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Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in Goals, Personal Development, Self Improvement

10 Proven Methods for Establishing Your Life Goals: How to Identify What You Want in Life

setting life goals

You know, when people talk about life goals, it can seem so cliche.

More than likely, people have been talking to you about setting goals since you were an elementary school kid.

You were encouraged to set goals to get better grades, do better in school, be a good kid.

When you finished high school or went to college, everything was all about setting goals for your future, to graduate, begin a career, to get a good job and eventually to start a family of your own, to settle down.

Sometimes it seems we're goaled to death.

The problem is, you're here.

And if you're here, it likely means either you're not entirely happy with how things have turned out, or you're looking for “more”.

You may have set goals to get to this point in your life, or you could have just sort of floated along as life has pushed you in this direction or along that path (a lot of people do).

But the point is you're here now and you're either unhappy (or at least not entirely happy) with where you are, and/or frustrated, tired, bored, confused or feeling “unfulfilled”.

Somehow you're just not in “the right place”.

So then, lets talk about goals again. But this time, let's do things right. You with me?

At some point you've had dreams for your life. Am I right?

What you wanted to be, what you wanted to do. What you wanted to experience.

Hopefully, you still do.

But the dreams you have for your life will likely stay dreams if you don’t take (actionable) steps towards manifesting those dreams into reality.

It is nearly impossible to work towards what we really want in life without setting “clear, attainable goals”.

So let's take a look at 10 methods you can put into practice to help you get clear on what you really want and create goals that will help you achieve your dreams.

establishing life goals

 

10 Proven Methods for Establishing Your Life Goals

 

1. Meditate

This is an important secret...It is impossible to set goals if you don’t know what you really want.

Sounds really obvious. Right?

I can see you rolling yours eyes you know.

But I can't tell you how many people, myself included, have set a bunch of goals in life without REALLY knowing (or without honoring) what it is they really wanted.

Just let that marinate in your mind a minute, becasue I promise you it sounds basic, but it truly is an important point.

It is imperitive for you to get in touch with your authentic self, the person you know yourself to be, to identify and understand what you really want out of life.

And one way to do that is to meditate.

I'm not talking about chanting or making strange noises or folding yourself in weird positions.

What I am talking about is getting into a calm, quiet space, and clearing your mind of distractions and “noise” (both literally and figuratively) so that your thoughts flow through you more readily.

Doing so helps to make your mind more receptive to your thoughts, and to have the ability to see and consider the thoughts you have with more clarity and depth and feeling.

Having a level of clarity helps you greatly in identifying and determining what it is you actually want.

There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your life, the most common of which is finding a quiet space and ample time to sit and be alone with yourself.

Walking meditation is also good, as the act of walking is meditative, but allows your mind to get still and go inward.

Going on long walks by yourself where you are able to enter that quiet, meditative space is one way to start contemplating and getting clear on what it is that you want in life.

2. Brainstorm your Lifetime Goals

Once you’ve had opportunity to consider what it is you want, it’s time to start brainstorming your goals and the “how” to get to what you want.

To help you start brainstorming, consider developing specific goals in the following areas of your life.

Personal Development: These are goals involving who you want to be as a person and what you want your personality to be like.

Would you like to be more thoughtful, empathetic, compassionate, outgoing?

These are the types of goals that fall under personal development.

Spiritual Development: Any goals you may have with regard to your spiritual growth and development falls under this category.

Maybe you’ve lost touch with your faith over the years and are interested in going to temple or church again.

Maybe you’d simply like to have a deeper understanding of spiritual matters or incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your life.

Whatever you want to incorporate into your life for your spiritual wellbeing falls under this category.

Health & Wellness: What do you want to achieve in terms of your health?

Are you looking to lose or gain weight?

Would you like to lead a more active lifestyle?

Do you want to eat a more clean and whole-food-based diet?

Write down whatever goals you have relating to physical health in this category.

Relationships: Are you single and wanting to meet new people?

Are you in a committed long-term relationship and seeking to re-ignite a spark?

Do you desire to reconnect with a best friend?

Do you wish to spend more quality time with your children?

Whatever goals you have relating to the people in your life will fall under this category.

Career/Professional: What do you want out of your job?

Are you seeking a promotion or a change in career?

This is the category for whatever you want to accomplish as far as your profession is concerned.

Finances: What is your ideal income for the life you want to live?

What expenses are necessary for your life?

Is there anything you want to accomplish in life that would require you to have a specific amount of money to finance it?

Do you want to travel?

How about retire early?

Think about your finances and to determine what you need/want in order to be living your best life.

All of these can be part of your goals.

Environment: What does your dream home look like?

What do you want to be surrounded by every day?

Think about these things and make goals about what kind of environment you would like to have around you.

This can include small things like decluttering or bigger things like moving to a new place.

3. Brainstorm Smaller Goals

It’s important to keep in mind that not all goals have to be massive and life-changing, and not all goals have to be massive to be life-changing.

Are there small things that you’ve been putting off for a while?

Take some time to brainstorm smaller, more immediate goals.

Maybe you want to deep clean your kitchen or accomplish a task like renewing your license.

Once you identify some of these smaller, but important or meaningful goals, you can then place them into the context of your larger life goals (maybe you want to clean your kitchen because you desire to live in a cleaner, healthier, uncluttered environment), and thus kickstart some motivation to begin.

4. Evaluate Why Your Goals Are Your Goals

As you identify and formulate your goals, take some time to consider them. Make sure that you are setting goals based on your dreams and desires, and not based on the desires of others.

If something is on your list just because you feel like it should be, get rid of it.

Your goal list is for you based on your deepest desires for your life.

They shpuld not be formulated or influenced someone else’s ideas of who you are or who you should be.

Take the time to review your brainstorm list, evaluating each desire individually to determine that it is truly yours and no one else’s.

5. Engage in the Bucket List Community

The bucket list community online can help inspire you to create goals for yourself.

