THE ONLY RESOLUTION YOU WILL EVER NEED TO SET FOR A NEW YEAR

Resolution: Improve my self-awareness.

I strongly believe this is the SOLE and ULTIMATE resolution to be set in replace of all those in the past and future New Year’s.

By committing to a journey towards improving self-awareness, all other life improvements will come as a byproduct. We all set new goals in the New Year to try to improve our self-esteem and make our lives feel richer, right? We begin to think about all that we are not doing, what we do not have and what we want, and formulate these goals based on all of these components. Some of the most popular New Year’s goals are eating healthier, getting more exercise, saving more money, getting more sleep, reading more, getting a new job, etc.

But, what if I told you that we really only needed to set one goal that would lead to the accomplishments of all those proceeding? Sounds good, right? It is easier said than done, but by committing to a journey toward improving self-awareness, we will develop the discipline to lose the weight we wanted because of our improvement in decision making and understanding ourselves, and will also be able to save more money as we become more aware of our priorities and what is truly important.

Perhaps defining self-awareness will assist you as you craft this single goal for the New Year. Self-awareness can be explained as recognizing our thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires, which will in turn allow us to make more reasoned decisions and choices. The constant improvement in this understanding will empower us to lead healthier and happier lives as we make more quality decisions and choices as a result. There are various ways to embark on the journey towards self-awareness. Please see below for four simple practices you can incorporate into everyday that will start you on this path, and take over the New Year!

  1. Meditation
    Through meditation, we allow ourselves a moment of silence, away from the noise in our everyday life. Here, we are able to observe what thoughts have been floating through our mind, and any emotion we are experiencing, prompted from those thoughts. In performing this practice, we are more aware of the various things that may trigger us in a negative or positive way. From here, we have the power to change our reactions to these thoughts and create a new association to them. As we routinely meditate throughout the week, we begin to discover the root of our emotions and are given the power to change them as we see fit. Such awareness will then become part of our everyday encounters, allowing us to manage various challenges and obstacles.
  2. Journaling
    Journaling is another amazing way to reflect on our thoughts and emotions. By putting this into practice, we can visually observe what we are thinking in our minds, and begin to analyze our reactions. Our thoughts are now real and live on paper, as if they have a life of their own. In our journal entry, we can ask ourselves questions like, “What did I do great today?” and “What can I improve on today?” These sort of questions will allow us to reflect on the whole day and revisit when we felt positive, uncomfortable, dissatisfied and/or proud. We can then understand the moments which had been associated with these emotions, and strive to improve our reactions in the more challenging or disappointing moments going forward.
  3. Reading
    Books allow for us to gain more insight into the lives and experiences of others, which we cannot experience ourselves. Reading expands our perspective beyond, assisting us in understanding others and even learning from them. As a result, we begin to empathize with stories, experiences and people who we did not even know existed. We become aware of other’s emotions and the events that lead to these emotions to rationally determine if we wish to be in a similar situation or not. Now, these books have influenced our own decision making and our ability to understand humanity and even a bit about our place in it. We can read specifically about self-awareness and other’s experiences on their own self-awareness journeys. Please visit Books to check out the novels under “Self-Improvement” for suggestions.
  4. Feedback
    This last step is most definitely the most daunting and vulnerable of all previous steps, and quite honestly, something I need to do more of, which is asking for feedback. Who is a better observe of you, you or other people? Of course, other people because otherwise people who chew gum loudly, talk with their mouth full and make conversation with you at the gym while you’re mid-set WOULD NOT BOTHER YOU if THEY knew it was annoying. So, if this is the case, this presents us with a new opportunity to better understand ourselves from other person’s perspective. Maybe we can do this after a big presentation at work, or during a mid-year appraisal review, or maybe more personally, opening ourselves up for feedback from our partner or friend about how we are doing in following through on commitments or listening to them when they tell us about their day. Outside feedback is necessary for us to make a change, because otherwise we may never be aware enough to change it. For example, my partner has pointed out my increase in volume while telling a story in restaurants, which I had not previously been aware of. Now, I look out for it and make the effort to catch myself if I feel the volume may be on the rise (Working on it).

