How to Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement

By Maria Jensen

Today, most people like the idea about self-improvement. It’s trendy.

But before you can improve yourself, you have to get to know who you are, what you want, and why it’s so crucial to know the answers to those questions.

Once you know who you are, what you stand for, and what you want, then you can go on to work on self-improvement.

This article will take you through the main reasons why you should take the time to get to know yourself, how to get to know yourself, and then finally how to seek self-improvement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Why You Should Get to Know Yourself
  2. How to Get to Know Yourself
  3. How to Seek Self-Improvement
  4. Final Thoughts

Why You Should Get to Know Yourself
Many people go through life without getting a clear understanding of themselves. There’s a difference between wanting to be someone and then the actions that creates a person. It’s easy to tell people who you are, but can you actually walk the talk?

We have a tendency to brush away our shortcomings and play a certain role that we’ve intentionally or unintentionally created for ourselves. It may work for a while, but it won’t help you achieve anything in the long run.

Yes, you can say you’re a good spouse. People will believe you when they see the picture-perfect image on your office, but if you go home to a different story, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, the opinion that matters the most are the one we hold about ourselves. A lie will drain you, overwhelm you, and unresolved emotions will resurface.

Maybe you choose a certain path many years ago and now you feel stuck. You look in the mirror and you don’t recognize yourself. The week seems endless and it’s only 7am on a Monday morning.

These are just examples. It doesn’t mean that only unhappy people need to get know themselves and seek self-improvement. Even if your life is truly as great as it looks like, it’s always worth checking in with yourself.

It’s natural to change throughout life, but too many people are afraid of reacting to this change or realize that the path they once choose may not be right anymore.

Change is scary, but it’s even more scary to ignore your emotions and not react to them. For better or worse – change is the only constant. If you get to know yourself now, then you’ll be able to handle change better. Obviously, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

There’s no time limit for getting to know yourself or window of opportunity. Remember that:

“Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing.”

You can be at the top of your game to the outside world, but still feel the need to get to know yourself and seek self-improvement.

It’s never too late to get to know yourself, because once you do, then you’ll be ready for whatever comes next. When you know yourself, a new road won’t seem scary because you already know whether you’re planning on turning left or right.

How to Get to Know Yourself
So, it’s settled. It’s a good idea to know this person that you wake up to every morning and look at while brushing your teeth. The person in the mirror that kind of looks the same, but yet somehow seems different over time. Here comes the million dollar question: where do you start?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick answer (or solution) to this. It isn’t math. There’s no right or wrong. You can’t find a page with all the secret answers and ace the test.

Most people will get a better feeling of who they are over time by simply looking back at their previous actions, reactions and decisions. But you can also choose to take an active part of the progress right now.

Here are some active actions you can take to get to know yourself:

1. Increase Your Self-Awareness
It’s all about you now. Let the outside world exist on its own. It’s not about your neighbour or the guy from high school that posted yet another sunny picture from Dubai. It’s not about them.

Take some time to look at yourself. What have you been doing? How do you react to certain situations? What makes you smile?

And if you keep going back to comparing yourself to a specific person, then ask yourself why you’re so fixated on them. Figure yourself out. You’re worth knowing.

2. Face Your Fears
It might seem obvious, but for some reason you keep avoiding that one thing.

A lot of people let fear stand in their way even though they know deep down they have the ability to face it. It’s easy to say of course, but if you manage to overcome your weakness, it will change you for the better. You will learn from it, and you’ll know a whole lot more about your character.

Not sure how to conquer your fears? This guide can help you:

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

3. Focus on Your Strengths
It’s always a good idea to focus on what you thrive at and nurture it. It will help you become more successful, but you’ll also get a better understanding of yourself as our strengths are a big part of who we are.

Even if you’ve been running towards the wall for a while and your head is really starting to hurt – you’ll always have some strengths in you that you can return to. Go back and focus on them and see where they’ll lead you. Maybe a talent will turn into a career. Maybe a character trait will turn into a new path or relationship.

Now, let’s move on to how to go further and seek self-improvement.

Ryan Holiday said:

”You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.”

