Life Hacks Self-Improvement

5 slow but powerful ways to make positive changes in your life

If I had a dollar for all the times I’ve promised to make a positive change in my life,

Start going for a daily run...learn French...paint

but then never followed it through, I’d be a very rich man.

Via Gifrific

Haven’t we all had those bursts of inspirations, with a strong urge to make a change in our life? A sudden bolt of inspiration or motivation to do something more.

You start with a bang, with superb commitment and enthusiasm, only to quit a few days or weeks later.

Most of us are never able to hold ourselves to these goals.

According to survey data, only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed at keeping them. Most resolutions are in fact abandoned by the third week of January.

Only 8 percent of New Year’s resolutions are kept. Most resolutions are abandoned by the third week of January.

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However that does not mean it is impossible.

Achieving your goals is part of a mindset.

Goals could range from personal to career to relationships.

All you need is a basic framework to create a mindset where you make goals, stick to them and achieve them.

1. How to eliminate clutter and focus on the essentials?

If you want to cut out the fat from your life, you need to focus on the essentials.

The book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” talks about the “Importance of Simplicity, Clarity, and Priority.”

The author Greg McKeown, a graduate of the Stanford School of Business, explains

“Instead of attempting to achieve everything, one needs to figure out how to do the right thing the right way at the right time.”

Check out this video of his -

The author did first-hand research among CEOs, executives and other professional ventures of the Silicon Valley. He demonstrates how early success can lead straight to professional and personal failure.

The heart of the problem, is the insidious idea that we can do it all.

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As individuals find success, they're often overwhelmed by expectations and the variety of options, and they end up losing the single-minded focus that made them successful in the first place.

So ask yourself: what in your life affirms the need for simplicity, - to focus on only one thing or very few things at a time?


What priorities in your life require the need to focus on before pursuing other interesting (but less worthy) pursuits?

2. How to live mindfully, fully aware of your reality

Mindfulness is the opposite of “mindless” living- where you simply function on autopilot throughout your day.

Living this way can leave you feeling like you’re stuck in a rut.

On autopilot, you tend to get lost in ‘doing’ so you find yourself constantly striving and struggling on ‘getting the next job done’. Not actually living.


Research shows that the average person functions like this 47% of the time.

This video talks about how it feels to be “Mindful” and live in the moment.

Mindfulness helps you cultivate equanimity. You are aware of your triggers and learn to pause so that you may respond, rather than simply react.

Mindfulness is the art of understanding your thoughts and accepting that they are just an interpretation of reality.

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It is the art of understanding your thoughts and accepting that your thoughts are not reality. They’re just thoughts: An interpretation of reality.

And you have the power to control your thoughts.

Richard Ryan and K. W. Brown of the University of Rochester explain that

  1. “Mindfulness” allows you to witness the passing of feelings, social pressures, even of being esteemed or criticized without taking these evaluations personally.
  2. This will allow you to stop worrying and ruminating on bleak events in the past.
  3. As you focus on living in the present, your attentional focus narrows.
  4. You feel as if your awareness merges with the actions you're performing.
  5. You feel a sense of mastery over situations, activities become rewarding by themselves. Although the tasks are difficult, you are able to perform effortlessly.

The University of Wisconsin has a Mindfulness Training Program as part of their Department of Psychiatry. After the program, this was the feedback they were given.

As the survey results show both teachers as well as students found an improvement in the students’ mental states.

3. Exercise for the mind, not just for the body 

The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore.

Exercise controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, and improves your mood.

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that leave you happier and relaxed. It boosts your confidence and improves your self-esteem.

The movie star, Matthew McConaughey, has said this to say -

Mathey McConaugheyActor

It's no fun to sit down and talk about what exercise has to do with life... go drip that sweat, run until we're fatigued, to where the mind can't ponder the past or the future, well, then you've got something... It's fun to feel healthy, and it's fun to feel good.

When you decide to exercise, understand that it is a sustained habit you are trying to build.

