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20 Things You Need To Do To Tune Up Your Life

20 Things You Need To Do To Tune Up Your Life

Are you stuck in a rut? Or do you just want to step up your game so you can live life to the fullest?

Like a mechanic working on a vehicle, there are specific things you can do to tune up your life. Here’s how.

1. Exercise 5 Times a Week

Some guidelines recommend exercising 3 times a week, but ask anybody in great shape and you’ll hear that they only take one or two days off of their exercise program each week. That means at least 5 days they’re doing cardio, strength, training, flexibility training, or some other type of exercise.

2. Get Rest

Do you normally burn the candle at both ends? At some point you’re gonna run out of wax. Even with responsibilities at work and at home, you’ll still want to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Doing that will ensure you’re working at your peak energy and performance levels each day.

3. Eat Right

Some nutrition “gurus” make us think that there are secret formulas to eating right. But the reality is that eating right is actually pretty simple. Your first step is to cut out all the processed stuff that masquerades as food, and replace that junk with real food–vegetables, fruits, lean meats, beans and nuts.

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If you look at the ingredient list and can’t pronounce anything, put it back and try again.

4. Take Time for Yourself

Do you take any time each day for yourself? Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, take a breather each day to do something you love. It could be a new workout routine, playing a video game, or just taking a walk. The goal is to do something you love, and be mindful while you’re doing it.

5. Know Your Purpose

What’s your purpose in this world? If you’re like most people, you don’t know it. But defining what your purpose is can be the most important activity you ever do. Once you know what you’re meant to do, you should then–

6. Set Goals

Setting goals is the way super-achievers get things done. You’ll want to set a combination of long-term goals with short-term goals. Once you have those defined, you should then–

7. Create a Plan

Having defined goals will set you head and shoulders above your peers, but that’s just the beginning. Create a long-term plan to get you to your goals so you can turn those wishes into reality. This plan should include steps you’ll take each year, month, week and day to help you get to where you want to be.

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8. Write it Down

You may have heard the term “Don’t think it, ink it”. There’s power in writing down your goals and your action plan. Once you put pen to paper you’re turning that wish floating around your head into something real. Magic can happen once you do that.

9. Decide Your Life Will Be Great

You know the difference between people who really enjoy life, and people who just get through it? Those who enjoy life have decided that they’ll embrace the experience. Sounds simple, right? Well it is. So do it. Now. There’s never been a better time.

10. Embrace Change

Change is inevitable so you might as well welcome it instead of fight it. Every change in your life can offer something to learn, and as long as you’re learning, you’re improving, which is the key to long-term growth and living a meaningful life.

11. Replace Complaining with Problem-Solving

It’s raining? Grab an umbrella. Your sandwich fell on the street? Go buy another. Get fired from a great job? Find a better one. The time you spend complaining on what’s wrong with your life will just lead to other problems. When something happens you don’t enjoy, just get to thinking about how you can make it better. There’s no point in doing anything else.

12. Know When to Say No

There are more demands in today’s world than ever before. You probably have everyone from your boss, partner, neighbor and everyone in between asking you for help. But you’re just one person and you can only do so much. More important than that, if you’re only spending time on other people’s requests, you won’t be able to get the stuff done that will get you ahead in life. So know when you need to say “no” and set up some boundaries so you can strike the right balance between helping others while also tending to your needs.

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13. Give Back

Giving back to those in need can help you realize what you already have. More importantly, you’ll be able to help others who are less fortunate than you. So if you want a tune-up in your life, just spend some time helping others, whether it’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, cleaning up your neighborhood, or anything in between.

14. Be Thankful

There’s a funny thing about people who are thankful. They often have everything they need, and then some. And those complainers, always focused on what they don’t have? They’re often struggling.

The simple act of being thankful for what you have can help attract more of it.

15. Think Positive

The positive thinking movement can sound a bit phony, but there’s been lots of studies referencing benefits of positive thinking. So do your mind and body a favor by thinking with a “glass is half full” attitude.

16. Make Time for Friends

One of the most common regrets of the dying is that they didn’t spend more time with those they loved. Call your friends. Plan a guys or girls weekend. Just spending time with those you care about can give you and them the life tune-up you both likely need.

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17. Learn a New Skill

Did you ever want to learn how to play the guitar? Or how to speak a new language? Learning new skills is not just great for your brain, but can help you meet new people and give you something fun to talk about with friends, old and new.

18. Develop Yourself

The world’s most successful people spend serious amounts of time developing themselves professionally and personally. This means reading books, attending seminars, and feeding their mind the food it needs to grow. This often means personal development programs and seminars.

Some people laugh at personal growth products and learning. These are the same people who will get lapped by their peers in a few years because they’re not growing at the same pace. So do yourself a favor and treat these programs as an investment in yourself, which just so happens to be the best investment you can make.

19. Get Organized

Clutter can cause stress, anxiety, and can even be dangerous. Do an audit of your home and clean our your closets and cupboards. Donate what you can and throw out the rest.

20. Get Rid of Negative Influences

Are you in a toxic relationship? Do you have friends or coworkers who always tear you down, or just want you to join them in their misery? Sometimes it’s best to cut the chord and move on. Freeing yourself from negative people can be difficult but wise. And doing that can send a message to them that they’ll need to get their act together if they want to enjoy the type of success you’re bound to have.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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