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20 Habits You Need To Dump Now To Be A Better Person

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20 Habits You Need To Dump Now To Be A Better Person

Most of us only think about becoming better people as we prepare our New Year resolutions. But the transition from being average to excellent can begin at any time of year.

Here are 20 habits you need to dump if you really are going to reach your goal of becoming a better person.

1. Being late

You know that annoying feeling of hanging around waiting for your friend who is running late? That’s exactly the same feeling they have when they’re waiting for you. Being late all the time is not only bad manners, but also completely avoidable.

Try planning your time better so that you have plenty of time to complete your journey and arrive early in future. Your friends, family and employer will be appreciative.

2. Texting during conversations

When you talk to someone, you expect them to have the courtesy to listen. But texting during a conversation is the non-verbal equivalent of saying “I couldn’t give a damn about you”. You appear to value the text conversation more than the person stood right in front of you.

Put your phone in your pocket and leave it there. If there is a genuine emergency, the other person will call repeatedly. Giving your full attention to the conversation will improve your relationship with the speaker, immediately making you a better person.

3. Being self-centered

You know those people who always talk about themselves? How annoying is that? But when every thought, word and action revolves around you, it is completely impossible to be a good person.

Instead you need to focus on the people around you. Listen to what they are saying. Find ways you can help them. Put others first. This will not only make you a better person, but people will actually want to spend time with you too.

4. Lying

The easiest way to kill any relationship is by lying. Even ‘little white lies’ have the potential to destroy trust.

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Make a policy of always telling the truth, no matter how much that may hurt. People will respect and trust you more as a result.

5. Over-sharing

Despite what Facebook would have you believe, there really are things that you don’t have to tell the world. Graphic descriptions of illnesses, a photo of every meal you eat, a quick commentary on your trip to the toilet – no one needs to hear these details of your life.

Limit yourself to sharing just a few details each day, whether in conversation or online, to become a more likeable person.

6. Late night snacking in front of TV

It may seem like a harmless habit, but late night snacks could actually be harming your health. Experts suggest that eating just before you go to bed will upset your body’s natural rhythms, directly affecting sleep patterns. And the less you sleep, the more grumpy you become (as well as risking numerous associated illnesses).

Cut out the late night snacks and you’ll feel better as a result.

7. Binge drinking

A drink or three every now and then is great. But six, seven or eight can spell disaster. You feel sick, you embarrass yourself and your friends have to make sure you get home safely. Not cool.

Drink less to maintain control. Increase self-control to become a better person. Simple.

8. Skipping breakfast

It’s not just something doctors say – eating a good breakfast really does set you up for the rest of the day. Skip breakfast and your day is already off to the wrong start.

Make sure you set aside an extra five or ten minutes each morning to eat breakfast. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also be prepared to face the challenges that day brings.

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9. Paying credit cards late

Bills suck. Unfortunately they are also unavoidable. You must not pay your credit cards late to avoid additional charges and the knock-on effects that late payments have on your credit report.

Paying your bills on time also helps you become a better person by encouraging you to become more disciplined in managing your expenditures and avoiding debt. You’ll also feel lot better without having the worry of  unpaid bills hanging over your head.

10. Busting your budget

Few things suck in life quite so much as running out of money. But owing money to other people is actually worse. You feel trapped and you can’t do anything until that debt is repaid.

Drawing up a budget and sticking to it will give you peace of mind that all of your expenses will be covered and help you avoid debt. You’ll feel a lot better for it in the long run too.

11. Not saving for retirement

Admittedly you are unlikely to feel the effects of this one for years, maybe even decades. But once you finish your career, you need to have a financial cushion that keeps you fed, clothed and homed. If you don’t, you’ll face exactly the same kind of concerns and pressures as you do busting your budget now.

Saving for your retirement now, ensures that you don’t have to worry in the future. And without those pressures, you can still be a better person in the future too.

12. Gossiping

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret,‘ says the Proverb revealing an age old truth. When you talk about people behind their back, not only are you abusing their trust, but you also reveal yourself to be untrustworthy.

Avoid gossip to immediately become a better person. You will also find that your friends trust you a whole lot more when they don’t have to worry about you sharing their secrets.

13. Dwelling on illness

We all get sick from time to time. Some of us are even unfortunate to suffer from long term illnesses. But this does not mean we need to allow our illnesses to become the defining aspect of our lives.

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People respect those who get on with life, and avoid those who only ever talk about how sick they are. Don’t be a loner, practice overcoming your illness and you’ll feel better immediately. And don’t ever overplay your sickness, or you’ll just alienate others.

14. Complaining

Some people are never satisfied – they only ever see what is wrong with their lives. And other people hate talking to these ingrates.

Stop moaning about what is wrong with your life and start counting your blessings. Try thinking about the good things you have and you will find that your outlook on life changes. You’ll also find people are much more willing to talk to you too.

15. Smoking

Smoking is bad for your health and it stinks. Not to mention the fact that it damages the health of everyone around you.

There is no defense for this habit. Give it up and you will immediately be on the road to becoming a better person.

16. Chewing your nails

Often a stress release mechanism, chewing your nails is actually worse for you than you think. Not only does biting your nails down to the quick hurt, it is also the perfect way to introduce infection. Infected fingers are even more uncomfortable and unattractive.

Leaving your fingernails to grow will help improve their appearance, giving you a confidence boost in the process. And if you look and feel better, you’ll perform better too.

17. Relying on the bank of Mom and Dad

You’ve bust your budget and maxed your credit cards. Next stop, the Bank of Mom and Dad. They won’t be able to resist “lending” you a few dollars – they probably won’t even expect to get it back.

But if you want to be a better person, you need to realise that, as an adult, your parents expect you to stand on your own two feet and provide for yourself. Living with in your means is a sign of maturity – proving you’re becoming a better person.

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18. Speaking out of ignorance

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
    with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”

These days we are expected to hold (and voice) an opinion on everything. Often we speak out of ignorance, giving a respond based on gut-reactions, often totally wrong. Part of becoming a better person is having the strength of character to keep quiet and not giving an opinion on subjects we don’t fully understand.

19. Under-valuing age

We live in a culture that favours youth over experience, often unfairly relegating older people to second-class citizens. But in doing so, we often doom ourselves to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers.

If you are serious about becoming a better person, make time for the older people in your life. They offer a wealth of valuable life experience and often have fascinating stories to tell too.

20. Acting immature

Thinking like a child will make you act like a child. That’s fine when you’re 15, but not so cool when you’re 25.

Taking responsibility for your own actions will help you mature – a key step in becoming a better person.

Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

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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