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5 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Ahead in Life and Work

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not getting ahead in life

In the times when we periodically pause to take stock of our lives, it’s been my observation that many of us feel disappointed with where we stand in life and the progress we’ve made towards our goals. We are often unhappy with the direction we are moving into, or the stagnation we are in, and how our full-of-promises dreams when we were younger have crashed and burnt in a rather non-glorious way, buried under the triviality of the everydays.

We tend to complain and blame all kinds of external forces for this check-mate position we feel we are in—unfortunate circumstances, fate, luck, the misalignment of our stars. We also, paradoxically, tend to conveniently neglect to throw ourselves into the equation. That is, we don’t want to admit that we are the main protagonist in our life story and we have a huge influence over the direction which our lives take.

It’s understandable, because once we adopt the mind-shift that we can control more than we’ve let on ourselves to believe, then the onus is on us—we can’t be the passive spectators anymore. Our actions will determine our outcomes.

So, here are my main 5 obstructors, which may be still pulling us back, despite being fueled, from having the fulfilling personal and professional lives we want:

1. You lack confidence

Unfortunately, this is a big one. A plethora of research has demonstrated that knowing our value is a major determinant of how we progress in life, and how much respect we can command form others. What’s more, lack of confidence has financial penalties—it’s shown to result in lower income flows and loss of opportunities due to fear of failure. Simply, we aren’t taken with the necessary weight to be able to influence others to invest their resources and time in us.

Overconfidence, on the other hand, when practiced within reasonable proportions, can be quite the trampoline. Aside from helping to be considered as more competent, it also gives the perception of a higher status and power. So, a bit of an inflated ego (backed by skills and knowledge, of course) can do us lots of favors—personally and professionally.

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey

2. No quality network

Networking gets some bad aftertaste mainly because it requires extensive time and effort. It isn’t necessarily easy to engage in either, especially for someone who is more on the quiet side. But it’s a necessary evil. Everything in this world happens with and through other people. No way around it. Even more so, for those who are self- employed and don’t have the safety net of a steady salary stream.

Of course, not every conversation with someone we don’t know qualifies for networking. It has to be relevant and done right. We have to find commonalities and make a favourable impression. There’s lots of dynamics that goes far beyond the “elevator speech.” And other times, we don’t have to unabashedly promote ourselves to be noticed and taken seriously, we just have to do remarkable work.

3. You lack “Whatever-it-takes” mentality

Remember the analogy that success is an iceberg? No one sees all the blood, sweat and tears of those who have “made it” to the top, but the sacrifices are always there. There is no way around this either. It comes with the territory.

From all my years in finance, I’ve yet to meet a self-made influencer that hasn’t put in the long hours, the taking work home, the coming on the weekends when needed, the raising of their hand for more challenges. The reality is that the work-life balance many of us feverishly pursue can only take us this far.

To push yourself a bit extra means to be prepared to do all the things that are necessary to build your iceberg. Yes, it’s personally taxing on our mental and physical health, but the oh-so-sweet feeling of accomplishment is so worth it in the end!

4. The ability to talk, be opinionated and do a bit of mirroring

Many of us are now openly aware, thanks to Susan Cain’s wonderful book, that the world has been in favor of the gregarious ideal for quite a while now. Although social opinions may be slowly shifting, we are far from striking a balance.

But an introvert or extrovert personality matters merely in relation to how we handle interactions and re-charge. The skills to influence others and to market ourselves aren’t some optional “I-like-dislike” activities for either type, but requisites for getting noticed, and often getting ahead.

We are all in the sales business, even when we engage in “no-sales” selling”—the sooner we realize this, the faster we can craft strategies for “putting ourselves out there” in way that is comfortable to each one of us.

Finally, mirroring of others, or “behavioural matching,” is not a shameful undertaking, rather it’s often pleasing to the mirrored person (even if they don’t know that we imitate their actions), and for the person doing it—it’s a shortcut to learn winning behaviors, without the sometimes-costly trial-and-error experiences.

