Change Your Life in 3 Steps

A while back I had a co-worker who would always complain. She would complain about her job, her relationships and about being a single mom.

At first I tried to let her see the good things in her life. After a while I started getting inpatient when I was at work. I started seeing the negative in every situation. Slowly I joined her on the complaining and we both became world-class complainers about everything in our lives.

As time went by I started noticing a decline in my productivity.   My body felt exhausted all the time. I wasn’t in the mood to do anything. I started focusing on the set backs in my life instead of what I’ve accomplished.

When I finally realized that it was my attitude that got in the way of my growth I had to decide to change. Of course it took some time for me to get back to where I am today but it was one of the most important changes I have ever made.

How I Changed My Life

1. First I evaluated my life to find out where I was satisfied. I have an amazing family who cares about me. Plus, I was working towards what I was passionate about; finding happiness and helping others.

2. The next step was rather hard because I had to be honest with myself to identify where in my life I was not happy. This is what I came up with for my unhappiness:

▪   I worried too much about what other people thought about me rather than what I thought about myself

▪   I found it hard to say “No” which put my priorities aside sometimes

▪   I had too much on my plate and I overworked myself trying to get everything done

▪   I didn’t have enough positive friends

▪   I had too high of expectations. Which led to disappointments.

3. After reviewing my lists, I figured out where I had to focus. So, I started to:

▪   Associate with people who had a positive approach to life

▪   Focus more on what I thought about myself rather than what others think

▪   Focus on my priorities and learned how to say “No”

▪   I started to plan and focus on a couple of tasks at a time

▪   Have realistic expectations

The Outcomes of My Decisions

Achieving my goals. When I changed my attitude I started accomplishing more. It gave me the “push” I needed to work harder.

Recognizing opportunities. I noticed right away that by being positive I saw more opportunities open up for me. When I was busy complaining I didn’t have time to  make the changes I needed to.

Appreciation. Once I started appreciating people for who they are and not what I expected from them my relationships improved. I found a deeper meaning associated with my surroundings and I will never take it for granted.

When you change your attitude you will find that you will appreciate the simple things in life. Instead of what you don’t have you will focus on what you have and how to make the best out of it.

So let go of negative thoughts and start living your life like you should.

Share your thoughts: What do you think is the best way to change your attitude about life? How can you surround yourself with positive friends?

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7 Reasons NOT to Take the Easy Way Out

Have you ever considered calling the numbers that promised to get you rich fast? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to accomplish your goals overnight? Then this post is for you.

When I was younger I focused more on getting things done as soon as possible. I rushed through my daily tasks. But over time I realized the value of experience. Nothing beats the way I feel when I achieve my goals. The harder I work the more I appreciated what life has to offer.

Here are some reasons why you should never take the easy way out.

1. Don’t take experience for granted

Experience is one thing I have seen most people take for granted. Whenever you question any particular part in your life you need to think about what experiences you are getting out of it. You need to learn from every experience, good or bad, and be open to new opportunities that come with it.

2. Find different ways to solve problems

Unless you go through something you will not know how to overcome its challenges. The more you practice taking on challenges the better you get at finding resolutions. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect”.

3. Appreciate outcome

As humans we tend to appreciate that which we worked so hard for. So give it your all, put in the time, work late hours if you have to and earn your success. You will be grateful that you did. Plus you will look back at the time and have no regrets.

4. Build your confidence

When you take on a challenge, master new skills, and carry out your goals you will surely feel great. You will be motivated to push your self further and take on new challenges. This can come from different aspects of your accomplishment: from people recognizing and congratulating you, to the voice inside of you that tells you “great job!”.

5. Find reasons to celebrate

When you work hard toward your goals celebrating becomes worth it. You need to reward yourself and appreciate your hard work paying off. When you think of the challenges that you face think of how you will celebrate with family and friends. That will get you going and motivated.

6. Acquire new skills 

When you take on a challenge you learn new skills. These skills include planning, organizing, time management, and more. By putting in the work you will learn skills you were lacking and improve skills you already have.

7. Hard work teaches patience

Working toward a certain goal teaches you patience.  Patience is very important for all aspects of life. The more challenges you face the better you will get at being patient.

For those of you who are tempted to fall for the get- rich- over night ads remember that you would be doing yourself a favor by putting in the time and actually working hard towards your goals.

Share your thoughts:- I would love to hear your story. When was the last time your hard work paid off?

How To Focus On What Matters

“Stop caring what other people think. How? Understand that this is your life, not theirs, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped…their opinion shouldn’t matter more than your own.”
― Stephanie Klein

We all like to be accepted. We like to know that people like us. We like to see people approve our actions and beliefs. In the process of seeking for others’ approval we often forget to focus on ourselves.

