How to Stop Seeing Exercise as Something Negative

With all of the nutritional nightmares in today’s normal diet which make you inactive and sloth-like, it’s easy to see exercise as something you would rather avoid. Your body is the most amazing machine ever created, and it tends to become accustomed to whatever type of activity habits you program it with. A human body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a human being in motion tends to stay in motion. Here are a few ways to stop seeing exercise as something negative, so you can begin to live a happier, healthier, and longer life.

Start scheduling your exercise first thing in the morning when you wake up. This has been proven to lead to better health patterns and improved day-long productivity. It is hard to look upon your daily or weekly exercise as something you would rather avoid when you begin to get more done and feel healthier.

Exercise consistently for 17 to 21 days. Your mind is the most gifted computer ever designed, and it takes generally two and a half to three weeks to program your supercomputer. After that time, which may be shorter for some and longer for others, your exercise regimen will have become a habit. You will no longer have to look upon it as something you dread once it moves from the emotional state to a pre-programmed and automatic activity.

Another incredible benefit of regular physical activity is that it cuts down your stress, anxiety, and depression levels. So simply by exercising, you will have a better attitude about exercising! Start off small and be honest with yourself, slowly building on the amount of daily and weekly physical activity you receive. You will eventually see your perception of exercising begin to improve over time.

When you have clear-cut fitness goals and attach them to a particular workout regimen aimed at delivering your desired results, you see improvements much more quickly.

One of the greatest ways to think positively about exercise is to see results. Losing a couple of pounds or inches has a dramatic effect on how you view exercise and physical activity.

Phone a friend to give yourself a better attitude towards exercise. Research has consistently proven that getting someone else involved in your exercise program holds you accountable, and you become more consistent with your physical activity. This begins to produce results, which will definitely put a smile on your face.

Aside from delivering and maintaining excellent heart health and helping you reach a healthy weight, regular physical exercise has been shown to increase longevity. Living longer and healthier should definitely be on everyone’s to-do list, and when you use the above tips to shed new light upon exercise, you turn your frown upside down and can’t wait until your next workout session.

How to Write When You’re Not a Writer

Every business owner is called on to manage a variety of tasks. Due to the importance of public communications, one of those tasks is often writing. This can be a scary and potentially overwhelming concept. Many people fear writing or put it off because they don’t consider themselves to be writers.

Good news! You don’t have to be a “writer” to write good content for your website. There’s a difference between content published in newspapers and magazines and content published on most websites. The content on your website doesn’t need to appeal to a broad audience. It also doesn’t need to be on a broad topic. Quite the opposite, actually. Your content will be quite specific.

For example, it could be “Ten tips to bake better chocolate chip cookies.” It provides value to a very specific target audience. And if you have a website about chocolate chip cookies or baking, then you can write this article without thinking much about it. You know it. The information is already inside of you.

Web content is also more conversational. Content is written to feel personal – as if you’re speaking to your audience. You’ll use words like:

* You
* Your
* You’ll
* You’re
* And sometimes if you’re writing a blog post you’ll use “I”, “Me,” and “We.”

These are not words you’ll often find in journalism unless they’re in quotes. Newspapers and magazines are generally more formal. They use third person perspective.

Additionally, web content is formatted for easy reading. You’ll use bullet points, numbers, and headings and subheadings to break up your content into bite-sized pieces.

So what does all this mean if you’re not a “writer”? It means that writing content for your website is pretty straightforward. You:

* Write what you know and what your audience will benefit from
* Write conversationally
* Write so it’s easy to read online

The simplest method to use when you’re writing your online content is to spend a few minutes creating the structure for your article. Write a rough headline and subheadings. Then fill in the content. Write it as if you’re writing a letter to a friend. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling on the first draft. You can go back and edit for clarity later.

Once you have your thoughts down on paper, polish. Add your keywords in to optimize for the search engines and publish it. Test and track your articles and content to evaluate what content your readers respond to. With a little confidence and planning, you can write content to build and grow your business.

Family Comes First

Can you truly say that you put your family first all of the time? If you don’t, there is no need to feel guilty. Many people unintentionally let other things get in the way when they shouldn’t. All that it takes to start putting your family first is a shift in your priorities.

A great example of this is when you start to work crazy hours. While your objective may be to provide those “extras” for your family, it can end up in you neglecting them. So you may come home with gifts and new toys, but is that what your family really wants? They would probably prefer to spend more time with you instead.

The next time you are asked to work late or immediately offer to stay when overtime is offered, think about your reason why. Do you really need the extra money? Or do you get bored when you get home and would prefer to stay at work? Whatever the intention is, you need to look at your reasons and be honest with yourself. Staying away from home could indicate that there is a problem in your marriage that you don’t want to deal with.

One way to put your family first is by being there for them. When your son or daughter has a sports event or is in the school play, make of point of attending. If a family member gets sick, help them out as much as possible.

Creating stability within your family is a good way of putting your family first. Everyone loves to know that they have someone who they can count on. You can easily do this by creating family routines such as:

  • Regular dinner times
  • Chores for each family member
  • Set bed times
  • Movie night

Though these things may sound trivial, they are very important. By creating a structured routine, you are also setting expectations for your family. They know that they are expected for dinner at 6pm each day. Or that every Saturday they have to spend an hour or two helping out with chores.

When you, as the parent, put your family first, each family member will start to follow suit. In turn, this creates a caring family that will always be around for each other.

Family is important so don’t neglect what you have worked so hard to build. Yes, work and being social is important, but they shouldn’t always take precedence over your family.

Taking Back Time After Work

Does the excitement of arriving at home in the evening get ruined when you open the door to see a pile of unfolded laundry and a week’s worth of newspapers scattered around?

It’s not that you are a slob; or at least you don’t want to be. The problem is that you have so little spare time. At the end of the day all you want to do is grab dinner and collapse on the sofa, exerting only enough energy to work the remote.

Instead of berating yourself about not having enough time to clean your home, decide which jobs that you are willing to spend time on and which you can delegate. Yes, you can delegate housework.

When you delegate, you free time for what is more important to you. Start with the laundry. Find a full service laundry that’s on the way to work and drop it off weekly. The next day, you pick up clean, folded, and pressed clothes.  If the laundry doesn’t do dry cleaning, then find a drive-thru drive cleaner that opens early so you can drop off the clothes on the way to work.

Stop ordering pizza or Chinese food when you are too tired to cook. You’ll save money and time after work by purchasing frozen dinners that were made just for you with your favorite recipes by a personal chef. Some personal chefs cook in your kitchen twice monthly while others deliver the foods. What you spend on custom prepared meals frees your time in the evening and offsets all the foods that go to waste in your refrigerator because you don’t have time to cook.

If you do enjoy cooking but only when you have enough time, then use the same concept as the personal chefs do and plan an all-day cooking binge once or twice monthly then freeze the meals.

Hire a maid service to come in once or twice monthly to do the heavy cleaning, floors, carpets, scrubbing, and so forth. Then you can keep the place clean with twenty minutes of speed cleaning on alternate days.

Don’t fool yourself by promising to clean all day Saturday. When the weekend comes, you’ll find more interesting ways to spend your time than cleaning. Rather than set yourself up to break a promise to yourself, find a combination of maid service and your own cleaning that works within the time you are willing to consistently devote to cleaning.

Gardening and outdoor spaces are wonderful, but only if you have the time to keep ahead of the weeds. If gardening is relaxing to you, then you’ll gladly spend the time to do this. But if you simply like the look of a beautiful outdoor space yet lack the passion for gardening, then get help with the yard. You can save money by hiring a student or retiree to weed and prune a small garden. If you have a full yard, hire a lawn service.

Running errands for routine matters can take hours when you are disorganized and too tired to focus on the task. Keep a list in the kitchen where you add items by location. Have a section on the list for groceries, beverages, cosmetics, personal care items, and clothing.

Choose stores where a large number of items can be obtained. That saves time and gas. Bring your list and make one shopping trip each day until it’s done. Or spend Saturday as your shopping and fun day, because you’ll have more time after being freed from other routine tasks.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Affiliate Marketing

Whether you are running an online business or a regular internet user who wants to make extra cash, affiliate marketing can be a great and lucrative way for you to earn online. But before you embark on this money-making opportunity, it is essential for you to know the fundamentals and important facts about affiliate marketing.

Luckily, this guide can help you achieve that. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about affiliate marketing:

Q: What is affiliate marketing?

A: Affiliate marketing is a marketing scheme that has been practiced by businesses and entrepreneurs for many years. Basically, it is a form of marketing based on performance, where a preset commission is paid to the affiliate who refers traffic to a merchant’s site that performs the requisite action, such as making a purchase. It is now used by thousands of online merchants, brands, and companies to generate traffic and sales.

In many ways, it is similar to referral marketing since both marketing forms rely on third parties to drive traffic and revenues to the business or retailer.

Q: How does affiliate marketing work?

A: There are three major players involved in this marketing practice, namely:
• Merchant or retailer – This is a person or business selling a service or product.
• Affiliate – The person responsible for promoting the service or product
• Customer – The individual buying the service or product

As a reward for the publisher’s marketing efforts, the merchant pays a commission to the publisher for every successful sale or when a commissionable event happens, such as filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter. The commission given to the affiliate varies from program to program. Often it is a percentage of the sale.

Q: What are the benefits offered by affiliate marketing to merchants?

A: As a merchant and website owner, affiliate marketing can greatly benefit you in many different ways.

For one, it helps you promote your product and brand to a wider global audience without having to spend a fortune. In fact, having affiliates can increase earnings by hundreds and even thousands of sales each month. Keep in mind that you will only have to spend money once a sale is made or an internet user responds to the CTA (Call to action). Thus, with affiliate marketing, your cash flow will become a lot easier to account for and predict.

