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.

How Exercise Can Help You Look and Feel Younger

It’s been proven many times over that exercising can help you look and feel younger, but exactly what kind of exercises should you be doing? Broken down into two broad categories, it should be a mix of cardio and strength training.

Cardio

Doing anything that raises your heart rate qualifies as cardio training. So whether you ride bike, walk, jog, play tennis, or swim laps, all of it gets your blood flowing faster. This gets more oxygen to your cells and more carbon dioxide out.

In a study done at McMaster University in Ontario Canada, researchers had one group of mice run in a wheel while the other group did nothing for exercise. What they found in the group that exercised is that every aspect of their health and appearance improved, versus the control group that did nothing.

But that was only part of the story; they also found that the control group’s fur started graying and balding. In the group that exercised, their fur did not gray, nor did they experience balding.

In another study – this time on humans – a doctor took skin samples from inactive people over 65 years old. Half of the group was put through a cardio exercise routine for three months. The doctor then took another skin sample from each and did a comparison study.

What he found was the group that exercised had improved skin; both their inner and outer layers had significantly improved. So much so that he concluded their skin was of the same age as a 40-year old.

Strength Training

As we age, we lose bone density, muscle mass, and tone. By using light weights or resistance bands, but doing many repetitions, you can slow the loss of bone, keep muscle tone, and maintain mass. You can even build muscle mass after age 65 with the right program!

Eating Right

 The second aspect of looking and feeling younger is eating the right foods. Stay away from fast and processed foods, and diet soda.

Instead, focus on eating lean meats and fish, whole grains, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Each of these foods adds something special to your diet, so to have a complete nutrient plan you need some from each group.

The other half of eating right is portion control. As we get older, our metabolism starts to slow down, so we don’t need as much food as we once did to maintain our current weight. Read labels to see how much a portion really is as packaging can leading you into eating more than one serving.

Doing cardio, strength training, and eating right are as close to the fountain of youth as anything we have. Exercising on a consistent basis not only increases endurance and stamina, but it improves muscle tone and skin. With exercise and healthy eating, you’ll look years younger than you really are, have more energy, and in general feel better and have a more youthful outlook on life.

Create a Web Application That Sells

Successful web applications are applications that solve unmet needs, are easy to use, and have a simple yet powerful marketing process to get people in the door. Most of the effort in creating a web application comes up front, in the development process.

Once development is complete, if your product is a success you’ll be able to make a lot more money with less work than other online business models. (For example, through advertising, blogging, etc.)

Here’s how to create a web application that sells.

Fulfill an Unmet Need

The most important thing about your web application is that it has to fulfill an unmet need that the market truly wants.

Basecamp, for example, was the first online project management tool that was both easy to use and affordable for the small business owner. As a result, the web app has really taken off.

A good indication of whether or not a web app will be useful is to ask yourself what you would genuinely use. Founders who use their own products generally create better products and have a better chance at success.

Ease of Use and Minimalist on Features

Don’t over develop. Don’t add too many features. Products can be killed by having too many features rather than too few.

Dropbox wasn’t the first to market in the online back-up industry. They overtook the industry not because they had more features, but because their proposition was simpler. They backed up everything you put in one folder on your computer, automatically, all the time. It was much easier to use than other systems with complex set-up and myriads of options that nobody understood.

Make your product easy to use. Reduce feature sets and get it down to the core of solving your user’s problems.

Development

Development can be very easy if you already have the skills, while being tricky for an entrepreneur who isn’t also a coder.

Outsourcing an integral part of your business generally isn’t a good idea. If your business is a software business, don’t outsource the coding of your product.

Instead, the coding is best done either by a technical co-founder or a trusted employee. You want to have a close relationship with whoever is developing your code.

Generating Traffic and Getting Sales

Do your round one beta testing with friends and friends of friends. This will be your ground zero. From there, contact high-impact individuals in the industry you serve to get the word out.

Take for example 99designs, a service that hosts design competitions amongst designers where only the winning design is selected and paid for by the client. When they first launched, nobody had heard of them, though a few people had used the concept and liked it.

By targeting key individuals in the CSS communities and design communities, the founder was quickly able to get the word out.

Experiment with PPC traffic as well as SEO traffic. Email bloggers and publishers in your space about your new product. If you’re truly solving a problem, they’ll want to know about it.

Also target tech-oriented sites that follow web applications. Hacker News is easy to get into, though not necessarily easy to rank for. TechCrunch is much harder to get into, but can get a lot of exposure to truly market-changing applications.

Creating a web application that sells isn’t easy, but can be incredibly rewarding both emotionally and financially. Most of the work is up front – once you have the product and it’s taken off, you’ll have a stream of income with little work that will last a long time.

Listening in Your Relationship

Are you struggling in your current relationship? If so, one of the reasons could be because you do not listen to what your partner is saying. You may be in the habit of closing your ear the minute they start complaining about something.

If you truly want to save your relationship and have it last for years to come, improving your listening skills is one good way to achieve this. As you listen more, you will find that your relationship becomes more romantic and attentive.

Think back to when you first started dating. Isn’t this the kind of atmosphere you would like to recreate? You were eager to find out everything you could about your date, and you made sure you were listening. Bet that sounds familiar!

At some point in most relationships, there comes a point when you think you know each other well enough. This is when you may start taking each other for granted. You don’t go out of your way to be romantic, and you really only half listen when they start talking about certain things.

So if your relationship needs a little spark put back into it, start listening more closely. Listening also includes paying attention to things like body language. Sometimes words don’t convey true feelings. Remember the saying, “Actions speak louder than words”?

It isn’t hard to become a better listener. Just make up your mind that you are going to do this. Then the next time you have a conversation with your partner, summarize what they have said and repeat it back to them. This will show them that you have actually been paying attention.

Repeating parts of the conversation will also help them identify with what they have just said. If they were trying to explain a certain situation and you misread it, this will become clear to them. It gives them the chance to try and explain things in a different way. This brings up another issue. It may not be that you weren’t listening, it could be that the problem wasn’t explained clearly.

As we age, our relationships change. This is because we mature and we physically change. You may find that as you hit the 50+ age group, you now have to deal with health issues. These issues can affect your relationship. You may not be able to do certain activities together anymore.  Instead of seeing this as a disadvantage, look for alternatives.

By listening to your partner, you will discover these changes without having to be told about them. This will do nothing but improve your relationship together.

How to Evaluate a Debt Relief Company

The debt relief field is riddled with scams and companies who are more interested in taking your money than helping you get rid of debt. How do you actually find a debt relief company who can help you?

Follow these tips and you’ll have a much better chance of finding a great debt relief program to work with.

Work with a Non-Profit Debt Relief Company

Non-profit debt relief companies are much less likely to be just out to make a buck. In fact, many of them were founded because they wanted to create a more helpful system than the ones that currently existed.

Keep in mind that just because the company is not for profit does not mean it’s free. You still have to pay for their services. They still have to make enough money to pay for their staff, their facilities, and other operational costs.

Make sure you either ask the company to see their 501(c)(3) certification or call the IRS directly to verify their 501(c)(3) status.

There are several debt consolidation companies that aren’t non-profits who claim to be so. Don’t take non-profit claims at face value without verifying it.

Research Complaints and Accreditations

Check the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, and the American Association of Debt Management Organizations to see if the company you’re considering is accredited.

If they’re not accredited by any well-known organization, you should probably stay clear of them.

Also research the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website. If you can’t find anything on their business, try giving the BBB a call.

Look on RipoffReport to see if anyone has filed a report on the company.

Finally, Google their name for terms like “Name + review” or “Name + scam” or “Name + results” to see what kind of feedback other people have.

Examining Their Fee and Program Structure

Examine what kind of fee structure they’re asking for. Is there an upfront payment? Is there an additional monthly fee on top of the interest percentage?

Compare at least two to three companies to get a good sense for what kind of consolidation you can qualify for.

