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9 Simple Tips to Train Your Brain and Improve Your Memory

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Whether you’re a student trying to memorise your courses more efficiently or a professional seeking self-development and mental sharpness, there are many ways you can boost your performance.

Just like you work out your body to be fit and strong and maintain a balanced lifestyle to stay healthy and beautiful, you can train your brain to keep it sharp and use various tricks to improve your memory.

Here are 10 tips to help you improve your memory:

1. Meditate

Meditation has been proven to not only help your focus, concentration and creativity, but also improve your memory and learning capacity. People who meditate regularly show an increased thickness of the cerebral cortex, as well as more synaptic connections between neurons, both of which being linked to better memory and mental sharpness.

“Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end.” – Swami Sivananda

2. Practice memorising new information

Think of it as a warm-up for your mind. Choose something new every day, no matter how insignificant; a quote, a new word, a phone number, an historic fact, the lyrics of a song, etc. – and try to memorise it. Quiz yourself every couple of hours and see how well you manage to remember it. It may seem like a pointless exercise and a waste of time, but you won’t believe how effective it can be in the long run.

 

3. Do something new repeatedly

When you do something different repeatedly, your brain rewires itself and creates new pathways to help you do it faster and better each time. And it doesn’t even have to be a life changing thing. You can start with a really small step that you wouldn’t usually do,  and your brain will still build those precious neural connections that are so valuable for your mind.

 

4. Learn a new skill

One that really means something to you. Engaging in meaningful activities has been proven to stimulate the neurological system, improving memory function, relieving stress and reversing mental decline. The key here, again, is that the skill or activity must be something important to you, something that stimulates you and requires your undivided attention.

 

5. Play or listen to music

Whether you’re playing or listening to it, studies have shown that music can expand your potential to memorise new information and your mental acuity. Mastering a musical instrument can actually change the anatomy of your brain and rewire your brain cells. When you are just listening to music, the effect is not as pronounced, but it still is there.

 

6. Link to as many senses as you can

Link the information you want to memorize to sounds, smells, colours, textures and even tastes. Even if you’re a visual learner, you should also speak out loud what you want to remember, as well as write down or rewrite the data. The more senses your brain can rely on, the easier it will be for you to imprint the new information into your memory.

 

7. Socialize as much as possible

Research suggests that interacting with new people regularly helps your brain stay agile and challenges your memory. Interestingly enough, it seems it may not even matter whether these interactions are “real” or virtual. Whatever the medium, socializing involves many behaviours that require your control, memory and attention, thus “oiling” your brain and improving your cognitive skills.

“Many think of memory as rote learning, a linear stuffing of the brain with facts, where understanding is irrelevant. When you teach it properly, with imagination and association, understanding becomes a part of it.” – Tony Buzan

8. Use mnemonics

Mnemonics are tools and clues to help you retain information, words or concepts, by organizing them into a format that’s easier to remember. Think about using rhymes, acronyms, visualisation, or even building a memory palace.

 

9. Train your body, not only your brain

Physical exercise strengthens neural connections, stimulates nerve cells and encourages the brain to function at its optimum capacity. What’s more, when you work out, your nerve cells release a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is known to boost cognitive functions, including memory.

Remember some of these tips and actually put them into practice, and you’ll see how easily you’ll be able to memorise anything.

What kind of things do you do to improve your memory? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Stacey Marone is a contributor for Scholar Advisor, helping students handle schoolwork successfully and always happy to come to their assistance. She has vast experience in academic writing and is a skilled and patient researcher, ensuring the work delivered is flawless every time.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Shilpi

    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    A very useful article! Thanks a lot!

  2. Zak Davis

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Hi Stacey! really useful tips 🙂 I personally like tip#4 as it will bring you a sense of fulfillment if you learned something new, or try something you never thought you would learn.

  3. Wilber Stadtler

    Aug 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

    All this simply means is that you should flex your cognitive muscles, whether it is opening up a conversation with someone during your morning commute, or forming a Meetup group with others who share similar interests.

  4. shanique

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Hello Stacy wonderful article I can identify with about three of them but what’s really helping is my morning workouts, it does wonders for my day.

  5. Jack

    Jul 19, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    There is definately a lot to find out about this subject.
    I like all of the points you have made.

