Thursday, June 13, 2024
How to...

12 tips that will help you achieve your goals

I planned to post this article on the first of January, but obviously, I did not finish it on time.

I was busy with other issues and other arrangements that did not allow me to meet my deadline, wow, that was an excuse.

I wanted to write the article and welcome the new year with a fresh piece, but circumstances kept me away, oops that’s another excuse.

Thoughts like these are always in my mind.

Tell me if these thoughts patterns are familiar:

  • I will go to the gym tomorrow; now I must pick up the kids.
  • I will start walking tomorrow; now, my favorite tv series is starting again.
  • I will go cycling tomorrow now it is raining.
  • I will start eating better after the holidays.
  • I will quit smoking on new year’s eve.
  • I will start dating when I feel better.

I will I will I will

The reality of the matter is that all these are excuses; yes, my fellow readers are excuses.

What makes the difference between failure and success is fewer excuses and more actions.

Someone will argue easiest said than done, I will agree and also disagree at the same time.

I am not here to claim that I am a successful person because, for me, this notion does not exist. No pun intended to the people that consider themselves to be successful!

Let’s see what the Oxford dictionary says about the meaning of success

“Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

Pretty clear right. If you accomplish something that you set as a goal, aim, or purpose, then you can say that you are successful in that area of your life.

I base my arguments throughout the article on this definition.

Nobody is successful in all areas of his/her life, that’s impossible because nobody is perfect, not even Superman – ever heart of kryptonite?

“Set realistic goals, keep re-evaluating, and be consistent.”

-Venus Williams

In 2016 I was the happiest man on the planet. I dated a beautiful and smart woman, got married, and accomplished one of my goals: to get married. The same year though I did not achieve my running goals, I didn’t train well enough for my 50km race, and I ended up being unprepared. If you are a passionate runner like me, you know the worst thing is to see the dreaded D.D.N.F.Did Not Finish) next to your name on the race results!

Was I a successful Person in 2016? What do you think? Yes or no?

In 2017 I was suffering from the five stages of loss and separation because my marriage did not last long, and I ended up with a divorce. The same year though, I managed to finish one 50km  mountain trail race and also a mountain trail marathon.

Was I a successful Person in 2017? What do you think? Yes or no?

Someone would joke that marriage is not compatible with running and vice versa.

Joking aside, I don’t consider I was a successful person neither in 2016 nor in 2017.

The reason is that in my opinion, we can never be successful in all aspects of our lives. We do not have enough time to dedicate to each task, aim, or goal, we usually end up setting up for ourselves.

Does lack of time mean that we will never be successful in a holistic way? No, it means that we need to set fewer goals in our life. Less is more if you dwell on it. If you set fewer goals and allocate more time to achieve them, the results will be of high quality and much more rewarding both physically and mentally.

Tip number one: Always set to achieve fewer goals, making sure that time you are going to invest in them is enough so that when you do accomplish them, you will be able to feel content, happy and healthy.

A few years ago, I was still viewing situations and issues as being difficult or easy.

Friends or colleagues would suggest something to me, and I would use the terms “hard or difficult” and “easy or too easy.”

I stop doing it because I realize that what we say and do is what defines us, our words and actions not our thoughts are the ones that define and shape our character and the image we project to the people around us.

I might have pleasant and happy thoughts in my head, but if I speak badly about people and behave like an ass*ole, I am not that polite and friendly.

I might have ideas of losing 10 pounds or thoughts of starting a new business and making lots of money, but if I don’t do or plan something towards that goal, I am just another dreamer.

“People cannot change their tidying habits without first changing their way of thinking.”

-Marie Kondo

Also, we define something as easy or hard, depending on how much knowledge and experience we have on a specific matter. Please let me know if you agree with these statements? If you want, you can use the comment section at the end of the article.

Usually, when we understand how something functions, we will say it’s easy because we either read how is done or we practiced or both so we are familiar with the procedure, and we feel confident that we can accomplish them.

For example, I don’t know how to fix my car if it breaks down. Hence it’s not easy for me, but if you ask my car mechanic the same questions, he/she will say that it’s easy.

Since these small apocalypses, I stop using the words easy and difficult.

