In this article, I will cover the crucial difference between reacting and responding. Once you know this and apply it to your life, your relationships with other people will improve immensely.

When you know the key difference between reacting and responding, you can deal calmly with other people, even the drama queens in your life!

When I learned the important difference between reacting and responding, several things changed in my life. I had far fewer arguments. I was able to take a step back and consider all the possible options. Situations where I would say something that I regretted later became less and less.

Keep reading to learn how to respond instead of react and notice your relationships with others improve dramatically.

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Reacting and Responding may sound similar, but they are very different.   Learn the differences and notice big changes in relationships with your partner, work colleagues, family, and friends.

Reacting tends to be emotional and impulsive. It’s something we do instinctively. It’s close to an animal-like behavior.

Responding is considering the situation with thought and intelligence. It’s having an awareness of the consequences of any action you might take.

What problems have been created in your life by reacting instead of responding so far? At the extreme, our prisons are chockablock with people that reacted. People that acted without thinking about the longer-term consequences.

Relationships are especially sensitive to reactive behavior. What have you said in the heat of the moment that you later regretted? Imagine how responding effectively could improve your relationships and give you greater happiness and peace.

Apply the strategies below to ensure that you’re responding and notice how your relationships improve.

1. Notice your Emotions

When you are with another person, notice any emotions that flare up, especially the negative ones. Having an awareness of your emotional state in these situations is an important first step. Why? because it gives you the ability to choose to respond differently before the emotions get too high.

It allows you to nip these emotions in the bud as soon as you notice them and then behave differently. It’s so important to do this before the emotions get too strong or intense. If you don’t, it’s very easy to act instinctively and in the same way that you acted before. This happens because blood flows away from the logical thinking part of the brain (the pre-frontal cortex) to the emotional brain (the amygdala).

2. Step Away

When you notice an emotion such as anger flaring up, step away from the situation if you can. This will give you some breathing space, even if it is just for a few seconds.  Use this time to analyze the situation and see it more objectively. It will also help you calm down and clear your head. A great thing to do during this time is my rapid relaxation exercise.

3. List Your Options

There are nearly always more ways to deal with something than you think.  You will find that the more relaxed you are, the more options appear. This is why if you can step away from the situation first that will always help.

Now ask yourself, what are the other ways that I could deal with this? What are the other ways that I could respond to this situation? There are often more ways than you previously thought. You just needed the mental space to find them.

4. Breathe

Just the act of breathing deeply and slowly will help you diffuse negative emotions, calm you down and clear your head. Contrary to popular belief, your mind can only focus on one thing at a time.  If you focus on breathing and nothing else, then you have no choice but to relax and calm down.  This will take some practice but it can be done.

When you take long, slow, deep breaths, you reduce the hormone cortisol in your body by up to 70%. That’s great for relieving stress. When you’re relaxed, you will naturally respond to other people in a level-headed way.

5. Consider the Consequences

I’m sure there have been times where you have said something or done something that you have later regretted.  If you can consider the consequences before acting, then you will act differently. This will then save you and the other person the pain of the old negative behavior. This will be much better for the relationship in the long-term.

Relationship conflicts can also arise when you think and act with a short-term view. In today’s instant society, we often focus on short term goals and outcomes. However, we often ignore the longer-term impact that this might have on our relationships.

Most people don’t think about the long-term effect of their behavior on others. So if you can do this, you’re immediately going to stand out from the crowd and have much better relationships with other people. You’ll develop great relationships built on trust and respect and you will have a more peaceful and happier life as well.

6. We are Humans, not Animals!

Animals only know how to react. They can’t step back and determine the best course of action like we can. If a cat sees a mouse, it will chase it without thinking. If a mouse sees a cat, it instinctively runs away.

Reacting instantly, automatically and unconsciously is rarely a good choice for us, unless it’s a life or death situation.

As humans, we can consider all the options and then make a conscious choice in how to respond. This will come with practice. Once you start responding to situations rather than reacting, it will begin to feel more familiar and automatic.

In stressful situations, it can be very easy to switch back into reacting. So remember to just take a step back and respond rather than doing that old reacting behavior.

7. Use Emotion to Your Advantage

When you are emotional about something, it means that its important or meaningful to you. It means that you care. So feeling emotional is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t lead to actions that could harm others or cause you to say or do something that you later regret.

Therefore listen to your emotions and give them your full attention. However, don’t let strong negative emotions overwhelm you.  They are there to give you a message. They exist to tell you that something is potentially wrong. So examine the situation objectively and then make a new considered decision and take a different course of action.

To Sum Up

Reacting too quickly is rarely the best option. Responding appropriately is so important in creating a successful and enjoyable life.

If you’re reacting, make the effort to respond to life’s challenges more intelligently and thoughtfully. It will benefit you more than the other person!

I hope these tips will help you when you next deal with difficult people at work or at home or in any other area of your life.

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.

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Paul

What is the key thing to having a good life and feeling happy? Many people believe that it’s the ability to spend as much money as you want. If there is a need to scrimp, save, or budget, that’s not a good life. It takes the fun out of it and can lead to unhappiness. To some degree, I believed this myself, until I read a book called The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape.

The Barefoot Investor and Scott Pape have become household names within Australia. Back in 2014, Scott lost everything due to a bush fire – his home, farm, and business. But he was able to recover and get his life back on track relatively quickly compared to other people in the same situation. How come? Well, thanks to some good financial decisions he made before that misfortunate event.

I want to share with you how The Barefoot Investor helped me learn that it was not so hard to spend less than you earn. I’ve only read about a quarter of the book. So at the moment, I want to share with you some of the crucial components that I’ve implemented. These helped me save an extra $500 per month without a lot of effort. And certainly without any effect on my happiness.

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I am now going to cover the Barefoot Investor 6-step approach to budgeting and explain how to handle your money effectively. Once you learn and apply this, you’ll find it much easier to spend considerably less than you earn.

Step 1: Save an Initial $2,000

The Mojo Account

Having $2000 in a savings account is an essential first step. There is always a chance of some unexpected financial costs occurring. If you have that $2,000 buffer, you’ll be able to cope to at least some degree. Also, when you claim on your insurance, there’s often an excess to pay. So it’s good to have that backup money.

Scott Pape calls this money Mojo. He recommends putting it in a savings account – the Mojo account. When you have that money in a separate account, in a time of need, it will help you get your Mojo back. It gives you financial confidence. It makes you feel that you can cope if something unexpected happens. It also provides a head start in a financial crisis.

No Money for the Mojo Account?

What if you don’t have $2,000 in the bank right now? What can you do to get it? The first most obvious thing is to sell some of your stuff. Look around your home. Look for the things that you don’t use very much and sell them.

If there’s nothing you could sell, find a second job for a few weeks until you earn that $2,000.

For me, this step was very easy. I already had more than $2,000 in savings.

Step 2: Live on 60% of Your Income

Can You Do It?

You’ll need to do a bit of research to find out whether you can spend less than you earn. Basically, look at your outgoings. Look at your rent or your mortgage payments. Find out the cost of your utility, phone, and internet bills. Pay attention to your car, house, health, or life insurance. Calculate how much you spend on food each month and look at any loan repayments that you have. Ideally, they should all add up to only being 60% of your income.

What If You Can’t?

If you find that your living costs add up to more than 60% of your income, what can you do? There are only two things – earn more or spend less.

Earn more – You could find a second job for a while, or try to get a promotion at your current work. You could rent out a room, or start some part-time business.

Spend less – You could also try to save some money. Review your monthly expenses. See if there’s something that you could reduce or lose altogether. Maybe move to a smaller place and save on rent. You could also review your insurance premiums and your cover. Quite often, you can increase the excess and get a lower monthly premium.

Here in Australia, we have health insurance that comes with what’s called extras. These extras cover things like dentists, chiropractors, therapists, personal trainers, massages, or acupuncture. Typically, you can get 20 to 25% of the cost of those back.

It would be good to check how much you claimed back for those services in a year. Then look at how much you’re paying for the extras cover. I found I was paying more for the extras cover then I was claiming back. It just didn’t make sense to continue paying that, so I saved some money there.

My Experience

I’m going to give you some personal experience here. I found it reasonably easy to live on 60% of my income. My income does fluctuate from month to month because my business as a hypnotherapist means that I have good months and bad months.

So I did some things to reduce my costs. I reviewed my health insurance and changed my insurance company. I reviewed the internet service to see if we could make some savings there.

And for the last three months, I’ve been able to live on 60% of my income comfortably. The fact is, you can spend less than you earn more easily than you think.

Step 3: Find a Bank with No Fees

When I lived in the UK, free-banking was normal. But when I moved to Australia, it was common to pay $5 a month for running a current account. And also quite common to pay an annual fee on credit cards. If you use another bank’s ATMs, you pay a surcharge on that as well. This might be the case in your country also.

So an important step is to find a bank that doesn’t charge those fees. Another thing to watch as well are international transaction fees. I assumed that, when traveling to another country or buying things online, it was normal to pay some surcharge on my credit or debit card. But Scott Pape says in The Barefoot Investor that you shouldn’t be paying these. Some banks will refund or not charge international transaction fees. Here in Australia, one of the banks that does that is ING. It’s an online bank that doesn’t have any branches.

So do some research. If you’re paying any fees, including international transaction fees, find a bank that refunds them or doesn’t charge them in the first place. Look for online banks. See if you can find one in your country that has no bank fees and offers refunds for international transactions.

Step 4: Open 2 Current Accounts

Once you found a bank that charges no fees, you’re going to want to open two current accounts. With both of these bank accounts, you should have a debit card for transactions.

The Daily Expenses Account – 60% of Your Income

With online banking these days, you can often give bank accounts nicknames. So the first one you’re going to call Daily Expenses. This is the account where all your income is going to go. And this is also the account where 60% of your income will stay and cover your living expenses. Remember, we are talking about living on 60% of what you earn. The other 40% is going to go out of this account to other accounts. The goal is to spend less than you earn and save the rest of the money.

