4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Taking Consistent Action

I DIDN’T ALWAYS USE TO BE AN ACTION TAKER.

In fact, I was once the person who said I was going to do things …and then I would quit about two weeks in. Because I wanted things to be perfect. Because I didn’t want people to laugh at me. Because I was scared.

Maybe you can relate.

Maybe you’re scared people will laugh at you or judge you or point out your flaws. And maybe they will, but I’ve learned that when they do that, their actions are a reflection of them – not you. Maybe they’re taking their own pain and suffering out on you. Maybe they see you doing the things they want to do and they’re feeling insecure.

BUT TODAY, I’M GOING TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE ACTION ANYWAY.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a good track record of getting things done.

I didn’t either.

Until I did.

Until I am.

And taking action doesn’t mean taking action once or twice. It means taking action consistently. It means taking action even when it’s not the thing you want to do, because if we did things only when we felt like doing them, we would only do them 20 days out of the year. If you do the math, that’s not a whole lot.

You need to take consistent action to see results. Because despite what they taught us in school, you don’t get a trophy just for showing up.

You have to show up and take action too.

 

4 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM TAKING CONSISTENT ACTION:

 

1. Have a vision and a why for your vision.

Know what you’re working towards and why you’re working towards it, because what I’m starting to realize is that there are seasons to life. Some seasons feel like they flow seamlessly and then there are seasons when you feel like you’re pulling teeth.

But if you have a vision you really, really believe in, you’re going to continue taking that consistent action. You’re going to keep showing up because you believe in your vision.

2. Believe in yourself and believe you can.

If you’re spending every other day wondering if it’s possible, that’s a lot of time and mental energy wasted. To be completely honest, I still do that sometimes. I still spend most days of the week wondering, but wonder and letting doubt take over doesn’t lead to results. And trust me, you want results.

A great way to combat lack of confidence is action. If you take consistent action, you’re going to get better at your craft. I mean, there’s no way around it.

There were times when I didn’t believe in myself, but I took action anyway. I created that confidence when it wasn’t there. You can do that. Consistency builds confidence, because you’re literally showing yourself that you’re capable of great things (and you are).

3. Do not compare yourself to others.

It is so easy for us to compare ourselves to others.

“Are we doing enough?” suddenly turns into “Are we enough?” and suddenly, we’re wondering if we’re enough. You are enough, and you do have what it takes.

No, you are not broken. And no, there is nothing wrong with you. (Had to say that because I’ve asked myself that a couple of times…)

So what if someone is “going faster” than you? Why are we so impatient about everything? What’s the rush? Because overnight success doesn’t exist. It isn’t real. Someone who popped out of nowhere didn’t just suddenly build something overnight despite what the media wants you to think.

4. It’s okay to change your mind.

It’s okay to be okay with where you are even if it’s not “where you think you’re supposed to be”. It’s okay to be in one place today and choose to be in a different place two years from now.

All these suppose to’s and should’s and need’s are only going to hold you back and make you feel more miserable.

Apparently, everyone is an expert on your life nowadays. Everyone has the secret that will unlock all your questions, fears, struggles, etc. No. It’s like the diet and weight loss industry. Everyone “has the secret”.

Here’s “my secret”: Do the work, show up, listen to your heart, be compassionate, and trust the process. And stop getting distracted every 5 minutes.

Seriously, you have to show up and do the work to get the results. And yes, it’s going to be hard some days …most days.

But it’s going to be so, so worth it.

I didn’t always use to be an action taker, but I am now. And I have to tell you – it’s not too late. Take action, start today, and keep going.

YOUR PAST ISN’T YOUR PRESENT, AND YOUR PRESENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE YOUR FUTURE.

If you don’t like the way your life is, change it.

 

 

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This article was written by Molly Mo, a freelance brand designer, graphic designer, and social media strategist who offers her own design services. She also writes for Wholehearted Women.

9 Good Money Habits You Can Form

While you may have ambitious money goals, the key to reaching them is building a collection of smaller everyday habits. By taking baby steps that become second nature over time, you’ll hopefully be able to improve your financial situation. Here are some small habits you can develop today that may help your money grow.