Remember to do your own math. If a company claims they’re only charging 8%, but when you do the math it comes out to 13%, that’s something you should know before you sign any paperwork. There are plenty of interest calculators online that can make the math very simple.

Picking a debt relief company is not a simple or easy process. Your financial future, as well as your credit report, is on the line. Compare several companies, do careful research, and at the end of the day you’ll come out ahead.

Top Ten Power-Packed Foods

What is the secret to a long and healthy life? It is in the food that we eat. As you well know, all foods are not created equal. Choosing and eating the right foods may help increase your life expectancy as well as the quality of your life.

Here are ten of the top power packed foods designed to give you energy, vitality and all around good health!

1. Beans

If they give you gas, take precautions before you eat them. Soaking them first can help. Beans of all kinds (kidney, navy, lentils, chickpeas, Northern) are high in protein. This is plant protein so it contains very little fat, carbs, and calories. If fiber is a problem in your diet, eating a healthy portion of beans each day can keep your digestive system healthy.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is coming into popularity as a food that lowers blood cholesterol. You can make it yourself with rolled oats or eat the instant kind if you are in a hurry. Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.

3. Fruits

Fruits are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer. Berries such as blueberries and grapes have the highest amount of antioxidants. But choose an array of fruits in a wide variety of colors for maximum health. The antioxidants in fruit boost the immune system to fight the effects of aging in the body.

4. Allium Foods

This class of foods includes garlic, onions, leeks, and shallots. Garlic is known for lowering cholesterol. Allium vegetables help guard the body against the risk of cancer and many other ailments. They also help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Eating these power-packed vegetables in their natural state, especially garlic, increases their health benefits.

5. Salmon

Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions like atherosclerosis. Wild salmon is a fatty fish, but it contains good fats that have been proven to improve health in children and adults. Salmon is rich in protein, which is of great use after an exercise session to build muscle tissue.

6. Flax Seed

Like salmon, flax contains Omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds also contain Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. You get a lot of power to fight high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes with this seed. Ground flax seed can be added to fruit smoothies, sprinkled in yogurt, eaten with cereal, or added to pancake mix to name a few applications.

7. Peppers

Peppers are colorful. They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Peppers range from mild and sweet to so hot you’ll be calling the fire department. All peppers contain a substance called Capsaicin. Capsaicin has the properties of an anti-inflammatory pain reliever that lowers cancer risk and heart disease. Peppers are good in salads, salsa, and all sorts of dishes.

8. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are high in fat, but those fats are the good kind. Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein. Crush them into a fine powder and use as a coating instead of higher carb bread crumbs. Nuts help to lower cholesterol. Eat them right out of the shell with no additives.

9. Açai

This berry has been in the news lately. It is rich in antioxidants and increases energy. You can get more done and look better while doing it. You can get Acai juice and supplements in your health food store.

10. Yogurt

The fat-free variety is good for you. Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamin B, and protein. If you don’t drink milk, yogurt is an alternative to get your calcium in to build strong bones and teeth. Live yogurt also contains friendly bacteria to help promote a healthy digestive system.

Building a better healthier body begins with what you eat. Try these super foods to get started on the right foot.

5 Ways to Increase Your Overall Health

As the old saying goes “When you have your health, you have everything” and it is so true. And improving your overall health is not that hard. Here are five easy-to-implement ways to better health:

Laugh More, Stress Less

  • Do Yoga
  • Work Up a Sweat
  • Know Your Health Numbers
  • Avoid Fad Diets

Do Yoga

Many people overlook yoga and that is a big mistake. Yoga not only relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and slows heart rate, but it also increases flexibility. By working through a series of exercises called poses, you loosen up your muscles and make them more adaptable, lessening your risk of physical injury. Yoga works muscles in ways no other exercise routines can. One yoga routine favored by many yoga followers is the sun salutation.

Work Up a Sweat

Working up a sweat just one hour per week will reduce your risk of heart attack, improve your mood, and lower your blood pressure. Two to three times per week will reap even more benefits. Try interval training like walking on an elliptical trainer or treadmill for 10 minutes, then doing 15 pull-ups and 15 crunches. Repeat this cycle three times for a great half-hour workout. If you start getting bored with the pull-ups and crunches, swap them out for other exercises like dips and push-ups. In no time, your muscles will start to become more efficient, you’ll start to lose weight, have more energy, and enjoy other physical activities more.

Know Your Health Numbers

As part of your annual physical check-up (you are getting an annual check-up right?), your doctor will check certain readings like blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Ideally, your readings should be around 115 over 75 for blood pressure, under 100 for LDL cholesterol, under 70 for resting heart rate, as well as a fasting blood sugar level of under 100. If your numbers aren’t close to these numbers, ask your doctor what you can do to change them for the better. Most likely s/he will recommend getting more exercise and eating healthier – something you should have been doing all along.

Avoid Fad Diets

Fad diets don’t work … period, so don’t put yourself through that torture just to have the weight come back once you go off of the diet. Most of these diets are so extreme that you can’t stay on them for very long. Instead, learn to eat healthy, something you can live with for life. Start by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good fats (olive oil, canola oil, and the poly and mono-unsaturated fats).

Laugh More, Stress Less

Laughing not only eases stress and lowers blood pressure, but it may also boost your immune system. So regardless of how you do it, bring more laughter into your life, whether that is communing with friends or watching a comedy on TV. Giving in to stress can be detrimental to your health because it drives people to give into cravings like, smoking, drinking, or bingeing on unhealthy food.

Improving your health doesn’t have to involve spending hours in a gym or eating like a bird. Use these five ways to start improving your overall health today.

Practice Daily Gratitude

Can saying “thank you” actually give you a feeling of happiness and joy? And what if there was a stress reliever so simple but powerful that you could easily practice it each and every day, for amazing results? Fortunately, practicing daily gratitude has been shown to both relieve stress and promote happiness.

It seems that happy people tend to take responsibility for their state of being. This means they are more aware of the wonderful rewards that are apparent in their lives. And they make a practice of verbally or mentally giving thanks each and every day for the good things they have around them. Why is this daily practice of gratitude so important if you want to live a healthy and happy life?

Robert Emmons would like to answer that question for you. A psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, Emmons is a “positive psychology” researcher. This is a relatively new field of study, understanding the effects of positive thinking and conscious happiness pursuit is the goal. The professor has released findings that clearly show that when you practice daily gratitude, you improve your health.

When you adopt what he calls an “attitude of gratitude”, you receive a number of benefits:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved ability to deal with stress and daily problems
  • More optimistic outlook
  • Improved avoidance of troubling physical symptoms
  • Boosted mental alertness

These findings have been backed up by other researchers like the University of Utah’s psychology professor Lisa Aspinwall. When you begin to focus your attention outside yourself, you see that there are many things to be grateful for each and every day.

Fortunately, the many benefits from being thankful daily are achievable regardless how many physical possessions you have. It seems that when you consciously recognize events, people, circumstances, and memories which you are thankful for, your physical and mental rewards are greater than when you express gratitude for owning a physical object.

How to Practice Daily Gratitude

So, exactly how can you get started expressing gratitude daily?

1) Begin a daily gratitude journal. Set a goal e.g. to list 20 items a day. Some days it’ll be really hard, and you’ll list things like having a home on your gratitude list. This is what will open your eyes to how much you really have.

2) Tell at least one person in your life each and every day that you are grateful for them and their actions.

3) Turn something negative (the soup you ordered is cold) into something positive (you are so grateful to have food to eat).

4) Learn to say “thank you” mentally or verbally several times a day, and your recognition of gratitude will instantly impact your health positively.

Drop Shipping on eBay Explained

One of the easiest ways to get started on eBay is drop shipping. Drop shipping is when you have the manufacturer or wholesaler ship directly to the buyer without having to ship it to you in between. You don’t have to hold inventory nor order large amounts from a wholesaler, and you save a lot of time and effort all around.

How does drop shipping work? Where do you find drop shippers? What are the pros and cons?

The Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping

The main benefit of drop shipping is that it lets you get a foot into the industry. It allows you to start shipping to customers without having to go through many of the hassles that ordinarily come with buying from wholesalers.

You also get the benefit of having wholesalers take care of all the shipping for you. They’ll package everything, put on all the postage labels, and ship it for you. They’ll often also process refunds and restock refunded items.

There are drawbacks, however.

Drop shipping cuts into your profits. Drop shippers charge a drop-shipping fee. In the beginning, this fee is worth paying because of all the hassles it’ll save you. However, in a low-margin industry as eBay often is, it’s very difficult to compete with competitors who aren’t paying that drop shipping fee.

At some point in your eBay career, it will become cheaper to warehouse and ship yourself. When that time comes, make the transition.

Where to Find Wholesalers Who Drop Ship

Finding drop shippers can be a little tricky. There are many scams in the industry. These usually come in the form of people trying to sell you drop shipper lists, which are almost always bogus.

There are two primary ways to find drop shippers.

One method is to use an eBay-certified drop shipper directory. Unlike other lists, these lists have to adhere to very strict quality guidelines about the listings in their directories. One such directory is World Wide Brands.

The second method is to subscribe to trade journals and industry magazines. These are the magazines where wholesalers and manufacturers will often advertise. Call up wholesalers and ask if they drop ship.

In the past, very few wholesalers drop shipped. But as the internet grew in popularity, many now realize how much more business they can get by catering to lower-volume online merchants.

Go directly to the source by using industry journals and magazines for the market you want to get into. That way, you’re also competing with fewer other marketers – provided you can find a niche that isn’t in other drop-shipping directories.

In short, drop shipping on eBay takes less effort and money to get started than buying wholesale. It does cut into your profits a bit, but that can be remedied in time. Find your drop shippers by using eBay-certified directories or by looking at ads in trade journals.

Family Communication

One of the reasons why any type of relationship fails is due to lack of communication. This can also be applied when looking for ways to lead a good family life together. If your communication skills are lacking, then the entire family may be unhappy and feel alone.

In a happy family, all members know how to communicate. How many times have you heard the following?

Mom, can you please tell, name of person, that I will be late, or another reason.

This scenario normally happens when the flow of communication is not running smoothly in the household. Whereas if communication is good, no one thinks twice of sending messages to each other without a middle man.

One of the most important skills to have when it comes to communication is that of listening. Do you truly listen to what your spouse or child has to say? Or do you interrupt them before they have finished speaking?

Next time, allow the person to finish what they say, then recap what they just told you. Repeating a summary back actually shows the person that you did listen and that you understand their point of view.

A good place and time to have a family discussion is at the dinner table. Spend some time talking about the day’s activities and don’t judge anyone. Let everyone air their concerns and points of view.

One thing that a happy family doesn’t do is argue and then not talk to each other for days on end. Instead the family can disagree and then move forward without any type of resentment.

Communication can also be done by actions instead of words. Hugging your child when you see they are upset speaks volumes. Displaying signs of affections to your spouse does, too. Plus this teaches your children not to be scared of showing their emotions.

Not showing emotions is another reason why some family members may feel alone. They are either too scared to show their true feelings, for fear of retribution. Or they have been brought up to be that “tough guy” instead.

Teach your children that showing fear is perfectly natural and that it isn’t a sign of weakness. If your family is open with communication, there is no reason why you can’t have healthy, heated discussions which bear no malice to anyone. Being allowed to vent where appropriate is a great way to de-stress for both adults and children alike.

Tax Debt Relief 101

In a tough economy, one organization a lot of people end up owing a lot of money to is none other than the government. Owing more taxes than you can afford is an incredibly stressful position to be in. Fortunately, there are a number of different options you can take.

Asking for a Payment Plan

You don’t have to pay all your taxes back in full if you can prove to the IRS that you simply can’t afford it.

It’s called the IRS Form 9465, which is basically an application to the IRS telling them you can’t afford to pay all your taxes right now.

You’ll still pay them in full, but you pay them off in an installment plan instead. You outline the details of the plan in your form.

For the maximum chances of getting your plan approved, work with a tax professional to write your Form 9465.

Before you file your Form 9465, try to pay off as much of your taxes with a lump sum as possible. Explore all tax cuts and write-offs possible and get your total tax amount as low as you can.

The IRS is willing to work with citizens, but it wants to see that you’re making a real effort and not just trying to get away with paying less or paying later.

When Will the IRS Forgive Your Debt?

There are a few circumstances under which the IRS is willing to simply forgive your debt.

For one, if your total net worth falls significantly under your total debt, you have a good chance of getting your taxes forgiven.

In other words, if your total assets, including cash, stocks, retirement funds, home equity, etc all add up to $100,000 and you owe the IRS $150,000, then you have a good chance of having your taxes forgiven.

Also, if much of your debt comes from real estate or mortgage debt, you might qualify for debt relief under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007.

Apart from these two conditions, the IRS is rather strict on getting paid. The only other real alternative is bankruptcy, which can often wipe out all your tax debt. Of course, a bankruptcy is a real black mark on your credit report and should only be used as a last resort.

If you’re having trouble paying the IRS, first talk to a qualified tax professional to explore all your options. Get your tax bill as low as possible through cuts and write-offs, then see if an installment plan is realistic.

If that isn’t going to work, then explore whatever avenues you can to get the taxes forgiven. If you really have no other alternative, then and only then should you consider bankruptcy. However, no matter what you choose, the IRS is one creditor whose debt you really can’t just ignore.

How to Become an Online Infopreneur

Information marketing has taken the internet by storm. As more and more people begin utilizing digital information and reading and learning online, more opportunities open up for information marketers. If you have specialty information or have a passion for a topic, information marketing may be the perfect business model for you.

What Is an Online Infopreneur?

An online infopreneur is someone who makes a living selling information. It can be a very profitable business model. An example is someone who is an expert when it comes to bird training. They have a passion for or a strong interest in training birds. They might create training manuals, videos, and courses on how to train your pet bird. The information could range from beginner to advanced tricks like how to train your parrot to play dead. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, who needs to train their parrot to do that? Believe it or not, there’s a market for it.

How to Get Started

An online infopreneur’s first task is to determine what their passions are and if there’s a market for it. You might begin by making a list of the topics you’re knowledgeable in or passionate about. Then you begin your research. Using keyword research tools and investigating online, you’d look to see if people are searching for that topic.

Continuing with the parrot training topic, perhaps that infopreneur began with a passion for birds. They found during their research that many people were struggling with their exotic birds. They were biting and screaming and being generally unruly. This infopreneur then saw that there weren’t a lot of other businesses providing information on the topic. In short, there was a good demand for the information but not much supply. This is the perfect opportunity to create an information marketing business.

So your first step is to find your interests and passions. Your second step is to research them for profitable niches. A niche is a specialty topic. It can also be a demographic like teen bird trainers or bird training in the desert southwest. Or it can be a skill level – beginner bird training, for example.

Setting Up Shop

Once you’ve chosen a niche, it’s time to create your website and information products. Your website will be dedicated to helping your audience learn what they need to know or want to know about your topic. You might post free article or video content. You may offer free reports and digital downloads.

Once you have people interested and accessing your free information, you can take them to the next step which is to offer them a product to buy. Often this is an ebook, an online course, or a video series. The information products that are successful generally solve a problem for their audience. For example, “How to stop your parrot from biting.” You may uncover common problems during your research, or you may need to do additional research to find the answers.

If you have a passion, interest, or specialty knowledge about a topic, consider using that to create an information marketing business. It’s a great way to make an income. Some information marketers have gone on to make good livings from their books, courses, and videos.

Can Stress Make You Gain Weight?

Numerous studies have shown that excessive stress is associated with weight gain.  Dating back to when our ancestors were wearing animal skins and hunting with spears, when the body encountered a fight or flee situation, it released a series of hormones as a response to the situation.

While our fight or flee situation today may be more related mounting credit card bills or something that happened at work instead of getting attacked by a wounded Wooly Mammoth, the response by the body is the same.