I’ll give you a really helpful tip here. Pay for everything with a debit card. I used to pay cash for a lot of little things, like coffees and lunches. Now I’m paying for everything by card. Why is this an excellent idea? Because it’s much easier to keep track of how much you’re spending. You just have to look at your statements. I highly recommend that you start paying for everything using your debit card.

The Splurge Account – 10% of Your Income

The second current account that you’re going to open is called Splurge. The Splurge account is for guilt-free spending on fun things. These would typically include eating out, drinks at the pub, massages, maybe buying books, CDs, or DVDs. It could also be for your Netflix or your Spotify subscription. Basically, for those things that make life enjoyable and fun. They’re not essential; you could manage without them. But those are the things that put a smile on your face and make you feel happy. The key here is, it’s guilt-free spending. This account should also have a debit card. A recommended guideline is to put 10% of your income in your Splurge account.

Step 5: Open 2 Savings Accounts

These accounts should be with a different bank to your Mojo account. Look around and see which bank has the highest interest rate on their savings accounts. Here in Australia, the typical interest rate is 1% at the moment. That is very, very low. But there are online banks that are willing to pay up to 2%. When you find a good deal, open two savings accounts. Some banks require you to have a current account to take advantage of any bonus savings interest. If this is the case, open your Daily Expenses and Splurge accounts with the same bank. Just check they don’t charge any fees first!

The Smile Account – 10% of Your Income

The first savings account you can call Smile. Why is that? This account is for longer-term purchases, things like holidays, a new computer or a new TV. It’s for items that you can’t save up for in one month. And as the name suggests, those are the things that will make you smile.

You should put 10% of your income into this account. So every month, you are going to transfer 10% of your income from your Daily Expenses account to this high-interest account. For me, the money from the Smile account is primarily used for holidays.

The Fire Extinguisher Account – 20% of Your Income

The second savings account you’re going to call Fire Extinguisher. Why? Because this account will be your financial fire extinguisher. You point it at whatever your financial fire is. If it’s paying off debts, point it at your debts. If it’s saving for a down payment or deposit for a house, then use this account for that.

If you don’t have debts and you already own a house, then you can point it towards unexpected costs. These could be health challenges, redundancy, or an economic downturn. You can also use it for different types of investments. Once you build up a bit of a nest egg in this Fire Extinguisher account, you can start using some of the money to invest in stocks and shares, or additional properties.

When Scott lost everything, he had a significant amount of money already set aside. That’s why he was able to recover fast even though he lost his house, farm, and business. He put that money towards rebuilding his life. The crucial reason to spend less than you earn is to have the money saved for unpredictable situations like these.

Sometimes it’s not possible to have two accounts with high-interest rates at the same bank, at least not in Australia. If you have to choose, use the higher interest rate account for Fire Extinguisher. You’re most likely to have more money in this than in your Smile account. A good recommendation is to put 20% of your income into the Fire Extinguisher account. That’s what I do. You can adjust it according to your needs.

Step 6: Automate!

Now set up regular automatic payments from Daily Expenses to all the other accounts. You can set these to go out the day after your salary comes in. That way, before you get a chance to spend this money, it will already have gone into other accounts.

Scott recommends setting 10% to be transferred to your Spurge account, 10% to your Smile account, and 20% to your Fire Extinguisher account. These percentages can be different for you, depending on your priorities. Now you can see what’s left in Daily Expenses and how much money you have for your living costs. You will realize it’s not that hard to spend less than you earn.

Let’s Summarize!

So let’s summarize the 6 steps. Step 1, find a way to save $2,000 and put that in a separate bank account called Mojo.

Step 2, find a way to live on 60% of your income by earning more and/or spending less

Step 3, find a bank account that has no fees, and this may well be an online bank.

Step 4, open 2 current accounts. One called Daily Expenses. This is where your salary goes in, and this is where your expenses go out. The second current account is called Splurge. This one is for your guilt-free expenses. Make sure you have a debit card for both of these accounts to track your spending.

Step 5, open two high-interest accounts. One is going to be called Smile. It’s for your holidays and other things that take a few months to save up for. The other one’s going to be called Fire Extinguisher, which is for your longer-term financial fires. It could be for paying off debt, saving up for a down payment for a house, or just putting towards unexpected costs in the future.

Step 6, automate to make the whole process easier.

My Results

I’ve been doing the barefoot investor process for three months now. While doing it, I’ve been able to save an extra $500 into my long-term savings. And that’s been relatively easy. I’ve been able to do it while enjoying my life pretty much at the same level as before. I’ve just been a bit more aware of what I’m spending money on. So I find this very useful. It’s helping me feel more confident now about my longer-term financial future.

So, I highly recommend that you check out The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. I ‘m sure you’ll find it extremely valuable, especially if you’re in Australia. The examples are Australian based, but if you live in another country, the principles are the same. You’ll just need to do a bit of your own research to find the best banks and policies for things like insurance.

You’ll soon realize that it’s very possible to spend less than you earn and still live a happy and fulfilled life. You will be amazed by the results!

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.

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Paul

The process of achieving big goals in your life consists of several crucial steps. As the benefits and rewards from achieving a big goal do not come immediately, a different approach is required.

When achieving big goals, you need the motivation and desire to stick at it for several months or even years. It involves cultivating success habits and following success principles. It is important to combine this with consistent and effective action that continues until you achieve your big goal.

In this article, I cover the 7 secrets to achieving big goals. You will also learn what a big goal is and why it requires a different mindset to other goals in your life.

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What is a big goal? I would define a big goal as something like starting a new business, changing career or losing a significant amount of weight. It could also include gaining a new qualification, especially if you’re doing this part-time whilst maintaining a job or career. It’s any goal that is going to be life-changing for you and is probably going to take months or possibly years to achieve.

So here are 7 ways to help you achieve your big goals.

1.  Measure your Progress

With a big goal, the reward doesn’t come until you’ve either completed the goal or you’re close to the finish line. This could be quite a while into the future. In the meantime, you will want to break the big goal into smaller steps so that you can measure your progress. You can then check whether you are achieving the smaller steps or not.

That’s how you will measure your progress and check that you are getting closer to achieving your big goals. Also, give yourself a small reward when you complete each step. What gets rewarded gets repeated.

2. Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to keep going when the results are not immediate.  This is often the case with larger long term goals. To create and fuel perseverance, get a clear vision of the end result and remind yourself of it regularly.  This will really help you do the work involved to achieve this goal.

Also by measuring your progress (as mentioned in step 1), you will enjoy seeing the completion of the smaller steps.  This will confirm that you are on the right track and will help you to keep persevering.

3.  Flexibility

This is the flexibility to change tack. If you continue doing the same thing, you’re likely to continue getting the same result. Now it’s important to do the same thing consistently for a while because it can sometimes take time to get results. I feel that 6 months is a good timeframe to evaluate if what you’re doing is working. Measure your progress and be prepared to change when a different approach is required. Your Why can stay the same, but sometimes the How needs to change. So it’s important to be flexible and to do different things whilst always keeping your end goal in mind, so you don’t go off track.

There is a balance here between being flexible and dabbling. When being flexible you give your approach a reasonable chance to succeed before changing tack. You can then make an objective decision on whether to try a different approach or not.

Dabbling, on the other hand, is trying something for a couple of months until something that seems better comes along. This happens a lot with diets, exercise programs, and online business opportunities. Doing something new is exciting, it gives you hope, a dopamine hit or adrenaline rush! This motivates, inspires and gives you the energy to take action. But it doesn’t last. You need to keep going long after these feelings disappear to determine objectively if what you are doing is working. So make sure you don’t dabble!

4.  Quieten the Noise

When attempting something new, or that stretches your comfort zone, your subconscious mind will try and protect you.  It does this through negative self-talk. Or by questioning why you’re doing this big goal or the work involved. Negative thoughts and self-talk then lead to negative feelings such as doubt, fear or a sense of not being good enough or worthy enough.

When this happens, remind yourself that this is okay and quite normal. It happens when doing new things, challenging yourself and striving to be more.

Here are some other great strategies to quieten the mental chatter. Use these when negative thoughts and self-talk continue to dominate your mind.

  • Mentally say the word “STOP” when you notice a negative thought. You can even say “STOP” out loud if you prefer.
  • Put a rubber band on your wrist. When you notice a negative thought, pull the rubber band and let go, so it snaps on your wrist. It will hurt a little. But it will force your mind back into the present moment.
  • Imagine turning down the volume of a negative thought. Visualize using a volume control knob or remote control device to reduce the volume of the self-talk.
  • Replace any words such as “should”, “have” or “must” with softer words such as “could”, “can” or “choose”.
  • Ignore the thoughts and take action anyway. This works great with negative feelings too, such as procrastination. Simply ignore the feelings and take action anyway. Act and the feeling you want will come.

I also encourage you to focus more on your goal and your dream. This is key to achieving big goals. Your brain then has less time to think about worries, fears, and doubts. And the same for when you experience negative feelings such as procrastination or a lack of motivation. Again, just ignore these feelings and take action anyway.

Remember, you have a choice over which thoughts and feelings to listen and pay attention too.

5. Daily Habits

This is a big one!  It involves taking consistent action on your goal every day. First thing in the morning can be a great time.  You’re fresh and there are fewer distractions.  That’s when I take the most action on the big things in my life. It’s a great way to start the day. I love the feeling of having done something towards the most important goals in my life early in the day.

Most people tend to overestimate the number of things they need to do in a day and underestimate what they can achieve in 2, 3 or 5 years. Take consistent action for months or even years at a time and amazing things start to happen!

Initially, you need qualities such as motivation, perseverance, and tenacity to get going. However, as you keep going, it will become a habit. Once you get into the habit of working on a particular goal it becomes easy to do the work involved consistently.

Related Article: How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

6.  Patience

Big goals rarely go to plan and sometimes they take a bit longer than you would want them to take.  I struggle with this one because I like things to happen fast! However, it is important to accept and be grateful for where you are now and the progress you have already made. 

With patience comes calmness and clear-headedness, two things you really want when you’re working on achieving big goals.

7.  Never Give Up!

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before. Never give up on your ultimate goal or dream. This can be the single difference between someone that is successful and someone that’s not.  The people that fail simply give up, often extremely close to achieving the goal.

