[CORNERSTONE] 101 Guide – How To Change Your Life Through Practical Daily Improvements

If you would have to improve one part of your life, what would that part be? The personal or the professional one?

Would you choose to have more friends and live your life in all kind of social circles? Or would you like to work constantly and build an empire?

For me, none of the above is the answer.

I was never interested in making an empire – I don’t want to be rich. And, at the same time, I don’t want to have hundreds of friends – I’m more than happy with having a few close friends that I can always talk with about anything.

Actually, that’s just my case.

Nobody can tell you want’s important to you. It depends on what you want out of life.
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I want to have time for my projects, I want to go to workshops and meet interesting people, I want to create my own lifestyle based on interesting challenges like the ones I’ve set this year.

So, for me it’s important to be able to balance the professional and the personal parts of my life.

Moreover, I want to be able to balance both of them.

How do I balance the professional part of my life? By not taking a 9-to-5 job where I’m a robot and get bored with simple dumb tasks. By having my own projects related to the things that I want to learn and love doing.

How do I balance the personal part of my life? By spending time with myself as much as I spend time with my friends and family. When I can add value to my life – and this is a result of the time I spend with myself – I can add value to others’ lives.

PREPARE YOUR BODIES

That was a short intro related to this cornerstone article.

What’s a cornerstone article? It’s basically an article that’s long enough to provide a detailed roadmap that solves a problem.

Though I’ve mentioned this article will solve a problem, just by reading it, your problem won’t be solved.

You’ll have to put into practice the provided exercises, measure the results, and keep in your lifestyle only those that will bring you the best results, as day-to-day activities.

What Will You Find in This Cornerstone Article?

Here goes the table of contests, if you were looking for it.

Though you can click on what interests you the most and read only that, I recommend you to read everything and take notes. So, before you’re daring to start reading, get yourself a piece of paper and a pen.

WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR LIFE?

THE AMAZING POWER OF TALES AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LISTEN TO THEM

THREE MYTHS PROVIDED BY THE SOCIETY

PERSONAL SKILLS THAT CAN BE TRANSFERRED TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GAME

KNOW YOUR DAILY ROUTINE – KNOW YOUR LIFE

WHAT’S A ROUTINE AND WHAT DOES IT CONTAIN?

HABITS THAT CAN HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

A CHANGE NEVER HAPPENS IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE

TOOLS TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE

BOOKS TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE

WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR LIFE?

Knowing What You Want Out of Your Life Can Help You Change Your Life

I’ve been asking myself this question for such a long time.

In the last year, in my mind have gathered all kind of information related to it.

So, here’s my list of general things that I want in life:

  • I want to help people
  • I want to be healthy
  • I want to travel the world

For me, is as simple as that. One month ago I was creating a list with 30 specific things that I want to do in my life. But after taking a close look at them, I’ve come to the above-simplified list.

You can check the big list of life goals here, which I’ll update and revise (hopefully) at the end of this month.

So, let’s take these three elements, one by one, and see what we’ve got.

If I want to help people, first I have to be able to help myself. I’ll be able to help myself only if I go through new experiences on a monthly basis. But in order to do that, I need both time and money.

If I want to be healthy, I need to play sports and eat healthily. One hour of sports daily is enough and I think I can deal with making food quite fast.

If I want to travel the world, I’ll need time and money again.

Some of these activities require more time. Others may require more money. But being able to integrate them all into my lifestyle will help me achieve the desired lifestyle. And I don’t want to compromise.

Time and Money Related to Personal and Professional

I believe that having time is more related to the personal part of the life.

Also, having money is more related to the professional part of the life.

So, if I want to have more time and money, I have to focus on both personal and professional.

If you focus on making too much money, you’ll lose the concept of having time.
If you focus on having too much time, you’ll lose the concept of making money.

One of The Secrets is Not To Play a Role, But To Be a Person

If you’re thinking about improving your personal life, you may think about improving yourself as a friend or a husband/wife.

If you’re thinking about improving your professional life, you may think about improving yourself as an employee, manager, or boss.

When you’re doing that, you’re only playing a role. The role of a friend, husband, wife, employee, manager, boss, etc.

And there are two problems.

#1 At any time, the role you’re playing may disappear

Your marriage can end, you can lose your job, you can become a freelancer and have no employees.

#2 Focusing on one role will destroy the others

The problem is that you’re not just trying to be a good employee – you’re doing your best to be the best employee.

And when you’re doing the best guess what happens? Your whole energy is focused on that role, while the other roles will be forgotten.

It will be so hard for you to balance them, especially when the environment pressures you.

When you’re at home or in your social circles, you’re the center of attention because you’re focused on that role. When you’re at work, your boss is giving you responsibilities and tasks because he knows how good you are.

Actually, you will excel in doing them both. But not as long as you’re playing different roles in your life.

Improve Yourself as a Person, Not as a Friend or Employee

The more you’ll play a role, the better you’ll become at it.

But as I said, you’ll ignore your other roles.

Instead, be a person.

Though this sounds so simple, it’s not that simple.

