Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to Eating or Drinking Anything

We should eat to live, rather than live to eat. In our society, we have come to a point where we often care more about how our food tastes than what exactly it is doing to our bodies. We do, however, want to enjoy what we eat. Mealtimes can be a time of relaxation and preparing ourselves to continue our fast-paced lifestyle with the greatest amount of energy possible. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before eating or drinking anything in order to get the most from what you consume.

Is This Bringing Life to My Body?

This is a great question to ask yourself anytime you are about to eat or drink something. Carefully consider the food and ask yourself honestly if eating it is going to help towards the goal of good health. Does the food appear to be life-giving?

Is This Food That I Need at This Moment?

The food you are eating may be healthful and nutritious, but is it what you need at this very moment? It is easy to justify overeating simply because the food we are overeating is “good for us.” We need a variety of nutrients, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Be sure that you actually need this food at this moment, instead of eating out of boredom or to stuff emotions.

Do I Know What Is in This Food?

If you are eating whole foods, you are going in the right direction. If your food is packaged, read the label. Do you know what the ingredients in the food are and where they came from? If you cannot pronounce or understand the name of the ingredients, it may be time to find something else to eat.

Can I Find a Better Substitute?

Perhaps you are craving something sweet and feeling tempted to pour yourself a glass of soda. Why not try a freshly blended fruit smoothie instead? If you are about to rip open a bag of chips because you want something crunchy, try some pita chips and hummus instead. There is almost always a workable substitute for any less healthy food.

Do I Truly Enjoy This?

If you must eat, you might as well enjoy what you are eating. There are many life-giving foods to choose from that are delicious and pleasing to the senses. Even if you choose something that doesn’t have much nutrition in it, it ought to be something that you can at least say you enjoyed the taste of. Don’t waste your empty calories on something you don’t love.

How Will I Feel Later about Having Consumed This?

If you are eating something you enjoy, you may feel satisfied at the moment. How will you feel later? Will you be happy about your decision because it gave you energy and a moment of pleasure? Or will you feel disgusted with yourself and wish you had refrained from consuming it? Eat food that you will still feel thankful for after it is gone and you are left staring at nothing but an empty plate.

Eating is a necessity that also has great potential for enjoyment. We should eat in a way that honors our bodies and gives us a sense of thankfulness. Ask yourself these questions before eating or drinking anything, and you will never have regrets in regards to your food choices.

How to Raise Children to Be Good Leaders

It’s been said that leadership starts at home. It just may be that leadership is, at least in part, an outgrowth of early training. There is disagreement among experts as to just how much leadership is inborn and just how much is learned, and there is really no way to settle that disagreement. It’s likely that it’s a combination of both learning and natural ability.

If you’d like to do what you can to raise your children to be good leaders, here are some tips that may help.

Teach Them to Think

Some sources point out that the school system, public and private, teaches kids what to think rather than how to think. Of course, there are probably exceptions to this – special schools and special teachers – but it’s entirely possible that your kids are not being taught how to think. So whether you homeschool or have your kids in public school, you might try some of these exercises to help your kids think on their own.

  • Give them an age-appropriate reading assignment that expresses a particular point of view. An opinion piece in the newspaper is a good place to start. Ask what your child thinks about it, and have him or her write an age-appropriate response to the piece. Do the same thing with an article that expresses the opposite or a different view.
  • Encourage them to read work that covers a range of opinions and views.
  • Ask them if they agree or disagree, and why.
  • Any time your child reads something, ask them what they think about it. Find out what they gleaned from the reading rather than finding out if they picked up what they were “supposed to” from the reading.

Leaders tend to be independent thinkers, so these exercises can go a long way toward teaching your child to be a good leader.

Teach Organization

This may be something of a challenge for parents who aren’t that organized to begin with! And for those parents who are very organized, you might find that you just organize everything for your kids without teaching them to do it themselves. So finding a balance is a good idea.

Try giving them a calendar and show them how to keep track of their own activities. Chore lists are also a good way to help them organize their time. Age-appropriate chores and activities, written on a calendar, can help kids “see” their time and how it’s being spent, even if they are too young to tell time yet.

Ask for Arguments

Okay, that may sound like something parents don’t want to do. But the art of arguing respectfully is an important leadership quality. We’re not talking about angry arguments; it’s more about negotiation and persuasion. Ask your child to tell you why they want a certain thing, or why they should be allowed to attend an event or participate in an activity. This helps your children learn how to analyze and present an argument (which is really a list of reasons) to achieve a goal.

Creating Success Using Mind Enhancement Techniques

You’re probably just as smart as the next person.  Granted, some people are born smart and possess incredible talents such as singing, playing an instrument, or have the ability to solve problems with amazing speed. But what about the average person who seems to excel while you remain with the pack? Unless you’re the lead dog, the view’s always the same. You may have taken an IQ test and found you’re not a genius but you have at least average intelligence and perhaps more.  So, what’s the difference between you and the person who excels?

Your brain, your mind, needs to be enhanced.  The intelligence is there, it just needs to be maximized and expanded.  It’s the same with your body.  The muscle is there, it just needs to be exercised and encouraged to expand.  As you enhance your mind, you enhance your ability to achieve success.  Success follows success.

Audio and video programs are two of the obvious ways to generate mind enhancement.  You decide which is better for you depending on whether you’re a better audio or video learner.  If you can utilize both, so much the better.

Audio mind enhancement programs, available on CD or MP3 download, are better for the person on the go who likes to maximize their time whether in the car or on the treadmill.  Numerous subjects are available for teaching you how to create a better life while restructuring the mind.

Video programs are great for in-home viewing without the distractions you might encounter with audio.  It also stimulates your optical senses and usually works better and faster than audio alone.

Video DVDs are available on numerous subjects from creating a better memory to learning a new hobby.  It’s good to stimulate your mind with something you enjoy, but you must also stretch your mind to include subjects you don’t normally encounter.

The mind is like any other part of the body:  you use it or lose it.  You must exercise it daily with positive brain exercises.  Mind-stimulating reading, puzzles, or learning a new subject keeps the brain fertile and active.  Keep planting new seeds in the mind and you’ll be astonished at what will grow.

Painless Ways to Start Saving Money for a New Car

Are you in the market for a new vehicle? Maybe you have had your old car so long that it’s time for an upgrade. If this is you, learn how you can start saving for that new car and not have to cry about it.

Saving is hard for most people without a strategy in place. It is easy to say that you want to save money each month, but hard to do. When it comes to big ticket items like cars, the challenge can seem like an overwhelming task you can’t pull off.

If you want a new car in your life, read on. Here are savings secrets that anyone can take advantage of rather painlessly.

* Create a separate bank account – This is a first step even before the first penny has hit the bottom of the account. Now you have some place to put monies that are specifically for buying your new car.

* Bank your bonuses and raises – Many places of work pay their employees a bonus around the holidays or throughout the year for performance appraisals. Instead of adding that money to your current income, place it in a separate account so that it can grow for you.

* Pay yourself – Research how much it will cost to buy your dream car. Figure out a likely monthly payment and send that to yourself. You are the bank, so any money comes to you. Place it in a separate interest bearing account to accumulate.

* Automatic debit – Set up a draft each month around pay day. Instead of using every last dime, have it automatically deducted from your account before you have a chance to spend it. Talk to your human resources representative. They can help you to sign up for direct deposit and explain how to transfer some money to a separate a checking or savings account. Since you don’t see it each month, you are less likely to miss it, especially when you have a goal in mind.

* Keep your car in mint condition – Your existing car can be used for a trade-in, but no dealership will want to buy it if the tires are balled or the upholstery is torn. Getting regular maintenance will not only help to ensure that your car runs properly, but you can get a good trade-in offer on it to help supplement the money you already have towards your car.

* Bag your lunch – Instead of spending five dollars here or ten dollars there on food at work, bring your lunch and lower your food budget while increasing your car fund.

* Save your change – Place any loose change that you have in your pockets in a jar at night. Before you know it you will have a jar full of coins that you can put towards your car fund.

Do you want a new car? Give yourself time, do some research, and use these simple ways to begin paying for it now.

Tips and Ideas to Repurpose and Reuse Your Content

Content is an investment. You spend a lot of time writing it. You probably also spend a lot of time planning and researching it. It makes good business sense to make the most of your investment. When you repurpose and reuse your content, you maximize your return. Here are five tips and ideas to repurpose and reuse your content.

#1 Build it up

Gather articles that fit together nicely and create a report. You’ll want to add an introduction and a conclusion. You may also need to add some transitions and polish the content to fit a cohesive theme. To monetize the content, consider adding affiliate links where appropriate. You can also include the occasional product or service promotion for your own business.

#2 Break it down

If you have existing reports, then they’re perfect to create articles and blog posts. You have many options here, too. You can simply pull apart segments of the report to create articles. Add an introduction and conclusion paragraph and you’re ready to publish. Or you can take it further and create lists and other information-packed articles.

For example, if you have a “how to” report with ten steps and ten pages of content, you could create an article that’s a much abbreviated version of the report. List the ten steps with a one or two sentence explanation. You could also write a “three things you need to do to…” article. In fact, with ten steps you could write three of those articles.

#3 Republish old content with updates

Often evergreen content isn’t as evergreen as you hope. The world moves quickly and most industries grow and change regularly. Take a look at your “evergreen” articles and blog posts. How can you refresh them with updated content?

#4 Partition e-books

This method is similar to breaking down reports to create articles and blog posts. You can break e-books down into reports, articles, or blog posts. In fact, you can get quite a lot of content from an e-book. Take a look at the e-books you’ve written or purchased publishing rights to and brainstorm content ideas.

#5 Group reports

If you’re looking to create a new information product, consider grouping them to create an e-book. You’ll want to organize the reports in a logical manner. You’ll likely also need to add an introduction as well as a conclusion. Transitions will be necessary and you can add some nice graphics. Add checklists, worksheets, and lists to add value to your e-books and reports for extra value.

