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16 Ways To Grow Mentally And Physically

16 Ways To Grow Mentally And Physically

Think about it: have you been truly improving yourself?

Life can get so busy and hectic that we just let the days fly by. We forget to always grow mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In simple terms, we forget to always make ourselves better.

That’s not to say that you aren’t amazing just the way you are, but personal development and growth are both crucial if you want to maintain happiness, motivation, and peace of mind.

These 16 easy habits can help you cover all the self-improvement bases, so that you can make each and every day a stepping stone to the “you” you’ve always imagined!

Enrich Your Mind

1. “Eat the frog”

No, not literally. Please don’t do that.

The phrase “eat the frog” means to get the hardest task on your to-do list done and over with, ASAP. Solve a challenging problem early in the day, so it’s not weighing you down the whole day. Whether it’s getting a big work project done or calling your scary mother-in-law, just grit your teeth and get it done early. You’ll thank yourself later!

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2. Start developing that skill you’ve always wanted

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Get moving on it! There’s no better time than now, especially if it’s a new skill that you’ve always fancied.

Want to learn a new language? Buy a language program or hire a tutor. Want to be a proficient flutist? Buy that flute and take that class already. It’s worth it if it’s something that will improve your mind in a way you’ve always dreamed of.

3. Make a deal with your friends

Money too tight to buy that expensive flute or take a class? Talk to your friends. Your friends have all sorts of talents and knowledge that you may not possess – and you have talents of your own. Make a deal with a friend to teach each other your respective talents. It’s the most cost-efficient—and perhaps most entertaining—way to enrich your mind.

4. Read, read, read!

Ask all of my friends what my biggest obsession is, and they’ll likely say books. And they’d be right. My room is full-to-bursting with stacks of books. Why, you may ask? Oh, let me enlighten you. (Prepare for some serious gushing here.)

Even if they’re pure fiction, books can teach you so much. They open up your mind to different possibilities, different situations you may never experience, and different ways of thinking.

Not sure where to start? Use Goodreads, which can give you customized recommendations based on your interests. To purchase books cheaply (I’m talking two or three bucks here, with no shipping fees for those in the United States), use Thriftbooks.com.

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Nourish Your Body

1. Do a little resistance exercise

No, this doesn’t mean resisting exercise. Resistance exercise is essentially anything that causes your muscles to contract against external forces, like weights, bands, or your own body weight. Instead of beelining for the elliptical or the treadmill at the gym, try incorporating some weight training or body weight exercises. (Squats are a great place to start!)

2. Replace unhealthy foods with your favorite fruits and veggies

This may seem lecture-y, but that doesn’t make it any less truthful: that bag of Doritos is doing your body absolutely no good. Think of it this way: the food you eat is either healing or harming your body. Eat your favorite fruits and veggies on the regular, and you’ll most certainly be more on the healing end.

3. Take a class

Sometimes, being in a class with an instructor and other like-minded people does wonders for your motivation. Get a friend to join you in a class so you don’t feel tempted to skip, and try taking a spin class, or maybe a Zumba class, if you love to dance.

4. Hydrate!

It can be difficult to remember to drink enough water, especially when the option of soda or juice is present. However, it’s incredibly important to keep yourself hydrated. Carry around a water bottle with you and fill it on the regular. You’ll notice improvements in your skin, energy levels, and overall physique.

Cultivate True Happiness

1. Encourage others

It feels good to make someone happy, especially if it’s someone you care about. Plus, happiness is contagious.

Express your appreciation to those around you. Let someone know that they’re doing a good job, and you’ll both feel a lovely mood boost.

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2. Smile

No, seriously. Smiling has numerous health benefits, and it can release endorphins, which can make you happier. Even if you force a smile for a period of time, you’ll start to feel it. Next time negative feelings are trying to take control of you, just combat them with a smile.

3. Or better yet, laugh

You know how great it feels after a good belly laugh? That’s because of those lovely endorphins I just mentioned. Make it your goal to have a good laugh at least once every day, even if you do that by watching your favorite stand-up or forcing a laugh.

4. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good

Start to notice how you feel after interacting with the people you’re close to. Do you have any friends who drain you? Who are constantly negative? Or even worse—who subtly try to tear you down and sabotage your efforts?

You can’t feel truly happy if you surround yourself with negative people. Try to spend your time with people who encourage you and inspire you. You deserve that.

Grow Spiritually

1. Set goals for yourself

And I don’t mean big career goals (although those are good, too). Start your day by thinking about one good thing you can do for the day, whether it’s something that will make you happier or make someone else happier. Set goals for your spiritual growth.

2. Practice gratitude every day

There will always be things in life that we want, but don’t have. It’s important to focus on your life goals, but there’s no point in sulking. Remember: there is always someone who is happier with less than what you have.

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By practicing gratitude, you are focusing on the things you do have, which will help you value your life and your choices. At the end your day, write down one thing you were thankful for that happened that day. Focus on the positives, and you’ll grow spiritually.

3. Give yoga a try

I love yoga. I am terrible at it right now, because I’m still a beginner, but I absolutely love it. It’s not only good for you, but it helps you truly clear your mind and become aware of your body. Even the most simple and straightforward poses have this effect.

Start your day with yoga, and you will absolutely not regret it.

4. Keep it all in perspective

Life has its nuisances, its issues, and its sorrows that can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming at the time. It can be difficult to look past these things and see the big picture, but remind yourself that these problems will not matter to you in a year, let alone at the end of your life.

You only have one life. Make it count.

Featured photo credit: mynameisrebecca via flickr.com

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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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