The Four Different Forms of Content

There are four main kinds of content on the internet: text, graphics, audio, and video. Each of these kinds of content has its own benefits and drawbacks, with each appealing most to different audiences.

Here’s an overview of each of these four kinds of content and when they should be used.

Text-Based Content

This is by far the most common type of content on the internet. Just about every webpage you see is based on text content.

One of the biggest benefits of text-based content is that it’s very search engine friendly. Search engines can’t understand videos or audios, but they definitely can understand text.

In other words, if you’re running text-based content you stand a good chance of ranking.

It also requires less preparation to create text content. You don’t need microphones or videos, or expensive graphic editing programs. All you need to do is type.

Graphic-Based Content

The main type of graphic-based content online is infographics. These are essentially graphics that contain information in and of themselves.

One of the biggest benefits of infographics is that it’s often more entertaining and informative than just text.

For example, if you’re illustrating the history of a war, it’s much more alive to actually have graphics than just to describe it in words.

Audio Content

Audio content has really taken off ever since the iPod became popular.

In the past, audio content had to be consumed in cassette or CD format. That was both expensive and quite a bit of hassle, and it just wasn’t that popular as a format.

But today, people can listen to audios anywhere they go. In the car, on the bus, while walking, at lunch, etc. It saves time and is extremely convenient. Audio content works really well for many businesses.

Video Content

Video content is one of the most dynamic methods of distributing content on the internet. You can put funny content, informational content, interesting content, high tech content, personal content – just about anything you can think of.

Video content also has some of the strongest “share culture.” It’s very easy to share video content with friends on Facebook for example.

A video has a much higher chance of going viral than say an audio podcast.

The only downside to video content is that it does take more effort to produce. You need to shoot the video, edit the video, and finally render the video. The whole process could take many hours, if not more. On the other hand, the higher production cost involved can also be seen as a benefit in limiting competition if you have the ability and willingness to invest in this route.

So which content format is right for you and your business? It really depends on what kind of content you’re creating and who your market is. There’s no harm in trying all four different kinds of content and seeing which one(s) your audience responds the best to.

What You Need to Know About Homeschool Laws

Unfortunately, some would-be homeschoolers are intimidated by legal authorities, or they think they don’t want to deal with the legal aspect of homeschooling. But with a little strategic thought and key resources, you can have your legal bases covered and move forward with homeschooling.

Homeschooling laws differ from state to state, and sometimes also from county to county within a state. This article is not extensive enough to outline every state’s requirements, but here are some tips and things you need to know about homeschool laws.

The Basics

First, it’s a good idea to recognize that homeschooling is, in fact, legal in every state. Some people are concerned that it might be illegal, or somehow they will be branded as a “misfit” and regarded suspiciously. But homeschooling is not against any federal law, and while some states have fairly tight regulations, those regulations are not so restrictive as to outlaw homeschooling entirely.

Where to Begin

If you want to find out the details of your state’s and county’s homeschool laws, a good place to start is with your local board of education. Simply call them and let them know you plan to homeschool your child, and you’d like some information on how to get started. The board will send you any necessary paperwork and answer your questions about what age your child needs to be, to whom you need to write a letter of intent, and so forth.

Notifying the Authorities

Some states have a board or panel that reviews your child’s academic standing and gives approval for you to homeschool. Other states just require that you notify particular authorities (usually the head of the local school board or department of education) in writing (a letter of intent).

Your state will require that you let someone in authority know what you’re planning to do; you just have to find out from our local board of education who, exactly, is the individual(s) you need to contact.

Testing/Evaluation/Assessment

Every year, some sort of academic assessment is usually required in most states. This might take the form of a portfolio review, or your child may be required to submit to standardized testing. Some states offer a choice. This is the sort of information that your board of education will probably include in their initial information package or on their website.

Speaking of websites, another great resource is the internet. Find out if there is a local homeschool group – usually affiliated with your county, so you could type “[My County, My State, homeschool]” into your search engine. These groups are generally well-organized, and often have links to helpful templates (such as letter of intent forms), names, addresses, local laws, and so forth.

Curriculum

Some states may require that you use the public school’s curriculum in your homeschool. Others offer it as a choice. Still others do not have any curriculum requirements and accept vague answers to the curriculum question (such as “supplemental materials”). It is a good idea to be up to date on what sort of curriculum requirements exist in your area.

Other Homeschoolers

And finally, one of the best resources for finding out about your local laws is other homeschoolers. Experienced home educators can give you the “inside scoop” on various procedures, thus saving you a lot of time and trouble.

The Balancing Act of Self-Esteem

Having a healthy and balanced sense of self-esteem is a major key to living a healthy and happy life. There are two sides to every coin, however. Sometimes self-esteem can become something else – namely, an unbalanced ego. So how do you know if you are simply being confident, or if you are deceiving yourself?

Healthy Self-Esteem

A healthy self-esteem is one where you have the confidence to be honest with yourself and love yourself no matter what. A healthy self-esteem encourages you to live your life to the fullest, make bold but good choices, and to keep going if and when mistakes are made.

Low Self-Esteem

An unhealthy self-esteem goes two ways. On the one hand, an unhealthy self-esteem leaves you with zero confidence as well as an often unrelenting fear of making mistakes, and often leads to a poor quality of life. This is typically called low self-esteem.

Over-Inflated Self-Esteem

On the other hand, an over-inflated self-esteem is also unhealthy. This is a form of self-deception that tricks you into thinking that you are better than everyone else and that you can do anything, even to the point of ostracizing your friends and family.

The Dangers of Unbalanced Self-Esteem

Either way, an unbalanced sense of self-esteem can lower your quality of life. People with low self-esteem often miss out on some of the best things that life has to offer. Either they are too afraid to make a mistake, or they feel that they are not worthy of happiness. It is a type of existence that only holds you back.

Relationships

An over-inflated sense of self-esteem puts you in danger of losing friends and close relationships. Outwardly, people with an over-inflated sense of self-esteem come off as cocky or mean. They tend to have trouble gaining and keeping close, loving relationships because they come off as being less than genuine.

Lying to Yourself

Typically, however, an inflated self-esteem is generally a sign of the exact opposite. Most people like this are hiding their true selves and are actually riddled with low self-confidence. The false mask of bravado is not true self-esteem, and this confidence is really just a form of self-deception.

Understanding the Meaning of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is defined as confidence in your own self-worth, a sense of self-respect. You are not respecting yourself if you do not believe you are worthy of respect and happiness, nor are you respecting yourself by hiding behind an inflated ego.

Be Honest with Yourself

To truly find your own self-worth and build a true and balanced healthy self-esteem, you have to first be honest with yourself. Stop hiding behind fear or a false sense of confidence. Often, being honest with yourself is harder than being honest with an outside person.

Self-esteem is truly a balancing act that everyone has to work on. To build a healthy and balanced self-esteem you must first and foremost be honest with yourself. Only then can you start to work on your view of the world as a whole and make real changes that could change your life for the better.

The Basics Behind Building Muscle

If you’ve done any research at all on building muscle, you’ll have found many different theories on what you should do and what you should eat to build muscle mass. Unfortunately many of those “theories” look great on paper, but fail to work when applied. If you want to truly build muscle, then you need these four things:

1) Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is when you place a demand on a muscle or muscle group that is greater than what it is used to. If you keep lifting the same amount of weight for the same number of repetitions, your muscles will develop to the point of where they can handle that load, but no bigger. To build them bigger, you either have to lift heavier weight or do more repetitions with the same amount of weight.

2) Calorie Surplus

This happens when your body is taking in more calories than it needs, but it is an absolute requirement if you want to build muscle. The key is to eat more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight, but no more than the amount needed to support muscle growth through progressive overloading.

Once you know your maintenance caloric requirement, add 250 to 500 additional calories per day and monitor your weight and body fat percentage. The goal is to gain ½ to 1-pound per week with no noticeable increase in body fat. Based on your results, add or subtract calories to find your number needed to stay on track.

3) Diet and Workout Requirements

Not all calories or workouts are created the same. As far as your diet, the bulk of your calories should come from protein, unsaturated fats, and complex carbohydrates. Workouts should focus on the larger muscle groups, including arms, shoulders, chest, upper legs, and glutes.

Diet

Of all the macronutrients, protein is probably the most important when trying to build muscle. Start with 1 gram per pound of body weight by eating chicken, turkey, fish, lean meat, eggs, and protein shakes.

As far as fat, start out with 0.4 to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight or about 25% of your total daily caloric intake.

The rest of your daily calories can come from complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and most whole grains.

Workout

Generally speaking you’ll get the best bang for your buck by doing these exercises:

• Bench Press
• Rows
• Overhead Press
• Pull Ups/Chin Ups
• Squats
• Deadlifts

Of course for some variety there are several variations of the above exercises that you can do. Each variation will work a particular muscle or group just a little differently so you are always challenging your body – a requirement for muscle growth.

4) Consistency

If you are just starting out, strive to train each muscle group 3 times per week. As you progress, you can drop that number down to twice a week. Ensure you have at least one day of rest between workouts of the same muscle group. If you set up separate upper body/lower body routines, you could strength train up to 6 days per week by alternating between workouts each day. Take at least one day per week off to allow your muscles to fully recover and repair.

By doing these four things right, you’ll start to see some muscle definition in as little as two weeks. One you get the right look, then tailor your caloric intake and workouts to a maintenance mode.

The 5 Main Benefits of Having a Business Mentor

We’ve all heard that having business mentors can help you develop yourself and grow your company. But what is it exactly that these mentors can do for you? How can they help you move your company along?

Knowing exactly how you want your mentors to help you move forward can help you find the motivation to find these mentors, as well as give you the fire you need to ask your potential mentors for help in a compelling way.

Here are the five main benefits of having a business mentor.

Benefit #1: How to Structure Your Company

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to structure their company. Yet most mentors will insist on making sure you have your business structure correct from the get-go. They’ve made structuring mistakes in the past and paid for it.

Do you have a solid options plan in place? Do you have iron-clad operating agreements between all your partners? Are you operating with a legal entity that minimizes your personal risk and reduces the amount of taxes you need to pay? These are all structuring questions mentors can help with.

Benefit #2: Avoid Mistakes Others Made

Mentors will be able to tell you about mistakes that others in your industry have made. They’ve been around the block longer and know the pitfalls well.

Benefit #3: Learn to Hire the Right People

Building an A-Grade team is one of the most important factors to success in business. But how exactly do you do it? How do you lure employees from lucrative jobs to come work for you? How do you build a corporate culture? How do you inspire people?

Mentors can help you with this elusive aspect of your business.

Benefit #4: Investments & Exits

Investments and exits are some of the trickiest negotiations in business. Without someone experienced to guide you through the process, there’s a very good chance you’ll make big mistakes.

How should you value your company? How important is it that you get some liquidation preferences? If investors want the right to hire an outside CEO, what should you say?

With acquisitions, how important are the terms versus the raw price? How do you value non-cash acquisitions, such as equity deals or performance based deals? What kind of earn out plan is fair?

Most first-time entrepreneurs simply can’t answer these questions without outside help. Having great mentors will help you through these important processes.

Benefit #5: Think Big

Mentors can help you think outside of your regular bubble. If you’re regularly only thinking at the $100,000 a year level, mentors can help you think at the $1 million a year or $10 million a year level.

If you’ve never tasted success, it’s hard to imagine or plan for massive success. Mentors on the other hand can help you see and plan that far ahead.

These are some of the many reasons to get mentors in your business.

What Does Time Mean to You?

Think about time management. Is this something that you have been told you need to do or do you really want to get control over your time? You can learn many techniques for time management but you’ll never put them to good use unless you actually believe in the concept.  So how to you think of time? Is time something to spend or something to invest?

