Do you wish to become more elegant?
As we entered into the second month of 2016, why not set a resolution to improve ourselves on our path to elegance, simply by taking some steps towards it by nourishing the root of elegance?
And that root, my friends, is our mind.
In order for us to reflect true elegance on the outside, we first need to set things right on the inside, by training our heart and mind to think more elegantly.
A 19th century author named James Allen once quoted this famous sentence “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” which is actually a bible verse in the Book of Proverbs.
You see, our hearts and minds are inter-linked. Sow a thought, reap a feeling. Sow a feeling, reap an action. And finally, sow an action, reap a habit.
Here’s 20 ways that can help you kick-start your own personal mind transformation.
1) Read a personal development book every month
Reading personal development books will expand your mind. It gives you new wisdom and insights. It empowers you to adopt new ways of thinking.
Suggested reading topics are how to boost self-confidence, improving speech and communication, improve style and fashion and how to handle conflicts.
If you find it a chore to carry a book around or keep them at home, get a Kindle.
If you are time-starved, try cutting down time spent on TV, videos and face-booking.
Nourishing your mind is one of the best investment you can spend on yourself.
2) Declutter your life
Don’t overload too many activities in your life that turn you into a frazzled woman who is constantly stressed out and perpetually busy.
Everyone has 24hours a day. Learn to prioritise, set goals and work with a calendar for your to-dos.
Avoid being a workaholic at the expense of the time that should be rightfully be given for your loved ones.
3) Pick up a new hobby
Elegant people are one of the most passionate beings on earth. They live life with purpose and passion, and they love to learn and do the things that excite them.
If you think life is getting dull and you are just getting by everyday, maybe its a sign that you need to try new things or find out what makes you come alive.
Hobbies will make you a more interesting person, as you are likely to display passion and excitement when sharing your experience and knowledge about your hobbies with others.
So start getting in touch with the creative side of you!
People who are not confident often do not believe in themselves and in what they can do or offer.
Everyone has some sort of strengths. The key to counter this is to identify the unique gifts, strengths and talents that you possess.
Ask yourself what are the things you love to do and what can you possibly share with others or even teach them? These are the valuable traits that people can benefit from!
Sometimes, a lack of confidence is a matter of lacking in experience, even though we do have the ability to do it. Doing more of the thing that we fear or lack confidence in will help us become good and gain confidence in that area eventually.
For example, if you are not confident in public speaking. The best solution is really to do more speaking until you get good at it (e.g. join a toastmasters club).
5) Travel more whenever you can
Travelling is an eye opener to new places, new people and new culture.
Apart from soaking up the beautiful sights and sceneries, it enables you to see how people in other parts of the world live, which helps you to become a more interesting and knowledgeable person.
Through travel, you get to witness the good, the bad and the ugly side of life. You see the diversity in values and creativity of people in other countries.
You might even witness things like poverty or discovering how people can still live a rich life despite not having much.
All these will help you develop gratitude for your own life. It broadens your mind to see things with a different perspective, or even inspire you to make a new change!
6) Surround your life with positive people
Build up existing relationships or enter a new friendship with people who are positive, caring, genuine.
Just as iron sharpens iron, positive people will help you raise the positivity bar in your own life and thinking.
Stay away from toxic friends as much as possible. You can still be friends with them, just not good friends or people who you will want to hang out often.
If the toxic people in your life are your family members, it will be impossible to cut them out.
The best way to approach this is to adjust your attitude and mindset towards them (we will touch more on this later in point #19).
7) Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of being intentionally aware of your thoughts, emotions and feelings in whatever you are doing and whoever you are speaking with in the present moment.
The purpose is to create a time lapse between your thoughts or your experience and your reaction to it.
It trains your mind to stop acting on auto-pilot.
In short, being mindful enables you to remain calm and poise. It helps you avoid the wrong decisions and actions, or saying the wrong things that will have you regret later on.
8) Learn to speak more positively and encouragingly to others.
Elegant living requires elegant words.
This means no profanities, no slangs, no bitching about others, no cursing and swearing, and even no whining and complaining.
These apply to both online and offline.
Often, what we speak is a reflection of our inner world.
Feeding your heart and mind daily with good or inspirational words and images can help you develop the good habit of thinking and speaking positively.
Being mindful can also help greatly in this area.
9) Be authentic
Don’t pretend to say something you don’t really mean, or do something you feel uncomfortable just to fit in or gain approval from the masses.
Often, people can tell from your tone of voice and body language when you are not acting in a way that aligns with your core values.
It is not sustainable and will not help you win the respect from others.
Being inauthentic is usually a sign of low self-confidence and a hidden fear of not being good enough, so these issues need to be addressed.
Remember, everyone is unique and we all have a different combination of talents, strengths and weaknesses.
No one can replace you, so celebrate who are and be the person God has created you to be!
10) Be present
Be present whenever you are meeting others or having a conversation with someone.
Sometimes we can get carried away with our busyness or with our troubles and worries that we stop living in the present.
Playing with phones, not paying attention, drifting away in our thoughts are all signs of not being preoccupied and not in the present.
This is especially true with our own family and close friends.
Remember, our time is limited. People change, things change, life is unpredictable and they may not always be there.
So worry less, stay mindful and cherish every moment!
11) Improve your EQ
According to Wikipedia, EQ is known as ‘the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.’
Most of the time, your EQ will be tested and develop in the midst of negative emotions, where you have to deal with challenging situations and difficult people.
Think about it.
If things are going smoothly and everyone is nice, how difficult is it for you to be nice and calm?
Easy enough even for a 3 year old kid.
Treat life’s challenges, difficulties and irritations as ways to help you grow. You need these crucial lessons to learn how to handle conflicts, criticism and nasty people with finesse.
