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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

Do you ever wish that you could just hit the pause button on life and move on to a new chapter without any negative repercussions?

Unfortunately, time is linear. On the other hand, time is a social construct. In other words, your life’s timeline is yours to manage, and you shouldn’t compare your goals and achievements to those of others.

Taking a long, hard look at your life to get to the root of the change you would like to see will benefit you. Focusing on what you would change in your life might help you answer what you should pursue in the near future.

So, how to start a new life?

The great news is that you don’t have to pull a Madonna and completely reinvent yourself every time you are ready for a change.

By implementing these 12 small yet impactful changes outlined below, you can start a new life without being extra about it.

1. Always Learn Something New

Perhaps you have achieved success in your career — only to find you want more.

If you feel stagnant in what you are doing for work or are bored with your day-to-day, expand your options.

One way to make yourself more competitive in various career fields is pursuing further education. Most of us don’t have the bandwidth to invest in attending classes on a college campus.

Luckily, online universities are nationally recognized and more affordable than traditional in-classroom schooling. Consider signing up for some asynchronous online classes that fit your work schedule so you don’t have to interrupt your life to get ahead.[1]

2. Take Steps to Face Your Fears

It is amazing how many of our decisions are based on fear. We fail to take risks, avoid conversations, and miss opportunities because we are afraid of the outcomes.

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Here’s the deal:

Taking risks, within reason, can change your life overnight. If you have had your eye on the cutie at your local coffee shop, take a shot and ask them out for a drink. The worst that can happen to you is a slightly bruised ego. Even if they are already in a relationship or simply uninterested, your flattery may have made their day.

Don’t go through life with too many regrets. Going back to that coffee shop after being turned down is just another opportunity to face your fears.

3. Maintain a Meaningful Social Circle

Most of us have heard the timeless adage “you are as good as the company you keep.” Expanding your horizons to include new and interesting people might be the spice in life you were looking for.

Take a holistic view of your friends, family and professional relationships. Make a mental checklist of the relationships that most positively affect you and why. Take that checklist with you the next time to go to a social event. Try to strike up a conversation with new and interesting people that check those boxes.

While you’re out being a social butterfly, don’t forget where this exercise started. Be sure to not leave your old, longtime friends in the dust while fostering new friendships and relationships. You don’t want to be “that guy” in your friend circle.

4. Find Healthy Ways to Cope With Anxiety

If you experience excessive anxiety in your daily life, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. They affect 40 million people over the age of 18 every year, which represents 18.1 percent of the U.S. population. [2]

Finding healthy ways to cope with anxiety has the ability to turn your world upside down. Many people have looked toward CBD to help ease and manage anxiety. It can be used to target anxiety as it arises without the need to take daily medication.[3]

CBD is not commonly prescribed by mental health professionals — at least not yet anyway. Some have compared it to having a glass of red wine after a long day. However, it is important to practice a sense of heightened self-awareness and recognize if you are negatively self-medicating with overconsumption.

Here’s the kicker:

Anything you do to relax can be done in excess: exercise, watching Netflix, drinking, or shopping. Be sure to choose an activity that works to relieve your anxiety in a manner that is healthy and can done in moderation.

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5. Become Part of a Movement

You know all the hours you spend scrolling through social media idolizing other people’s lives? Well, they could be better spent.

As humans, we naturally seek out a connection with others and desire to feel as if we are needed. Finding a cause to get behind can help you to feel as if you are contributing to the common good. Whether it is a social justice issue or an environmental movement, there are many different opportunities to focus your time and energy to help you feel needed.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be protesting every weekend to feel as if you are creating change. Making small changes in your life can make a big impact.

Using your consumer power to only support businesses who have sustainability at the forefront of their business practices is a powerful choice. It is small actions like this that have caused big businesses to reevaluate how they conduct business. Feel empowered by spending your dollars wisely.[4]

6. Take Ownership

It is all too easy to move through life as a passive passenger. The good news is that you don’t have to give up anything in your life to regain control over it.

Take ownership over your life by taking control of a particular aspect of your life. It could be as simple as no longer being a public transport passenger and instead, using your own body’s physical power to get you to your destination.

Knowing that you can depend on yourself to make your morning commute is incredibly empowering. Free yourself of passivity and become the captain of your own ship.

7. Pay Attention to Your Dreams

If you feel unfulfilled in your life but aren’t sure why, try tapping into the esoteric side of life. Diving into your subconscious can be liberating and freeing if you allow yourself the mental space to do it.

Not everyone remembers their dreams, but you can train your brain by keeping a dream journal next to your bed. Dreams can reveal unconscious hopes and fears that we either ignore or prefer to be unburdened with during our waking lives.