1. AUTO-TRANSFER MONEY INTO SAVINGS.

Setting up automatic transfers is one of the easiest ways to save. To make headway on your goals, auto-transfer a few dollars into your savings account each week. For instance, if you’re trying to save $1,000 in six months for a new computer or a trip, automatically transfer $42 a week into your savings account.

2. PLAN YOUR PURCHASES.

Instead of making a quick run to the drugstore to buy a few items here and there, plan out your shopping trips. Make a list of exactly what you want to buy, and how much you’re going to spend. By having a list and sticking to it, you’ll be better at avoiding impulse buys or picking up items you don’t really need.

The same goes for things you buy online. Figure out what you really need, how much you can afford to spend, and wait at least a few days before making the purchase. If it’s not an essential item, try to wait 30 days before adding it to your cart.

3. SAVE MONEY WITH SUBSTITUTIONS.

Zero in on what’s most important to you and spend the most in those areas. In categories that aren’t as important to you, consider economizing or finding less-expensive alternatives. If you love gourmet cheese, don’t deprive yourself of your favorite Roquefort. But if you couldn’t care less what kind of peanut butter is in your sandwich, get the generic brand.

4. PAY YOURSELF FIRST.

If you want to make sure you’re not overspending, create a budget. But if you want to grow your savings, pay yourself first. That means putting your money toward savings first thing when you get your paycheck, then living off the rest. If you only pay yourself after your bills and expenses are taken care of, you run into the risk of not saving enough to hit your big-picture goals. You can do this by auto-transferring dollars into a savings account or saving a percentage of your take-home pay each month.

5. SEND YOUR SAVINGS INTO A SAVINGS ACCOUNT.

If you’re making a concerted effort to save in different areas of your life, make sure the money you save goes toward your savings. Otherwise, it’s easy to spend the savings, leaving you back where you started.

For instance, if you’ve been brown bagging it to work each day this week, netting you $50 in savings on lunch, directly transfer that $50 into your savings account. Saved $20 on groceries by buying things on sale and scouring for deals on the store app? Put that $20 in an account so it will be there when you need it.

6. SAVE YOUR BONUS CASH.

If you get a raise, had a fantastic month freelancing, take on a side gig, or net a work bonus, commit to putting away some of it. While you may want to enjoy some of the extra money—which is perfectly okay—allocate a percentage of this “bonus money” toward your saving goals.

7. HAVE A PLAN FOR SPARE CHANGE.

That change jangling at the bottom of your pocket? Dump it in a jar and earmark it for a specific saving goal. If you empty your jar a couple of times a year, you’ll be surprised at how quickly those coins have added up.

8. GO LEAN IN ONE SPENDING CATEGORY.

Trying to generate significant savings in every aspect of your life can make you feel spread thin and deprived. Instead, commit to spending less in a specific area. For starters, go for the easy wins. For example, cut back in an area where there’s redundant spending. If you recently joined a sports league, you can probably nix the gym membership. Or if you go to the gym just to use their pool, consider getting a pool pass at a nearby recreation center to save money.

You can also start in spending areas where you’ll have an easier time saving. Let’s say you’re a weekend warrior who lives for Sunday brunch with pals. But you aren’t terribly picky when it comes to what’s stocked in your fridge. In that case, start by saving on groceries that month, and don’t worry about cutting back on eating out for the time being.

9. TRACK YOUR FINANCIAL PROGRESS.

Set aside some time each month to see how much progress you’ve made on your money goals. How much debt have you paid off, and how much headway are you making on saving for a down payment on a home, or for that dream trip next year? Seeing results will help you stay on track. Plus, it’ll give you a boost in motivation, and could help you ramp up on saving.

 

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This article was written by the authors of Mental Floss, an American digital, print, and e-commerce media company focused on millennials.

4 Science-Backed Habits to Make You More Successful

It’s hard to stick to your goals. The desire to eat healthy becomes overwhelmed by a desire to eat a burger. The urge to complete your to-do list takes a back seat to a weekend of Netflix. Goals are being put on the back burner, and the inspiration that was once so strong quickly dwindles.

We all have things that we want to achieve. Whether it’s getting in better shape, writing a book, growing a business or raising a family, our goals keep us inspired about the future. That’s why coming up with goals is so fun—it’s exciting to think about how great it would be if you lost 20 pounds or quit your job to pursue a dream.