  6. Tim Denning

    Jul 17, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Stacey thanks for this article. My memory is really good sometimes and other times it’s not great. I am definitely going to try out your tips and number 9 was not one I had heard of. You’ve inspired me so thank you so much. Take care.

  7. Silvia Turonova

    Jul 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Great article Stacey. Very useful points. I will definitely try it out. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

3 Simple Strategies to Fight Procrastination

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Sometimes, all it takes to beat procrastination is a few simple tweaks. You woke up fresh and energized, got your coffee, and have your tasks meticulously listed. Afterwards, you got your “working music” playing through your noise-canceling headphones, and you turn on your computer ready to begin working.

And then…it happens. You glance back and forth at your list and your computer screen. The earliest deadline will not be until later at the end of your workday. You still got time. You want to try out that new restaurant around the corner. So, you go on the Internet to learn more about it.

The next thing you know, half the work day is done, and you have finished nothing! Sound familiar? You are not alone. In fact, the truth is that procrastination is normal. In fact, a study done by Piers Steel, shows that 95% of people procrastinate. The other 5% are probably still in denial.

The dangers of procrastinating

While there are cases when procrastination can do some good at work, it does have its adverse effects. Just take a look at these stats:

  • People who procrastinate reported higher levels of stress and more prone to illness long-term.
  • Chronic procrastinators exhibited poor work performance and made significantly more mistakes.
  • 40% of people that procrastinate report a significant financial loss.

Below are 3 reasons why we procrastinate and how we can fight against procrastinating:

1. Lacking motivation

People crave comfort because it is less stressful and it makes us feel safe. That is why it is so easy to convince yourself to take a nap or go for a Netflix binge even if you got a looming deadline. On the other hand, it takes a whole lot more effort on your part to motivate yourself to get up from that couch and spend time finding your passion.

Why? Let’s be honest: making those sales calls, doing presentations, and writing up reports are hardly things that you would call “enjoyable.” In fact, it can be tiresome, overwhelming, and just plain difficult.

How to fight it: “Motivation has a lot to do with perspective,” says Jim Vernon, CEO of Rockher. “Instead of focusing on the actual task you need to do, shift your focus to what will you get when you accomplish it. Does it mean more time with your kids? Or perhaps a raise?”

One way to do this is by changing the way you write your to-do list. Instead of just listing down one task after another, try listing them down by using an action verb.

Entrepreneur Marie Forleo calls this process as verbalizing your to-do list. Sounds simple, but it is beneficial because as she explains, the presence of these action verbs at the start of each of the tasks on your to-do list serve as a trigger to motivate you to take action.

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

2. Fear

Fear can be very crippling. For many people, it is just enough for them to validate why they procrastinate. The fear of failure is the most common reason why people procrastinate, especially among perfectionists.

Perfectionists have the urge that everything should be perfect the first time around. There is always that little voice ringing in their head that keeps telling them, ‘what if you mess up?’ Eventually, they give in to that voice and end up setting projects aside.

How to fight it: Baddeley said that the way he overcame this was by accepting failure. A friend of mine gave me John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward. In it, one of the principles that he taught was that it is perfectly okay to make mistakes. It is part of being normal. The moment I learned to accept this was when I slowly started beating the procrastination habit.

3. Rebellion

In some cases, procrastinating is one way for a person to show one’s disapproval about something. For students, it can be their way of getting back at a teacher who offended or hurt them. With employees, it can be their way of showing that their resentment after being passed for a promotion or frustration balancing their life at work and home.

How to fix it: The best way to help someone deal with this kind of procrastination is to talk with them.

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

People who procrastinate as a way to rebel feel that they have been wronged, devalued, and short-changed, Having a heart-to-heart talk with them about their concern, I found, helps them let off steam and the shake off that resentment.

Give them some advice and even a challenge on how to reach their goal will help them break away from their procrastinating habit. In some cases, it can even transform them into becoming some of your most productive employees.

How do you fight procrastination? Let us know your tips and suggestions below!

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Life

3 Simple Self-Communication Tips to Ensure You Set Yourself Up to Achieve Your Goals

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Do you ever wonder why some people seem to hit every goal they set, while others struggle to even take the first step towards their goals? The difference may be in the finer details of how the goal is being set.

Communication, whether with ourselves or with others, is critical in today’s society. When we are setting goals, we are communicating our wants and desires with our unconscious mind. Yet despite the importance of being able to communicate effectively, rarely are we ever taught how to communicate or what the meaning of communication is.

