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 Complete Guide to Improving Your Finances This Year

Everyone makes tons of goals around the new year. Unfortunately by summer, most of those ambitious plans have been long forgotten.

But here’s the thing. Summer is a great time for a financial reboot. There are so many fun (and free!) things to do, there’s no expensive heating bill to worry about, and best of all, here’s the Improve My Life This Year – The Complete Guide to Improving Your Financial Life.

How to use The Complete Guide to Improving Your Financial Life

My advice is this: use this guide as a checklist. Review it point-by-point. Most readers will find that some parts are more relevant than others to their specific financial situation. That’s great! Focus on the areas where you can improve. Financial difficulties lead to stress, health problems, relationship conflicts and depression. So if you are serious about improving your life this year, it is absolutely vital that you gain complete control over your financial situation.

Step 1: Increase Your Income

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Alright here we are at step 1. If you want to improve your financial situation, a simple, yet overlooked way is to increase your income. How? Well first, just ask for it. You may be surprised, but if you sit down with your boss and ask for more hours or ask for a raise, you may get it. The worst that can happen is they say no, but the answer is definitely no until you summon the courage to ask.

To increase your chances of being told yes, I recommend 2 strategies. One, take a month to do amazing work. That’ll build up your reputation prior to meeting with your boss. Two, document everything. As much as possible, record all the contributions you are making, particularly the ones that go above and beyond the call of duty. Especially important here are ones that can be linked to increased profits for your company. Find a way to show how your work adds value to the company. If you are making the firm more money, it is much easier for your manager to justify increasing your salary.

If you strike out here, then I recommend that you seek out other money-making opportunities outside of work. Do you write a blog? If not, check out this post on how to start one. Once you get some readers, you can add affiliate links to your articles (I’ll have a post out soon which explains how to do this) and earn commissions when people make purchases.

Another idea is to monetize a skill you already have. Do you like to play chess? Start offering chess lessons. Love golf? Be a caddie on the weekends. Love to read? Start a really cool book club and charge dues to join. The wonderful thing about living in this age is you can easily and cheaply start almost any business with a simple website.

To recap Step 1: Do some great work for a month. Document it all. Show it to your boss and ask for a raise. In the meantime, launch a website or start a blog and sell the skills you already have.

Step 2: Decrease Your Expenses

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You all know the classic saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” It’s totally true. While we try to increase our income in Step 1, we can also improve our financial situation by reducing our expenses. How?

A great place to start is with this post, How to Save More Money in 6 Simple Ways. In that article, one thing I talk about is the idea that you should track every expense you make for one month. It is tedious and annoying, but trust me, the results will shock you. You’ll find there are things that you had no idea you spent so much money on.

The best way I have found to reduce expenses is to look for and eliminate these unnecessary habitual costs. I answered a question on Quora recently with analysis on just how much a daily coffee from Starbucks can set you back financially in the long-run. You can read the answer in full here or just skip to the conclusion – you may retire with $10,000 less just because you drank a cup a day this year.

How else can you save money? I’ll open that question up to you. Please tell us in the comments below any money-saving tips you have.

To recap Step 2: Record all your expenses for one month. Then identify and eliminate the habitual expenses that have been costing more than realize.

Step 3: Use the Gains from Step 1 and Step 2 to Increase Your Savings

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OK, Step 3 is where things get fun. Take your new income from Step 1. Take your new free money from Step 2. Add them together. Congratulations! This is your new money for savings. Now, this is important. I want you to open a new savings account. We don’t want this money mixing with the money we use in our daily life. This new money for savings should simply not exist in our mind. We will use it for building a long-term pile of money for starting a future business, getting higher education, or retiring with dignity and freedom.

So, open a new savings account and hide the money from Step 1 and Step 2 there. Or, if your willing to add a bit of risk in exchange for likely higher future returns, you can choose to put it in an low-fee or no-fee index fund. In the short-term, the market can swing up or down quite a bit, but if you are truly investing for the long-run, this can be a smart move (Of course it goes without saying, all investments have risk and you should do due diligence before making any investment decisions and speak with a certified financial adviser).

To recap Step 3: Add your new money from Step 1 and from Step 2 and save it for your future.

Step 4: Create a Plan to Get out of Debt

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Step 4 is so important that I considered making it Step 1. If you are in debt, you absolutely need to come up with a realistic plan to get out. At the risk of over-simplifying, we can honestly think of debt as either good or bad debt.

Good debt is the kind that is enabling you to become wealthier in the future. If you bought a good home with a mortgage in a nice neighborhood where prices are rising, this is most likely to be good debt. Why? Well, through this debt you are A) avoiding rent payments and B) slowly gaining full ownership of an asset that is rising in value. Of course, in the long-run, you’d like to pay off that mortgage, but this debt isn’t so terrible to have.

Bad debt on the other hand is the debt that does not deliver any tangible long-term increases to your wealth. Let’s say I buy an expensive watch with my credit card. Most likely, that watch will not help me get richer in the future. If I am in debt now because of it, that debt is bad debt because it doesn’t enrich me; it only slowly bleeds me.

The simple rule to remember is this. Find out the interest rate you can earn by saving the money in Step 3. Compare that rate to the interest rate you are being charged for any debts that you have in Step 4. Whichever rate is higher becomes your priority.

If I can earn 2% by saving the money in a CD at the bank and I pay 1% interest on student loans and 15% on my credit cards, then any new money I gain from Steps 1&2 should first go to pay off credit cards, then go toward a CD and then go making more than the minimum payment on the student loans – in that order.

Important Note: Some people are struggling to make their current payments. For you there may be significant help available. National Debt Relief has helped tens of thousands of people and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. If you need help, you can get some free advice from the them today.

To recap Step 4: Rank your debts by the interest rate you pay and tackle the highest rates first. If you need help with your debts, get some help now so you can be on the path to freedom.

Step 5: Make Important Financial Decisions Wisely

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Now let’s start looking at the future. Big financial decisions will impact your overall financial health a lot. Sure you can save some extra money by making coffee at home rather than buying it outside everyday, but if you want to make the biggest positive impact to your overall financial situation, you absolutely need to make the right decisions at some key moments.

A great example of this is when you are buying a new home. The choice of which home to buy, the choice of which community to live in, and the choice of which mortgage provider to go with are huge.

My best advice here is to say that you need to research as much as possible. Don’t just blindly make a choice based on emotion or random luck. When I need to make important financial decisions, I often go to The Simple Dollar. It is a fantastic blog with tons of advice and tips on making smart financial choices. They’ve been featured in places like Forbes Magazine and Time Magazine. A good example of their work is a recent guide they put together on The Best Mortgage Lenders. The person who reads this is way more likely to make the right call when it comes time to buy a home, and that may lead to hundreds if not thousands of dollars of savings.

To recap Step 5: When it comes to the big decisions in life, buying a home, going to university, or investing in the stock market, you absolutely need to spend time researching before jumping to a conclusion.

Step 6: Track Future Progress with a Proper Budget

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OK, if you’ve followed the first 5 steps, you are now well ahead of most other people. Step 6 is how we maintain our success. You need to make a monthly budget and you need to track your expenses. This doesn’t have to be hard. You can use a free service like Mint to stay on top of your monthly progress.

Tracking is valuable because it makes sure you don’t slide into old bad habits or get of course from your goals.

To recap Step 6: Don’t lose your progress through neglect. Track your monthly progress manually or with a free online program to make sure are staying on target.

Step 7: Relax and Trust the Process

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Whew! We made it to the end. Great work!

Remember at the start of the article, we mentioned that money problems may cause stress, health problems, relationship difficulties and even depression? Don’t let that happen to you. If you have followed the 6 steps, if you are in periodic contact with a certified financial adviser, and if you working to improve day-by-day, then relax and trust the process you are on. I’m proud of you for taking on this challenge and I believe that you have what it takes to succeed! Good luck!

Please share this guide on your favorite social media site and let’s make this the moment that we start improving our financial lives 🙂