Sometimes you will need to make a dramatic change in direction to achieve your ultimate goal. That’s okay. If you have given something a fair shot, sometimes a dramatic change in approach is necessary. You will always retain the learnings, experiences, and how the previous approach helped you develop as a person. You can never lose that. So change your approach if you need to, but never give up on your ultimate goal or dream.

So these are my 7 tips for achieving big goals. I hope you found these useful. I wish you every success in applying these strategies to the big goals that you have in 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.

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Paul

At certain points in our lives, we strongly feel the need to make some changes. What would you like to change in your life right now? What would make a significant difference for you? What would improve your lifestyle? Maybe, getting a great new job. Or, a change in your career. Perhaps, falling in love or losing 20kg or 45lb. Maybe, overcoming anxiety or depression.

Whatever it is for you, I’m going to share with you a process that will help you significantly change your life in 100 days or less.

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How I Have Changed My Life in 100 Days

Reflecting on my life, I’ve noticed that I am pretty good at making significant life changes in 100 days or less. My first life change happened when I went to university. At school, I was a quiet, shy kid. I had a couple of friends. I didn’t do the social things that most people my age were doing.

Then, the time came to go to university. Since it was located in another city, I had to move. I saw that as a wonderful opportunity! I was going to be in a different place with entirely new people. So, I decided to change my life. I was determined to become a more confident, extrovert, and sociable person. During my first 100 days at university, I changed a lot as a person. I really came out of my shell.

Then in my late 20s, I went from being single with no dates to regular dating and meeting my wife. Then from a boring job at London Underground to becoming a software trainer in a top 10 law firm.

A few years later, I moved from London to Sydney and achieved this in 100 days as well.

More recently, setting up my hypnotherapy practice was part of a 100-day challenge. In another 100-day challenge, I launched my Self Help for Life website, YouTube channel and Podcast.

Intense Desire and a Plan

In all of these significant life changes that I did in 100 days or less, there were always two things present. First of all, an intense desire. I really wanted that change to happen. And secondly, a plan. I had a detailed and worked out plan.

So, do you want to change your life in 100 days or less but don’t know where to start? If so, keep reading.  I will lead you through a process that will help you achieve your goals in 100 days or less.

The Initial Steps – Setting Yourself Up for Success

1. Set Clear Goals

Get clear on what you’re aiming for. Is it a change of career or an increase in income? Is it falling in love or losing weight?

Ensure that you set a SMART Goal.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.  Click here to learn more about setting SMART goals.

My Change of Career Challenge

Here is an example from my own life. Back in 2000, I wanted to change my career and become an IT trainer. I didn’t have any training qualifications at the time, just a little bit of experience. I could get a qualification, but that required time and money. My goal was to get a job as an IT trainer within 3 months without getting a qualification. It was a very specific goal.

Within 3 months, I did get a job as an IT trainer in one of the top 10 law firms. I had to take a bit of a salary drop, but I didn’t mind. Enjoyment, fulfillment, and satisfaction were much more important to me. Because I enjoyed the job, I got very good at it. So within 3 years, I moved to another law firm, and I got a better salary.

When you change your career to start doing something you enjoy, you get enthusiastic. That enthusiasm helps you provide a lot more value. Consequently, you get rewarded financially for that.

Phrase Your Goals as Affirmations

I find it very helpful to phrase my goals as affirmations. For example, I will easily lose 20kg or 45lb, I will easily increase my confidence, or I will easily find a new job. Repeat them every day. If you want to learn more about goal setting, check my article on how to set and achieve your goals.

2. Set Specific Non-negotiable Deadlines

To change your life in 100 days, you need to know what your goal is and then decide when you’re going to achieve it. In this case, its within 100 days.

You might also want to set some deadlines for smaller tasks you need to do to achieve that goal. Deadlines are very important because they spur you into action. Think back to the exams and assignments at school and how they motivated you to study. We also have deadlines at work. We do our best to achieve those deadlines because we don’t want to let people down. So, it’s essential to set your own non-negotiable deadlines.

Deadlines Spur You into Action

Here is an example of how a deadline spurred me into action. In 2009, my wife and I decided to move from London, UK to Sydney, Australia. I resigned from my job in London. I had to give 3-month’s notice, so that kicked off the process.

Then there were other things to do. I wanted to get a job in Sydney before we got there. We had to get rid of all the things that we didn’t want to take to Australia. We also had the ultimate deadline – the flight we booked for Sydney.

We set a date to move out of our apartment in London that we linked to that ultimate deadline. We had to have everything shipped by that time. When I look back, it’s just amazing how much we got done. Those deadlines spurred us into action.

3. Know Your Why

Get clear on your Why. Why do you want to achieve that goal? What’s the benefit? Having more money? Finding love? Or, maybe gaining confidence?

When I changed my job and became an IT trainer, my Why was clear. I wanted a job that would be satisfying, fulfilling, and enjoyable. Think about the reasons you want to achieve your goals.

4. Create an Action Plan

We know the What, the When, and the Why. Now let’s focus on the How.

Brainstorm!

First of all, brainstorm all the different things you can do to achieve this goal. Write everything down, however bizarre or weird it seems to be. Once you’ve done that, decide on the action steps that look realistic. Then work out which steps to do when.

What action steps can you complete in the first 20 days, then 40, 60, 80, and finally – 100 days. This will be your roadmap of what you need to do to change your life in 100 days.

Brainstorming My Hypnotherapy Business

My first brainstorming for my hypnotherapy business was during my hypnotherapy training. I did this together with my group. We all jotted down the things that we would need to do to get our business off the ground. After that, we worked out the most important things. I realized I needed to find a consulting room and get a business bank account. I also had to get my professional membership with the Australian Hypnotherapists Association. And I needed to create a website and do some advertising. For all these goals, I set up deadlines or final dates to achieve them.

I now had my road map. Apart from making my 100-day challenge easier, it also helped me check my progress. I could easily see whether I was on or off track.

5. Decide and Commit

The next initial step is to decide when you’re going to work on achieving your goals. Set aside time and stick to it. Maybe, early in the morning before you do anything else. Perhaps a couple of hours in the evening. I have personally always found mornings to be the best time. I love the feeling of getting things done before breakfast or before going to work.

The important thing is that you’re consistent. You should work on your goal 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Ideally, it should be more if you want to get the very best results. Remember that this is a life-changing goal. So you want to make it a priority in your life.

6. Accountability

Find a Mentor

It’s much harder to miss a goal when someone else knows about it. It could be a professional, like a coach, mentor, or a personal trainer. Professionals know how to motivate you and inspire you. They can see your blind spots and teach you crucial things. Most importantly, they can hold you accountable.

If you’d like me to be your coach or mentor, then go here to find further details.

Find an Accountability Buddy

The other option is to find a friend that you can be accountable to. Pick the right friend, someone who believes in you. But who can also hold you accountable, follow up on you and make sure you’re making progress.

Post on Social Media

You can also put your goals and your action plans on social media. Then, they’re out there for the whole world or your followers to check up on you and make sure you’re accountable.

Let’s recap. We’ve set a clear goal, we’ve set our non-negotiable deadlines, we’ve created an action plan. We decided when we’re going to commit and take action on this goal, and we’ve got some accountability. Let’s move on to the weekly steps.

Your Weekly Steps To Success

1. Create a List of Weekly Tasks

What are the things you need to do this week to get closer to achieving your goal? Create weekly tasks that will help you change your life in 100 days. These tasks should be things that are under your control. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, it could be to send off your CV or resume to 10 companies. It could be to run or walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week, if you’re trying to lose weight.

I usually set these weekly tasks on a Sunday. I keep it really simple. I make a to-do list in Evernote. One of my current 100-day challenge goals has been to have a greater balance in life. So some of my weekly tasks have included getting in touch and meeting up with 1 friend per week. The other is doing weight training 3 times a week. Also, doing some self-development or a morning ritual, 4 times a week, for 30 minutes.

2. After-Action Review

The next weekly task is to do an after-action review. The first part of this review is to score yourself. 1 is not productive, 2 is poor, 3 is average, 4 is good, and 5 is exceptional. It’s a bit like doing a school report, except you are both the teacher and the student.

Next, write down all the things that you achieved that week. Write down your actions, strategies, and lucky breaks that led you to success. Then identify the actions, attitudes, and obstacles that negatively affected your progress. Once you’ve done that, come up with your future actions. You now know what didn’t go so well last week. What are you going to do next week to get back on track based on that?

I believe that the weekly after-action review is crucial to your success in changing your life in 100 days. It will prevent you from going down a rabbit hole, which is doing a task for far longer than you need to. Or even worse, doing a task that is not helping you towards your goal. The after-action review enables you to identify what’s working and what’s not working.

I do this religiously every week now. After recent weekly after-action reviews, I have identified that I’m super consistent and focused on creating content for Self Help for Life. But also that I’m spending very little time on my own self-development.

3. Check-in with Your Accountability Buddy or on Social Media

If you have an accountability buddy, a mentor, or a coach, send them your after-action review. Ask for their input. Or, post it on social media. It’s important for two reasons.

Firstly, it makes sure you do the after-action review in the first place. You’re accountable for doing that. And secondly, it allows you to explain to someone else where you came up short and how you’re going to change that.

4. Celebrate Your Wins!

Your final weekly task is to celebrate. Remember that what gets rewarded gets repeated. So, celebrate what you did well and give yourself a little treat. That will inspire and motivate you to achieve even bigger things in the next week.

Your Daily Steps to Success

There are some things you will want to do every day to change your life in 100 days. The first thing, ideally as soon as you get out of bed, is to spend 15 minutes getting inspired, motivated, and educated. Watch a motivating video, listen to a motivating podcast, or read a few pages of a self-help book. You need to feel motivated. You need the inspiration to take action. You also need education to know what to do. It’s essential to have a success mindset. Remember that if you want to achieve something amazing in 100 days or less, you can no longer do what you used to do. You’ll need to develop different attitudes, skills, and behaviors to what you normally do.