The majority of the population choose their words carelessly and assume that the recipient of that communication will understand what they meant.

We’re typically even more careless when it comes to communicating with ourselves, because our own brains should understand what we mean…right? Wrong. This is why 95% of the population never achieve their goals. This is why New Year’s Resolutions have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.

We don’t communicate in words. For everything we say, the person we’re speaking to (including ourselves) gets an image in their head. How they interpret that image determines how they interpret what has been said to them. Allow me to demonstrate.

“I want to travel to an isolated beach and stay in a hut over the water for a week”. What picture do you have in your head? I’m guessing a beach, with a hut over the water. Pretty cool right? Here’s the thing, if we’re choosing our words carelessly, then we lack control over the picture that is created. This is a FATAL goal setting mistake.

Within our unconscious mind (the part of our mind that drives behaviour) is our filtering system, the Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

The RAS is like our internal GPS. When we set a goal, the RAS holds onto a picture of that goal and becomes like a homing device towards making it happen. How do you know you’re putting the right image into your RAS?

Here are 3 simple self-communication tips to ensure you set yourself up for success in achieving your goals:

1. Watch Your Mouth!

No, I don’t mean no swearing. The words we use when setting goals are critical to our success. There are certain words the unconscious mind processes in a negative fashion. The first word we need to remove from our vocabulary is “not” or any derivative of not (ie. don’t, can’t, etc). The unconscious mind is unable to process negatives.

Here’s an example. “Don’t think of a purple frog” What picture do you have in your head? A purple frog! When we use negatives in our communication, the unconscious mind has to get a picture of what we’ve said, then the conscious mind comes in and gives a new directive to picture. If we set a goal like “Don’t have any debt” or “I don’t want a partner who cheats on me” then we give the RAS a picture of what we don’t want. The RAS then sets out to find us what we don’t want as quickly and easily as possible. Instead focus on what you do want!

Another word to eliminate from your goal setting (and your vocabulary in general) is “try.” To the unconscious mind, try means “this isn’t important enough to commit to so I have an excuse to fail.” Anyone who “tries” to do anything rarely succeeds. Instead, remove your excuses and commit!

“Aim higher. Stay focused.” – Brandon Adams

2. Be specific!

We’ve all heard of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely). Being specific when communicating your goals is particularly important to the unconscious mind.

If the goal or end result is too ambiguous, the unconscious mind won’t be able to create a picture to move towards. In the absence of a specific picture, it will continue to move towards whatever beliefs or programming is already installed in the unconscious.

For example, setting a goal to be “financially free” won’t move the RAS into action. Instead, set a specific dollar amount you want to see in the bank! Paint a clear picture for your unconscious mind to grasp. It’s worth spending time creating this picture so it’s as clear as possible. You can even print out pictures if you need to!

3. Get Emotional!

Emotions drive our unconscious minds into action. If the goals you set aren’t making you emotional (in a good way) then you’re unlikely to take action. At the same time, if your current situation isn’t making you experience negative emotions, you also won’t be motivated to act.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

There are two types of goals we can set – towards motivated goals and away from motivated goals.

Away from motivated goals are when the pain or discomfort of our current situation is so intense that we have to take action.

Think about people with unhealthy habits like smoking. When they witness someone close to them die, or they have a brush with death themselves, they can easily and quickly stop smoking. People who are overweight are typically spurred into action when they are unable to fit into their wardrobe anymore.

The problem with away from motivated goals is that the motivation only lasts while the pain or discomfort is present. It’s not uncommon for someone with a weight loss goal to completely lose motivation at the halfway point because the intensity of their situation no longer overwhelms them.

Towards motivated goals focus on a reward at the end creating a strong emotion such as pride, excitement or sheer bliss.

Examples include brides wanting to look slim in their wedding dress or people who reward themselves with cars or houses remain motivated to continue taking action towards their goal. This is because even once the pain of their current situation dissipates, they are still aiming for the emotion of the reward.

It’s ok to use pain to motivate you to take action, just make sure your goal also contains towards motivation and the emotions you’ll feel once you reach the goal.

Contrary to what Freud may have caused you to believe, our unconscious mind wants to help us get what we want! We just need to communicate effectively and give our GPS (aka the RAS) the proper information so it can find the fastest, easiest route to the future we truly want!

