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

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

28 Reasons You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be


By Azugbene Solomon


I’m guessing that you’re holding yourself back because of one of the following reasons.

Everybody wants to be successful in some way, shape, or form.

The trouble is, most people want to be seen or known as successful–more than they want to break the necessary bad habits required to actually be successful.

That’s because the lifestyle and rewards that come with success make everything seem easy.
People think: “Once I’m successful, I’ll have all the time in the world to do whatever I want.”

People think: “Once I’m successful, I’ll never have to work hard again.”

People think: “Once I’m successful, I won’t have to worry about things like money.”

And since those are the rewards they’re after, that’s all they focus on:
If they still don’t have “all the time in the world,” they’re unsuccessful.

If they’re still working, they’re unsuccessful.

If they’re still worrying about money, they’re unsuccessful.

As a result, they stay focused on all the wrong things–and ironically, never truly become successful.
People that fall short in life do so by their own volition. Unfortunately, they never realize it. They move through life chasing all the things they see other people enjoying at the end, without also seeing the habits, behaviors, and decisions those people had to make all along the way.

If you want to know why you’re not as successful as you should be, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

1. You’re Lazy

This is the first and the most common reason that someone is not successful, according to author Jim Kukral. He adds, “Every single successful person works their butts off to get where they are. It’s ok to be lazy if you want to. Just admit it. But don’t whine about not being rich and successful, okay?”

2. You Keep Asking “Why Not Me?”

Speaking of complaining, stop wasting your time asking why other people are successful and you’re not. In most cases it wasn’t because they have inherited wealth or won the lottery. Every person in this world has either gone through – is going through now – or will get their chance for struggles. Everyone get to take their turn at hardship. Maybe it’s your turn. Instead of complaining, make a positive change that will help you pull out of your slump and find success.

3. You Get Stuck in Your Head

You’ll notice that there’s a common theme with successful people. They act on their dreams. Instead of only dreaming and overanalyzing everything that could go wrong, they start on the dream – they start laying the groundwork. As NHL legend Wayne Gretzky once said,”You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” Make your shot.

4. You’re Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Did you know that the average American checks their Facebook, Twitter, or other social accounts a whopping 17 times a day? I know engaging your customers and influencers is important, but you don’t need to spend every free moment on social media. I have found that the best schedule for social is news and articles in the morning and make these quick reads, and make a quick personal and family social connection in the evening when things from the day calm down a little. Determine the amount of time you will spend on each of these times and stick to it.

5. You Never Finish What Your Started

Plenty of wise men have said, “Starting is easy, finishing is hard.” While it is important to know when to throw in the towel, you have to be patient and willing to see a project through. Remember, success never happens overnight, and anything that is really worth doing takes time and effort.

6. You Don’t Think a Business

Whether you’re a freelance writer or owner of an eCommerce site that sells basketball shoes, you’ll never be successful if you believe that you’re not actually a business. If you’re relying on this income, then it’s a real business and you need to start treating it like you would any other 9-to-5 job.

7. You Don’t Believe in Yourself

If you don’t believe in yourself, then are you willing to make any serious attempts? Even if it’s celebrating a small victory, like getting the contact information of a potential client, you need to find ways that will give your confidence a boost. Don’t run yourself down to others or even to yourself. It usually takes effort and doing the hard work that give actual better self-esteem.

8. You Feel Entitled

You’re not owed anything. If you want something badly, you’re going to have to go out there and earn it. Believing you are entitled slows you down and causes you to be waiting to see if something great will happen for you. Make it happen.

9. You Obsess Over Things That Aren’t Important

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have any other hobbies or interests outside of work, but when you’re more concerned about whether or not Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ will be available to stream on iTunes, as opposed to following up with a lead that has the potential to make some cash, then that’s a problem.

10. You Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is a place where you feel safe and assured. While that comfort zone is needed from time-to-time, staying in your comfort zone ultimately leads to stagnation and sometimes it can lead to fear. You’ll never be able to grow and develop if you stay in one place.

11. You’re Not As Productive As You Could Be

Just because you’re working 8 or more hours a day doesn’t mean that you’re actually productive. Between distractions, breaks, and spending too much time on one task, you may actually only be working a couple hours a day. Invest in time management and time tracking tools to discover how productive your days really are so that you can make the appropriate changes.

