30 Challenges for 30 Days of Growth

30 Challenges for 30 Days of Growth

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
– Aristotle

Scientists have suggested that, with a little willpower, it takes roughly 30 days for a person to form a new habit.  As with mastering anything new, the act of starting and getting beyond the preliminary stage where everything feels awkward is 80% of the battle.  This is precisely why it’s important to make small, positive changes every day over the course of at least a 30 day period.

It’s like the old saying:  “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  The same philosophy holds true for making changes in your life.  Trying to bite off more than you can chew will only make you choke.  But taking smaller, manageable bites, one at a time – eating a little healthier, exercising a little, creating some simple productive habits, for example – is an amazing way to make positive changes and get excited about life.

And when you start small like this, you won’t need a lot of motivation either.  The simple act of getting started and doing something will give you the momentum you need, and soon you’ll find yourself in a positive spiral of changes – one building on the other.  When I started doing this in my life, I was so excited about it that I started this blog to share it with the world.

Below you will find 30 challenges to be accomplished over the course of 30 days.  If carried out diligently each of them has the potential to create a new positive habit in your life.  Yes, there is some slight overlap between a few of them.  And no, you don’t have to attempt all at once.  Pick 2 to 5 and commit the next 30 days, wholeheartedly, to successfully completing the challenge.  Then once you feel comfortable with these habits, challenge yourself with a few more the following month.

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  1. Use words that encourage happiness. – Typically, when I ask someone “How are you?” they reply, “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.”  But one lazy Monday afternoon last month a new colleague of mine replied, “Oh, I am fabulous!”  It made me smile, so I asked him what was making him feel so fabulous and he said, “I’m healthy, my family is healthy, and we live in a free country.  So I don’t have any reason not to be happy.”  The difference was simply his attitude and his choice of words.  He wasn’t necessarily any better off than anyone else, but he seemed twenty times happier.  Spend the next 30 days using words that encourage a smile.
  2. Try one new thing every day. – Variety truly is the spice of life.  You can see or do something a million times, but you can only see or do it for the first time once.  As a result, first time experiences often leave reflective marks in our minds for the rest of our lives.  Make an effort to try something new every day for the next 30 days.  It can be a whole new activity or just a small experience, such as talking to a stranger.  Once you get the ball rolling many of these new experiences will open doors to life changing opportunities.
  3. Perform one selfless act every day. – In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you, something that helps someone else be happy or suffer less.  I promise, it will be an extremely rewarding experience.  One you’ll likely remember forever.  Obviously your options here are limitless, but if you’re looking to assist an ordinary person in need without leaving your chair, check out GoFundMe.
  4. Learn and practice one new skill every day. – Self-reliance is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life.  To be self-reliant one must master [Read more…]

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Remember today, for it is the beginning.
Today marks the start of a brave new future.

Our previous article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, was well received by most of our readers, but several of you suggested that we follow it up with a list of things to start doing.  In one reader’s words, “I would love to see you revisit each of these 30 principles, but instead of presenting us with a ‘to-don’t’ list, present us with a ‘to-do’ list that we all can start working on today, together.”  Some folks, such as readers Danny Head and Satori Agape, actually took it one step further and emailed us their own revised ‘to-do’ versions of the list.

So I sat down last night with our original article and the two reader’s revisions as a guide, and a couple hours later finalized a new list of 30 things; which ended up being, I think, a perfect complement to the original.

Here it is, a positive ‘to-do’ list for the upcoming year – 30 things to start doing for yourself:

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  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual [Read more…]

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

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  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like [Read more…]

95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness

Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness

At the cusp of a new day, week, month or year, most of us take a little time to reflect on our lives by looking back over the past and ahead into the future.  We ponder the successes, failures and standout events that are slowly scripting our life’s story.  This process of self-reflection helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we’ve been and where we intend to go.  It is pertinent to the organization and preservation of our long-term goals and happiness.

The questions below will help you with this process.  Because when it comes to finding meaning in life, asking the right questions is the answer.

  1. In one sentence, who are you?
  2. Why do you matter?
  3. What is your life motto?
  4. What’s something you have that everyone wants?
  5. What is missing in your life?
  6. What’s been on your mind most lately?
  7. Happiness is a ________?
  8. What stands between you and happiness?
  9. What do you need most right now?
  10. What does the child inside you long for?
  11. What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?
  12. What’s been bothering you lately?
  13. What are you scared of?
  14. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
  15. What will you never give up on?
  16. What do you want to remember forever?
  17. What makes you feel secure?
  18. Which activities make you lose track of time?
  19. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever made?
  20. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
  21. What are you most grateful for?
  22. What is worth the pain?
  23. In order of importance, how would you rank: happiness, money, love, [Read more…]