If you see time as something to spend, then you will fit well into a high structured business where the tasks are established as well as the time frames for task completion. You may want to save time instead of spend it, so you’ll find ways to cut corners at work or rush around doing personal tasks.

You are likely to say, “If I rush through this meal then I’ll have time to go to a movie.” That’s more about allocating minutes to use elsewhere than making choices about the value of the activity compared with the time necessary to do it.

On the other hand, if you prefer to invest your time, then you are more choosy about what you will do with your time.  By thinking of how to invest time instead of how to spend it, you give time use a greater long-term value.

You also think of time as the precious commodity that it is. For example, if you want to finish a college degree or start a home based business, you must decide whether to invest your evening and weekend hours in your new venture or watch another video.

It’s easy to decide to crash on the sofa after a hard day’s work. You have to be committed to your dream to get up and walk away from the television or computer game and invest a few hours each evening on your future. Time moves forward, you can’t save it to use later. That’s why you need a plan each day on where to invest your time for maximum advantage.

Perhaps you have said that you don’t have enough time to start a home-based business or go back to school. If you will take a hard look at how you use the time after work in each day and on the weekends, you can probably find at least two to three hours each day and five to eight hours on the weekend to invest in your future goals.

Initially this will seem like you are giving up something when you miss the latest episode of some reality show or watch one football game instead of four games. It’s definitely a tradeoff, but you are the ultimate winner as you invest time into something will take you farther in life than just sitting on the sofa.

When you need more money, you can borrow or charge it. But when you need more time, you have to work within the 24-hour limit.  Print two schedules with 24 hours or 24 lines on each page. Start with how you currently use your time.

Block out enough time to drive to and from work or any other transportation time that you need between tasks. Don’t edit, you need to see where your time really goes. After completing the actual time log, use that information to design how you would like to invest your time.

You may not be able to convert to your ideal day immediately, but by having this plan, you can begin to make the changes needed to turn your ideal day plan into your everyday plan. When you think of time as an asset to invest in, then you become more likely to follow your ideal day plan and respect your time.

 

How Positivity Affects Weight Loss Success

Believe it and you can achieve it. Attitude is altitude. Your attitude is everything. These are common mantras bandied about by inspiration gurus and self-help professionals, and they have frequently been shown to have a definite positive impact for many people. But can a positive attitude be a cornerstone for weight loss success? Many health and fitness professionals believe it is not only helpful, but critical in achieving weight loss and maintaining a healthy body weight.

The thought process goes like this: Negative thinking can lead to self-defeating behaviors. This gives you excuses to cheat on your diet, skip a workout session, and care little in the short term about your long term weight loss efforts. Over time, this can lead to weight gain instead of weight loss; an individual then feels frustrated, and self-esteem drops. This leads to more negative attitudes, which then create a self-fulfilling and endless cycle of weight loss failure.

Donald Hensrud, M.D., is a frequent spokesperson for the Mayo Clinic, and he believes that mentally setting yourself up for success in your weight loss efforts is vitally important. That is because staying positive will help you through the stumbles and falls you will definitely make in your weight loss experience. No one is perfect, so those fried food dinners and ice cream desserts are going to happen.

But positivity and the right mental attitude can get you over those speed bumps and back on track towards your weight loss goals. Did you know that major studies have shown low self-esteem and a negative self image can rob you of energy, give you a feeling of powerlessness, and can even cause depression and contribute to a lack of motivation?

Negativity even causes a significant negative physiological affect to take place in your body, and this can contribute further to weight gain and other negative physical characteristics.

However, having a positive attitude means being realistic as well. To achieve your weight loss goals, set achievable hallmarks. Reward yourself when you hit significant levels of weight loss, keep a daily journal for both your positive and negative thoughts, and make a conscious effort every day to transform the way you think.

You should also give yourself a mental pat on the back for even small efforts. If you drink coffee today without sugar or pass on that second slice of pizza, congratulate yourself out loud. By reaffirming positive behavior and keeping a positive attitude, you will achieve your weight loss goals, and possibly quicker than you ever thought possible.

Building a Network That Supports Your Business Goals

 

Networking is creating a foundation of connections that can boost your business, motivate, and support you with all of your efforts. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you never want to operate alone.

Having people surround you who can motivate and inspire you, as well as share knowledge that can catapult you to the forefront of your niche, is always a good idea.

You don’t want all of your networking efforts to be in just one area (such as list building) because that can narrow the positive benefits for yourself and the people you’re connecting with.

You want to network with people who excel in a myriad of ways so that you can learn from all of them and bring your business to a higher level. How you connect to these people should also vary.

You can connect with face-to-face encounters in your personal and professional life. You can make connections on social media sites, through email contact, or on forums.

You can connect with a network both far and near by text or by phone calls, too. The sea of networking is a vast, endless supply of connections just waiting to be tapped into by a go-getter like yourself!

 

Why You Need to Network

While being a solo entrepreneur sounds wonderful, it can also put a lot of pressure on you if you don’t have a support system or team of individuals to help you succeed.

Networking can keep you moving forward with your goals. Though the term “self-made” man or woman sounds great, in reality, no one person succeeded without a single bit of help through his or her lifetime.

Somewhere along the line, there was at least one person who reached out and helped someone else get where he or she wanted to be with a dream or a goal. By connecting with other people, there can be a source of help waiting for you that will provide you with encouragement.

When you move forward, obstacles sometimes happen. Maybe not often and maybe not huge, but it does happen. When you have a network of people, it can help you find a path through or around anything trying to deter your success.

It might be that your sales copy isn’t converting or your product sales are low. Networking brings people into your life who can confidently speak up and help you pinpoint the issues and resolve them.

It helps because when you’re striving for something in your personal or professional life, having a bond with people who have walked in your shoes strengthens you.

When you’re building a network, make sure that some of the people you connect with are heading the same direction. You want to do this because those people will be able to understand and they’ll be able to “get you” – unlike those who aren’t going after a similar goal.

But make sure you have variety because sometimes someone who is on a different path can offer a unique point of view for your vision, injecting fresh ideas into an otherwise stagnant path.

By having a solid network, you’ll get the feeling that you’re not in it alone. On the days that it can be difficult to keep going, others are there to help you shoulder the burden or get your mindset to a better place. That can create momentum when you feel like you’re beginning to lag in motivation or enthusiasm.

You need a network because you’ll find people that you can bounce new ideas off of. You’ll also have others who can help you come up with new ideas. Or they may be able to suggest going in a different direction when the one you’re on is filled with more obstacles than you anticipated.

In almost any endeavor in life, our emotions are closely tangled with whatever it is that we’re doing. When you have a team of people you network with, you’ll often find a great network of emotional support.

You’ll be able to see that whatever happens – good or bad – in your life, doesn’t have to change who you are. You’ll be able to look at how others handle success and how they deal with setbacks.

With a good network, you can create partnerships or joint ventures that can lead to even greater opportunities. You can double the amount of output you’re capable of when you have a network.

You’ll also gain the benefit of others who may have more experience and wisdom with the project that you’re dealing with. Maybe they know a shortcut or can help you avoid a disastrous result by offering a bit of advice.

 

Utilizing the Give and Take of Networking

When entrepreneurs think of networking, it’s usually in a “What can they do for me?” mindset. But the best way to get the top contacts in your corner is to step up and serve others first.

With networking, you have a great deal of ways that you can benefit. People that you network with also stand to gain from the relationship. This give and take of mutual benefits can help support your end goals.

With your professional colleagues, they can offer help with some of the projects that you need to do or some of the situations that you need handled. They can be a sympathetic ear when you need one and you can often find a group of people who will have your back when the time comes to stand up for something.

 

In exchange, you can offer help with projects they need help with, as well as offering the same support when they’re in need of someone to listen to them brainstorm or vent.

If you’re trying to build a network with your clients, this can benefit you by giving you someone who will root for you, someone who can help you reach your professional goals such as an increased client roster.

You can benefit this person by offering loyalty and the commitment to give each task your peak performance. Make sure you over-deliver and they will often reciprocate for you in the form of recommendations and bonuses.

You’ll want to build networks with assistants and others who work closely with people that you want to network with. These are the people that protect their bosses from just anyone being able to reach them.

They help streamline a busy person’s day and keep them on target. By creating a strong network with assistants to the people you’d like to reach out to, you can create that chance for direct contact.

What you can give back is gratitude and support that shows that you appreciate the effort. Assistants are often underappreciated and having someone acknowledge their work means more than you realize.

Network with people who know more than you in whatever area you need the help with. You’ll gain from their wisdom, their years of experience, and their contacts can become your potential contacts as well.

You can give them back fresh ideas, help with a project, and be someone to bounce ideas off of. You can also help promote their promotions if you truly believe in the quality of their deliverables.

Others who are also looking to network can be great connections to make. When you’re networking with others looking to do the same, you can stay in the loop for what’s going on in your field.

Fellow networkers can also be helpful at finding openings for project bids, for new opportunities for sales and for potential career advancements. These people can help you be more aware of information that you need on-hand in order to meet your goals.

They can share contacts and news for the field that you’re in. You can then do the same for them. For instance, you might network with someone who is normally viewed as a competitor, where you each help the other build trust and loyalty with your audiences by co-hosting a webinar together.

You also want to network with community groups in order to create a platform, gain solidarity, and share information with each other. For their help, you can offer your expertise for their association or movement.

Networking with friends and family members offers good connection possibilities to help you reach your end goals. Family and friends can offer emotional support as well as be a sounding board, and in exchange, you can do the same for them.

 

Go Where the Networking Opportunities Exist

When you’re looking to network, you do have to put yourself out there to make connections. Even if you’re making connections online, you still have to reach out.

Regardless of where you plan to connect, make it a priority to try to create at least one new networking opportunity every day. It may take a few contacts to make a solid connection.

LinkedIn is a great place for connecting, but so are forums in your niche, Facebook groups, and even direct networking platforms like Twitter. All you have to do to find the opportunities is use the site’s search function with keywords.

When you’re trying to connect, don’t overwhelm the person with eagerness. You can network without coming across as too pushy. Keep in mind that other successful people have busy schedules and they may not respond for longer than you think.

Look for organizations of similar interest. If you’re into making and selling jewelry and you’re hoping to network because your end goal is to grow your business, then you need to network with professional organizations and leaders in the same niche.

This might be an association for jewelry makers. The association might be one that breaks down the jewelry by the kind it is, such as contemporary jewelry. You would also want to look for stonesetting or stonecutting organizations.

Many of those will offer valuable resources that can link you to further networking opportunities. One thing you have to remember is that joining isn’t enough – you have to be an active participant.

How are people in a group going to know who to recommend for you to network with if they’re unaware of your slant in the marketplace? So don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you do and where you plan to take your business.

Look up trade organizations in the field that you’re in. Pay attention to local and statewide organizations as well as national and international ones. These organizations can also help keep you in the loop on the latest trends and news in your area of interest.

You can get to know other people within these associations that form a bigger community and a greater chance of networking. Reach out to individual members who seem active and form closer bonds and friendships.

Go to as many conferences as you can possibly attend every year. You’ll be able to mingle with others who can offer you resources and connections to help you reach your end goals.

You’ll gain practical advice, be able to learn from someone else’s knowledge, and come away feeling inspired. Plus, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals.

Make sure that you have an easy way that others at the gathering can contact you. You’ll want to have a flier or business card. These people will be meeting and interacting with so many others, and you don’t want your name to get lost in the crowd.

If you have a book in print, then you might have a few on-hand to dole out to special connections – and make sure you autograph it with a personalized message and your contact information, too.

Go online to find the networking opportunities that you need. Many of the organizations that you’ll seek have an online presence. You can easily engage and interact on a business’s social media page or on their blog page.

If there’s not something already online for a networking opportunity in the field that you’re in or headed to, then create one. You can bet that if you’re looking to network and nothing’s available, that others are too – and they will find you.