How do you set goals and make sure you hit them? Let us know your advice below!

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Life

Build Up Your Social Media Presence Using These Three Personal Powers

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Instead of being on defense when it comes to social media, show the world you mean business with respect, compassion and dignity. Ask anyone of your friends or online connections if they’ve found themselves going down a rabbit hole online and a bunch of them probably will say, “Yep, it happened just the other day.”

Everyone is trying to yank and pull for attention in the online space. People will go to great lengths for a few minutes of your precious time. Do you ever do an inventory of how much time you actually spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and so on? I’d imagine for a lot of us, that the time inventory would be incredibly imbalanced.

There was a time many years ago where Facebook actually was all about staying connected to families and friends to hear about their successes and tough times. People shared births, anniversaries, new jobs, and deaths. These things were shared with others out of simply wanting to stay in touch.

Along the way, though, businesses and entrepreneurs found a way to get their products and services out through the use of social media. We’ve used it to launch programs, books, products, conferences…you name it. Yet, where did the honoring process for other human beings get lost in the shuffle? It got lost because a hunger for the almighty currency (money) took precedence.

Bringing back these three personal elements that are within every one of us back to the online world will go a long way toward changing its current state of crisis. ­

Here are three suggestions:

1. Show respect

Everyone wants to be heard and respected. It’s not going to happen all of the time because human beings have differences of opinions. Is it so hard to simply respect another person’s opinion or thought without totally eviscerating them through online comments? We all get triggered by other people, but there is a way to respectfully disagree with others.

In fact, one way you could actually show others respect is by not reacting and commenting out of that energy. You and I are not going to agree on every single topic all the time. That’s a given as we are human. I do believe a little more respect shown in the online space can change the landscape a bit more.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” – Confucius

2. Show compassion

Understand this point about compassion: We all have the capacity to share this emotion with others. It does not mean you have to roll over and just take someone’s abuse. That’s not what I am talking about. Online bullying and scathing words have led some teenagers and adults to committing suicide.

When online behavior reaches that level, then people need to take one giant step back and ask themselves, “What’s going on inside me that I react in that way?” Alas, though, we don’t all think before writing.

Businesses especially need to be careful about their own words and phrases. Case in point: Watch social media platforms during big sports days, like Sundays during the National Football League season.

It’s tough not to “tweet” something toward your favorite team when something goes awry. Do not think you can simply get away with whatever you say because you are a multi-billion-dollar company. One streak of bad news can turn a real sweet streak of success into a pool of failure and despair. Showing compassion to others online starts with you.

3. Show dignity

Where in the world has our dignity gone as a society? This is not about politics or religion in this space. It all comes down to personal accountability and honor. Dignity for corporations and large businesses is not too hot these days. A lot of them don’t know how to effectively communicate with employees or customers through their written and verbal words.

They lean on their historic past filled with pictures of profits soaring through the roof and being the darling of whatever sector they are in for business. A lot of people in high places of power totally forget where they came from, like the bottom of the barrel, and act like fools.

The more dignity you show others in business and life, the more it will be showed towards you. This kind of follows one of those universal laws around cause and effect. The action you take (the cause) leads to the response (the effect), so be dignified in your approach to business and life.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you use all three of these elements in your social media presence, more people will become attracted to you and your business. These can become the foundation for your success both today and in the future.

Which one of these 3 elements do you think is lacking most in social media today? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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A Must-Read Guide for Avoiding Burnout

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Burnout. We’ve all been there. It happens to all “workaholic” entrepreneurs like you and me. But please allow me to provide a reality check: You’re not a machine. And regardless of how much you think you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk, you need to take breaks in order to function at maximum capacity. Non-stop hustle without ever taking a break is dumb. That’s why it’s called a “break”. Because if you don’t eventually stop, that’s exactly what will happen. You will break! (more…)

Alex Edson is a 19-year-old entrepreneur from Phoenix Arizona who has scaled two multi-million dollar companies from nothing. Alex began his entrepreneurial journey during his sophomore year of high school, founding a YouTube talent management agency from his apartment that would later grow to over 10 billion annual views. Today, Alex is the Founder and CEO of MailTag.io, a startup that helps sales and business people track their emails in real-time, for free. You can connect with Alex on his company’s blog https://blog.mailtag.io or by email Alex@MailTag.io.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Shilpi

    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    A very useful article! Thanks a lot!

