One Word That Will Secure Your New Year Resolutions

Every January, most of us start the New Year with fresh new resolutions, including the simple and realistic ones and some bizarre, impractical promises. But along the way, a sizeable number of us start to slowly lose sight of the goal and end up ditching all of them, one after the other. We may blame the failure to fulfill the resolutions on being over-ambitious, other more demanding commitments, and more excuses.

It is January, February or whatever month of the year and being a distinguished psychologist, Susan David knows why many resolutions go unfulfilled. She, therefore, sets out to help using an inspiring post – “Want to help your resolutions stick? Make this one-word change.

Read about Ted and why Alex, his adopted son is worried!

Susan had a London-based client who also doubled as her friend called Ted – an obese, intrepid traveler and ardent lover of cheeseburgers and beers. Ted along with his wife, chose to adopt Alex, an orphaned Romanian boy whose artistic skills are simply phenomenal. But realized that his dad would die because of his failure to stick to his resolution of keeping fit, he did what not even a single ordinary boy can do. He did art of himself, desolate and abandoned!

How “The Orphan” changed Ted and made him re-look at his resolutions

Touched and inspired by the painting, Ted didn’t do what many would have done immediately. He, instead, started changing his lifestyle in gradual steps. As Susan writes, Ted “doubled down on discipline and willpower,” not because he needed to impress his wife and Alex or appear like he’s making a change. He’s a testament to how Susan’s “Want-to” ideology can help a person achieve any New Year’s goal with ease.

Lessons extracted from the post

It isn’t easy to stick to your promises and utterly fulfill all of them. But with a tiny tweak made, not in a rush, but rather by positioning your goals in terms of “want to” not “have to,” everything soon gets back on course to fruition. You see, she explains that behind every “want to” goal is unexplained genuine interest and values that are powered by personal enjoyment and the inherent importance of attaining the goal.

You can choose to pursue your goals out of the fear of failure and end up failing terribly. Consequently, you may set out to conquer your resolutions because, out of them, is a genuine appreciation from within your heart. She says that life is a series of small wins that, all of them combine to be one mega win. These aren’t even half of the lessons obtained from Susan’s “Want to help your resolutions stick? Make this one-word change,” and I’d recommend that you go through it.

To read the full article, click here.

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Being Proud Can Bring A Positive Force To Your Life

Nobody likes a show off. Pride is a double-edged sword. When you aren’t proud enough, you have trouble feeling successful. If you’re too proud, people mistake you for a narcissist. Are there ever times when pride is a good thing?

Today, we’ll take a look at the different types of pride and how it manifests itself. Pride is more than meets the eye, and you may discover some ways that pride is beneficial for us.

When pride goes wrong

Nothing in excess is ever a good thing–even a sense of pride. Pride is often negative because it puts emphasis on the ego and self at the expense of the group.

Too much praise can inflate a person’s ego and create a drive for external validation. If you rely solely on external praise for motivation, you’ll have a hard time with self-motivation. Enjoying undeserved praise can also get you into the bad habit of bragging to elicit praise.

People with too much pride develop a sense of superiority over others. When an individual is too proud, they may also be unwilling to ask for help, which can make their lives miserable. For these reasons, we generally don’t like to be around people who are too proud.

Pride doesn’t have to be all bad, though. It’s healthy to give and receive praise when it’s been earned. It’s important to offer appreciation when someone does something well, and it’s equally crucial to be appreciated.[1] As long as people accept praise with a balance of pride and humility, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for doing a good job.

5 reasons to enjoy the positive side of pride

1. You’ll hold high standards

Individuals who take pride in their work are more likely to have higher-quality outputs.[2]

2. You can push back against negativity

When something doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you need some pride to keep going. Pride makes you resilient.[3]

3. It’s a sign that you care

If you don’t take pride in what you’re doing, you probably don’t care about it.