In incorporating these four simple steps into our everyday lives this New Year, we are sure to be on our way to improving self-awareness and making us an overall better person this 2019!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

 

 

 

 

Building Up Leg Strength

Men and women both look for ways to build up their lower-body muscles. The muscles in our lower-body are our largest and as a result, require the greatest amount of energy to build. So, instead of using that extra needed energy on researching the best ways to build leg strength, I provided my own personal proven method below! Give it a try!

Throughout the years, I have experimented with various weight-lifting, body-weight and cardio training exercises to build up strength in the lower-body. Many different exercises have been successful for this task, but the combinations below have proven to be most effective for me and my goals.

For the purpose of building strength in the leg, glute, hamstring and overall lower-body, try the below supersets! These exercises are comprised of a short cardio exercise, followed by lower-body-targeted superset combinations.

 

Cardio:

1 Minute Sprints (*Critical to sprint, not jog)

Repeat x3

 

1st Weight Superset:

12 Rep Leg Press

12 Rep Deadlift

12 Rep Straight-legged deadlift

10 Deep Squat

Repeat x3

 

2nd Weight Superset:

12 Rep Quad Extension Machine (Both Feet 90o with Legs)

12 Rep Quad Extension Machine (Both Feet Turned Outward at 130o)

12 Rep Quad Extension Machine (Pointed Toes)

12 Rep Hamstring Curl Machine

Repeat x 3

 

Finished!!

Perform this exercise once per week with an increase of 5-10 lbs each week and notice your lower-body strength increase!

 

It’s Not “Not Having the Time”; It’s “Not Being a Priority”

How many times do we exclaim, “I just don’t have the time!” However, what we really mean to say is “This is not a priority I am willing to make time for.” Whether or not it is for valid reason, we prioritize time for the things at the top of our list and as a result other tasks fall on the back burner.

A classic example is “I don’t have time to go to the gym.” Now, maybe you don’t because you have to work early in the morning, you have to be up for the baby after work, you have to go to work and work through your lunch break, etc. so it is impossible to get to the gym. Ok, of course these are valid excuses as to why you may not be able to go, but this really just means the gym is not a priority, not that you don’t have the time. You know you can make the time for a task such as this but you choose not to because you can make use of that time for a more important task. And, there should be nothing to feel bad about because of that!

By viewing this common exclamation in this perspective, it allows for us to reflect on the way we are using our time and if we are in fact using it for our top priorities or if we are using it to watch another season of Game of Thrones. Applying this perspective to our everyday can help us be more productive with our time.

A personal example I can think of for myself is “Not having the time to make cold calls for real estate leads” at my part-time job as an agent. It is something I say often, but is this really true?

Well, I wake up around 4:00-5:00 am on a typical day, go to the gym, do a morning routine, go to my 7am-5pm job, take a 30 minute lunch break in the day and get out at 5pm.

Though most of my day is occupied at my job, it is still not that I “don’t have the time,” it is because my job is currently taking priority over my need to cold calls. Furthermore, after work at 5pm, I have this time until about 8pm free to make cold calls. However, I also have friends and family I want to spend time with after work. So what is the priority? To make the calls or to spend time with family and friends? This is the type of question we are really asking ourselves when we claim we “don’t have time.”

Think about how you use your time throughout the day to improve the way you are prioritizing for tasks.

 

Ask yourself:

What is most important for me to make time for today?

The Meaning Regardless of Answer:

I need to make time for X, and at the cost of not making time for X.

 

Perhaps you can improve the way you are prioritizing time, or maybe you can simply accept that you are using your time for priorities, but just inevitable at the expense of another non-priority task.

Social Media Sobriety

Today I found myself getting caught up in Facebook posts for almost an hour, which made me think of all of the time we must waste on social media. There are people in this world with the most creative minds and talents, yet social media has become such a distraction, they spend more time online than they do working on their craft or taking advantage of the opportunities. This very post is an example of putting off writing to waste non-value-add time looking through social media. For what? I did not find out anything interesting, nor did it advance my writing craft in any way. This post could have been completed 30 minutes ago if I had not been distracted by others’ photos, videos and posts. What a shame.