How to Seek Self-Improvement
It’s important to leave ego behind and realize that you’ll never move forward, if you don’t accept that you’re not the best. You can always become better. Maybe you’re currently the best at your job, but you should never stop competing against yourself. It’s not about putting endless pressure on yourself. It’s about keeping yourself in movement.

Maybe you did some soul-searching and you realized that you did choose the right path. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve yourself. Or maybe you just realized that you want a completely different life. You quit your job, bought a dog and moved to a new city. Great, but you’re not done yet.

Once you tell yourself you have done what you set out to do, then you’ll run into the same wall that knocked you out in the first place.

Self-improvement is not about putting yourself down. Self-improvement is about lifting yourself up higher. The only way to do that is by accepting that you’re not the best. You can always become better. Even (or maybe especially) if you’re only competing against yourself.

Final Thoughts
Self-improvement can be applied to anything from learning a new skill, learning to deal with your anger, or putting yourself in a new situation that scares you. Some people need to change their scenery completely. Some people just need to attend a meeting every Thursday. Others may need to take up a self-defence class to feel in control again.

Sometimes life is not about gaining or achieving. Sometimes life is simply about losing and letting go.

People are capable of doing (almost) everything that the people they admire are doing. You can’t limit yourself by saying you can’t do a specific thing, because you’re you. It all comes down to mind-set and commitment. Get to know yourself and then set out clear goals.

Aristotle once said:

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

Reference
[1] ^ Mark Manson, The subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, page 3
[2] ^ Ryan Holiday: Ego is the enemy, page 41

This article was first published at Lifehack

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The One Word You Should Stop Saying to Boost Your Confidence and Success

By Rebecca Muller

I’m a chronic apologizer. I say sorry profusely — to co-workers, to strangers in the elevator — even to inanimate objects. (Yes, I’ve found myself apologizing to a chair I’ve bumped into, or the garbage bin I’ve knocked over.) Studies have shown that it’s human nature to use apologies as a defense mechanism when we fear social rejection. Research has also indicated that overdoing our apologies makes us seem more timid than we really are and diminishes what we’re trying to express.

But most of us don’t realize that over-apologizing could actually harm our self-confidence.

“Apologies have become our habitual way of communicating,” Maja Jovanovic, Ph.D., sociology professor at McMaster University and author of Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing and Other Career Mistakes Women Make, recently shared in a TED Talk in Ontario, Canada. (Jovanovic and other experts believe over-apologizing is especially a problem for women, and Amy Schumer even devoted a comedy sketch to it in 2015.) While apologies can be important and powerful when used in the right moments, Jovanovic says, if used as a conversational buffer, they can make us feel less self-assured.

“If you’re beginning and ending your sentences with ‘I’m sorry,’ don’t be surprised if there’s nothing left of your confidence at the end of the day,” she adds. “You’ve given it away with every needless, useless apology.”

Here are three simple ways to stop your unnecessary apologies in their tracks:

Swap “sorry” for “thank you”

Jovanovic points out that we often turn to an apology when we’re running late, voicing our opinion, or when we feel like an imposition. While there’s a proper time and place for apologizing, she urges us to use “thank you” in the moments where an apology is simply not necessary. Reframing your apologies can make you feel and look more confident in what you’re saying, she says in her TED Talk. “Instead of saying, ‘Sorry for complaining’ or ‘Sorry for venting,’ you could just say, ‘Thank you for listening,’ ‘Thank you for being there’ or ‘Thank you for being my friend.’”

Vocalize your actions instead

We tend to say sorry when we don’t feel like our excuse is valid, but Jovanovic says vocalizing the excuse can allow us, and the person we’re talking to, to hear why the apology is unnecessary in the first place. For example, she says that we often apologize for answering a text or email late, but it’s okay to admit that you were busy with another task. “You don’t have to apologize,” she says. “Say, ‘I was working,’ ‘I was reading,’ ‘I was driving.’”