4. Pride spurs leadership

When you really care about something, you’re willing to fight for it. If a project, organization, or place is in jeopardy, a proud person will become a leader to protect it.[4]

5. Proud people look after their families

When you’re proud of your family, you go to bat for them. You try to give them the best things in life, and you won’t allow them to suffer in poor conditions.

How to use pride to your advantage

As long as you nurture the positive aspects of pride and keep your ego in check, pride can be a real asset. Remember, pride is about setting high standards, living up to them, and avoiding narcissism.

Hang with the right crowd

There are many ways to nurture pride and avoid selfishness. Surrounding yourself with the right kinds of people can go a long way to putting you on the right path. It’s been said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, after all.

The right kind of people are the ones who will provide support and encouragement, but they’ll be honest with you. People who dole out praise when it isn’t deserved can over-inflate your ego. If you spend time with individuals who offer appreciation when you’ve done something well, they can help you build up a healthy sense of self.

Stay humble

You can feel a sense of pride and still show humility. Just because you do something well, doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to brag or seek praise. Be comfortable with knowing that you are doing your best work without having to have validation from outside sources.

Try new things

When you try something new, you give yourself permission to not be the best at something. Whether you’re setting out on a new creative endeavor or developing a fresh skill set, pick something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. This will remind you what it’s like to be a beginner, and when you do master that skill, you will feel the pride of having achieved something new.

Do what you love

People need more external validation when they are unsatisfied with their work. For example, if you despise your job, you might develop an inflated ego to protect yourself from negative feelings. Work doesn’t always have to be fun, but you should derive some satisfaction from it without having to brag and seek rewards all the time.

Take time for self-reflection

Stopping to think about who you are, what you value, and how you’re feeling about life should be ongoing practices. Build in some time to think about how you feel. Are you noticing tendencies that suggest that your level of pride has become selfish?

By monitoring your feelings, you can adjust before extreme pridefulness damages your life. Create a plan of action for when you feel that you have developed an unhealthy ego. If you have trouble recognizing these things in yourself, look to a trusted friend or loved one to steer you in the right direction. The people you have the closest relationships with will have no problem telling you if you’re full of yourself.

Do something outside of yourself

Use your skills to help others. This could mean taking a new co-worker under your wing or volunteering your time in the service of those who need it. Serving others keeps you grounded, and it gives your life meaning. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can make the world a better place in small ways.

It’s okay to feel accomplished

There’s nothing wrong with believing in your ability and feeling good when you’ve done something well. Even as you advance, remember to stay grounded.

Reference

[1] Wholistic Fit Living: When pride is good
[2] Changing Minds: Pride
[3] Debate.org: Is Pride a Bad Thing?
[4] Lifestyle Magazine: 19 Reasons pride is important in a man

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What’s The Story Behind Those Tattoos and Piercings?

Some people are wild about body art. They become living canvases of tattoos and piercings. We were curious to find out what drives people to get such modifications.

We talked to two people who turn heads when they walk down the street because of their obsession with body art. Regina is covered in tattoos. Sam has oh-so-many piercings. What are they trying to say, and what’s it like to walk through the world in their skin?

When you become living art

Lifehack: Why did you get so many body modifications?

Regina: I’ve always liked tattoos. I’m an artist, so it fits. I didn’t intend to get so many, but I got hooked.

Sam: When I was younger, I got into metal music, and the musicians had piercings. Music was like my lifeline, and those guys were my role models. I got my labret (lip piercing) when I was 16, and I haven’t looked back.

Lifehack: What have you learned from having so much body art?

Regina: It’s OK to be different.

Sam: I’m not afraid to stand out. Whenever I go somewhere new, I always have something to talk about with people. Most people aren’t so bad.

Lifehack: How do your loved ones feel about your tattoos and piercings?

Regina: I don’t really talk to my family. By the time my friends met me, I was already inked. The tattoos were just part of the package.

Sam: My family doesn’t mind at all. My mom took me to get my first piercing. My grandparents don’t really understand why I do this to myself, but they are ok about it.

Lifehack: How many piercings/ tattoos do you have?

Regina: I have 7 piercings and 37 tattoos.