Besides merchants and online businesses, affiliates can enjoy a few benefits from this form of marketing as well. With affiliate marketing, affiliates enjoy unlimited earning potential from methods such as email marketing, blogging, or building an affiliate niche site without the need to develop or support a product.

In affiliate marketing, all an affiliate has to do is to promote and pitch the product to their own web traffic and then send them via an affiliate link to the merchant’s site.

Q: Are there any qualifications in order to become an affiliate marketer?

A: There are no general qualifications for this kind of work, but merchants have the full authority to turn down or approve any application from an affiliate. Some affiliate programs look for a particular set of qualities from their publishers and high quality websites that get the optimal amount of traffic, but there are plenty of programs that approve all affiliates, such as Amazon Associates.

Q: How can a merchant monitor his or her affiliate’s performance?

A: Merchants track commissions, sales, and referrals through web cookies and tracking links that are embedded in affiliate links using a personal identification code that is assigned to each affiliate.

In a nutshell, a tracking URL is a unique link provided by the merchant to his or her affiliate. With this link, a merchant can keep track of all the sales and traffic that are made through affiliate’s link.

Q: Is a degree required to become an affiliate marketer?

A: No, only the knowledge of specific skills and their implementation is required to start an affiliate marketing business.

Q: How much can I earn as an affiliate?

A: This is not a question that can be answered strictly in numbers. There are affiliates who are millionaires; they are known as super affiliates. Then there are those who make very little, and everything in between. Earnings depend on the type of methods that are used, the level of commitment and work that is put in, and learning proper techniques which are implemented in the correct manner. One thing is guaranteed, though, the earning potential is unlimited.

Q: What are the most popular affiliate programs?

A: These are the most popular affiliate programs and networks:

• ShareASale
• Commission Junction
• LinkShare
• Amazon
• eBay
• Clickbank
• JVZoo
• PayDotCom

How a Life Coach Can Affect Your Lifetime Dreams

Life is a skill that can be acquired and often you need help to learn this skill.  Like any skill you desire to learn or become more proficient in, there are many ways to do this.   If you want to become a better golfer you can hire a golf pro.  If you want to become a better singer you perhaps hire a voice tutor.

We think nothing of paying someone to teach us how to do what we want to do better.  That includes everything from cooking, writing, or a professional trainer to help us sculpt our body. This is good.  Of course, we can attempt to teach ourselves through books, videos, and lots of practice.  But most of the time if we’re serous about furthering a need or talent we must seek professional assistance.

Learning how to live life is somehow viewed differently.  This is what we were born to do.  Yet, we flounder, we struggle, strive for goals, miss the mark, and fall back to wallow in failure and oft times resign ourselves to defeat.  You think life should come easy and you should be able to handle whatever it throws at you.  This may sound good in theory, but in reality life can be a formidable opponent.

Most people aren’t even aware that there are life coaches who specialize in all areas of living life abundantly.  This includes various aspects of your career and personal growth.  They can advise you in relationships with your spouse, significant other, or family members.

A life coach can help you make decisions you refuse to make for yourself.  Many times you don’t even realize what decisions need to be made, and a life coach can help you crystallize your thoughts and dreams.

An important first step before hiring a life coach is to assure yourself that you’re ready to move forward and willing to accept direction.  At that point in your life it will be much easier for them to analyze where you are in life and where you want to be.  You’re obviously frustrated with your life but have no idea how to get out of your rut.

Living the life you desire can come with a high price tag.  But, if you’re willing to pay the price in money, effort, and dedication, then it’s time to define your life on your own terms and take control.  You understand you’ve reached the point in your life that you must feel happier and that life can be rich and dreams realized.

The world we live in today is complicated and it’s okay to need help.  A life coach will help you set personal goals, get you off square one, and explain what to do next.  A coach can be a powerful asset when you’re ready to work with him or her.

Life coaching is not a therapy session.  He or she is not there to help you heal wounds of the past but assist you in building a better tomorrow.  If you blame others for your problems, perhaps therapy is a better option.  But if you’re ready to take responsibility for where you are today then a life coach can help improve your life and take you to the next level.

Feed Your Body What It Needs to Excel

If your body isn’t getting the foods and nutrients it needs to function properly, then don’t expect your brain to respond appropriately when it’s called upon, either.  Some people spend more money and time feeding the right diet to their pets or selecting proper additives for their cars than they do for themselves.

Your brain feeds on the foods you feed your body, and if you’re constantly eating an unhealthy diet then not only does your body slow down, so does your brain.  Often this comes on so slowly it’s not noticed until you’re older and then the blame falls on aging.

As the brain ages, the memory fades and it loses the ability to help itself.  It becomes an easy prey for oxidation and inflammation, which can kill the brain cells. To lead a healthy and productive life, it’s imperative to tune your body and your mind so that both are functioning efficiently.

Of course, you need to exercise, keep your blood pressure in check, and get proper rest, at least seven hours of sleep at night.  If you smoke, stop.  And, concentrate on a diet that’s rich in mind and body enhancing nutrients.  Supplements can be taken, but it’s best to rely on natural foods to obtain the best and longer lasting results.

We can learn a lesson from plants.  They produce their own antioxidants to protect themselves from diseases, pollution, and other harmful elements in the environment.  So, we should ingest foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and berries including grapes, cherries, apples, plums, and oranges. Blueberries and cranberries have proven to be especially high in antioxidants that aid in memory retention.

Vegetables high in antioxidants include the green and leafy types such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.  Beets, red bell peppers, onions, and garlic are also rich in the desired nutrients.  Chard, turnip, and collard greens are also high in antioxidants, but not as much as their cousins.

Omega-3 fatty acids must not be forgotten, and they may be found in salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines.  Seafood also is packed with B vitamins, as well as dairy products, eggs, spinach, carrots, and various nuts and seeds.

Some spices are also excellent in providing a better memory and healthy body by improving your motor skills and aiding your brain to communicate and regenerate. Cur cumin, found in ginger and curry, has been said to prevent memory loss.  Rosemary, both fresh and dried, stimulates and enhances the memory while it also calms your nerves and promotes a healthy circulatory system.

Good news for coffee lovers.  Recent studies have revealed that caffeinated coffee in moderation helps to prevent memory loss and stimulate brainwave activity.  The study showed it to be more effective in helping women than men.

Maintaining a healthy body and mind with a balanced diet will not only help you to excel today but enable you to carry on with an enviable existence throughout life.

 

 

Keys to a Successful Family Budget

Creating a family budget is within everyone’s reach, but creating a successful one requires some particular methods. Here are some tips to help you create a successful family budget.

Get Everyone on Board

The more inclusive your budget is, the more likely it is to work well for your family. Include every family member who is old enough to understand. A budget affects everyone, and it’s a good idea to listen to input from other members of the family.

Leave Room for Luxuries

Some budgets are so tight that it may seem there’s no room for any luxury. But if you get a bit creative about what constitutes a luxury, you will probably find you can in fact afford some kind of privilege or luxury. It could be something like buying your favorite brand name item at the store instead of settling for the store brand, or maybe buying fresh fish instead of frozen once a month. Maybe ordering a pizza or Chinese food is a luxury for your family that you can include in your budget.

If you are budgeting with more money, your luxury could be a family vacation or new piece of electronic equipment. The point is to include some kind of luxury in your budget. This helps keep family members motivated and makes the budget easier to deal with.

Get a Good Estimation

To do this, it’s a good idea to take your last three months’ worth of income and create an average. When in doubt, round down so that surprises will be more likely to be on the plus side. The same is true for expenses – include at least three months of expenses to get a true picture.

Be Patient

It takes a few months for a budget to sort itself out and become habit. There will be bugs that need to be worked out. Understanding this can help you stick with it as it needs tweaking and adjusting.

Software

For some, using software to lay out the family budget can be very helpful. Software that is designed for the purpose may make creating the budget easier.

Combine

As you look at the things that cost you money, remember gas and miles on your car. Combining errands is something most people try to do; but there might be some other combinations that you hadn’t thought of. For example, visit out-of-town family members during your vacation.

Distinguish between Optional and Necessary Spending

This distinction is harder to make for some people than others, and it’s tougher in some family dynamics than others. What one person thinks of as a “necessity” might be looked at as a luxury by someone else. If you’re in doubt, check budget formats and accepted principles in this regard that come from a third party.

Pay off Debts

It’s unpleasant, but paying off debts needs to be high on the priority list for your family budget. The sooner they’re paid off, the sooner you’ll have more money left over!

Time Management to Start Each Day

Waking up to a screaming alarm clock is not the same as time management.  In fact, if you are a person who sleeps until the last possible moment, throws on clothes, and races out the door, you have no time to manage in the mornings. No wonder you feel that your life is out of control and you aren’t getting done everything that needs to be done. Get a better start to get a better result for your day.

Get up twenty minutes earlier. Set your clock ahead. Then set a second clock for five minutes later and place that clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That’s sneaky but effective!

By waking up earlier, you have time to wake up gradually, take a shower and enjoy a cup of coffee or juice. This is a kinder way to get your body and your brain oriented to the day.

You also have time to check your calendar and have a big picture of what’s happening in the day. You are also more likely to remember to bring the flash drive that you were working on last night and extra clothes to change into for tennis after work. If you don’t remember these things, you’ll waste more time going back to get them.

Here’s the ideal place to add a fifteen-minute mini-workout. Start with stretches then add a few simple exercises. You can also get a video with short workouts to follow. Or you can go outside on the patio or balcony to jump rope.

