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Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself

Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself

Everyone wants to become the best version of themselves, but few actually do it. We’re our own worst enemies when it comes to achieving success, chasing our dreams, and living a life that’s filled with passion and purpose.

Some of us are self-destructive without realizing it, and others are conscious of the fact, but lack the tools and/or knowledge in order to improve. But no matter who you are, there are 6 main habits that continually get in people’s way of becoming a success.

Eliminate these 6 habits and become the best version of yourself.

1. Stop the fear of failure

Does failing make you worry about what other people think about you? Does failing worry you that people will think you’re stupid and not a competent person? Does failing make you worry about the future and the desired lifestyle you seek? Do you tell people beforehand that you don’t expect to succeed or thrive in order to lower expectations?

If any of these describe you, then you likely suffer from atychiphobia, or fear of failure. It’s important to realize that failure is a natural part of life and doesn’t signal the end of the world.

Highly successful people, such as Michael Jordan, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates have all failed at some point in their life. Failure is needed because that’s when valuable insights are learned that can drive you to become highly successful in life.

Overcome your fears by analyzing all potential outcomes, practice positive thinking, have a worst-case scenario to ease your worries, and practice setting goals.

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Remember: “Fear will do one thing and one thing only: hold you back.” – Kya Aliana

2. Stop the fear of success

Do you get nervous when everything seems to be going well, but in your mind life can’t possibly be this awesome, so naturally something goes wrong as expected?

Do you get close to making the major breakthrough, but something, somehow, falls through?

If these examples happen repeatedly, this isn’t a coincidence, it’s actually a fear of success. Fear of success hides in our subconscious and displays itself in scenarios like the examples above.

People are afraid of success for a myriad of reasons, such as fear of losing their identity, more responsibility being added, raised expectations, and not being able to handle success well.

Success is a good thing, everyone deserves to live out his or her dreams and have a positive impact on the world. Handle success by staying authentic and remembering who you are, accept you won’t please everyone, and be comfortable with every decision you make.

3. Stop people pleasing

Do any of these descriptions sound like you?

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  • I want everyone to like me
  • I’m scared/I try to avoid disagreeing with people
  • I never speak my mind
  • I never say no (I’m a yes-man)
  • I never get angry
  • I never tell someone how I feel, even when they make me angry
  • I’d rather go along with the pack than stand my ground

If any of these describe you, I want you to tell yourself, “No more!

It’s time for you to stop playing the role of the ‘doormat’ and start becoming selfish and putting yourself first. For each second you remain in this people-pleaser role, a piece of you dies.

People pleasers are taken advantage of, prone to stress and depression, develop resentment over time toward people in their lives, and are prone to health issues, such as weight gain. Once you quit people pleasing, you’ll regain your sense of who you are and build up confidence.

Live your life to please yourself and to heck with everyone else.

4. Stop criticizing and judging others

Do you notice how some people have a short fuse for those who have ideas that are different from theirs?

Do you realize how quick people are to judge and label other people without knowing them and to not think twice about it?

To become the best version of yourself, you need to eliminate all negative energy. When you throw negative energy at people, you’re potentially damaging a person’s self-worth and self-esteem. You’re also throwing buckets of negative energy out into the universe yourself.

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Nice people finish first in life and achieve more than those who are selfish and bitter with the world.

Avoid criticizing and judging others by not assuming anything; know it’s not about you, and pretend to walk in their shoes to see the situation from their perspective.

5. Stop procrastination

Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination. Procrastination is another form of laziness. Procrastinators sabotage themselves from becoming the best versions of themselves. Procrastinators are sidetracked by insignificant factors that ultimately derail their goals.

There are many variations of procrastination.

To stop procrastinating, make you actions precise and calculated, have some form of accountability established, and set your goals up in a way in which they are small, manageable, and easily achievable.

6. Stop the negative self-talk

“I could never lose 20 pounds.”

“I’m so stupid, I could never do that job.”

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“I’ll look stupid and weird if I try to wear some of those clothes.”

When you receive a compliment about your work, you say, “Oh, that’s nothing.”

These are the types of things most people say when suffering from negative self-talk. Self-talk is a normal process we all experience, but once it becomes filled with irrational ideas that are negative, then there’s a problem.

The story that goes on in your head is a hundred times worse than the actual story going on in your day-to-day life.

Silencing the inner critic and putting a positive spin on things are two of the best ways to eliminate negative self-talk. Start by eliminating negative vocabulary, such as always, can’t, never (and ever), won’t, but, should, and try.

As Yoda would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Comment below on some other ways you feel people stop themselves from becoming the best version of themselves? I’ll love to hear your responses.

Featured photo credit: Chris Ford via flickr.com

More by this author

Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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