Repurposing your content is a smart business strategy. With each new piece of content you create, consider how you might be able to use it in the future. Content is essential for online business success. Make the most of your efforts and maximize your content to the fullest.

Tips for Avoiding Binge Eating

Before we can talk about how to avoid binge eating, we first have to know what it is. Defined as “a bout of uncontrollable eating driven by at least three emotions: depression, anger, and anxiety”, it becomes a vicious circle. You are in the thralls of one (or more) of your controlling emotions, so you comfort yourself by eating, and eating … and eating.

Then you feel one or more of these same emotions because you binged, so you binge again. According to doctors, binge eaters are literally trying to stuff their feelings down with food. As long as they are eating, they don’t have to deal with the emotions that are controlling them at the time.

Of course, one way to control binge eating is to recognize which emotion is controlling you and deal with the reason causing that emotion. If you are too close to the situation, though, you may want to enlist the help of an eating disorder professional. They can help you recognize the cause and help you with a cure.

However if you want to deal with it on your own, here are six tips that can help:

• Journaling – after a binge, write down what you think triggered it so you can work on eliminating the trigger.

• Ask for help – most bingers eat alone. When you feel a binge coming on, call a friend. That person can help talk you through your difficult time.

• Wait it out – instead of raiding the refrigerator immediately, wait for 15 minutes and try and figure out what tripped the binge feelings.

• Head for the gym – instead of heading for the refrigerator, do something else to occupy your mind. Not only will it take your mind off of eating, exercising can help work out whatever frustration is causing your binge temptation.

• Eat breakfast – multiple studies have shown that eating a protein-rich breakfast can help stave off binge eating at night.

• Keep trigger foods out of the house – for some binge eaters, certain foods trigger the eating binge. So if you are a person that can’t stop at one peanut butter cookie or one scoop of your favorite ice cream, then don’t keep these things in your house. Many times the urge to binge will pass if you don’t have your trigger foods around to start it in the first place.

Recovering from a binge

Most important is don’t beat yourself up over it. You can’t change what happened, but you can work on preventing it from happening again by implementing the six tips above. Along with that, don’t punish yourself by restricting your diet. That in itself can fuel another binge.

Instead, try to move forward and plan your next healthy portion-sized meal or snack. Focus on making good food choices that include lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.

How to Lead Teens

Leading teens is different than leading children and older adults. Your role is more about leading them into maturity and teaching them about adult responsibilities. Teens are better able to handle responsibilities and understand what’s expected.

However, for many older adults it seems daunting to lead teens since they have a reputation for being rebellious. What if they don’t listen? What if they “walk all over you”? Here are some tips that may help you to lead teens.

The Right Attitude

With teens, it’s important to respect their place in the leadership process. (This is important with all ages, but teens are more aware of their own independence.) So remember that you can’t be a leader without followers! The teens have to be there for the leadership to happen.


As noted above, respecting those you lead is important. Teens may not respond well to just being given orders; it’s more than that. One way you can show your respect to the youths in your charge is to listen to them. Really hear them and respond respectfully to what they say. This not only shows your respect for them; it also sets a respectful tone in your group, and in so doing you’re leading by example.

Insist on Respectful Behavior

Because you’re modeling it, this shouldn’t be too hard to enforce. Ask that your teens treat each other with respect, and you can cite yourself as an example.

Be “Real”

Teens have a pretty good sense of when something or someone is faking it. The teens in your charge are not looking for perfection; they would much rather connect with someone whose flaws they can identify with than someone distant and aloof. That said, it’s important to guard against hypocrisy – for example, it’s okay to be real and share that you used to be a smoker while advocating that your teens not smoke; but if you are still smoking, your words will ring hollow.

The Importance of a Good Relationship

Leading teens means assuming the role of a mentor. Mentoring means setting up an environment where learning takes place and being available for teaching and answering questions. In an effective leadership relationship with teens, it’s important to know when to back off and let the teen try on his or her own and when to step in. If you have a good relationship with your teens, then you will likely know them well enough to discern when to get involved and when to back off.

How to Get Stronger and Leaner Thighs

If your goal is to improve the strength and look of your thighs, a combination of weight and cardio training or a program of focused isometric exercises such as Barre, produce the best results. As we now know, there isn’t such a thing as spot reduction when it comes to reducing body fat. However, by reducing overall body fat, some of the fat lost will be from the thighs and legs in general.

Cardio Training

To get rid of excess fat, you have to burn more calories than you take in (a 3,500 calorie deficit per week to lose one pound). So in addition to eating healthy to keep your calorie intake low, you also have to engage in activities that burn a lot of calories. Cardio training is one of the best ways to do this. Activities such as brisk walking, running, biking, tennis, and a whole host of other activities that use your lower body major muscle groups, burn the most calories when you get your heart rate up into your target range – 220 minus your age multiplied by 0.8 – for at least 30 minutes or more.

Strength Training

While cardio training burns calories in the here-and-now while doing the exercises, lower body strength training works to tone and define the leg muscle groups so they naturally burn more calories than before even while at rest. It is this toning and defining that makes your thighs look leaner and stronger.

There are several strength training machines in a gym that focus on lower leg and thigh development, however, one of the best exercises without any equipment is the side lunge done from the squatting position. Not only does this exercise strengthen your knee, but it also works the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves – a total lower body workout without any equipment.

Barre Training

Barre training is the new kid on the block when it comes to fitness. Its unique exercise routines give the participant that long, lean, ballet-dancer look without the typical cardio or strength training. Instead it uses bodyweight, a ballet barre, and lots of repetitions of isometric exercises that focus on lengthening and defining core thigh muscles. While not a calorie-burning focus type of exercise, an hour session does burn around 500 calories. However the real calorie-burning benefit comes from the increased lower body major muscle group development which burn more calories now at rest than before.

Of course no muscle development endeavor is successful without also eating healthy. Set yourself up for success by focusing on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts, along with minimizing sugar and saturated and trans fats. A combination of exercise focused on the leg muscle groups and healthy eating will get you to your goal of stronger and leaner thighs quicker.

How Newspapers and Magazines Find Great Content

Newspapers and magazines produce some of the most unique and well-researched content in the world. As a rule of thumb, content that’s printed in a newspaper is usually more carefully checked than content found on the internet.

Online, a lot of websites tend to have similar information. Often times, content writers do most of their research from other sources online.

Yet newspapers and magazines work completely differently. They’re consistently able to produce highly unique content every single month that’s unlike anything that’s ever been published. How do they do that?

Here are some of the ways that newspapers and magazines find great content.

Interviewing Real Experts

Instead of looking through medical websites, journalists will actually call up well-known doctors to ask for their opinions.

If they’re doing an article on a particular car, they might call up the car manufacturer or a plant manager to talk about how the car was built.

As a smaller publisher, you might not be able to command the same respect as a New York Times reporter, but you’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to give free advice if you just ask.

Using Books and Offline Publications

Another common source of information is written books and other publications, especially academic papers, research papers, or official studies.

By looking up studies and books written by experts in the field, you can get a much more in-depth look into subjects that you just wouldn’t get from browsing internet websites.

There are several academic paper search engines out there you can use to find detailed source material for research.

The Public at Large

You might be surprised at how much information can be gleaned from the public at large. Granted, this doesn’t work for skill-intensive subjects like medicine or law, but for many subjects, the public at large can be a great resource for content.

For example, if you run a financial blog and you want to write a post about how rent control affects the economy, where might you go?

Yes, you can research academic theories about rent control. You can Google “rent control” and see what else is written online about the subject.

But one fascinating place you could look is everyday people who actually live in rent-controlled places. Talking to just a handful of these people can give you more insight into how rent control really affects things than reading a dozen articles online.

As you can tell, newspaper and magazine writers tend to get their information from different sources than most online writers. Granted, these methods of researching content take a lot more time and effort. However, if you’re willing to put in that time and effort, you’ll be able to create content that’ll blow your competition out of the water.

Frugality Does Not Have To Ruin Your Lifestyle

You may hear a lot of people talk about saving money and being frugal, but it can also have a negative connotation for some people. Just because you adopt the frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean that your life as you know it now will change.

We can all tighten the belt and spend a little less for what we have. Let’s face it; if we have the money, we often don’t make an issue of paying full price when we don’t necessarily have to. This is a mindset. When you begin to live frugally, you are changing that mindset – not your lifestyle per se.

Some people equate “frugal” with “cheap.” This is by no means the case. With “cheap” you get what you pay for, which is nothing. That is still wasting money. It’s the same as if you had paid full price. Frugal means searching for another way to do something or get a service that is of comparable quality but costs less.

Get the best deals that you can on all things in every area of your life. There is nothing shameful or wrong about that. Companies offer deals to earn your business. So, let them work for your favor and let yourself enjoy the ride. You may even find that frugal living end up teaching you how to look at life in the long term instead of just the here and now.

Think of it this way. Someone that pays full price because they have the money is not considering the financial ramification of doing so. If you can get a new wheelchair for $500 outright but $250 by using Medicare or looking into your private insurance, why not do it? It’s a little more legwork, but the savings can be put towards something else.

Do you like to travel? Even in a recession or if you need to tighten the financial belt, you can still travel. What has changed or is trying to change here is your mindset. Have you seen the commercials for places like Travelocity? You can stay in four-star hotels and eat in fancy restaurants by taking advantage of travel deals.

Living frugally does take some research. Look at exactly what you are getting with some of the discounts and deals that are offered for travel, clothing purchases, rental cars, dining out and supplementing your income.

Do the kids want money for weekends with friends? Hold a yard sale. They learn how to organize, decide what is good and what is not for sale, sell products to neighbors, friends, and strangers, and also how to value a dollar. You get a cleaner home and they get the cash for a job well done.