12. You Focus Too Much on Money

If you start a business just because you think it will make you a billionaire, then you’re doing wrong. The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners aren’t fixated on money. They are focused on a making a great product first. There is a saying that says if you find what you really love to do, you will never work a day in your life.

13. You’re Not Passionate

If you’re not loving what you do, you’ll put 50% effort when you should be putting 100%. Without passion, you won’t stay inspired and motivated – especially when times get tough.

14. You’re a Negative Thinker

If you’re a negative thinker, or just a pessimist, then you’re going to put-up roadblocks to success – before you even try. In other words, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Work on a becoming a positive thinker by surrounding yourself with positive people and becoming more aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the self-talk conversations you have with yourself. Notice if your main conversations with others are ones where you dump all of your grievances on them. If that is the balance of your conversations – change it.

15. You Haven’t Established Goals

You plan nothing. You believe that someway everything you are hoping that will happen will magically appear in-front of you. It doesn’t work like that. Set goals and go for it. If you are not a big planner and not a big list maker – great. Start with being a small planner and a small list maker. One goal and one thing on the list at a time is fine.

16. You Don’t Know Who You Are

Sun Tzu wrote in ‘The Art of War,’ “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” This means that you need to know what you’re good at, what skills you can bring to the table, you have a set of values, and you establish specific goals in your life. Knowing who you are will guide you to success. What are your likes and dislikes? Start noticing.

17. You Give Up Too Easily

We all have those moments when we can just throw everything out the window. In fact, that feeling may last day or weeks. The thing is, success doesn’t come easy. It’s a part of the journey. Just because things aren’t going your way right now doesn’t mean that you should give-up on your hopes and dreams. Baby steps.

18. You Think You Can Do Everything On Your Own

There’s a myth that successful businesses were built by just one individual. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg all had assistance from Wozniak, Allen, and Saverin. Think of it this way, you could be a talented construction worker, but how far could you get when building your own house? No matter your talent or experience, you’ll still need to bring in others, such as a plumber or electrician, to help you complete construction. Even a friend along the way will help you. Begin setting up a support system for yourself if you don’t have one.

19. You Haven’t Managed Your Money Properly

Not managing money properly is one of the main reasons that a small business fails. Even in your personal life, however, this can be an issue. If you’re spending too much money in contrast to what you’re bringing, then how can you expect to pay your bills and set money aside for emergencies or retirement? Set a budget and stick to it. If need be, get in touch with a financial adviser. Many cities have financial help for free, teaching you how to take care of money. Adult education classes are also held on this subject for a smaller fee. The very first step is to add up exactly what your set bills are and have that figure in your mind all the time. Instead of eating out, go home and have a can of soup once in a while.

20. You’re a Perfectionist

That doesn’t mean that you should slack and deliver sub-par work. It means that no one is perfect and instead of wasting your time trying to perfect, just keep working on getting things done, such as accomplishing your goals. One foot in front of the other, on a daily and consistent basis helps. Timing yourself and doing your best work and then you’re finished works pretty well, too.

21. You Think Too Small

Don’t focus only on your short-term future. Have big enough dreams that will take you years ahead into the future. What have you always wanted to do. If you have always wanted to play the violin and you are 45 years old, you probably better get started.

23. You Aren’t Constantly Learning

Successful individuals are always looking for ways to enhance their lives by learning new information or skills. Whether it’s reading a book or participating in a webinar, don’t pass up any opportunities that can help you grow as a person. One of the best ways I have found to keep learning is to be interested in things that others are doing. Everyone is an expert at something. You can get a great mini-class from that expert. This can build great friendships, too. Sometimes you have to set aside a fear.

24. You Don’t Network

Regardless if it’s at local networking event or interacting with an industry leader on social media, networking is one of the best ways to improve your chances of success. For example, if you just published an article on your blog and an influencer shares that article on Twitter, you just got free publicity that could lead to increasing your brand awareness and landing a new lead. Be a connector and someone who includes everyone no matter who they are. Don’t be someone who excludes a person that is different or unusual. You never know when that person will be the one you need or the one who needs you – and you can do some good for someone. You can also learn new information when you network.

