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The Simplest Ways To Improve Yourself Constantly

The Simplest Ways To Improve Yourself Constantly

Every single one of us has something we want to be better at. Maybe you want to grow in your career (or start a new one). Or perhaps you’d like to get healthier and get in better shape. Or maybe you want to be more productive with your time.

I have good news for you: there’s something you can do to accomplish all these things and more. Keep reading to find out seven ways to improve yourself and your life starting today.

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1. Roll with the punches.

One thing’s certain in this life: you’re gonna get hit. So brace yourself, take the punch, and move on. Stop sweating the small stuff. All the bad things in your life happened for a reason. Use them for motivation. Let go of the past because what happened to you yesterday doesn’t affect who you are today. Accept that this is exactly where you’re supposed to be at this very moment and everything that has happened to you is part of your journey.

2. Be a student of life.

Want to improve yourself today? You’re already doing it. Learning something new and seeking knowledge and wisdom is a key part of constantly improving. So keep seeking new knowledge and inspiration every day. Read books. Visit websites. Have conversations with smart friends and learn new stuff. Take up a new hobby. Never, ever stop learning and you’ll always keep improving yourself.

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3. Take tiny steps.

Small steps often don’t seem like they’re getting you anywhere. But “small wins” are a proven way to accomplish all your goals in life. Let’s look at a common example: weight loss. The first steps are the hardest. Most overweight and obese people don’t take those all-important steps because the end goal seems so daunting. Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work. But if you never start, you’ll never get anywhere. To keep improving, you need to take small steps toward your goals every day—no matter how tiny those steps are. Just keep moving forward.

4. Choose a mentor.

There are countless ways to improve yourself by yourself, but getting a little help along the way can help you get better faster. Think about the people who have influenced your life. Maybe it’s your parents, a coach, or a boss. If you already have a mentor you talk to regularly for advice about your goals, that’s great. If not, make a list of the people you respect who have accomplished the things you want to accomplish and ask if you can pick their brain over coffee. Most successful people will be humbled and happy you asked for their advice.

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5. Learn from your stumbles.

We all stumble and fall down. It’s what you do after you get up that determines how you progress in life. Failure sucks, but it’s absolutely necessary to creating valuable learning experiences. Stop playing it safe. Take risks, fail often and learn something every time you stumble. You’ll soon realize that these “failures” lead to some of the greatest achievements in life.

6. Be honest.

Self-improvement starts with telling the truth—to yourself and to others. The truth hurts sometimes but lies always end up hurting way worse. The people who are best at improving themselves on a consistent basis are the ones who are honest all the time. Lying creates a huge emotional burden on you. It leads to guilt, negativity, and more lies. It’s a never ending perpetual cycle. So always tell the truth. That’s the only way to keep growing.

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7. Give thanks.

Think of everyone in your life you’re grateful for, not just once in a while—every day. Being thankful keeps us humble and gives us perspective. Focus on the good things in your life and express gratitude for them. The fact that you’re alive and reading this means you’re more fortunate than most people in this world.

Featured photo credit: kevin dooley via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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