Now when people ask if something is difficult or easy, I give a completely different answer. I would answer along the lines of well I don’t know if it’s easy or difficult, but I am sure if you invest time to learn more about the topic, it would not be that difficult anymore. Or if it’s easy, then rereading about an issue again is never wasted time since repetition always brings us a step closer to excellence.

My point is:  if you want to achieve changes in your life, the first thing you need to change is your way of thinking and your life philosophy.

What you say and do will change your life.

Tip number two: If you want to be able to see changes in your life, you need to change your way of thinking first and start applying a philosophy that will enable you to start moving forward and away from your current situation.

I am wondering how many people are thinking of what they have accomplished during the day just before they go to bed.

The reason I am wondering about that is that I used to be like that.

The worst thing that can happen to me is that I will count the hours until my bedtime comes so I can get some restful sleep, but most of the time, I  had the opposite result I was struggling to fall asleep.

I would go to bed and never give a second thought of what I accomplished during my day.

It’s after I started running, and even when I started training for race competition when my way of thinking changed.

This time when I go to bed, I would wonder and ponder what I have accomplished that day. The reason I think about it is that I set a goal and made a schedule that I was following.

Doing that, I saw that every moment of my day now actually means something! Every second of my day does not go to waste anymore.

I was using my time to accomplish the goal. I was using my time to prepare myself to participate and finish a running race.

This distinct way of thinking made me realize that before I started running, I didn’t have any goals in my life.

I was like a ship without a captain and a crew, sailing where the wind would take it, with no destination, and with no purpose.

“Setting goals are the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

-Tony Robbins

This way of living was a big part of my life! And I guess this way of living is or was a big part of your life also.

Most of us are like this; I am afraid, and that makes me sad. Maybe this article will help some of us to start changing the way we think and start setting goals in our life. Perhaps if I read this article years ago, I would have been able to transform my life earlier and with fewer mistakes and misfortunes.

Most of us want to get married at some point in our life, and a lot of us want to have families and have children.

Not many and that includes me, though, are working on the goal and towards achieving that systematically. Maybe because we don’t see that as something we must work to get or as a goal to make but instead as something that will just happen on its own.

If you are going to sleep at night and you do not think if your day was productive or not, then you probably do not have any goals set up in your life, not any long-term goals anyway, and that’s something that you need to pay extra attention before is too late.

I was lucky because running did save my life, and not just my physical and psychological health but also made me see how I can change the way my life is heading, and that’s due to setting goals.

Tip number three: If you want to get things done and if you wish to situations and generally your life to be the way you want to, you must start practicing the art of setting goals.

From 1993 to 2009, I was a heavy smoker of tobacco (Nicotine Addict). Smoking was not only killing me from inside but also clouded both my mental and spiritual abilities.  I denied capabilities from my life because of the adverse effects of smoking on my body and mind.

Do I regret those days of tobacco? Yes, of course, I wish I could take them back along with the 40 thousand dollars I spend to buy them!

But I can’t do it. Thus what can I do? Well, I can start inventing the time machine or stop feeling sorry about myself and learn from my mistakes and my ignorance.

I can also congratulate myself on the fact that I’ve managed to end smoking, saving 40 thousand dollars since I quit smoking. I invested that money in building my house.

I am not saying all these to brag. I am telling it to show you that if I’ve managed to change my way of thinking, anybody can do it. It’s a beautiful, beneficial process that anyone can achieve.

“Don’t be frightened of failure. It makes you stronger if you learn from your mistakes.”

-Mark Lawrenson

A note about smoking tobacco cigarettes.

It is not a bad habit. Smoking is drug addiction, and the drug is nicotine. Since it’s legal, a lot of smokers don’t have the chance to see what they are; in other words, they are drug addicts. I know it sounds hard, but it’s the truth.

I accepted long ago the fact that I will be a nicotine addict in recovery as long as I don’t smoke again. I realized it and came with terms with it. By taking the nasty truth about my past, I stay away from the drug.

Every time I tried to stop smoking, I was under the impression that I was going to quit a bad habit. Starting something like that with an erroneous mental state and not recognize the problem is a recipe for disaster.

