Self Improvement Guide http://selfimprovementsuccess.com Thu, 26 May 2011 12:19:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Developing an Exercise Regimen That Makes Sense to You http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/health-and-fitness/developing-an-exercise-regimen-that-makes-sense-to-you/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/health-and-fitness/developing-an-exercise-regimen-that-makes-sense-to-you/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 12:19:44 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=230 exercise regimen

Why does the word “exercise” bring up so many negative connotations? There is no absolute rule that says it has to hurt… at all. You can very easily get in a good workout everyday and literally LOVE every second of it! The secret is, you’ve got to discover what it is that YOU like to do. And the menu you get to choose from is virtually infinite.

If something is keeping you from engaging in a physical fitness routine, even though such a routine can positively and dramatically impact your life and the lives of everyone who loves you, then it is of extreme importance that we figure out exactly what that something is.

Is It Time?

There is no doubt that the modern human’s life is hectic. It can be difficult to make time for the things we really want to do. And because exercise is usually such a low priority for people, they simply go on about their busy lives, doing the best they can to get by. So essentially, lack of exercise isn’t a time problem at all. It’s a priority problem. Your health should be priority #1 above ALL other things. Without your health, you are dead. Nothing else really matters if you let your health go.

A brisk walk or light jog just half an hour each day can set you up for a surprising transformation. Share in the fun by having activity days with your family. Heck, it can be every day. Go to the park and have foot races. Play some basketball or two-hand touch. Go swimming. Move, move, move! If you’re having fun, you don’t even have to label it exercise. You can just say that you’re – are you ready for this? – PLAYING!

Is It Money?

As we just discussed, you can “go out and play” as often as you like and it won’t cost you a dime. However, I fully realize that to get a supercharged workout, joining a gym is a great way to go. And yes, gym memberships, fitness clothing, and even home workout gear can cost a good amount of money. But don’t let this fact stop you from doing the fun, free stuff. It shouldn’t be an excuse not to exercise. Instead, it could be a goal of yours to join a gym after you’ve gotten yourself nice and addicted to physical activity! It’s all in the way you look at it.

Even if you would like a deeper, more concentrated workout, there are no laws stating that you’ve got to join an expensive health club to get it. You can walk up and down stairs, climb a steep hill, or simply do some good old-fashioned calisthenics. Likewise, good eating habits can often be developed solely through the use of common sense. Want proof? Are fresh vegetables good for you or bad? Is fresh fruit good for you or bad? I rest my case.

It is worth remembering that it’s not the process that really matters, but instead it’s the goal. Start small and work your way up. Don’t let ANY excuses keep you from taking care of yourself.

Once you’ve started to build momentum, invest in some cheap workout gear (yoga mat, dumbbells, etc.). This is good for you not only because you’re investing in useful tools, but also because you are establishing a new identity for yourself as the kind of person who buys fitness equipment and takes care of their body!

The Psychological Effects of Health and Fitness

Of course, the benefits of getting and staying in shape extend well beyond the scope of mere body transformation and physical longevity. A healthy body is a body that virtually cannot get locked into a depressed or anxiety-ridden state. Good health is Nature’s finest mood enhancer. Natural endorphins, along with cell regenerating oxygen become more and more plentiful the healthier you become. This alone can have you feeling dynamite nearly around the clock!

In addition, a stable exercise regimen can work wonders on your overall stress levels, making it easier to cope with life’s hardships and to relax. It can also help reduce or eliminate sleeping troubles. For anyone whose life seems to be in the dumps, and things just don’t seem to be working for them, I would suggest physical activity as their absolute first line of defense. Move your body and you move your life in the right direction.

For individuals who are highly complacent and maybe haven’t exercised in years, go small and build. Bounce on a mini trampoline for 8 minutes the first day, 10 the next, 12 the next, and so on. Once you can do 30-45 minutes with no problems, start jogging or running on a treadmill. Within a few short months you can be an absolute rock star. You just have to get started.

There is nothing you can achieve now that you can’t achieve at a higher level with a fit, healthy mind and body. In other words, there are no legitimate reasons to not go for it, and tons of reasons to just get out there and move!

