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Here are my top 10 ways to overhaul your life, make positive changes and be a better you this year.
Go on – give them a try!
Be the Best Version of You in 2020
Start with some self development
Have you started the New Year by making some life-changing resolutions? Maybe you’ve committed to devoting more time to self-care or to spend less time in front of a screen. Whatever improvements you’d like to make, we can all be better versions of ourselves.
But where do we start? And just how do we stick to our guns and keep to our resolutions?
In my experience, self development is the most successful way to kickstart any lifestyle overhaul. Whether you want to feel more confident, become more focused, or learn how to set goals and achieve them, self development is the way to go.
An easy place to start is to invest in one of the many tried-and-trusted motivational books out there. Any one of these will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to understand yourself and your mindset better.
Some of my personal favourites?
- A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
- Unleash the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- Change your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (for issues around money)
These are just a few of the titles that have changed my thinking, but do spend time finding an author you like and respond to, as well as a philosophy that inspires and encourages you to be the best version of you.
Holistic Practises Help Heal Trauma
There are also a huge number of holistic practices that will you help you to heal previous traumas, and to cope with negative experiences and beliefs. Whether you chose EFT, NLP, Reiki, meditation or neurofeedback, all are excellent methods to prepare you for your journey of self healing and self-care. When you start to work on yourself, small miracles and positive changes happen.
Relationships improve; you become more resilient; you achieve better balance in your life – and you may even find that you have more clarity about your life’s purpose.
Take baby steps to begin with. It doesn’t matter how small they are, just put one foot in front of the other – and get going!
I’m a procrastinator myself. I’m always saying to myself that I’ll make changes next month or when I’m rich, when I have more headspace – or when I have more time!
We are all good at putting change off. But take a deep breath with me, and commit. Simply start at the beginning, taking a few steps at a time towards being the better you.
Whether it’s exercising regularly, eating healthier, or cutting down on alcohol, get started. Even if you just go along to the gym to find out what classes they do, or watch a fitness video at home from your sofa, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Now you just need to take the next step from there.
Get out there and become a volunteer
Giving back is as much about helping yourself as it is about helping others. One of the most effective ways to recover from a relationship break-up, a bereavement or just to feel better about yourself, is to give back by becoming a volunteer.
When I lost my mum and later, my dog, I was totally devastated on both occasions. Although you do need time to grieve as it’s an important part of the process, if you are still feeling overwhelmed months or even years later, you need to take action.
Take the Focus off Yourself
Studies have shown that when we take the focus off ourselves and onto someone else, we boost our own mood significantly. It’s one of the best gifts that we can give ourselves. I see so many young girls and women today with anxiety and mental health issues that I am certain is the result of self-obsession created mainly by social media.
As a society, we have become both self-focused – and over-stimulated. Spending time taking unrealistic and unachievable ‘selfies’ can’t be good for anyone, nor is spending time scrolling through other people’s fake lives. The end result is normally thinking your life doesn’t live up to expectations.
Volunteering helps to support the vulnerable in society – be it people or animals. And it also helps protect our own mental and physical health by giving us a sense of purpose. It can also help reduce stress, anxiety, depression and keep us motivated and socially interactive.
To find out what opportunities there are, check out The National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Sign up here today!
Do it for 2 months and it becomes a habit
Whether it’s swapping your usual chocolate snack for fruit while you watch Netflix, or drinking more water every day, if you start to do something regularly, it becomes a habit.
Apparently, we need to do something 66 times for it to become a habit. Success requires discipline, as well as determination. If you fall off the wagon, get back on it ASAP! This is where real change starts.
We tend to get knocked off the positive path easily. If we’ve succumbed to cake instead of carrot sticks, we tell ourselves that we’ve ruined our diet, so we’ll stop. NO! Eating one slice of cake does not negate the good work that you’ve already done – and it won’t make too much difference in the long run. But just get back on track – and have the carrot sticks next time!
Once good habits begin, bad habits will fall away naturally. For some easy-to-follow tips on creating good habits, click here.
Try new things
It may sound simple and not the most earth-shattering advice, but trying new things can totally change the way you live your life. How?
Most of us prevent ourselves from trying new things as we are afraid that we might not be able to do it, or that we’ll ‘look stupid’. But if we’re not prepared to be a beginner, we are limiting ourselves to a very small selection of experiences and activities or hobbies.