They say that history is good for us because by knowing the mistakes of other people, we can avoid similar mistakes in the future. It is a piece of good advice, but unfortunately, we learn from our own mistakes and our personal experience first and secondly from other people.

Tip number four: Your way of thinking changes, and it is proportionally analogous to the mistakes, errors, and life experience accumulated over the years. Also, the ability to stop living in the past and learn from your mistakes is essential. When life gives you lemons, make a lemonade!

I’ve already mentioned that if you want to change your life, you need to start setting goals.

The truth is that just setting goals is only half of the effort. On the thirty-first of December, I can sit down and write what I want to accomplish next year on the piece of paper.

Writing down what I want to do the next year is something that I’ve been doing for the last five years.

But if you write them and do not do anything about them, it’s going to be just a list of stuff on a white piece paper. They will be just dreams or wishes.

For example, during the Christmas holidays, I indulge myself in eating a bit more and a bit more on the sugary site resulting in me gaining about 8 to 10 pounds!

So one of my goals this year is to lose the holiday gain weight first and then prepare myself for the 50 km race, which I have in May!

What am I doing now is losing weight, well I’ve sat down and made a schedule. If I follow it regularly, I’ll lose weight.

So my weight loss program goes like this.

Eat every 2 to 3 hours not to allow yourself to get hungry, resulting in binging.

Eat food that has fewer calories but keeps you full for longer.

For example, if I eat 300 grams of fried chicken (which I don’t because I am a plant-based eater), I will get around 800 calories, and I will still feel hungry because 300 grams of fried chicken does not take a lot of space in my stomach so I will continue eating until I feel full.

Now, if instead of 300 grams of fried chicken, I eat 300 grams of boiled potatoes, getting about 228 calories, I bet I can not eat the whole 300 grams. I will feel satiated and also get fewer calories.

Also, two to three hours before I go to bed, I will make sure to exercise for at least 45 minutes. I will do weight lifting and cycling on my indoor bicycle.

I aim to burn 500 calories before I go to bed. The idea is that by creating a 500 calories deficit every day by the end of the week, I will have a 3500 calorie deficit, which equals to half a kilo every week. (A pound for my American friends)

So by the end of the month, I will lose approximately 2 kilos. (about 5 pounds)

“Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny.”

-Alfred A. Montapert

I can go on and on, but I think you got the idea. You need to write down a program that you will follow.

Will you do everything you write on the paper? Of course not. We are humans, and we have a busy and complicated life. Furthermore, other factors influence our every endeavor, but the secret is to stick to it, not to give up, learn from your mistakes, be able to adapt and perseverate until you achieve your goal.

Creating a checking list works for me. I am always motivated to complete the items on my list.

After I complete a task, I put a checkmark next to it, and that makes me feel awesome, I feel like I won the lottery!

Different people have different and alternative ways of keeping themselves motivated like posting their progress on various social media, it keeps them accountable, and the people that follow them are a positive influence on them as well.

Every person is unique; you are unique, so you need to find something that works for you, which will enable you to design an effective plan of action to follow through.

Tip number five: Don’t just write or think what you want to achieve, make a plan, and follow it through.

Many of us consider the new year as something that will bring changes in our lives. I used to think like that too. I wish it were as simple as that, but the truth is we make the changes and not some magical turn of the year. 

We say that I will quit a bad habit with the new year or I will lose weight or I will start learning Russian or or or 

New year comes, and nothing happens to our lives; no further changes and beautiful things are entering our lives.

I’ve already mentioned a few reasons why your dreams do not turn into goals and why your goals do not become a reality, but I would like to talk about something simpler and more straightforward that we tend to forget.

The date or year doesn’t matter when we want to start something new in our life. If the change has not already happened internally, you will not be able to change anything, no matter how many dates you set.

“Don’t wait for the perfect time to start making changes in your life; the time is now.”

-Chris Gardner

For example, a classic case of what people say is: I will quit smoking when I go on vacation, and the stress of work will not be there. 

A big mistake is that you might stop smoking, but when you come back to work, yep, guess what will happen? You’ll be stressed, and you will start smoking again because you have this false idea in your head that smoking tobacco cigarettes relieve stress.