Fifteen minutes isn’t enough for a serious walk or run but you could take a few laps around the block. You don’t have to wait until you can do a long workout. Even this short workout is great for your body and stimulates your metabolism to run more efficiently for the remainder of the day.

An even better way to turn morning from dread to enjoyable is to get up earlier, even as much as an hour earlier to set the tone for your day. Spend quiet time reading spiritually uplifting material or meditate.

You might also read a favorite blog, check the online news highlights, or add a daily note to your own blog. Just don’t get lost in reading emails or checking work related material because those may throw off your time.

Have coffee, tea, or juice while you are getting dressed.  Then sit down for a quick breakfast. Don’t grab toast and eat it as you are packing the car. You can find several fast options that offer better nutrition and take the time to eat, not inhale it.

As you are sitting down with your bagel, oatmeal, cereal, or egg and cheese sandwich, look over your calendar to preview what you need to get done today. Before you insist that you don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast, realize that you only need fifteen minutes to do this.

Even a quick breakfast is better than shoving food in your mouth while driving.  The fifteen minutes that you give your body nourishment to start the day will help you to avoid the mid-morning blood sugar drop.

That low energy time hits just as some businesses are opening and customer traffic is increasing, so you will get much more accomplished at work for the investment of 15 minutes to eat a nourishing breakfast.

After just a few days, you’ll see why starting the morning earlier is the best time management option to maximize your productivity for the entire day. So set that clock back and you’ll move forward.

 

4 Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

Many people practice both cardio and strength training routines as part of their fitness plan, but fail to include exercises that would increase their flexibility. Not only does being more flexible benefit you in the gym by lessening your risk of an injury and increasing joint range of motion, it helps you in your daily life, such as allowing you to easily bend over and tie your shoes.

Stretching is one of the best ways to restore or increase flexibility. There are two types of stretching – static and dynamic. Your fitness routine will generally dictate when each type is performed. Generally speaking, static exercises are done after a workout as a cool down, where dynamic exercises are done after a warm-up but before a workout to get you loosened up. With either type of stretching, you don’t want to stretch cold muscles; this can lead to an injury.

Static Stretching

In this type of stretching, a muscle is slowly stretched and then held in the stretched position for several seconds before relaxing. If done properly, there is a low risk of injury, making it one of the most popular forms of stretching.

A popular upper body muscle group to stretch is the shoulder. To perform the shoulder stretch seated or standing:

Hold your right arm parallel with the ground and across the front of your chest.
With your left arm grab your right arm just above the elbow and pull the stretched arm.
Pull until you just start to feel the stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds and then release.
Repeat with the other arm.

A great lower body stretch is the butterfly groin stretch. To start, sit on the floor with your back straight:

With the soles of your feet together, grasp your ankles and pull both of your feet towards your body; allow your knees to come up and out to the side.
While still grasping your ankles, gently push your knees down towards the floor.
You will feel the stretch along the inside of your thighs and groin.
Hold for 30 seconds.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is stretching while in motion. The muscles that will be used in the upcoming workout are stretched, but are not held in the stretched position as they would be with static stretching.

One great stretching exercise for the lower body is forward lunges. To start:

Keep your upper body straight, shoulders back and look straight forward.
Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Ensure your front knee is centered over your ankle; your other knee should not touch the floor.
Push back with your front leg to the starting position.
Do 5 to 10 repetitions and then switch legs.

To increase the flexibility in your back, do some side bends:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight in the air.
Without moving your lower body, alternate bending laterally to your left, back up and to the right as far as possible.
Do 5 to 20 repetitions in each direction.

Stretching should be part of your fitness routine. Not only does it complete your fitness plan, increased flexibility makes many everyday life tasks easier.

Steps to Avoid While Listening

In this article we want to focus on the things you shouldn’t do while listening to someone. When you learn not to do these steps your listening skills will improve.

  1. Don’t take over the conversation. This is really important, and as much as you want to offer advice, don’t! Let the person finish talking first. It shows respect; plus when you aren’t actively involved in the conversation, you will listen more closely.
  2. Don’t try to change the subject. If you attempt to do this, it shows that you either weren’t listening or that you are not interested in what this person is saying.
  3. Don’t use closed questions. These are the types of questions that don’t need a response and they can easily put an end to your conversation. You want to get into the habit of asking questions that require an answer. Ask them to give you an example of the situation, or ask for clarification on a certain point.
  4. Don’t interrupt. While you may have good intentions and want to answer, don’t. When you do this you are cutting people off and not hearing the entire story. When you interrupt, it seems as though you are in a rush and just want to get the issue resolved. It can seem as though you don’t care, and that is not something you want to show.
  5. Don’t assume. When you do this shows that you are not really listening.
  6. Avoid your personal viewpoints. No matter what your viewpoint is on the topic at hand, everyone is allowed to have their own thoughts and opinions. In fact, the world would be a boring place if everyone agreed on every subject. It may be hard to not let your own viewpoint sway you, but give the person the benefit of the doubt and listen to them.

Instead, you want to concentrate on becoming a good listener. You can do this by maintaining some form of eye contact and use your body language to show that you are interested.

Another great idea is to simply place yourself in the shoes of the speaker. Imagine how you would want someone to respond if you were doing the talking, and then try to act accordingly. Of course, you don’t want to be false to yourself and agree just for the sake of keeping someone happy. But you can indicate that you understand where they are coming from and then explain your point of view.

By taking these things into consideration, you can avoid destroying a relationship and instead create a long lasting and rewarding one.

What Is “User Generated Content” and How Can It Help Your Business

User generated content is a new buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention recently. Websites can take off in popularity if they have great user generated content without the creators having to put as much work into content creation themselves.

What exactly is user generated content? How does it work? How do you encourage user generated content? Let’s take a look.

What Is User Generated Content?

User generated content is any content that’s generated by the user base and not by content creators of the company.

High profile examples include Wikipedia and YouTube. The staff at Wikipedia and YouTube don’t spend all their time creating entries or videos. Instead, their job is to make it easy for other people to create content.

Other people do, and Wikipedia and YouTube benefit from it.

Lower profile examples include forums and blog comments. Again, these aren’t created by the site owner, but can still draw a lot of search engine traffic.

So how does one encourage people to create more content?

Give People Room to Express Something They Want to Express

It’s very hard to create desire. Trying to get someone to want something they don’t already naturally want is very hard.

On the other hand, giving someone an avenue to talk about things they already want to talk about can be a great shortcut to amassing a ton of user generated content.

YouTube exemplifies this principle. YouTube didn’t create the desire for people to share videos, they just made pursuing that desire possible through the internet.

What do your users already want to talk about that they’re not able to talk about yet?

Make Them Feel Like They’re Part of Something

A sense of community and purpose can go a long way towards inspiring content generation.

A forum, for example, often thrives when there’s a sense of people helping one another out. People are more inspired to post their success stories and help other people out in their hardships.

On the other hand, forums where there’s animosity and lack of community tend to die down over time.

Wikipedia also does this really well. People feel like they’re part of a larger purpose and that their time put into generating content is for a good cause.

Make Contributing Fun

Don’t make it feel like work to generate content. Make it fun.

For example, when Gmail wanted to have users create a video for them, they didn’t make it sound like work.

Instead, they made it sound like a contest and made all the descriptions of the video they wanted very bright. They got tons of submissions and had a stellar video to use at the end of the day.

If you’re not employing user generated content as part of your web strategy, you’re missing out. The content generated can bring a lot of traffic to your website with barely any additional cost.

Running on a Treadmill vs. Outdoors

While you might think running is running regardless of if it is done outside or on a treadmill, there are distinct differences between the two types of running venues. Here’s  quick guide to help you figure out what’s best for you.

1) Control of Running Conditions

By running on a treadmill, you can safely run any time during the day or night and not have to worry about getting hit by a car. Also on a treadmill, your running environment is constant and predictable, making choice of a running outfit easy. You don’t have to worry about being too hot or too cold, or having to run on an ice-encrusted sidewalk or path.

Another benefit of treadmill running at home, you can get in a run and watch your kids at the same time … something you cannot do if you run outside.

 2) Reducing the Odds of Injury

 Running outside can be hazardous to your health. If you run in the dark, you risk not seeing something and falling down. While a skinned knee might not slow you down much, a broken ankle can put you out of commission for several weeks or even months.

Worse yet can be weather conditions. If you live in a cold climate, snow and ice on your running path or sidewalk can lead to slips and falls. If you are concentrating on running conditions, you are not focusing on the mechanics of how you run. Also when running on ice, you tend to run “stiffer” meaning you are not running using your regular form.

Running on a treadmill alleviates these concerns by always running in constant light conditions, stable temperatures, and on a dry treadmill belt.

And because a treadmill belt “gives” a little, and thereby absorbs some of the shock associated with running, there is less impact on your knees, ankles, and hips.

3) Different Use of Muscles

When running outside, you use your muscles differently than when running on a treadmill (whether you consciously know it or not). On a treadmill, you use your quadriceps “quads” to push off forward, but your hamstrings don’t get the same workout as they would if you were running outside, because the propulsion of the belt negates working them as hard.

Even on a calm day outside, you are still running into the wind that you create from your forward movement, thereby creating air resistance which makes you work harder.  On a treadmill, you can simulate that resistance by increasing the incline, so that in the end, you work at about the same level, but you will still use your muscles differently.

Keep in mind that because running on a treadmill and running outside are different, you have to adjust your running style and dress accordingly depending on which running venue you are using at the time.

Smart Tips for Creating a Nest Egg

Birds use their nests as a place of safety for their unborn eggs. They warm them and watch over them until they are ready to hatch. This is also what you do with your financial nest egg. Here are some tips for nurturing your future savings.

