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Monday, January 20, 2014

Eight Steps to a Better You

I love reading. In particular, the past several years I have become a nonfiction junkie. I love personal development books, blogs, websites, etc. A life changing memoir or a how to book can also capture my attention for hours. Today, I thought I would share the top eight things I have learned from my nonfiction craze.

1. Establish Good Habits - What are yours? Which ones need to be changed?

This is as simple as getting 8 hours of sleep, having a colorful plate at meals, or reading something educational or motivational every day. For me personally, the two I am working on currently are working out every day and writing in a gratitude journal. I list three things about my husband, my kids, and my life that I am grateful for every day.

2. Surround Yourself with Success - Who do you know that emanates success? Who do you need to weed out of your life?

I am sure everyone has heard that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. I have heard this many times and always do a gut check when I do. This has been an ongoing goal for me to seek out the people I want to be like. This has proved to be challenging for me since I work from home and don't have opportunities to meet a lot of new people. I am always looking for suggestions in this area so feel free to share.

3. Burn the Boat - Set Challenging but Realistic Goals

Too often we set goals that are safe, and we keep them to ourselves. Lately, I have read more and more about the idea that bigger goals are easier to achieve because they push a person more. Set a goal that is outside of your reach and will take some work to accomplish. The bigger piece to this is to share the goal with others. Once it is out there, it is much harder not to follow through. I shared some of my goals in my first post of the year. My big goals are to qualify for Boston and to travel and speak for a living. There, now it is out there so I need to burn the boat - no going back now!

4. Envision Your Ideal Life. Write it, Share it, Read it, Visualize it, Become it.

It is much easier to focus on all the things that are going wrong in our lives or to rudiment about the past. It is impossible to move forward if you are always looking back. Keep your eyes set on the end prize which forces you to look forward. Many people use vision boards for this. I like the idea of using a journal, vision board, or creating a video with music, text, and images that you can watch each day. It keeps you focused on what you want your life to be instead of what your life isn't. 

5. Act the Way You Want to Be

The brain is extremely powerful. We can convince ourselves of almost anything. That is why visualization is so important. See yourself doing the action again and again and your body will start to believe you already have. The same goes for other areas in your life. Act the way you want to be, and you will become it. 

6. Give - of your time, resources, friendship. Random Acts of Kindness Go a Long Way.

This is probably the simplest thing people can do but is often times the one that is the least practiced.Many times we think if we don't have something monetary to give that we don't have anything to give. I am guilty of this as well. However, when I think back to the gestures that have made the biggest impact on my life, they haven't been monetary gifts, but instead they were kind words, time spent with me, or support. All of those things are easy to give, and they are free. My husband did something really cool for his birthday this year. On facebook he posted that instead of wishing him happy birthday on his wall, he would like people to do a random act of kindness and think of him. That is why I married him! What an awesome idea. 

7. Accept and Love Yourself Where You are Right Now

This is much tougher than it sounds especially if we are not at the place we want to be personally, physically, financially, or emotionally. It is great to set goals and want more for yourself; however, beating yourself up because you are not there yet is not the way to reach those goals. Looking in the mirror everyday and telling yourself that you accept and love yourself where you are at this very point in your life may sound cheesy, but it will ultimately motivate you to become the best version of you that you can be. 

8. Never Stop Learning, Reading, Growing - Approach Life with an Open Mind

One of my favorite quotations from the movie Shawshank Redemption is, "Get busy living, or get busy dying". Once we stop learning, reading, and growing, we start getting busy dying. We only have one shot at this life so why not take full advantage. Learn as much as you can, experience as much as you can, and grow as much as you can. Approach everyday and every situation, even difficult ones, as an opportunity for growth. Every relationship, every interaction, and every experience in life holds within it a lesson to be learned. The key is taking the time to learn it. 

These eight steps in no way represent all that I have learned over the past few years, but I had to limit my list or this post would go on forever. What are your favorite ideas, lessons, or nuggets of wisdom about life? 

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