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Last Updated on May 3, 2019

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

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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