Make others aware of the habit

Jovanovic says she “collects sorry’s,” and finds it helpful to tell her family members and friends when they’re overdoing their apologies as well. “I’ll do it everywhere. I’ll do it in the parking lot, I’ll do it to total strangers at the grocery store, in line somewhere,” she says —and making others conscious of the habit can help open the conversation to those who are unaware. “One hundred percent of the time when I interrupt another woman and say, ‘Why did you just say ‘sorry’ for that?’” Jovanovic notes, “She’ll say to me, ‘I don’t know.’”

This article was first published at Thrive Global

2 Ideas That Could Immediately Improve Your Life

By Azugbene Solomon

Dave Asprey, founder of the Bulletproof Brand and New York Times bestselling author of multiple books, recently released his newest book, Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life.

It includes a lot of fascinating and useful ideas.

In this post, I’m going to highlight two you can immediately use.

1. Update your environment to change your personal evolution.
Asprey is known for being one of the world’s top biohackers. In the book, he provides the definition:

“That exactly meets the definition of biohacking: changing the environment around you so you have full control of your own biology.”

This quote reminded me of Marshall Goldsmith, who said:

“If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.”

Put simply, human beings are the product of their environment. Some environments are domesticated whereas others are more “natural.” Every environment has different rules and different possibilities for growth and development.

The environment you select determines to a great extent what you evolve into. That, actually, was the concept of Willpower Doesn’t Work, the book I published in 2018.

Here are some of Asprey’s specific recommendations:

  • Get some indoor plants. (Be sure to get organic plants without pesticide on them and control for mold growth in the soil. I use Homebiotic spray, which contains natural soil bacteria that combat indoor fungus.)
  • Go for a hike in nature every time you travel.
  • Let your kids play in the dirt. Better yet, join them.
  • Take a walk in nature once a week. Increase your return by adding community (bring friends!).
  • Eliminate antibacterial cleansers and bleach.
  • Bring potted plants (including dirt!) into your home to benefit from soil bacteria.

2. Gratitude rewires your brain.
According to Asprey, gratitude is stronger than fear. Here’s specifically what he says in Game Changers:

  • Overcoming fear that does not serve you is necessary to access your greatness. Courage works, but it takes a lot of energy to maintain. Save courage for when your life is actually on the line. The rest of the time, use gratitude to turn off fear at the cellular level. Freedom from fear leads to happiness, and happiness is what makes you perform your best at whatever you choose to do.

Throughout the final chapter of the book, Asprey explains with loads of science how gratitude not only rewires your brain but also completely resets your biology. That is biohacking at its finest.

Change your environment to enhance your biology.

Say three things you’re grateful for every night to rewire your brain and reset/upgrade your biology.

This article was first published at Inc

6 Daily Habits To Make Motivation Flow Effortlessly

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

By Jari Roomer

Learning how to motivate yourself is one of the most powerful skills you can learn in life. Motivation is definitely not something random (even though it sometimes feels like it is). There’s a psychology behind why you feel motivated or unmotivated.

In today’s self-development landscape it’s very popular to glorify self-discipline and to disregard motivation. I completely disagree with this notion.

Learning exactly how motivation works makes it much easier to stop procrastinating, overcome the inner resistance and work hard on your goals instead. Furthermore, it makes your work and life much more fun as you don’t have to force and discipline yourself 24/7 to do the right things (which, let’s be honest, isn’t a fun way to go through life).

I’ve tried both approaches in my life and work. I tried just disciplining myself to do the work even when I didn’t ‘feel like it’ and I tried getting myself in a peak state of mind before the start of the day. I can say with 100% confidence that I prefer the latter.

Why not look into the methods to make you ‘feel like it’? When there are habits and tactics available that can spark motivation within a matter of minutes, it would be a waste not to make use of them. Why rely only on your willpower when that’s proven by research to be a finite resource that weakens throughout the day?

Yes, you’ll need to perform these habits on a daily basis as motivation is just a temporary wave of emotions. But that doesn’t really matter when these habits only take a few minutes each day.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”

— Zig Ziglar

Nowadays, I’m more motivated than ever before — and my results are better than ever. It’s not that I wake up and immediately feel motivated. Rather, it’s that I exercise certain quick habits that spark the motivation necessary to work hard on my goals, without the need to force myself.

I clearly notice that when I don’t perform these habits, my motivation levels drop heavily. That’s why Zig Ziglar’s quote is so true — we need to spark motivation every single day.

