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8 Effective Ways To Be More Assertive

8 Effective Ways To Be More Assertive
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Do you often find yourself feeling like a pushover? Your friends constantly call on you to help with the smallest of things, yet you never get time to get your own things done? Have you missed the last two promotions at work because you’re letting others take the credit for the job you’ve done? If this sounds like you, then you need to learn to be more assertive in life. Here are 8 effective ways that you can learn – and become – more assertive.

1. Make quicker decisions

It is important when you’re asked a question that you answer quickly. Doing so will prevent you from over-thinking and changing what your gut instinct says. For instance, you’ve got 15 loads of laundry to catch up on, and want to get a quick workout in, so when your friend calls for a ride, say no immediately because that’s what you’re really be thinking anyways.

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2. Know what you want

Many people who feel they’re left behind often don’t know what they want, so they have a difficult time standing up for themselves. It’s important that you have a vision of what you want in your mind, so that you can go after it. For instance, a promotion is coming up and you want it. Strive to show your boss that you’re the one that’s doing all the work and deserves the position.

3. Set clear expectations

In order to be more assertive, you need to clearly know what to expect from yourself and others. If you’re someone who’s always on the back-burner, don’t expect to rise to the top immediately. Set clear goals and expect to move at a steady pace, gaining the ground you deserve.

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4. Overcome your fears

It’s possible that one of the reasons you’re overlooked is because you prefer to stand in the shadows. When it comes to a presentation at work that you’ve done all the groundwork for, don’t let someone else give your presentation. Overcome your ‘stage fright’ and take the front seat at that presentation. Remember that courage isn’t the lack of fear. Courage is acting despite having your fears.

5 . Use body language to project confidence

Even though you might be in a situation where you don’t feel confident, don’t let anyone see that. Use body language to mask your true fears and give off a confident vibe. Stand straight, chin up, shoulders back and don’t fidget.

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6. Don’t fumble your words

When people are nervous and lacking confidence, they tend to talk quietly and mumble, sometimes making many mistakes with simple words. It is much better if you speak so that you can be heard, as well as slowly and clearly. Avoid fast-talking, as that really allows your lack of confidence to show through.

7. Dress to impress

Not that outer images should make a difference, but the truth is, they do. It’s important that you dress for success. Make sure your clothes fit properly, are cleaned, and in some cases, ironed. You want to look more confident, which will help you feel more confident on the inside.

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8. Change the way you think

The most important factor to become more assertive is to change the way you think. Allow yourself to stand up for what you believe in, what you think is right, and don’t think about what others think. For instance, when someone tries to take over your presentation, or say that they’ve done the work that you’ve done, don’t allow them to do this, as you have in the past. Change the fact that you let others walk all over you and stand up for yourself!

Featured photo credit: LOA via Shots of Insight

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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