The Body’s Response to Stress

When your body feels stressed, it releases three hormones – adrenalin, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), and cortisol – designed to give us energy needed to deal with the stressor. In most people, the effect of adrenalin and CRH is a short-term decrease in appetite. Cortisol on the other hand lasts longer and is designed to replenish our bodies with food after the stressor has passed.

The problem of today is that dealing with our stress does not involve physically expending calories, but the effect of cortisol is still the same – eat after the fight or flee. So eating becomes the relief from the stress. While that response worked well for our ancestors, it leads to weight gain for us today.

For many people, the food they turn to are simple carbohydrates (aka sugar). The body’s response to sugar (a sugar high) is to release insulin (and usually more than it needs). Because insulin is the hormone that allows those calories to be stored as fat in our cells, and we have more of it in our bloodstream that we need at the time, too much sugar is stored resulting in low blood sugar (the crash). Our body recognizes that it needs more sugar … and the cycle continues.

While initially this is a behavioral response, it can quickly evolve into a learned response, meaning you consciously turn to food in times of excessive stress. So how do you break the effects of stress?

Do these six things:

  • Exercise – Find an exercise that you enjoy doing. Not only will it burn calories, but it will help control your cortisol level.
  • Eat right – Focus on eating six small meals per day consisting of foods high in fiber but low in sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels.
  • Relax – Choose an activity that makes you feel relaxed and calm. It will counter the biochemical effects of stress.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol – These can also raise cortisol levels and can keep you from getting enough sleep.
  • Take multi-vitamins – Stress can deplete essential vitamins, especially the B and C complexes.

While you may not be able to completely control the stressors in your life, you can control how you react to them. Use this information to take control and avoid stress-related weight gain.

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Eating is a part of life. Your body gets its nutrients from food. But sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining unwanted weight. One issue with food is emotional eating.

The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind. Stress takes its toll on your life. When your defenses are compromised, your health takes a hit and so do your emotions.

Everyone has good days and bad days. How we deal with the bad ones brings emotional eating into play. You look for comfort for your hurts. People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won’t judge them, hurt them, or tell them “no.” To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins just like exercise. So, after you eat, you feel better.

Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress. They hide behind the food instead of seeking solutions to the problems. This is not uncommon when the stressor is something horrible such as physical abuse or a death.

But how do you know you are using food in this way? The first sign is obvious. You will gain weight if you eat too much. In light of the weight gain, examine other areas of your life:

  • Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
  • Has anything traumatic happened in the last year?
  • Are you dealing with a problem but haven’t found a solution?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater. You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time. The foods that you choose are what we term “comfort foods”:

  • High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
  • High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
  • Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake

There is help for emotional eaters. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. You’ll experience feelings of helplessness and guilt. The guilt is over potentially damaging your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don’t see a way out.

Secondly, seek counseling. There are many types of counselors out there that can meet your needs. Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but gaining control over your emotions.

A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques, and cultivating family support. Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blow them out of proportion. You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits. They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices, and exercise along with you. Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow, and positive thinking. Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.

Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation. You’ll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food.

Decluttering – What It Entails

The term “decluttering” has been a catch phrase for a number of years. Some think it is simply cleaning a house, but if you have seen television shows about hoarding or cleaning, you know it can be much more than that. So, what does it entail?

The World English Dictionary defines decluttering as the act of getting rid of mess and disorder. This is generally a two-step process:

1. Get rid of the current clutter you have in your home.

2. Avoid letting additional clutter into your home.

You may have heard the old adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” For those struggling with clutter, this often becomes a mantra or battle cry.

Start small when you begin decluttering. If your home is cluttered, going through and getting rid of things will seem intimidating. It is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed. By starting small, even with one single dresser drawer, you see how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Quite often, with a small area, you can declutter and clean it in less than 15 minutes. Anyone can do this if is important to them.

Enlist the help of someone you trust. Perhaps your family is full of clutter bugs and they really are not interested in change. If they will not help you, ask a friend to do it instead. Not only will your friend be there to give encouragement, they may also be able to help you with the hard decisions that often come up when decluttering.

Get four boxes – Keep (this room), Toss, Donate/Give/Sell, and Keep (store elsewhere) – and place them in the area where you will start. Try to handle each item only once. When you pick something up, decide if you will keep it in the room where it now is; if it is garbage and can be tossed; if you no longer need it and it can be donated or given; or if it is to be kept in a different location. Look at each item and put it one of the boxes.

When you review each item, try to think about how often you have used it in the last year. Be honest with yourself. If the item has not been used in a year, it is time to let it go – either in the trashcan or into the Donate box so someone else can use out of it.

Be aware of the things you bring into your home. Quickly go through your mail outside near the garbage can. Important mail goes under your elbow. Everything else is probably junk mail and does not need to enter the house. While you open your mail, write down important dates on a calendar. You can then file the mail if still needed or shred it if it has personal information on it.

Adopt the one in/one out rule. If you purchase a new item, with this rule you would also get rid of one item. This item could be something related to what you purchased or something non-related. The point is to get into the habit of removing one item each time a new item comes into the home.

When you have one drawer, stack, corner, or box cleaned out, take a break. If your friend is still there, have a cup of coffee or tea. Then, after your drink is finished, tackle another. Before you know it, you will have a cleaned out dresser, cabinet, or one less pile to look at. Then, do your best to keep that renewed area clean and clear from that point forward. Congratulations on a job well done!

PPC Affiliate Marketing – Tips for Success

Pay per click is one of the most powerful methods around for affiliate marketing. In fact, many of the world’s top “super affiliates” make their money through pay per click.

Pay per click has many benefits over other styles of affiliate marketing. For one, the feedback is instant. You know if your campaign is profitable in days, sometimes hours, instead of having to wait weeks for traffic to trickle in with other methods.

It’s also highly scalable, meaning once you find a method that works you can often take that method and multiply it many fold.

Here are a few tips for success in PPC affiliate marketing.

Choose One Platform and Stick to It

There are many platforms you can choose from to do affiliate marketing. Some of these include:

  • Google AdWords
  • Google Content Network
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing
  • Bing
  • Pay Per View: Zango, MediaTraffic, Trafficvance
  • Banner-ad style PPC: magnify360 and others
  • Facebook PPC

People who succeed in PPC affiliate marketing are people who learn one system and learn it well, rather than people who dabble in many different systems. Pick one platform and stick to it. Get to know how it works and become an expert in that one system.

Network and Stay on Top of the Industry

Every PPC network changes, sometimes quickly. At the time of this writing, Yahoo is being purchased by Bing, which will completely change its algorithm. Google’s content network is also strictly cutting back in direct linking affiliates.

To be successful as an affiliate, you need to stay on top of industry news and know what’s going on with the specific platform you chose.

The best way to do this is to find affiliates who are successful and follow their blogs. Subscribe to their RSS feeds and stay on top of the industry. When the rules and best practices change, you need to know.

Test, Test, Test, Test, Test

PPC is all about testing. As a rule of thumb, about one out of eight campaigns will be successful. In other words, you may spend $100 on seven campaigns that all turn out to be a failure before you find that one campaign that makes $2,000 a month.

Test as many different ideas as you can, as quickly as you can.

Track everything. Track what keywords each sale came from. Track what they actually typed in as well as the keyword that triggered the impression, which are often two different keywords. Track which landing page they came from, the time of day the purchase was made and the country they’re from.

If your campaign is making at least 60% of your initial investment, that usually means you can get it to profitability by tweaking. In other words, if you spend $100 and get $60 back, that probably means that if you tweaked the campaign enough, you’d be able to turn that into a profitable campaign.

The bottom line is this: Pick a platform. Get to know that platform like the back of your hand. Read everything you can about that platform and stay on top of all the changes and current events relating to that platform. Then test, test, test and test campaigns until you find the ones that work for you.