Have you always wanted to explore nature or travel more?

Seeing others’ bucket lists can help inspire your own and give you some direction with narrowing down some broader goals you might have for your life.

Being able to clearly identify, define, articulate and envision the goals you choose is a critical element in bringing them to fruition.

SMART Goals - Establishing your life goals
6. Set SMART Goals

One scientifically backed way to set goals is through the SMART method:

Specific: Your goal should be clearly defined and precise. It should answer more questions than it creates.

Measurable: Your goal should include dates, times and exact financial numbers so you can measure achievement. Each step should be measurable. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take satisfaction from the completion.

Actionable/Attainable: Your goal must be achievable. You should be able to accomplish it within your own constraints. If this is not possible, try extending your timeline and create more sub-goals.

Relevant/Realistic: Your goal should be something you actually care about. It should be in line with the direction you want to head in life.

Timely: Your goal should have a specific deadline for completion.

Example SMART goal:

“By December 15th 2018, I will apply to 10 graduate schools’ MFA programs in poetry,” as opposed to “I want to be a writer.”

This goal specifies the task at hand (namely, applying to MFA programs in poetry).

It is a measurable goal with a specific target: 10 schools.

The goal is achievable because the goal setter has 1. defined a limited time within which to accomplish her goal and specified and end-date, and 2. given herself enough time to carry out the related tasks.

It's relevant because it is helping the goal setter move toward something she feels passionate about.

Finally, the chosen goal is timely because it has a specific date by which the goal should be completed.

7. Break Down Your Goals

Some life goals seem huge or unattainable.

Maybe you want a house in Greenwich, Connecticut (one of the most eclusive areas in the US to buy a home).

Maybe you want to be the CEO of your company.

Maybe you want to be a public speaker who conducts presentations before thousands of people.

Maybe you want to live in a foreign country and help to build schools for impoverished children or help bring fresh drinking water to rural communities.

All of these goals seem huge at first glance, but instead of getting overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of them, try breaking down your goals into several actionable, smaller goals.

For example, if one of your life goals is to retire early, you will have to break that goal down into smaller goals.

How will you increase your income or cut spending (and over what period of time) so you can put addiitonal money into your retirement fund?

Will you need to pick up extra work?

These are the kinds of questions that can lead to the formulation of smaller goals to help you reach your larger goals.

8. State Each Goal as a Positive Statement

Express your goals positively.

Try mentally framing your goals as positive or actionable tasks in the style of “execute this technique” instead of negative thinking such as “don’t make this stupid mistake”.

In this way, you have something you CAN do to reach your goal instead of something you shouldn't do.

For example, if one of your goals is to “stop eating junk food” (negative) you could change that around to be “eat healthier snacks on a daily basis” (positive).

This way, you are accomplishing your goal every time you make a good choice instead of failing at your goal every time you slip up.

9. Set Priorities

Not all of your goals will have equal weight in your life.

You must therefore prioritize your goals so that you focus your energy and resources to obtain the most desired results.

This helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by having multiple goals and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.

10. Set performance goals, not outcome goals

If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.

Avoid setting goals that explicitly involve something outside of your own control.

So for example, if one of your goals is to buy a house by the ocean, try thinking of it more as “saving enough money to buy a house by the ocean.”

In this way, as soon as you have the money to buy a house by the ocean, you have achieved your goal (Yay!) and won’t be discouraged (or view it as a failure) if in the process of actually finding a house, external circumstances make that difficult.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

 

Becasue goal setting and establishing life goals is an often talked about subject, you may think it's just over-used, positivity concept babble.

But I would challenge you to find a genuinely successful person who was not also a successful goal setter and achiever.

Setting goals doesn't make you successful. But setting meaningful, measurable, actionable and achievable goals (based on what you genuinely desire, are willing to commit to and work for) and taking the necessary steps to realize them is what makes you successful and helps move you forward into the life you want.

If you’re ready to start identifying what you want in life and setting realistic, attainable goals, then try our 10 methods for establishing your life goals and go for it.

What amazing life-altering experiences will you begin today?

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Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Why You Should

women friends - how to stop comparing yourself to others

 

They say, “A thing of beauty needs no comparison, only an eye to behold it…”

Really?

I'm a mid-life woman, and so far I haven’t met any ‘non-comparing’ females in or out of my circle.

And of course that includes me as well 😉

I mean whether we're willing to admit it or not, we're always comparing ourselves!

There’s always the girl who’s (younger and) thinner than you, or the woman whose butt looks better in jeans; someone who’s prettier than you, someone who's smarter  or seems to have more.

How about the chick with the gorgeous boyfriend?

And if none of that holds true, there’s definitely someone who has a better job.

No? How about someone who’s more fortunate or happier than you?

Not to mention the lady who has more friends, a nicer home or…. Perhaps a different skill set?

Then there's always the other end of that spectrum. Someone who has it worse…

… And it goes on 😉

 

And let's be honest...We christian women know better.

But right now, we're talking real talk.

 

So the question is this, how to stop comparing yourself to others?

And the answer is, simple – stop doing it.

Life is NOT a competition.

Nobody is perfect, and all of us have the potential to be better versions of ourselves.

 

Comparing Yourself to Others Psychology

 

The truth is, we are taught the idea of comparing ourselves to others from very young.

This drive to compare ourselves to others was named 'Social Comparison' by social psychologist Leon Festinger, in the 1950s.

According to Festinger’s research, “human beings have the drive to assess their opinions and to know more about their abilities and when they are incapable of evaluating their opinions and abilities, they tend to compare themselves with others.”

Festinger was the first to use the term “Social Comparison”.

Social psychologists Aspinwall and Taylor did research on esteem and comparison, in the 1990s.

Their research showed that depending on someone’s level of motivation and self-worth, comparison can either be Upward or Downward.

  • Upward comparison, compels us to compare ourselves with those who are better than us, and
  • Downward Comparison urges us to compare ourselves with the ones who are worse than us.