This includes caring too much about what people think or even constantly worrying about what people might think or say about you. This might even hold you back from the things you enjoy.

In my personal, life I have battled to shape what people thought about me. But I failed miserably. This is because I have no control over what people think or say about me no matter how hard I try. In order to do the things I believe in I had to change my ways.

So I started focusing n what is important to me without worrying about what others have to say about it. Easier said than done, right? Well here are my tips to stop worrying about what others think:

1. Confidence. In order to stop worrying about people judging you, you need to have confidence in all you do. Once you let the world know that you stand up for what you believe in life gets easier. Confidence is very important to get you to where you want. Confidence helps you carry out your goals without constantly doubting yourself. It also gets you respect from people around you.

2. Focus. After you accept the fact that it’s not possible to please everyone you need to lay out a plan that will help you focus on what matters; your life. This is important because while you’re worrying about what others think you will forget to live your life. So start now and focus on you. What do you want to do? How would you want to live your life? What are your values?

3. Accept that you will not please everyone. As a person who tried to make everyone happy, this tip was hard for me to accept.  We all have different priorities and goals. What you focus on might seem irrelevant to others. When you go out of your way to please others you will fall behind on your own priorities. So stop worrying about what people think because you can never please everyone.

So here is to living life with no restrictions, living life to the fullest and making sure that your decision is what matters most. Here is to yet another year of making your dreams come true without worrying about what others think of you.

Share your thoughts: Why do you think we care about what people think? Is there a time when worrying about what people might think held you back from what you wanted to do?

Get More by Giving Back

Once in a while I like to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. But often fear of the unknown tries to hold me back. One of the few things on my “To Do List” was volunteering. But I never got around to doing it.

As I was getting ready for another semester it was mandatory to volunteer as part of the class. This gave me a good reason not to put it off any longer. I had to volunteer once a week for 3 months usually on Monday afternoons. I had no idea what to expect because it was my first time.

My first day was one of the most exciting times of my life. I enjoyed every part of it, and I was grateful that I was giving back to my community.  So for the year 2012 try to get out of your way and try something new. And if you were considering volunteering before, or would love to start now, here is why you should try it out for 2012.

Volunteering will help you:

1. Improve and acquire new skills. Before volunteering I was a bit uncomfortable talking to people I didn’t know on the phone. This was because it makes it difficult to see their body language to see how they feel about certain questions. I was also not the best person to use a phone with multiple lines. But after my volunteering experience I can answer multiple calls without getting nervous.

2. Feel like you’re part of the community. Volunteering helps you find out what the problems within your community exists. This gives you an opportunity to help resolve the problems. Volunteering also opens up different doors for you. You can find out the roles different people and organizations play within your community. The more you know about your community the better you can serve it.

3. Get motivates and gives a sense of achievement. Volunteering taught me to stay positive. Because I was volunteering for a cause that needs time I needed to be patient for the major changes to come and appreciate the small changes that we were seeing now. It also showed me that a single person’s contribution helps a lot. Knowing that made me think of better ways in which I can get involved to improve my community.

4.  Get the job you always wanted. I went for an interview recently and for half of the time we talked about my volunteering experience. It is very important to have something that stands out on your resume. It also shows how dedicated you are and willing to help for FREE. It tells them that you will be a team player and a hard worker. Imagine how good that sounds to a prospective employer.

5. Meet people from all walks of life. It’s amazing to meet people from different parts of the world. It made me realize that at the end of the day no matter where we’re from we all want to do something good. We all want to see a better world. We are all the same.

We often take the simple things in life for granted. Volunteering at a local nursing home or any other place for an hour a week makes a big difference. There are so many people who need a helping hand. So start now and see what volunteering can do for you.

Share your thoughts: What do you think about volunteering? If you have volunteered what are the reason that made you start? And what would you add to the list on why people should consider volunteering?

Why I Should Stop Saying “I Don’t Know”

My husband(Abdi)  hates three words “I don’t know”. Anytime I use those words I see his facial expression changing.

That was how I answered most of the questions he asked me . And thanks to him I have worked on not using those words often.

So why does it bother him? It wasn’t that I didn’t know but that  it made it seem like I really didn’t care enough to answer the questions he might ask. Or that i didn’t put enough thought into my answers. Those questions of course weren’t that serious. But even if it is about what to eat or where something was in the house Abdi took it seriously when I said I didn’t know.

One day Abdi finally said,”you know why it bothers me when you say “I don’t know'” and of course I knew why I just didn’t want to hear it but I said, “yes babe why?”

“Because you make it seem like you don’t even think about what am asking you before you answer”

Oh man, I’m in trouble. But Abdi being the man that he is smiles and says, “Just stop saying you don’t know for everything. So what movie should I rent for tonight?”