Keys to Being an Effective Leader of Fellow Adults

Leading children or youths is one thing, but leading adults who are your age or older is a different matter. An entirely different approach is called for, but some of the principles are the same no matter what age you’re leading.

Maybe you are going to be training a group of adults for a specific vocation, or perhaps you have to organize a community consignment sale. Maybe you need to find volunteers for a work or church function. There are all kinds of situations where adults need to lead adults. Here are some keys to being an effective leader of your fellow adults.

Know Where You’re Going

No one wants to follow someone who has no idea where they’re going! Having a goal or vision is essential. It’s possible that it may evolve or change as you go forward – it’s good to be flexible, too – but when you start out, having a clear vision can inspire others to follow you. If you really believe in it and know it can be done, your enthusiasm tends to be infectious. People like to get on board with someone who knows where to steer the ship!

Listen

As noted above, it’s good to be flexible, and that’s where listening comes in. As you express your vision and goal, even if it’s just getting things done well and on time, it’s a good idea to listen to the input of others. Someone might point out something you hadn’t taken into consideration, or he or she might have a good point about your choice of venue.

Obviously, a good leader can’t please every person’s whim, but you can take people’s concerns into consideration. If everyone seems to be saying the same thing, maybe you should change your plans a bit. People tend to appreciate a leader who listens, even if it doesn’t always mean change.

Clear Steps

In addition to a clear goal, you’ll need clear steps on how to reach that goal (or multiple goals). Explaining a “contagious” vision is great, but teaching people how you plan to realize that vision is important. It can seem unrealistic if you don’t explain your plan. Break it down into doable steps and present them to those in your group. A big part of this, of course, is being organized.

Confidence

If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no one else will, either! Make sure you are confident and certain of your plan and your goals. Sources agree that it’s not a good idea to be overly confident to the point that you don’t listen to anyone or heed their concerns, but confidence, like an exciting vision, is contagious. Be sure of yourself and what you want to accomplish.

Mindsets that Lead to Low Self-Confidence and How to Change Them

If you suffer from low self-confidence, you might be stuck in some negative mindsets that are affecting the way you think about yourself and, ultimately, your self-esteem. Negative mindsets tend to have a lot of “always” or “never” talk, creating a sense of entrapment and hopelessness. Here are some examples of negative mindsets that can lead to low confidence.

“I will never get it right.”

Thinking this way can keep you from trying again, or even trying something for the first time. It makes it only too easy to give up.

“Nobody understands what this is like.”

When you lack self-confidence, a lot of times you assume that everyone else has it together and you’re the odd man or woman out. You may feel isolated, and feel as if others have their lives together while you are still floundering.

“I am totally useless.”

When you lack confidence, you may feel like you don’t have anything of value to contribute, whether it’s to your workplace, relationships, or something else.

“I am a complete failure.”

No one fails at every single thing; but to a person with low self-confidence, it can sure seem that way. You may feel like everything you’ve ever tried has failed, even if this is not true.

“I could never do that.”

Do you see someone with a successful lifestyle you wish you had? If you lack self-confidence, you may have the above reaction. Instead of being inspired and wanting to create that lifestyle for yourself, you look at that person and get depressed, thinking you could never have what they have.

How Can These Mindsets Be Overcome?

In order to overcome these destructive mindsets that lead to low confidence, it’s necessary to reprogram your thought processes. You will need to pay attention to your negative self-talk and immediately change it to something positive.

For example, instead of “I will never get it right,” you could stop that thought in its tracks and think instead, “I have trouble with this, but if I keep trying and seek out the right help, I know I can succeed.” Rather than, “I could never do that,” think, “I would love to do that! There’s no reason why I can’t have that lifestyle if I work at it.”

You may need therapy and/or counseling to overcome these mindsets. But like everything else in life, you can do it if you set realistic goals and have confidence in yourself!

Start a Profitable Local Portal Site

Local portal websites are often much easier to make, generate traffic for, and generate income from than other types of website. Your competition is much scarcer because few internet marketers are willing to do the work of monetizing a portal website – which is actually quite easy and profitable.

What is a portal website and how can you make money from it? Here’s a detailed overview.

What Is a Local Portal Website?

A local portal website is simply a location-specific guide. Often times the location-specific guide will also be industry specific.

For example, a portal website might be as broad as “Guide to San Francisco.” It could also be more specific, such as a guide to “Pizzas in New York,” or “Spas in Boston.”

Naturally, the broader your topic, the harder it will be to rank for it.

Monetizing a Local Portal Website

This is the kicker. The monetization is the reason why local portal websites are such great online businesses.

The best way to monetize a local portal website is through direct advertisement from local businesses. These are businesses that are often paying as much as $300 to $500 for ads in the Yellow Pages, which really bring them no traffic.

If you can get your website ranked in the top three for a keyword like “Spas in Boston,” it’s much easier to justify paying that money to you instead.

Offline advertisers are often willing to pay $100 to $500 for an ad placement on a well-ranked local portal website. If you get 5-10 such placements, that’s very good money; especially for a low-competition, moderately trafficked website.

Choosing a Portal to Start With

To start with, choose a portal in a city that isn’t too competitive. New York for example, will be far too competitive. Daly City in California will be much less competitive.

The trick is to get your feet wet in an industry that has enough businesses to sell to in order to make it worth the effort. Market to these businesses via email and direct phone calls. It does take effort – that’s why more people don’t do it. This is also why entrepreneurs willing to put in the effort will profit.

Starting a local portal website can be an incredibly powerful and profitable way to make money online. Instead of competing with thousands of other internet marketers in competitive niches, you’re competing with smaller local businesses for SEO placements.

The only difficult part is selling the advertising. Once you master that skill, you’ll be able to get payments for your traffic that vastly exceed what you’d get from other monetization methods (e.g. AdSense.) Start with an easy city with less competition to get your feet wet, and work your way up from there.

Why Fat Free Foods Are Not Always the Best Choice for Your Health

Just because a food is labeled fat-free, it may not be a good choice for you. Many fat-free foods contain more sugar or artificial sweeteners, which are even worse, than their full-fat or sugar counterpart. And sugar is only the beginning. Because fat adds taste to a product, fat-free foods often have other chemicals added to them to enhance their taste. Not only are these chemicals harmful, they usually boost the calorie content.

A better choice to look for are low-fat foods. According to the FDA and USDA, they will contain 3 grams of fat or less, and usually won’t have the artificial sweeteners.

Some types of fat are actually good for you; as a matter-of-fact, the body has to have fat to exist. The trick is knowing which type is actually good for you. On the nutrition label, you may find three types of fats:

1) Unsaturated Fat

Both the poly and mono types of unsaturated fat are great sources of good fat. Some examples of each are:

Poly

• Soybean oil
• Corn oil
• Safflower oil
• Walnuts
• Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
• Flaxseed
• Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
• Soymilk
• Tofu

Mono

• Olive oil
• Canola oil
• Sunflower oil
• Peanut oil
• Sesame oil
• Avocados
• Olives
• Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
• Peanut butter

As you may have noticed with the oils, they remain a liquid at room temperature – a sure sign of an unsaturated fat. The fish listed above are also high in Omega 3, a type of fat that lowers the bad LDL cholesterol.

2) Saturated Fat

When it comes to saturated fat, limit yourself to no more than 10% of your 20% total daily fat requirement; you can tell a saturated fat by its consistency at room temperature – it will be a solid, like butter, shortening, or stick margarine. Some examples of this bad fat are:

• Hydrogenated Oils, such as Palm and Coconut
• Rendered Animal Fats
• Processed Meats
• Whipped Cream

3) Trans Fat

Stay away from trans fats altogether. They are a manufactured fat that the body does not know how to process. While the label may show 0 grams of trans fat, the product can actually have up to 0.5 gram and not be required to show it on the label. Look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the list of ingredients; these are trans fats.

So in the realm of food, fat-free is not a good option. A much better choice is food low in unsaturated fat. Not only are they heart-healthy, but they will keep your bad cholesterol in check and promote your good cholesterol. Bon appetit!