1. Review the 100-day Challenge Goal

One of the initial steps you did right at the start was to set a SMART goal. You need to review that goal, read it out, read it out loud if you can, maybe even write it down. Make sure to review it every day. Also, examine the tasks and actions you did the day before. Think about what you achieved yesterday and what you didn’t achieve?

2. Review Your Weekly Action Plan

The action plan consists of tasks that you set after you did your after-action review. Decide what you’re going to do today. Write it down as a to-do list. I usually do this in Evernote. You’re going to end up with a list of things that you will commit to doing today. That’s very important. Don’t write too much down on that list. You want to be confident that you can do all those things today.

3. Take Action!

Make sure that you accomplish all the tasks that you set yourself for the day. Dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to these tasks, ideally a lot more. But if you can commit to a minimum of 30 minutes, that will keep the goal in your mind. There will be days when you won’t feel like taking action. I have days like that. I’m sure you do, too. The key here is – to just do it, to get the work done. That will lead to the feeling that you want it. Remember that the alignment with your goals is much more important than how you feel at the moment.

Ready to Make a Change in Your Life in 100 days?

These are the most important steps you have to do to change your life in 100 days. If you are determined to make a huge change in the next 100 days, check out the 100-day challenge. I’ve been doing the 100-day challenge now for the fourth time. This time I doubled the number of hypnotherapy clients that I see weekly. I highly recommend and really believe in this program!

I hope you are now ready to change your life in 100 days. Follow the steps, be determined, and keep going! If you need any help, feel free to reach out to me. Good luck!

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.

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Paul

What do you think holds you back in life? Is it a lack of skill or ability?  More often than not, it is a limiting belief.  In this article, I’m going to cover how to identify and change limiting beliefs, so that you can move forward with your life.

Limiting beliefs often develop in childhood.  They suited us then, but as we become adults, these beliefs start to get in our way and hamper our progress.  This is why it is so important to learn how to change limiting beliefs that now hold you back.

In this article, I cover a 9-step process to help you change limiting beliefs in all areas of life.  This is a very easy and structured process that you can apply to any belief that you feel limits you in some way.

Watch the video below:

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What Are Beliefs?

Beliefs are psychological rules that influence our thoughts and filter our experience of reality. We filter information by deleting, distorting, and generalizing things about our experience.

Beliefs are assumptions about ourselves and other people. They are also our expectations of how the world should be. They help us understand and make sense of the world by providing meaning and certainty.

Beliefs are our interpretation of the things we see, feel, hear, taste, or smell. They are not facts, so they are not true or false. However, they can be mistaken as facts if deeply rooted. Beliefs are conclusions drawn from life experiences, especially those from childhood and younger years.

As we become adults, our life changes, but many of our beliefs don’t change. They start to get in our way. These past beliefs can create limitations on what you believe you can do right now.

How Are Beliefs Created?

Beliefs are created and then ingrained due to repeated situations or events. At first, they are just thoughts. They are based on facts, evidence, reference experiences, or other people.

Over time, thoughts become opinions. You keep thinking about them repetitively and keep taking the same action.

Opinions then turn into beliefs. Beliefs are stronger, more stable, and more robust than opinions.

Beliefs can then turn into convictions. They become so ingrained that they can’t be changed even if all the evidence is to the contrary.

A Baby Elephant and a Flee

I’m now going to give you two examples of how a belief created earlier in life becomes less useful later on.

In India, baby elephants are tied to stumps of trees by ropes. The baby elephant realizes it’s bound to the tree. It can’t move much, so it doesn’t. Then the baby elephant grows. This grown elephant has the strength to take the tree stump down easily. Or break the rope. But it doesn’t because it believes it can’t.

Another example is the flea experiment. A flea is put in a jar with the lid off. Naturally, it jumps out of the jar. It is put back into the jar, but this time, with the lid on. The flea jumps and hits the top. That hurts, so it jolts back down. Over time, it starts jumping less high because it doesn’t want the pain of hitting the lid.

When the lid is taken off, the flea keeps jumping but not quite to the top of the jar. It associates pain with jumping higher. So, it jumps to the height where it feels comfortable. The flea can jump out of that jar anytime and become free. But it won’t because it doesn’t believe it can.

Remove The Emotional Superglue

In both examples, the belief created was useful at first. And it was supported by relevant evidence. There were also some emotions involved, especially in the case of the flea. Hitting the top of the lid was an uncomfortable feeling. So, to break a limiting belief, the first step is to get rid of any emotions.

Imagine a negative belief is like a tabletop. Its legs represent experiences and evidence that back up that belief. The superglue holding those table legs to the tabletop represents the emotions. So to change limiting beliefs, you need to remove the emotional superglue. Then knock out the legs (the evidence that formed the belief). The table will then fall over.

The 9 Step Process to Change Limiting Beliefs

Now, I’m going to cover my 9-step process to help you change a limiting belief.

1. Identify the Limiting Belief

The limiting belief could be an “I am” statement. For example,

  • I am disorganized.
  • I am bad at public speaking.
  • I am a procrastinator.

It could also be about the world in general. For example,

  • I’ll never be able to afford to buy a house.
  • It’s so competitive I can’t keep up.

Remember, these beliefs are not true or false. They’re just helpful or unhelpful. 

2. Examine the Belief

Create a list of what is helpful and not helpful about this belief. Then decide if that belief helps you or is more of a hindrance to your life.

Let’s use exercising as an example. I’m bad at working out and keeping fit.

What is helpful about this belief?

  • It can help me avoid pain and discomfort.
  • Instead of exercising, I could do other useful things.

What is unhelpful about this belief?

  • If I don’t work out, I could get sick later in life.
  • Working out could give me more energy.
  • I could get more things done.
  • I used to be bad at lots of things, but I’ve improved with practice.

Based on the above evidence, decide whether that belief is worth changing or not.

3. Identify the Core Belief Behind It

Behind every belief, there is a fundamental core belief. Here are the main core beliefs.

  • I am not good enough.
  • I am not worthy enough.
  • I don’t deserve this.
  • The world is not a safe place for me.
  • I am powerless.
  • Love and relationships equal pain.

I wonder which of these core beliefs could be behind your limiting belief? By identifying the limiting core belief, you can work directly to change the core belief that drives this and other limiting beliefs. This can be very powerful and enables you to smash other limiting beliefs at the same time.

In the case of my exercise example, the core belief is probably something like I’m not good enough. So, I’m bad at working out and keeping fit because I’m not good enough.

4. Choose a More Useful Belief

A key step to change limiting beliefs is to identify a more useful belief. This is often the opposite of the old limiting belief. Also include the opposite core belief as well. These would be:

  • I am good enough.
  • I am worthy enough.
  • I deserve this.
  • The world is a safe place for me.
  • I am powerful and can influence my world.
  • Love and relationships equal pleasure.

Here are some examples of new empowering beliefs that also incorporate a new positive core belief.

  • I can find a partner that is perfect for me and have a pleasurable and happy relationship. 
  • I deserve to earn as much as I want and I have the mindset, skills and abilities to do that.
  • I am powerful and can influence my world by making small changes every day.

5. Identify The Emotional and Other Payoffs

We usually have some emotional benefits in keeping the limiting belief. These hold the limiting belief in place.

I Can’t Make Money

Let’s take the belief I can’t make more money and become rich, as an example. The emotional benefits or payoffs could be:

  • I can commiserate with friends who also say that they are poor.
  • I can give up trying to make more money and have an easy life instead.
  • I can avoid the extra perceived stress of becoming rich.

I Can’t Talk to the Opposite Sex

What about the limiting belief I can’t talk to the opposite sex? Some of the emotional payoffs could be:

  • I can enjoy going out with my mates.
  • I don’t need to embarrass myself again.
  • I can avoid the complications of being in a relationship.

I’m Bad at Exercise

For the example of being bad at exercise and fitness, some of the emotional benefits could be:

  • It feels comfortable not doing it.
  • I don’t have to put in the work and experience the pain.
  • I don’t need to worry about accidentally injuring myself.

6. Decide If the Emotional Payoff Is Still Worth It

Look at the emotional payoffs that you’ve identified in step 5. Decide whether the limiting belief is worth keeping. If it is, that’s fine. You can stay with that belief.

But if you decide that it’s not, then it’s time to change that belief right now. The act of deciding will start to dissolve that emotional superglue that’s keeping the limiting belief in place.

7. Reframe Existing Evidence

Remember, a belief is our best interpretation based on the evidence we had at the time. But things change. So it’s time to look at the evidence and interpret it in a new way.

Play devil’s advocate! Go and find a different meaning to the existing evidence.

Money Example

Here are some reframes for the money example.

  • Commiserating with friends who are also poor is going to get boring after a while, and it won’t help me.
  • Having an easy life could be nice, but I would never feel truly happy. I would have this nagging doubt in my mind that I could have achieved more.
  • Having a lot of money makes life so much easier.

You can see how I’m reframing the existing evidence here and giving it a new meaning.

Exercise Example

Let’s reframe the evidence around a limiting belief of exercise.

  • If I take things steadily and sensibly, the risk of injuring myself is minimal.
  • I could hurt myself more in the long term by not being active.
  • Anything new feels uncomfortable. Doing what’s uncomfortable builds up mental and physical resilience, and will help me reduce stress.

8. Find New Evidence to Support the New Belief

We’ve already reframed existing evidence. Now we’re going to look for new evidence.

Beliefs focus your mind on certain things. You ignore other evidence that does not match that belief. For instance, if you believe you’re unattractive, you’re more likely to notice funny looks from others. You’re more likely to look at the bits that you don’t like in the mirror. You’re more likely to ignore the smiles, greetings, and compliments. Or you’ll discount them as not relevant. You filter out any information that’s not in line with that limiting belief. This is why limiting beliefs tend to get worse over time.

You have to find new evidence to prove that the old evidence and old beliefs are wrong. You have to knock out those table legs that are behind the limiting belief. Go hunting for new proof and new evidence. Google it, read books, articles, find information that supports that new belief. They’re going to be new legs for the table of your new belief.

