, recruit friends, or get your kids to volunteer. It really depends on what the goal is. However, there are always ways to do things faster and easier if you explore options. For your own sake, be realistic about your time. If you need more time, consider hiring someone to do something like clean, cook, or something for your business.
  • Make Change Stick – One thing that happens with some people is that they use personal development to make a considerable change, and then they eventually fall off the wagon. All you must do to reset is go back to your calendar or planner. Ensure you’re inputting everything you need to do, and then ensure you are doing the things as scheduled. Once a habit is created, the change will stick.
  • Helpful Tools – The type of tools you use to help you craft and implement your personal development plan will vary, depending on your personality and your learning style. However, tools like personal development books, helpful TED talk videos, and courses online about personal development or that tackle any aspect of your development can go far in helping you get it done.

One thing that you can count on for sure is that creating and implementing a personal development plan will change your life. You’ll learn more about yourself. You’ll become more aware of your actions, as well as how your action choices affect your success. These will give you a new appreciation for where you are now at this point in time, and how far you can go in the future. Implementing your plan will change things even more. What are you waiting for?

Boost Your Productivity with These Essential Time Management Skills

If you’re looking to become more productive with your time, then you have to understand that you need to make constant and never-ending improvements to the way that you work. Fortunately, there are many time management skills that you can improve that will help you become more productive. Here are several essential time management skills that can help you boost your productivity.

Goal Setting

Time management isn’t a standalone skill. While you can’t create time, you can control how you use your time. When it comes to your productivity, the way you use your time should be directly driven by effective goal-setting. The most fundamental skill when it comes to time management is your ability to use the time you have in a manner that serves your goals.

Prioritization

When it comes to prioritizing work tasks, most people attempt to prioritize the items that are on their to-do list. However, many of the things that appear on their lists are ones that shouldn’t be on there. When it comes to time management, your prioritization efforts should start with eliminating tasks that you shouldn’t be performing. When you’ve done this, then you can begin to focus on finishing the most valuable work with the time and resources that are available.

Self-Motivation

There will always be days that you don’t want to do anything. On days like this, you have to be able to motivate yourself into action. When you can improve your self-awareness, you give yourself the information that you need to get yourself motivated to work. While you may have all the other time management skills necessary to remain productive, if you cannot motivate yourself, you’ll find yourself bowing to stress and pressure.

Focus

Being able to shut everything out and focus on the task at hand is one of those time management skills that you don’t realize the importance of it until you struggle with it. The best way to achieve focus is to stop multitasking and identify the most crucial task and block the rest out.

Delegation

As an entrepreneur, you need to ensure that all the necessary work gets completed. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be the one to do it. One of the most vital time management skills that you can master is knowing when you’re not the right person to perform the task. If you have a task that is more suited to someone else’s skill set, then you should consider delegating those tasks.

If you want to get the best results from your work, then you need to improve your time management skills. As you start to improve your time management skills, you begin to enjoy a boost in your productivity and get more work done in less time.

Achieving Self-Awareness and Its Benefits

What Is Self-Awareness?

Essentially, it’s knowing the state of your internal self, your intuitions, preferences, resources, and skills. Really, it’s about knowing that there is one thing you control in this life and it’s your perception of your world.

It’s much easier to navigate difficult and unexpected situations when you are in tune with your internal preferences. Perhaps more importantly, you can improve how you react to the unexpected when you are aware of how your unconscious self reacts to these types of events.

There are a whole host of benefits when it comes to developing your self-awareness. However, perhaps the biggest one is its influence in allowing you to choose your mindset, taking the negative and spinning into a positive.

People who lack awareness will run into the same obstacles repeatedly and never understand why it keeps happening. Someone with self-awareness has the capacity to look within for an honest self-examination, which helps them get to the root of issues.

For example, people seem to avoid approaching you with questions. If you lack self-awareness, then it’s likely you just accept this or feel frustrated by it. A self-aware person will take the time to determine why that’s the case.

There is a major difference between these two people. One of these people is willing and has the ability to get to the bottom of the problem, while the other isn’t interested. The former has the power of self-awareness. The power to fix the problems and to recognize when it is they who are the problem.

Examples of Self-Awareness

You have had a tough day at work, the only thing you want is to get home and chill out. Yet, here you are, stuck in traffic again. It starts with feeling bummed out about the holdup, but it quickly escalates into agitation and then straight up anger.

Let’s sprinkle a bit of self-awareness on this situation. No, you aren’t going to magically enjoy the time you spend stuck in traffic. However, it will allow you to change your reaction to being stuck in traffic. You can make the choice to not be annoyed.

You can choose to turn the radio up and sing along. It’s an opportunity to listen to an extra episode of your favorite podcast or to enjoy a moment of meditation and deep breathing. With a bit of self-awareness, you are capable of recognizing that you’re only being delayed for a few moments. The stress you allow it to bring on you can shave far more moments off of the end of your life.

Do you enjoy streaming? Are you the type of person who binges an entire series as soon as it lands on your favorite streaming service? You’re not alone, we are all capable of it. Some days, it’s the best way to spend your time, snuggled under a blanket as the rain falls outside.

There’s a small issue, though, many people binge as a way to escape problems. They slip away from reality to ignore a deadline, a fight, homework, etc. Obviously, this is the kind of binge that isn’t healthy.

This is where self-awareness comes in. With self-awareness you can recognize what type of binge you’re on – are you just enjoying a relaxing day or are you trying to escape something?

If you don’t possess self-awareness, then you may struggle to tell the difference between a day of streaming. It all looks the same, but it’s not. If you recognize your avoidance, then it will make the decision to stop much easier.

You will possess the ability to deal with the responsibilities before you start streaming. Plus, you can enjoy that binge much more when you know everything you needed to deal with has been dealt with. It’s now entertainment instead of procrastination.

Self-Awareness and Self-Understanding

You’re a complex entity. In order to become more self-aware, you have to understand yourself in all areas. There are a number of key areas that are important in terms of self-awareness, including your personality, values, habits, emotions, and your psychological needs as well.

Personality

People don’t tend to change their personality (or needs and values) as they learn about themselves. However, having an understanding of your personality will aid you in just about any situation.

More importantly, understanding your personality will allow you to seek out situations where you will thrive and avoid the situations that bring you the most stress. For example, an introverted person is going to experience far more stress in an active sales role when compared to an out and out extrovert. An introvert should look for situations that will play to their strengths.

Values

Do you know your values? It’s important. Your top priority might be supporting your children fully while someone else’s first priority is their spiritual health. Regardless, it’s easy to lose sight of the values that speak to your very core. You likely face a variety of issues throughout your day, likewise, there is an endless stream of opportunities you are faced with.

This is a daily occurrence. They rarely involve your values, though, so it’s easy to end up focused on activities that are low on your priority list and are completely unrelated to your values. Yet, really, every decision that you make, every opportunity that you take (or don’t), can be viewed through the lens of your values.

Does taking that overtime shift really honor your value of putting your children first? It might. It might not. That’s up to you to determine, but you can’t make that decision unless you have the self-awareness to recognize your values. You are more likely to accomplish important things if you remain focused on your values.

Habits

A habit is basically just a behavior that you carry out routinely, automatically. In an ideal world, you would possess healthy habits, ones that allow you to interact with others, cope with your stress load, and live well. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you possess at least one habit that doesn’t serve you well.

For example, a manager who makes major decisions without discussing the matter with anyone else will likely impact the employees who are impacted by those decisions. A manager with self-awareness would understand the need to hear their thoughts and weigh the options before making that final decision.

Emotions

Self-awareness of your emotions is a measure of your emotional intelligence. It’s important that we understand our feelings, as well as what is causing them, in what way they impact your actions and thoughts. That’s what emotional self-awareness is.

Once, you felt excited about your job, but now you don’t. Can you reignite your passion for your career? It would be difficult to do so if you don’t understand what is required internally to get excited. Yes, that’s a bit of an oversimplification.

Let’s use your vehicle as an example. You fill it with gas, you check the oil, you check tire pressure, and you expect it to start when you turn the key. A mechanic, however, has a deeper understanding. So, when the ignition turns over and your car won’t start, a mechanic has a deeper understanding with regards to why this may be the case.

You might not understand the internal process a car goes through to start, but a mechanic does. The same can be said for someone with emotional self-awareness. They understand their internal process; therefore, they have greater control over their emotions.

Needs

There are a number of psychological needs driving your behavior, including affection, achievement, power, and esteem. Understanding which of these needs holds the largest influence on your behavior, however, is key to knowing how this affects your relationships. For example, people with a high need for great status are attracted to jobs that provide them with that status. They seek out those positions within the social circle, their organization, and are drawn to things that symbolize the status they have achieved.

They want the respect, perks, and privileges that come with that status, perks that low-status people don’t and can’t have. They are motivated by that need over all other needs. Our needs cause our motivation and when we don’t satisfy those needs, whatever they are, it causes stress, frustration, and conflict. What psychological need takes precedence for you?

10 Key Benefits of Self-Awareness

With a bit of self-awareness, you can identify the gaps in your skills in every aspect of your life. It will also help you find the situations in which you will shine. It helps you manage stress, motivate yourself and others, and develop your skills as well. The benefits are endless, let’s dig deeper.

Deep Understanding of Yourself

This is something that will continue to grow. When you are aware that you function best with seven hours sleep under your belt, then you will go out of your way to ensure you get it. You will know precisely what to do in order to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. It is this knowledge of yourself (not just your need for sleep) that will aid you in every area of your life.

It Makes You Proactive

Forget firefighting and having to react all of the time. Self-awareness invites a proactive mindset. You will no longer cast yourself in the role of victim or ask why me? Rather, you will find the best way to achieve your goals, you will take active steps in order to advance your career. Self-awareness positions you in a place of strength.

Thick Skin

Most professionals will tell you that one thing a successful leader needs is thick skin. A thin-skinned leader takes everything personally, and it’s no way to live a happy life. This isn’t just something that’s effective for leaders, though, we could all stand to have thicker skin.

When it comes to your weaknesses and strengths, your talents, flaws, and abilities… you should already know it all. You don’t need someone else to point it out, but even if they do point it out, you don’t take it personally. If someone can’t recognize your worth, that’s their problem. Self-awareness means never wasting your energy or time trying to change the minds of others when it’s not necessary. Some people won’t like you and that’s okay.

Mistakes Facilitate Growth

People with self-awareness don’t beat themselves up over making mistakes. They recognize that mistakes facilitate growth, even if you make the same mistake more than once. There’s always a lesson to be learned. Like most things, life is a process and perfection is an illusion.

You Know Why

You should never be shocked by your behavior because with self-awareness you know why you behave the way you do. Of course, you can surprise yourself in other ways, like completing a marathon that you didn’t believe you could really do. What we’re talking about is behavior. Your behavior doesn’t come out of left field.

Improved Relationships

You’re honest, both about who you are and in how you deal with others. You hear what people say to you. There is no need for you to create an exhausting fake persona to protect your real self. You can just be you. There’s less conflict within relationships when people are self-aware and open about who they really are.

Letting Go

It’s easy to miss what is happening right now when you’re busy holding onto pain and wrongdoing of the past. Self-awareness helps you understand the importance of making peace with the people and the pain of your past.

More importantly, not giving it the power to hurt you over and over again. You can be grateful for the good times someone brought to your life and let go of the pain they may have brought. Self-awareness makes you strong enough to move forward.

Boundaries

You have your limits, you know where they are, and you know how to enforce them. That’s what self-awareness brings to your life. When faced with situations where your boundaries are being crossed, you have the strength to ask what went wrong and how you can change it.

Pursuing Progress

With self-awareness, there’s a deeper understanding of what steps are necessary in order to achieve the goals and dreams you have for your life. When you recognize your weaknesses, you can take steps to change that. Self-awareness makes you bolder, more confident, and it’s the foundation that you need to take the risks necessary to achieve greatness.

Being Fully Present

If you have a rich fantasy world in your head, then chances are you’re not being honest with yourself. You’re not going to make the changes to chase your dreams and improve your life if you spend too much time in your head, unless you’re somehow processing that fantasy into some kind of productive real-world results. Self-awareness allows you to be more present.