12) Develop a caring and compassionate heart
A caring heart requires you to think more of others and less of yourself.
It means offering help to others when you see a need or situation that touches your heart to do so.
Perhaps the best way to start developing the caring side of you is to volunteer at a shelter, soup kitchen or an elderly home.
When you hear the life stories and see the struggles, pain and challenges that the less fortunate are going through, you will learn gratitude and become more compassionate towards others.
13) Stop mindless gossips
Gossips are idle talk or rumours, often about the private affairs of others that might be untrue and have no relations with the gossiper.
Gossips are literally putting people down behind their backs.
An elegant woman do not need to stoop down to such levels just to make herself make look or feel better.
They are like poison to the mind.
You won’t want to feed poison to your own mind, neither will you want to do the same to others.
14) Don’t be a whiner and complainer
People who are whiny and complaining all the time are self-imposed ‘victims’ and this is one of the traits of a toxic person.
They see themselves as helpless in the situations they are in, so they play the ‘blame’ game on others, while refusing to take initiative to change for the better.
Truth is, no one likes to hear whining and complaining all the time. It’s mentally tiring and draining for the people hearing you out, and worst still if they try to offer help and have you put it down later.
This also applies to your online behaviour on social media. For instance, don’t post your complaints or sob stories on Facebook.
Sure, you might get some likes or soothing comments, but that’s really all you get. It’s pathetic, unattractive and screams low self-confidence.
Take ownership of your situations and seek solutions actively, instead of surrendering and letting them control you.
15) Don’t envy others
Avoid comparing yourself with your friends and peers, especially so when we see all the fabulous updates that they posted on Facebook.
It’s meaningless to compare yourself with others because you don’t know what they went through to get there.
They might also be facing other challenges in life that you don’t get to hear about.
Remember, Facebook is highly curated. The majority like to share or post about the good, interesting funny and exciting stuff (except for the whiners and complainers in the point above).
Envy restricts our growth.
Rather than dwelling on what others have and what we don’t, it’s better to focus on our own personal development.
Every has a different path in life. What matters most is that we don’t stop growing, learning and improving ourselves.
16) Get enough sleep
Sleep is important for mental alertness and energy for your daily activities.
If you are constantly tired, you will look spaced out and you will not be an engaging person to talk to or hang around with. Moreover, it makes you age faster.
Ever heard of people saying to you “‘you look tired”?
That’s because tiredness shows up on our face instantly, even if we have makeup on.
It’s not always easy, but try not to compromise your sleep hours with busyness.
17) Focus more on the good in others and less on the bad
People will disappoint or hurt us at some point, it’s part and parcel of life. Sometimes they do it out of selfishness or perhaps they did it unintentionally.
Truth is, all of us are imperfect. When we start expecting someone to do certain things or behave in certain manners, we can get sorely upset because that person didn’t live up to our expectations.
The key to reducing conflicts and disappointment with others, especially with people whom we interact with on a frequent basis (e.g family members, colleagues) is to recognise they are imperfect, and so are we.
We need to be more gracious and forgiving towards others when they didn’t live up to our expectations, because you will want them to be less harsh with you too when they think you didn’t live up to theirs.
Recognise that everyone has a good and bad side.
If you can choose to focus on their good points, instead of harping on what’s wrong with them, you will be a more happy soul and a less bitter pill.
Happy people radiate positive vibes. It makes you a people magnet whom others want to hang around with!
18) Learn to be grateful
Gratitude is being content and grateful with whatever good things that you have right now.
It’s about counting your blessings and be thankful for them. We all have things to be thankful about, be it big or small.
Being grateful helps us stay grounded and humble. It keeps us from becoming discontent, negative, greedy and proud.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way of reminding yourself of all the blessings and good things in your life.
19) Live everyday with a purpose and passion
Are you living your life like a clockwork, going along with the flow, simply existing to earn money, buy stuff, get married, have children and waiting for retirement?
If that’s your version of life now, its very likely you will get bored at some point and start asking yourself the ‘is there more to life?’ question.
Everyone yearns to live a rich and meaningful life deep down inside.
And if you are not doing something in line with your passion and interests, chances are, you will not be positive and excited about life.
Why not start doing something with your passion, perhaps start that business, brush up on your craft if that’s your thing. If you don’t know what your passion is, start finding out by trial and error and you will discover it eventually.
I recommend you to check out Live Your Legend blog, where you can download their fantastic free toolkit on how to discover your passion.
20) Ask God for help
Changing mindset is a tough job.
It will be especially hard if you are going through depression, or if you have been brought up in a negative environment that impacted you deeply in a negative way.
After all, human beings are limited. Not everyone is mentally strong. Some things just seem impossible for us to get a breakthrough, no matter how hard we tried. We get worn out along the way and then we give up.
In times like this, it will be far easier to seek God for help with such matters than feeling hopeless about your situation.
Much like how we know that electricity exists but we don’t see it, God moves in a similar manner in the spiritual realm. We don’t always understand how he works, but if you will believe him, the things that we can do with God’s help is far greater than what we can do solely with our own strength.
Simply pray a prayer like “God, I need your help. I want a change in my life. I want to become a better person and think more elegantly. Help me in my transformation”. Then trust and wait on him to move in your situation.
If you do not know God or have a personal relationship with him, you can start by reciting a prayer that outlined in this PDF.
There’s always a saying that when you take 1 step towards God, he will take 10,000 steps towards you!
Granted, many of these are not easy to do.
Even I have fallen short of it.
But we can take some kind of action everyday, even if it’s a small act or doing that 1% more a day, we are still progressing.
At least, at the end of 2016, we can be proud to say “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be”! *