The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/Oncx4aSJ3r8/

Behind the scenes of ProBlogger first course launch

Last month we launched our very first ProBlogger course. After a whirlwind few weeks (months, actually ), I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit of what happened behind the scenes while creating the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course.

Why have we only started offering courses this year?

To say it’s been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. We’re constantly asked why we don’t offer courses, as it seems like the most obvious thing we should be doing. Our focus has always been on offering great value that’s easily accessible, whether it’s our free blog posts, podcasts or world class (yet very reasonably priced) events.

All of which takes up a huge chunk of time and dedication from our small team.

We’ve been thinking about courses for a while now, and our goal is to create a blogging course unlike any other. Something that goes beyond the that goes beyond the prescriptive “this is how I did it” approach that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

And so we created the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course, and made it available for free.

But this is just the beginning. We have many more courses in the pipeline, and together they’ll help you piece together the best approach to blogging for you.

What is the first course about?

Our first course starts at the beginning – how to start a blog. Actually, it starts even earlier in the process, as one of the first things the course asks is whether you should even start a blog.

That’s one of the reasons our first course is totally free. We don’t want you buying a course on how to blog if you find out blogging just isn’t for you. We also don’t advocate investing too much in getting your blog set up.

But we strongly suggest having a solid base (your own domain and a self-hosted site) so it’s easier to progress if you decide to stick with it.

So, the first course provides a lot of guidance about:

  • why you should or shouldn’t blog
  • what to blog about and call your blog
  • the basic steps to getting your first blog up and running and posting your first post.

All up there are seven steps. And while it’s basic it’s also quite comprehensive – at least for a free course.

This was our beta launch, which we ran in the lead up to our self-proclaimed International Start a Blog Day on February 7th – a day to celebrate starting a new blog in a new year.

How did we create the course?

We get a lot of people asking us how we created the course site. So here’s the breakdown in case you’re looking for a possible way to launch your own.

Content

The content for the course is a mix of repurposed content from our blog, podcast and events, along with new content created specifically for the course. So we spent a lot of time editing existing audio, creating accompanying slides and converting them to videos, as well as creating new worksheets and other downloadable resources.

At first we were a bit worried about repurposing existing content. But when we realised how much work it is to a) find it in the first place, and b) organise it into a comprehensive easy-to-follow course, we were glad to have these resources to draw on and add the extra value of convenience and structure for our readers.

Infrastructure

We have a separate WordPress installation for our courses site, which sits on a different server to our main blog and podcast site installations. Here’s what our ‘stack’ looks like.

LMS (Learning Management Software)

Learndash – we like how this solution is both comprehensive and easy to use.

Theme

Social Learner – incorporating Buddypress elements for community features (we don’t use all of them), this theme  provides a good looking layout for the modules and lessons. We also used Thrive Architect (which works nicely with Social Learner) to build some of the extra content elements into our pages.

Membership Plugin

WPFusion – this is an elegant plugin that lets us easily control access to content based on tags specified in Drip for our course members.

Email Communication

We use Campaigns in Drip to automatically onboard course members after they’ve either filled out one of our Thrive Leads opt-ins or registered directly through the site.

Payments

Whilst the first course has been free, we’ll use our existing e-Commerce solution Easy Digital Downloads to process payments and pass information to Drip and the courses site via WPFusion.

Forum/Group

While our setup has the option for a forum, groups and comments (we turned comments on for some of the modules), we elected to run a Private Facebook Group for the first intake of students. Partly to test one against the other, but mainly so we could get students’ feedback on the course as they progressed through. It also served as a customer service channel.

We won’t be maintaining an ongoing group for the course throughout the year (course members can join our main Facebook group at problogger.com/group). But we will run one in conjunction with International Start a Blog Day each year.

Promotion

Building awareness, and the call to action to sign up for our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, was done primarily through the ProBlogger podcast, along with a sales page and a couple of articles on the blog.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, we changed how we did the ProBlogger podcast to generate interest in starting a blog and the course we were launching. Instead of a weekly podcast, we released a series of 12 shorter podcasts (one each weekday). And is each episode we shared a different blogger’s story about how they started their blog and how far they’ve come. These stories were told by ProBlogger podcast listeners who submitted their stories as audio files. This series of podcasts has one of the highest levels of engagement of any I’ve released. In each podcast there are calls to action to sign up for the course via the sales page on the blog.

The sales page for the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course had an easy-to-communicate URL (problogger.com/startablog/), and a snappy design created using Thrive Architect. We linked to it in our “Start a Blog” section of the blog, as well as in a couple of articles we wrote about a starting a blog in the New Year.

Knowing that most of our audience had already started a blog, we asked people to share the information about our new course. We asked our existing readers to share it with those they knew who may be interested in starting a blog. We also asked the people who signed up for the course to share it with their friends.

Launch

Trying to launch anything early in the year can be tricky, especially when everyone in the southern hemisphere is typically on summer holidays. Like many course creators, we were still creating content and making the site look and work the way we wanted right up to the deadline.

We had team members holidaying in different time zones with bad wi-fi issues and sick kids. Some last minute re-recording of tutorials had Laney chasing away noisy dogs and throwing sticks into trees to scare away squawking birds. (We have some pretty obnoxious birds in Australia.)

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. But we kind of made our launch date (I’m sure we made it in a timezone somewhere in the world). And the actual launch happened without too many hiccups other than some people having activation issues because they clicked the link more than once.

The main takeaway? Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, keep your cool, and prepare to work hard when it counts.

Outcome

We were blown away by the response. We knew there would be some, but given our readers have mostly started blogs already, it was hard to know just how many students we might get.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and go for it.

By the time it went live, almost 5,000 people had signed up for the course. Of these, roughly half went on to enrol in the course once it was launched, and half of those started the course (a little more than 1,000 students).

In the time between launching the course (January 10) and International Start a Blog Day (February 7), more than 1,000 new subscribers had signed up for the course. By the time February 7 came around, more than 2,000 students had started the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course. More than 100 new blogs were launched in time for International Start a Blog Day, with many more launched since. You can check them out here.

And there were other positive outcomes too.

We ended up with more than 1,000 members in the beta Facebook Group, which gave us very useful environment for getting direct feedback from students as they were trying out the course. We learned a lot about:

  • the people who were signing up for the course
  • what their issues and pain points were
  • what they did and didn’t like about the course
  • how we could help them going forward by improving the course (and in other ways).

International Start a Blog Day was also a very rewarding experience for me and the ProBlogger team. We got to really see and celebrate the course outcomes for the many students who launched new blogs as a result. We loved compiling the honor roll of new blogs – exploring their sites, reading people’s stories, and seeing how they put their learning into practice.

And we now have a very comprehensive opt-in that helps us identify people we can help on their blogging journey. Best of all, they’ve shown they have the drive to take action, which makes it even easier for us to help them succeed.

What’s next?

In March we’ll be launching our first paid course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – the successor to the ever popular book of the same name. The course version includes:

  • more detailed course materials with video tutorial presentations
  • printable worksheets, resources, and further reading
  • recommendations and tools to help set the right foundations for accelerated growth.

For more information, and to sign up as one the first students to sign up for the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, visit courses.problogger.com/courses/31-days-to-build-a-better-blog/.

We’re also reviewing the feedback we’ve received from the beta Start a Blog course group to help tweak and improve that course for future students.

Have you launched a course recently? How did it go for you?

The post Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How To Write an Effective Blog Post

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Writing awesome blog content is very important to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. You have a handful of visitors who are depending on the information you provide to learn something new each week. These readers are loyal and it’s important your content is in-depth and structured correctly. In the world of blogging, there is no shortage of competition so if people don’t find what they are looking for on your blog they’ll simply head to another. I always encourage my clients to pay close attention to the formatting and structure of their content because you can learn a lot by simply viewing the way it is displayed. For example, when people arrive on your blog and the page is cluttered they’ll MOST likely leave because they’ll feel finding value is going to be hard. Next, when content is structured correctly it’s easy to read and get your point across which is great for user engagement and conversions. I always tell people to follow this basic structure…

  • Awesome headline
  • Introduction
  • Sub-headings
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Let’s go over each of these elements in more detail.

Awesome Headline

Crucial because this is displayed at the top of your content and within search results so it’s important to attract the reader. For example, in search results your content will be displayed with 10-12 others similar to the keyword typed by the searcher. You have to standout and having the right headline is a great way to attract the click-through. This means knowing what to incorporate and how to structure it. Here’s what I recommend.

First, always include the keywords people are searching for within your title. These people are obviously typing in a phrase to find specific content so include that in your title. This will be eye-catching and will increase your CTR. Secondly, try and mix as many related keywords into your title because this will increase CTR and help when ranking within the SERP’s. However, keep in mind your title should NOT be more than 60 characters long.

Introduction

This part should be where you entice the visitor to keep reading and should be right to the point. I use to believe in writing lengthy introduction, however, learned that people want to find proof your content will give them what they need. Make your introduction concise so the reader knows exactly what to expect if they keep reading. Your goal is to entice them so they continue to keep reading the entire content however if you take too long to do this they might leave.