Money Example

Let’s take the example of I can earn as much as I want to. New evidence could be:

  • There are people out there with less intelligence, knowledge, and experience that make more money than me.
  • There are plenty of rich people out there that are happy and relaxed.

Exercise Example

In the exercise example, my new belief is exercise is a skill that I can get good at, enjoy, and reap the health benefits. New evidence to support that belief could include:

  • There are people in far worse health than me that have massively improved their health by exercising regularly.
  • All the successful people that I know do regular physical activity and make it a priority in their life. So, to be successful, I need to be physically active.

9. Use Affirmations Correctly

The final step to change limiting beliefs involves using affirmations correctly. If the affirmation is not believable, you’re going to get a conflict. So it’s good to use stepping-stone affirmations. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that you want to change the belief that you don’t deserve success. You decide to replace this with I deserve to be successful. You keep saying this to yourself over and over again. But something happens that you didn’t expect. You experienced some emotional resistance. Why? Because the affirmation was not believable. It was too much the opposite of the old belief.

The solution is to use stepping-stone affirmations. For example, I want to feel that I deserve to become a good mom, dad, tennis player, or whatever you want. Or, when I do my best, the success that I feel I deserve is on its way. I am putting it under my control.

Once you say those affirmations often enough, you get to a point where you can say, I deserve to be successful. You feel that congruently in your body.

Let’s go back to my exercise example. Stepping-stone affirmations could be, every day, I get a little bit better with my exercise routine. Or, the more I exercise, the more I notice improvements to my health.

Take Action!

I hope you found this article on how to change your limiting beliefs useful. Now, identify one, two, or three limiting beliefs you want to change, and go through all these steps yourself. It’s one thing to know something, but it’s much better to do it and experience it. I wish you luck in changing your limiting beliefs and making your life better!

The inspiration and much of the information for this article came from a great YouTube video on Changing Beliefs by Teal Swan. Feel free to watch this video here.

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.

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Paul

I believe that Anxiety is not a condition.  Instead, it’s something that arises from a series of learned behaviors that become habitual over time. Anxious people do certain things that relaxed, calm and confident people simply don’t do! Getting good at anxiety is a skill, albeit one that you don’t consciously develop.

In this article, you will learn the top 7 things that anxious people do. Awareness is the first key to change, so just knowing these may be all it takes to change them. However, I will also provide some tips, techniques, and strategies to help you become a calmer, more relaxed and peaceful person.

Reduce your anxiety feelings and physical symptoms by making a few changes to your mindset, mental focus, and behavior.

Watch the video below:

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1. Anxiety is Not You. It’s Something You Do!

When you think or say phrases to yourself such as “I’m anxious” or “I’m an anxious person” repeatedly, then these phrases will become part of your identity. These are negative affirmations that your subconscious mind will pick up on and start acting on.

However, anxiety is something that you do. It’s not something you are. It’s not part of your identity. Now that you know this, you will find it easier to separate that anxiety feeling from the sense of who you are. This will help you feel less anxious.

When you notice yourself saying “my anxiety”, change it to “that anxiety” or “this anxiety”. This will also help you detach anxiety from being part of you. It then seems more like a behavior that you can change, which is what it really is anyway.

Another way to remove anxiety from your sense of identity is to think about all the other things that you are. Perhaps you’re a mother, father, wife, husband, teacher, doctor, IT professional, or a kind, intelligent or organized person.

When you recognize all the other things that you are, you will realize that being that anxious person is actually a very small part of you. It no longer defines you.

2. Negative View of the Future

Anxious people tend to have a negative view of the future. They think (or even believe) that things are not going to work out well.  They start to imagine the situation turning out badly and think about the worst-case scenario.

A good way to change this is to look back at situations in your life that made you anxious in the past. Then remember what happened AFTER the situation had taken place.  Chances are that the situation turned out OK (or even went brilliantly) and all that worrying was over nothing.

When a similar (or even different) situation arises in the future, you can remember how it turned out last time. Then remind yourself that this is how it is likely to turn out this time too.

3. Don’t Like Change or Uncertainty

Anxious people tend to not like uncertainty or change.   This can be tricky as we live in a rapidly changing world and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon!

So it’s important to become reasonably comfortable with change. If you can accept that change is the only constant, then you will find it easier to accept and deal with the changes that affect your life.

Uncertainty can be exciting! Imagine watching the replay of a soccer match on TV after your friend has already told you the final score. That wouldn’t be the same. Why? because your friend has removed the uncertainty (and excitement) by telling you the score! Imagine how boring life would be without any change.  If every day was exactly the same, then life would soon become very dull.

If your life is quite mundane at the moment, then use this as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and make some changes.  With change comes excitement!

4. Overthinking

Anxious people tend to “overthink” things. They’re not necessarily thinking negatively. They’re just thinking too much about whatever it is that’s making them anxious. Often these thoughts are about the process of fixing things, solving problems or the different options available. A more relaxed person would think more about the benefits and satisfaction of achieving the outcome and have less focus on how it will happen. They have the confidence to know that the right people, things and approaches will come to them naturally.

So how do you know when you are overthinking things? Well, if your thinking is leading you to a solution or course of action, then that’s the right amount of thinking. If it’s keeping you stuck in the problem (with no way out) and it’s making you feel frustrated or overwhelmed, then that’s an excessive amount of thinking. That’s not helpful.

When you notice yourself overthinking (or thinking negatively), say “Stop”, “Delete”, or “thanks for sharing” mentally to yourself.  Then switch to a thought about the positive outcome.

You can also reduce overthinking by physically relaxing.  You can do this through Meditation. Alternatively, my Rapid Relaxation Exercise is a wonderful way to do this quickly. Once your body relaxes, you will notice that your thoughts quieten down as well.

5. What If Questions

Anxious people tend to ask a lot of “What If” questions. That’s not necessarily a problem. It’s great for planning.  The anxiety is created when the “What If” questions are NOT ANSWERED.

So the solution is to answer these “What If” questions when you notice them arise.  By doing this you will develop a plan to deal with any worst-case scenarios that may arise. You will then feel more prepared and better able to cope with these worst-case scenarios if they did happen.

When you ask, but don’t answer “What If” questions, your mind tends to blow things out of proportion.  Answering “What If” questions will give you a reality check and that reduces the feelings of anxiety.

6. Ineffective Compartmentalization

Ineffective Compartmentalization is thinking or worrying about things at times when you cannot act on them. For example, thinking about work problems when enjoying a night out with your partner or close friend.  This takes you out of the present and reduces your enjoyment of relaxing, fun and pleasurable experiences.

When this happens, it can be hard to switch off and relax mentally and emotionally, especially when trying to sleep.

To overcome this, start by becoming more aware of your thoughts. Notice when you are thinking about something at a time when it’s not useful. Then mentally (or even out loud) say “Stop”, “Delete”, or “thanks for sharing”. Then change your focus to the present.

Another good exercise is to imagine putting all your thoughts and worries for one area of life into a locker (like a gym locker) and then locking it. Then take another area of life and put all your thoughts and worries into another locker and lock it. Keep repeating this for all the areas of life that are causing you anxiety. These areas might include work, family, health, partner or kids.

This is a great exercise to do just before bed or when you’re very relaxed.  At these times, you will be sending a clear message to your unconscious mind that it’s time to switch off and relax.

7. Overestimate Risk

The world is not perfect and bad or even terrible things do happen occasionally. Just read the news and you’ll find out about all the terrible things that are happening around the world. A great tip for reducing anxiety is NOT to read the news!

Remember though that in most cases the worst-case scenario is highly unlikely to happen. A plane could crash into the cafe that I’m writing this blog post in! However, it’s highly unlikely!

The key is to think about what is possible but not probable. If something is possible, but highly unlikely then you will naturally feel more relaxed about it. The key is to have an accurate risk assessment of the likelihood of that thing happening.

In Conclusion

If you identified with one or more of the above, then start applying these strategies right now.  By changing your thinking, you can have less anxious moments in your life. It’s worth taking some time now to reduce anxiety and live a more peaceful and happy life.

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.

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

Paul

If you want success, it’s essential to have a burning desire. All success gurus out there will tell you that. And they are right! But what if you don’t have it? Very few of them will show you how to develop it.

Can you Develop a Desire for Success if you don’t have it?

This has bugged me for years. I was determined to find out whether a desire for success was a learnable skill or not. I discovered two things. Firstly, yes, it is a learnable skill. Secondly, you need to fuel that burning desire. All successful people are adding fuel to their desire to keep it burning, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously.

When you come up with a new idea, you naturally get that burning desire. Maybe you want to lose weight or gain muscle. Or you are ready for a new career or business direction. It’s exciting because it’s new, and you have that initial inspiration. You enjoy the learning side of it.

Over time, it starts to fade. If you want to continue, you’ve got to keep that desire burning. Why does that happen? Because eventually, you’re going to hit some obstacles. If you don’t have enough passion, those obstacles will cause you to quit. Or, be inconsistent with the activity necessary to achieve success.

Watch the video below:

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What is a Desire for Success?

A burning desire for success is a 100% commitment to achieving the goal. It’s going from hoping to knowing. It’s when you want it so badly that quitting is not an option. It’s when you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. You will find a way or make a way. In your mind, you already see that goal happening. It’s a continual creative drive. Ask yourself now, am I really driven towards the goal that I want to achieve?

I’m now going to cover the 7 best ways to create a burning desire for success. This will help you achieve your goals and the life of your dreams.

1. Have a Very Specific Goal and Action Plan

To come up with a really specific goal, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • When do I want to achieve it?
  • Where do I want to be when I achieve it?
  • Why do I want to achieve it?
  • How am I going to achieve it?
  • With whom am I going to achieve it?

Some of these questions may not be relevant to every goal, but they will help you get really specific. I’ll give you a couple of examples. Let’s say you have an online business. Your goal is to make $5,000 a month of passive income. You can commit to it 20 hours a week. You want to achieve it by the end of 2020. That is a highly specific business goal.

For a weight-loss example, it could be how much weight you want to lose. Specifically, how much body fat or what body fat percentage? Do you also want to gain muscle? When do you want to achieve it? Within the next three months? Or six months?

