How to Overcome Stagnation

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Are you struggling in your love life, career, friendships, or passion?

It’s time to take action to fix the problem. You’ll first want to identify the areas of your life that feel “off.”

Take some time to reflect on what’s bothering you and why. Once you know what’s going on, it’s easier to find a solution.

Having a Goal

It’s important to have goals in all aspects of your life because it focuses your energy onto the big picture. When you have a purpose for your actions, you’ll begin to see those little steps being important building blocks for your end goal. Your life won’t seem so stale when you have your end goal in mind at all times.

Here are some tips for setting goals:

  • Make your goals attainable. If you have lofty goals, break them up into smaller pieces.
  • Write your goals down on paper and keep them handy.
  • Always state your goals in a positive fashion (i.e. “I will be free of smoke…” instead of: “I will stop smoking…”)
  • Be as detailed as you can when planning out your goals step by step.
  • Fight the urge to procrastinate.

 

Take Action

Once you’ve discovered the areas of your life that need changing, and you have goals in mind, it’s time to take action. When things have hit a point of stagnation there is no other choice you have but to take swift action.

Remember that you can think, plan, or worry all day long but it’ll do nothing positive for your life if you don’t act.

Here are some strategies to keep in mind as you put your goals into action:

  • Don’t Hold Yourself Back. If you already know what’s holding you back, it’s time to fix the problem so you can take action. Is fear holding you back? If so, it’d be in your best interest to master your fears. A life full of stagnation because of fear will do more harm than good.
  • Be Consistent. Many people will crack down on changing their life and then drift back into a world of stagnation. Once you’ve started to take action, make sure it’s consistent action. This is the only way you’ll reach your life goals.
  • Right Now. You already have your plan in place and it’s broken up into small pieces. Ask yourself what you can accomplish right now to put yourself a positive step closer toward your goal. It doesn’t matter if you only have 15 minutes, there is sure to be something you can accomplish in that time period.
  • Take Time to Unwind. It’s easy to get excited and eager about your new goals and dreams, but ensure you schedule some “me time” as well. You need to be able to get a good night’s sleep and rejuvenate your body and mind. Otherwise, you risk physical and mental exhaustion, which will only bring you back to stagnation!
  • Take Notes. Be sure to take notes of your observations and tweak your actions along the way. Doing so will help you figure out what’s working for you and what’s not.

 

Picture Yourself

 At the end of the day you should picture yourself having broken the chain of stagnation. Even if you’re not quite there yet, it’s important to remember that it’s possible and likely when you’re willing to change!

Smart Ways To Manage Job Search Expenses

A job search can be expensive as well as time consuming. There are ways to manage your expenses so that you get the maximum value out of your spending. These are strategies for keeping costs down and taking advantage of all the tax deductions you are entitled to.

Reducing Job Search Expenses 

  1. Network over coffee. Face to face networking still matters even in a Facebook age. Inviting people out for coffee or breakfast is usually less expensive than lunch or dinner.
  2. Choose your wardrobe carefully. Buy your interview suits and tasteful accessories at consignment shops or on eBay for a fraction of the retail cost. Select separates that you can mix and match for more options.
  3. Barter for services. Some job coaches are worth their high fees, but you may know people who will help each other out for free. Offer to proof read each other’s resumes. Share job leads and take turns rehearsing for interviews.
  4. Access community resources. Local government offices, nonprofits and business groups often provide free and low cost career services. Call your state employment office and check community calendars.
  5. Evaluate your travel priorities. In a tight job market, some employers may expect you to pay the travel expenses for long distance interviews. Ask yourself if the position is worth it for you. Clarify how many candidates are being considered.