Try frugal living. It doesn’t mean that you are destitute or have to give up doing some of the activities you are accustomed to. You just simply learn how to do them better.

What Does It Mean to Have a High Metabolism?

Metabolism is defined as the number of calories the body needs while at rest. In other words, the body needs a certain number of calories just to sustain bodily functions, like breathing and heartbeat. This number is usually referred to as the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Because your thyroid controls your metabolism through the secretion of hormones, it is these hormones (and your physical fitness level) that control how fast (or slow) food is converted into energy. If you are having trouble losing weight, it could be that your thyroid is not functioning normally. Your doctor can check it with a simple blood test.

One fact we know is that a pound of fat burns about 10 calories while a pound of muscle burns almost 30 calories over the same given period of time. So it makes sense that the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn just to sustain the additional muscle. Because of this fact, gaining lean muscle mass is one way to increase your metabolic rate.

Another way is through physical exercise; exercise triggers an increase in metabolism that can last for several hours after finishing your workout. By incorporating weight training into your routines, not only do you increase your metabolism in the short term, but also permanently through the building of lean muscle mass. A win/win situation!

But how do you know if your metabolism is low, normal, or high? First you have to know your BMR – the number of calories your body needs to function while at rest. If the number you consume is higher, but you are not gaining weight, then you have a high metabolism. To calculate your BMR, use these formulas:

• women: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years);
• men: 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).

Note the formulas are based on a normal adult body. If you are extremely muscular or very obese, then your resulting figures will be underestimated or overestimated, respectively.

For example, let’s use a 30-year old, 5 ft. 10 in. tall male weighing 170 pounds. Plugging the numbers into the formula 66 + (6.3 x 170) + (12.9 x 72) – (6.8 x 30), we come out with 66 + (1071) + (928.8) – (204) = 1,861.80 calories per day to maintain his current weight. If our study is eating significantly more calories and not gaining weight, then he has a high metabolism. Because he burns calories at a higher rate, it will be easier for him to lose weight just from cutting calories.

While your thyroid basically controls your metabolism, you can help increase its functioning through healthy eating, regular exercise, and building of lean muscle mass.

5 Common Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls

Affiliate marketing is one of the most rewarding and lucrative ways to make money online. As an affiliate marketer you will market and promote someone else’s product for a commission. Earning on this commission-based model of making money online has unlimited potential and has made some into dotcom millionaires.

And while affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online, it’s not simple by any means. It takes a lot of skill, knowledge, and commitment to be successful. If you are looking for overnight riches, this is not the way to go. However, if you are looking to build a solid business that can make you money on complete autopilot for many years to come, affiliate marketing is most definitely a great option.

If you choose to go this route, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of. These are the most common pitfalls that newbie affiliate marketers run into.

Pitfall #1 – Not Building A List

One of the things a lot of affiliate marketers do, especially the new ones, is send traffic directly to a product’s sales page. This is not the best method.

Your first line of business should be to build an email marketing list.

• If you send traffic directly to the sales page you will get a one-off commission and that’s all.
• If you build an email marketing list first, you will be able to make multiple commissions off of one customer.
• You will be able to build long lasting and on-going relationships with a targeted audience.
• When you have a list, you can market to them over and over for as long as they stay subscribed.

So, start building a list from day one.

Pitfall #2 – Promoting Products Based On Commission Only

You should care about the products you promote. Never promote a product based solely on the amount of money you will get per sale. You have to remember, your goal is to be able to make money for a very long time into the future.

If you promote inferior products just to make a quick commission, you will be out of business before you know it. You want to promote legit products you know your list and site visitors will appreciate. If you promote products that are irrelevant and don’t produce results, you will end up with a lot of refund requests and subscribers who do not find your messages credible.

Pitfall #3 – Signing Up For Too Many Affiliate Programs

Just because there are a thousand great products with affiliate programs doesn’t mean you need to sign up for all of them.

Sign up for 3-5 if you are just starting out. Get those products set up in your funnel first and then add more as you become well versed in the business and start seeing success. If you sign up for a ton of affiliate programs, you will overwhelm yourself and end up doing nothing.

Pitfall #4 – Promoting Low-Converting Products

Just because a product has an affiliate program doesn’t mean you should promote it. Conversion rates are extremely important when it comes to the products you promote. If you promote low-converting products, you won’t make very much money.

Pitfall #5 – Having Unrealistic Expectations

Yes, there are a lot of people who make millions a year from affiliate marketing alone. However, what most people fail to realize is the amount of time, effort, learning, and expertise it took for them to get to that level.

A lot of newbie affiliate marketers expect overnight riches when they get involved with affiliate marketing. It doesn’t work that way. You have to put in the time and effort if you want to be successful.

Starting Your Day Off on the Right Foot

Not everyone gets out of bed in the morning easily and in a good mood.  Some can bounce out of bed eagerly anticipating the day and will talk your ear off if there’s anyone to listen.  Others groggily stagger out of bed reluctantly and you better not speak to them or they’ll bite your head off.

Which of these describes you?  Or do you fall somewhere in between?  Which would you rather be?  Typically, the person who bounds out of bed wide awake is the person who gets more done in the morning and is happier to do it.  This isn’t always true.  Some get just as much work done; it just takes them longer to get to it.

If you’re not happy with your morning habits and want to change, it can be done but it has to be a concerted effort on your part.  Many people don’t want to change.  They’ve been that way for years and it works for them.  On the other hand, who wants to be an old grouch in the morning making yourself and everyone else miserable?

You can become an early happy riser and make it a habit you will embrace.  First, admit your current method of waking up in the morning isn’t working and you want to change. Be willing to try a different method and realize it may not be the first different method you try that will transform you into a new you.

Technique is important.  Prepare yourself for bed with the same routine if possible.  With children and spouses this is sometimes difficult.  Start with a healthy diet.  Stay away from heavy fatty foods and sugars before bedtime.  Eat dinner early.  Of course, no caffeine or other stimulant before bedtime.

Try the early healthy dinner a few nights and make a note as to how you feel the next morning.  Is it working?  If not, don’t give up.  You just need to add more and different methods to your morning madness.

Exercise daily.  The better shape your body is in, the better it will sleep and the better you’ll feel each morning.  Morning exercise is usually more helpful than just before bedtime. Nighttime exercise can get the blood flowing too much for you to fall right to sleep.

Do something pleasant before going to bed to put you in a good mood.  Read a good book for a few minutes.  Don’t get so caught up in it that you can’t put it down.  Don’t balance your checkbook or pay bills before going to bed.  Money worries are one of the main causes of sleeplessness.

Anticipate the morning routine.  Don’t give yourself something boring to look forward to.

Make time for at least some morning exercise even if it’s just stretching.  Perhaps, sit outside and greet the sunrise with a morning devotional.  Count your blessings and plan your day. New morning habits were not accomplished in a day.  Be patient and willing to experiment.  Soon you’ll like yourself better in the morning and so will your family.

How to Be a Leader for Kids

There’s a lot of talk these days about leadership and the need for kids to have strong leaders. Whether you are working with children who are yours or you’re a caretaker for others’ children, learning how to lead them effectively is important. Whether you’re wanting to lead your kids to practice a healthy lifestyle, increase communication, or something else, good leadership is a way to reach your goals with the children in your care.

But how do you become a good leader for kids? It can be hard to know if you’re not accustomed to it, or if you didn’t have strong leaders when you were a child. Here are some tips.

Set an Example

You’ve probably heard “lead by example,” but that means more than just doing something and hoping your kids will notice and copy your behavior. It also means being deliberate in setting an example, and you’ll need to refrain from certain behaviors and watch what you say.

For instance, if you want your children to be patient with others – a key leadership attribute – then take care that you’re patient with them. If you want your children to be able to make decisions like a leader, then make sure you’re not making all of their decisions for them. To lead by example, you need to think about more than just living out healthy, positive lifestyle choices (although that’s important, too). It’s also a matter of setting an example of how to treat others.

Include Them

Whether you are a teacher or a parent, including the children in your care is important to instill leadership. How do you include them? For one thing, let them help. In the classroom, this might take the form of collecting papers and passing out other papers. Students might be allowed to write an assignment on the board. At home, let your kids be a part of your daily routine, helping you wash the car and clean the house. After all, these are life skills, and those are vital for good leadership.


Good leaders know how to delegate responsibilities and tasks. In your home or classroom, give kids various responsibilities. You can set things up so that the children in your care have a task to complete and they have to delegate tasks to others to get it done. Or simply explain the task and give a job to each child to get it done. They will see the value of delegating (you might want to point out that you can’t do this task alone), but they will also have the satisfaction of helping get something done.

Allow Them to Help Others

Wherever you can, let your kids help each other without being bossy. In fact, being bossy is not necessarily a good leadership skill. Teach them how to help others in an appropriate way, and then set up a scenario where that help can happen. This works in the classroom or at home with friends or siblings.

Financial Advice for the Newly Married

Congratulations on finding the love of your life and pledging your commitment to each other! Now that the honeymoon has passed and you have begun to adjust to your new life together, it is time to set yourselves up for a long and successful marriage together. You have the advantage of starting out prepared for what life may throw you.

Set up a budget by sitting down together and listing all of your bills along with any weekly expenses. If you have come to the table with debt obtained prior to your marriage, you will want to consolidate this debt and pay it down as quickly as possible.

Credit cards, while a great way to cover unforeseen expenses, can create a life full of unwanted debt. It is too easy to use them and many people have gotten in the habit of using them for nearly everything right down to their morning latte. Interest is charged on your balance each month, so avoid using a credit card as a habit. Instead, establish one card that will stay tucked away in your wallet, to be used only if absolutely necessary.