You are focused on yourself and what you need to do, yes, but you still have energy and time for others in your life. You know who you are, you know why you behave, you extend compassion to yourself and others. Your compassion comes from knowing your self-worth.

Prepared to Deal with Things Beyond Your Control

The benefits of self-awareness do not stop there. Self-awareness makes you better at dealing with the things that you cannot control. There are a lot of things in our lives that are completely outside of our control. You do control how you react in these situations, though.

When you control your reaction to situations and circumstances, you do so because you have an awareness of your internal preference, state, and resources. When you know how these situations impact your state of mind, then you can react differently to them. You get to decide whether getting stuck in traffic makes you angry or whether you are agitated or upset in other situations. It won’t always be easy, but it’s a major benefit that stems from self-awareness.

Additionally, a high level of self-awareness will allow you to anticipate how events influence you and your state of mind. You can better direct your life when you know how external factors impact your life negatively.

Self-awareness doesn’t just give you a better insight into your own emotions, it also improves your ability to understand the emotions of others. You know how you will react to certain situations, but you also recognize the behavior of others and have a good sense of how they will react to events and circumstances.

 It’s easier to get a feel for what is going on in their mind when you recognize this. Which means you can manage your own situations as well as that of others. If you are a parent, it means knowing how your children will react and being able to mitigate that. For a manager, it means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of employees and playing to their strengths.

Beyond that, your self-awareness can also influence the people around you, more specifically, their state of mind. When you are self-aware you can actively influence the mindset of others.

No, we’re not talking about manipulating people. Rather, people often mirror the behavior of others. Emotions can be contagious. Just think about how a boss in a bad mood can switch the mood of the office. You choose your mindset and you choose your mood, that can influence others in a big way. When you actively choose to find the positive in a bad situation, it will change how others react to difficult events, situations, and circumstances.

Becoming Self-Aware

If you are reading this and you’re thinking about your lack of self-awareness, that’s okay. You can improve your self-awareness, and there is more than one method by which to do so.

One way to do this is by keeping a journal. A journal is a great way to explore what’s going on in your mind on a daily basis. It will uncover patterns and let you get to know yourself. It will force you to consider your unconscious habits, why do you do the things that you do and how do they affect you? You can write anything and everything in your journal, from career goals to your personal hopes. Just take time out of your day to write in your journal.

Another excellent way to improve your self-awareness is to seek out opinions that you don’t necessarily agree with. Search them out and analyze them. This will force you to look at how self-awareness plays a role in how we interpret our own realities.

When you read a multitude of opinions on a particular subject, you can put your own feelings aside and try to see why others formulate opinions that differ from your own. Your experiences color your perception and our personal narratives play a major role in that. The same can be said for others as well.

Finally, take a moment to ask yourself why? We are all running a mile a minute in this busy, modern world. We rarely take the time to slow down and just be. It’s time to do that. When you do, ask why you enjoy life, why you hate life, why you want to be with others constantly, why you want to be alone, why you do what you do, just… why?

You might not know the answers right away, but it’s still important to ask and think about them. When you force yourself to think about it, you’re forcing yourself to improve your self-awareness.

The more you question, the more familiar you will be with what is running your daily life. This gives you a better idea of how you react and how you should react, unconsciously and consciously. Asking why improves your self-awareness as it forces you to think about what you do and why you do it.

This might be a good place to start in your journal. Regardless of how you choose to improve your self-awareness, what you will find is that it benefits you and your life in a multitude of ways.

Moving Your Business Forward

Life as an entrepreneur, or even just in general, inevitably will be filled with peaks and valleys.  You’re going to have times when things are going as planned and everything is happening right on schedule. You’re also going to have times when things are going at a snail’s pace and you can’t really see any progress.  Don’t worry!  A lack of tangible success all the time isn’t a sign you should stop moving forward.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

We’ve all heard the success stories infiltrating every stream of media.  A great idea is spawned and BAM… the next millionaire is born.  These stories might even be what actually got our own fires burning to take the leap into the entrepreneurial world in the first place. However, keep in mind that overnight success isn’t the norm. 

Hard work and dedication are your best bet for a successful entrepreneurial enterprise.  Don’t get discouraged and stop before you really even get started.  You’ve got to keep pushing and keep moving toward your goals. 

Be Deliberate in Strategy

The people who are deliberate in their strategy will have the best chances for success.  Luck is a big part of any business venture (although more as a skill in making the most of opportunities, not just blind gambles), but depending solely on luck isn’t the best option.  If “winging it” is your strategy, don’t count on success.  Take the time to build a plan.  Your moves should be strategic and well thought out. 

They say to win a game of chess, you’ve got to be aware of your next three moves.  The same is true in business. 

Lay the Groundwork

If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time so you don’t have to go back and waste time fixing mistakes that could have been avoided.  The importance of laying the groundwork for the long-term can’t be stressed enough in a solo entrepreneurship.  It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on running your business for the rest of your life or if you’re simply creating a business to sell off – you want it to last the test of time.  This takes time and attention to details. 

Skipping a step, no matter how small it may seem, could be what brings your business to its knees in the very near future.  A strong foundation is key to success. 

Know Your Business

A lot of the time we think we’ve got a great idea and then jump without really doing much research.  It’s something we feel passionate about or think could be the next big thing.  It’s exciting, but it’s also one-sided.  The fact is, you need market research and you need to know your customers.  Whether your plan is to offer a service or sell a product, you need to know the people who will actually pay money for it. 

Research shouldn’t stop at your friends and family either.  You need to go outside your immediate contacts and see if your idea could really take flight outside your circle and become successful.  

Rely on Your Vision and Principles

When you started your entrepreneurial adventure, it likely started with a vision.  You saw something great and went for it, dove in head first and reached for the stars.  That’s pretty amazing in itself, because a lot of us don’t have the gusto or gumption to take an idea and turn it into reality. 

However, don’t lose sight of your vision.  You might find yourself going back to the drawing board more than once and redesigning your strategy for success.  Don’t allow bumps in the road to deter you. 

Likewise, you will need to keep a tight hold on your principles and values.  You are going to be faced with decisions every single day, and taking the easy road isn’t always the best road.  It’s incredibly tempting to maybe skip a little red tape here and there, thinking you’ll go back and fix it later.  The best of intentions, right? 

These types of decisions could make or break your success.  Don’t look for the quick fix if it challenges the very core of your principles and values.  If you’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s probably not a good idea.  It’s better to take the long road and have a better chance of success than opt for a shortcut you’ll inevitably regret. 

Building a business isn’t for the meek and tender-hearted.  You’ll need tough skin and a ton of patience if you want sustainable success.  You’re going to have to think critically and avoid emotional, spur-of-the-moment decisions.  Take the time to build it right or you’ll spend more time repairing your mistakes than enjoying your success.   

Setting Bigger Goals

We all have goals; some people have more ambitious ones than others. Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is? Why some people are more successful than others? Are they smarter, richer, or somehow more savvy? Maybe, but in most cases it is because they have a clearer vision of what they want to do in life and an aggressive plan on how to get there. From that point, it then becomes a matter of following the plan.

But that is not always as easy as it sounds. Here you will find some tips and techniques successful people use to get where they want to go and how you can use these same tips to achieve your life goals. So let’s get started!

How to Get Clear on Your Life Vision

Life is like a road trip – before starting out, we map out the best route to get to our destination. Most of us would not think to get in the car and start driving without having a destination and map of how to get there, yet many of us do this exact thing with our life – no vision or idea of how to get there. The two go hand-in-hand … you must have the vision or goal set, and then plan the things you must do to achieve it. But how do you do that?

Your life vision starts out with asking yourself (and not being afraid to answer honestly) what you really want to do with your life personally and professionally. In this day and age, we can almost do anything we put our mind to doing. There are so many opportunities that the hardest part is sifting through them all to find the one you want. Rely on your dreams, values, aspirations, and desires to help you make the right choice for you.

For most people, it is only feasible to plan out their next five or ten years at the most. In some cases, they will be able to go out longer – out to 20 or 30 years, but it is best to start small and build on that choice. Starting small does one other thing – the way technology changes, what you want to do five years from now may not even exist or it may have evolved into something that did not exist five years ago when you planned it out. On top of that, you will also be growing along the way, which will also open up new possibilities you may not have considered before. By going out only five years, you will have fewer adjustments to make along the way.

To make the process easier, journal your thoughts or use a vision board to document all the things that go into your decision. Don’t be surprised if it ends up taking more time that you thought to reach a conclusion.

When you are planning out your life vision, start at the far end and work backwards back to today. As counterintuitive as it may sound, this is the best way to plan out your life. For example, if you want to be a surgeon, you would plan backward from the kind of surgeon you want to be first, then the school that teaches that surgery. Next you would choose a medical school to become a doctor first. Then which school you would go to get your four-year degree. It could even come down to choosing which courses would serve you best to take in high school. But in this example, you first must have the life goal set – wanting to be a specific type of surgeon.

How to Choose and Set Big, Scary Goals

Many of us take too conservative of an approach to our goal setting. Why? Because we do not want to set a goal so high that we end up failing.

But here is the truth – even if you do not achieve your big, scary goal, you most likely have progressed much farther than you would have if you had set a lesser goal. So even though you did not achieve what you started out to accomplish, you still ended up farther down the road because of your lofty goal.

However, there is such a thing as a goal being too high – so high that the chance of accomplishing it is almost nil. As a guide to setting your goal, check to see if other people have accomplished what you want to do and see how they got there. If you have similar resources available, then you should be able to attain a similar goal, too. But if nobody has achieved it, it might not realistically attainable unless you have a particularly creative slant to achieving it that no one else has yet tried.

And speaking of people, another tip is to surround yourself with other successful people. It is proven that success breeds success. If you read or talk to other people that have accomplished similar goals, it lights a fire in you and boosts your desire to succeed even higher. In doing so, many times you can learn from their accumulated insights and experiences to discover new opportunities and avoid preventable mistakes along the way.

As the creator of the light bulb Thomas Edison once said, “I didn’t fail. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” There are two lessons to be learned here: First don’t look at your mistakes as failures, they are just part of your learning process. Second, persistence pays off, and even though you may hit some speed bumps along the way, in the end you will succeed.

And something else to ponder – most of the wealthiest people today have been wealthy, lost it all (some several times over), but then came back to build an even higher level of wealth. In short, don’t be afraid of failure. The mistakes you make are just part of the process – especially if you are going into uncharted or unexplored territory goal-wise.

One last thing on choosing big and scary goals – have you accomplished something in the past that you thought you did not have a chance of accomplishing? If so, use that as fuel for your current fire. Success builds on success. And what if you don’t yet have any inspirational accomplishments? Use the success of others as your catalyst! If they can do it, so can you.

How to Get Over the Fear That Your Life Goals Are Impossible


We all have things we would like to accomplish in life. Even if you may not have clearly-expressed goals written down in your journal or on your vision board yet, deep down there is a fire smoldering that is just waiting for that breath of wind to ignite it into a firestorm. But many people let fear prevent that fire from becoming anything more than the smolder. Why is that?

What people say matters to us – just make sure it is the right people we listen to.

Dr. Seuss, the well-known American children’s book author once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” That is pretty heavy philosophy for children under the age of 6 – it is even heavy for us adults.

In other words, the people that mock your failure do not impact your life, so it doesn’t matter what they think, and with the people that do impact your life, your failure doesn’t matter to them … because in most cases they have failed at things, too, and came back in their own right, so they understand your plight and will encourage you to bounce back and continue your journey.

This is a good quote to keep handy and to remind yourself of often. In this day of social media, many people say hurtful things on these platforms that they would never say to that person face-to-face. But because they can hide behind the scenes, they think it is okay to negatively impact people. The problem is that people care about what others say and because of what was said, many take it to heart with devastating results. It has happened several times over the course of the last few years. But those people making the hurtful comments in most cases do not impact the person being hurt beyond words being said, so do your best to brush it off and focus on the people that can (and do) impact you. They are your true friends and the ones that will help you reach your life goals.

You will fail – get over it!