 

Deducting Job Search Expenses 

  1. Stay in the same field. The IRS only allows deductions for job search expenses if you’re looking for a job in your current occupation. On top of that, there cannot be any significant gap between your last position and the start of your job search.
  2. Know the limit of 2 percent. Allowable job search expenses are deductible if you itemize deductions on Schedule A and those miscellaneous expenses including your job search costs exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.
  3. Hold onto your receipts. Good record keeping will help you stay on track. Keep receipts for everything from stamps to airline tickets. The IRS may want to see more than your credit card statement. Mileage logs and odometer readings can be submitted if you travel by car.
  4. Watch your phone minutes. Phone bills only count if you incur extra charges. If you have an unlimited phone plan, the details are probably irrelevant to the IRS.
  5. Calculate agency fees. If a job search agency charges you a fee, you may be able to deduct it. If your new employer later covers it, you’ll naturally need to make a reimbursement.
  6. Keep business trips mostly business. To be deductible, a job search trip must be primarily for business purposes. Keep a log of your time to confirm your activities.
  7. Specify your coaching services. Certain coaching services can be deducted while others fall outside the guidelines. Improving your interviewing technique is likely to be approved while counseling on making a career switch would be ruled out.
  8. Consider your child care needs. Some experts question if child care can be deducted. If you want to do so, document it like any other expense with receipts and details on why it was essential.
  9. Stay up to date. The tax code is complicated and changes all the time. Consult your tax professional or IRS Publication 529 on Miscellaneous Deductions to ensure your information is current.

 

Keep expenses under control so you can focus your efforts on finding the right position for you. Your job satisfaction is worth making an investment, but a little knowledge and careful record keeping can help you get excellent results for less.

Determining What Motivates You

Being able to figure out what motivates you will be a real benefit throughout your life. Once you know what brings you inspiration, you can draw from this list to keep you going whenever you need a boost.

Explore this process to discover your own motivations:

1. Think about the most difficult situation you’ve ever experienced. Then record the answers to these questions:

  • What did you think about the event?
  • How did you feel about it?
  • How did you arrive at how you were going to handle and resolve the situation?
  • What was important to you at the time – was it how you felt, what you thought your parents would think, what you believed was “the right thing to do” or something else?
  • Ultimately, what did you do to resolve the event?

 

2. Next, reflect on 2 or 3 of your biggest achievements. Maybe for you, graduating from college or moving out on your own was a big achievement. Continue writing down your answers to these additional questions. This process will help you to identify your own motivations.

  • What did you do to achieve your success?
  • How did you meet your goals?
  • What did you think about during the process?
  • What motivated you – looking out for your future, wanting to make more money, hoping to make your parents proud, or something else?
  • Did you visualize what your life would be like once you had achieved your goal?
  • How much did you really want to achieve it?

 

3. Analyze your answers. After reflecting on the above questions, your mind will be more open to identifying what’s important to you. So far, what have you discovered that motivates you? Are you surprised at what you’ve found?

4. How do you feel about these concepts? What motivates one person might not motivate another. Still, it’s likely that you’ll feel inspired by the same one or two issues consistently throughout your life. Ideas from this list may ring true to your feelings:

  • You strive to feel like you’re doing “the right thing.”
  • You want to increase your ability to earn more money.
  • Pursuing your passion propels you forward to accomplish more.
  • You hope to see the pride in your parents’ eyes.
  • Maybe you seek recognition from other people – you hope to be noticed and admired.
  • You want to make your or your children’s futures better.
  • You feel the need to prove to yourself that you can achieve something.
  • You like the idea of stepping up to a challenge in your life.
  • Seeking variety in life motivates you to try new things.
  • You strive to overcome a difficult childhood and emerge triumphant.
  • Discovering and validating who you really are as an individual is important to you.
  • You plan to dispute negative messages someone from your past instilled in you.
  • You want to do something in life that “really matters.”
  • Perhaps you enjoy the sheer entertainment value of doing something.
  • Writing down your goals and making an action plan spurs you on to accomplishment.
  • You like to see your list of achievements grow.

 

Whether you want to improve your life, make more money, or follow your passion, discover what motivates you. Then, apply your motivators to situations that really matter. Now, you’re ready to achieve whatever you seek in life.