  2. Zak Davis

    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Hi Stacey! really useful tips 🙂 I personally like tip#4 as it will bring you a sense of fulfillment if you learned something new, or try something you never thought you would learn.

  3. Wilber Stadtler

    Aug 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

    All this simply means is that you should flex your cognitive muscles, whether it is opening up a conversation with someone during your morning commute, or forming a Meetup group with others who share similar interests.

  4. shanique

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Hello Stacy wonderful article I can identify with about three of them but what’s really helping is my morning workouts, it does wonders for my day.

  5. Jack

    Jul 19, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    There is definately a lot to find out about this subject.
    I like all of the points you have made.

  6. Tim Denning

    Jul 17, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Stacey thanks for this article. My memory is really good sometimes and other times it’s not great. I am definitely going to try out your tips and number 9 was not one I had heard of. You’ve inspired me so thank you so much. Take care.

  7. Silvia Turonova

    Jul 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Great article Stacey. Very useful points. I will definitely try it out. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

3 Simple Strategies to Fight Procrastination

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Sometimes, all it takes to beat procrastination is a few simple tweaks. You woke up fresh and energized, got your coffee, and have your tasks meticulously listed. Afterwards, you got your “working music” playing through your noise-canceling headphones, and you turn on your computer ready to begin working.

And then…it happens. You glance back and forth at your list and your computer screen. The earliest deadline will not be until later at the end of your workday. You still got time. You want to try out that new restaurant around the corner. So, you go on the Internet to learn more about it.

The next thing you know, half the work day is done, and you have finished nothing! Sound familiar? You are not alone. In fact, the truth is that procrastination is normal. In fact, a study done by Piers Steel, shows that 95% of people procrastinate. The other 5% are probably still in denial.

The dangers of procrastinating

While there are cases when procrastination can do some good at work, it does have its adverse effects. Just take a look at these stats:

  • People who procrastinate reported higher levels of stress and more prone to illness long-term.
  • Chronic procrastinators exhibited poor work performance and made significantly more mistakes.
  • 40% of people that procrastinate report a significant financial loss.

Below are 3 reasons why we procrastinate and how we can fight against procrastinating:

1. Lacking motivation

People crave comfort because it is less stressful and it makes us feel safe. That is why it is so easy to convince yourself to take a nap or go for a Netflix binge even if you got a looming deadline. On the other hand, it takes a whole lot more effort on your part to motivate yourself to get up from that couch and spend time finding your passion.

Why? Let’s be honest: making those sales calls, doing presentations, and writing up reports are hardly things that you would call “enjoyable.” In fact, it can be tiresome, overwhelming, and just plain difficult.

How to fight it: “Motivation has a lot to do with perspective,” says Jim Vernon, CEO of Rockher. “Instead of focusing on the actual task you need to do, shift your focus to what will you get when you accomplish it. Does it mean more time with your kids? Or perhaps a raise?”

One way to do this is by changing the way you write your to-do list. Instead of just listing down one task after another, try listing them down by using an action verb.

Entrepreneur Marie Forleo calls this process as verbalizing your to-do list. Sounds simple, but it is beneficial because as she explains, the presence of these action verbs at the start of each of the tasks on your to-do list serve as a trigger to motivate you to take action.

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

2. Fear

Fear can be very crippling. For many people, it is just enough for them to validate why they procrastinate. The fear of failure is the most common reason why people procrastinate, especially among perfectionists.

Perfectionists have the urge that everything should be perfect the first time around. There is always that little voice ringing in their head that keeps telling them, ‘what if you mess up?’ Eventually, they give in to that voice and end up setting projects aside.

How to fight it: Baddeley said that the way he overcame this was by accepting failure. A friend of mine gave me John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward. In it, one of the principles that he taught was that it is perfectly okay to make mistakes. It is part of being normal. The moment I learned to accept this was when I slowly started beating the procrastination habit.

3. Rebellion

In some cases, procrastinating is one way for a person to show one’s disapproval about something. For students, it can be their way of getting back at a teacher who offended or hurt them. With employees, it can be their way of showing that their resentment after being passed for a promotion or frustration balancing their life at work and home.