Networking opportunities are abundant in many areas where you can find support both for your personal and professional goals. Being a part of a community should help you be more productive, so make sure you don’t join one that seems to drag you down.

 

You Have Your Network – Now What?

After you’ve sought out networking opportunities and made those initial contacts, you want to make sure that you take up what is offered to you among this initial network. But eventually, if your circle of networking remains the same and you’re not adding new connections, you’ll lose momentum. It should always be growing at a steady rate.

Once you have your network in place, you can’t let it stagnate. A network needs to be active for it to remain viable. There are several ways that you can cultivate your relationships in this network which will work for both personal and professional goals.

Stay active. Too many people network to help reach their end goal and then they slack off. They join organizations and they’re so powered by motivation and determination at the beginning. But when they start accomplishing mini-goals or reach the one big goal, they start to take it easy, believing they’ve arrived and no longer need anyone else’s support to succeed.

Success is not an arrival. It is a continual pattern of growth. If you joined organizations to make networking connections, you need to keep up with those organizations on a regular basis.

Even if you don’t have the same amount of time that you had in the beginning, you still need some kind of time commitment in order to keep the contacts you have interested and to build new ones in the future.

Participate in discussions within the group. Post insightful news and even share your accomplishments and compliment other people on theirs. Don’t be gone from the group so long that you have to reintroduce yourself every time you pop in.

People can tell when you’re networking without reciprocating, so it’s important that you give back. Whatever it took to build your success is what it will take to keep it growing.

It’s a basic formula of lather, rinse, repeat – only in the case of reaching goals, it’s network, build, repeat. Speak up about your accomplishments. Not in a bragging way, but in a way that’s designed to create new networking opportunities that are born out of someone being impressed by your momentum and accomplishments.

Spread your joy and passion for whatever you’ve accomplished. People love a good, motivating story. You can be used to inspire others – and in turn, that will help create more networking contacts through word of mouth.

You can speak at schools, colleges, men’s or women’s groups. You can start podcasts or upload video presentations. All of these are forms of continuing to network.

When you need help with something, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for it. Likewise, when you see someone floundering, be the one who steps up and lends a helping hand.

 

The Top 5 People You Want in Your Network

It won’t do you any good to create a network if you build it with people who don’t support your end goal. Having the wrong network can turn out to be worse than not having one at all.

There are five specific types of people you want to include in your network.  These people will be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals.

The first person that you need to have alongside you is a mentor. This individual will be able to offer you guidance and advice. He or she can suggest when the time is right to take an opportunity – and when to wait.

They may also be able to help keep you from making a mistake. It’s wise to have someone on your side who’s been there, done that. You can learn from their knowledge as well as from their setbacks.

A mentor is great at helping you build your self-esteem to the point where you can rely on your gut instinct. They help with pinpointing your obstacles and the places where you feel most vulnerable, giving you the power to overcome your weaknesses so you can better focus on your strengths.

Opposite of a mentor, you also want to have someone that you mentor. This is because having someone in your network that you help along the way will work to keep your leadership skills revved up.

Someone that you’re mentoring can help you with fresh ideas as well. You get to see where your niche needs help and find ways that will assist others in reaching their end goals, too.

In your network, you also want a creative thinker. Many creative thinkers are also dreamers. This will be someone who will root for your ideas and support your dreams – even if you haven’t taken a single step to make those dreams a reality yet.

Creative thinkers are people who help you learn how to set yourself apart from the crowd in you niche. You have to be able to differentiate yourself within the niche if you want to keep achieving bigger and better goals along the way.

This type of person is someone who you can bounce ideas off of and then brainstorm an amazing result that will wow your audience and make your competition (and prospective Joint Venture partners) sit up and take notice.

But besides the creative thinker, you also want the analytical thinker. This person won’t be someone telling you that something can’t be achieved. Instead, he or she will be someone who can help keep you grounded.

Not all dreams and ambitions are meant to come to fruition. This person can help you see what steps you do need to take in order to have the success that you want. If something is unattainable, they’ll not only tell you that it is, but why, so that you can find a workaround if possible.

Finally, you need someone who’s good at finding information for the purpose of helping you get ahead with your goals. This person will connect you to people or opportunities.

They will help find ways for you to network that you may not know about. This type of person loves introducing mutual friends who they know could use each others’ ideas.

Building your network is an evergreen task that you should always be pursuing. You have to be able to simultaneously take risks in connecting with someone who might shock you in a good way, and cautious about pairing up with those who can derail your best efforts or make you look like you’re aligned with the wrong people.

What Your Kids Want Most Is Time, Not Money

It’s so easy to give your kids a few dollars and send them on their way.  They probably even came to you and asked for money to hang out with their buddies.  But many times what they really want is time with you. They don’t want to interfere with your busy lifestyle, so they take the easy way out by going out.  You make it easier for them by handing over the money, no questions asked.

Today’s rapid-paced world makes it difficult to find spare time to even meet with your family, much less spend quality bonding time together.  Everyone is always on the go and you see each other in the morning before the day’s activities begin and at night when everyone comes home, but then it’s time for bed.

Even meals are too often eaten standing up or at a fast food restaurant.  There’s no time for conversation, and that includes both talking and listening to your children.  It’s the wise family that schedules time to be together.

Set aside at least one night a week for the family to be together, alone.  Take the phone off the hook or any activity or conversation will be constantly interrupted.  If you’ve not done this all along and your kids are older, it will be difficult at first but soon everyone will look forward to it.

What you do is not that important.  What is important is that you’re together.  Talk to your children, ask them questions, be interested in their world, and get involved if needed.  Listen to how they spent their day and the problems and successes they had.

Board games for the family can be fun and entertaining.  If you’re watching your budget, most board games can be found inexpensively at discount stores and yard sales.  You probably already have the basic games such as cards, dominoes, and checkers.  Younger children love for someone to read to them.  If they’re older, read with them and share what you’ve read afterwards.

Work together on crafts or cooking.  Building something together is a great way to discover each other’s talents and converse at the same time.  You probably remember when your dad helped you build a model airplane or go-cart.  Perhaps it was memorable times in the kitchen with mom baking a cake or preparing dinner together.

Always compliment your children and emphasize the positive not the negative.  Let them know you’re there for them anytime, anywhere.  Hugs are always nice to enforce the positive, and so are notes left unexpectedly on the refrigerator or in a lunch box.

All together-time doesn’t have to be spent at home, but try to plan outside activities that allow interaction.  A camping trip or fishing expedition would be fun and inexpensive.  You could even camp out in the backyard.

Your kids probably are involved in many school sports, plays, and festivals they would love for you to attend. Giving children your time and love is not expensive and one of the most worthwhile investments you’ll ever make.

The Three Phases of Information Product Marketing

Information product marketers tend to go through three distinct phases in their careers. By knowing what to expect, you can prepare yourself for these different phases, as well as work towards progressing through them faster.

Here are the three phases of being an information marketer.

The Unknown Phase

In this phase, you’re an unknown in the industry. You”re driving primarily “cold” traffic – through pay per click, through SEO, through article marketing, etc.

Your conversions are generally pretty low; from 0.25% to 1.5%. Your conversions depend primarily upon the strength of your sales letters.

This is the most difficult phase of being an information marketer. Unfortunately, it’s also the phase that a lot of people get stuck in. Marketers will also often keep starting new websites that end up in this phase, rather than progressing existing websites to the next level.

The Take-Off Phase

The take-off phase starts when you’ve figured out a way to successfully sell one product. For example, if you’ve figured out how to profitably sell one product via Google AdWords, that marks the beginning of the take-off phase.

Once you’re successfully selling one product, then your concerns change quite a bit. Instead of getting a business off the ground, you’re now increasing business. It’s a very different mindset.

The two primary things that people in the take-off phase are concerned about are building a list and creating new products.

If your initial product is good and you have solid upselling skills, you can often get as much as 10% to 25% of your buyers to buy from you again – even if the next item is significantly more expensive than the first. That’s why it’s so important to start adding more products.

Building your list will allow you to start developing more long-term influence and clout in the industry, as well as build your most powerful marketing tool.

The Solid Reputation Phase

Getting to this phase usually takes nine months to a year and a half of solid progress. At this stage, you have a reputation in the industry. People know who you are and what your company stands for.

You’ll start getting traffic that comes from direct type-ins and people who Googled your company name. This is “reputation traffic” – word-of-mouth traffic.

You’ll also see your conversions increase without you having to change your sales letters. Again, this is because people know you’re not a fly-by-night website. You have a reputation, which builds trust. People are more willing to pull out their credit cards and place their faith in you.

At this point, your main concerns are adding high-ticket items and subscription programs. This is the stage at which you’ll start to have “hyper consumers” – people who will buy anything you put out. It may be time to roll out that $1,000 DVD program or $10,000 live program. Or perhaps roll out that $47 a month subscription. You have the trust to do it.

These are the three typical phases of an information product marketing website. Don’t get stuck in the first one – progress through each phase as quickly as you can. The real money is made in stage three, not stage one.

The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Exercising outdoors brings with it a whole host of advantages, along with some disadvantages. Depending on where you live, exercising outdoors is not an option during some parts of the year. In the Northern Plains and Northeast of the United States, you have the bitter cold and snow in the winter that prevents you from exercising outdoors. In the desert Southwest, the extreme heat in the summer has the same effect.

However if you walk or run, you’ll get a better workout if you exercise outside because:

  • Your ankles flex differently due to the varied surface, so you use different muscles.
  • You use different muscles going downhill, something you can’t do on a treadmill.
  • You’ll burn more calories due to air resistance. Expect a 2% to 10% increase in the amount of effort expended.
  • Your frame of mind will be better.

While the first three are physical advantages, the last one is psychological. Virtually every study performed has shown that those who exercise outside scored higher on tests that measured vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem, and lower on tension, depression, and fatigue after walking outside when compared to groups walking indoors. Plus on a sunny day, you get your Vitamin D!

Known as the sunshine vitamin, health benefits derived from getting Vitamin D naturally include:

Preventing cancer – recent research suggests Vitamin D slows the growth and progression of cancer cells.

Hormonal problems – Vitamin D influences how certain hormones, such as insulin, rennin, serotonin, and estrogen react, thus improving blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and sleep, while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Obesity – Vitamin D deficiency can interfere with the hormone leptin, which is what tells the brain you are full and should stop eating. People deficient in Vitamin D are twice as likely to be overweight.

Inflammation – Vitamin D strengthens your autoimmune system, thus reducing the risk of the body attacking itself as it does with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

And you can save money by exercising outdoors. You don’t need a gym membership which initially saves you money, but that is only the beginning – you save even more money by not burning fuel in your car to get to and from the gym.

You can exercise anywhere. There are very few places where you can’t walk or run, making it the almost perfect exercise when traveling for business or pleasure. Just be sure to pack a pair of walking, running, or cross trainer shoes and your workout clothes.

With the availability of sidewalks, trails, and paths, plus the obvious health benefits and savings, you have no excuse to not exercise outside. Lace up your shoes and get going!

Steps to Getting Started With A Budget

Are you ready to get started on a family budget? Are you overwhelmed? It can seem complicated at first – how do you categorize everything? What about expenses that fluctuate or aren’t monthly? The best thing to do is take a step back and look at some practical steps toward formulating your family budget. Here are some tips.

Estimates and Actuals, not Ideals

Remember that your budget is a tool, not a dream machine. Goals are important, but a family budget should first focus on the numbers you’re dealing with. That’s the basic first step. Once you have a grasp on that, you can begin a bit more idealizing, such as saving for vacations, desired items, etc.

Start with Your Net Income

First, figure out your net income for each month. This means your income minus taxes, insurance, 401K deductions, and so forth. If you are self-employed, subtract estimated taxes, insurance costs, retirement account savings, etc. At this point, you just need numbers.