When you try new things, it opens your mind to new experiences. It also teaches you how to be a better teacher, parent or role model as you remember what it’s like to be bad at something, or what the fear feels like. Trying something new can be uncomfortable, but it can be also be exhilarating, exciting and uplifting.
And it helps us grow and learn. Staying within our comfort zone is a protective mechanism designed to prevent us taking unnecessary risks, but the downside is that it also stops us from experiencing new things and meeting new people. As new experiences equal richer, more fulfilled lives, by pushing ourselves, we learn more and become “well-rounded” individuals.
Don’t just think big. Think bigger!
Entrepreneurs think big. In fact, they think and dream bigger than you or I could ever imagine. This is something we can all learn from. In the past, when I was house-hunting, I would only look at properties that were within my budget, and that I knew I could afford. My husband, on the other hand, approached the process differently. He decided what type of house he wanted, looks for something he likes, and then works out how to get the finances to do it! This is an amazing way to look at life.
Rather than narrowing your options and setting yourself limits, think positively, and believe that you can achieve anything you want. When you have no limits on your beliefs or thoughts, your mind is more open to new opportunities and will find creatives ways to help you achieve your dreams.
Ignore your inner critic
We all have an inner critic who is often your worst enemy. It’s this nagging voice that lies at the root of much of our self-destructive behaviour. Normally, it stems from childhood when we were told we couldn’t do something we really wanted to.
Whether it was being told that we weren’t tall enough to be a model or a basketball player, or clever enough to be a doctor or an astronaut, we cling on to this memory which becomes our inner critic.
So how can you overpower this negative voice? Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. Be positive, kind and encouraging to yourself. But also accepting of your imperfections.
This is one of life’s great lessons. None of us are perfect, but improving yourself with self-development and new challenges is key to a happier, more fulfilled life.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
I read this book by Susan Jeffers 20 years ago, and absolutely loved it! It’s so true – new experiences and opportunities are scary! But don’t be put off. Everyone that has done something out of their comfort zone has been scared.
It’s just that some people are better at breaking through those barriers. Don’t allow yourself to stay in your comfort zone. Push yourself – life isn’t comfortable, get used to it!
By becoming more resilient and more adaptable to change, you will start to feel more confident and well-rounded as a person. Never take the easy route. Instead, work on your character through self development, finding out your strengths and weaknesses, and work towards achieving your goals.
Start the day with affirmations
Affirmations are a great way to “trick” your brain into believing as the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between what is real and what’s imagined.
When you practice affirmations, your subconscious mind accepts it, and it then it becomes a belief. This makes manifestation easier as our conscious mind starts to bring these experiences into our physical life. Affirmations also help you feel more motivated and can reshape any limiting beliefs you might have too.
Learn how to get started with affirmations and a Gratitude Journal here.
Why do we need to exercise? That’s a good question! For starters, there are a multitude of physical benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing obesity and preventing diabetes.
But there are also the benefits to our mood and mental health. Exercise has been shown to reduce the symptoms and severity of depression, with studies showing that regular physical activity actually impacts on the brain in a similar way to antidepressant medications, and also by releasing endorphins.
When it comes to exercise, I’m a big believer in doing activities that make you happy. Not everyone enjoys gym workouts, but we all enjoy some type of physical activity – you just have to find the one that works for you.
If you enjoy doing something, you’ll be more likely to do it. Whether it’s a dog walk, a game of squash or a tap class, just find what gets you off the sofa and gets you moving!
We’re not all destined to become athletes or fitness models. Just remember that we are trying to be the best version of ourselves rather than competing with anyone else.
Surround yourself with positive people
It’s often said that we become who we spend the most time with. That’s why it’s important to be in the company of people who inspire you, encourage you to dream, and who have healthy life habits that will “rub off.” Negative attitudes and criticism can quite literally stop us in our tracks and shut us down inside.
This year, make it your goal to be with people who let you grow and who encourage to step out of your comfort zone. Many parents keep their children from taking any risks at all – climbing trees, skateboarding, playing certain sports, as they think they are protecting their children. But preventing children from exploring and being adventurous actually stops them from developing their independence and becoming confident individuals.
Researchers have found that if you hang out with people who love fitness, chances are you will embrace exercise and become fitter as a result. Conversely, if you socialise with people who are sedentary or who eat unhealthily, you’re less likely to be active – and more likely to order takeaways and eat junk food than to cook from scratch!
What do you think?
Do you do any of these tips already or will you try any of them?