It’s based on a simple principle; we all like people that are similar to us in some way. Familiarity breeds comfort and likeability. Abundance of research shows that it’s highly beneficial when employed as a strategy to the ends of getting someone’s attention in a bar or a restaurant, to passing a job interview successfully, to closing a deal successfully.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler

5. You do too much

At first blush, this sounds a bit counter-intuitive to everything I mentioned above, but if you get to think about it, it’s true. In our desire to reach the finish line as quickly as humanly possible, we strain ourselves to the point that we engage in too many undertakings at the same time, thinking that they will fast-track us to success.

Simply put, the problem is that we dilute our goal by doing too many things that are peripheral to our core aspiration. Having a strategy, of course—even a whole project plan—from the get-go is a tried-and-true way to circumvent redundant activities. Revisions may be needed, but too much straying outside the lines may be detrimental to our progress.

Prioritizing our work is of no less significance. But the best thing we can do to avoid needless work is to do less. Focus on the value each activity offers to the goal, master selectivity and simplify.

In the end, we all, naturally, want to see our endeavors pay off. No one likes to work for the sake of working—it’s always to achieve something greater, to create, to leave a legacy behind.

And while things as luck, talent, abilities, even our backgrounds matter to a point, certain personality traits, which we can largely nurture, and the decisions that we make, have the greatest say in our outcomes.

In its essence, it all comes down to the simple humane behavior of finding better ways to connect, communicate and materialize our thoughts and ideas into the world.

What could you be doing more of today to improve your life tomorrow? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Evelyn Marinoff is a writer and an aspiring author. She holds a degree in Finance and Marketing,  works in client consulting, and spends her free time reading, writing and researching ideas in psychology, leadership, well-being and self-improvement. On her website evelynmarinoff.com, she writes tips and pieces on self-enhancement and confidence. You can also find her on Twitter at @Evelyn_Marinoff.

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Success Advice

10 Secrets to Success From Clickfunnels Top Affiliate Spencer Mecham

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Spencer Mecham
Image Credit: Spencer Mecham

Are you looking to be an affiliate? You have to acquaint yourself with a couple of tips which guarantee great success. Affiliate marketing you will not get paid until some kinds of actions are taken by the readers.

Identified and explained hereunder are ten secrets for successful affiliate marketing which are proven to guarantee higher values to your readers and the likely maximization of success:

1. Aim at meeting the needs of your target market

Your reader is by far your best asset. When appropriately satisfied, the chances of them taking the necessary courses of actions are raised. For this to happen, you have to understand them inside and out. Do so by inquiring about their pain points, their tastes and preferences, and their expectations of your blog.

Yogita Aggarwal avers that promoting the wrong product is a sure path to failure. To mitigate this, you have to conduct thorough market research.

2. Maintain a fair degree of trustworthiness

Readers are generally smart, and they can easily spot an affiliate link when they come across one. You should not attempt to promote an irrelevant product or bombard them with too many adverts. They will just lose interest, leave and possibly never come back.

You should hence aim at building a pool of repeat visitors. They are the ones who are more likely to drive traffic to your site, place orders and refer others to your site. You can only build good relationships by marketing quality content.

As you do this, be sure to prioritize value addition by sharing only those products which you are confident of being relevant, valuable and sincerely helpful to your readers. Make it a point of disclosing any links or relationships you have with your vendors. This will go a long way in solidifying the trust.

3. Be passionate about what you are doing

It is essential to be passionate about what you are doing or attempting to do. It is almost impossible to succeed in what you do if you don’t truly love it. Avoid marketing only for the sake of money. It is only then that you will be able to generate new ideas and marketing perspectives which are crucial for the success in the field.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

4. Approach the issue one step at a time

Do you desire to manage $5,000 in your first month? Hold on! You will first and foremost have to achieve $1 then $10 and eventually someday to $5,000+. This requires time. You will have to comprehend the psychology and behaviors of your client base first and foremost. After doing that, you will be able to build on that information for higher profit margins.