25. You Don’t Know When to Let Go

I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t give up too early. But, you also need to be aware of when it’s time to let go. As Lolly Daskal says on Inc.com, “Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting; it just means you have learned your lessons here and now, and it’s time to embrace new challenges.”

26. You spend more time thinking about how you could work harder than most people–rather than actually doing the work.

It’s amazing how many people can talk, and talk, and talk about all the things they’re going to do.

But it’s even more amazing how many people claim their ability to work harder than the next person, without ever putting in the work themselves.

It’s a brutal truth that we all like to believe ourselves to be more capable than we actually are. And we also like to think that anyone who has achieved success was just lucky, or “knew someone.”

But the truth is, unsuccessful people say those things so they can avoid acknowledging the real issue: someone else is doing the work, and someone else is reaping the rewards.

27. You spend time instead of investing it.

I believe there are two types of people.

The first is someone who sees time as a token for consumption. They can spend their time consuming movies, TV shows, social media. They can spend their time on vacations and travel and adventures. They can spend their time on friends and outings and concerts and events. Time is theirs to spend, and they’re always looking for new ways to spend it.

The second is someone who sees time as a token for investment–and when invested correctly, can reap the rewards of compounding interest. They invest their time in people and relationships that provide positive value. They invest their time into activities that nurture a desired skill or teach them something new. They invest their time into projects and pursuits that encourage growth in some area of their lives. Time is theirs to invest, and the more they invest in people and things that show compounding interest, the richer they become in knowledge, understanding, and even money.

Unsuccessful people spend time.

Successful people invest time.

28. You don’t understand the concept of opportunity cost.

Every successful person I know lives their life by the rule of opportunity cost.

They understand that for every hour they spend doing X, that’s an hour they cannot invest doing Y. And they are hyper aware of the delta between those two variables–meaning, while they might be making a fair amount of money doing X, they are missing out on the potential long-term gains of forgoing that immediate reward for a future payoff result for doing Y.

Unsuccessful people don’t understand opportunity cost. All they see is what is in front of them–not what they could potentially do now to reap bigger, better rewards later.

The challenge with adhering to the rule of opportunity cost is you have to stay true to the vision you have for yourself that has not yet been manifested. It’s not easy giving up what’s immediate, what’s gratifying now. However, that’s the small price you have to pay in order to invest your time.

There are only so many hours in the day. If you spend them all, there will be none left to invest.

Reference
1. Inc: 3 Reasons You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be by Nicolas Cole

2 Inc: 25 Reasons You Are Not as Successful as You Should Be by John Rampton

Don’t ever give up, keep trying


By Azugbene Solomon


We all would have heard these Lines:

“Failures are the Stepping Stones of Success”

How many of us have succeeded in what we try in the first attempt? Not many. This proves that success cannot be attained in one day. There are exceptions where success can be achieved easily. But when it comes to a competitive task or a tough task it takes a lot of patience and needs many attempts to bring success to our side.

We would have heard about the great scientist Thomas Alva Edison. His success story is really motivating. Edison on his experiments to refine the light bulb failed 1000 times. But his attitude towards failure was simply great. He confidently said “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I found 1000 ways of how not to make a light bulb”

In life, what matters is our attitude. If we give up easily, we cannot taste the flavors of success. It takes years for a tree to give a tasty fruit. Similarly it will take time to make success, sometimes even years. The path of success can be rough and hard, but if we keep going without any lack of confidence the day to success is not really far away.

If we want to win in life we should not stop till we get what we are looking for. The only that helps us to make an achievement is self confidence. If we believe we can make wonders, we will. So, we should believe ourselves before expecting others to believe us or support us. When life gives us a thousand reasons to quit trying, give yourself one reason to try one more time. “Never Give Up” till you become a great achiever.

Life is a race which is all about winning. But winning is not the only end point. In life, we should understand no one has made great achievements in the first day. World famous Cricket Player Sachin Tendulkar did not become popular in one day. He took him lot of failures and challenges to become what he is today. When he faced failures, he did nit give up; he kept trying till he met success in life. Similarly, in our life we should wait with patience. Hard work pays. So we should “Never Give Up” until we reach what we are focusing.

Regardless of whether you slow down or not, you should keep on trying. One of the main drivers of success is persistence, perseverance and a resolution to keep on trying. Even when your body aches and the scars seem to be wearing you down; do not accept in your mind to quit.