A savings account should be high on your list. This will get you in the habit of putting away for your vacations, large purchases, and eventually retirement. By starting small and setting up a savings account, you will create a nest egg. Your nest egg can be used to buy a house, start a family, or save for large purchases. This savings account will also prevent you from using credit cards in times of need.

Use only cash for purchases. This cannot be stressed enough. Starting your life together by using cash for your purchases will do two big things for you. Firstly, you will get to see just how far your money really goes. Secondly, by having to pay cash you are more than likely going to think about each purchase, as once the wallet is empty you will not have any money left to spend.

When it comes to a new marriage, it is common to have some financial difficulties in the beginning. By establishing a budget and healthy spending habits in the beginning of your marriage, you are essentially preventing fights over money. If you have little to no debt, you will be able to live the life you want and enjoy activities with each other in your new marriage.

8 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is one of the healthiest prescriptions to improve your health. Some of the benefits you can reap from getting physical are:

  • Controlling/losing weight
  • Improving your cardiovascular system
  • Decreasing risk for Type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing risk for some cancers
  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Improving mental health and mood
  • Making daily chores easier to do
  • Increasing your chance of living longer

However, before starting any exercise program, be sure to consult with your doctor first. You have to know if you are healthy enough to engage in regular physical exercise before starting any program.

Controlling/losing weight

You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn. So it stands to reason that if you want to lose weight, one of two things (or both) has to happen. One, you have to eat fewer calories, or two you have to exercise more. We know that you have to burn 3,500 more calories per week than you eat to lose a pound. While 3,500 is a daunting number in itself, it becomes more manageable when you break it down into 500 calories per day. Eat 250 calories less and burn 250 calories more each day and you’ll be at your one pound loss for the week.

Improving your cardiovascular system

Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderately–intensive exercise per week to significantly lower your risk for both diseases. More exercise yet further reduces your risk even more.

Decreasing Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

The same 150 minutes of exercise per week will also lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes. If you are carrying too much weight, have low HDL cholesterol or high blood pressure, triglycerides, or blood sugar, you are at a greater risk. Regular exercise will help bring these stats back where they belong.

Reducing risk for some cancers

Research has shown that being physically active reduces the risk of colon cancer in both male and females and the risk of breast cancer in women. Some findings are now suggesting that regular exercise may also reduce your risk of endometrial and lung cancer. And if you are a cancer survivor, exercising can help improve your quality of life.

Strengthening bones and muscles

As we age, we begin to lose bone density, which can cause osteoporosis and falls ending up with broken bones. Aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises help keep your bones and muscles strong and slows the loss of bone density.

Improving mental health and mood

Not only does exercising keep you mentally sharp, but it can also help prevent depression. When we exercise, endorphins are released in the brain making us feel good. Research has shown that 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise and strength training per day 3 to 5 times per week are optimal for maximum mental acuity benefits. However, even a little exercise provides some benefits.

Making daily chores easier to do

If you are not in shape, doing daily chores can get to be … well a chore! Make the things you do every day, like climbing stairs, carrying a filled laundry basket, and carrying groceries easier by getting in shape.

Increasing your chance of living longer

Research has shown that people who are physically active 7 hours per week reduce their risk of dying early from heart disease or cancer by 40 percent. Remember that 150 minutes of exercising per week? That counts toward your 7 hours per week of physical activity.

And these 8 benefits of regular physical activity are only the beginning. However, realize that exercising is only half the equation. You have to eat healthy, too, if you want to get the most from your regular physical activity.

Making the Most of Your Website or Blog

Chances are you’re putting a lot of time, energy, and effort into your blog or website. Are you getting the results that you want? Are you achieving your online business goals? If not, you may not be making the most of your website or blog.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

The best way to make the most of your website or blog is to test what works and what doesn’t. There are many different things you can test and ways to test. Test headlines, test calls to action, and test different content formats.

For example, your audience may respond more energetically to video content than they do to print content. Or maybe they prefer reviews over “how to” articles. Testing is the only way to know what your audience is responding to. Once you know, then you can adapt your strategies and tactics. Split testing is often the easiest method to test.


Analytics are almost a website or blog essential. They tell you who visits your site, how long they stay there, and what pages they navigate to. Analytics can also tell you the organic keywords used, or the link used, to find your website. Google Analytics is a free tool that makes it easy to create an account and then literally cut and paste a piece of code into your site’s code.

Just cutting and pasting code isn’t enough, though. You need to also review the analytics and base your strategy and decisions on the information. For example, if you find out that the majority of your visitors come from the south, then you might create more content, promotions, and offers that appeal to that region.

Facilitate Engagement

If you’re not encouraging participation, comments, and interaction then you’re missing out. Create systems and opportunities to connect and allow conversation. Blog commenting is a start.

However, the posts need to ask questions and motivate responses. Even more, you want to reply to comments in a thoughtful manner that motivates more comments and feedback. Plug-ins that create forums, chats, and social media participation are another means to facilitate engagement.

To make the most of your website or blog, you want to create a stronger connection with your audience and visitors. By testing, using analytics to track the results, and by creating opportunities for conversation, you’re able to take your site to the next level. It strengthens your relationships with your audience and helps increase traffic and opt-ins, as well as conversions and sales.

How HIIT Could Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fairly new concept where you perform an exercise at a very high intensity for a short duration of time and then switch to a lower intensity for a longer period of time. You keep up this cycle until you reach your total training time goal – usually 15 to 30 minutes. Add in 45 minutes of strength training two to three times per week and you have an exercise routine that is proven to bring these main benefits.

Burn fat

HIIT is one of the fastest ways to burn off excess fat – especially belly fat. Traditional cardio training tends to release too much cortisol into your system – a hormone that promotes fat storage. But HITT keep cortisol release low.

Improve muscle tone

By mixing high intensity cardio moves with lower intensity strength training, you can build and tone muscles. For example, do jumping jacks as fast as you can for 30 seconds; then switch to lunges at a slower rate for 30 seconds. Keep up this cycle for 10 minutes with a 1-minute break between each cycle.

Build endurance

Because HIIT involves both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, you build endurance faster than with traditional cardio training. To prove this point, consider a recent study in Ontario Canada where one group of people did HIIT 3 times per week for 2 weeks for a total of 9 minutes.

The control group did the same training 3 times per week also, but for a total time of 5 hours. At the end of the study, each group had slightly improved their endurance – one group with only 9 minutes of exercise versus the second group with 5 hours of exercise.

Increase energy

After doing HIIT for a while, you’ll see an increase in your energy level. This is because high intensity training allows the mitochondria in your cells to make more energy and to work more efficiently. To make the extra energy, it has to metabolize more fat, which helps you lose weight not only while you are exercising, but for hours afterward.

You can create a HIIT program without any equipment. For example, you could run for a total of 3 miles alternating between all out sprints and brisk walking. Or run up a 100-step flight of stairs and walk back down over the course of 10 minutes. Include options at a gym and the possibilities are endless.

Regardless of your fitness goal, HIIT training can help you achieve it quicker with less time spent training.

Keys to a Successful Mindset in Business

When it comes to having success in business, it might well be that your mindset has more to do with your success or failure than you realize. You also may have a negative mindset and not be aware of it. Here are some keys to achieving and keeping a successful business mindset.

1. Focus

Focus is definitely a key to a successful mindset. Continually remind yourself of what your business is about, what its purpose is, and why you’re doing it. Keep focusing on your goals by having them somewhere that you can see them.

2. Self-assessment

To achieve a successful mindset, you need to ferret out that negative mindset you may not even know you have. Here are some things to watch out for that may indicate a negative mindset:

* Having excessive back-up plans and being overly cautious may mean you are doubtful about your success. Safety nets are understandable, but they can become a tempting escape when things are less than perfect. To be successful, you need to press through those imperfect times, not run from them.

* Believe you deserve it. You may think that you really don’t deserve to succeed in business. You just aren’t “that type.” To be successful, though, you need to believe you are that type!

* Uncertainty can be a manifestation of a negative mindset – you are not sure of yourself. There are resources out there; you can learn what you need to succeed. You just have to go for it.

3. Think like an entrepreneur

If you are starting your own business, it won’t work to think like an employee. You need to think like your own boss! This means the freedom and responsibilities that come with being the head of a business.

4. Believe in your product or service

Whether you are selling something for a company or something of your own creation, you need to really love and believe in the product to succeed. If you are offering a service, you need to believe that you are offering something unique and excellent. Keep that mindset that says your product or service is absolutely worth it.

5. Not “I’ll try”…

If someone asked you if you plan to succeed in business, would you say, “I’ll try”? Then you have a negative mindset! You need to think more along the lines of “I will” or “I can.” Thinking “I’ll try” is a non-committal mindset that is not conducive to success.

Learn to Say No: Increase the Power of How You Spend Your Time

One of the very best ways to manage your time is to learn to say no. Saying no is a great way to control how you spend your time and take your power back. Most of us don’t know how to say no because our parents taught us very well not to say no. Many two-year-olds love saying no, but they are quickly taught that the word no is very unacceptable. But it’s time to take back the power of no and earn more time in your day for doing what you really want to do.

