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How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week

How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week

Okay, so your cubicle is boring, you haven’t had a good date in what seems like decades and every day is the “same old, same old” with nothing happening to make you feel revved up and excited.

Clearly, that’s no way to live.

But the key to getting the life you want is to make changes in your routine and kick it in the a** a little bit, so our days aren’t spent like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” — experiencing the same thing over and over again, day after excruciating day.

In less time than it took Murray to learn the life lessons of “Groundhog Day,” you can do the same, starting the ball rolling on a new, improved life that looks much brighter…no matter what challenges you might be facing.

Erase negativity

First of all, let’s admit that it’s finally time for that voice in your head to shut the hell up.

Sure, it’s been through a lot of stuff. And of course, it remembers every single disappointment and failure. But it can’t see the future, so you can’t let it play a part in how you perceive what’s to come.

When the voice says, “No, I can’t,” unleash your inner actor and find a way to tell that voice “Yes, you can”. After all those years of thinking you’re not good enough, it’s time to stop. Build your confidence slowly. Set small goals and take on tiny challenges that allow you to build the confidence it takes to tackle the monster ones.

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Negativity harms you and keeps you from really living life. It doesn’t matter whether someone dealt with you unfairly or not. Harping on injustice (outside a brief period of venting) destroys your life and erodes precious time you could use to really start living. It’s best to decide or plan how to remedy the problem at the root of your negativity — and then take action to remedy it. Whatever you do, don’t stay in a negative or gloomy funk for long. Just start living.

Take stock of the good things and be grateful

You might not have the most challenging job, but in a troubled economy you do have a job — so that’s a blessing worth counting. And even though your romantic life might be as exciting as a trip to the dentist without Novocaine, remember that the good friends and great family you do have are special gifts, and their love will help see you through hard times.

One of the best ways to take stock of what you do have is to start a gratitude journal. Every morning write exactly what you are thankful for on a daily basis. Then at night, write about what went well in the day. Focus on the positive and you will attract more of it.

Recognize where you are lucky and you will create a sense of optimism that will spread into all other areas of your life.

Most people have heard the expression “taken for granted”. Too often we take so many blessings in our lives for granted. We fail to take stock of the many good things. Instead we focus on the handful of items that are unpleasant or despicable. If you take a few minutes to make a list of the positives in your life, you’ll soon see that:

  • the negatives are greatly outweighed by the positives and;
  • you have so much to work with and live for.

Take stock, be grateful, and start living.

Discover your purpose

Whether we believe it or not, we all were put on this earth for a reason. Finding yours will be one of the first steps toward making big changes in your life.

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Think about the things you’re good at, the things that you feel passionate about, the things that you enjoy most and get the most satisfaction from doing. These things might be key to what will make you happy and give you a life that feels fulfilling.

Say you love nothing more than riding your bike. You might not have the training under your belt to become a professional rider — but you could work in a bike shop, sharing your passion for the sport with other riders. If you love to read, find a way to surround yourself with books. If you always wanted to be a firefighter but thought it was impossible, sign up for a First Responder class and get started.

Call to Action: What is one thing you can do right now that will have the most positive impact. What can you stop doing right now that has the most negative impact. Now go and do it!

Finding a way to make our work feel like play is essential to true daily happiness. Discovering your purpose will make sure your life is on the right track and you’re headed in the direction of your own choosing. You’ll begin seeing the excellent opportunities in your present work — or you’ll start enjoying a type of vocation or work that’s more purposeful to you. Living your life according to your purpose makes for a very enjoyable life.

One step at a time

But remember that taking action is the vital key to the equation.

If you dream of something bigger, it’s not likely it will come to you. You will have to go out and get it. It takes hard work.

And even if you do make that move, it might take time and lots of patience to reap the rewards of your initial act of bravery. Jenna Fischer, who plays “girl next door” Pam on “The Office,” made the trip from Missouri to Los Angeles expecting a great job within a year. The truth is, it took much longer for her to capture the attention of her new bosses at “The Office”, a high-profile gig that ultimately led to movie roles and producing. But she was patient…and her rewards finally came.

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Remember, if you’ve taken that first critical step, you’ve already done the hardest part. Don’t become overwhelmed by everything that has to be done. Just take one step at a time. With consistency, moving one step at a time will cause you to live and achieve the life of your dreams.

Find your Zen

To live a peaceful, happy life – and I mean truly live it – sometimes you have to do things that are totally against your nature.

That means if you’re carrying around grudges that are filling you with anger, it’s time to let go and forgive those who have wronged you. The negativity harms no one but yourself, and letting go will be sweet freedom from pain that’s simply unnecessary.

So how, than, do we forgive someone who damaged us and our lives?

  • Get away from the problem. While it might seem like running away, if you can move somewhere where troubled memories don’t follow you wherever you go, you open the door to a new mindset, and that, coupled with a new environment, can lead to better things that can turn a negative into a positive.
  • Get spiritual. While some are best served by attending church to find their introspective side, others can head out into the woods and find a sense of peace that is a good move toward thinking that isn’t done in anger, regret, or despair. Practice meditation. Personally, it has done wonders for me.
  • Use your bad experiences to help others. Share your story to prevent other people from making the same mistakes.

Surprise yourself

One of the best ways to jolt yourself out of a disappointing life is to do something completely different.

Even if you think you might be terrible at it, give something new a try.

Whether it’s signing up for a ballroom dancing class or trying kick boxing, horseback riding, singing lessons or gymnastics, doing new things challenges us mentally and physically, and sparks a new interest in living by giving us a new reason to get up in the morning to a day that’s fresh and full of possibilities.

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Many people are afraid of trying anything new. Others feel as if there’s nothing new worth trying. And then there’s a whole different group of folks who say they “hate surprises.” What they’re all saying is they hate change and prefer structure. Structure is good; however, most people would be pleasantly amazed at how trying something new will add a real spark to their lives. Try something new, surprise yourself, and start living.

Revisit that Bucket List…or rather, that LIVING List

If you have a list of things you want to do before you die, don’t sit around waiting for a reason to do them. Try to find one thing on that list that you can accomplish if not today, then tomorrow.

Order the classic movie you know you need to see on DVD, and start looking online for car rentals if you’ve always wanted to drive a Mercedes or Rolls Royce.

If your list includes an exotic adventure, but you’ve been waiting around to become part of a couple before you take that tropical vacay because you don’t want to travel alone, rethink the plan. Maybe you have a good friend who’s been feeling the same way. And who knows? The love of your life could be planning the same vacation right now, and will be sitting on the same beach when you arrive. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you go.

The best way to make life worth living is to find ways to ensure that you really are living. And making every moment that we live and breathe count – appreciating that we are indeed living and breathing — it the best first step.

What can you do everyday that would make it impossible for you to have a bad day? Now go and start doing that….today.

Featured photo credit: Afonso Coutinho via unsplash.com

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Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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