Do not say no to your dreams. It is important to preserve as opposed to being lazy and letting defeatism take a toll on you. We tend to learn these negative vices from the society, our surroundings and our peers. Do not allow your environment to plunge you into despair; instead always have hope that in turn fuels perseverance.

What It Means to Never Give Up

1. Life isn’t about talk; it’s about commitment.

A dream isn’t worth anything until you try to put it into practice. When you dedicate yourself to your dream, whatever it may be, you find yourself at the intersection of perception and reality. This idea has probably existed in your mind for years, taking on a particular shape and existing entirely as a function of your own imagination. Now, when you put it to the test, it’s time to get real. It’s time to give birth to the idea and fully commit to nurturing that dream the same way you would nurture a child.

2. Resilience and adaptation are the keys to a vibrant life and healthy mind.

When you are trying to manifest any idea, there will be setbacks, failures and disappointments. Newsflash: Setbacks, failures and disappointments are good for you! They are the best education you can get, as they teach you to adapt. Giving up is like dropping out of school; you miss out on critical experiences and important lessons, and do not learn the enormous value of failure.

3. Quitting can become a habit.

If you give up on the things that matter most to you, you will likely establish a pattern of giving up on anything when things don’t go the way you hoped. You will not learn the importance of persistence — and anything worthwhile requires persistence.

4. Values are the most important thing.

Persisting with goals that are important to you means placing most significance on your values, rather than convenience or expedience. Hopefully, you wouldn’t ever give up on your values, and you wouldn’t give up on the ideas that reflect those values.

5. Self-belief is everything.

Giving up on your important goals is tantamount to giving up on yourself. You are a unique person with your own gifts and talents and no one will invest in them more than you. Perhaps millions of people have had the same goals and dreams as you, but everyone manifests these aspirations differently — and uniquely.

So what does never giving up really mean? It means believing in yourself. It means willingness to accept “failure” so you can learn the critical skill of adaptation. It means not compromising on your most important values, and walking the walk, rather than just talking the talk. It means living the life you want and are passionate about.

13 REASONS WHY…IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP TRYING EVEN WHEN IT SEEMS SO HARD!

Some days, happiness seems so, so difficult.

Some days, happiness seems so, so impossible.

Some days, sadness and depression seem so overwhelming and it’s hard enough to find the energy to get up and out of bed…let alone do anything meaningful or constructive.

But today I want to reassure you that even on the most difficult days, in fact especially on the most difficult days, it’s well worth trying to do what ever you can to do “the right things” even if it doesn’t seem like they’ll pay off in the near future.

So here’s 13 reasons why it’s important to keep trying…

1. Happy and successful people focus more on the process, rather than the outcomes; so it’s important to keep trying to do the right things even when the results don’t seem to be coming.

2. Even if you don’t achieve anything noteworthy, it feels good to try.

3. Even if you can’t see the results now, making an effort will (in some not insignificant way) contribute to progress (even if it’s in the medium to longer term).

4. And If you reinforce yourself for trying, you can enjoy at least some satisfaction and positive emotion, which can then kick-start the positivity needed to do and achieve and enjoy more.

5. Trying is better than the alternative; it very rarely helps to give up completely.

6. Even if or when you can’t find the motivation or reason to do it for yourself, do it for others because your efforts and motivation will “spread” to those who’re nearest and dearest to you.

7. Furthermore, trying sends a positive message to others that we can all, even during our most difficult times, do and try something.

8. Sometimes if you begin by “faking it”, you can create your own inspiration that will then make it real (see my previous post HERE).

9. Movement creates momentum; effort leads to energy.

10. The more you do the easier it becomes; practice makes better.

11. Trying something might lead you down a path you hadn’t considered which might then contribute to a positive outcome you’d not imagined possible.

12. Which suggests another important consideration; if you’re going to be trying something it might, at times, be worth trying something completely different.

13. And finally, remember, that sometimes you’ll surprise yourself and something great will happen!

Conclusion
You can develop the nature of not giving up by accepting that you can be persistent, appreciating its importance and having clear goals. Luckily, you do not need special talent to persist until you achieve your objective. With practice, hard work and determination, you can have all it takes to keep on trying till you get what you need.

