In this article, I will provide a summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people. I’ll cover each of the 7 habits, so you can apply these to your life, without reading the complete book first!

The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey has sold over 15 million copies.  I bought this book over 25 years ago and the ideas in this book are still highly relevant in today’s fast-paced digital world.

My summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people will reveal the key principles and success habits that are the backbone of this book.  However, to master these 7 habits, I highly recommend that you grab your copy of the 7 habits of highly effective people after reading this summary.

In this book, Stephen Covey groups the habits into 3 parts.  These are:

  1. Private Victory (Habits 1 to 3). Improving You.
  2. Public Victory (Habits 4 to 6). Dealing better with other people.
  3. Renewal (Habit 7). Learning, improving and becoming more efficient.

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Habit 1: Be Proactive

Let’s kick off my summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people with the first habit which is to be proactive.

An important part of this habit is choosing how you respond to the events that happen in your life.

Stimulus and Response

Thousands of times a day, we are bombarded with stimuli. This could be events, situations and other people. We respond to these stimuli unconsciously, automatically and predictably. You might respond with a certain thought, feeling or action. It’s very habitual, and the response is often based on memories or experiences of similar situations or events that happened in the past.

However, Stephen Covey explains that there is a gap between the stimulus and your response.  This is crucial to understand!  When you change what you do in this gap, you change your response.  Do this repeatedly and you develop new subconscious and automatic responses.

To change how you respond involves:

  1. Self-awareness. You need self-awareness to notice the gap and pause before you react.
  2. Imagination and Creativity. This will help you choose different and better responses.
  3. Conscience. You want to know that the new response is ethical and good for you and others. It’s knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting accordingly.
  4. Independent Will. This is choosing your response. It’s coming from you, rather than being influenced by other people such as family, friends or colleagues.

The word “responsibility” is a combination of the words “response” and “ability”. So it means the ability to change your response.

Another important component of this first habit is knowing what you can and can’t control. This consists of two parts. These are circle of influence and circle of concern.

Circle of Influence

This is what you can control or influence. It includes your direct actions. You have complete control over those. It also includes indirect actions. This is influencing others to take action; through something you say or do. This is a skill that gets better with time. When you work on improving your communication skills and abilities, you will get better at influencing others.

Circle of Concern

This is what is outside of your control or influence.  It includes your past. You can’t change your past, only how you view it and the meaning you give to it. This also includes political decisions, recessions and world events. We have no direct control over these.

It’s also the actions of most other people. We can’t directly control other people. We can only influence them.

When you focus or worry about the things you can’t control, this is a waste of your time and energy. This is so important! If you remember one thing from my 7 habits of highly effective people summary, this would be it!

So know what you can control, what you can influence and don’t waste time or energy on the things that you can’t control.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

This habit is about defining your What and Why. It’s about designing the life you want to live.

When you don’t have a plan for your life, you drift and become part of someone else’s life plan. If you are not clear on your values and what drives you, then you end up in a career that doesn’t excite or fulfill you.  Stephen calls this “climbing up the wrong ladder”

Many people climb the corporate ladder. They work and study hard to obtain good money, status, and corporate success.

Once they get there, they realize that their life feels meaningless and lacks passion. They have been climbing the wrong ladder.

Think about where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time? Are you climbing the right ladder or is it time to change to a different one?

Stephen Covey also talks about visualizing the end point. Visualize where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time in precise detail. Does this excite you? Is it really what you want? Are you climbing the right ladder?

Knowing your purpose will help you climb the right ladder. To help you identify what your purpose is, think about how you would like to be remembered?

At the end of your life, how do you want people to remember you? Are the things you’re doing consistent and in alignment with how you want to be remembered?

This habit is also about knowing your values. Your values determine who you are right now and who you want to be in the future. They drive the decisions you make and also the actions you take.

Stephen Covey introduces the personal mission statement. This need not be elaborate or require weeks of thought!  Will Smith had a very simple mission statement, which is “I want the world to be better because I was here”.

This habit is also about setting goals.  I cover goal-setting in the related article below.

Related Article: How to Set and Achieve your Goals

Habit 3: Put First Things First

You know what you what and why from habit 2.  So habit 3 is about the how. It’s how to make this awesome life happen for you.

Productivity is a huge part of this habit of putting first things first. Stephen Covey has a wonderful quote which is “the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves”.

Time Management Matrix

Stephen Covey introduces the time management matrix. This is not a new idea. Eisenhower, who was the 34th US president, originally created the time management matrix. However, it was Steven Covey that made this popular.

The fundamental concept behind the time management matrix is classifying tasks by importance and urgency.  This is done by using 4 quadrants.

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Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent

Tasks in quadrant 1 are important and urgent. These are your top priority.  Often these tasks are outside your direct control. They include dealing with a crisis, a pressing problem, or an unexpected task or setback. It can include important deadline driven projects if you leave them to the last minute. More on this in a moment!

Too much time in quadrant 1 is stressful! You’re fire-fighting and playing catch-up. This can lead to anxiety and burnout. It also impacts your longer-term goals and your daily productivity, because you’re constantly reacting.

If you are organized and manage your time effectively, then most of the tasks in quadrant 1 will be from other people.  You have already completed important tasks within your control before they became urgent.

Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent

Tasks in quadrant 2 are important, but not urgent. These are your important projects and assignments. Your major pieces of work that have deadlines in the future. These are often tasks that require planned blocks of time over several days or weeks. You drive these tasks.

Quadrant 2 tasks include your performance objectives at work. Managers often base your performance and potential pay rise on these objectives. So that’s important to you!

This also includes activities towards your longer-term personal goals. Or activities that align with your mission and values. The ones mentioned in habit 2 earlier.

Here are some examples of quadrant 2 activities.

  • Important longer-term projects (with deadlines in the future)
  • Building relationships
  • Long-term planning
  • Exercise
  • Things good for your mental and physical health.

You want to work on quadrant 2 tasks immediately after completing quadrant 1 tasks. You drive and control the activities in quadrant 2. This is where you want to spend most of your time.

Tasks in quadrant 2 include all the things we “should” be doing, but rarely do because they never feel urgent. Exercise, meditation, healthy-eating or looking after your physical and mental health are good examples.

Keeping Tasks out of Quadrant 1

Here is a key takeaway from my summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people.  This is to prevent any tasks within your control from getting into quadrant 1.

Spending the majority of your time working on activities in quadrant 2 will prevent these tasks from becoming urgent and moving to quadrant 1. 

If you are organized and effective in managing your time, you will complete these activities before they become urgent. 

If you are disorganized, procrastinate and leave things to the last minute, then these tasks will become urgent and move to quadrant 1.  You then need to deal with these tasks, and any unexpected urgent tasks, and this becomes stressful.

To prevent important projects from becoming urgent, you may need to learn to say “no” to some urgent activities or delegate these to others. This is not always easy, but is necessary to ensure that your most important projects get done before they become urgent and move to quadrant 1.

Quadrant 3: Urgent but Not Important

Tasks in quadrant 3 are urgent, but are not important.  Other people drive these tasks.  They are urgent and important to them, but not to you.

Quadrant 3 tasks don’t contribute towards your goals, objectives or things your performance might be measured on.  They are not in alignment with your mission or values.  However, they do keep you busy!

Here are some examples of quadrant 3 activities.

  • Interruptions
  • Some meetings
  • Some reports
  • Checking emails (too often)

Quadrant 3 tasks have short-term benefits, but contribute very little in the longer-term. When you spend too much time in quadrant 3, you can feel out of control. Work has little meaning.

Many people complete all their urgent tasks first (the tasks in quadrants 1 and 3) before embarking on their more important longer-term projects. 

The time management matrix helps you allocate time to the important longer-term projects in quadrant 2 before tackling urgent activities that are less important or valuable.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important

Tasks in quadrant 4 are not urgent and not important. They are your lowest priority tasks.  If you have tasks in quadrant 4, question whether they need to be done at all.  If they do, see if you can delegate them to someone else. 

Here are some examples of quadrant 4 activities.

  • Trivia
  • Busy work
  • Some emails and phone calls
  • Other time-wasting activities

You or other people can drive tasks in quadrant 4.  If I have a request from another person and I feel it’s not important or urgent, I’ll often wait until they follow-up before doing it.  Interestingly, in most cases they don’t!

When you spend too much time doing quadrant 4 tasks, you are adding little value to the organization. You’ll eventually get noticed and could get fired! Also, because you haven’t done the important tasks required to gain the key skills, you’ll be more reliant on other people to get things done.

Habit 4: Think Win Win

This is seeking agreements, solutions, products, and services that are beneficial and satisfying to both parties.

To think win win requires several essential character traits. These are:

  • Integrity
  • Maturity
  • Honestly
  • Being ethical
  • Being trustworthy
  • keeping promises and commitments.
  • Abundance mindset

It also requires having a balance between courage or toughness, and consideration or respect for other people.

It’s about being a leader and making the right decisions, even if they are tough decisions to make. And it’s about bringing people with you, because they see the benefit in your decisions. They feel that you made them with their best interests in mind.

Another character trait for win-win is having an abundance mindset. This is believing that there is enough for everyone. That another person’s gain is not someone else’s loss.

Another key takeaway in my 7 habits of highly effective people summary is that if you can’t get a win win, then there is no deal.  No deal is far better than a deal where one person wins and someone else loses.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

This habit is about listening first and then speaking. Most people don’t listen properly. Instead, they rush in and try to give good advice, often interrupting the person. Perhaps you’ve done this yourself? I know I have!  

Stephen Covey explains that most people are not really listening. Instead, they are either speaking or preparing to speak.

When we speak, we typically respond with our autobiography. This is our view or map of the world. What you want to do instead is understand their autobiography.  It’s grasping and appreciating their view of the world.  

For me, it’s far more fascinating to understand another person’s autobiography as I know mine already! So I encourage you to listen intently and truly understand other people’s values, opinions and their reality. 

To help you become a better listener, Stephen Covey introduces the skill of empathic listening. This is listening with the intent to understand. There are four parts to this.

  1. Mimic their words. Repeating or feeding their words back. To do this, you have to really listen to the other person.
  2. Rephrase their words. Repeating what they said, but in your own words. To do this, you must think about what they’ve said, as opposed to just repeating it back.
  3. Reflecting their feelings. Focusing more on how the other person feels rather than what they’re saying. This helps you empathize with them.
  4. Rephrase their words and reflect their feelings. Using your own words to rephrase what they said and the feelings and emotions behind it.

Habit 6: Synergize

This habit is about working together with other people. It’s based on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A team that works together effectively can achieve far more than each team member could achieve on their own.

It’s about understanding and valuing differences and looking for the good in others. It’s viewing things from another person’s perspective and putting yourself in their shoes. Seeing things from their eyes, from their belief system, and with their values. It’s also understanding and valuing other people’s opinions.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

The last habit in my summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people is about continuous self-growth, improvement and learning. It’s about investing time to get better and quicker at what you do.

In this book, Stephen Covey talks about this man that has been trying to saw down a tree for 5 hours. He’s exhausted!  Someone comes up to him and suggests he takes a break to sharpen his saw. He says, “You’ll get the job done much faster with a sharper saw”.  The man says, “I haven’t got time to sharpen the saw, I’m too busy sawing!”

So the analogy behind sharpening the saw is taking time out to learn, become better, more effective and do things quicker.

This habit of continuous self-improvement makes the other 6 habits possible. 

Steven Covey talks about the four dimensions of self-growth. These are:

  1. Physical. Staying healthy by eating well, getting plenty of rest and exercising regularly,
  2. Spiritual. Achieving inner peace and calm, through meditation, prayer or reading. It’s connecting with something larger than yourself, whatever that is for you.
  3. Mental. This is education, learning and personal development.  When this book was written in 1989, most learning was by reading books.  Now you have a wealth of other options including videos, podcasts, blogs and online courses.
  4. Social and emotional. This includes spending time with family and friends and living habits 4 to 6 in everyday life.

So this is my summary of the 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey.  To check out this book or grab your own copy, click the link below.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Compassion is vital to helping people get through a tough time.  However, being compassionate is hugely beneficial for you too.  In this article, you will learn why compassion is important in so many ways.

I’ll start by defining what compassion and self-compassion are. I’ll then cover why compassion is important, and the hidden benefits that being more compassionate brings to you and others.

I’ll then reveal several ways to help you become more compassionate, so you reap the benefits too. Being compassionate is the perfect win-win. It’s fantastic for you and wonderful for the people that you support and interact with.

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What is Compassion?

Compassion is helping to relieve another person’s suffering through acts of kindness, caring, and support. It includes empathy, but it goes beyond that.

Empathy is being present to another person’s suffering. It’s feeling and sensing their emotional experience. It’s being non-judgmental. This is not judging how another person is dealing or not dealing with a difficult situation.

Compassion is being more concerned with the wellbeing of others, rather than yourself. It’s a natural skill that many people have forgotten in the busyness of modern life. However, you can relearn it and this article will show you how.

As you practice compassion more regularly, it becomes an attitude and a way of life. You understand why compassion is important and naturally identify yourself as a compassionate person. It’s part of who you are.  

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is a vital component of compassion that is often over-looked. It’s key to understanding why compassion is important.

Self-compassion is being proactive in relieving your own suffering. It’s putting yourself first and being gentle and kind on yourself. It’s avoiding situations and people that could create suffering for you.

It is so much easier to be more compassionate with others when you’ve developed self-compassion first.

Why Compassion Is Important and Beneficial for You

I’m sure you already know the benefits of being more compassionate on others. However, there are so many reasons why compassion is important to you too.  Here are a few of them.

Less Anxiety

Being more compassionate helps reduce anxiety by taking your mind off yourself. It gives you a break from your own problems and worries.

When you grasp and understand what someone else is going through, you appreciate your own life more.  You realize that your life is okay. You gain a different perspective on your life.

Less Fear

I believe that compassion is the opposite of fear. It’s almost impossible to experience fear when you’re expressing compassion. This is because your mind and heart are totally connected with what the other person is going through.

Less Stress

Being compassionate reduces stress, especially when you practice self-compassion. You’ll drive yourself less hard and develop a sense of perspective around your own issues and deadlines. They will seem less important to you.

Self-compassion helps reduce burnout. You’ll look after yourself better and take more breaks.

Greater Happiness

This is a big reason why compassion is important. It makes you happier for 2 reasons. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, you’ll be less stressed, anxious or fearful. Secondly, the genuine desire to help others naturally brings out happiness and fulfilment in you.

The following quote from the Dalai Lama explains this beautifully!

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Meaningful Relationships

Being compassionate helps you understand other people at a deeper level. You develop better connections with other people. This leads to stronger friendships and more meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime.

Understand Yourself and Others More

When you practice compassion, you gain a richer experience of what other people are going through.  This helps you understand yourself more and develop greater self-awareness.

Better Health and Wellbeing

A key reason compassion is important is that it’s good for you!  It’s fantastic for your own health and wellbeing. I won’t go into all the reasons right now as this is well documented elsewhere. 

Speed up Recovery from Diseases

Being more compassionate can speed up the recovery from diseases and promote healing. This includes yourself (especially when practising self-compassion), but also the other people that you express compassion to.