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Half an Hour. Breathing and Sweating. Is It Enough? http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/health-and-fitness/half-an-hour-breathing-and-sweating-is-it-enough/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/health-and-fitness/half-an-hour-breathing-and-sweating-is-it-enough/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 12:14:11 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=226 exercise

Q: Can exercising just a half hour a day really provide you with any significant benefit?

A: Of course it can!

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be intense exercise. Something basic and light can have profound positive effects on your health and wellness. The challenge for most people is that they don’t think they can find the time. But the truth is, a little bit of consolidation goes a long way. You can pedal away on a stationary bike as you watch television. Want to bond with your kids? Ask them about their favorite movies or bands while you shoot hoops together. Or simple go for a brisk walk and eat an apple during your lunch break.

Your Health – The Most Important Thing

There is no better reason to exercise than just for the simple fact that it keeps you healthy and extends your life. It doesn’t take as much effort as some of those popular tv shows would have you believe, either. Some is ALWAYS better than none, and it really doesn’t take much physical activity to profoundly benefit the essential body systems and keep them functioning properly. A solid diet and exercise program can add years to your life, and ensure that those extra years are good ones!

Your Appearance – Another Great Motivator

Nothing says attractive like a healthy, vibrant body and a positive, energized, endorphin-rich personality! Exercise helps you feel more attractive in many ways, and on many levels. You look more fit and tone, you move better, you present yourself differently, you feel differently, and the list goes on and on.

There are many noticeable ways in which a consistent exercise regimen can enhance your life. At the top of this list is the sense of accomplishment you will enjoy. This comes as the result of you making a commitment, following through with it, and experiencing life-changing results because of that. There really is no finer feeling.

Obviously, transformation also occurs at the physiological level. More endorphins in your blood, more oxygen in your brain, more strength in your muscles… These things feel really, really good. This is why some people will actually never skip a day of exercise in their lives!

Mental and Emotional Benefits

It doesn’t just stop with a radically enhanced self-esteem. Regular exercise can lower stress levels in dramatic fashion, while simultaneously heightening your mood and overall sense of well-being. For one, it gives you time to stop thinking about the stressors in your life and just focus on things such as your breathing, your heart rate, and the sense of pride that goes along with actually doing something good for yourself. And when you work your body out, it thanks you by allowing you to become fully relaxed while it recovers. It’s a win-win on all levels.

Enhanced Mobility and Range of Motion

As you become stronger, more flexible, and more oxygenated, you may notice that your body is moving better than before… a lot better. This is just another of the many great benefits that a mere 30 minutes of daily exercise can bestow upon you.

You will start feeling more playful. You may find yourself bending in ways you haven’t bent in years, which is especially great if you’ve got smaller children around. Few things are as depressing as not being able to play with your five-year-old child or grandchild because you’re unable to keep up or move right.

There is no single right way to exercise your body. Do what you like. Change it up. Swim one day, shoot some hoops the next. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you get yourself to move. Just start. The finishing will take care of itself.

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Meaning and Purpose – The Way to True Joy At Any Age http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/meaning-and-purpose-%e2%80%93-the-way-to-true-joy-at-any-age/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/meaning-and-purpose-%e2%80%93-the-way-to-true-joy-at-any-age/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:52:37 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=220 purpose

Feeling like your life really means something can be one of the most profound personal experiences you can have. This sense of purpose can take your happiness, security, and confidence to new heights. And the greatest part is that just about anything can cause you to feel important and needed, if you just take the time to focus upon and appreciate it.

Perhaps you’re an amazing parent, a top-notch professional, a valued team member, or a devoted volunteer. As long as you believe that you are somehow touching lives and/or making the world a better place, even if only in a small way, you’ve got all the reason in the world to feel important and special.

With true purpose in your life, you may just find yourself wanting to get out of bed a little bit earlier each day and going to bed a little later each night. You’ll likely know who you are, where you’re going, and how wonderful it will be when you get there! You won’t be looking for external forces to validate you as a person. You will feel secure and at ease in most situations.

Generally speaking, young adults seem more apt to cultivate a sense of purpose than do older individuals. This is quite possibly due to the fact that they’re really having fun and enjoying their lives. They’re dating, going to school, starting new careers, and are actively seeking purpose. Seek and you shall find, right?