Expenses – Keep Categories General

Next, figure out your monthly expenses. If they vary, figure out an average by looking at the last three to six months’ worth of expenses. For instance, if your electric bill was $150 last month, $140 the month before, and $175 the month before that, then you can estimate a monthly expense of around $155 for electricity. Alternatively, you could take the highest amount, $175, and go with that.

It’s a good idea to keep your categories as general as possible while still preserving clarity. Otherwise, you might get confused or overwhelmed by all the “hair splitting.” For example, instead of having “food, paper products, drug items, etc.” as categories, you can lump all those expenses under “groceries.” Items like “pet supplies” can be their own category, but you might want to include vet bills in that category. Here are some suggestions for categories:

* Charitable giving
* Payment off debt
* Home (mortgage, rent, property tax, insurance, repairs, etc.)
* Vehicle
* Utilities
* Health Care
* Birthday and Christmas gifts
* Cushion (this is money set aside to offset surprises, mistakes, or unexpected expenditures)
* Personal (eating out, hair appointments, etc.)

Stop and Look

At this point, stop and take a look at what you’ve got so far. Are your expenses greater than your income? It’s time to cut back significantly or find another source of income (or both).

Actual Expenses

So far, you have two columns – income and estimated expenses. Now you need to add another column: actual expenses. Keep track of the real numbers each week over the next month and see how much/if they differ.

Now you’re well on your way to a workable budget!

Ten-Step Quick-Start Guide to Building a Profitable Niche Site

Ready to start making money from niche marketing? This quick start guide will walk you through every step of the process, from coming up with the idea to creating a profitable site.

Step 1 – Brainstorm Twenty Possible Niches

Carry a notebook with you. You’ll probably come up with ideas when you’re in the least likely places.

Look online for inspiration. Look at Google Trends, Amazon.com, and eBay Pulse to see what’s hot right now. Browse bookstores for more inspiration.

Step 2 – Research Each Niche

Do some basic traffic research. How much traffic is in each market? How much competition is there?

Cut out the clearly bad ideas and start to narrow down your list.

Step 3 – Pick the Best

Pick one market to tackle. The market should have adequate traffic and low to moderate competition. Furthermore, the market needs to be passionate or desperate about solving the problem. Customers need to be willing to spend money, preferably repeatedly.

Step 4 – Learn the Market Inside Out

Start reading the blogs. Start reading the forums. Get to know their language, get to know their problems, and get to know what your competition is offering. Become an expert on the market.

Step 5 – Pick a Domain and Install the Framework

Choose a domain that’s either catchy and memorable or keyword rich. Install Google Analytics and set up the basic framework for your website (i.e. WordPress if you’re using it.) Make sure you have a site map, about us, terms of service, and privacy policy page, which is recommended for SEO and required for AdSense.

Step 6 – Create a Killer Product

Create a product that fills a gap in the market. Make sure that whatever you create is 100% unique and completely unlike anything else out there. You’ll want your product to be a USP in and of itself.

Step 7 – Create A Killer Sales Process

Create a killer sales page or sales video. Make sure that your sales page gets to the user emotionally. Get them to really feel the pain of the problem and feel genuinely excited about getting the solution.

Step 8 – Write at Least Ten High-Quality Articles

Write at least ten high-quality articles that are at least 500 words in length. This is both to prove to users that you know what you’re talking about, as well as to help get your site ranked in Google.

Step 9 – Set Up Your Autoresponder and Write Your First Five Messages

Get a subscription for the autoresponder of your choice. Write your intro message along with the first five emails to send out through your autoresponder.

Step 10 – Pick a Traffic Strategy and Execute

Pick one or two traffic strategies and put all your energy into executing on those strategies. Do one or two well rather than try to take on too many at once. Once one is working, then and only then add another.

This ten-step quick-start guide will take you from the beginning of not having anything to having a profitable site in two to eight weeks. The rest is up to you!

Talking Yourself through Negativity

It’s easy to allow negative thoughts to creep into our heads. Trying to keep up with everyone else in every way is sure to lead to disappointment and self-hatred. The messages we speak to ourselves are incredibly important, because our thoughts become our actions.

We don’t always have the power to change the messages that we hear on a daily basis. There is, however, one thing we have the ability to change. That one thing is our self-talk, and the messages that we allow ourselves to speak and hear.

Increase Your Awareness

So many of the words we speak to ourselves are negative. It is far too easy to slip into a mode of self-sabotage. Often times we are completely unaware of the ideas which circulate in our minds, and this leads us down a path that goes nowhere. In order to change our self-talk, we must be aware of what we are saying in the first place.

Cultivate Positive Thoughts

Once you have removed the negativity from your mind, little by little begin to replace it with positive words. Repeating words of affirmation to yourself is necessary to fill your mind with the thoughts you need to succeed. When you have worked so hard to remove negative words from your mind, resist the urge to allow them to creep back in. Instead, chase them out with positive messages and words of self-encouragement.

Remember Baby Steps

You won’t change your self-talk completely overnight. Lasting change takes time. Taking baby steps toward a goal is the best way to make a permanent change. Every time you realize that your self-talk is contributing to a negative self-image, stop and change direction. Put positive words in your mind and make a change.

Evaluate the Company You Keep

If you want to make positive changes in your life, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. Making positive changes in your self-talk will only last a certain amount of time if you are surrounded by a constant barrage of negativity. If the friends around you are bringing you down, have a gentle talk with them about the changes you desire to make. It could be that they don’t realize their negative influence. If things still don’t change, you may need to cut certain people out of your life in order to preserve the quality of it.

Focus on Your Accomplishments

Each one of us has things we succeed at. Figure out what it is in your own life that inspires and encourages other people. Take note of your talents, abilities, and good character qualities and remind yourself about them often. Focus on the positive, and your weak areas will soon grow to catch up with the qualities that you feel confident about.

Most of us speak to ourselves on a daily basis without even realizing it. Learn to filter the words and thoughts that go through your mind. We need to clear out the old, negative cobwebs and make a choice to encourage and uplift ourselves. If we are going to speak to ourselves anyway, we might as well make it positive.

Building Inner Strength to Improve Your Relationships

When it comes to interacting with other people – our friends and family, co-workers, and those closest to us – it can be a Catch-22 to spend time with them. On one hand, we need camaraderie and companionship. On the other, they can be toxic or damaging if we let them.

If you’re low on inner strength, then you may find each encounter to be something you dread, botch, or feel worse after. Socialization with others should not have this effect on you. It should lift you up.

Relationships with Family Members

Family relations are the first ones we remember growing up. We form patterns of back-and-forth behavior that are hard to reverse. But it’s not impossible.

Instead of turning family relationships into a fight that you don’t want, you have to tap into your inner strength and lovingly and firmly disagree. No matter how much of a fuss they put up, you should stand solid, listen to what they have to say, and make a decision that’s in your best interest. No one else is living your life, so why let them make decisions for it?

Relationships with Friends

Even though friends are optional (compared to family members), we still sometimes have to pull from the stores of our inner strength to deal with them. Friendships that are worth having will be tested.

There will be disagreements and obstacles that you have to navigate together. You have to decide right here and now that sometimes your decisions (which were made thoughtfully based on what you know to be best for yourself) won’t gel with what someone else wants – and that friendship could end as a result.

If this happens, it’s okay to grieve the loss, but don’t second guess yourself and try to make yourself regret that you didn’t acquiesce to someone else’s demands and preferences.

Relationships that Are Romantic in Nature

Whether you’re married or in a relationship, it can be hard meeting the needs of another person while trying to maintain a sense of identity for yourself. You have to compromise certain things, but there comes a point in time when you’ve compromised yourself instead of individual concepts.

Compromising yourself means that you’re the only one making sacrifices and changing things for the good of the relationship. You might start doing things because you’re trying to please the other person, but eventually it becomes something you do because you feel like you have to.

Tap into your inner strength and get yourself back on track. It doesn’t have to arise from an argument. You can lovingly explain what your needs are and how you’re going to meet them without coming off as abrasive. But if you need to showcase your strength, then go for it. Put it on display so that everyone (including you) knows that you’re living your best life.

Relationships with Your Children

Kids have an ability to fill our hearts and break them all at the same time. You might be dealing with some troubling times with your child right now, wishing you had extra stores of inner strength to draw upon.

At any time you can reset your relationship with your children. You can tone things down if you’ve been too hard on them, or strengthen your power if you’ve been too lax. Kids respond best to honesty, and when you can sit down and talk to them about what you need and how things will change, it can make things better for all of you.

The Benefits of Exercising on Your Own

While it can be fun to participate in a group fitness class led by an instructor, sometimes you just want to go it alone. And there are some specific benefits from solo fitness that you can’t get from a group setting, such as:

  • Exercising according to your own schedule.
  • Exercising at your own pace.
  • Getting motivation from listening to your own selection of music instead of what is blaring from the facility loudspeakers.
  • Getting outside.

Exercising according to your own schedule

When part of a scheduled class, you are tied to a more rigid schedule. Some people need that rigidity, but by exercising on your own, you can do a workout where it best fits into that day’s schedule. One day that might be in the morning, while the next day might be in the afternoon or evening. By exercising on your own, you have total scheduling freedom.

Exercising at your own pace

Depending on your fitness level, your workout pace may be faster or slower than the rest of the group, so you are either holding back or trying to catch up to stay with the rest of the group. If you are alone, you can go at the pace most comfortable for you.

Getting motivation from listening to your own selection of music

Most of us have our own type of music that we like to listen to for motivation while exercising. When part of a group fitness class, you are stuck listening to the music selected by the instructor whether it motivates you or not.

Getting outside

Very few fitness classes meet outdoors. If the weather is nice, walk or run outside. Not only will you burn more calories than you would exercising on a treadmill and use different muscles, but you’ll be in a better frame of mind when finished. Plus you’ll get your dose of Vitamin D in the process.

Another venue that you may not first think of as solo events are 5k and 10k runs. While classified as group fitness, once the starting gun goes off, you are responsible only to yourself, so you can run at your own pace, listen to your own music, and be outside – three of the four benefits of exercising on your own.

If you are frustrated with group fitness settings and have the discipline to go it alone, try it so you can experience the freedom of exercising solo. You may never set foot in a group class again!

4 Step Goal Setting Strategy

 

Everyone has certain goals they want to reach. It might be weight loss or finances in your personal life, or specific business growth goals in your career. Regardless of what milestones you want to achieve, you won’t get there if all you have is the end result in mind.

Setting goals is just one part of the equation. Knowing how to get there is the piece of the puzzle that so many people leave out, which leads them to flounder, procrastinate, and veer off course, until one day they realize they’re completely off base and have wasted a lot of time and effort.

There are four easy steps you can take to ensure your goals are met. It’s a process that allows you to map out where you want to be and take steps to get there with ease.

 

Step 1 – Know Your End Result

In order to know what steps you need to take, you have to know how you’d like your journey to end. This is your outcome or end result. You have to be able to concretely define what you want that result to be.

This is the bottom line of everything that you’re attempting to do. Many people aim for something without ever knowing what they want the end result to be. The problem with not knowing your end goal is that you won’t realize it once you’ve reached it – if you even reach it at all.

Let’s say that you take up running for the exercise. Your end result could be to lose weight or get in better shape. Now let’s say that you set a more specific goal to take up running because you want to run in a marathon that’s happening in the future.

Your end result changed from a generic goal of losing weight and getting in better shape to the end result of competing in the marathon, which has a specific length and is on a specific timetable.

Only you will be able to determine your end goal. It might be to finish college, grow your business by $50,000 in the coming year, lose 25 pounds, and so on. Have a large, verifiable goal to reach.