This is one reason compassion is vitally important in the medical industry. Medical practitioners that are compassionate have noticed patients healing faster and regaining their health more quickly. I believe this is because the patient feels valued, understood and important.

Also, the patient is more likely to return to this practitioner for further consultation.

Conversely, a medical practitioner that is very cold and scientific can leave a patient feeling helpless, misunderstood and overwhelmed

Most medical practitioners receive little or no training on how to be compassionate with their patients.  I hope this will change as compassion is such an important component to healing and physical recovery.

It’s Contagious!

When you act with compassion, others that you interact with are inspired to act more compassionately too.  It lifts them up and puts them in a higher emotional state. Compassion can spread like wildfire!

Less Road Rage

Imagine this slow driver in front of you. He looks lost, confused and forgets to signal before stopping. When you think and act with compassion, you will be more patient with this person.  You’ll realise that this person is having a difficult day, or is a nervous driver. 

This is a far better way to respond than becoming angry, frustrated or impatient with this driver.

Other Benefits

Being compassionate is pleasurable and feels good. It creates more meaning and fulfilment in your life. It’s like giving a present to a loved one. You gain equal pleasure from giving and receiving.

How to Be More Compassionate

So now, you know what compassion and self compassion are. You have learned why compassion is important and the benefits of being more compassionate.

Let’s now cover some ways to help you develop more compassion.

Be Totally in the Present

A brilliant place to start is to develop the ability to be totally in the present. You’re completely in the moment when you’re not regretting things that happened in the past or worrying about things that might happen in the future. You’re totally in the here and now.

To get better at this, practice mindfulness. Focus on your senses. Notice what you see, hear, feel, and perhaps taste and touch too. When your brain focusses on the external senses, it has less brain power and capacity to pay attention to your thoughts, worries and concerns.

Let Go of Judgement

Your mind loves to make judgements, especially about other people! It’s the ego coming out to play! To be more compassionate, let go of judgement as much as possible and become non-judgemental. 

This can be challenging to do, but it gets easier with practice. Whenever you notice yourself making a judgment about another person, immediately let go of the judgment and the meaning you created in your mind.  Then switch to a caring, curious or compassionate thought instead.

It’s impossible to know how someone got into a difficult or challenging situation. It may be completely outside of their control. We can make judgements about how they got there, but we don’t know for sure.

And it’s also impossible to know how you would deal with the same situation yourself. You can’t determine how you would deal with it, unless you had experienced the same difficulty, upset or challenge.

Instead of judgment, focus on connection. Whenever you notice yourself making a judgment about another person, switch to making a better connection with them instead.

Practising mindfulness can help too. What I encourage you to do is notice what’s happening externally (using your senses). Then let go of any meaning or judgment that you give to what you see, hear and feel.

Practice Gratitude

Another wonderful way is to practice gratitude. Notice what is good in your life, what is working out well and the things you appreciate.

When you’re being grateful for what you have, you’re naturally more compassionate to those people who are less fortunate than yourself.

Related Article

The 11 Benefits of Gratitude and How to Practice it Daily

Be Kind on Yourself

When you’re hard on yourself and focusing on all your mistakes, this benefits no one. Also, if you’re ruminating excessively, or self-loathing, then you’re not in a good emotional space to be compassionate with others.

So instead, practice self-compassion. Start with acts of self-love. Then reward yourself, notice your good points more and forgive yourself.

Think and Act from the Heart

Another marvellous way to develop compassion is to think and act from the heart rather than the head. The head is the place for logical reasoning, analysing and decision making.  It’s very hard to be compassionate when you’re thinking from your head.

The heart is your emotional center. This is where all the positive emotions such as joy, love and compassion come from. 

When you put your attention on your heart, rather than your head, you’ll be naturally more compassionate. Try it and see this for yourself!

Be Authentic

This is being yourself and acting naturally, it’s thinking, saying, and doing whatever comes naturally. Often, we believe we should say or do certain things to help another person.  However, when you think from the heart and become aware of your intuition, you can often help people more effectively and compassionately.

We naturally have compassion. It becomes lost with the stresses and anxieties of modern daily life. When you take some time out to relax and unwind, you can regain your authentic self and the compassion that comes with that.

Volunteering

This can either be volunteering your time or donating some money towards an important and meaningful cause. This is a wonderful way to display compassion.

A study found that retired people who volunteered regularly lived longer than those that didn’t. So volunteering is good for you!

To Conclude

You now know what compassion and self-compassion are. You understand why compassion is important to you and other people. You’ve learned the benefits of being more compassionate and discovered several ways to develop more compassion. It’s now time to apply this to your life and reap the rewards.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

In this article, I will help you overcome social anxiety for good.  Connecting with other people and forming loving and trusting relationships can bring us immense joy and happiness. However, for some people, talking to new people, asking for a date or speaking in public creates fear and anxiety.

In this article, I will explain what social anxiety is and cover the typical symptoms. I will also uncover the 4 components to social anxiety.  Knowing and understanding these 4 components is key to how you overcome social anxiety.

I’ll then cover 8 of the most effective ways to help you overcome social anxiety. Keep reading as you learn how to be socially confident and develop wonderful friendships and relationships.

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What Is Social Anxiety?

It’s a fear of social environments and your ability to perform well in those environments. This includes anxiety about being judged, watched or negatively evaluated. It’s also the fear of being rejected, embarrassed or scrutinized in social situations.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

The symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • Being afraid to ask questions.
  • Difficulty talking to people that you don’t know.
  • Believing that people don’t like you.
  • Believing that other people are better than you.
  • Avoiding social events.
  • Avoiding crowds.
  • Feeling uncomfortable talking to authority figures such as your manager at work.
  • Making more mistakes when other people are watching you.
  • Being silent in meetings.
  • Not wanting to be the center of attention.  For example, on your birthday.
  • Avoiding tough phone calls. For example, sales calls, following up on an interview or asking someone out on a date.

Where Does Social Anxiety Come From?

Thousands of years ago, when we lived as part of a tribe, our survival depended on being in the tribe.  If the tribe rejected you and forced you to live on your own, you wouldn’t survive.

Although being rejected is no longer a life or death situation, your brain is wired to believe that survival depends on being accepted by others.

How Many People Suffer with Social Anxiety?

About 12% of people experience social anxiety that significantly impacts their life. It affects their happiness, their ability to do things and hampers their career.

Many more people suffer from social anxiety in certain interpersonal situations, but are fine in others. So whether you have a mild case of social anxiety or one that is more severe, this article will help you.

The 4 Components to Social Anxiety

Social anxiety (and other types of anxiety) are created and maintained by 4 components. These are physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioral.

Physiological

This is the physical symptoms of social anxiety. These symptoms include:

  • A racing heart.
  • Sweaty palms.
  • Butterflies in your stomach.
  • Shaky hands.
  • Shaky voice.
  • Feeling faint.
  • Blushing.

As these symptoms are physical, other people could potentially see them.  However, you will notice them far more than other people will.  Most people will be totally unaware of any physical symptoms you’re experiencing.

These physiological symptoms happen during the social anxiety situation.  You may notice some minor physical symptoms when thinking about it beforehand. However, it’s much more pronounced during the social situation.

Cognitive

Cognitive or cognitions is the technical term for thoughts. It’s about what is going on in your mind. This includes negative thoughts, excessive thoughts, and thinking the same thoughts repeatedly.  This is called rumination.

The cognitive component also includes how you imagine the social situation in your mind. Are you imagining it going badly? Imagining flunking a presentation or being rejected by another person?.

Unlike the physical symptoms that only happen during a social anxiety situation, these cognitive components can happen both before and during any social situation. So you can experience the cognitive components of social anxiety long before a social situation takes place.

This is crucial to understand!  If you can reduce the amount of thinking and negative imagery about a social situation before it happens, then you will be more calm, relaxed and confident in that social situation.

Emotional

The cognitive components (how you think and imagine) will generate distinct feelings and emotions. These include feeling very self-conscious in social situations. Or feeling afraid of being watched, judged, or embarrassed.

The emotional components can also occur before a social situation. You might worry about a specific social event long before it happens.

Behavioral

This is doing or not doing a certain behavior that other people might notice.

Social anxiety behaviors could include avoiding eye contact, fluffing up certain words, being quiet in meetings or making mistakes when others are watching you.

Just as important is NOT doing a certain behavior or action. For example, not attending a party, avoiding presentations or not making tough phone calls.

This component also includes using alcohol or drugs to calm your nerves, so you feel better and act more confidently in social situations.

The behavioral component only occurs during the social anxiety situation.  The only exception is using alcohol or drugs beforehand to get the desired state by the time the social situation arises.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety

To overcome social anxiety effectively, it is essential that you address the physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioral components.  The ways I’m about to cover will help you do that.

1. Slow and Deep Breathing

Breathing slowly and deeply will reduce the physiological symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms or shaky hands that I mentioned earlier.

When you’re feeling anxious, you breathe more quickly. This causes higher levels of oxygen to flood your body. This can throw it off balance. Your body will compensate by increasing your heart rate, tensing muscles and displaying the other physical symptoms of anxiety that I mentioned earlier.

So breathing slowly and deeply will help regain the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body and reduce the physical symptoms of social anxiety. 

Here is a simple and effective deep breathing exercise.

  1. Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest
  2. Breathe in for 4 seconds, noticing your hand on the stomach rising, but not the hand on your chest.  This ensures that you are using your diaphragm to breathe.
  3. Hold the breath for 2 seconds
  4. Breathe out over 6 seconds, noticing the hand on your stomach moving inwards, rather than the hand on your chest.
  5. Repeat for a few minutes until you feel calmer and more centered.

Deep breathing is a highly effective way to reduce social anxiety in the moment.  It’s a “band-aid” as it doesn’t address the causes. It merely reduces the symptoms. The other ways that I’m about to cover will help address the causes of social anxiety. However, deep breathing is very effective and a great way to calm your nerves.

Related Article

Rapid Relaxation Exercise

2. Change Negative Thoughts

This and the 2 ways that follow will help you overcome social anxiety by addressing the cognitive component.  This is the way you think and imagine social situations. Changing the cognitive component will indirectly influence the emotional component too.

Negative thoughts lead to uncomfortable feelings, and this causes social anxiety. Therefore, identifying and changing these thoughts is a great place to start for long-term positive change.

It starts by knowing what these thoughts are.  The best way to do this is to write out the negative thoughts on paper. Getting those thoughts out of your head and onto paper will help you see these thoughts much more clearly.

 Here are some examples.

  • I don’t know what to say,
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if they find me boring?

You can now analyze these negative thoughts, challenge them, and identify alternative positive thoughts. 

For “I don’t know what to say”, you can identify and memorize some basic questions to ask whenever you need too. Questions about their career, hobbies, holidays or kids work well.  People love talking about these things.

The thought “What if they don’t like me?” could be changed to “If they don’t like me, I’ll congratulate myself for trying and move on to someone else.”

You could change “What if they find me boring?” to “I know that I’m interesting and that will come across to other like-minded people”.

The alternative thoughts don’t have to be super-positive. However, they should give you more options and possibilities.

3. Challenge Unhelpful Thinking Styles

This is similar to changing negative thoughts, but it goes a little deeper. It involves identifying and then changing the underlying thoughts and beliefs. The ones behind the specific negative thoughts that occur in different social situations.

Behind all these negative thoughts are some underlying ways of thinking.  These are known as cognitive distortions or thinking traps. There are 3 cognitive distortions that influence social anxiety.  These are mind reading, fortune telling and catastrophizing. Let’s look at these in greater detail.

Mind Reading

Mind reading is knowing what other people are thinking when there is no evidence to prove it. Here are 2 examples.

  • She hates me.
  • Others think I’m stupid.

It’s impossible to read another person’s mind. We have no way of knowing exactly what someone else is thinking. We may get clues from their facial expression or what they say, but we don’t know for sure.

The solution is to be a detective and disprove these thoughts by asking questions.  A good question is “how do I know?  For example, “how do I know she hates me?” or “how do I know that others think I’m stupid?” 

Or ask “what did this person say or do that makes me think that?”

In most cases, it will be very difficult to answer these questions.  That’s a good thing! Not being able to answer them is proof that these thoughts are not an accurate reflection of what is actually happening.

When you know that these thoughts are not true or accurate, it’s much easier to let them go.

Fortune Telling

Fortune telling is predicting the future negatively. It’s believing that the future will turn out badly. Here are 2 examples.

  • I know I’ll mess up my interview.
  • No one will talk to me at this party.

Being a questioning detective is great for disproving these thoughts too.  For example, “How do I know that I will mess up this interview?”

You could challenge the second example by saying “No one?”  How do you know that no one will talk to you at this party? It’s impossible to predict that.

Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is thinking or imagining worst-case scenarios. It’s magnifying errors, fears and imperfections. For example, “If I flunk this presentation, my life is over”.

As with the previous cognitive distortions, the solution is to question it.  You could simply say “really?” and see what new thoughts arise.

Or ask, “what exactly will change in my life if I flunked this presentation? It’s unlikely you would lose your job over it. What would change, if anything?

How about asking the opposite positive question?  For example, “what would happen to my life if I did an amazing presentation?

Questioning and challenging any thoughts within these thinking traps will help you overcome social anxiety by dealing with the underlying thoughts. 

There are 12 thinking traps or cognitive distortions in total. The others are less relevant to social anxiety. However, if they interest you, then this article covers all of them.

Related Article

The 12 Common Thinking Traps that Steal Your Happiness

4. Change Your Internal Self-Talk

What you say to yourself and how you say it, influences the energy you give out. Other people pick up on this energy unconsciously.

Changing What You Say

Common phrases that people think or say to themselves during social situations include:

  • People don’t like me.
  • People don’t think I’m interesting or funny.
  • I can’t wait to get out of here.
  • This is uncomfortable.
  • This is really terrible!

How do you think self-talk like this will influence the energy you give out?  Certainly not in a good way. Imagine the most socially confident person who you know.  Would they say these things to themselves? Highly unlikely!

How you change negative self-talk is similar to how you change negative thoughts. So the information covered earlier in this article will help you. This includes analyzing any negative self-talk, challenging it and replacing it with new positive self-talk.

Here are some examples of positive self-talk to replace the examples mentioned above.

  • I’m a good person and I know that some people will like me.
  • I know that I’m interesting and this will come across to other people.
  • I’ll enjoy this social situation and I’ll make new friends and I’ll stay here until the end.
  • I have felt uncomfortable before, but I know that when I take action it feels great.

“This is terrible”, might require a question to challenge and change it. For example, “how exactly is this terrible and what could I do to make it better?”

So if you can’t come up with alternative positive phrases, then ask questions to challenge the negative self-talk instead.

Changing How You Say It

As important as what you say is the tone and volume used to say it. Although this self-talk is in your own head and no one actually hears it, there is a tone and volume that you can change.

Negative self-talk often sounds very authoritarian. It sounds like a teacher or parent. If that’s the case, make the tone more friendly.  Change the voice to your best friend, your favorite celebrity, a comedian or even a naughty French waitress! Try it now. It will feel different!

