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Personal Development

The Best Time To Start Is Always Now

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I’m not some oracle or wizard. But I’m convinced the wisdom you’re about to hear is priceless: The best time to start is always NOW.

In about every thing you consider doing for your betterment, it’s better to start now than later.

Start today. Don’t wait. And you’ll win.

It’s that simple!

These examples will show you exactly what I mean.

Finding work you love doing

Guess what? I really like my work. It’s my favorite thing to do in this world. That wasn’t the case in February 2016 at my sales job. So I quit my job to do work I love.

Just like that, I knew being an entrepreneur had my name on it and I acted fast. Now I’m 100% happier.

Some people go their entire lives with the mindset that they have to trade time for money. And they never experience the other game where their job is something they look forward to every week.

The time is now to discover and pursue work you’re passionate about.

Though there’s a fine line here. I’m not saying don’t put in your dues, work hard, and sacrifice fun to work longer so you get a leg up at your company. Working hard should be a given.

But get to the cliche where work doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy it. That can become your reality if you start moving towards it daily. When you enjoy what you get paid to do, you’ll never go through life the same.

Getting in a consistent healthy eating and exercising habit

The longer you wait, the more you’ll build the habit of an unhealthy lifestyle. Your heart, arteries, back, and body only deteriorates faster the lazier you are.  

Instead of gaining 15 unwanted pounds after college, it will extend to 25, 35, and maybe 45 into your thirties f you procrastinate long enough.

Not to be dramatic, but I’m going to be for a sentence or two: If you go too far over into the unhealthy zone, you can cut decades off of your life. That’s the dire consequence of waiting to be healthy.

Here’s your medicine. Eat healthier. Limit fast food.Go with water over soda. Get to the nearest gym now and sign up. My Planet Fitness gym only costs $10 a month, anyone can afford that.

Don’t even think about it. Just go today! It sounds counterintuitive because everyone nowadays overthinks things. But it’s time to stop thinking and start eating nutritious foods and moving your body. Your body will reward you with longevity.

Go already!

Learning how to invest your money

If you know my content, a good chunk of the time I talk about getting your money right and investing. Learning how to and investing your money in your early twenties compared to your early thirties can mean millions of more dollars. Got your attention?

Here’s why:

  • Your money will double more based on the rule of 72 (a calculation to determine how fast an investment will double)
  • Compound interest (where your money makes money on itself) multiplies the longer its in the market
  • Time in the market is arguably the best advantage an individual investor has going for them
  • Your money will keep up with inflation if it’s invested in a S&P 500 index fund

Now if you enjoy being poor, then by all means don’t learn how to invest. Just save your money under your bed. Oh yeah, don’t forget about digging a hole in your backyard.

But if the thought of reaching financial freedom and providing your future family with an incredible life is 1% appealing to you, watch my videos, buy my Freedom Mindset book, or learn about money from someone else who knows what they’re doing.

The time is now to take positive financial steps, since going back to yesterday or five years ago is impossible. Money pays for freedom. Learn how to master it now!

Building self-awareness

Self-awareness is simply knowing your wishes, desires, feelings, strengths, and yourself.

Ironically, self-awareness will help you with every single example on this list. Every one.

It’ll help you: know what career you’ll excel in, your best exercise, why financial freedom matters to you, who to love, who to spend time with, fun hobbies for your personality, what organization to serve, and why to be grateful.

How do you build self-awareness? That’s a little bit tougher.

Here are some activities to help:

  • Write down your 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals
  • Take the Strength’s Finder test
  • Reevaluate how happy you are at your job every month
  • Spend time reflecting on the best parts of your day and why
  • Read fiction and nonfiction books
  • Put yourself out there to meet new people each week
  • Try new hobbies
  • Ask coworkers and friends about what you excel at

Honestly self-awareness comes with age. But now’s the best time to look for and develop it.

Living in a loving relationship

I get it. You don’t want to be lonely and the guy or girl giving you attention right now can feel good.

My reservation is that a lot of people are in relationships that plain and simple are unhealthy. Their anxiety is through the roof. They can’t trust the other. And it brings the worst out of them. But for some reason they stay in it.

I’m not your dating coach. But let me be your friend: If your significant other, person you’re talking to, or flavor of the month isn’t treating you right, toss them to the curb. There are billions of people out there in the world, meaning you can find a ton of lovers who treat you right.