You’ll have the tendency to say “Ok, I’m a person, but at the same time I’m a person who plays all these roles.

So, how do you focus on improving yourself as a person, and not as an employee or friend?

I’ve been thinking about it and here’s a simple exercise that brought me results.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself a few questions

  • What are the roles that I play in my everyday life?
  • How important are these roles and how many resources I invest in each of them?
  • If I wouldn’t play any of these roles, what would I be?

Step 2: Connect the last answer to a series of actions

Let me give you my example.

Step 1: Asking and answering the questions

  • What are the roles that I play in my everyday life?

I’m a copywriter, a blogger, a digital strategist, a coach, a source of inspiration, a friend, a son, a grandson.

  • How important are these roles and how many resources I invest in each of them?

The copywriter role provides money.

The blogger role provides opportunities.

The digital strategist role provides challenges and money.

The coach role provides life value and money.

The friend role provides fulfillment.

The role of a son and grandson provides comfort.

All these roles are important and I invest more time than money in each of them.

  • If I wouldn’t play any of these roles, what would I be?

I would be an optimist, who would enjoy making the world a better place by connecting with people from all over the world and helping them to have a more fulfilling life.

*note: while writing this small answer I’ve just realized that I’ve integrated most of my roles in one simple lifestyle definition.

Step 2: Connect the last answer to a series of actions

Be an optimist = smile often, enjoy life, and remove mental limiting beliefs.

Make the world a better place = communicate my thoughts with others regularly.

Connect with people from all over the world = meet others online and try to discover them and the person they are, not the roles they’re playing.

Help others to have a more fulfilling life = listen to them and their needs so I can add value to their life.

So… that’s the exercise.

Now I know what I have to do in order to improve myself as a person without having to play a role.

THE AMAZING POWER OF TALES AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LISTEN TO THEM

Don't Listen to Tales if You Want To Change Your Life

I was asking the Internet some questions related to the personal and professional parts of life, and for some tales related to how you know which of the two to pick.

Out of nowhere, the following tale was provided.

[An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.”

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”]

What’s wrong with this tale?

Well, on short, it only applies to “the fight that is going on inside us” like the old chief said.

The personal and professional parts of your life are not something that’s inner or outer. These two are both inner and outer. These two are everything.

Actually, there’s nothing wrong with this tale.

There’s something wrong with you. By being desperate and trying to solve what’s wrong (also read as not at your level of expectations) in your personal or professional part of life, you’ll try to find an answer in everything out there.

The answer isn’t everywhere.

I believe the answer is in just one place. And one place only. That’s you!

You’ll find the answer to all your questions if you’re willing to dig deep inside your core, as a person – not as a role.

THREE MYTHS PROVIDED BY THE SOCIETY

Myths That Doesn't Let You Change Your Life

In the last two years, I’ve analyzed my life and destroyed lots of myths that were at the foundation of my life.

Actually, the first myth I’ve ever destroyed was the craving need of having a 9-to-5 job which society tells us is so important to have.

At 22 years old, I was able to work from home and earn a decent amount of money. I was amazed!

But let’s get back to myths related to the personal and professional parts of life.

Myth 1: Career, Health, Social Life – Pick Only Two

If you want career and health, you can’t have a social life.

If you want a career and social life, you can’t have health.

If you want health and social life, you can’t have a career.

Bullshit!

You can have them all!

I remember reading something really interesting related to the things you can have in your life, in the book ‘Be Obsessed or Be Average’ by Grant Cardone. Here’s the quote:

People often think if they become completely obsessed in order to be great and dominate, something must be compromised, be in time with their family, a good gym schedule, hobbies, going to church, reading books, or whatever.

Wrong! Obsession isn’t about settling or sacrificing things that are important to you. Obsession is about having it all: health, faith, family, career, money. You don’t need to ask, ‘What I would rather have, money or health?’ ‘Both’ is the only answer.

I truly believe that if you want something, you’ll achieve that something.
If you want two or more somethings, you’ll achieve them all.

Don't settle. Change your life.

Myth 2: Would You Rather Be Rich or Happy?

This myth is related to the first one, but I see it quite different.

As I said before, time is connected to the personal part of life and money is connected to the professional part of life.

Going further, I would say that being happy is connected to personal and being rich is connected to professional.

But that’s how an average person thinks.

In most of the situations, an average person’s job is so shitty that they will never be able to connect the concept of happiness to the professional part of life.

The truth is you’ll never be able to enjoy life if you’re not happy with your job and rich within your happiness.
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Being Rich is The End of The Game – Play The Game

I’ve been following GaryVee for one year now and I love the answer he gives to the question ‘When you’re going to buy the Jets?’

The expected response is ‘in a few years’ knowing his entrepreneurship skills. But he’s not into winning the game as much as he’s into playing the game.

So, his unexpected answer was ‘in 20 years’.

Now, ask yourself. Why would you want to become rich at 20 or 30?

Whatever your reasons are, I’m sure you’ll be able to cover those reasons without being a millionaire.