  • You’ll Reduce Your Stress – One of the worst things about overscheduling your time is the stress that it will cause. Learning to say no will automatically reduce your stress, even if the first few times you say no will be a little stressful. The freedom you experience will soon overshadow the fear of saying no.
  • You’ll Be Perceived as More Professional – No one person can do everything. If you already have something scheduled and can’t do something, it is to be expected of a professional person. You don’t even have to provide a reason; just say that your calendar is full.
  • You’ll Improve at Tasks You Really to Want to Do – If you’re not spending time doing stuff you hate doing, you’ll get to spend more time doing things you want to do. That means you’ll get more practice and become better at the things you already like doing.
  • You Get to Spend Time Doing What You Want to Do – No one wants to spend time doing things they dislike doing, but they tend to say yes due to the lessons others may have taught them. If you really want to spend more time writing or helping your clients solve their problems, say no to doing things you don’t want to do and recommend someone else.
  • People Will Respect You More – Even really good people lose respect for those who act like doormats. You probably don’t want to appear as a doormat; you’re just trying to be helpful. But even nice people will take advantage of those who say yes all the time. That’s why you’ll notice it’s always the same three people doing all the work in any group. The “yes” people.
  • Saying No Gives You the Opportunity to Say Yes – This may sound counter-intuitive but it’s true. If you learn to say no to things that don’t advance your business or life in any measurable way, you’ll have more time to say yes to things that do.
  • You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – People who say yes to everything tend to do most things half-way. They don’t mean to, but they get too much on their plate and end up not being able to do the tasks they agreed to do to the best of their ability. If you say no, you can avoid this embarrassment.

Pause, Breathe Deeply, Check Your Calendar

In order to say no without a problem, when someone asks you to do something, even if it’s something you know immediately that you do want to do, make it a practice to take a pause, take a breath, and check your calendar. The act of calendar checking can give you time to put some thought into whether or not you want to say yes or no.

Saying no can truly give you back enough time to create the life that you really want to live. If you’re feeling hurried and overwhelmed take the time to practice saying no. By saying no you’ll take control of your schedule and feel like you get more time in your day.

When to Know If You Need Marriage Counseling

Whether you’ve been married one week, one year, or ten years, all marriages have their ups and downs, their good times and bad.  But gradually you notice your marriage deteriorating day by day.  The little things your spouse does that you used to think were cute now annoy you to the point of screaming and wanting out.

At least you’re noticing the problems.  In some marriages, problems fester and grow like a cancer without noticing.  When they’re finally realized and admitted, it’s too late and not even open heart surgery will help.

So, how do you heal a broken heart?  Do you talk to your spouse, your friends, or do you seek the help of a professional?  How do you know if you need marriage counseling?  It may be difficult for you to share your innermost feelings with a stranger.  Surely, no one can feel or understand what you’re feeling.

Professional marriage counselors have heard it all and are trained to listen, understand, and suggest treatment to mend that broken heart that was once filled with love.  If you’re experiencing hopelessness and helplessness and you feel there is no way to continue in your marriage, a counselor may be the answer.

If you’re still reluctant to seek professional help, you need to create a climate of self-understanding within yourself.  Be certain in your own mind and heart that the fear and problems you feel are real and not just a point in your life where you’re experiencing complicated change.

Search your heart for the answer to this question:  Have you considered divorce?  If the answer is yes, then you may need more help than you’re able to give yourself.  But don’t stop there.  There are other questions to consider regarding your marriage situation.

Do you trust your partner?  Could there be another person involved?  If this is the case, then counseling can certainly help.  Adulterous marriages can leave the other feeling unwanted and unworthy of continuing the marriage.  Counselors can sort through this problem and even help you forgive the wrong done to you.

Do you criticize each other at home and in public?  This can be a struggle for control caused by a lack of self-esteem.  You want to show others you’re good enough for your spouse because he or she is imperfect.

Other questions to be considered can be about sharing responsibilities with household chores and children.  Is money a problem?  If you feel that whatever you earn is yours and not ours, then that could lead to a misunderstanding about the future of your marriage and whether or not you view it as a long-term relationship.

There are many other questions to be asked and answered before you make a decision to seek counseling.  Ask these questions with your partner, and if problems cannot be resolved then it may be time to see a counselor.  Before a marriage ends, both should open their hearts and minds and ask for help.

Keeping a Motivation Journal for Reflection

Keeping a motivation journal can help you in so many ways.  If you’ve ever kept a diary or any other journal you know what it’s like to make this sort of commitment. Making daily entries into your journal is like talking to a friend.  In a sense, your journal is your friend that you can tell anything and always know it’s confidential.  If you’re concerned about anonymity don’t put your name in it.

A motivation journal will help you think positively and creatively.  It will help you develop new skills and increase confidence as these skills evolve.  By writing your activities down, you crystallize your thinking and your goals, allowing you to act with greater self-understanding.

As you discover yourself, you may become aware of things that need change.  You may also discover that you’re a pretty wonderful person as you are. By keeping a motivation journal, we can assume that you’ve already set goals and mapped a path to accomplish those goals, and that you’ve remembered to set realistic goals with attainable increments.  These should contain specific objectives with a time frame and deadlines.  With no time frame or deadline you could find yourself floundering endlessly and never making any noticeable progress.

This may be a good time to list lifetime goals for you. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?  These could be family lifetime goals, academic goals, even social and athletic goals. Again, it’s critical that you be specific.  For instance, what grade average do you want to maintain, how far do you want to run, or how much weight do you desire to lose?

A journal enables us to see what we’re doing, thinking, and feeling on matters that support our motivation.  It’s almost like seeing yourself through another person’s eyes.  You discover what’s going on inside your head when you write them down.

Your thoughts, attitudes and goals become clearer when you can actually see them on paper.  This shows what’s really important to you and helps you to maintain a positive attitude.

Write down your successes and your failures.  By doing this, we can analyze what went wrong and what went right.  We learn what lifted us up to that success and gave us the motivation to do it.  We also learn what lowers our motivation and what’s preventing us from succeeding.

Make it fun and something you look forward to each day when you make your entry.  The journal can be simply written on any paper or you might enjoy purchasing a colorful journal with pictures that you can associate with your goals.

It can be written in first or third person, depending on how you wish to view yourself in the journal.  Is it about you or this person you’re observing as they climb and stumble each day?

When you’ve accomplished your goals and your journal is complete, you’ll feel empowered to take charge of your life.  (Actually, you’ll feel this before completion.) You’ve charted a new direction for yourself and saw it through to the end as you sifted through fears, doubts and worry.  You can relive your successes and review what made you fall backward.  Start a motivation journal today.  You don’t want to miss a day of your new and exciting life.

How You Can Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business

Pinterest may have started out as a place for women to share product images, but its meteoric rise as a social network makes it a great place for businesses, too. Think of it as a place to share ideas in a visual way and be creative about how you can profit from that. Users on Pinterest love to share and re-pin images from a whole range of categories. As with any social network, you just need to find a balance between self-promotion, social networking, and making money.

Here are just a few ways you can use Pinterest both for profit and promotion.

Promote Your Blog

If you have an image on your blog, it’s pinnable. For that reason alone, you should always add an image on each of your blog posts along with a “Pin it” button under each. Aside from that, readers are drawn to images, and an interesting one encourages them to go on and read your article.

When you or a reader pins your image to Pinterest, it creates a direct link back to your blog. This not only adds to your link-building efforts, it can bring a whole new type of traffic to your site. Create themed boards on Pinterest that are based on the categories on your website, and make sure that you always pin your own blog post images to those boards.

Involve Your Customers

Having Pinterest boards is a new way to engage your customers online. Not only can they pin their favorite images to your boards, but they can comment on them and share them with their friends and followers. When people enjoy interacting with your website, they’ll come back more often. This not only builds your relationship with website visitors, but it gives you far greater opportunities to showcase your products and services.

Inspire Your Customers

Often people only see your products in one way and for one purpose. Pinterest boards give you the chance to inspire different ways to use your products through visuals. For example, if you sell wedding favors, you can show pictures of them at the table settings of customers’ weddings. That’s far more inspiring than a simple product image in your store.

Show That You’re a Real Person

It’s always difficult to make a personal connection with people online vs. face-to-face. By including both business boards and personal boards in your Pinterest account, prospects and customers get to see some of your own interests. They start to see the real person behind the business persona. Even if you are representing a large company, remember that customers are eager to know the real people behind the corporate face. If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, this is even more critical.

Add Affiliate Links

You may not realize it, but you can also insert your own affiliate links on your pins. It’s a whole new way of doing affiliate marketing. You can create boards that are just product oriented and earn cash when people click those links and buy something. Just go into the “edit” button for a specific pin and replace the direct link to the product with your affiliate link.

Pinterest isn’t going anywhere any time soon and it is incredibly active. Make the most of it as a place to engage your customers and prospects. At the same time, it presents a new opportunity to earn income online from a completely different source.

9 Foods That Help You Feel Fuller

Most of know that both fiber and water fills you up and keeps you fuller longer between meals, but here are 9 foods you might not expect to fill-the-bill (and you up):

Homemade Broth-Based Soups

Forget the canned or pre-made versions. Most of these have way too much salt in them. Instead make your own out of satisfying healthy ingredients, such as vegetables, chicken or turkey, beans, barley, and a low-salt soup stock or broth. The liquid and fiber will keep you full between meals.

Whole Wheat Pasta

When paired with a protein, such as grilled chicken, this whole grain keeps you full from one meal due to the fact that it takes complex carbohydrates and protein longer to digest.


When eaten before a meal, the fiber and liquid keeps you full so you eat less during your meal. Plus because apples are low on the Glycemic Index scale, they are a great food to keep your blood sugar in balance.


Not on most radar screens as a filling food, salmon is a good source of both protein and the fatty acid Omega 3 – both known to slowly digest.


Unsalted and natural, almonds make a great go-to snack. Because they are rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, it doesn’t take but a handful to fill you up and keep you full until the next meal.


Like most cruciferous vegetables, kale is full of fiber. Besides keeping you full, it also has cholesterol lowering capabilities along with being an anti-oxidant and lowering your risk of certain types of cancer.


Most berries are good for you, but raspberries are the best. At 8 grams of fiber per cup, they’ll stave off hunger for a long time. And they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C.


Turkey works differently to stave off hunger longer than the other foods on this list. Once eaten the amino acid in turkey called tryptophan is converted into serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that turns off your appetite and crushes cravings.

