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25 Things You Should Stop Putting Off And Do This Year

25 Things You Should Stop Putting Off And Do This Year

I know. Your life is busy. You have to take care of your job, your family, your hobbies… 24 hours ain’t just enough in a day. And you need to sleep.

STOP!

Now is time to take a step back, or life will pass you by. Don’t be a mindless zombie… Take control of your life.

Breathe in…

This year is THE year. It’s the year you start doing all those things you’ve been putting off.

Breathe out…

Here’s a list of 25 things you should do this year.

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1. Learn to do something new

Learning is a muscle. If you don’t use it, you’ll become lazy, and soon you’ll become obsolete in a world that has learnt to live without you. But if you start learning something new, a world of opportunities will open and you’ll even realize how pleasurable it is. You can still learn to code if you’re 70!

2. Break one bad habit

Whether it is smoking or eating junk food, there is at least one habit you have always known you should stop. It’s time you consider stopping. Ask your friends and family to support while you’re going through this phase, you will need them… and not disappointing them will be a good motivator.

3. Make plans for a trip you can afford and do

Have you always wanted to visit France? It’s a great country. If you find it too expensive, then plan early in advance and find great tips on online forums and aggressive travel packages. Bon voyage!

4. Try that dish

I never really liked Lebanese food. It comes from that one time I went to a Lebanese restaurant and I could NOT finish my dish. I though it was bad and avoided eating Lebanese cuisine like the plague. Until one day, I went to a business meeting and I had no choice but to try. Guess what? I love it now. It’s such a refined food I blame myself for my stubbornness. Just try that dish you’ve avoided for years.

5. Earn forgiveness

Earning forgiveness is not just asking for it. Make up for it… like Earl would. This TV series character made a list of all the people he’s wronged and works tirelessly until he can cross them off the list. You don’t have to focus on how you can undo what you did, but what you can do to make the other person’s life better. At least, it shows you care.

6. Finish that one book

It’s sitting on your bedside table. It’s calling for you… It’s the book you never finished and sometimes, you still wonder how the story ends! Good news… you can read a book by bites, even spaced by a few years, it will be remembered as a whole experience at the end.

7.  Recognize your toxic thoughts

  • “I don’t deserve to be happy”.
  • “I must not make any mistakes or I’ll be fired”.
  • “I did not graduate from the right college, so I’ll never have a really successful career”

I could go on and on with all the toxic thoughts that could cripple your mind… but only YOU know them. You should first admit they exist, and listen to them carefully. As you write them down, they will look really dumb. Look at them on the paper and treat them like children. Smile,  reassure them, educate them. Then let them go. Tear the paper and let the toxic thoughts go.

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8. Stop contacting space-fillers

For some people, it’s hard to stay alone. If you’re one of them, you have some people you call when you don’t want to be alone. These people are your space-fillers. They are filling the emptiness in your life with their presence. But if you don’t share any true experiences or values, then it all remains shallow… Learn to live with yourself. It’s the only person who will always be there for you. And silence is not such a bad thing after all.

9. Develop a daily practice

Meditation, work-outs, yoga… the compounded interest of a daily practice over the years is huge. If you start a morning practice like Yoga now, imagine how flexible you will be in ten years… and all that for just a few minutes per day.

10. Surprise a loved one

Love is often taken for granted…  as we grow accustomed to the other person. A small gift, a surprise dinner at a fancy restaurant, will show that you still care. A little surprise matters more than you think.

11. Face what terrifies you

There is something that terrifies you. Just seeing the name of it horrifies you. It could be spiders, snakes or heights… and you’ve always been putting off treating your phobia. This year is the year you treat your fear. Face it. Embrace it. Science says that if you confront your fear often enough, it will diminish. It’s called “habituation“. If you really can’t do it by yourself, seek professional help… phobia cure has reached new levels of effectiveness with virtual reality.

