Are you ready?
Are you ready to jump out of the same dull routines and move forward?
If so, consider this as your starting pistol. Because before taking action, you must make the firm decision to take action. These are five life-changing decisions you can make today to improve your tomorrow.
1. Get in shape
There is no replacement for being fit and healthy. Consistent exercise improves all aspects of health, increases your energy levels and sex drive, and builds your self-control and willpower strength; it decreases stress, anxiety, and depression, boosts your confidence and self-esteem, and makes you more attractive. Most of those benefits have been proven in hundreds of studies. There are few pursuits that can compare to the benefits of exercise. Even if your problems aren’t physical, exercise has a way of improving unrelated things as well.
Exercise is powerful because it enhances nutrient delivery and waste processing for the entire body and all organs. It creates beneficial chemical reactions in the brain: lowering your cortisol (stress) hormone and boosting your testosterone levels. These benefits are ancillary to the reason many people exercise: to look better in a swimsuit. The sense of self-satisfaction you get from changing your body in a positive way is wonderful.
As for how to accomplish this, make sure you read #5!
2. Pursue your dream job
How many people out there love their jobs? Far less than half, according to a survey of 411 people in the USA and Canada, which found that 65% of people were unsatisfied or somewhat unsatisfied with their work (source: Right Management Group).
Here’s a more important question: how many people try to do something about it? I don’t have data on this, but the fact that most people dislike their jobs suggests that it’s likely considered normal. Think about it: you’re at a party and everyone is talking about how much work sucks. Over time, you begin to accept that it’s just the way it is. There’s a secret though: if you don’t have a choice, you can create one.
Look at any successful person and you’ll see the same basic story: they overcame resistance to get there. Resistance isn’t some evil monster standing between you and a treasure, it’s a fairly comfortable, but soul-destroying job that pays your bills. When your life is a garbage heap, it’s easier to change. It’s when you get a little bit too comfortable with mediocre living that you feel resistance to change, because change is risk.
There are ways to change without risking your livelihood. You can search for jobs on the side. You can teach yourself the skills you need for your dream job. It’s a matter of if you think it’s worth the effort to get there. For people who do arrive, hindsight always says, “yes, it was brutal at times, but it was absolutely worth it.”
3. Join a group
This is vague because of the numerous things it stands for. As someone who has had a diminished social life since I left the social wellsprings of high school and college, I understand the importance of socialization more than ever. If you’re lonely, finding a group of like-minded people is a great idea and fairly easy to do if you’re willing to try it out.
- Join a church or small group
- Find an interest group at Meetup.com
All of the options above present a great opportunity to meet others and expand your social circle. If you make even one good friend—a real possibility—this would turn out to be a life-changing decision!
4. Start a new hobby
Hobbies make life more interesting. Finding a hobby can boost your enjoyment of life and will give you something to look forward to when you have free time. If you’re looking for an idea of what to try, wikipedia has a list of 100+ hobbies to consider.
Your hobby can also become a powerful social tool. With a hobby, you’ll have an instant connection to other people with the same hobby, it makes you a more interesting person, and you’ll have one more interest group to search for on meetup.com!
5. Build a healthy habit
Habits are the framework of our lives. Many people try to dramatically change their lives in haste with grand declarations (e.g. New Year’s Resolutions), but it doesn’t work because the human brain isn’t built for fast change. Lasting change happens when your brain’s neural network is rewired, and to do that requires two things: time and consistency.
So, the far more reliable way to change your life is by changing your habits methodically. Habits are so special because they’re mostly automatic and come without resistance. This means you won’t need motivation or willpower anymore for that behavior because it’s become your brain’s first preference.
I used to have to get motivated to go to the gym or force myself there, but now I go because it would feel strange not to go. If you’ve been trying to work out consistently for years, you might be thinking, “good for you, but it doesn’t work for me.” But what if I told you I got to this point easily? What if I told it I started by doing one push-up a day? Ok, it’s not a “what if.” I am telling you that.
For a few months, I did at least one push-up every day (often more). Over time, my neural pathways changed. I had less resistance to exercising, and was able to go to the gym 3x a week consistently. A year and a half later, I exercise 4-5x a week and I’m in the best shape of my life. It’s because I built the exercise habit. I have also created habits this way in daily reading and writing.
Building habits this way is a strategy I call “mini habits.” A mini habit is an incredibly small task that you force yourself to do every day. For example: one sit-up, one minute of meditation, writing 50 words, or reading two pages in a book. Alone, these quantities seem like a waste of time, but when done daily and with the possibility of doing “bonus reps,” it is the most effective and reliable way to change your brain, your habits, and your life (and it happens in that order).
The power of a mini habit is that your daily requirement is low enough that you can do it even when you don’t feel like doing anything; you can meet your target on the worst day of your life. A woman who read Mini Habits told me that when her granddaughter was killed in a car accident, she still completed her mini habits. She said her mini habits were “a godsend to help me keep going in as healthy a manner as possible.” (You can see her full story here). That’s why they’re so powerful: at your worst, you can still move forward.
When your small action becomes a habit, everything gets easier; you’ll coast through these behaviors you used to have to wrestle yourself to do. Mini Habits (the book) is available on Amazon; its effectiveness has made it the highest-rated habit book on the market amongst top sellers at 4.8 stars.
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