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How to Reinvent Yourself And Redefine Your Future

How to Reinvent Yourself And Redefine Your Future

Do you ever wish you could change your past?

We all go through struggles in life, make mistakes, and face certain hardships and challenges that prevent us from moving ahead. The important thing is to learn how to come out stronger, and become even better than you were before.

Though, this is easier said than done. Many of us may find that we’re stuck or bogged down by certain limitations that prevent us from achieving our goals and progressing in life.

This can be super frustrating, especially if you’ve been feeling this way for a while. When you aren’t able to find a solution or way out of a rut, it can be demoralizing and cause you to spiral further downward.

Yet, it is possible to break free from those limitations or set backs, and to get ahead in life again. You can indeed take control of your actions and reactions to work them in your favor. I’ve experienced this first hand over my many years working as a life coach.

Here are 4 ways to start re-inventing yourself right now so you can achieve a better version of you!

1. Refresh Your Perspective

Before you decide to re-invent yourself, it’s important to double check your attitude.

If you’ve been having negative thoughts about the situation you’re in, then chances are you’re not going to progress much even if you’ve made up your mind that you want to change.

This is especially so when you’ve been facing the setback for a while–you may feel accustomed to accepting the negativity. Below are some negative attitudes to get rid of, and more positive ones that you can adopt:

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Limit/RemoveSelf-defeating talk
Replace it with: Positive affirmations:

  • I am confident in the presence of others.
  • Everything will work out for me.
  • The tools I need to succeed are in my possession.
  • Happiness is within my grasp.
  • I will say “No” when I do not have the time or inclination to act.
  • If I fail, I will fail forward.
  • Positivity is a choice that I choose to make.
  • My commitment to myself is real.

Limit/RemoveToxic people who bring you down rather than lift you up.
Replace them with: People who inspire, uplift, and empower you.

Limit/Remove
Comparing yourself to others.  
Replace it with: 
Comparing yourself to who you were yesterday.

Limit/RemoveAn abundance of “should haves” / regrets.
Replace it with: An abundance of ‘could haves’. Learn from your mistakes and move forward in a productive manner. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself!

By simply mastering a positive perspective, you can really change your overall outlook and see possibilities you hadn’t before.

2. Recognize the Power of Purpose

The next important step to overcoming your limitations is to know your purpose. Whatever it is that you’re wanting to achieve or do, you need to know why you are doing it. This way, you can leverage your positive attitude and get to where you want to go.

Your purpose doesn’t need to be revolutionary, such as overcoming injustice in the world. It can be as simple as wanting to be a healthier you for your family and loved ones!

The key is in knowing ‘why’ you’re doing something, as it needs to bring meaning to your life.Many times, we find ourselves lost, stuck or feeling demotivated–and this is often because we never quite have our purpose figured out. If there is no concrete meaning or reason to why we were chasing after something, what’s the reason for doing it? Why feel motivated?

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” — Viktor Frankl

Having a purpose gives you direction and allows you to outline what is and what isn’t important. By having a purpose, you can plan out goals that align to your purpose, and ensure it will get met.

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Even if you find yourself lost or facing a setback, you at least have a purpose to go back to–and a new sense of direction goals to work towards.

3. Understand How to Hit Your Goals

Once you have identified your true purpose, you can get down to setting out SMART goals!

SMART goal setting is a goal setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it.

They are:

  • S — Specific
  • M — Measurable
  • A — Achievable
  • R — Realistic
  • T — Time bound

The strength of SMART goals is that they set a clear path to achieving goals, and they have a clear time frame in which to achieve them. When you understand how to reach those goals, things will seem less complicated, and you’ll find yourself feeling more confident about certain decisions or actions.

Specific
It is important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. That way you can focus your time and energy on achieving your goal. Also, having a specific goal helps you stay away from distractions.

Let’s use the example of wanting to be a ‘healthier you’. Saying that you want to be healthier is vague. Instead, you could say that “you want to lose 15kg within a year”.

Measurable
You want to know when you’ve achieved your goal.

You should also be able to tell how far you’ve come during the process, and how much further to go. Be specific with how much or how many about your goal.Using our example while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start to lose weight by exercising 5 times a week”.

Achievable
Look at what skills and resources you already have, and compare them to the things needed to achieve your goal. Think about whether you’ll be able to learn or get the things you lack right now.

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A goal like this is not achievable: “I want to lose 20 pounds in 1 week.” Meanwhile, this person is not at all in shape, and losing weight and building muscle would realistically take months.

Realistic
Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need to think about how realistic it is. Being realistic means you are willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved.

Research all the stats, facts and figures relevant to your goal. Then consider the resources available to you, such as your budget, time, help from others, etc. Ask yourself if your goal makes sense in your situation.In the case of our example, it would be unrealistic and unhealthy for someone to achieve that much weight loss in 1 week.

Time Bound
Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date. The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation to drive you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

“I will start losing 20 pounds by exercising 5 times a week for the next 12 months” is a time bound goal.

Remember that some goals are short term while some are long term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clearer and realistic strategy for your SMART goal setting.

4. Know the Value of Your Time

Re-inventing yourself requires you to know the value of your time. Time is extremely valuable; it is something we can never get back once it’s gone, and it’s very limited in quantity. Therefore, we need to know just what is it that we’re using our time for, and to be sure to use it well.

So what are you prioritizing? Is it aligned with your purpose?

How do your habits stack up to your time budget? Are you spending more time in a wasteful rather than productive way?

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To learn more about how you can quantify and put a value to the time you spend on certain tasks, I’ll recommend you read this article:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

Once when you’ve figured out what’s unimportant, what do you do with those tasks? One way is delegate out those tasks. If you’re unsure of what should be delegated, this article will show you how:

Have You Fallen Into the ‘Busy’ Trap? Here’s Your Way Out

Make Progress Towards an Improved Version of You

These 4 steps may seem overwhelming at first, but once you can take some time to go through each, you’ll be making progress in no time.

Refreshing your perspective enables you to step out of your current mindset to see new possibilities. Knowing your purpose will allow you to use the refreshed perspective you now have to get moving in the right direction.

Understanding how to set goals that align to your purpose will also prevent you from falling into potential setbacks or spending time on things that don’t bring meaning to your life.

And finally, knowing the value of your time will ensure that the tasks you do will multiply your available time and help you progress towards actual goals and the future that you dream of.

By implementing these steps, you’ll soon discover that it is possible to overcome whatever circumstance you’re currently facing, and be ready to take on goals that actually align to your purpose.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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