We all fail at some point. Some failures may be small and inconsequential; others may be devastating. You must accept failure for what it is – one way that didn’t work. Analyze why it didn’t work, adjust and drive forward. If road you took at the fork led to an insurmountable roadblock, back up and take the other one instead. A good mantra to keep in mind is what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger!

Adjust with the times

Here is another quote worth keeping in mind; the great John Wooden, the Head Basketball Coach at the University of California – Los Angeles from 1948 to 1975 once said, “Failure itself isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” This is especially applicable today the way jobs are being replaced by technology. If you don’t change with the times, the job you are doing today could be non-existent tomorrow. In this case it would be fatal to your professional life because you did not keep pace with changing times.

How to Make Scary Goals More Manageable

Having scary goals brings with it a certain amount of fear. Whether real or perceived, that fear can have a significant impact upon you and ultimately your accomplishment of those life goals. So how do you get past the fears holding you back and move forward again? In these three ways:

  • Breaking goals down into smaller chunks
  • Remembering your ‘why’
  • Learn what is holding you back

Breaking goals down into smaller chunks

Remember the old adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”. It is true when faced with what seems like insurmountable and scary goals of things you want to accomplish. Here is how to take the scariness out.

First write down all the things you must do to accomplish the end goal – your life’s goal. A journal is a good place to write these down. Next, separate the tasks into bite-sized chunks – something you can get done in the time allotted for that piece. After that, put each chunk on a timeline with a milestone of when you think you should have it done – a mini-deadline date.

Now use your timeline, due date, chunk of tasks and get started. If something is taking you longer than expected, adjust your timeline appropriately so that you have the time you need to finish that group of tasks. If that pushes everything else farther out, then so be it. After all, what is the worst that can happen if you accomplish your goal a little later on your timeline than expected. At least you are making forward progress toward accomplishment and success!

Remembering your ‘why’

Sometimes we get so involved in our mini-goals or other things in life that we overlook or forget about the end goal. When you feel that happening, bring back up and review your reason or ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing. It was important in the beginning and most likely is still an important goal to work toward, but in the heat of the moment, you lost your way and got off track. But by reviewing your plan for life (because you had written everything down in your journal or on your vision board), it can bring back the drive or desire –  your ‘why’ if you will – for doing this in the first place and can be the kick in the butt you need to get going again and back on track.

Learn what is holding you back

In many cases we get off track because something is holding us back. Until you figure out what that is, it can be difficult to make forward progress again. And what is holding you back can prevent you from getting started in the first place or crop up unexpectedly mid-way on your journey. You must get past the ‘what’ that is holding you back.

To get past the ‘what’, you must first identify it. It usually is some “obstacle” in your way. And it can be at the unconscious level, so you are not even aware of it – you just know something is inhibiting your progress. One thing to look out for is limiting beliefs. These are things from your past that are driving your negative thinking. Usually a trigger of some sort brings them up and starts affecting you. Write down the feelings or emotions of your thoughts that happen, when they happen and what triggered them. Working backwards like this, you should be able to identify the limiting belief – something from your past that is holding you back. Once identified, you can dispel that thought as false and turn it into a positive that it is something you can do, so your progress is no longer impeded.

Mindset Techniques to Help You Focus On Your Goals

Much of what we do accomplish or don’t is due to our mindset. Our minds are very powerful – much more so than most of us think – so whatever your mind is thinking, your body will often do. And this is also the case when working toward life goals. But fortunately, there are some techniques we can use to change a negative mindset into a more positive one.

Visualizations

Also known as guided imagery, it is an intervention technique that focuses our imagination in a positive way. There are actually two types of visualizations: process and outcome. In the first, we focus on a routine or practicing of a habit. This is the one you see athletes using frequently use before they perform an event.

You see it all the time – the small things they do (in sequence) before each and every event. Swimmers for example will shake their arms and legs before getting ready to dive in; golfers will frequently swing their club back and forth while eyeing up the path from their ball to the hole. 

The second type is rehearsing the thoughts and emotions we will feel once we achieve our life goal. At times they can be overwhelming in themselves. Ideally the best results come from a combination of both types of visualizations.

Visualizations work because our mind doesn’t distinguish between what has happened and what has not. So by going through your script to make your visualization happen repeatedly each day, the mind thinks it is happening. This in turn brings you more opportunities and confidence to make your visualization actually happen than you would have had without visualizations.

Inspiration

This mindset technique is the drive or the ‘why’ that keeps you working toward your goal. And while similar to the mindset above, this one uses physical types of inspiration. Some people use this mindset technique in the form of motivational quotes printed and placed in places where they can see, read, and ponder them each day. Others write out a list of reasons why they are working toward their goal. They read that list each day and make time to meditate each item on the list. Some people use things different from these two examples.

The point is whatever method you use to inspire you has to be physical and must speak directly to you. Hence because it speaks only to you, while you can pattern your inspiration mindset off of someone who has succeeded using theirs, you will need to really think through and personalize it to you. In other words, use another person’s method as an inspiration for your mindset if you want;,or you can create something entirely new and untested from the start. 

Raising your vibration

This mindset technique is somewhat of a combination of visualization and inspiration. Here is how it works. Every thought and feeling that comes across your mind has a value or resonates at a certain vibrational level. The higher you can get a thought to resonate, the closer you get to intention – the place where you feel joy, happiness, and the feeling that your ultimate life dream might actually can become an accomplished goal.

Every single thought that crosses your mind can have an impact on you. Whether you choose to let it influence you or not is your decision. By dismissing the ones that could have a negative impact and focusing on the ones positively affecting you, you’ll raise your vibration toward a more positive and higher value. The more you practice this, the more natural positive thinking becomes.

To help you with this mindset, create a list of affirmations or things that you are thankful for in your life. Post them where you can frequently see them as you go about your day. When you run across them, repeat each of them either silently or out loud a few times.

Meditation is another way to practice the vibration mindset. Set aside some time each day to clear your mind and connect with yourself on a higher level. How you do it or for how long is up to you; the value from this comes from doing it each and every day.

As strange as it may seem, the kinds of food you eat can also affect your vibration level. Foods that are artificial, processed, treated with pesticides or made from unnatural chemicals will lower your vibration level. You will also want to limit or avoid flour-based foods, cereals, dairy, and sugar. However, organic foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil increase your vibrations.

Surrounding Yourself with Positive People

Just like misery loves company, so does success. Because our life is a reflection of our actions, the more we put into it, the more we will get out of it. The same is true with the people you associate with. The more positive those folks are, the more positive you will become. It is almost like some invisible thing rubs off from them to you. And, of course, the same is true if you hang out with negative people.

But remember we are trying to raise our vibration level and not lower it, so positive people for friends, acquaintances, and even co-workers are a better choice. And because you are trying to be positive, you will have more in common with them anyway.

And something interesting will happen, too, as you become more positive. You will attract more positive people around you. Your positive aura projects out and draws in the type of people you want to associate with to you. You most likely would never have connected with them otherwise. Now your sphere of positivity has grown to a new level and these people will help you get closer to your goal.

Traits of Positive People

Positive people share some traits that negative people do not possess. In particular, we focus on being relentless workers, having positive attitudes in everything we do, being extremely inquisitive asking question surrounding topics of interest to us, and being dreamers. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Relentless workers – These people work hard, and by associating with them, they will in turn push you to work harder and do more. Their true passion and commitment to their work is their recipe for success, and their drive will push you to do more, too.

Having positive attitudes – It should be no surprise (but probably is to some people) to realize that happy people accomplish more than unhappy ones. While associating with negative people can bog you down, the opposite is true of positive people.

Being extremely inquisitive – By having an inquisitive mind, these people tend to ask questions that may shed a different perspective on a topic – one that may have otherwise not been explored. And by having that different perspective, it can influence some decision that could affect your move toward your goal. The important part is to see all sides of an issue and then make the best decision based on the information you have – information from questions asked by inquisitive associates.

Being a dreamer – By dreaming, we are talking about people that have lofty goals themselves. Through association, you can feed off their goals as a path to your own success. Maybe they are doing something bold that you were afraid to try, but now will because of them trying it and succeeding. In short, you are the sum of the people whom you spend time with. Make sure those people are the ones that will move you closer to your life goal.

Almost all people have goals of some type; some will be loftier than others. Not every effort will immediately succeed, but the accumulated sum of it all eventually will if you don’t give up. Aim high, make a plan, take chances, surround yourself with positive people, keep on track to your goal and you will succeed! 

Emotional Maturity

Without a doubt, emotions are one of the most powerful responses that any person can have. Emotions influence our thought processes, hence affecting our overall wellbeing. Emotional maturity is the ability to understand and effectively manage your full range of emotional responses in a manner that sustains good health.

In the quest for self-improvement, having some control of how your emotions influence your behavior and physical reactions is an important aspect to master. Life is unpredictable, and every day comes with its own set of surprises which may leave us ecstatic or distraught.

Accepting the good and the bad as part of life equips you mentally and emotionally to better handle every eventuality in a manner that seeks a lasting solution. Emotional maturity is a virtue that is systematically propagated in an individual by turning their experiences into learning opportunities that boosts their emotional tenacity.

Steps To Building Emotional Maturity

  1. Self-consciousness. The first step to developing emotional intelligence is doing a complete evaluation of yourself to map out personal triggers and how you respond to such triggers. Without exercising some level of control over your emotions, it is easy to lose yourself to situations that can be remedied tactfully by exercising emotional restraint.

    In so doing, you end up aggravating a simple issue into a complicated situation. Self-consciousness entails knowing things that influence your thought processes and feelings in a positive or negative manner. It leads to important personal decisions like environments to avoid, friends to cut off, and those to keep, as well as knowing when it is best to respond to something.
  2. Embracing responsibility. A big part of self-development is applying yourself in a productive manner that yields results. Taking responsibility of your own situation lets you get control over events in your life. This means that you blame less and focus more on dealing with the real situation.

    Having a sense of duty also sharpens your ability to accept failure and recover quickly, as well as getting accustomed to success. Responsibility also means practicing self-care. Looking out for yourself entails developing healthy self-esteem, eating proper meals, developing a support system, practicing mindfulness, and getting adequate rest time.
  3. Striving for self-reliance. Creating an independent environment for yourself saves the burden of frustration and disappointment. Relying on your efforts lets you manage your expectations realistically.

    You can relate your level of success to the collective efforts you invested and work out even better means for self-improvement. This way you are more content with the control you possess over the various aspects influencing your life.
  4. Focusing on the present. Emotional maturity develops as a result of living in the present time. You fashion your future by mastering the current situations. Staying oblivious of things happening in your life ends up in repressed feelings, which at some point turn you into an emotional wreck. Stay on top of things by dealing with situations as they unfold. This means you move forward free of unnecessary emotional baggage.
  5. Being accountable. Emotional maturity helps you find the best outcome for every situation, but it is not a guarantee that you will not make mistakes. In the occurrence of blunders, it is plausible to reflect on the situation and take full responsibility for your shortcomings by making amends. It is not only fulfilling, but also prevents unhealthy habits such as being too hard on yourself and living with guilt, which would negatively impact your self-esteem.

Emotional maturity is a personal attribute that is constantly put to test, but the more you exercise it in different situations the more it becomes natural for you. Being emotionally intelligent is essential for optimal health in the dynamic nature of modern lifestyles. 

Being Proactive for Your Own Goals and Dreams

If you ever want to achieve your goals in life, you have to be proactive. You can’t be passive in the way you go through life and expect to come out ahead in the end. Those who are passive in life tend to fulfill others’ goals and dreams or just coast through life.

In this article, we’re going to talk about ways that you can start being proactive today towards your own goals and dreams.

Start small

You’ve likely heard the phrase “biting off more than you can chew.” Being proactive doesn’t have to be about taking on all of or more than you can handle. Sometimes, being proactive just means handling everything you have to in small steps and getting it done over time.

It’s far easier to start a new habit when you take things slow and start small. Break your tasks into smaller chunks and implement small changes as you go along; this will make it far easier to get everything done, keep yourself motivated, and accomplish everything you’ve set out to accomplish.

Focus on the solution

Far too many people waste time getting hung up on the problem rather than focusing on what they’re going to do about it. No problem is insurmountable. You just have to find the right way to deal with it and the right solution to resolve things.