Habit 1: Visualization
Visualizing about your goals and how your future could look like is a highly effective way to motivate yourself to work hard today in order to make your vision a reality.

In the past, however, I had trouble adopting visualization as a habit in my life because I always thought it was a bit vague and pseudoscience-ish.

However, visualization can be extremely powerful as it can prime your RAS (your lens through which you view the world) and disarm limiting belief systems. Furthermore, as your goals are at the forefront of your mind during your visualization, you’ll be consistently focused on them.

Personally, I use the 3-phase visualization technique, which takes only about 3 minutes to complete. In the first phase of the visualization you think about how your life would like 3–5 years from now. Clearly visualize what you’ve achieved, what you are doing, where you’re at and who you are with. In the second phase of the visualization you think about how the coming 12 months will look and the last phase of visualization you think about what you need to do today in order to make significant progress on your long-term visions.

During today’s visualization practice I envisioned how my business, Personal Growth Lab, would have many highly engaged followers that would join me on a Peak Performance retreat in Bali. I clearly envisioned the exercises we would do there (such as defining your values, setting your goals, getting clear on your priorities, learning about state change hacks and productivity techniques) and how fun and exciting this retreat would become.

This immediately fueled me with motivation to work hard (and smart) today so that I can grow the PGL following and make this retreat come true.

Habit 2: Reviewing Your Goals
Another highly effective peak performance habit is to review your goals every single day, preferably as part of your morning- and nighttime routine. By reviewing your goals and your reasons why you want to achieve your goals, you put them at the forefront of your mind. This doesn’t just spark the motivation to work hard, but it also helps you to stay focused on your goals and spark new ideas on how to achieve them.

The main reasons why people don’t achieve their goals is because (1) they set too many goals and are therefore spread too thin with their time, energy and focus, and (2) they ‘forget’ about their goals because they fail to remind themselves every single day about what they want to achieve.

Habit 3: Cold Showers
Taking a cold shower has become one of my go-to tools for getting out of a lousy state of mind and into a peak state of mind in an instant. It quickly helps to me to go from unmotivated and low on energy to highly motivated and peak energy levels.

From this improved state of mind it’s much easier to stop procrastinating and work hard on your goals instead. In fact, there hasn’t been a single time where I didn’t feel energized and motivated to go out and crush it after taking a cold shower.

I have to admit, at first, taking cold showers sucks. Your body is actually going into a stress response as the cold water hits your skin, but the key is to stay calm, control your breath, breathe deeply and silence your mind. After 10–15 seconds you’ll start to notice that you can actually handle it and that it’s not as bad as you first thought it would be.

Try to stay for at least 30 seconds under the cold water and notice how awake, energized and on fire you feel when you leave the shower. This instant boost of energy feels amazing, and it’s totally worth the initial struggle.

Habit 4: Reading
Reading the work of the greatest minds in the world is incredibly motivating. By reading business or self-development books, you feed your mind with empowering messages and learn new valuable lessons that you can implement in your own life.

Through reading, you continuously focus your mind on growth instead of mindless distractions, and you spark new ideas that get you motivated to take action.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

— Jim Rohn

If you make it a strong habit to read every single day, you’ll fuel your mind with new ideas and motivating messages. Personally, I read for about 15 minutes as part of my morning routine. This helps me to start the day with an engaged and highly motivated mind.

Habit 5: Affirmations
Affirmations are essentially messages that you want to remind yourself of on a daily basis. This could be in the form of post-it notes hanging around your house or by having a single piece of paper with all of your affirmations on them.

Your affirmations can include any message that you find empowering and motivating. Whether it’s inspiring quotes or life-lessons you’ve learned yourself, it doesn’t really matter. As long as it gets you motivated.

Personally, affirmations such as ‘you are strong, you are powerful, you are great, etc.’ don’t really work for me. There’s nothing wrong with it though, and maybe they work great for you. My personal preference is to affirm important questions and principles that will help me improve my performance during the day.

For example, part of my affirmations is the question ‘What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?’ This helps me to focus on my most important task every single day.