Everyone needs something set aside for the days when they will eventually stop work. Life doesn’t stop then and neither does your money if you plan right. It is never too late to put something aside and help it to grow until you need it.

Start with a plan. All good ideas usually start with a plan. It gives you somewhere to go and something to strive for.

* Map out your future needs – This will be based on monthly bills (mortgage, utilities, car payments, and insurance at least) and retirement plans. Do you want to travel or have a house at the beach? Maybe you want to start a farm or an online business. These things require money. Create a ballpark figure of how much money you will need each month to handle your dreams.

* Read about financial options – No one knows about financial things unless they take the initiative to learn about them. Read books, go online, and talk with a financial advisor. It’s okay if you have a dozen questions. It is their job to answer each one of them to your satisfaction so you can make an informed decision. What are stocks and mutual funds? What is better: Roth IRA or traditional IRA? The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

* Use as many financial vehicles as you can – Now that you know about all of these options, consider which ones are best for you. The old proverb says that it is not good to put all your eggs in one basket, so spread your money around to help it grow. Make your decisions based on advice and also based on how far you are from retirement, your children, your age, and your after-retirement plans.

* Minimize your lifestyle – To invest, you need money. If there are ways to cut costs, the extra money can be put to work for your future. Here are some suggestions: Stop smoking, cancel cable television (Netflix is cheaper), downsize your home, consolidate services, renegotiate insurance premiums, brown bag your lunch, stop gym memberships, and use utility equal payment plans.

* Check and recheck – This is important to keep an eye on your investments. Different circumstances can lead to changes in the portfolio, so check it regularly to stay on top of new developments.

Is your nest egg healthy? If not, here are some options to help you improve it before full maturity. It may not be easy to make all of these changes, but over time the benefits will hopefully outweigh present sacrifices.

How to Build Your First Website

In order to do any kind of business online, you will want to have a website. However, building your first website can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, there are so many choices. Here’s how to build your first website.

#1 Determine your website’s purpose.

What are you going to do on the website? How are you going to make money? This is important because some website languages, templates, and platforms are more effective for certain business models. For example, if you’re building a theme-based website, you may want to use a website building service like SiteBuildIt.

#2 Choose your platform.

Once you know what you want to accomplish with your website, it’s time to choose your website platform. There are a number of options here. You can use website design software like DreamWeaver or FrontPage. There are online courses and books to show you how to use both of these programs. It might take you some time to build your website; however, you’ll be able to create it one hundred percent on your own.

Another option is to use your website host’s predesigned templates. These templates are often customizable and are a pretty quick and easy way to get a website up. You can also learn a website design format like Joomla, which is a content management system written in PHP, a design language.

You can also use site building services that offer wizards and templates to help you customize a website for your business.

Finally, you can use a blogging platform like WordPress to build your website. And if all of this just seems like too much, you can design your website with a pencil and paper and then hire someone to create it.

#3 Navigation and format.

Before you create your website or hire someone to do it for you, you’ll want to draft your website on paper. Decide what pages you want your website to have. How are people going to find what they need? How will they navigate your website? What categories or buttons will you have? How will you share your information, and how will you promote your products or services? Figuring all of this out before you begin creating your website will help ensure it is a success.

Creating your first website is a strategic process. However, much of the work will be done on paper as you plan the purpose and layout of your website. Once you know exactly what you’re creating, you can find the best tools to create your site and make it a reality.

Leadership Skills to Teach Kids

Have you heard talk about teaching kids leadership skills? Whether you are a teacher, parent, or other type of caregiver, you have probably heard about the importance of instilling leadership. But how? What skills? Following is a basic list of leadership skills you can teach kids.

1. Independent Thinking

Help your child break out of the “cookie cutter” mentality by teaching him or her to think independently. Ask your kids’ opinions on things, and refrain from judging or expressing your opinion. Just listen so that no opinion is “wrong.” You might share your own opinion respectfully, and if it differs, all the better – part of independent thinking is hearing several sides of an issue and coming to your own conclusions.

2. Responsibility

Age-appropriate responsibilities are important skills for building leadership. Give your child responsibilities as early as you can, and have him deal with the consequences if those responsibilities are not carried out. Of course, your child needs guidance, but once you explain what the consequences will be, sources say it’s best to let them play out.

3. Fairness

Leaders need to be fair. Being too rigid and unbending is not a great way to teach your kids about fairness, but being too permissive isn’t, either. Help them to understand what is fair and what isn’t, and how sometimes being fair means being firm even when others are upset.

4. Negotiation

Have you thought about the importance of negotiation skills in leadership? Think about it: government leaders, for example, need to be well-versed in the art of negotiation. So it’s okay to discuss your child’s wants and desires – ask him to present a convincing argument as to why he thinks he should have whatever it is, or participate in an activity. And sources agree that it’s okay for a parents to allow themselves to be “talked into” something now and then!

5. Organization

Being organized is key to good leadership. Teach your children how to prioritize tasks and organize their time. Show them how to use calendars to keep things straight, and explain how time is organized by prioritizing tasks.

In the category of organization is also the concept of making lists. Have your kids make lists of what tasks they plan to complete each day and/or week. This also helps break tasks down into steps – maybe your child has a research paper due three weeks from now. Helping your child break that down into weekly and daily steps can be very helpful – not only in accomplishing the completing of the paper, but also in instilling the leadership skill of organization.

6. Communication

This is essential for leadership. Leaders must express their goals and their vision for whatever project or task they are leading. They can’t expect others to read their minds! Teach your kids good communication and listening skills by encouraging them to share their thoughts even if you disagree, and by actively listening yourself.

Is There Such a Thing as Motivation Training?

Motivation is much like a soda.  You can find it everywhere, but there are so many decisions to make on what you really want.  Sodas come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. They can be bought in cans or bottles, in regular or diet versions.

Do you prefer caffeine or decaffeinated, which flavor is best and do you want the ones that are vitamin fortified?  Which price is better?  Would the generic brand be just as good?

Do we want the six packs, twelve pack, the one, two or three liter plastic bottles or cans?  By the time we make all these decisions just to buy soda, it’s a wonder we ever get out of the grocery store.  Many other foods require similar decisions.

There are all kinds of motivation training choices, but how do you decide what’s best for you?  You’ve already taken the first step by realizing that you want and need training in the field of motivation.  Motivation is good medicine, but how do you take the dose?

Motivation can be like a generic soda and cover all general aspects of motivation and usually cost less.  Or, it can be very specific.  There is probably a motivation program for every niche you can imagine.  Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish before investing a large amount of time and money in a program that may not fit your needs at all.

One of the things you learn in salesmanship is to not give the customer too many choices.  The more decisions a buyer has to make the less likely you are to make the sale.  But, you are the one making the decision on what type of motivation you would like to have.  Now that you’ve made the decision to get started, do your research.  What are your reasons and goals for seeking motivation training?

There are excellent training programs in organization, leadership, and development skills.

You can learn how to do public speaking or make a dynamic presentation.  Other skills you can develop with motivational training include emotional intelligence, management, and communication.  The aim of learning these skills and becoming motivated is typically to impact your personal and business success, and ultimately turn a profit.

After you select a subject, then determine how you’ll absorb this training.  Again, you must know yourself.  Are you a better visual or audio learner?  Would you rather read or listen?  With video you can do both.

Video training usually is more restrictive, while with audio tapes or CDs you can listen on the go and even while you’re exercising.  This is good.  You’re using your time wisely and efficiently.

Motivational training could come in the form of an internship or part time job.  Go to work or intern for a company you admire and observe how that company got so successful. Learn how the managers motivate their employees.  Attend their sales and motivation meetings and take notes.  This is real on-the-job training, not just theory.

Self discovery is one of the first steps to achieving motivation.  Motivation training is out there.  Reach out and grasp it.

3 Hidden Calorie Traps

You may be consuming many more calories than you think. They are hidden in all kinds of foods … many of which you would never know were high in calories. Three of the big culprits are sugar, alcohol, and salad dressings.

Sugar

Sugar can have addicting properties. Once you eat something high in sugar, your blood sugar spikes, triggering an insulin release to neutralize the excessive sugar. But what usually happens is the pancreas overcompensates and your blood sugar plummets. To get your blood sugar back to normal, your body signals your brain to eat something sweet. And the cycle starts all over again. In the process, you are consuming large number of sugar calories – a simple carbohydrate.

Another place to watch your sugar is with something as innocuous as coffee. At 15 calories per packet, adding a couple of packets of sugar to your coffee can add up if you drink three or four cups per day. And that doesn’t even consider the 20 calories per teaspoon in the half-and-half you might also be adding to your coffee.

Alcohol

Around the holiday season, it is easy to overindulge. At seven calories per gram of wine, a 5 ounce serving has 124 calories. Three servings, not hard to do while at a party, provides a women with over 20% of her daily calorie requirement.

And the calories in alcohol are only half the story. Alcohol also lowers your food defenses so you are more apt to eat more snacks and other unhealthy options than you would have had you not been drinking. All and all, it can add up to a disaster calorie-wise. Instead, eat a healthy meal before consuming alcohol. Sip your drink to make it last longer, and you’ll be apt to drink less. Another trick is to add some soda water to your drink. It increases the volume of liquid without adding any calories.

Salad Dressings

While the vegetables and meat in a salad are healthy themselves, you have to be careful of the dressing you put on it; most dressings are loaded with calories. Balsamic vinaigrette is a good option; be sure to ask for it on the side so you can control how much you put on. For a change, try dipping a fork full of salad in the dressing instead of pouring it on. You still get the great taste, but actually use very little dressing.