Sam: I have 30 piercings, but I’m not done yet.

Lifehack: How much do you spend on body modifications?

Regina: A lot. The key when you’re getting this much ink is to go to a good artist. My guy doesn’t pick up a tattoo gun for less than $150 an hour. The more color and detail, the more expensive it’s going to be. I have about $20,000 wrapped up in these full sleeves, and there’s still more that I want to do with them. I can only get a little work done each year because of the cost.

Sam: I got a few of these – like my ears – done for less than $50 a piercing. These dermals were $150 for the three of them. It just depends on the area.

Lifehack: What kind of identity are you expressing with your tattoos/ piercings?

Regina: I’ve always gone against the grain, so it makes sense that I’d do it with my body too. The tattoos are my way of carrying art on my body at all times.

Sam: I’m not going for a specific identity. I just don’t want to be like everyone else.

Lifehack: Do you get shunned by society? Do people give you weird looks or comments?

Regina: I definitely get looks. My first few tattoos were small, so it didn’t matter, but once I got them on my neck, people started to stare. People do say things, sometimes. Just today, a woman screamed out her car window that I needed to go to church. Go figure.

Sam: The piercings on my face and head are pretty extreme by most standards. People might stare, but this hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want to do.

Lifehack: Is it acceptable for you to have this body art at work?

Regina: The tattoos are part of my work, so it’s fine. I know if I wanted to get a job in an office, I’d have trouble.

Sam: I’m a barber at an edgy shop downtown. It’s completely acceptable there.

Lifehack: Do you need to hide your body art?

Regina: It’s a tough for me to hide them now, but when I first met my fiance’s parents, I did cover them. I was afraid they’d be alarmed by my appearance.

Sam: I can’t cover them anymore. There’d just be big holes all over my face. It looks better when they’re in. People just have to accept me.

Lifehack: Did it hurt? Which one hurt the most?

Regina: Of course it hurt! Have you ever had someone dig a needle into your skin for several hours? The tops of my feet and my rib-cage hurt the worst. It felt like the needle was hitting bones the whole time.

Sam: My nipple piercings were the worst. They hurt so freaking bad! My dermals hurt too. It was totally worth it though.

There’s more than meets the eye with body mods

We enjoyed having Sam and Regina answer our burning questions about body modifications. Our interviewees reminded us that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

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Sometimes, Honesty Is Not The Best Policy

Liar, liar pants on fire. No one wants to get caught in a lie and appear to be dishonest or deceptive. But does telling a lie actually make you either of those things?

The truth is, there are some advantages to lying; and they aren’t always for self-gain. Sometimes people choose to lie to protect others and spare their feelings. Because let’s face it, the truth hurts.

Why do we even lie?

We all need to take a moment to be honest with ourselves and admit that we all lie. It is in our innate nature to deceive and sometimes protect.

Yes, we sometimes tell lies to cover up bad behavior, manipulate others, or rise to power and attain what we want.

But we also lie to spare the feelings of others, avoid unnecessary conflict, or to simply brighten up someone’s day.

Dishonesty is in our nature.

Researchers believe that the act of lying came into play after the development of language. It is the evolution of deceptive strategy, just as animals use camouflage to deceive their predators or prey.

In terms of efficiency, lying is the easiest way to rise to power and attain resources. If your enemy is larger and stronger than you, then physical force will not be very effective. But if you are able to outwit and manipulate your enemy; not only can you acquire their resources, but make them believe that it was their idea own idea.

How often do we lie?

This of course is relative to the individual. The frequency of lying was first documented by social psychologist Bella DePaulo.

She asked 147 individuals to record their blips of dishonesty throughout the day. On average, her subjects lied at least twice a day. The lies themselves were relatively harmless in nature; innocuous excuses for instances such as lateness. Or fibs that present a false image; saying that you ran 5 miles instead of the truthful 2.

We’ve been fibbing since we learned to talk.

In actuality, we are conditioned to lie at a young age. Didn’t your parents tell you to always thank your host for that “delicious” meal that you had to choke down? Social graces aside, it’s still a lie.

