self improvement en-US 9 Ways to Invest in Yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman flexing" title="woman flexing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are your own greatest asset.</p> <p>Think about it. Who you are, how you feel about yourself, how you present yourself, what you know, your overall physical and mental health&hellip; it all contributes to how you perform at work, at home, and in the things you do for fun.</p> <p>Of course, you're also a lot more than an asset &mdash; a machine that either performs its function well or does not. You are also a person, someone who feels better, lives better, and loves better from a place of all-over health. You are worth investment simply because you are alive. (See also: <a href="">52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <p>In fact, you are worth investing in no matter which of these views of the self resonates more deeply with you. It is always worth putting a bit more time and energy into yourself, whether it is so you can improve your performance, or so you can just live from a healthy, whole, centered place.</p> <h2>1. Meditate on Your Needs and Desires</h2> <p>Before you start finding ways to invest in yourself, it's worth taking the time to sit down and decide what you need and what way to invest in yourself is best for you. Your needs will be different from those of the people around you, and that's as it should be. (See also: <a href="">How to Stop Being Afraid and Live Your Dreams</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, you will instinctively know what you need. Other times, you may need to spend some time journaling or talking with someone close to you to figure out where to start.</p> <h2>2. Heal From Your Hurts</h2> <p>One of the best ways to invest in yourself is to take some time to heal from the things that have hurt you. There are <a href="">so many things to grieve in life</a>; job loss, lost relationships, and the death of those close to you are only a few of the more common experiences that can cause grief. Because <a href="">our culture doesn't grieve well</a>, sometimes we can't get beyond those things that have hurt us.</p> <p>Being intentional about grieving well can take many forms. Maybe you just need time, or maybe you need a couple of hours with a cup of tea and a journal. If that doesn't help you, consider talking to a professional. This can be a long process, but you will only be able to live fully if you can move past your losses.</p> <h2>3. Create in a New Way</h2> <p>Most of us have some creative outlet, whether it is obvious, like painting or writing poetry, or less obvious, like computer programming or solving old problems in new ways. Sometimes, when we get used to functioning creatively in a certain way, we find that our creativity actually stagnates, or that we burn out.</p> <p>Instead of trying the same old things creatively, <a href="">try something new</a>. If you usually write, draw a picture or listen to music instead. Focus on those things you've always wanted to do, or on things that are less usual outlets for creative thought.</p> <p>For example, you could consider:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Woodworking</a></li> <li>Pottery</li> <li>Calligraphy</li> <li>Cooking classes</li> </ul> <h2>4. Learn to Network</h2> <p>For some people, meeting others comes as naturally as eating. For others, it's a difficult process. Most people think of networking as something that specifically takes place in a work capacity, but the truth is that learning how to meet other people can help you in all areas of your life. Knowing people can help you learn new things, get help when you need it, and learn about the opportunities around you.</p> <p><a href="">Beginning to network</a> can be as easy as inviting some friends over. Have them each bring a couple of friends, provide some low-key edibles, and there you have it!</p> <h2>5. Move Your Body</h2> <p>We hear so much about exercise that it's easy to tune it out. Sure it's good for you, but who has time for that? However, taking time to exercise doesn't only help you get more physically fit, but it also helps you <a href="">get some white space</a> in your day. Even if you blast your music, you generally can't multi-task while you're working out, so your brain gets a break.</p> <p>&quot;Exercise&quot; can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You can walk, jog, run, lift weights, Jazzercise, CrossFit, jump rope, kick box, Zumba, use cardio machines, and so much more. (See also: <a href="">50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun</a>)</p> <h2>6. Save Money</h2> <p>Before you splurge on those shoes or a computer game, <a href="">put money in your savings account</a>. When you pay yourself first, you say to yourself that you are important and that you are more than the things you let yourself buy.</p> <p>If you aren't good at saving, set up a separate savings account for this money. Put in a certain amount after each paycheck, and leave it there. You will probably be surprised at how much you have after several months or a year. This can be your travel fund, your new car fund, or your to-be-determined fund. (See also: <a href="">12 Ways to Make Yourself Save More</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spend Time Where It Matters</h2> <p>Figure out what the things are in your life &mdash; or your work &mdash; that are most important, and <a href="">make sure they get your best time</a>. If there are tasks that you can delegate, do it. If you feel like you need to delegate something but you don't know what, take some time to determine which parts of your day feel the most fulfilling. Then figure out if someone else can take on some of the rest.</p> <p>There are seasons in life where delegation is hard, not because you don't want to do it, but because it isn't a good option, for whatever reason. In these cases, try to do as many of the important and rewarding tasks first, and then do the essential &quot;other&quot; tasks as your energy allows.