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20 Small Habits To Build To Become Mentally Stronger This Year

20 Small Habits To Build To Become Mentally Stronger This Year

Everyone wants to start out 2016 strong, but it’s finishing strong that’s also important. Many resolutions and goals are never reached because we get caught up in what’s happening in our life, and because we haven’t developed the mental strength to keep ourselves going when the momentum from the New Year wears off.

However, a lot of getting yourself to your goals and surpassing them is about being mentally strong for when those hard moments hits. Discipline is developed, so it will power the continual ability to make great choices toward what you want. Remember, not to sacrifice what you really want for some pleasure now.

However, being mentally stronger doesn’t mean it has to be a tough grind, here are a few tips and tricks which can help you. Just like if you want to be stronger physically you have to do exercises to keep the muscles strong, do build mental strength you have to do exercises to help build those habits and beliefs.

One of the best ways to build mental strength is to find habits and small tips throughout the day to keep your energy high, mind-set positive, and help develop habits and skills which will help move you forward and keep you feeling good about what you’re doing. Meanwhile, you’re building mental strength in a way which won’t leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Set yourself up for a mentally stronger and happier 2016 by applying a few of these tips.

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1. Make your bed

You’re already accomplishing things and getting off to a great start when you make your bed first thing in the morning.  Remember the saying, “The state of your bed is the state of your head?” There is plenty of truth to it. While it may seem like a small step, it has huge benefits. Research shows people who make their beds daily are overall happier with their lives, more productive, and have a stronger sense of pride and accomplishment in their day for all the tasks they do. This one little thing gets you in the habit of finishing projects right away in the morning. One task down before you’ve even brushed your teeth, what a great feeling!

2. Say nice things to yourself daily

This year, make a commitment to cut down on the negative self-talk and pump up the nice things you say to yourself. You may feel ridiculous at first as you become your own cheerleader in your head, but think about how great you’ll feel as you make stronger and stronger decisions about your life. Those same decisions are what will keep you moving toward your goal. Be mindful, negative thoughts can sneak their way in really quickly, when you catch them, just recognize them as untrue (even if you have to say it out loud) and replace them with a positive thought.

3. Write down something great about each day

You can keep it in a jar, a journal, a shoe box, or wherever you want, but write down something great about each day. Not only does this help create gratitude in your life, but at the end of the year you’ll be able to sit down and look back at the positive things you experience and accomplished, instead of the challenges or rough patches which made you want to give up.

4. Write down the positive aspects of every challenge

Life is a lot about perspective. Change your perspective and you can change your life. Instead of griping and being angry or disappointed (indulging in negative self-talk) concerning any challenges which may come up, build up your positive mental strength by writing down positive aspects and things you could be learning from the challenges. See if you can’t find something to be grateful about every day.

5. Practice mindful happiness while commuting

Mindfulness is about being in the moment. To get comfortable with being happy, practicing being mindfully happy. Take an event or moment or memory when you are feeling good and let yourself indulge in the feeling. Look at how it sits in your body. How your thoughts change. How your body changes. What it feels like. If there are any colors which it may feel like. Spend some time with your happy mood. At the end of it, notice the feeling of happiness and joy, it comes from you, and it spontaneously shows up when you are in mindfully in the moment.

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6. Practice being your own best friend daily

This is a great way to become mentally stronger, because it teaches us to rely on ourselves, and not need others to pick us up, because we can do it ourselves. Next time something isn’t going quite as planned, or you start to insult or criticize yourself, pause and ask, “Would I let my best friend treat me this way?” or “Would I treat my best friend this way?” The answer is probably no, and it’s a great idea to love yourself as much, if not more, than you love your best friend.

7. Practice saying “no” without explanation

As a society we’ve decided somewhere along the lines we have to have a reason for saying no, and not wanting to do something isn’t a good enough reason. If you find yourself in that’s line of thinking, then throw it out. Learn to say no. You don’t have to explain your actions or validate your decisions to anyone about why you don’t want to do something.

8. Practice 20 minutes of self-care daily

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, but if you don’t take some time to really deeply care for yourself, you’ll eventually run your well dry and not be able to love and care for those around you. Self-care can be something as complex as having a manicure or spa day, or as simple as locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes just to have some alone time. It doesn’t matter what it is, make sure you create some space and/or activities which leave you feeling full and happy.

9. Do a hobby or activity daily which brings you joy

This is a great form of self-care. This year see if you can’t find a hobby or activity which you enjoy just because it makes you feel better. As you become more confident and competent at it, you’ll discover how confidence and self-belief will pool over into other areas of your life. The positive talk you use and the joy you find in your hobby will help make you mentally stronger as you tackle the harder aspects of your chosen goal.