Family Organization Tips

One of the hardest parts about getting your family organized is knowing where in the world to start. Often, family members feel like they can’t stop long enough to get organized. This is where some basic tips can help. Following are some simple, fundamental family organization tips to help you get things in order.

Share the Burden

Often, one family member (usually a parent) feels all the pressure to get things organized, and it just seems like other family members are constantly undermining his or her efforts. To help overcome this, try sharing the burden. For example, every family member should be responsible for putting away his or her things (coats, jackets, shoes, toys, books, etc.). There are various ways you can get your family motivated to take care of their own stuff. You might try:

* Giving points for tasks completed, and require the kids to have a certain number of points before watching TV, spending time on the computer, etc.

* Hiding items that are left out can really drive home a message about taking responsibility for one’s stuff. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of this consequence if they leave their things out. Then those items can be hidden as you like, and perhaps kids will have to earn back the hidden items.

Work Space

Try establishing work space for family members’ various activities. It could be as elaborate as a separate room, simply a piece of furniture (such as a table), or a corner of a room. This helps in several ways:

* All the stuff required for a family member’s activity – books, paper, pencils, craft supplies, sports equipment, etc. – can be sequestered in his or her work space. That prevents said stuff from ending up all over the house.

* Family members tend to feel validated when they have their own space to do what they want or need to do.

* Homework space should be separate from entertainment space to avoid temptations, and to make sure that supplies are handy. The need for a computer in homework space is understandable, but make sure that it’s only used for school purposes (such as research).

Bins and Containers

Finding the right bins and containers for items can really help get things off the floor and onto shelves, into closets, and just up off the floor. You may find that you can get by with a few clear bins in each work space, or a set of inexpensive plastic shelves.

You may prefer a large dresser or filing cabinet for the whole family, with each person having his or her drawer. Whatever you choose, make sure the containers can be closed and stacked, and that you can see what’s in them (and/or label them).

At the Front Door

It seems like the front door area is a catch-all for shoes, coats, jackets, books, and anything else family members happen to be carrying when they walk in the door. Try having a basket or box for each person on shelves by the door; mail, school papers, and other items can go in each individual’s basket/box. Every week, the baskets and boxes will need to be sorted through and cleaned out, but done regularly, it should not be too hard.

Easy Ways to Build Trust

Building trust in certain situations can be tricky. While you may be looking to trust people, have you thought about how people view you when it comes to trust? Use the following, easy ways to build trust in both yourself and in others.

  1. Keep to your word and follow through with your actions.
  2. Learn how to communicate effectively with others. This is usually the main reason why relationships fall apart, because of bad communication skills.
  3. It takes time to build and earn trust. Learning to trust someone should be viewed as a daily activity.
  4. Take time when making decisions, and think before acting too quickly.
  5. Value those relationships you have and don’t take them for granted.
  6. Treat your customers well and thank them for their business.
  7. Develop solid business principles.
  8. Work on developing customer loyalty.
  9. Develop your team skills and participate openly.
  10. Always be honest.
  11. Help people whenever you can. If you enjoy this, look at becoming a coach or mentor to others.
  12. Don’t hide your feelings. This one can be tough, but when people know you care about them, they will quickly learn how to trust you.
  13. Don’t always self-promote. Think about others.
  14. Learn to always do the right thing – another toughie for sure, but definitely worth it.
  15. Admit your mistakes and share what you have learnt from it. Showing your vulnerable side helps to build trust with others.

While the above ways are all relatively easy to use, putting them into play may be difficult for some people. If you have been hurt or deceived in the past, learning to trust again can take a long, long time. But don’t give up on trusting people again, there are plenty of good, trustworthy people in this world.

One of the best pieces of advice that we can give you is to look at the way you view trust first. Go through the above list and see if you can honestly say that you do all of those things. If not, select one or two and work on improving them first.

Another idea is to ask a good friend how you do in the trust department. If you don’t like what you hear, take steps to change this viewpoint of you.

Next, look at someone that you don’t quite trust yet. Figure out the reasons why and see what you can do to improve the situation or relationship.

5 Quick Tips To Get Website Traffic Fast!

Online, one of the most significant keys to success is getting website traffic. The more visitors you have, the better your sales and profits. Presumably you have a niche and you know your keywords and regularly conduct keyword research to stay on top of what’s popular. Based on those assumptions, here are five quick and easy tips to get website traffic fast!

Tip #1 Make sure you’re actually tagging your keywords.

Do you spend a lot of time optimizing your content and then neglect to tag them on your webpage? Tags are where search engines look and if there are no tags they’ll pass right by your pages. Here’s a quick brief on tags.

There are a number of tag types including,

  • Title tags. Title tags are quite possibly the most important place to situate your keywords. Here’s what they look like – <title>Primary keyword phrase here. </title> Your title tag is where you place your primary keyword or keyword phrase. This sentence will describe your business in less than 90 characters.
  • Header Tags. Header tags are next in order of importance to search engines. They’re ranked in order of importance and look like this – <h1>Primary and/or Secondary keywords here</h1> The “1” designates this header as the most important header on the page.
  • Meta Tags. Meta tags provide the small descriptive text found underneath the title tag on the search engine results page. Like title tags these should be kept brief, informative, and up to date.
  • Alt Tags. Alt tags are used to provide a text description of a graphic. Each graphic on your site should have a description and an alt tag.

Tip #2 Add content to your site daily.

Content is essential for traffic and a top search engine ranking. Content is what search engine spiders look for and index. Without it, there’s nothing to index or rank. Give visitors and search engines a reason to visit and index your site often. Make a commitment to provide daily, optimized content, and your traffic will soar.

Tip #3 Procure valuable and relevant incoming links.

The more websites which link to your webpages, the more valuable search engines perceive you to be, though not all links are created equal. Search engines give more leverage to links from sites which are popular and credible, and from sites which are relevant to your website topic.

There are different types of links.

– A direct link looks like a basic website address, for example, www.yourwebsite.com

– A text link occurs when the webpage address is embedded in the text. Readers simply click on the link and are redirected to a new website page.

– If the link is to an internal web page, for example an article published on a website, rather than the home page, it is called a “deep link.”

You can encourage linking to your website by:

  • Adding content to your site.
  • Submitting to article directories.
  • Publishing press releases.
  • Blogging and participating in social networking forums, chat rooms and social networking sites.

Tip #4 Be Social!

Now more than ever before, internet marketing is about building a community. Whether you offer a forum on your website or you participate in social media sites, social networking is a valuable traffic-generating tactic. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be powerful tools for generating links and traffic to your site. Create a profile and then post comments, links to your site, and ideas which generate conversation.

Get involved! Many chat rooms and forums are industry specific. Find those which cater to your industry and begin participating. Speak to and connect with a highly targeted audience.

Tip #5 Advertise for more exposure and traffic.

Advertising, when handled strategically, can be used to promote your content and products or services. Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising is often the tool of choice because you control the advertising budget on a daily basis and have the tools to test and track your advertising efforts. Once you’ve honed your PPC ads, the return on investment can be phenomenal in terms of traffic and purchases.

For maximum results, create a traffic and SEO strategy. Outline your plan and your goals, and then take the necessary action. Take advantage of these five traffic and search engine tips to boost your business.

3 Exercises to Tone Your Belly

Once you have lost your belly fat, it is time to start working on toning muscles around your middle. While there are numerous different exercises that target the belly area, these three are the tried and true to get results:

  • Crunches
  • Planks
  • Bicycle

The nice thing about these exercises is that none of them require any equipment. However, you can use a yoga or exercise mat to make you more comfortable.

Crunches

Crunches are similar to sit-ups, but not as stressful on the back and neck. To start, lie on your back on the floor (or a mat if you have one) with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keep your hands across your chest or locked behind your head.

Inhale and lift your head and shoulders by tightening your abs so that your shoulder blades are just off of the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, exhale and slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position. Do as many crunches as you can right now with an eventual goal of two sets of 10 to 20 crunches per set.