Although self-talk is silent, your perception of how loud it is varies immensely.  When you’re relaxed, chilling out, any self-talk seems very quiet in your mind.  When you’re in a social situation that feels uncomfortable, that voice in your head will seem very loud. 

However, you can change the volume and it’s easy to do. Let’s try it now. Imagine you have a remote control and you’re pressing the button that reduces the volume. Notice the self-talk getting quieter in your mind as you do that.

You can change the tone and volume of positive self-talk too.  Make it sound like Tony Robbins is saying it! Now make the positive self-taught louder and more exciting.

Using positive self-talk regularly and especially during social situations will increase the belief in your ability to overcome social anxiety. It increases the belief that you are confident and comfortable in social situations.

You then radiate positive energy. You have a distinct presence and more confident body language. Other people pick up on this. They will naturally want to talk to you and will feel good in your company.

I highly recommend using positive self-talk before and definitely during any social situation. I’m confident it will make a tremendous difference in helping you overcome social anxiety.

Related Article

How to Tame Your Negative Internal Voice

5. Creative Visualization

Creative Visualization is a powerful way to help you overcome social anxiety. It’s part of the cognitive component, but focuses on your imagination rather than your thoughts. 

Are you aware of imagining certain social situations going badly? This is very common and unconscious to many people.  However, it’s a big contributor to your feelings of social anxiety. 

To turn this around, imagine or visualize each social situation going perfectly. Imagine your presentation going really well. Or having a wonderful conversation with a new person. How about imagining going to your manager to ask for a pay rise and getting it!

When visualizing, bring in other senses such as hearing and feeling. When imagining a great presentation, hear the audience clapping or cheering. Also notice your positive self-talk and how you now feel. If relevant, bring in taste and touch too.

Finally, make your visualization as big as possible.  Imagine watching this on an enormous cinema screen.

Related Articles

10 Steps to Transform Your Creative Visualization Skills

A Powerful Creative Visualization Exercise for Rapid Change

6. Focus More on Other People

We have addressed the physical symptoms of social anxiety with the deep breathing exercise. I then shared 3 ways to help deal with the thoughts that create this anxiety in the first place. I’ve also covered creative visualization to combat imagining social situations going badly.

The next 3 ways will focus on how to overcome social anxiety by changing your behaviour. These are about taking different actions in social situations.

The first one is focussing more on others.  When you do this, you take the focus off yourself and get out of your own head. Your brain cannot think about you and someone else at the same time. Focussing on others also quietens the internal dialogue or self-talk in your head.

To focus more on others, become curious and genuinely interested in what they want to say. An effective way to do this is to ask questions.

As I mentioned earlier, come up with a list of basic questions that you can ask. Include questions about their career, family, hobbies or holidays. People love talking about their favorite subject, which is themselves! 

Be careful not to overdo it with the questions. Otherwise it will seem more like an interview or interrogation exercise! I’ve done this myself in the past. Instead, share a little about you, but make the primary focus of the conversation to be about them.

You want to be totally present with the other person.  This is not thinking or worrying about what to say next. It’s not feeling annoyed about, or regretting something that you’ve just said. It’s listening intently and being totally engaged with the other person.

Anything you can do to help the other person feel better will be beneficial to both of you.  Giving compliments is a wonderful way to do that. 

With around 12% of people experiencing social anxiety regularly, this means that every 9th person you speak to is likely to feel the same way as you.  Giving compliments and helping them feel relaxed in your company will help them feel more comfortable with you.

7. Set Goals and Intentions

Most people go into social situations with no specific goal in mind. They then feel anxious and the social event is a disappointment. This happens time and time again and you feel that you are not making any progress in your efforts to overcome social anxiety.

Setting some goals and intentions before each social situation can help you change things for the better.

Here are some simple goals for an office party.

  • I will talk to 5 new people at the office party.
  • I will talk to 4 people that I already know and find something new about them.
  • I will enjoy myself and feel good, regardless of what other people say or do.

And two examples for other situations

  • I will ask a question in the next meeting.
  • I will always say hi to people in authority, when I pass them in the corridor.

When you achieve these simple goals, reward yourself! If it’s at the office party, get another drink or some food.

8. Face Your Fears

Ultimately, its fear that drives social anxiety, It’s the fear of being rejected, judged, negatively evaluated or embarrassed.

The solution is to confront the fear.  To feel the fear and do it anyway! When you take action despite fear, you’ll get a wonderful feeling of elation and aliveness after you’ve conquered the fear.  This has happened to me many times.

Facing and overcoming your fears is key to achieving success in overcoming social anxiety. When you don’t face your fears, you’ll get feelings of regret later on. You’ll regret lost opportunities and things you didn’t accomplish because of fear.

When you don’t confront your fears, they become scarier in your mind. Your perception of the fear gets bigger and bigger. This feeds into social anxiety and can cause it to get worse over time.

If tackling your biggest social anxiety fears head-on seems daunting, then break them down into baby steps. This will make an enormous difference and make any fears much smaller and more manageable.

Every time you take action to accomplish one of these baby steps, your confidence will improve and you will find it easier to take on the next step.

Here is an example of baby steps to help overcome a fear of talking to new people.

  1. Talk to someone new when accompanied by a friend or colleague.
  2. Talk to the person next to you at a corporate dinner function or in a meeting or seminar.
  3. Talk to someone that is not talking to anyone. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your company.
  4. Join a group of 2 people that are already talking. Say nothing, just listen and smile.
  5. Join a group of 2 people that are already talking and add to the conversation.
  6. Talk to someone from the opposite sex (if that’s a fear for you).

I encourage you right now to identify your biggest social anxiety fear. Then break it down into manageable steps, then act on each step in turn. You’ll then overcome smaller fears one by one. This will really help you overcome social anxiety.

To Conclude

Overcoming social anxiety takes time, so be gentle with yourself and implement one step at a time. In this article, I’ve covered 8 ways in detail.  However, I encourage you to start with 1 or 2 of these methods. Once you’re comfortable and seeing results, add another approach.  When you act consistently, it’s amazing how quickly you notice the differences and benefits.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

What are the best self-development activities?  The ones that work consistently, reliably and give you the results you desire.  In this article, you will learn 12 of the best activities to improve yourself quickly and effectively.

I start by explaining what self-development is and what it isn’t. I’ll then briefly share my self-development journey with you.  This will help you understand what is possible when you consistently apply self-development activities to your life.

I’ll then uncover the 12 best self-development activities for an awesome life.  Don’t feel you have to do them all! Just pick the activities that resonate with you. The ones you feel are most helpful right now.

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

What Is Self-Development

Self-development is about becoming more and wanting more in life.  It’s having greater success, happiness, or being more effective and proficient. It’s about developing your talents and potential and achieving your goals and dreams.

A key part of self-development is becoming more self-aware. This is understanding yourself and why you do things. It’s knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It’s being clear on your life’s purpose, mission and values.

So self-development is developing yourself by yourself. But perhaps with the help of other people, through coaching, therapy, reading books or watching videos.

The self-development industry in the US is worth $11 billion. Every year $500 million is spent on personal development products, courses and seminars. It’s a vast market!

What Is Not Self-Development.

Self-development is not being “fixed” by someone or something else. The power to change ultimately lies within you, not someone else.

It’s not learning personal development without applying it to your life. It’s not a dopamine hit. This is consuming self-development content purely to feel better now. This often leads to becoming a personal development junkie.

If you want self-development to be more than a hobby or entertainment, then it’s essential that you apply what you learn.

Would you like a step-by-step formula for success? Or to learn the rules that successful people follow? If so, click the button below to discover this for yourself.

My Self-Development Journey

My first experience of self-development was attending a seminar on stress management whilst at university. This was fascinating and encouraged me to learn and practice meditation.

When I moved to London, I became interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and was actively involved with the NLP practice groups in London.

There were three books that I read that had a massive impact on me.  There were.

At this time, I wanted to improve my social confidence and dating skills. I used self-development activities to help me do that successfully.

I had a wonderful life in my 30s. I got married, had many friends, a brilliant career and lots of opportunities to travel. So, I lost interest in self-development. 

In 2010, we moved to Sydney Australia and continued to have a wonderful life. However, I didn’t feel happy or fulfilled in my career, despite changing jobs several times. Now, in my 40s, I also had some niggling health issues that influenced my state of mind.  I became more interested in natural health. That then led me back into self-development and especially mind-body healing.

I decided to make self-development my career, so I invested in training to become a qualified clinical hypnotherapist and also launch the Self Help for Life online business and brand.

The 12 Best Self-Development Activities That Will Change Your Life

So now you know what self-development is, lets dive into 12 of the best self-development activities that have changed my life and I’m sure they will do the same for you too.

1. Affirmations

Affirmations are short, positive statements about what you want in life. You repeat these statements as often as you can. Repeating them out-loud is most effective, but silently to yourself is good too.

Affirmations help replace those repetitive negative thoughts that keep you stuck. You’re already saying negative affirmations to yourself, so you’re simply replacing these negative affirmations with positive ones.

Related Articles

How to Create Affirmations That Work Extremely Effectively

How to Write Affirmations that are Believable and Get Results

An alternative to affirmations is Lofty questions. You can learn about these here.

2. Meditation

Meditation is highly effective for reducing stress and anxiety. Meditation helps you gain a greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings. And when you’re meditating, you can change those thoughts and feelings, or let them go.

The easiest way to meditate is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and focus on breathing in and breathing out.  Whenever your mind wanders (and it will frequently, especially if you’re new to this), then accept that this is fine.  It’s completely natural.

Then as soon as you notice your mind wandering (and this could be a few seconds after your mind wondered), gently bring it back to your breathing.

Another option is guided meditations. This is listening to a recording of someone giving you relaxing suggestions. You then focus on the words being said. There are thousands of guided meditation recordings available and also guided meditation mobile apps.

3. Creative Visualization

We naturally use our imagination. However, it’s typically for worst-case scenarios or things we are afraid of. Just like thinking negatively, we imagine negatively too.

Creative visualization allows you to counteract negative imagery by vividly imagining what you want instead. It’s seeing situations and activities going the way you want them to go. Creative Visualization is often known as mental rehearsal, especially in sports and athletics.

Creative visualization is much more than seeing the positive outcome in your mind. It includes hearing and feeling it too. You want to engage all the senses, even smell and taste if you can.

Olympic athletes use creative visualization all the time. It’s an essential part of what they do to become the best in their sport.  They might not consciously use creative visualization, but they definitely do it unconsciously. 

Related Articles

A Powerful Creative Visualization Exercise for Rapid Change

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4. Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is like guided meditation.  However, it’s more goal oriented. People use self-hypnosis to increase motivation or confidence. Or to stop a bad habit such as smoking, overeating or drinking too much alcohol.

The easiest way is to listen to a self-hypnosis recording. There are thousands of those available and some are more effective than others.

I use and recommend the self-hypnosis recordings created by Uncommon Knowledge. Their website is https://hypnosisdownloads.com

You could learn how to hypnotize yourself without using self-hypnosis recordings. I cover this in one of the related articles below.

Related Articles

How to Hypnotize Yourself | A Self-Hypnosis Tutorial

Self Hypnosis and Meditation – What’s the Difference?

5. Journaling

When we keep thoughts in our head, this can lead to overwhelm and confusion.  It’s very easy to blow things out of proportion. To make it much bigger than it really is.

Journaling is writing your thoughts on paper (or in a computer file). When you do this, you gain a fresh perspective, a calmer mind and greater clarity. Writing can help release emotions too.

For the best results, write your thoughts on paper. However, if you prefer to type your thoughts on your computer, tablet or smart phone, that’s fine too.  The most important thing is to do it!

6. Setting and Achieving Goals

Most people use self-development activities to improve or change their life.  This starts with setting goals, so you’re clear on what you want to achieve and by when. Goals provide a focus for all the other self-development activities.

When you set goals, this gives you the desire and motivation to consistently work on self-development activities. You have a specific reason and benefit to work on yourself.

I encourage you to set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Start by setting goals for this year, and then smaller quarterly or monthly goals.  Equally important is reviewing your goals regularly, at least monthly. Check that you’re on track and make any adjustments to maximize your chances of achieving these goals.

Related Article

How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

7. Coaching

A one-on-one coaching session is a highly effective form of self-development. An excellent coach will ask you direct, dedicated and personalized questions to help uncover your blind spots.

They will help you expand your beliefs about what is possible for you. A professional coach will also identify and help you change any limiting beliefs.

An important benefit of coaching is goal setting with accountability. It’s much harder to wriggle out of a goal that you have shared with a life coach.  You are accountable to the coach. If you fail to achieve the goal, you will need to explain your reasons (and excuses) to your life coach.

In the same way as a Personal Trainer will drive you to do 30 push-ups, when you only feel like doing 20, a skilled coach will spur you to achieve your goals faster and expand on what is possible.

8. Therapy

Therapy differs from coaching. It helps heal past events that stop you from moving forward in your life right now. Therapy helps you deal and resolve traumatic events. Or childhood events that shape your beliefs about what is possible for you right now.

There are different types of therapy.  These include counseling and various forms of psychotherapy. If you see a psychologist, they will often use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

There is also hypnotherapy, which is what I specialize in. Hypnotherapy can help deal with, heal and resolve past events. Or it can be more solution focused, which makes it similar to coaching.

If you would like me to be your therapist or coach, then this page provides further details.

9. Overcoming Fears

One of the best self-development activities is overcoming your fears. I believe that fear is the biggest barrier to success. It’s fear that keeps people stuck. One of the fastest ways to grow and improve yourself is to overcome fears.

Do things that scare or frighten you, especially those that won’t affect you physically. For example, public speaking, talking to strangers, tough phone calls or recording videos.

Perhaps it’s having that difficult conversation with your partner or boss that you’ve been putting off for weeks.

Rather than tackling your biggest fears head on, you can start gently.  Break down your biggest fears into smaller action steps. As you complete each step, your confidence and experience will grow and you’ll feel more able to overcome the bigger fears.

Another way to strengthen your fear muscle is to do something new, unfamiliar or a little uncomfortable each day.  This could include going to a new café, trying a different food or exploring a more efficient way of doing a task at work.

10. Completing Challenges

A challenge is when you invest a significant amount of time and energy to achieve something monumental in a relatively short space of time. Here are some examples.

  • Training and then running a marathon
  • Starting a business
  • Changing jobs or your career
  • Losing a significant amount of weight.

When you set challenges, it forces you to step up and become more.  Challenges help you prove that you can do something, that you thought was difficult or even impossible.

Challenges are fantastic for overcoming habits and for achieving the more important and meaningful goals in your life.

For challenges to work effectively, you want to specify an exact amount of time.  This could be 30, 60, 90 or 100 days.  For me, 100 days works incredibly well.  I started Self Help for Life and my Hypnotherapy business in 100 days.  You can achieve so much in 100 days when you put your mind to it. It’s also long enough to make it a habit.

I do a 100 Day-Challenge every year and I use Gary Ryan Blair’s 100 Day Challenge program to motivate me, inspire me and keep me accountable during that time.

Related Articles

How to Change Your Life in 100 Days

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11. Taking Action

I touched on this earlier, but it’s so important! Learning a new self-development activity, tool or technique is useless if you don’t apply it to your life. Or a Stephen Covey says “to know and not to do is not to know”.