By knowing about the hidden calories in sugar, alcohol, and salad dressings, you can be more aware of just how many calories you are actually consuming. Knowing is half the battle; the other half is doing.

Benefits of Google+ For Your Brand

Google joined the ranks of the top social networking sites when they released Google+. This simple and free tool allows you to connect with your audience, share information, and even stream online content. Like other social networking sites, it can be used to brand your business. However, Google+ may offer some benefits to your brand that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Create a Hangout

Google Hangouts is a free service that allows you to have conversations with up to ten people. You can also live stream recorded content to thousands of people. Google Hangouts makes it easy to handle small group conversations or large-scale content initiatives. There are video chat features which means you can see who you’re talking to and vice versa.

It helps you strengthen your brand personality and voice. This can be particularly powerful for small business owners who have direct contact with their clients and prospects. Face-to-face conversations build relationships.

Create Circles

One of the features of Google+ is that it allows you to create circles. These circles are essentially segmented groups of people. For example, you might create a circle for your prospects and another circle for your customers. You can create a circle for friends and family as well. In fact, you can create as many circles as you want.

People cannot see which circle you place them in, so privacy isn’t a concern. This circle concept allows you to share content with segmented audiences. You can send one message to prospects and another to customers. Segmentation gives you the power to create branded messages that appeal directly to your audience.

Create a Scrapbook

Google+ has a feature called “Scrapbook Photos.” As you may know, visual elements are powerful branding tools. This feature lets you add photos at the top of your Google+ profile. You can add infographics, photos from events, and even photos from products or company services. It’s also a good idea to keep your profile page fresh by updating your photos on a regular basis.

Finally, Google+ is a social media tool that you can integrate with your other social networking efforts. You can also use it to create events and upload video and other content forms. Use content to build your brand and to reach targeted groups of people. Link to your website and share visuals to help add personality to your profile and build relationships with your followers.

How to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud

There is no end in sight to the schemes that people will use to separate you from your hard-earned money. They will use every trick in the book to get you to sign, divulge, or give away your financial secrets to them. Here are some ways that you can protect yourself.

What is financial fraud?

It is the action of taking money from someone using dishonest means. Unless you can prove that they defrauded you, you are simply out of your money. It is a hard lesson that people may have to learn for trusting someone or a company who says that they can do something for them.

Here are some tips to follow to stay financially safe.

* If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – Anyone who promises a triple return on your investment for very little or no work is to be suspected. It could be that they are honest. Think of those people who invested in Disneyworld (an amusement park built in swampland?) or the Microsoft Company when computers still took up an entire office. But, if the red flags are waving, put your money back in your pocket.

* Getting in on the ground floor – When they tell you that you are a “seed person,” this means that your money supports their project. Ask them if they believe enough in their project to invest their own money. If the answer is no or quite ambiguous, don’t let go of your money either.

* Ask for a portfolio and a business plan – If they want investors, they need to have something in writing like a business plan and projections. This is what they would have to show the bank. They can also show that to you.

* Investments that you can’t see – This includes the condo builders who pre-sell properties when there isn’t even a model prospective buyers can see. All anyone can see is an empty plot of land and a sign. How much does that cost to put up? In this case, talk to other investors or home buyers and see what they think about their money being tied up with no concrete guarantee of a return. Make an informed decision.

* Learn all about the latest schemes – There are multi-level marketing, offshore banking schemes, stock scams and the like. If what they say sounds like something that you’ve read to stay alert for, then don’t trust it.

If you are investing even $100, ask for proof that your money is being spent for what they say it is. Ask questions, demand proof, talk to those who you find reputable about the source of these claims, and don’t sign or give away any information unless you can sleep on it for a few nights and conduct your own investigation.

5 Best Local Business Marketing Strategies

If you manage a local business, you have to learn how to use the internet to your advantage. If you aren’t using the internet to bring in more customers, you are missing out big time. These days people pull out their mobile device when it comes to finding a local business in their area that has what they are looking for.

The days of using the Yellow Pages are quickly dwindling, 54% of Americans use the Internet over the phone book to search for a local plumber, florist, restaurant, mechanic, etc. – sometimes just to get a phone number and other times to do research on the services offered in their area.

According to SMDigital Partners:

  • 74% of all web users perform local searches
  • 100+ million people use Google Maps from mobile phones to find local business every month
  • 66% of Americans use online local search.
  • 61% of all local searches result in purchases
  • 82% of local searches result in offline actions, including an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase

A recent 2014 study from comScore revealed that 78% of local mobile searches resulted in offline purchases. If you aren’t popping up in local search, people will end up heading over to your competition instead.

Here are 5 simple things you can incorporate in your local business marketing strategy to help get more people in the door.

Create A Local Business Profile In The Top Three Search Engines

This is by far one of the easiest things you can do as far as local search marketing goes. All three top search engines, Bing, Google, and Yahoo, allow businesses to create a local search business profile. This is absolutely free and it will take you all of 10 minutes. Make sure to include a phone number so that it can show up in search results under your business name.

Get Mobile

These days everyone has a mobile phone. They use it to do all of their searching and other online activities. If your business can’t handle mobile users, you are in a world of trouble. Your business has to be able to come up in mobile search. Otherwise you will miss out on a ton of potential new customers.

Optimize Your Website Using Key Local Terms

When the search engines crawl your site, they are looking for keywords that help them better understand what your website is all about. Always use the location of your business in the title tags. Include the full address, including city and state.

Get Involved With Social Media Marketing

Well over a billion people are using Facebook, Google+, and Twitter at any given moment. Think some of your customers are hanging out on these sites? You better believe they are. And as a small business you need to have a strong presence on both of these sites. When it comes to local marketing this is one of the best ways to do it. Build up your following and you will always have customers coming through your doors.

Monitor your reputation on Yelp, the leading consumer review site where thousands of people review various businesses.

Use Paid Local Search

Paid local search allows you to only receive visitors that are in your region. You can actually tell the search engines the area you want to receive visitors from. This gives you complete control over where your traffic come from. So instead of paying to have visitors come to your site who are less likely to purchase from you, you can only get visitors who are in your local area and are looking for what you have to offer.

Using paid local search will save you a great deal of money. It will also help you increase your conversions as you are only presenting your offers to those who you know are most likely interested.

Should You Vary Your Weekly Workouts?

Generally speaking, the short answer is that you don”t necessarily need to vary your weekly workouts. However, there can be some situations that require you to make a change to your workout routine.

When What You’re Doing Stops Working

Sooner or later, you will hit a plateau. As you work through your same routine day after day, your body adapts to the exercises you are doing. It becomes more efficient so you end up not burning as many calories as when you first started, thus resulting in less weight lost or in some cases no weight loss. Let’s take walking for an example. Before scrapping your whole program, try adding some variety to your workout, like:

  • Walking faster
  • Walking farther
  • Adding in some resistance in the form of some hills
  • Strapping on a pair of wrist weights and moving your arms more

Any of these changes can help you break through a plateau because you are now burning more calories than you were before the change in your program.

Your Goals Change

Of course if you have a major shift in your goals, you may have to overhaul your whole workout routine. For example, if your goal was weight loss and you have now hit your goal, your new goal may focus on maintaining that weight loss or building muscle. In this case you may switch from a cardio routine to strength training or add in an extra day of weight training and one less day of cardio.

Your Workout Bores You

Have you lost the enthusiasm you had when you first started? Sometimes a minor change to your program is all you need to get the excitement back. Let’s use our walking routine example again. Change your routine just a little by switching things up; change the music on your MP3 player, start walking with a friend, if you walk on a treadmill try walking outside or visa-versa. These little changes keep your workout routine intact, it just changes the conditions a little.

Something Out of Your Control Forces You to Change

The first thing that comes to mind is an injury. When hurt, you may not be able to do the same exercises that you were doing before the injury. In this case, modify your routine to fit the current conditions until you are healed. That might include switching some exercises to avoid using the affected area, doing less repetitions, or doing the exercise without weight.

Or you may have to switch to a completely new routine that will help you heal – such as one that includes stretching and increasing flexibility, like yoga or Barre classes.

The point is don’t scrap a routine just for the sake of change. Unless one of the four above conditions happen, you are probably better off sticking with your present routine.

Listening to Your Family

When it comes to your home life, listening to your family is extremely important. While you may think that you do listen, you can be so accustomed to your family that you aren’t listening with both ears.

Spouses are often guilty of this. They either become so busy that they are too tired to listen properly to each other. Or they have been married for so long, they think they know each other too well.

Of course, then there is the matter of having children. This can put a ton of stress onto all family members. But it is so important to remember to take the time to listen and pay attention to each person.

With a baby it is fairly easy. When they cry you know they are hungry, tired, or need a change. As your children become teens, things can be a little harder. They may not want you to listen to them. This is also the age group where their body language and actions can tell you a lot more than any words could.

It is perfectly natural and normal for parents to get frustrated. It is hard work taking care of children at any time. On top of that, you don’t want to forget about your spouse.

The best way to handle the stress of parenthood is to become a good listener. While you don’t want to eavesdrop on your children, it is important that you listen to what they are saying.

For example, many school-aged children become the target of a bully. Your child may not say this outright to you, but they may be trying to tell you in a different way. If you become a good listener, you will have the skills to pick up on these subtle efforts.

When you child wants your attention, make time for them. Sit down with them and pay attention and focus on the conversation. Show them that you are listening by making eye contact and nodding in agreement with them.

When it is your turn to answer, think about what you are going to say carefully. You don’t want to come out with an “I told you so” type of scenario. Be considerate and understanding, regardless of their actions. This is what being a parent is all about after all, isn’t it?

