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Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day

Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day

Looking within ourselves is not often second nature to us. When we’re young, we get into the habit of looking to our parents and peers for recognition in order to validate ourselves – it’s how we tend to learn about the world around us and our place within it.

In our structured school systems, we’re used to waiting for a teacher’s approval and recognition and rarely learn to actually recognize ourselves. Doing this often led to accusations of arrogance rather than self-empowerment.

Our Culture Teaches Us to Focus On Our Weaknesses

It’s this early structure in our culture that limits our sense of discovery about our inner selves. But it also transcends throughout our lives through our general mindsets on self-improvement.

When we talk about improving ourselves, it tends to come from a space of lack.  We sense we’re not doing something right or we’re heading down the wrong life path and it’s usually in these circumstances that we feel the need to improve the flaws that have taken us there.

When we ask for feedback, more often than not it’s our flaws and what’s not good enough that’s highlighted rather than what we did well. The danger of this comes when our strengths aren’t celebrated and instead neglected in a way that is never developed into great ones.

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What Recognition Does to Our Brains

Recognition from others can be important but not when it’s your only source. Recognizing our own achievements and strengths is much more powerful than any outside validation.

Studies show writing down and recognizing our accomplishments, no matter how small, actually creates activity in the reward circuitry of our brains. Dopamine, along with other key chemicals, is released causing us a sense of energy around our achievements and allows us to get that feel-good factor.

This is why waiting for recognition from others can be futile. It may seem positive to get that feedback and validation from other people but when it doesn’t ultimately come from within, it can wear off easily. When we do well, often we’re the first to notice and we can overestimate how much others care about our accomplishments. This is why you shouldn’t wait for recognition but instead feel the power of recognizing yourself.

How To Recognize Your Own Achievements and Gain Empowerment

Write Down 3 Small Achievements Each Day

We can go through our whole day and assume we haven’t achieved anything but this is never the case. Even the smallest things such as meeting a new person, walking 10 minutes more than usual or helping a stranger should be considered accomplishments and celebrated.

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Writing down at least 3 small achievements each day can get us noticing that we do achieve more than we think. And it’s the collection of these small achievements that add up to the huge successes.

J.K Rowling spent many years achieving small tasks before she became hugely successful. Persevering with writing every day with the odds seemingly piled against her would have been extremely hard with no outside validation and constant rejection from publishers. Instead, she took note of how well she did every day and how much closer she was getting to accomplishing her goal.

For Every Weakness, Write Down a Similar Strength

We can easily focus on our weaknesses but a good strategy is to counteract any weakness with a strength. In other words, putting a positive spin on something seemingly negative. This helps you see the glass half full and see strengths that you haven’t necessarily recognized.

If you’re an over-thinker, write next to it that you’re detailed-minded. Being a perfectionist means you take pride in attention to detail. Having a tendency to be over-eager means you’re passionate.

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Writing these down enables you to see things from a different perspective and you’ll recognize not to dwell on weaknesses as completely negative.

Don’t Play the Comparison Game

We are all victims of comparing our lives to the success of others. But this causes us to focus from a space of lack and stops us from seeing what we do have going for us.

We have to remember that everyone is on their own path and at their own pace. Most of the time we only see a small fraction of someone’s life so it’s futile to believe someone is ultimately doing ‘better’ than us. Social media presents us with this constant opportunity to see a small window into others’ lives but be aware that feelings of envy are pointless and diminishes our sense of achievement. Don’t get sucked into the comparison game.

Keep Listening But Remain Detached

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The modern world has a competitive nature about her. We feel we need to be the best, and to do so, struggle and strive to be better – but at the cost of what? The feedback we get tends to focus on the negative but the key is to be able to filter out the helpful from the unhelpful.

It’s up to us to decide what is constructive in our growth and what is just unnecessary. Don’t get caught up dwelling on other’s opinions about you but instead accept if it’s something you genuinely want to work and focus on or not. Recognizing this from within rather than relying on outside validation will help you grow much more quickly and in your own way.

So, while being recognized for your achievements will give you a boost, it has the danger of being very conditional to your sense of worth. By learning to celebrate and recognize your accomplishments from within, you will move forward and grow in much better ways than you thought.

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

Let’s start with the problem:

You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’s things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.

But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.

By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.

So where do you go from there?

What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.

This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.

These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.

1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation

Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.

All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.

Guess what? This isn’t going to work.

Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.

Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.

If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:

Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.

For example:

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  • If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
  • If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
  • If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.

The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.

Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.

The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!

OK. Next step.

2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)

Open up any social media platform you’re active on that contains some positive connections you have.

Send this message to one person you already know and trust ton help you make changes to your life:

“Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.

And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.

My ask is simple.

Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.

What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”

Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.

Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.

People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.

It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.

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Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.

So when the next dip in willpower comes?

You have a friend sitting right next to you, watching your every move, making sure you get things done anyway.

3. Build Good Habits Effortlessly

Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.

Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.

Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.

Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.

Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:

A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.

Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.

When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.

Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.

So what did I do to build this really important habit?

Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.

I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.

Then, it hit me.

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I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.

I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.

What was it?

Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.

Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.

My new habit became:

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.

Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.

Why does this work?

What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).

I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.

Making it more likely to happen.

Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.

When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.

There was no motivation or willpower required.

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This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.

If you want to learn more about quitting bad habits, Lifehack’s CEO also has a guide on it: How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

4. Create More Time by Quitting Social Media

You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.

Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.

We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.

One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.

Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?

Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.

The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.

Final Thoughts

Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.

Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.

Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.

So what to do next to make changes in your life?

  1. Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
  2. Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
  3. Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
  4. Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.

More About Making Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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