As we age, however, we tend to become more uncertain, often second-guessing ourselves and demonstrating an almost hyper-sensitivity to the decisions we make. It could be that the kids have left the home (flew the coop, as they say) and you don’t feel quite as needed. Divorce, menopause, retirement, and aging in general can all take a massive toll on an individual’s self-worth and sense of meaning.

However, it is important to realize that purpose can be developed. It can be redeveloped. And you are never too old to reinvent yourself in some way. It can be done. You can do it. And here are some ways how:

  • Get yourself a fun new hobby. Gardening, model-building, classic car restoration. Anything that excites you.
  • Join some type of social club. Meeting new people is fun at any age. You can engage in conversation and do all kinds of fun things with like-minded individuals.
  • Begin an exercise routine. Keep your body alive, invigorated, healthy, attractive, and feeling wonderful. Swimming is always a great, fun way to do this.
  • Volunteer your time to those in need. This is where a great sense of contribution can really make you feel alive and good about yourself.
  • Never stop parenting. Despite what you may believe, your kids (and/or grandkids) will always love and need you.
  • Go back to work, if you’d like.
  • Strike up conversations with strangers. Be a good listener, a good friend.

Remember, the world is full of billions of people at all stages of life. You can always find people who can relate to you, and to whom you can relate. And if you happen to be single, don’t rule out the possibility of dating again. Love and excitement are never bad things.

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Can Scheduling Your Life Actually Reduce Stress Levels? http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/time-management/can-scheduling-your-life-actually-reduce-stress-levels/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/time-management/can-scheduling-your-life-actually-reduce-stress-levels/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:43:02 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=217 time management

Freedom from stress may be as easy to achieve as simply managing your schedule effectively. A strategically designed schedule can allow you to accomplish more in less time, freeing yourself up to have more fun in your life, without the burden of unfinished tasks weighing you down. The greatest tool for designing your schedule is prioritization. Getting the important stuff accomplished first does more to boost the self-esteem than almost anything else.

How to Identify Your Priorities:

Efficient time management can be achieved simply by having a strong focus on your goals. Knowing what you want out of life is paramount for determining which actions will ever even make your priority list in the first place. So do a little soul-searching, and set goals that correspond with your deepest desires.

After you have established your priorities based on your own life’s plan and purpose, you need to take a look at how you typically spend your time. Determine how you’re currently allocating your time. Write down your daily activities in a journal. This will help you to gain clarity and give you a bit of an outsider’s perspective so that you can begin to identify your own personal habits.

Place each of your activities into different categories. For example, you can have categories labeled “work,” “education,” “health,” “fun,” “family,” and “sleep.” Then, each time you engage in an activity, journal it and attach one of these labels to it. After a few days have passed, take a close look at your journal and start identifying areas of your life that could use more attention, as well as those areas which could use less. This will set the process of effective schedule management in motion.

Creating More Time for the Important Stuff

Now that you’re aware of how you would like to be spending your time, and how much time you have available for each type of activity during the day, you can start inserting your highest priorities into the appropriate time slots. One important question to ask yourself is “At what time of day should I perform my top priorities so that I can maximize my effectiveness in accomplishing them?” For example, would you want to schedule your study time to take place right before bed, when you can barely keep your eyes open? Of course not. You will lack the ability to concentrate on and retain the subject matter.

7 Ways to Maximize the Efficiency of Your Time Management

1. Break larger tasks down into bite-size chunks that you can handle with ease. Don’t psychologically overwhelm yourself by trying to take on a massive project.

2. Eliminate unproductive habits. We all have little things we engage in for no good reason. It’s just habitual. Now is the time to notice these things and nip them in the bud for the sake of greater success and personal fulfillment.

3. Seek out opportunities to optimize your time. Could you be doing something differently? Could you delegate or outsource? Can you automate? Can you consolidate?

4. Know your own schedule. Know yourself. During which times of the day do you feel the strongest, most energized, and happiest? These are the times during which to schedule your top priorities.

5. Remember, often times saying “no” to someone else is saying “yes” to yourself, and vice-versa. Make sure you’re saying “no” to the right people!