So here are some examples:

  • Reading and learning the most effective dating techniques versus going on dates
  • Researching the most effective ways to speak in public versus speaking in public
  • Learning all the different ways to make money on the internet versus starting an internet-based business.

Knowing is easy. You can gain the knowledge by going to university or surfing the web. All the information you need is readily available.

Doing is applying what you’ve learned and testing it out.  You’re not fully committed at this stage.

Living is taking consistent action on what you’ve learned. You improve through repetition. This leads to consistent and predictable results.  The action becomes a habit and perhaps even part of who you are.

12. Expressing Gratitude

The key reason for doing self-development activities is to achieve something that we don’t already have.  It’s easy to become focussed (even obsessed) about achieving goals and major life changes.  This can lead to unhappiness and frustration, especially if the goal takes much longer than you intended.

It’s easy to forget what you have now and the good aspects of your life. Therefore gratitude and appreciation are so important.

Take a few minutes to be grateful for what you already have. Write all the things you’re grateful for and that you appreciate. Create a gratitude journal and list additional things each day.

Focus on simple things such as having enough food, good health, a safe and comfortable place to live or enough money. Be grateful for waking up and experiencing another day of your life.

Related Article

The 11 Benefits of Gratitude and How to Practice it Daily

To Conclude

So now you have a list of the 12 best self-development activities, including many of the ones I do regularly. If you want to crush your goals, be happier more fulfilled and more successful, then apply some of these self-development activities to your life and reap the benefits.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Overwhelm is becoming a major cause of stress and anxiety for many people. In today’s fast-paced world, we have access to so much information at the touch of a button. We are never far away from an email, SMS, or social media notification. So it’s important that we learn effective ways to overcome overwhelm.

We also have higher goals and aspirations than ever before. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, relax! Take a deep breath and let’s get started in learning how to overcome overwhelm.

In this article, I will cover what it’s like to be overwhelmed, the 2 fundamental types of overwhelm, and the difference between overwhelm and burnout. I’ll also cover the 6 key components of overwhelm.

I’ll then cover the 10 best ways to help you overcome overwhelm.  I cover many of these ways in depth and some may surprise you!

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

How Do You Know If You Are Overwhelmed?

You are experiencing overwhelm if:

  • You’re not enjoying what you are doing, and your mind is busy thinking about other priorities.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate.
  • You can’t make the best decisions, because your anxiety levels are too high.
  • Your life is unbalanced, as a result of spending too much time in one area.
  • You no longer enjoy activities you found pleasurable and fulfilling in the past.
  • You feel stressed.

The 2 Types of Overwhelm

There are 2 types of overwhelm. These are:

1. Having too much on your plateYou have too much to do. There are many competing activities and priorities. You are not sure where to start.

2. Having too much information. Because of the internet, even simple things, like booking a holiday, can feel overwhelming. There are so many review sites to check before you book. With an abundance of information (often conflicting), it can feel like you don’t know where to start.

Overwhelm or Burnout

What is the difference between overwhelm and burnout?

Overwhelm is having too much to do or too much information right now. It’s short term.

Burnout occurs when you’ve been working too hard for too long and you’re exhausted. Your body and mind need a break, so it’s crucial to take some time to rest and recover.

The 6 Components to Overwhelm

To help you better understand how to overcome overwhelm, I will cover the 6 components to overwhelm.

1. Unrealistic expectations.

When you have high and strict expectations or you set very challenging goals, this puts unnecessary extra pressure on yourself. This creates additional stress and if you don’t achieve your goals, you feel like a failure.

2. Taking on too much.

This means saying “yes” to everything. Saying “no” feels bad for many people. You could be rejected if you say “no” and feel guilty. But saying “yes” to many unimportant things creates frustration and resentment. You realize that you are not following your dreams, achieving your goals or following your own path. This doesn’t feel good inside. It’s often worse than the feeling of guilt when you say “no” to people.

3. Putting too much pressure on yourself.

This often comes from listening to negative self-talk such as:

  • What am I doing wrong?
  • I’m not good enough.
  • Why does it all have to be done right now?

This internal critical self-talk creates extra pressure that you don’t need.

4. Perfectionism.

Trying to make something perfect will always take more time than making it good enough. You then have less time for other things on your to-do-list and you’ll feel even more overwhelmed.

This perfectionism tendency often comes from the critical self-talk I already mentioned. Challenge that inner voice. Listen to it less or ignore it completely. This will reduce or stop the need to do things perfectly.

5. Being unable to relinquish control.

This is wanting to do everything yourself. Perhaps it’s because you don’t trust others, or you believe that no one else can do the job as well as you. As a result, you struggle to delegate things to other people. This leads to a mountain of tasks that only you believe you can do.  More tasks equal greater overwhelm.

6. Identifying yourself as an overachiever.

Being an overachiever, especially in the Western world, makes many people feel special and proud. Your extensive list of past achievements and future goals makes you stand out from the crowd.

But if living up to this makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed, then it’s time to let go of identifying yourself as an overachiever. This will help reduce overwhelm, and you will feel more relaxed and happier.

The 10 Ways to Overcome Overwhelm

Now that you understand what it is, I will cover 10 ways to help you overcome overwhelm.

1. Brain Dump

When you feel overwhelmed, there is a lot going on in your head. Your mind is cluttered, and you can’t think clearly. I call this “cloudy thinking”. 

The solution is to get this all out of your head and on to paper or your computer. Write or type everything down. No need to order or prioritize. Just do a brainstorm or brain dump.

This will have a cathartic effect. It will help you release emotions, get things off your chest, and clear your mind.

2. Prioritize

There are a few ways to do this. One is to use the “3 Ds” method.

The 3 Ds Method

The 3 Ds stand for Delete, Delegate, and Delay.

1. Delete

Ask yourself:

  • Is this task necessary?
  • Do I need to do this task at all?

You won’t always know the answer to these questions. You may need to try something without knowing if it will help or work. For example, a specific health supplement that might help with a chronic health condition. Or a specific business idea or strategy.

However, if you can, decide if a task is really necessary before you do it.

2. Delegate

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have to do it?
  • If it needs to be done, do I need to do it myself?

I’ll cover delegation later in this article.

3. Delay

Ask yourself:

  • Does this task need to be done today?
  • Could it be delayed or postponed to a later date?

This will help you with prioritizing.

The Tim Ferris Method

To prioritize efficiently, Tim Ferris uses 3 questions:

1. What are the 20% of activities, responsibilities, or people that will give me 80% of the results and positive emotional states that I want?

I love the fact that he includes positive emotional states in here. It’s not only about results, it’s about feeling good too.

2. What are the 20% of activities, responsibilities, or people that are creating the pain and negative emotional states in my life?

This is about identifying anything that drains your energy.

3. What would this be like if it was easy?

Let’s say you’re writing a book and you think it will take you 3 months. What if you could write it in one week? To write a book in one week, you might need to involve other people or pay to get some work done. This question challenges your thinking and opens your mind to doing things more effectively or quickly.

Some other questions to help you with prioritizing could be:

  • What is the most important thing for me?
  • What is the most important thing that will make me more fulfilled and happy?
  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What intuitively feels like the right thing to do?

3. Plan Your Day Effectively

To overcome overwhelm, it’s important to set realistic goals and plans for the day. It’s good to aim high and stretch yourself, but don’t overdo it. Having many unfinished tasks on your to-do list at the end of the day increases stress and makes you feel like a failure. Ask yourself, “Does this really need to be done right now?” and be brutally honest with your answer.

Create time blocks. Allocate chunks of time for your daily tasks in a calendar. After each of the major time blocks, you can include 10-15 minutes of reset-time for meditation, a brief nap, or for a quick walk.

Schedule some catch-up time later in the day – 30 to 60 minutes to deal with tasks that overran. Or for phone calls that disrupted your schedule. You can use this time later in the day to recover and get back on track. This safety buffer will help you overcome overwhelm.

4. Pause or Take a Break

When you feel overwhelmed, your mind is full of stressful thoughts and this can create a vicious cycle. Thinking about those thoughts and all the things that must be done, creates more stress and anxiety. You can’t think clearly.

Taking a break allows your mind to reset. You only have a finite amount of mental and emotional energy available. Even if you allocated 15 hours a day to get everything done, you will find that your energy wains and you’ll become less productive as the day progresses.

Taking breaks will help recharge and replenish your mental and emotional energy. When I have an entire day available, I start with great intentions to get a massive amount done. However, after 4 or 5 hours, I lose concentration and focus and feel like I need a break.

When you pause or take a break, you want to slow down your mind. Reading the news, checking in on sports, or randomly surfing the internet, will keep your mind active. Activities such as meditation, taking a nap, or going for a walk allow your mind to slow down and rest. This recharges your mental and emotional energy.

The “Pause Exercise”

Here is a wonderful exercise to do in your breaks. It’s called the “Pause exercise”. I learned this from Patrick Buggy at Mindfulambition.net. It comprises 5 steps:

  1. Meditate. Start with a 5-minute meditation to calm your mind and regain mental clarity.
  2. Observe emotions. Observe your emotions with a sense of curiosity and non-ownership. Realize that these are purely emotions. They are not you.
  3. Write them down. Write all your emotions down. If you know why you’re experiencing them, write that too. This will create a sense of separation between you and the experience, so you can see it more objectively.
  4. Acknowledge that your feelings are temporary. See them as clouds in the sky. Imagine that the blue sky is the real you and the clouds that are passing are your emotions. Acknowledge these emotional clouds, with a genuine sense of curiosity. This will help them pass more quickly.
  5. Plan your next steps. Ask questions such as “What am I going to do about it?” Then write down all the answers and options. Consider all these options rather than the path you feel you must take. Often when you’re overwhelmed, you’re thinking is very rigid and focused on one solution or way out. Planning your next steps, whilst in a relaxed state, will provide you with options you hadn’t thought of.

5. Change Your Mental and Emotional State

When you’re overwhelmed, your primary focus is on getting all the work done as quickly as possible. You’ve got so much to do and you feel the easiest way to overcome the overwhelm is to get the work done. But you want to resist that temptation. Why? Because the overwhelmed mind is closed, frantic, and reactive. It’s not the place to do your best work.

Your mental and emotional state affects your productivity. You get so much more done when you’re in a positive emotional state.

So, how do you change your mental and emotional state? How do you regain that open, creative, and confident mind?

Well, the best thing is to stop working and get your body moving! Physical exercise will change your mental and emotional state. If you have the time, do a full 45 to 60 minute workout. Otherwise some jumping jacks, pushups, or yoga poses can help. Going for a quick walk or a run is also an excellent idea.

If exercise isn’t your thing, call a friend or watch some funny videos on YouTube. Have a good laugh! This will change your mental and emotional state.

6. Change Overwhelm-Inducing Thoughts

An important way to overcome overwhelm is to deal with overwhelm-inducing thoughts. These are typically negative or uncertain thoughts. It’s thinking that you:

  • lack control.
  • can’t work fast enough.
  • aren’t doing the right thing.
  • aren’t good enough.

These thoughts form the backbone to overwhelm. The solution is to question them.

Ask yourself, “Are these thoughts reasonable and realistic?” If not, change them. Remember, you are not your thoughts. You are the person behind your thoughts. You can ignore or challenge them. You wouldn’t blindly accept criticism from another person. So don’t do that with your thoughts either.

To deal with challenging and overwhelming thoughts, ask yourself 3 questions:

  • Is this thought accurate?
  • Is it reasonable?
  • Is it helpful?

Example 1 – “I will never get this done.”

Is this thought accurate? No, it isn’t. It includes the word “never”. The reality is you will get it done.

Is this thought reasonable? Probably not. It would depend on what the task is and your ability to do it.

Is this thought helpful? Definitely not. It will not help you get this task done.

Now you have answered these questions, it’s time to come up with alternative thoughts that are accurate, reasonable and helpful.  Here are some examples:

  • I’ll do as much as I can today and I’ll ask for help or an extension if I need to,
  • If I split this into smaller chunks, it will seem more doable and I’ll be able to measure how I’m progressing.
  • If I take a break, I’ll be able to think more clearly. I’ll be more productive and I’ll do the right thing”.

Example 2 – “I don’t know the best option to choose.”

Is this thought accurate? No. there could be several options that could be equally effective.

Is it reasonable? No. It’s unreasonable to assume there is only one best option, when several great options might exist.

Is it helpful? No. “I don’t know” is an unhelpful thought because it doesn’t give you any choices or solutions.

You could change this thought to “I’ll research and decide the best option for me, knowing that I can change it later if I need to. Besides, I’ll learn from this experience anyway.”

So challenge overwhelm-inducing thoughts and change them. The new thoughts will lead to positive emotions and behavior.  This is a very effective way to overcome overwhelm.

7. Be Conscious of Time Spent

When you don’t have any immediate time pressures or deadlines, it’s very easy to coast through the day and achieve very little. This is especially true when you don’t plan your day in advance.

The solution is to decide how long certain tasks will take and then block out that time in your calendar. Then use a timer to track how much time you spent. I use TogglDesktop to track my time. It’s free.

What happens if you get to the end of the time block and haven’t finished the task? Well, for starters, don’t beat yourself up! Instead, either make a conscious decision to continue the task right now. Or create a new time-block to complete it later. It’s important that you make this a conscious decision.

Many people are unaware of how much time they spend on certain tasks. And then they wonder why they feel so overwhelmed with all the things they didn’t do.

8. Consume Less Information

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available, then consume less of it! This seems like a simple way to overcome overwhelm, but it’s easier said than done. The internet makes it so easy to go into information overload.

When planning to purchase a product, there are many review sites to help you make the right buying decision. Same with researching holiday destinations or accommodation. It’s so easy to spend hours reviewing all the information and then feel overwhelmed.

When researching different therapies, diets, marketing techniques or pretty much anything else, you will find an immense amount of information and paths to follow. And the information, advice and suggestions are often conflicting.

When I was getting ready in the mornings, I used to listen to marketing podcasts. However, I soon became overwhelmed with all the different and conflicting information. So, I decided that I knew enough for now. This significantly reduced the feelings of overwhelm that I had around growing Self Help for Life at the time.

It’s very important to be selective and strategic with the information you’re consuming. It might seem like a good idea to listen to podcasts when you’re doing other things, but if that makes you feel overwhelmed, then perhaps it’s time to turn them off!

Also, don’t blindly assume that other people’s advice (especially from experts), is right for you. There have been many times in the past where I’ve followed certain advice for business, personal development, or health and found that it was not right for me. It’s hard to avoid this sometimes. 

The key message here is to consume enough information to take action.  Once you take action, be aware of how this feels in your body.  Does it seem like the right approach?  Often your intuitive or gut feeling can be very helpful here. 

9. Ask for Help

One of the best ways to overcome overwhelm is to get help from other people. There is a great saying which is, “You can do anything but you can’t do everything”. It’s impossible to do everything yourself, so enlisting the help of others is so important.

Why I didn’t delegate or ask for help

For the first 18 months of Self Help for Life, I did everything myself. This included designing and creating the website and learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so I could rank my content higher on Google. I produced image quotes for social media, researched and wrote articles, recorded and edited videos, and published content on many different platforms.