The same applies to your spouse or partner. No matter how busy you are with work and your children, learn to make time for each other. Don’t forget to ask each other about your day, and really listen to each other’s responses. Your relationship will strengthen because of it.

Five Things You Can Do Today to Achieve Your Goals

There is a lot more to achieving any goal than just having the goal. But having it is an important first step. You may wonder how some people seem so great at achieving their goals while other people aren’t so good at it. Part of the reason why some people fail is that they do not have a specific goal, one that is clear and focused. In addition, they do not have a schedule of action to actually work toward achieving the goal. In order to meet any goal, start doing these five things today.

1. Craft Clear, Specific, and Doable Goals

For any goal to be achievable it must first be clear and very specific. But it also must be possible. You do want to challenge yourself a bit and set the goal high, but you want to ensure that any goal you set is possible. Therefore, you will need to do a little research in order to set a goal. For instance, let’s say your ultimate goal is to lose 50 pounds.

Obviously, anyone who needs to lose 50 pounds and sets their mind to it can do so, but they can’t and shouldn’t do it in one month. So it’s an unreasonable goal to say, “I want to lose 50 pounds in a month.” Instead, a more reasonable and doable goal is to state “I want to lose 50 pounds in 30 weeks.” This is in line with health recommendations not to lose more than 2 pounds per week, and gives you a little cushion for plateaus and other issues.

2. Each Goal Needs Set Actionable Tasks

Additionally, any goal that you really want to meet needs to have the “why” and the “how” included with the “what” of the goal. In the example above you want to lose 50 pounds in 30 weeks, which will be a little less than 2 pounds per week. You’ll need to look at your diet and compute the number of calories you should consume and the amount of exercise you need to see those results.

Thankfully, today there are online calculators to help you determine this easily, but let’s say that you determine that if you consumed 1800 calories a day and walked for 20 minutes each day, you would achieve your goal that you set within the time limit. So, now you need to include planning your meals and fitting in the exercise necessary to reach your goal. But because of the research you did, you know exactly what is needed to be successful with the goal you set. You can see a clear path to success just by going further and adding these actionable tasks:

  • Eat 1800 calories a day
  • Walk fast for 20 minutes per day

Seeing that in black and white you can see that it’s very doable and achievable. But there are a few more steps necessary to achieve your goals.

3. Schedule Everything

Don’t leave anything to chance. Instead, schedule in the work necessary to reach your goals into a real calendar. Writing a list isn’t good enough – you need to schedule in everything so that you don’t miss a single day due to losing track of your schedule. You’ll need time to eat healthier, which requires more chopping and cooking, and you’ll need time to fit in the exercise, which is going to really take more than 20 minutes due to prep time and recovery time. You need to be realistic about how long each task will take and schedule them into your day properly.

4. Take Action

No goal will ever be achieved if regular action isn’t taken each day. Each morning, look at your calendar and follow through on the plans that you’ve made and the criteria you’ve set for yourself to get things done. All you have to do is the minimum necessary each day to reach your goal. When you get through each day having done the minimum, you’re a success – each and every single day. There is nothing else that can be the result of daily action other than success when you think of it this way.

5. Repeat

Finally, you’ll need to repeat these steps every single day. When you make very specific and clear goals with very specific steps to achieving the goal based on reality, you will soon discover the secret to success that seems to escape so many people. The real secret is in the doing. It’s like going on a long hike – if you take one step at a time, moving in the direction of the map that you’ve planned out for yourself, you will get to the end and be a success.

Reaching your goals is just a matter of setting reasonable and realistic goals, and then setting up a schedule of actionable tasks and steps that bring about the end result you want. You can start today to achieve your goals.

6 Secrets of Extremely Fit People

If you would interview a group of extremely fit people, you would see they all have these six things in common:

They Keep a Healthy Diet

If you talk to extremely fit people about how they train, you’ll find they listen to their body as far as knowing what to eat. Over time, they have figured out what makes them feel good, what keeps them full between meals, and what kinds of food gives them the energy they need to make it through hard workouts.

One thing you’ll find they do not talk about is the latest diet fad – at least not seriously. Why? Because they already know what works for them, so why take a chance on changing to something untried – at least untried on their body?

They Exercise

If you’re a person who absolutely dreads exercising, then you will never be fit. Exercising and eating right are two necessary components people use to get and stay fit. They are inseparable like a hand and glove, black and white, etc.

So if what you are doing in the gym or at home does not excite you, then it is time to try other forms of exercising until you find something that you look forward to doing.

They Guard Their Healthy Lifestyle

Fit people put their diet and exercising ahead of everything else. If that means getting up 30 minutes earlier to get in a HIIT workout before going to work, then so be it. If it means eating the healthy lunch brought from home while their colleagues eat cafeteria food, oh well. These little sacrifices done daily add up to huge gains over time.

They Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is one of the most underrated parts of fitness. Getting enough sleep is paramount to getting extremely fit.

While you are sleeping, your body is busy repairing itself. By getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll be healthier, happier, and more fit.

They Associate With People Like Themselves

You won’t see extremely fit people chumming around with friends that are constantly getting fast food, eating donuts, and sitting on their couch watching TV. But you will find them with the crowd that is into healthy cooking or going on organized bike rides or run.

They’re Always Active

Extremely fit people are always finding ways to stay active. While they plan exercise into their daily routine, they also opt for other activities that burn calories and use muscles, such as walking or taking the stairs.

Practice these six things and you too can start down the road to being an extremely fit person. What do you have to lose!

How To Use Webinars For Successful Online Promotion

Chances are you have heard about webinars. You might have even attended a few. That’s because webinars are extremely popular right now. All of the big name gurus are using them to take their businesses to new levels.

But what exactly is a webinar and how can someone like you or I use it to promote our products and services online?

What Is A Webinar?

Let’s start by defining what a webinar is. A webinar is simply a web-based seminar where you can share valuable information with a target audience. Notice the word “target”, this is one of the most important benefits of webinars.

Since the audience has to register to attend a webinar, they are already pre-sold on the topics that will be discussed, so they are highly targeted and convert better than other types of traffic.

Now as you can imagine, there are a lot of different ways you can use webinars to serve business needs. Here are three of the most important ones:

#1 – Build Brand Awareness

One of the best ways to build brand awareness online is by offering a webinar to your prospective clients and customers. The webinar can be either free or paid, depending on the goals that you wish to achieve.

The main goal of the webinar should be to provide value. You want people to leave the webinar thinking you are an expert and the one they should seek out when they need help.

The more webinars you have, the more brand awareness you will be able to build and the more you will become the “go-to” brand in your niche.

#2 – To Promote A New Product

The reason that webinars are so useful for product launches is because the Webinar platform offers various media that can be used to present ideas – media that is much more powerful than a simple text sales page.

There are videos, images, desktop-sharing, Powerpoint slides, and a lot more. For this reason, product launches and webinars seem to go hand-in-hand these days. This is because webinars are a sure way to increase sales and reduce refund rates.

If you have a new product coming out, people will want to know what it’s about before they invest in it. A webinar allows you to educate your audience and actually show them how your product can help them and solve their problems. Along with the variety of media options, there is also the power of your voice that can be used to sway and convert those in the audience who maybe on the fence.

During the webinar, be sure to allow for a live question and answer session. This gives potential customers the opportunity to have their questions immediately answered.

You can also offer the product at a special discounted price for all who stay until the end of the webinar. This is a great way to get sales coming in quickly.

#3 – To Sell Affiliate Products

Not only can you sell your own products with a webinar, but you can also make money by promoting affiliate products as well.

A good way to do this is to interview the creator of the affiliate product you are promoting. Ask them a series of questions. Try to keep the interview to around 60 minutes. That’s the perfect time for a webinar.

Another way to promote affiliate products through webinars is show them in action, such as with a software or service that can be demonstrated within the webinar.

Be sure to add your affiliate link to the buy now button so you will get paid for every sale.

Archives

Place archives for all the webinars you have done on your website so they may continue to serve your goals for an unlimited amount of time by engaging new traffic and leads.

Reconnecting with Nature to Calm Your Nerves

Society places you in front of computer monitors in stuffy cubicles under florescent lights for hours each day. By the time you leave, there’s barely enough time to run into the deli to grab dinner, then collapse in front of the television – or worse yet, open your briefcase to more work!

If you didn’t have a tranquil scene on your screen saver, you wouldn’t see much of the great outdoors. Nature just isn’t on your schedule.  You may not even realize that a drawer full of anti-acids and aspirin isn’t a fraction as good for your stress and tension as spending time outdoors.

Nature is the drug-free way to calm your nerves.  The only way to get the full benefit of nature is to experience it firsthand. You can’t read about it, see photos, or watch it on television and get the same stress-relieving effect.

Stop protesting that you don’t have time. You could take your brown bag lunch and eat outside. Or you could drive to a park and have lunch there. And instead of taking a coffee break, go outside and walk around the parking lot. You’ll get more healthful energy from fifteen minutes outdoors than a triple shot in a latte.

And while you’re outdoors, stop, look, and listen. Stop your brain from running a ticker of your task list or replaying that last irritating phone call. Look around you – really look. What do you see? A tree – what kind of tree? A bush with flowers? Touch and smell the flowers. Did you see a squirrel playing under the tree? Watch him – squirrels tend to be entertaining, and if you bring peanuts he may just put on a show for that treat.

Do you hear birds chirping? How many different kinds of birds do you see?  If you look at every aspect of the scene, you’ll see things in nature that you haven’t noticed since you were a curious child. Those things never left, you just stopped looking and burdening yourself with more stress.

Look around your community to find a walking or hiking group. Many of these groups meet weekly for local events and then plan longer outdoor activities several times a year. This gets you outdoors with people who appreciate the natural world around them. And it’s great exercise at the same time.