Planks

There are several variations of the plank; the one explained here is the full plank. Start by lying on the floor face down; your forearms, elbows, hands and stomach should touch the floor. Tighten your abs and lift your body off the floor. Only your forearms, elbows and feet should now touch the floor.

While in this position, your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your feet; avoid the tendency to raise your buttocks or to arch your back. This defeats the purpose of doing planks.

Hold this pose for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax and slowly drop to the starting position. Work up to the point where you can hold the pose for a full minute. Do as many repetitions as you can.

The Bicycle

The starting position is to lie on your back with your fingers locked behind your head and legs bent at the knees. Now lift your left shoulder blade off of the floor, twist slightly and bring your right knee up toward your left elbow. At the same time, straighten your left leg. Now switch sides by straightening your right leg, bending your left leg, and bringing the right elbow up to the left knee. Keep alternate sides in a pedaling (bicycling) motion. Strive to complete 8 to 12 repetitions.

While there are several more exercises that target the abdominal muscles, these three will get you well on your way to having 6-pack abs and looking great.

How Anyone Can Make Real Money Online With Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the most innovative online creations that offers an infinite amount of opportunities to earn money on the Internet. From wacky tasks to conventional online gigs like content writing, there are a lot of different ways one can earn some hard-earned cash from this online marketplace.

For online sellers and freelancers, Fiverr is a very profitable site, with tons of website traffic coming on a daily basis. In addition, this marketplace has over 2 million tasks listed and 4,000 brand-new services, across a hundred categories.

What Is Fiverr?

To earn money with Fiverr, first you need to understand what this website is all about to help you decide if it’s right for you and to learn about the earning potential of this online money-making source.

Fiverr, in a nutshell, is an online global marketplace that offers services and tasks (referred as gigs), at a small cost of $5 per performed job. For the most part, it is used by freelancers to offer an array of services, and by clients to buy such services.

This site lists over 3 million different services that range between $5 and $500 hundred dollars, though anything priced over $5 is called a gig extra, and all base gigs are $5. That’s the rules.

For example, if selling article writing service your gig would be: “I Will Write A 500 Word Article for $5”. Then a gig extra might be, “Write 1000 word article +$10” and another gig extra might be: “Write 1500 Word Article +$20”, etc.

Many sellers also offer gig extras that expedite speed of delivery for express service as opposed to their normal delivery time.

Price Per Task

As a freelancer, this online marketplace offers you a simple and extremely viable way to earn money online because they have a lot of traffic and thousands upon thousands of members.

This, in turn, will give you a good source of income, or supplement your main one. While $5 is a relatively small amount of money for many freelancers, there have been a lot of freelancers that have earned a fortune from this online marketplace that sell many gigs per month along with the upsells on the gig extras.

For each gig, Fiverr gets a 20% cut, which means you will only have a net payout of $4.

On the bright side, you can earn much more than $4 dollars per gig as you develop a good reputation and get more clients to buy your services.

As your sales increase and you get positive feedback from buyers, your rating as a seller increases, which consequently increases your rankings within Fiverr for even more exposure that leads to more sales.

After you have completed at least ten Fiverr transactions, you will be able to unlock several advanced tools that offer add-on services as well as increase the value of your gigs.

What Gigs Can Be Offered?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to earn money from this online marketplace. As a matter of fact, some Fiverr sellers have earned a lot of money from doing completely crazy and totally unique gigs like impersonating celebrities, daredevil stunts, and crazy dancing.

But it is the legitimate and conventional gigs that are selling like hot cakes. The most popular and best-selling gigs on the site are SEO services, article writing, business consultation services, video editing, and logo designing.

Tips For The Ultimate Fiverr Success

  • Use catchy key phrases and words for the gigs offered in your profile description page.
  • Showcase your awesome work by uploading pictures of the gigs you have delivered.
  • Deliver fast responses to customer inquiries.
  • Always deliver the project or gig in a timely manner. Keep in mind that buyers are always eager to get their hands on the end product.
  • Deliver what you promised on the sales page.
  • Make sure the sales page clearly defines what is offered, and anticipate all the questions buyers might have and make sure to include appropriate answers as well.
  • There are international sellers on Fiverr, but it is an English site and sale success can be damaged when sales pages are written in horrible English that no one can understand. If you are not fluent in the English language, then outsource your sales copy to an appropriate seller on Fiverr.
  • Quality work is essential to maintain the required number of positive reviews to keep your business growing. Even one negative rating can quickly cause sales to dry up, and so attention to detail and quality is essential for success on Fiverr.

Are You Risking Your Health By Sitting Down All Day?

Let’s face it: we no longer live in the caveman era that our bodies were built for, where our ancestors had to kill or grow their own food and were constantly on the move, and for the most part we should be glad for that! But it’s a sharp contrast that nowadays most people spend their day sitting at their desk, going home, sitting on the couch, and then going to bed. If this is how your day looks like as well, then you really need to think over whether your lifestyle is healthy.

What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle where you get little to no physical activity that involves being on your feet. This type of lifestyle is one of the worst kinds of lifestyles you can have, even if you don’t engage in other health-damaging activities such as smoking or excessive consumption of alcohol. This is because there are various health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle.

Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Included among the many health risks that you could face if you maintain your sedentary lifestyle are:

  • Sleep apnea, where obstruction to the airways causes you to stop breathing periodically when you are sleeping. The obstruction can be caused by many reasons, but obesity and a sedentary lifestyle contribute largely to it. The breathing pauses can be very detrimental in the long run.
  • Cardiovascular diseases, or in simple terms, diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Leading an overly sedentary lifestyle is usually coupled with eating too much and weight gain, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease.
  • Mental slowdowns as you get older. There is some evidence that a sedentary lifestyle can push along the process of memory deterioration as we age.
  • Pulmonary embolisms, which are more common among sedentary people, and there is an even higher risk if a sedentary woman also uses some form of birth control pill.

What Can You Do to Minimize the Risk?

It’s simple: just start moving around more. Nobody is asking you to start running marathons every day (though, if you could, that would be great!). Just take small steps to ensure that you get some exercise into your day. For example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park your car a little bit further so you can take a short walk before and after work. If you can add in about 30 minutes of proper exercise each day, that would be even better.

So, start taking those baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle today. Somewhere down the line, when you have a healthy heart at 70 and beyond, you’ll be happy you did.

Can Inner Strength Have a Direct Impact on Your Outer Strength?

Just as your inner strength can affect your outer beauty through confidence, it can also affect your outer strength. There are different types of strength, of course – such as mental confidence and physical power.

With both of these, your inner stores of strength and confidence will play an important role. How you present yourself to others and what you’re able to physically achieve can be determined by your belief in yourself.

When things happen that are outside your control – a car wreck, a pink slip at work – it’s your inner strength that can help you deal with these outside factors. You have two ways that you react to whatever happens.

There’s the inner you – which can have private thoughts and emotions based on what’s happened. And there’s the public you which can project a calm, cool and collected person that’s in control of the situation.

Take the scenario of the car wreck – a fender bender. The inner strength you possess is what will affect the outer self who has to deal with the other driver. A lack of inner strength would mean you jump out of the car and either yell or cry during the situation.

A full tank of inner strength means you calmly ask for the other driver’s insurance, make the appropriate calls, and get through the situation with ease. You’re making life easier on yourself (and others) because of that inner strength you possess.

How can you achieve inner strength so that you can deal with situations like these? Part of the key to your success lies in learning stress relief measures. This keeps your inner strength stores filled at all times.

Aside from the mental outer strength you need to portray, you have physical outer strength to build up. That can also be achieved through the process of tapping into your inner strength.

When you’re in the gym trying to achieve a better physique – one that provides health and beauty for you – you have to call on your inner strength to get through the routines you’re doing.

Whenever there’s one last set to get through, it can be hard. Your physical stamina isn’t what will help you complete it. It’s the inner strength you possess that reminds you that you do have it in you to complete the process.