6. Never allow yourself to be manipulated by those who may try to guilt-trip or bully you into conforming to their agenda rather than your own.

7. Always focus on your priorities. “The first thing is to keep the first thing the first thing.

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Staying On Track – 10 Ways to Maximize Your Time Management http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/time-management/staying-on-track-%e2%80%93-10-ways-to-maximize-your-time-management/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/time-management/staying-on-track-%e2%80%93-10-ways-to-maximize-your-time-management/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:31:35 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=214 time management

Time management is practically synonymous with self-discipline. If you are unable to avoid all the little distractions that invariably pop up throughout the day, your time management will flop, and your effectiveness will suffer. A big distraction that can keep us unfocused on the task at hand is our own stress. Learning and implementing techniques proven to reduce stress is a great way to start regaining control. It is so easy for us to become stressed out over meeting deadlines.

Sometimes we feel like we’re being pulled in so many directions that all we want to do is… well, nothing. But we’ve still got to get it done, right? Yet when we try to “power through” it, we end up cutting corners and making costly errors. We often focus on trying to complete so many tasks at once that none of them get done. The truth is, this type of manic behavior can be corrected with just the slightest amount of prioritization.

With our tasks laid out in order of importance, we begin to gain a clearer perspective of which actions need to be taken, and in which order. A lack of priorities leads to chaos. We know we’re supposed to be staying busy, so we just work on the first thing that comes to mind. Then we remember something else that needs our attention even more, so we stop the first thing and start the new thing and then something else pulls at us, and needs to be done immediately, and then something else, and then, and then, and…. aaaaghhh!

In addition to knowing what our priorities are, it is equally important that we have a system set in place in order to effectively manage distractions. Having a clear strategy of deflecting potential interruptions can ultimately lead to exponentially greater overall productivity. If you were to add up all the minutes you spent engaging in pointless conversations, answering unimportant telephone calls, surfing the net, and engaging in a whole host of other non-productive tasks during business hours, it would absolutely floor you.

Another productivity killer is over-planning. Some people spend so much time planning their next move that they’ve got no time left to actually make the move. This is a form of “glorified procrastination,” meaning that it feels like you’re being productive because you’re thinking about work, but you’re not actually DOING any work.

Just say no.

It can be incredibly difficult for us to deny another person’s requests. Generally speaking, this is simply out of fear. We’re afraid of letting people down, upsetting them, and being looked at as “the bad guy.” But the truth is, we need to be 10x more concerned with how we are treating ourselves. When you say “yes” to them, you’re really saying “no” to yourself. It’s important to understand this, and to act accordingly.

Organization can truly be your best friend. Work just feels better when everything is nice and tidy. Keeping your workspace clean and clear makes you feel more professional. Additionally, all of your supplies and resources are more quickly and easily accessible, contributing to your overall efficiency. Clutter = wasted time.

Keep your deadlines realistic. Never over-promise and under-deliver. It is so much better, both professionally and psychologically, for you to be honest from the beginning. Know your capabilities, and don’t be overly optimistic. Remember, the time to produce results will always come, so don’t let your mouth write checks that your… how does that go again?

Schedule your communications. It is easy to get caught up in answering phone calls and checking e-mails far more often than we should, and then staying on the phone or responding to our e-mails a lot longer than we should. To remedy this, incorporate these activities into your time management routine. Reserve a half hour (and ONLY a half hour) out of your work day for communications. Schedule it for a specific time and stick to it.

It is important that we finish our most important tasks before moving on to less important ones. I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s really true. Starting an important project, and then putting it on hold in favor of a little escapism can be professional suicide. Work isn’t always fun. That’s life. We’ve got to do it anyway.

To help keep yourself on track, invest in a good activity planner. A good planner can help you keep your priorities straight, and will also reveal some of your bad habits to you. This can have a profound positive effect on your productivity.

Overall, it is a good idea to focus on project completion in favor of project quantity. One thing at a time, from start to finish, is the best policy. Finishing one project before starting another can actually help to boost your confidence going into the new project. It is always better to move onto your next endeavor with a smile on your face, feeling good about yourself.