I was very busy and needed help. But I was reluctant to outsource some of these tasks to other people for several reasons.

Firstly, Self Help for Life wasn’t making any money at that time. I didn’t want to spend money when I wasn’t making any.

Secondly, I felt I could do everything better myself. I had a fear that someone else wouldn’t do as good a job as me.

Thirdly, I believed I would have less control over the process. I didn’t want to give up control. Perhaps you can relate to that?

Lastly, I knew it would take more of my time in the short-term to train another person to do some of my tasks.  This is often a challenge. You might need to work more hours now to train someone else up, so they can take work off you in the future.

These reasons stop many people from delegating tasks or getting help from others.

Getting help from others

I encourage you to ask the following question. “What am I doing that someone else could do instead?” Ask this question for all the different areas of your life.

Maybe it’s chores around the house. Perhaps your partner could help you more. Or you could get your kids involved in return for extra pocket money.

If it’s at work, perhaps you can talk to your manager and renegotiate your workload. Managers are not always aware of how much you have on and will keep giving you work. Sometimes, you have to tell them politely.

Some people are reluctant to ask for help or talk to their managers because of fear. They’re afraid of looking like a failure or seen as unable to cope. However, it’s simply being assertive and honest about what you can do. It’s about knowing your limits and asking for help when you need it.

10. Set Boundaries

To overcome overwhelm, you want to remember that time is your most precious resource. You cannot replace time. You only have 24 hours in a day. So you want to spend it wisely. Learn to say “No” nicely to other people’s requests.

Resist saying “yes” if you know you will regret it or feel resentful later. When saying “No”, offer other alternatives or solutions. Perhaps there is someone else that can help or another way of meeting their request.

Set time limits for different areas of your life. I limit Self-Help for Life activities to 3 to 4 hours a day, so I can also spend time on my hypnotherapy business in Sydney. Ensure that you’re scheduling time for the gym, family, relaxation, and hobbies.

As much as you can, focus on your own wants and needs first. It’s not always easy, but you can do it.

“Wants” are your goals, desires, and aspirations. “Needs” are more around relaxation, self-care, and having a sense of connection with others.

Understand what your needs are. Then find activities that will support those needs. Maybe you need a certain amount of time alone or for certain hobbies or creative tasks. Perhaps you crave social connection, so time with friends is an important need for you.

Finally, email and social media can be huge time-wasters. Set limits on how much time you spend checking emails or on social media, especially if it’s overwhelming for you.

So these were my 10 ways to help you overcome overwhelm. I hope you found them useful and I encourage you to apply these into your life right now.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Taking personal responsibility is one of the key principles of self-development.  If you’ve read a few self-help books, you will have come across this idea already. 

All successful people know the importance of taking personal responsibility.  It may be a mindset trait that they have developed or one they do naturally.

In this article, I will cover what taking responsibility is and why it’s important.  I’ll then cover 10 ways to help you know if you are taking personal responsibility or not. 

You can use these as a road map to assess how well you take responsibility in your life.  I cover many personal examples of how I took personal responsibility to help me get to where I am today.

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

What is Taking Personal Responsibility?

It’s being responsible for how you think about, deal with, and react to the events in your life. It’s not (in my view) being responsible for the actual events themselves.

At the time of writing this article, we were in the middle of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  I believe that I am not personally responsible for this pandemic coming into my life and the health and financial consequences of this.  This is clearly outside of my control.

However, I can take personal responsibility for how I think about it, deal with it, and how I react or respond to it. I can choose the meaning that I give to this event.

Taking personal responsibility is something you continually work on. You always have an opportunity to take more personal responsibility.

Would you like a step-by-step formula for success? Or to learn the rules that successful people follow? If so, click the button below to discover this for yourself.

Why Is Taking Personal Responsibility Important?

It gives you more choices for how you think about a situation or event, and more options on how to respond to it.

It gives you more control over the situation. When an unexpected or negative event happens, you may feel a lack of control over it.

However, when you take personal responsibility, you regain some control. This gives you greater personal power. You feel you can influence or change the situation.

It helps you focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do. It enables you to go from victim to victor.

Taking personal responsibility allows you to go from effect to cause. You realize and understand that these things are happening for you, rather than to you. They are happening for a reason.

I want you to understand that where you are today is largely based on the decisions and actions that you took in the past. It’s essential to take responsibility for where you are now, even if it’s not where you want to be.

Taking personal responsibility is understanding that the positive decisions and actions made today will lead to the future you want.

10 Ways to Know If You Are Taking Personal Responsibility

So what do people that take personal responsibility do?  Well, I’ve identified 10 specific mindset and behavior strategies that let you know when you are taking personal responsibility. These are the ones I use, along with many other successful people.

1. Setting and Achieving Goals

If you don’t set goals, you will be part of someone else’s goal! Here is a personal example.

About 12 years ago, I worked in a law firm in London as a software trainer. Several colleagues left the company at the same time. This created a lot of extra work for me to keep things going until we replaced them.

Week after week, I left the office at 7pm. On my way to the tube station, I would walk past people relaxing and having fun in pubs and restaurants. I felt sad and despondent as I walked past them.

At that time, I didn’t have any meaningful goals. I enjoyed the job and was happy to put in the extra hours. I regret that now though. If I had other goals, I would have worked more efficiently and made those other goals happen.

So when you don’t set goals or have a plan, it’s easy to get sucked in to someone else’s goal or plan.  If you’re an employee, this will often be the company’s goals or plans.

Setting and achieving your goals is an important component to taking personal responsibility. I encourage you to set big goals. Then work your way down to smaller goals and then daily goals or habits.

This will help you set the direction of your life, rather than unconsciously following a direction created by someone else.

Living Intentionally

Besides setting goals, you want to live intentionally. Be intentional about how you spend your time and the activities you do. Here is an example.

You’ve set a goal to drink less alcohol, and tonight you are going to the pub. Being intentional is deciding in advance how many drinks you will have and sticking to that. If you’ve decided on 2 drinks and a friend offers to buy you a 3rd drink, then you can make an instant decision to have another drink or not.  Even if you have the 3rd drink, this is far better than not being intentional, and having 3 or more drinks without even thinking about it.

You can also be intentional about how much time you spend watching TV or Netflix. Or about who you spend time with.

And when you don’t set goals or live intentionally, years go by with little or no change. You remain stuck in the same dead-end job. You are not where you want to be financially. Or you go backwards. This is especially the case with health when you don’t look after it.

Many people that don’t set goals go through a midlife crisis in their 40s or 50s. This is when they regret the things they did or didn’t do when they were younger.

If you are in your 20s or 30s, it’s so important to take personal responsibility. To set goals, live intentionally, so you don’t have regrets later in life.

2. Overcoming Fears

You are taking personal responsibility when you are regularly overcoming fears. Fear is the biggest barrier to success. It’s what causes you to live an average life. A life where you settle for what is, rather than what you really want. Overcoming fears is your gateway to a fantastic life.

What are the specific fears that stop you? Here are the major ones.

The 3 Types of Fear

The first is fear of the work involved. Is it too difficult, painful, challenging or time-consuming?

Second is fear of success. If I am successful, how will people think of me?  What additional responsibilities will I have?

Third is fear of rejection. This is big!  It’s fear of what other people might think or say when you venture out on a fresh path. Especially if that path differs greatly from what most other people do.  It’s rarely other people that stop you, it’s you!

Fear Acronym

Fear stands for False Expectations Appearing Real.

We blow things up in our mind and make it much bigger than it really needs to be. We then believe it’s real and don’t take action. You’ve probably experienced times in the past where you took action to overcome a fear. You then asked yourself “what was all that about?” or “why was this such an enormous deal in my mind?”

Personal Examples

In the 90s when I was dating, I had 2 big fears. These were:

  1. Talking to women and getting their phone number (there was no internet, email, social media or online dating apps back then).
  2. Picking up the phone and asking for a date (for those lucky times when I got a phone number!)

When I confronted these fears by taking action, I felt a sense of elation and aliveness afterwards, like a positive dopamine hit. This feeling would drive me to do more scary or uncomfortable things. When I focussed more on how I would feel afterwards, it was so much easier to do anything that took me out of my comfort zone.

I also realized that these 2 fears were stopping me from relationships and love.  This made me more motivated to take action and confront these fears.

At school, when I was 11 or 12, I could swim. However, I was afraid of jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool.  This went on for months and the fear got bigger and bigger.

When I finally jumped (with a little help from a teacher, but that’s another story), I felt wonderful with an amazing feeling of elation. I also realized that I had made this far bigger in my mind than it needed to be.

So taking action is key to overcoming fears and being responsible for your life.

3. Responding Positively to Life Events

You know you are taking personal responsibility when you positively deal with life events. As I explained earlier, you cannot control everything that happens to you, but you can control your response.

Jack Canfield created a formula for this.  It’s:

E + R = O (Events + Responses = Outcome)

Unsuccessful people blame the event for the lack of results or outcomes.  They don’t understand how their actions or responses (or lack of them) led to this.

Successful people change their responses to the event until they get the outcome or result they want.

So what responses could you change? You could start with communication. How could you communicate differently to get a better result? How could you influence other people more?

Then change how you think about and imagine this event in your mind.  This will then change your feelings and influence the actions you take.  You have complete control over how you think and imagine.

As I’m writing this article, we are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been fascinating to see how people and organizations have responded positively to this. Over the last few weeks, there have been online church services, virtual choirs, entire companies working from home and therapists running their sessions online.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to motivate people to think creatively and implement unique solutions quickly. It forces you to step up and do things you believed you couldn’t do.

4. Making Your Own Decisions

You are taking personal responsibility when you make your own decisions. It’s deciding about what you want, rather than basing your decisions on what someone else wants.

Let’s say your parents want you to become a lawyer or doctor. However, you want to be a musician or internet entrepreneur. It’s very easy to get pushed into what your parents want you to do, especially when making these decisions in your teenage years. You take personal responsibility when you stand up to them. When you follow your heart and your passion.

It’s also about the small decisions that you make every day. Decisions about what foods to eat or whether to exercise. It’s deciding to make regular time for your own personal development and mental health, rather than letting work and other priorities get in the way.

Every daily decision you make will compound over the years and dramatically affect your life in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time. If you make poor food choices every day, your future health will suffer in negative and predictable ways. If you make daily decisions to work on your mental health, you’ll be a much more positive and resourceful person in the future.

Don’t underestimate the power of making the right decisions consistently every day. They will compound and add up over time.

5. Not Blaming Other People

When you blame the government, spouse, parents, friends, boss, or anyone else, you are not taking personal responsibility.

As soon as you blame someone else, you take away your power to change it. You’ve surrendered your power to someone else.

You feel like a victim and believe you have no control. You miss out on learning what you could do differently next time.

If your boss says or does something that makes you feel angry, then you could blame your boss for your anger.  Or you could do some inner work to find out what triggered this anger. Ask questions like:

  • What precisely did my boss say or do that made me feel angry?
  • What was I doing (or not doing) that may have caused my boss to act this way?

So you can see how taking responsibility can lead to thinking and acting in more positive ways.

Also realize that it’s not someone else that makes you feel a certain way. They may trigger it, but the feeling comes from within you.

6. Not Complaining

To complain about anything, you need to believe that something better exists.  Otherwise you have nothing to compare it against. So complaining is comparing what is with how you think it should be.

Complaining is a choice. People complain to feel better temporarily. Others may take pity on you, and that makes you feel better. Complaining can be a way of releasing anger too.

However, complaining is an excuse for not taking action and not taking personal responsibility. Complaining is an alternative to facing the fear or risk you need to take. It distracts you from taking action.

Complaining solves nothing, and it keeps you stuck.

7. Taking Charge of Your Thoughts and Feelings

The average person has 60,000 thoughts each day and we ignore most of them. It’s essential to understand that these thoughts are not you! You are the observer of your thoughts. You can decide the thoughts to pay attention to and the thoughts to ignore or challenge.

If you identify strongly with your thoughts and feel that they are part of who you are, then this article will help you learn how to become the observer of your thoughts instead.

Do you put things off when you don’t feel like doing them?  People that take personal responsibility rarely do that. They take action despite how they feel. So when you don’t feel like doing something, and procrastination sets in, take action anyway!  This is what successful people do.

I often record videos and write articles when I don’t feel like doing them. However, once I start, I feel more motivated and inspired and it’s easy to keep going. So feelings follow action.

It’s important to know when to stop too. Listen to your body. Are you feeling tired or burned out? Know when it’s time to stop and take a break.

8. Not Making Excuses

This is like blame, especially if another person is your excuse.  Perhaps you blame your parents for not giving you certain opportunities when you were younger.

However, most excuses are about you lacking a skill or personality trait. Here are some examples of common excuses.

  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m not intelligent enough.
  • I’m not outgoing enough.

Time can also be an excuse. For example:

  • I’m too busy to start an exercise program right now.
  • It’s not the right time to start an online business.

Or it can be other external factors like the weather!

So why do people make excuses? 

First, it allows them to relinquish power and control. You can say “it’s not my fault”. However, this also removes the ability to change the situation. It becomes outside of your control.

Second, excuses make you temporarily feel better. You don’t have to do something that is difficult or challenging. But feeling better doesn’t last. Soon it changes to feelings of regret. 

Finally, making excuses provides an alternative to facing the fear. It’s much easier to make an excuse than confront something that is scary. This could be a fear of rejection, failure or even a fear of success!

The problem with excuses is that you know they’re not true or helpful when you first make them.  However, as you continue to make the same excuses, they form a belief. The excuses become true for you. You then act as if they are true.

So making excuses takes away your power to change the situation.  You relinquish personal responsibility and the ability to take effective action.

9. Know What Brings Happiness

Understand that happiness is not linked to a future goal. It’s a habit that you can cultivate daily. Happiness comes from helping, caring and serving other people. You’ll feel happy when you’re living to your values, doing what is important to you and feeling that your life has purpose and meaning.

Happiness is about being grateful for what you already have.

As I write this article during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m grateful for many things that I previously took for granted. I’m healthy, I’m making some money, my family and friends are all safe and well.  I get to experience another day of my life. You can always find things to be grateful for, when you look for them.

10. Put Yourself First and Help Others

The last way to know that you are taking personal responsibility is when you put yourself first, but help others as well. It’s when you understand that you can’t help other people effectively when you don’t feel good about yourself. Or when you don’t take time out for yourself.

You can still help others, but it won’t be as easy or enjoyable when you don’t look after yourself too.

To help you understand this, remember why you always put on your own oxygen mask on a plane, before helping others.

So this is about taking time for your own personal development. It’s creating time to learn and look after your own health and fitness. This gives you the knowledge, skills, health, energy and vitality to help others more effectively.

When you help others, do this with a sense of gratitude and not as a chore. You’ll feel much better as a result. The people you help will feel better too.

To Conclude

Use this article as a roadmap for taking personal responsibility. Look at each of the 10 ways and assess the ones that you do well, and the ones that you could improve. Be totally honest. 

As I mentioned earlier, you can always take more personal responsibility. It’s something that I constantly work on. Your brain finds it very easy to blame and make excuses. So find opportunities to take personal responsibility every day. You’ll then feel empowered to change and create the life that you truly want and deserve.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Creative Visualization is a fantastic way to achieve goals and improve your life more quickly.  There are lots of ways to practice creative visualization. In this article, I have identified the best ways and combined them into a powerful creative visualization exercise.

