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Published on September 1, 2019

How to Be More Assertive to Meet Your Goals

How to Be More Assertive to Meet Your Goals

Life can be tough sometimes–which is why we need to be tough sometimes, too.

And, that’s the focus of this article: helping you to boost your assertiveness, so you can tick off your tasks, goals and dreams.

Now, I realize that it’s not always easy being assertive — especially if you’re used to being a people-pleaser. You might fear that if you act assertively, you’ll be regarded as a demanding and unkind individual.

But, as I’ll show you in the next few minutes, you can be both assertive and kind-hearted. And, most importantly, if you sincerely want to achieve your goals, then it’s essential that you call upon the power of assertiveness.

Why do I say that?

Because having an assertive nature will help you overcome obstacles and reach your goals quicker than you may have imagined possible. According to the Mayo Clinic, assertiveness is a core communication skill.[1] One that allows you to stand up for your beliefs and to express yourself effectively.

And, of course, there are other advantages to being assertive:

• You’ll earn other people’s respect

• You’ll boost your confidence and self-esteem

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• You’ll create win-win situations

• You’ll gain more career satisfaction

• You’ll create open and honest relationships

 At this point you may be asking: “How easy is it to become more assertive?”

Well, it will take some work on your part, but with a little effort, you can definitely become more assertive and more successful.

To help you get started, I’m going to share with you now some great ways of boosting your assertiveness.

1. Be Direct

The first suggestion I have for you is based on the classic “less is more” philosophy.

When it comes to being direct, you shouldn’t make accusations or cause the other person to feel guilty or wrong. And, there’s no need for long-winded explanations, which can be misleading or confusing for the recipient.

Instead, get straight to your point as soon as you can. Such as by saying: “I’m busy right now, so I can’t help you at the moment.”

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2. Stay Calm

Another key component of being assertive is having the confidence to keep your emotions in check when you need to convey something to someone (I know this can be difficult sometimes).

The trick is to detach your emotions from the situation and think logically. This will help make it easier to come across as in control, and will inevitably gain a more respectful response from the other party.

3. Use “I” Statements

Make it a habit to say things like, “I feel ” or “I believe.” And, avoid phrases like “you never” or “you always,” which put people on the defense immediately and can lead to poor communication and shutdowns. 

“I” statements make you come off more confident and don’t trigger others to feel attacked.

In other words, state why you believe something — rather than criticizing the other party’s viewpoint. 

4. Say “No” More Often

There is a great way to practice assertive behavior which only requires you to utter a  2-letter word… No! 

By practicing saying no to things you cannot or don’t want to do, you’ll be exercising your assertiveness in a simple but effective way.

These are the sort of lines you might use:

• No, I’m not happy taking on that work

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• No, I don’t have time to do this

• No, I have more important things to do

• No, I’m on my lunch break right now

• No, I’m not interested!

5. Don’t Apologize 

Many people have the tendency to begin every potentially assertive statement with an apology. For example, “Sorry to bother you, but could you…”  Or even simply, “Just following up…” 

These come across as weak and passive — and certainly not assertive. 

There’s a time and place for being apologetic (e.g., when you’ve accidentally knocked over someone’s drink!), but when it comes to being assertive, don’t let an apologetic tone get in the way of what you want to say.

6. Your Body Language Should Match Your Words 

When was the last time you paid attention to your body language?

If it’s been a while, then I suggest you keep a close eye on it in the next few days — particularly when it comes to talking to someone in person.

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To come across as confident and assertive, your body language needs to match your words. This means NOT slumping your shoulders and avoiding eye contact. Instead, it means standing tall and erect, and looking directly in the person’s eyes.

This will serve two purposes:

• A) It will consciously and subconsciously impress the person that you have faith in what you’re saying

• B) It will make you feel strong, assured and confident

So now you have 6 great ways to boost your assertiveness.

But, knowledge is useless without action. Which is why I want you to start putting the tips and techniques into action in your life — right now!

Do this, and I guarantee that within a few weeks, you’ll notice you’ve become a stronger, more assertive and more dynamic person. And, with these enhanced traits, you’ll find that reaching and exceeding your goals will become second nature to you.

Featured photo credit: Cytonn Photography via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

The statistics are dismal. A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.[1] People are feeling stuck.

Some are feeling stuck in their careers, feeling like they’re too far along one path to make a change. Some are feeling stuck in their personal lives. The toll of the daily grind sucks most of their time and energy. So their relationships, self-care, and personal goals get lost in the shuffle of the treadmill existence.

When people come across these challenges of feeling stuck, the feeling sometimes doesn’t go away. It often intensifies as time goes on. As the stuck feeling intensifies, some people choose to settle. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further down.

Others, if the feeling of being stuck intensifies to an unbearable point, choose to make changes. They may choose to pivot in their careers, even after years at a successful job. They may end up making big changes in their relationships, or start putting their fitness at a higher priority. They may make drastic changes to finally feel free. These changes can be incredibly difficult to make, especially if a person has lived many years in a certain lifestyle.

Feeling stuck is NOT fun. I’ve been there. I get it.

Why Am I Feeling Stuck?

People feel stuck once in a while. There are many causes of feeling stuck. Many people work toward goals that don’t actually align with who they are at the core or what they truly desire. I call these “False Objectives”.