Maybe I should do a Robben Rant on love? Nah.

Seriously, though, analyze your relationship now before you get married to the wrong person and have to suffer more pain down the road. Quit it early before the hammer comes down on you later and kids are in the mix.

Spending quality time with friends and family

High school and college made it easy to see your friends almost every single day. You went to the same school, lived in the same place, and went to the same social events.

After you graduate and age, everything changes. Friends are spread out across the country. Everyone’s too busy to even take a phone call. Those nights staying up all night talking about life are far gone the more you age. You simply lose connection with your old friends.

The only way to reverse this trend is to make a committed effort to stay in touch. Give them a text or call right now. Prioritize hanging out with people who make you feel good.

And our parents are only getting older. If you haven’t seen them in a month or more, give them a call today or schedule a dinner with them for next week. The best time to reconnect is now.

To be honest, this is a weakness of mine because I’m always working. I’ll take my own medicine by connecting with old friends to grab lunch and dinner this week. I promise!

Discovering a hobby you love

It’s so much better to live life on your terms. And in this case I mean not only working on interesting stuff, but also having hobbies outside of work that you genuinely go to for peace and relaxation.

Watching the television because you haven’t found a hobby that energizes you isn’t a way to go through life. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

  • Wine tasting
  • Photography
  • Ping pong
  • Guitar
  • Basketball
  • Sailing
  • Thrift shopping
  • Gardening
  • Gaming
  • Playing poker
  • Hiking
  • Acting
  • Archery
  • Glassblowing
  • Video gaming
  • And 1,000+ other ideas waiting for you to try them

Don’t wait for retirement to find your passion for golf or cycling. You can find your escape now and go to it to release stress.

Why wait to find your passions? C’mon dude.

Giving back to your community

Another myth I need to bust is the idea that you need to wait to give back until you’re richer, older, or less busy. That can’t be further from the truth.

You’re enough right now, as you are, to make a positive difference in your local community. Volunteer at the food shelter. Donate your clothes you don’t wear anymore. And look for opportunities to bless others.

Their lives and yours will improve through your service. It doesn’t make sense to wait until you’re retired to care about community issues. And when you’re 80, you might not be fit enough to serve—you might need a youngster to help you.

What am I getting at? You know the drill. The best time to serve your community is now.

Feeling grateful to be alive

Don’t think for a second that I’m ending this post with a sappy, cheesy ending.

Gratitude deserves to be first on this list. Don’t believe me? Read this. Because the best time to realize how blessed you are to be alive and breathing in this beautiful world is right here, right now.

If you haven’t figured it out, life is all about perception. The rich person with a poor perspective is lost. The poor person with a rich perspective is content.

If you live life like it’s a gift, you’ll have more than enough time on earth to make your life count. The older you get with the wrong mindset, the more years you waste being a grumpy, entitled, and piece-of-crap human. That’s not cool to yourself or the people in your live.

Appreciate the moment and seize the days you’re given: carpe diem.

The past is dead. The future can wait. Your life is now.

The best time to start is NOW.

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Personal Development

Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

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With 2018 now underway, many of us have turned our attention toward New Year’s resolutions. Some take this more seriously than others, but we can all agree that it’s nice to take a fresh year as an opportunity for self-improvement.

You might have a goal of losing 20 pounds, reading a book every month, spending more time with family, or any number of other things. But the New Year, and the traditions of resolutions, gives you a chance to really focus on how to turn that goal from a hope or a plan into a reality.

We’ve gathered a few nice tips from various pieces on psychology and motivation that will help you succeed and complete your New Year’s resolutions.

Repeat The Resolution Daily

This is a fascinating tip – about as simple as they come and yet one we’d never thought of before (and we’re betting most others haven’t thought of either). It was recommended in an article putting forth six secrets of people who actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, and came from a rabbi named Shlomo Zalman Bregman.

The rabbi believes he was successful with his resolution (which was to engage more with his social media and website users) because each morning he wrote the goal down again.

As he put it, it’s not enough to simply make a mental note or write down a goal at the beginning of the year.

Doing it this way keeps the goal fresh, making it a daily effort as opposed to a vague ideal.

Seek Accountability

This is another tip from the same article just cited, and comes from a businesswoman names Jennifer Snyder.