  • You don’t need to be a millionaire to travel the world.
  • You don’t need to be a millionaire to be a self-published author.
  • You don’t need to be a millionaire to be an entrepreneur.
  • You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a family.
  • You don’t need to be a millionaire to pick-up nice chicks.

Therefore, whatever your reasons are, try to enjoy the game, not to win it instantly.

Myth 3: When You Attain Success You Will Be Happier

I have asked Robyn Stratton-Berkessel what’s her opinion on myths that society is providing us when it comes to balancing the personal and professional parts of life. Here’s her answer.

A myth is when you attain success (however you define it, personally or professionally) you will be happier, as if happiness will come in the future.

If I were to invite you to tell me a story about when you felt really successful and happy, you will remember such a time, and it will remind you of that experience in your life. As you recall your personal story, you will reconnect with the positive thoughts and feelings of that successful and happy time. That very act of reliving your successful experience in your mind and body will result in your feeling successful and happy again.

Your positive memory of past successes strengthens your ability to be able to take those things that worked in the past into the present and future. So, the state of being happy is something you can learn and make it a habit. Being happier is a practice, not a future destination.

Check out more about Robyn on her blog at PositivityStrategist.com.

PERSONAL SKILLS THAT CAN BE TRANSFERRED TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GAME

Skills That Help You Change Your Life

In order to easily balance your personal and professional parts of life, you could use this simple improvisation trick.

If you are just starting, it will be easier for you to start with skills that can be applied to both personal and professional.

So, for example, I wouldn’t try to improve the programming skills if their improvement is not necessary, because it will only help my professional part of life.

Instead, here’s a set of skills which can help your both personal and professional parts of life, if you choose to improve them both.

#1 Growth Mindset

Description = looking at any situation, especially difficult situations, as an opportunity for you to learn, grow, and change your life for the better.  Focusing your attention on improving yourself instead of changing others or blaming anyone.

Personal = for example, it helps you when you’re trying to run a marathon, though your weight is 100 kg.

Professional = for example, it helps you keep your mind focused on speaking in front of your managers and share with them your thoughts, though you’ve just started working for the present company.

#2 Self-awareness

Description = knowing and understanding what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, and inspires you.  Being able to observe yourself objectively in a difficult situation and understand how your perceptions of yourself, others, and the situation are driving your actions.

Personal = for example, it gives you the purpose of running a marathon.

Professional = for example, it helps you understand what you need to do before you have the chance to share your thoughts with your managers.

#3 Emotion Regulation

Description = being able to manage your emotions, especially negative ones (e.g. anger, frustration, embarrassment) so you can think clearly and objectively, and act accordingly.

Personal = for example, it calibrates your thoughts and helps you think clearly.

Professional = for example, it helps you be transparent and treat all your work colleagues as equals.

#4 Self-confidence

Description = believing in yourself and your ability to accomplish anything.  Knowing that all you need is within you now.  “Those who believe in themselves have access to unlimited power” – wisdom from Kung Fu Panda.

Personal = for example, it gives you the courage to approach strangers and talk with them.

Professional = for example, it gives you the strength to ask for a bigger salary.

#5 Resilience

Description = being able to bounce back after a disappointment or setback, big or small, and continue to move onward and upward.

Personal = for example, it gives you the strength to keep smiling and stay focused on your passions after you went through a breakup.

Professional = for example, it keeps you focused on finding a new job if you just got fired.

#6 Forgive and Forget

Description = being able to forgive yourself for making a mistake, forgive others that wronged you, and move on without mental or emotional baggage. Freeing your mind from the past so you can focus 100% of your mental energy on your near and long-term goals.

Personal = for example, it gives you the ability to move on after failing an exam.

Professional = for example, it gives you the mental focus to catch up and achieve your sales goals, after the last month’s failure.

#7 Persistence and Perseverance

Description = being able to maintain the same energy and dedication in your effort to learn, do, and achieve despite difficulties, failures, and oppositions.

Personal = for example, it gives you the ability to daily train for 6 months and never miss a training session.

Professional = for example, it gives you the ability to always meet deadlines.

#8 Patience

Description = being able to step back in a seemingly rushed or crisis situation, so you can think clearly and take action that fulfills your long term goals.

Personal = for example, it gives you the ability to actively listen to others when they speak.

Professional = for example, it gives you the ability to finish your tasks and projects, without quitting early.

#9 Perceptiveness

Description = giving attention to the unspoken cues and developing cognitive or emotional empathy of other people’s situation and perspective.

Personal = for example, it gives you the ability to listen to your friend’s needs while ignoring yours.

Professional = for example, helping a coworker because his tasks are more important, though you haven’t finished yours.

#10 Teamwork

Description = being able to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles, or motivation level to achieve a better team result.

Personal = for example, being able to go shopping with your wife / husband and knowing how to split the shopping list in order to finish faster.

Professional = for example, being able to pick the right tasks for you so you can help your team finish the project faster.

#11 Public Speaking

Description = being able to communicate your ideas in a clear and efficient manner.

Personal = for example, being able to tell stories to a group of friends.

Professional = for example, being able to deliver an important presentation.