It might help to write this part last because once you’re done it might be easier for your to put together a concise introduction. You’ve written out everything and now know what to include so I personally write this part last.

Sub-Headings

Every section should be divided and I like to include “target” keywords within the sub-heading. This helps keep the user attracted to continue reading. Make them right to the point and cover EXACTLY what’s stated in the sub-heading. It might help to include an image, but make sure it’s fitted and doesn’t mess with the structure of your content. Some bigger images can mess up the format when being displayed on screens with different resolutions or on mobile. Again, focus on writing what the sub-heading is based on and nothing more. You don’t what to mix things up adding irrelevant information under the wrong heading.

Body

This section is essentially including under the sub-headings. However, when referring to the body of your content, I’m talking about the entire content between the introduction and conclusion combined. Just wanted to emphasize the importance of making sure the text is spaced out and formatting correctly. You might want to consider bolding “target” keywords and even using underline, italic, H1, H2 and H3. You main objective is to ensure your visitor can read the content clearly so might want to consider adjusting font color and size.

Conclusion

You should have any problems writing out your conclusion because you’ll be summarizing everything you’ve written within your content. I like to consider this section as a point from section however lengthier in the sense that you should write it out in sentences. You should skim through what you have written through your content and compress it into the conclusion. You should reiterate important points to get them into the reader’s mind before they leave the page. Make it memorable and ask them for feedback. There’s a reason why all blogs have a section to leave comments. However, keep in mind that if people are leaving comments it’s important to reply to increase engagement and start a debate.

At this point, you can consider adding images or a video to help people understand your material. Both are useful especially if you have written a tutorial or “how-to” content.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

Qualities Of A Brilliant Salesperson Who Actually Closes Deals.

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/qualities-of-a-brilliant-salesperson-who-actually-closes-deals/

I’ve spent the last ten years analyzing sales people and what separates the good, from the uninspiring, worn out, no good sales person that is toxic to any sales culture.

I’ve also worked in sales for a long time myself. These qualities are what have worked for many other high performing sales people I’ve worked with and me.

Here are the qualities of a brilliant salesperson:

 

They’re humble as F*#K.

They’re not the person trying to tear everyone else down.
They don’t think they’re the best.
They want to train the junior sales people.
They aspire to be a leader.

Humble salespeople do all of these things because they know that if they didn’t have access to those same tools, they’d never be where they are. Bragging is ugly and eventually, it will reflect in your sales performance.

No salesperson is ever going to be on top of the leaderboard forever.

That’s why it pays to be humble in sales.

 

They get that relationship is everything.

If someone doesn’t like you, they probably aren’t buying from you. We all buy from people we like.

A relationship with a client is built with the following tools:

– Respect
– Vulnerability
– And Rapport

If you nail those three tools, then you’ll have a genuine relationship with the client. A relationship is another word for trust. Once you’re trusted, you’ll get all the business.

“All the snake oil salesman in the world can’t take a client from you when you are the most trusted sales person they are dealing with”

 

They worship the power of referrals.

The religion of a salesperson who knows their craft is one word: referrals.

Referrals come from doing a good job and delivering on what you say you will. That quality is so rare and that’s why many salespeople don’t get referrals. If you want to compound your results, you must do your best to over deliver.

This doesn’t mean underselling so that you can deliver what the client actually paid for; over delivering is delivering more value than should normally be expected from the same product or service in the marketplace.

 

They have gone all in on social media.

Everyone Google’s everyone nowadays.

“If a customer Googles you and you appear nowhere, then you become a commodity. Unfortunately, that translates to a heavy bias towards price”

When someone looks you up, they should see a professional social media profile like LinkedIn, they should see at the very least some content from you about your industry, and some reviews or references from people you’ve previously sold too.

A strong social media presence allows brilliant salespeople to have warm prospects approach them rather than having to go looking for them. A brilliant salesperson can turn a “Hi, how are you Tim Bob?” into a “Yes let’s meet next week for coffee to discuss X business opportunity.”

 

They take the complex and make it simple.

That’s why we fell in love with Apple. They took hundreds of menus and turned them into a few beautiful app icons. Life is complex enough and a brilliant salesperson can help us take a load off by giving advice to us in easy to understand language.

This method of communication requires the “less is more approach,” no acronyms, no industry jargon and a step-by-step process that can easily be followed.

 

They tailor to the audience.

Corporate pitch? Better put a suit on.
Seeing a new, cool, funky startup? Probably best to wear a t-shirt and take a backpack.
First-time users of the product or service? Stick to the why and 2-3 useful takeaways.

 

They capture your attention.

Not by using PowerPoint decks, closing techniques and fancy catch phrases: by using their infectious personality and sense that they care about the needs of the customer.

 

They avoid overthinking.

It’s easy to procrastinate in sales and try and predict every move that a customer will make. In the end, the client will use mostly emotion to make a decision. Quit trying to overthink the outcome of a business opportunity and focus on going all in.

Give it everything you have and then if you lose the sale, it’s all gravy. Move on to the next business opportunity.

 

They make actual decisions.

Sales is hard which is why there are incentives. If it were easy, we’d all have the job title of “sales.”
Sales requires many consecutive and challenging decisions one after another. You have to convince not only the customer, but also the internal stakeholders such as the product and operational areas.

This process is a series of lots of small decisions that match the urgency of your customer. If you take too long, you lose the sale. If you overpromise, you’ll burn the client. If you don’t offer a competitive price, they may go elsewhere.

All of these are decisions and brilliant salespeople make them daily, and do so efficiently.

 

They always use deadlines.

Without a date to work too, we all get lost in the busy trap. Either you become too busy or the client does. This is not about hard sell techniques or fake offers that expire. If you can genuinely help your client, then you should want them to have that benefit as quickly as possible.

 

They are aware of their ego.

Ego is the enemy. If you think you’re some hot shot sales person, your prospective clients will run. Too much confidence and an inflated ego are usually a mask of a salesperson who’s covering something up. In other words, someone who lies for a living.

Humbleness, kindness and humility are how a brilliant salesperson attracts customers. Too much ego does the opposite.

 

They use discipline to their advantage.

As I said, sales is hard work. To be good at it, you need to be disciplined.

You can’t help everyone.
You only have so much time to prospect.
You have to make the calls, respond to emails and see clients to make target.

If you don’t do the basics, you can’t be a brilliant salesperson. Kobe Bryant put in the hours to become a great basketballer. He went to the gym, did the practice shots and ran until he passed out. Phone calls, emails and prospecting meetings are the exercises used in the sales world.

The more you do the exercises and stick to the plan, the closer you’ll get to Kobe’s success in the basketball world. We’re lazy by nature though, so discipline is key in sales.

 

They listen.

Too many salespeople talk your head off but don’t actually listen. Listening in sales is how you understand the customer and deliver a message that will allow them to make a buying decision. You’ll learn more from listening than talking. Phenomenal salespeople recognize this.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?

Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/674254/leadership-vs-management-is-one-better-than-the-other?ref=rss

Being an excellent manager doesn’t make someone a strong leader. We’ve all run into someone who uses the titles interchangeably, and it can be frustrating.

Knowing the difference leadership vs management helps you understand your role in your organization. By recognizing the difference, you can sharpen your abilities so that you can reach your fullest potential. Knowing what separates managers and leaders can also help you figure out how to achieve the best balance of leadership and management qualities.

In this article, I will explore the similarities and differences between leaders and managers, and help you figure out how to get the best of both worlds.

  • What are leadership and management?

    A leader’s power comes from their ability to get buy-in from others. They use their influence to challenge norms and guide innovation. As Drucker implies, leaders sometimes bend the rules to spur change. Peter Drucker aptly puts it:[1]

    “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. To gain followers requires influence but doesn’t exclude the lack of integrity in achieving this.”

    Managers ensure that employees conform to standards and adhere to policies. They make sure that the goals of their leaders are carried out. They are capable and responsible, but their contribution to organizations is strictly by-the book.[2]

    Key differences between leadership and management

    Focus on goals and vision vs. Focus on tasks

    Leaders are oriented toward their company’s vision and goals. They look at the big picture and come up with new ways to actualize their vision.[3] When leaders try new things, they always tie their ideas back to the company’s mission.

    Managers are task-masters. While they may care about an organization’s vision, their job is to stick to policy. Managers carry out the big ideas for their organization’s leaders.

    Sell it vs. Tell it

    Since leaders are always on the cusp of innovation, they have to convince others that their ideas are worthwhile. Remember, they gain their authority by encouraging others to buy into their line of thinking.

    On the other hand, managers don’t have to sell an idea because their role is to enforce policies. If someone steps out of line, they can fall back on procedures. Employees do as their managers tell them.

    Take risks vs. Minimize risks

    Anytime you try something new, you must take a risk. Leaders take risks by default because they often push for change.

    Managers are put in place to keep risks to a minimum. They make sure that workers are doing what they’re supposed to do in the manner the company tells them to. When problems arise, a manager may take the problem to leadership to amend policies.

    Encourage vs. Instruct

    The lines between management and leadership blur here depending on how the manager approaches their duties. Ultimately, leaders offer encouragement to employees to think outside the box and see the big picture.