Comparing upwards with a good self-worth can motivate us, but the same can negatively affect our psychological well-being if we have a low self-esteem, and this is where most of us need work.

 

"Comparing Myself to Others" Anxiety

 

We can create unnecessary situations of anxiety for ourselves.

We put ourselves down and find fault in ourselves because we see others as possessing the very attributes we wish we had.

The truth is, people have their own struggles underneath whatever they display.

So much in our society is competitive, and we give in to that competitive nature without considering that we’re putting our self-worth at stake.

chalk board - Don't compare yourself with others

 

7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 

Instead, we should continually remind ourselves of the following:

 

1. All of us are notable in a particular sphere. We all have things in us that are worthy (and we should endeavor to magnify those) for which we’re being admired as well.

There’s always someone that is looking at you, admiring your traits. After all, we’re all on the same spectrum. 😉

2. Rather than Compare, Observe to learn and grow. Instead of seeing ourselves in negative comparison against others (having or being more or less than someone else), we can remind ourselves that we’re still learning.

We can choose to emulate that which is truly admirable to learn and grow.

3. We must realize that folks don’t know our insecurities, and we don't know theirs. Seriously.

People have their own insecurities and they’re way too busy with their own self-conscious stuff to analyze us.

Just as we’re thinking about ourselves, they’re busy thinking about themselves.

4. Remember that comparison can be competitive. The yearning to possess what someone else has or is isn't healthy.

And being competitive in a negative way can lead to saying or doing things that can demean us in the longer run.

5. Admitting our insecurities and vulnerabilities openly decreases our tendency to compare ourselves with others. It helps us to accept ourselves "warts and all".

When we accept ourselves as we are, we realize that others have their own unique attributes, but also their own set of insecurities.

That approach releases us from the vicious grip of competition.

We begin to  admire others and work on our own stuff.

6. Taking others out of the equation, or comparing ourselves to ourselves helps to increase our self-worth.

The only way to "win", is by being a "better you" than you were yesterday.

If there's to be comparison, then let that be the nature of the competition.

For instance, instead of telling myself, “Oh Sarah is so much thinner than I am”, I can say, “I lost twenty pounds during the last 4 months. Wow! I’m proud of myself. I’ll feel awesome when I lose 10 more.”

7. Flip the script by replacing comparison and judgment with love and kindness. When we’re in the process of comparing ourselves with someone, we’re in fact stirring up negative energy, which is being sent out to the other person.

Remember that what goes around comes around.

Instead, be happy that the other person is so blessed, and know that you're blessed as well.

 

Whenever we find ourselves in the comparison trap (and it is a trap) we can hold our fire and send love and kind thoughts to the person we’re comparing ourselves to (and to ourselves as well).

We can compliment them; we can appreciate what is positive about them.

Appreciating others is a super positive habit with a boomerang effect. It makes us more self-compassionate.

 

Wrapping Up:

Comparison is toxic.

It breeds competition and brings insecurity, anxiety, depression, isolation and jealousy.

In addition to that, you can be competing against that which isn't even real, so it's a "no win" situation.

You see, that lady with better hair could be using a dye/weave/wig.

The one whose butt looks better in jeans might be using butt pads...

Learn to put things in perspective.

If there’s someone who’s thinner than you, then of course there’s someone who’s ‘thicker’ than you too.

If she has a better cleavage, don’t forget that you can still rock what you have (they're called "push-up" bras). 😉

And yes, it looks like she has a better boyfriend, but he might not be a "good" man.

All questions like...

How to stop comparing yourself to others physically?

How to stop comparing your body to others?

How to stop comparing your looks to others?

How to stop comparing your progress to others?

… have one and the same answer, and that is to appreciate and acknowledge what you have been blessed with.

 

The truth is, everyone has a different path and there’s no such thing as a perfect life.

All of us need to carve out our own path to be happy and successful.

When we admire those with whom we compare ourselves, they become our stepping stones to success.

So ladies, let’s say goodbye to the habit of comparing ourselves to others.

Love & Peace!

 

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your family and friends. Thanks!

 

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Confidence, Self Improvement

How to Be More Outgoing – 12 Simple Ways To Make Friends and Enlarge Your Personal Sphere of Influence

friends at sunset - how to be more outgoing
 

If you're an introvert (like me!), it can be a challenge to be more outgoing.

Put me in a quiet space with a good book (or two or three) and tell me I'll not see people for days, and you'll get no complaint from me.

But it’s no secret that socially confident people are generally more successful both professionally and personally as compared to their counterparts, even when they have less skills, education or social standing.

Society rewards those individuals who are outgoing, comfortable socially and even gregarious.

Because of their exuberant personalities, outgoing individuals tend to meet new people, meet more people and have more opportunities presented to them.

It can be extremely daunting and overwhelming for introverts to consider becoming more outgoing.

However, just because you're an introvert doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your skills to be more outgoing.

You can be an introverted person and also practice skills that will help you become more comfortable, confident, open and communicative around others.

What’s the Difference Between an Extrovert and an Introvert?

Extroverts gain energy from being around others. These are the kinds of people who love big parties and social gatherings and find it hard (or simply undesirable) to be alone for long periods of time.

Introverts, on the other hand, gain energy from being alone (yessss).

These are the kinds of people who need alone time after a busy day, or who tend to feel overwhelmed or anxious in large social situations.

While it is true that most extroverts are also very outgoing, it is also very possible to be an outgoing introvert.

Maybe you gain energy from being alone and prefer quiet spaces, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be shy in social situations.

How to be More Outgoing as an Introvert

The most important thing to understand is that you don’t have to be an extrovert to be outgoing.

Being outgoing is about being friendly, open and socially confident. Here are some simple tips to start your journey towards being more outgoing:

5 Very Simple Tips To be More Outgoing

1. Use your body language

Making eye contact instead of avoiding it or staring at the ground is one easy way to instantly make yourself appear more outgoing.

