Blogs Are More Than Just Words

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A very common misconception that many people have about blogs in general is that all blog posts have to be written. What I mean by this is that they think every blog post is going to be just a giant body of text. Some blog posts are shorter, maybe only a couple hundred words, while other blog posts can be a lot longer, like several thousand words, spanning multiple pages. The actual length of the post isn’t what defines it as a blog post.

It’s not really about the subject matter either, because you can have a blog about just about anything. There are blogs that feature all sorts of celebrity gossip. There are plenty of technology and gadget blogs that talk about the latest smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras. There are blogs by cat lovers, car enthusiasts, football fans and more. It can be about whatever you want it to be about.

But each blog post does not need to be a giant, intimidating block of words that reads like a novel.

A Rich Media Experience

In fact, some of the best blog posts today are increasingly taking advantage of the multimedia capabilities of the Internet. If you’re doing a product review for a blog post, for example, it is a fantastic idea to include a number of photographs of the product you’re reviewing. This adds tremendous value to the post and gives readers a much better sense of what you’re talking about. They can literally see all the little details and nuances that you are discussing.

And that’s one of the first and biggest tips I can give to anyone who is first starting out with blogging. After you’ve gotten a grasp of your basic site design and know the kinds of dimensions (in number of pixels) your blog theme can accommodate in an attractive manner, you’ll want to start including images in your blog posts. Ideally, you want to have at least one picture per post and more if the need warrants it.

Being a good writer is certainly going to come in useful if you want to be successful as a blogger and you’ll become a better writer the more practice and experience that you get. Even so, you don’t have to be a great writer when you’re first starting out. You’ll find your stride.

Feeding the Goldfish

And even then, the misconception that blog posts have to be these big bodies of text is entirely wrong, especially in this digital age of increasingly short attention spans. There will always be a place for expansive essays, but a growing number of Internet users just want a quick fix. And that’s why words aren’t the only tool in your arsenal.

Take a look at a hugely popular site like Buzzfeed, which has since been spun off and copied by so many other bloggers. These so-called “listicles” don’t really contain all that many words at all. What Buzzfeed and other sites like it have done is simply come up with a good idea, created a list of funny, amusing or insightful items to include, and accompanied each list item with a relevant image, sometimes with a meme-worthy caption or as an animated GIF.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then the typical Buzzfeed listicle might only have a few dozen words, but those 17 images could be worth 17,000 words. That’s quite the extensive college thesis, even if the article really doesn’t offer the same kind of research or insight.

And that’s the thing. There are many paths to becoming a successful blogger who is able to earn a sizable income on the Internet. Some bloggers establish themselves as legitimate experts in their respective niche or industry. They’re well respected and incredibly knowledgeable, writing articles and guides that have tons of useful information.

But being “useful” and “knowledgeable” is just one way of doing things. You can be equally successful if you’re funny or if you have a unique point of view. If you write about a common subject but in a different kind of way, you really can stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself.

Eye-Catching Weapons in Your Arsenal

The kinds of pictures that you use in your blog post can be incredibly varied too. It really depends on the context. Photographs that you take personally can work in many circumstances. Other times, you might want to screenshots of websites so you can illustrate your point. Or it could be something as simple as inserting a relevant stock image to give the reader an instant sense of the kind of mood or message you’re trying to convey.

Taking it to another level, you might decide to dabble in “vlogging” which is short for “video blogging.” Some people are just more comfortable sitting in front of a camera and talking than they are with sitting in front of the keyboard and writing out the same words. Some people are just more successful with videos, because they have a more animated or personable personality that is captured in videos far better than with written words.

Other blogs could communicate the information through infographics instead. And realistically, when you decide on any of these formats, you shouldn’t feel restricted to just that one format. Try them all and use them as you see fit. This helps to keep your blog dynamic and your audience engaged. Or stick with one to provide stability and reliability.

As with so many other things to do with blogging, it’s totally up to you how you want to do this and what works best for you.

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

5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity To Match Your Business Growth

Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/676059/work-life-balance-5-ways-to-increase-your-productivity-to-match-your-business-growth?ref=rss

Growth is a happy problem for any startup. You know your company is on the right track when you need more people to meet sales demands and have the budget to hire. But just growing your team or adding more hours alone isn’t enough. You and your team will need to optimize your productivity as well.

The initially harder, but smarter, way is to change your habits to regain your time[1] and grow your business.

I founded a company to keep my freedom to work on, work with, and work when I like. As I’ve grown my company from a 3-person team to over 50 people in two cities, I’ve learned the importance of work-life balance[2] to avoid burnout. Even if your workload grows, as an entrepreneur you need to protect your time. A successful business is one that improves its sales without sacrificing it’s teams’ quality of life. After experimenting with a range of productivity hacks and tools, below are the 5 most effective habits I’ve developed.

Keep your morning routine within a reasonable timeframe

How you wake up is even more important than when. A morning routine[3] is critical for starting on the right foot each day and most successful business leaders use early mornings to send e-mails.[4]

Whether it is making your cup of coffee, hitting the gym, or sending e-mails, do it every day. Also give yourself a fixed time to complete the routine. For example, I wake up at 8am and send e-mails until 9am. The ones I haven’t finished will be addressed during my two other scheduled e-mail checking sessions later in the day.

Track your time to instantly cut distraction

Use a time tracker without being OCD so that you can learn about how you are using your time (rather than how you think you are spending it). Find a time tracking tool such as Timing App,[5] which automatically detects what software you are using and what pages you are browsing to log what you did. The app removes the need to do manual time tracking, which means you won’t have gaps in your tracker. You do not need to be “OCD” because you can leave the time tracker on while taking breaks and counting it towards the task. After a week, you will probably notice where chunks of time disappear. For example, you may find you are spending three hours responding to only a few e-mails and remember that you tend to click on links or browse news simultaneously. For more time tracking and management tools, read here.

Simply by tracking your time, you are holding yourself accountable and it will motivate you to focus. Give yourself a target timeframe for responding to e-mails and you will naturally try to reach that goal with your time tracker turned on. With the focus, you may find yourself getting out of the office earlier than you used to!

Delegate your hours (and don’t give yourself extra time)

Plan your hours and stick to them. Bill Gates and Elon Musk divide their schedules into 5-minute slots.[6]

Planning out your days keeps you focused on priorities and protects your down time. When scheduling your waking hours, you force yourself to consider your whole day, including off hours. By giving mental space to your personal schedule, you will give yourself time to do errands, see friends and family, or just read a book, to recharge.

Do not let your tasks spill over. If you find a task, such as a product meeting, consistently takes longer than you wanted, adjust your estimation. Another effective approach is to schedule another fixed time to finish outstanding items. Knowing you have a deadline keeps you motivated to optimize your minutes.

Breakfast & Lunch meetings

When you want to spend dinners with friends and use office hours for work, what time do you have for meetings? The answer is breakfast and lunch. Everyone has to eat, so why not make that time more productive with discussions?

Having breakfast meetings catches people at their most productive[7] before other things take up their mental energy. In addition, scheduling meal meetings reminds you to eat, which is healthier and improves productivity.[8] Meetings with meals can be limited to one or two hours. Lightening up your meetings with food gives you a change of scene and your mind a break, which is important for avoiding burn out.

Ignore phone calls and call back while commuting

Lastly, reduce interruptions. I turn all my notifications to silent and check my phone when I am ready. This gives me control of my time and places calls into a time block, like e-mails. In addition, you will only return calls if they are a priority, which means you won’t be caught by ad hoc casual chats.

I make this doubly productive by returning calls only while commuting. Making a call while on the train or walking puts a time limit and focuses on the essential points. I am able to recapture lost productivity during commutes by discussing things when I cannot work on a keyboard.

Take a step back

While it is tempting to squeeze in those extra hours to help grow your business, it’s important for entrepreneurs to take a step back to work smarter. Managing a fuller plate for the long term requires developing habits that reduce distractions. Learn where you can make efficiency gains, stay healthy, and give yourself personal time.

Reference

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Supercharge Summit Las Vegas – Day 2

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Day two of the Supercharge Summit in Las Vegas was highlighted by the top earners check presentation ceremony. The top affiliates of MOBE are brought on stage and given a big check. I got a check for $4,125,554.00! Check out the full presentation video below as well as the day two Dot Com Lifestyle vlog.

How To Live The Ultimate Dot Com Lifestyle

I have many internet products and services that makes me money while I’m sleeping. Continuity affiliate programs like Aweber, LeadPages, ClickFunnel, MOBE, and others ensure a steady flow of income no matter what I’m doing or where I am in the world. Of all the programs, MOBE has consistently been one of the highest earners. It’s the program I recommend for new and experienced Internet marketers.

The best way to start is by applying for the 21 Step System. This is a step by step system that I created with MOBE to help you make your first $1,250, $3,300, $5,500, and even $10,000 online. In addition to the steps, you’ll also be given a one-on-one coach who will help you get started on the right track. I can’t promise that you’ll make as much as me, but you will get access to the same system and tools as I use to make money online.

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

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/life/no-mess-no-clutter-for-4-weeks/

Today is a special anniversary. It’s been four weeks of no mess and no clutter. A few of my work colleagues were fascinated by this achievement when I told them and asked me to write about it.

The process to get there was grueling. It made me sick, it was stressful and it was hard. It was worth every second though and it can help everyone reading this.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

After two weeks, I realized that I had let go of the ex-girlfriends, failed startups and memories that held no significance in my life. Throwing out junk and decluttering helps you deal with the past.

You may think you have dealt with the past but the objects that are left over are the last remaining bits that must be dealt with.

There’s something so freeing about letting go and dealing with your past. It creates space for you to excel in the future and empty your mind. No longer will a dumb pair of socks that your ex-partner bought, remind you of the way they complained about you all the time.

 

I saved money and lots of it.

It’s only been four weeks and my bank account is thanking me for the tidy up. Now that I know what I have, I can stop buying more batteries, screwdrivers and stationary that I already have.

“Once you’ve lived without clutter, you become like a prison guard, guarding your home against possessions you’ll never use”

This results in fewer purchases and my debit card thanks me.

I was spending hundreds of dollars every year buying things that I might use on a rainy day in a few years. That rainy day came often, yet I never used the items I was stockpiling.

Thanks to these little changes, I now have more money to invest in stocks and my new startup.

 

You quit letting other people’s junk become your burden.

People die and leave you stuff.
People move countries and leave you stuff.
People ask you to look after their stuff.
People give you stuff that you’re too scared to throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

You can’t keep letting other people’s possessions become your burden. Set yourself free and let go of possessions regardless of where they came from or who will care. It’s the only way to declutter.

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

Now that more than 50% of my possessions are in either charity bins or at the recycling center, I now know what I can live without. Here’s what I was wrong about.

– I thought I needed coconut oil. It turns out that I hate the taste and haven’t used it for two years. Throwing it away reminded me that I could live without it.

– I thought I needed fifteen different pyjama tops. It turns out I only ever wear three of them. The other twelve pairs are not my size and remind me of my old body which I’m not proud of.

– I thought I needed tons of bedding and as it turns out, I rotate the same few doona covers and sheets because they have bright colors that make me happy. The black and grey ones are depressing and I subconsciously never choose to use them.

– I thought I needed to buy in bulk. It turns out I don’t have the room and it feels better to live in a decluttered environment. Buying in bulk was only making the retailers rich, and me sad.

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

That’s the result of having no mess and decluttering. Items that you keep (only keep the stuff that brings you joy) are now all around you. Everywhere I now look, I see useful possessions that get used and make me happy.

Decluttering allowed me to have more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. Being happy is a decision.

“It takes lots of small decisions about what to throw out, to get to a point where your limited number of possessions can bring you joy”

I also know everything I have now because I have so few possessions. This makes me happy.

 

My life is now organized.

Being organized is a massive time saver. No longer do I need to go on the equivalent of a twelve day Easter Egg Hunt to find a belt I want to wear. It’s now either the black one or the brown one.

This feeling of being organized is addictive and if you do one big tidy up, and you don’t stop until its done, you’ll never go back to your messy ways.

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

P.S – Before you send me an email full of rage over how simple I make this all sound, try it for yourself. Take a risk. Embrace the fear. I’m not the only one who has decluttered. There are thousands of us on the Internet that you can look up who’ve had the exact same experience.

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

5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/5-neuroplasticity-exercises-the-top-3-of-the-happy-and-successful-do/

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Achieve Inbox 0 To Increase 100% Team Efficiency

Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/676049/achieve-inbox-0-to-increase-100-team-efficiency?ref=rss

Founders and CEOs are always short on time, and their plates will never be cleared. But in order to succeed long-term, all leaders have to decide on strategic things they cannot let slip. These bottom lines form the rituals that help leaders make key decisions to help their teams get work done. It’s proven time and again that founders like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg need to have a ‘superhuman’ work ethic[1] to stay on top of their businesses.

Whether it’s wearing the same clothes like Obama, Zuckerberg, and the late Steve Jobs does, or setting fixed times to finish all your tasks, having an anchor ritual is key. When leading a company, a leader’s most critical role is decision making. You do not want to become the bottleneck[2] that’s holding your awesome team members back.

To help your business grow, you must achieve inbox 0. By ensuring that you’ve addressed all messages at the end of the day, your team will be able to hit the ground running tomorrow. Below are the ways I do it.

Turn off all notifications

First, turn off all your notifications. The cost of task switching[3] can break your train of thought and becomes a complete diversion. As tempting as it is to think that you must pick up those phone calls or respond to a direct message, don’t. Instead, by creating a response time buffer to protects your focus. You are giving yourself the space to return to only the important items later on. Read here to see why multi tasking isn’t as good as you thought it would be.

Set times to check messages

Give yourself two or three fixed times throughout the day to clean your inbox and other apps such as Slack, Hipchat, Pipedrive for sales and even Git if you are technical. By giving yourself a block of time to respond to messages, you are also giving more time to give thoughtful responses. Messages often fall into the problem solving or planning[4] type of work that is a different mindset from procedural tasks.

Use Automation tools so nothing slips through

Use a tool to help you collect all your messages in one place, such as Franz. Even more simply, bookmark all your messaging platforms (e-mail, Whatsapp, Trello, Asana, Missive, or Pipedrive) in one browser folder and open them all at once. Automate tasks like these so that you don’t have to spend time thinking about which platforms or channels to check every day.

Don’t give yourself tomorrow

“I’ll check that message tomorrow” is a luxury you can never allow yourself. That one message will quickly become two, three, and a hopeless pile by the end of the week. Productivity is the mentality of holding yourself to a standard. If you are staying up too late to clear your inbox, think about optimizing your schedule in other ways. For example, can you delegate some decision making tasks to team leads? Another way is to rearrange your social schedule or finding the most optimal times during the day to work on different tasks.

Give yourself a basic Yes / No question

Finally, learn to prioritize instantly by screening messages with a yes/no question. When scanning a notification, ask yourself: will this take less than 2 minutes to address? If yes, clear it now to reduce your task list. If it will take longer, then create an item on your favorite to-do app. Also consider importance and urgency. Is someone dependent on your answer? If yes, and your response only takes one line, then provide an answer to allow your colleague to continue their work.

As a leader, your responses are essential to guiding your company. By doing small behavioural changes, you can achieve inbox 0 by screening message priorities and scheduling dedicated time slots to respond.

Reference

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How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/life/how-to-get-better-at-anything-by-using-this-self-encouragement-practice/

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

How to Have a Great Dining Experience the Budget-Friendly Way (From a Restaurant Insider)

Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/674185/how-to-have-a-great-dining-experience-the-budget-friendly-way?ref=rss

You know that you have total control over the ingredients, the preparation, and the portions when you’re preparing food at home. It’s the safest option. It’s healthier and cheaper than eating out too. However, sometimes you find yourself eating out due to necessity or just because you want a nice night out.

There are so many great restaurant options out there now that target very specific dietary requirements, from vegan to paleo. Once you’ve settled on a place that looks good, how do you get the best experience from the restaurant?

Along with working in fitness and nutrition, I’ve spent years working in restaurants, so I’ve seen a lot along the way. Let me share seven great tips to get the most out of your dining experience.

1. If you want a table for two, book a table for three

Every square foot in a restaurant means money. Tables of two can be stuck anywhere and tend to be pushed to the side or lumped all together. If you’re looking for a comfortable and more private night out for the two of you, reserve a table for three. It will get you a better location and more room.

2. Look for these first two indicators of a good restaurant

I’ve worked with secret dinners and one of the big ones on the list is the bathrooms. This will give you a good indication of not only the cleanliness of the place but the attention to detail. Washrooms should be spotless. If you see a messy and dirty bathroom, I can promise you the kitchen is in a similar condition. A dirty kitchen ends up serving dirty food.

The next indicator of a good place is the type of bread and butter, or free starters that come out. How often have you had a rock hard roll and frozen butter that tears it apart when you start to spread? I’m pretty sure the rest of the meal was nothing to write home about.

A good restaurant should serve warm, fresh and ideally baked in-house that day bread with soft spreadable butter. Bonus points if they serve butter with grain mustard or an assortment of oils and balsamic kinds of vinegar. This is a good sign that they take pride and care in the preparation of their food.

3. Look out for the decoy effect

If you’re a wine drinker, purely for the antioxidant benefits.., look out for what’s called the decoy effect. The decoy effect works like this: If there are two wines on the menu for $9 and $16 which would you choose? There’s honestly not a huge difference price wise and not a huge scale of reference. Now if you add a $47 wine into the mix most of the time people will go for the $16 one. The perceived value has changed and something you may not have bought because it seemed too high now appears as inexpensive and good value.

Wine lists will always have a few of these very expensive decoy wines at the top of the list to make the other ones appear cheaper. The trick is to have a few favorite wine and get familiar with the pricing and look for those ones whenever you dine out.

4. Have them make your own salad dressing

Any restaurant worth its salt should be making everything in-house including sauces and salad dressings. Even though they are made from scratch, many salad dressing can be high in fat and even sugar. If you’re in a chain restaurant, ditch them all together as you’re guaranteed to be getting a dose of trans fat *cough* Caesar salad *cough*.

Instead, ask them to make you a simple olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar dressing to come on the side. It’s the healthier option and you can control the amount you use.

5. Ask your server what they eat

I do this everywhere I go. After a while of working in a restaurant, all the dishes and items tend to just become products to the staff and they’re probably bored of most of them. If you want to find the best stuff on the menu, ask your server or hostess what they eat when they’re there. It’s a good way to find the really best stuff on the menu.

6. Avoid ice in your drinks

O.K time to get a little gross. Ice machines are not regularly cleaned, trust me, it’s a pain. This leads to a lot of bacteria growth that ends up in your drink. Six out of ten restaurants have been found to have more bacteria in the ice than in the toilet water.[1] This is because the toilets are more regularly cleaned than the ice machine. Even though it’s cold, bacteria still grows.

7. Avoid fruit in your drinks

I’m a very clean person and am aware of keeping my hands clean. But when I was a bartender, it was pretty impossible. Hands used to grab dirty glasses are then grabbing fruit that goes into your drink. A lot of the time, the fruit at the bar is never washed and is easily contaminated by whatever else the bartender has touched from dirty dishes and utensils to the rims of glasses other people have drunk out of.

Just to concern you further on this fruit issue The Journal Of Environmental Health took samples of lemon slices from 21 different restaurants and found 70% of the samples to contain twenty-five different microbial contents.[2]

Everyone loves a good meal out and it’s always a great eye opener to see what real chefs can come up with using simple ingredients. I’m sure you’ve had good restaurant experiences and plenty of bad ones too. Hopefully with some of these tips, you’ll be able to set yourself up for some more good ones.

Just don’t forget to check the bathrooms…

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

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How to Hack Your Brain and Reprogram Your Habits (Like a Computer)

Posted from http://www.lifehack.org/673096/how-to-hack-your-brain-and-reprogram-your-habits-like-a-computer?ref=rss

Do you struggle with overcoming bad habits? Do you find it difficult to stick with an exercise routine and constantly find yourself back where you started? If so, what would you think if I told you that you could reprogram your bad habits similar to how a computer programmer programs code? Sounds crazy right? Yet, it’s not.

Similar to programming computer code, it is possible to reprogram deeply ingrained habits. Computer coding is a perfect metaphor for writing, hacking, or reprogramming our own instructions. We see this when we compare computer coding to habit formation. Think of trying to break bad habits and form new positive habits. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit remarked,

What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life. But we also know that the best way to change a habit is to understand its structure – that once you tell people about the cue and the reward and you force them to recognize what those factors are in a behavior, it becomes much, much easier to change.

So what exactly is computer coding, habit formation, and how can we reprogram our deeply ingrained habits?

What is Coding?

Coding is a finished set of instructions known as a program. We must write a code in a specific way for the program to work. In essence, we must write code in a language for which a computer can understand it. Many different computer languages exist, such as: HTML5, CSS, C, C++, Python, and JavaScript.

Think of our life as a finished set of instructions. In order to reprogram it, we must write our own code in a way that will change our bad habits. Essentially, we must find a reward system our mind and body can latch on to.

Vomputer code is similar to human DNA and it operates exactly like the code in computer software. Juan Enriquez informs us,[1]

Sequencing DNA decodes its programmatic intentions through its relationship to a combination of four letters of our alphabet: A, C, T, and G.

DNA is a self-replicating material present in all living life-forms and carries our genetic information. Tom Bunzel demonstrates the similarities in his book DNA is Software, Who “Wrote” the Code?  by placing a sequenced genetic code side by side with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is the code for a web page.

Coding as a Metaphor for Writing Instructions for Life

My intent here is not to ask who or what wrote our life code (or even how it is done). My intent is to demonstrate that computer programming language (code) is a metaphor for life. The computer program is our life, where the computer code is our habits.

We can change our habits and switch genes off and on through epigenetics. We know that contemporary geneticists are able to switch genes on and off using DNA internal software. Essentially, they are copying and pasting code.[2]

Moreover, coding is writing instructions for computers, where a finished set of instructions is a computer program. Life is no different. Just as coding is writing instructions for a computer, our daily actions and habits are writing instructions for life. Learning to code will create a better computer program, so why not learn your code to build a better you?

Coding (Habit Breaking) Instructions

Charles Duhigg writes that every habit starts with a psychological pattern called a “habit loop” which is a three-part process.[3]

First, we find the cue or trigger informing our brain to go into automatic mode. Second, we identify the routine, which is the behavior itself. Third, we identify the reward, which is the thing that makes our brain remember the “habit loop” in the future.

Let’s examine how Duhigg used the “habit loop” to break his habit of going to the cafeteria and buying a chocolate chip cookie every afternoon.

Step 1: Identify the routine

Similar to understanding the structure and components of computer code, Duhigg writes that we must first understand the components of our loop.

Step 2: Experiment with rewards

We use specific inputs when we code, so why not change the inputs to see if we get a different output. Similarly, Duhigg experimented with his reward by adjusting his routine to see if it would deliver a different type of reward. For example, instead of walking to the cafeteria, he walked around the block.

Step 3: Isolate the cue

Duhigg says that we can ask ourselves (and record our answers) five things the moment an urge hits us in order to diagnose our habit. These questions are key to hacking our code (habits).

  1. Where are you?
  2. What time is it?
  3. What’s your emotional state?
  4. Who else is around?
  5. What action preceded the urge?

Step 4: Have a plan

Duhigg found once we figure out our “habit loop” we can shift our behavior. This is similar to rewriting code.

“Put another way, a habit is a formula our brain automatically follows: When I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get a REWARD.” – Charles Duhigg

Following Duhigg’s advice, we can reprogram or hack our code (habits) by actively making choices. We do this by making plans and a great strategy for this is through implementation intentions.

If-Then Strategy

An “If-Then” strategy is no different than computer language. IF you write a code, THEN you will get an output.

This is where the computer coding // human life metaphor makes the most sense to me. For example, let’s first imagine we are born as a blank smartphone.

Now let’s visualize two different outputs for a sprite or image on our phone (representing us). This image represents two possibilities for our future life. We can become a healthy and fit person or we can become an overweight and depressed person.

We must learn to code or write instructions in order to become the healthy and fit person. Essentially, we must learn to reprogram (or code) our life.

We can write instructions for our finished program (our life). I have identified specific instructions coded for my life in the image below. These instructions can also be imagined as habits.

Let’s examine some of the larger blocks of code I have built (where the output has created a healthy and fit person): morning routine, exercise, nutrition, water, knowledge, education, family, spirituality, and employment.

Essentially, IF we following a morning routine, we can THEN jump start a healthy morning workout.

IF we exercise, hydrate and eat right, we can THEN look and feel better.

IF we strive to improve our knowledge and experience a close relationship with our family, THEN we can live a happy and healthy life.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

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The 4 Dimensions of Personal Energy You Need to Adopt to Deliver Extraordinary Results

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/life/the-4-dimensions-of-personal-energy-you-need-to-adopt-to-deliver-extraordinary-results/

Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.

As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.

In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.

When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.

When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.

1. We function best when we feel positive

Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.

Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho

2. The human spirit

The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.

3. Sustaining your mental energy

Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.

Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.

4. Physical energy

We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.

When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.

What techniques do you use to maximize your energy? Comment below!