Greek Yogurt

Due to its high protein content – twice that of regular yogurt – it slows the digestion of other foods eaten with it. And it is low in sugar and a rich source of calcium so it helps keep your bones strong.

Keep eating foods rich in fiber and water to stay fuller longer between meals. These 9 foods will add some variety to the satisfying foods you are already eating.

Surprising Time Management Secrets

One certainty in life is that time is limited. While no one is sure how many years they’ll be given to finish doing what they want to do, everything is equal for each day you are given. Everyone has the same 24-hour day to dream, determine goals, and complete tasks that will help them meet those goals. But doesn’t it seem like some people are just better at time management than others? Surprisingly, there are some time management secrets that make you feel like you have hours more in your day.

Set Priorities

There are really only four choices:

1. Most important
2. Most urgent
3. Least important
4. Least urgent

When you identify tasks and set your priorities carefully by what is important over not important, as well as avoid having issues of urgency each day, you can get a handle on your time in ways that you never thought possible.

Learn the Power of No

Saying no is probably one of the most important things you’ll ever learn to say. The problem is our parents disciplined the word “no” from our vocabulary. It’s time to learn how to say no again. If something is not right for you, is too “urgent”, causes you stress, or you just do not want to do it and it doesn’t fit in with meeting your goals, say no. Saying no will free up untold amounts of time to focus on your priorities.

Disconnect from Technology

Unplug the phone, turn off email notifications, and stay away from social media. If you’ve not completed the most important tasks on your daily list, you have no business messing around with technology. The idea of multitasking is overrated, so unplug and tune in to the tasks at hand. You’ll work faster, smarter, and gain the time you need for other things.

Schedule Everything

Your priorities need to be added to your calendar. Everything from the 15 minutes you need to use social media for marketing purposes, to the one hour spent taking your kids to the park, needs to be put into your calendar. If you have a project due in a week, you should have five days of scheduled time to work on the project prior to the due date. This helps avoid those urgencies mentioned earlier.

Ignore Interruptions

Unless the house is on fire or a child is bleeding, the telephone ringing and the knocks on your office door are not important. They are interruptions. Check your email at scheduled times during the day, explain to your children, spouse, and family when you are working, and otherwise ignore the door bell ringing. If you didn’t schedule it, you don’t need it.


Whether it’s the housework, cooking, or customer service, it’s important to outsource what you can afford to outsource. There are huge payoffs to outsourcing the things that are simply time suckers from your day. If you can’t afford to outsource, your kitchen will not explode if a few dishes pile up, and everyone can do with eating a salad for dinner. And you can automate a lot of administrative tasks and customer service issues if you work from home.

Once and You’re Done

Multitasking is not really a bastion of efficiency. Instead, seek to touch each task only once and finish it. For example, when you check the mail immediately throw out the trash, schedule bills to be paid, and deal with any issues that came up with a letter right then. Of course, your mail time should be scheduled as well so that you still stay on track.

Check Your Schedule

At least twice a day, set out the time to check your schedule. Usually once in the morning and once at the end of the day is good. Ensure that you have your priorities in order, add anything new to your schedule that needs to be added, and remind yourself of what is expected the next day. Checking your schedule helps you feel accomplished at the end of the day, and reminds you of what’s coming up tomorrow.

Finally, it’s important to be very serious about following your schedule and calendar. Use technology to help such as Google Calendar or Outlook, synced to your smartphone to help you remember what it is that you should be doing now, and next. It may seem geeky to be so serious about a schedule, but it’s this one factor that makes these surprising time management tips work.

Personality Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Whether you think that leaders are born or made – or a bit of both – there are still some characteristics that distinguish leaders from others. Have you wondered if you or someone you know is a natural leader? Are you interested in learning some characteristics of good leadership? Here are some personality characteristics that tend to go with effective leaders.


Are you the kind of person who likes to get things done? Do people come to you and ask you to do something for them and know you’ll do it? Not everyone is task-oriented, but those who are may end up being effective leaders. Being task-oriented means being a “doer,” the kind of person who focuses on getting something done and not stopping until the task is finished.

Task-oriented people generally follow through. This is important in a leader, because leaders have definite goals to reach and people to lead, and people will stop following you if you don’t get things finished.

Also, task-oriented leaders do not need “babysitting” to get something done. They can take initiative on their own – the task itself is motivation enough.

Honest Self-Image

Leaders tend to be pretty honest about their weaknesses and strengths, but not to the point of letting either one take over. For instance, a leader can balance between recognizing his weakness and not letting that stop him or her, and a leader can see his or her strengths without getting conceited. Those in leadership positions may find that they garner more respect when they are honest and transparent about their flaws than if they pretend to be perfect.

People Person

A leader tends to be a people person – someone who derives lots of energy from being around people. Such extroverted personalities make great leaders, but introverts are not barred from leadership, either. You can have a love for people and be introverted; you just respond differently to interacting with others.

In other words, you can be a “people person” even if you find yourself tired of leading at the end of a day. Extroverts and introverts can both be motivated by a love for people and their well-being.

“Infectious” Joy

Have you ever been around someone who just seems happy with life in general? If a person shares an idea or thought and seems really happy about it, do you feel like joining him or her? Leaders tend to exhibit this kind of infectious joy that draws other people to them. Positive-thinking leaders have a zest for life that compels other people to join them.

The general consensus is that characteristics of a good leader can be in-born or learned, or a bit of both. If you don’t have all of these traits naturally, you can learn many of them. No two leaders are the same.

A Guide to the Plank Exercise

One type of exercise that will improve your abdominal core strength and stability are plank exercises. When performed properly, they will not only improve the muscles supporting the spine and lower body, but also develop the arms, shoulders, and glutes.

Many people that don’t exercise might wonder why they need a strong abdominal core. A strong core not only gives you a better erect posture, but it also makes doing simple everyday tasks a lot easier, like carrying groceries in from the car, or a full laundry basket, or toting around a 15-pound toddler, or vacuuming, or …. you get the idea.

The Basic Plank

The starting position for this exercise is the same as it is for a push-up – your body in a straight line (like a straight plank of wood) with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.

Next, squeeze your glutes (buttocks) to stabilize the front half of your body facing the floor.

Be sure your head is in line with your back by looking at the floor about a foot in front of your hands. This takes the pressure off of your neck.

Hold this position for 20 seconds when first starting out. As you get more comfortable holding this position, gradually increase the amount of time without compromising your form or breathing.

Plank Variations

There are several variations to the basic plank. Three popular ones are the:


The starting position for this exercise is basically the same as it is for the basic plank, except your forearms are supporting your weight instead of your hands. Keep to the form by ensuring your hands are pointing forward and are shoulder-width apart. Hold for 20 seconds or as long as you can.


This variation also initially uses the basic starting position, but with one twist – you are supporting your lower body on your knees instead of your feet. The knee plank is a great exercise to do if you have some lower back problems or when the basic plank hurts your back. Hold time is the same as it is for the other plank exercises.


The side plank is a great exercise designed to work the obliques and abdominal side muscles. The starting position is you on your side supported by the hand of one arm and your feet together. Your body should be in line at an incline from your feet to your head. Variations of the side plank that increase the level of difficulty include raising the non-supporting arm and leg. If you have a hard time holding the side plank position, try crossing your non-supporting leg in front of you for additional support. Hold for 20 seconds or as long as you can and then switch sides.

The beauty of planks is that they require no equipment and can be done just about anywhere, making them a great exercise to do while away from home or the gym.

Use Customer Feedback to Answer “What Should I Write About Next?”

When you first started content marketing, chances are you had no trouble coming up with content ideas. But as you continually put out content, you’ll at some point hit a wall where you’ll start to have trouble coming up with new content ideas.

When you get to this point, instead of trying to figure out all your content ideas on your own, why not try asking your users? After all, at the end of the day it’s their opinion that really matters.

Here’s how to do this.

Asking through Direct Email

One great way to ask for feedback is to just ask by email. If you have a list of buyers or customers, just send out an email asking if they have any feedback.

If they get the sense that you’re really trying to help them by offering better content, they’ll be very willing to help you out.

This works especially well in environments that have a strong sense of community or a “we’re in it together” sense.

Using Surveys to Ask for Opinions

Surveys can be another great way to ask for people’s opinions.

Surveys can be a lot more involved, where you ask customers several questions and get a lot of useful feedback. You can ask questions about how they like the content so far, what they’d like to see more of in the future, any unanswered questions they have, demographic questions, and so on.

Because surveys take more time to answer, usually you’ll need to create some sort of prize or incentive to get people interested. For example, you can give away a free ebook to anyone who answers the survey. Or you can give away a higher ticket item in a sweepstakes style.

Using the Phone

For marketers who want to go one step beyond what most people do, there’s the phone option.

If someone orders from you, chances are on their order form they needed to fill out their phone number. One way to get powerful feedback as well as to send a message that you really care is to pick up the phone and give them a call.

Let them know you’re calling because you want to make sure you’re providing the best service possible. Ask them if they have any feedback, or ask them 3-5 questions you prepared beforehand.

Once you have your feedback, use it to structure your future content so it really answers your customer’s unmet needs. If you do the feedback process well, you should have a very good idea of exactly what your customers want to know. If you provide that information for them now and consistently in the future, you’ll have loyal readers for life.

How to Prioritize Your Goals

In order to prioritize your goals you’ll need to have a good understanding of what you need to be happy in your life. There are typically four areas in which most people make goals:

  1. Family – Spending more time with your kids or partner
  2. Financial – Saving toward your six-month emergency cash or starting a business
  3. Physical – Being healthy and more active
  4. Personal – Getting more education or devoting more time to spiritual pursuits

Within each of these areas are numerous concerns, but most goals can be summed up into one of these four areas. As to which goals are most important at any given time, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions to determine where to place your focus.