    Managers usually have clear guidelines about different aspects of their workplace. They may provide encouragement, but their main job is to tell you how things are supposed to be done. They’re the person you turn to when you want to figure out the best way to do your job.

    Go against the grain vs. Go with the flow

    Leaders need to challenge the status quo or else their organization risks stagnation.[4] They try new things to see if they can be more effective. They work to align company policies with the company’s vision.

    Managers, on the other hand, maintain the status quo. They’re doing their best work when they are enforcing the guidelines set out by the leaders.

    Motivate vs. Approve

    When you try new things, your risk of failing increases. Leaders must be motivated, and they’re great at keeping others motivated. They tie everything they do back to the company’s vision. When a company has a strong vision, a leader can use it as a rallying point for inspiring employees.

    When you’re managing people, your main objective is to decide if something passes muster. Managers look at their subordinates’ actions and determine whether they meet the standards set out by the company.

    Break the rules vs. Follow the rules

    Leaders have to play fast and loose with the rules to get ahead. Rules are often too rigid to allow for innovation, which means that leaders frequently bend them. When a company or organization is badly broken, leaders may disregard the rules entirely.

    If a manager wants to keep their job, they stick to the strategies set out by superiors. Bending and breaking the rules undermines their position, which can weaken the company.

    Inspire trust vs. Expect control

    When someone is guiding you through uncharted territory, you must have a certain level of trust in them. A strong leader is excellent at inspiring trust to take people to places they’ve never been.

    Managers’ authority rests in their ability to have control outright. You don’t have to like or trust your manager to do what you’re told. Managers expect and need control to do their job well.

    Foster ideas vs. Assign tasks

    Leaders thrive on making improvements by trying new things. They foster new ideas and free thinking because this supports their aims. They know that if they can encourage more people to think outside the box, the collective brainpower of the group will drive more innovation.

    Managers can’t encourage free thinking because they wouldn’t be able to fulfill company expectations. Telling people what to do is the only way they can ensure that employees will do what they’re supposed to in the way they’re supposed to do it.

    Is one better than the other?

    As you may have noted, there are some stark differences between leaders and managers, but leadership and management are complementary.

    Leaders are risk-taking, innovating, game-changers. Managers are by-the-book maintainers of the status quo. That doesn’t mean that it’s better to be one or the other.

    Companies need managers and leaders to run smoothly. A lack of management puts organizations at risk for falling out of compliance and not meeting goals. A lack of leadership leads to a stagnant and uninspired workforce.

    Leaders and managers may exist at opposite ends of a spectrum when it comes to authority, but they’re on the same team. A leader can have a grand vision, but without managers to carry it out, the vision won’t be realized. Managers have to adhere to standards, but if they aren’t inspired by leadership, they won’t be able to share their vision with the workforce.

    How to strike the balance between leadership and management

    There’s a happy medium between leadership and management. In some cases, you do need someone to perform as strictly one or the other. The best authority figures know when to apply leadership and management to greater and lesser degrees.

    When to use leadership skills:

    The degree to which you’re able to use leadership skills depends on your workforce and your company’s way of operating. If your members are clear about the team’s vision and goals, they’re more likely to be inspired by a leader.

    For an authority figure to lean more toward leadership, they need to be able to trust that workers are already fully aware of and compliant with company policies. If you constantly have to babysit your team members to perform basic tasks, it’s going to be difficult to encourage free thinking.

    When a team is made up of dedicated individuals who understand their roles, you have more leeway. They’ll be able to handle innovation and creativity while keeping up with their responsibilities. When a leader can enter into a dialogue with workers about company policies, they can come up with new ideas together.

    When to take on the role of a manager:

    When you’re new on the job, you need somebody to tell you how things should be done. Managers are an absolute necessity when your team members are new. They can help workers figure out how to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible.

    Managers are also excellent at figuring out how much employees are capable of. They know that giving them too many responsibilities can have a negative impact on their performance and morale. They safeguard employee productivity by understanding how each person works and responds to stress.

    Organizations always need managers to help employees with uncertainties that they may have about their work. The manager is the person who can show you where to find a procedure in the handbook. They take the mystery out of the work so that employees can meet company expectations.

    Running a company made only of leaders would be like herding cats. Having managers run the show means that you’ll get a lot done, but you’ll never get better. Organizations need managers and leaders to reach their full potential. You can’t have one without the other.

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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    40+ Tasty and Easy-to-Make Healthy Vegan Recipes (The Fitness Coach's Choice)

    Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/627384/the-fitness-coachs-choice-10-tasty-and-easy-to-make-vegan-recipes?ref=rss

    Following a healthy, energizing and moral diet is great, yet most people don’t know where to start. The chances are high, that you’re thinking about becoming a vegan, yet you just don’t know ‘how’. Until now.

    What few people don’t know is that eating vegan is simpler than you might think. Choose a vegetarian meal and eliminate diary and eggs and voilà! You’ve just created a vegan meal.

    After this post you won’t need to struggle about your diet anymore. Let me tell you forty healthy vegan recipes, as a certified fitness coach.

  • Be Strong and Healthy as a Vegan

    Meat is not a super package. You don’t have to worry that much about deficiencies. People eating a normal western diet suffer from way more deficiencies than vegetarian or vegan people do. Most people are deficient on fiber for example, which is crucial for our gut health and the prevention of gut cancer.

    Make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat the rainbow — lots of colorful foods in your diet are a great source of healthy antioxidants. Also make sure you incorporate some nuts and seeds in your diet. Tip: Flaxseeds, add them to the recipe idea #3 the Breakfast Bowl.

    If you go fully vegan, you have to consider supplementation. Vitamin B12 is crucial. Watch a video about the supplements that you truly need here:

    Also, don’t forget to drink enough water on daily basis. The first thing I do in the morning is drinking a liter of water, it helps me get energized and be proactive for the day to come.

    40+ Energy-Boosting Vegan Recipes

    These 40+ recipes will help deliver a full package of tastiness to you. The recipes are packaged into 5 categories and are designed to keep you satiated and energized the whole day:

    1. Breakfast
    2. Lunch and Dinner
    3. Sides
    4. Dessert
    5. Beverages and Smoothies

    Credit where credit is due. These vegan recipes are inspired by the books Thrive, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Plant-Based Whole Foods Way to Staying Healthy for Life by Brendan Brazier,[1] and Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory by Dr. Neal Barnard.[2]. Credits are otherwise linked directly under the article.

    To make these dishes even healthier, challenge yourself and minimize the salt, sweeteners and oil that you put on the dish!

    Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day as it prepares you with the energy you need for whatever activities lay ahead. Let’s start with 10 breakfast ideas.

    Breakfast Ideas

    Your morning sets the tone for your day. A healthy breakfast will keep you mentally sharp and energized.

    1. Baked Oatmeal

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
    • 2 1/4 cups rice milk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots for raisins
    • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
    • Rice milk, for serving

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and lightly oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
    2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until well combined.
    3. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
    4. Cool slightly, then cut into 8 squares.
    5. Serve warm, topped with a little rice milk and extra cinnamon.

    2. Banana-Ginger-Pear-Bowl

    Ingredients

    • 1 banana
    • 1 pear, stoned
    • 1 date, stoned
    • 3 tablespoons almonds
    • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
    • 1 tablespoon hemp flour
    • 1/2 tablespoon carob powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger
    • 250ml soy milk

    Steps

    1. Cut the banana, pear, dates and almonds into pieces (size to your personal liking).
    2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl-
    3. Add the soy milk. Enjoy!

    3. Breakfast Bowl

    Ingredients

    • 1 banana
    • 1 pear
    • 1 date, stoned
    • 3 tablespoons of almonds
    • 1 tablespoons of flaxseeds
    • 1/2 cup of millet flakes
    • 1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
    • 250ml soymilk

    Steps

    1. Peel the banana.
    2. Stone the pear.
    3. Cut the banana, pear, almonds and the dates into tiny pieces.
    4. Put all the ingredients into a bowl.
    5. Add the soymilk. Enjoy!

    4. Waffles

    Ingredients

    • 1 banana
    • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 servings of Energ-G Egg Replacer with half the liquid called for on the package
    • 1/4 cups almond milk or soy milk
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • Nonstick cooking spray

    Steps

    1. Freeze then thaw a banana and peel it. Mash the banana. Preheat a waffle iron.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whip together the Ener-G Egg Replacer mixture and add the mashed banana, almond or soy milk, and lemon juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine them thoroughly.
    3. Give the waffle iron a quick spray of nonstick cooking spray. Add some of the batter to your waffle iron (the amount depends on the size of your iron, but make sure the iron is covered with a thin layer of batter) and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
    4. Gently peel the waffle out of the iron with a thin blade and repeat making waffles with the rest of the batter.

    5. Banana-Chocolate Pancakes

    Ingredients

    • 2 peeled and mashed bananas
    • 2 dried dates, stoned
    • 20g amaranth
    • 250ml chocolate hemp milk
    • 250ml water
    • 70g buckwheat flour
    • 4 tablespoons of linseeds
    • 4 tablespoons of hemp protein
    • 3 tablespoons of carob powder
    • 2 tablespoons of caca onibs

    Steps

    1. Blend all these ingredients together.
    2. Pour very few coconut-oil (use an oil-spray) into a baking pan.
    3. Pour the ingredients into the baking pan until you have the right size of the pancake for you.
    4. Bake for 5 minutes, turn it to the other side and bake for another 5 minutes.

