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The One Time Your Ego Serves You Well

The One Time Your Ego Serves You Well


    I’m sure you’ve heard that the ego is a bad thing.

    While stereotypical egotistical behaviour is never a good thing, there is one time when your ego serves you well. It’s when you let it do what it does best…make you think of yourself first.

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    Many of us have been raised to think this is a bad thing – that we should always put others first. The problem with putting someone else first is that unless that person is putting you first in a reciprocal fashion one hundred percent of the time, it is a downward spiral. It may be a very slow one, but if you are not caring for your own needs first, you can end up at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak. If you put others before yourself, everyone else will get taken care of and you will be last; and since there is always someone else who needs something, you will not only be last on the list, you may never get anything you need. If you put yourself first, you can take care of your own needs quite quickly and then tend to others that need it.

    Remember what flight attendants always say during the pre-flight briefing on an airplane?

    “People travelling with children or persons requiring assistance should don their own mask first before helping the other person.”

    Have you ever thought about why they say this? It is because if oxygen levels are dropping, there may only be time to put one mask on before you pass out. If you put your child’s mask on first, while he/she will have oxygen flowing, he/she may not be old enough or know how to put yours on you. You have to put your own mask on first to save you both. Is that being selfish?

    No…it’s being smart.

    As a volunteer firefighter, we have to take care of ourselves first, too. On the fire ground, there is nothing worse than a “man down” — knowing that one of our own is in trouble really makes it difficult to focus on the job we have to do. Our instructors often remind us in drills that if we hear of an emergency situation, we are to continue to do the job we’ve been tasked to, unless we are asked to help directly with the rescue. We always have a dedicated rescue team, called a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT), standing by when a team goes into a burning building. If we are careful and make sure we don’t get into trouble in the first place – run out of air when we go interior, or fall through a weak floor because we forgot to check it – then we can do our job to maximum capacity and so can everyone around us. Then we can save the victims and/or prevent the fire from spreading any farther.

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    Putting yourself first doesn’t have to take much time. Trained firefighters can don their full protective gear in less than a minute, some of which is done en route, and then they can focus on the job at hand, being courageous and saving the day and all that. How can you make sure to put yourself first? What one or two things do you need each day to start your day in the best possible way? Answer these questions for yourself and then make the commitment to take time for yourself each morning, no matter what.

    The one time it is alright to put someone else before you is when you do so consciously. This means that you carefully and selectively allow one or two people’s needs to come before your own (usually these are children), but then you firmly draw the line there so you do not end up at the bottom of your list. So if you have small children, by all means, care for them first — but don’t let anyone else creep up that list ahead of yourself.

    Put your own mask on first.

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    (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via Flickr – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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    Teresa Griffith

    Teresa is a passionate writer who shares about productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

    6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

    Are you at a critical stage in your life, and it seems you are not making headway with your life goals? Does it feel like you are complacent, and you are struggling to accomplish what you set out to do? You can make progress by establishing and diligently working towards those goals that align with your life’s mission.

    A lot of dreams are not terminated because the dreamers gave up; they died due to a long period of inactivity. This is the more reason you need to develop a progress mindset while you pursue those relevant and meaningful goals.

    A progress mindset will enable you to work on any inadequacy that can truncate the realization of your goals. With such a mindset, you are constantly evaluating yourself, improving your skills, and seeking ways to learn and grow through life.

    Why Is It Essential to Develop a Progress Mindset?

    Your mindset encompasses your beliefs—how you perceive your talents, skills, knowledge, and personality. Your belief system eventually influences your viewpoints about goals and success. A fixed mindset can hinder your progress, while a progressive mindset will enable you to achieve sound health, happiness, good relationships, and peace.

    6 Ways to Make Progress and Realize Your Goals

    Here are 6 practical ways that you can make progress and realize all your goals.

    1. Figure Out Your WHYs

    Nothing is static. You are either making progress or retrogressing. You need to establish why you want to move forward.

    • Career: Why do I want to be fulfilled in my career?
    • Marriage: Why do I want a happy home and loving children?
    • Health: Why do I want to be physically and mentally sound?
    • Finance: Why do I want to be out of debt?
    • Academics: Why do I want to ace my grades?
    • Relationship: Why do I want to communicate better?
    • Personal: Why do I want to be a better person?

    For every aspect of your life, establish the reasons for changing levels.

    Someone once said,

    “When your why is strong and convincing, the how will emerge.”

    Establishing your reasons will help you to be an active player in decisions that affect your life. You will also be able to establish if your motivation to progress is intrinsic or extrinsic as you make progress.

    2. Establish Tangible Goals

    Once you have established your reasons, the next step is to establish your life goals. Develop your aims for short-term, mid-term, as well as long-term goals. This process will enable you to track your progress and implement changes that improve your progress.

    Keep Your Goals SMART

    Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound in order to make progress. For instance, I want to improve my typing speed by 150 wpm within the next three months. I will spend two hours daily practicing on Mavis Beacon. I wrote in detail on how to set SMART goals that you will accomplish.

    You can learn how to write SMART goals in the video below:

    Write Your Goals on Paper

    Sticking your goals on your wall or notepad will offer you a visual cue that can reinforce why, how, and when you want to make progress on your goals.

    Update Your Goals as Required

    Review your goals at intervals to ensure you can still achieve them.

    3. Create Your Game Plan

    It is not enough to know what you want from life; you need to design a roadmap to get to your destination.

    Here’s what you can do:

    Break Your SMART Goals Into Habits

    Begin by highlighting the good habits you need to cultivate and the bad habits you need to eliminate. Here’s how to break bad habits that can truncate your progress.

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    Master One Habit at a Time

    Once you figure out the good habits to have in your life, then ensure you practice them daily. Scientists revealed that you would need 18 to 254 days to develop new habits and that a new habit will only become permanent after 66 days of practicing it.[1]

    Once you have gained mastery over a habit, add more routines that will enable you to make progress in the direction of your goals.

    4. Imbibe Positivity

    A positive outlook means you are always optimistic about yourself, interactions, and events. It also determines your ability to expect favorable outcomes when working towards your life goals.

    Positivity is a mental posture that sees accomplishments and opportunities instead of failures and defeat. It will keep you hopeful when you are facing daunting challenges.

    A study on positive thinking revealed that visualizing positive images can reduce worry and anxiety.[2]

    How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

    • Look out for the best in every circumstance to be more progress-minded.
    • Use positive affirmations. For instance, when you wake up, say, “I will work hard to complete all my milestones today.”
    • Associate with positive people that will support your progress. You need positive energy to consistently make progress in the direction of your goals.
    • Change your perspectives about failures and setbacks, and see them as significant components of making progress.

    5. Practice Reflection as You Progress

    A lot of things will occur once you are determined to advance. You will learn new lessons and implement changes. You will form new habits and eliminate bad ones.

    It is reasonable to take time out and evaluate what worked and what did not. Ask yourself how you can improve and surmount new obstacles. You can log your answers in a diary or use a virtual journal to track your thoughts[3].

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    Self-reflection guide. Adapted from Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle.

      Scientists have proved the significance of reflective practice on your productivity. A group of students at the Harvard Business School found out that call center agents who reflected for 15 minutes on what they’ve learned outperformed their colleagues by 23%.[4]

      Self-reflection will enable you to keep your goals in mind constantly, which will ultimately help you make progress.

      How do you make this happen?

      Set up a Weekly Appointment With Yourself

      During this period, define your goals and reflect on them. It will also help you verify if your goals are still achievable.

      Ask Reflective Questions

      Did I achieve all I planned? What salient lesson can I pick this week? What new things did I learn, and what actions do I need to make progress?

      6. Celebrate Your Achievements

      It is highly crucial to acknowledge every milestone you complete as you make progress in life. Celebrating your achievements will build your confidence and provide you with motivation to continue.

      One of the best ways to do this is by pampering yourself with rewards when you achieve a goal. These rewards could be things you enjoy, such as a special meal, a music collection, or a mini-vacation.

      These little rewards will continuously remind you of victory anytime you feel like giving up. Merely looking at your mini-vacation pictures will motivate you to keep working towards your next goals.

      Celebrating your achievements will enable you to build on existing momentum and will allow you to attract more successes.[5]

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      Bonus Tips

      Here are other things that you can do to help you make progress toward your goals.

      Invest in Self-Improvement

      Self-development enhances your self-worth and self-confidence. You can improve yourself by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on any subject of interest. You can also attend webinars, seminars, or workshops to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

      Keep Moving

      Every success comes with obstacles. Not giving up on your goals despite setbacks will help you achieve anything you desire. For instance, if you write a book and don’t make a single sale, write another one.

      Don’t allow anything to discourage you from making progress. In case you missed a deadline, train yourself to meet the next one. A positive attitude will enable you to stay on course and infuse you with confidence.

      Final Words

      Goals offer you a sense of purpose and fulfillment when accomplished. When you make progress relentlessly in the direction of your goals, you build up the confidence to overcome obstacles, and every setback becomes a stepping stone to achieve your next target.

      Apply these six practical steps to make progress and achieve every goal you have set.

      More on How to Make Progress Toward Goals

      Featured photo credit: Khiet Tam via unsplash.com

      Reference

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