5. Be helpful

To maximize the possibility of eliciting positive responses from your readers, you have to go further than just letting them know of the existence of your products. Take some time to provide in-depth reviews of the products on sale. Highlight their features and offer brief explanations of just how beneficial they could be to the user.

Preferably, share a personal testimonial or case study in the affiliate link in your review. These build trust and verification which in turn enhance the experience of the visitors considerably. Higher sales will naturally follow after that.

6. Be an ambassador

Instead of promoting the products as a marketer, you are strongly advised to develop them as though they were your own. To do this:

  • Review the products by laying particular emphasis on why you think they are better than their competitors.
  • Produce tutorials showcasing their use or services.
  • Put in place a landing page to enlighten your referrals rather than merely pointing them to your site.
  • Recommend one product alongside why you prefer it. This will help undecided buyers make rational decisions.
  • Enforce some bonuses for the high-value affiliates and joint ventures deals

The steps above will let your affiliates make their decisions from a more informed position. On the same note, they will enable you to gain added influence and authority for your own, not to mention deepening relationships between your provider and you.

“Trust is built with consistency.” – Lincoln Chafee

7. Uphold great transparency in your affiliate relationships

It is necessary that you uphold a significant degree of transparency in your affiliate relationships. Your readers will definitely appreciate your honesty and will gladly contribute to your earnings. They will often track any dishonesty readily. This will definitely scare them away from your site and drive them to the websites of your competitors.

To further stand out of the crowd, you might want to offer a bonus for any action taken from your site. This is extremely useful when in a field that is saturated with many other players.

8. Choose the various affiliate products keenly

Take some time to go through the list of various products that are available. In particular, match them with the expectations, tastes, and preferences of your target market. As you promote them, alter the ads every now and then, attempt different graphics and texts to find the most effective ones.

You will have to spend some time before arriving at the best formula possible. While at it, you will also realize the need to rotate or alter ads from time to time to captivate the attention of the audience well.

Generally speaking, digital ads are better options. They have higher conversion rates and generate higher commission rates. For maximum profits, consider promoting products that are highly priced and those that renew each month.

9. Work on a strong reputation within your niche

Affiliate marketing is generally more sophisticated and highly profitable. Rather than building one-page campaigns, focus on putting in place a sales funnel, assets, and other things which have a higher value. Identify the best niche and stick to it. These steps will not only earn the trust of your visitors but also develop stronger relationships with your advertisers.

10. Generate and post high-quality content

Your content marketing strategy should be your highest priority. The content serves as the foundation and the lifeblood upon which your site is hinged. Readers will only be interested in your site if it contains helpful and valuable content.

This being the case, you should aim at excellent furnishing contents and effective monetizing strategies which are proved to work out well. You will lose readers if you make the slightest attempt to compromise your content. That, of course, will lead to the forfeiture of the opportunity to make any money from your adverts like referral-based and cost-per-click.

All said and done, the quality of your content is the single most contributing factor of the credibility of your blog, website, or business. Hence it is in your best interest to invest heavily in it if you ever hope to make any meaningful success!

Which one of the above 10 secrets to success from Spencer Mecham resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

Success Isn’t Rocket Science, but There Is a Simple Equation

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People all around the world are looking for the secret to success. There are countless answers out there: personal connections, wealth, good luck, positive mindset, hard work, determination, passion, and on and on.

Some of those things might be true for some people, but I don’t think success comes from just any one variable. I also don’t think there is a single tangible answer that can be replicated by the masses. It seems that the more we look for one, the more questions we tend to find.

What is the secret to success? Is it enough to be passionate and hardworking? Is it enough to have a positive mindset? What steps can we take to become more successful?

Well, if you have been pondering questions like these, look no further. I believe success comes from, not one variable, but a combination of variables, an equation if you will. I’m not talking about anything too complicated or complex, like rocket science. This is an equation so simple it practically solves itself:

(Intrinsic Motivation + Action) x Momentum = Success

“I’m not a math whiz! What does this mean?” Don’t worry, as my high school algebra teacher could attest, this isn’t real math, but I can assure you that it works very well. Allow me to explain each variable.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is your internal, innate reason for wanting to do something and it’s the vital first part of the formula for success. Without it, everything we try to do will most likely fail, but what is intrinsic motivation?