How to fix it: The best way to help someone deal with this kind of procrastination is to talk with them.

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

People who procrastinate as a way to rebel feel that they have been wronged, devalued, and short-changed, Having a heart-to-heart talk with them about their concern, I found, helps them let off steam and the shake off that resentment.

Give them some advice and even a challenge on how to reach their goal will help them break away from their procrastinating habit. In some cases, it can even transform them into becoming some of your most productive employees.

How do you fight procrastination? Let us know your tips and suggestions below!

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3 Simple Self-Communication Tips to Ensure You Set Yourself Up to Achieve Your Goals

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Do you ever wonder why some people seem to hit every goal they set, while others struggle to even take the first step towards their goals? The difference may be in the finer details of how the goal is being set.

Communication, whether with ourselves or with others, is critical in today’s society. When we are setting goals, we are communicating our wants and desires with our unconscious mind. Yet despite the importance of being able to communicate effectively, rarely are we ever taught how to communicate or what the meaning of communication is.

The majority of the population choose their words carelessly and assume that the recipient of that communication will understand what they meant.

We’re typically even more careless when it comes to communicating with ourselves, because our own brains should understand what we mean…right? Wrong. This is why 95% of the population never achieve their goals. This is why New Year’s Resolutions have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.

We don’t communicate in words. For everything we say, the person we’re speaking to (including ourselves) gets an image in their head. How they interpret that image determines how they interpret what has been said to them. Allow me to demonstrate.

“I want to travel to an isolated beach and stay in a hut over the water for a week”. What picture do you have in your head? I’m guessing a beach, with a hut over the water. Pretty cool right? Here’s the thing, if we’re choosing our words carelessly, then we lack control over the picture that is created. This is a FATAL goal setting mistake.

Within our unconscious mind (the part of our mind that drives behaviour) is our filtering system, the Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

The RAS is like our internal GPS. When we set a goal, the RAS holds onto a picture of that goal and becomes like a homing device towards making it happen. How do you know you’re putting the right image into your RAS?

Here are 3 simple self-communication tips to ensure you set yourself up for success in achieving your goals:

1. Watch Your Mouth!

No, I don’t mean no swearing. The words we use when setting goals are critical to our success. There are certain words the unconscious mind processes in a negative fashion. The first word we need to remove from our vocabulary is “not” or any derivative of not (ie. don’t, can’t, etc). The unconscious mind is unable to process negatives.

Here’s an example. “Don’t think of a purple frog” What picture do you have in your head? A purple frog! When we use negatives in our communication, the unconscious mind has to get a picture of what we’ve said, then the conscious mind comes in and gives a new directive to picture. If we set a goal like “Don’t have any debt” or “I don’t want a partner who cheats on me” then we give the RAS a picture of what we don’t want. The RAS then sets out to find us what we don’t want as quickly and easily as possible. Instead focus on what you do want!

Another word to eliminate from your goal setting (and your vocabulary in general) is “try.” To the unconscious mind, try means “this isn’t important enough to commit to so I have an excuse to fail.” Anyone who “tries” to do anything rarely succeeds. Instead, remove your excuses and commit!

“Aim higher. Stay focused.” – Brandon Adams

2. Be specific!

We’ve all heard of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely). Being specific when communicating your goals is particularly important to the unconscious mind.

If the goal or end result is too ambiguous, the unconscious mind won’t be able to create a picture to move towards. In the absence of a specific picture, it will continue to move towards whatever beliefs or programming is already installed in the unconscious.

For example, setting a goal to be “financially free” won’t move the RAS into action. Instead, set a specific dollar amount you want to see in the bank! Paint a clear picture for your unconscious mind to grasp. It’s worth spending time creating this picture so it’s as clear as possible. You can even print out pictures if you need to!

3. Get Emotional!

Emotions drive our unconscious minds into action. If the goals you set aren’t making you emotional (in a good way) then you’re unlikely to take action. At the same time, if your current situation isn’t making you experience negative emotions, you also won’t be motivated to act.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

There are two types of goals we can set – towards motivated goals and away from motivated goals.

Away from motivated goals are when the pain or discomfort of our current situation is so intense that we have to take action.

Think about people with unhealthy habits like smoking. When they witness someone close to them die, or they have a brush with death themselves, they can easily and quickly stop smoking. People who are overweight are typically spurred into action when they are unable to fit into their wardrobe anymore.