Try to keep the following steps in mind

  1. Set a time and stick with it
  2. Use small reminders everyday
  3. Start small, and focus on bringing daily exercise into your routine
  4. Increase intensity as time progresses
  5. Mix up your exercise so you don’t get bored
  6. Set aside rest days


Men’s Health talks about how exercise fights depression and the many positive effects on the brain it has.

4. What positive thinking actually involves

Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is much more than just ‘being happy’ or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build real skills.

Negativity closes your brain off from the outside world. You focus on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress. These emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology conducted a study at the University of North Carolina. She talks about the “broaden and build” theory. Positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and gather more resources from your surroundings.

How do you bring about positive thinking?

Meditation- In the same study, an experiment was conducted between two groups of meditating and non-meditating people. The study demonstrated that those who meditate daily display more positive emotions and valuable long–term skills.

Even several months after the experiment was over, the people who meditated daily continued to display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms

The spiritual society Art of Living, mentions these benefits of meditation.

A survey about workplace meditation was conducted on 60 people which found that 60 percent of them were better able to handle stress after taking the class.

Meditation is one of the best ways to combat stress in your life. According to a survey by Buddhify, it is the second most common reason people get into meditation.

Writing and Expressing yourself- An experiment was published in the Journal of Research in Personality on 90 undergraduate students. They were split into two groups. One was asked to write about an intensely positive experience each day and the other wrote about a general control topic.

Three months later, the students from the first group showed better mood levels, and experienced fewer illnesses. Although this is far from a definitive study on the topic, it does give us an idea about the benefits of writing.

Maintaining a journal can help you clarify your thoughts as you logically put them down on paper. Writing is a creative activity which can help engage your right brain in problem solving.

5. Developing a sense of compassion for those around

The Dalai Lama has said that the problems of the world “are best understood and viewed through the lens of compassion.”

We, humans have a natural capacity for compassion. However, everyday stress, social pressures, and life experiences can suppress it.

But you can train yourself to be more nurturing towards others and develop your compassionate instinct. This process requires patience, steady care, proper tools, and a supportive environment.

The brain we have inherited from millions of years of evolution is both a gift and a curse, if not understood and used wisely. It is easy for us to get lost in our very basic emotions and motives, or become personally distressed by the problems of others.

If you orient yourself to compassion, be prepared to experience a whole new orientation of your mind.

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Compassion therapy tries to develop this compassion in people,

“we train people to remember, remember, remember, notice, notice, notice kindness and then to build upon those remembrances.”

Meditation, journal writing, focusing on mindfulness all help you live a compassionate life.

Compassion is a way of life.

Jon Kabat-ZinnProfessor of Medicine Emiritus

All life is fascinating and beautiful when the veil of our routinized thinking lifts, even for a moment


We feel stuck in a rut because we’ve trained our brains in a certain way. Our daily habits are deeply ingrained in our brain circuitry. But if we repeat small behaviors frequently enough, our brains begin to carve out new neural pathways. Over time, these neural pathways allow new behaviors to become automatic.

If you understand and apply the simple method for mindfully creating new behaviors and habits you can begin re-creating your life, one positive new change at a time.

What changes can you make today to bring about more Positivity in your life?


How to be insanely successful: A step by step guide

It is a race that everybody wants to win. Sometimes, without having prepared or defined specific goals. Most people participate simply because others are. Is crossing that finish line the ultimate objective or will you be happy outdoing your own previous personal best?

Oh wait, you don’t even know your previous best. You are running just for the sake of it. You have no idea how to be insanely successful. You want it, regardless.

And that is what you are doing in life. You want to be successful. At a job, average or extraordinary. You like it insane. The achievements need to be colossal.


The problem is you don’t know what success means to you.

The biggest mistake you might make is equating insane success to becoming filthy rich. Or owning a villa. I am sorry this won’t do any good for you.

You have to think of your success as something much more than mere materialistic possessions! It’s not the same as owning 2 sedans or a Mercedes standing in your garage. It is not about a buttload of cash to party hard each day.

