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Last Updated on October 29, 2018

Unfulfilled in Life? This List of Goals Can Help You Realize Your Dreams

Unfulfilled in Life? This List of Goals Can Help You Realize Your Dreams

We all have our dreams, hopes and ideas about how our future should look like. Some dreams are professional, others – entirely personal and maybe even secret.

Whatever your dream is, this list of goals will help you reach it in a faster, healthier, and more pleasant way. All of these goals are very different, and some may not even seem to be directly connected to realizing your dreams.

But if you look deeper, you’ll find that these are important milestones in the road to meeting a better version of yourself – someone you’ve always aspired to become.

1. Stay fit and healthy

“A healthy mind in a healthy body” is one of those age-old quotes that’s just 100% true. It’s never too late to start a healthier lifestyle – what’s paramount here is to have a clear goal to follow.

Think about what kind of goals motivate you better. Some people feel that reaching small milestones every week or month is the best strategy for motivation because they can continuously notice the results of their effort.

For others, a grander aim like “running a marathon next year” works better. Who knows – you might end up like Kaspars Drikis, a commercial director from Riga, Latvia who went from being called “the big guy” to riding nearly 14 hours on an average week and participating in international races.[1]

Some simple goals to help you start leading a healthier lifestyle:

Eat healthy food at least 3 days a week

If you have the willpower to switch to a healthier diet every day – great!

However, if you are struggling with it like most of us are, start by choosing only healthy and lean food 3 days of the week (or any other pattern that suits you better). This way you’ll do your health a favor while still being able to enjoy some snacks at a birthday party or Saturday night movie night.

Find a physical activity that you love

Whatever is your relationship with sports and active lifestyle, there’s definitely something more you can do – or something new that you can try out.

There is an ideal type of activity for everyone – you just have to find it. Even if sports is not your thing altogether, taking long walks or starting gardening more often can help to get your energy flowing.

Get a fitness watch

From cheap pedometers to advanced fitness computers on your wrist, these tiny accessories can serve as excellent motivators to move.

Soon you’ll be likely to catch yourself climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walking to work instead of driving just to catch up with that recommended daily step count, or set a personal step record.

Take frequent breaks at work

In case you haven’t heard – sitting is the new smoking. Being seated in front of your computer for hours on end can cause a myriad of health problems in the long run.

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So make sure you find a way to take regular quality breaks – exercise, take a walk, grab a healthy snack or chat with your colleagues.

Short breaks from work actually improve your productivity and restore your energy levels; therefore your employer should also encourage them.

Set a reminder to drink water

Scientists never tire of stressing the importance of drinking enough water every day. In addition to all the health benefits, like weight loss and flushing the body of toxins, drinking lots of water is also a healthy – and 100% effective – way to take frequent breaks at work (to visit the bathroom).

The easiest way to make a habit of drinking water is to set a reminder. You can simply set a recurring notification on your phone, computer or wristwatch. Every time you hear the reminder, drink a glass of water. Alternatively, follow these 7 original ways to drink more water.

Bonus:

Want to feel extra energized throughout the day? Start with this.

2. Become your own boss

This may be easier said than done, but changing your life always starts with a decision.

Once you’ve really decided that you want to be your own boss, there are plenty of possibilities available – starting from freelancing and taking up flexible online jobs to pursuing your dreams in an entirely new area.

Become a freelancer

It’s true that a freelancer’s life has many advantages, like choosing your working hours and reporting only to yourself.

However, there are things to consider before you jump into self-employment. For instance, are you able to discipline yourself and follow deadlines? Can you accept that your income will probably differ from month to month?

If you are nodding in agreement right now, then follow these steps:

  • Find an area where you’re good at. It can be something broad (like drawing) or a niche (like knitting clothes for pets).
  • Think about where your potential customers can be met. Do they follow certain social media groups, are they members of any forums or maybe you can meet them face-to-face in your professional or personal circles?
  • Offer and promote your services – in your neighborhood, social media profiles, freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, etc.
  • Make use of various helpful tools and resources for freelancers. Numerous apps, online platforms, and communities are there to help you in your freelancing efforts.

Start your own business – online or offline

Starting a business is an even more responsible occupation than freelancing. Depending on what you want to sell, consider investing in a good-looking website and online shop (unless your business is strictly offline and local).

In general, starting a business online is a cheaper and a less risky way to start test your entrepreneurial skills. For example, online jobs like reseller, blogger and affiliate marketer don’t require huge expenses and let you evaluate if you like the responsibility.

Also, you don’t have to quit your job right away – find a side project that brings you joy and passive income. For example, Dionna Dorsey, a 36-year-old graphic designer/creative director from Washington, DC. works full-time in her creative design boutique and also sells design clothes via print-on-demand service Printful.[2]

Do something that you’ve always wanted

Have you ever dreamed about doing something and always postponed it for “some time in the future”? Chances are, there is something you’d do rather than your present occupation.

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Ever thought about finding a job that doesn’t require staring at a computer screen all day? Maybe you even have an idea of something you can produce yourself and sell on craft or eco food markets?

Ever wanted to volunteer or use a unique talent that never seemed financially feasible? Start it as a hobby and dedicate some of your free time to it. You never know – it might turn into something more when you meet the right people or stumble upon an opportunity.

Ask yourself and answer truthfully:

What are the real reasons why you haven’t done it yet? Maybe your circumstances have changed over the past years and now you can finally fulfill this dream?

If you still decide to postpone this goal, set a clear deadline when you’ll start achieving it. For example, “I will launch my online store when my kid starts kindergarten”. Or, “I will start building my house in 12 months when I will have saved at least $15 000.”

Remember, you’ll only live your best life once you step out — here’s how.

