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If You Want To Accomplish Everything You Want In Life, Remember These 10 Things

If You Want To Accomplish Everything You Want In Life, Remember These 10 Things

Why do some people who start from nothing achieve monumental things? It begins with your mindset. Whether life hands you a box of chocolates or a box of lemons, it’s really what you make of it. To accomplish everything you want in life, these are 10 things you can do to get there.

1. Find your passion(s).

What makes you happiest? What do you absolutely love to do so much that you would do it without getting paid? Those are your passions. And those are the things to pursue with vigor.

2. Set the right kinds of goals.

SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-driven) are beneficial in certain circumstances. In Dan and Chip Heath’s book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, they say:

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“SMART goals are better for steady-state situations than for change situations, because the assumptions underlying them are that the goals are worthwhile.”

However, SMART goals often don’t have any emotional attachment to them, and this is necessary when you’re setting big life goals. The Heath brothers call this a “destination postcard” – a clearly painted picture of where you want to be in the future.

3. Break down the steps needed to accomplish your goals.

Goals without application are useless. What actions will you take to accomplish the things you want in life? What sacrifices are you willing to make? When will you start? These are tough questions, but important ones to answer if you want to achieve big things.

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4. Take chances.

Think about the accomplishments you’re most proud of. More likely than not, they occurred during times when you went out of your comfort zone and took risks. All great leaders recognize that failure is an opportunity for growth. You know what’s worse than failure? Not trying.

5. Celebrate the small wins.

Allow yourself to bask in the glory of small wins. Did you eat healthy today? Did you learn something new about starting your dream business and then go apply it? Pat yourself on the back and smile. You just took one step in the right direction. Take time at the end of every day to mentally congratulate yourself for these “small wins.”

6. Learn as much as you can.

Big achievers consciously treat every encounter they have as a learning experience. They read more, write more, and soak up knowledge wherever they can.

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7. Do the things that other people aren’t willing to do.

This is the number one thing that separates successful people from those who don’t achieve success. Successful people are willing to do the little things that others don’t want to do. They skip happy hour and hit the gym instead. They stay an extra hour at work to get a head start on a new project. They take the time to go to their kids’ practices. This is the price you pay for accomplishing amazing things.

8. Be mindful about how you spend your time.

Despite what The Rolling Stones said, time is not on your side. It’s your most precious asset, so think about how you use yours. And don’t confuse productivity with business. Productivity means putting in the necessary hours of deliberate practice necessary to become an expert in your craft.

9. Do little things every day to keep your body and mind healthy.

Notice I say “little things.” Because those are the things that will add up to big changes in your life. You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour every day. But there’s no excuse not to spend 5 or 10 minutes exercising. Think about it this way: do you want to increase your odds of being around longer so you have more time to spend with your family and friends… to accomplish everything you want in life? Then start taking the small steps necessary to make healthy habits a part of your life.

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10. Start now.

To accomplish the things you want in your life, you need to start. Not later. Not tomorrow. Now. I’ll leave you with these words from Mark Murphy, Founder and CEO of Leadership IQ:

“I’ll start tomorrow. Three words that are the death knell for goals. Because how many times have you said ‘tomorrow’ when what you really meant was ‘never’? I know, as the words tumble from your mouth, you believe them: ‘I’ll start a diet tomorrow.’ You feel strong, relieved, and 100 percent committed to your goal. It seems as if nothing can come between you and the promise of tomorrow. A tomorrow that really will be the first day of the rest of your life. But then tomorrow actually comes. And once again, we face the same decision: start right now or postpone starting for one more day. C’mon, it’s just one day, right? Seriously, how bad is it really going to be to postpone for one more day? The answer, of course, is postponing for one day probably isn’t the worst thing ever except that one day is never one day. One day becomes two, two days become three, and three days become years.”

Featured photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac] via flickr.com

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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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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