We’re hardwired to get excited about these things. The difficulty is sticking to our goals and turning them into realities.

To help, here are four habits that research has shown can have a direct impact on your ability to succeed:

1. Make fewer decisions.

How many decisions do we make every single day? Thousands.

From the moment we wake up, our minds are making decisions: to press snooze or not, whether to look at our phones, whom to text first, which socks to wear—the list goes on. Over the course of a year, those millions of decisions can pile up and result in decision fatigue, the point at which you’re so tired of decisions that you stop giving each decision the attention it deserves.

Kathleen D. Vohs, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, led a great study to uncover the impact that decision-making has on us. Her research found that decision-making depletes the same resources used for self-control and active responding. In various studies, Vohs’ team found that making lots of choices resulted in less physical stamina, reduced persistence in the face of failure, more procrastination and a lowered ability to do arithmetic calculations. From this, we can conclude that by reducing the number of choices you have to make each day, you can limit the negative side effects of decision fatigue.

One simple adjustment could be eating the same breakfast every single day. Rather than debating whether you should have eggs, toast, bagels or tofu scramble, stick to one standard breakfast every morning and reduce the fatigue that comes from constant decision-making.

2. Make time for mindfulness.

What do Oprah, Jack Dorsey and Richard Branson all have in common? Besides great success, each one practices yoga.

Yoga has become one of the fastest growing trends in North America—and for good reason. Study after study demonstrates the benefits of yoga and its impact on health, both physical and mental. One study in particular highlighted the impacts of yoga on high-stress employees: Those who picked up a yoga habit saw a reduction in perceived stress and an improvement in sleep quality.

3. Focus on one task at a time.

I’ve seen many résumés over the years. One thing that people often list under “strengths” that is an immediate turn-off is the word multitasking.

Multitasking is a dangerous habit that can cause more harm than good. In fact, a study conducted by the folks at Stanford University found that multitasking makes you less productive than you would be if you decided to do a single task. Furthermore, the study found that individuals who multitask cannot pay attention, recall information or switch tasks as quickly and effectively as someone who finishes one job at a time.

4. Listen to rock or hip-hop while working.

Last year, the saying “Drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap, and handle it” showed up on mugs, T-shirts and all over the internet. It turns out that this idea is actually supported by science as a great way to be productive.

In a study called “The Music of Power: Perceptual & Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music,” researchers found that high-power music makes people feel more empowered and in control. The study used a series of songs to find out how each kind of music made the participants feel, and it concluded that the background music you listen to can have a direct influence on your mood and that music with bass increased participants’ sense of power.

It’s not easy to adopt new habits. That’s why I challenge you to take one or two of these ideas and implement them in your life, rather than all four. If you can take just one of these habits and make it your own, it’s likely that you will begin to notice immediate changes and improvements in your life.

Be aware of the habits you embrace and stay committed to achieving your goals. Success doesn’t happen just because you made some goals. Success happens because you wake up every single day, embrace a series of habits and take the small steps you need to turn your big dreams into realities.

 

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This article was written by Ross Simmons, a digital marketing strategist who has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 brands. He’s also the co-founder of Crate, a content curation tool, and Hustle & Grind, an online store for entrepreneurs. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing and all things tech.

What is a Goal?

This may seem like a silly question, but we still see poor goal setting all the time at 360 Fitness from new members coming in and it’s not as easy as you think to set proper goals.

And that makes it even harder to achieve them.

Ok, first things first – let’s actually start with what is NOT a goal…

“I want to lose weight.”

“I want to feel better.”

“I want to tone up.”

What’s wrong with these, you ask? They’re not specific to start with. They’re just kind of an idea. If you want to set goals that you can achieve set SMART goals.

S-specific – “I want to lose 10lbs, 5% body fat and fit back into my old size six jeans.”

M-measurable. There should be no doubt whether or not you reached your goals. You could measure by weight you want to lift, clothing size, inches, etc.

A-attainable. Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure! Not too hard, not too easy.

R-relevant. Must meet your individual needs and your WHY.

T-timely. Give yourself a deadline. “I will accomplish this by May 1st.”