4 Actions That Bring You Success

Who doesn’t want more success? Whatever you’ve already accomplished, there’s always another interesting mountain to climb. If you’re looking for more achievement, you can improve your life dramatically with a few simple changes. Although these suggestions are straightforward, most of them will require constant attention for a little while until they become habitual. Once they become automatic, though, you’ll be thrilled with your progress.

Try these ideas to enjoy greater success:

1.Hang out with successful individuals. You’ll frequently find that you achieve about as much as the people with whom you spend the most time. If you want to be successful, affiliate as often as you can with people who are more successful than you. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • You’ll be exposed to a completely different way of thinking and interacting with the world. Very successful people look at many things differently than those who are less successful. Integrating some of these ideas into your own thinking will likely bring you more successes of your own.
  • You’ll also encounter new opportunities. High-achieving people frequently have all kinds of ventures going on; you never know when they might need a helping hand. You’ll also get to connect with their peer group, who are likely to be very successful as well.

 

2. Adjust your attitude. Successful people usually have a positive attitude. That’s what allows them to move forward aggressively. This is not the same as acting foolishly, however.

  •  Minor challenges don’t bog them down because they believe that things will work out in the end. They also keep the bigger picture in mind, so minor challenges are just that – minor.
  • If you want to be wealthy, do you have positive attitudes about wealth and wealthy people? If you want to be healthy, do you have a positive outlook about that? Your attitudes must be congruent with your objectives.
  • Everything starts internally; seeing outside changes in your life takes time.

 

3. Be organized and focused. Before you go to bed each night, make a list with all the things you want to accomplish the next day. Doing this at night gives your brain a chance to work on things in your sleep. Also, you’ll feel much better when you can start the day with a clear objective instead of spending time trying to figure out what to do.

 

4. Have goals. Your brain is tremendously good at finding solutions. You can help it out by doing a good job of outlining and prioritizing your objectives. The simplest way to do this is to write down your goal and include a deadline. Now your brain knows what to work on and when to have it accomplished.

  • Read over your goals at least twice a day to provide mental emphasis that they’re important. We all know how easy it is to get sidetracked by 50 other things and forget all about our goals and plans.

 

These 4 simple ideas can bring you great power, if you’ll use them to your advantage.

Being successful is really no more challenging than being unsuccessful. Both require specific actions and attitudes applied consistently over a period of time. Make some changes today and give yourself the gift of success.

Are you a Professional or an Amateur?

Well, which are you? A professional shows up every day and does the necessary work. An amateur does not. Even your hobbies can be approached in a professional manner. However, being a pro doesn’t have to mean that you’re obsessed and spend every possible moment and thought on your objective.

Being professional means that you take it seriously, spend your time and energy appropriately, do what needs to be done, and avoid allowing less important things to interfere.

A high school student can be a pro or an amateur at school. A pro would attend class regularly, have their homework done on time, start studying for tests early, and spend some time studying each night.

An amateur student would daydream, study at the last minute, and only complete some of the homework. A pro student wouldn’t go out the night before a big test. An amateur would.

Are you treating your career and relationship like a pro or like an amateur?

Pros outperform amateurs over time, every time:

  1. A professional sticks to a schedule. An amateur works when he feels “inspired.” If you only work when you feel like it, you’ll never be successful. Whether you’re writing a book, training for a marathon, or starting a business, it’s important to do what needs to be done and do it each day. A professional does this. An amateur does not.
  2. Professionals have priorities. Amateurs have priorities, but they have a different set of priorities. Professionals make their work a priority. Amateurs make comfort a priority. The high school quarterback that spends each evening looking at game film has a different priority than the quarterback that would rather play video games.
  3. Professionals expect, and deal with, discomfort effectively. Pros know that most of what they have to do doesn’t involve sunshine and unicorns. But they do it anyway. Amateurs want to have fun and lose their motivation quickly if the task is unenjoyable.

Are you acting like a professional, or dooming yourself to mediocrity as an amateur?

Anyone can become a pro. And you can become a pro at anything you choose. You can be a pro at being a dog owner or caring for your lawn. There isn’t time to be a pro at everything, so choose wisely.

