“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget


Ok so after our first post last week on making this the best year of your life, I’ve outlined a few other ways in which you can change for the better.

Utilizing your mind.

Your mind is a powerful tool but like a flower, it needs constant attention and nourishment. Kick this new year off with some good old fashioned self improvement. Seek out to learn a new skill, it’s never too early to beef up your epitaph.

The obvious choice is to learn a new language. However, it’s hard to get a start on this goal unless you take a class. you’ve got two options; go to your local community college and sign up for a part time/ night course where you’ll be supplied all the materials needed along with tutelage for a price. The other choice is to undertake a course online from places like Duolingo. Now if learning a new language isn’t your cup of tea, why not learn some new skills to polish up your resume or  just use these online resources to bulk up your knowledge.

The other way you can utilize your mind this year is to improve your mental health and confidence. I’ve already talked about meditation in the last post but try incorporate positive affirmations into your daily life; adopt a mantra.

Everyone familiar with affirmations knows that repetition and belief are the two keys to success with them. The reason is that each addresses a separate part of the thought change process. Repetition is important as the more you do something, the more it becomes subconscious. Take for example your job; I’m sure you can walk into work and switch to autopilot and do all the tasks assigned to you in a clear and focused manner. The same works for affirmations. The more you repeat the mantra, the more it attaches itself to your subconsciousness.

You cannot just affirm, “I am a smart person,” or “I am a great baseball player,” or “I am healthier every day,” ten times and expect it to really impact your subconscious. That is insufficient to counter long-held and often repeated opposing beliefs about these things. That’s all affirmations are: simple, positive thoughts and ideas designed to replace limiting thoughts and ideas holding you back in life.

That’s were the belief part comes in.

When I talk about belief and affirmations, I am talking about the belief in the accomplishment, goal, or dream you are pursuing. I am talking about a commitment and a plan of action to coincide with the use of the affirmations. The belief, the willingness to believe, or at least the desire to “go for it” must already be present in you. these affirmations can be about everything from weight loss, to career goals to self confidence. Below are some examples I’ve come across

-Today I am turning my goals into action and my actions into results.
-My goals are right in front of me. Today I’m all about achieving them!
-Today I master my distractions before they master me!
-Today my believing becomes achieving, as my actions turn to results.

Start thinking positively and using affirmations in your life goals and see how things improve, just be ready to put in the time, this wont be an overnight fix.

 Setting goals,Weekly Planning

If you don’t know where your going, how will you know when you get there?

Simple phrase, but one of the utmost importance when trying to get your life on track. I suffer from the rare disease called “procrastination” which means if I don’t have a set guide to my time management, stuff starts to slide. This meant that during my college years, there was way too many nights filled with red bull, a packet of smokes and a 1500 word count to finish for the next day. I’ve realised that I need a set time frame to operate properly. As such I’ve tried to set out life goals that I want to try tick off the list over a year but I’ve also started to plan out my weekly goals to stop things falling between the cracks and getting my ass out of bed instead of snoozing all day.

As The Art of Manliness states
” The power of weekly planning lies in the perspective and control it provides for your life; instead of drifting along, you give yourself a birds-eye view of the maze below…  It allows you to manage the day-to-day and often trivial tasks along with your long-term plans and goals….it’s where you hash out the tactics and logistics to make your long-term vision a reality.”

So grab a piece of paper and sit down and write down anything you need to do this week. This includes work shifts, dinner plans, books you want to read, gym time and so on. Next start blocking out a calendar (physical or digital for those that like things all synced up). Start with work shifts and ‘big blocks’- tasks you need to complete that are time consuming (article, assignment, interviews).
From there continue blocking out your week filling in gym times, reading time, dates etc.. Have a set day where you’ll plan your week and review the successes and failures of the previous week and look forward to the next week. Get into a routine and you’ll find you actually have a lot more time on your hands that you can appreciate more.

Travel / Volunteering

It’s a new year and you’re talking about how you want to go visit (insert place here).
My advice? Less talk, more walk.

Keep an eye on Skyscanner for cheap flights, check out couch-surfing for free/cheap accommodation. Research is essential here. You may want to see sunny Florida but without planning, you may show up during hurricane  season. Cost also plays a factor as certain times of the year the cost of living and accommodation will rise due to a certain festival or event ( see Oktoberfest).

For those of ye who may be more of a philanthropist, why not volunteer at your local homeless shelter or give blood. You can also use your travels to help volunteer. A fantastic site I came across was Workaway.info. You pick a place you want to see and in exchange for food and board, you can offer your time helping out as everything from a  farmhand, carpenter or even a babysitter. The site requires a membership of $25 a year but for those who seriously love to travel and see the world it’s a small price to pay for visiting somewhere new and experiencing different cultures.

Creating (or breaking) powerful habits 

 Finally, for those who are looking at creating or forming new habits there is only one piece of advice. Repetition. As outlined above, repeating tasks over and over keeps them within your subconscious and becomes second nature. Whether its quitting smoking or getting up earlier in the morning, the key is to repeat tasks (or break habits such as smoking) for 30 days.
Whatever it is about this time frame, it seems that 30 days is an appropriate time to learn or unlearn skills.

Check out this quick 10 minute TED Talk about achieving goals. (Watching some TED talks should also be added to your weekly plan, some fascinating ideas are being discussed and you can learn new information in small easy to understand videos.)


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