Being proactive is all about focusing on the solution and not wasting your time being hung up on the problem. Being proactive encourages you to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. You have to compartmentalize and try to view the situation without emotional attachment.

Own your mistakes and move on

Everyone makes mistakes; you just have to know how to handle them. Those who are proactive always own all of their mistakes. They admit to them and keep themselves in check. Mistakes and setbacks happen as a natural part of life. The trick is not letting them get in your way of moving past them.

Acknowledge your mistakes and setbacks, rectify any damage, and move on. Learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for them. This will help you to move forward and keep being proactive towards achieving all the goals you set for yourself and the dreams you have.

Check your progress

Checking your progress is a great way to keep you motivated and keep you on track. It’ll make it obvious when something isn’t working and needs to be changed. Those who are proactive always keep tabs on their progress as they move through, keeping them motivated, driven, and focused to get what they want.

Keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you deserve it. Check and make sure you’re staying on the right path toward achieving your goals and dreams and make any changes where necessary.

Stay focused

Those who are proactive towards their goals and dreams stay focused on them. They keep all they want to achieve within sight and keep moving towards them. In order to be proactive and achieve what you want to achieve, you can’t get sidetracked on your goals or let any of them fall by the wayside.

You have to be proactive to achieve the things you want in life. You can’t just move through life passively and expect to get anywhere; it’s not going to work. Being proactive isn’t always the easiest thing, but it’s necessary.

We hope this article has inspired you to move forward in life and proactively strive to achieve your goals and dreams. We wish you all the best in your efforts to be proactive and remain proactive in life.

Do You Need Dedication or Direction to Be a Successful Entrepreneur?

The short answer is you need both.  You are going to need a bottomless supply of both dedication and direction if you are planning on being a successful solo entrepreneur.  The problem is, we tend to confuse the two and end up relying on one more than the other and this can have disastrous results.

Why You Need Dedication, and Lots of It!

During your business venture, you are going to be tested.  It’s highly likely you’ll be tested over and over again.  It will come to the point where you are thinking of throwing in the towel and walking away. 

When you look around you, it may seem like everyone else has found their path and are going strong, building their brand, and even making money… and then there’s you… barely able to keep the light bill paid, and you feel like this business idea is just taking too much out of you without any return on your investment of time, money, heart, and soul. 

This is where your dedication comes in.  You’ve got to be dedicated to your goal, your dream, and your success.  Dedication is the quality of your commitment.  It is fueled by determination, drive, and motivation. 

When push comes to shove, are you the type to turn, tuck tail, and run?  Or are you more of the type to hold on tight and brace yourself for the rough waters?  Do you have the grit and determination to realize your dream as a solo entrepreneur? 

Those are the questions you want to ask yourself before entering into a solo entrepreneurial adventure.  The truth of the matter is that you won’t really know how you’re going to react until you are neck-deep and forced to make those decisions. 

There are many unpredictable stressors you are likely to encounter, but remaining dedicated in your pursuit is critical.

Dedication is Useless without Direction!

Your life and success as a solo entrepreneur depend on direction.  You wouldn’t plan a cross-country road trip without consulting an atlas, would you? You can be highly dedicated to saving money for the trip, and you can be extremely dedicated to making it to all the great tourist attractions. However, if you don’t know the distance between gas stations on long stretches of highway, you might just end up causing yourself a lot of undue stress. 

Planning is critical.  Just like your road trip, your business is going to need special care and attention with planning.  Planning is incredibly hard if you don’t know your direction!  Your business plan is your atlas.  It’s your road map.  It’s how you are going to make things happen, and what direction you want your company to follow. 

Let’s look at this road trip again.  You are starting out in California and want to hit a few major points on your way to see the Statue of Liberty in New York.  If you don’t have direction and haven’t planned your trip ahead of time, you could end up with all sorts of detours and backtracking.

The thing about backtracking:  We never seem to give it the attention it would have gotten had our direction been purposeful in the first place.  We are more likely to get irritated because now we have to take the time to go back and fix something.  We are also more likely to forget it altogether and just skip that step, and if you haven’t figured it out already, skipping steps as a solo entrepreneur can have devastating effects on your success. 

Be Dedicated to Your Direction

Now more than ever we are a multi-tasking world.  Especially as an entrepreneur, we wear many different hats.  We are the owner, operator, sales department, AR/AP, marketing, repair and maintenance department, and IT department.  At any given point in the day we might need two or more hats concurrently to get the job done. 

It should be no surprise then that we have basically laid the foundation for complacency and slipshod performance.  Lack of direction causes us to multi-task to the point of being careless and lackadaisical. 

When your direction is purposeful, you are less likely to take a haphazard approach, thus your results are better.  Doing five tasks at once results in giving one-fifth of yourself to every task, and we do it mindlessly just for the sake of getting it done.  If we make it to completion, and that’s a big if, the results are never going to be as good as we would like, or as good as they could have beeen had our direction been clearer and we had a plan to follow. 

Don’t shortchange yourself in the business world.  If you want to be a successful solo entrepreneur, set your direction and then be dedicated in your pursuit!

Choosing Your Exercise for a Relaxed Mind

Exercise is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. The mind and body benefit in many ways from simple daily exercises. It is well known that exercise can lead to an improved physique. However, exercise can also improve the function of the brain as well.

Exercise releases endorphins. These are neurotransmitters that create a sense of euphoria and alertness. The production of stress hormones like cortisol also decreases with exercise. Simple exercises can help to regain control over life.

Equipment or gym memberships are not required. Everyday activities are enough to live a healthier life. Every exercise should be viewed as an opportunity to strengthen the mind and body.

Walking Outside

Walking is the simplest form of exercise there is. There is little thought that goes into walking, and it doesn’t feel like a chore. A walk outside every day can alleviate stress and add years to one’s life.

A walk outside promotes more neural activity in the brain. It is believed that blue skies help to promote relaxation. The fresh air that the brain receives from outside promotes circulation. Improved circulation can increase cognitive abilities.

Hiking

Hiking offers an opportunity to get in touch with nature. There is a strong connection between the human body and a natural environment.

The human body is supposed to be neutrally charged. However, contact with any surface besides the bare ground creates a negative charge. This charge accumulates over a lifetime and does not leave the body until it encounters an opposing charge.

A hike can help to relieve those charges. When you walk on the ground with your bare feet, this displaces the negative charge. As a result, the sinuses clear up, energy increases, and immunity improves. The body must be neutrally charged to maintain optimal health.

Yoga

Yoga and meditation are commonly practiced around the world. They are best known for their healing and relaxing effects on the body. Yoga uses a variety of techniques to improve breathing.

In fact, many of the symptoms related to stress and anxiety can be alleviated with improvements in breathing. Anytime the body releases stress hormones, the parasympathetic nervous systems activates. This results in rapid breathing. If breathing can be controlled, then feelings of stress and anxiety become more manageable.

Another benefit of yoga is increased confidence. Yoga focuses on the development of the core muscles. Improvement of these muscles can lead to a better posture. There are many reports that correlate a strong posture with confidence.

Weight Lifting

Weight lifting can increase the production of testosterone. This hormone is known to inhibit the production of cortisol and regulate hormonal levels. The body also releases a surge of endorphins during a vigorous exercise.

Weight lifting improves physique. This can help to create a greater sense of self-esteem for some people.

Discipline is a key aspect of weight lifting. The discipline that is gained from weight lifting can make other tasks much easier. Thus, the benefits of weight lifting can transfer to many other aspects of life as well.

Living in Harmony with Yourself

Living in harmony with yourself is a large concept to unpack. The notion that you have to know yourself from all aspects could seem daunting to individuals who suffer from self-esteem issues.

But as overwhelming as living harmoniously with yourself might sound, you have the ability to do so. In fact, implementing this practice into your wellness routine can help to improve your quality of life. Let’s consider how.

What Does Living in Harmony With Yourself Mean?

When you listen to a choir sing, what’s the first thing you notice? Aside from their beautiful voices, it’s the fact that they all can sing together so fluidly. It’s like their voices somehow become one and they sing from a unified position.

When a person decides to live in harmony with themselves, they choose to accept all aspects of their personality. They let those characteristics work together to create a beautiful and unique person.

However, it comes with its fair share of challenges. To begin, individuals who experience a low self-esteem may not value every part of their character. They may allow certain things about their personality to bring them down, thus creating an imbalance within their psyche.

In order to accept all aspects of your personality and begin living in harmony with yourself, you have to be willing to put in some work. Let’s consider a few steps you can implement to make this transition easier.

Learn How to Make Your Flaws Work for You

We all have flaws. There’s no denying or getting around that. Instead of focusing on your imperfections, why not find a silver lining in them. For example, you may have a hard time communicating effectively with others. Instead of wallowing in the fact that you can’t orally communicate, discover creative ways to express yourself. Some individuals find comfort in writing or drawing. This provides them with an outlet to speak for themselves without feeling judged.

Practice Acceptance and Gratitude

There are some “flaws” that may take some time to work out. This is where practicing acceptance comes into play. If you find yourself obsessing over your so-called awkwardness or inability to make friends, perhaps it’s time to re-shift your focus and accept who you are.

You have to remind yourself that there are billions of people on this planet. If everyone had the same personality, do you think it would be interesting? Probably not. Therefore, understand that your uniqueness contributes to the diversity found here.

Next, find something to be grateful for regarding your flaws. If you don’t think you’re social enough, perhaps find a reason to be proud of that trait. This will help you enhance your self-esteem without feeling the need to compare.

Improve What You Can Change

If you have the ability to change something about yourself, make an effort to do so. This will contribute to feeling more balanced and harmonious.

We all have to work towards self-improvement and progression. Without putting the effort in, reaching a high level of inner-harmony is impossible. Therefore, do whatever it takes to meet your goals.

However, it’s important with this step specifically, to not do something only to appease others. That would directly contradict your harmonious effort. Instead, do it for yourself and reap the benefits.

Although accepting all areas of yourself is challenging, it is well worth the effort. You’ll begin to notice a complete shift in how you view and speak about yourself. Tasks that you might have long suffered as a big struggle, like talking to people or meeting work deadlines, may start seeming less difficult and stressful.

Managing Risk

We’ve all heard the old saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Like most old sayings, there’s a strong element of truth in those words. At the risk of following one old saying with another, without risk there is not, and cannot be, any reward. There is an element of chance inherent in every venture, and unless that chance is recognized and faced, the venture will never become reality.

That being said, there are people who are natural risk takers, as well as people who are very risk averse. The key to success when it comes to risk-taking is understanding what type of person you are and how this personality trait can affect your outcomes when it comes to dealing with risk.

It is important to keep in mind that the secret of success when it comes to managing risk is mitigating potential damage in favor of potential gain. Therefore, neither type of risk personality, in and of itself, provides an advantage over the other when it comes to risk management. A risk taker can just as easily overreach themselves as a risk averse person can under reach themselves.

When faced with a situation that offers reward and risk, the key is to coolly and impartially assess the potential positive and negative outcomes and decide accordingly. Successful business people are sometimes seen as risk-takers simply because they understand the danger in a situation better than anyone else involved. So, while it appears that they are courting disaster, the reality is that the risks involved have been managed so as to control negative consequences.

In this way, the successful person who takes a risk is very much like a professional tightrope walker. To the observer it looks death-defying and, perhaps, frightening. To the performer, it is simply another day at the office. Their skill, training, and preparation sufficiently offset the inherent risk to make the feat only appear to be remarkably dangerous. In your own pursuits, don’t be afraid of risk, but at the same time, don’t take the risk lightly. Weigh your options carefully, and when you arrive at a prudent decision, move forward with confidence.

Dealing with Psychological Clutter

Changing the way, you think about things in your everyday life can be challenging. It requires that you change your pattern of thoughts or to reduce the mental clutter.

Psychological clutter is a collection of multiple components including stress, thoughts, levels of satisfaction with life, and mental health. The word ‘clutter’ may elicit images of a home overrun by too many things. Our psychological health can experience a similar effect if we are not careful. The act of living in a cluttered environment can be a sign of anxiety, depression, or ADHD.