Snyder discussed the idea of weekly meetings with other business leaders in which they’d go over weekly goals; she also mentioned the idea of holding herself accountable via quarterly check-ins. These are great ideas for someone with the discipline to hold him or herself accountable – but you could also take the idea of seeking accountability further by allowing others to help you.

Find a family member or friend who will check in with you about your goals, or even try to meet them with you. This way you’ll be accountable not just to yourself whenever you decide to take stock of your progress, but to someone else as well.

Learn Emotional Discipline

We’re borrowing this idea specifically from an article about the psychology of poker players, though it’s certainly more broadly applicable as well. The article discusses the idea of using meditation and breathing exercises (like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, as it says) to learn how to keep emotion in check.

It’s easy to see how this might help in poker, but the truth is it can benefit you significantly in any experience that induces stress, or even just doubt.

When you’re struggling to reach a goal that’s part of your resolution, or when you think it might be easier to give up, practiced emotional discipline can keep you on track. You can learn to take deep breaths or even try yoga techniques to center yourself, calm your mind, and refocus your energies.

Give Yourself Rewards

A lot of New Year’s resolutions focus on one vague or overarching goal. Thus, it can be a little bit difficult to track progress toward that goal.

However, you should try to do just that, so that you can give yourself little rewards along the way.

One good idea is to focus on rewards that have nothing to do with the actual resolution. So for instance if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t treat yourself to a pizza after you’ve had a productive week. Pizza isn’t a bad idea though if you’re measuring progress toward a goal that has nothing to do with fitness or health.

Otherwise, just focus on something innocent and indulgent that you like, such as buying yourself a massage after a month or so of good progress.

Evaluate Yourself Honestly

This isn’t a complicated idea necessarily, but we actually got it from an article on the psychology of persistence in golf. Specifically the tip was to evaluate your performance honestly so as to improve weaker areas.

It’s easy to imagine this approach with golf, but really it could apply to just about any kind of New Year’s resolution.

For instance, if your goal is to lose weight or follow a healthier diet plan, and you’ve cheated once or twice over the course of the week, don’t block out the fact that you weren’t as diligent as you could have been.

Instead, recognize the issue, evaluate your progress honestly, and try to find ways to avoid similar slip-ups in the future.

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Personal Development

How To Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve

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A lot people ask me how to set goals. But they should be asking how to set goals and make sure they can achieve them.

Otherwise it’s all for loss. Think about it: a goal set is only meaningful if it’s completed.

Ever hear the phrase “talk is cheap”? It’s often rightfully directed toward people claiming big goals without backing them up. That’s weak sauce. You don’t want to be a part of that group.

What’s going to make you most happy and fulfilled this year is if you clearly define your goals and then work your face off to make them a reality.

That’s the only way. There are no shortcuts that allow you to win without being disciplined, committed, and focused. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

And if we can learn how to set goals you can actually achieve, then we’re onto something big for every consecutive year for the rest of your life. That’s world changing information, if executed properly.

Here’s the two-step-method for how you set goals and make sure you follow through to accomplish them.

Step 1 – Specifically Define Your Goals

There’s no objective to complete if you first don’t know the overall mission. So Step 1 is to clearly define your goals.

Don’t give me any generic, stupid answers like, “I want to be smarter,” “I want to get bigger,” or, “I want to do good at work.” That’s a lazy thought, not a goal.

A good goal is something super specific and numerical that you can hang your hat on every morning and night, knowing the exact task at hand.

I’ll go first to show you what specific goal setting looks like. Here are my three goals for 2018:

  1. Grow Illumen Media to $250,000 in revenue
  2. Make $250,000 in personal income
  3. Work out 4 to 5 times a week

You can read more about my goals in this BrianRobben.com article, but do you see what I mean?

All three of my 2018 goals have numbers attached to them. And by the end of December I’ll have a clear baseline to determine if I succeeded or failed in my mission. There’s no gray area, and you don’t want any.

What are your three goals for this year? You see I have mine in a career, money, and health bucket. I recommend most people do the same. And three is a nice number because it’s not too many to keep track of or too little to make a big difference.

Stop reading this for a second, you can come back to it, and go write down three specific goals. You got this!

Again, just knowing our goals won’t do anything for me or you. Step 2 is what most people don’t complete and that sets them up for total failure.

