Here are some ideas to get you started:
Surround yourself with the right people. It certainly makes sense that we are influenced by those people that we surround ourselves with. Remember, we have a choice who those people are! Choose your friends, not the other way around! Choose supportive, encouraging, honest people who will standby you… for better or worse. People who will gently guide you when you may be off track and encourage you to celebrate when you are on track.
Face your problems. Problems are the most likely to present the best opportunity to learn the most about yourself and how to develop discipline, courage and confidence. It is only our perception (misperception) that tells us that a task is too difficult, too hard, we don’t have time, we’re too tired, there’s no point… etc. In most cases we contribute to the creation of the problems we face in the first place… Start with the decision that you’re going to tackle one thing… find a solution, create a plan with a timeline attached, create some accountability with someone else, and implement your resolution…. in spite of the messages in your head that will be telling you to stop! The idea is to build confidence and discipline that you can change your life in small steps.
Tell yourself the truth… and listen! We all, in some ways, portray an image in our world, however, we also have that little voice in our heads that knows (and believes) our perception of the truth. There is a huge benefit to being aware of and understanding our own truth. You may feel like you’re lying to everyone in the world, but don’t lie to yourself. Have a look in the mirror, particularly when you feel the world is out to get you… that you are being victimized in some manner. Be self-honest first!
Identify, clarify and put your needs first. Stop pretending that you are doing things for someone else. If you feel you are, are you getting the results you’re looking for? When you identify your real needs it will help determine what your motivations are… and help create the result you want. Even when doing for others selflessly, we gain the benefit of feeling good about ourselves.
Be who you are. Everyone I have worked with thinks that they physically have some part of their body that is too big or too small or in the wrong place! There will always be others who are better looking, not as good looking, smarter, not as smart… Our ego’s job is to differentiate one from another and this is partially accomplished through focusing on differences. When we compare, we are often looking for more negative evidence to support our existing belief, that somehow we don’t measure up. Our real job is to be the absolute best person we believe we can be, not to be a clone of someone else.
Live in the present. Now is the only time we can do anything about changing our lives, not in the past nor in the future. If you find you are re-living the past or dreaming about the future, make that thought present so that you can do something about it. We are constantly writing our futures by what we do right now!
Learn from mistakes. Yes, mistakes are normal, however, please understand the nature of “mistakes”. Most people make decisions based on information and experience they have at the time they make their decision… what appears to make it a mistake is more often information that is acquired following the point of decision. Get into the practice of “thinking through” your decisions to guestimate potential outcomes… Is there more information that would be helpful in your decision? Our goal is to make informed decisions and not minimize or negate information that may help us accomplish that. Every mistake we seem to make is an indication that there is additional information we need to pay attention to next time
Be kind to yourself. When things happen in your life that feel uncomfortable, learn to be accountable for your part (easier said than done) rather than beating yourself up or adding to your list of evidence to justify an underlying (or not so underlying) belief, identify your regret… your struggle… your mistake…. Be aware of the messages you play in your head… what channel are you watching?
Be grateful. A sense of peace comes with gratitude… being ok where we are at this point in time… There is always something we can find to be grateful about. What truly brings us joy is more often free… love, laughter, connection with others… This sense cannot be bought or falsified by temporary measures. Find what you can be grateful for, don’t just make something up… make it real, then write it down… accumulate your personal list to remind yourself at times when you may not be feeling so grateful.
Be happy. (Don’t worry) Happiness is a one person job. Others do not have the power to provide you with happiness nor do you have that same power. The psychological state of happiness comes primarily from making a decision to be happy… then there is more tendency to notice and focus on gathering evidence to be happy. We’ve heard it… happiness is an inside job. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
Be active. Start being proactive in your own life, not waiting for someone else to motivate you. Make an informed decision about what you want to do, consider your decision, make your plan and stick to it. Taking small steps is important. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and then have a reason to not move forward.
Thinking that you’re ready. There is often never an opportune time to start something new. Everything begins and ends with a thought… which is a good thing… it means that we can always do something… even if it means stepping outside of what you’re familiar with.
Choose the kind of relationships you want. Be conscious of suitability, compatibility and joy. Just because someone seems to want to be with you, doesn’t mean that you need to be with them.
Be open to new relationships. You never know, the person you’ve just met, could be your best friend (or spouse). Relationships reflect our inner projections and we need to be willing to risk new ones. It’s an ongoing learning process.
Life isn’t a competition. Focus on being the best you can be… trust me… you’ll know. Challenge yourself to continue to grow without comparison to others. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
Be forgiving. Forgiveness is not condoning another’s hurtful behaviour, it is so that we may remind ourselves that sometimes people are inconsiderate, thoughtless, etc. It is a process of specifically identifying a wrong and through forgiveness, enabling yourself to not carry the hurt. There is a saying… if you are prepared to shoot a person, dig two graves… Remember to forgive yourself! We are always participants in our lives.
Maintain a positive standard. Be who you are without the need to measure up to or down to someone else’s level. You do not need to accommodate another’s standard.
Watch your need to explain. There is no need to be reactive in the attempt to defend a behaviour statement or position. You have probably found that it really doesn’t do any good anyway. If you feel a need to defend yourself, it indicates a sensitivity that you could work on in a different way.
Take a break. If you find yourself trying the same thing and expecting a different result… take a break. You will likely be getting the same result as before… and perhaps blaming or finding fault with someone else as the cause. Taking a break will help you reposition yourself, give yourself a different perspective.
Smell the roses. Enjoying the life journey as you move through it is important. Don’t miss a child’s smile because you’re busy being angry about something. It is the accumulation of small things that we remember.
Progress, not perfection. Perfection is an ideal that is often a moving target and unachievable. Reward yourself for the small steps that you are accomplishing and be mindful f the need to use the lack of perfection as a reason to not do something.
Challenge your challenge. Our resistance to do something different is an indication of our sensitivities. We will think that it’s too hard, I don’t have time, too tired, other things to do, won’t work… whatever! Our sense of accomplishment is often directly relative to the resistance to do something. Taking the “right” way can feel like using a machete to hack your way through the jungle as opposed to taking the autobahn freeway with n speed limit and no traffic. Be extra-ordinary. Step outside of what seems familiar to you.
Be real. Assume that whatever is on your mind is there for a reason and needs attention and further thought. If you’re upset or off balance about something… pay attention to that. There are no bad or good feelings, there are only indicators.
You are responsible. None of us have strings attached, controlling our movements and thoughts. There isn’t anyone else living in our heads. Like it or not, in the end, we are individually responsible for our lives. Being responsible means not blaming or finding the external cause. This does not mean that we cause ourselves harm consciously… but that we are fully responsible for the conscious directions our lives take.
Pace yourself. Watch the tendency to contribute to your overwhelm. Continuing to add more than you can chew will not end well. You really can only do so much and have so much time…
Plan ahead. Procrastination is usually not about whether we’re going to do something or not… it’s adding concern and stress by listening to the reasons (excuses) to not do something. If you’re worried or thinking about something repeatedly, write it down with a timeline… not a “to do” list.
Focus on what you want to happen. If you find yourself drawn away by your focus, take note of what that is and then bring yourself back to your focus. Practicing this will create a different level of self discipline. Welcome your day with your focus!
Seek help. Most of us run into roadblocks from time to time that make it difficult to move forward on our own Call for help and be open to the help you ask for.
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