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13 Steps To Stick To the Life Changes You Want To Make

13 Steps To Stick To the Life Changes You Want To Make

This is it. The year you’re going to stick to life changes. You set your resolutions and intentions for the year and you’re well on your way to accomplishing them. But you’re starting to feel the pressure or you’re just waiting for the doom of that first slip up. Well, here are 10 ways to stick to the life changes you want to make.

1. Determine why you want to stick to these life changes.

Understanding why you do something is the key to sorting out how to do it. If you feel like your motivation is waning, it’s probably because you’re not clear on why you’re doing it. When you determine why you want to do something, decisions will flow and you’ll have a clear picture of the outcome. Set aside some time to consider your why and don’t settle for the first reason that pops up. The deeper you go, the more committed you will be to the work of sticking to the life changes you want to make.

2. Make a plan of mini-plans.

Once you’re clear on why you want stick to those life changes, you’ll be ready to make a plan. Plus, you’ll have a clear idea of how to focus your energy to best support why you want to stick to your life changes. Use this new found motivation to plan out your process step-by-step. You can start by brainstorming everything you will need to do and then list them out, week by week. When you break down your big life changes into smaller goals the pressure will ease and you won’t be so overwhelmed by the big looming change you need to make.

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3. Set attainable and measurable goals.

One of the most common reasons you don’t stick to your life changes is because you’re not setting attainable goals that you can track. Setting attainable goals isn’t about selling yourself short and tracking isn’t about filling spreadsheets and graphs. You can accomplish most anything you set your mind to with concrete steps that you can complete. So, dream big, but make sure your week by week goals are attainable within that time frame and are actionable rather than conceptual.

4. Set deadlines and stick to them.

Set mini deadlines in your plan to stick to your life changes. Start from the final date that you want to have accomplished your life changes and work backwards from there. Ask yourself what you need to do each week to get yourself to that final destination.

5. Focus on the action rather than the goal.

To stick to your life changes, you need to focus on action. Don’t get stuck setting mini goals that rely on gaining rather than accomplishing. Gaining relies on outward forces, while accomplishing focuses on actions that you can achieve by your own volition. You need to address the how, not the what.

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6. Give yourself rewards and praise.

Are you waiting for your life changes to be a reality before you give yourself a reward? Huge mistake. Each step you take towards sticking to your life changes is a mini victory and deserves to be treated as such. A great, and free, way to reward yourself is through praise. Give yourself a fist pump, do a victory dance, or simply say sweet somethings of encouragement along your path to success. Bundle these mini steps into bigger strides and treat yourself with a greater reward for each set. This will make the road to that ultimate reward that much more pleasurable, not to mention motivating.

7. Track your progress.

One of the greatest forms of praise is to validate the progress you make by tracking the baby steps you take each day. Set up a neat chart or checklist that you can post on your desktop or bulletin board to be reminded of how stellar you are at sticking to your life changes. On your off days, look back at this progress for motivation and recognition.

8. Be present.

Sticking to life changes is a big commitment and becomes overwhelming very quickly. To ease the burden of change, be present. Focus on one task at a time and let yourself enjoy the process as much as you would the destination. When you feel stress and worry building in your head, bring awareness back to your breath so that you can have the most impact with each action you take.

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9. Identify what’s holding you back.

A lot of people are afraid of success. Counter intuitive, yes, but true. Face your fears and challenges, don’t ignore them. Identify what’s holding you back, then make a list of ways you can overcome those challenges. It may be fear, it may be lack of support from your family, or it may be that you haven’t identified your why. Whatever it is, don’t let it hold you back just for lack of awareness.

10. Visualize your progress.

Visualizing your success keeps you motivated and focused. Take it a step further by visualizing your progress. Imagine yourself doing the work it takes to stick to life changes. This practice mentally prepares you for the effort it takes to stick to life changes and helps surface any challenges or even tools you may have overlooked.

11. Have fun.

Sticking to life changes doesn’t have to be boring. Incorporate some fun into your tasks to make the journey worthwhile. Use a playlist of your favorite songs, go outside, be silly. Channel your inner eight-year-old to find creative ways to make your action plan, action-packed.

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12. Let your goal evolve.

You learn and grow every day, so why shouldn’t your goals also evolve with you? The life changes you set out to make may take drastic turns or slight transitions. You’re not failing when you let your goal evolve, you’re growing and setting yourself up for greater success. Sticking to life changes isn’t about checking off a list, it’s about embodying your desires and dreams.

13. Remember it’s not all or nothing.

The journey is as much an accomplishment as the destination. Treated as such, you won’t need to stick to life changes because you’ll be living them day to day.

Want more proof of that sticking to life changes is all about the journey? Learn how successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs stuck to their life changes. 10 Things Successful People Do

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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