10. Set a goal to practice more gratitude and less complaining

Getting caught up in the cycle of complaining can make you hard to be around, but it also can take quite a toll on your mental health. Instead of just endless complaining about a situation, try and find something to be grateful about.

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11. Set a goal for at least 8 hours of sleep a night

This is huge! You’ve seen small children lose their mind when they are too tired, adults are the same way, only we don’t usually end up eventually passed out in the middle of our dinner plate. When you’re too tired you make poor decisions, your mental strength goes down, your rational mind turns into a 6-year-old’s, and your body responds by upping stress hormones. Make sleep a priority this year to help you stay mentally strong. A minimum of eight hours is essential, if you’re any type of athlete, more is important. If you’re stressed make sure you are giving yourself sufficient time to rest and relax before going to sleep in order to allow your body to maximize the sleeping hours.

12. Set a goal to eat clean food daily

New research is showing the link between your gut health and your mood, and one of the things which directly relates to your gut health is the food you put in your body. By reducing inflammatory food such as any food allergies, grains, dairy, and alcohol you can reduce the stress on your digestive system. A healthier digestive system means less sick days, more energy, and can also improve symptoms of depressions and anxiety. Try to shop the outside edge of the grocery story and eat only food you make. Google clean eating recipes and experiment one or two nights a week.

13. Cut your social media time in half

We tend to put our best foot forward on social media, and this can end up with us trying to compare our lives to the highlights reel of another person’s life. Doing so can leave you feeling awful and discontent about where you are in life and the great things you’ve accomplished, it can also cause you to forget how many great lives you touch throughout the day by being the amazing person you are. Half you social media time and spend the time reconnecting with people you love, reading a book, or practicing the hobby you do or the joy of it. Whatever you decided to fill the time with, make sure it’s something which lifts you up.

14. Put up at least three inspirational/motivational quotes to read daily

When things get tough and you feel like you’re not making progress, uplifting words can go a long ways toward keeping you on track. Take the time to post a few inspiring and motivational quotes or pictures (maybe even a vision board) somewhere you’ll see it every day. Words of encouragement and motivation can go a long when you’re in a bad place.

15. Visualize your goals for 10 minutes daily

Take the time to visualize the end result of your goals, but also the challenges you’ll over-come in between. Practice visualizing how you’re going to problem solve possible things which could go wrong and coming out on top. See yourself where you want to be, and feel how great it feels to accomplish your goals.

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16. Let go of your people pleasing tendencies

In an effort to be a  good person we often over-extend ourselves and commit to things we really don’t want to do. Embrace the fact you can’t please everyone and let go of the need to let others’ happiness and goals overrule what’s best for you, your health, and your happiness.

17. Set a monthly budget which includes something fun

These don’t have to be big, but something fun. Maybe a shirt, a movie, or a new candle, a favorite bubble bath, or lotion. Something you don’t normally let yourself reach for, something which will make you smile and feel wonderful when you come into contact with it. Whether it’s lighting your new candle, soaking in a tub with your favorite bubble bath, let yourself enjoy a small splurge every month or few weeks.

18. Stop indulging in relationships or activities which drain you of energy.

Go where you’re celebrated. Do things which leave you feeling joyful. This year make yourself mentally stronger by building positive relationships and letting go of toxic ones. This doesn’t mean letting go of toxic relationships or places will be easy, it just means you’re going to make a commitment to being stronger. Without the mental and emotional drain you’ll find more energy and more happiness throughout your day.

19. Cut the word should from your vocabulary

Think about when the last time you thought you should do something. Wasn’t exactly a fun and exciting thought was it? Should usually comes with the feelings of obligation and heavy responsibility, and rarely a feeling of joy.  Should has a tendency to come with self-criticism and harsh judgement, neither of which support the foundation you’re building this year to become mentally stronger. Instead of using should, re-phrase your sentence into something you look forward to doing. I would like to be mentally stronger. I would like to be physically healthier.

20. Journal for three pages or five minutes morning and/or night

If you choose the time in the morning use it at a chance to write about your dreams, dump all your worries or concerns on the page, to creatively express anything which may have worried you the nigh before. It’s also a great way to write down your goals and inspirations for the day, get a feeling for what you want to see happen and an action plan. If choose to do the night use it to unwind about all the things which may have stressed you out, and to congratulate yourself on all the things you did right.

No matter what approach you take this year, remember with consistent, positive practice you can strengthen your mental muscles and over time you’ll become mentally stronger.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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