You must do this next step, or else.

Step 2 – Define How You’ll Achieve Them

You have your goals written down? Excellent.

Here’s where you separate yourself from the pack to help yourself wake up every day and attack your goals, instead of procrastinating like a loser.

For Step 2, you must define how you’re going to achieve your goals.

By that I mean you need to go reflect and consider all of the individual steps or changes in routine needed to complete your goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, don’t leave it at that. Instead have answers for:

  • How many times a week am I going to work out?
  • Where am I going to work out?
  • What time of day? Before work, at lunch, at night?
  • With who? A friend? A personal trainer?
  • How am I going to meal prep? When am I going to meal prep?
  • How am I going to drink more water?
  • How do I stay away from emotional eating? Do I get one cheat meal?
  • Who is going to hold me accountable besides myself?
  • What’s my motivation and reward for accomplishing this goal?

If it helps you, think of Step 1 as the overall mission, and Step 2 as the individual objectives that if accomplished will complete the mission. They go hand in hand.

This works because you give your brain a roadmap to accomplish your goals before you even get started. It also inspires confidence and belief in yourself that you can do these mini-tasks, and if so, you’ll accomplish your main goal.

That’s powerful! Trust me.

Again, I’ll set an example by defining my goals, but this time you’ll see a quick solution with each one of how it’s going to get done:

  1. Grow Illumen Media to $250,000 in revenue
    • Keep doing what we’ve been doing, sign bigger clients with larger retainers, land software deals, increase pricing
  2. Make $250,000 in personal income
    • Make Illumen Media as much money as possible so more comes to me, continue growing my personal brand, invest money into cryptocurrencies and stocks but don’t save much money
  3. Work out 4 to 5 times a week
    • Work out during lunch, when I have the energy, instead of at night when I’m exhausted from a long day of work

Now set aside time to take your list of goals and one by one define how you’re going to complete them. You can do this.

Setting Goals Wrap Up

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

Going off on Melody’s theme, you get to write your story for 2018 and your entire life’s story. Take advantage of this!

Set ambitious goals. Take crazy action. Be patient. And never give up.

Even if you’re not dealt a perfect hand in life—no one is—it’s all about your mindset and making the most of it every single day.

I’m choosing to chase my goals and write the best life possible for myself.

What do you say? How’s your story going to go? Set goals, accomplish them, and then live in the truth that you’ve done all you could to improve your life. That’s what peace looks like.

Related:

18 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Was 18

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Personal Development

Telling Yourself ‘My Life Sucks’? Try Again

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If you catch yourself saying, “You know what, my life really sucks right now,” odds are you’re delusional. Life is the greatest gift you’ll ever be given—even with its downsides.

Though I’ll admit there have been times in my life where I could relate to that negative attitude because, as much as I wish I was, I’m not always grateful.

For example, I specifically remember being suspended for a week during my senior year of high school basketball.

It was a little embarrassing. I didn’t get to see my friends on the team at practice or go to any team activities. I wasn’t able to play in games on a team I worked so hard to make. And the suspension relegated me from the starting lineup to the bottom of the roster when I came back—I had to earned the coach’s trust again, so he said.

That felt like the end of the world to an 18-year-old kid. I definitely said, “My life sucks,” a few times during that leave from the team.

When in reality, my actions didn’t make me an angel on that team. My reckless behavior got the best of me with the coaches and contributed to my sucky situation.

Plus, I had no clue how good I had it if getting suspended from a basketball team was the worst thing that happened. Other people my age were struggling with homelessness, hunger, and abuse. Apparently I thought the sun revolved around me.

The takeaway here is life didn’t suck during my basketball crisis, my actions leading up to that suspension and my mindset during the experience were the problems.

If I fixed either of those, I wouldn’t have gotten suspended for one, and I would have saved a ton of wasted energy and stress.

Whatever Sucks, You Can Change It

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If you were hoping to get some sympathy here—I’m sorry but this is not the blog for you.

Because even if life is supposed to be fair—it’s not—how does complaining about something make it any better? How does that help you recover and move forward?

Exactly, it doesn’t.

Whatever is currently the part of your life that sucks, you can do two things: change your actions and/or have a better attitude.

