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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
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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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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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