Children typically learn to lie between the ages of 2-5. Kang Lee, a psychologist from the University of Toronto studied children between the ages of 2-8 to gauge the kind of lies that children tell.

When children first begin to lie at the age of 2, it is an indication that they are starting to test out their independence. They lie simply to see what they can get away with.

By the age of 8, the children actually have the capacity of lying to spare the feelings of others. The results of the study actually found that these lies are motivated by empathy and compassion rather than deceit and manipulation.

Lying is a reflection of our goals.

Sometimes you don’t even need to open your mouth to tell a lie. A simple facial expression is enough to convey a mistruth.

Embellishments, exaggerations, these are the close counterparts to outright lies. But in this case, these lies are almost never malicious. But in fact, a projection of one’s aspirations.

In an experiment conducted by Robert Feldman, he questioned a number of students about their grades and efforts in school. Most of them were dishonest about their actual grades. But instead of becoming anxious as most people do amidst a lie, they became incredibly engaged and excited to boast about their achievements.

“We lie if honesty won’t work”- Tim Levine

Is there a difference between moral and immoral lying? If we’re being honest with ourselves, the answer is a resounding yes. Some lies are well intentioned- meant to protect those who are being lied to.

Lying has even been found to have psychological benefits for the liar. Those who are extremely honest with themselves are more prone to depression than those who are not. Overtly honest people are often construed as blunt, sometimes even pathological.

There are even interpersonal benefits to be gained from lying and knowing when it is okay to do so. In fact, if someone detects that you have lied to them to protect them, it could increase the trust that they have in you.

These well intentioned lies are known as pro-social lies.

Lying for the better good.

Pro-social lying involves four distinct constructs of human capacity: theory of mind, compassion, memory and imagination.

In this case, our choice to lie is a result of moral and emotional reasoning. We prioritize kindness over the importance of truth to spare other persons involved. As our brains develop, our moral reasoning progresses at the same rate as self-control as well as cognitive ability.

Further still, the most selfless of lies is known as a blue lie. These lies tend to be altruistic falsities that are actually told at the cost of the liar to protect someone else. In this case, we might subject ourselves to punishment for the wrongdoing of others.

Honestly, lying isn’t so bad.

What determines the magnitude of the lie is the intent behind it. Lies that are told to protect others can actually help to strengthen relationships. Other lies that are told to embellish ones image are debatably harmless.

It all boils down to one fact- we all have our reasons for the lies that we tell and the facts that we choose not to share. At the end of the day, what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Sometimes a tiny lie is necessary to ensure that all is well and all runs smoothly.

Featured photo credit: Movies with Mae via google.com

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This is How You Can Save Yourself From Feeling Sorry For What You Did

You are what you do. If you long for good health, make the decision that leads you to good health, and if you long for fortune and happy life, do what takes you to your dreams. The future us is built by the actions we do today and the decisions we make at this moment.

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Why Criticism Is Better Than Compliment

Think back to the last time you received a compliment and the last time you were criticized. No doubt, when you received the compliment, you felt good – and when you received the criticism, you felt upset and wanted to reject it.

You shouldn’t be surprised by your reaction to the negative comment, as it’s a human’s survival mechanism to avoid being criticized. Clearly, we don’t want to be seen as failures, so we’d rather shut our eyes and cover our ears than have to take any criticisms from others.

However, there’s a serious problem with this approach. Namely, by doing our utmost to avoid being criticized, we allow ourselves to travel on a never-ending highway of mediocrity.

Without receiving negative feedback and criticisms from others, our growth and opportunities become stunted. And in the long term, we’re not only liable to fail – but to fail badly.

The Microsoft KIN is an example of how lacking criticisms leads to a great failure. Launched in 2010, this smartphone was a major failure despite its $1 billion development and marketing costs. Unbelievably, the phone only lasted on the market for 48 days. The problem? Microsoft failed to do comprehensive testing of the smartphone with the target demographic. It was only after the phone went on sale that it became blatantly obvious that most 15 to 30-year-olds preferred Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones to the Microsoft KIN.[1]

If criticism and feedback had been received by the target demographic while the phone was in development, Microsoft could have avoided the huge embarrassment and financial loss that occurred. As the story above demonstrates, early criticism is a necessary factor for future success.

Excessive praise weakens your motivation

I believe that criticism is better than compliments. But why do I think that? Well, let me give you a metaphor that will explain my rationale.

Picture in your mind praise being a type of health food. Now, no one would argue that healthy nutrition is a bad thing. However, what’s good for you in small or measured dosages can be bad for you if you take too much of it. You may be surprised to hear this even applies to your water consumption.[2] And your fruit consumption too.[3]

Clearly, too much food or drink – no matter how healthy they may be – can make us ill. For optimum health, we need a balanced intake of healthy food and drink.

It’s the same with compliments. Receiving them from time-to-time is a good thing, but if they’re all you ever hear, then they’re likely to have a negative impact on your ability to achieve things in life.

Excessive compliments take us away from our original motivation of simply enjoying an activity. We start doing the activity purely for the sake of receiving ego-satisfying praise.

However, enough time being stuck in the latter, means we become imprisoned by praise. Without the expectation of praise, our motivation to complete things begins to be lost.

As an example of this, think back to a time when you were learning a new sport. If your coach only praised you, then you’d have missed out on being shown what things you were doing wrong. And as a consequence, your ability to learn and refine your techniques would have be diminished.

Criticism encourages growth

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about trolls or abusive comments, I’m talking about constructive criticism, which I like to think of as ‘healthy criticism’. Feedback that helps to make you stronger.

If you always think you’re right but don’t get feedback from anyone else, how do you know for sure that what you’re doing is any good? Listening and acting on honest views will tell you precisely what you’re doing well – and what you can do better.

This type of feedback forces you to evaluate your actions and the way you work. If you use constructive criticism wisely, it can guide you away from bad practices and move you towards good ones.

The right kind of criticism is honest feedback that will benefit you.

Grow strong through the power of criticism

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of constructive criticism, let’s delve into several ways that you can use it to boost your productivity and success in life.

Criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.

For example, imagine you’re learning to play guitar, and in your first public performance your tutor says: “You did well.” Now, while these might be welcome words to your ears, they’re not as useful in helping you improve as: “Your timing needs some work.” With this piece of advice, you have specific guidance on how to quickly improve your performance skills. (You might need to spend hours playing alongside a metronome.)

Actively seek criticism by asking for feedback.

This could be in the form of a question.

Continuing the guitar playing example, you might ask your tutor (or other people who heard your performance): “What could I have done better?” You could also ask very specific questions. For instance: “Did my playing in the introduction sound in tune?”

Let’s be honest, most people don’t know how to give feedback – they typically offer vague comments filled with emotions. By asking specific questions, you’ll gain valuable feedback that will help you learn and develop quickly.

However, asking questions should also be to gain useful feedback, not to show you have doubts about your abilities and skills.

Take criticism with patience.

When you take criticism, I strongly recommend the following:

  • Be quiet and listen. Try to listen to as many perspectives as possible to get a full picture and more points of view.
  • Ask clarifying questions. Aim to understand what the other person means when they criticize you. Don’t make an initial judgement that they’re wrong. Understand first, then start to process their opinions.
  • Ask for suggestions to improve, but always refer back to your goals. After clarifying the problem, seek for suggestions, but don’t just try to satisfy others’ needs. Instead, refer back to your goals to see how improvements can align with your original intentions.
  • Take control of the process. Pick the right person. Typically, this would be someone who is honest, impartial but wants the best for you.

Rapid feedback is important.

Speed is also important when it comes to receiving feedback.

The sooner you get feedback from others, the faster you’ll know what to improve before going ahead with your plans or work. For example, if you’re planning on setting up your own business, ask some interested friends to provide feedback on your ideas. Do this before you launch your business, and you’ll save yourself valuable time learning the long and hard way.

