Just One Step Forward

Stop and look in the mirror. 100% happy with everything you see?

I certainly am not. I’m still scrawnier than I’d like to be. Ideally, I want to gain another 30 pounds of muscle. My bank account? Well, that’s scrawnier than I’d like it to be as well. My career is moving along, but if I’m honest, I’ve not done as much as I thought I would when I was a senior in college and expected myself to change the world. Socially, I have a few good friends and I’ve made a lot of progress towards overcoming that natural shyness that I grew up with. But you know that guy that just walks into a room, commands instant respect, and electrifies the crowd? That’s still not me.

If I honestly assess where I am at as a person vs where I’d like to be, I see so much ground I need to cover. It’s a bit overwhelming – so much to do. I find myself either stressing out about how far from my ideal self I still am or trying to just accept where I am now as good enough.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

I could freak out and stress over how much work I still have to do or I could give up and just accept I’ll never reach my goals, but a third option exists. Just One Step Forward. All I need to do today is take one step forward towards my goals. Just one step. Slow, steady forward progress will eventually accomplish your largest, most incredible dreams.

What can you do today to take 1 simple step forward? Here’s a few ideas.

  • Take a jog to burn some calories and strengthen your heart.
  • Sign up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn.
  • Visit the store and buy one clothing item that fits well and gives you confidence.
  • Join an online dating site and practice chatting with someone.
  • Better yet, visit a coffee shop and make small talk with someone there.
  • Sign up for a gym and search Youtube for a few basic workouts.
  • Fill out a to-do list to get yourself organized.
  • Clean one room or even one part of a room.
  • Message a friend to reconnect.
  • Read the first chapter of a book you’ve always wanted to read.
  • Drop $10 into a savings account.
  • Take 5 minutes and just breathe. Repeat the word “peace” or “strength” or “love” in your mind. You just meditated.
  • Plan to help someone today. When the opportunity presents itself, go for it.

None of these ideas are dramatic or life-changing. But then again maybe they are. If the journey of a thousand miles really does begin with a single step, then these simple steps may change you in ways you can’t imagine. You don’t have to change the world today. You don’t even have to transform yourself. You need just take a single step towards a better you. And in doing so, you just might end up changing yourself and the world more than you ever realized.

If you really want to master something as quickly as possible and go from first step to goal even quicker, I highly recommend The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything Fast. Josh Kaufman helps self-directed learners like us expedite the learning process get to the stage of enjoying what we’ve learned as fast as possible. If you are serious about self-improvement, moving forward towards goals, and achieving skills faster, then consider this book a strong introduction to everything you need to know.

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Happy reading, happy improving, and may your small steps lead to giant leaps toward your dreams!

12 Traits That Turn You into an Attractive Single

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Today’s post is written by our good friend over at GlobalSeducer.com

It’s not easy to be single.

You are constantly reminded that you should be unhappy. Your mother tells you that you need someone in your life and whenever you turn on the TV you want to throw your remote control out of the window.

“Please not another romantic comedy movie” you think to yourself.

You are sick and tired of your single life. You don’t want to admit it, but your mom is right. Having someone you can talk to, someone who cuddles you and supports you would change your life.

But it’s hard. It’s hard to find the right partner.

Nevertheless, you are ready for love.

Let’s have a look at what you have to do in order to become so attractive that meeting the perfect partner becomes as easy as stealing candy from a child (not that you should do that).

You Love Yourself

Self-love is so important.

I recently read a book with the title “Love yourself like your life depends on it”. It changed my life and it reminded me of what was missing when I was a frustrated single.

I didn’t love myself. Worst of all, I didn’t understand that you first need to love yourself before someone else can love you. It took me a while to realize that. I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took me.

Start today. Look into the mirror and say “I love myself”. It might feel a bit awkward, but these three words can change your life.

You Know Exactly What You Want

You need to know who you want to attract before you can attract the right person.

Unfortunately, a lot of singles don’t even ask themselves the most important question of all:

“What do I really want?”

Unless you know what you want, you won’t get it. Just imagine if you would apply for a job at a big company without specifically stating what job you are interested in.

Do you think this company would hire you?

Of course not!

The same is true if you want to have a relationship. When you are on a date with someone and you can’t even tell this person what you are looking for, you won’t leave a good impression.