Living a life of False Objectives can cause people to feel very stuck and frustrated. People can build lives that are very “successful” according to society; but if you’ve built your life based on False Objectives, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

Another cause of feeling stuck is not knowing who you are. If you don’t understand how you’re innately wired – your strengths, your gifts, your talents, your passions – it’s tough to make decisions that enable you to maximize those. It’s tough to reach your full potential if you don’t know who you are.

You can feel stuck if you’re doing work that doesn’t allow you to maximize your innate strengths. If you’re doing work that doesn’t bring out the best in who you are at the core, you’ll likely feel some dissatisfaction and you won’t reach your full potential.

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Other people feel stuck because they haven’t surrounded themselves with mentors or peers who have achieved what they want to achieve. They stay in certain routines while craving to do life differently. As Jim Rohn says,

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’re spending most evenings and weekends drinking beer with your coworkers, you’re probably not going to run that marathon. If your goal is to live a location-independent lifestyle and work anytime from anywhere, but everyone in your social circle is at traditional jobs; it’ll be tough to break free from the 9-5 mentality.

How Feeling Stuck Screws You up Secretly

Feeling stuck screws up people’s lives. The consequences of feeling stuck can range from mild to severe. People may feel a mild discontentment with life and end up succumbing to the idea that life is “okay,” and settle. (Nancy’s story will resonate with you.) They may never reach their full potential, their highest levels of happiness and satisfaction. And they may not make the impact on the world that they could make, and have a looming sense that there could be “more” to life.

Often, though, the feeling of being stuck comes with much larger consequences. Feeling stuck can hinder career growth and contribute to disrupted marriages. It can lead to huge midlife crises.

The feeling can (and frequently does) increase as the years go on, leading to significant regrets about unfulfilled dreams. In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She writes:[2]

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

    Approaching Life Differently

    Thankfully, some highly effective strategies can prevent you from feeling stuck. Using these strategies can help you avoid significant problems in your life. It’s different than conventional living, and it works.

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    Commonly, people live with many set routines. While certain routines are helpful, becoming stuck in the daily grind routine can get frustrating. Many people eat roughly the same foods each week, go to the same place each day, talk to the same people, keep the same commitments, and end up living life on autopilot.

    It’s tough to feel like you’re progressing forward when each day is spent doing the same uninspiring routine. In order to avoid feeling stuck, it’s important to live intentionally. It’s crucial to live in the driver’s seat of your life and get out of autopilot mode.

    First, ditch the False Objectives. Just because everyone in your family are doctors doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because all your friends are married with a big house, a white picket fence, and 2 kids doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because everyone you know works 9-5 doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. It’s not easy to design your life intentionally, but it’s critical in order to avoid feeling stuck.

    Remember, the majority of people feel stuck. So, if you’re doing things like the majority of people, you’ll likely feel stuck, too. You’ll need to think differently and create your life differently.

    2 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day

    In order to intentionally design your life, avoid falling prey to False Objectives, and prevent feeling stuck, there are questions to ask yourself every day. These questions can help you stay focused on what matters most to you, help you avoid feeling stuck and frustrated, and create the best life possible.

    1. Why Am I Going to Do What I’m Going to Do Today?

    If you’re showing up to work each day and giving your years to your job, it’s important that your “why” is deeper than “to pay the bills.” Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.

    By asking yourself why you’re going to do what you’re going to do today, you will be living intentionally. In today’s incredibly busy, easily distracted world, living intentionally and focusing every day on what matters most is unique.

    When you choose to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, it will help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you. This can prevent you from getting stuck.

    2. What Would Future Want Me to Do Today?

    Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today? Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling.

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    When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort. Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.

    How to Get Unstuck

    After asking yourself the two questions, work on the plan to get unstuck. I’ve personally tried these strategies and they work for me.

    1. Choose Goals You Truly Desire to Accomplish

    This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you.

    Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck.

    Learn about your strengths, your gifts, and your passions. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

    2. Watch Your Mindset

    Often, we think we’re stuck, but the problem is our mindset. Being mindful of our mindset and self-talk is important to living a life of freedom and fulfillment. Work on rephrasing your self-talk in order to improve your mindset.

    For example, if you tell yourself, “I could never start a business,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how to start a business YET, but I can learn.” If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough money to travel,” tell yourself, “I don’t have the money right now, but I can make a plan to save money to travel. Rephrasing your self-talk can help you see opportunities and possibilities instead of feeling stuck.

    Occasionally, even the most driven people have days where they feel unmotivated. Check out this article for tips to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing: What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

    Those tips can help you break free from the rut.

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    3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Add Some Excitement to Your Day

    Shaking up your daily routine and adding some excitement to your days can help you get unstuck.

    While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to invigorate your life. You can start by getting out of your comfort zone in small ways. Here are 10 ways to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear. As Brian Tracy says,

    “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

    Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing growth can help you to continue to move forward and prevent you from getting stuck.

    4. Surround Yourself with People Who Have Done What You Aspire to Do

    It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it.

    Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.

    You can seek out a mentor, or even read inspiring books or listen to motivating podcasts by the people who have achieved your biggest goals and dreams.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s frustrating to feel stuck. But you don’t need to stay stuck if you know the right ways to break free from the rut.

    Practice living intentionally by asking yourself the 2 critical questions:

    • Why am I going to do what I’m going to do today?
    • What would future want me to do today?

    When you constantly reflect about what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Krists Luhaers via unsplash.com

    Reference

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