Another example is: I will begin training when I have more time, now I want to watch my favorite T.V. show. The reality is that we will always have something to do; the key is to find a way to make time.

Tip number six: Stop setting dates to start something new – it’s a waste of time. Trust me when I say this, most of the time you start something new without even thinking of setting a date, it just happens because you are already ready inside to begin your journey towards a change.

If your goal is to get fitter, you must start exercising. Also, you must decide what kind of exercise to take up. My favorite activity is running, I love running, and I enjoy it. Someone likes to cycle others like to swim. A few more like to lift weights and so on.

So if you are into running and you want to start but you don’t like running alone there is a plethora of running clubs you can join. If that is not your cup of tea, you can find a few other friends or acquaintances, and you can share a new activity with them.

If you want to lift weights, you can attend a local gym and train there making friends along the way, or if you are a loner like me, you can set up your little gym at home if you have space and train there whenever you want.

If you don’t have money to buy gym equipment or go to a gym, there is no excuse you can do some serious strength training without sports equipment just using your own body. Have you ever heard about calisthenics or yoga?

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

-Jim Rohn

The reason I mentioned all this is that if you want to achieve a goal, you must first create the conditions and the environment that you will work.n.

Usually, the situation is shaped by you gradually and in segments, and when it is complete you start working on achieving your goal

Let me give you a personal example. After I got my divorce, of course, my psychological condition was terrible. For some weird reason, I started collecting empty glass bottles.

I end up receiving a lot of bottles. I even asked people from work to bring their empty containers.

One day I started watching things I can do with bottles on YouTube, and I also started watching stained glass videos. A thought of marrying my empty glass bottles with stained glass art occurred to me.

To make a long story short, I registered to have stained glass art lessons and also at the same time, started setting up a small workshop in my house’s attic where I would experiment with my new hobby.

After a few months, was born and is still evolving. One of the biggest reasons I am still working on this project is because I have a workshop in my attic that is a contact reminder of why I am doing it. The workshop encourages me to be successful in this project.

Of course, my bottle project is still in an evolutionary state, but the key is never to give up.

Tip number seven: If you want to increase your success rate in achieving your goals, make sure first to set up the environment you will work.

I already mentioned keeping a log of your process and also checking lists, which, of course, works for me.

I want to introduce another minor detail that is relevant to keeping the records and also cataloging your progress with the checklists, and that’s being able to evaluate your progress while you follow your program.

What does that mean? Personally I at the end of a week ( a period could be longer or shorter, it all depends on your personality and also of what you are working on), I sit down and evaluate my progress. It is precisely what big companies do with their trimester reports. Every three months, big companies assess their progress to see if the goals they set years ago are heading in the right direction. This tactic that big companies do is something that you can benefit fro

Imagine you are the captain, and you have to navigate through dangerous waters, your path might not always be a straight line, but with the course corrections, you eventually get to your destination safely.

Why I do that? Well, nobody is perfect; you could have sat down and searched and research and did whatever was necessary to create the “perfect” way of how to make it right. But there is always, and I say again, still room for improvement.

“Take a step back, evaluate what is important, and enjoy life.”

-Teri Garr

Evaluate your progress on the fly is one of the best ways to correct your mistakes, to improve your plans and to improve yourselves

Having the ability to do it the next time you will need to design a program that you intend to apply to achieve your goals will take half the time and will be much better than your previous one because you did your evaluations. You have your new found experience to back it up.

Moreover, a positive side effect of evaluating yourself and improving and finding solutions to your problems increases your self-confidence and provides a massive boost to your ego. You are gradually updating from an amateur level to an expert level.

Tip number eight: Every Now and then, you should evaluate your progress so you can do the necessary destination corrections, this way, you will not get off the course, and you will achieve your goal within acceptable limits.

In 2010 I started running to lose weight. At the time, I had no idea what it means to set up a goal and how to achieve it.

I heart from other people and read online that running helps to lose weight, so I just started running.

Of course, lack of proper exercise since I was in high school made me realize that I couldn’t run again straight away. So at first, I  started walking, and in a few months, it was a combination of walking and running, and after a while, I continued with only running.

I kept neither particular nutrition program nor specific warmup exercises and cooled down procedure.