You Are Patient and Persistent

Dating can be tedious.

You go on one date after another. The first date is boring. What about the next date? Don’t even get me started.

You might fall in love with someone who doesn’t love you. You might think that someone loves you until this person cheats on you. Then you have to start all over again.

The one trait that will help you in this situation is to be patient and persistent. If you continue to show up, success will come. This is true for every aspect of life, even for love.

You Promise Yourself to Not Settle For Less

One of the biggest mistakes that frustrated singles can make is to settle for less. They settle down with the first person who shows interest in them because they are scared of losing the only shield against a lonely life.

I think you already know why this is extremely dangerous.

There’s a high chance that the first person who shows interest in you is not the right partner for you. Just because someone likes you doesn’t mean that this someone is good for you.

Please promise yourself that you won’t settle for less. Ignore this advice and you might wake up next to your worst nightmare.

You Are Ready to Meet New People

I don’t say that you shouldn’t be afraid to meet new people.

I mean, let’s be honest. If you are alone for quite a while, leaving the house and meeting new people is hard. It takes a lot of courage, especially when you are a natural introvert like me.

But you need to do it. Meeting new people is the only way to eventually meet a new partner.

You Invest at Least One Hour a Day

Being a single who wants to have a partner is like being a college student who wants to have a diploma. If you don’t work for it, you won’t get it. It’s that simple.

What kind of work am I talking about?

Well, just like a college student, you can read blogs (like this one), buy books, and go to seminars to learn how to meet a partner. All the information you need is out there.

Investing one hour a day accumulates to 365 hours a year. You can learn a lot about dating and relationships in 365 hours.

You Have Boundaries

A person without boundaries will get hurt in the dating jungle.

The sad truth is that not all people you are going to meet are sweet and nice. You might meet someone who wants to control you. You might even meet someone who wants to psychologically abuse you.

You have to be prepared. You need to have boundaries that nobody is allowed to cross. Without boundaries, you run the risk of attracting a lot of drama that you don’t really want.

 Your Style Represents Your Personality

Having an attractive style is not the same as running after every new trend. Just because everyone is walking around in a jeans jacket doesn’t mean that it will look good on you.

You need to develop your own style. The best tip that I can give you is to choose a style that represents your personality.

The style that shows who you really are is the style that will make you more attractive.

 You Know How to Communicate

Do you want to make sure that your next date will be amazing?

Then you need to know how to communicate.

Just think about what you do on a date. You talk. Sometimes you talk for hours. You get to know each other and you do this by communicating.

 You Are Always Ready for an Adventure

Do you need to be Indiana Jones in order to attract women?

No, you don’t have to be that extreme, but you should always be ready for an adventure.

Being adventurous will set you apart from your competition. I’m serious. In today’s world so many people spend their time in front of the TV, looking at their smartphones and wasting hours watching cat videos on YouTube.

If you can prove that you are an adventurous person, everyone wants to date you.

 You Are Not Afraid to Fail

If you don’t try, you’ve already failed.

When it comes to dating, you can’t really fail unless you don’t try. I honestly think that going on 100 dates and not finding someone who is right for you is impossible.

Some of the people you meet won’t call you back. Others will pick up the phone when you call them and make up an excuse to why they can’t meet you again.

That’s life. You have to learn to deal with it. You need to accept that failure is a part of the game. You can only win if you’ve failed a few times.

 You Have a Never Giving Up Attitude

That’s why it’s so important to have a never giving up attitude.

Yes, you will fail. You will meet people who test your boundaries. There will be days when you want to hide under a blanket.

But if you don’t give up, you will eventually find love and happiness.

The Winner’s Mindset

Today we are looking at one of the fundamentals of self-improvement – the winner’s mindset. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that it may be the single most important tool you need on your self-improvement journey.

The Winner’s Mindset

OK, what is the winner’s mindset? I define it as follows.

The winner’s mindset is a fundamental belief that someone has about themselves. It is the sense that he or she is a winner, that most life experiences will turn out to be successes, that failure is a temporary circumstance that can be overcome with adjustments, and most importantly, that one deserves to have the best things in life.

Let’s break that definition down piece by piece to understand it more.

The winner’s mindset is a fundamental belief that someone has about themselves. . .

