Skills can be gained through hands-on experience, education and training. Gathering information empowers you by giving you choices. If one tactic doesn’t work, another will. Fortunately, in the internet age, we have information at our fingertips any time we need it. We can also study online, get coaching, join discussion and support groups, use free trackers, apps on our smartphones, and more.
Some of the handiest tools available are trackers and apps. They will help you set your goals and keep on task with them. For example, if you set the goal of trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, trying to do 10,000 in one day when you usually sit at your desk chair or on your sofa will be unrealistic. Trying to achieve this will usually cause injury and sideline you from ever really getting started with your goal.
A more effective approach would be to first use a pedometer or walking app to see how many steps you take in the course of a regular day, and then gradually add more steps to your daily routine until you finally achieve and then maintain the 10,000. Every step counts towards the 10,000, from your commute to your job, to housework and shopping. You don’t need to spend hours going on long walks; you just need to find ways to add more steps to your day.
On the other hand, a dedicated walking session or two is great for stress relief as well as steps, giving you a change of scenery and getting you out in the fresh air. Walking in a natural beauty spot can feel like a mini-vacation.
By keeping track of your goals, you are empowering yourself to succeed. But first you have to set your goals. Let’s look in the next section at the kind of physical goals that people set in order to empower themselves and develop the skills they need to reach their goals.
Physical empowerment is often one of the most obvious ways to make a change in your life and see the results. Every year we hear of people making New Year’s resolutions to get thinner, exercise more, work out regularly, take up a new sport, or improve their skills at it, and more.
Losing weight is one of the most common, though it can also be the toughest. Our eating habits and appetite are formed when we are young, but our metabolism slows as we get older. The usual meals we always used to eat become too high in calories because we are burning less of them. Add to this the fact that we tend to not be as physically active as we were when we were younger, and it is no wonder many people suffer from “middle-aged spread” and obesity.
Working out more will help you lose weight, and feel great. It will enhance your appearance and make your clothes fit better. Above all, it will improve your health, lowering the risk of certain diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes etc.
You might then choose to undertake a regular exercise programme, such as aerobics, training with light weights, and so on. Aerobics raises the heart rate to keep the heart, the most important muscle of our body, in top condition. Light weights will help you develop long, lean muscle, which is more attractive than flab and which also burns calories more efficiently, leading to a faster metabolism and easier weight loss.
If you want to participate in a sport just for its own sake, such as golf or swimming, you can easily set goals for these activities too, and work towards them on your own – or with the help of a trainer or coach. Practice does not always make perfect, of course, but sitting around doing nothing will never improve your skills either.
Physical empowerment can also take the form of discovering healthy recipes and learning how to cook from scratch. It can be about learning how to make smarter choices on the menu, calorie counting, carb counting, and more. It can even be about the DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (high blood pressure), a heart-healthy diet that also lowers your risk of stroke, which has been proven to work and offers the added benefit of also helping people lose weight.
Physical empowerment is the foundation for all other forms of empowerment, because it is really difficult to achieve what we want to in life if we are not well. Taking care of your health is the cornerstone of overall health and wellbeing.
So too is feeling happy with the person you are, and aspiring towards the person you wish to become. Let’s look in the next section at mental empowerment.
Mental empowerment is all about how you feel about yourself in terms of the skills and abilities you possess. For example, you might find yourself being held back from a range of opportunities because you’re lacking in some particular skill or area of knowledge. If you feel that you are not very good at math, for example, you could take a class or study online in order to improve your skills.
Some people study just for the fun of it. They might come across something they’ve always wanted to learn more about, such as art history, law, or any of the thousands of other topics available through continuing education courses online and in community colleges in your area.
Lifelong learning has been shown to not only increase intellectual knowledge but life knowledge as well. You will learn to get along with other people, follow through with the requirements of the course, take exams, and so on. It is through stretching ourselves and enriching ourselves that we are able to grow and become a more well-rounded person.
Another form of mental empowerment is travel. You can learn a great deal from leaving your home town. Those who live in the city will discover a whole new world in the country, and vice versa.
Traveling abroad will also expand your knowledge of the world, languages, how other people live, and so on. The world has gotten a lot smaller thank to the internet. You can research the many aspects of traveling overseas and get detailed information about where to stay and eat, and what attractions you won’t want to miss.