The problem with away from motivated goals is that the motivation only lasts while the pain or discomfort is present. It’s not uncommon for someone with a weight loss goal to completely lose motivation at the halfway point because the intensity of their situation no longer overwhelms them.

Towards motivated goals focus on a reward at the end creating a strong emotion such as pride, excitement or sheer bliss.

Examples include brides wanting to look slim in their wedding dress or people who reward themselves with cars or houses remain motivated to continue taking action towards their goal. This is because even once the pain of their current situation dissipates, they are still aiming for the emotion of the reward.

It’s ok to use pain to motivate you to take action, just make sure your goal also contains towards motivation and the emotions you’ll feel once you reach the goal.

Contrary to what Freud may have caused you to believe, our unconscious mind wants to help us get what we want! We just need to communicate effectively and give our GPS (aka the RAS) the proper information so it can find the fastest, easiest route to the future we truly want!

How do you set goals and make sure you hit them? Let us know your advice below!

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Build Up Your Social Media Presence Using These Three Personal Powers

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Instead of being on defense when it comes to social media, show the world you mean business with respect, compassion and dignity. Ask anyone of your friends or online connections if they’ve found themselves going down a rabbit hole online and a bunch of them probably will say, “Yep, it happened just the other day.”

Everyone is trying to yank and pull for attention in the online space. People will go to great lengths for a few minutes of your precious time. Do you ever do an inventory of how much time you actually spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and so on? I’d imagine for a lot of us, that the time inventory would be incredibly imbalanced.

There was a time many years ago where Facebook actually was all about staying connected to families and friends to hear about their successes and tough times. People shared births, anniversaries, new jobs, and deaths. These things were shared with others out of simply wanting to stay in touch.

Along the way, though, businesses and entrepreneurs found a way to get their products and services out through the use of social media. We’ve used it to launch programs, books, products, conferences…you name it. Yet, where did the honoring process for other human beings get lost in the shuffle? It got lost because a hunger for the almighty currency (money) took precedence.

Bringing back these three personal elements that are within every one of us back to the online world will go a long way toward changing its current state of crisis. ­

Here are three suggestions:

1. Show respect

Everyone wants to be heard and respected. It’s not going to happen all of the time because human beings have differences of opinions. Is it so hard to simply respect another person’s opinion or thought without totally eviscerating them through online comments? We all get triggered by other people, but there is a way to respectfully disagree with others.

In fact, one way you could actually show others respect is by not reacting and commenting out of that energy. You and I are not going to agree on every single topic all the time. That’s a given as we are human. I do believe a little more respect shown in the online space can change the landscape a bit more.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” – Confucius

2. Show compassion

Understand this point about compassion: We all have the capacity to share this emotion with others. It does not mean you have to roll over and just take someone’s abuse. That’s not what I am talking about. Online bullying and scathing words have led some teenagers and adults to committing suicide.

When online behavior reaches that level, then people need to take one giant step back and ask themselves, “What’s going on inside me that I react in that way?” Alas, though, we don’t all think before writing.

Businesses especially need to be careful about their own words and phrases. Case in point: Watch social media platforms during big sports days, like Sundays during the National Football League season.

It’s tough not to “tweet” something toward your favorite team when something goes awry. Do not think you can simply get away with whatever you say because you are a multi-billion-dollar company. One streak of bad news can turn a real sweet streak of success into a pool of failure and despair. Showing compassion to others online starts with you.

3. Show dignity

Where in the world has our dignity gone as a society? This is not about politics or religion in this space. It all comes down to personal accountability and honor. Dignity for corporations and large businesses is not too hot these days. A lot of them don’t know how to effectively communicate with employees or customers through their written and verbal words.

They lean on their historic past filled with pictures of profits soaring through the roof and being the darling of whatever sector they are in for business. A lot of people in high places of power totally forget where they came from, like the bottom of the barrel, and act like fools.

The more dignity you show others in business and life, the more it will be showed towards you. This kind of follows one of those universal laws around cause and effect. The action you take (the cause) leads to the response (the effect), so be dignified in your approach to business and life.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you use all three of these elements in your social media presence, more people will become attracted to you and your business. These can become the foundation for your success both today and in the future.

Which one of these 3 elements do you think is lacking most in social media today? Share your thoughts below!

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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