Become a pro and leave the amateur world behind:

  1. Identify the most important tasks. What you’re trying to master will determine the most relevant behaviors. For example, if you’re a real estate broker, your list might look like this:
  • Market myself by ranking my website – write industry-related articles and acquire backlinks from real estate authority sites.
  • Acquire new clients – cold call expired listings and knock on doors.
  1. Make a schedule. When will you perform these tasks? How many times will you repeat them each day? Determine when and how often. Make a schedule that uses your time wisely and effectively. One cold-call each week won’t accomplish much. Making a cold-call in the middle of the night won’t gain you any fans, either.
  2. Stick to it. This is the real difference between a pro and an amateur. Whether you feel like doing the work or not, you’ll do it if you’re a pro. A pro just does what needs to be done.
  3. Evaluate other decisions by how they affect your area of concentration. Making a fool out of yourself in public won’t do much for your political career or your climb up the corporate ladder. An all-night party won’t help your attempts to secure a tennis scholarship. A pro considers how any decision impacts his area of expertise and his goals.

 

It’s time to take yourself seriously and go pro. Real success requires commitment to do the things that others aren’t willing to do consistently. Choose to handle your important business like a pro. You’ll never have to worry about competing with the amateurs.

Persistence Pays: Learning to Finish What You Start

When it comes to completing a job, task, or project, have you ever choked under the pressure and wondered if you would finish? If this has happened to you, you might have ended up feeling guilty and profoundly disappointed in your own abilities.

Even though your desire for an end result is high, the difficulty level or time required to complete the task could make you want to give up.

Where do you stand when it comes to persevering until a job is complete? How can you persist when you’re challenged in meeting your goals?

If you struggle to complete what you start, these strategies are for you:

  1. Be consistent. Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never get there. When you feel that way, remind yourself you must simply keep on keeping on. If you stay with working consistently toward your goal, chances are good you’ll eventually accomplish it.
  2. Notice what you’ve done so far. When you can see some fruits of your labors, you’ll get another burst of motivation to keep going. Maybe you completed 10% of the project last week. That’s 10% less than you have to do to finish. Have acute awareness of what you’ve already completed as well as what you have left to do.
  3. Maintain a positive outlook. Whenever you stay focused on the positive, it just makes it easier to continue plodding forward. Being positive is a choice, so take advantage of it. Accentuate the positive.
  4. Avoid under-estimating what it will take to finish. We’ve all had the experience of thinking we know how long we will spend to complete a particular task, only to find it takes much longer. If you must make a ball-park guess as to how much time you’ll need, it’s better to over-estimate.
  5. Make a personal vow to finish what you’ve started. Staying conscious of what you want to do and why you want to do it and then vowing to finish will serve as motivation to help you keep your nose to the grindstone. Promise yourself you’ll persist until you prevail. Then do it.
  6. Recognize when you must tweak your results. There may be times when you wish to slightly alter your end goal. After all, situations and people change. Particularly for long-term projects and goals, stay focused so that you’ll identify when it’s time to make alterations.
    If what you want has changed, it’s okay. Just revisit the goal, tweak it, and keep moving forward.
  7. Consider setting mini-goals. If you need some extra motivation along the way, you might benefit from setting interim goals that you can easily accomplish. It feels good to see that you’re achieving your mini-goals. The momentum you gain is remarkable. 
  • Consider this example about losing weight: Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. When you face that fact, it’s overwhelming and you feel like you can’t do it. It’s difficult to get started. But what if you were to set a goal to lose just five pounds?
  • Chances are pretty good that you’ll be successful. And when you are, you can rejoice in the moment and set another mini-goal to lose five more pounds.
  • Try setting mini-goals to keep momentum going and ensure you continue forward to the task’s end.

 

Being persistent can be a challenge that’s well worth conquering. Be consistent and take note of what you’ve done so far. Stay as positive as you can and avoid under-estimating the time it will take for job completion. Vow to finish and stay aware of what you’re doing so you can adjust your goal if you need to. Finally, consider setting mini-goals to persist until you finish the task.

Your persistence will pay off!