Whatever the goal, be as specific as you can. But don’t get too perfectionistic. The main thing is that you have a goal. Write it down. Over time, add the details as they become more obvious.

Create a Plan

You’ve set the goal. Now you need to create a plan. You may not know how you’re going to achieve that goal right away. Just start with some steps. Your plan doesn’t have to be too precise. You can develop it over time, but it’s essential to have a game plan.

People that have a strong desire for success are always setting goals and creating plans. The more specific your goals and plans are, the higher your desire will be. Keep developing the plan over time and notice how the desire for success increases.

2. Focus on Your Goals Daily

You need fuel to keep the fire burning. Review your goals every day. That will keep fueling your burning desire. Successful people do this, consciously or unconsciously.

Think about falling in love. What’s it like? You’re constantly thinking about that other person. The more you think about that person, the more you feel love. That feeling gets stronger and stronger. You feel the burning desire.

People stay in love because they keep thinking about that person for years and decades. Sometimes people seem to fall out of love because they stop thinking about that person. They stop caring. If you’ve ever been in love, you can use that experience to achieve that burning desire in other areas of your life.

How to focus on your goals

The simplest way to focus is to read your goals out loud. Or, to create and read positive affirmations that are relevant to your goals.

Another great way is to visualize having achieved the goal in great detail. Details are very important. Make the image bright, vivid, and colorful. If you can, make it in 3 dimensions, panoramic, and animated. Make sure that you’re visualizing through your own eyes, not seeing yourself in the image. You could listen to inspiring music while you’re doing that to add an extra effect to it.

You could use a vision board. Have a board and post images of your goals. Look at that daily. You could put screensavers on your computer or your mobile phone. These are all great ways.

Whatever you do, the key thing is to incorporate feelings. That’s important because your subconscious mind really picks up on feelings. This will help your unconscious mind start believing you’ve already achieved that goal. Feelings are super important. Make sure you incorporate feelings when you focus on your goals daily.

3. Know What You’re Willing to Give or Sacrifice

You might need to give your time, effort, or money. Maybe you’ll have to study or learn how to achieve your goal. Perhaps, you’ll need to let go or give up a few things, such as time with friends or nights in front of the TV. You must know what you’re willing to give up or sacrifice.

If it’s a business goal, focus on what you’re going to give to other people. The more value you can give to other people, the more successful you’ll be in the long term. This is a good one because it can get you out of your own head. If you think more about how to help other people, you’ll focus less on the time and effort that you’re putting into it.

4. Take Immediate Action

I have found this to be very important. When I’m taking action consistently, I continue to fuel that desire for success. When I take a few days off, I start to see doubts coming into my mind. My desire seems to reduce, and I feel less motivated.

So, if you have a new goal, ask yourself, what is the first obvious step? What’s the first obvious thing you need to do? Here are some examples. If you want an online business, the first obvious step would be to buy a domain name for your website. If you’re looking to lose weight, the first obvious step would be to go into the fridge and clear out all the junk food. If you want to change your career, the first obvious step would be to update your CV or resume. Or research some courses that could help you gain new skills.

You could spend 3 or 4 hours coming up with a grand plan for achieving your goal. Instead, I recommend that you perform or act on the very first step. Do that and then make a plan. That will help you create and maintain that burning desire.

5. Make the Pleasure Outweigh the Pain

Focus on the benefits of achieving your goal. Think less about the effort, time, or money involved. Focusing more on pleasure will help you to fuel that desire for success.

When you focus more on the pain and the work involved, you begin to procrastinate. Motivation reduces. You start taking less action. When you take less action, that desire for success starts to fade. So you must keep focusing on the benefits.

6. Replace Negative Energy with Positive Energy

It can be tough to stay motivated and positive when there are lots of negative sources of energy around you. These can include the news. Instead of reading the news or watching it on TV, watch educational programs.

Maybe you have negative people around. Sometimes it’s hard to keep these people out of your life. Especially if they’re family or close friends. What you can do is try to minimize their influence as much as you can.

For some people, watching horror movies or reading horror books can lead to a negative state. If that’s the case with you, avoid that for a while.

Also, simple things like having a clean and tidy desk with no distractions could be helpful. Or, laughing more. Watch funny programs on TV or funny YouTube videos. Get that nice positive feeling.

Think about this. Are you achieving things to be happy, or are you happily achieving? This idea comes from Steve Pavlina. Most people feel that they must achieve things to be happy. For example, I will be happy when I leave college, get married, become a senior manager or buy a house. But what would it be like to be happy during the process? To be happily achieving rather than achieving to be happy.

7. Burn the Boats!

If all else fails, use this method to create a burning desire. What does “burn the boats” mean? Let me give you a little bit of history.

Back in 1519, Hernan Cortes led 600 Spaniards in 11 boats to Mexico. His goal was to capture the magnificent treasure that was believed to be in Mexico. Upon arrival, Cortes ordered the ships to be burnt and destroyed. Why did he do that? Because it meant that he and all his troops were going to win or perish. They had a much higher burning desire to win because their whole life was at stake. Two years later, they conquered Mexico.

A point of no return

So the story about the burning boats represents a point of no return. It’s a psychological commitment. You have crossed a line, and you’re never going back. In today’s modern world, we don’t need to do something as extreme as that. But there are some things that we can do. The trick here is that there’s no hedging. There’s no looking back over your shoulder. Everything, all your thoughts, and efforts are now directed towards achieving your goal. You cannot go back; you’ve crossed that point of no return.

I deliberately left this one to last because it is the hardest one to achieve. I recommend you work on the others first. But, if this is what you need to get yourself going, then do it. Here are some of the ways you can burn your boats in the modern world where it’s not a life-or-death situation.

Make your goals public

You can do this by telling your friends or having an accountability partner. You could post them on social media. That gives a psychological commitment because you’ve told someone else, and they’re accountable. You’re going to feel bad if you fail to achieve your goals because you’re going to have to explain to them why. That is an excellent psychological way of burning your boats.

Write your resignation letter

If you’ve got a business goal and you plan to quit your day job, then you could write a resignation letter. Give it to a friend and get them to post it or email it to your manager on a specific date. That point of no return means you’ve got to be at a stage where you can earn a full-time income by that date.

Place a bet

Here is another way of burning your boats. You could place a bet. You will lose money if you don’t achieve the goal. As there’s money at stake, this is likely to be very effective!

In Conclusion

Doing these 7 things will help you create a greater belief in achieving your dreams. Your faith in your plans will grow stronger. Most importantly, you will create and maintain that burning desire for success. Good luck!

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.

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Most people think that being rich and being wealthy is the same, but it is not. There is a massive difference.

Rich or Wealthy?

What is being rich? It is having lots of money right now. Earning a six-figure income is typically regarded as being rich.

What is being wealthy? It is having lots of money right now and in the future. Wealthy people can live for months, years, or even decades without working. The reason is, they have achieved financial freedom. They’ve developed residual or passive income sources. Whether they’re working or not, they make money or money comes to them.

When your passive income is greater than your cost of living, you’re financially free. If your cost of living isn’t high, you can achieve financial freedom at a fairly low level of wealth. Robert Kiyosaki points out that the rich have lots of money, but the wealthy don’t worry about money.

Wealth can also be much broader. It can include things like your health, fitness, and family. Or, the quality of your relationships and having a sense of inner peace.

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The Difference Between Rich and Wealthy People

Let’s see what the key differences between rich and wealthy people are.

Celebrity Look vs. Modest Look

Rich people have the celebrity look. They have flash cars, Rolex watches, Gucci belts, designer clothes, and expensive jewelry. They can have all that because they’re making a good income right now. However, that income is temporary because they have no wealth. They’re just giving off the appearance of wealth. That appearance could disappear at any moment. They live from a big paycheck to a big paycheck. Or even worse, that celebrity lifestyle is financed by being in debt.

Wealthy people often have a more modest look. They don’t always go for those fancy things. They would instead save 10, 20, or 30 percent of their earnings. By doing that, they will have more in the future. If a financial crisis happens, like a recession, wealthy people will be in a better position. Why? Because they’ve already built up some money reserves. The crisis would not affect them as much – financially, mentally, or emotionally. They know that they’ve got the financial reserves to get through difficult times.

Less Going Out, More Coming In

If you earn $500,000 a year, and you spend $540,000 a year, are you rich? Well, you might look rich, but I would say you’re not. Why? Because it’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much you keep. On a month-by-month basis, wealthy people might be earning less. But the crucial thing is that they’re saving a lot more.

Wealthy people usually have a lot less money going out than they have coming in. As a result, they don’t need to worry about money. If a short term expense comes up, they can easily afford it. They’re not spending as much as they’re earning, and they’re building up their wealth over time. Also, if something happens in the economy, they can handle it. They don’t need to worry about that.

Money-Making Knowledge

Rich people have money. Sometimes the way they made that money was a bit of luck. They were just in the right place at the right time. Wealthy people know how to make money. Rich people work for money. Wealthy people know how to make money work for them.

Often, the difference between rich and wealthy comes apparent in a recession. Both the rich and the wealthy can lose money. But, the wealthy have the knowledge. They know how to make money. So they bounce back again. There are so many examples of wealthy people that have bounced back from recessions. They knew how to make that money back again.

Is It Sustainable?

How sustainable is their money? Is it easy or hard to lose it? If you think of Bill Gates, he has so much wealth that it would be extremely hard for him to lose it. So a wealthy person has sustainable wealth.

Compare that to a rich person, for example, rich celebrities. They have lots of money now, but there’s no guarantee they’re going to have that money in the future. What if they lose their popularity? What if someone else comes along who’s more liked than they are? Or, more successful than they are?

These celebrities, even if they are successful for a while, often have a fear that they could lose it all in the future. They have that fear of losing, and they’re only rich until the money dries up. That’s often in the back of their minds. Sustainability is a crucial difference between rich and wealthy people.

Active vs. Passive Income

What is an active income? An active income is where you trade your time for money. People working a conventional job are earning an active income. Many self-employed people – like therapists, plumbers, electricians, or personal trainers – earn an active income as well. They’re providing a service, and they get paid for it.