If you stand up straight, employ good body posture and project a confident attitude, then you will be more likely to act confidently in conversations and people will see and respond to your confidence.

2. Go to places where there are people like you

If you’re not the kind of person who enjoys drinking and partying, going to a bar to meet people and expecting that to be a good experience is kind of a silly idea.

There are all kinds of personalities in this world, but not every experience is for everybody. And there will be some people around whom you'll not feel especially comfortable or get along with well.

I'm all for exploring new and different experiences, places and meeting new people, however, if you're working toward becoming a more outgoing person, it may be better at least in the beginning to find a place where you feel you will fit in.

That way, you're starting out from a place of comfort where you're more apt to feel confident and secure.

Whether it’s a bookstore, a coffee shop, or an event created around something you're interested in (such as a wine tasting, chef's dinner or an art event), it will be a lot easier to be outgoing around like-minded people than to be outgoing around people with completely different interests and personalities.

3. Make goals

Formulate progressive goals toward the eventual goal of becoming more outgoing.

Is there someone at work that you’ve enjoyed talking with and with whom you'd like to socialize in a personal setting outside your job?

Then work to make it happen.

First, challenge yourself to make a special effort to talk to them.

Striking up a simple conversation about their day, their interests, or asking about their family is a good way to initiate discussion.

Once you’ve done this over a few occasions, you can then move on to invite them to lunch or to hang out outside of work, attend an event and so on.

4. Seek help from outgoing friends

If you have friends who are outgoing, ask them to help you with meeting new people.

More likely than not, they will be thrilled to be of help.

Spending time with outgoing people can help jettison you into new social circles, as well as give you opportunity to observe their outgoing behaviors and model them.

5. Ask questions

People love talking about themselves.

If you are unsure what to say among strangers or how to ease yourself into conversation, simply ask a question.

Asking questions gives you the chance to learn more about others while also giving you the opportunity to take the lead and direct a conversation to a subject with which you're comfortable.

friends eating at a restaurant - how to be more outgoing

7 Additional Tips for Being More Outgoing

6. How to Get Over Shyness and Be Less Self-conscious

Being shy is usually a product of fearing judgement.

Oftentimes, introverts tend to exaggerate in their minds how much other people judge them.

As you move through your daily life, likely, no one is judging you nearly as much as you suspect or as harshly as you may judge yourself.

It can help you to relieve the pressure you may feel, and to feel less awkward just to have this basic understanding.

One other way to get over shyness is to simply acknowledge it in your conversations.

It comes across as charming and self-aware to mention your shyness if you can feel it hindering your conversation, and once it is out in the open, you will likely settle into the exchange and discussion.

7. How Can I Be More Fun to Be Around?

Chances are, you are already great fun to be around in the right setting where you feel secure and comfortable.

The most important thing to remember is to acknowledge that as an introverted person, you have limits to how much socialization you feel comfortable with in a set amount of time.

You will be more fun to be around if you truly want to be in a particular situation and feel up for it.

Avoid agreeing to too many social events (or events with which you are especially uncomfortable) in the name of being more outgoing. If you set yourself up for a few high-quality interactions, this will help you grow your confidence and keep you from feeling averse to social gatherings and interaction.

8. How Can I Become More Social?

If you're working toward being more social, the easiest place to begin is to practice talking to people you meet throughout your day.

It’s simple to speak with cashiers and baristas, coworkers and clients or teachers and other people within your community.

Simply be friendly and open whether it's talking about the day, or commenting on the weather. Something small like this can help spark conversation and give you practice striking up conversations on your own.

Greeting people and adding a simple “how are you?” or “how has your day been?” can help extend your conversation and provide an opportunity to get to know one another.

9. How Can I Become Well-spoken?

The best way to become more well-spoken is simply to practice.

Being well spoken mostly comes down to being confident.

And confidence is built upon practice.

One way to appear more confident and to feel readier to speak and express yourself is to make eye contact.

Remember that the majority of our communication is not in our words, but is made through non-verbal, body queues, and eye contact is a very important one of those.

When you make eye contact during conversation, it signals to others that you are paying attention, you're focused and listening to what they have to say.

And when you're the one speaking, your eye contact draws people into your conversation, and conveys assertiveness and confidence in your demeanor.

One easy way to practice speaking to new people is simply to introduce yourself when you come in contact with a new person.

Over time, you will develop a comfortable and casual introduction pattern that will make you ocmfortable when meeting virtually anyone.

As an example, one very simple and effective method of introducing yourself is to simply say, “Hello. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m _____.”

This gives the other person a chance to introduce themselves and gives you an opening into conversation.

Especially in this day in age, you’d be surprised at how many people forego this step. Just the simple act of introducing yourself can really make you appear sociable and outgoing.

10. How to Be More Outgoing and Talkative

If you find yourself having a hard time striking up conversations, it can really help to try out being more talkative around people with whom you know you have something in common.

Is there a coworker that likes the same music as do you?

Or another parent at your child’s school who is interested in art?

Try striking up a conversation about something in which you are genuinely interested.

In this way, you will naturally be more engaged, have more to say, and appear more confident.

11. How to Be More Outgoing in a Relationship

If you find you’re having trouble being outgoing (warm, open, communicative) in a new relationship, try talking with your partner about it.

And instead of following their queues, try taking the lead every once in a while.

This can help open the door for you to be more spontaneous and outgoing.

It’s important to express your own needs and desires, and simply taking this first step can make you feel more comfortable in the situation and with your partner, further opening the lines of communication with them.

Another way to become more outgoing in a relationship is to ask questions.

As we've discussed previously and as with any new person, asking questions is a great way to get to know someone.

In the case of a new relationship, try asking some deeper questions. These kinds of questions will help you take more ownership in the situation of getting to know each other.

12. How to Be Outgoing and Funny

Not everyone is a genius at telling jokes, nor should they be.

Let funny moments happen organically.