The winner’s mindset should be one of your core beliefs. On good days and bad, after wins and losses, when all is well and when all sucks – you should feel somewhere deep inside that you are good, smart, capable, and able to overcome. If you don’t feel this, it likely stems from self-confidence issues. Trust me when I say that I struggled with this mindset growing up.

You can’t just get a winner’s mindset overnight if you don’t have it now. It will take time to develop but the method is pretty simple. You have to start loving yourself and treating yourself as a friend. It sounds cliche, but seriously, hear me out for a minute, because if you truly understand this, so many other challenges in life will be solved.

No matter where you are at in life right now, you deserve your love. At the end of the day, friends may desert you. Family may let you down. Health can fail, money can disappear, and jobs can be cut unceremoniously. Most of us put our own self-confidence into the hands of other people. IF they have a good job, IF they have a great girlfriend or boyfriend, IF they are sitting pretty financially, THEN they think well of themselves. But if they lose one, or worse, all of those things, they then see themselves as failures and losers.

You may be thinking this way right now. I know I did in the past.

But you know what? In this whole world, no one knows you better than you. Noone knows your struggles and challenges, hopes and fears, like you do. You need to become your own best friend.

Think about it. If your friend loses his job, what do you do? Laugh at him? Call him a failure? A loser? Tell him he’s doomed? Of course not. You will remind your friend of his strong points, offer any assistance, give encouragement, root for him and believe he’ll ger through it.

How much better would your life be like if you started treating yourself the same way you treat your friends? Or even further, if you genuinely loved yourself? Look in the mirror, see that face looking back at you and honestly say, “Wow, we’ve been through so much together. I love you, keep going, I believe in you.”

That is what winners do. They believe in themselves.

What if you don’t feel it? Say it anyway. Our brains have a way of syncing up our feelings with our words. So even if you feel outmatched, overwhelmed, and ready to give up, don’t. Go to the mirror, look yourself in the face, and say the words you need to hear. Be your best friend. Love yourself.

OK, if you can do that, the rest is easy.

. . . It is the sense that he or she is a winner . . .

You are a winner. You aren’t defined by your mistakes. Everone makes those. Especially people who try to accomplish something. You are a winner. Even if you haven’t scored a big win in your life, you are a winner who has just hasn’t reached your true destination yet. You are a winner.

. . . that most life experiences will turn out to be successes. . .

Unsatisfied with your current job? You career still has a long way to go and you can still reach your goals.  Have a bad relationship with one of your friends? Work on fixing it. Or if it can’t be fixed, work on finding a better friend. Your current state does not dictate your end result. Believe that in the end, you will achieve your desires.

If you live in Kansas, and your goal is to see the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll spend lots of time traveling and never see the beach until the very end of your trip. If you don’t see the sand yet, keep going!

. . . that failure is a temporary circumstance that can be overcome with adjustments. . .

Quote me on this because it isone of the smarter things I’ve ever said – “Never change your dream; frequently change your methodology.”

This means, when you screw up and don’t get the result you want, please don’t give up on your goal. Just change your tactics abit. If you want to get a great job and you crashed and burned on your last 3 interviews, don’t take it as a sign that you can’t get the job you want. Instead change tactics. Update your resume. Practice some interviewing with friends. Modify some of the answers you have been giving. Or shoot for a less challenging role now, learn some more, and then try for your dream job next year.

Change your tactics; hold fast to your goal.

. . . and that one deserves to have the best things in life.

No one on this planet is more valuable than you. You matter as much as anyone. Your dreams matter. You deserve to experience the life that you want.

Believe in your inherent worth. Never sacrifice your mission in life to placate others. You deserve your dreams and this world deserves a confident, motivated you!

The Winner’s Creed

To help you internalize the the winner’s mindset, I’ve written the Winner’s Creed. Save it as your wallpaper, share it, and live by it!

I am a winner. There is no one like me. I may not win immediately, but I will win eventually. Watch me win!.png

All the best,

Jamie

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How to Win at Life in Your 3os

Full discloser: I turned 30 not that long ago. It was the first birthday that inspired existential angst. Where has all the time gone? What am I doing with my life? Will my life sputter out or blossom into greatness? Will I ever see the Tampa Bay Rays win the Series? So many unanswered questions.

