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50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

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50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

Be honest. Are you living your dream yet? Is this the way you wanted your life to be?

You were sure by now you’d be living In Menlo Park working for Facebook, making enough money to buy whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. You were sure you wouldn’t be sleeping with two dogs and empty sushi containers. Where is that special someone who’s supposed to be beside you? What is going on? Why is this happening?

If you can handle it (and I hope and pray that you’re ready), here are 50 mistakes that you should stop making right now if you want to turn your dreams into reality.

1. Living in Denial.

It’s time to grow up and face reality.

2. Avoiding a trip into the real you.

Don’t be afraid to take a good look in the mirror. It’s not as bad as you think. If you look beyond the surface, you will see an awesome side of yourself that you’ve never seen before.

3. Lying to yourself and others.

Admit it — admit everything. Let it all go. If things aren’t working out for you, something needs to change right now.

4. Being untrue to your unique self.

To thine own self be true. Take an honest self-inventory. It’s all the only way you will find your hidden talents, gifts, and abilities.

5. Saying “I want it.”

Ask yourself if you really want it or if you just want to want it. Sometimes you think you want something, but it’s just something your mother, girlfriend or boyfriend thinks you should be getting or doing.

6. Thinking you have to love everything you do.

I’m sorry to tell you, but the hard reality of life is that you have to do things you don’t love, and sometimes you have to do things you hate. How do you think Kevin Durant got good at his game? Do you think he loved every minute he practiced shooting hoops?

7. Making excuses.

You’re right, there are many reasons you shouldn’t change; but how long do you want to go on like this?

8. Avoiding debt.

Ignoring debt collectors does not make them go away. Debt accumulates. Start chipping away at your pile of bills by making small monthly payments.

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9. Complaining

If you stop complaining, you’ll be able to see that you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. If you flip the switch on your negative outlook, you will begin to see the good things in your life. Complaining people are not happy people.

10. Over-sharing your life on Instagram.

The world does not need to see everything you eat or every time you get in your car. Dignify yourself. Share the good stuff.

11. Putting your drinking pictures on Facebook.

Even though your boss isn’t your Facebook “friend,” she might be friends with your friends and know the real reason you called in sick to work. Be careful what you make public. Think about who might see what you post.

12. Saying “it’s too hard.”

This is a sabotage statement. The more you say it, the less you will accomplish. Try saying, “it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to push my way through the rough spots.”

13. Being a victim.

“Poor me” doesn’t cut it anymore. Take action to change your perspective. This will change your life.

14. Doubting your abilities. 

Develop a new “I can handle this” attitude. You’ll be surprised when you find talents you didn’t know you had.

15. Calling your mother with every little problem you have.

Be resourceful. Google it. All the answers you need are there; if not, you are smart enough to figure it out. Save the big drama for your mama. You can manage the small stuff.

16. Texting everything.

Once in awhile, pick up the phone and let someone hear the sweet sound of your voice.

17. Thinking you’re not good enough.

You are capable of so much more. Think of the times when your strengths and talents shined. Everyone has them. Find yours.

18. Blaming your parents.

Yes, they made mistakes, but they did the best they knew how at the time. They were 20-somethings once, and also made mistakes.

19. Living week-to-week financially.

Get off your butt and find a second job. If you want to stay home all day, then start a money-making blog or online business. The internet is a goldmine open to everyone.

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20. Being lazy.

Get out of bed and shut off the TV. Work harder. You can never tell where your passion might be hiding. A job at the local bistro could inspire you to go to France for cooking school. One day, you can have a business of your own.

21. Buying things you can’t afford.

Budgeting is a helpful skill that will stabilize you for the rest of your life. Ask yourself, “do I really need this? Can I afford this right now?”

22. Drinking during the week.

Parties are for weekends. Curb your alcohol appetite. It might be interfering with your ability to wake up on time the next morning.

23. Sticking out your tongue when you take a picture.

Unless you are licking a lollipop at Disneyland, keep your tongue in your mouth. It’s not your best look.

24. Saying “I don’t care.”

You really do care — you just don’t want to get upset if things don’t work out for you.

25. Avoiding reality.

How long can you keep hiding from it? Bills need to be paid. Jobs need to be found. (Unless you’re willing to live without water, electricity or a cell phone.)

26. I can’t go back to school — I have no money.

This is one thing your parents will be happy to help you with. If they say no, bartend.

27. Taking in another animal.

Do you really have the money to take care of another pet? It needs shots, flea medicine and grooming. Can you afford that?

28. Eating out every night.

It’s expensive and fattening. Learn to cook. It’s fun, and homemade food is much healthier than smothered cheeseburgers and beer. Invite your friends over for dinner.

29. Saying “I’m bored.”

Learn a new language. Go to they gym. Ride your bike.

30. Watching a full season of Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

Sure, they’re awesome — but break it up into segments.

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31. Asking your parents for money.

If you don’t have enough, earn more.

32. Remembering your past failures.

We’ve all got them. Mistakes are the best teachers.

33. Thinking if you get knocked down you won’t get back up.

You are resilient. You’re a survivor. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

34. Being afraid.

FEAR= False expectations appearing real. Fear is not reality; it’s all in your head.

35. Making excuses.

Develop a no more excuses frame of mind. Your dog ate your homework when you were in fifth grade, but the time has come to accept responsibility and speak the truth.

36. Quitting everything you start.

Fight through the yuck. When times get tough, just get tougher.

37. Procrastinating.

The pressure of procrastination does help you get things done, but it’s also stressing you out. Be prepared.

38. Gaming.

Games are programmed so that you become addicted to them.

39. Saying “I don’t feel like it.”

That worked when you were five, but it doesn’t work anymore.

40. Squashing your dreams.

Make them real. Envision them, then go after them.

41. Feeling overwhelmed.

Little baby steps get you to your goal. Seeing how high a mountain is, can definitely keep you from climbing it.

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42. Expressing every emotion you feel. 

Chill out. Breathe in and slow down before the words come flying out of your mouth. Think before you speak.

43. Being narcissistic.

Everything isn’t about you. Think of others.

44. Eating unhealthy foods.

You’ll be shocked at how great you’ll feel afterwards. You won’t run to the bathroom or fall asleep.

45. Making excuses for not going to the gym.

You are tired. Your friends call you to go out. You just want to hang on the couch and space out. Getting to the gym is the hard part, but it’s so worth it when you can easily zip up your tight jeans.

46. Comparing yourself to others.

There are people better than you. There are also people whose lives are much worse than yours. Check out thebadassproject.com if you want to compare yourself to someone.

47. Blaming your genetics.

Ok, so maybe your father was an alcoholic — that doesn’t mean you have to be one. It means you have to stay on guard. You cannot drink. Have a coke, and no one will know the difference. Who cares if they do?

48. Worrying about what other people think.

Do you really know what other people are thinking? Own your choices. Listen to your inner voice. If it’s wrong? Oh well, you are now smarter and stronger.

49. Living in the past.

It’s over, done. What happened happened, and you can’t change it.  Learn from it and then throw it in the trash.

50. Believing this is who you are.

It’s not. These are simply bad habits that you’ve gotten used to. Replace them with good habits.

Stop these mistakes, and you will be as awesome as your mother thinks you are.

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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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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