It’s a lot easier to show your humorous side once you get to know someone a bit better, and you feel more cmfortable around them.

Don't worry too much about coming across as funny right away.

If you aren't naturally gifted with humor, you'll find humor in your relationships as you get to know people.

As you gain confidence in speaking to new people, the confidence in humor will also come.

iguana friends - how to be nore outgoing

Final Thoughts - How to Be More Outgoing

It's important to understand that your worth is not based on what others think of you.

Your worth is based on who you are as a person, what you give to others and to yourself.

It is based on your attributes and your truest self.

Gaining self-confidence and getting to a point where you're comfortable with who you are is immensely helpful in growing your level of comfort in new and unfamiliar situations or around new people.

When you are comfortable with yourself, it's obvious to others, making both you and them more comfortable with one another in a given situation, and at the same time making the need for the approval of others not a priority (or source of angst and anxiety) for you.

All of this helps you to be more outgoing.

Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert by nature, learning to be more outgoing is a useful skill in social interactions, in business and even in job advancement.

You can be yourself and still learn to grow your social skills to be more open, more receptive to and more interactive with others. Try some of the tips we've outlined today to help you to be more outgoing.

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Confidence, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

10 Little Known Ways to Be More Assertive, Confident, and Get More of What You Want

female boxer - assertive woman

 

Learning how to be an assertive woman is sometimes a bit more complicated than it may seem.

Assertiveness for women can be a delicate balance.

If you're “too assertive”, people tend to think you're aggressive, threatening or a b*tch. If you're not assertive enough, people perceive you as a pushover and a doormat.

And it's unfortunate, but people often take advantage of those they perceive as weaker or at a disadvantage.

If you're viewed as a pushover and people pleaser, whether in business or your personal life, it can be increadibly difficult to navigate your way through.

By cultivating assertive behavior, we learn to respect our needs while retaining compassion and respect for the needs of others.

Assertiveness affords us a measure of confidence and self-respect, as well as the respect of others which certainly makes it a desireable trait.

It's an essential skill for anyone who desires success, and for women in particular, it's a skill that takes a certain amount of finesse.

Follow these steps as we outline them here to learn valuable assertiveness techniques and tips for building confidence.

 

How To Be Assertive

assertive woman

 

What does it mean to be an assertive person?

 

When wondering how to be assertive, it's important to consider exactly what assertiveness is and what it is not.

Assertiveness is based on balance.

Honing an assertive personality requires you to be forthright about your wants and needs, while still respecting the rights, needs, and wants of others.

When you're assertive, you speak directly, confidently and express a presence through eye contact, body language and other non-verbal queues that is self-assured.

In doing so, you communicate with others in a manner that is perceived to be direct, firm, fair and powerful.

However, it is important to note that assertiveness is not the same as aggression.

Though aggression sometimes masquerades as confidence or assuredness, aggressive individuals tend to ignore or discount the needs of others entirely in favor of their own.

This can greatly upset individuals with whom they interact, and rightfully so.

Unlike aggression, assertiveness and assertive communication affirms your own needs and their importance, while you are still considerate of both sides of a situation when interacting with other individuals.

 

What are some examples of assertive behavior?

 

There are many types of assertiveness, from assertive speech to body language to a quiet internal self-confidence. Some assertive examples are:

Speaking calmly and firmly during a conversation
Using eye contact
Using assertive statements to authoritatively and clearly express your viewpoint
Being firm/repetitive if someone is pushing the issue

Now that we’ve taken a look at assertiveness meaning, try the following assertiveness and self-confidence tips to grow your assertiveness skills:

 

woman sitting - assertiveness

 

10 Ways to be More Assertive

 

1.Make Assertive Statements

What is an assertive statement?

An assertive statement is declarative. It is firm and asserts your position in an unapologetic way.

The simplest assertive statements are simply “Yes” and “No”.

Assertive statements often focus on the “I” voice and how you feel or think about a certain topic.

“I” statements also allow us to open up conversations, both at the workplace and at home.

“I” statements assert how you feel without placing blame on another person.

In doing so, you accurately detail your feelings without treading into aggressive territory.

Words or phrases that assertive statements don’t contain: maybe, I think, I should, I would like.

2. Practice!

Just like any other skill, assertiveness grows over time as you practice.

You can start building confidence by committing to be more assertive with those in your personal life.

If this seems too daunting, you can start practicing by talking to yourself in the mirror or writing down some assertive statements, just to get used to the language of being assertive.

3. Agree to Disagree

Many of us have a deeply imbedded desire for non-confrontation.

Unfortunately, this desire often makes it difficult, if not impossible, to stand up for ourselves.

Getting comfortable with respectful disagreement is an important step in building your assertiveness toolkit.

The fact of the matter is that disagreement is a natural part of life.

You are worthy of having your own opinions and thoughts, and they do not need to constantly affirm the thoughts of others.

Disagreements do not have to become arguments as long as you are willing to leave some things unsettled and simply state your opinion in a respectful but firm manner.

4. Listen Actively

A huge part of assertiveness that people often miss is the importance of listening actively to the person on the other side of the conversation.

Assertiveness is about framing your needs and desires within the whole context of the situation.

If you completely ignore what the other person has to say, your assertive standpoint will not be as well received.

5. Aim for Open and Honest Communication

In all aspects of life, it is important to establish open, honest communication that is essential to the health of a relationship.

Whether it is a significant other, best friend, child, or even a boss, it is important to establish that honesty of emotion.

One way to do this is to assert your own feelings in a positive and consistent way.

You can also directly ask for honesty and openness from those in your life, and that they meet you with the same honesty.

6. Learn to Say No

Saying “No” can be extremely difficult — especially if you've been taught to always “be polite”, not hurt the feelings of others and to put their priorities above your own, or that being a “people pleaser” is the way to make friends or get ahead.

In order to start being able to say “No”, you have to respect (and value) your own wishes.

As an example, if someone in your life is continually asking you to take part in a fundraising effort that you have no time for or interest in, it can feel like a big deal to refuse your help.