What’s a passive income? With passive income, money is not related to your time and effort. A good source of passive income is earnings from interest on savings. Or, dividends from shares. These are excellent forms of passive income. If you write a book and get royalties from it, that’s a passive income. Or, you can buy a property and have tenants that are paying you rent. You get money from those tenants. It doesn’t matter whether you work or not, you’re getting that rental income.

Quite a lot of people make passive income through an online business. They create products that they sell online. There’s a bit of effort involved in creating the product. But once it’s done, sales come through even when they’re asleep. That’s a key difference. A passive income is a way of making money that isn’t dependent or utterly dependent on your time and effort. It means that you can take a break for a month or two, and that money will still come in.

It’s More Than Money

Rich people tend to focus on money too much. They could be working extremely long hours to make that money. Think about people like stockbrokers, lawyers, and doctors. They are rich, but they could be working 50, 60, maybe even 70 hours a week to sustain their rich lifestyle.

Wealthy people value time. Time is often the most important thing for them.

They also value friendship. That’s very important to them, too. They’re the kind of people that will help you out if needed. There’s a great saying that is “your network is your net worth”. Wealthy people are aware of the value of networks, friends, and family. This is a key difference between rich and wealthy people.

Assets vs. Liabilities

Liabilities cost money to maintain or fix them. Assets don’t. That’s the crucial difference. Examples of assets are stocks and shares or interest on a bank account. A lot of people think that a house is an asset, but it’s not. A house needs maintenance. You could buy a house for $100,000, do it up, and sell it for $200,000. That would seem like a good investment.

But, don’t forget the cost of the work involved. Unexpected costs, like leaks or roof repairs, can happen. You might still make a profit when sold, but it’s still a liability, not an asset until you sell it. You need to put money into it. There’s always a risk that you’ll need to put some money into it in the future. You have to be prepared for that.

Social Media Fascination

Wealthy people are less preoccupied with social media than rich people. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. You’ve seen someone’s new car on Facebook or exotic holiday photos on Instagram. The problem with social media is that it distorts reality. You only see the highlights of someone’s life.

It’s almost like it’s the opposite of the news. The news tells you all the bad stuff that’s going on in the world. Social media shows you all the great stuff that’s happening to other people. This can really distort reality.

What I recommend with social media is that you take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t let what other people are doing on social media distract you from your own financial goals. You can see other people traveling, having beautiful houses, or having kids in private schools. Think if they can really afford that. Are they just living paycheck to paycheck? Or, even worse, borrowing money to achieve that lifestyle?

Nothing Is More Valuable Than Freedom

You now know the difference between rich and wealthy people. Think about what being wealthy means to you. Could it be time with your family and friends? Could it be some time just for you? Perhaps, owning your own home? Maybe, having a cleaner? Or, being able to travel a lot more, and having the time to do it.

I’ll finish off with a few points from the book Simple Path to Wealth by J. L. Collins. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Avoid debt at all costs. Money can buy you many things, but nothing is more valuable than your freedom. So ultimately, having money will set you free. When you can live on four percent of your investments per year, you are truly financially independent.

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.

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Paul

Energy, much more than time, is what you need to achieve your goals and dreams. The number of hours in the day is fixed, but the quality and quantity of your energy are not. How would it feel to be able to do far more in the time available? In this article, I’ll introduce you to 4 types of energy and help you learn how to manage and master your energy.

Don’t Run Out of It!

Every thought, emotion, and behavior affect your energy either in a good or a bad way. The lack of it will negatively affect any activity. It could be studying, public speaking, working, exercising, or playing a sport. It is essential to be aware that your energy is finite!

So what can drain your energy? Relationships, certain situations, activities, habits, or obligations. If you want to perform consistently at a high level, it is crucial to use your energy more consciously, so you never run out of it.

Most successful people know how to engage fully whenever they need to. They also know when it’s time for rest and renewal. If you take no rest, your energy will start to deplete. It’s probably the most obvious with physical energy. When you exercise, you eventually get tired. You need to slow down or take a break. The same applies to the other 3 types of energy.

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Get to Know Your 4 Types of Energy

Most people think that there’s only one type of energy – physical. Actually, there are four!

When you experience different highs and lows, it is due to different types of energy. These different energies work together, and one affects the other. If you are aware of this, you’ll know what to do when you feel down. You will know how to master your energy.

Now, let’s learn about the 4 different types of energy.

1. Physical Energy

When we talk about energy, most people think of physical energy. Mastering this type of energy implies healthy living. Are you eating healthy food? Do you exercise? What is the quality of your sleep?

The lack of exercise, proper nutrition, and sleep will negatively affect your physical energy. Fresh air and sunlight will increase it. The one thing that is also important is your breathing. If you breathe deeply, you’ll have more energy.

What are the things that currently rob you of your physical energy? What are the things that are stopping you from living at your physical peak? Very likely, these will include some of the things I’ve just mentioned.

2. Mental Energy

How well can you focus or concentrate, and for how long? It depends on your mental energy, which is vital for studying, learning, or working. When you do a long stint, your focus and concentration will eventually start to wane. You become less productive. Why is that? Because your mental energy is finite as well. That’s a clue that it’s time to take a break.

What Is Robbing You of Your Mental Energy?

Ask yourself, what are the things that you currently do that rob you of your mental energy? What are the specific things that rob you of your time and focus? What is undermining your productivity in any area of your life?

Things that can negatively affect your mental energy and focus might be as simple as an untidy desk! Or notifications on your computer. You can be distracted by other people – friends, family, or work colleagues. Inefficient systems, such as a slow computer or internet, can also affect you.

Master Your Mental Energy

When you get distracted, it can take up to 10 minutes to get back to the level of concentration that you had before! So the vital question is, do you have control over distractions, and what can you do about them? Sometimes they are not entirely under your control, and you can’t change them immediately. But here are a few things that you can do.

Pomodoro Technique

This is a great technique! The way it works is that you focus on one thing for 25 minutes, and then you take a five-minute break. Then you do another 25 minutes, and then you take another five-minute break. You do this for four cycles, and then you take a longer break. There are helpful Pomodoro apps you can get on your phone, or you can use a timer.

Doing one thing at a time

Some people think that we can multitask. But it is much better to focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others. Avoid distractions as much as possible. Turn off notifications on your computer. It definitely helps!

Meditation

Meditation is excellent for improving your focus and concentration. Doing just a little bit of meditation each day can really help improve your mental energy.

3. Emotional Energy

This type of energy is about how happy you are. Your emotional energy gets drained when you’re stuck in the past. Ruminating over and over again about past events is exhausting. Emotional energy also gets depleted when you have arguments with other people, especially prolonged ones. If you keep going over that argument in your mind, that doesn’t help either. Internal conflicts or hard decision making can also deplete your emotional energy.

What Is Robbing You of Your Emotional Energy?

Did you ever feel your body was fully awake, but you were emotionally drained? That was a clue that your emotional energy needed some attention. Ask yourself, what are the things that rob you of your emotional energy? What are the specific people, places, and things that prevent you from being happy and more joyful in life?

Master Your Emotional Energy

Above all, reduce stressful situations if you can. Find the things that continually seem to drain your energy and life force. The following tips might be helpful.

Focus On What You Want & Set Goals

One of the ways to improve and increase your emotional energy is to start thinking about what you want. Set your goals. It will help you change your center of attention. Your brain will have less time to think about past events and will focus on the future instead.

Deal with Unresolved Negative Emotions

Start focusing on any high-maintenance drama-filled relationships. Deal with people that have been upsetting you. Express how you feel! Releasing emotions is beneficial, especially resentment and anger.

A fantastic way to release emotions is the Sedona Method and you can learn how to do this in this article.

Counseling and therapy might be necessary if you’ve got some quite deep-rooted resentments or other emotional issues.

Imagine a Protective Bubble

Another great way is to imagine a protective, emotional bubble around your body. Imagine that nothing from outside can get to you through this protective bubble. Use this bubble to shield yourself from the negative emotions from the outside.

Highly successful people do this unconsciously. They have a way to prevent negativity from getting in. So, they maintain high emotional energy when things get tough.  You can do this too, now that you know how!

4. Spiritual Energy

The last type of energy is spiritual energy. This type of energy is all about what you see as your purpose in life.

When you have high spiritual energy, you have lots of creative ideas. You get answers to your problems. You have intuitions that lead you through life. You feel connected to nature and other people. Or God, universal consciousness, or some other form of spirituality. You’re really in the flow, and everything seems easy. It’s when the Law of Attraction really starts to work.

When you have low spiritual energy, you pretty much get the opposite. Spiritual energy is also finite, and it’s very hard to be on a spiritual high all the time.

What Is Robbing You of Your Spiritual Energy?

What are the specific people, places, and things that prevent you from fulfilling your highest purpose in life? Maybe it’s your self-worth or self-belief. Certain habits, behaviors, temptations, and weaknesses also take spiritual energy away from you.

Master Your Spiritual Energy

To increase your spiritual energy, focus on positive feelings. Send these out to the world, out to the universe. Remember that the universe picks up on feelings much more than anything else.

Focus more on providing value to others. This is a great way to get you out of your own head and connect you with a higher power, whatever that higher power is for you.

In Conclusion

In reality, these four different types of energy work together.

Since you now know them, you can try and boost each one in turn. Remember that it’s essential to lead a balanced life. You must balance your energy. Learn when you need to take a break and when you need to recharge. This will help you master your energy over time. You will be ready to successfully pursue your dreams and goals.

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.

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Any thought that makes you feel unhappy, frustrated, sad, angry or guilty will almost certainly fit into one of the 12 common thinking traps that I cover in this article.

We take in information from our five senses and it goes through a mental filter. This distorts some incoming information, deletes other bits and then generalizes the remaining information so that it makes sense to us.

This happens all the time, but sometimes the information gets filtered through one of the 12 common thinking traps. When this happens, you can feel negative, pessimistic and stuck.

In this article, I cover the 12 common thinking traps in detail. I also provide some great information to help you steer clear of these thinking traps so that you feel happier, less anxious and more at peace with yourself and others.

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What is a Thinking Trap?