We have to take the time to examine what triggers psychological clutter. Often, we have a bit of emotional confusion that we are carrying around that distracts us from living our best life. As time passes, it can negatively impact our mental wellness.

Psychological Clutter Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety is a common side effect of mental clutter. Anxiety can manifest itself by appearing in the form of panic attacks, agitation, or a sort of extreme alertness.

Psychological trauma typically follows a life-altering event and can leave someone in a state of shock and disbelief, leading them to disconnect from others.

Some people may experience or project aggression based on feelings of shame or guilt about the things that have happened to them. Common reactions to others might include outbursts, mood swings, or irritability.

Another side effect of mental clutter can be sleep disruption. If we are unable to quiet our minds, night terrors or nightmares can insert themselves into our minds, leading us to relive traumatic events.

Overstimulation of the mind can also trigger mental clutter, and we are in no short supply of overstimulation these days. If you find that multitasking is draining you, it may be time to cut back and focus on doing one thing at a time without interruption.

Decluttering

Psychological clutter can be challenging to solve and may even require the help of a professional. Some conditions may benefit from cognitive behavioral health therapy, counseling, or medication to help relieve you of symptoms that accompany these conditions.

If you are under the treatment of a professional, you will want to adhere to your treatment plan. If you are struggling with a prescribed regimen, be proactive in communicating this so that you and your provider can devise an alternative plan.

Decluttering your mind and physical life can help to provide you with healthy life experiences. To begin, look for opportunities to take control of your psychological baggage. You can start by taking control of the physical space around you.

Set boundaries. Personal boundaries can help you maintain control of the health of your mind and your own space. It is also an excellent method of self-preservation against those who may not always have your best interest at heart.

The act of removing the clutter in your physical space can do wonders to raise your spirit, awareness, and self-confidence. A clean and organized space will enable you to think more clearly and function at optimal levels.

Next, take stock of your friends and family. Are they motivating? Do they inspire feelings of joy? You may have to make a few difficult decisions to distance yourself from those who do not contribute to your mental wellness and keep those who help you to maintain a good attitude.

These are just a few tips to help you handle psychological clutter. Do not allow psychological clutter to isolate you from the rest of the world.

Focus and Endurance for Your Career

In any activity or endeavor, it is important to build endurance. Endurance can be defined as the ability to remain dedicated to the task at hand and bring it successfully to conclusion. Some call it fortitude, others call it strength or stamina. No matter what you call it, though, endurance is the ability to persevere and get the job done, no matter what.

Usually, when we speak of endurance, we’re referring to physical activity. Yet, endurance is as important in the business world as it is anywhere else. In business circles, endurance usually takes the form of focus. Instead of physical prowess, it becomes the ability to concentrate successfully on a given task. Focus is a critical skillset for any business owner, especially in today’s fast-paced world where success often means keeping several equally important balls in the air at one time.

So, how do you focus on multitasking, a situation where, by its very definition, several things are happening at once? Well, the key to successful focus is attention. When several things are happening simultaneously, you need to concentrate on only one thing at a time. This doesn’t mean that you bring one task to full completion before you start on another. Rather, you spend just enough time on a given task to take it to the next stage of development and then you turn your attention to another task.

In some sense, it’s a little like being a mother duck with ducklings. You give your attention to the duckling that is farthest out of line, nudging it forward to where it should be, before you turn your attention to the next little duck. Each duckling gets a measure of your focus, but none gets your full attention all the time. In this way, each task gets moved along in turn, and all are successfully completed in time.

Do You Deal with Your Feelings?

Destructive behavior is often associated with individuals not dealing with their emotions in a healthy way. Repressed emotions are often referred to as “festered anger” just waiting to be released. And insurmountable joy often results in tears because the emotions are so overwhelming.

Those are examples of three different emotions with very different outcomes. However, what glues them together is one concept: not properly dealing with the feelings at hand.

What Are Feelings?

Feelings are natural reactions to a specific stimulus. When you cry during a sad movie, your brain is reacting in an emotional way. When you jump for joy at a job promotion, you’re likely excited about this new opportunity.

One journalist aptly quoted, “People who can clearly identify how they are feeling in times of intense distress gain access to information that can be used as input to manage problems, make judgments, and make progress toward meaningful goals.” So, the idea is if you’re able to deal with your feelings, whether negative or positive, you’re able to make noteworthy changes in self-development.

Although that sounds simple, understanding your feelings can be tricky. In fact, certain disorders are triggered as a result of not dealing with stressors or stimulus appropriately.

In order to determine if you’re dealing with your feelings appropriately, you have to first lose the idea of judging your feelings. One of the basics of meditation is allowing thoughts or feelings to occur without judgment. This helps your mind and body feel a tolerance to those thoughts and process them as potentially useful information without evoking an emotional response. This allows you to develop the best plan of action in a constructive and concise manner.

How Can You Determine if You Deal with Your Feelings?

Since feelings and emotions can be so overwhelming, it can be hard determining if you handle them properly. Often times, we think we’re dealing with our emotions in a constructive manner when we really aren’t. Let’s consider a few personal questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re effectively dealing with your emotions.

Ask yourself:

Do I Express Myself?

One of the building blocks of emotions is effectively expressing yourself. If you leave your emotions bottled in, you’re not properly addressing them. This could lead to resentment and destructive behavior. Speak your needs and your mind in a manner that’s comfortable to you. This will ensure that your needs are being met and that you aren’t holding on to painful emotions.

Do I Cope in Productive Ways?

We all have our bad days. Sometimes it’s easy to pour a glass of wine and binge watch your favorite series for a few hours to forget them. While that can be therapeutic, doing so in excess could be self-destructive. If your ways of coping are interrupting your daily life or preventing you from performing your daily tasks, perhaps you aren’t addressing your real feelings properly. Instead of doing unhealthy activities, determine what the root of your stressors are. Then try to develop a solution to your problem. This will save you from making unwise choices and coping dangerously.

Am I In Tune With My Emotions?

Do you find it hard expressing yourself either positively or negatively? If so, you may be insecure with your true feelings. This could result in not living your full truth. Meditation is a great way to connect with your emotions and reveal how you really feel about important matters. This will help you bring those emotions to life and express them.

When you deal with your feelings, you’re saving yourself from years of anger, distress, and heartbreak. Connect with yourself and identify your true emotions so you can live a healthy and fulfilled life.

Be Accepting of Yourself While Striving for Greatness


There is absolutely no way for you to be successful and reach your goals until you accept who you are. You have to like yourself and what you do before anyone else will. The world detects how you feel about yourself and often simply shares the opinion you have about who you are.

Be yourself and free yourself in the process. You are an individual who is unique. Your talents and abilities, your intelligence and interests, your opinions and tastes, make you who you are. There is no need to hide a part of yourself or alter a part of yourself for the sake of conformity. True success is about freedom, and all truly successful people are individualists who have, more or less, accepted and strengthened who they are. You should do the same.

At the same time, being yourself is not a free pass to live in a rut and never advance yourself. You need to be the very best version of yourself possible. This means that you have to work at being you, and be willing to put some time into self-improvement.

Acceptance is not an excuse for laziness, cowardice, or fear. Life is a privilege. It is a gift. The gift and the privilege of life is that you get to be yourself, the best self you can possibly be. Use the gift, and take advantage of the privilege that you’ve been given. Don’t squander the chance. Let your own unique light shine forth. This is the light that will illuminate the path to real success in life. It will also be the light that attracts other people to you. 

Increase Your Productivity with These Daily Habits

Everybody wants to get more done and feel like they accomplished something at the end of the day. While there are millions of different tips for productivity out there, you can increase your productivity levels by changing a few daily habits. Here’s how you can improve your productivity by changing the following daily habits.

Arrive Early, Stay Later

If you live in a congested city, you can save some time and beat traffic by starting your day earlier. When you’re not wasting your time sitting in traffic, you can start working on your most essential tasks sooner. Your ability to save hours not sitting in traffic will drastically increase your productivity. Make it a habit to arrive early and stay a bit later, and you’ll notice an increase in your productivity.

Plan the Night Before

Spending just 15 minutes before you go to bed creating and prioritizing your to-do list for the next day will give you a head start the following day. After you create your to-do list, spend a few minutes marking the tasks that are important to remind you that those tasks have to be done to push you forward in achieving your goals.

Have Lunch Outside the Office

While small, this habit can have a huge and powerful effect on how you work for the rest of the day. Using your lunch to get out of your work environment can refresh your creativity, significantly reduce your stress levels, and help you re-focus when it’s time to get back to work. Consider taking a short walk to help clear your head and think about what you want to accomplish the rest of the day.

Minimize Distractions

Distractions are everywhere. If you work from a computer, you have the temptation of checking your social media and surfing the Internet, among other things. There are plenty of tools that can help you minimize these distractions. If you work in an office with a door, place a ‘do not disturb’ sign up, so your coworkers know not to bother you.

Always Keep Your Goals in Sight

After you’ve set your goals, keep them in sight at all times. You want to write your goals down and keep them in a place where you will end up seeing them throughout your day. Being able to see your goals throughout the day will give you the motivation to get tasks done that move you closer to accomplishing them.

Changing these five habits will move you toward being a more productive person. Keep track of your results and watch as the small daily victories start to transform your life.

Being Grateful for Your Successes

It is easy to expect success, as if being successful was a right instead of a privilege and a gift. The problem with expecting to succeed is that, without more, the self-absorption of that expectation can slowly and subtly poison everything around you.

True success is earned, and when it arrives it should be, and needs to be, accompanied by a stirring sense of gratitude. This gratitude is not simply about being grateful for what you have achieved. It is about being grounded enough in the moment of success to remember and recognize everyone who helped you get to this particular time and place. Without this grounded gratefulness, any success is lessened and will, in all likelihood, be fleeting.

So how do you repay those how helped you in achieving your goals? Well, obviously, acknowledging those individuals and sharing the benefits of your success with them is a great place to start. Yet, above and beyond taking care of your nearest and dearest, you also need to “pay it forward” by becoming a mentor and helper to others who are currently on their own journey towards success. Think about how you can collaborate with someone else in order to further their efforts. See if you can contribute in some way to their projects. This contribution doesn’t have to be monetary. Advice and the wisdom of experience are often far more valuable.

This gratitude can extend even further. There are people who are currently helping you every day that you may not see as mentors, contributors, or supporters, but without them, success would be impossible. Take the time to let them know how important they are. Look outside the box and you’ll see that success is not a solo effort, it’s a team sport.

Success Requires Persistence

Let’s talk about persistence. For starters, how many old sayings, aphorisms, and clichés are there about persistence? The early bird gets the worm. Slow and steady wins the race. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If life gives you lemons make lemonade. The list goes on and on. The reason that there are so many old sayings about persistence is twofold: First, it’s a really important element in success, and second, it’s an element of success that gives a lot of people a lot of trouble. Something that’s as important and troublesome as persistence deserves a lot of clichéd sayings and a lot of attention.

The problem with the road to success is that many people only picture the destination, not the journey. When they do this, they not only fail to see that true success is not a destination (it’s a lifelong process) but they also fail to see the potential problems that routinely occur when striving for success. This means that when these problems do occur, the unprepared person is stopped dead in their tracks. In their confusion, they forget where they were going and why and instead head back to where they came from.

When you are prepared for and anticipate the setbacks that can and will happen on the journey to success, you are ready to repair, rethink, and reengage. The persistent person understands that failure is a temporary condition that affects everyone at one time or another before they reach their goal. They also understand that failure and setbacks teach powerful lessons that ultimately make you stronger.

As Gandhi said, strength does not come through winning. Instead strength comes through failure. When you struggle and decide not to quit, that is strength. It is also persistence and illustrates why setbacks are best approached as opportunities in disguise.

Do You Keep Expectations Low So You Won’t Suffer Disappointment?

There’s a certain amount of fear that coexists with owning a business, or even just running the daily business of life. Typically, an entrepreneur sets goals for their business – their individual expectations for growth and income. That’s great! As an entrepreneur, you’ll need a way to measure your progress and make adjustments along the way as needed.

But sometimes we set the bar too low.  We are afraid to stick our neck out in fear of suffering disappointment. Therefore, our expectations are relative to the amount of letdown we can tolerate without throwing our hands up and tucking tail. The problem with this way of thinking is that we are settling for less than we deserve. 