I did keep an excel file, though, where I would catalog how many kilometers I ran every day and also calculated the calories I burned too.

Because of my ignorance of how to accomplish a goal, I only did one thing right. At 9 p.m. every day, I would go to my high school stadium and do 1 hour of walking for the beginning and gradually one hour of running.

Now, why did I tell you this story? Well, it is always good to return to the basics soon. Then, it provides a sense of security, and also our wounded confidence gets the necessary boost to continue doing what we set up and not giving up our current and resent goals.

Back then, I only changed one thing in my lifestyle. I added 1 hour of exercise every day. I tried neither to make lots of changes at the same time or to make just one enormous change.

I still apply it, but now I am more aware of why I am doing it.

For example, I’ve noticed that my weak link in losing weight forever in my life was that I never managed to discipline myself to go to bed in a reasonable hour, which is around 9 to 9:30 p.m.

I used to sleep after 11 p.m., a bad habit I adopted since I was a university student in Greece.

“Break any problem into or make any changes in small increments.”

-Anne Grant

As I get older and my metabolism is not as it used to be and also my testosterone levels are starting to drop, which is normal, I realized that lack of sleep is hazardous for my health and also inhibits weight loss.

So This year, I decided that the primary and crucial goal that I must achieve before even starting exercising at a more severe level and also planning a diet nutritional regime to go along is to make a habit of going to sleep at 9 p.m.

It takes from three to four weeks for something to become a habit, both good and bad habits. Our mind and our body need about that amount of repetitive action to adopt it as something safe and beneficial for its survival.

That’s why smoking tobacco cigs is not a habit. You get addicted to the first cig you smoke. It doesn’t need three weeks for someone to become a smoker; it only requires one cig. Nine out of ten people who light their first cig become smokers, now that shows that smoking is not a bad habit but a deadly drug addiction.

Anyway, this is a small change I will attempt to make soon.

I will train my mind and my body to go to sleep early.

I already started, and I can say that when 9 p.m. appears on the clock, I feel something resisting me going to bed. Also, voices in my head begin to argue about why I must not go to bed and so on!

Thus far, I managed to sleep the first day around 9:30 p.m. the second day. It was a disaster I fell asleep at 1 in the morning! But today, I am better equipped to defend myself from the little devilish voices that encourage me to stay beyond 9 p.m.

Tip number nine: If you reach that epiphany moment that you need to start making changes in your life, my advice is to make one, and I mean only one small change in your life. It is going to be easier to manage. It is going to be less intimidating. Your security, safety, and comfort zone will not be in danger in such a degree that you will get scared or disappointed, resulting in quitting.

Do not make many even little changes at once and do not make one enormous change, do only one small change in your life and stick to it for at least three to four weeks until it becomes a beautiful, healthy habit for you and your family. After that, you will do it unconsciously, and it will become your second nature.

2011 was the year when I think I ran most of the races in all the years I have been running. It was the year when the running bug bit me, and it was the year when I probably designed and implicated a plethora of training plans.

I would prepare a training plan, and I would follow it to the letter/ I did this because I thought at the back of my mind that if I don’t do as the plan says or God forbids to skip a training session, then I would not achieve my goal.

It’s not necessary to say that the first couple of running plans did not work for me because I overestimated me and set goals that were higher than I could achieve at that specific time in my running life.

“It’s so important to adapt, think outside the box and stay ahead if you want to grow.”

-Marie-Chantal Claire

In a nutshell, it backfired, sometimes I couldn’t run in the specific period according to the schedule, or I couldn’t run a particular number of miles mentioned in the program said, and the result made me angry, sad, frustrated and disappointed.

The thing is that I am glad that those events happened because I might not have done a lot of things, but if you ask my friends, they will tell you that I am stubborn in the right way. If I set something to do, I will do it. I will always find a way to complete the task I’ve set.

Why do I consider the thing that happened to be good? Because of this trial and error situation, I managed to learn how to adapt and overcome problems more efficiently. It also taught me how to evaluate myself better and set more realistic goals both in my life and in my running endeavors.

At the practical level of 2011, running plans helped me to change my attitude, helped me to realize that sticking to a project has its advantages and disadvantages.