Understanding what your dreams mean is like learning a new language — requiring you to pay attention to clues, signs, and symbols. [5]

If you are the type of person to remember having recurring dreams, pay attention! Your subconscious is sending you a message. However, here’s the catch:

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Dreams are irrational and a product of our psyche we can never truly comprehend. Don’t make any rash life decisions because a little blue man in your dream told you so.

8. Unplug to Tap Into Creativity

What are you reading this on right now? Are you on your phone or your laptop? Well, after you’ve finished reading through how to start your new life, unplug it.

Being tuned into technology all the time creates mental fatigue — leaving little energy for creative processes. By spending time in nature the prefrontal cortex of the brain is able to rest. [6]

Find out what inspires you in life and use it to take the new life that you are seeking into new dimensions. Your muse may be found in unlikely places. Be open to saying “yes” more often to allow inspiration into your life.

9. Challenge Comfort Zones

If you are attempting to step away from a life of stagnation, you have to step out of your comfort zone. But don’t strap into that bungee cord harness quite yet. You don’t need to unreasonably take elevated risks that put certain aspects of your life at stake.

Challenging your comfort zones are meant to empower you to see what you are capable of achieving when put to the test. It is understandable to want to relax in the comfort zone after working so hard to get there, but there comes a time when you have to level up.

Set your sights on the next attainable dream and go for it. If you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, set up a strenuous training schedule to get you there. Learn how to push through the pain and the mental blocks that have kept you from being your own champion.

Dig within yourself, figure out where to set your hard ceiling, and push towards reaching your goals to live your best life — you deserve it.

10. Practice Daily Mindfulness

If you want to turn your whole world upside down, integrate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine. Meditation, yoga, journaling, or breath work do not require anything from you besides a commitment to being in the present moment.

You may be rereading the title of this article because you assume these words are convincing you to become a monk and take a vow of silence. You don’t have to go that hardcore with your mindfulness practice.

Meditation is called a practice because it takes time to become comfortable with sitting still and focusing for a long period of time. However, you will be happy to learn that the effects of meditation are immediate. Just taking five intentional deep breaths at your desk during a stressful day will help to lower your blood pressure and aid in regaining your mental focus and clarity to get you through your day.

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11. Assess Your Budget

Money is the root of all evil — but it is also the driving force behind why we wake up and go to work each day. The less you spend, the less you work. Doesn’t that sound like a better way to live life?

To be able to pursue a path in life that allows you to feel more fulfilled and happy, you need to know where your financial boundaries are. If the new life you picture takes place on a beach, you do not need to sell your family heirlooms to get there. Instead, set yourself up with a budget and a plan so you can save and make your dreams a reality.

12. Manifest Goodness

If you are considering starting a new life or recreating how you project yourself to the world, you need to know what you want the new version to look like.

Does your new life have big financial goals, or is it your intention to move away from focusing on your career to spend more time with your family?

Creating a vision board is one way to help you to manifest what goodness you want in your life. Flipping through magazines and newspapers to snip out people, places, and items that help to define your dreams can be an eye-opening experience. Certain words you previously did not associate with yourself may be more appealing than before.

Sounds silly? It’s not. Consider creating them with friends or family members to see if their perception of you holds any weight in your plans for the future. Friends and family members can act as a mirror for ourselves at times. Seeing them surprised by your interest in different things may cause you to either think twice about that decision or pursue it with more vigor.

Be sure to revisit the board often to remind yourself of what you are working towards. It is normal for projections to change over time. There is no harm in creating a new vision board every year to refocus and fine-tune your intentions as you evolve as a person.

Remember, It’s Your Life!

When looking at the big picture of what is your life, note what you dislike, make a plan to change it, and move forward with decisive action.

You’ve only got one chance to live life on your terms (that we know of, at least). You have everything you need to achieve the level of success you hope to have in this life — you just have to reach out and grab it!

More Tips about Living Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Roksolana Zasiadko via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Bradley University: How Do Online Classes Work?
[2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts & Statistics
[3] CBD Choice: Strategies for Managing Anxiety
[4] University of California Riverside: Major Corporations’ Growing Interest in Sustainable Product Design
[5] Tuft and Needle: What Do Your Dreams Mean–What Is Dream Interpretation?
[6] AGI Training: How to Improve Creativity by 50%

More by this author

Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life 10 Secrets to Living a Happy Life No Matter How Old You Are 15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included) 10 Essential Steps to Success to Actually Reach Your Dreams 11 Simple and Effective Ways to Manage Stress

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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