</p> <h2>8. Educate Yourself</h2> <p>Education is an obvious but important investment that you can make in yourself. Most people equate education with school, but the truth is that there are a million ways to learn. Sure, you could go back to school, but you could also work alongside someone doing what you want to do, or invest in (and read!) books that focus on topics you want to know more about.</p> <p>Even if you don't have a lot of time or money, you can learn more. Talk to the people around you and find out what they know and if they'd be willing to teach you. Or run a Google search on an interesting subject and read the top five articles.</p> <h2>9. Sleep More, Sleep Better</h2> <p><a href="">We're sleeping less</a> than ever before. We are busy and our phones/tablets/computers/email keep us going constantly. And sometimes, even when we try to sleep, we can't because of stress or worries that keep us awake. If you really want to be at your best, though, you need to get enough sleep.</p> <p>Is sleep a struggle for you? Be sure to give yourself some non-screen time before you go to bed. You can also try focusing on your breathing until you drift off to dreamland. Find what works for you and do it. Sleeping feels like doing nothing, but it is one of the most rejuvenating things you can do for your waking hours.</p> <p><em>How do you take care of yourself? What works for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways to Invest in Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development dreams goals self improvement Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1149837 at 7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="father son playing" title="father son playing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine what it would be like if life was a grand adventure and you were an intrepid explorer. For children, this is life every day. By their very nature, kids approach the world with genuine curiosity and are able to delight in the possibilities of what's waiting just over the horizon. (See also: <a href="">How to Be a More Positive Person</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, though, the older we get, the easier it becomes to lose some of that untamed spirit. The horizon can seems further and further away. If it's time for you to break free of the monotony of adulthood and rekindle some of the magic of youth, start with these essential lessons from childhood.</p> <h2>Embrace Endless, Wild Optimism</h2> <p>Children see only the possibilities, not the probabilities. Kids daydream about the most fantastic ways the impossible might come true. Their imaginations joyfully pursue the next good idea even before they know what to do with it. Adults can take lesson from this: Learn to stop dwelling on the reasons something can't happen. Instead, change your focus and explore the possibilities of what <em>can</em> happen.</p> <h2>Cultivate Curiosity</h2> <p>It's easy for adults to lose patience with a youngster's endless line of questioning. But instead of being annoyed, try emulating that strategy and staying curious yourself.</p> <p>Eleanor Roosevelt said, &quot;I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.&quot; I wholeheartedly agree. Being more curious means opening up to the possibility that there's more to life than meets the eye.</p> <p>Cultivate curiosity by learning a new skill, traveling, or getting to know people on a deeper level by asking more questions &mdash; it can only expand your world.</p> <h2>Get Creative</h2> <p>Children don't care if they color between the lines or make the sky plaid and the grass pink. They use arts and crafts as a ready outlet for their wild creative impulses. You don't have to be a trained artist to doodle on paper or paint with your fingers. Get the whole family involved in simple <a href="">at-home DIY craft projects</a>. And if you feel like you need an art lesson, ask your children to <a href="">mix up some finger paint</a> with you and then show you how it's done!</p> <h2>Be Fearless</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed that kids are willing to try out their ideas without hesitation (even if it results in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich crammed into a place it clearly doesn't belong)?</p> <p>Adults tend to travel in less fanciful circles because we're less willing to risk failure. Fortunately, most grown-ups also have better planning skills than children. We can prepare for risk-taking in ways that reduce the possibility of unpleasant (or sticky) outcomes. So, consider new ways to step out of your comfort zone and <a href="">do the things that scare you</a>. Put your adult planning skills to good use and start taking some risks on the things that matter to you most.</p> <h2>Play With Abandon</h2> <p>For kids, fun is still synonymous with fitness. They don't bother to count reps when they're engaged in endless rounds of kickball. They don't need to stare at the clock on an exercise bike when their real bike takes them to faraway places. They don't need the gym because every day is a calorie-burning, strength-building, circuit training challenge! Kids know what fitness experts having been trying to tell adults for years. The best way to get in shape is to make physical activity a <a href="">fun part</a> of your everyday experience.</p> <h2>Say What You Mean</h2> <p>Kids really do say the darnedest things, don't they? That's because they're telling us what they really think. Adults, on the other hand, have well-crafted filters and we feel virtuous for &quot;holding our tongue.&quot;</p> <p>Sometimes having a filter can help diffuse a situation, but at other times, filters holds us back from having conversations that really count. Wouldn't it be great to tell your significant other just how much you love and appreciate them? Or set some more reasonable limits on what is expected of you at work? One of the most empowering lessons we adults can learn is the art of gracefully saying what we mean.