Reference
1. EdgeArticles: Why It Is Important To Never Give Up? – Essay

2. Your Home Teacher: Never Give Up

3. Huff post: What It Means to Never Give Up

4. Dr. Happy: Reasons Why…it’s Important to Keep Trying Even When It Seems So Hard!

How Parents Can Help Raise a Good Child.


By Azugbene Solomon


Many parents focus attention on their children’s grades and extracurricular activities, such as by making sure kids study, do their homework, and get to soccer practice or dance lessons prepared and on time. But all too often, we forget to put time and effort into nurturing another component of child success and development — one that is just as important, and perhaps even more essential, than good grades, awards, and trophies — being a good person.

In today’s “me, me, me” and “I’ve gotta have it now” society, it can be easy to forget the importance of countering these pervasive messages of instant gratification, consumerism, and selfishness. If we want to raise children who are pleasant company and genuinely nice people, we can help guide our kids toward habits and behaviors that promote positive character traits like kindness, generosity, and empathy for those who are less advantaged or who need help.

Parents can also help in raising a good child by teaching their children how to care.

Children won’t know that caring about others will make them feel better unless you teach them.

Kids learn about care and respect when they are treated with care and respect, psychologists say. The best time to give them care and respect—when you’re doing something fun together!

It’s as simple as reading your child a bedtime story or playing tennis together. “Build one-on-one time into their weekly schedules rather than leaving it to chance,” the findings suggest. That way you’ll treat it just as importantly as that work meeting, and it’s more likely to happen on a regular basis. Asking questions like “what was the best part of your day?” and “what did you accomplish today that makes you feel good?” can help them learn to think beyond the surface level of their actions and identify their feelings.

Parents should pay close attention to their children, whether or not they are practicing honesty, fairness, and caring for themselves. “Nobody is perfect all the time, that is why it’s important for parents to model for children humility, self-awareness, and honesty by acknowledging and working on their mistakes and flaws.”

Your kids know you’re not perfect—or they will when they get to their teenage years—so own it and use it as a chance to talk through your mistakes with your child.

7 Easy Ways Parents Can Help Raise a Good Child

The key to raising a good child is to establish a solid support system at home so that she grows up satisfied with her achievements and ambitions. “The goal as a parent is to help your child feel competent and confident, and to help her develop a sense of passion and purpose,” says Susan Stiffelman, MFT, an educational therapist and author of Parenting Without Power Struggles. It’s the education that happens before she sets foot into school that is crucial in bringing up such a child.

“If you want to enhance your child’s learning abilities to eventually boost her academic performance, it will take consistency, dedication, and patience,” says Michele Borba, Ed.D., an advisor for Parents and the author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Consider these seven techniques if you’re looking to raise a child who is well-balanced, healthy, and happy with her accomplishments.

1. Encourage Special Skills

Every child has unique gifts and talents. These special attributes can show up in a traditional school setting, but there are plenty of children who shine after the final bell has rung for the day. Activities like a mommy-and-me music class or karate lessons can open their minds, but your wallet does’t need to be involved. “Do not underestimate the power of unstructured play,” says Stiffelman. Playing catch in the yard, dancing in the living room, and chasing after lightning bugs provide opportunities for intellectual, physical, and personal development. Stiffelman also suggests finding a hobby or two for yourself. “Allowing your child to see you trying something new may inspire her to do the same.”

2. Applaud and Praise Efforts

Research conducted by Carol Dweck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of achievement and success, discovered that a person’s mind-set can influence behavior. When it comes to parenting, she suggests praising your child for his hard work instead of labeling him as “smart” or “talented.” People with a fixed mind-set are usually reluctant to take on challenges because they believe their achievements come from innate abilities. Those with a growth mind-set are usually more willing to face challenges with hard work because they believe in always learning new skills. “Above all, keep in mind that the grade is not what motivates a top student to succeed—it’s his inner drive for learning,” adds Borba.