However, by being genuine about your feelings, you are simply respecting yourself and the other person.

Instead of trudging through something you don’t want to do or flaking on plans at a later date, an upfront “No” shows self-respect, an understanding of your own limits, and ultimately respect for the other person.

7. Express Your Needs

Use “I” statements to express your needs whether:

At work (i.e. “I am uncomfortable working at my desk with the air conditioning on me all day.”)
At home (i.e “I feel frustrated that I had to do most of the housework this week. I need more help from you so that I can recharge from work at night.”)
Or with friends (i.e. “I cannot come to the cookout because I have an upcoming deadline.”)

Using “I” statements to express your needs allows those around you to understand what is going on in your head.

Expressing your needs doesn’t make you weak, it makes you good at communicating and standing up for yourself.

8. Value Yourself

At the core of assertiveness, there is the understanding that your needs are as valid and important as the needs of others.

Especially if you are a nurturing, empathetic person, it can be hard to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.

If you don’t value yourself and your own time, health, space, and energy, then it's impossible to be truly assertive and to commit to pursue what you want in life.

The first step toward true assertiveness is to value yourself like you would a dear friend.

Beginning to genuinely value yourself is one of the best ways to start building self-esteem.

9. Use Scripting

If you have an important situation coming up where you're hoping to be more assertive, such as a conversation about job advancement, or confronting a family member about past behaviors, you can try “scripting” the conversation ahead of time.

And yes, it sounds corny, but just trust me, it can actually help.

You of course won’t need to memorize a dialog word-for-word, but taking some time to think about and possibly write out what you might want to say, can help you build the confidence to go for it.

It will also offer you the security of feeling prepared.

Try using the following outline to build your conversation:

 

Event:  Tell the other person how you see the situation or problem.

Feelings: Tell the other person, clearly, how you feel about the situation.

Needs: Tell the other person what you need from them

Consequences: Describe the impact of your request.

 

10. Practice Composure

It can be difficult to stay calm in the most important of situations.

Whether you have a tendency towards aggressiveness or passivity, both of these ends of the spectrum come from letting emotions control you and the situation.

In the beginning when faced with a potentially adverse situation or emotionally charged encounter, try giving yourself adequate time to construct an assertive response.

If something particularly emotionally triggering occurs, you can tell the other person you need time to think it over.

This will prevent you slipping into overemotional and less effective communication, and give yourself a chance to advocate in an assertive and productive manner.

 

celebration - assertiveness

 

 

In the End, Assertiveness Allows Us to Demonstrate Self-Confidence and Assuredness.

 

Being assertive is truly an act of respect towards yourself.

Assertiveness is empowering, and so helps us to be less anxious and stressed, more assured and confident.

If you are looking for additional resources on how to become more assertive, check out the following titles:

The Assertiveness Workbook, by Randy J. Paterson
Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships, by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons
Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others, by Judy Murphy

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Improvement

How to Rekindle a Relationship – Discover 5 Basic Reasons Relationships Sour and How To Fix Them

How to rekindle a relationshipDo you need to rekindle a relationship?

Do you find yourself wanting to take your love life from lackluster to a steady simmer (or maybe a raging boil)?

Do you wish you had kept in better touch with your college BFFs?

Has it been too long since you’ve really had a good talk with your sister?

Learning how to rekindle a relationship may be just the help you need.

The number and quality of our relationships is often a vital aspect of how we assess our quality of life. (Close Relationships and Quality of Life.)

Knowing how to rekindle relationship helps to ensure you'll always have strong and healthy connections to those who mean the most to you.

It's sad when relationships are allowed to diminish or deteriorate.

However, there are some simple steps we can all take to counteract this distance, andlearn how to rekindle a relationship that means so much.

Whether romantic, friendship or familial in nature, relationships often go bad as a result of these five fundamental issues:

 

couple holding hands

 

1. The relationship is being neglected.

 
These days, everyone is busier than ever, and it can be increasingly difficult to keep up with relationships.

One of the most common reasons relationships fail is that the relationship becomes neglected in favor of other aspects of one’s life (priorities or lack thereof).

Individuals involved in romantic relationships can often grow apart when one or both members of the relationship begin to prioritize work, other activities or other relationships over their romantic partner.

So, how to rekindle the relationship?

In this instance, scheduling date nights and setting aside quality time with one another is an easy way to rekindle your relationship so that neither partner feels neglected.

Plans can be as simple as settling down on the couch at the end of a long day with a bottle of wine and a good movie or as extravagant as planning a weekend away together.

How you choose to rekindle the relatonship is up to you.

What really matters is making sure that part of your normal routine is dedicated to enjoying each other’s company and cultivating opportunities for feeling close to one another.

With friends and family, an “out-of-the-blue” phone call can often help you keep up with goings-on in each other’s lives and to avoid emotional distance and feelings of neglect.

Even if you don’t have the time to make frequent calls, a simple note, email or text can help the other person know you’re thinking of them.

Scheduling even an hour out of your week to keep in touch with friends and family can do a world of good for strengthening your relationships.

Similarly, scheduling quality time that fits with your schedule can help to keep friendships and family bonds alive and healthy.

This can be as simple as meeting up for coffee if you're in close proximity to one another, or as planned out as going on a cross-country trip together.

couple holding each other

 

2. Your relationship is taken for granted

 

Expressing gratitude  for your loved ones is one of the most important foundations of a healthy relationship.

How often do you say I love you to your partner?

How about your parents or siblings or best friends?

“I love you” is a powerful statement, and though it can be hard to remember to express this sentiment as regularly as we should, it is extremely important.

Other simple acts of gratitude such as saying “I appreciate you” and “thank you” can help to strengthen a relationship and make sure that the other person doesn’t feel they are being taken for granted.

Aside from verbal gratitude, you can also show appreciation by extending help.

Does your partner hate doing the dishes?

