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This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself

This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself

How To Become A Better, Stronger Version Of Yourself

At the end of every year, once the festivities have passed and preparations are underway to move past the last 12 months, it is natural to start thinking about new beginnings. Resolutions are made that you intend to keep throughout the year but almost always disappear by March or April. Promises are made to stop smoking, lose weight, argue less, spend less, save more and the list goes on. However, if you make one promise, whatever the time of year, make it ‘to be a better version of myself’.

Changing your outlook, your perceptions and your goals can have a huge impact on your life. Not only on your life, but the lives of those around you too. If you want to stop snapping at people, enjoy more time to do the things you enjoy and box off numerous other resolutions like losing weight and spending less money, then ultimately the changes have to be within yourself.

So where to begin? Below are some hints of where you can start the process but the list is not exhaustive, it is only the beginning – feel free to add your own ideas for becoming the person you know you can be.

Eat Healthier

Okay, you knew it would be on the list so we may as well begin with it. If you’re shoving stodge into your digestive system every day then you’re going to feel sluggish, lethargic and shattered. How easy do you think it is to be the best you can be when your body is trying to process loads of junk food?

It’s time to admit to yourself that if you’re going to be better on the outside, you need to be better on the inside.

Our bodies are not designed to cope with man-made substances and chemicals that are used to process and store food. Although convenient, tinned food and ready-made things have been through so much processing to keep them fresher for longer. Our bodies struggle to digest it all and the food gets trapped in our systems for longer than it should, causing bloating, gas, nausea, headaches and mood swings. Do you really want to put that stuff in your body?

You can have a very fulfilling diet and do your body a huge favor too. Choose from whole foods such as nuts and seeds, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and whole grain bread and pasta, seafood, organic meat and natural sweeteners such as honey or stevia.

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Your water intake is also incredibly important. Make sure you’re flushing your toxins out daily by drinking at least 8 glasses (or two liters) of water each day. This will keep your head clear, your skin blemish free and your kidneys healthy too.

Simplify Your Life

You know that when there’s a million and one things that you need to get done and you’re surrounded by clutter, you’re unable to focus on what actually needs doing. In the end nothing at all gets done and you face the same problem the following day, and then the day after that. You’ve probably been meaning to sort things out for ages, right? Well, well stop procrastinating! Write down everything you need to get done and then highlight your top ten tasks. Write these items on a separate list and do the same again but this time highlight your top five. Write these on a separate sheet of paper – these are the only tasks you need to focus on today.

Also, get a big bag and choose one corner of one room. Put things in it that you don’t use, don’t like or don’t want. Next, put things that do not belong in that corner in a box to sort later. Do this every day until every corner in every room has been cleared of clutter. At the end sort through the box of items that don’t belong and find new, tidy homes for them.

When you come home each day, your whole house will be free of clutter and you won’t have a to-do list as long as your arm.

The key is to break it down into manageable chunks. Make sure you stick to this rule as it will mean you will have more time to do the things you enjoy rather than feeling frazzled all the time.

Be Grateful

It’s surprising how much of our time is being flooded with adverts for all kinds of stuff, forcing us to believe we need to have it in our lives. How many times do you think “If only I could just win the lottery” or “If I buy that then my life will be better.” Instead of always waiting for the future, appreciate what you have in the here and now. Don’t just focus on possessions. When you go to bed each night, choose something or someone to speak to in your head. It could be God or the Universe, a loved one that has passed or your inner self. Once you have someone or something in mind, think of things that your are thankful for.

Examples could be:

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“Thank you for this warm bed that I am in whilst it is blowing a gale outside. Others are not so fortunate.”

“I am grateful for my health: that I have been able to get up and leave the house today while others are bedridden with pain or ill health.”

“Thank you for keeping me safe whilst driving today. Many people are involved in accidents every day and I was lucky to get home in one piece.”

If you have family, hug them a little tighter and be grateful that they are healthy. So many are suffering the loss of a loved or are going through the heartache of seeing someone suffer day after day, so put things into perspective and stop moaning about how the traffic was bad on the way home. Save that energy for positive things and positive thoughts.

You will find that as you start thinking of all of the things you appreciate, you will feel calmer and  less likely to take your loved ones for granted, which will result in more quality time with them.

Be In Contact With Your Family

There are many quotes about being able to choose your friends yet your family is a set of people that you’re stuck with for life. Some people find they have absolutely nothing in common once they mature and form their own path in the journey of life. However, if you have a family you like, there’s nothing better than spending a nostalgic afternoon with a sibling, parent or any member of the family. You will both have the same shared experiences whether it be family holidays or gatherings, so make the most of taking a trip down memory lane and remind yourself how important family are.

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in a busy life but if you genuinely want to become a better version of yourself, then it is time to do some selfless acts of kindness.

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If you have a grandparent who is alone and stuck in the same four walls every day, go and visit them as often as you can. When you’re older, you will be grateful to people who care enough to come and visit you and relieve the boredom of living at home by yourself.

If calling home is the last thing on your mind, make sure you bring it to the top of your priority list because nothing says you care more than taking some time out of your day to call someone to see how they are.

There are vast numbers of people brimming with regret following the funeral of a family member. They know they could have made more of an effort to see them more frequently. Don’t be one of those people.

Challenge Yourself – Leave Your Comfort Zone

In order to become a better version of yourself, it is necessary to come out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. When the mind is stretched a little, you will feel a buzz of excitement. There’s nothing like a little fear to wake up your senses.

There are so many skills to be learned in the world. Why not learn a new one? Perhaps learn a new language or start playing an instrument. It will be difficult at first but it will keep your mind focused.

Exercising your brain by learning new things will also improve your concentration skills and help you to sleep better, so choose something to sink your teeth into and leave your comfort zone behind for a while.

Set Clear Goals

Hectic lives mean things get overlooked or purposefully ignored, leading you to feeling useless and angry. It is very important that you have clear goals that you can see every day, so write them down and hang them in a room in your house that you go into often – maybe the kitchen or the bathroom.

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Your goals could be anything from “Purchase a sports car” to “Clean out the cupboard under the stairs.”

If you like you can set a time limit by which you want to achieve your goal by. It could be within a matter of days or it could be a particular age that you want to be, e.g. “Buy a sports car, age 50”

Next, write down the steps you need to take in order to reach that goal. So if it is purchasing a sports car when you’re 50 years old, work out how many months away that is and how much money you would need to save each month. Make a chart with a picture of the sports car at the top and boxes to represent each month you need to save money. When you save, tick a box and you will see your goal is getting nearer.

If your goal is more short term, like cleaning the cupboard out under the stairs, give yourself a little reward when you have accomplished your goal. Promise yourself little treats and you will be motivated to reach all of your goals sooner than you think.

Be Assertive

If you’re used to never voicing your opinion or saying what you are thinking, it’s time to make some changes. Studies have shown that assertive people are happier, healthier and have better relationships.

Make sure your body posture is helps you feel confident. Sit upright and raise your chin off your chest. Don’t mumble; say whatever you want politely and respectfully but loud enough to sound sure of yourself. Believe that you have a voice which should be heard. Don’t be afraid to say “No”. If you are up to your eyes in work and your boss asks you to to take on more, confidently say, “If I take any more work on, the quality of what I produce will be compromised, so it is best that the extra work is delegated to someone else at this moment.” In most cases your boss will appreciate your honesty and do as you suggest.

Thanks for reading and good luck for your journey ahead of becoming a better version of yourself.

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Carles Sabarich

Carles aspires to encourage people to live actively and take charge of their lives.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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