3. Respect Different Learning Styles

Just because you need complete silence while typing an e-mail or balancing your checkbook doesn’t mean your child needs a noise-free environment when doing his homework. Harvard researcher Howard Gardner established eight kinds of intelligences, or ways kids learn best, some that include musical, logical-mathematical, linguistic, and interpersonal traits. The trick is to pay attention to how your child learns best so you can identify her specific learning style. For example, if your school-age child is visual, consider using flash cards when she’s trying to memorize multiplication tables. If your child falls into the interpersonal intelligence category (that is, he has people smarts), help him improve his vocabulary by connecting descriptive words to people like friends, relatives, and historical figures.

4. Read, Read, Read

When it comes to picking up a book and having story time with your kid, there is no such thing as starting too early. Reading to preschoolers—and keeping books at home—encourages language development, reading skills, and future success in school. “Even if your child is still too young to understand everything you’re saying, he will learn to notice the rhythms of language, which will help him build a listening vocabulary,” explains Susan M. Heim, author of It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence. In fact, reading to your child has been proven to help him emotionally: A government-funded study conducted by The Institute of Education in the United Kingdom found that 5-year-olds who were read to daily by their parents were less likely to have behavioral problems in school.

5. Eat Dinner Together

Don’t worry if cooking isn’t your strongest skill — your child will reap the educational and emotional rewards from conversation, not chicken cacciatore. “Informal discussion topics (‘How was your day?,’ ‘What are you discussing in science?’ ‘How will you study for that test?’) lets your child know your family values learning,” explains Borba. A study conducted by Columbia University showed that children who eat at least five meals a week with their families are more likely to achieve higher grades in school and are less likely to develop an eating disorder. If everyone in your home is on a different schedule and can’t enjoy dinner at the same time, find another meal (like breakfast or an evening snack) when your family can sit together and review the day’s events.

6. Balance Bedtime

Establishing a bedtime—and keeping to it every single night—can be highly effective, but Borba further suggests turning off the computer and TV at least 30 minutes beforehand. If your child has access to a cell phone, she recommends taking it before bedtime because “62 percent of kids admit they use it after the lights go out — and their parents are clueless!” In 2005 researchers at Tel Aviv University found that missing just one hour of sleep can be enough to reduce a child’s cognitive abilities by almost two years the following day. Borba says that a sixth grader who loses precious zzz’s the night before a big test could end up performing at a fourth- grade level.

7. Dole Out Endless Hugs

Giving your child a number of hugs throughout the day will help ease any tension she may be feeling. “There’s nothing like the human touch to give a child a sense of security,” says Heim. Studies of neglected children have shown that kids who don’t receive affection can suffer from chronic stress, which can disturb the parts of the brain involved in focusing, learning, and memory. A study in the American Journal of Public Health, published in 2005, reports that touching another person gently has the power to alleviate symptoms—emotional, behavioral, and physical—related to stress. Not only will hugging your little one improve her ability to concentrate, it will also have benefits for you (and make you feel like a million bucks).

Featured photo credit: The Impossibility of The Good Black Mother via Time Magazine

Reference
1. Very well family: How Parents Can Raise a Good Child

2. Parents: 7 Ways to Raise a Well-Rounded Kid

3. Redbook: 7 Ways to Raise “Good” Kids, According to Harvard Psychologists

Rules To Lead A Fulfilling Life


By Azugbene Solomon


Being fulfilled is an awesome feeling, but unfortunately, it’s a feeling that many have trouble finding. Fulfillment is an easy concept on the surface, yet it’s so elusive. However, living a fulfilling life is well within the reach of everyone. Here are 18 ways to discover some fulfillment.

1. Come to peace with the way things are.

“If only I had more money, I’d…”

Or, “If I had more time, I’d…”

How many times do you hear people say these daily? Many times, I bet.

People are so obsessed with what they don’t have that they never allow themselves to be satisfied with what they do have in life. Constantly having a mindset of wanting more and more will squash any chances you have of acceptance. Embrace acceptance and watch your stress levels go down.

2. Take timeouts in life frequently.

Every so often, it’s good to hit the pause button on life and soak in the moment. Life can get hectic with work, relationships, and stress leading us to not realize how awesome life is.

Take time out of your busy day and smell the roses.

Finding the beauty and joy in the everyday mundane will allow countless little epiphanies and revelations, which will not only broaden your horizons, but make you grateful for all the things that are overlooked on a day-to-day basis.