Take 15 minutes and write down your SMART goals.

Example: “I will lose 10lbs and/or 5 per cent body fat and fit back into my size six jeans by May 1st.

“I will do this by coming to 360 Fitness three times per week, doing two home workouts per week, drinking half my body weight in ounces of water per day, eating protein with every meal and eating no less than five servings of veggies per day.”

This may seem super simple but it’s not. It’s always easy to just make broad outcome based goals but to connect them with behavior and action is the hard part.

I cannot stress enough how important goal setting is! I have goals. Our personal trainers at 360 Fitness have goals. Our clients have goals. Always aim to be better!

There are two types of goals: outcome goals and behavior goals.

In the example, the first sentence is your OUTCOME goal and the second sentence is your BEHAVIOR goal. You should have both, but your focus should be more on the behaviour goals. The outcome (end goal) comes when the right behaviors are practiced consistently!

I hope this makes sense! Spend a little time on this, then let me know your SMART GOALS!

 

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This article was written by Jack Wheeler, a writer, personal trainer, and owner of 360 Fitness in Redwood, a training and exercise program. 

4 Ways to Maintain Momentum

That’s it, you tell yourself. This time I’m doing it. For real!

Fed up, you make yet another commitment to yourself: Start that business, hit the gym, save more money, stop dating losers or get serious about your future.

You know you need to do it. For some reason, though, it feels impossible to muster the energy to simply get started. Don’t worry; it’s not just in your head. Getting started is hard. The secret to building and maintaining momentum lies in science.

In chemistry, you need a big burst of initial energy to start a chemical reaction. This explosion of energy is called activation energy. What does it have to do with your personal goals? Everything.

New habits and a new mindset will require a personal explosion. You’ll never feel like it; you’ll never be ready; there is no right time. Suck it up, give yourself a push and get started. Once you’ve started, it’s easy to flame out—unless you know the science-backed tricks for maintaining momentum.

1. Do something tiny every day.

This idea comes from BJ Fogg, a Stanford University researcher. When you set the bar low, it’s easier to stick to your goals. If you’ve just started trying to get back in shape, for example, forget the long workout. Instead do five minutes on the treadmill and five pushups a day. I transformed my health by simply walking for 10 minutes every day. I didn’t have an hour, but I could always find 10 minutes. When you start with something easy, you’ll see yourself win and you’ll keep going.

2. Progress must be celebrated.

Making progress in small ways doesn’t always feel like it’s making a big difference. But research from Harvard University Business School discovered that recognizing your small progress every day is the key to productivity and happiness. To make the effect even greater, reward yourself—but only in ways that actually further your goals. Topping off a 5-mile run with a bowl of ice cream is different than rewarding yourself with a deep-tissue massage.

3. Focus on the smaller number.

You can measure progress by how much you’ve done or how much you still have left to do. A study from the University of Chicago discovered that you’ll be way more motivated if you focus on the smaller of two numbers. For example, focus on the 3 pounds you’ve already lost, not the 17 more to go. Each new action feels even more impactful when compared to a smaller number.

4. Keep a “did it” list.

My son’s school uses a program called “Track My Progress” for measuring homework completion rates, and every day he can see how he’s improving. It works like magic to keep him engaged. This week, try keeping your own “did it” list. It’s the opposite of a to-do list. Fill it with every single small task you complete. Keep it in a visible place. Research proves that seeing your progress and how much you have completed will inspire you to keep pushing.

Remember, it’s all science. You need a big explosion to start a change, but it’s the tiny moves forward that will make a lasting difference.

 

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This article was written by Mel Robbins, a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine, best-selling author, CNN commentator, creator of the “5 Second Rule” and the busiest female motivational speaker in the world. To find out more, visit her website: MelRobbins.com. To follow her on Twitter: Twitter.com/melrobbins.

6 Powerful Ways to Become More Persistent (And Never Quit Again)

Most of us are great at setting goals, but not at achieving them.

Whether it’s starting a new business, learning a new language, or mastering an instrument — we love to start things without finishing. One of the biggest reasons why we never achieve our goals is due to a lack of motivation and persistency.

We start out with an abundance of optimism about the journey, without fully being mentally prepared for the inevitable obstacles ahead. As Tony Robbins quotes, “success in anything is 80% psychology, and 20% mechanics.”