You will discover what creative visualization is, how it works and the benefits of doing a creative visualization exercise regularly.

I will then uncover a powerful 4 step creative visualization exercise that will help you make rapid changes in your life. Use this exercise to improve a skill, change a habit, or improve your ability to manifest with the Law of Attraction. You choose the goal and then with practice, creative visualization will work its magic!

Watch the Video Below:

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What Is Creative Visualization?

Creative Visualization is using your imagination to picture goals and things you want to achieve in life. It’s also known as mental imagery or mental rehearsal. It’s a wonderful way to reprogram your subconscious mind.

Your brain and nervous system cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.  This is the reason Creative Visualization works so effectively. When you vividly imagine the things you want in life, your brain and nervous system will believe that they already exist and will act accordingly.

Why Use Creative Visualization?

There are so many positive benefits to using Creative Visualization. It helps increase motivation and desire. When you visualize and take action, you will achieve your goals more quickly. Remember, taking action is important too.

It activates the creative part of your subconscious mind.  This floods your mind with fresh ideas and other ways to achieve the goal. Ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.  I call this the “ideas machine”.

It influences the Reticular Activating System. This is the part of your brain that notices people, resources, opportunities and circumstances that help you achieve your goal.

You have already seen the reticular activating system in action. For example, when you buy a new car, drive it home and notice many other people with the same car.  To learn more, read this article on the reticular activating system and goals.

Creative visualization helps you feel motivated and take inspired action, with less reliance on willpower. As a result, you achieve far more. Also, it’s much more enjoyable when you take inspired action.

It positively influences your thoughts about what you’re good at, bad at, and what’s possible and not possible for you. Creative Visualization influences the actions you take both consciously and unconsciously.

When you use creative visualization to change your self-image and sense of who you are, this influences your beliefs, values, actions, and behaviors.

Now, I reckon you’re already using creative visualization without knowing it!  A superb example is planning your next holiday. You take action by booking your flights and accommodation. Perhaps you book some tours or activities too.

You then look forward to your holiday. You do this by imagining or visualizing it. Perhaps you imagine the destination, what the accommodation might be like and the places you might visit. I’ve done this many times and often when I arrive, the destination and hotel is very different to what I imagined!

So you’re already using creative visualization. This article will help you develop a skill that you already have. This is the power of your imagination.  

Related Article: 10 Steps to Transform Your Creative Visualization Skills

The Basics

So you now know what creative visualization is. You also know the amazing benefits of doing it. So, let’s cover how to do it.
Find a quiet, relaxing space where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. Then think about an area of life that you want to change. Identify a goal or outcome for this visualization session. What would you like to be different or better?

I recommend choosing one specific goal for each visualization session. If you have multiple goals in different areas of life, then use a separate visualization session for each.

Goals where creative visualization can work its magic include:

  • Developing a new skill. For example, being confident in social situations or presenting.
  • Improving a sport.
  • Having more money or success in business.
  • Overcoming a health challenge, perhaps by visualizing your body healing.
  • Intimate relationships. Meeting someone new or improving your existing relationship.

So as you can see, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can use this for.

Once you have decided on the goal or outcome for your creative visualization session, set a timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.

The 4 Step Creative Visualization Process

This visualization process incorporates two fundamental visualization techniques. These are association and disassociation.  More on these shortly.

Step 1: Relax Body and Mind

When you relax your body and mind, this slows down your brainwaves from the Beta state to the slower Alpha state.  The Beta state is normal waking awareness. People with high levels of anxiety will have a faster brainwave speed towards the top of the Beta range.

The Alpha state is a relaxed, meditative state where your brain can focus more on one idea or concept. In this brainwave state, you can influence your subconscious mind much more powerfully and effectively than in a normal waking state. 

Here are two ways to relax your body and mind

  1. Use my rapid relaxation exercise to relax completely in 6 minutes. You can download this here.
  2. Take a long slow deep breath in, followed by a long slow deep breath out.  Repeat this for 2 to 3 minutes until you feel relaxed, calm and centered.

Step 2: Visualize on a Movie Screen (Disassociated)

This is seeing yourself in the visualization, rather than seeing it through your own eyes.  The technical term for this is disassociated. It’s visualizing yourself in a movie where you are the major character. 

You can imagine being in a cinema and watching yourself on this enormous cinema screen. Or watching yourself on TV from the comfort of your own couch.
Or you could watch a movie of yourself on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Use whatever feels right for you. For this creative visualization exercise, I will use a movie cinema.

Imagine yourself going into a movie cinema. You sit in the seat with the best view of the screen. You see the lights dim, and the movie begins. Visualize a gigantic movie screen. The bigger the better.

On this movie screen, see yourself doing the skill perfectly. See yourself having achieved the goal or outcome. Make it vivid and incredibly detailed. The more detailed the better.

When you first start visualizing, it will be a little hazy, but like any skill, it will get better with practice. Your imagination is like any muscle. It gets better and stronger with practice.

As you see yourself in the movie, notice your facial expression. Notice yourself smiling. Observe how you hold yourself, that confident posture. Then notice other people in your movie.  See them smiling at you. Notice their positive response to what you say and do.  

Now bring in other senses. Listen to what other people are saying to you. However, remember that you are still visualizing disassociated, so see yourself and the other person communicating perfectly on the movie screen.
Perhaps the other person is giving you positive feedback, some brilliant advice or words of appreciation or gratitude.  Notice other sounds. Perhaps there is music.

If you’re visualizing being an amazing presenter, hear the audience cheering, clapping and see them smiling. Then notice how this feels in your body as you watch the movie. I’ll explain this a little more. When you watch a blockbuster movie, you experience a wide variety of emotions.  These could include excitement, suspense, inspiration or sadness. You experience these emotions in your own body in response to the movie.

So notice the feelings and emotions in your body as you watch yourself in your own movie.  Perhaps its excitement, inspiration or motivation. It’s how you feel as you watch yourself.  If you’re still confused, then I promise this will make more sense when you read step 3 below!

Also, visualize the movie as if it’s happening right now. Notice a calendar on the wall with today’s date. Visualize yourself having the skill and already achieving the goal.

Step 3: Visualize Through Your Own Eyes (Associated)

In this step of the creative visualization exercise, you repeat the visualization. However, this time, it’s through your own eyes. The technical term for this is associated.

So instead of watching yourself on a movie, TV, computer, tablet or smartphone screen, you see it through your own eyes.

You can switch from visualizing on a screen to visualizing through your own eyes in two different ways.

The first way is to imagine floating out of your seat and towards the screen. See it getting larger and larger until you float through the screen and become the principal character in your movie and see everything through your own eyes. 

The second way I learned from Jack Canfield. It works best when you visualize being in a movie cinema. You imagine yourself getting out of your seat and walking towards the cinema screen.  Just below the screen is a door.  You open the door and go through it. On the other side of the door, you become the movie and see everything through your own eyes.

So you are now the principal character in your own movie. You are the actor.

Now repeat the visualization and make it vivid and detailed. Visualize yourself performing the skill or activity perfectly through your own eyes. See yourself having achieved your goal or outcome.

Notice other people.  See them smiling at you, admiring you or giving you the thumbs up. Hear them cheering, clapping, congratulating you and giving you positive feedback. This time you’re hearing this through your own ears.

Now add positive self talk. Notice what you think or say to yourself as you achieve this goal or perfect this new skill.  This will add a whole extra dimension to your visualization.

Become aware of the sensation of your best clothes on your body. Notice your relaxed and confident posture. Observe the positive feelings and emotions that you experience. This could be feelings of success, accomplishment, happiness, joy or fulfillment.

Step 4: Multiply and Integrate

The last step of this powerful creative visualization exercise is to multiply and integrate. Now there are a few ways to do this. I’ll cover two of them right now for you.

Both these methods may seem wacky or strange.  That’s okay. Try them out with an open mind and see what happens. Also, what might seem weird or strange to you often makes perfect sense to your subconscious mind

Small Holographic Image

This also comes from Jack Canfield. You start by returning to the movie cinema in your mind and sit back in that same seat that you were in earlier. You then imagine grabbing the movie screen and shrinking it down to the size of a cracker. You put this cracker in your mouth, chew and then swallow it.

Then imagine the little pieces of this cracker in your body. However, each piece is a hologram.  Each piece is your entire visualization movie as a small holographic screen. Imagine these little holographic screens in your stomach, your bloodstream, and feeding every cell in your body. Notice your entire body light up with these little movies, just like a TV shop with 50 TVs all displaying the same channel.

Floating Future

This method comes from Ben Harvey at Authentic Education. You imagine putting this visualization in your shirt or trouser pocket. Then imagine floating out of your body and towards the sky. You look down and see your life as a timeline. 

Notice where the past is and where your future might be.  Then float above this timeline towards your future to the exact time when you want this visualization to happen.

When you get to this future time (or have a sense of it), take the visualization out of your pocket and drop it at that point. Then notice everything between now and this future point automatically change.  Observe all the decisions and actions happening automatically.

Also, as you take this visualization out of your pocket and drop it, imagine it multiplying and filling the entire sky between the present point and this future time.

Then float back down into your body, knowing that you will automatically make the decisions and take the actions to achieve the goal that you’ve been visualizing.

Practical Creative Visualization Exercise Tips

To finish, here are some practical tips to help you master this creative visualization exercise.

First, remember that it takes repetition to impress deeply on your subconscious mind. So you want to visualize regularly, every day for one or two months to get the best results.

Second, it takes practice to master this creative visualization exercise. It’s just like learning a sport, musical instrument or any new skill. The first time you do it, you won’t be very good at it. You’ll find it hard to concentrate, and your visualizations will be hazy and lack detail. As you continue to practice, you’ll get better at it. That’s when the results will become more noticeable for you.

Third, incorporate this creative visualization exercise into a daily morning routine.  This is one or more things that you do as soon as you get out of bed and before doing anything else.  This will ensure that you practice it consistently.

Finally, watch out for cognitive dissonance. This is when part of your brain (often that nagging internal voice) questions whether this will work or whether you deserve the goal you’re visualizing. This is completely normal and quite common.

However, as you visualize consistently each day, you’ll notice cognitive dissonance reduce.

Related Article: 10 Steps to Transform Your Creative Visualization Skills

To Conclude

Now you understand what Creative Visualization is and the benefits of doing it. And you have a powerful 4-step creative visualization exercise at your fingertips.  Enjoy using this exercise and experiencing the powerful benefits of visualizing regularly.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below. I would love to hear what you think! Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

To help you improve your creative visualization skills, I encourage you to download my guided creative visualization MP3 by clicking the button below.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Have you ever wondered which limiting beliefs hold you back?

The ones that prevent you from having the wealth, health, love, and happiness you desire. What is the top list of limiting beliefs that hold most people back?

In this article, I share my top list of limiting beliefs. I’ll cover the 12 most important ones and explain each of them in turn.  I’ll also give you some tips, techniques and strategies to help you change them.

Some of my list of limiting beliefs are core beliefs that apply to almost all areas of life. Others are more specific to health, relationships, or money. But first, I will introduce you to 3 categories of limiting or unhelpful beliefs:

Watch the Video Below:

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The 3 Types of Limiting and Unhelpful Beliefs

Before getting into my limiting beliefs list, I want to cover the differences between limiting beliefs and unhelpful beliefs. Limiting beliefs are usually negative. Unhelpful beliefs are often positive or neutral, but can result in negative consequences or get you into trouble.

Both limiting and unhelpful beliefs can be about you, others or the world in general. Here are some examples.

1. Limiting beliefs about you.

These could include:

  • I’m a loser.
  • I’m a failure.
  • I’m not liked or popular.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m not worthy enough.

2. Limiting beliefs about others.

These could include:

  • Other people are untrustworthy.
  • Other people are manipulative.
  • Other people are always against me.

3. Limiting beliefs about the world in general.

These might include:

  • The world is too competitive.
  • Too many terrible things are happening in the world.

As mentioned earlier, believing something positive can sometimes get you into trouble. It depends on whether that positive or neutral belief is helpful or unhelpful.

Here are some examples of positive beliefs that could have unhelpful or negative consequences.

1. Unhelpful beliefs about you.

Positive, but unhelpful beliefs often arise when your level of confidence is higher than your level of competence. 

Imagine you are a new therapist. You’ve just completed your training. You’re excited and super confident that you can help anyone that comes through your door. However, you have very limited experience and your initial training is unlikely to be sufficient to help everyone.

Your high confidence encourages you to use techniques and processes that may not be appropriate for some clients. It might even make things worse!

2. Unhelpful beliefs about other people.

If you believe that everyone is trustworthy and kind, you might get walked over or ripped off. Sadly, there are people that are not trustworthy and kind. So it’s important to accept this and develop beliefs that reflect the reality of life.

3. Unhelpful beliefs about the world. 

This is believing that the world is perfect, that everything is fine and will work out okay. If everyone held this belief, we would ignore the world’s problems and take no action to solve them. I personally believe that this would have devastating consequences!

So, you can see that even positive beliefs can be unhelpful and cause harm. So besides watching out for limiting beliefs, keep a look-out for unhelpful beliefs too.

The Top 12 Limiting Beliefs

I will now share my list of 12 limiting beliefs that hold most people back.

1. It’s hard to change.

I see this all the time in the personal development world. Maybe you know someone that reads loads of self-help books, attends lots of seminars. Someone that is a “seminar junky”, that has invested a small fortune in personal development, but has little or nothing to show for it.  Nothing has changed in their life or about them as a person.

So why is this? It’s because they have a core belief along the lines of “It’s hard to change” or “I can’t change”. Therefore, they take little or no action. They don’t consistently apply what they’ve learned. They get fired up with brilliant ideas, but after that, nothing changes.

Many years ago, I was a member of a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) group in London. I saw many people there that embodied all the principles, changed as a person, and changed their lives. But I also saw other people that didn’t change. I asked myself, “Why is that?” Well, I now know that it’s because of having a core belief that it’s hard to change.

This limiting belief also manifests itself in business. I reckon it’s the reason people stay in the same career for many years. Or why a business stays static and doesn’t grow. It’s that unconscious core belief that it’s too hard to change.

It also applies to health. Perhaps you know someone that is overweight or has a chronic health condition that’s been going on for years. It’s because they believe they can’t change it or that it’s too hard or painful to change. As a result, the person takes little or no action.

Take Action

What’s the solution? It’s simple! Take lots of action, even if you don’t believe it will help. Things change when you take action! They have to. Sometimes it can take a while, but they will change.

Seeing positive changes from taking action will increase the belief that you can change. You’ll realize it’s easier than you thought. This creates a virtuous circle where you see change happening, which increases your belief and this fuels greater action.

Related Article: How to Change the Four Core Beliefs that Keep you Stuck

2. I don’t have enough …..

This is a very common limiting belief. Here are some examples:

  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I don’t have enough education.
  • I don’t have enough skills.
  • I don’t have enough experience.
  • I don’t have enough friends.
  • I don’t have enough contacts.
  • I don’t have enough connections.

I wonder which of these apply to you?