  • Which goals nag at you most often? – What keeps you up at night that worries you? Are your finances suffering because you cannot earn enough money at your current job and you want to figure out how to get off the debt treadmill? This is a goal that fits in with all four of the areas above because financial stress can cause a lot of problems with your health and personal development as well as cause problems within the family.
  • Which goals can be accomplished most easily? – Some goals are very short term but give maximum impact without too much work. For instance, maybe you have a goal of walking 15 minutes per day. This goal may only fit in with the personal and physical areas above, but walking 15 minutes per day will not take much away from the other areas and can give you huge results and a feeling of accomplishment.
  • Which goals would give you the most pride in yourself? – Will you feel better if you lose 20 pounds or will you feel better if you spend 20 minutes extra with your son? Keep in mind there is no wrong answer, although being healthy might ultimately give you more time in terms of years with your son.
  • Which goals have the most permanent results? – When choosing whether to spend that extra money on your degree, determine how permanent the results are and realize that no one can take that degree from you; it will always be an accomplishment. What is it worth?
  • Which goals will still have an impact in 5 or 10 years? – If you start a business today and work daily toward meeting the goals of that business, what will be different in five or ten years? How will that impact you now and in the future?
  • Which goals align with other core values in life? – Any goal that fits into all four areas of your life is worth pursuing if it also fits into your schedule at the time.
  • Which goals are completely up to you, that you control 100 percent? – Remember that you cannot control what anyone else does, so if any goal relies on the participation of someone else and you don’t have their participation, you might want to switch gears and focus on something only you control.
  • Which goals are just for you? – Some goals are completely personal in nature and have nothing to do with anyone else. For instance, you might want to read a particular author that has nothing to do with anything but your own pleasure. This is perfectly fine.
  • Which goals are just for others? – There are “shoulds” that often get in the way of proper goal setting, and these are goals that are only for other people. Your spouse wants you to lose weight, your mom wants you to go to college, your best friend wants you to start a business. None of these are a good reason to do something by themselves, although as long as you know going in why and carefully consider the costs, it’s okay to make it a goal if you will also find benefits in the achievement as well.
  • Which goals cause you the most fear? Why? – Sometimes the very thing you fear most is what’s best for you to do. Look clearly at your goal and figure out why it frightens you. Sometimes it’s just fear of the unknown and, like ripping off a Band-Aid, just doing it might be the best cure.
  • Which goals make you excited? – Some goals immediately send tingles down your body and into your mind, pushing you forward to doing it. These are goals that are easy to do and probably impact your life a lot. However, do pay attention to the actual value you’ll be gaining from its completion, because if it’s a goal like becoming the high scorer on a video game you might want to question your “why”.
  • Which goals are most realistic? – The best goals to put first are the goals that best fit into your life today, cover all four areas of life, will fit into your schedule, and where you control 100 percent of the effort needed to proceed.

When you answer all these questions, you’ll be able to see how the goals practically organize themselves. Try making a chart and adding each goal to the four areas, then choosing the ones that cross the most areas to add to your schedule first.

What’s the True Cost of Outsourcing?

So many small business owners are reluctant to outsource, because they don’t like spending the extra money.  They think it would be a waste of cash to pay someone else to perform tasks they can do themselves.  But that thinking is very flawed.

The top marketers you know today have teams to help them go from the conception of an idea to a product launch.  But before they could afford a staff, they used freelancers to outsource the more insignificant tasks while they worked on building a bona fide business.

Name just about any millionaire or billionaire in the world and chances are, that person has employees or outsourcers who take care of the vast majority of their work.  It’s nearly impossible for one person to grow a business to the seven-figure range or greater by themselves.  It can be done, but it would require a level of dedication that very few individuals possess.

Try to think about outsourcing in terms of the money you deserve to be paid.  What do you think your time is worth?  Are you willing to go out and work at a job making minimum wage or a bit more? If not, then you’re better off delegating your tasks to people who are willing to work for that.  If your time is worth more than what it would cost you to hire someone else to do it, then it just makes sense to outsource the task!

Trying to do everything yourself can also hamper your chance to be extremely successful.  The more you try to do by yourself, the less you’ll actually get done.  Think about this:  If you spent every single waking moment writing eBooks, you might be able to pull off one a month.  If you’re a very fast writer, you might be able to create a few more.  But if you hired outsourcers, you could create an unlimited number of them – and take the time to launch each one and get a hefty return on your investment, too!

You may have heard the horror stories about finding reliable outsourcers.  Yes, it can be hard to find someone who is reliable, but you don’t have to be ripped off!  You can give each outsourcer a small order first to test the quality of their work and the speed of delivery.  The first few jobs might be smaller jobs.  Once they’ve proven themselves a few times, you can start giving them larger jobs. Go from a pack of 5 one-page articles to a 50-page eBook.

Some outsourcers will ask for payment up front, because they get scammed, too.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you should discount them.  Some very excellent outsourcers require payment up front to make sure they don’t have their hard work stolen.  Just make sure you always ask for references or take the time to examine their reputation and profiles first.  If they have a lot of good testimonials from people you recognize, or they have a very good word-of-mouth reputation, then you’re probably safe working with them.

Even people with stellar reputations flake out sometimes, but it’s less likely than it might be if you went with a total stranger with no standing in the freelance community. Remember, outsourcing does cost money, but as long as the work they do makes you a profit and saves you time, it’s worth it in the end.

I Exercise All the Time, So Why Don’t I Look More Toned?

First let’s define what being toned really means. By knowing the definition, it will help you change your exercise plan to work on getting the look you desire. Being toned is when your body fat percentage is low enough so that your muscle definition shows through.

So with that said, you most likely don’t look more toned because you are still carrying too much body fat or at least too much in the areas where you want muscle to show. With that out of the way, let’s see what you can change to get that toned look.

Reduce Your Body Fat Percentage

If you are carrying too much body fat, then your first goal should be to reduce it down by burning more calories than you are eating. Generally speaking you have to consume somewhere between 14 and 18 calories per pound of weight just to maintain or stay at the same weight.

So it would make sense that to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. How many calories? Start with a 500-calorie deficit per day.

Over the course of a week, that 500-calorie deficit adds up to 3,500 calories or a 1-pound weight loss. Monitor your weight/body fat percentage and adjust as necessary.

Increase the Size of Your Strength Training Workouts

Once you have your body fat percentage down to 21-24% for women or 14-17% for men, you can start building muscle if losing body fat alone did not get you the toned look you want. To build muscle, you have to lift weights. If you are woman, don’t worry – you won’t bulk up; your hormone make-up won’t let you.

The only way to build muscle is to lift moderately heavy weights until you can’t lift another one – called muscle failure. Strive to work the same muscle groups every other day 3 times per week.

Challenge Your Muscles

However, don’t get into a routine of lifting the same amount of weight the same number of times. In order to build muscle over time, you have to challenge your muscles. To do that you have to lift more weight or lift the same weight more times during your next routine than you did your last routine – called progressive overload. Otherwise, your muscles will only develop to the point of where they can satisfy the load placed upon them and no more.

Eat More Calories

To build muscle and get that more toned look, your muscles have to have enough to “eat”. In other words you have to consume more calories than your body needs. But wait, won’t the extra calories get stored as fat? Not if you are doing the progressive overload correctly.

We know how many calories you have to consume just to maintain. To build muscle, eat from 250 to 500 more calories than you need. Watch your weight and your body fat percentage. If you are doing things right, you should gain from 0.5 to 1 pound per week of muscle, but not any additional body fat. If you are gaining less or more, add in or cut out more calories, respectively.

Once you get the muscle toning you want, then eat the number of calories you require to maintain it and stay with your strength training program to keep your current muscle mass.

The Importance of Building Trust as a Team

If you work with a team of people it is important that everyone trusts each other. Otherwise this makes working together extremely difficult. If members aren’t open to sharing their work or sharing new information, the team will never see awesome results.

As trust between people builds, so do their results. A strong, trusting team can really achieve new heights and hold huge potential. It takes a leader to help build and develop trust in any team setting. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Trust in the workplace is important as it can help define character, builds strength, and helps people’s true potential shine through.

Just as in your personal relationships, trust means that you have to rely on someone else to make the right moves and actions. When you trust your fellow team members, you will notice that you feel safe around them. You can easily discuss your problems and issues with them without feeling self-conscious or embarrassed.

When team members lack in trust, they are prone to spending more time thinking of how to protect themselves instead of thinking about how they can help the team as a whole.

Think about this for a minute. How easily do you share your own knowledge with people you trust? Fairly easily, especially when compared to those you don’t trust yet.

As a team leader you will need to be the first person to demonstrate that you trust each member. You are setting an example to everyone else so they will follow suit.

One of the easiest ways to build trust in a team setting is by communicating effectively with everyone.

A good example of this is to hold a team meeting where everyone can introduce themselves. This can really help to break the ice and get people talking to each other. Don’t even discuss the project at hand during this session, instead present it as a meet and greet session, maybe even over a lunch.

It can also be helpful to discuss the actual issue of trust. This is very true if the project requires specific input in certain areas. Allow members to voice any concerns over trust. They may be worried about security issues and confidentiality issues. Deal with any areas of concern as they are brought up.

Creating a great functioning team can be a fantastic achievement, but without trust the team potential is drastically reduced.

Stop Complaining and Take Back Control

If you find yourself constantly complaining, you must believe you have a real need to complain and your life isn’t where you would like it to be.  If you don’t complain, you probably know someone who does and it makes everyone feel uncomfortable. They probably try to avoid that person as much as possible.  Whether it’s you or someone else who is constantly complaining, what can be done to correct it and get back to positive living?

Complaining is a bad habit.  A habit, whether good or bad, is an urge to adopt that action no matter what the consequences.  The more you feed the habit the more it will take control of your life and the harder it is to kick.