3. Be present

In these hectic times, we often struggle to be in several places at the same time. But in reality, we are not fully present in any of them.

Often we realize the importance of being mindful only when we’re already experiencing problems – like insomnia, anxiety, and depression. But there’s so much that you can do to prevent these feelings – and gain more power to pursue your dreams.

Practice mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness is the act of deliberately being aware. When we are mindful, we have an open mind, and we are actively experiencing everything that we see and feel happening around us right then and there. Mindfulness allows you to see yourself and the world around you just as it is – without any expectations or notions of what it “should be.”

You can practice mindfulness at any given moment of the day – for example, observe and enjoy the park as you’re walking your dog (instead of planning the dinner, dwelling on problems, or replaying the workday in your head).

However, meditation is probably the most direct way to mindfulness and achieving inner peace, balance, and happiness. Find out the basics of mindfulness and meditation in Lifehack’s Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide.

Think of your attention as an asset

In today’s digital age, attention is our most valuable skill that can guide us through the jungle of distraction and help us achieve our goals. Think of your attention as a superpower that you should use wisely.

First, think about those people in your life that deserve your attention, like your family, closest friends, and people who help you grow personally and professionally.

Then make sure you spare enough time and attention to the things you want to achieve in life. For example, designate an hour every day for reading books that will help you realize your dream. Or promise to spare at least three hours a week to doing something that takes you closer to your life goals.

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Block distracting apps

If you are like most people, you probably struggle to keep focus for longer tasks or conversations. There’s just too much going on in the world, right?

Our short attention span owes a big “thanks” to social media.[3] But, if we use social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way, it can serve as a valuable resource of information and contacts.

If you feel that social media is taking too much of your time, try blocking it for several hours every day. It’s very likely that you’ll see your productivity and mood improving.

Bonus:

Easily distracted and hard to focus? Start doing this.

4. Travel

Traveling is an eye-opening experience that will always leave you wanting more. Even if it doesn’t seem linked to achieving your life goals, I promise you – it is.

Because traveling means leaving your comfort zone and opening yourself to new ideas, actions, and experiences.

If you haven’t traveled much previously, you don’t necessarily have to make your first trip to another continent. You can pick a scope and format that you find comfortable, but still interesting – e.g. start by exploring your surroundings, nearby cities, countries or states.

If you have already traveled before, but feel that you want a different kind of experience, try these tips.

Travel alone

This sounds scary at first, but you may actually find it very liberating – and much more adventurous than traveling with your partner, kids or friends.

As you embark on your solo journey, you can decide if you want to spend this time entirely alone or if you’d enjoy socializing with locals and other travelers you meet on the way.

Either way, you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself and have a different perspective on traveling – and life, for that matter. Who knows – you might actually fall in love with the sense of freedom!

Travel differently

It doesn’t matter if you travel alone or with others – you can always find new ways to spice up your trips.

For example, staying in a camping instead of a hotel could be fun even if you travel with kids. Or, try Couchsurfing that’s all about meeting locals and staying in their homes. For longer trips, consider programs like Workaway that unite volunteers and hosts from around the Globe.

You can also change other things about how you travel. If you’re used to relaxing in tourist resorts, go on a city break or a nature holiday in the mountains. If you’ve always taken guided tours, go on a self-arranged trip for a change. If you’ve mostly traveled by car, consider renting bikes or hiking.

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5. Manage your money smarter

When working towards our life goals, you’ll probably need some funding, or at least a safety net if the road gets too bumpy. Learn these simple, but effective money management tips to help you save up for realizing your dreams.

Think twice before you make big purchases

Time after time we all need to make purchases that require us tightening the belt. Some examples are home appliances, baby equipment, furniture or a car. Often buying a new item in your nearest store seems like the obvious thing to do.

However, you can save a lot of money if you answer these questions before you buy:

  • Can I find it cheaper at another store or distributor?
  • Can I buy it used?
  • Can I borrow or rent it?
  • Can I wait until the sale?

Only when none of these options are possible – or sensible – opt for buying a new product.

Keep an emergency account

Everyone faces emergency expenses at one time or another. Some examples of these are car repairs, sudden medical expenses, losing a job, etc. Savings will prevent you from having to borrow money or maxing out your credit card.

Some tips for your emergency savings:

  • Experts generally advise having savings that equal your 3, 6 or 9 months salary to cover your basic needs and pay bills in case of emergency.[4]
  • Set a savings goal – for example, save $1000 in six months. It’s important to keep the goal realistic and not too aggressive for your budget.
  • Set an automatic transfer on payday to your savings account – this way you won’t have to remember to do the transfer yourself.
  • Don’t make exceptions. Stick to your savings plan at all times. Don’t skip a month because you spent too much money on entertainment or clothes.
  • If you have a partner, you can agree to maintain the savings account together. Even if each of you sets aside only $10 every week, you will have saved more than $1000 in one year. If you can afford to double this amount, your savings will amount to more than $2000 per year. However, you can also make your individual savings and set aside as much as you can every month.

Use money saving apps

If you feel that you don’t have any money to spare for savings, look deeper into your money spending habits – you can probably find an area where you can be more economical. To help you discipline yourself and save, try apps like Monefy or Money Lover.

Final thoughts

Do what you’ve always dreamed!

I know this might sound vague at first. But if you stop to think for a few minutes, you will probably recall something that you’ve always wanted to do – but never had the time, money, or opportunity.

Then ask yourself – why not do it now?

Maybe as the years passed, the situation has changed, and you now have the knowledge, skill or resources to achieve what you always wanted.

As you embark on the adventure of your dreams, keep this helpful list of goals close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: Will Li via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ieva Baranova

Ieva helps tech startups access big markets and is a passionate advocate of alternative work formats.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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