Get Over Yourself

Limiting yourself to stay within the confines of your comfort zone is a cop-out.  Most likely, you didn’t start this business to “just get by” or to “play it safe”. Something caught your attention. Something moved you. Maybe it was the idea of being your own boss, or maybe your business is aimed at providing help for the less fortunate… but something sparked your desire to go out on your own. 

Be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars and dream big. Disappointment is going to happen no matter the enormity of your expectations, so don’t play the victim and claim you’re avoiding struggles. The only thing you’re really avoiding is more success. 

Hard Work Pays Off

Nothing good comes for free. If you want a bigger payout, you’re going to have to work for it. Oftentimes we let fear of failure keep us just below the radar. We aren’t losing, but we aren’t really trying to win either. Why not? Why not go for it? After all, if you put in the work, you’re likely to see better results. 

Your expectations and performance go hand in hand. If you aren’t willing to perform, don’t be surprised at your results. If you keep your expectations low to avoid being disappointed, then your results will reflect this lack of expectation.

The cold hard truth is you’re starting a business from the ground up. You get to make it as easy or as hard as you want it. If you want big results, you’re going to have to do the work to get there. If you’re satisfied with mediocre results, then keep doing what you are doing.

Most likely though, if you’re really genuine with yourself about it, you want more, and you can have more. There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering something difficult. If you don’t grab the biggest star the first time you reach for it, try a different approach. Just don’t fall into the rabbit hole of believing it’s a failure and you were a fool to dream big. It’s foolish not to dream big!

Examine Established Practices

In business, especially small businesses, we get into routines. Orders are taken a certain way, orders are filled a certain way, and for the most part, you no doubt believe it’s efficient. It happens to be what has always worked for you. However, are you doing what you do just to stay in your comfort zone? Do you feel there could be a better way but are afraid to try in case it won’t work?

When you find even small improvements which can be made to your established practices, you might find your expectations need adjusting as well. Go ahead and raise the bar. If it doesn’t work, go back to the drawing board and try again. That’s the beauty of running your own business. 

What you expect to get from your business relies heavily on how much effort you’re willing to put into it. Limiting your success because you are afraid to be disappointed is just as illogical as using a cup to fill your bathtub.  Use the tools right in front of you and make your best life happen.

Taking Responsibility for Both the Good and Bad

This one is fairly straightforward. President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “The buck stops here”. What he meant by that was, as President, he did not have the option to pass the buck when it came to mistakes or failure. He was the boss and the buck stopped getting passed with him.

That’s pretty smart advice for anyone who wants to be more successful. When it comes to the results of decisions you make, don’t pass the buck. Everyone is happy to take credit for a successful outcome; as well they should if they were directly responsible for that success. That’s the easy part. The hard part is owning up to your own mistakes.

There is a natural inclination to try and blame someone or something else for a negative outcome. The most successful people fight that inclination and accept the blame for their mistakes as readily as they accept congratulations for their successes. They do so because they realize that being the captain of the ship means that all decisions start and end with them. If you happen to make a bad decision, then you must own that fact, tighten your belt, and move forward armed with the knowledge on how not to repeat that mistake again.

This is a part of the process of growth. It is a process that demonstrates that the greatest opportunity arises from failure. By avoiding the repercussions of that failure, you also avoid the opportunity to grow as a person and as a leader and learn from your own mistakes. In other words, you condemn yourself to make that same mistake over and over. So, if and when you are faced with a bad situation of your own making, don’t pass the buck. The buck stops with you. Accept that and move on.

Motivating Yourself to Achieve Your Summer Fitness Goals

As summer approaches, we often think more about our personal fitness levels. Maybe there are activities we’d like to get out and do as the weather becomes nicer, or maybe we struggle with anxieties about not being covered up in multiple layers of clothing.

No matter what your reason, if you want to get fit in time for summer, you need to create a plan and work it. You have to decide what your diet is going to consist of and what kind of exercise or toning strategy you’re going to follow. With a little bit of effort, you can achieve your goals.

Be Honest About Where You’re At and What You Can Achieve

To achieve your goals, you have to start with honesty. People can easily err on either side of the truth here, either overestimating their physical condition which risks them possibly getting sidelined by an unexpected health issue or injury, or they underestimate themselves, blowing minor or cosmetic issues out of proportion which may limit their confidence or make things more stressful than they need to be.

It is also extremely important to understand that true honesty can’t be achieved if your feelings about physical fitness are too tightly bound up with your personal self-esteem. You won’t be able to accurately assess anything if you also have to protect yourself from the ramifications of such an assessment instead of being able to work with it objectively.

If your primary motivation for pursuing fitness is to try to earn your value as a person either in your own eyes or others’, then you will struggle more to reach success when fueled by negative feelings rather than positive ones, and you might damage yourself mentally or physically in the process rather than seeing any gains. Rather, you should pursue fitness because you are a valuable person, so you deserve a healthy life and the energy to enjoy it, and the rest of the world will benefit from having you around longer and able to participate more, whether or not other people have the sense to see and acknowledge that value within you.

So, to be able to work toward the results you want to have, you have to look at yourself honestly. You need to know what your weight is and whether that’s a good fit for your age and height.

Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Turn sideways and see if your stomach has a pooch to it or if you’re carrying a spare tire. Turn your back to the mirror and look over your shoulder. See if you can spot areas of cellulite and parts that need tightening.

Once you know what you need to work on, then you can put your plan into motion. But understand that there’s being honest with yourself about the shape of your body and then there’s being honest with yourself and knowing what you can achieve.

If you set a goal that’s too difficult and tougher than anything you’ve ever tried, you could be setting yourself up for failure. If your goal is unachievable, then all you’re doing is sabotaging yourself. You’ll end up discouraged and give up before you’ve even really given it a chance.

For example, aiming to lose a couple pounds a week is something that can be achieved. Setting a goal of losing ten pounds a week is not. At least not in a healthy way.

When you set your exercise or toning goals, make those realistic, too. If you decide that you’re going to work out for an hour every day, seven days a week, when you know your schedule is already overbooked, the odds are not in your favor.

Set realistic goals to achieve the body that you want. These goals should be broken into small steps that you can achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If you want to lose sixty pounds, the odds are you’re not going to do that in just two months.

It’s better to set smaller, more achievable goals and reach those to help keep yourself motivated rather than to demoralize yourself by overshooting and coming up short.

Plan for Fitness Milestones

One of the best ways that you can motivate yourself is to set a series of small goals. If you set a major goal such as having a beach body in time for summer, that doesn’t really give you anything to measure your success by. So then time passes and you don’t really see any changes. This can lead you to question whether or not what you’re doing is even working. Or it might cause you to get frustrated and quit.

By setting milestones that you can check in with over time rather than fixating on just your end goal, you’ll stay motivated to keep on going.

You can do something like setting a fitness milestone that drops your percentage of body fat. This is easy to check, and you can use a body fat caliper to do this with. You can check things like your abdominal fat, and it’ll tell you your millimeter reading. You can measure your milestones by observing that your number or percentage of body fat drops as you progress with getting into shape.

Checking your percentage of fat lost using a caliper is one way you can set a milestone, but another way is to check in with the number of pounds that you’ve lost. This is fairly easy to do – you just step on the scale. But you want to keep in mind that your weight is going to fluctuate based on the time of day, what you’ve had to eat, and water gain or loss. Don’t weigh yourself every day. You can fluctuate between 2-4 pounds a day just based on certain variables.

Instead, set a particular time to weigh yourself about once a week or every ten days. Then make sure that you weigh yourself at the same time, the same way, and wearing the same clothing as you did all the other times.

Some people weigh themselves first thing in the morning before they’ve had anything to eat or drink to get a more accurate reading. One of the first places that most people notice weight loss is in the face. When you notice this, you’ve lost between five and ten pounds.

Another fitness milestone you can set can be based on sizes lost. It takes approximately ten to fifteen pounds to go down a size of clothing. So when you notice that the things you wear are getting looser, it’s time to try on a smaller size. Break down your milestones in sizing so that it feels easier to accomplish.

Measuring weight loss by inches lost is another way to plan fitness milestones. You can tell when you’re losing inches simply by measuring your chest, waist, and hips. You’ll often notice that you’ve lost inches long before you notice a change on the bathroom scale.

Choose a Non-Food Reward

Weight loss and getting fit can make you feel good about yourself. It can make you feel like celebrating. And you should celebrate! You set a goal and you stuck to it. You deserve to be rewarded.

But the area of rewards is where many people end up sabotaging their best efforts. If you lose weight and then turn around and celebrate by binging on foods that make you gain it back, you’re undermining all your hard work. Not only that, but you’ll end up regretting the choices you make that take you away from your goal rather than propel you toward it.

It’s important that you celebrate all of your accomplishments – even the small ones. This will help to keep you on track and push you to want to keep on going. However, you want to stay away from ordering your favorite calorie-laden pizza and eating several slices of that.

You also want to stay away from doing things that take your eyes off your end results. Don’t skip a workout and go to a party as a reward. You don’t want to switch out something that works toward your goal and make that a reward. That would make exercising seem like punishment. You want to keep all your good habits in place. You want your rewards to be things that back up your goal. These items or actions need to be things that reinforce all your hard work.

So choose things that are related to your fitness goals. For example, a positive reward that would help you stick to your plan would be choosing a new swimsuit. This helps you remember why you’re doing what it is that you’re doing in the first place. Or maybe you can plan a trip to the beach to lie in the sand or to catch a few waves.

Another good idea to choose as a non-food reward is to go get a massage. This will help relax you. Take yourself out to the movies or a concert, or buy yourself the new book that you’ve been wanting. Invite friends over and have a girl or guy’s night in. Go buy a new outfit or a new piece of exercise equipment.

Choose something that commemorates your hard work at getting fit. This might be something like buying yourself a special piece of jewelry or getting a tattoo.

You can take a weekend trip to the mountains and go hiking or take a long bike ride somewhere you haven’t explored before. You can splurge on hiring a professional trainer to help you tone your body. Take a cooking class or a pottery class. Do something that interests you and celebrates you taking control of your fitness.

Take Before and After Pictures

Progress can happen when you’re trying to get fit, but if you’re not careful you can miss it. When most people are trying to lose weight and fit, they don’t think about catching their progress in ways that they’ll remember.

While stepping on the scale is important because seeing the numbers go down can motivate you, it doesn’t pack the same punch as when you can see what others see. Numbers going down on a scale don’t always translate well into viewing yourself in the mirror.

People become accustomed to what they look like, so you don’t always notice the changes that are apparent to other people. That’s why you need to be sure that you take before and after pictures.

You don’t need a special camera, you can use a digital one or the one on a smart phone. Lighting does matter. If there’s a lot of shadow, it can cast shadows on your body. You want to make sure whatever area you choose to take the photo in has plenty of either natural or interior light. You also want to be sure that you’re the star of the photo. Don’t have things around you that draw the focus away from you.

It’s best to take a photo in front of a plain wall or in front of a door. What you wear also matters. You want to wear clothing that fits closely. If you wear baggy or loose clothing, you can’t really see the transformation as easily.

Most people dress in clothing they would wear to the beach or they dress in workout clothes. You want these clothes to be revealing enough to show particular areas of your body.

Make sure that your abdomen clearly shows. You want to do this because you’ll be able to see your belly fat then. You’ll be able to compare your after photos to your before photos and you’ll see the change in your body throughout your journey.

The photos that you take should be taken from all angles. Take a photo of you facing the camera. Then take ones where your side is to the camera. This helps you see how much your shape has trimmed up.

How many photos you take throughout your effort matters, too. You don’t want to just take a before photo at the beginning of your fitness goal and then one once you’ve reached your end goal. Instead, you want to take photos as you achieve each milestone that you’ve set. If you have a goal to lose thirty pounds and you’ve just lost your first ten, then you should take a photo.

When you do this, you might notice small changes in your body right away. Then take another photo after twenty pounds lost. You’ll see that your stomach looks flatter. Take your final photo once you’ve reached the last part of your goal.