Let me ask you a question: what do you like to do in your free time? Do you volunteer because it feeds your soul to help others? Maybe you love doing puzzles because you love the feeling you get when you solve a problem? Do you go hiking because you love to connect with nature?

If no one were paying you, would you still volunteer, solve puzzles, or go hiking? Of course you would! You receive intrinsic rewards when you do those things, and therefore you have a strong, internal motivation to keep doing them.

Another way to look at this is to know your “why.” Your “why” is your deep-rooted reason for doing something. Simon Sinek talks about this a lot, and Tony Robbins says, “If you have a strong enough ‘why,’ you can do anything.” It’s a great concept, but there is another side to this coin.

Having a weak “why,” or no “why” at all, means that you have no intrinsic motivation to speak of. You’re practically a rocket ship with no rocket fuel. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a rocket get too far without fuel.

To achieve success in any endeavor, you must start with your intrinsic motivation – you must start with why. Why do you want to achieve success in your life?

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them, just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey

Action

Now that you know what motivates you and you have a strong “why,” you have to take action towards your dreams. Action is the second part of the formula for success because, without action, we wouldn’t get anywhere in life. We might have fuel in our tanks, but we still have to hit the launch button.

I see a lot of people who spend time learning, planning, learning some more, trying desperately to perfect their strategy before they start. But the reality is, you are going to discover the most valuable lessons along the way.

It is impossible to plan for every situation, so trying to do so only delays your success. Author Karen Lamb says, “A Year from Now You May Wish You Had Started Today” and that’s true. “Someday” is a common code for “never.”

Sure, jumping in without having everything figured out will cause you to run into the occasional obstacle or setback, but again, you can’t plan for every obstacle. If you have a strong enough “why,” you’ll overcome obstacles and press on.

So, whether you’re ready or not, you need to take action towards your goals to achieve success. The only way to achieve success is to start taking action and build momentum. What one thing can you do today to take action towards your goals?

Momentum

In my opinion, momentum is the most critical aspect in the formula for success and here’s why: Starting isn’t worth much if you keep quitting. Remember that rocket ship analogy from before? If not having a “why” is like not having any fuel, then starting and stopping is like using up all of your fuel only to land again immediately.

Building momentum, however, is like breaking free of the atmosphere and reaching space. Once there, the zero gravity keeps the rocket afloat, and the pilot only uses relatively small amounts of fuel to propel and steer the rocket through space.

I read an article from The Huffington Post and it said, “In 1967, Apollo mission to the moon, the Saturn V rocket’s needed over 500,000 gallons of fuel just to break free of the Earth’s atmosphere. The final stage of the trip only required 86,059 gallons of fuel. That means it took nearly 5.8 times as much effort to launch as it did to keep the momentum.”

So, the next time you think about quitting, remember how much energy and effort it took to get started in the beginning. Do you want to go through that again? Do you really want to waste that much energy when you could keep going?

Don’t quit! Instead, keep taking action towards your goals, day after day, month after month, and year after year. Doing this will help you create radical momentum in your life and in your goals.

“Momentum solves 80% of your problems.” – John C. Maxwell

So there you have it, the formula for success. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do – land on the moon, lose weight, start a business, run a marathon, save a million dollars – you have to know why you want to achieve success. You have to have fuel in the tank.

Once you know what’s propelling you forward, you have to take action every day and never quit. This will allow you to build an unstoppable momentum that will carry you to the success you seek.

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Success takes time. There are no shortcuts. There are no quick fixes. There are no overnight successes. To be successful, you have to intrinsic motivation for the long haul, and no matter what, you cannot quit taking action.

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Success Advice

The Power of Personal Reviews: How It Can Skyrocket Your Success in Life

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Do you want to elevate your personal success? If so, do you know what the number one thing that’s keeping you away from that success? You could be doing everything right in terms of setting goals and going after them, and still not make progress if you’re not doing this.

The secret is personal reviews. As goal-getters, we’re conditioned to take action and work hard to make our goals happen. But if you’re not measuring the effectiveness of your actions, then the outcome may be no better than if you were running around in circles. In order to not be stuck in the same place, you have to be continuously adjusting your strategy.

The key is knowing exactly what to do differently in order to achieve your goals and accelerate your success. This is where personal reviews come in, because they answer the most important questions such as: What parts should you keep on doing? What parts should you do differently? What exactly happened last time that prevented you from reaching your goals? How can you get to your goals even faster the next time?. The victory path often isn’t linear, and reflecting on it will improve the process, which is the most important part for speeding up success.

According to Harvard Business Review, people were shown to be more productive and less burnout after thinking about and planning their day than those who didn’t. Studies cited in the same Harvard Business Review have also shown that employees in call centers who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting on the lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. If you work in an even more complex role, imagine the benefits you would gain from consistent reflections. Ready to take on your own review?

Here are the three parts of a personal review and how each part will help you achieve personal and professional success:

1. Get Clear On Where You Are to Make Better Decisions

It’s hard to get to your destination if you don’t know where you are right now. Luckily, personal reviews are similar to a GPS, where it can accurately pinpoint your place in life. By getting clear on your current situation, there are three main benefits that’ll contribute to your success.

One, it reaffirms your goals. As I often find working with clients doing their own personal sprints to success projects, goals can be easily forgotten without regular check-ins. Each personal review helps bring these goals to top of mind, and align all your actions so that each one will move the needle.

Two, it keeps you on track. Once you are clear on your goals, it’ll become much more obvious whether you are on your way to hit your target or if you have strayed off the path. This will help you focus more clearly, and save time from unnecessary distractions and course-corrections.

Three, it builds momentum. By regularly reviewing how things are going, you can celebrate the wins, and improve on areas that didn’t go well. After all, success comes from consistent action and making progress towards your goals.

“What you can measure, you can improve.”  – Peter Drucker

2. Discover the Roadblocks That Are Holding You Back

Now that you have a solid understanding of where you are at, it’s time to get down to the why. Why are you where you are currently, and how can you go even faster? The second part of personal reviews is where you’ll discover the golden nuggets of insights that you can use as your secret weapon.

Maybe you realized that you usually only get one or two important things done each day. Why is that? Is it because there are too many distractions? Or is it because your energy levels are low? And is there a filter you can set up to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not?

These are all incredible insights into the decision-making process and the factors that contribute to your success. If you stumbled, think about what parts you wouldn’t do again next time. If you achieved your goals, think about which parts you can repeat to succeed again. And as you collect more data points, the easier it’ll be to pinpoint how to 10x your productivity and results. And the more frequent you do reviews, the faster you’ll be able to progress. For example, if you conduct weekly reviews, you’ll be able to move four times as fast as someone who does monthly ones. Now, you can work smarter, instead of harder.

3. Fast Track Your Success Through Feedback Planning

Once you have the clear understanding of exactly where you are and what you need to do differently, you can use this feedback to make powerful changes to your plan. This is the last part of personal reviews – setting and prioritizing goals to accomplish by the next review.

These new goals will not be something that you’ve haphazardly put together, but rather it will be a combination of your insights and your vision of success. These reviews can be massively effective productivity tools and accountability structures that you can use to review the past and set in place the steps to take for the future.

For high potential professionals who do not conduct weekly reviews, one of the top reasons is that they either don’t understand the process, or can’t see the benefits. Now that you know how it works and the huge impact it can have, I invite you to take charge of your life, and face your goals and fears head-on.

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy.” – Brian Tracy

After all, in order to stay a high performer and relevant, you must grow. And whether you want to become more focused, motivated or productive, personal reviews will carve out the path for you to get there and skyrocket your success.

How do you envision yourself accelerating through personal reviews? Leave a comment below!

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Success Advice

5 Surprising Ways Your Posture Impacts Your Success

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how your posture affects your success
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What makes some people successful while others flop, even with the same education, background, and job position? There is no one size fits all formula, but one thing that always stands out is a person’s posture and body language. The way in which you sit, stand, and even walk, tells people so much about you, and you don’t have to utter a word.

I’m a big movie buff, so if I reference a few scenes, you will understand why. Your posture not only tells people about you, but it can make you feel more powerful and confident in your own abilities. Wouldn’t you like to know what your posture is saying to others and how you can change it?

Here are 5 ways your posture impacts your success:

1. Posture is a Nonverbal Sign of Who You Are

Remember in Titanic, when Jack is waiting to have dinner with Rose. When he’s leaning against the staircase, what does his posture say to you? Gangster? Thief? Then Jack sees the distinguished (banker?) walk by. He’s impressed with his posture and manner of walking, which he tries to emulate.

This is a perfect example of the image you are projecting to others. What do you want your image to say to others? When you are in a business setting, you should always be aware of your posture, so you don’t end up leaning on the staircase like Jack.

2. Good Posture Empowers You

Your posture and other body language makes you feel more powerful and boosts confidence.  A study from Ohio State University found that those who sat up straight had more confidence in their own abilities and believed more strongly in positive statements they had written about themselves.

“A strong confident person can rule the room with knowledge, personal style, attitude and great posture.” – Cindy Ann Peterson

3. Your Posture is Vital to Your Health

Anyone who has spent time sitting in front of a computer screen will tell you that it can wreak havoc on your neck, back and shoulders. It’s true that our bodies were not designed to sit for the majority of the day, but when you add poor posture to the mix, you are asking for some serious pain.

You can only imagine what people will think if you take time off work because of back pain or neck pain. Of course, the alternative is to spend your time rubbing your neck, which won’t do much for your image or authority presence. Avoid these issues by practicing good posture!

4. Good Posture Helps You Perform Better

When your body is out of balance, that is to say, when you are hunched over that keyboard or your head is pushed forward when you are standing or walking, you can’t perform to your true potential. This is especially true if you end up with neck or back aches later on in your day because you are slouching. When you feel good, you look good, and you can perform like a champion!

5. Your Posture Affects How People See You

This should be fairly obvious to everyone. Have you ever seen a CEO slumped over their computer? Think of the movie Shawshank Redemption, when escaped prisoner Andy Dufresne sits in front of the bank executive to cash out his account. His posture screams confidence and authority in that scene. Imagine if he had been a quiet mouse, staring at his feet, with slumped over posture. Your posture can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

“I listen better with earplugs in, so I can see what your body is really saying.” – Jarod Kintz

The Good Posture Problem

Whenever I counsel new employees, I always stress good posture and how important it is to every area of their lives. I see them sit up straight, pull back their shoulders, and sit back in their chair, only to find them slouched over their keyboard or phone a few minutes later.

Let’s face it, keeping good posture after years of neglect can seem like a lot of work and you’re right, it is. However, it only seems that way because we are unaccustomed to how it feels. We are also creatures of habit and slouching at your desk is probably a bad habit you learned many years ago. Habits were meant to be broken, friends, and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Tips for Practicing Good Posture

If you want to come across as Meryl Streep does in every scene where she is walking in The Devil Wears Prada (minus the arrogant attitude, of course), you should think about your posture every day.

You can try setting an alarm on a daily basis to check your posture at work or at home. Try to be mindful of the way you’re sitting, standing and sleeping, and avoid any unnatural positions. Ask friends and family to remind you to stop slouching, too!

Also, check your workstation and make sure nothing is triggering bad posture there. Is your computer screen at eye level? Is your chair comfortable? Make sure your office equipment isn’t negatively affecting your posture.

Finally, some people have great success with a yoga or Tai Chi class, which focus on building strength and flexibility in your postural muscles. If you’re interested, you might sign up to maximize your posture. Otherwise, you can also try a home morning posture routine with different stretches.

In the end, you have the power to change your posture! As your mother might say: sit up straight!

How do you practice having proper posture throughout your day? Share your thoughts below!

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