Even if it’s his turn, you could always do it for him and leave a little love note letting him know that you wanted to help him out.

Little gestures like this can extend non-verbal love in a way that makes your partner feel appreciated.

This goes for friends and family as well.

Though it may be harder to find small acts of love to complete when you don’t live together, sending small care packages or letters through the mail can be a great gesture, particularly if you know that a friend or family member is struggling.

If you feel your relationship is suffering because the other person is taking your relationship for granted, it can be important to voice this concern.

They may not realize they are doing this to you in the way that you yourself may not have evaluated how often you tell your partner you love them.

cat staring at couple facing off

 

3. Lack of communication

 

How often have you heard that “communication is key” in a relationship?

The truth is, good communication and healthy relationships are inseparable.

Without open and effective communication, there can emerge a distance between two people that in some cases can become unbridgeable.

Sometimes, even if this is acknowledged, it can be difficult to actually take the leap of improving communication.

How do you rekindle the relationship?

One of the most important ways to open the lines of communication is to ask questions.

If you ask your partner or friends questions, it gives them opportunity to express themselves, their thoughts and emotions in ways they may not have felt comfortable in doing on their own.

Something as simple as asking “how are you feeling?” can help to open an important discussion about daily feelings.

If for example, you find you and your romantic partner struggling with your sex life, you could ask questions of your partner in an effort to open up a line of communication where you can both discuss your feelings.

These questions could be as simple as asking what they especially like or want in the bedroom, or how they envision their ideal sex life.

Try to tap back into the exciting moments early in your relationship when you wanted to devour all you could possibly want to know about one another.

Staying in this mindset leads to excellent communication.

With a friend or family member, it is equally important to keep an open line of communication even though these relationships tend to fall into communication doldrums.

It is important for friends and family members to understand what is going on in your life and for you to understand what is going on in their lives as well.

In this way, you can avoid miscommunication and achieve closeness.

 

African American couple at an event

 
4. Unrealistic Expectations

We’ve all heard the tired mantra that love is a game where you don’t know the rules.

This is an extremely misguided thought.

True love and intimacy are founded on open communication.

You and your partner should constantly be communicating in order to establish the “rules” of your relationship.

Are you angry at your partner because he doesn’t show you physical affection when you’ve had a rough day, or doesn't understand when you don't want physical contact for the same reason?

The answer is to talk to him about it.

How can he modify his behavior if he doesn’t understand yours and know why you are angry?

Having huge expectations for your partner, or anyone for that matter, including thinking they should be able to read your every thought or satisfy your every whim without you telling them, is a recipe for disaster.

We are only human.

Some people are better than others at intuiting what the other partner needs.

However, you can learn to manage unrealistic expectations by keeping in mind that everyone is not inherently skilled at intuitive emotional understanding.

So how can you rekindle the relationship?

Instead of expecting the response you want from your partner when you are sad, try explaining to your partner what it is you are looking for to bring you comfort.

Similarly, expecting friends to reach out to you when you won’t reach out to them is hypocritical and leads to disappointment.

Instead, simply letting your friends or family know when you are struggling can trigger the very outpouring of friendship and love you might need.

Managing reasonable expectations and discussing them openly is key.

Even the best of friends and partners are not mind-readers.

group of friends men woman

 

5. Lack of Vulnerability

 

Leaning on people in your times of need is difficult, but essential, in order to create lasting intimacy.

Vulnerability cultivates trust.

Every successful relationship involves a delicate balance of trust and vulnerability.

Each person in a relationship must be able to trust the other completely, and at the same time be willing to be open and thus vulnerable to the other person.

If either one of these things is lacking, missing or out of balance the relationship will suffer.

In a romantic relationship, vulnerability can be cultivated through honesty.

If you are worried about a big job promotion coming up, talk to your partner.

Too often, we worry about being burdens to those we love.

Being stoic and solid is definitely an attractive quality, but in all reality, all humans are flawed, vulnerable, have worries and face difficulties or hard times.

Being open about your own struggles will allow others to be open to you about theirs.

In this way, you will be able to cultivate deep and lasting intimacy in all of your relationships.

An easy way to get become accustomed to showing vulnerability is to simply express your feelings openly.

If your friend asks you how you are, instead of just offering the reflexive response of “fine”, really think about it and answer honestly.

You could tell them you had a good day because you got to spend time doing the things you love.

Or you could mention you are feeling sad because a family member is sick.

Expressing your feelings authentically is a surefire road to intimacy.

 

How To Rekindle A Relationship

 

Strengthening relationships is one of the most important goals you can set for yourself in the coming year.

Having strong relationships helps us to feel a sense of purpose.

Strengthening your own relationships might seem like a difficult task.

It’s best to start with analyzing which of the above areas need work in your relationships.

Try some of the tips to improve your relationships and watch as they strengthen and become better.

Once you discover how to rekindle a relationship, enjoying healthy relationships will become a long-lasting benefit to your life.

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 in Personal Development, Self Improvement

10 Brilliant Relationship Goals to Help Make This Your Best Year Ever

Relationship goals.

Relationships, whether romantic, friendly or with family are crucial to our survival as human beings, especially as women.

We need the connections, the love and the support of good relaitonaships to be healthy, happy and to thrive.

Healthy relationships help us to reduce stress, recover better from illness and provide us the emotional support we need.

It's a brand new year. The season for goal-setting. We've firmly closed the door on the year past, as we move forward into the year before us.

And as we consider what we want the future to look like, what we wish to see in this current year, some of our thoughts turn toward our relationships.

So it makes this a perfect time to consider relationship goals.

What do we desire from our relationships?

What do we hope to gain?

How can we make our lives richer, better, happier and more enjoyable through our interactions with the important people in our lives?

We can talk all day about things we want in life and what we desire from our relationship connections, but unless and until we create a plan to make those desires happen, and then act on that plan, nothing will change. Nothing will improve.

We'll simply have a wish list that's not much good for anything.

