How to Stop Avoiding Things: 17 Practices

Struggle with avoidance? We all avoid things sometimes. It’s natural. Do you tend to bypass that difficult task? Put things off until later—or never? Steer clear of that difficult somebody? Change that uncomfortable subject? Put off that hard conversation? Sidestep that brewing conflict? Maybe you put off going to the doctor to get that concerning symptom checked out. It’s like your life is a game of dodgeball. When things get thrown your way, you dodge, duck, dip, and dive. If you’re like others, perhaps you avoid things not only via your behavior but also in terms of your thoughts and

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How to Get Better at Asking for Help: 10 Tips

Many of us have a hard time asking for help. Maybe we pride ourselves on being independent. Self-sufficient. A Lone Ranger. There’s value in being self-sufficient, but when we’re too proud to ask for help it can be costly. It can keep us stuck in hardship and delay our advances, or lead to overwork and burnout. And it can inhibit close relationships with family and friends. “Going it alone in times of hardship is never a good idea.” -Jonathan Rauch, The Happiness Curve Asking for help is an important skill that can aid us in all our endeavors, from living

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How to Be More Action-Oriented

One of the biggest mistakes many people make is waiting too long before taking action. Not having enough of an action orientation. What good are dreams, visions, and plans if we don’t act on them? To live well, we must get good at taking action. We have to stop hesitating. We have to stop waiting too long before acting.   12 Benefits of Being Action-Oriented There are many benefits of being action-oriented. For example, it: helps us learn and develop builds our confidence  helps develop our courage  changes our self-identity to someone with greater power and agency helps us learn

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What I Learned about Life from Playing Sports

With all the action in sports lately, from college football championships to the NFL playoff hunt, it’s got me thinking about life lessons I’ve learned from sports. No doubt we can learn plenty from sports about things like teamwork and group dynamics. But what does it teach us about life? I’ve been an athlete my whole life, starting at age five on the soccer field and continuing through college athletics and beyond. I ran track in high school and played baseball, tennis, racquetball, and a little basketball while growing up. I loved running 10K races with my Dad and brother

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The Power of Relationships in Our Lives

Article Summary:  On the costs of social isolation and loneliness, the benefits of close relationships on our health, wellbeing, and happiness, and how to develop and maintain close relationships. +++ Loneliness and disconnection are big problems these days for many. This year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on the “public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection.” He noted, “Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness.” According to a Guardian article, about 20 percent of people report that loneliness is a “major

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Goal Pursuit: Best Practices

Goal-Pursuit: Best Practices

Article Summary: This article addresses best practices in goal-pursuit, broken down into four areas: mindset, people, techniques, and systems. It’s the fourth article in a four-part series on goals. +++ Many of us are no strangers to setting goals. We’ve been doing it for a long time. But how are we doing when it comes to goal attainment? Do we know? Many of us fall short of our goals fairly often. Sometimes the problem is in the goal-setting process. (See my article, “Goal-Setting Practices: Beyond SMART Goals.”) But in other cases, the problem is in our goal-pursuit process—something very few

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Goal-Setting Best Practices: Beyond SMART Goals

Article Summary: This article addresses best practices in goal-setting, including criteria for setting goals, a framework for evaluating a draft set of goals, and a goal-setting checklist. It’s the third article in a four-part series on goals. +++ Goals are common in our life and work. But that doesn’t mean we’re good at setting and achieving them. Far from it. How many goals have we missed over the years? For most people, it’s many. What’s going on? Here we address what the research says about best practices in goal-setting and offer new criteria to use in goal-setting in two areas:

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mistakes in goal-setting

The Most Common Mistakes in Goal-Setting and Goal-Pursuit

Article Summary: This article notes the most common mistakes in goal-setting and goal-pursuit. It’s the second article in a four-part series on goals. +++ Though researchers have examined goals and goal-setting for more than a century, the practice of setting and pursuing goals is still widely misunderstood and often badly misapplied. There are dangers of not getting it right. When we don’t set and pursue goals properly, we can experience frustration, stress, burnout, and disillusionment.* In this article, we’ll first address the most common mistakes in goal-setting and then turn to the most common mistakes in goal-pursuit.   The 8

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The Benefits of Setting and Pursuing Goals

Article Summary:  This article defines goals and gives examples of different types of goals, followed by the benefits of setting and pursuing goals. It’s the first article in a four-part series on goals. +++ Goals are the desired results we hope to achieve. They’re the object of our ambition and effort. There are many different types of goals, including the following: We can also have goals in different areas, such as career, health, finances, and education.   The Benefits of Setting and Pursuing Goals When done well, setting and pursuing goals can help motivate individuals, workers, athletes, teams, and organizations

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20 Benefits of Gratitude

It’s easy to take things for granted. We may appreciate things for a while but, sure enough, we eventually start discounting them. The unhappy result is that we can go through long stretches of our lives without noticing the good things. The benefits of gratitude show up not only in hordes of modern scientific studies but also in centuries of shared wisdom. All the major religions encourage and celebrate gratitude. And many great spiritual teachers have been powerful exemplars of living with a grateful heart attuned to the wonders of creation.   20 Benefits of Gratitude in Our Lives Feeling

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How to Craft a Vision of the Good Life

Article Summary:  What is a vision of the good life? Why is it hard to create one? What are the benefits of having a vision of the good life? How to craft a vision of the good life? +++ Working hard but lacking energy and motivation? Busy but feeling depleted? Not sure what you want anymore—or what direction to take? Feeling overcommitted, juggling too many things? These are common feelings these days, even among high achievers and committed parents and citizens. The problem is that, if we let them go for too long, things can start unraveling. We begin to

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The Power of Integrating Our Passions into Our Life and Work

In the world of personal development, passion is one of the things that’s most misunderstood. “Follow your passion” is common advice. But is it right? The answer may surprise you.   What Is a Passion? Our passions are the things that consume us with palpable emotion over time. They’re the things we love so much that we’re willing to suffer for them. Researchers have defined passions as strong inclinations toward activities we value and like or love, and in which we invest our time and energy. (1) Author and coach Curt Rosengren calls passion “the energy that comes from bringing

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The Power of Knowing and Using Our Strengths

Many people are disengaged at work and not energized and thriving in their lives. One major reason is that they’re not using their strengths—the things they’re good at—regularly. According to data from Gallup’s global client database, most people aren’t using their strengths every day at work. See the chart below. Many of us are either working in areas of our weaknesses or focused on fixing our weaknesses instead of leveraging our strengths more in what we do. For example: We’re doing things we’d rather avoid—perhaps things that bore us or make us feel weak or incompetent. We keep trying things

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On Spirituality and the Good Life

Article Summary:  How spirituality and the good life are related, including the benefits of having a spiritual practice and examples of it. +++ We all want to live a good life, but are we living in such a way as to make it likely? In many cases, the cultural influences around us aren’t helping. Think about it. How many of us feel anxious and stressed much of the time? To what degree are we influenced by cultural messages and forces related to consumerism and materialism, status and ego, fear and greed, manipulation and division? How many of us feel time-starved and struggle

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The Importance of Service in Living a Good Life

These days, it’s easy to become self-involved. So much is coming at us so quickly. We live in a world of speed and busyness in an age of social media, celebrities, and influencers. These cultural influences are strong, pulling our egos toward a certain way of living that can become superficial and materialistic. We can be obsessed with climbing professionally, with chasing success. And we can take all that we have for granted, as we’re so focused on chasing more. This may keep us occupied (if not overloaded), but it’s not a recipe for good living. In all the chase,

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