“I don’t know” I answer.

He rolls his eyes gives me a kiss and says,”come on let’s go!”

So I had to go to the Red box to stand in line to pick out a movie. Great!

Share Your Thoughts:- What words are you trying to avoid using? How important are the words you use in your conversations? Do you find yourself judging other for their choice of words?

The Gratitude List

Gratitude is the best attitude.  ~Author Unknown
The spirit of Thanksgiving is undoubtably uplifting. Families and friends get together, cook, eat and celebrate. But above all it reminds everyone to be grateful for everything they have.

I believe that we should keep the spirit of Thanksgiving all year round. It is easy to take our blessings for granted. So the easiest way to start is by constantly reminding ourselves about our blessings.

One of the ways I do that is by using the same list below in times of need. As soon as I find myself in a situation where I am about to fall apart I take out a paper and write down all my blessings. It helps me realize that a certain situation is not above all of my blessings.

Here are the things I often write down on my list:-

  • Being alive
  • My health
  • My family and friends
  • Being a mother
  • Being a woman
  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Peace
  • My strength
  • Food
  • Water
  • Rainfall
  • Sunshine
  • The Moon
  • Technology
  • Volunteers around the world
  • People who inspire me
  • Cultures around the world
  • Education
  • Endless opportunities
Oprah Winfrey said “If you start being grateful for what you have, you will begin to see that you have more. That is how you increase abundance in your life, is by seeing what you already have.” Therefore, it is very important to know what you are fortunate to have.
Share Your Thoughts:- What are you grateful for? How can you use your grateful list to inspire you in your everyday life?

8 Ways to Achieve Your Goals

Unless you have a definite, precise, clearly set goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you.
Zig Ziglar

We all have goals we want to achieve in our lives.  But it sometimes seems like a long journey. This is because of all the distractions that we might come across in our daily lives. A good example is the time we spend watching TV or even chatting online with friends.

Stuart Wilde once  said “Sometimes, we just don’t know enough about what we are trying to achieve”. The most important step in achieving our goals is to know what we are trying to achieve and what it takes to achieve it. There should be a clear and concise plan that will map out the direction we want to follow. If the  goal itself is clearly defined it makes it so much easier to go after it.

For example, if you are trying to learn Spanish you will need to know why you want to learn and how you will learn it. You will then need to state out your reasons (travel, for fun, for work, etc.) and state out how (if you want to learn online, sign up for a class at school, or even go to a Spanish-speaking country). You will need to understand that the learning process takes time and that you have to work hard for it. So after defining your goals and  how you want to go for it, the fun begins .

Here are 8 ways to achieve anything you want

1. Set clear and realistic goals. Don’t pretend that you are Superman/Superwoman. We all are guilty of listing hundreds of things we want to do for our New Year’s Resolutions but we know that we will be writing up the same list the next year. In order to avoid that focus on two or more short-term goals and one or two long-term goals at a time you have to stay true to yourself and know what is important and what you can do in a given time. It is very important to prioritize and keep track of your achievements as you go along. (See #5)

2. Believe in your self. We all have different attributes and we often fail to embrace them and be proud of ourselves. Before even thinking about a goal you need to have confidence in yourself. You need to know that anything is possible and if you work hard nothing is beyond your reach.

3. Wake up early. This might seem difficult at first especially if you stay up late at night. But it might end up being the greatest change you’ve ever made to your daily routine. Your day will get longer and you will get more accomplished. At the same time you will also be doing your self some good by getting the sleep you need.

4. Have a deadline. When you have a deadline you know that you have a limited amount of time and no space for procrastination. I suggest that you take your deadline seriously and keep on working hard to meet it. You should, under no circumstances wait until the last-minute to get everything done. (See #8)

5. Evaluate. You need to look back at your plan regularly to make sure that you are on the right track because you might get carried away and divert from your original goal. Another important reason to look at your plan is to learn from your mistakes and to see where you have gone wrong, if at all.

6. Be consistent. The more consistent you are the easier it is to achieve your goals. It will be difficult to achieve your goals if you change them regularly. It is also better to concentrate on only a couple of goals rather than several at the same time. Remember to take it one day at a time.

7. Get motivation and inspiration. We all need inspiration and motivation at times and it is important to know what or who inspires you. Who are your role models? What do you like about them? Then think of how you can use that to achieve your goals. Whenever I achieve short-term goals I use that sense of accomplishment as my own motivation. So sometimes try to look at yourself as your primary motivator.

8. Improve time management and organizational skills. It is very important in your life to know how you spend your time. Time is a precious gift that you can’t bring back. So use your time wisely. Develop the skills you need to use your time efficiently. You have to break down your time and assign different tasks to avoid waiting until the last-minute to get everything done. You need structure in your life to make sure you stay on the right track.