The benefits are that following a plan will help you achieve your goals as long the policy does not hinder your efforts and contributes to accomplishing reasonable goals.

The disadvantage of developing a program that doesn’t work for you will lead you to situations that might end up being physically and mentally dangerous for you.

So what I learned from this experience is that I found out how to start adapting to my running plans without sacrificing my goals.

So now, every time I feel overwhelmed, and I see that I merely don’t have time to finish all the things I set to do in a  day, I remember my running experiences of 2011, and I land on my feet again.

Today, for example, I have planned to work at my house for 1 hour, then I will exercise for 45 minutes, read my Russian lesson for 30 minutes and work on my stained glass project for 1 hour.

I also need to take a shower and eat something.

If I don’t manage to do all of it today, I will not get disappointed. I will give priority to the tasks which I have to do (take a shower and eat) and then adapt to prioritize the situation and continue without allowing myself to get stressed as I used to do.

I might work less on the house or read more or work less on my hobby and so on.

Remember what happened to the dinosaurs? Well, they didn’t adapt to their surroundings, and they died. By the way, a considerable dinosaur buff. When I was a kid, one of the occupations I wanted to be was a paleontologist. Something like Ross from the famous T.V. sitcom Friends.

Adaptation is the key to personal change, individual growth, and accumulation of valuable experience.

If someone does something for 30 years, that doesn’t mean he is an expert unless he can adapt, learn from his mistakes, correct his errors, and optimize his work. That’s how you become better at whatever you set your sight too.

Tip number ten: If a plan doesn’t display the necessary results or if your game plan for a particular endeavor does not quite pan out, you should be able to bring your ego down and allow adaptability into your way of thinking. Adaptation is one of the most critical sets of skills for everyone. He has to improve it in all aspects of his/her life.

Before we discover farming our species, homo sapiens were living primarily as gatherers for a massive chunk of our presence on this planet/. About ten to twelve thousand years ago, we also started hunting animals to supplement our plant-based diet because the environment changed or because people migrated to areas where the vegetation was little or none existent.

Back then, we also had stress, but the cause of it was different, and also we had an excellent way to relieve it.

The only real source of stress back then was not to be eaten by a predator or die because of a lack of food.

The moment when we faced a huge lion or another kind of flesh-eating beast, we did two things.

The first is to stand and fight, or two get the heck out of Dodge.

The fight or flight response that you might have heard on T.V. read or heart from someone is a natural evolving mechanism that enabled our species to survive until now.

That’s how we deal with stress. Now, of course, in the farming – both animals and plants – society we live, there are many more causes of strains now.

People now worry all the time about everything.

Being stressed is the “normal” situation modern people are experiencing in their lives, and it’s eating us from inside out.

We worry about our kids, about their education, if they are going to be bullied, etc.

We worry about our parents, we worry about our jobs. We worry about how other people see us.

Women worry if there better half still find them attractive, men fear that their matches think that they are not providing enough.

So how do you deal with stress? How do you manage to eliminate and remove stress from your life?

“I tend to focus on what I’m doing at the moment, and that takes up the entire span of my focus.”

-Maura Tierney

Well, the answer is you can’t. You cannot remove stress from your life because not all of it is harmful to us.

Stress has overpowering benefits in our lives. It motivates us to do something to resolve the situation, and once we do it, our brain rewards us with natural “drugs” like dopamine.

In a nutshell, good stress is what makes us get out of our couches and become achievers.

Unmanaged stress, on the other hand, makes us paralyzed, sick, and unproductive.

So how to manage stress and bring it to the levels that become an ally and not something that robs our health and happiness from us?

There are a lot of things that you can do in the long term.

The first and most important one is to become a master of your nutrition. What does it mean? It means to start cooking for yourself if you are not already doing it.

If you have breakfast lunch and dinner from fast-food restaurants, you should change it.

A big chunk of the stress we have comes from consuming junk food, processed and refined carbs, sugary drinks, and animal products.

Try to limit it gradually. I am a plant-based eater since 2013. I stop eating processed food as well as eating animal products; hence I can tell you from my experience that it helped me to cope with stress.