3. Include some gratitude in your daily life.

Focusing on the negative leads to you becoming a toxic individual. Practicing gratitude has a myriad of benefits, such as happiness, more optimism, and better health. Challenge yourself to practice gratitude by writing or telling someone one thing you’re thankful for each day.

4. Spice up your life with some daily thrills.

Life is meant to be one big adventure, so get to exploring. Become daring and start saying yes to things you always talk yourself out of. Learn a new skill such as ballroom dancing, or go skydiving.

5. Treat yourself like royalty.

Do you beat yourself up over things that happened in the past? If so, then you need to stop that immediately. It’s time to forgive yourself and stop living in the past. If you don’t show respect and kindness to yourself, then how can you expect someone else to? How can someone else see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?

6. Eat in a way that is satisfying and healthy.

Eating healthy doesn’t entail the daily consumption of boring and bland meals, such as steamed chicken and broccoli. If fat loss is your goal, living a fulfilling life and eating awesome, tasty foods is very doable. Eating healthy should please your palate and your fitness goals.

7. Make exercise a priority, not an exception.

If you care about living longer, having more energy, and wanting to look hotter, then look no further than exercising to take care of all those needs. From improving your mood to improving your sex life, exercise is a no-brainer. If exercising isn’t your favorite activity, then read this article to help change your mind.

8. Stop making life so difficult.

Sometimes, life is meant to be simple. Stop overanalyzing everything and making every decision complicated and complex. Life isn’t meant to be filled with stress. Chill out and take a walk through the park or go have a quiet and relaxing dinner.

9. Punch fear in the face and get to living.

Fear is a natural part of our lives. Conquering fear starts in our heads and the mindset that we approach fear with. Experiencing failure provides value when it comes to living a fulfilling life and being the best version of yourself. Through failures, you’ll learn lessons that will make you a better person down the road.

10. Stop letting others determine your self-worth.

When you compare yourself to others, you’re devaluing yourself. Looking at someone else’s life from the outside is the same as looking at a highlight reel. Who knows how long it took them to get to their current position? Don’t compare your life to others.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

11. Kick all your negative company to the curb.

Life is far too short and awesome to deal with negative people who are full of toxic thoughts and habits. Keeping negative people around guarantees you’ll be unhappy and miserable. Equate negative people to mosquitoes and put some repellent on so they can’t suck the life out of you.

12. Learn to enjoy your own company.

Don’t become reliant on other people’s company or feel the need to be in a relationship to feel complete. Being in a relationship needs to come from a want, not a need. Embrace the notion of being your own BFF.

13. Commit to being a lifelong learner.

Those who desire to live a fulfilling life need to have a curious and hungry mind. By being a lifelong learner you realize that there’s a vast world out there that is waiting for exploration and adventures. By constantly learning, you’re increasing your knowledge and perspective of the world.

14. Escape from all the craziness that lives in our head.

The story that exists in your head is not even close to the actual day-to-day story that you live. Eliminate all those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Positive thinking leads to positive results.

15. Challenge yourself to become a social butterfly.

Make an effort to connect with more people, smile, and maintain eye contact a little longer than normal. This forces you to become more open to the world, leading to greater connections. When meeting new people, choose people from all different backgrounds and beliefs. This allows you to become a more well-rounded individual.

16. Embrace living outside your comfort zone.

If you never take yourself outside of your comfort zone, you’ll never know what you’re capable of in life. All the magic in life happens outside your little box. By staying inside your shell, you will only produce a mediocre version of yourself. Start living outside your comfort zone today by doing something you normally wouldn’t do.

17. Go for your dreams and let no one take them from you.

You can’t be afraid to go after what you want. Following your dreams is a vital part of living a life of fulfillment and shouldn’t be overlooked. Everyone says to follow your dreams, but few do. You only get to live through this thing we call life once, so you might as well make the best of it and live it on your own terms.

18. You should quit being so serious 24/7.

Would you please have a sense of humor and smile? Not everything is a matter of life and death. Feel free to take time off from playing the role of Captain Serious and joke around and act stupid.

Laughter helps people live longer, while also reducing blood pressure. The world would be a better place if we would all quit taking ourselves so seriously and get a little stupid. One of my favorite ways to get stupid is to start dancing. Here are some videos to help you get your dance on.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend and leave a comment below. Thanks!

Reference
Lifehack: 18 Basic Rules