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10 Killer Ways To Rock Your Life By Setting Goals That You’ll Actually Achieve

10 Killer Ways To Rock Your Life By Setting Goals That You’ll Actually Achieve

You know the drill. It’s always the same: millions of people get all ramped up to make resolutions for the new year in order to finally reach their goals. But after a few weeks, any traces of these resolutions are gone and our goals remain unreached for the rest of the year. It really shouldn’t be this way, but alas, for most of us, it is. It isn’t that we don’t want to make changes in our lives — we do — but most of us are unaware of how keying into a few old-school tactics can help us to set goals any time of the year that we’ll actually achieve!

Here’s the secret: there is no special formula, no magic wand to wave over ourselves that will transform us into rock stars, and no pill for it yet, either.

The secret is this: it takes good old-fashioned American work to succeed at anything!

If you want to develop some killer success strategies that will stick, you have to be willing to work hard and believe you can make it happen.

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Here are ten strategies that will help get and keep you on track:

Persevere

When most people decide to finally commit themselves to reaching a goal, they are gung ho at the beginning. Yipee. Go get em! Live the dream, set new goals, lose that flab, and get that makeover. But hype won’t get you anywhere. That’s why most of us fail to do much of anything. The only thing that will work for you, whether you’re trying to lose weight, start a new business, or set new goals, is to realize that anything of value, anything that’s worthwhile, takes time and perseverance to achieve. There are no shortcuts. No guts, no glory.

Dig Deep

Most of us fail at reaching our goals because we lack passion, we’re too general in defining our goals, and we’ve historically had way too many failures on the front end of things. In other words, we expect to fail. To succeed, you have to dig deep and find out what’s really important to you. People that are passionate about what they’re doing don’t burn out as easily. That doesn’t mean they don’t get tired; it means that something more powerful is driving them. It could be a cause, a belief, a need, or the love of something. Find it for yourself, and there will be no stopping you.

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Give

Most people who are successful pour into the lives of others. They’re generous with their time and want to build value for others. If you want to succeed in anything, learn to be a giver. Don’t think about what’s in it for you — think about giving others what they need, and everything else will fall into place.

Build

Don’t overlook building relationships. Whether you’re working on a new business, trying to lose weight, or trying for that promotion, relationships can provide the client base or support you need.

Get counsel

Successful people are always learning. They look to other successful people to mentor them. They are teachable and don’t try to re-invent the wheel.

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Invest

Whatever you want to do, you have to invest in it. That means time, money, and plenty of effort. Buy the right food if you’re trying to lose weight and make a lifestyle change. It may be more expensive to go organic, but you’re worth it. Spend the money on that great online course by a reputable teacher. You can’t make money if you won’t invest it your own business. You have to be willing to do things others won’t do.

Think positively

We’ve heard this one forever, but how many of us actually do it? Most people aren’t aware of how their negative internal monologues affect their abilities. Start noticing what you tell yourself on a daily basis. If you’re prone to negative self-talk, learn to replace it by building positive counter-statements. Consider this: nothing keeps you from reaching your goals like stinkin’ thinkin’.

Write it down

Don’t skip this exercise! Get a piece of paper and write down a list of what is motivating you to lose the weight, continue with your writing, start a blog, create a new business, or whatever else you may be wanting to do. You can do this on 3 x 5 cards. When your motivation waxes and wanes, pull them out and read them — slowly. If you want to lose weight and you’re tempted to overeat, remind yourself of why this is an important lifestyle change for you. Ask yourself the following:

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  • How do you want to feel about yourself at the end of the day?
  • Will this action help or hinder your ability to reach your goals?
  • What do you need to do to re-focus on the bigger picture?
  • What next steps might you need to take to do that?
  • How will you plan for future obstacles?

Never give up

Winston Churchill said this years ago, but it still holds true: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Most successful people have seen the bottom drop out plenty of times, but they suck it up and keep going anyway. When you want to quit, just take a break, regroup, and come back into it when you feel ready.

Change perspective

When trouble or difficulty arises, it’s easy to get discouraged. That last ten pounds won’t come off, another article is rejected, or you’ve had a financial hit to the new business. Discouragement can lead to despair — no bueno! Try looking at the obstacles through the lens of possibility. See your challenges as opportunities for new growth or a change of direction. If you throw the towel in, you’re done.

So now that you’re aware of some old tried-and-true ways to make your any-time-of-the-year resolutions stick, what the heck are you waiting for — go achieve your goals!

Back at you: What have you tried that’s helped you to turn a resolution into a reality

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Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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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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