Another part of my affirmations is ‘Focus on the highest value activities. Focus on just a few key things. Continuously do a 80/20 analysis and eliminate or outsource everything else’.

But I also have reminders like ‘Fear is a compass for action, direct action.’ and ‘Act and behave like the person you want to be. How would they act?’

Affirming these messages or questions to myself on a daily basis helps me to focus my mind on doing the things that are necessary to accomplish my goals, and it feeds me empowering messages that spark that motivation within to work with much less resistance than I used to.

Habit 6: Continuously Optimize Your Environment
We are truly a product of our environment. Most people view themselves as separate from their environment, but this is impossible.

In fact, your environment continuously influences how you feel, think and act. It influences anything from how motivated you are to how productive you can be.

Your environment, such as the people you surround yourself with (friends, colleagues, family and your significant other) and your direct environment (your home and your office) can either support your goals or hinder your goals.

For example, your environment could make you lose motivation because people in your surroundings distract you from your work. Another common example is that friends and loved ones try to talk you out of chasing your goals or subtly shame you for improving yourself. Maybe they even (subconsciously) try to pull you back towards destructive habits while you are trying to build up empowering habits.

“You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”

— Tim Ferriss

That’s why you should continuously analyse whether you have the right people around you. Ask yourself important questions such as:

  • Which people support and inspire me?
  • Which ones hold me back or talk me down?
  • Which ones make me feel better and which ones make me feel worse?
  • From which people do I learn a lot?
  • From which people do I get energy and which people drain energy?

These are all questions you should ask yourself regularly. If you come to the conclusion that the people in your environment are actually limiting your success, make it your mission to surround yourself with new people who accelerate your success. Make it your mission to find your ‘tribe members’. Talking with and being around these people is one of the surest ways to spark the motivation within, as you engage in more stimulating and inspiring conversations more often.

Another example of an environment that limits your motivation and success is when your physical environment is filled with distractions and lacks success-reminders.

Especially as a work-from-home entrepreneur (like myself) or freelancer, you should be careful when it comes to your work environment. When you try to work with focus and intensity while your environment is filled with distractions (such as your Playstation, Netflix, bad foods and even your smartphone), you’ll find it hard to stay motivated. All of these distractions pull for your attention non-stop as your brain finds them more stimulating and novel than your work, pushing you towards procrastinating.

Instead, make sure you work in a distraction-free environment to keep your focus and energy on your important work at hand.

Furthermore, if you want to continuously get that spark of motivation throughout the day, make sure you fill your office or home environment with success-reminders such as inspirational books, empowering affirmations and pictures of your goals.

By creating a supporting environment, you make motivation ‘effortless’ as your environment essentially does the work for you.
Personally, I found that upgrading my environment was one of the most powerful decisions I’ve ever made to upgrade my mindset, motivation and productivity levels.Through upgrading my physical environment and surrounding myself with inspiring people, I built a ‘system’ that sparks motivation and new ideas round the clock. I encourage you to do the same!

Now Do It
Learning how to motivate yourself is one of the most powerful skills you can develop. It makes it a lot easier to stop procrastinating, decrease inner resistance and work hard instead.

Furthermore, you don’t need to force yourself every single time to do the work. Instead, it’ll flow with less effort and with more joy. In my opinion, that’s a much more fun way to live your life.

Therefore, as an action point for this article, I recommend you try out at least 3 of the previously mentioned habits. Experiment with them and see which ones work the best for you!

This article was first published at Medium

How To Be Happy Always

Featured photo credit: Getty Images

By Azugbene Solomon

You want to be a happy person.

So do I. And there’s a good reason for it.

A growing body of research tells us happiness isn’t just a lovely feeling — it’s also quite good for you. It’s been linked to a load of life benefits including a higher income, a stronger immune system, and even a boost in creativity.

It is normal to feel happier at certain times than others, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a consistent pattern of contentment, satisfaction, and gratitude in your life. You must first learn to become happy with yourself. Practice positivity and gratitude in your daily life. To keep up these joyful practices, introduce habits that can help you maintain a good and confident mood.

Want to practive better behaviors?

