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10 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Can Hugely Benefit You In The Long-Term

10 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Can Hugely Benefit You In The Long-Term

They say that the best things in life are free, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take time, dedication, and commitment. When it comes to learning important life skills, they are certainly difficult to acquire, but are beneficial to learn. Learning these important life skills will be one of the best investments you could ever make for yourself.

1. Time Management

No matter how many ways you slice it, there will only ever be 24 hours in a day. When you learn time management, you learn to take control of your time, which improves your ability to focus. When your focus is increased, your efficiency is enhanced because you stop losing momentum. You’ll notice that you’ll move through tasks much quicker, making it seem like the workday is flying by. That’s always a plus, right? When you have mastered time management, you will eliminate that awful feeling of not having done enough in your day. You’ll feel more calm, relaxed, and in control of your life. When it comes to making decisions, you’ll be able to carefully examine each option, so you can make the best decision possible.

2. Empathy

Empathy by definition means, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” People often confuse empathy and sympathy. In fact, they are quite different from one another. Sympathy, for example, is feeling sorry for someone who happened to lose a loved one. An example of empathy could be when someone loses their job; you can decide to ask open-ended questions, and truly seek to feel what that person is feeling in regards to what losing their job really means to them. Empathy is the key to success, and it has the power to transform the way we think, work, and lead. To acquire this skill follow, these Do’s and Don’ts:

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Do’s

  • ask open-ended questions
  • become comfortable with silence
  • ask why often
  • seek stories and emotions.

Don’ts

  • ask leading questions
  • judge
  • assume
  • only hear what you want to

3. Ask for help

This is a big one. A lot of times, we feel like it’s a sign of weakness if we have to ask for help, so we try to do everything all on our own. Truth be told, asking for help is really a sign of strength.

Assumption 1: It’s a sign of weakness. If I can’t do it on my own, I must not know how to do it, or I don’t have the skills or resources to do it.

Assumption 2: Allowing someone else to help me means losing control over the situation.

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Assumption 3: If I receive support then I have to reciprocate. What if I can’t return the favor? What if I don’t want to return the favor?

Assumption 4: If I ask for the support of others, I am burdening them. They are just as busy as I am, so how could they find the time to help out?

Assumption 5: I am the only one that can do it my way. It’s easier and quicker for me to do it than to train or teach someone else to help me.

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When you ask for help you give the opportunity for others to show you their gifts and talents and in turn, you’re more likely to learn something new. It empowers others to shine, and you are then able to see their passions. When you ask for help, it shows that you are imperfect just like everyone else. There is strength in being vulnerable.

4. Consistency

People will set a goal for themselves and because they can be inconsistent, they lose sight of that goal. Or, when we set a goal and we reach it, we sometimes forget that we must remain consistent to keep it. Consistency is very important when it comes to maintaining any kind of success.

5. Listening

Listening is important because it prevents miscommunication. It can make a message more clearly understood and can help reduce the amount of frustration for the speaker. Listening is a skill that is required for all types of communication. Listening is important in personal lives, daily activities, career, and employment environments. Many top employers spend money to ensure that their employees are able to effectively listen.

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6. Mind your own business

This is probably one of the most difficult skills to master. For whatever reason, it is so hard for people to keep their nose out of business that does not concern them. As you learn to be in your own business, you allow others to be in theirs. Do not put your nose where it doesn’t belong, unless you are specifically asked for advice. We often interfere with the business of others because we feel that we may know better. When you mind your own business, you will feel lighter; you’re not in charge of the universe. You will become more at peace just by being concerned with your own life, free from expectations and disappointments.

7. Resist Gossip

I know it’s hard, but it’s important to resist the urge to gossip and listen to others gossip. There’s a lot of mistruth that comes from gossiping and can cause quite a bit of drama. I’m sure we have all been in a situation where we have gossiped about people behind their back. Most of us do it without thought. Learning not to gossip is difficult because then it means we are possibly missing out on some information that we may otherwise not know. By gossiping about others behind their back, we prove that we cannot be trusted. So instead, when you hear someone gossiping about someone to you, you should kindly ask them to talk about something else.

8. Stay present in the moment

This is a hard one. Especially for those of us who overthink everything. We catch ourselves analyzing the past as if we can somehow go back in time to change something we wish we hadn’t done or said. Or, we think about the future so much that we often ruin the present. When you spend so much of your time thinking about things that haven’t even happened yet, you ruin your ability to be able to fully enjoy the present for what it is, and what it’s offering you.

9. Master your thoughts

It’s important to stay in charge of your thoughts. We are products of our past experiences and choices but that does not mean that our past reflects our future. Begin every day with a clean slate. Know that as each day passes, you are growing and changing into the person you’re meant to become.

10. Speak up

One of the greatest fears a lot of us have, is having to speak in front of others. The reasoning behind this varies from person to person, and some of these behaviours can be diagnosed into types of social phobias. However, the main underlying reason is that we fear being judged by those who are watching and listening. By learning to speak in front of others, you give yourself a big confidence boost, and it makes you more and more comfortable around other people. If you want to be a leader, you must learn how to communicate.

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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