Think of all of your strength as something that burns from the inside-out. It starts deep within you and as you need it in life, it leaks out, encasing you like a protective covering. Just know that even though it’s there waiting for you, you have to actually put it to use and call upon it for it to work.

Tips on Boosting Self-Confidence for Teens

Whether you’re a male or female teen, your self-confidence is important. While the emphasis is often on girls’ self-esteem, boys need to be confident, too, and often struggle just as much (although perhaps in different areas). Here are some tips to help teens build their self-confidence.

Recognize Your Talents

It’s easy to blow off your abilities, especially if your peers make fun of them (and they probably do so out of jealousy). But get serious with yourself and make a list of things you love to do and are good at. Keep this list just for yourself and look at it often. Remember it when you flunk a test or say something you wish you hadn’t. Those talents of yours won’t go away, and you can rely on them for the rest of your life…as long as you cultivate them.

Cultivate Your Abilities

You may have so many interests and abilities that it’s impossible to develop them all, or you may have one thing you really love to do. Regardless, look into developing and using some of your abilities in applications beyond school. Not only will it open more opportunities to look for activities around your community, but it might also remove you from peer judgment.

Be Like a Duck

Have you ever heard the expression that you should be like a duck and let negative words and attitudes roll off your back? It’s a good thing to cultivate – if you take every criticism or off-hand comment to heart, you might find yourself paralyzed with fear of other’s judgment. Remember, school and teenage-hood are not forever. You will get out of this stage and you shouldn’t let the criticisms of others sabotage your future, which lasts a lot longer than middle and high school!

Resist the Urge to Compare

When you look at your friends, classmates, or pictures of celebrities, try to resist the temptation to scrutinize them as the gold standard to which you should aspire. Someone will always have better legs, superior athletic prowess, nicer hair, etc. than you. But those people don’t set the standard for you; you are who you are, and they can’t measure up to that, either!

Listen to the Inner Voice – Then Tell It to Shut Up

Stop and listen to your inner thoughts for a while. What do you automatically think of yourself in response to certain situations? What do you say to yourself when you wake up, interact with friends, or go to class? If you are tearing yourself down with negative thoughts, you need to stop. Address the negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk instead.

How to Save Money by Reducing Banking Fees

There are many things that use up our finances quickly. It is wise to be resourceful and cut corners financially wherever you can. Banking fees are something that many people just assume are an expensive part of life. But do you know that there are many ways that you can save unnecessary money in this area?

Here are some creative ways to reduce banking costs in order to cut your monthly spending.

Think Twice

Have you had the same bank account for a long time? Are you paying a monthly fee for an account that has options you don’t even use? Perhaps when you signed up, you assumed you needed the best account possible and are now paying for things you don’t have much use for.

Are you blindly assuming that the account you use is still right for you? Just as we change and grow, our needs for a bank account change and grow. Go over your account details and see if there is a lower-cost banking option where you can save money.

Perhaps you don’t need to write as many checks as your account allows, or maybe there are other options such as money orders and unlimited bank withdrawals that you are paying for which are no longer relevant to your banking habits. Check it out and save yourself on your monthly fees.

Do You Have Enough Options?

On the other hand, perhaps you are paying for a bank account that was the cheapest one you could find. That may be fine for a while, but if you are using more than you are paying for, you can end up paying far more than if you had simply asked for the plan that was truly sufficient to cover your costs. Speak with your bank representative and find the plan that will give you what you need, with no surprise costs down the road.

Keep a Minimum Amount of Money in Account

Some banks will lower fees when there is a minimum amount of money in the account at all times and the minimum does not drop below that point. Find out if this is possible at your bank. If it is a feasible option for you then go ahead and start saving.

Be Interested in Your Interest

Be knowledgeable when it comes to where you save your money. Keep on top of how much interest your account is earning. If you are storing your money and you are not even making enough interest to keep up with inflation, it may be time to make a change. Find out if there are other account types that would serve you better and give you a higher return on the money you save. Or, if necessary, look around for another bank that may be able to better meet your financial needs.

Don’t Use Other Institutions for Withdrawals

When you are withdrawing money from a bank machine, be sure to find one that belongs to your own bank. Using other banks’ machines can bring hefty transaction fees. Find a bank that has many debit machines so that you have quick access to your money when needed.

Banking is something almost everyone has to do. Why not find the right bank account and save money where you can? By using the type of bank account that is exactly what you need, you will cut costs and be one step closer to financial freedom.

How to Make Getting Fit More Fun

Getting fit doesn’t have to be doing the same routine over and over until you are bored out of your mind. Instead, make it fun by participating in these suggestions!

Circuit training

Due to the variety of exercises and tempo, you don’t have time to get bored. Set up a circuit where you do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, crunches, and high knees each for 60 to 90 seconds. As soon as you are done with one exercise move on to the next. Repeat the circuit two or three times, resting between each iteration.

Join a sports team

Remember the feeling of exhilaration in high school when you played football, basketball, or ran track and field? As an adult you can get that same feeling again. Softball, racquetball, and tennis are all fun sports that raise your heart rate and burn a lot of calories.

Run an obstacle course

More and more city parks and recreation departments are setting up obstacle courses in their parks. Due to the varied nature of the stations, you are always doing something different like climbing over a wall, walking across a log, climbing a rope, or swinging across a water pit. They are exciting ways to work out and you are almost guaranteed to get dirty or wet!

Go for a hike

Going for a hike is much different than going for a mundane walk. Usually hiking is done over a varied terrain on an uneven medium like gravel or dirt and may require you to negotiate around boulders and go up hills and back down the other side. The hike is usually worth the exercise value derived from the hike; the scenery encountered is an added bonus.

Run on a track

If you want to challenge your body once in a while, try running on a track. Many of them are cushioned so they are gentler on your knees and ankles, and because of the smooth level surface, you can increase your speed. You may even experience a deja vu moment if you ran track in high school.

Home-based yoga

You don’t have to join a yoga class to do yoga. There are many routines both online and on DVDs that are just as challenging. Yoga is fun because it is different than normal exercising. Focusing on meditation, breathing, and poses, it is just as mentally refreshing as it is physically.

There are so many opportunities to make exercising fun that there is no reason to be stuck in the same routine day after day. Each day of the week you could be doing something different, and most of the suggestions here don’t require equipment except for a pair of sneakers.

Essential Tips For Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools business owners have access to. It allows you to connect with your audience. You can engage and build a community around your business. Business owners can also use it to learn more about their audience so they can better meet their needs.

It’s enough to make you want to jump right in, right? However, before you create a profile page and start marketing on your favorite social media site, there are a few steps to take and considerations to make.

Identify Your Purpose and Goals

Why are you using social media and what do you hope to accomplish? There are many different reasons to use social media. You may use it to sell products, to build your opt-in list, or to drive traffic to your landing page. Do you want to generate new leads or build relationships with your existing prospects and clients? Consider both long-term and short-term goals.

For example, if you want to build your opt-in list with social media marketing, how much do you want to achieve by the end of this month and what are your three-year goals? Setting the right goals for you and your business will help you create a social media marketing strategy that’s effective and productive.

Identify Tactics to Support Your Goals

There are different tactics to consider based on your business goals. For example, if you want to drive people to your opt-in page then you may want to hold a contest or sweepstakes that motivates people to sign up. You may want to create a content marketing strategy specifically for social media that identifies you as an authority and promotes your opt-in offer. Once you’ve identified the correct tactics, create an action plan and timeline.

Identify Your Brand Message

What message do you want to convey on your social media page(s) and how do you want to communicate it? Keep in mind that your message and brand should support your other branding efforts. However, your approach can be different on social media to be better tailored to its particular audiences.

Finally, assess your resources and leverage technology. Identify the tools and technologies that can help you achieve your social media marketing goals. For example, there are services that automatically publish a link to your blog post on all of your social media accounts. There are also plug-ins that can be added to your website or blog that help visitors connect with you on social media. Use technology to help you achieve your social media marketing goals.