Everyone talks about how important your 20s are, and with good reason. In our 20s, we’ll likely choose our universities, select our majors, start our careers, and at probably meet the person we wind up marrying. With so many key decisions coming in our 20s, it can be easy to assume that success or failure in life depends on our 20s.

Malarkey.

See, here the problem with our 20s. It’s all kinda set up for us. Go to school? Apply to some places and go to the best one that accepts you. Choose a major? Well, select the one you like, or your dad did, or your friends are in, or one that was in a table of top-earning majors. Future spouse? Date a few people and when you meet one that seems better than the rest, go ahead and marry them.

It doesn’t seem like it when you are in that decade, but your 20’s are very much mapped out by family and social expectations.

But how about your 30s? This is the decade, you will sink or swim. The decade that will launch you past your peers or see you stagnate. Why?

It comes down to those social expectations. All those expectations in our 20s propel us forward. Go to school. Graduate. Date. Marry. Intern. Work. Manage. But what pushes us forward in our 30s? Generally, we aren’t meeting and dating as many people as we were in our 20s. We aren’t bouncing from job to job. We aren’t learning tons of new things like when we were in classes.

We settle in.

When we settle in, we stagnate. Our growth slows dramatically. Our horizons shrink. We wind up with a stable set of skills, friends, interests, and activities.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can learn and growth and advance just as fast as we did in our 20s. We just have to push ourselves now.

No professor will tell you to read a book. You’ll have to hunt down great books and choose to read them.

Friends won’t be dragging you to the college bar to meet people. You’ll have to choose to get involved in community groups, local sports, or volunteer to meet new people frequently.

If you are in a long-term relationship, you’ll have to make the effort to find new ways to understand your partner and new ways to enjoy your relationship.

If you can choose to create this kind of forward momentum in your 30s, this decade will be your best yet. And you’ll be way, way ahead of your peers who settle in and stop growing.

Win this decade. Win at life. Choose progress over stagnation.

Until next time,

Jamie

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The Two Things You Simply Must Have to Feel More Confident

Hello readers, it is great to be back! I took a two week break from writing here at Improve My Life This Year because I moved… across the world. I had been living in South Korea for almost 6 years, but now I am back in the United States of America.

Today I want to talk about confidence. Almost everyone wants to feel more confident. Well today I’ll simplify how to achieve self-confidence. There’s tons of info and contradictory ideas out there on the topic, so my goal today is to make it as clear and uncomplicated as possible. If you want to be more confident, you really only need two simple things. Let’s check them out.

Belief and Skills

That’s really it. You just need to believe in yourself and have skills at whatever you are doing. Nothing more is needed. Let’s look at these in detail.

Self-Belief

Because of how we were raised, many of us go through life with limiting self-beliefs. “I can’t, I’ll fail, I’m not good enough,” etc. Many of these are developed in childhood and unless we stop to think about it, they remain unnoticed, affecting our lives into the present. Stop and think about it, is your gut reaction to new challenges fear or excitement? If it is fear, you need to realize that you are are likely telling yourself negative stories in your mind. You can’t be confident without first deciding to become your own number one supporter, your own your strongest fan, your own believer.

Skills

The problem is, most self-improvement advice ends here. Belief in yourself is important, but, it is not enough for true confidence and success. Think about it. Imagine if you want to fly. You can think all the positive thoughts you want. You can believe in your power to fly. You can repeat a mantra – “I can fly, I can fly, I can fly.” But if you leap from the cliff, you’ll still fall and day. True confidence isn’t ignorant positivity. It is self-assured ability. If you want true confidence to fly, you need to take pilot lessons. You need to practice flying an airplane under careful supervision and direction for months. Then, after you complete your training, you truly can believe in yourself. You can fly!

True confidence, true success requires just two things. Self-belief and skills. So now it is time to get started. Today, right now, I want you to walk over to the mirror, look at yourself, and say, “I believe in you. You can accomplish your dreams. You can overcome your weaknesses. You can become the person you wish to be.” Then I want you to take a concrete step toward gaining the skills that will grant you true confidence. Check out our reading list for some great books that’ll teach some great skills. Or check out Kaplan. They’ve got tons of great online learning materials that will set you up for confidence and success.

Get started today and soon you’ll be amazed at the confident man or woman you have become!