Here’s 3 ways to be happy always:

Improving Life Satisfaction

1. Learn to love yourself.

Learning to love yourself is important for happiness because it means that you have accepted yourself for who you truly are. This satisfaction can help increase your contentment and confidence.

  • Write down a list of things that you love about yourself. These could be physical attributes, skills, personality traits, or relationships. Read over this list when your self-esteem is low.
  • Stand in front of a mirror and express your love for yourself. For example, you can say, “I love who I am, and nothing can change that.”
  • In difficult moments, treat yourself as you would your best friend. Whatever you would say to your friend, tell yourself.

2. Tell yourself that you can overcome anything.

People often become what they believe themselves to be. If you believe you cannot do something, it makes you incapable of doing it. Instead, remind yourself that you can handle anything.

  • If you’re faced with a problem or obstacle, instead of giving up, tell yourself, “I can do this” and treat it as an opportunity to learn something new.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. If you make a mistake, pick yourself back up and try again. Remember that each failure is simply a new learning opportunity.

3. Avoid comparing yourself to other people.

Everyone lives life differently, so it is useless to compare yourself to other people. Remind yourself of your own successes, talents, and opportunities. Base your happiness on what you have achieved, not on what others have done.

  • Social media can cause people to compare themselves to others. If this is a problem for you, consider deleting your social media accounts or reducing how much time you spend on social media.

4. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes.

When you do something wrong, treat yourself the way you would treat a friend in the situation. Don’t dwell on the mistake, but make a commitment to do better in the future.

5. Establish balance in your work, relationships, and hobbies.

Balance is important in all aspects of your life. Give yourself enough time to devote to your work, social life,

  • family activities, personal interests, exercise, and relaxation time.
  • If you struggle with creating a work-life balance, try making a daily schedule. Block off time for relaxation and social activities, and don’t let work run into that time.
  • Try implementing daily self-care practices in your routine. Give yourself a bubble bath, go for a run, or paint a picture. Do something that helps you relax.

Becoming More Positive

1. Practice positive thinking.

Whenever you find yourself thinking something negative like “I can’t do this” or “what an awful day,” stop yourself. Change your thought to something positive, such as “I can do this if I put my mind to it” or “This day is only going to get better.”

  • To help remind yourself to think positively, stick motivational messages on your phone, computer, mirror, or wallet. These might say something like “you’re awesome” or “you can achieve your dreams.”

2. Give compliments to yourself.

Praise yourself for your efforts and your achievement, even for small successes. Remind yourself how strong, talented, or hard-working you are.

  • For example, you can tell yourself, “You did so well getting everything done today! Great job!”
  • It can help to write compliments things down, either in a journal or on the computer.
  • Give yourself rewards when you’ve accomplished something big. Take yourself out to dinner, buy yourself something special, or do something fun with loved ones.

3. Smile when you feel down.

Just the act of smiling can make you feel better. When you’re stressed, anxious, or upset, try smiling. A real smile, when you crinkle your eyes, will boost your mood and relieve tension.

4. Surround yourself with positive people.

Your social groups play a big role in how you feel. If you’re surrounded by negative or cynical people, their behavior may rub off on you. Instead, seek out positive relationships with happy, optimistic, and cheerful people.

  • If you’re struggling with your relationships, try to meet new people. Volunteer at a local charity, join a club or society, or take a class to learn a new skill.
  • If certain people complain on social media too much, consider unfriending them or blocking their posts from your view.

5. Express gratitude for the good things and people in your life.

Every day, identify a few things that you are thankful for. Think of your relationships, opportunities, favorite memories, and other wonderful things that have happened in your life.

  • Write these thoughts down in a journal every day. If you’re feeling negative or upset, read over your gratitude journal to cheer yourself up.
  • Make sure to tell the people you love how much you appreciate them. This will make both of you feel happier.

6. Write your life as a positive story.

Every day, write what happened to you in a journal, but frame it as a happy story. Focus on the good things. When writing about your struggles, emphasize what you learned or how you grew from the experience.

  • Remember that everyone has struggles in life. These struggles can’t prevent you from achieving happiness.
  • You can also try to focus on 1 positive thing that stands out to you, no matter how small it may seem.