    6. Breakfast Wraps

    Ingredients

    • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup diced onion
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 whole-grain tortillas
    • 1/2 cup prepared salsa

    Steps

    1. Drain the tofu and crumble it in a separate bowl.
    2. Heat a few tablespoons of water in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and a few pinches of sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
    3. Place the drained and crumbled tofu on top of the garlic and onion mixture. Sprinkle with the turmeric, the remaining sea salt, and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
    4. Place one-quarter of the tofu mixture in the middle of a tortilla. Add one-quarter of the salsa and wrap the tortilla lightly around the filling. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

    7. Banana Bread

    Ingredients

    • 2 bananas, mashed well
    • 1/3 cup brewed black coffee
    • 3 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water and stirred well
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup white flour and 1 cup wholemeal flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp each cinnamon and allspice

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a loaf pan.
    2. Beat together the soft butter and sugar until fluffy, then add in the chia seed mixture. If using oil, just mix all these ingredients together.
    3. Stir in the mashed bananas and coffee well.
    4. Sift the flours, salt and raising agents, then gently fold into the wet mixture.
    5. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.

    8. Cinnamon-Quinoa-Breakfast

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup organic quinoa
    • 2 cups fresh blackberries, organic preferred
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    • 4 teaspoons agave nectar

    Steps

    1. Combine the soy milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
    2. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon.
    3. Transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.

    Credits: 101 Cook Books

    9. Japan-Like Lentil Breakfast

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 cup green lentils
    • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Steps

    1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, garlic, and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and tomato paste begins to darken.
    2. Add lentils and 2½ cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.
    3. Remove the pan from heat and let it sit, covered for 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.

    Credits: Bon Appetit

    10. Banana-Nut Oatmeal

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups plain almond milk
    • 2 fully-ripened large bananas (1 1/2 diced and 1/2 thinly sliced crosswise)
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
    • 1/3 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
    • Pinch ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
    • pinch of salt

    Steps

    1. Bring the almond milk, 1 3/4 cups water, the diced bananas, almond and vanilla extracts and pinch of salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
    2. Stir in the oats, cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of the agave nectar and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the oats are fully cooked to desired consistency, 6 to 7 minutes.
    3. Transfer to 4 bowls, top with the sliced bananas, walnuts, the remaining 1 tablespoon agave nectar, cinnamon and chocolate chips and serve.

    Credits: Foodnetwork

    Lunch and Dinner Ideas

    The most tasty meals of your days – the vegan way.

    11. Almond-Flaxseed-Burger

    Ingredients

    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 cup of almonds
    • 6 tablespoons of flaxseeds
    • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

    Steps

    1. Blend all the ingredients together.
    2. Form two burger patties. You can eat these vegan-meat-patties raw or put some coconut oil on them and put them into a baking pan at medium heat.
    3. Cook until they’re golden.
    4. Add them to two whole-grain pieces of bread.
    5. Add some vegetables for extra taste.

    12. Chickpeas-Curry-Pizza

    Ingredients

    Crust:

    • 230g of grounded sunflower seeds
    • 180g of cooked chickpeas
    • 60ml of coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon of cloves
    • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon of curcuma

    Toppings:

    • 1/2 middle-sized sweet potato
    • 1/2 onion, sliced
    • 1/2 piece of broccoli (floweret)
    • 1/2 piece of cauliflower (floweret)

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.
    2. Blend all the ingredients for the crust together.
    3. Stir it until it forms lumps.
    4. Put some coconut-fat on the baking plate.
    5. Distribute the blended mass evenly on the baking plate.
    6. Add the toppings.
    7. Bake for aprroximately 45 minutes in the oven. Baking time can be adjusted, according to your likes.

    Image Credit: Vegan Richa

    13. Amaranth-Hemp Seeds-Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 Nori leaf, chopped
    • 4 handful of mixed salads
    • 10g of amaranth
    • 1 handful of sugar snaps
    • 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

    Steps

    1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Add some dressing, I recommend an italian dressing.
    3. Make sure you use only a little bit of oil.

    14. Sweet Potato Burritos

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
    • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon very thinly sliced green onion
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas, warmed
    • 1 cup prepared salsa
    • 2 cups shredded lettuce

    Steps

    1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to come an inch up the sides. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes.
    2. Add the corn and cook 1 more minute.
    3. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the black beans, green onion, lime juice and chili powder; season with salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Divide the filling among the tortillas, top with the salsa and lettuce, roll them up, and serve.

    15. Spaghetti with White Bean Marinara Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 10 ounces uncooked whole-grain spaghetti
    • 1 24-ounce jar fat-free spaghetti sauce
    • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

    Steps

    1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions; drain.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the spaghetti sauce and beans, cover, and warm over low heat.
    3. Serve the spaghetti topped with the marinara-bean mixture.

    16. Baked Ziti

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    • 8 ounces uncooked whole-grain ziti or penne pasta
    • 10.5 ounces firm low-fat tofu, drained
    • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 24-ounce jar fat-free spaghetti sauce

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish with the oil.
    2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions to al dente.
    3. Crumble the drained tofu into a bowl and add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano and salt. Mix well.
    4. Gently fold in the cooked pasta, spaghetti sauce, and any optional ingredients.
    5. Spoon the pasta-tofu mixture into the prepared casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and lightly golden on top. Serve hot with a fresh garden salad.

    17. Gnocchi with Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

    Ingredients:

    • 4 to 6 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
    • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free whoel wheat gnocchi
    • 10 to 12 sun-dried tomatoes
    • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

    Steps

    1. Lay the basil leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and slice them into ribbons.
    2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and stir; cook until the gnocchi float.
    3. Remove them as they come to the top of the water and drain.
    4. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss the gnocchi with the basil ribbons, sun-dried tomatoes, and pepper and serve.

    18. Baked Veggie Falafel

    Ingredients

    • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 tablespoons minced onion
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
    • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup cooked green peas
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
    2. Place the garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, carrot, lemon juice, flour, coriander, and cumin in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Form the mixture into 8 patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the patties over and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve 2 patties stuffed inside a whole-wheat pita pocket.
    4. Top with a little hummus, shredded lettuce and diced onion and tomato. The patties also are great served with couscous and a salad.

    19. Grilled Eggplant Niçoise

    Ingredients

    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 large eggplant, sliced into thick slabs
    • Juice of 4 lemons
    • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
    • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
    • 4 large slices French bread, toasted
    • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
    • 2 tomatoes, sliced
    • 1/4 cup sliced pitted Niçcoise olives or green olives

    Steps

    1. Smash the garlic and rub each slab of eggplant with the garlic. Place the eggplant in a shallow bowl and pour the lemon juice over it.
    2. Add enough water to submerge the eggplant. Allow the eggplant to marinate for at least 1 hour, then drain and place it in a shallow dish.
    3. Add the garlic, pepper, lavender, and saffron and let it sit for about 1 hour.
    4. Place the eggplant directly on a grill over medium heat and cook until it is soft on both sides but not charred.
    5. Place a grilled slab of eggplant on a slice of bread and top with a couple of slices of fennel and tomatoes and about 1 tablespoon sliced olives. This sandwich is served open faced.

    20. Tofu Scramble

    Ingredients

    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • ¼ cup onions, chopped
    • 1 cup red and green bell peppers, chopped
    • 1 cup spinach
    • 12-14 ounces tofu, crumbled
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Steps

    1. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and peppers. Sauté until vegetables are softened.
    2. Add spinach, crumbled tofu, salt and pepper.
    3. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat and serve.

    Credits: Vandana Sheth 

    Sides

    The dishes supplementing your full meals – or dishes that can be a full meal. If you’re a lazy cook like me.

    21. Toasted Brown Rice

    Cooking secret: Toast rice first and then cook it like pasta.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
    • 3 cups water

    Steps

    1. In a saucepan, rinse the rice briefly with water, then pour off as much of the water as you can. You are now left with damp rice.
    2. Place the pan over high heat and stir the rice until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked – but still crunchy. Drain off any remaining water.
    3. Extra Step: To serve, top with sunflower or flaxseeds for that extra crunchiness.

    22. Red Rice

    With a cup of beans or vegetables, you can make this into a meal. Simple.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 tomatillos, chopped
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 cup brown rice

    Steps

    1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the onion and cook until it is translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
    2. Add the tomatoes, water, vinegar, and salt and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and return to a simmer.
    3. Cover, and reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 25 minutes.

    23. Mint Couscous

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup hot mint tea
    • 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
    • 4 to 5 dried apricots
    • 8 to 10 pitted dried black olives or pitted whole kalamata olives
    • 1 tablespoon chile paste, preferably harissa sauce
    • 1/3 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    Steps

    1. Combine the hot tea and couscous in a medium bowl.
    2. As the couscous absorbs the liquid, slowly fluff it with a fork.
    3. Add the remaining ingredients, stir together and serve.

    Dessert Ideas

    These are simple dessert options that literally only take a few minutes to prepare.

    24. Banana Ice Cream

    This recipe only has one ingredient. Super fast and easy.

    Ingredients

    • Ripe Bananas

    Steps

    1. Peel and slice the bananas, place them in a container and freeze them for 1 hour.
    2. Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and let them thaw a little at room temperature.
    3. Place the bananas in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, like soft-serve ice cream.
    4. You can vary the recipe by adding a little cinnamon, vanilla or cocoa powder.

    25. Fruit Pops

    Ingredients

    • About 3 cups unsweetened fruit juice of your choice, such as grape, pomegranate or orange juice (squeeze at home and use the pulp for more health benefits)

    Steps

    1. Fill an ice pop mold (set of 6) with the juice, put a wooden stick in there.
    2. Let it freeze for a couple of hours.
    3. To remove a frozen pop from the mold, run briefly under warm water.

    26. Blueberry Mini Muffin

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cup whole wheat spelt flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 cup organic blueberries
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • ½ cup soy milk
    • ½ cup 100% maple syrup
    • ¼ cup agave nectar

    Steps:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a mini cupcake tin with paper cups.
    2. Mix wet ingredients together in large bowl, then stir in dry ingredients, followed by the blueberries.
    3. Using small spoons, divide the batter among the cups so they’re almost filled to the top.
    4. Bake until muffins are golden brown, for about 20 minutes.

    Credits: Foodnetwork

    27. Vanilla Berry Sorbet

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries or strawberries
    • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup date sugar

    Steps

    1. In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth.
    2. Adjust the sweetness with the date sugar amount to taste if needed.
    3. Pour into a freezer container, cover and freeze for a couple of hours.
    4. To serve, remove the sorbet from freezer and let stand at room temperature until soft enough to scoop out.

    Image Credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

    28. Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

    Ingredients

    • 2 sliced and frozen bananas
    • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
    • 3 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
    • Pinch sea salt
    • Drizzle of agave (or maple syrup), optional

    Steps

    1. Place frozen banana slices in a food processor and run the machine until it resembles a crumb like consistency.
    2. Add peanut butter, cacao nibs, sea salt and agave, and whiz a little longer until you get a soft-serve ice cream consistency.

    Credits: Foodnetwork 

    29. Coconut Cashew Rice Pudding

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup cashew milk
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • ¼ cup Arborio rice
    • 2 tsp stevia
    • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • fresh berries, coconut, and/or toasted cashews for garnish

    Steps

    1. Place the cashew milk, coconut milk, rice, sugar and lime zest in a medium saucepot and whisk while bringing it up to a simmer over medium heat. Cover loosely and continue to simmer gently, stirring often, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the pudding to room temperature and then chill before serving.
    2. Serve the pudding garnished with fresh berries, coconut shavings and/or toasted cashews.

    Credits: Food Network 

    30. Baked Fruit Compote

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups sliced peaches
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1/2 cup red raspberries
    • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
    2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.
    3. Pour the fruit into a 2-quart baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Serve warm.

    31. Iced Watermelon and White Peach

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups pureed white peaches
    • 2 cups pureed watermelon
    • 1/2 cup agave nectar
    • Optional: Leavces from 1 small sprig of mint, preferably lemon mint

    Steps

    1. Remove the stems and pits from the peaches. Remove the seeds and rind from the watermelon. P
    2. lace the peaches in the blender and puree them, then add the watermelon to the blender and puree again. Add the agave nectar and blend to incorporate.
    3. Place the pureed mixture in a shallow metal or glass bowl and leave it in the freezer until it ices over. With a large metal spoon, scrape the frozen mixture to create a shaved ice treat.

    32. Fruity Couscous Cake

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups apple juice
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • pinch of sea salt
    • 2 cups uncooked couscous
    • 2 cups blueberries
    • 1/2 cup all-fruit jam
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit of your choice

    Steps

    1. Combine the apple juice, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan, bring to the boil and add the couscous. Stir, cover and reduce the heat to low; simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.
    2. Gently fold the blueberries into the cooked couscous. Rinse but don’t dry a 9 1/2 inch tart pan. Pour the couscous mixture into it and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.
    3. Spread the jam over the cake and arrange the fresh fruit in a pretty pattern over the top.

    33. Lemon Rice

    Ingredients

    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 3/4 cup sweetened almond milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons currants
    • 1/4 cup short-grain brown rice
    • Zest of 1 lemon

    Steps

    1. Zest a lemon and then juice it. Combine the almond milk, lemon juice, cinnamon and currants in a medium saucepan and bring it all to a boil.
    2. Stir in the rice. Bring the liquid back to boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is soft, about 20 minutes. There should still be a bit of liquid left in the pot.
    3. Divide the rice between serving bowls and top with the lemon zest.

    Beverages & Smoothies

    Tip for making a smoothie: Remember to start with the slowest speed at the blender and slowly amp it up. Otherwise the ingredients won’t blend together as good as they should.

    34. Chocolate- Hemp milk

    Ingredients

    • 875ml of water
    • 135g of hemp seeds
    • 2 tablespoons of carob powder
    • 2 tablespoons of date sugar

    Steps

    1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender. Simple.

    35. On-the-go Smoothie

    Ingredients

    • 1 very ripe banana
    • 2 cups frozen fruit (I prefer raspberries)
    • 1 cup nondairy milk (I prefer soy)

    Steps

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes.

    36. Crunchy Smoothie

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup Breakfast Smoothie (see #2 Smoothie)
    • 1/4 cup toasted dried oats
    • Fresh berries

    Steps

    1. Layer 1/4 cup of the smoothie at the bottom of a glass.
    2. Add a 2-tablespoon layer of oats next.
    3. Followed by another 1/4 cup of smoothie, then the last 2 tablespoons oats.
    4. Finish it off with the last 1/4 cup of smoothie.
    5. Top with fresh berries. Crunchy and tasty.

    37. Blueberry-Antioxidant-Smoothie

    Ingredients

    • 1 ripe banana
    • 3 cups of cold water
    • 1 cup of blueberries
    • 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
    • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup / stevia sweetener
    • 1 tablespoon of mashed rooibos

    Steps

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender.

    38. Green Monster Smoothie

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
    • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced
    • 1 large frozen banana, broken into pieces
    • 1 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or alternate milk)
    • 1 1/2 cups kale, loosely packed, stems removed (you can also use spinach)
    • Large handful of spinach

    Steps

    1. Add the almond milk to a high-power blender and toss the banana pieces and kale in. Blend on high.
    2. Add the strawberries and cucumber. Blend again until smooth.
    3. Add in more almond milk and/or ice for desired consistency.

    Credits: Ambitious Kitchen 

    39. Apple Ginger Green Smoothie

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups kale loosely packed stems removed
    • 1 in apple core removed cut chunks
    • 2 celery stalks quartered
    • 1/2 ripe banana
    • 1/2 cup parsley
    • 1/2 cup blueberries
    • 1 inch piece ginger root quartered
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 scoop protein powder
    • 1 cup water or lemon juice
    • Ice to taste

    Steps

    1. Place all ingredients except for the ice in a high speed blender and puree until smooth.
    2. Add ice to taste and pulse until creamy and smooth.

    Credits: The Lemon Bowl 

    40. Fast Sport Drink

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups fresh-pressed fruit juice
    • 1 cup water
    • Pinch of sea salt

    Steps

    1. Mix all the ingredients together.

    41. Mint-Carob Drink

    Ingredients

    • 3 dates, stoned
    • 4 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
    • 2 teaspoons carob powder
    • 1 teaspoon mint, dried
    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
    • Pinch of salt

    Steps

    1. Mix all the ingredients together.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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    The post 40+ Tasty and Easy-to-Make Healthy Vegan Recipes (The Fitness Coach’s Choice) appeared first on Lifehack.

    3 Powerful Ways to Stay Motivated While Building Your Startup

    Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-powerful-ways-to-stay-motivated-while-building-your-startup/

    I hear one particular story being repeated over and over again in the startup world. See if you’ve heard it before. A friend tells me how excited he is about a new business idea. He’s talked to several potential customers who seem really interested, and he’s even contracted folks in the industry to help him build a prototype.

    Two months later, I meet with him again. He’s still very excited, working hard at all hours of the day, and he says that they’re actually about to release the prototype. Another 2 or 3 months go by and I check in to ask him how everything is going.

    Glumly, he tells me, “Well, we released the prototype to a couple of early adopters, but we didn’t find they were using it on a daily basis.” Or, “We spent like $50 on Facebook ads to spread the word, but nobody signed up.” And on and on it goes.

    Just like that, another wantrepreneur’s dreams are crushed. “Maybe this entrepreneurship thing just isn’t for me,” he says. Sound familiar? It happens to all of us. We have that initial burst of excitement and we get super motivated to pursue our business idea, but then when reality hits and things don’t go as planned, we lose that spark and our motivation hits rock bottom.

    People don’t realize that building a startup is like a roller coaster – one day you’re on top of the world and the next you’re having the worst day ever. Motivation is like the fuel in your car, when you run out, your company stalls and comes to a complete stop.

    People always ask me how I maintain my motivation throughout the ups and downs of startup life. Like any other positive habit, you have to train yourself and you need a few techniques in your back pocket to help you get out of that rut when you (inevitably) fall into it.

    Here are a few things that have helped me stay motivated while building my business:

    1. Listen to or Read Something Motivational Each Day

    This is actually one of my main sources of motivation. Every day, I listen to an entrepreneurship podcast and learn something new.

    When you hear an interview with a successful founder, and he says he wakes up every day at 4AM to spend 2 hours writing a chapter of his book before heading into work, it makes you think “Wow! I thought I was working hard!”

    I’ll listen to an owner talk about how he lost everything and managed to bring himself back from ruins. That kind of story can motivate anybody to push through the rough times in their own life and business endeavors.

    When I hear these types of inspirational interviews during my morning walk, I go home eager to start work for the day!

    “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”  – Ryan Freitas

    2. Have a Learning Mindset

    No matter how excited you are about your startup idea, remember that it’s a learning experience. A year from now, you may end up developing something totally different based on feedback you get from customers. If your first prototype doesn’t get the traction or results you were hoping for, then learn why that is.

    Did it not solve the customer’s pain point? Were you solving the wrong problem? Call up the users and ask them why are they’re not using or buying your product! Brice McBeth in his book ‘Salon Chairs Don’t Sell Themselves’, shares his experience with the launch of an e-commerce website that he was trying to promote.

    He found that potential customers were just not signing up, even though his team built a visually stunning website. It wasn’t until after he called several customers that he learned they felt the website looked too fancy for them.

    They weren’t signing up because they thought the product was too expensive even though they hadn’t even looked at the pricing page. They based their assumption purely on the landing page. He changed the website and the product took off. So don’t get discouraged if your first launch fails. Go out and ask for feedback and correct your mistakes!

    3. Sign Up Real Customers

    The biggest motivating factor for me so far has been signing up our startup’s first real customers. Not a friend and not someone I met at a networking event who was doing me a favor. A complete stranger who found us on the web and wanted to sign up because she was interested in the product.

    When I talked to this customer on the phone, she had no idea we were a startup in the beta stage. She was an office manager of a landscape and lawn service company who was looking for a time tracking software. Having a “real” customer using our application and depending on us to process payroll was a huge responsibility, but it was also motivation for us because we didn’t want to let a customer down.

    I’ve found the wantrepreneurs of the world are a little intimidated by the important step of accumulating real customers. When beta customers sign up, they expect to have some issues with the product or software, but when a real, expectant, interested customer signs up and hands over their hard-earned money, it’s a whole different ball game.

    But don’t be intimidated! The key is providing excellent customer service. Then your customers will stay with you even if your product is basic and buggy, because they know you will fix it and take care of them down the road. Trust me, waking up every morning knowing people are depending on you is the biggest motivation of all!

    “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison

    Maintaining motivation while you’re working on your startup, especially at the beginning, is like anything else important in your life – you have to work at it! Listen to or read something inspirational every day, maintain the mindset that everything is a learning experience, and take that plunge to find real customers.

    Then, use your system to be accountable for your work and provide great service, and you’ll discover the motivation to move forward even in the toughest of times.

    How do you stay motivated while building your startup or running your business? Comment below!

    74 Healthy Habits That Will Improve Your Overall Well-Being and Make You Feel Good

    Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/673363/healthy-habits-that-will-improve-your-overall-well-being-and-make-you-feel-good?ref=rss

    Poor health and low energy levels can negatively impact every part of your life. Your creative spark can be destroyed, leaving you with zero inspiration and ideas. Work would become tedious and hard going, and your social life would become a shadow of what it used to be.

    Life for you would no longer be fun. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

    What you need to transform your life is a healthier lifestyle. One that will bring back your natural energy and zest for life.

    By learning the best healthy habits to take and following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to get back to this optimum state.

  • What makes a healthy habit?

    You may be surprised to learn that more than 40 percent of the actions you perform every day aren’t actually decided by you. They’re actually habits. Habits dictate how we live, how we perform, and the results we achieve in life. This is why it is so important to have strong, positive habits.

    In case you’re wondering what habits consist of, think of them this way: something that you regularly do without having to consciously think about.

    According to Medical Dictionary, a healthy habit is

    “a behavior that is beneficial to one’s physical or mental health, often linked to a high level of discipline and self-control.”

    Positive habits are the basis of your success, while healthy habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good. Good habits include things like regular exercise, a balanced diet, punctuality, keeping promises, etc.[1]

    Positive habits make it possible for us to do things without spending exorbitant mental effort. For instance, instead of thinking how to walk down the stairs in a morning, this is taken care of by your subconscious mind which has learned the habit of walking safely down stairs. You don’t need to think about moving your legs, and controlling your balance, etc.

    74 healthy habits to improve your overall well-being

    Now you understand what habits are, and the benefits positive habits offer, let’s take a look now at 74 healthy habits you should adopt to transform your life. These habits are broken into three sections:

    • Habits to build a healthy body
    • Habits for a healthy mind
    • Habits for healthy relationships

    Habits to build a healthy body

    A healthy body is the fundamentals to achieve anything you want. While it’s so important to maintain a fit and healthy body, many people are tempted to eat unhealthy food, skip exercises and lead an unhealthy lifestyle.

    Here’re 20 healthy habits you should start to take for a fitter body:

    1. Make sure you chew your food well 

    Most people gobble down their food, and don’t take the time to chew or enjoy it properly. If you’re one of these people, try slowing down your eating by chewing your food longer than you would normally do. You’ll enjoy the taste of your food more, and you’re likely to eat less too.

    2. Stock up on healthy food

    At home you snack on what’s in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. If all you have in there is ultra-processed foods like fries, chocolate and ice cream, then you’ll find yourself snacking on them (not a good idea). To break this habit, make sure you have loads of healthy foods in your home like dried fruits, seeds and nuts to help satisfy your hunger cravings.

    3. Aim to do 10,000 steps a day

    Sounds like a lot? Well, it’s actually the minimum amount recommend by fitness experts. It’s not too difficult to reach 10,000 steps in a day. Simply walk in the park in the morning and evening, and take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.

    4. Take a walk at lunchtime

    Lunchtimes don’t need to be just for eating. You can use the time to get some valuable air, light and exercise. I usually walk for half of my lunch break – the other half I leave for eating.

    5. Freeze your fruits and veggies

    This is a great thing to do, as freezing these foods means they’ll last until you’re ready to eat them. And of course you can freeze them when they’re at their peak, so they’ll taste great when defrosted and/or cooked. This technique is also a superb way to enjoy healthy fruits and veggies outside of their normal seasonal availability.

    6. Focus on colors, not calories

    Too many people put their health and diet focus on how many calories they are consuming every day. But a healthy diet is not just about calories.

    For example, there is a big difference between eating a handful of raw nuts and the same calorie amount of cake. Sure, the latter may taste better to you – but the nuts will always be the healthier choice.

    7. Add an extra serving of greens to your plate

    One simple way to boost your intake of healthy foods is to add an extra serving of greens to each of your meals. If you normally eat burger and fries (not recommended!), start adding a portion of peas or a green salad to your plate. Over time, you can start increasing the greens – and reducing the junk food.

    8. Be active outside the gym

    I’m sure you’ve spotted people at work who go to the gym most morning. They certainly know how to start their day well, but watch their habits after that. Often they sit down all day at their desk, and no doubt go home and chill out in front of the TV.

    While going to the gym is commendable, don’t make it your be all and end all. Get out in the fresh air and natural light and move your body the way nature intended – by walking and running.

    9. Eat carbs every day

    From time to time, carbs go out of fashion. We’re warned their bad for us, and we should avoid them. However, no-carb and low-carb diets usually end up as fads. That’s because carbs are actually are an excellent source of energy for our bodies.

    Of course, our ancestors lived and thrived on carb-heavy diets for thousands of years. Just make sure you’re choosing healthy carbs, such as: wholemeal breads, oatmeal and sweet potatoes:

    10. Choose healthy fats

    Not all fats are the same. Some are good for us, some are not. Which are the healthy fats? If you stick to cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, nuts and avocados, you’ll be getting the essential nutrients you need – in the healthiest forms available.

    11. Don’t eat until you’re full

    A healthy person’s stomach is the size of a fist, while an unhealthy person’s stomach can be the size of a football. It’s a shocking fact. The cause of the grotesque stomach expansion is overeating. When this is done regularly, the stomach starts to stretch. Consequently, the person needs to eat more and more to maintain that full, satisfied feeling.

    How to avoid this? Always eat a little less than you think you need or would like. This will keep your stomach at its natural size – and your body at a healthy weight too.

    12. Avoid over exercising

    People who over exercise tend to age quicker than they should.[2] Most things in life come down to balance, and exercise is no exception. Over exercising for months and years will deplete your body of its vital energy – leaving you drained and feeling out-of-sync.

