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If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

There comes a time in life when we want to improve ourselves and invest in our self-development. Perhaps you’ve reached a crossroads in your career, looking for love or arrived at a point where you want to start making serious changes. You may have gone as far as to read numerous self-help books in the hope that a new perspective or approach will give you the magic formula for improving your life.

Sometimes you can get lost in the vast sea of information or the advice you seem to find just doesn’t resonate with you. Wouldn’t it be simple to just have a useable framework that can set your self-investment goals into motion and keep the momentum going? Here’s a four-step process that will do just that:

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1. Create A List of 100 Things

Find a quiet spot and think about all the things you’d like to achieve in life no matter how big or small. These could include losing a certain amount of weight, writing a novel, attending a cooking class, or learning a language. Keep going until you have 100 things on your list, then categorise them into three parts: things I need skills for, things I can do straight away and things I need time for.

The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about what you would really love to do – take your time, walk away and come back to it, let your inspiration take over. Having this list will help you establish different ways to expand, grow and achieve self-development.

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2. Be Honest About Your Skills And Create A Chart

This bit can be met with a bit of resistance, but being honest about the skills we have, and more importantly, the skills we don’t have can go a long way in achieving our long-term growth and self-investment.

You may need to acquire some new skills to achieve some of the items on your list in which case making a chart or spreadsheet can help identify these more easily. Make a list of what you need to learn and create columns for research, action and progress. What research do you need to do to gain these skills? Find courses you could sign up for or potential books you could buy. Next, in the action column write down every single step you’d need to take to reach the goal of gaining the skill. The progress column will mark how near you are to achieving each step.

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3. Take Some Immediate Action

The point of this step is to create motivation. We all love the feeling of ticking off a to-do list and by acting on the things on your list that can be done today, tomorrow, this week or this month will start off the momentum of that achievement feeling.

By doing this, your list is going to look a whole lot less intimidating – book that cooking class, start jogging, swimming or any exercise regime for your weight loss goal. These small steps can gain big rewards for our mindset moving forward so start planning and researching ways to achieve them and give them deadlines.

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4. Put Aside Time For The Long-Term Goals

We all know how easy it is to procrastinate and get distracted, but take some time to streamline your routines. Keep an eye on your procrastination habits throughout the day especially during morning and early evening. Carve out specific time when you can concentrate on your goals – create a timetable if needed. All this can help you keep on track, especially for your long-term goals.

Of course, your list of 100 things to achieve may change slightly over time, but if you only accomplish 4 things a year you will have worked through the entire list over 25 years and lived a life where you can say you achieved a huge amount of your goals and dreams.

Featured photo credit: Start Up Stock Pics via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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