Let’s delve into the more common ones in greater detail.

I don’t have enough time.

We all have 24 hours in a day. We all have the same amount of time. What do you currently spend your time on? What could you do less of or stop altogether to give you more time for those important life-changing activities?

I don’t have enough money.

Identify how you currently spend money. Where does it go? Are there ways to save money, so you can put it towards something that’s important to you? Sometimes, it can take time to save money, but with strong intention and focus, you can do it.

I don’t have enough education, skills, or experience.

The best way to banish these limiting beliefs is to disprove them! That’s what I did. Back in the year 2000, I changed my career and became an IT Trainer. I decided to apply for IT training jobs for 3 months even though I had no relevant skills or experience. I had some public speaking skills, but nothing in the technology area.

I applied for many jobs. After 6 weeks, I got a marvellous job as an IT trainer in a law firm.  If I hadn’t landed an IT training job within 3 months, then I would have obtained a qualification. However, I didn’t want to invest the time or money in a qualification if I could avoid it!

If you believe that you don’t have enough skills or experience, give yourself 3 months to prove yourself wrong. Only after that time, invest in gaining qualifications or additional skills and experience. You could save yourself unnecessary time and expense.

Also look for success stories. People that achieved what you desire and didn’t have the skills you believe are necessary. Look for contrary evidence. This is evidence that goes against your limiting belief and disproves it. This is an excellent way to deal with any limiting belief.

3. I am not ….. enough.

The next one on my list of limiting beliefs is similar to the previous one. However, it’s not about the lack of external things like time, money or qualifications. Instead, it’s more about a lack of internal qualities or personality traits.

Here are some examples.

  • I am not good enough.
  • I am not smart enough.
  • I am not intelligent enough.

A great question to ask is “How do I know?” This is a tough question to answer because, in reality, you don’t know. You don’t know that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or intelligent enough.

Think about the qualities you have. Maybe you are highly motivated, great with people or a deep thinker. Ask yourself, “What skills or qualities do I have that are important for achieving success?” This is a superb way to knock out this limiting belief.

4. I am not worth it.

This limiting belief causes issues in many areas of life. It makes it harder to ask for a pay rise or charge what you feel your services are worth.  It’s behind feeling unworthy of love or to a particular person. This can negatively influence your love life.

It can lead to not being assertive. Not asking for what you want or need in life. It can cause you to procrastinate and not take action. You might avoid dating or asking for a pay rise. So, taking action is a super way to smash this limiting belief! 

Another brilliant way is to write down all your strengths and the things you’re good at. Focus on what you can give to others. Remember that everyone has unique skills, qualities, and personality traits that are valuable to other people.

With this limiting belief, go back to childhood, and identify where it came from. Sometimes it comes from a childhood experience. Once you know what that is, you can reframe it and that can help you overcome this limiting belief.

5. There is never enough money.

I included this on my list of limiting beliefs as it applied to me for many years. When I was a child, my parents were both teachers. They didn’t have a lot of money and their bank account was always a little overdrawn by the end of the month. They would do extra teaching in the evenings to bring in more money.

As a child, I formed a belief that there was never enough money to go around. That continued into my student days. The first couple of years in employment were a little better. However, I was still inexperienced and on a low salary.

Many aspects of life (especially when you’re younger) can easily support a limiting belief that there’s never enough money. However, when you hold this belief, you’re unlikely to do anything to change it.

Instead, you’ll keep doing what you’re doing. You might earn more money by getting a promotion, but that’s not guaranteed. And often comes with longer hours.

Instead, be creative and look for alternative and proactive ways to become more valuable and earn more money. It comes down to mindset.

In reality, there is an abundance of money. It’s just wrongly distributed. I have some very wealthy hypnotherapy clients. I could charge them double and they would happily pay. So it’s about getting a slice of the money that they already have.

Think about how you can offer more value. Embrace the belief that there is enough money to go round. When you do that, you’ll notice different opportunities and ways to make money.

6. I will never find love.

On my list of limiting beliefs, this one was very strong in my 20s. For women, I came across as Mr. Nice Guy and was put in the “friend zone.” I found it very difficult to find a romantic partner. This is one reason I got into personal development. I wanted to improve my social confidence and be more comfortable on dates. I believed there were strategies that other people used to get the results I desired. I wanted to learn and apply these, so I could meet the right person.

The reality is that there is someone, in fact, many people, that will love you. It’s a case of becoming a better version of yourself, taking action, going on dates, and enjoying the journey. Also, letting go of feelings of frustration or desperation is also helpful. These were the things I did that helped me find my perfect partner.

7. All the good ones are taken or gay.

I have heard this one so many times, especially from women. Challenge this limiting belief by asking “How do I know that?” You’ll find this question very difficult to answer. In reality, especially if you live in a larger town or city, there are new people becoming available all the time. They either move into the area, or separate from existing relationships.

This limiting belief is an excuse to not take action. If you believe that all the good ones are taken or that no one is available, then you’re unlikely to even look for dates! It seems pointless.

The solution is to take action! Prove that this limiting belief is wrong for you. Do you see a common theme appearing here?  Taking action is key to smashing many of these top limiting beliefs.

8. It’s difficult to make money doing something you love.

This can be true to a point. It often requires a lot of hard work over an extended period to make a good income doing what you love. But it’s definitely achievable. I’ll give you a few examples to expand your awareness of what is possible.

Examples of people doing what they love

A few years ago, my wife and I traveled to Darwin, the top end of Australia. We both love wildlife and wanted to go on a birding safari with a local birding expert. Someone that could find the unusual birds that would be virtually impossible for us to find ourselves in the brief time we had there. He charged $200 per person, so $400 for both of us. That’s good money for a day doing what you love. He had the expertise, provided incredible value, and we were willing to pay for that. It was worth every cent!

A train enthusiast in the UK created a website that helps people plan rail journeys around the world. He goes into incredible detail, including the exact seat number to get the best view of the scenery.  On many trains, the seats don’t always line up with the windows, so this is very useful to know. He makes good money through sponsorships, advertising and perhaps some affiliate commissions when people book via his recommended websites.  To check him out, go to seat61.com.

In Australia, a person who loves bushwalking, hiking and nature created a website that provides details of hundreds of different bush walks and hikes. His directions are very thorough with maps that you can print out and take with you. He also has a mobile app that you can download to find walks on the go. He makes money through sponsorship from local outdoor and hiking shops, from people purchasing the mobile app and from advertising. To see what he does, go to wildwalks.com

It’s not all good though

Even when you make good money doing something you love, there will be parts of your job or business that you don’t enjoy. If you’re a therapist, you may not enjoy marketing your services or writing up session notes. If you’re an actor, you may need to do commercials (which pay a lot better) to pay the bills and allow you to do other acting work that you love. Or accounting and bookkeeping which no one enjoys doing, except perhaps accountants! Sometimes it’s necessary to do a few things that you don’t enjoy, even when you do what you love for a living.

You want to be flexible and creative, but it’s certainly possible to make a good income doing something you love.

9. Making money is hard.

This is important on my list of limiting beliefs. It’s similar to “There is never enough money”, that I mentioned earlier and often comes from our childhood too. If your parents worked hard and long hours to make ends meet, it can reinforce the belief that making money is hard. Then in your 20s when you start working, you naturally take on the belief that making money is hard.

As a student, you won’t have much money. When you find a job, your wage will be low because you lack experience. You probably have student debt too. You may be in your early 30s before things change.

Perhaps some of your friends have become lawyers or doctors and are working incredibly long hours. It seems like everything in our culture and environment supports the belief that making money is hard.

Whilst working hard plays a part, working smart and doing the right things is more important. So how do you do that?

Understand the difference between passive and active income.

Active income is spending time to earn money. That’s an income from a typical job or a business. You put a certain amount of time in, and you get a certain amount of money back.

How do you make more money? You increase your value by getting promoted or by providing a higher quality service that allows you to charge more. The more value you provide, the more you can charge. There may still be an upper limit to what you can charge because of what people will pay.

Passive income is not directly dependent on your time. Examples include rental income from properties or income from investments. Many online businesses generate passive income because the internet is doing a lot of the work for you. 

With all these passive income examples, there is still time invested in setting these up.  However, the key difference is that you can take a break and the money will continue to come in.

I encourage you to find wealthy people that don’t work very hard. They definitely exist. I know some of them! Look out for contrary evidence. It’s out there! You just need to look for it.

Related Article: Wealth Mindset | The 8 Factors That Predict How Wealthy You Will Be

10. I have little or no control over my health.

There is overwhelming evidence that what you eat, how much you exercise, the quantity and quality of your sleep, and how well you deal with stress can have a dramatic effect on your health. Most chronic diseases can be avoided by focusing on these 4 aspects of your health.

One reason people believe they have no control is because health changes take time. It takes several months of eating healthily and exercising regularly to notice the benefits. However, many people are inconsistent or they give up too soon, before they see any noticeable or meaningful results.

Related Article: 12 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and Reduce the Risks of Getting Chronic Diseases

11. I am addicted to …..

Examples of this limiting belief include being addicted to a certain food, drink, drug or even a person.

Behind this limiting belief is the idea that you need a certain external thing to cope with stress, life’s problems, or pain. In reality, you are rarely addicted to something. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you’re on a 12 hour flight. You’re a smoker and believe you are addicted to cigarettes. However, you know that you can’t smoke on a plane, so you don’t think about it. You forget about it. Once 12 hours has gone past, and the plane is about to land, you may think about having a smoke.

Let’s say that next to you is a heroin addict. Would that heroin addict be able to think about not having their heroin fix for 12 hours? Highly unlikely. Or what about someone with Type 1 Diabetes? Would they be able to think about not having their insulin injection for 12 hours? Probably not. These are real addictions. In most other cases, it’s just a habit that you believe is an addiction.

I also encourage you to remove your sense of identity from the habit. When you say things like, “I am an emotional eater”, or “I am an alcoholic”, you make the habit part of your identity.

Think about all the other significant things that you are. Maybe you’re a great parent, salesperson, accountant, friend, or spouse. When you notice your other identities, this habit will be a far smaller part of who you really are.

Related Article: How to Overcome Any Addiction

12. Only after I have ….. I’ll be happy. 

This is the last one of my list of limiting beliefs. It can include things like:

  • Only after I have found my soul mate, I will be happy.
  • Only after I get promoted, I will be happy.
  • Only after I earn a 6-figure salary, I will be happy.

The problem with this limiting belief is it prevents you from being happy right now. Remember that happiness is ultimately a feeling. Of course, finding your soul mate or earning a 6-figure salary will make you happy. However, if it becomes familiar and you take it for granted, your level of happiness will reduce over time.

This is called the Law of Familiarity. When you experience anything for enough time, it becomes familiar. You take it for granted and you appreciate it less.

So to be happy, focus on the good in your life, and don’t compare yourself with other people. Be grateful for what you already have and enjoy the small things in your relationship and in life too. Also, develop healthy habits. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Your body will appreciate you for that. You’ll feel better, have more energy and be naturally happier.

To Conclude

This was my list of 12 limiting beliefs that prevent you from living a happy and successful life. I hope you related to my examples and feel empowered to take action to smash the limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

Choose a limiting belief that is keeping you stuck, challenge it, change the meaning of it and take action to disprove it.  You’ll be glad you did!

Finally, I encourage you to read my related article on how to permanently change your limiting beliefs.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Questions are powerful.  When you give your mind a question, it will always try to answer it.  We do this all the time with questions like “why is it always my fault?” or “why do I never have enough money?”.  The problem is that these questions are often negative, so the answers are negative too.  The solution is to use Lofty Questions.

I first came across the concept of lofty questions after watching a Mindvalley seminar featuring Christie Marie Sheldon and Vishen Lakhiani.

In this article, I’ll cover the benefits of Lofty questions, how they work and the 4 keys to creating powerful lofty questions. I’ll then share with you 18 fantastic lofty questions to help you change your life for the better.

Watch the Video Below:

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What are Lofty Questions?

Lofty questions are positively phrased questions that encourage helpful answers, insights or solutions. Lofty questions are posed by you and are answered by you.

And an example of a lofty question is, “why am I always happy and positive?”

Your brain loves to answer questions. Give it a good question and you’ll get a wonderful answer. Give your brain a poor question and you’ll get an answer that keeps you stuck.

Benefits of Lofty Questions

Lofty questions encourage your subconscious mind to make a positive identity shift. They help you get out of stuck emotional states and manifest more effectively with the Law of Attraction.

They allow your subconscious mind and the universe to find creative answers to the question posed. They encourage intuition, insight, and a shift in focus. This leads to more positive life experiences.

They help you take action, solve problems and create a higher vibratory frequency. Lofty questions encourage you to discover new and exciting possibilities. They help change your meaning and perspective on certain life situations and replace unhelpful negative questions such as:

  • Why am I always broke?
  • Why am I so unlucky?
  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • Why is life so hard
  • Why do I seem to be unable to live the life of my dreams?

The answers to your lofty questions will give you a roadmap and a way out.  The answers will show, help and guide you towards living the life of your dreams.

How the Subconscious Mind Works

To understand how the subconscious mind works, and why questions are so effective, I encourage you to do this exercise right now.

Imagine a pink elephant in your room. Notice where it is, how big it is, how cute it looks. Is the pink elephant smiling at you?  

Now don’t think about the pink elephant in the room. I really want you to not imagine that pink elephant in your room. Don’t notice how big it is, where it’s located or whether it’s smiling at you.

Could you do that? – It’s pretty tough right?

When I asked you to not think about the pink elephant, your brain had to think about and imagine the pink elephant first.  It has to think about it in order to not think about it.  Or to put it another way, your subconscious mind cannot understand negative words such as “don’t” or “not”.

When you think or say “I’m not anxious”, your subconscious mind has to think, feel and imagine being anxious first. 

What about “I’m not scared”?  Again, your subconscious mind will think about being scared or imagine a scary situation first.  This all happens incredibly fast. In less than 1 second.

This works with positive phrases too.  When you think or say “I am relaxed”, your brain thinks about the word relaxed and the feelings associated with this word.  It may imagine a relaxing situation. 

The same principle applies to any positive statement or affirmation such as “I have courage” or “I am peaceful”

When you feed your mind with positive phrases and positive lofty questions, your subconscious mind will give you empowering answers because that’s what your mind is focussing on. To get this at a deeper level, read my article on why you get what you focus on.

The 4 Keys to Powerful Lofty Questions

I will now cover the 4 keys to creating and using powerful lofty questions.

1. Phrase Question in the Positive

The first key is to phrase the question in the positive. As you now know from the pink elephant example, the subconscious mind cannot deal with a negative question or idea.

So, “Why am I always peaceful and relaxed?”, rather than “Why am I always anxious?”

2. Start with the word “Why?”

Starting with the word “Why” turns your statement or affirmation into a question. This tricks your subconscious mind and reduces cognitive dissonance. This is the internal voice in your head that questions or challenges new positive ideas. 

The affirmation “I am always peaceful and relaxed” may be challenged with an internal voice that says things like “Oh no you’re not” or “you can never be peaceful and relaxed”, or “the last time you were peaceful and relaxed this happened”

Turning it into a question that starts with the word “Why” tricks this internal voice into submission.  It shuts this voice up or reduces its intensity.