Knowing the end result is imperative for whatever it is that you want in life. You need to know this to be able to work your process. This might mean that you figure out different end results for different areas of your life.

It’s okay to have one for the personal side of your life for relationships and things like that while having another one for your professional goals. Don’t just say, “I want to be happier.”

What would make you happier, specifically? Visualize that end goal that you want. For now, don’t worry about timing. You’ll be working on that as you develop your specific goal setting strategy.

 

Step 2 – Craft Mini Goals

Goals are something that can be used to improve your life. By having goals, you can check to see if you’re on track for how you want your life to turn out. Goals are helpful tools that can keep you headed in the right direction when you need to make a decision that involves changing some aspect of your life.

Encouragement is a by-product of having goals. Whenever you have a setback, goals can encourage you to keep going. By seeing how far you’ve already come, you realize that you’ve already made some strides forward.

Most success-minded people will focus on short-term goals over long-term goals because these are easier to make come true. Living in a results-oriented world causes people to lean toward short-term goals more often.

Dreamers who do very little action taking often focus on long-term goals, forgetting that they need a specific path to get them there. They stay paralyzed, feeling the long-term goal is too far out of reach.

Having short-term goals means that these are things that you do in the present or in the very near future – such as within a week or a month. An example of a short-term goal might be setting up an email autoresponder system within the next 14 days so that you’re ready to build a mailing list.

A long-term goal is usually something that you can’t reach as fast as a short term goal. A long-term goal is one that you plan to reach within a few months or a year or longer after making it.

Long-term goals will be realized over time as each of your shorter milestones are achieved. For instance, your long-term goal might be to have an email list of 100,000 subscribers.

So your short-term goals might be:

  • Set up an email autoresponder system within 14 days
  • Create a 10-day follow-up series for the autoresponders within 30 days
  • Achieve a list of your first 1,000 subscribers using social media within 6 weeks
  • Grow your list to 2,000 subscribers within 2 months using a giveaway event

…and so on.

Each time you’re able to look at your list and cross off an item that you achieved, it helps you build momentum toward reaching your ultimate goal. Whatever your goals are, you shouldn’t let them just sit there as nothing more than an internal dream that you have.

You need them around visually so that they can help remind you of what you desire out of life. You need to be able to see whatever it is that your goals are so that you’re reminded to take action.

You can create a vision board with pictures that will help keep you motivated. Or you can write them down in a notebook and list the reasons why you want that goal.

Studies have shown that goals that are visualized or written down are reached more often than goals that are not. It spurs you forward into doing all of the small steps needed to send you up the ladder of success.

Reaching any goal will require you understanding what it is that you already possess that can help you meet that goal. It also takes you understanding what you lack in reaching that goal so that you can level up your skills to achieve it.

If you wanted to run a marathon and you were in fairly good shape, you would understand that your physical condition was something you already had. But if you were out of shape, you would understand that you couldn’t run a marathon until you got into shape.

You would understand that you lacked the physical conditioning. Defining that would help you set mini goals of getting fit, so that would then feed into your larger goal of the marathon accomplishment.

You can dig down and create mini goals for as many sub-levels as you want, too. For example, physical conditioning is a mini goal to competing in the marathon. But what are some mini goals for the physical conditioning?

  • Being able to go the distance of the marathon in a day
  • Being able to run instead of walk the entire time
  • Being able to achieve a 15-minute mile

Creating mini goals helps you focus all of your energy on the bigger goal. Focusing on the bigger goal can make you feel overwhelmed and cause you to talk yourself out of trying.

Making mini goals takes the overall goal and reduces it in size so that it’s manageable and doable. You won’t allow yourself to have excuses as to why it can’t be achieved.

Each mini goal that you set needs to be specific, too. This means that you divide these up into tasks. You would need to use a calendar in order to set a date for reaching each task that falls under your mini goal heading.

You then break down the date by the time that you have to work on the goal. When you have goals that have a conclusion date, it helps you stay on track to reach the bigger picture.

Goals, even mini goals, with a conclusion date of “whenever” rarely get finished. You need to know when you should start that mini goal and when it needs to be completed.

Give each task under the goal a deadline. For example, a mini goal of walking a 15 minute mile within 15 weeks might require you (if you’re starting from a 30 minute mile) to shave one minute off your time each week.

That’s a doable mini goal, and the timeline is specific enough for you to have clarity in reaching it. Everything that you do under a mini goal should be something that matters. The more specific it is, the better it will be keeping you on track.

Mini goals need to be created in such a way that you’ll be able to see progress. If your goal is to start your own business, then one of your mini goals might be to write a business plan.

Next, you would write down when you need that plan finished by. Another mini goal could be having a mentor look over the plan and give you tips on how to further polish it up.

Each step that you take should have a purpose that propels you toward the end result of your bigger goal. If you can remove the mini goal without it impacting the overall goal, then odds are high that the mini goal may not be needed.

You need to have an order of importance in place before setting mini goals. After listing the mini goal, write down what you gain from reaching that goal. Write down what you have to do to make it happen.

List the deadline that it needs to happen by. Make notes under the mini goal that tell you what you must learn to reach that goal. Is there a class you need to take? A book you have to read or a seminar you must attend?

All of those should be listed under the mini goal. Make sure that you understand if completing the mini goal can be done alone or if you’re going to need someone else’s help with it.

You should list all of the possible roadblocks that could happen during the course of trying to reach each mini goal. After you list the roadblocks, write down all of the ways around them.

What this does is help you be prepared for whenever a setback crops up. They will – and it’s always best to have your offensive strategy in place before you need it.

 

Step 3 – Brainstorm Action Steps

Before you can take any action, you want to brainstorm ways to achieve your goals and mini goals. You want options, not a single path that you think will work. It allows you to think outside the box.

Some people refer to brainstorming as creatively solving a problem before it happens or while it’s ongoing. Without brainstorming, most people come up with between two and four ways that they can reach their goals.

When you start brainstorming from a research perspective, you often find better ways to do things, like shortcuts and money savers. Don’t be afraid to network with others and ask for their best practices, too.

Brainstorming action steps is easy to do. You need a notebook or a writing program on your computer. You start by thinking about the steps that you need to take and you just write down whatever thoughts pop into your mind.

As you write down your thoughts, you may start to see how some of them are connected and might possibly overlap one another. This will help you see how you may need to prioritize or even group certain action steps.

When you brainstorm, you’re free thinking – and that can often let your mind pinpoint a better way to do something. Some people find it helpful to brainstorm on their own, while others can’t seem to move their mind away from a certain focus in order to come up with action steps. If this happens, it can be helpful to brainstorm with someone else who understands the end result that you want.

Brainstorming with someone else is as simple as having a conversation. You simply tell them what you want to accomplish and say that you’re trying to come up with action steps that you need to take. Many times having someone else to bounce ideas off of can yield new ways to get things done that you may not have thought of on your own.

Brainstorming can also be helpful when it comes to seeking a solution about an action step. Some action steps require more effort than other ones do. You may end up needing to do more or find additional help.

If you don’t have someone to connect with as a personal contact or even an online forum friend, you can start researching the best way to achieve certain goals online.

Be very specific when you search. For example, if you need the mini goals to build an email list, you might type in “steps to build an email list” and see what comes up. You might discover a blog post or infographic that details these steps:

  • Define your target audience
  • Create a viable opt in offer
  • Sign up with an email system
  • Set up the list responders
  • Create a squeeze page
  • Promote your opt in offer

Maybe you didn’t have one of those listed in your mini goals, but now that you’ve seen it online, you can add it. It’s easy to forget all of the small steps involved in achieving a larger goal, and you don’t want to forget something important along the way, or feel caught offguard if you realize it in mid-stream and have to reorganize your goals on the fly.

It shouldn’t require much time to brainstorm or research. If you’re visiting other sites, just pop in quickly, scan the resource to see if you already have those steps on your list, and jot down anything that might be missing.

 

Step 4 – Implement Changes

Once you’ve finished, it’s time to take action. You’ll be putting into place the ideas that were generated from your brainstorming session. When you begin to implement change, you have to understand that it’s normal to feel a sense of unease.

Most people are resistant to change. Just know that it’s normal and don’t let it throw you off course.

Create motivation as you start making changes. You have to be your own biggest fan when it comes to what you’re doing. Celebrate all of your small milestones. It doesn’t have to be expensive or huge – just recognize your efforts and honor your accomplishments.

The fact that you’re working toward a goal and doing things to get you to the finish line is something that should be respected and admired. Sometimes, there’s nobody there but you to toast to your success.

Keep your vision. When you’re implementing change, you don’t want to lose sight of your goal. Understand the value of the changes that you’re making. In other words, realize what will happen if these changes don’t take place.

As you implement change, make sure that you monitor what happens as you make the change. You want to be alert to head off any negative situations or obstacles that arise from implementing your action steps.

There will be some obstacles that you can’t foresee and that you can’t head off. For those, you’ll want to try to get to the root of the problem quickly. Understanding why there’s a difficulty implementing a change can help you know how to get back on track.

You also want to keep in mind that while you’re implementing change now, you’ll see some small benefits right away. However, seeing the end result of some of the other changes may take a little time.

As you implement these changes, make sure that you’re continually revising your goals because as these changes take place, your goals will also change. It’s okay to modify your goals along the way, too.

Sometimes, when you’re on the path to something greater and you’re educating yourself, you discover fantastic new ways of doing things! This might mean changing a mini goal, or even altering your large goal completely!

One thing you shouldn’t do, though, is allow yourself to get distracted by too many good possibilities to the point that you’re forever chasing a shiny new object and never following through on the action steps you’ve mapped out to reach one milestone in your personal or professional life.

How to Calculate Your Own Personal Net Worth

Whether you are curious or have a specific reason for calculating your own personal net worth, there are many factors that you have to take into consideration. Knowing your personal net worth can help you plan for events such as retirement or setting up your will. Calculating your personal net worth is not difficult.

To calculate your personal net worth, you will need to list all of your assets. Your biggest assets will be any homes or property that you may own. Include any homes or properties that are currently under mortgage because they will count toward your equity. Vehicles count as assets as well, and should be listed after your home or land.

Liquid assets are assets that are easily converted into cash. Liquid assets include cash, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and any other investment account such as a certificate of deposit. These assets should be calculated after your equity assets. Personal belongings and antiques should be included as well. Typically, items that carry more than a $500 value should be listed as an asset.

After calculating your assets, it is necessary to calculate your liabilities. Liabilities include all debts owed. Examples of debts include mortgages, student loans, personal loans, and credit cards. These liabilities should be deducted from the sum of your total assets. The remaining balance will be your personal net worth.

Do not despair if your personal net worth is a negative number. As the years pass, you will see that negative number become positive as you pay off your liabilities. If you do not see any improvement in your personal net worth after comparing it over several years, you may wish to speak to a financial planner and determine the best course to increase your net worth. Keep in mind that overinflating assets will look good on paper but will not give an accurate picture of your finances.

Calculating your personal net worth should be done on a consistent basis, usually once a year. It is important to calculate your personal net worth for several reasons, mainly preparing for retirement. If you are not seeing a change in your personal net worth over the course of a few years, take a look at the bigger picture and figure out where to eliminate debts.

Tips to Declutter Your Workspace

When was the last time you saw the top of your desk? If it has been a while, you will want to follow these tips to declutter your workspace. The benefits include, but are not limited to, being able to find what you are looking for when you need it, having room to spread out a project to see the whole thing at once, and not feeling embarrassed if someone comes to visit your work area.

Take an honest look at your workspace and consider what bothers you the most about it. Is it the stacks of unfiled papers or the empty coffee cups? Consider how you want your desk to look and make a list of changes you would like to make.