Let’s uncover the 6 powerful ways to become more persistent, so you’ll never quit again.

1. Have a vision bigger than yourself

It all starts with this first step.

Without a bigger vision and purpose that is greater than yourself, you’ll quit at the initial stages of difficulty, as you will inevitably be knocked down.

However, when you’re achieving something for a purpose outside of yourself, the pressure of accountability alone will push you further than a purpose that is self-centered.

For example, if you’re learning a language in order to have a deeper connection with your life partner, you’re much more likely to persist because your relationship is on the line.

Or if you’re trying to lose weight, think about how confident, joyful, and happy you will feel, and how that will affect the loved ones around you.

Shifting from a self-centered goal to a bigger purpose that affects those you love helps you focus on what you will get out of it, instead of how hard it is.

2. Build a support team

As the popular saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The top performers in the world all have a support team to keep them motivated and persistent, from personal coaches, employees, assistants, mentors, accountability partners — the list goes on.

More importantly, you should surround yourself with individuals who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Not only will this affect your speed of learning, but science has shown that it will impact your persistency and resiliency when things get difficult. When you have a clearly-defined purpose, with a state of certainty that you can achieve it, you influence a system in our body called the reticular activating system (RAS), that helps our brains decide what information to focus on and what to delete.

In summary, your mind starts to focus your energy on achieving the goal at hand, instead of unhelpful distractions like doubts and fears.

3. Have a Growth Mindset

In order to achieve our goals, we often have to get out of our own way.

The author of Mindset, Carol Dweck, spent twenty years researching how our mindset affects success. The research claims that individuals either have the growth mindset, where you thrive on challenges to achieve success, or the fixed mindset, where you think you were born into natural intelligence and talent. Dweck concluded that those with the growth mindset led happier relationships, achieved more success in the classroom, and were much more persistent through difficulties.

In other words, we should focus on celebrating small wins and progress, knowing that we are continuing to improve, rather than having lofty expectations.

4. Schedule it

The most successful people in the world, from billionaire entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, and world-class learners, all use schedules to priortize their day.

Why not a to-do list?

According to a researcher Kevin Kruse, there are a few key weaknesses of a to-do list:

  • Doesn’t account for time. When we have a long list of tasks, we tend to tackle those that can be completed quickly in a few minutes, leaving the longer items left undone. Research from the company iDoneThis indicates that 41% of all to-do list items are never completed!
  • Doesn’t distinguish between urgent and important. Once again, our impulse is to fight the urgent and ignore the important. (Are you overdue for your next colonoscopy or mammogram?)
  • Contribute to stress. In what’s known in psychology as the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts. It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night.

Instead we should focus on scheduling our priorities, such as reviewing your Spanish common words, practicing the drums, or writing 500 words for your upcoming book.

What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.

5. Teach Others

Have you ever taught something you learned to someone, and found it easier to remember in the future?

This is because when we teach something to someone, our brain is able to register the information more effectively than simply reading about it.

As research shows, it turns out that people retain:

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately

This research finding is especially relevant for those wanting to master a new skill.

If you’re wanting to improve your communication skills, don’t just watch others do it, you need to immediately use what you’ve learned.

If you’re learning a new language, instead of using one-sided interactions like audio tapes or mobile apps, work with a language teacher or conversation exchange partner to practice what you’re learning.

The key to learning with persistency is to use it (or lose it).

6. Have stakes

Why are we less likely to be late to a business meeting than a meeting with our friends? Because the former could get us fired.

As humans, we’re naturally more motivated to commit when there is a consequence or a stake, even if it’s a friendly one.

Research shows that we are three times the more influenced by negative consequences than positive consequences, so stakes such as losing money is a powerful incentive to use against yourself.

You can either make a friendly bet with a friend, who will keep you honest, or use program like StickK, where you can set a specific goal with a referee to monitor you, and donate money to a charity as a consequence for not succeeding.

The key is to get someone involved from your support team, and share your goals publicly. The social pressure of affecting your reputation alone will push you further than you can imagine.

 

 

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This article was written by Sean Kim, a writer and founder and CEO of Rype, the first personalized language learning website.

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