Another way to appreciate nature is through photography. If you have no experience, take a class at the local community college or adult education program. Then get a camera and just start taking pictures. A local park or garden spot is a great place to begin. Or you can take pictures of the foliage and animals in your neighborhood. As a photographer, you become highly in-tune with your subject and appreciate the nuances. With nature as your subject, you won’t have time or energy to waste on the stress of everyday life.

Eight Healthy Superfoods to Add to Your Child’s Lunch

Making sure the kids are properly prepared for school doesn’t end with providing them with school supplies. All of the school supplies in the world will do nothing if a child doesn’t have the right nutrients for his or her brain. And a hungry belly never does anyone any good either. So when it comes to what to send your child to school with for lunch, you want to make sure it’s not only filling, but also won’t make your child sluggish at school.

Here are eight superfoods which you can add to your child’s lunch to help make them the most prepared for whatever the day throws at them.

1. Bean and Tuna Wrap

Tuna fish is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for helping keep your brain focused. Beans are great at fighting bad cholesterol. If you add tomato, then you have a fruit full of antioxidants which help prevent cell damage.

2. Minestrone Soup

A soup full of beans for fiber and veggies is great. Add a protein like chicken and you have a meal which catches on many of the nutrient points while also really filling your child up, which is super important.

3. Fish Casserole

Remember those Omega-3 fatty acids in the tuna? Well, with a fish casserole you are likely to add more of these helpful fatty acids into your child’s diet. If you include sweet peppers, then you get Vitamin C which is great for the immune system – very important for a child in school around tons of other children passing germs around. Potatoes added to it will add B6, which is a great vitamin needed for brain function.

4. Spaghetti Squash

A vegetable rich in both Vitamin A and C which helps fight Cancer.

5. Chili

With beans and tomatoes you are getting those cholesterol fighters and antioxidants, as well as lots of fiber filled into one easy and tasty bowl of chili. Add some turkey and you have a protein to make this meal filling.

6. Apples and Pears

A little fruit salad which includes these two fruits will give you high fiber and vitamin E. Making a little orange juice sauce to pour over the fruit salad adds some Vitamin C to this tasty sweet healthy treat.

7. Veggie Burgers

It goes without saying that a veggie burger is full of healthy ingredients. It’s packed with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in one easy-to-make meal.

8. Gyros

Greeks really know what they are doing. You can make a vegetarian gyro without the lamb and still have a very healthy superfood for your child’s lunch. The Greek yogurt in a gyro is a great probiotic and the cucumber provides lots of water and Vitamin A, while the lemon juice has the Vitamin C.

Fruits, vegetables, beans, and low-fat proteins are all great foods to include in your child’s school lunch. Include some sort of fish and even nuts and you have created meals which will keep your child not only alert, but also healthy with cancer-fighting vegetables and fruits chock-full of Vitamin C to help boost that immune system.

Writing Good Sales Copy

Learning to write good sales copy isn’t something you can learn by reading a quick tutorial – it takes practice.  Although you probably won’t turn into a world-famous copywriter overnight, there are a few tips you can use to increase the response from your sales letters.

The first thing you should learn is that the headline is (almost) everything.  If your headline is terrible – or worse – boring, most people won’t even read the rest of your sales letter.  A headline needs to be exciting, enticing, and intriguing.

It needs to grab the attention of your visitor quickly. Your headline might have shock value, ask a compelling question, or be the beginning of an extremely interesting story.  “Six months ago, I was living on the streets of L.A., homeless after my Adjustable Rate Mortgage soared so high I couldn’t make the mortgage payments, but now I’m living in a sky-rise apartment twenty stories up that I paid seven figures for…”

This makes the reader want to know more – how did this person go from being destitute to being wealthy?  Good sales copy usually tells a story that the audience can connect with.  Copy ideally shouldn’t tell a fictional story, though. You certainly don’t want to run into any trouble with the FTC or an attorney general with something to prove.

Good copy gives people a reason to keep reading.  If you tell an interesting, compelling story that’s somehow related to the product and how it will affect them, it will naturally appeal to your visitor.

Every single paragraph should lead into the next paragraph, drawing the reader further and further into the pitch.  Consumers usually buy based on emotion, and then they justify their purchase with logic.  They rarely buy based on logic alone.

They don’t buy a product because of the features – they buy because of the benefits it will provide to them, the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) factor.  If you’re selling a car, you won’t get as far just telling the buyer that it has Corinthian leather seats, ABS brakes, and a superior sound system. You have to sell them on the fact that their neighbors and coworkers will be envious, girls will flock to them, and they’ll feel like the king of the world whenever they drive it.  Then they’ll buy based on the fantasy you’ve just given them, and they’ll use logic to justify their purchase later.

Within each online sales letter, you’ll want to have a main headline, numerous sub-headlines sprinkled throughout, and aside from the written storyline, you’ll want to add sections of benefit-driven bullet points that break up the monotonous text.

Don’t forget the call to action at the end and a Post Script (PS) or two that sums up the order in case they’re bona fide skimmers who hate to read. Go to some of your favorite sales pitch sites and emulate their style and approach. Bookmark it for your “swipe file,” where you borrow ideas (not content) from the original author and use it on your own target audience.

Relationship Woes and Eating Don’t Mix

Each of us has had a good relationship end when we didn’t want it to.  Or maybe you’’re just going through a rough patch in a marriage.  Where do some turn to obscure their sorrows over this pain?  Food!

Unfortunately, food tends to become your friend when you need a shoulder to cry on or just need a comforting sensation.  Food can become the crutch you lean on for steadfast support during a turbulent time.

Although it’s normal for some to turn to food for comfort, it’s not always a healthy option – physically or mentally. When a relationship faces hardship or is terminated, the only help food will bring is the extra weight that’s gained while we wallow in our sorrow.

There are healthier choices to consider turning to because of a tumultuous relationship.  Lean on one of your friends for support.  Being with good friends can help boost your self-confidence as well as keeping your mind off of what’s in the fridge.

Try doing something fun if you want to be alone. Go shopping to find something special that you’ve always wanted or, perhaps, get a makeover to feel better about yourself. Anything that can help you build confidence will help you get over the chaotic emotions you’re feeling.

You could also try a new hobby or resume one you’ve been putting off for so long.  You could join a local sports or fitness squad.  Keeping busy in body and mind helps you to ignore the unfortunate events that have ensued.

If the temptation for food is too strong for you to resist, make sure that you keep some healthy foods or snacks in your home. Stay away from chips, candy, cookies, and ice cream that are beckoning you. Have low-fat, sugar-free or low-calorie items on hand to alleviate any craving.

Everyone knows what it’s like to lament over a lost relationship or a bad marriage.  Using an abundance of food to cope with this heartache may be an effective short-term fix, but it won’t satisfy your feelings (or your health) in the long-term.

Five Ways to Find Great Article and Blog Post Topics

There comes a time in every online publisher’s life when they run out of things to write about. There are many solutions to this problem. You can hire someone to come up with ideas for you. You can hire someone to write the content for you, too. Or you can purchase publishing rights to other writers’ content.

These are all great solutions. However, you can also write the content yourself. You just need a little inspiration. Here are five ways to find great article and blog post topics.

#1 Grab a magazine from your coffee table.

It doesn’t even have to be a magazine in your niche industry. Just about any magazine will do. Now take a look at the cover. Write down the headlines as they appear. Chances are they’ll look something like this:

  • The __ secrets to ____
  • Learn how to _____ today
  • ___ tips to ____

Once you’ve written down the headlines, replace the keywords with your own. Fill in the blanks. If there are ten headlines on the cover of your magazine, you now have ten articles or blog posts you can write.

#2 Read social networking posts in your niche.

Visit the pages of your industry guru and read their latest posts and information. Chances are you’re going to find many content ideas.

You may take issue or disagree with something someone said. That’s a perfect blog post. You may think that a topic needs to be expanded upon. You may read a comment to a social networking post that is the foundation of an article. Social networking sites are packed with content ideas. You just have to look for them.

#3 Read your own blog and review the comments.

Skim past the ones that say “Thanks for the information” and look for the questions or the meaty comments. Those are ideal for inspiring content ideas.

#4 Read your forum and blog comments on other sites.

Often these comments are enough to be an article or blog post all by themselves. Just polish it up and format it for the web and you’re good to go. If the comment or forum post is short, expand on it. Use your feedback to create article and blog content on your website.

#5 Make a list.

Lists are easy to make and they’re well received online. If you’re struggling to find content ideas, write down three to five list ideas and tackle them one by one.

Article and blog post ideas are out there just waiting for you to find them. With a little creativity and inspiration, you can turn an unmotivated writing session into a productive afternoon.

Does Outdoor Exercise Help More With Depression?

The benefits of outdoor exercise have been confirmed. And it appears that, in many cases, outdoor exercise better aids in beating depression and negative moods than working out indoors. A revealing study conducted by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry concluded that outdoor exercise in a natural environment contributes to your mental and physical well-being in ways that were not found in test subjects which conducted the same exercises indoors.

Out of the 833 adult volunteers used in this study, mental well-being was boosted substantially higher in those who exercised outdoors as opposed to their indoor counterparts.

The natural endorphins which exercise releases will benefit your mood no matter where you exercise. And the emotional and mental benefits you receive from working towards your fitness goals are the same whether you exercise at home, in the gymnasium, or in a public park.

But whenever you exercise out in nature, you harness the amazing power of the sun that works as a natural mood enhancer. Sunlight actually boosts the production of vitamin D in your body. This helps combat seasonal mood changes and depression usually triggered in winter. (More than 500,000 Americans suffer from the depressing effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD.)