Start with unfiled papers. Add an inbox where you will place all incoming paperwork. This could be incoming mail, papers you need to review, or work to do. The point is to have one place for all new papers so you know you have to deal with them. Additional trays will be helpful for things you need to address and those you need to file.

As you go through the papers in the inbox, separate the things that need your immediate attention, things that have important dates or contact information, and those that you can handle at another time. Write meeting information in your calendar, add contact information to your address book or card file, and either file the paper where it belongs or get rid of it.

Create a simple filing system to keep important papers. This could include a tickler file that you will look at when the day begins. A tickler file is a 31-day system that allows you to place papers you will need for the future. It is a reminder system to ensure you handle future items on time. Once you have your system in place, use it daily to keep papers from piling up again.

Clear all of the paperwork from your desk, even if it means only stacking it in the inbox so you can see what else you have to do. Clear the desk of all other items and decide to create a specific home for each one. If there are some office supplies that you use regularly, you will want to have them available when you need them. Anything that you do not use regularly you will want to place in a drawer or cabinet. When you have a place for everything, be sure you put each item where it “lives” when it is not in use.

Once you have your desk cleared off, do your best to keep it that way. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to clear off the desk so you have a blank slate when the new day starts. Work at keeping your desk cleared for a week before you begin focusing on the next area of your workspace that is cluttered.

These tips to declutter your workspace are by no means exhaustive. They are, however, a good starting place when clutter overruns your desk. You can make a difference in how your workspace looks and how you feel while you are in it. If you know your desk and workspace is a mess, begin today to use a few of these tips and see what a difference it can make.

The Benefits of Exercising in Group Fitness Classes

The most obvious benefit of working out within a group setting is accountability, not only to the instructor but to your other classmates as well as to yourself. Beyond that, some of the other benefits include:

1) Motivation to keep going

If you are new to exercising, one of the first thoughts you’ll have about joining a class is wondering if you will be able to keep up with the rest of the group. Most likely after the first session, you’ll want more. You were able to keep up, have fun, and start to get fit – all great motivators to come back again.

2) Doing things the right way

When first starting out, whether in a gym full of equipment or doing a routine that uses either no equipment or just body weight, you may be intimidated. However, with your class led by a certified instructor, s/he will show you the proper way to exercise regardless of the venue. Learning how to do it right is good prevention against getting hurt and a good way to get the most from your workout.

3) Establishing a routine

If you have a limited amount of time each day to workout, having a structured 30 to 60-minute class may be the best way to go. You’ll know exactly what time each class will meet so you can get in and get out without wondering if you’ll be able to get on the machine you want or waste time trying to figure out what you’ll do for a routine. As part of a class, all you have to do is show up!

4) A full body workout

Generally speaking, structured classes are designed to work your whole body. While there may be specialized classes, most include a variety of exercises that work both upper and lower body. If you try and design your own routine, your choice of exercises might not fully develop your body.

5) Pushing yourself further than you would normally push yourself

Most instructors are Type A upbeat people and because of their personalities, they have the ability to push you further than you would normally push yourself. They always get you to do “a couple more repetitions” which end up being another five or six. Once you are done, however, you’ll have a greater sense of accomplishment. If left to your own devices, you most likely would not have pushed through those last few repetitions.

Group classes are a great way to meet new people, get in shape, and have fun. Three more benefits that will bring you back to class exercise another day.

What Makes a Person a Good Listener?

Being a good listener is a skill that is necessary in all areas of your life. In your family life, at work, and while out at social events, it is important to really hear what someone is saying to you and then making an appropriate response. Here are some great tips for helping you become a good listener.

  1. Show that you are paying attention to someone, don’t fidget.
  2. Concentrate on what the person is saying. Don’t start thinking about what your kids are doing, or what stops you have to make on your way home.
  3. Do not multitask!
  4. Ask questions. This shows that you are listening and that you have genuine concern.
  5. Summarize the person’s concern back to them. This helps show that first you did listen, and second that you have understood them correctly.
  6. Pay attention to the person’s body language, as this can display their true emotions to you.
  7. Let the person finish speaking before saying anything.
  8. When replying, take a pause and then speak. This shows that you are thinking about what you are going to say to them.
  9. Practice your listening skills. Listen to a tape and then summarize or repeat what you have just heard.
  10. Always be sympathetic when replying to someone. Their concerns are very real and important to them, even if you think the issue isn’t as huge as they do.

When you really concentrate on the person speaking you will find that you pick up more details. You may hear tremors in their voice or notice that their hands are trembling or shaking. You will hear their anger and frustrations. All of these signals often speak much louder than actual words. So pay attention and you will notice these things.

Quite often when someone is looking for someone to listen, they are just looking for an open ear. You don’t necessarily have to agree with their point of view, but it helps to show that you understand their fears and concerns.

Don’t forget that you have two ears and only one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak! These words of wisdom have been around a very long time, for a good reason.

So the next time someone is looking for an ear, offer yours. Really listen to what the person is saying and reply by summarizing what they have said back to them. By doing this you are well on your way to becoming a great listener.

Building Confidence in Business

Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t have the bold confidence necessary to succeed in business? Maybe you need a boost in your business confidence, or maybe you are just getting started and need some extra confidence to take that first step. Here are some tips for building confidence in business.

Get Educated

One of the most important confidence builders is knowing that you know what you know! You may have a lot of great business ideas but you don’t have the know-how to make it happen. Educate yourself about how to market your product or service. What is your competition? How can you reach your demographic? What kinds of advertising should you do?

You may need some nuts-and-bolts education, too. For example, how do you set up an effective website? You may need some practical knowledge to help you reach your goals.

There are many ways to educate yourself in business. You can hire a business coach to help you one-on-one. You can also download eBooks, sign up with boards and forums where business-savvy people congregate, and ask questions of successful people.

Get Focused

Getting educated is key to getting focused. You really can’t boldly march forward if you don’t know what direction you’re going in. Take some time to focus on your business. What exactly are you doing? What do you want to do? Who is your target market or demographic?

If you have diverse interests, this can be difficult but even more necessary because diverse interests can be distracting if you don’t focus on one at a time. So once you get yourself educated about your market and what you want to do, you can launch a focused business or refocus on an existing one.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

We all know that businessman or woman – the one who has written ten books, has a dozen jobs, and has a perfect house. You may not be that kind of person, and such a schedule and goals are just not realistic for you. It’s really not advantageous to compare yourself to others. Set your own realistic standards and compare your progress against those.

Believe in Your Success

A lot of people swear by the power of positive thinking. It is said that visualizing your goals can attract the very things you need to reach your goals. Even if you don’t get into the visualization bit, you can benefit from believing in your business and your own competence.

Once you get confident, you will be much more likely to attract customers, which in turn will boost your confidence. Itss a good cycle to get into.

Enjoy Simplicity and Simple Pleasures

Entire books have been written on how to slow down, enjoy simple pleasures, and lead a simple lifestyle. These books exist because people often long for simplicity but don’t know how to get out of the rat race long enough to learn it. The good news is, you can start small by implementing some simple tips and suggestions. Here are some ideas.

Ten Minutes

Ten minutes is a doable time increment for even the busiest person, so it’s a good place to start. Pick when your ten minutes will be – right before bed, maybe, or at noon. The point is to be quiet and focused during those ten minutes, and to enjoy a simple pleasure for that time. Draw a picture, read a book, meditate, write a few lines in a journal. Make it a quiet ten minutes – no phone, no television, no computer.

If you do this every day, you will carve out an hour and ten minutes each week. Think of it as a small investment in your simpler future.

What’s Necessary?

Many of us feel driven by what we think we must do; we live in a world of “have to’s” and “need to’s.” But do we really? Sit down and evaluate things for a moment, and consider what you really need versus what you want.

Are you running around with no time to breathe because you have too many commitments? Ask yourself tough questions – do these things/events/people really need you there? If you said no, could they still carry on? Chances are, yes, they could. The same goes for your kids’ activities. Where can you say no? When does an opportunity become a burden? No one can do everything. Sometimes, you really have to pick and choose.

Entertainment

This is an area where people often feel conflict. Many of us admire people who can do without television and movies and computer games, and who get their pleasures from simple things like a walk in the forest. But although we may admire them, we don’t feel like we can do the same. Chances are, though, that those simple-pleasure people you admire were once in the rat race, too – talk to them about it (more on that below).

In the meantime, think about your entertainment choices. Entertainment is a pleasure, and if you’re moving toward enjoying simple pleasures, maybe you need to think about where you get that pleasure.

One idea is to start with one simple replacement. Instead of watching a television program, take a walk. Notice the landscape, the colors, the shapes and lines. Little by little, replace electronic, complicated pleasure with simple ones.

Talk to Each Other

Prioritizing relationships is key to living simply. In fact, as you connect with others who live simply, you can ask them about how they came to that place. Putting people ahead of tasks and “to do’s” is a way to connect with your community and enjoy the simple pleasure of companionship.

Homeschool Philosophies – Which One Fits You and Your Child?

As you consider homeschooling, you may be trying to decide on which approach or philosophy fits your child and family. Do you like things relaxed and informal, or do you prefer a more structured approach? How much time do you have to devote to homeschooling, and what is your child’s learning style? These and other questions come into play as you consider your homeschooling philosophy.

Following are some of the approaches that homeschoolers use when teaching their children. Hopefully, you can use this list as a guide to help you decide which philosophy is right for your home. (Also, many homeschoolers try one philosophy or approach one semester and find it isn’t a good fit after all, and switch to another. That’s perfectly all right!)

Unschooling

The unschooling philosophy takes its inspiration from the child’s interests, passions, and learning style. Unschoolers do not use a curriculum; they teach according to their child’s inherent desire to learn and nurture that desire along the way.

For practical matters like learning math facts and handwriting, unschoolers may say something about how their child will want to learn to write and tell time – and therefore ask to be taught – when the need arises. Unschoolers prefer to wait until the child expresses interest, as this is seen as a sign of readiness to learn a concept.

Charlotte Mason

You have probably already heard Charlotte Mason’s name if you have talked to other homeschoolers. Mason is sometimes thought of as a sort of homeschool “founder,” or at least an inspiration behind the homeschooling movement. Her method stresses character development and good life habits, and homeschooling teachers are encouraged to look for “teachable moments” in their students.

Charlotte Mason methods include the core subjects, and poetry and classical literature are often incorporated.

Montessori

Many people don’t realize that Montessori is also a homeschool philosophy. It’s based on the work of Maria Montessori, a rare female physician who lived and practiced in the late 1800s. She opened a children’s school and the students, who were rejects of the traditional school system, began outperforming the students of the rich families. Her methods thus gained attention!

The Montessori philosophy encourages the “whole child” to learn; senses, body movements, and so forth are all incorporated in the learning method. Montessori respects and emphasizes each child’s individual capabilities.

Unit Studies

When you implement a unit study, it’s something like a theme. You decide on a subject or a particular book and learn about it in depth, and learn the core subjects through that subject. For instance, you might do a unit study on Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. You would glean the chapters for things to learn and design lessons accordingly. There are some unit study-based curricula that you can purchase, too; you don’t have to design your own.

This certainly isn’t all! There are traditional styles of homeschooling, where the homeschool class is run much like a traditional school room, even using school textbooks. There are Bible-based homeschool philosophies, too. Hopefully, you will find the right one for your homeschool classroom!

How Fitness Can Impact Every Area of Your Life

There are many health benefits to getting fit, both mental and physical, which we will be talking about. But first, let’s talk about exercising itself.

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, but you don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes all at one time.

Many people don’t exercise because they can’t find a 30-minute block of time in their day to do so. However, if you are strapped for time, even three 10-minute sessions per day can provide the same health benefits (and some studies show even more benefits with split sessions) as one 30-minute chunk of time. Everyone can find three 10-minute blocks of time in their day.