12. Plan your retirement – and beyond

What will happen when you retire? Will you have enough money to live? Where will you live? And when you’ll die, who gets your money? There are many questions you’ve put off answering until now. There’s no best moment to answer those questions than now. It’s not easy to visualize those situations, but you have to… for your own sake, and for your family’s.

13. Celebrate your achievements

“When you’re at the top, enjoy the view”. You might not be at the top, but I’m sure there are many achievements you’re proud of, and that you never celebrated. Your brain needs to know you have accomplished something. Reward it by inviting the people that matter to you and throw the party you knew you should have had for a long time. Celebrate that promotion, celebrate those past five birthdays, celebrate life!

14. Ask the older member of your family about their youth

Elders are fantastic living libraries. They have stories about events that shape the world we live in, stories that shaped your family, and also their lives. Suck in all the knowledge you can and ask all the questions you can imagine. I often wish my grandparents were still there so I could ask them about their life in Vietnam.

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15. Revisit your wardrobe

Get rid of that sweater. You’ve had it since you were 18. It’s worn off, and you’re not the student you were any more. In fact you’re not the person you were two years ago. Are you dressing the way you want to be perceived? Throw away those remnants of your old self and buy what your current self deserves to wear.

16. Write letters

It takes time. It’s slow. But it’s so much more precious. In a world of emails, letters will let people know how much you care about them. Buy some stamps, good stationary and a quality pen and write those new years wishes, thank-you letters… You will stand out and people will remember you for that.

17. Meet new interesting people

Your comfort zone is shrinking every day. By meeting new interesting people, you will make your life more interesting and remain open to new experiences. One easy way to do that is to look at meetups near you… you will find many people who share your passions near you.

18. Share your experience

I’ve always taken time to teach Marketing and Influence on my blog or in academic classes. Why? Because teaching and sharing forces you to organize your knowledge. You then realize what you didn’t know you knew, so that you know it better. Knowledge and love are the only things that grow when they are shared.

19. Learn new words

Words shape your world. If you can’t express an idea, it does not exist. So learning new words will allow you to understand more concepts and to have more ideas… as a by-product you will sound smarter. We only need 3000 words to cover 95% of the common texts, so it would be easy to put off learning the half million remaining word of the Oxford English Dictionary. Install a vocabulary app or learn a word everyday.

20. Reunite with the best friend who moved away

Life sometimes puts distance between best friends. Time gives the final blow to friendship… or so you’d think. It’s not over until the fat lady sings or the telephone rings. Pick up your phone and organize that reunion meeting. You’ve been putting this off for too long already. Your friends are just as shy as you are.

21. Remember to say thank you

There are many people you should be grateful to. You could send them a letter, surprise them with a gift or just say “thank you”. It’s a lot better if you can tell them why you thank them.

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“Thank you for being here when I needed you.”

22. Make a list of 25 other things you should stop putting off and do this year

I’m not in your head. I don’t know what you did, or what you want to do. So, follow those instructions:

  • Write your bucket list (minimum 25 items)
  • Do everything on it this year

23. Learn a new language

You can get by nearly anywhere in the world by speaking English. But you don’t really get into the depth of a culture of you don’t speak the native language of the country you visit. As you learn a language, you learn a new way of thinking and reach a new level of understanding… and open yourself to so many new people you can talk to. Surprisingly, I find that I also change personality when I speak another language. A friend of mine said that she feels sexier when she speaks Italian.

24. Buy productive tools

If you’ve kept your phone or your laptop for more than three years, you might be missing new technological improvements that would allow you access to a new world of productivity. Apps, cloud, ergonomics, connectivity can make your life much more productive. You might want to make this investment you’ve been putting off for a while.

25. Do a random act of kindness

Do something good for somebody you don’t know. Help a stranger and expect nothing in return. Just know that you’ve made somebody’s life better.
Leave a big tip
Let tourists sleep on your couch
Give free hugs

What else do you think you should start doing this year?

Featured photo credit: Rear view of beautiful brunette outdoors via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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