If your job sucks

Dislike your job? Put in the work to go on a job search to land a better position that’s more aligned with your passion, pays more, or is closer to home. If you’re not qualified or don’t have the experience, bust your butt to improve. For those who stay at a job they hate for an extended amount of time, you have no one to blame but yourself.

An attitude switch would look like self-talk saying, “I know this job isn’t my favorite, but think about the experience and connections I’m getting. Or at least I can pay my bills because of it—some people would gladly switch places with me.” Finding a little good, even if it’s not a dream job, is the goal.

If your social life sucks

Anyone who doesn’t have as many friends and weekend invites as they want is simply not making enough effort. You need to introduce yourself to more strangers and reconnect with old friends. When you increase those introductions, you’ll find things in common and boom—friendship. Or just get a dog and you’ll have a new best friend right then and there. The only one impeding your social life is you.

You can also flip your mindset. I, for one, value quality of friends over quantity of friends. That’s one way to look at it. And the less friends you have can is sometimes good since you won’t be dragged to as many events you’re not interested in. Always consider the positives of a situation.

If your money situation sucks

Getting your money right comes down to thousands of small decisions that add up. If you’re in a bad place financially, I’m willing to bet you’re not saving enough, paying down debt, and investing extra money left over. It all comes down to your daily money decisions. Besides saving more, you need to seriously start reading about personal finance. Knowledge is not only power, it’s wealth.

If you have a bed to sleep on, food to eat, and clothes to warm yourself every single day, just remember that millions of people across the world are worse off than you. Consider people in rural Africa, Asia, and India, or the homeless in your city, to stop feeling sorry for yourself. And watch this video to feel rich when you’re broke.

If your romantic life sucks

Look at your actions first. Try meeting guys/girls at different locations than you usually do if you’re striking out. Ask one of the friends you trust to set you up. Experiment dating a guy/girl who isn’t normally your type. The key is different activity to get a different and better result: a parter you trust and love.

As for mindset, it’s key to understand the goal shouldn’t be to date for the heck of it, but to understand yourself and date the right person who makes you happy. Realize also that there isn’t just one guy or girl out there for you—but thousands of people find you interesting. Be confident in who you are and have faith you’ll meet the right person.

If your living location sucks

Like I’ve heard the saying before, “You’re not a tree, you can move anytime.” There are plenty of ways to improve your location. Go on a job search for a position in your favorite city. Save up money to make the big move if that’s the problem. Or stay put and travel more often to limit the amount of weekends you spend at home.

Maybe it’s best to stay put and change your attitude. Consider the idea that living at home, or in some particular city, is the best financial move in this season of your life. Think about how this process of building up your financial resources, before you can move to your favorite city, is teaching you patience.

If your family sucks

Finding it tough to build a closer relationship with your parents or siblings? Maybe it’s you. Try giving them the most kindness and patience you can muster. At least you’ll feel good knowing you made a serious effort to love on them better. And when you have your own family you can fill it with so much love that your kid always feels known and cared for.

As for attitude, you need to realize that you don’t get to pick your family. But be thankful your dad and mom conceived you, at the very least, you know? Without them, there’s no you. So they must have done something right.

If your physical body sucks

These actions are obvious. Start eating for energy and hit the gym if you’re tired of looking like a noodle or a slob. No one can improve your body fat except you. Plus, start getting enough sleep and living a healthy life in all aspects to train your mind and body to be discipline around temptation. That’s how you improve your physical appearance.

Mentally, whose body are you comparing yours to? Does your body actually suck? Or is it not perfect according to the media’s impossible standards? Maybe your body is good you just think it’s bad for the wrong reasons.

I hope in each case you saw how life doesn’t suck. You can change it through actions and attitude.

Make The Most Of The Present, You Only Got One Life

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“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

It’s insanity to worry about the past and unhelpful to get carried away by future anxiety that may never happen.

You’ll be healthier and happier when you focus on doing your best this very moment.

What’s crazy about this world is that the treasure—each moment—is hidden in plain sight. It’s right in front of us every day, just few of us notice.

It’s the air we breathe through our lungs, the ability to open our eyes and see, and the touch when hugging a loved one. Over time we take them for granted when we’d be best off cherishing the special moments of each day.

I’m making a more conscious effort to make the most of my one life, are you going to join me?

And before you click away, skim these two blog posts for a few tips on how to do that:

If you take those two challenges seriously and actually do them, they can change your entire perspective on life.

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