3. Include the word “always” or “at all times”

Using the words “always” or “at all times” tells your subconscious mind that you want this consistently and forever more.  It’s something that becomes part of you.  This kicks your Reticular Activating System into action.

This is the part of your brain that notices people, places, and situations that can help you. It identifies opportunities and resources that match the lofty question.

4. Relaxed Meditative State

Before asking lofty questions, get into a nice, relaxed and meditative state. If you’re new to this, use my rapid relaxation exercise to guide you.  Otherwise, any relaxation or meditation technique that you are familiar with can be used.

18 Powerful Lofty Questions

I will now share 18 great lofty questions with you. I’ve categorized these into a few different areas.

Lofty Questions about You

These lofty questions are about you.

  • Why am I surrounded by joy and happiness at all times?
  • Why am I always able to learn positively from any experience?

The phrase “any experience” includes any difficult or challenging situations that you might be going through right now.

  • Why is my life always so amazing that it exceeds all my expectations?
  • Why am I always the person that amazes the world?

You could make this more specific by changing it to “amazes my partner”, “amazes my boss” or “amazes my clients”.

  • Why do I always use what is happening in my life to become a better person?

What I love about this question is how it helps you identify the positive benefits from negative situations that may have occurred in your life.

  • Why do I always do the right thing for my mind, body, spirit, and relationships?

Lofty Questions about Relationships

Here are 3 lofty questions to help you with relationships.

  • Why am I always surrounded by love and incredible people that I feel a deep bond with?
  • Why am I always surrounded by people that love, support and respect me at all times?

If you’re single:

  • Why am I always so good at attracting the perfect person for me?

Lofty Questions for Money and Abundance

Here are 2 lofty questions for money and abundance.

  • Why do I always have more than enough money to pay my bills, save for the future, and have some leftover for fun activities?

A shorter lofty question could be

  • Why am I always so good at making, keeping and multiplying money?

Lofty Question for Productivity

A great lofty question for productivity is:

  • Why am I always able to do so much during the day?

Lofty Question for Health

Here is a powerful, lofty question for health.

  • Why am I always so good at looking after my health and knowing exactly what my body needs from me?

Lofty Questions for Achieving Goals

Here are 2 lofty questions to help with goal achievement.

  • Why do my goals and dreams always come to me so quickly, easily and effortlessly?
  • Why do I always take effective action to achieve the life of my dreams?

This question can help guide you to live the life of your dreams. It also counteracts the common negative question that is “why can’t I live the life of my dreams?”

Lofty Questions for Guidance

Finally, here are 3 fantastic lofty questions to help you with guidance.

  • Why am I always so brilliant, so clever, and so able to develop creative ideas through my intuition or through something greater than myself?
  • Why does the universe always guide and look after me?
  • Why does the universe always give me more than enough health, vitality, and energy to reach my goals?

To Conclude

These are my 18 powerful lofty questions. Did your emotional state change just by reading these questions? It certainly did for me.

So I encourage you to ask these lofty questions regularly. Use the most relevant to you right now.  Feel free to change them. The best questions are the ones unique to you. Just remember the 4 keys to creating lofty questions. To recap, these are:

  • Keep them positive
  • Start with the word “Why”
  • Include “always” or “at all times”
  • Be in a relaxed, meditative state when you ask these lofty questions

I hope you enjoyed learning about lofty questions. Take the time now to create your own empowering questions. Then use your lofty questions regularly and consistently.  The results will surprise you!

To dive deeper into Lofty Questions and learn directly from Christie Marie Sheldon, I encourage you to check out the two links below.

Heal your Past and Clear Your Blocks Mindvalley Masterclass

Christie’s Lofty Questions video on YouTube

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

For most people, a perfect life is a balanced life.  It’s when you satisfy your wants and needs in all areas of life.  In this article, I will cover the 8 key areas of life. This will provide a foundation to help you design your perfect life.

You will learn why it’s important to set goals in each area of life and what could happen if you don’t!  I’ll then cover each of these 8 life areas in detail. I’ll also give you some ideas and suggestions to help you improve each of these areas of life.

I also score myself for each of these 8 life areas. You might find my scores interesting and revealing! I encourage you to score yourself too.  This is an important first step to creating a balanced life.  A life where you feel happy and fulfilled.

I’m a big believer that you’re either improving or going backwards in all the major areas of life. You never really stand still.

Also, you will be happier when you’re intentionally focussing and working on all the key areas of your life. It helps you put yourself first rather than other people. It ensures that one area of your life such as your career does not take over.

These 8 areas of life work best for me. However, you can change these slightly, to fit in with your culture or values.

Watch the Video Below:

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Career or Business

So the first area of life is career or business. You will probably work in a career or business for 40 or more hours a week. So you want to make sure it’s something that is fulfilling, enjoyable, and that challenges or stretches you.  You want a career or business that meets your values, interests you and helps you become a better person.

Ideally you want to have a great company culture, wonderful people to work with that may become your friends too. This includes a supportive and understanding manager that stretches and challenges you.

I’ve had jobs in the past that have not been enjoyable. Jobs where I struggled to relate to my work colleagues. For me, this negatively influenced my friendships, intimate relationship and my mindset when I wasn’t at work. So when your job or career does not meet your needs, it can affect other areas of your life too.

If you’re running a business, you want to ensure that the business is growing and improving and that you’re getting better at being the business owner and entrepreneur.

Regularly check key metrics to ensure that you are on the right track and that your business is growing in the way you want it to. You want to have a great reputation and feel proud of what you do.

My Score: 8

I put a lot of time, energy and focus into my career and business. However, I value other aspects of my life and make time for them as you’re about to find out.

Health & Fitness

I believe that health and fitness are significantly different, so I’ve split this area of life into 2 sub-areas.  You can look very fit on the outside but have poor health. Or you can be healthy on the inside, without being strong, flexible and in great shape.

Health

Health is about what you eat, drink, the quality of your sleep and how you deal with stress.

Do you have any destructive habits in this area? Perhaps it’s comfort eating, or drinking too much alcohol.

When destructive health habits go unchecked, they gradually affect your health in subtle but very predictable ways. The effect of a poor diet on your health over a 10 or 20-year period is very certain and predictable.  Chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are very likely to happen when you have poor health habits that continue for years. Anything you do (or don’t do) consistently will have predictable results on your health. 

Long-term continuous and prolonged stress can dramatically affect your health. Your body is very well equipped to deal with short-term stress, through the fight-or-flight response.  However, when this stress continues unchecked, this can put your health at risk.  For some great ways to reduce stress, I encourage you to read this article.

Fitness

This falls into three categories.  First, cardiovascular fitness, which increases your energy. It’s good for your heart, circulation and it forces you to breathe fully. Second, strength or weight training to help you become a stronger person.  Finally, stretching, yoga or pilates to increase your range of movement and become more flexible. 

My Score: 6

My diet is pretty good. I eat mainly whole foods. I drink some alcohol, but not much. I normally get 8 hours of good quality sleep most nights.  Fitness is more challenging for me.  My cardiovascular fitness is good as I walk a lot. However, I struggle with strength training and flexibility.

Partner or Intimate Relationships

If you’re single, this is about getting a partner. If you’re in a relationship, this is about keeping your partner. So let’s start with finding a partner.

Finding a Partner

This isn’t completely within your control. However, there are lots of things you can do to increase your chances of finding the right person. Start by knowing what you want in a partner. What would your ideal partner look like? What would their values be? What mental, emotional and spiritual qualities would this person have? Write this all down and visualize it regularly. I did this in my twenties, and it really worked for me!

Then take action. Go on dates, join clubs, go to places where your ideal person might hang out. Use internet dating. Practice talking to new people daily. The more people you meet, the sooner you’ll find the right person for you.

Keeping Your Partner

If you’re in a relationship and you want to keep your partner, then prioritize quality time together. This could be a weekly date night, or a weekend away once a month.

Remember the romantic things you did when you first met and start doing these again. Buy flowers, surprise presents or treats.

Communication is super important in a relationship and you can always improve the way you communicate. Ensure that you’re always communicating as effectively as you can.

Dream together. Think about your future life together and how you would like that to be. Be grateful and never take your relationship for granted. Appreciate the little things your partner says and does. Say “I love you” regularly and enjoy being with your partner right now.

If you feel that your relationship is going backwards, then this great quote will help you get back on track. It is, “if you were to treat this person as if it was the beginning of the relationship, then there would be no end”.

My Score: 7

Hopefully, my wife agrees!

Money and Wealth

One of the fundamental reasons relationships end is a lack of money and the stress that comes from financial difficulties. So you can see how one area of life can influence another. Being in debt is hugely stressful, and that can negatively impact your relationship and your health.

To improve your financial situation, you want to earn more, spend less or do both! Personally, I find it easier to spend less money than make more money.  I think that’s the case for most people.

Budgeting

To get ahead financially, you want your living costs to be around 60% of your total income after tax. This leaves you with 10% for guilt free spending (for example nights out, restaurants and other treats) and 10% towards longer term purchases (for example vacations, a new TV or new furniture).

You save the final 20% for unexpected financial costs and for investing.  Unexpected financial costs include losing your job, serious illness, going through a divorce, a recession or a coronavirus health pandemic. Did you see that one coming?  These are all things that are unexpected and difficult to predict.

I cover these budgeting concepts in greater detail in my article on how to spend less than you earn.

Wealth

This is having an income stream that comes in regardless of whether or not you are working. This includes interest from savings, dividends from shares or rental income from an investment property. It could also be income from an online business where you’re selling physical or digital products on the internet.

Related Article : The Difference Between Rich and Wealthy People

My Score: 4

I am debt-free. However, my income is relatively low, and that’s a lifestyle decision. I’m reducing my expenses. I also believe that I have a good roadmap in place to improve my financial situation in the future.

Personal and Spiritual Development

Like health and fitness, I’ve broken this area of life into multiple sub-areas.

Personal Development

As you know, personal development helps you become a better person and be more effective and successful. You can do this by meditating, journaling, using creative visualization, repeating affirmations, reminding yourself of your goals, reading, learning and many other methods or techniques.

This also includes investing in courses and seminars that give you fresh information, insights and inspiration to better your life.

It’s essential that you apply what you learn consistently.  One of the best ways to do this is to have an empowering daily morning routine.  Before you do anything else, dedicate 15 mins, 30 mins or even 1 hour to your personal development.  You’ll feel so much better for it and your day will be much more productive and fulfilling.

Spiritual Development

This could include prayer, meditation, keeping a gratitude journal and expressing gratitude.  It’s about connecting to a higher power in whatever way that works for you.  This will depend on your religious or spiritual beliefs, so do what is right for you.

Community Activities and Volunteering

You may wish to include any community or volunteering activities in this area of life.  These activities often help you become a better person and increase your sense of connection with humanity.

My Score: 6

I learn and research personal development topics to share with you or to help my hypnotherapy clients. When I come across fresh approaches, I try them out on myself first. 

However, I don’t have a consistent personal development or spiritual practice at the moment. This is primarily due to my focus on helping others, growing my business and being in a good place mentally and emotionally right now.

Family, Friends and Social

I’ve also broken down this area of life into multiple sub-areas.

Family

Most important is your immediate family such as your parents, siblings and any sons or daughters. This is about spending time with them, resolving any conflicts and improving your relationship and connection with them.

However, you can also include uncles, aunts, grandparents, nephews, nieces and other extended family members here too.

Friends

For me, this is about connecting and reconnecting with good friends and spending quality time with them. I do this by having a weekly friend ritual. Once a week I spend an evening with a good friend that I haven’t seen for a while and we share experiences about life and catch up.

If some of your friends are a long way away, then why not meet up via Skype or Zoom? You can still share experiences and have a drink together. You’re just doing it virtually!

This might also be about making new friends by joining clubs and going on activities where you can meet like-minded people.  Personal development seminars can be great for this!

Social

This is connecting with groups of people, such as your work colleagues, school or college friends. It could also be social or activity groups.  I highly recommend going to meetup.com and finding groups in your local area. It’s free. 

When I first moved to Sydney, Australia 10 years ago, meetup.com was the way I met most of my friends. There are hundreds of meetup groups covering a wide variety of common interests.

My score: 5

Whilst I’ve been busy developing Self Help for Life and my hypnotherapy business, meeting up with friends has been on the back-burner for a while.  However, I’m redressing this now through my one-on-one friend ritual.

Recreation and Hobbies

These are the fun things that make you happy and help you relax.

Recreation

For me, this is day trips, weekends away and longer holidays or vacations. It’s experiencing other countries, cultures, seeing unique wildlife or tasting different foods.

When I was a child, my parents always took us into the country for a few hours each weekend.  It was lovely to go hiking and get some fresh air.

None of my other friends at school did this.  They were stuck at home whilst their parents were doing chores. I’m lucky that my parents valued the importance of recreation.

Hobbies

Hobbies could include playing or watching different sports, going kayaking, sailing or playing golf. You could play a musical instrument or listen to music. Perhaps for you it’s art or crafts, or playing computer games.

Whatever it is for you, take some time to cultivate a hobby.

My Score: 7

My major hobby is walking. I love walking in nature and make time to do that. Also weekends away, holidays and vacations. I also love music and use my Sony noise-canceling headphones to listen to music whilst walking and on public transport.

Home, Environment and Things

Home

Home is about the place you live in. Is it large enough, well designed, comfortable and peaceful? Do you like the color scheme and the overall feel of your home?  This area of life would include doing any home renovations.

Environment

This is the area you live in. Is it a safe area where you feel comfortable walking the streets? This would also include access to shops, cafes and public transport if this is important to you.

It also includes the weather. Is it a hot or cold area? Do you get lots of sunshine or many gray, cloudy or wet days? 

People that live in the far north (for example, in Scandinavia) often suffer from S.A.D. This stands for seasonal affective disorder and is common in the winter months when daylight hours are typically 6 hours or fewer. This can have a major effect on the mental health of people in these areas.

So do winters affect you? Do you feel down and depressed in the winter? If so, consider the influence of S.A.D.

What is the air quality like where you live? Is the air clean and fresh or polluted?

Environmental influences often take time to change.  However, consider these when you next move house or decide on a new town, city or country to live in.

Things

This is buying things that are not related to a hobby. For example, a new car, TV, computer, smart phone, or other gadget. This would also include clothes.

My Score: 8

We live in a very safe and beautiful part of Sydney in Australia.  We have views of Sydney Harbour from my apartment and it’s very safe to walk alone at night.

However, this wasn’t always the case.  Just over 10 years ago, we lived in London. The crowds, packed public transport, icy winters with short daylight hours bothered us, so we hatched up a plan to move to Australia. It was a massive undertaking, but we will never look back.  It took a lot of time and commitment to make it happen, but we did it!

In Conclusion

Now you know the 8 major areas of life.  Awareness is the first step to change, so I encourage you to score yourself for each of the 8 areas.  Discover the areas that are strong for you and the ones that require more attention. 

Some areas will be more important to you than others. That’s okay.  The most important thing is that you strive to live a life that makes you happy and fulfilled right now, but also in the longer term too.  Regularly checking in and scoring each area of your life will help you do that.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul