Whether you’re looking to make a change in your personal life or your professional one, the power lies in how ready you are to take accountability for where you are and where you want to go. While lasting change takes time, there are some things you can do right now that will make an immediate impact. Read on for 10 ways to make some instant changes.
1. Identify your intention before you act.
Doing things just to do them is fun when we’re talking roller-coaster rides and hot showers. For more serious interactions (personal and professional) it helps to sit down and think about what it is that you’re really trying to get out of an exchange or experience and how likely it is that you’ll get it with your current strategy. You’ll not only be more selective as to how you spend your time (and who you spend it with) but you will be more focused and thoughtful in your execution.
2. Make an effort in your appearance.
It might be superficial, but the reality is this: people around us pay attention to our appearance, and not just a little bit. 70% of their impression is based on what we look like, 20% is tone and 10% is what we actually say. Translation: tossing on a sweatshirt and stained jeans is fine if you’re a hungover freshman heading to a boozy brunch, but if you’re looking to make a good impression press your shirt, comb your hair and wear stylish clothes that fit and cover you up appropriately.
3. Think before you speak and type.
Though it seems like people are saying whatever comes to mind in our reality TV/social media-obsessed culture, our words maintain a lot of power and can be used to motivate, harm or heal. How we deliver our messages is as important as the message itself, if not more so. Think about it: deliver constructive criticism with a growl or in the wrong tone and you may wind up leaving them too busy licking their wounds (and stewing in anger) to take in any wisdom you might have offered. When sharing personal information, pay attention to who you’re talking to. Those who delight in hearing gossip like to repeat it, often with their own translations. This can bring about a leading role in a drama you never meant to audition for. It’s equally important to think about how your words speak about you and your value system on social media.
4. Don’t skimp on research.
The more you know, the more strategic you can be; the less time you waste, the better chance you have of success. Spend at least a half an hour a day working to learn something new. Also, do a quick Google search before you ask someone for help with someone. You might find an answer and avoid looking lazy.
5. Don’t chase a loss.
If you have tried and tried (and tried) again and it hasn’t worked out, let it go. Sitting there frustrated while hoping that proverbial stock will rise will only bankrupt other areas of your life, leaving you worse off. Accepting that you have to walk away from something you wanted to maintain is never easy, but letting go be the only way for you to actually get what you wanted in the first place.
6. Organize yourself.
I’m not just talking about closets here. If your thoughts are scattered, start writing things down. If you can’t seem to get from A to B on time, start planning out your day and do a practice run. Look for mentors and guides, ask for help and really pay attention to the ways in which you’re allowing your life to control you instead of controlling your life.
7. Close it in your own.
How many times have you gone back to something (a thought, a person, a memory) in order to gain “closure?” The next time you catch yourself looking for answers, remind yourself that bad things happen to good people, good people do bad things and life isn’t fair. If someone doesn’t care enough about your feelings (or simply doesn’t want) to explain themselves, it’s not going to happen no matter how much you wait around and press them. Case closed.
8. Pay attention to what people are really saying.
Words are used by salespeople to get you to snatch up whatever it is they want you to take home. They are hoping you’ll buy it (in this case, their stories) as quickly as possible so that by the time you realize you’ve been sold a lemon, they’ll be long gone. Look for temperature checks, loopholes, inconsistencies and if words fall flat and aren’t gassed up by actions. Just remind yourself that when someone loves and respects you, you feel it. When they are sorry, you don’t have to defend your right to be hurt. If they want to be with you/hire you/help you, you’ll know. If you’re chasing and begging for the basics (respect, consideration) the situation is not for you.
9. Don’t be a hermit.
Whether it’s signing up for a cooking class, Tango lessons, meeting friends for cocktails, taking a walk in the park or volunteering, there’s plenty to do and never really an excuse to be “bored.” The only people who get bored are boring people. You’re not boring, even if you’re pretending to be.
10. Make your own comfort a priority.
This could be listening to your favorite playlist while getting ready for work, purchasing pillows that make you want to rest your weary head or setting aside time to lay on your couch and enjoy that delicious biography you’ve been aching to read. It could also be not allowing people to push you to share or do things you don’t want to or forcing yourself to accept behavior that doesn’t feel right to you.