Creating Long-Term Habits

1 Adjust your expectations as you go along.

Your life will change as you grow older. Instead of sticking to the same expectations, goals, and dreams, feel free to make changes as you go along.

  • Adjusting your expectations can help you stay realistic and avoid disappointment.
  • You may need to lower your expectations in some cases. Expecting too much of yourself or others can lead to disappointment and frustration.
  • For example, what you expect out of a partner might change as you get older. You may even want to cut down your list of requirements to help you find someone who will make you happy.

2. Build strong relationships with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Relationships are a key component of long-term happiness. You don’t need a ton of friends to be happy. Instead, devote time to building strong relationships with people who are close to you.

  • Plan outings each week with friends or family. You can go on a picnic, see a movie together, or hang out at home.
  • For those who live far away, make sure to call regularly on the phone, talk over video chat, or send letters.
  • Remember important dates, like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Give a nice card or a present for these events.
  • Tell your family and friends how you love and appreciate them often.

3. Get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

If you don’t get enough sleep, you may find yourself feeling more moody, pessimistic, or stressed. A good sleep schedule will ensure that you can feel your best every day.

  • Avoid using bright screens and electronics 1 hour before going to bed. These screens can make it harder for you to fall asleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is an inviting place to sleep. Close the curtains at night. Use a white noise machine or ear plugs to block out any noise.

4. Increase your activity levels.

Exercise and movement are great mood boosters. Incorporate more activity into your daily life to keep yourself feeling cheerful and happy.

Some easy ways to include more activity include:

  • Taking a walk after dinner.
  • Going to the gym 2-3 times a week.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  • Playing with children or pets.
  • Going on a hike or kayaking on the weekend.

5. Meditate when you feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed.

Meditation helps calm your brain and restore you to a sense of peace. Daily meditation can help you cope with difficult or stressful situations.

  • Go somewhere quiet and peaceful. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Don’t think about anything else. If your mind wanders during this time, gently redirect it back to your breathing.
  • Start by doing 5 minute meditation sessions. As you get better, work your way up to 10 or 15 minute sessions.
  • There are many videos and apps that offer guided meditation. These include Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer.

Reference
1. How to Be Happy Always by wikihow.com
2. 50 Ways To Always Be Happy by liveboldandbloom.com

Find Your Purpose In Life

Featured photo credit: Getty Images

By Azugbene Solomon

The combination of a successful career, a loving family, and a strong social network may seem like the recipe for a perfect life. However, even those who can check each of those boxes might feel like something is missing—and that “something” is their purpose in life.

“Finding your purpose” is more than just a cliché or a dream that will never be fulfilled. It’s actually a tool for a better, happier, healthier life that too few people attempt to use.

That feeling that something is missing goes away when you lead a passion-filled life. The need to seek our purpose comes from a lack of passion. When you don’t feel connected to your life, you lack purpose and passion.

The two greatest days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out what your purpose is, but if you don’t know what your purpose is than you don’t know why you are here, and it can be hard to keep going.

7 Life Purpose Tips to Help You Find Your Passion

If you want to be fulfilled, happy, content, and experience inner peace and ultimate fulfillment, it’s critical that you learn how to find your passion and life purpose. Without a life purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you.

The process requires plenty of self-reflection, listening to others and finding where your passions lie. These seven strategies can help you reveal or find your purpose so you can begin living a more meaningful life.

1. Donate Time, Money, or Talent

If there’s just one habit you can create to help you find your purpose, it would be helping others. Research from Florida State University found having a strong social network was linked to a happier life. But being the “giver” in a relationship connected people with having a purposeful life.

Altruistic behaviors could include volunteering for a nonprofit organization, donating money to causes you care about, or simply helping out the people around you on a day-to-day basis.

Whether you decide to spend two Saturdays a month serving meals in a soup kitchen, or you volunteer to drive your elderly neighbor to the grocery store once a week, doing something kind for others can make you feel as though your life has meaning.

2. Listen to Feedback

It can be hard to recognize the things you feel passionate about sometimes. After all, you probably like to do many different things and the things you love to do may have become so ingrained in your life that you don’t realize how important those things are.