Complaining typically stems from negative thoughts you’ve created.  You realize you’re the cause of your thoughts so you blame yourself and vent it with complaining. Refuse to let those negative thoughts become you.  We become what we think just like we become what we eat, drink, or do.

If we put good into our body and mind then good will come out.  Conversely, if we put bad things into our body and mind such as drugs and negative thoughts then bad will come out.  It’s inevitable and it’s up to you to correct. Negative thinking and complaining can be just as addictive as a drug.  Whatever your mind is used to thinking, that’s what it learns to crave.

Admit you have negative thoughts and that you are their creator.  Realize too that these thoughts lead only to more negativity and more addiction.  You know what you’re doing but can’t help yourself until you admit to your problem and let it go.

Relax and let your negative thoughts disappear.  It may take a while but it can be done, and when negative thinking is stopped so will your complaining.  You didn’t become what you are overnight and you can’t expect to become what you desire overnight either.  If that were the case we would all be perfect in mind and body.  It’s a fight that can be won with constant dedication and awareness.

Don’t doubt yourself.  Believe in yourself.  We choose what we think and we choose what we are and can become.  Accept responsibility for your actions and let it go.  Then take positive steps to accept what needs to be done to achieve your goal.  Dedicate yourself to getting it done.

This will disrupt your mind’s pattern of thinking and it will be easy to fall back into the old ways.  Surround yourself with positive things and these will seep into your mind until they become you and your new habit is formed.  Whatever was bad in your environment that caused you to complain, get rid of it.  Each step toward a positive emotion gives you confidence to continue.

We all tend to blame others.  Only politicians can do that and get away with it.  If you don’t like the life you’re living or the thoughts you’re thinking then change it.  Take responsibility and take control.  Stop complaining today and discover a new you tomorrow.

8 Ways to Earn Money with Digital Photography

Are you a shutterbug? If you like to snap pictures at family events or just out in the neighborhood, put that camera to good use in ways that will earn you money for your efforts.

The world of photography has changed since the instant camera was developed. With a digital camera, you can take a not-so-good shot and make it perfect using a variety of software options. Best of all, pictures can be printed on quality paper on your printer or at a store kiosk for just a few cents each.

Technology has created memory cards much like the flash drive storage medium to file and save pictures for sharing on the Internet. You can easily upload pictures from the memory card to your friends, family, and a blog or website if you have one.

1. Stock Photography

This business is growing. For website newsletters, magazines, and articles, publishers look for photos that capture the essence of their articles. It is not terribly convenient to go out and snap some pictures every time you need one. Selling stock photographs to businesses and individuals is convenient for them and lucrative for you.

2. Wedding Photographer

Okay so if you aren’t a professional you won’t be the main photographer at first, but you can be hired to take candid shots at the reception or wedding photos after the ceremony. The happy couple can order as many pictures as they want, and you can create wedding CDs of the pictures you took.

3. Newspaper Pics

If you are in the right place at the right time, you might capture photos that are worthy of the newspaper. When news happens, a newspaper photographer might not be on the scene. You can capture the moments and sell them to newspapers. Snapping shots at community events may also earn you some money from local newspapers.

4. Magazine Photographer

Create a portfolio of photos that you’ve taken and submit them to magazines. Looking at your work, they may hire you for assignments. Magazines are a tough market to break into, so cut your teeth on other smaller assignments for local newspapers.

5. Local Photography Business

Ever gotten a mailing that shows cars for sale or houses for sale? Someone had to take those photographs. It could be you. Hire yourself out to area businesses to do the photographs for them.

6. Event Photographer

Some families like to document their events like family reunions, christenings, bar mitzvahs, and birthday parties. You can be the eyes in the room catching candid shots of everyone.

7. Photography Website

If you know a lot about digital cameras and photography, create a website to sell photography products. Keep visitors and customers coming back with engaging content on various aspects of photography.

8. Teach a Photography Class

Those cameras look easy to use but some of those symbols can mix people up. Teach others to use their digital camera and create great pictures that they, too, can market as a business.

Do you like photography? What started off as a hobby can become a new business venture.

Should You Use Cooking Spray to Cut Calories?

When most of us think about cutting calories, we think about reducing the amount of food we eat. However, cutting out food is not the only way to reduce your calorie intake. You can cut out calories by using alternate cooking preparation techniques.

One healthy way is instead of coating your pan with butter, margarine, oil or meat drippings, spray it with a cooking spray. Replacing one pat of butter with one spray saves on average 35 calories and three grams of fat. Most commercially prepared cooking sprays have about one gram of fat and seven calories for a one-second spray. By comparison a pat of butter has 36 calories and over four grams of fat.

Other Cooking Spray Ideas

Another popular choice for using cooking spray instead of butter is on air-popped popcorn. Your popcorn will still have the buttery taste, but without all of the calories. Cooked vegetables don’t have to be served drizzled with butter. Instead use a cooking spray to coat the vegetables and then toss with your favorite herbs or seasonings. You’ll find you actually will prefer vegetables served with cooking spray instead of butter.

Eating Out

All of this is well and good for meals you cook at home, but what about when you eat out? Most restaurants will oblige your request to have something cooked in cooking spray instead of butter or oil. In most cases, all you have to do is ask. As more people are becoming health-conscious, eateries are adapting to keep your business.

Make Your Own Cooking Spray

Mix together 1 part olive oil (or a healthy oil of your choice) and 5 parts water. Pour into a misting spray bottle and shake well to mix the ingredients. That’s it; simple, huh. Make sure your bottle is the mister type. A plant mister bottle works well. Be sure to shake well each time before using so the contents are well mixed. Commercial sprays contain an emulsifier to keep the oil and water suspended, where your homemade spray does not.

Overall, ounce for ounce, cooking oils and fats contribute more calories to your foods than any other ingredient. By using a cooking spray, you are cutting out unwanted calories and fat, but not flavor. It may only be 35 calories that you are saving, but little changes here and there all add up in the end.

Are You Setting the Right Goals for Yourself?

There is a lot more to goal setting than just picking a goal and moving forward. While that is important, it’s also important to ensure that you are setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. In order to ensure that you are setting the right goals for yourself, answer the following questions:

Are You Setting Specific and Realistic Goals?

It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure if something is actually achievable, then you’ve not done enough research. Once you’ve set a goal that is indeed realistic, then you need to be specific enough in your description of it so that it’s also easy to take the goal and work backwards to create a schedule of actions needed to succeed.

Are Your Goals Multifaceted?

Focusing on only one part of your life is a bad idea. People live multifaceted lives and need to make goals for all areas of their lives in order to feel successful. If you have a wonderful business and career but your personal life suffers, then no matter how successful you are, you will not feel successful. Something will always feel as if it’s missing from your life if your goals aren’t inclusive. Therefore, make sure your goals include something from each aspect of your life.

Is Your Scheduling Representative of Real Need?

Once you create the schedule for yourself to reach each goal that you’ve set, you need to seriously consider how representative it is of reality. Say your goal is to be healthy and reduce your cholesterol by 10 percent in six months, but you haven’t set aside the time needed to exercise and eat right. If you don’t schedule in the time needed, you won’t succeed because something will always be in your way taking time away from you. It will be very frustrating to practice your schedule because it doesn’t represent reality.

For instance, if you are going to exercise 30 minutes per day, setting aside only 30 minutes isn’t going to be realistic. You’ll probably need to set aside an hour to account for getting ready as well as cooling down or getting cleaned up afterward.

Are You Learning from Failure?

Many times when setting goals and schedules, instead of learning from failure, people give up. Using the example above, once you implement your schedule to reach the goals that you have set, when you notice there are things you’ve forgotten to take into account, don’t give up. Learn from the failure and change the schedule to be more realistic.

You might find that in practice you have to rewrite all your goals and your schedule, but this is perfectly acceptable. Many people believe failure is something negative, but the truth is, if you don’t fail sometimes you’re not going to learn much and it’s likely you’ve set goals that are too easy.

Do Your Goals Represent Your Needs and Wants or Someone Else’s?

A lot of people set goals that represent what someone else wants instead of what they want. This can really cause a lot of bad feelings and resentment which can derail the best laid plans. As you set your goals for your life, ask yourself if they’re really what you want for yourself or what someone else wants for you. Ask yourself if you’re okay with any goal you make being for someone else before you embark on your journey.

It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s important that you are honest about that and make some goals for yourself too that don’t involve anyone else’s needs or wants.

Are You Checking in Often to Stay on Track?

Schedules are very important to the success of reaching any goal in life. To-do lists pale in comparison to a well laid-out calendar of tasks and activities that get you from point “A” to point “B”. Ensure that you look at your schedule every morning and every night and note when you succeed on sticking to your schedule and where you don’t. Noticing a pattern of activity can be helpful in fixing a poorly written schedule, as well as staying realistic about whether or not you’re sticking to the plan.

Are Your Goals Focused Positively?

When writing a goal it’s important to write them in a positive way, or at least in a way that feels positive to you. In the quest to improve your life, try writing down a goal and then changing the words to sound more positive to see if it isn’t more motivating. For instance, “losing weight” seems like a good goal, but for some people it might signify deprivation. So instead, the person might frame the goal as “improving my BMI by 10 points” or “improving my cholesterol by 10 percent.”

Do You Have Too Many Goals Set at One Time?

Just as setting too few goals can be a problem, so can setting too many. Everyone has a personal life and a career life and points in between. If you have set goals in too many areas of life at once, you might tire yourself out and get overwhelmed. Instead, pick one personal goal and one other type of goal to focus on until you reach them, and then you can add more goals as time goes on. You don’t need to do everything today. “Slow and steady wins the race” is a good motto to hang on to.

Setting the right goals for yourself takes some thought and consideration. Don’t try to set all your goals in one day; instead, set some goals in different stages and in different areas of your life and give a lot of thought to why you’re making the goal in the first place.

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