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How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

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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.

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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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