Your photos will each tell a story marking the steps that you took to get where you are. They’re important to keep you motivated as well as to show you how far you’ve come. They can spur you on to other milestones and also prevent you from going back to old habits that were detrimental to your health.

Align Your Food and Exercise Plan with Your Goals

When you decide what your goals are, you have to align your food and exercise plan with that goal. Otherwise, you won’t reach your goals. If you want to lose pounds, you’ll need to follow a weight loss diet. Otherwise, you can work out hard and faithfully but if you’re not also eating to lose, then you won’t.

Exercise is not a substitute for eating well. You can exercise and still gain weight. You need to make sure that your food plan lines up with your weight loss goals. One should complement the other. Each part of your goal is equally important in order to help the other side.

So if you want to lose pounds, then you’ll have to make sure that your plan lines up with a weight loss diet combined with an exercise routine that includes cardio. It’s up to you to create the plan that works for you.

Watch your calorie intake to lose weight. If your goal is to lose body fat, then you have to do a different exercise routine. To lower your body fat percentage, you want to add strength training to your exercise program. But you still need to be sure to eat a low calorie or low carb diet. And because you’ll be strength training, you have to make sure that diet includes plenty of protein.

If you want to shed inches off your body, you need to make sure that your diet is low calorie or low carb, but you also need to pay attention to the types of exercise that you do. Different exercises can target specific areas of the body. For example, if you want to take inches off your thighs, you would choose exercises that reduce thigh circumference, such as distance running, squats, or lunges. You can’t only spot train your body to lose weight in one specific place, but you can work in exercises that help tone and firm up certain areas.

For toning up your body, you want to make sure that your eating and exercise plan focus on toning more than on shedding pounds. These would be things like ab exercises, bicep curls, pushups, or sit ups.

If building muscle is your goal, then your eating plan has to include muscle-building foods. You need to make sure your diet has a lot of protein because muscle-building exercises require a lot of protein to be effective. Your workout routine would be one that’s known as a muscle-building workout rather than something like just cardio. You could incorporate gaining and cutting into the routine if you wanted to bulk up a bit rather than simply tone.

Motivation is one of the main ingredients people fail to have enough of whenever they begin their fitness routine. They have a short supply to push them forward in the beginning, but then not enough to tap into when the going gets tough and progress slows down.

Make sure you find methods that work to encourage, support, and push you to stay on track. If you see that you’ve begun slacking with your efforts, find a way to reignite the passion you previously had for getting fit and healthy and focus on that.

Why Change is Good for Us

Sometimes change can feel a bit scary. After all, it’s not called your Comfort Zone for nothing! But change is inevitable and even necessary if you are to learn and grow and get the most out of life. Here are five reasons why you should embrace change.

Change makes you grow

Change is necessary for growth. In fact, growth is impossible without change! You can choose to stay safely in your familiar routine, but if you do, you’ll be missing out on all life has to offer.

The challenge of a new job or moving to a different city might be uncomfortable, especially at first. But it’s guaranteed that change is likely to lead you down all sorts of unexpected paths with rewards you could never have imagined. Would you rather stay as a caterpillar or become a butterfly?

Change makes you more resilient

Change forces us to be more flexible. Faced with big, unexpected changes, you learn to go with the flow and adapt. And once you learn to roll with whatever is going on, you can start to see the positives and rise to the challenge. Even something like losing your job can open you up to all sorts of opportunities, such as changing industries or starting your own business.

Change restores focus to your values

There’s nothing like change to make you focus on what’s genuinely important in your life. Negative change like illness can make you realize the importance of relationships, family, and friends. Having to make tough decisions can sharpen your focus on what your ethical framework is, what you will and won’t stand for in your life.

Change keeps you moving

Not all changes are big or life-changing. Small incremental steps, little changes to your habits or routines, can add up to big changes over time. You might start getting off the bus one stop early and after a few months be walking to the office every day.

Making small changes often has a snowball effect, and before you know it you have accomplished that big, seemingly impossible task.

Change can make you a better person

You might be surprised to find out really how strong you are. Your confidence will grow as you deal with life’s challenges, and you’ll quickly learn what you can handle and what you can’t. And as a bonus, change can make you a more compassionate and kinder person and give you more insight into other people’s circumstances and choices.

Learn to see change as an opportunity, not a threat, and you will live a much more fulfilled and exciting life.

Your Professional Success Requires Personal Confidence

Nothing succeeds like success, right? Sure. However, true success comes from confidence, and confidence, in turn, comes from success. They each revolve around the other in the ultimate symbiotic relationship. However, this is not a “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” kind of proposition. Confidence definitely precedes success in the order of appearance. That’s because the quiet assurance of true confidence, as opposed to mere cockiness, serves to lay the foundation for reaching a goal. In this way, confidence is more of an outward manifestation of an inward persona than it is a pose or an affectation. Cockiness, on the other hand, is simply on outward shield that masks an inward insecurity.

As a business owner, you need to be confident of yourself and your product or service. People react positively to a confident person, especially if that confidence is real and a part of that person’s soul. In order to develop this type of true confidence, there are several things you can do.

First, always remember that confident people are able to take a stand on an issue or a decision, not because they think they are right, but because they are not afraid to be wrong. They see a difficult situation as an opportunity for growth. Finding the right solution to a problem is more important than being right. Therefore, if they are wrong they will be the first people to admit it and move on.

Confident people often listen far more often then they talk. They are more interested in hearing different information and opinions than they are in broadcasting their own. They also are never afraid to admit fallibility and ask for help. They know that other people’s knowledge is their greatest strength.  Finally, they understand that success is a team sport. They know that any goal is achieved through the efforts of many, not the will of the few. Therefore, they share the spotlight of success and shine it on others far more than they shine it on themselves.

Understanding the Link Between Healthy Emotions and a Strong Psychology

The mind-body relationship is becoming clearer thanks to the advent of modern science. Likewise, the link between our thoughts and our emotions are also becoming better known. Research has demonstrated an obvious correlation between good emotions and a strong psychology.

The Circle of Thought and Emotion

Our thoughts and our emotions both form a circle reinforcing the other. Negative thoughts will generate emotions of a similar nature, and these emotions will then result in more negative thoughts. This forms a vicious pattern that is most clearly observed in patients suffering from PTSD and other traumas. It is very difficult for these people to break free as the events keep recurring in their minds.

Over time, such patients heal to an extent. The main way to heal is gradually, as those affected can focus their energies on things they enjoy so that the memories fail to repeat themselves and lose some of their previous force. Calming therapeutic modalities work over time to gently alleviate these traumas. However, modern society is anything but therapeutic. 

On the other hand, healthy emotions are linked with a successful and powerful psychology. People who are happier have more success and better interpersonal relationships. They have better concentration, memory, and social skills. It is far easier to be successful when you have a positive emotional framework as a foundation than to be struggling internally.

How to Manage the Relationship

Everybody is in a situation where they need to better manage their thoughts and emotions. It takes some time, but there are proven ways to reinforce the strengths of our thoughts and emotions. These include:

  1. Meditation
  2. Mindfulness
  3. Deep Communication
  4. Creative Work

Meditation and mindfulness are practices where we simply observe what is happening in our minds. This is very beneficial in a world that is so externally orientated. We can observe how we feel and how these thoughts stimulate certain emotions. Over time, we can catch the negative thoughts before they gain too much momentum and ruin the whole day.

Deep communication is another technique where we work with a therapist or practitioner to document and analyze our own patterns for further insights.

Creative work is about self-expression. An intense dedication to creative work is an excellent way to remove any negative tendencies. What can happen is that we are so focused on artistic inventions that we are not focusing any of our energies on the things that make us weak. This works far more quickly than meditation and mindfulness if we can find something that we are truly passionate about. 

Being Mindful of Your Professional Worth

Experience is a great teacher. Each day, all of our lives are jam packed with numerous experiences. A lot of these experiences are everyday occurrences. Others are less common. Occasionally, some are so unique that they are literally life changing. However, whether the experience is mundane or out of this world, it offers us a teaching moment. Most of us will, hopefully, come away from a unique experience with a fresh perspective. Yet, very few of us grasp the enlightenment that is inherent in the day-to-day activities that, by necessity, take up the majority of our time. Many call this awareness of the learning potential in the commonplace “mindfulness”. Successful business people understand this concept and utilize it to their advantage.

When you begin to be mindful, you see that everything that you do has merit. You also realize that no matter what you are doing, you are capable of doing it better. In business, this means that you begin to pay closer attention to every task. You understand that each task fits into others and together they comprise the whole of your business enterprise. If you take a shortcut or cut corners on even the smallest of things, it only serves to undermine the largest and seemingly most important jobs.

Likewise, when you attempt to do the most basic of jobs to the very best of your ability, this mindful mindset carries over into other areas and brings a new level of excellence to your entire enterprise. So, use every experience, every day, as a moment to learn. Be mindful of bad or lazy behaviors and work to change them into more positive and productive actions. Your entire business will benefit from this simple attention to detail.

Why Self-Discipline is Important

Without self-discipline, the day becomes chaos. We live it in the way we thought adults spent their days when we were kids. We figured that they drove around whenever they wanted to and ate candy all the time because there was no one to tell them no. We thought grown-ups got to spend money on whatever they wanted.

As adults, we realize we can’t live that way. We need a certain measure of control in our lives to truly be happy. In reality, we need the self-discipline to maintain a calm lifestyle that affords us freedom from continual chaos.

Here’s why self-discipline is so important:

Self-Discipline Builds Habits

Habits are how we form positive change in our lives, so it follows that without self-discipline you’ll never be able to accomplish the change you need to become the person you are meant to be.

Self-Discipline Takes Items off the To-Do List

When you have self-discipline, you’re more productive. You become someone who accomplishes what they set out to do. That’s pretty impressive in itself, but it also gives you the benefits of a life you’ve conscientiously built rather than one you simply end up with from following the path of least resistance.

Self-Discipline Focuses on What’s Important

With so many things vying for your attention in life, it’s good to have something that puts the focus back into your day. Sometimes it’s all you can do to figure out what to do next. That’s what makes self-discipline so nice. It takes out the guesswork and sets your feet firmly on the path to where you wanted to go in the first place.

Self-Discipline Helps You Feel Better and Work Better

When you embrace self-discipline, you find you accomplish more, impacting your mental health in positive ways. You feel better about yourself. Also, that sense of accomplishment means you throw yourself back into your work because you want to experience that feeling all over again.

Self-Discipline Changes Who You Are for the Better

Through self-discipline, you become a master at what you do. You discover the best version of yourself and then hone that further until you have far surpassed your wildest expectations. You grow and change and become in ways you never thought possible.

We’re not kids anymore. Now that we’ve grown up, we’ve learned not only why self-discipline is important, but how to embrace it and make it a daily part of life. Seeing all these benefits, how could you not want that? It’s time to realize that it’s through self-discipline that we finally find true freedom.

Network and Connect With Other Professionals

In business, as in life, you can’t go it alone. It’s said that none of us are islands, but if we were, then each of us together form a vast and interconnected archipelago. Bridges and boats stream traffic between all these islands and that traffic is largely information. If you cut yourself off from this flow of information, either purposely or by mistake, you do so at your own peril. Why? Because the island next to you is going to take those connections and the information they provide and use it to their advantage.

Networking is an essential element of every successful business. It provides you with contacts, leads, clients, partners, suppliers, and much more. It carries your name and your business reputation farther and more efficiently than most advertising. Most importantly, it is an endless source of profit, ideas, collaboration, and support. If you are networking, you might need to be doing more. If you’re not networking, you need to start. If you don’t network, your business will stagnate and die.

When you’re networking, you need to keep a couple of important points in mind. First, every social or professional engagement can provide you with an opportunity to network. There’s often nothing more formal about it than an exchange of information and follow-up connection. Remember, as a business owner you’re always “on the clock”, so to speak. Be ready to take advantage of a potentially lucrative networking situation should the opportunity arise.

Second, when you are networking treat people naturally, the way you’d want to be treated. Offer no-strings advice. Often solving a problem for free generates more long-term profit and goodwill than the cost of the advice or service. Also, listen more than you talk. Silence really can be golden when you take the time to hear what another person is saying.