You’re successful when you are rich from the inside, living a life you want. Following are some hacks to help you become insanely successful in any field of your choice.

What is success for you?

The first step towards success is defining success. Does it include fame, money, cars, luxuries? Don’t ask for your granpa’s opinion. What your friend says about it also does not matter. It is about what you visualize for yourself in that ideal day – not just what you will be wearing, but what intangible thing you have become.

Spend some time to find out what fuels you from the inside and start investing in experiences that help you achieve that success.

The thing is, you will be headed upstream. Most of the skills you visualize may not be listed in your CV. It will all be a sad story. Be calm and confident, anyway.

You can reach those standards you have set for yourselves. Make sure that the desire for achieving your success is so strong that you are ready to work your ass off – day in and day out, towards it.

Set goals and timelines

Within stipulated periods of months, you want to be at point B from your current situation (call it point A). These goals, time-bound as they are, will keep you motivated. You will always know where you stand. The goals should be in line with your destination.

Consider this:

Suppose, I want to become a rockstar.

My goal within the first 3 months might be to complete and learn a course on playing chords with some melodies. The next 3 month goal might be to play 10 gigs and get professional experience. And so on. Get the drill?

how to be successful in lifeFailures do not fuck you up.

Every day won’t be a bright, sunny day. Sometimes you will be in bad health. And even after consistent devotion towards your success you might not get the cut.

There will be testing times. And even tedious ones where you will just hate doing the same shit over and over again.

Be ready to fail. Let it not hurt you so bad. It is all a part of a bigger game.

Keep the journey exciting by rewarding yourself for the the efforts you put in regularly.

Savour your favourite meal or even a nice bubble bath to keep up the morale.

What are the sacrifices you are willing to make?

What is the cost at which you want it all? Are you willing to sacrifice the time you spend with your family and friends? Are you ready to climb the ladder at the cost of integrity or your personal values? My answer would be a no for all the questions above.

My recommendation would be to strike a balance between work and everything else. Obsession may lead to a burnout. It might lead to depression and frustration. Create certain value systems and principles, which you won’t break at any cost.

On certain occasions, you will be pulled out of your comfort zone. You will be working odd hours. You will not remember when you had the last call when you spoke your heart out with your mother. However, these sprints are only temporary.


Running towards your goals is actually a marathon – consistency and focus are the key to win it.

Common errors that prevent you from being successful

Withdrawing halfway – Many people sense going nowhere during their journey. Don’t quit due to this just because you feel this. Don’t lose confidence. You can overcome it all. Just keep at it.

Unwillingness to pivot – Adaptability is the word of this globalized hyper-connected world. Even Facebook is not what it was originally started as by Mark Zuckerberg. If you cannot change your direction as per circumstances, you might have a problem.

No action, just faff – So, if all you like is live in a  rut without seizing the moment, you need a fix. In order to move towards your goals, you need action. Only planning won’t do. A motivational video or article just won’t do it.

what is successSaying yes to everything – There are commitments and things you cannot escape from but you don’t need to deliver at all times. They are distractions devised to waste your precious time in your journey uphill. Always do a double-check if the opportunity at hand makes sense to your end goal.

Let people dictate your words and actions –The only man person should listen to is yourself. Stop believing the definition of success to be what others have taught you. Stop comparing yourself with anyone else. You are amazing the way you are and do not need any outside validation.


Being successful is not rocket science. It is being true to what you believe. Do not let those tabloids and newspapers tamper with your definition of success. Let people go after money. Let them do what they feel is the right thing to do at their age.

Take calculated risks. Follow your intuition. Take care of your body and soul. Be true to everyone, especially yourself. Do that thing that excites you every single day. And accomplish what might now give chills down your spine.

How do you measure success? How have you been pursuing it? And how have you kept yourself motivated through the failing times? I would love to know your thoughts.

Please do share your success and failure stories in the comment box below.