Am I advocating for a plant-based lifestyle? Of course, I do. Am I asking you to stop drinking your favorite fizzy drink or eating your favorite cheesy burger? No, I am not.

What I am asking you is to start eating more fruits and vegetables, eating more legumes and unrefined starches, and limit the food that causes stress to your digestive system and on your body as a whole.

Do you want to eat a Big Mac, by own means have one, just don’t eat it every day, eat It every week or every month.

An excellent book that I heartily recommend which helped me understand the various types of stress is Thrive by Brendan Brazier

Secondly, If you are not exercising at all, you need to start doing some light weight lifting, or if you can’t lift the weight, begin with some yoga or calisthenics.

Exercise is proven to drop down the cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that our body produces when we are stressed.

Hit the gym, buy a yoga book. 

The third thing is aerobic exercise is also very beneficial for managing your stressful situation.

Take a walk around the block, if you have a trend mill use it! Go for a run, use the bike you have in store and never used. Do you get the idea? Movement, movement, movement!

If you start doing all these and you stay relatively disciplined and commit. You will see that your stress levels will go down.

Now you can manage stress right at this moment.

I’ve learned it on my own, I am sure that others have already said what I am about to claim now, but I swear I didn’t read it from any book it just came to me while I was running one of my marathons a few years ago.

While I was running, I used to think of how much was left to run, which is 42 km!

I was running the fifth kilometer, and I was thinking of the tenth, I was running the tenth, and I was thinking of the twentieth. I guess you get what I mean.

That was a very stressful way of thinking.

I would get stressed, worried, and I could feel my physical strength diminishing with these negative thoughts.

My solution is this: I will not think of what lies ahead anymore, but instead, I will focus on my current kilometer, and I will remember where I was when I was one year old. When I was one-year-old, I was in Athens, Greece, and I would ask questions like:

Do I have photos of myself being one year old?

Where are they now?

I will have to ask my parents if they know.

Questions and wonderings and answers like that kept my mind busy, and that set me free from my unnecessary worry freeing me and allowing me to enjoy my running.

Tip number eleven: Learn to manage your stress by focusing on the present. Do not regret the actions of the past, learn from your mistakes, and apply them to the present. Do not worry about items you need to do in the future, pay attention to the task right now in front of you, and the anxiety will go away, your productivity will increase, and your mental health will improve dramatically.

Our ancestors used to live in nature where the concept of money did not exist, and the sense of ownership was not even a concept. Life was much much more straightforward and free from stress and anxiety.

No suicides or depression, only health, and happiness.

People ate when they were hungry, drank when they were thirsty, played when needed entertainment, made love when they wanted to be loved, and have kids.

They build everything from the earth, and they used their own hands to do it.

You can still see this kind of happiness in tribes that still live in areas like the Amazon forest and other secluded from modern civilization.

The main reason these people are so content and happy is that they do not own anything!

In recent years there is a movement globally that is advocating for a more minimalistic way of life.

This phenomenon is more evident and prevalent in the western and more consumeristic societies.

Of course, for people like me that grew up poor, that was and still is my way of life.

I am not saying I am perfect, as I advocated at the beginning of this article, but I do try only to buy items that I need.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

-Will Rogers

Of course, there are times that I over-consume like everybody else. Still, I started doing something that helped me reduce both my stress level and also allowed me to manage my belongings better recently.

Twice a year, I will make an inventory of everything I own in and outside my house, and I will apply the 5-second rule.

What is the 5-second rule? Easy. If I think of or see an item, I don’t find it in use for the first 5 seconds. It means I don’t use it; thus don’t need it.

I do this twice a year. The items I decided I don’t need I donate to charities, which makes me even happier. I can help people with my excess stuff.

Over-consumerism is a big issue, and it is a source of anxiety and stress.

Educating and training ourselves to own only the necessities will allow us to remove unnecessary stress. This way, we make room both into our houses and our souls, a place that we can fill with more useful stuff for our home and skills for our soul.

Tip number 12: Do regular cleaning up both your house and your soul. If you have fewer things, you have fewer sources of anxiety and stress. Moreover, your worries reduce significantly. Try it, and you won’t be disappointed.

by Andreas Michaelides


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