There you go. Now you have the 8 ways you can use to achieve your goals. Remember to always stay positive and stay focused through out your plan to achieving anything you want.

Share your thoughts: What steps do you use to plan and achieve your goals? Which steps from the above list do you use?

3 Ways to A Productive Day

I was losing my sense of time. I had busier days than I should. This was because my days were spent on the phone, on the Internet (usually Facebook and other social networks) and I used the word “busy” a lot but I didn’t feel as though I was accomplishing my goals.

This was mainly because I was a stay-at-home mom and had plenty to do. But even then most of the chores around the house were done by my lovely husband . So why were my days going by so fast and at the end of the day I was left feeling like I wasted most of my days?

It was because I would set myself up for failure. I would take on several tasks at once. I would plan for things that I could not get to and had no idea what my priorities were.

After I started working, going to school, and being a mom I knew I had to change my ways and use my time efficiently. So for those of you who have been asking me how I do it this is how:

1. Find Out How You Spend Your Time

I had to sit down and evaluate how I spend my days. My husband loves to socialize so we were wasting so much time a week at different people’s houses to the point where I even missed my home. There is nothing wrong with spending time with your friends but everything should have a limit.

I was a TV junky. I would watch different TV shows, news, and as much as I hate to admit it, I even started watching reality shows and that took up a lot of my time. So I made sure I was honest with myself.  I tracked my daily routine and crossed out the things I should not spend time on.

Take your time and think about what you do during the day. Although we all have daily routines that are a waste of time we seldom admit it. So take charge of your time. Value your time and don’t waste it.

2. Write Down Your Goals

Writing down your goals makes them more defined. It makes you ready to take on your steps to achieve those goals. I used to write down 10 or more things to do in one day. The problem with that was that I felt overwhelmed. I started two or more tasks at the same time and wouldn’t give each the attention it needs.

So when you write down your goals for the day, make the list it realistic and make it clear. Anything that is not meant to be done on that day should go on your to-do list for the week or month or year. It easier to have short-term goals as well as long-term ones.

So write down your goals and refer back to them when you feel lost.

3. Learn to Prioritize

The main problem I had was not knowing what my priorities were. When I realized I was living life with no clear-cut goal I had to also find out what my priorities were. Therefore, from time to time we all need to evaluate ourselves and redefine our priorities. This will ensure that we are on the right track and will also make our lives easier.

For me, I found I was just spending my days doing things as they came. If a friend invited me somewhere, I would just get up and go. If I felt like I should go out and shop I would just go out and shop, I would just got out and shop. There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous, but by not planning my days well I was leaving all the important things I had to do behind and they kept on piling up.

Share your thoughts: Have you ever felt like the days are going by so fast without you achieving your goals? Which one of the steps above have you used before? Do you have any other tips to share on how to be more productive?

 

3 Steps to Finding Peace

I was wearing a long white summer dress. The sky was clear and so beautiful. I can feel the grass brushing against my feet as I walked straight forward to a white light. I felt so at ease and so comfortable. I felt peaceful. There was a feeling of excitement that I usually experience when I am looking forward to something.

I never saw what it was because I woke up from my dream. Yes it was a dream!

I kept on thinking about my dream and the feeling I had. It made me question why I could not feel like that in my real life. Therefore, I made it my goal to figure out a way to have a peaceful life everyday and this is what I came up with:

1. Appreciate What I Have

Instead of wasting time thinking about what I don’t currently have I started counting my blessings and using them as my motivation in the rest of my life.

Every time I feel as though I am about to breakdown I take out a paper and pen and start writing down all the good things that happened to me that day or week. As soon as I start thinking about the good things, that which I was stressing about is no longer relevant.

2. Stay Positive

The power of positive thinking is stressed everywhere but I found it rather challenging at times to think positively. So I made sure that I believed that whatever I was going through was for a good cause. I thought of every incident as a learning experience.

I always remind my self that I am in charge of my life. What ever I believe, will be. If I think negative thoughts and surround my self with negative people I will be unhappy and will always find bad things to keep me down. Therefore, I started associating with people that are positive.

3. Forgiveness

We all go through so much in life that we sometimes don’t even know when we are holding a grudge against someone. I have been distracted, unhappy and had wasted so much energy on other people that it took away from me a precious gift, my time.

It took away time that I could have used to be more productive. Time that I will never get back again. But I have learned recently that forgiving the ones that have caused me pain helped me move on to better things in life. It gave me more power and less stress.

So take a moment to reflect on your life. Do you feel at ease? Do you feel peaceful? If not, sit and think of all that you have. Try to look at the positive in every situation and forgive those who have disappointed you. See what a difference it makes when you let go of the past and start living in the moment.

Share your thoughts: