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5 Half Marathon Training Techniques That Will Boost Your Motivation

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5 Half Marathon Training Techniques That Will Boost Your Motivation

Working alone as a start-up, home based business or freelancer can mean that motivation doesn’t come easily.

You have no co-workers to bounce ideas off of, no boss checking that you’re delivering on time, and too many distractions, like the dog wanting walked and the laundry pile beckoning. So how do you stay motivated in your business when working conditions are less than perfect?

Training for a half marathon taught me a lot about motivation, particularly as I only started running at the age of 39.

Here are 5 tips that I used while training for my half marathon that you can use for motivation in your business:

 

1. Goal setting

As someone who had only just started running 6 months prior to my half marathon entry, and having never run more than 5K, I didn’t have the first idea how to go about setting a running plan for a much longer distance. 

I downloaded a beginners training plan that instantly gave me motivation in the form of specific actions. Distances, speed work, rest days, different types of workouts – all was mapped out for me. Without such clear goals, my early motivation would have quickly diminished and disappeared. 

Having goals in your business is a huge motivator, as goals move you into action. Knowing where you are heading and why, gives you a clear roadmap to your end goal. Large goals, like your overall vision for the business and the service you provide, can be broken down into smaller monthly, weekly and even daily goals. Like training to run 13 miles, business goals will show you how each day will lead you to the end result.

 

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2. Monitoring performance

I use a training app that records how far I’ve run, how fast and even how many calories I’ve burned. I can see on a day-to-day basis how my performance has been affected by the weather or the time of day I’ve gone out.

In your business, you should have a weekly check in to figure out what has worked and what hasn’t. Not only will this show you the successes that you’re having on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, but over time, you’ll also get a sense of what isn’t working. That means that you can ditch these activities rather than relentlessly plugging away at them for months on end.

 

3. Motivational music

I can’t run without music. Well, obviously, I can run, I just don’t run particularly well. I focus too much on my breathing. Is it too heavy? Too shallow? I worry about my gait – too long, too short? And I just can’t get into the zone. In short, other things distract me.

So, my running soundtrack helps to motivate each and every training session. I have fast paced dance tracks when I want to focus on my speed, rock music that helps me to focus on that finish line and not the pain in my lungs. And a few tracks that are nice and slow for those recovery runs.

A motivational soundtrack – be that tunes, a podcast, a regular radio show or even whale music – will help you to get in the zone, particularly on those days when you’d rather be anywhere than at your desk. You might prefer music with no lyrics, or you might like some opera. The whole point is that you need to figure out the soundtrack that works best for you. HINT: It should lift your spirits, and help you to work better.

 

4. Get accountable

The first time I ran a half marathon I was terrified. What if I couldn’t run further than 5K without collapsing? What if I got halfway and seized up? Fear kills motivationIt stops us from taking action. One way to overcome fear is to become accountable to others. I decided to train for a half marathon not just to challenge myself, but like thousands of others, to do it for charity.

I signed up to raise money for a cancer charity, then sent all of my Facebook friends a link to my fundraising page before I could even think about it. I had expected that the fear of backing out after all my friends knew about my half marathon goal would be too humiliating. What I hadn’t expected was to gain 100’s of virtual cheerleaders. Friends and family sent messages of support. ‘ You can do it.’ ‘What a fantastic idea.’ And, my favourite, ‘You’ve inspired me to do it too.’

You can do this at every stage of your business or freelance career. From when you start out by telling people what you’re planning to do, to when you are making important goals for your business – such as changing direction, earning more profits or gaining more clients. TIP: choose wisely. Don’t pick negative people.

The aim is to gain motivation and, while you don’t want people who think everything is wonderful either, those who are persistently negative will not help to motivate you. (Unless it’s to prove them wrong, of course). Making yourself accountable to others is a powerful motivation techniqueIt broadcasts your intention – giving you the motivation to show that you can do what you’ve set out to do; while also giving you a strong set of supporters for when your internal motivation needs a boost.

 

5. Put one foot in front of the other and just do it

My final point was going to be ‘just do it’ but Nike beat me to that tag line. The first step to my half marathon was setting out the door on that first training run and just putting one foot in front of the other. Again and again. Training for a half marathon is a big time commitment compared to a 5K. It requires persistence.

The first training sessions were tough, but by half way through, I had stopped gritting my teeth every time I headed out and started looking forward to runs. I was keen to see how much I could challenge myself. And how much I’d improved.

Every successful entrepreneur started out one day with nothing but an idea. Instead of being crippled by judging yourself against those who are already successful, just start. Take the first step to get your business idea into action. And the next one. Then the next one. And pretty soon you will start to see the fruits of your labors.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

You’ll win that first client. You’ll get that 5 star customer review. Action leads to motivation. Motivation leads to action. Keep the circle moving and you will stay motivated throughout your business life.

What motivational exercises have you learned from one area of your life that you’ve used in another?  Do you use any of the techniques above – or do you have suggestions to add to the list?
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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. InScioltezza

    Sep 23, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Hello Heather, great post!
    I understand what you say because some months ago i have done my first half marathon and it was very easy with the right techniques about training and motivation.
    I have discovered something news when i have read your post.
    Thank u so much! 🙂

    • Heather

      Sep 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you – glad you discovered something new. Although I wouldn’t describe my first half marathon as easy – you are obviously much better at running than me! – it was certainly achievable with the right mindset and preparation. Like much in life, including running your own business.

  2. Theodore Nwangene

    Sep 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Hello Heather,
    I really enjoyed this post. Even though I’ve never ran a marathon before but i can relate to all you said here. Goal setting is important in anything we do in life and, the most important thing is to always take that first step towards whatever we aim for.

    Once we’ve taken that first step, the next and the next ones will become much easier. Its all about going for it.

    Its always better to start something we want even when we do not have all the facts.

    • Heather

      Sep 22, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Hi Theodore,
      Thanks for your comment. Taking the first step is definitely the key to it all. It’s too easy to become immersed in fear – what will people think? what if I fail? – that we become distracted from getting in to action. I haven’t been immune to those feelings myself either. Often it’s just a question of taking a deep breath and just getting on with it. Glad you liked my first post for Addicted2Success 🙂

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Motivation

The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone

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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.

When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.

But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.

Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.

These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.

1. Include short breaks

My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.

2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking

Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.

3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule

A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!

These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!

1. Music

This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!

2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery

When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.

3. Love what you do

This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.

These last few tips are Industry-related!

1. Make sure you have fun projects

Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.

2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year

Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.

3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry

View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.

These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!

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7 Ways Yoga Effectively Motivates You to Achieve Success

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Yoga is an appointment with your own self. It is time to meet your true self and receive a return ticket to your true nature that is bliss and happiness. You will naturally feel happy while doing yoga. Many people don’t realize they are in a distressed state until it’s too late. The same thing happened with me when I failed to understand my life’s circumstances. I was struggling with a lack of motivation, depression, insomnia, and maintaining my personal relationships, which eventually started affecting my physical health.

Last year, I struggled with depression and general anxiety disorder. I was constantly chasing after money, a lucrative career, happiness, and success. I was afraid that if I told my colleagues about my mental health issues, they would criticize me and eventually it would hamper my progression and I would not be taken seriously.

Last winter, my responsibilities in life increased in a short period of time, which created a lot of anxiety. It began to disturb my mood at home as I was unable to relax and felt low. I hated my own egotistical self because I was an extremely competitive individual as well. I always felt that I did not have the career of my dreams and I was not where I aimed to be. It felt like I was failing because I was not able to attain any of the goals I set in my own life.

I decided to share my emotions and feelings with someone who could potentially make things easier for me. I ended up explaining my struggles and mental illness to my manager. His reaction was amazing because he thanked me for being honest, and he introduced me to yoga. I am happy that I made this decision because it felt better after sweating it out in the Yoga workshop.

Yoga helped me in focusing on what I truly had, instead of on what I didn’t have. I learned how to embrace my competitive side and to use it in a way that pushed me to become a happier person. Yoga taught me that instead of wasting most of my life chasing after success and competing with others, I had to let life run its natural course. Happiness and success will then come to us naturally.

Below I have listed some reasons as to why yoga works effectively to motivate yourself to achieve success:

1. It Solves Your Problem

When it comes to challenges and tackling problems, yoga works amazingly. When you get on a yoga mat and begin to practice, you are made to deal with everything that comes to you and asked to face it gracefully. In turn, this increases your focus and patience levels, so that you will be able to face the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges at every turn.

2. It Lowers Your Anxiety and Stress

Yoga doesn’t mean that you will heal instantly, but constant practice can help you destress. The simple breathing and moving exercises can help a lot in releasing your tension and anxiety. 

Yoga helps in stretching your muscles by relaxing them as most of the stress and tension is stored there. The breathing exercises energize your body by increasing the blood flow, which eventually refreshes your body and mind. The daily practice of yoga makes you aware of the surroundings by making you control your emotions and stress.

“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Increase Your Focus

Yoga helps improve your focus through the breathing exercises you do during the yoga postures. It relaxes the body and mind so you can think clearly, and in time build up the ability to concentrate. 

Yoga is focused on concentration, breathing,  and the alignments. Additionally, yoga’s claimed to bring mental and physical relaxation by energizing the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is the reason why yogis sleep well at night. No wonder they have such a healthy and a stress-free lifestyle.

4. It Helps in Redefining Success

Real success comes when you use yourself to your full capability. It does not matter what you become, the only thing that matters is that you are living your life to your full potential. 

If you want to be successful, then you must see everything just the way it is, without any distortion. Yoga helps you with just that. Through practicing yoga daily, you will start to see the results and live more joyfully.

5. It Boosts Your Health

Mental health affects your work and your physical health. Your physical health can drastically  affect your work as it will make you work less and take more time off, which will lead to lined-up pending assignments. 

Yoga helps your body with almost every physical problem. Yoga increases your blood flow, oxygen, and improves your circulatory system. All the postures of the Bikram yoga help to improve the flow of fresh and oxygenated blood to every part of the body and mind.

“Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself.” – Sri Dharma Mittra

6. Gives Mindfulness and Makes You Present

Mindfulness teaches us to become more present at any given moment. It makes us more aware and conscious of our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and hence makes us strong enough to control our actions towards situations. 

Practicing breathing in yoga teaches you to experience and live each moment to the fullest. Over time, yoga will help you live in a deep sense of fulfillment and inner peace, which will ultimately help you in making the right decision for yourself and your team.

7. Stay Aware and Positive

A yogi tends to have a balanced outlook on life. Yoga sessions of meditations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness will aim at making you conscious and aware of yourself. Additionally,  it will open up new possibilities of understanding your true self. 

Yoga also aims at making you a positive person, and the effects of yoga are not limited to relaxation after a workout but are exceptionally long-lasting. Yoga makes you attain the attitude of gratitude that helps you identify the brighter side of life.

To achieve success through yoga, you must adapt it into your day to day life because having good health is a basic necessity to live a happy and healthy life and no one but you can keep yourself healthy.

Have you tried yoga? If so, share with us how it’s positively impacted your life below!

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5 Ways to Find Everyday Motivation in the Least Likely Places

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When you’re down in the dumps, the natural thing you want to do is find motivation to recharge and restart. But unlike computers or phones, people don’t work that way…or do they?

Think of it this way, people are natural sources of motivation, and we may not even be aware of it. Recall the last time you went to the store, chatted with the happy counter girl, and the helpful guy in the queue, you came out smiling and feeling good, didn’t you? That’s because those people charged you with their positive energy.

The problem is, just like them, there are people with negative energies who drain you of your motivation. After you interact with them, you feel listless, depressed or just simply low. In such a scenario, I would advise you to go to that grocery store again, but that’s just not practical.

Here are 5 unlikely places to get your dose of motivation:

1. Wind from Within

Where else would you find motivation quickly but yourself? You are the ultimate source of inspiration. Don’t believe me? Try these tactics.

Think about the reason why you’re feeling down, and treat it as a challenge. Consider it as a game, and you need to beat your competition with any strategy that you can think of and come out on top. Feel that boost of energy?

Next, dive in and consider why you feel like such a failure. Is it the career choices? The face-off incident with your ex at the office gathering? The boss who is always criticizing you? Take these issues one by one and devise plans to tackle them.

Change your career if you must, or give this one your 200 percent. Avoid your ex or talk it out with them. Face your boss by telling them how disappointed you are with their behavior, or keep on taking the criticism. The point is, not to overthink but to resolve what’s bugging you and pulling you down.

Perhaps this feeling of failure which is dragging you down stems from your fear of it. To make it right and regain your motivation, you’ll have to face your fear head on. There is no way around it so might as well deal with it like a “challenge”. There’s that word again, you know what to do now.

2. Tune in to Ted Talks

What if you still can’t find motivation from within, and still feel down? Ted Talks are the best sources of inspiration.Real people. Real experience. Real talk. You can’t get any closer to real motivation than a Ted Talks. From career to personal, emotional, educational etc. each Ted Talk takes you on a journey of the speaker, forces you to face their reality, and end up with a solution, which might be yours too.

One of my favorites is by Adam Grant, “Are you a giver or a taker?”. It has really given me thoughts about what my life is all about and what I would like to change. One of the lines which struck me and turned my life around was: “If you’re a matcher, you try to keep an even balance of give and take: quid pro quo — I’ll do something for you if you do something for me. And that seems like a safe way to live your life. But is it the most effective and productive way to live your life?

That’s just one Ted Talk. There are tons out there. The point is not what you watch but what you garner from their experiences, wisdom, and lessons delivered.

3. Soul Searching Speeches

While Ted Talks are about your average Joe, whom you can relate to and may even bump into in your everyday routine, speeches from successful people are another thing entirely.

We are talking about golden nuggets from dynamite, successful tycoons who have changed the world. They’re revolutionizing the way we live and breathe.

And you know what else they are? They’re powerhouses who have the immense capability of giving you the much needed motivation spark to come out of your lowest low. When famous people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama get invited to deliver commemorating speeches, they share with you their world.

They tell us about using smart decisions to solve complex problems. They share with us their dilemmas, and how to come out of it without harming yourself. But most importantly, they tell us about their fears, challenges, and failures which they’ve successfully overcome.

One of the most famous speeches, and my personal favorite, is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University. Jobs, who has revolutionized home computing, mobile devices, and luxury branding of technology, tells us if we live each day as if it were the last, then there is nothing to fear. After all, fear is the reason why we don’t do a lot of things that would boost our motivation.

4. Tap Into Teaching

People say that teaching is a noble profession but nobody tells you about the motivational aspect of it. Even if you’re down, nothing brightens your mood up instantly like a student looking up to you. You feel thousands of feet tall.

You don’t have to be a full time teacher to feel motivated. Help someone at the workplace and teach them a skill. Teach your kids about what you know. And if you’re single, teach the neighbor’s kids.

When you teach someone, you are actually learning and discovering yourself. It gives you a new perspective and forces you to look at problems from the student’s point of view. And, you might discover the reason for feeling demotivated, or stressors that are pulling you down. When you are able to identify the problem, you’ll be able to find the solution.

5. Interest in Interviews

What do Humans of New York, Larry King Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon have in common? You guessed it…interviews. Funny or serious, interviews are meant to bring out the inner person of the interviewee, but I bet you didn’t know they also bring the humane side of the interviewer.

Interviews force you to wear the interviewee’s shoes, think like them, and understand their dilemmas. What better lessons to learn and get motivation from real life people who’ve been there and done that?

Of course it doesn’t mean you start grabbing any Tom, Dick or Harry to interview. Find an angle, seek permission and have a purpose for your interviews. Maybe you want to find out where people go to find inspiration, or motivate others. Or, ask people what they do when they hit bottom, or at the peak of their career.

You’ll be surprised at the rationale, humbling experiences and feelings these individuals will share. Let their answers be your motivation. 


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4 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Boost Your Team’s Motivation as a Startup

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Many startup leaders are able to grow their organizations quickly, thanks to their off-the-charts motivation and productivity. Unfortunately, when the organization is no longer a one-man show, it becomes very difficult to equip their team members with the same degree of motivation. This can negatively affect the organization’s morale, productivity, and possibly revenue.

Below are the four simple and effective ways to boost your team’s motivation as a startup:

1. Evaluate your own leadership as a leader

Many leaders had their own share of experience with bad leadership. Tim Denning, Addicted2Success contributor, also goes as far as saying, “working with a bad boss is a soul crushing dream killer.” No leaders want to be known as a bad leader. Unfortunately, some startup leaders unintentionally fall into the trap of micromanaging and never listening to the team members because they might not always have an experience as a leader.

If your team is big enough, you can also consider doing an anonymous survey that evaluates your leadership. But if that is not an option, there are tools that allow you to assess your own leadership performance. Go through the assessment, and focus on implementing the changes. Even if the team members’ motivation does not skyrocket overnight, there will be an improvement overtime.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

2. Focus more on intrinsic motivation

A study of 200,000 U.S public sector employees by Yoon Jik Cho and James Perry showed that intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic motives such as position and salary, makes triple the impact on employee motivation and engagement. This study shows that motivating team members through position and salary is important, yet the biggest transformation will show when you get team members to focus on internal rewards.

For startups and teams with a limited budget, this represents a powerful way to be able to attract and retain the best team members. Though there will be some team members that might be disengaged because they are more motivated by position and salary, there will also be team members that may choose to stay in the organization because of the team’s culture– even if they get other job offers that might be more extrinsically appealing.

Challenge your team members with bigger responsibilities and goals. Encourage them to continue developing their skills or learn new ones. Show them you appreciate their loyalty. The internal rewards and the personal loyalty that your team members develop by working with your team will ensure that they can continue to stay engaged to the work and stay motivated to get the work done.

3. Be specific on HOW their work matters, and how much you care

Most leaders are aware of the importance of great team members and focus on recognizing the team’s efforts. However, when specificity as to how their work makes a difference in the team is added on, it can become extremely powerful. Team members want to know that the business cares about their work and jobs, but also about making a positive impact on the society.

Everytime you remind your team members about how their work makes a difference in the company’s growth, and how the organization makes a difference in the community, your team member will not only feel pride in their work, but they will also be fired up with an extra dose of motivation.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

4.  Encourage team members to become self leaders

An article by HR Digest shows that 25% of millennial team members are looking for a chance to prove their leadership skills. Although it is highly encouraged for startup leaders to challenge their team members and give them opportunities to showcase their leadership abilities, it can be risky if they do not have a previous leadership experience. That is when self leadership comes in.

Self leadership is a concept developed by Bryant and Kazan and is about having a clear individual identity as a leader. This can mean having a clear understanding of the vision, who they are as a leader and what their capabilities are as a leader. This helps your team members embody an identity of a good leader while developing their leadership skills.

There are many ways of empowering team members to develop self-leadership, such as encouraging them to take on new challenges or allowing them to partake in professional development activities. It can also mean giving them room to innovate and make their own decisions with their authority.

As the team gets bigger and the organization is no longer a one-man show, it can be challenging for leaders to keep their team members motivated. However, with these simple ways, it’ll be easier to equip your team members with the extra dose of motivation to continue doing their best and boost the team’s performance as a whole.

How do you keep your team motivated and excited? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

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