Seek criticism instead of praise

The Power of Positive Thinking author Norman Vincent Peale said it well,

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

How true that is.

Fortunately, you now have the keys to help you move away from seeking praise – to instead, seeking constructive criticism. And once you start putting these keys to use, you’ll unlock the doors to a whole new way of learning, developing and succeeding.

Reference

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Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

When it comes to eating healthily, snacking has a bad reputation. It’s usually synonymous with unhealthy food, habitually eating between meals and gradually putting on weight.

But is snacking always an unhealthy habit? Could it actually help us lead a more healthy lifestyle?

Why Does Snacking Have Such a Bad Rep?

Snacking is a term used to describe eating between regular meals but it doesn’t automatically mean bad foods.

Snacking is primarily motivated by hunger which is when our blood sugar levels are low. This causes the body to crave fatty or sugary foods that will help bridge the gap until our next meal and get the blood sugar levels up in the quickest time. Therefore, snacking has been associated with weight gain.

However, many studies have shown that if a person has a generally balanced, healthy diet, snacking has no effect on weight[1]. The idea that eating extra calories can only be detrimental to weight is another flawed premise. There are many ways that snacking can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Why Snacking is Actually Good For You

So why should we look at snacking as a positive rather than a negative? Is it time to make snacking a habit in our diet?

As long as you’re mindful of what kind of snacks you’re eating, snacking can be used as a way to lose weight and keep you feeling balanced throughout your day. Here’s how…

It Prevents Overeating

While snacking can be seen as adding extra calories, it makes sense that if you’ve kept yourself topped up through the day, you won’t overeat when you finally come to sit down for dinner. Hunger is the culprit here and, ironically, is the main cause for putting on weight. Feeling ravenous will make us eat up to 20% more than we need to eat so snacking to curb the hunger will keep you eating normal portions. Just make sure the snack is calorie controlled because you don’t want to fill up on processed foods only to not want to eat your healthy dinner.

Helps To Get More Nutrients

Smart snacking can be an advantage when it comes to getting all the goodness your body needs. It can be hard to get all the nutrients you need in three main meals especially if we have a busy day. This is where snacking can provide you with an extra healthy boost. Almost everything that isn’t processed can give us much-needed nutrients – nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit or vegetables. Low calorie snacks that fill you up can help your body power through the day more efficiently.

Keeps Your Energy Levels Up

We’ve all had that feeling of weakness and loss of energy when we feel hungry. This ultimately doesn’t lead to a productive day and causes concentration levels to waiver and irritability to rise.

Snacking basically prevents this from happening and helps maintain a positive healthy mind as well as body. In other words, snacking can keep us happy and prevents dips associated with negative feelings.

Healthy Snacks Can Create Smart Food Choices

Not only does it prevent overeating but it helps us make better choices when it comes to meal times. If our blood sugar is maintained, we are less likely to reach for the pizza or burger and instead consider a healthier choice.

Choosing or planning healthier snacks can also convince the brain that we want to carry on the healthy options well into the evening. So snacking on high protein, low fat foods such as protein shakes, plain yoghurts, raw vegetables, or nuts and seeds, can mean you don’t want to spoil your good work when it comes to lunch or dinner.

Snack Smart and Reap the Benefits

So, snacking is far from bad if you’re mindful of the types of snacks you choose. Maintaining your sugar levels and curbing your hunger will go towards eliminating unhealthy choices when it comes to your meals. Try not to over snack, just think of it as tiding you over and giving extra love to your body until your next meal. If you’re aiming to lose weight, snacking will help in your quest for weight loss if done in this smart and mindful way.

Remember to only snack if you’re genuinely hungry. Boredom snacking is very common, generally unnecessary and tends to happen just before a big meal. Try to avoid this and snack when you feel your body needs it not when your irrational mind is convincing you to. Avoid this and you can snack in a positive, healthy way.

Featured photo credit: Oluwaseun Duncan via pexels.com

Reference

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