And you don’t have to go to a gym to workout. A simple 30-minute brisk walk will suffice. Not only will you feel better, but if walking outside, you’ll get the advantage of getting in your vitamin D from the sun.

Improve Mental Wellness

Exercising can help alleviate several mental feelings of discomfort such as depression, anger, stress, tension, and anxiety. When you get your heart rate up through exercising, more blood flows through your veins, so more oxygen gets to your brain. The additional oxygen can improve your mental acuity and memory. While exercising, endorphins are released giving you the “feel good” feeling you get immediately after exercising.

Other mental benefits include:

  • Improved optimism
  • More enthusiasm
  • Improved self-image
  • Helps kick the addiction to smoking

Improve Physical Wellness

On the physical side of things, exercising enhances your immune system thus making you more resistant to developing life-threatening diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It can also lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 points – as much as some of the drugs used to treat hypertension.

And by exercising, your chances of living longer are increased. Start anytime to cash in on this benefit.

Just 30 minutes per day of brisk walking provides other proven health benefits:

  • Better sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Preventing bone loss
  • Improved HDL-to-LDL cholesterol ratio
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Reduced stroke risk by 20 percent
  • Reduced coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent
  • Prevents or delays chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging

These are just some of the benefits of exercising. There are many more too numerous to list within the scope of this article. So, strap on your walking shoes and start now!

5 Ways To Find Freedom In Imperfection

“I am Me” is a battle cry. It doesn’t mean that you won’t change detrimental habits because you are embracing who you are. It also doesn’t mean that you are promoting laziness or lack of ambition. What it does mean is that you have taken a look inside of yourself and seen who the person inside truly is. There are things that you like about yourself and also things that you don’t, but it all works together to become the person that you are today.

Imperfection is not the opposite of perfection, as if it is a state not to be desired. Instead, imperfection is the state of acceptance of self through love. Without seeing who you truly are, you won’t know what to change and what to keep. Perfectionism just throws everything out the window, chaining you down with unrealistic expectations instead of appreciating and letting yourself live as you are.

True change in your life is an act of love. You can lose weight when you love who you are right now at your current weight. It means that your life, self-esteem and happiness are not tied to a number. Anything done out of self-hate doesn’t usually last because you are always criticizing your efforts. Nothing is ever good enough because you start off not liking anything about yourself from the beginning. You’d leave your own body if you could.

There is nothing healthy about that. Imperfection says that the only way through is with love on board. Accepting and embracing you by celebrating why you are unique. It is getting reacquainted with yourself through a few steps that show the value that was there all along.

5 Ways to Imperfect Freedom

Take some serious time for introspection – Don’t be afraid to look at yourself honestly. Write down what is positive and what is negative in your eyes. Find ways to change the wording of those negatives so they are now positives that you can embrace.

Discover what you like to do and don’t like to do – Don’t be afraid to say “no” to events or activities that don’t foster your interests just because it’s a “cool” or “acceptable” thing to do.

Try something new – Try bold colors for clothing or change your hairstyle. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with new looks to accentuate your positives and give yourself a confidence boost.

Laugh more – Laughter promotes feel-good endorphin release. Take time out to have fun and take a rest. It is restorative and also promotes health.

Explore your creative side –Are you a “right-brained” person? Find out if you have any creative tendencies. Stimulate that side of your brain to bring out attributes you didn’t know you had.

Allow yourself to be human, flawed and free by embracing your imperfect life.

Level Up Your Life

Life Transformation Is Possible!

If you look at achievers and those who failed to “get there,” you would see the former with a unique mindset – one that is molded out of confidence and optimism. This is what sets them apart from the rest as they have a positive outlook in life and a unique path set out for them as they take on life’s journey.

But to start changing your life, you need to set your goals first. What would you like to become? What specific aspect in life should you address in order to make that dramatic transformation for the better?

For one, make sure to stay focused on your goals. That way, you can confidently make decisions that will change the direction of your life. Clear out any confusion. The idea of change can be quite scary that the thought of getting through a month, a week, or a day might prove to be a challenge. However, you can take it one step at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

It would help if you list down all the things that you want to do. This should make some things crystal clear for you in the midst of all the confusion in your mind. This will also help you see your priorities in black and white.

It does not even matter how you organize your list, just as long as you put your thoughts into writing. Once the list is done, give yourself some time to sort it through and identify the least to the most important things to do.

When you start setting goals, be realistic about it. Don’t make it look like you’re giving a genie three wishes, such as when you wish to become a millionaire overnight, because every impossible goal is a cause for disappointment and disillusionment. Just be grounded, focused, and realistic about your goals. There’s nothing wrong with starting small.

It would be better if your first goal is achievable within a month or two, but it should still be significant enough to give you a great taste of success. Your next goal should be something connected to the realization of the first goal, and so on.

You may also set goals that aim to eliminate all the negative things in life that have kept you from succeeding. It could be to get rid of your inhibitions and self-limitations.

For many achievers, their first goal is to excel in time management. This is an appropriate first goal, especially for people who always seem to be running out of time. Proper time management will make you feel in control and confident that you can achieve your goals in time.

When creating your to-do list, you may also want to take note of the things that are hindering you from success. It could be your fear of failure, something that many people struggle with. In many cases, failure is usually about fears dominating your subconscious. So, what are you really afraid of?

As you choose your ultimate goal, do you still have doubts about your ability to realize it? If so, you need to get to the bottom of it all and discover where those doubts come from.

Everyone has fears, but you need to take it on if you want to leave the old you behind and move on to the new you. What is pulling you behind from transforming into the person that you want to become?

Aside from writing your goals, you need to be reminded of them at all times. Look at your list regularly make your visions of success clearer and stronger than ever.

You can be the new you by taking small but effective steps. Set your goals, follow them, create a course of action, and get rid of your self-doubts. Use your mental strength to put your positive thoughts at the center of everything that you are doing and relieve yourself of all the negative thoughts until you totally forget about them.

Monitor your progress and your timescales. Don’t stray; follow your realistic deadlines. Careful tracking of your goals and your current actions will tell you if you are still on schedule or whether you need to pick up the pace to keep up with your deadlines. Every time you tick off a task on your to-do list, it can give you a different kind of satisfaction knowing that you’re about to do something great! Don’t be stingy in rewarding yourself.

As you are about to reach your goals, you will also feel your confidence and self-worth building up over time.

Motivation: How To Find And Keep It

One of the most important steps towards changing yourself is to know what motivates you. Once you discover what drives you, you can use it to jumpstart everything that you need to do for a total transformation.

Know more about yourself by reflecting on your biggest achievement in life and what you did to realize it.

There are certain questions that will help you understand yourself more and your source of motivation. Be honest in answering these questions, and write them down for a better analysis later.

  1. What do you consider as your greatest accomplishment in life so far?
  2. What did you do to achieve it?
  3. What drove you on to achieve your goal?
  4. How did you continue to motivate yourself?
  5. How much do you value your final goal?

After answering these questions, take the time to recall just how happy you felt during that moment when you knew that you finally achieved your goal.

Motivation differs from one person to the other. However, your dreams will likely remain the same over time.

In most cases though, people often choose to abandon their lofty dream and downgrade it to something that is easier to realize. However, settling for something less may not give you that sense of fulfillment, knowing that it isn’t your genuine dream in the first place.

But you can find a way to stop yourself from losing hope and motivation. It is to always keep in touch with the way you feel about your dreams and to remind yourself of those feelings, especially during an emotional crisis.

Use this list to understand your feelings about your dreams better:

  • Do you want people to acknowledge you and your achievements?
  • Do you want to help your family?
  • Do you get your sense of personal satisfaction by proving that you are an important figure or that you can realize all your goals?
  • Do you always stick to doing the right thing?
  • Do you want to improve your financial status?
  • Do you feel passionate about life and let it consume you?
  • Did you have a difficult childhood, enough that you would not want to experience it again in adulthood?
  • Do you always want to feel in control and do something that contributes to achieving your dreams?
  • Do you handle changes positively?
  • Do you feel even more determined to achieve your goals once you see them written down clearly as your priorities?

Many of these questions pertain to your feelings about your goals in life. Make sure to put these questions somewhere visible as a daily reminder of why you should continue pursuing your dreams no matter what. These should help you hold on to the motivated you!

Stop Procrastinating Now!

Do you often catch yourself wasting time instead of spending it on tasks that matter? Do you always feel guilty when you can’t catch up with deadlines or fail to finish anything of significance?

Although many people share this bad habit of procrastination, it doesn’t mean that it is a habit worth continuing. You have to correct it as soon as you notice it if you want to avoid disappointing yourself over and over again. The worst case scenario is when procrastination causes depression and lack of self-worth, as you see yourself wasting your time and your opportunities to succeed in life.

There might even be a time when getting started is a challenge in itself, but you need to change this behavior if you don’t want to establish it as a habit that you can’t abandon for life. You need to get yourself moving and get started on your to-do list.

If you find yourself procrastinating, then consider doing these things and making a habit out of them:

  • Manage your time better by starting your day with a to-do list. Write down all the tasks that you want to finish for the day and arrange them by priority. It would be even better if you make your list the night before so you can get started on it first thing in the morning.
  • Get up early with an alarm. Don’t waste your time by procrastinating in bed because this can delay all the other tasks for the day and you’ll end up chasing time. Being an hour ahead of your tasks can give you a sense of satisfaction rather than catching up with deadlines.
  • Break your tasks down into smaller tasks. That way, you will avoid feeling overwhelmed about all the things that you need to do. Once you get that sense of satisfaction from accomplishing a small task or two, you will likely have the motivation to finish all your tasks for the day.
  • Learn to negotiate with yourself. If you finish your tasks, you can go out with friends later, watch a movie with them, or reward yourself with a trip.
  • Don’t spend too much time in front of the TV. You might not notice how much time you waste on your favorite TV programs. Be picky in choosing your TV programs, or record them, and watch them only when you’re done with your tasks. This might even serve as a good reward to get you through your tasks because you know that you can relax later.
  • Give yourself a break, especially when everyone has lazy days too! However, don’t overdo it. Instead, imagine how happy you’ll feel once you reach your goals. Visualization is an effective tool to help replenish your energy and motivation to make your dream a reality.
  • Punish yourself with a consequence if you can’t finish your tasks. For instance, if you don’t work out three times a week, you have to stay at home during the weekends.
  • Feed off your fear to get you going. Fear is an intense emotion. If you focus on the things that you don’t want to happen, you can use it in your favor. Write down exactly what might happen or how you will feel if you fail to achieve your goals after a certain time. Be honest about what it would cost you if you continue doing nothing and failing.
  • Be accountable. Find a support team or someone who will hold you accountable. Make time to check-in with them regularly and tell them what you are up to, where you are in your journey towards achieving your goals, and what your support team can do to help. They could help you recall about your past achievements or kick-start the changes that you need to do in life.
  • Be brave. It is important that you build momentum when you start doing something. Starting today, stop making excuses and fight your laziness. You can start small, as long as it takes you forward towards the direction of achieving your goals. Take that first step, second step, and so on. Start now!

Increase Self-Confidence And Banish Self-Doubt

Do you find your self-doubts distracting? Do you find yourself second guessing your actions and decisions, or even your achievements? If you don’t address these self-doubts, these might accumulate to form negative thoughts about yourself that will ruin your confidence and self-esteem. The longer you leave them alone, the more they will feed on your sense of self-worth. Eventually, you will feel paralyzed about doing things for fear of failing.

It is always challenging to break that barrier of negativity once it has taken a strong hold in your life, but it is important that you remain strong and firm in turning it around and getting rid of your self-doubts. This is the only way for you to inject positivity in life.

Spend some time to address those doubts and understand why you feel that way about yourself. Get to the bottom of it all and you’ll know how to regain your confidence. It usually starts when you handle a challenge way bigger than those you have seen before, leading to you questioning your ability to take it on.