And exposure to the sun while you are exercising gives you a double emotional boost. Your endorphins naturally begin to work to crush your depression as you exert yourself. And the effect of sunlight on your skin naturally improves your mood, even after just 10 to 15 minutes of exposure.

Have you ever heard anyone say they are stepping outside to “get a little fresh air”? Brad M. Reedy, PhD and director of clinical services at Second Nature Wilderness Programs in Duchesne, Utah, says that fresh air, soaking up the sunshine, and feeling your toes in the grass, all combine to relieve depression symptoms.

He says that nature has a soothing, calming effect on depression symptoms because of the sights, sounds and smell it provides. Doctor Reedy also pointed out that getting outdoors as opposed to exercising inside also limits your exposure to poor ventilation, unnatural lighting, and other possibly negative man-made environments.

And when you step into the great outdoors, you eliminate a lot of the excuses for exercising. There is plenty of room, the warm sunshine feels great on your skin, and you immediately feel like getting active.

Because of the natural ability of sunshine to promote the production of vitamin D in your body, that natural depression fighter helps boost your mood. And the mood enhancers released by exercise, endorphins, help fight the blues as well.

Feeling down? Need a quick pickup? Go for a brisk walk or a jog outside in the sunshine, enjoy the feel, smell, sights, and sounds of nature, and you will find your blue mood disappearing much more quickly than if you exercise indoors.

How to Set and Achieve Business Goals

It’s important to have real, specific goals in your business. These goals can be financial, personal, or simply involve an aspect of your business (“build an effective website” for example). It can sometimes seem overwhelming to determine goals, and even more overwhelming to think of achieving them. Here are some tips on doing both of these.

1. Set the goals

How do you set business goals, anyway? As you sit down to determine your goals, here are some things to keep in mind that may help.

* Money – How much money do you need? Have a number here – $1500 a month? $100 a week? $50,000 a year? Financial goals are very different for everyone. Just make sure you have a real number. You might want to set two financial goals – long-term and short-term.

* Strategy – As you develop a strategy to reach your goals, you will have goals within that strategy. For example, if your goal is to start your own small business making hand-sewn handbags, then your strategy may be to make ten handbags to have available before beginning and to sell all ten in your first month.

Within this strategy, there are steps – you will need to schedule in the time it takes to make the handbags, and determine the amount of money needed to buy the materials. Then you may also need to set up a website and post ads to get the word out. Even within these steps are more steps – setting up a website involves multiple steps, as does advertising. Break everything down into small, specific steps and look at it on paper.

* Time – Be honest about how much time you have. So many times it’s tempting to set goals we can’t reach because we just don’t have a grasp on how much (or how little) time we have. Also, hours on paper seldom work out exactly right in real life – you need some breaks (no one is a machine), and life happens.

For example, if your kids are in school from 8am to 3pm, you may think you have seven hours to work that day. But if you’re honest, it may be more like five by the time you factor in lunch, bathroom trips, driving to and from the school, and so forth.

2. Achieve the goals

If you have been honest in the above exercises, achieving your goals will be much easier and likely. Still, you can be as detailed and careful as you want on strategy lists and such, and still have trouble reaching your goals. So it may help to keep the following in mind.

* Keep track – Keeping a record of your business ventures, expenditures, income, and overall progress toward your goals can help you get a handle on how well you’re doing. This can also help you see areas in which you need to improve, and areas where you excel.

* Accountability – Some sources suggest an accountability partner, goal buddy, or whatever you want to call someone who holds you accountable for reaching your goals.

* Marketing – It is important to have a marketing plan. How will you get your name out? How will you tell people you are open for business? This is an important component to any business goal.

The Debt Snowball Method

The debt snowball method is one of the most effective methods for paying off personal debt. Instead of taking a purely logical approach, the debt snowball approach actually makes the whole process of paying off debts much more psychologically easy and satisfying.

Here’s how the debt snowball works.

An Overview of the Process

Take out an Excel spreadsheet and list out all your debts. Make sure to include the name of the creditor, the amount you owe, the annual percentage rate, the monthly minimum payment, and the payment date for each debt.

Sort your list by the total owed. The smallest debt is the debt you’ll work on first. Unlike other systems which advocate paying off the highest interest debt first, the debt snowball method works by paying off the smallest debt first.

This works because paying off that small debt gives a real sense of achievement. That momentum and enthusiasm can be channeled towards paying off the next largest debt, then the next and so on and so forth.

But that’s not all.

You start by paying off the smallest debt. You do so by paying as much extra towards the debt as you possibly can, while still making the minimum payment on every other debt you owe.

Let’s say the minimum payment for your smallest debt is $100 a month. You decide you can put an extra $200 a month towards that debt as well to get it paid down as quickly as possible.

Once the debt is paid off, however, you now have that $200 a month plus the $100 a month minimum payment that you can now put towards your second smallest debt. Let’s say that debt’s minimum payment was $150.

Once that’s paid off, you now have that $150, plus the $300 from earlier that you can now put towards your third largest debt.

In this manner, the payoff process effectively “snowballs” until you have an incredible amount of momentum and financial power that goes towards paying off your debts.

A Few Things to Note

There are a couple things to keep in mind with the debt snowball method.

First of all, some lenders will try to apply any extra amount you pay to your next month’s payment instead of applying it towards your principal. Make sure you talk to your lenders to make sure your extra payments are paying off the principal.

Second, the debt snowball method is much more of a psychological approach than mathematical. However, debt repayment is often much more about keeping your spirits up than strict math. Try the system for a few months to make sure that it’s really, truly working for you. If it is, then commit to sticking it through until completion.

Finally, and this should go without saying, as soon as you start this process you absolutely must put away all your credit cards. There is no sense in starting this process if you’re going to rack up even more debt along the way.

How to Be an Inspirational Leader

Whether you aspire to be an inspiration to a congregation, a business, or your kids, you should know that there are some common practices that inspirational leaders adhere to no matter who or what they want to inspire.

If you think that free coffee and donuts in the breakroom is going to inspire your employees to come to work, or that telling kids how you walked a mile to school barefoot in the snow is going to inspire your kids to do well in academics, you need to rethink your courses of action.

An inspirational leader removes barriers for getting work done and then joins in the work itself and gets the job done. Some qualities that inspirational leaders bring to the table are:

  • Enthusiasm – When you express passion for what you’re doing, others become ignited from your passion like one candle lighting another. You may not be enthused about a course of action your company is taking, but you can have enthusiasm about getting everyone onboard to make it happen.
  • Storytelling – You may notice that whenever a president gives the “State of the Union” address, he tells inspirational stories of others. Some may make you cry, but all will elicit some type of emotion. When you tell personal stories about your company or how people are helped by what you’re involved in, others will be inspired.
  • Communication of Vision – A lower-level employee may not become inspired about a plan for your company that’s going to make the executives lots of money in their stock portfolios, but they will become inspired when you can communicate a vision of what it will do for them.
  • Honesty – No matter what the challenge, an inspirational leader will face it with honesty. If you’ve made a mistake that’s affecting your business or your family, you should be honest and forthright and have a plan to overcome any adversity.
  • Respect – When you earn respect from others, you’re on your way to becoming a leader who inspires. Ethics and integrity garner respect and how you conduct yourself during hardships is also a key quality in leaders who inspire.

Ask yourself what inspires you to new heights or to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. When you find the answer, you can experience peak performance because you’ll know what it takes to get you there.

When you know what inspires others, you can be the leader who takes others to greater heights than they ever imagined. Listen to others, know what inspires them, and you can become the inspirational leader you want to be.

The Link between Low Self-Esteem and Depression

There are a lot of people who struggle with confidence issues, but there are those whose struggle goes much deeper than their confidence level. Those with low self-esteem seem to be more likely to struggle with depression. So are low self-esteem and depression linked and if so, how?

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem refers to someone’s level of self-worth and self-respect. It goes much deeper than just confidence. It comes down to how that person feels about him or herself as a person.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or despondency that is usually long lasting and affects the quality of life of the person suffering.

How Are They Connected?

Often, people who have low self-esteem tend to also struggle with depression. It goes both ways, however. Depression itself can also lead to low self-esteem. It is quite common for someone who is struggling with one of these issues, especially over a period of time, to struggle with the other as well.

Why Are They Connected?

When someone does not feel that they are worth anything, or when they show a lack of respect for themselves, this can lead to depression. On the other hand, a person that struggles with depression can eventually turn the depression around on themselves, and it can weigh on their self-esteem.

Vulnerability

In either situation, the link ultimately happens because the person is very vulnerable not only to outside influence, but also to themselves. Someone who has feelings of worthlessness will understandably be very vulnerable to the pull of depression. Someone who is depressed may feel so low that they begin to blame themselves.

A Vicious Cycle

Once someone has entered this state of low self-esteem and depression, it often becomes a cycle. Especially for low self-esteem, these feelings often become self-affirming because the person does not feel worthy of the work it would take to better themselves, which only leads to an overall worsened situation.

The Weight of It All

For friends and loved ones, the inability to “just snap out of it” is not understandable. The fact is that people who suffer from this vicious cycle often spend their lives feeling like they are treading water on a good day, and drowning from the weight of life itself on bad ones.

Can the Cycle Be Broken?

With patience, understanding, and the affirmation of love from the people around them, the cycle of low self-esteem and depression can be broken. Expect it to take time and work, and you might need to consider professional help in some situations, but the cycle can be broken.

The link between low self-esteem and depression is strong. The vulnerability and feelings of hopelessness bring on a vicious cycle that only feeds into itself, worsening these feelings of worthlessness and depression. There is hope, however, and with the right kind of help, anyone can come back.