Educational travel can expand your horizons even more. There are photo safaris, rainforest preservation trips, scientific trips to the Antarctic, battlefield tours led by experts, and more. It is just a case of your budget and what you feel speaks to both your intellect and your heart, and offers the best opportunities for mental empowerment.
Some people wait until they are retired to do something different with their lives. The truth is that you are never too young or too old to pursue different empowering opportunities. If you’ve been feeling stuck in your life, or just keep doing the same old things, it might be time to start your own “bucket list” of things you really want to do.
If you feel certain there is something better in life, the power is within you to pursue it. Each time you tackle something on your list, you will be progressing towards your best self and constantly achieving small successes that will inspire you to make even more positive, healthy changes.
Emotional empowerment can’t be measured in quite the same way as physical or mental empowerment, but it is certainly no less important. We all have emotional issues which can hold us back from living our best life.
For example, many people struggle with their anger. All of us feel anger at times, but it is a question of how we show it. There are healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing it. An anger management course can transform your life and relationships for the better. All it takes is a little self-reflection and some effort to learn better strategies to express your true feelings in healthy ways.
Some people have a very hard time saying no to others. As a result, they run themselves ragged trying to please other people, but are seldom pleased themselves. Learning to be more assertive can transform you from doormat to a self-confident person with clear boundaries that they are in control of.
Still other people have issues from their past that are preventing them from having positive relationships in the present. These can be result of a nagging or even abusive parent or relative. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or both. Unless these issues are dealt with in a structured and constructive way, they will often continue to serve as an obstacle preventing a person from living their best life.
In some cases, the person might not even be aware of the underlying trauma until something triggers it. In other cases, they might work so hard to hide it or suppress it that they squash all emotions, or hide their true selves from even the people closest to them because they feel ashamed, embarrassed, “dirty”, wrong, or just not good enough.
Exploring these types of negative feelings and emotions can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable, but also liberating. You will no longer be the victim of another person or circumstances, but a human being who is able to live through tough times and come out stronger despite everything you have been through.
If you’ve been struggling with your relationships at home or work, it’s time to dig deeper to look at any emotional obstacles that might be causing the problems. Emotional empowerment is certainly not easy, but you can find help and support online or from a range of professionals. Talk therapy, not medications, has been shown to be one of the most effective ways for people to deal with past issues and any mood disorders they might be suffering from, such as depression or anxiety.
There are many all natural ways of dealing with emotional issues without the need to pop pills. All it takes is the willingness to look within and see yourself, warts and all. Then set your priorities as to what you would like to tackle first in your life, for a happier new you.
Spiritual empowerment is about exploring and changing your position in relationship to others and to the world at large, and even to the universe. We do not all have to go to church or other house of worship in order to be spiritual. Organized religion does give us a path to follow, but in some cases it is a person’s own sense of the meaning of life and their place in society that will lead them to a range of spiritual discoveries and empowerment.
Most of us want to have harmonious relationships with those closest to us, and with the world at large. Spiritual empowerment can often point the way, as long as it does not take the form of religious extremism. Many people have the desire to build a better world – but is it better for themselves, or for the majority of other people, and even all living beings?
Spiritual empowerment can take various forms. It can be religious, such as through attending services and studying religious texts. It might also be through taking practical action such as working for the benefit of the congregation, going on a retreat, or engaging in charitable activities.
The key to spiritual empowerment is that the person feels as if they are no longer stuck and are refreshed in body, mind and spirit, and in control of their own life.
Some people choose to travel not just to get away from it all but also to go on a spiritual journey. They make pilgrimages, visit holy sites, or work towards a particular goal, such as adult baptism, communion, confirmation or similar religious rite of passage.
Spiritual goals can also involve caring for animals, the planet, serving as a caregiver for others, or getting actively involved with good causes. It is about fellow beings also being able to live their best lives – especially animals and children, who are often the most powerless to help themselves.
If you’ve been feeling as if there’s something missing in your life, spiritual empowerment might be one way to transform yourself into a happier human being.
Taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses can be an uncomfortable process, but it is also one of the best ways to empower yourself through making a list of what you need to work on, setting goals, and following through. If you’ve been feeling stuck, having trouble with relationships, facing obstacles at work, or just feeling a nagging sense that there has to be a better life than the one you’re living, it’s time to consider taking steps to empower yourself.