A thinking trap is when you perceive your experience differently to how it really is and that results in you feeling negative and pessimistic. The technical term for this is “cognitive distortions”.

Cognitions are your thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, and values. They represent how you interpret the world. They can also be called TFB loops, which stands for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We have a thought that generates a feeling and that in turn generates a behavior or action.

So let’s get into these 12 common thinking traps or cognitive distortions so that you can identify the ones that you do and start making changes to address these.

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking

This is also known as black and white thinking. It’s about thinking in extremes. Either something is really good or absolutely terrible. There’s no middle ground, only extremes.

Here is an example that came from one of my hypnotherapy clients. She said, “I am a complete failure as a mother”. Deep inside, she believed that she was responsible for her son’s behavior. Now, in reality, there are lots of factors that influence how a child grows up. These include the father, teachers, friends and other kids at school.

Other examples include saying to yourself “I’m a total loser” after making a mistake or saying “my diet is completely ruined” after being tempted by a little bit of chocolate. How about “nobody likes me” after one person took a dislike to you.

So what is happening here? One experience or just some small part of life is creating a negative belief that is very black-and-white.

How do you overcome this? Start by noticing that your experience is not black or white, right or wrong, it’s shades of grey. Most things are good or pretty average with the occasional negative experience thrown in every so often.

When you find yourself falling into this all-or-nothing thinking pattern, simply say “really?” This will force your brain to think of counter-evidence. For example, if you hear yourself saying “I’m a total loser”, then say to yourself “really?”. Your thinking might then change to – “Well, I made that mistake just now, but I’ve already done these things correctly today”.

2. Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is imagining the worst-case scenario without any assessment of how likely that worst-case scenario really is. It’s also about believing that you won’t be able to cope if this scenario did happen.

This cognitive distortion is also called magnifying because you are magnifying errors, fears, and imperfections. Here are some examples to help you understand this cognitive distortion better.

You’re a child at home and you hear your mom and dad arguing. You instantly think they are going to get a divorce and then you wonder how you’ll cope if they do.

A student might say “if I fail this test, my life is over”. The reality is that failing a test is not the end of the world. You can normally re-sit the test or use this as a reason to move your life in a different direction. Failures also help you learn and become better over time.

To overcome this common thinking trap, look at the likely reality. Ask yourself: “How likely is this event to happen?”. In most cases, it’s very unlikely. Also, look at the unexpected things that have happened to you in the past and how you’ve successfully coped with them. This will help you feel that if the worst-case scenario did happen, you would find a way to cope, just as you have done so in the past.

3. Negative Brain Filters

Negative brain filters are about noticing and focussing on negative experiences only and ignoring the positive ones. This is one of the most common thinking traps.

Examples of this include beating yourself up for eating chocolate whilst ignoring all the salads and other healthy foods that you have eaten recently. Or flunking a golf shot and then spending the rest of your golf round focussing on that duff shot, whilst ignoring all the great shots.

To overcome this thinking trap, become consciously aware of the entire experience and notice both the good, average and bad aspects of any activity. Also, focus on gratitude. Think about how well your life is going and all the good things that are happening. This will shift your focus towards what is working in your life and less on what is not working.

4. Mind Reading

Mind Reading is assuming that you know what other people are thinking about you, when there is no real evidence to back that up. You might say: “I know she hates me”, after seeing a certain facial expression in another person or after something they said. However, it is impossible to read the mind of another person. You do not know what is going on in the other person’s mind and their life. Perhaps that person that seemed unfriendly had just been through a major argument with her husband or is currently dealing with a life-threatening illness.

Another example of this common thinking trap is “Others think I’m stupid”. Again, this could be based on a comment someone made, or on a feeling you have around certain people. You might also think “I know they are talking about me behind my back” based on noticing someone saying something to another person and assuming it’s about you.

To overcome this, begin to understand that you are not a mind reader. It is impossible to read someone else’s mind. You get an idea of what others are thinking, but you can never be completely sure.

Instead, test the evidence. So when someone says something negative about you, ask yourself “what else could this mean?” Your answer might be that this person is having a bad day or has a habit of being negative to lots of other people besides you due to their own insecurities or low self-esteem.

5. Fallacy of Change

One of the key common thinking traps is the fallacy of change. This is about wanting or expecting other people to change to make you happy.

The underlying belief behind this is that your happiness depends on someone else. A great example of this thinking trap is “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t spend every Saturday on the golf course”, or “If you really loved me, you would buy me flowers every week”.

You need to realize that happiness is not dependent on other people and their actions. Remember it can be hard for other people to change. If you’ve struggled to change, then its highly likely that other people find changing difficult as well, especially if they don’t have an awareness of self-development.

To overcome this, realize that someone else changing is NOT within your control. You can influence their behavior by what you say and how you act. However, you cannot directly control their behavior. Also, realize that your happiness depends on you and the decisions that you make each day.

6. Fortune Telling

Fortune Telling is thinking or predicting that things will turn out badly. An example of this common thinking trap is “I’ll never be able to change” or “I know I messed up my interview” or “No one is going to talk to me at this party”. It’s basically telling yourself what is going to happen. It’s attempting to predict the future and in a very negative way.

In reality, we cannot predict the future. In fact, thinking about the future in a negative way is more likely to result in the negative thing happening, because that is what you’re mind will now focus on. So it’s totally pointless to think in this way, especially when there is no concrete evidence that this negative experience will actually happen.

The solution is to ask yourself: “What’s the evidence that I’m going to flunk this interview or that I’ll never be able to change?”. When you start asking yourself these questions, you’ll discover that the evidence behind this thinking trap is quite flimsy.

7. Always Being Right

WARNING! This common thinking trap can ruin relationships.

Always being right is constantly proving that your thoughts and actions are the correct ones. You go all out to prove that you’re right, even if you upset others, especially the ones you love. It’s when you think or say “I know I’m right, I’m going to prove I’m right, I’m going to do this at all costs”. It comes across to the other person as not really caring about what they think, or displaying a lack of interest in them.

A great question to ask in this situation is: “Would I rather be right or would I rather be happy?”. When you ask this question, it’s pretty easy to answer. Most people would rather be happy than right, especially if it helps someone close to you feel that you are listening to them and that they have a voice too.

When I overcame the need to always be right, the number of arguments I had with my wife reduced dramatically! I realized that I didn’t need to prove whether I’m right or not and that trying to be right would simply cause more harm. Instead, I now just let go and be happy instead. If you really want to be happy in your intimate relationship (or relationships in general), then this is a really good cognitive distortion to let go of.

Of all the common thinking traps, this is one of the best ones to work on if you want to improve your relationships and how you interact with other people.

8. Labeling

Labeling is describing yourself or your sense of identity with just one word such as “stupid”, “fat” or “disaster”. This is one of the most dangerous common thinking traps, because all behavior stems from your sense of identity. So, if you see yourself as a stupid person (and that becomes part of your identity), then you’ll start doing more stupid things more often.

In reality, we are far too complex to be summed up in a single word. Choose positive phrases and words that are believable and more realistic instead.

9. Overestimating

This is exaggerating the chance that something bad will happen. This cognitive distortion is a little bit like catastrophizing, but it’s more exaggerating the possibility of something bad happening, rather than completely believing it will happen.

For example, if I forget to lock the front door at night, it is very likely that my house will get burgled, even if I live in a low-crime area. The reality is that, if you forgot to lock the front door, you probably wouldn’t get burgled and you would be perfectly safe.

The belief here is that if I forget to do something, then something bad will happen. This is a fundamental belief that is behind people that suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

What about “The next plane that I fly on is going to crash!”. Now we know that in reality, you are far more likely to win the lottery than to be on a plane that crashes. Nevertheless, if a person really believes that the plane that they are on is going to crash, then they won’t enjoy the flight and have a high level of anxiety instead.

The way to deal with this is the same as for catastrophizing which is to realize that the situation is extremely unlikely to happen. More importantly, if it did happen, you would find a way to cope or deal with it.

10. Overgeneralizing

This is making sweeping judgments about yourself based on one or two experiences. It is often characterized by the use of the words “always” and “never”.

This is not helpful, because it takes one or two experiences and applies them to all situations and events. For example, let’s say that you flunk a few words in a presentation. You then think or say “I’m never going to be good at public speaking.” Did you notice the word “never” in there?

Here is another example. Your boss criticizes you for one specific task, so you say to yourself “I always make mistakes”. Notice the word “always” in there.

The way out of this common thinking trap is to realize that you can’t judge yourself based on one or two negative experiences. Look for counter-examples, such as times and situations where you performed well and had good experiences.

11. Blaming

This is refusing to accept your part in a situation or outcome, and instead blaming others. When you blame others, you are not taking responsibility for the situation and how you react to it. When you don’t take responsibility, you have no control or influence, so you feel powerless.

In a business situation, you might say: “It’s not my fault that we lost out on this opportunity”. However, the reality is that it usually takes several people for something to go wrong in a business environment.

To overcome this cognitive distortion, you need to take responsibility for your own mistakes. Understand that you can change your approach and have a part to play in influencing the outcome of any situation.

12. Should Statements

This is when you tell yourself that you “should”, “ought”, or “must” do something, feel something or behave in a certain way. However, this is not how you actually feel and it goes against what you really want to do. It’s thinking about what you should be doing, rather than being true to yourself. Also the words “should”, “ought”, or “must” indicate a lack of choice.

As a result, you feel anxious, frustrated and disappointed with yourself and feel that you are being pressurized by other people or things you “should” do. It can also cause you to have an unrealistic expectation of yourself.

Getting around this simply involves changing your language. Instead of the word “should”, use the word “could”. This makes you feel like you have a choice. You don’t have to do something, you can choose to do it instead.

Other words that give you a feeling of having choices and options are, “choose” and “will”. For example, “I choose to” or “I will do”.

So these are the 12 thinking traps or cognitive distortions that steal your happiness and success in life. These thinking traps are a core component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). An important part of CBT involves challenging these thinking traps or cognitive distortions.

When you challenge and then overcome these thinking traps, you’ll be able to attain more success in life and start living each day to the fullest.

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

Paul