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The Basics of Effective Team Building http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/the-basics-of-effective-team-building/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/the-basics-of-effective-team-building/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:26:10 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=211 team building

When it comes to both your family life and your professional life, the importance of effective team building simply cannot be overstated. Focusing on the welfare and productivity of the entire group can have many powerful benefits. This article will discuss some of these benefits, as well as offer some great team building tips.

Team Defined:

A team is essentially a group of individuals with a singular objective. Their efforts are concerted and organized. Each member of the team has a very specific and distinct role in seeing that this goal is achieved. The morale of the team is such that the desire and commitment to accomplish the goal is heightened. The clearer the understanding of the objective is, and the stronger each individual teammate’s willingness to “give it their all” is, the more likely the goal is to be reached at a high level.

Improving Teamwork – How to do it Effectively:

A strong focus on the objective is critical. Ensuring that everyone knows what success looks like is paramount to effective team building. If you don’t know what the target is, you and your team are unlikely to hit it. Here are 3 of the most important tips for designing a goal-achieving powerhouse of a team:

1. Get crystal clear on each objective. Again, if no clear goal is defined, then nobody will know what all the effort is for, and will likely produce less than stellar results.

2. Ensure that the goal actually inspires team members to be at their best. Boring goals = bored teammates.

3. Cultivate a spirit of positivity and power. Do not allow your team to become doubtful or fearful.

When the goal is well-defined and worth achieving, and all team members are excited and up for the challenge, then an effective strategy must be laid out. Believe it or not, that’s usually the easy part! There are a few different kinds of teams, including:

* An individual. This is generally someone who is very skilled, disciplined, and passionate. They are typically quite coachable and will produce positive results more often than not.

* A small team. This type of team will often consist of 2-10 individuals who are compelled by a singular vision. This type of team will rely very heavily upon one another because one individual mistake can have huge consequences, as there is less of a buffer system than there is in a large team. Small stones can leave huge ripples in a small team environment. For this reason, the team leader must be keen to any negative shifts in personality or performance. He or she will usually need to take a more “hands-on” approach to management.

* Team islands. This type of team environment actually consists of multiple mini-teams. The teams all work independent of each other, but often with the same overall goal in mind. These are usually referred to as “departments,” and will be overseen by department managers.

* Large teams. These are actually the easiest of all teams to run because even the smallest results produced by each individual member can have monumental effectiveness. It’s almost like a giant, self-running, self-correcting machine. In this type of team environment, any new additions to the team are usually nudged in the right direction by “business as usual” and are generally pretty quick to adopt the core beliefs, values, and agendas of the team.

Any group of individuals working together to attain a singular objective can be accurately called a team. It is the team leader’s responsibility to keep both morale and performance at the highest possible level. It is through effective leadership that organizations become powerful, projects become exciting, and fulfillment becomes fuel for even greater progress.

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Breaking Through Fear In Spite of the Crowd – Public Speaking Done Right http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/breaking-through-fear-in-spite-of-the-crowd-%e2%80%93-public-speaking-done-right/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/breaking-through-fear-in-spite-of-the-crowd-%e2%80%93-public-speaking-done-right/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:21:42 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=208 public speaking

Does just the though of addressing a large crowd make your blood pressure go up a little… or maybe even a lot? You aren’t alone. We certainly weren’t born with a microphone in our hands and a thousand eyeballs and ears fixed on us. This is a learned skill. And until you’ve mastered the skill, the concept of public speaking may just scare the heck out of you. Imagine yourself on stage right now, about to talk to hundreds of men and women. What is happening to your body?

* Are your legs shaking?
* Are your hands trembling?
* Is your throat drying up and constricting?
* Are you at a loss for words?
* Are you having difficulty breathing? Thinking?
* Are your guts turning?

These are actually common physiological responses of people who are new to public speaking. For many, it can feel like a fate worse than death. That should provide you with some comfort, though, knowing that your fears are actually extremely common among most, if not all public speakers… initially, anyway. In fact, just about every single one of the world’s great speakers were terrified out of their minds when they first began. But they did what they had to do in order to get over it and get the job done. They learned new skills and developed their own personal power. You’ll need to do the same.

In 3, 2, 1… You’re On! OH NO… Now What?

If you’re fully prepared, you should be able to hold your audience spellbound when the moment of truth arrives. But how do you become prepared? You know your crowd. Study your demographic. Who is your audience? A little homework goes a long way.

You’ll want to learn the average age group, income and education levels, marital status… you know, standard demographic profiling. Once you know who you’re talking to, discovering the best way of delivering your message will become much easier to do. You can use the right kind of words, the right tonality, and the right body language and energy levels to your advantage.

No matter who your audience is, however, one art you will most definitely need to cultivate is the art of keeping good, solid, and meaningful eye contact with them. No other practice will engage them more, make them feel more comfortable with you, and have them hanging on every word you have to say than deep, sincere eye contact.

Encourage crowd participation, when appropriate. Ask them questions, especially those that begin in “Have you ever,” “Do you ever,” and “Have you ever noticed.” Tony Robbins asks the audience if they agree with him. He’ll often say something along the lines of “If you’ve ever done this, raise your hand and say ‘I’.” or “Does this make sense to you, yes or no?”

Organizing Your Speech

Good organization is a virtue possessed by all highly effective speakers. The beginning needs to hook them; the middle needs to captivate, educate, and entertain them; and the end needs to inspire them in a game-changing way. You want to get into their psychologies right away. You want them engaged, and totally loving you right from the start. The end of the speech should be designed to summarize the message that was shared and inspire the audience to either act upon the information presented or simply to reflect upon it for a long time to come.

Obviously, most of your time will be spent somewhere on the actual body of the speech. This will be where you actually put the most focus on delivering a well-researched, well-delivered, and highly educational presentation.

Getting Yourself Prepared

Before you ever step foot on stage, you’re going to need to eat, breathe, drink, and dream about your presentation. Writing, revising, rehearsing, visualizing, and cultivating unstoppable self-confidence will become commonplace for you. You will do these things around the clock. You will commit them to your subconscious. And you will be able to give a stellar speech even in your sleep! The speakers who are the most inspirational, motivational, educational, and generally effective are all so well-prepared that by the time they first step foot on stage, they’ve already done it a thousand times in their minds… flawlessly!

The more highly prepared you are, the more riveting and successful of a speaker you will be. Don’t just give a speech. Become a speaker. Preparation is everything. It’s the only thing. Deliver your message with confidence, authority, humor, and compassion. For the wonderful experience, your audience will thank you heartily.

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Learning to Be a More Effective Listener http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/learning-to-be-a-more-effective-listener/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/personal-development-2/learning-to-be-a-more-effective-listener/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:16:36 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=204 listening

Cultivating the art of good listening is essential if we are ever to enjoy meaningful and effective communication with others. Sincerely taking the time to reflect upon what someone is telling you and sincerely seeking to understand their message is critical.

It is actually quite shocking how many individuals think they are listening to what someone is saying, when in fact they are just using the person’s words to launch their own opinions. This often gives rise to misunderstandings and even fights.

The sad truth is, most of us picked up horrible listening habits in our earlier years, and we haven’t learned an effective strategy for breaking these bad, relationship compromising habits. Here are some of the things that most of us do habitually:

* We let the other person go on talking while we just “blank out” and think about our own agendas.

* We become easily distracted and break our attention at the sign of any little external thing.

* We start judging what the person is saying, running their words through our own filters and only thinking about how we’re going to respond.

* We assume that we “know where the person is going with this” and simply interrupt them for the sake of saving time.

* We process what the person is saying in terms of whether or not we agree with it, instead of truly seeking to understand where the speaker is coming from.

* We allow our own personal anxiety to draw us to irrational conclusions about what is being said, often putting ourselves in a defensive stance even though what the person is saying does not warrant such behavior.

* We simply become impatient and just want to butt in and talk.

If any of these apply to you, you are not alone. These are without question the most common reasons for a gross lack of understanding when it comes to the way we communicate with each other. The first step to changing these habits is to simply become aware of them. Be honest with yourself. After you’ve become aware that you do these things, there are a few steps you can take to begin the process of becoming a better listener.

1. Apply good old self-discipline. Make the most concerted possible effort you can to stay focused on the message that the speaker is trying to relay to you. Avoid distractions to the very best of your ability.

2. Pay attention to the nonverbal cues the speaker is giving you. Pay attention to their eye contact, hand gestures, etc. and do your best to fully engage yourself in their world. You can even try mimicking their posture and tempo, as this will make you feel more connected to them, and vice-versa.

3. Don’t block out things you don’t want to hear. Process as much of what they are saying as you possibly can.

4. Don’t jump to conclusions. Avoid making assumptions about the speaker’s motives. Do NOT interrupt, even if they seem to be rambling. Just listen. Relax and listen.

5. Engage yourself in his or her world. When they have finished saying something, don’t interject with your own thoughts and opinions. Ask questions and encourage him or her to talk even more!

6. Instead of assuming you know what’s been said, if there could be more than one meaning, don’t hesitate to ask the speaker to clarify. This can go a long way toward preventing nasty disputes.

As with any new skill, effective listening takes time to master, but the payoffs are well worth the time and effort you invest. The joy you will get out of your relationships will soar to new heights. People will fall in love with you and think the world of you. And you might just find that you are being listened to a lot more yourself!

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Oh Yes You Are! How to Know and Affirm Your Own Self-Worth http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/self-esteem/oh-yes-you-are-how-to-know-and-affirm-your-own-self-worth/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/self-esteem/oh-yes-you-are-how-to-know-and-affirm-your-own-self-worth/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 11:12:51 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=201 self esteem

Too many people sadly confuse their self worth with their net worth. Your value as a human being is hardly determined by your income or bank statement. It seems that these days, we spend all of our focus on being considerate and kind to others, and trying to get other people to like us. But what about ourselves? Shouldn’t we be considerate and kind to ourselves?

Obviously, the way you treat yourself will be a direct reflection of your own self-esteem. The problem is, many of us still seem to be seeking external approval. But self-esteem is just that… it’s SELF-esteem. And you’ll know when your self-esteem is at the level it should be at. You will be a far more self-reliant, joyful, and well-adjusted individual.

On the flip side of this coin, a poor self-esteem can have incredibly negative effects on your life. People with really low self-esteem often become irrational, over-emotional, anxious, depressed, miserable, and angry. Believe it or not, our self-esteem shows up on our faces, in our body language, and in our actions, as well as our interactions with others. With a healthy self-esteem, you will radiate positivity. You will be far more approachable and others will be drawn to you.

It’s like the Golden Rule, but in reverse. Do unto yourself and others will follow suit. Does this make sense to you? When you’re good to yourself, it shows. And others will be good to you, too… simply because you’ve inspired them to be! Again, your self worth isn’t any more nor any less than you say it is. YOU. That is the key word. Let’s explore self-esteem in just a little more detail.

Healthy Self-Esteem

There are many tell-tale signs that most individuals with positive self-esteems have in common. Generally speaking, if you have a high self-esteem, you:

  • Have tremendous security about who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer the world.
  • Permit yourself to open up to others, sharing your feelings with zero fear or embarrassment.
  • Are a better, more confident, more passionate lover.
  • Can feel good about your accomplishments without downplaying them.
  • Forgive easily. You don’t let the little (or even many big) things get to you.

Poor Self-Esteem

I’m sure it goes without saying that there are also noticeable manifestations of an unhealthy self-esteem. If this is where you’re currently living, then it is quite likely that you:

  • Are very insecure in your abilities and decision-making, and are always looking for external approval.
  • Generally shy away from physical or emotional intimacy.
  • Hide your feelings, showing an apathetic attitude toward others.
  • Rarely give yourself any credit when you accomplish something.
  • Hold onto resentment for others and give yourself unnecessary guilt.
  • Are resistant to meaningful, positive change.

Cultivating a Healthy Self-Worth

A number of methods exists for helping you lift your self-esteem to new heights, effectively transforming your life into a successful, fulfilling reality that you are proud to call your own. I would like to present you with 6 easy-to-implement techniques. I hope this helps…

1. Write down ALL of your positive attributes. What do you like about yourself? Your eyes? Your sense of humor? Your ability to appreciate art? Don’t stop writing until you’ve got at least 30 things on your list.

2. When you catch yourself doing something you like, make a big deal about it. Humility is not always your best friend. If you can praise anybody else for doing something great, you should definitely be willing to praise yourself.

3. Treat yourself to things that uplift your spirit or tantalize your body. Pamper yourself. Get plenty of sunshine, go swimming, cruise around in your car for no reason. Just enjoy yourself… and being with yourself.

4. Sin with purpose. What do I mean? While self-discipline can get you your desired results, build character, and blah blah blah, you need to take an intentional break from it every now and then. Indulge in your guilty pleasures, knowing full well that you’re worth it.

5. Have fun, positive conversations with yourself. Make up jokes. Laugh for no reason. Compliment yourself in the mirror. Have fun with yourself and really come to love your own company.

6. If someone is nasty or rude to you, understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with you. It’s their opinion, not yours. Just remember and live by this very powerful phrase. “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”

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Becoming Your Own Best Friend Through Healthy Internal Dialogue http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/self-esteem/becoming-your-own-best-friend-through-healthy-internal-dialogue/ http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/self-esteem/becoming-your-own-best-friend-through-healthy-internal-dialogue/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 10:56:21 +0000 http://selfimprovementsuccess.com/?p=198

When we are able to look within and draw upon our own strength and wisdom to guide our decision-making, we give ourselves an incredible advantage in life. Specifically, the way we direct our thoughts will determine how we feel and ultimately, the actions we take.

We are constantly having silent, internal conversations with ourselves. For most of us, this happens unconsciously. But when we bring it into our consciousness and begin to actually control what we’re saying to ourselves, all new possibilities open up to us.

The key is to transform our self-talk from negatives into positives. Negative self-talk can lead to debilitating inaction. You don’t get the results you want in life because you’ve already convinced yourself that you can’t… or that you’re not worthy. When you turn this around and start telling yourself that you are capable and worthy, the world suddenly becomes a much brighter place. You see people and situations differently. You become lighter.

Everything we experience in our lives, be it material or internal, begins with the thoughts in our head. Change the way you think and you change the way you feel. Change the way you feel and you change the way you behave. Change your behavior and you change your reality. When problems arise, you can handle them quickly and graciously. When life knocks you down, you can get back on your feet within minutes.

Directing your mind in a way that produces positivity and optimism allows you to see problems for what they are because you are not being emotionally crushed by them. Actually, most problems become mere challenges that you don’t mind solving. In fact, sometimes you may even enjoy it!

When you hear people talking about “mixed emotions,” that is a sure sign that they are not controlling their inner dialog. When we take control, we can choose if we want to be negative and tear ourselves down, or be strong, confident, and positive so that we can enjoy our lives and produce amazing results.

Daily Self-Talk – Keeping It Positive:

Developing the habit of using positive self-talk on a consistent, daily basis is a great way to institute a new way of thinking. Unfortunately, you will most likely be starting with a pre-existing negative thought pattern that has become well-established over the years, so if you don’t become positive overnight, don’t fret. Just be patient and consistent.

A great way to begin the process is to repeat positive incantations (emotionally charged affirmations) at least fifty times each day. This is actually quite simple. Just think of something you would like to believe about yourself or life in general, write it down in clear, positive words, and repeat these words (aloud is preferable, but silently is okay, too) with as much positive emotion as you can over and over again. The power of cultivating a positive dialogue with yourself is undeniable. You can break addictions, dramatically enhance your self-confidence, improve your relationships, earn more money, enjoy better health, and live your best life each and every day.

Examples of Positive Incantations:

  • “I am an effective problem-solver. I am far more powerful than my problems and can handle them like they’re just little toys.”
  • “I love challenges. I was built for challenges. Come on, life, give me more challenges!”
  • “I am an exceptional leader. I make this world a better place by setting a stunning example of confidence, effectiveness, and kindness.”
  • “I’ve got total mastery of this situation. I hope it doesn’t think it can pose a threat to me. That’s just silly!”
  • “I radiate vibrant health and energy. I am a living example of physical health and fitness.”
  • “I love life and life loves me!”
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