The Purpose is to Feel Balanced, Instead of Deficient

You don’t actually have to learn all these skills if you don’t need them.

So, how do you know what you need?

You pay attention to your frustrations.

If you are an introvert person and that bothers you, you start from there.

Next, you’ll have to find all the skills, from the above list, that are related to shifting from being an introvert to speaking more.

Those could be self-confidence, patience, teamwork, and public speaking.

If you are criticizing others too much and that bothers you, the skills that you might have to improve could be emotion regulation, forgive and forget, patience, and teamwork.

KNOW YOUR DAILY ROUTINE – KNOW YOUR LIFE

Daily Routines Can Change Your Life

If you’re trying to improve anything at yourself, you’re actually trying to improve your daily routine and habits.

So, before moving on, let’s describe your daily routine.

When it comes to my daily routine, I think of it as time intervals. So, here’s how mine looks like.

From 5:00 to 7:00 – waking up, meditating, reading articles / books, preparing and drinking some tea while reading

From 7:00 to 12:00 – working

From 12:00 to 14:00 – reading or socializing

From 14:00 to 17:00 – working

From 17:00 to 21:00 – social life and sports

From 21:00 to 23:00 – working

That is how my daily routine looks like.

Of course, if I go in depth, you’ll be able to see everything I do and how I do it, but for now that’s not the case.

Isaac Asimov’s Daily Routine

His usual routine was to awake at 6 A.M., sit down at the typewriter by 7:30 and work until 10 P.M.

In “In Memory Yet Green,” the first volume of his autobiography, published in 1979, he explained how he became a compulsive writer. His Russian-born father owned a succession of candy stores in Brooklyn that were open from 6 A.M. to 1 A.M. seven days a week. Young Isaac got up at 6 o’clock every morning to deliver papers and rushed home from school to help out in the store every afternoon. If he was even a few minutes late, his father yelled at him for being a folyack, Yiddish for sluggard. Even more than 50 years later, he wrote: “It is a point of pride with me that though I have an alarm clock, I never set it, but get up at 6 A.M. anyway. I am still showing my father I’m not a folyack.”

Source here.

Kingsley Amis’ Daily Routine

I don’t get up very early. I linger over breakfast reading the papers, telling myself hypocritically that I’ve got to keep with what’s going on, but really staving off the dreadful time when I have to go to the typewriter. That’s probably about ten-thirty, still in pajamas and dressing gown. And the agreement I have with myself is that I can stop whenever I like and go and shave and so on. In practice, it’s not till about one or one-fifteen that I do that—I usually try and time it with some music on the radio. Then I emerge, and nicotine and alcohol are produced. I work on until about two or two-fifteen, have lunch, then if there’s urgency about, I have to write in the afternoon, which I really hate doing—I really dislike afternoons, whatever’s happening. But then the agreement is that it doesn’t matter how little gets done in the afternoon. And later on, with luck, a cup of tea turns up, and then it’s only a question of drinking more cups of tea until the bar opens at six o’clock and one can get into second gear. I go on until about eight-thirty and I always hate stopping. It’s not a question of being carried away by one’s creative afflatus, but saying, “Oh dear, next time I do this I shall be feeling tense again.”

Source here.

Arthur Miller’s Writing Routine

I wish I had a routine for writing. I get up in the morning and I go out to my studio and I write. And then I tear it up! That’s the routine, really. Then, occasionally, something sticks. And then I follow that. The only image I can think of is a man walking around with an iron rod in his hand during a lightning storm.

Source here.

Immanuel Kant’s Daily Routine

His daily schedule then looked something like this. He got up at 5:00 A.M. His servant Martin Lampe, who worked for him from at least 1762 until 1802, would wake him. The old soldier was under orders to be persistent, so that Kant would not sleep longer. Kant was proud that he never got up even half an hour late, even though he found it hard to get up early. It appears that during his early years, he did sleep in at times. After getting up, Kant would drink one or two cups of tea — weak tea. With that, he smoked a pipe of tobacco. The time he needed for smoking it “was devoted to meditation.” Apparently, Kant had formulated the maxim for himself that he would smoke only one pipe, but it is reported that the bowls of his pipes increased considerably in size as the years went on. He then prepared his lectures and worked on his books until 7:00. His lectures began at 7:00, and they would last until 11:00. With the lectures finished, he worked again on his writings until lunch. Go out to lunch, take a walk, and spend the rest of the afternoon with his friend Green. After going home, he would do some more light work and read.

Source here.

If you’re interested in finding more daily routines, check this page with Daily Routines.

What’s My Point Here?

As you can see, these routines are all so different.

There’s not a routine that can be put into practice and give you the things you desire. Instead, you can start from the things you desire and create a routine around them.

WHAT’S A ROUTINE AND WHAT DOES IT CONTAIN?

What's a Routine and How Can It Change Your Life?

A routine is every activity that one does on a daily basis.

Also, a routine is composed of habits and those habits could be good, bad, and neutral.

Moreover, a habit exists because there’s a trigger that activates it.

In order to improve your lifestyle, you need to change your routines.