So why set and pursue relationship goals?

To provide yourself with a "road map" for achieving what you desire to have in your relationships as part of a better life.

To give focus, direction, motivation and accountability for your day-to-day efforts to achieve the things you say you want.

To help you maximize your efforts to get the most benefit from your relationships and life.

So below, we've outlined ten relationship goals to help you as you work to make this year your best one yet.

10 Relationship Goals for 2018

 

1. Be kind.

Lately the world has become a place where it seems we have almost completely lost all sense of the need for civility and kindness towards one another.

If you want to have better relationships at home, at work and in your community, start by showing a little more kindness toward those with whom you come in contact.

It costs little to nothing for any of us to be kind to others, and the benefits to others, but even more so to ourselves are infinite.

Be kind and I promise you you'll find you have more, you'll have better, and you'll enjoy deeper relationships in all aspects of your life.

 

2. Be sensitive to the needs of others.

We're all somewhat used to being the stars in our own show.

Life is something that happens around us. We're in a story where the center of the narrative is each one of us.

But the truth is, everyone has their own story individually.

They're not simply “extras” in yours.

And just as you may see your needs and wants as the priority in your journey, other people have the same feelings and perceptions relative to their lives and their journey.

Be aware of and sensitive to the needs of others.

By demonstrating a caring demeanor, you strengthen the bonds of your relationships through your sensitivity.

 

3. Listen with open ears and an open heart.

Sometimes when our friends or loved ones speak, we're too busy to hear what they are saying.

Instead of listening, we're busy planning what we'll say in a response or worse, we zone out entirely, disregarding the essence of their conversation in favor of focusing on our own thoughts (like going over to do lists in our head).

When you're engaged in conversation with people who matter to you, pay attention. Be present.

Ask them questions about what they're talking about. Actively engage in what they are saying by first listening and then appropriately responding to them.

This will lead not only to better communication, but will also lead to a stronger bond and connection.

 

4. Put away the devices and allow yourself to genuinely connect with others.

Between smartphones, iPads, and wifi everywhere it's easy to get lost in technology, be continually distracted and ignor the one sitting right next to us.

Introduce mandatory periods of time where devices aren't allowed such as a “no device night” or a device free mealtime and spend that time talking with your family and friends about each other's day or what's happening in each other's life.

 

5. Develop an appreciation for yourself and the important people in your life based on where you (and those close to you) are at this moment in life.

Life isn't perfect, humans are not perfect, and relationships are certainly not perfect.

But learning to appreciate the people, friendships and the love you have in your life right now helps you to develop a level of contentment with your life that will encourage positive growth and development of your relationships.

Things in your life, including your relationships, may not look like or be exactly what you thought they would, but appreciate what you have now, and work to make them even better for the future.

 

6. Tell your family and close friends your favorite things about them.

Everyone loves to hear good things about themselves.

Tell those important to you what you love most about them.

This will make them feel great and will make you feel good too.

 

7. Ask for what you need.

As women, this one can be a little tough for us.

We tend to put other's needs ahead of our own or put up a facade of strength and independence lest we be percieved as “weak”.

However, it has at least been my experience that those we love are not mind readers and it's unfair of us to expect them to somehow know information (in this case what we want or need) that we're not sufficiently communicating to them.

When we don't get what we need from others, it leaves us with resentment towards the other person.

Speak up and let others know what you need.

Do it kindly and as lovingly as possible, being mindful of their feelings, but making sure to communicate clearly, and you will be amazed at the outcome.

 

8. Get over being right and learn to say I'm sorry.

In a relationship of any kind, being right may make us feel good, but it's never the most important thing.

Pointing out that you're “right” in a given situation when the other party is wrong or mistaken, is generally not a good thing.

Nobody likes to hear “I told you so”; no one wants to be nagged.

Even if you feel you're right, your need to be right is not worth damaging or losing your relationship with the other person.

And just as importantly, when you are the one who is mistaken or wrong in a situation, you need to learn the subtle art of saying “I apologize. I was wrong.”

We're all human, and we all mess up from time to time. Handling it with love and grace in your relationships with others will strengthen and deepen your connections.

 

9. Trust.

Trust is a critical component of any relationship, and it works two ways.

You obviously want to trust your partner or family members.

But it's important to remember that they want that same from you.

If you have been wronged in some way by someone, be gracious enough to allow that person to make amends.

By allowing them to espress their regret, to say “Sorry” and to make amends, you are showing them that they can trust you not to shut them out or to reject them when things go wrong.

 

10. Take time to care for yourself.

Okay, I have a confession.

I hate hearing the term “self care”.

It seems that it's everywhere now.

And for me it just sounds so very self-centered.

Everyone needs “self care” these days. Ugh!

However, that being said, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of anyone else.

Loving others means first loving yourself.

If there are things you dislike about yourself or your life, work on them and allow yourself the grace to know that it's perfectly okay that you are not perfect. You were never meant to be.

When we're not functioning at our best, or we're uncomfortable with who we are or how we're presenting ourselves to the rest of the world, we may lash out at others.

Such behavior is certain to be detrimental to our relationships with those we love the most.

Be sure you are taking the time you need to care for and love yourself, so that you can truly love others.

Is this YOUR year?

If you're (finally) ready to get the tips and tools you need to power through your goals and accomplish what you want for life, then Slay Your Goals Planner is a great place to start.Slay Your Goals Planner

Get better results, track your progress and success! Receive consistent support and encouragement!

SYGP comes with everything you need including a 60+ page printable.

You get a day/monthly/yearly planner, motivational quotes, a variety of layouts and styles, guidelines and useful prompts and all of this in an intuitive format that can be printed again and again!

It's a great solution for anyone needing a system that's easy, efficient and results oriented to crush your goals this year!

You can check it out here.

Was this post helpful to you? If so, please leave me a comment then think about who you know that needs to read this and would be encouraged and benefit from this information in their personal journey. Please share this message with them. Thanks!

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