Fortunately, other people might be able to give you some insight. There’s a good chance you’re already displaying your passion and purpose to those around you without even realizing it.

You might choose to reach out to people and ask what reminds them of you or what they think of when you enter their mind. Or you might take note when someone pays you a compliment or makes an observation about you. Write those observations down and look for patterns.

Whether people think of you as “a great entertainer” or they say “you have a passion for helping the elderly,” hearing others say what they notice about you might reinforce some of the passions you’ve already been engaging in.

3. Surround Yourself With Positive People

As the saying goes, you are the company that you keep. What do you have in common with the people who you choose to be around?

Don’t think about co-workers or family members that you feel obligated to see. Think about the people you choose to spend time with outside of work and outside of family functions.

The people you surround yourself with say something about you. If you’re surrounded by people who are making positive change, you might draw from their inspiration.

On the other hand, if the people around you are negative individuals who drag you down, you might want to make some changes. It’s hard to feel passionate and purposeful when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t interested in making positive contributions.

4. Start Conversations With New People

It’s easy to browse social media while you’re alone on the subway or sitting at a bar waiting for a friend. Resist that urge. Instead, take the time to talk to the people around you.

Ask them if they are working on any projects or what they like to do for fun. Talk to them about organizations with which they are involved or if they like to donate to any particular cause.

Even though striking up conversations with strangers may feel awkward at first, talking to people outside of your immediate social circle can open your eyes to activities, causes or career opportunities that you never even knew existed.

You might discover new activities to explore or different places to visit. And those activities might be key to helping you find your purpose.

5. Explore Your Interests

Is there a topic that you are regularly talking about in a Facebook status update or in a Tweet? Are you regularly sharing articles about climate change or refugees?

Are there pictures on Instagram of you engaging in a particular activity over and over, such as gardening or performing?

Consider the conversations you enjoy holding with people the most when you’re meeting face-to-face. Do you like talking about history? Or do you prefer sharing the latest money-saving tips you discovered?

The things you like to talk about and the things you enjoy sharing on social media may reveal the things that give you purpose in life.

6. Consider Injustices That Bother You

Many people have their pet causes or passion projects that surround an injustice in the world. Is there anything to you that makes you so deeply unhappy to think about that it bothers you to the core?

It might be animal welfare, a particular civil rights issue or childhood obesity organizations. Perhaps the idea of senior citizens spending the holidays alone makes you weepy or you think that substance abusers need more rehabilitation opportunities—the organizations are out there, and they need your help.

You don’t necessarily have to engage in your purpose full-time. You might find your career gives you the ability to afford to help a cause you feel passionate about. Or, you might find that you are able to donate time—as opposed to money—to give to a cause that you believe in.

7. Discover What You Love to Do

On the other end of the spectrum, simply thinking about what you truly love to do can help you find your purpose as well.

Do you absolutely love musical theater? Your skills might be best put to use in a way that brings live performances to children who can benefit from exposure to the arts.

Is analyzing data something that you actually find fun? Any number of groups could find that skill to be an invaluable asset.

Consider what type of skills, talents, and passions you bring to the table. Then, brainstorm how you might turn your passion into something meaningful to you.

Conclusion
Finding your purpose isn’t something that can be done in a few days, weeks or month. It can be a lifelong journey, and it can only be done one step at a time.

You also might find that your purpose changes over time. Perhaps, you liked working with animals in your youth but now you want to join forces with a cause who fights human trafficking. You can definitely have more than one purpose, too.

Keep in mind your purpose doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change what you’re doing already. If you give haircuts to people, you might decide your purpose in life is to help others feel beautiful.

If you work as a school custodian, you might find your purpose is creating an environment that helps children learn.

Occasionally, you might want to pause what you’re doing and reflect on whether you feel like the path you are on is taking you in the direction you want to go. If it’s not, then you can change course—sometimes, that road to finding your purpose has a few curves, forks and stop lights.

Reference
1. VerywellMind.com: 7 Tips for Finding Your Purpose in Life by By Amy Morin
2. Huffpost.com: 3 Unexpected Ways to Find Your Life Purpose by Shannon Kaiser, Contributor