In order to change a routine, you need to change or remove your habits.

In order to change or remove a habit, you need to discover its trigger.

How Can You Identify The Trigger of a Habit?

Identifying the trigger means understanding the habit. And sometimes it can be tricky.

One of my negative habits at this moment is wasting time before going to sleep. So, how and why do I waste time before going to sleep?

  • I waste time because I lack energy and don’t feel like doing anything else
  • I waste time because it’s easier to open the laptop and watch some dumb YouTube entertainment
  • I waste time because sleeping from 21:00 is too early

In one of those reasons, I’ve also mentioned the trigger. Can you guess it?

The trigger is ‘opening the laptop’. But I’ve found it by testing.

I’ve discovered that if I don’t open the laptop when I get home in the evening, I won’t lose the track of time and I’ll do something that’s valuable to myself – things like reading a book or writing something using a pen and a piece of paper.

So, identifying the trigger can be done by asking yourself ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions related to your habits. After that, you’ll have to experiment.

By experimenting you’ll be able to identify the trigger.

So, let’s say I had to experiment and find the trigger in the above example. What would I have to experiment?

  • I would have to do some exercises so I can regain energy.
  • I would have to not open the laptop.
  • I would have to meditate about what I believe ‘too early’ means.

How To Use a ‘Hygiene Habit’ To Create a ‘Positive Habit’

A hygiene habit is what happens when you wash your teeth after you eat.

It’s also something that happens at the barrier of the subconscious and conscious minds. You know what you have to do and you actually do it.

The difference between a hygiene habit and a positive habit is the doing part and how it feels.

For the hygiene habit, it feels natural for you to wash your teeth. When it comes to the positive habit, you know you have to run every day, but it doesn’t come natural and you may have all sorts of excuses – though it’s a positive habit.

The trick is simple and you have to start simple.

It means that the positive habit that you’re trying to create here needs to be something simple, like doing 10 pushups or reading 5 minutes.

What do you have to do?

After you go to the bathroom (which happens at least 3 times a day) force yourself to do something – whatever you think will help you create the desired lifestyle – that doesn’t require more than 10 minutes.

What are you actually doing?

You’re using a habit as a trigger.

You’re using the hygiene habit that already exists, to develop a new habit that is supposed to be positive. Moreover, you’ve got yourself a small routine.

HABITS THAT CAN HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

Habits That Can Change Your Life

If you don’t know where to start but you want to improve your life, here’s a list of habits that can help you.

Some may be perfect for you, others may make your life worse.

Howsoever, try them for at least one week, gather results and measure them. That’s the best way of finding out if a habit fits your lifestyle or not.

#1 Diminishing Returns

How? Stop doing something just because you have to. Stop eating if you’re not hungry. Stop reading a book if you’ve lost interest in it. Stop talking with someone if you got bored.

Why? If you think you’ve gotten what interests you, why spend more time or try to ask for more? By stopping, you’ll have more time to get the core value from other activities.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about a daily activity that you would like to end faster. Write it down on a piece of paper (right now) and starting tomorrow do only the interesting / beneficial part of it.

#2 Wake Up Early in The Morning

How? There are a few methods and all of them are related to your mental focus and the actual reason you’re waking up earlier. Either you choose to be a rocket ship and burst out of bed in max 5 seconds or a Hollywood actor whom role is to wake up every day at 5:00 AM, you’ll have to play it mentally.

Why? Simply because you’ll have more time and energy for your activities.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Set yourself a wake-up hour and a bedtime by writing them down on a piece of paper (right now) and keep in mind that you need at least 5-6 hours of sleep. Starting tomorrow, this is your new sleeping up schedule.

#3 Meditate

How? Though there are a few different methods, I’d recommend you to find your own. In my case, I’m meditating by standing in a comfortable position and focusing on an emotion. Right after that, I write about it.

Why? It helps you understand yourself better and it relaxes you.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Write down on a piece of paper (right now) one thing that bothers or frustrates you. Tonight, right before you go to sleep, sit in a comfortable position (not in your bed, you don’t want to fall asleep) and think about what bothers or frustrates you.

#4 Practice [_____] for 30/60 mins

Fill in the blanks with any skill.

How? Just pick something you’ve always wanted to learn and do it. Musical instrument, programming language, a sport, anything.

Why? It will train your brain and/or body.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about a skill that you would like to have (singing, foreign language, programming, etc) and write down on a piece of paper (right now) why you would like to learn it. Starting tomorrow, you’ll invest 30/60 mins per day towards that direction.

#5 Read Books / Listen To Podcasts

How? Just buy a book or get the Overcast.fm app and listen to podcasts.

Why? You’ll read/hear valuable information that will add value to your life in general.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about the things you want to learn and write them down on a piece of paper (right now). Search for books or podcasts that are related to your interests and invest 30/60 mins per day.

#6 Say ‘NO’ Often

How? By putting yourself first and pleasing others less.

Why? Adding value to your life means adding value to others’ lives. If you’re not adding value to yours, how would you expect to do it for others?