Finally, always remember that honesty is the best policy. Don’t promise something that you cannot produce. Don’t be someone you’re not in order to close a deal. Be yourself, and watch those connections grow!

Overcoming Negative Beliefs that Limit Your Achievements

Do you ever feel like something is holding you back from accomplishing a dream or goal that you have? That little voice in your head that makes you question what you want to do and you end up talking yourself out of doing it? And in the end, you justify why you can’t or shouldn’t do it. We do this because of our negative limiting beliefs.

Negative limiting beliefs only become limitations when we choose to follow them. Such beliefs can seem so real to us that it is hard to question and resist them; yet in most cases they are generally false. So why does our mind play these cruel tricks on us?

It happens at the subconscious level and many times comes from what we have been taught by our parents, teachers, or others, or due to something we experienced in our childhood. But what we believe to be true and what is reality in many cases are two very different and separate things. The purpose here is to help you separate the two – fact from fiction.

What are Limiting Beliefs and Where Do They Come From?

Limiting beliefs are as they sound – beliefs people have that limit them from doing something. It might be about duties, abilities, permissions, or a whole host of other things. Many times, these limiting beliefs are caused by low self-esteem and keep us from realizing our full potential both in our personal and professional lives.

For example, if I believe I can’t sing, then I might never take singing lessons to learn how to sing. In my mind, it will not help, so why even try. However, if I change that belief to one where I can’t sing right now but I could learn if I took lessons, then I’m allowing myself to learn something new. Now that previous negative limiting belief is one that is positive and will allow me to grow in that area.

Limiting beliefs can come from a variety of factors that we have encountered during our life, including:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Faulty Logic
  • Excuses
  • Fears

Experience

Usually this limiting factor comes from something that has happened to us that resulted in some kind of damaging consequence, and because of that negative outcome, we believe it will be the same if we try it again. For example, if you touch a hot stove, you burn your finger, so you refrain from touching hot stoves again.

In cases like this, it’s easy to see that such neurological connections can be beneficial and sometimes even necessary for maintaining our self-protection and well-being. However, most things in life don’t have such a simple one-to-one correlation between cause and effect to be able clearly identify what the specific damage-causing factor really was in the first place, nor do we or our environment or the people surrounding us remain in a fixed state all our lives where the same circumstances will always produce the same results. So, the usefulness of experience has its limitations and is better used as a guide in our conscious thinking and investigative processes rather than blindly deferred to as insurmountable fact.

Education

This limiting factor has to do with what we are taught. If we learn something that is wrong but we believe it to be true, then we may never try it because of what we were taught to believe. But how do you know if what you were taught is in fact true or not without trying it? You must test it out yourself to validate if what you believe is true or not.

Faulty Logic

This can be based on decision errors that may or may not be correct. If we have determined that there is a low chance of success (or a high chance of failure), we may decide not to do it for fear of failing. But are the factors that went into the decision in fact correct or true? And what could we do or change to increase the chance of success or lower the chance of failure?

Excuses

When we fail at something, most often we form an excuse as to why it did not work. We tend to use this excuse as a reason to not try it again. But is our excuse a valid one or one that we made up to justify the failure? In this case, we must dig deeper beyond the excuse to identify the real reason of failing. Most likely it is something that can be corrected so that the next time we try it we either succeed or learn new information that puts us closer to eventual success.

Fears

Often, we choose not to do something because of a fear. It could be founded or unfounded, but just the thought of what the outcome could be is enough to deter us from doing it. And it might not be even a fear we experienced, but one we know happened to somebody else or that we heard about. But you are not them and second-hand information rarely conveys the full story enough to make reliable conclusions from, so someone else’s experience doesn’t mean you will have the same outcome. Here again, you must put your hold-backs to the test to validate if your fear is really founded or not.

The Power of Belief – Both Positive and Negative

In short, negative limiting beliefs generally prevent us from getting what we really want out of life. They tell us subconsciously that we don’t have the money, connections, talent, skill, ability, or whatever words you want to plug in, to do what we really want to do. Believing these limiting beliefs does several things, but what probably is the most damaging is they erode our self-esteem and, in the end, diminish our quality of life, both personally and professionally.

Do you find it strange when we can find a million reasons not do something, but can’t find one good reason for doing it or at least attempting to do it? Limiting beliefs are so strong that we accept them as fact without even really thinking about them, much less challenging them.

However, positive beliefs can just as strong. By focusing and changing a negative thought to a positive one, we will eventually change our behavior to one that is positive instead of negative. When we make an effort to frame our beliefs more positively, we can then think we do have or can obtain the money, connections, talent, skill, ability or whatever, to do what we really want to accomplish, so that we no longer waste time and energy feeling frustrated and held back from pursuing our potential, or continue damaging ourselves with untrue conclusions of inadequacy and the pain – and possibly self-destructive coping measures – they cause.

But keep in mind that actual reality did not change; it was our belief in the idea and how we chose to practically apply it that changed. It was a shift in thinking from one that we could not to one that we could by turning a negative thought into a positive one.

Beliefs are a powerful thing – more powerful than most of us think. Many times, they shape our self-identity and are behind who we are as a person. This is one reason why they are so hard to change! But by the same token, it is also why putting the effort into changing them when needed can be the most impactful investment we can make in changing ourselves.

How to Recognize Our Limiting Beliefs

Before you can change a limiting belief, you must first identify what it is. And while we all have limiting beliefs, many are not relevant or are not really holding us back from critically important things. Some might even help us focus on what we deem most important and satisfying rather being a true limitation or sacrifice. So, first we must identify the ones that need changing and not worry about the ones that don’t have any detrimental effect on us. Here is how we do that.

First, we make a list of the areas in our life where we feel challenged. Typical areas include finances, relationships, health, fun/adventure, work, and other areas we may feel are less satisfying than we think they should or could be.

Next, we must identify beliefs in these areas that are holding us back. Some examples in the area of finance might be a belief we will never be well off or have enough money to live out our values or increase our standard of living. If we hold on to these beliefs, then we are at risk of them becoming self-fulfilling prophecies by their diminishment of our morale and motivation to find solutions for change.

After identification, we want to prioritize our limiting beliefs, starting with the one that has the most impact on our life at the top and working down from there. Now that we have an ordered list to work from, we can start changing these negative limiting beliefs into positive ones that will empower us to succeed in whatever challenges we take on.

Look at the belief at the top of your list of priorities for change, and ask yourself, “Do I really know this to be true?” The reason to ask yourself this is because your limiting belief might be due to one of the factors discussed earlier, and if you don’t challenge yourself with such questioning, you will never know if it is true or not.

One of the first ways to challenge it is to ask yourself if you have had multiple experiences with this belief to know that it is in fact true. Or are you believing it based on what someone else told you and have not really experienced it yourself? Determine if your source of belief was valid or not by researching the topic and see what genuine experts have to say about it and what actual evidence you can find to support or contradict your feelings, or what alternative outcomes could exist from utilizing available tools or strategies that you may not have known about or considered before.

Now imagine how your life would change if you were no longer burdened by that negative limiting belief. All of a sudden it is like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, thus allowing you a new freedom to explore that belief as a positive one now instead of negative.

The final step is to create a positive belief that you know is true based on your research or experiences. Keep repeating and acting on that belief until it is ingrained in your mind as something positive and productive, and track over the near-term the change in the way you act and feel since your belief changed.

Techniques to Change Limiting Beliefs

Now, let’s explore some techniques on how to change these beliefs that we have identified that are limiting our life.

Journaling

Journaling is a great technique to get our thoughts and their resulting feelings down on paper and to give us more clarity on a subject. It is much more definitive than just thinking about these things. There is something empowering – more approachable and manageable – about seeing things put down on paper. To use journaling for limiting beliefs, pick a topic. It could be a dream, desire, goal – anything. Next, do a brain dump and write down everything that has to do with that topic – positive and negative.

Now sift through what you wrote down and find negative thoughts and feelings, paying attention to patterns or trends that you may see emerging. Now focus using any of the other techniques in this section and turn the negatives into positives.

Self-Therapy

As we have learned, negative limiting beliefs can produce results in our life that we don’t want, but because we believe them to be true, we often don’t realize that we can change the results to something more positive. To reverse this trend, start by asking yourself these three questions:

  • What have been the results in different areas of your life?
  • Of these results, which ones are not in alignment with what you really want?
  • What areas of your life have you tried to improve, but consistently failed in?

Limiting beliefs are often lurking in areas of your life where you have experienced past failures, so these are the areas where we will start.

Step 1 – Write down the thoughts and emotions evoked in the areas of your life where you feel you have failed. Also note the intensity of each or how strongly each one affected you.

Step 2 – Acknowledge that subjective negative beliefs causing your thoughts and emotions are probably not true and definitely not unchangeable. This can be hard as you may have long believed that your convictions of inadequacy are true and felt these convictions repeatedly reinforced by their self-deprecating nature, so in a way, you are questioning your very self-identity. But you must challenge them to change and get past them.

Step 3 – Start by trying to put a positive spin on one of your negative beliefs. For example, if you feel you have failed at having meaningful relationships in the past, tell yourself that you have learned what to look for and how to better manage yourself to be more capable and appreciative of having a meaningful one now, since you have gone through the experience of having unmeaningful ones in the past. In other words, consider your past as productive education that will move you forward to your goals, not as validation that you will never reach them.

Step 4 – Consider how to start translating your positive beliefs into real-world implementation. Continuing with the relationships example, you could start by asking yourself how you would act in social gatherings where potential partners are in attendance, or in any setting for that matter (work, office, restaurant, coffee shop, etc.), where you could meet people that could lead to a meaningful relationship. How would you act differently than in the past?

Step 5 – The first time this will be scary, but now act on that positive belief as if it is true. In other words, get yourself out there and start meeting people the way you envisioned it in Step 4. You may stumble a time or two, but by taking action on your newfound positive belief, you will be solidifying that your new belief is true and that you can do this. Keep reinforcing this positive action, as each time you do, you further erode the old negative belief that you could not do it and prove to yourself that you actually can.

Affirmations

Because the amount of inputs and possibilities available in the real world would be far too numerous for us to consciously and continually sort through and track, our mind filters and decides what it thinks we should be made aware of at the conscious level, or what we perceive as reality. And because much of what we believe happens at the subconscious level, many events, possibilities, and options may never enter our current awareness because of the filtering effect of our beliefs.

But by turning negative beliefs into positive ones and repeating those affirmations over and over to reprogram our minds to consider them as relevant and important, we can move more of what we are not aware of to our conscious awareness, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities and options for us to explore.

Visualizations

Imagine that you are lying down with your eyes closed and living the dream that you want to live. Whatever that happens to be, do these visualizations of how things could be once daily for several weeks and you will move some of those negative limiting beliefs to positive ones. The key to making this translate into positive reinforcement as opposed to just more frustration of unfulfilled desire is that you must feel as though what you are imagining has already happened or is in the process of happening. It may take some time and effort for your visualizations to become truly concrete, but as an added bonus beyond the immediate effects of cultivating a more positive mindset, the exercise will force you to more clearly define your goals and how they will play out in your life, which will in turn help make the actions you need to take to start reaching your goals more clear.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of your thoughts and emotions, but without judging what you are “seeing” go through your mind.  It is like you are an outsider looking into yourself.

On average we have 50,000 thoughts going through our brain each day. When practicing mindfulness, we choose not to act on each one of them – especially the negative ones. Instead, we focus on the present and what we are doing. So how do we do this? By taking a few deep breaths, relaxing, and letting the thoughts pass through, but without reacting to them.

Many people that practice mindfulness use a “trigger” – something they do each day as a reminder that they need to start their mindfulness that day. Because the negative thoughts are no longer being acted upon, over time they will disappear and will be replaced with more positive ones.

Final Thoughts

Henry Ford, the great inventor of the automotive assembly line, once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” How profound is that!

Negative limiting beliefs are about thinking you can’t, and they can end up being a toxic poison that keeps us from reaching our true potential for success. But like anything else, you can’t fix the problem of limiting beliefs unless you acknowledge they exist.

Once you have an awareness of your negative beliefs, you can start thinking “I can” instead of “I can’t” and take action to turn them into positive beliefs that will support and encourage you instead of holding you back.