    13. Swap soft drinks for water

    Soft drinks are typically full of sugar (or artificial sweeteners), coloring and other nasties! They may taste good, but they’ll leave you feeling bad. Instead, ditch the soft drinks and switch to drinking mineral water or filtered tap water. Your body will thank you.

    14. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual

    In today’s age of Netflix and YouTube, it’s all too easy to find yourself watching just one more video. Pre-internet, you’d have probably gone to bed two or three hours earlier than you currently do. My suggestion? You have an alarm to wake you up in the morning. How about setting an alarm to notify you when it’s time to turn off the TV and get yourself to bed.

    Sleep is a powerful restorative – so make you’re getting an adequate amount of it.

    15. Stop weighing yourself

    This ties in with my earlier comments about calories (see No. 6). Some people – perhaps including yourself – are fixated on their weight. They weigh themselves every morning and every night. If they lose weight, they’re ecstatic. But if they gain weight, they can quickly sink into depression.

    Now, please don’t get me wrong, you certainly should be aiming to have a healthy weight. However, this will be a natural consequence of eating healthily and exercising regularly.

    16. Cut down on your meat intake

    Have you heard of meat-free Mondays? This is exactly as it sounds, no meat eaten on every Monday. If you’re a big meat eater, then meat-free Mondays are a great way to immediately reduce your meat intake. And it will also introduce you to the delicious flavors available in vegetarian and vegan meals.

    17. Choose enjoyable exercise

    You might be putting off exercising as you don’t like going to the gym or running in the cold weather. Instead, why not choose fun exercises like dancing, yoga or a team sport? When exercise is fun, you’ll have much more motivation to do it regularly.

    18. Halve your sugar intake

    We all know that sugar is bad for us, but yet, most of us still consume masses of it every single day. The problem of course, is that sugar tastes great. So good, in fact, that we literally become addicted to it.

    Now, if I told you to go ‘cold turkey’ and cut out sugar completely from your diet tomorrow – you almost certainly wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s why I recommend a reasonable and attainable goal of halving your sugar intake. You can do this through simple steps like: reducing or cutting out sugar in tea or coffee, stopping adding sugar to your cereals, and choosing healthier snacks (see No. 2).

    19. Buy a reusable water bottle and keep it on your desk

    I used to come into the office and drink tea or coffee all day. I never thought about drinking water. Then I started to notice that some people brought in large, reusable water bottles that they kept sipping from throughout the working day. I decided to give this a go, and I was amazed by how easy it was to drink in excess of 500ml of water every day. And the best thing? I noticed that I felt more hydrated, more focused – and definitely healthier overall. Try it for yourself, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll never come to work without your water bottle.

    20. Turn off technology from time to time

    Technology is a great thing. It enables me to type these words – and for you to read them. But let’s be honest, it’s all too easy to become addicted to our TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The majority of people are staring at one of these devices for most of their morning, afternoon, evening and beyond. It’s a non-stop world of emails, SMS messages, news feeds, social media updates, etc.

    My advice? Make sure you step out of this cycle of distraction by having regular breaks from your devices. For example, why not switch off all of your devices when you’re eating with your friends and family. Make conversation be your focus, instead of being absorbed by online stuff.

    Habits for a healthy mind

    Forming healthy habits for our mind is essential for our happiness and wellbeing. Here are 24 positive habits you can incorporate into your daily life to increase your mental wellbeing:

    21. Spend time in nature

    Being outside has found to have a profound effect on your mental wellbeing mainly due to exposure to sunshine increasing your serotonin levels. Research has also found that spending even a short amount of time around nature boosts your mood. Imagine spending a day in a place like this:

    22. Have something to look forward to

    Being in a state of positive anticipation and expectancy can increase your happiness level according to study published in the Official Journal of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies.[3] Planning something you enjoy and take comfort in, whether it’s a trip, a planned run, meeting friends or curling up with that book you’ve always wanted to read can keep you from dwelling on any negatives.

    23. Meditate

    Meditation is probably the most talked about concept in the happiness camps and it has good reasons to be synonymous with good mental health. Studies have shown regular meditation practices reduce stress, anxiety and health issues. The main reason is it can help reduce overthinking and create a more mindful mindset. It can come in the form of just sitting quietly, yoga, prayer or purposeful breathing.

    24. Move your body

    Endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that basically reduce the perception of pain. When you move your bodies, these are released and essentially tell your brain that all is well. Even if it’s just getting up from your chair, dancing around when doing the housework or taking up a regular exercise routine, these actions can increase the feel-good chemicals and elevate your mood.

    25. Learn something new

    People who continue to learn into adulthood have greater overall wellbeing. This could be because the brain is constantly being refreshed and rewired but also the sense of achievement, optimism and distraction it creates. In other words, it gives you purpose and focus increasing the ability to cope with stress. So learn a new language, take up painting or enrol in a course you’ve always fancied doing to create more mental wellbeing.

    26. Do something nice for someone

    Kindness may be seen as just good manners but being genuinely kind towards others increases your own happiness as well as theirs. Positive social interactions, no matter how small they may seem, boosts your feel-good vibrations. Giving compliments with pure intentions, holding a door open or offering to pay for a stranger’s coffee will keep you feeling good for the rest of the day. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll keep your positive mindset topped up as well as creating happiness for someone else.

    27. Re-evaluate toxic relationships

    Sometimes people’s mental wellbeing declines because they get used to being around people who bring them down. This can damage their self-esteem and self-worth but they often don’t associate this with others. You are the sum total of the five people we’re around the most. Ask yourself are these five people supportive, kind and fun to be around? If not, it may be time to rethink your relationships.

    28. Detox digitally

    The dangers of too much social media is commonly said. The comparison game can cause you to feel deflated and like failures if we’re not living how others are currently living. This in itself is reason to have a period of detox from your phone or computer. The digital world, as much as it enhances our lives, can take away our present moments and allows us to miss what’s really going on around us. Detoxing will give you that sense of freedom of time to do other things that will boost your mental health.

    29. Sleep more

    Sleep often gets ignored when we’re living busy lives but that’s no excuse. Getting adequate sleep is paramount to an optimum healthy mind. Sleep deprivation causes mood swings, irritability, health issues and all-round disfunction that affects how we think and causes us to react negatively to things happening in our daily lives. More sleep equates to a sense of peace and motivation through your day instead of stress and anxiety.

    30. Do things by yourself

    Low self-worth or self-esteem can cause people to believe that they can’t do things by themselves. The need to always have someone to do things with can create a sense of neediness and lack of self-love. Going off and doing things by yourself builds confidence and a sense of freedom.

    Don’t be afraid to be alone and make time for yourself; it’s a wonderful way to really reflect on yourself and have a breather away from others.

    31. Express gratitude

    Gratitude has been found to increase happiness and reduce stress creating a more positive mindset. People often get caught up on what didn’t go well in their day even if the majority of what happened was positive. A good habit to start is to think through your day and note everything that was great – from the straight-forward commute to work, a smile from a stranger, the delicious food you had for lunch or a text from your friend.

    32. Sit and stand up straight

    Body language is tightly connected to our mindset. When you slouch, it subconsciously creates the overall feeling of hostility, sluggishness, and negativity. When we sit or stand up straight it creates the feeling of power and confidence.

    33. Find something to laugh about

    Laughter is powerful as it reduces stress levels, improves mood and even short-term memory. Laughing together with someone is probably the best kind of laughter but just watching a funny TV show or even laughing by yourself can do the trick.

    34. Write things down

    Writing things down is very powerful because in the act of writing, the brain processes what’s being written down more slowly and so it becomes a kind of therapy. It can help you process emotions and identify difficult areas or limiting beliefs that continuous overthinking makes worse. Writing down goals and dreams can bring about a positive boost and making lists of past achievements can help show you successes in your life.

    35. Spend time with your pet

    Any loving animal can increase your feelings of positivity in small and meaningful ways. They decrease loneliness, get you active, create loving bonds, keep you present in the moment and give you purpose.

    36. Change your routine

    While routine can keep us comfortable, it also creates a sense of mundane life and can result in depression. Making just small changes in your routine can trick the brain into thinking you’re doing something completely different. It could be taking a different route to work, walking instead of taking the bus, going somewhere different for lunch or getting up slightly earlier in the morning. Changing things up creates variety and opens you up to different experiences and opportunities.

    37. Explore your city or town

    Being a tourist in your own town or city is not something people tend to consider. Pretend you’re visiting for the first time – what neighbourhoods would you visit? Where would you eat? Doing this can help you appreciate where you live and gain a different perspective to a familiar place which helps open up the mind.

    38. Practice forgiveness

    Forgiveness can be a hard concept for many. But a lot of our angst is caused by our inability to let things go and move on. This doesn’t mean condoning what someone has done but just dropping the negativity around it and moving forward. Studies have shown that forgiveness protects against stress and forgiving yourself is important too in order to release any baggage and self-hate and create a happy life.

    39. Connect with someone

    As social beings, we thrive on connection. When you’re feeling depressed, the last thing you want to do is talk or reach out to others. Keep in mind that talking to people, even just short conversations with friends or in support groups, can repair your sense of disconnection immensely. Relationships with others builds a sense of belonging and self-worth so make time to connect with someone.