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about the moments you are saying ‘YES’ just for the sake of your friends, family, etc. and write down on a piece of paper (right now) at least 5 reasons for saying ‘NO’ instead of saying ‘YES’ in those moments.

#7 Organize Your Environment

How? Make your bed, arrange everything on your desk, keep everything clean.

Why? You’ll become less inclined to be messy, start being more productive, and you’ll feel a little bit better seeing your room clean.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about how you would like your room to look like and write down on a piece of paper (right now) every tiny detail about it. Right after that, go ahead and make the changes. YES! – leave this article, you can finish it later.

#8 Study and Practice Something Fun or Interesting

How? Just pick something you consider fun or interesting and read more about it. Right after that, practice what you’ve read.

Why? You’ll learn something new and improve your skills related to what you’ve studied.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about a domain that you consider fun or interesting (chemistry, math, astrology, etc.) and write down on a piece of paper (right now) why you would like to learn it. Starting tomorrow, you’ll invest 30/60 mins per day towards that direction.

#9 Morning Stretching

How? Just search for ‘morning stretching’ on YouTube and you’ll see lots of how-to videos.

Why? It gives you energy for the whole day and adds another reason on the ‘why wake up early?’ list.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Set a morning time for doing at least 10 mins of stretching and write that time on a piece of paper (right now). Also, describe a bit your morning stretching activities.

#10 Eat 3 Frogs Before Launch

How? Actually, don’t eat real frogs. You’ll have to start your day with doing 3 things that you don’t like doing.

Why? By starting with them, you make sure you do them and you won’t have any excuse for postponing.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about your daily routine and write down on a piece of paper (right now) three things that you don’t like and happen regularly. Starting tomorrow, do them at the beginning of the day.

#11 Eat Healthy

How? The easy thing to do is not to consume anything that has sugar.

Why? It will improve your life, in general. You’ll have more energy and you will feel less tired.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Think about your daily food and write down on a piece of paper (right now) 3 types of food that you’re not going to eat anymore because they’re unhealthy.

#12 Learn To Love Yourself

How? Stop criticizing yourself and try to see the positive in everything you do.

Why? I believe this is the first step in gaining real self-confidence. You may trust yourself, but deep down you’re still struggling with taking action.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Accept yourself as who and what you are. Think of yourself as your child and write down on a piece of paper (right now) 10 reasons why you should love yourself. Keep that piece of paper glued to a wall you see right after you wake up.

Also, on learning how to love yourself, Jason wrote a great article. Check it here: Loving Yourself Is Really F***Ing Hard: Here’s How To Do It

#13 Be Grateful

How? Take a moment and think about the people or things that you have in your life and have helped you.

Why? It’s important to be conscious about what’s important to you. That’s how you’ll realize their value.

Immediate Action Step – do it NOW!
Write down on a piece of paper (right now) an interval of time (not more than 5 minutes) that will be your time of gratefulness. For example, every day from 18:25 to 18:30 and set an alarm on your phone at 18:25.

13 Powerful Habits To Help You Change Your Life

A CHANGE NEVER HAPPENS IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Freakin changes man …

You gotta love them. Otherwise, you’ll hate them. Quite logic, huh?

The thing is you’ll never ask for a change in your life if everything would have be great. So you’re asking for a change in your life when things suck. That’s just how life works.

And it’s absolutely normal.

If everything is great – or you think it is – why would you try to change anything?

Moreover, in your day-to-day activities, over 90% of what you’re doing isn’t new. You are used to doing things that you already know – this is a habit as well.

And if you’re used to doing things you already know, then try to understand it’s absolutely normal to not feel great when you’re trying to implement a new habit.

A change:

  • Starts in discomfort
  • Is never easy
  • Creates discomfort
  • Creates doubt
  • Leads to uncertainty
  • Absorbs energy and resources

What’s So Good About a Change?

Its result!

Starting to train for a marathon for sure will suck. Especially in the first few weeks. Moreover, especially if you haven’t run at all in the last year. But the more you do it, the more comfortable it gets.

Actually, there’s a rule that goes like this: the more you struggle, the valuable your results will be.

If you’re really having a hard time while going through a change, you’ll really have a blast when you’ll get results.

Creating Your Own Rules Will Boost Your Start

When you want to change your life or something at your lifestyle, make sure you create your own rules.

Above I gave you some specific steps to help you start. But it doesn’t mean you have to start with them or even include them.

You may see things differently and that’s absolutely fine. Just make sure you start.

I know it’s easier, but …

Don’t let others tell you what you have to do.

Don’t take anything for granted, not even this cornerstone article.

I know it’s easier, but you need to find your own path. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it will happen only by testing.

Two General Things About Your Next Life Improvement

There are two things that have helped me to be more conscious about my actions.

By having these two things in my mind, I was able to focus less on the outer world and more on the results that were supposed to come.

#1 About Relationships

During your venture to find the work-life balance, will survive a few relationships – only those that matter.

#2 About Perception

Try to perceive everything you do as a challenge – it will give you the feeling that you’re doing something greater.