What makes social media so addicting? Sadly, it is mostly because it is mindless and gratifying activity. It is easy to do and results in high reward, often. We are thrilled to get new comments, likes and attention on our profile, and to do it, all we have to do is post a picture and a moderately-clever caption. It makes us feel like people like us! There are not many other things in life we can say has high reward and low effort or risk. Usually, high rewards come with a high investment of time, money and energy.

Conversely, we can be putting some energy into a skill we have a passionate for and EARN a return, not be handed one. Doesn’t that sounds more gratifying? …… I know, sounds tiring.

It has been proven that when we receive a notification or like on social media, it releases endorphins to our brains to make us feel good. This feel-good feeling is addicting, similar to that of a drug. We are a generation of social media-addictions and it is an epidemic. For myself, I went on a months-long hiatus of abstaining from social media. I literally feel like I was telling people about my lengthy sobriety journey when I would talk about it.

Recently, in joining the field of real estate, heavily set in social media, so I have been back on it. Ideally, social media is supposed to be a good resource for getting leads, networking, etc. but I have found it has broken my social media-sobriety (we will call it), making it more difficult not to get caught up in its antics.

Breaking the social media habit can only lead to us being more productive and more present in our world. I am going back to my social-media sobriety journey starting today. I encourage you to do the same! Let’s kick this habit and start doing the things worth spending that time on!

Introverted Networking

The angst that builds in anticipation of having to attend a networking event has yet to subside. Though, I don’t expect it ever will.

T-25’s Shawn T had once said, “You grow when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone.” Now, yes, he was referring to doing that 11th burpee when you thought you were only expected to do 10, but this holds true in all facets of life.

Today I have a real estate investor networking, which I attend every month. There is this sort of conflicting feeling I have before the event…. Usually the thought about whether or not I should go.

On one hand, I want to work out, and get home after a long day at work to hang with my family, EAT, read my book, write and maybe watch Moving Art on Netflix, if I’m feeling really wild (Yeah, I’m really that boring).

In addition, my personality as an introvert inhibits this combative thought, similar to one I imagine a prey have when in the face of their predator.

I just want to run when I am confronted with having to attend social events filled with strangers. I know many people have these same sort of feelings toward networking—feeling super awkward, insecure and out of place in the room—and that is normal.

The people I perceive to be not-normal are those who don’t feel that way. Yeah, you know them. Those weird people who thrive in a social environment… Yeah, quite the contrary.

Currently, I am already stressing my attendance at this event. I go every month, meet new people every time, yet somehow it never gets less awkward.

Still, as much as I want to cop out of going, I never regret attending once I am there. This is something I have to remind myself of every time I try to convince myself, “I can’t go this time, I… [Insert excuse here]”.

The first networking event I ever attended, I stayed in the back of the hall with my notebook scribing, “The, The, The” over and over again. Yup, I was essentially a procrastinating SpongeBob. (See below)

Sponge

Luckily, my mentor had finally arrived and I stuck to him like white on rice.

I am not proud of such clinginess (Yes, boys, you’ve been warned), but it was like being at a party where the person you came with is the only one you know in the whole room.

Thankfully, he began to introduce me to other seasoned investors at the event as his assistant, and finally after 45 minutes of being a wallflower, my mouth had opened.

“Uhhh, yeah… I help Mark find deals,” I stuttered.

“Oh that’s great. What market do you focus in?”

“I look in North Jersey, Central Jersey, and Shore Points.”

They laughed jovially.

“So, all of New Jersey basically.”

I realize then my focus was probably too broad.

For a follow-up embarrassment, they asked, “How many deals have you done with Mark?”

Where of course, I shamefully answered, “None, but we almost had a one once.”

I could not get over the magnitude of humiliation I experienced talking to these experienced investors about almost-deals.

Still, after the event had concluded, I made some viable connections with people who I continue to see every month and make more and more connections every time.

These networking events are far outside of my comfort zone, but that is just the reason why I push myself to go.

Networking is scary and tiresome but so necessary because one connection can catapult your success.

You never know who you might meet.