If you keep telling yourself “I can’t do this!” you might stop yourself from doing anything else because you’re afraid to fail. However, you have to get on with life, take on challenges, and accept whatever happens. Most of all, you have to learn from all your successes and failures.

Learn to stop yourself from thinking negative thoughts before they even start paralyzing you from doing your tasks. Every time such thoughts pop up, squish them clean and replace them with the endless opportunities that are in store for you for the day. The quicker you do this, the better control you’ll have over them. If you’re in control, you will eventually boost your confidence and self-worth.

And when you do catch yourself thinking negatively, don’t beat yourself up over it. Think about how long you have held onto this habit and how you can’t get rid of it overnight.

Every time you notice your old behaviors coming back, correct it right away and give yourself a pat on the back. Being aware of your mistakes is the key step towards transforming your life and changing your attitude towards it. You’re halfway there!

It is not easy to be completely free of mistakes, but you can make the most out of every mistake by learning from it. Don’t let your feelings of shame linger either. Give yourself a break. You’re only human, after all.

When your guards are down and you start feeling those old doubts again, win those thoughts over with a positive attitude. For instance, instead of thinking “I’m not good enough for this job!” or “I don’t do well in interviews,” think “This job is a going to be a handful, but I can do it!” or “I’m going to do well during the interview and prove to them that I’m the person they’re looking for the position.”

It also helps to write down all the good things about you and remind yourself of such characteristics every time you feel down. You might be surprised at how many positive qualities you have more than the negative ones. Once you realize this, you will feel confident about yourself.

The Power Of Being Positive

It is not easy to stay upbeat and positive at all times. However, you need that mindset as the basic requirement for transforming your life and being successful. There are some tips on how you can always maintain a positive disposition in life.

Focus On The Positive

This is the first thing that you need to do if you want to clear your mind of all negativities. Train it to see only the best in people and the good things in any situation.

However you perceive a situation affects your response. If the mind can process things positively, then it is likely that you will resolve any problem successfully as well.

Be With Positive People

Surround yourself with positive-minded people to help them feed your positivity towards life, too. Stay away from negative people to avoid being steered towards their direction. Make sure to stick only to doing positive things that will contribute to achieving your dreams.

Surround Yourself With Anything Positive

Aside from choosing the company of positive people, make everything around you positive as well. Make it so that you will hear positive audio, see positive posters and visuals, and learn of positive statements and quotes. You live by what you see, hear, or learn.

Exercise Regularly

It is scientifically proven that regular exercise can regulate the body’s chemical balance, giving off positive energy, which in turn, sets a positive mindset for you.

Make time for exercise, even if it is just walking your dog around the block or playing with your kids in the park. Yoga and meditation can also help you maintain a positive mindset, aside from relieving stress that attracts negative energy.

Avoid Negative Thinking

Negative self-talk will stop you from thinking positive. However, it is so much easier for people to think negatively that negative thoughts likely come to mind faster than positive ones. Eventually, this can lead to feeling insecure, indecisive, and excessively apologetic, and possibly cause some stress-related problems.

Negative thinkers usually have these mindsets:

  • Some people attribute all the negative things that are happening to them to being unlucky. They keep blaming themselves for doing or not doing something, leading to various tragedies in life. Negative thinkers are often active in coming up with negative situations, finding reasons to blame themselves for those situations.
  • Negative thinkers often focus on the bad things in a situation. They refuse to see the positive side of things. Eventually, they make a habit out of it. This kind of mindset among negative thinkers makes them think that a situation is either perfect or catastrophic. This can ruin all the aspects of one’s life, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
  • There are negative thinkers who over think the worst case scenario in situations. If something bad happens, they even see it as a confirmation that their worst assumptions are coming true.

If you avoid these kinds of mindsets, you can save yourself from the stress that negative thinking brings and possibly avoid the medical condition that stress brings. It’s time to start feeling positive and let it dominate your life. You can start with choosing the company of positive people.

Depression has mental and physical elements. Even a person with a positive outlook is not totally safe from depression. However, that positive attitude towards life can help in treating depression. You can use it to stop yourself from going to over to the dark side completely. It can show you that life still has good things to offer and that you have a way out of your depression, especially if your positivity wins over your negative thinking habits.

Positive thinkers tend to show a lower incidence of medical conditions, especially cardiovascular diseases. They usually have lower blood pressure than negative thinkers. Optimists also tend to deal with stress better, leading to a better psychological and physical condition.

Being positive might not prevent bad things from occurring, but it can help you handle negative situations better. Feel it’s real power now!

Attract Positive People Into Your Life

If you feel like there’s no way you could regain your confidence once more, it’s time to start looking into your relationships and check what kind of people you have surrounded yourself with.

Hold onto genuine friends and find new friends who want to adapt the same positive mindset that you want to have. Try to let go of people who bring you down with their negative attitude.

But how do you know who are the positive people and who aren’t?

Identifying Positive People

Positive people can be distinguished by these characteristics:

  • They have courage to follow their dreams.
  • They are compassionate towards others and themselves.
  • They are ready to open their heart to other people.
  • They know their negative characteristics and are willing to embrace and accept them.
  • They learn from their mistakes.

On the other hand, you might not want to be associated with people who have the following characteristics, if you want to maintain positivity in life:

  • They seem way too intense about being positive and perfect all the time.
  • They beat themselves over mistakes and other shortcomings.
  • They do not pay that much attention to their well-being, which means you cannot exactly expect them to look after yours.
  • They are dominated by their fear.
  • They do not acknowledge their dark side, but take it out on other people.

How To Boost Your Positive Signals

If you want to attract positive people, you have to release good vibes by following these steps:

  • Understand the best things about you and project them to others. Reflect on yourself and determine your finest qualities. It could be compassion, sensitivity, wit, and more. Share them to the world by speaking up and meeting people. Show those qualities actively and people will notice, especially those who share those very qualities with you.
  • Express love. Learn to appreciate all the things that you love in the world. It could be the blue skies, the never-ending horizon, the babble of innocent children, the taste of your mom’s cooking, and more. Love can attract positive people.
  • Make a habit out of anything positive, but to let those habits out, you need to meditate. Do it regularly and focus on all the positive emotions that you feel during the process. Eventually, your vibes will turn positive too.
  • Be more aware of yourself. This is your greatest tool against fear and self-doubts. This will also stop you from being negative, so you can continue to reach out to positive people.
  • Remember that positivity begets positivity, and it is an important element on your way to understanding yourself better and your transformation. This journey may not exactly be smooth, but you might be surprised just how tough you can be to weather even the roughest ride in life. Stay motivated by looking forward to all the opportunities that are in store for you once you complete your transformation.

You will be the one enjoying all the benefits of this change, so it’s going to be worth it. However, you can’t make that change unless you stop doubting yourself and feel confident in your own skin.

As you are well on your way towards changing yourself for the better, even the smallest steps matter. Your transformation won’t be complete without each single step. On that journey, expect to find people who think the way you do. As you befriend these people, it will create more positivity in your life and drive you even more to succeed.

Keep Track Of Your Achievements

Aside from knowing what to do to achieve your dreams, it is equally important to keep track of them. This is how you can measure your success, and there are popular ways to do it.

It is a good idea to start any project with a strategic plan on how to complete it. You have to go back to that plan during the course of the project to see if you are doing things right. It is an important element that will determine if you are still on track.

Once you complete the project, you have to make a summary about its major aspects and how such aspects contribute to reaching your goals. Make sure to write down as many aspects as there are. This is one way to monitor your achievements.

Another method is to write down all the recognition that you received for your achievements. Compile a folder of these notes and keep them. This is not only an effective way of keeping track of all your accomplishments, but it is also a good source of motivation when you feel lost and down.

All the acknowledgements that you have saved up will serve as proof of how great you were with your other projects and how capable you are to take on new challenges. Your compilation can easily become your portfolio, especially if you want to be an expert in your field.

Take an active role in joining community activities, internal committees, company boards, and representative bodies to give yourself the exposure that you needed. These will also add to your experience that can boost the confidence that you need to handle the changes that come with your desire to transform your life.

If you want to maintain a positive mindset, just look at your well-documented achievements. Tell yourself that if you were able to handle them before, you’ll be able to handle so much more in the future.

Achievement tracking will keep your capabilities in check. The more capabilities and experiences you know you have, the more confident you will feel that you can turn your life around and be the achiever that you dream to be.

Making It Real With Visualizations

When people think about transforming their lives, plans usually include switching jobs, improving their health, building or rebuilding relationships, and boosting their finances, among other thoughts. Although thinking about these things is a good start towards making that change, it would be so much better if you act on these thoughts.

After thinking your plans and priorities through, visualize everything. This might not be easy at first, but you will eventually get used to it the more you do it. Visualization has long been a secret in reaching one’s goals, boosting one’s confidence, and enjoying life.

You can’t change your life as significantly as you’d like unless you change yourself from within. Make plans with a clear mind so you can easily visualize your dreams the path that you have to take to get to those dreams.

It will be easier to focus on your goals if you visualize them. Create an image of your goals, how you are going to achieve them, and how doing so will affect your life. The stronger your desire to reach your goals, the more chances you will have of taking actions that will contribute to your ultimate success.

How To Achieve Your Goals Through Visualization

Visualizing your goals can be tough at first, but it would be easier if clear your mind and stay in a quiet place. It helps if you stay in a dark room, get rid of all sorts of distractions, like your phone, TV, or computer, and choose a comfortable position.

Relax. Breathe in, breathe out slowly. Take your mind off your problems. Remove all your self-doubts. Just focus on your breathing.

Close your eyes and savor the feeling of being relaxed. Paint an image in your mind about your goal. You have to be honest and realistic about it. It is not practical to see yourself winning millions in the lottery. You have to be very specific about your vision to really focus on it, such as losing weight or getting a new job. Put in your desire to get to that goal and see yourself finally achieving it. This might take time, but with enough practice, visualization will come easy to you.

When visualizing, what’s more important is the goal in itself. During that moment, don’t think about the how’s and why’s related to that goal. You can answer these questions later. Over time, your mastery of visualizing your goals might allow you to set your goals even higher.

Make sure to pick at least one image in your mind’s eye every time you visualize. How will it feel to finally lose weight or be doing your dream job? How can you tell if you have succeeded? Create an image of the celebration that you’ll do once you have reached that goal or the reward that you will give yourself afterwards.

After you have become an expert in visualization, you might be able to do it anywhere, even in a room that is not as quiet or as peaceful as your own room. Just make yourself comfortable and bring all your energy to your breathing. Relax. Start painting that image of finally succeeding, seeing a healthier you or working in your new office. Take in that joyous feeling of celebrating your success for about two seconds. It would be even better if you can hold onto that feeling for up to 15 minutes.

If you become distracted and you can’t find your focus, regain your control by reminding yourself of your biggest goals and your strong intent to achieve them. It could be getting your dream job, losing weight, buying a new home, or getting a college degree. No matter what it is, just steer your focus back to that ultimate goal and visualize it.

To Sum It All Up: Motivation And Achieving Ultimate Success

Transforming your life starts with determining your dreams and making a definite plan on how to achieve them. Make sure to set a clear and realistic end goal. It has to be achievable within the time frame that you set for it.

With every goal that you achieve, you will feel more and more confident as you continue with your journey in life. It might be a foreign feeling at first, but you will get used to it over time. Boosting your confidence is a good start towards living life with positivity, until it becomes a normal part of your life. This is what you need to change and succeed. Believe in the power of positivity, savor it, live it.

Once you recognize the power of positivity, start visualizing your goals and let them dominate your conscious mind. Visualization will intensify your motivation to succeed and bring you closer to your total transformation. Change your life one step at a time, while staying motivated with every step.