Jason Connell on “How To Change a Negative Habit Into a Positive One”

In my experience, changing a negative habit to a positive one is misguided. Generally, if someone has a negative habit, instead of trying to reframe it, I think it should be a cause for reflection and a springboard for doing deep work.

Let’s say someone is spending a lot of time procrastinating on Facebook. Instead of trying to change the behavior by blocking social media during the work day, I’d encourage the person to explore herself. Ask questions like:

  • Why are you procrastinating? Is it because you hate your work? Are you avoiding something? Are you insecure? Are you uninspired?
  • If you discover that it’s because you hate your work, I’d encourage you first figure out how to find a job you love, and second, ask yourself, “Why was I allowing myself to work at a job I hated in the first place?”

In many cases, I think bad habits are more a reflection of self-worth problems. I suspect that when someone heals the wounds that are sabotaging their self-worth, many of their bad habits will melt away on their own.

If you’re just starting, be gentle with yourself. Changing old behaviors is difficult. And start small. Wicked small.

Check more about Jason on his blog at JasonConnell.co.

TOOLS TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Sometimes, starting all by yourself can be hard.

Actually, if you are about to make your first major change in your life, I truly believe the following tools will come in handy.

So, here they are.

#1 The Seinfeld Calendar

This is a tool that have helped me a lot this year.

It’s developed by the notorious comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, who used it as a motivational tool to write daily.

Its concept is simple. You create yourself a big calendar that has not more, not less, than 365 days and you set yourself an objective with daily activities. After each successful day, you put a big fat X on that calendar. The more successful days you’ll have, the bigger the chain of X‘s will be. The purpose is not to break the chain.

I’m using it right now, for this year’s challenges.

Read more about Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret.

#2 Discord

This tool is great if you’re looking for a partner in crime.

Since April, I’ve been part of this Discord group called SupaFlyBloggers. I’ve met there new people with whom I’m weekly sharing ideas and changing thoughts related to content creation and content marketing.

Also, this article is part of The Cornerstone Challenge which got birth inside the SupaFlyBloggers group.

#3 Jason Connell Recommends: Insight Meditation Timer App

I’ve asked Jason what tools he’s using when he’s trying to implement a new habit in his lifestyle. Here’s his answer.

For me, tracking works really really well. I have a fairly stable meditation practice. In ten years I’ve missed fewer than 30 days. One thing that keeps me going: my app (Insight Meditation Timer) gives me rewards in the form of stars for consecutive days. I never thought I’d respond well to tracking / gamification, but I totally do.

Also, yes, I completely realize how unzen trying to earn a colorful star is….

One thing I’d urge people to avoid is punishment. A lot of times people will say, “If I don’t get up at 6am every day, then I owe you $100.” While that seems intuitively powerful, it’s actually self-loathing. Also, if you need to punish yourself to develop a habit, it may not be a habit worth developing in the first place. If it is one that you should develop – like eating healthy – that you’re struggling with, tackle the underlying psychology, not the behavior.

Check more about Jason on his blog at JasonConnell.co.

#4 Robyn Stratton-Berkessel Recommends: Practice! Repetition!

Practice! Practice! Practice! Repetition! Repetition! Repetition! If you want to improve in any activity, you must do it over and over until it becomes easy. The activity becomes a habit when it is integrated into your behavior and seems effortless. This applies to whatever activity you undertake.

Writing, podcasting, working out, networking, knitting or whatever habit you are trying to develop. The same works in reverse, if you chose the break a habit you practice abstinence – over and over. The habit of adding something to your life or removing it changes your neurology and your biology. 

Your brain changes and your body changes. With repetition, you change the neural connections in your brain and the cells in your body. You change your thinking and your behavior.

Check out more about Robyn on her blog at PositivityStrategist.com.

BOOKS TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE

#1 The Power of Habit

This book is the most valuable book when it comes to understanding habits. It talks about triggers, how a habit can be formed, and it goes even to approach the organizations’ habits.

Buy it from Amazon

#2 The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Before trying to create any habit in your life, I believe it’s important to know yourself better. This book has helped me in defining myself as a person and made me realize important aspects of my life.

Buy it from Amazon

#3 Make Your Life AMAZING

This book helps you understand why you think the way you think. Its information is developed around the concept of deconstructing the myths of the society.

Buy it from Amazon

#4 Essentialism

When you’re about to make a great decision in your life, you have to ask yourself if making that decision is essential or not. This way, you’ll only keep in your lifestyle the things that you really need.

Buy it from Amazon

#5 The Power of 30-Day Challenges

A short eBook that’s going to help you discover more about yourself, enjoy every step you make, and connect with people. All these through challenges.

Get it for free by subscribing


If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with your friends on social media platforms. As well, if you have any question or thoughts that you want to share with me, please do it in the comments section below.

Keep learning and growing,
David

Write a Comment

About the Author:

Interested in the human potential and its capacity of changing its perspectives, David can help you make a change in your life or transform your passion into a business.

31 Comments

  1. Laura June 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I really like the advise about changing yourself as a person rather than individual “roles” and how you’ve explained it. This is something I endeavour to put into practice and I eventually feel the results naturally benefiting my “roles”.