</p> <h2>Laugh &mdash; and Cry &mdash; Out Loud</h2> <p>Children proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves. When something strikes them as funny, they light up the room with their laughter. If things get too monotonous, they'll spice things up with their own brand of slapstick. And if they're hurting, kids don't hesitate to ask for a kiss to make it better. But somewhere on the winding road from childhood to adulthood, we stop sharing our feelings and put on thick masks to hide how really feel. Adults can benefit from shedding those masks when the occasion calls for it and being willing to share more laughter, as well as tears.</p> <p>Every lesson adults can learn from kids boils down to this: Let go of some of your fear. Kids don't have the same quality or quantity of fear that adults do &mdash; and that intrepid nature keeps them learning, growing, and discovering something new every day. As adults, if you want to be healthier, happier, and have better relationships, all you really have to fear is fear itself. So go ahead, channel that bold little explorer you used to be, the one who looked under rocks, played with worms, climbed trees, wore cowboy boots with sweatpants, and imagined new worlds.</p> <p><em>What lessons have you learned or relearned from the children in your life? What's the most important childhood quality you've been able to preserve in yourself or own kids?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development children kid lessons learning self improvement Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1145814 at 4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We tend to think of our personalities as pretty set in stone. If you have always been short-tempered or shy or change-averse, you may think that it's simply who you are. Yes, you might be able to work hard over years to chip away at the aspects of your personality that you'd like to change, but overall, what you see it what you get. (See also: <a href="">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>But it turns out that your mind is much more like clay than marble. With the right brain hacks, you can make real and lasting changes to just about any aspect of yourself &mdash; without feeling like you are fighting a war with your true nature.</p> <p>Here are four brain hacks that can help you to become the best version of yourself.</p> <h2>1. Become More Generous by Spending Time in a Beautiful Garden</h2> <p>It has been well established that spending time in nature is both calming and mentally restorative. However, recent studies out of the University of California and the University of Southern California have determined that subjects who spend time in natural places that they find beautiful increase what's known as &quot;<a href="">prosocial tendencies</a>.&quot; Basically, after spending time in a beautiful spot, subjects show more agreeableness, empathy, generosity, trust, and helping behavior.</p> <p>What is interesting about these studies is that they show how important it is for the subject to perceive their surroundings as <em>beautiful</em> in order to experience the generosity increase. It's not enough to be outside in nature &mdash; you must also appreciate the beauty of the nature you see.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you have a garden, now is the time to spend some time in it. Not only will working in your garden give you a sense of satisfaction (and a <a href="">reduction of the stress hormone cortisol</a>), but making your own little patch of nature look more beautiful will also help to improve your relationships and increase your empathetic and generous behavior.</p> <p>If you don't have a garden to tend, regularly make plans to head outside for a walk through a beautiful spot. Bring a grumpy friend and help hack his brain, too.</p> <h2>2. Prime Your Brain for Improvement With the Right Words</h2> <p>The language that you use to talk to yourself actually has an effect on your brain. That's because your brain retains the memory of the words you say, even if you don't think that you recall them. Adam Dachis of Lifehacker explains it this way:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you were to say the word <em>mustard</em> out loud, and then you were to see a portion of the word later, <a href="">you'd be reminded of mustard</a>. For example, if you were to say, 'I must have this,' you might be reminded of mustard because of the word must. If you were hungry and liked mustard, you may even want some.</p> <p>This is because your mind has been primed to think about mustard. Your brain retains the memory of you saying the word out loud, and so it gives you a kind of a neural shortcut to get back to the word that clearly must be important because you said it out loud.</p> <p>Advertisers have been using <a href="">priming</a> for years, but you can also use it to hack your brain to be happier, more ambitious, or more outgoing. All you have to do is create the right list of words to say out loud.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Create a list of words that you associate with whatever feeling you are trying to evoke in yourself. For instance, if you are trying to encourage yourself to become more outgoing, you might come up with this list of words:</p> <ul> <li>friendly</li> <li>eager</li> <li>talk</li> <li>enthusiasm</li> <li>go</li> <li>yes</li> <li>smile</li> <li>people</li> <li>fun</li> <li>interest</li> </ul> <p>After reading this list aloud, you will find yourself in a more outgoing mindset. Reading the list will help to focus your thoughts and prime your brain to react in an outgoing manner throughout your day.</p> <p>While reading this priming list aloud every day is not going to magically transform a wallflower into a social butterfly, it does provide you with the mindset that encourages the behavior you're aiming for.</p> <h2>3. Improve Your Willpower by Becoming a Lefty (or a Righty)</h2> <p>Whether you have trouble passing up the office donut box or you find yourself consistently blowing your top over minor issues, the root cause is the same: a lack of self-control.</p> <p>But before you start beating yourself up, it's important to remember that studies have shown that <a href="">self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted</a>. Basically, willpower is like a muscle &mdash; and it can be exhausted. But it can also be strengthened, just like a muscle.