    40. Spend a day being mindful

    This is a great way to examine how you move through your day. How does your breakfast taste? How do your legs feel when you’re walking? Where did the ingredients for your lunch come from? What emotions are you feeling in each moment?

    Don’t judge yourself but just be in each moment. Bringing your mind to the present moment can help reduce depression in the process.

    41. Consider a more positive perspective

    A negative mindset creates a negative life. If you’re in this category of seeing the glass as always being half empty maybe question why you think this way. It could simply stem from beliefs you’ve picked up but understand there is always a choice in how you see things.

    Choose to consider a different, more positive perspective next time. Doing this regularly will slowly help change the way you look at the world around you.

    42. Stop taking photos of everything

    While it’s great to take photos for keepsakes, spending too much time taking the photo rather than enjoying the moment can decrease our happiness. Psychologist Maryanne Garry of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zeal has found taking endless photos “manipulates both our memories and subjective interpretations of lived experiences,”[4] meaning we end up remembering less and don’t fully appreciate the moment.

    43. Smile (even if it’s fake)

    Genuine smiles portray our inner happy feelings but research has found even fake smiling tricks the brain into thinking we’re happy.[5] So even if you’re in a quiet room by yourself, smile and you’ll notice overtime, it creates a sense of mental wellbeing.

    44. Do something that’s out of your comfort zone

    One of the main reasons people can become depressed is their need to stay comfortable. Blame this on the brain; it’s doing all it can to stop you from doing something fearful because it’s a survival mechanism – if you’re comfortable then you’re safe.

    Breaking out of comfort zones is never as scary as your brain imagines it to be and it creates confidence, wellbeing and opens up new and exciting possibilities.[6] The result? Better mental health.

    Habits for healthy relationships

    Being connected to others is crucial for our happiness.[7] Keeping strong connections with your family, friends, and your significant other can radically reshape how you view the world.

    These are the top 30 healthy habits that can strengthen your bonds with the people who matter most in your life:

    45. Respect your loved ones

    The foundation of any good relationship is the level of respect within it. Being honest, avoiding gossip, and valuing your loved ones for the unique individuals they are sets the tone for all your interactions.

    46. Thank them

    Showing gratitude can be as simple as a verbal “thank you” or a short note, but the effects are far-reaching. Whether your partner just did a load of dishes or your friend swooped in at the eleventh hour to save the day, don’t miss the chance to say thanks.

    47. Express yourself

    If you really love someone, don’t be afraid to let them know. Say, “I love you,” often, and when you say it, mean it. Tell your significant other, friends, and family how much you care about them. Be generous with your affection.

    48. Take a walk

    Taking a stroll through the neighborhood is a great way to reconnect with your friend or partner. These walks are a great chance to get some fresh air and catch up on life without having to spend an arm and a leg.

    49. Make each other laugh

    Humor is a powerful way to bond with one another. Never miss a chance to make your loved ones laugh. Be a goofball, watch a comedy, and don’t be afraid to crack a joke at your own expense occasionally.

    50. Set goals together

    This habit is especially important for romantic relationships, in which you’re operating as a team. When you don’t set goals together, you risk sabotaging one another. Uniting to overcome a challenge is a powerful way to bond.

    51. Take up a new hobby

    Nothing kills friendships and romances faster than boredom. Don’t let things stagnate. Pick up a new hobby that you’re both interested in every now and then. Challenge one another to perfect your skills, and reap the benefits of growing together.

    52. Do something nice “just because”

    A great surprise requires thoughtfulness. It can be as simple as showing up with a cup of coffee or picking up your partner’s favorite treat on your way home. Send your mother a bouquet of flowers at random, or offer to help your friend with a project. You’ll make their day and show them how much you care.

    53. Relax together

    It’s not necessary to turn every moment together into an elaborate outing. Friendships and romantic relationships with staying power are those which can thrive in everyday situations. Learn to love watching TV together, going for walks, or sharing simple meals.

    54. Take time for yourselves

    Even the closest couples and friends need time to explore their individual interests. You don’t have to like the same things to get along. Your individuality is likely part of what drew you to one another. Make sure that you and your loved ones get time to nourish their talents and interests.

    55. Reconnect on a regular basis

    Texting and calling 24/7 isn’t a healthy habit, but touching base is great for a romantic relationship. For friends and family, it isn’t necessary to send a message every day, but connecting periodically gives you a chance to share your lives.

    56. Do chores together

    For couples, working in the house together prevents one party from feeling resentful toward the other. A 2007 study found that 62% of couples believe that sharing chores leads to a successful partnership.

    57. Take time to snuggle

    Physical contact influences how you feel about your significant other. The act of cuddling causes your bodies to release oxytocin, a hormone responsible for bonding. Hugging also causes the release of oxytocin, so this healthy habit applies to non-romantic relationships as well.

    58. Tell them what you love about them

    Saying, “I love you,” is great, but sometimes it’s nice to back the sentiment up with some examples. Let your friends and partner know what specific attributes you love about them. This confidence boost helps them weather whatever storms come their way.

    59. Pay attention

    Asking thoughtful questions and responding may seem like common sense, but many friend, family, and love relationships lack attentiveness. Listen deeply. Make eye contact. When a loved one talks to you, they should feel that they have your undivided attention.

    60. Figure out their love language (and speak it)

    The 5 Love Languages: Secrets to Love that Last, tells us that there are five main ways that people give and receive love. Knowing your significant other’s love language helps you learn the best ways to show your love based on their needs. It’s worth noting that the love languages are not limited to romantic relationships.

    61. Ask about their day

    This is a great way to start any conversation, whether your chatting with your dad or talking to your best friend. You’ll get a ton of information that can help you be present for them, and you’ll show that you’re genuinely interested in their life by asking this simple question.

    62. Be honest

    Honesty is critical for any relationship. When you care about someone long, you must be able to tell them the truth. They’re counting on you to be someone they can trust. Besides, it’s kinder than lying, and you never have to worry about them finding out that you fibbed.

    63. Be their cheerleader

    We all encounter challenges, but having someone who can cheer you on your worst day is a real gift. Be the person who can give them the encouragement they need to face whatever is in front of them. Sometimes your loved ones just need to know that you believe in them.

    64. Unplug to reconnect

    You can’t have quality time if you’ve got your heads buried in your phones, video games, or laptops. You can certainly enjoy those things with one another, but commit to spending some time together screen-free as well. If you’re out to lunch, make a no-screen policy so that you can actively listen to one another.

    65. Show that you’re loyal

    Fidelity is a no-brainer in a romantic relationship. Fidelity isn’t the only way to show loyalty, though. In all your relationships, be sure to shut down gossip and stand up for loved ones even if they can’t stand up for themselves.

    66. Be the person they can count on

    Your partner and friends should know that whether they had a bad day at work, or they’re sick, you are always ready to jump in and help. When things are going poorly for your family, your parents and siblings, know they can turn to you. You’re there on time every time they need you to be, and you mean what you say.

    67. Pull your weight

    It’s unfair to expect one partner or friend to shoulder the burden for everything. You don’t have to split every responsibility down the middle, but you do need to reach an agreement so that neither of you carry the load alone.[8] This applies to things like household chores, but it also relates to things like deciding where to eat or choosing an outing.

    68. Make time for them

    Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People once said:

    “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

    If you want your relationships to last, you have to make them a priority. Schedule “appointments” with loved ones if you have trouble making the time to connect with them.

    69. Love without judgement

    Unless their behavior is a deal breaker, re-frame how you think about the other person’s flaws. To have real love, you have to love the real person. To see who someone truly is, they have to feel safe enough to show you without feeling judged. Your family, friends, and significant other should know that you love them, warts and all.

    70. Forgive their mistakes

    You aren’t perfect, and neither are your friends, your partner, or your family. When someone you love messes up, put yourself in their shoes. If it’s not worth ending the relationship over the mistake, forgive the person.

    71. Be vulnerable and accept vulnerability

    Being vulnerable can require practice in friendships and romantic relationships. With friends, this is your chance to show them who you are, and it gives them permission to be more open with you. With your partner, vulnerability with one another builds trust.

    72. Start the day with them

    For couples, beginning each day with your partner is a show of solidarity. Even if you work opposite schedules, you can find ways to share the beginning of a new day together. Write a note or spend a few minutes in the morning seeing them off.

    73. Call it a day together

    You don’t necessarily need to be on the same sleep schedule as your partner, but winding down together is a healthy habit. This act builds trust, and it gives you one more chance to reflect on the day.

    74. Make decisions as a team

    Independence is great, but when a decision you need to make will have a serious effect on your family, friends, or partner, it’s best to include them in the process. Remember that you’re in it together, and take time to establish how your team will communicate about major life decisions.

    Taking up the healthy habits

    To take up these healthy habits, pick one from the list and focus on that first. Check out our step-by-step guide on How to Build Good Habits and start leading a healthy lifestyle.

    When you put in the time to develop these 74 healthy habits, the effort that you put into your body, mind and relationships will come back to you many times over.

    Featured photo credit: Free-Photos via pixabay.com

    Reference

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