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Until next time,

Jamie

The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

Recently on Quora, I shared an answer to an interesting question: What is the best dating advice you have ever been given? My answer has already received almost 300,000 views, and has generated some great conversations (and some controversy), so I decided to share it with my readers here on Improve My Life This Year.

The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

My best friend scribbled it on a napkin in my college bar 8 years ago.

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s the best dating advice I ever received. The basic idea is your success in dating is one part luck and another part your perceived value.

Perceived value is a function of how much actual value you generate and how well you market that value.

So for the mathematically inclined,

Success = Luck + (real value x the marketing you do), or simply

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s pretty much it. Punch in the numbers and that’s how your dating experiences will go.

Want more luck? Take more shots (not tequila shots, though who knows, that might work too). No, the shots we are talking about are attempts. If something has a 1 in a 100 chance of occurring, then statistically, you are about 50 shots away from getting it. Ask people out. Get rejected. Ask more out. Don’t hide your intentions. If you like someone, own it and show it. All other variables held constant, you chances of dating success go up, up, up as long you get out of your own head and just talk to the girl.

Want more real value? Then find ways to become more valuable as a person. Learn how to be witty. To make great conversation. Learn where the coolest restaurants are in town. Learn a musical instrument. Get physically fit. Groom well. Develop your own style. Be honest. These things and hundreds of others as well are avenues to build your value.

Want to market your value? Don’t hide your light under the proverbial bushel. If you have a funny joke, tell it! If you know a great restaurant, invite your friends. If you play guitar, play it outside the school cafeteria on a Tuesday afternoon just because you feel like it. If you are good at presentations, volunteer to make the big sales pitch at work. Whatever it is – don’t be afraid to show off the value that you’ve worked hard to build.

That’s about it. If you follow S = L + (RV x MV), you’ll achieve dating success! Everyone has a weakest variable – find yours and work on it!

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And for guys who are really serious about improving your dating skills, check out The Dating Playbook for Men by Andrew Ferebee. His 7-step system will simply and clearly help you become an attractive, valuable man. Enjoy!

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The Many Colors of Wine Beyond Red and White

Note: Today’s Post comes to you from our friends at Wine Awesomeness. As part of my own self-improvement journey, I like to learn more about a wide variety of topics. I used to think wines were either red or white. Now I know that the wine world is a lot more complicated (and colorful!) than that! 

A Painters Palate of Wine Wonders

Remember the days when you served wine and asked – “Red or White”? Well those were simpler times and the choices were limited. Now there are so many colors they resemble a painter’s palate. According to the team at Wine Awesomeness, the group dedicated to creating a monthly journey, curated for adventurous souls, some of these new, off-beat beverages have fared better than others.

A Match Made in Wine Heaven

Want to coordinate a particular wine with a holiday color scheme? You’ll be in luck when St. Patrick Day rolls around, when you serve Green Portuguese born Vinho Verde.

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And if you’re inclined to satisfy your guests’ patriotic pleasures, you can offer them a choice of red, white OR blue (also known as Gik) that is quite off-color in all its iridescent splendor. How it came to be is simple…young Spanish entrepreneurs who decided that the world needed an incandescent blue wine joined forces (or in this case grapes) with the Basque government’s food research bureau and experts at the University of the Basque Country. Next came a base wine, some food coloring and sugar. According to the team at Wine Awesomeness, this creation leaves a bit to be desired.

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Are you yearning for yellow? Known as “Vin Jaune” in its native French, yellow wine is a unique type of white wine produced in the Jura region of France from late harvest Sauvignon grapes. Pair this nutty flavored concoction with the regional comté cheese and you’re in for a gastronomic whirlwind of contentment.

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And yes, there are even grapes that produce an orange vintage (perfect for fall football parties). But if you’re still a loyal pastel pink fan, then Rosé has elevated your summers to a whole new level. Rosés are essentially baby reds, experiencing shorter maceration periods than their red counterparts. Depending on which grape varietals are used and how long skin contact is, rosés can range in color from the palest of pink to the deepest of magentas.

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A Club for Wine Warriors

The Wine Awesomeness Monthly Wine Club delivers your choice of wines right to your door. The Wine Awesomeness team combs the globe to find the coolest, crave worthiest wines. This is vino you don’t see regularly, but will want to drink every day. If you JOIN TODAY, you’ll get a free bottle with your first box! Welcome to the world of wine the Wine Awesomeness way.