    • David The Optimist June 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you find that useful, Laura!

      We develop roles because we want to improve our social life. But it’s just an illusion. We’re trying to add value to our social or work circles by playing one or more roles. Instead, we should provide that value (if we really feel the need of doing it) by improving ourselves as persons.

  2. Kristen June 23, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this. You jam packed it with good information that covers every area of your life. Mentally, physically, emotionally as well as personally and professionally. I think the thing I liked the most was spending as much time with yourself as you spend with others. This is a fault of mine and I need to get better at it. Thank so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful piece, I know you put a lot of effort into this!

    • David The Optimist June 23, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to read this article, Kristen.

      I’m sure you’ll find at least one way to spend more time with yourself.

      I’ve managed to spend enough time with myself because that’s the only way I can improve myself. Meditation can be done in groups, but that group has to be really private and I haven’t found the right one yet.

  3. Sarah June 23, 2017 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Wow, so much useful information. This will definitely help people and I’m really thankful that you put this out there!

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      I’m really glad you’ve found it valuable, Sarah. I hope it helps you develop the lifestyle you desire.

  4. Kari June 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Wow- this is SO useful. I am glad I stumbled upon this blog. Thank you!

  5. Linda June 23, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    I bookmarked this post because I think it’s so important and inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Linda

  6. Divyanka June 23, 2017 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    You’ve explored every aspect to bring practical improvements in life. Great and valid points. Well written amazing article.

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:11 am - Reply

      I like to believe that too, Divyanka. Glad to hear you think my article is well-written.

  7. Ronda June 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    You’re so right. I want to be healthy, but I haven’t been taking the time to workout the way I used to since November and I don’t always eat right. We have to work towards things we want.

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Our life is made out of decisions and being healthy is one of them. Thinking about it in a specific way, could help you start doing something about it. Create a schedule, define the type and amount of exercises, create a list of healthy food, and so on.

      Is less likely to become healthier just by having the concept of ‘healthy lifestyle’ in your mind.

  8. Ramona Spires June 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    You are definitely an inspiration. Overtime I had to learn how to take care of myself mentally and physically. You explain this process beautifully.

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

      Thank you, Ramona!

      Caring about yourself is a delicate process that requires time, patience, and understanding. Being able to practice it is a blessing. Congrats!

  9. AImee June 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Very helpful tips! I am constantly working on my self development and understanding who I really am!

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Thank you, AImee.

      Never stop improving your life, until you have the desired lifestyle.

  10. Amanda June 23, 2017 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    You really did pack a lot of info in here. I agree balance in your life is so important. Being intentional with your time and energy can be very rewarding. It is something I find myself practicing daily. Thanks for all the info!

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Thank you, Amanda. It’s amazing to hear that you’re taking the time to appreciate the time you have.

  11. Thank you for this well thought out post. I would like to be rich AND happy. But, it seems like people aren’t able to accomplish both of those feats these days! I really wonder why.

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Hey Sophie,

      I believe people are not both rich and happy because they are not doing what they love. Mostly, people decide to do something that has nothing to do with their passions – eg. becoming an accountant though you love painting, dancing, or singing.

      Instead of putting the work to improve their talent or create a skill that sells, people decide to do something that’s not even related to their interests. They achieve the ‘having money’ part, but they lack happiness.

  12. yolonda June 24, 2017 at 7:21 am - Reply

    That’s a lot to take in in one sitting – or two or three – so I bookmarked it to read a bit more each day – because that’s some good stuff! I really want to think more about what you wrote about playing roles because I never looked at it that way, but it hits home.

    • David The Optimist June 24, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

      I know it’s a lot to read, Yolanda. Glad to hear you’ll allow more time for reading it.

      Playing a role is something that society teaches us, and I believe we are taking it for granted because it’s easier to play a role instead of being authentic.

  13. Harini June 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    There were too many links and that’s too much information take in.Hence,I have gone through the existing content.It is extremely hard to incorporate these habits into my day to day life,but I do know about the long term results they yield.When I incorporated the healthy eating and exercising routine into my daily life initially it was very frustrating and difficult but now I feel fitter and I am able to do more things throughout the day.

    • David The Optimist June 25, 2017 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Congrats for adding healthy eating and exercises into your lifestyle, Harini. That’s awesome!

  14. Tripti June 25, 2017 at 4:29 am - Reply

    I can see how meditation unlocks you! You’re amazing David. Your post has helped me understand a couple of things more clearly. I’m going to save this link for future reference. Thanks! 🙂

    • David The Optimist June 25, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Thank you, Tripti!

      Meditation is an amazing tool when it comes to self-understanding. Glad to hear you’ve found value in this article.

  15. Marian July 11, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Great article.
    Can’t wait to put in practice some of these things.
    Keep up the good work!

    • David The Optimist July 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Marian!

      Glad to see you’ve found value while reading this article.

  16. […] I’ve meditated a few times (around 8 or 10 times) with the Insight Meditation Timer App and it felt really great. You should give it a […]

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