</p> <p>Specifically, allowing yourself to be regularly frustrated can help you to improve your willpower muscle because you become more immune to feelings of frustration. And according to a study from the University of New South Wales, an excellent way to do this is to <a href="">use your non-dominant hand</a> for two weeks. Aggressive individuals who practiced being a lefty (or a righty, if they were left-handed) for two weeks were able to respond to annoyances more calmly after the experiment.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you are concerned about your ability to practice self-control, plan on using your non-dominant hand for everything (within reason and safety concerns) for two weeks. This means that you will be fighting your habitual tendencies for two weeks straight. While it will be difficult to remember to butter your toast with your left hand for two weeks, your capacity for self-control will grow stronger over that time. Afterwards, you will find it easier to pass up that cruller or keep your cool when you get cut off in traffic.</p> <h2>4. Rearrange Your Refrigerator to Eat Healthier</h2> <p>You have every intention of eating better. But it seems like all the fruit you buy just rots in the bottom of the fridge, and you end up snacking on potato chips and onion dip <em>yet again</em>.</p> <p>While it might be simplest to just not buy the junk food that tempts you away from eating right, that's not always feasible. A junk food loving family member or roommate can easily thwart those plans. Instead, make eating healthy easier by rearranging the food in your kitchen.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Specifically, put your carrot sticks and apple slices front and center in your refrigerator so that they are easier to see and grab. If you put the onion dip in a far corner, you'll make it even easier to avoid, since you're less likely to see it and be tempted by it.</p> <p>This hack comes from Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, the authors of the book <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=014311526X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=L76N3HHV4AEWFCBP">Nudge</a>. They refer to such a change as &quot;<a href="">choice architecture</a>.&quot; Basically, if you make it harder to do the unhealthy thing, you're more likely to make the healthy choice.</p> <p>In addition to putting your healthy snacks in a prominent position in the refrigerator, it's also a good idea to prep those healthy foods ahead of time so all you have to do is grab a bag of pre-cut fruit slices when you're hungry. Add that to placing all of the unhealthy foods in as remote a spot as possible in the refrigerator, and it will be easier to eat healthy without thinking about it.</p> <h2>You Can Train Your Brain</h2> <p>Our brains are wired to respond to all kinds of stimuli. If you know how to hack that wiring, you can improve your life without any of that overwhelming, soul-sucking, hard work that's usually required.</p> <p><em>Have you been able to trick yourself into becoming a better person? Do the right thing and share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks psychology self improvement Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1145232 at Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="volunteer" title="volunteer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many outlets for entertainment, you'd think that we'd never, ever get bored. Yet, there are still times that I find myself wandering around the house, simply looking for something to do and my usual go-to activities just aren't doing it for me. (See also: <a href="">50 Fun Things to do When You're Stuck Inside</a>)</p> <p>If you suffer from the same lack of enthusiasm, then this post is for you. Here are 34 tried and true ways to kill your boredom&hellip; or at least occupy your time until something better comes along.</p> <h2>1. Tackle Your To-Do List</h2> <p>You know you've got one&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;that mental list of little things that you plan to get around to someday. Well, today's that day. Call your Aunt Martha, take the comforter to the dry cleaners, and check the oil in your car and the air in your bicycle tires.</span></p> <h2>2. Clean Out the Garage</h2> <p>Okay, yes, I realize this is probably more than a one-day project, but imagine how great you'll feel when it's all done. Use plastic tubs to store your things and mark each tub or box prominently for easy identification. Then next time you need to dig out holiday decorations or find your old school yearbooks, you'll know exactly where to look.</p> <h2>3. Take a Nap</h2> <p>If you're already napping quite a bit, then skip this suggestion&hellip; it's time to do something else. But otherwise, feel free to snooze for a bit. The world would be a much better place if we all had a mid-afternoon nap and snack every day.</p> <h2>4. Cook Something New</h2> <p>No, I don't mean a different kind of Hamburger Helper. I mean find a recipe that requires some effort, preferably something that's authentically <em>not</em> in your wheelhouse and could be called &quot;art&quot; with the right garnish. Stretch your taste buds. You might find you like it.</p> <h2>5. Write a Letter to Your Congressperson</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>According to all the political pundits, Congress bases its actions on what they hear from the People. I don't know if that's true, but if the statistics are to be believed, some 92% of us are unhappy with their performance. That's a lot of feedback that Congress apparently hasn't heard yet. So, maybe it's time to speak your mind.</p> <h2>6. Take Up a Cause</h2> <p>Back in the 80's, before Internet and cell phones and emails, I had the privilege of working with a wonderful non-profit group devoted to fighting pound seizure. We passed out flyers, we marched at City Hall&hellip; it was liberating. If you're suffering from boredom, maybe you just need something to feel passionate about.</p> <h2>7. Volunteer</h2> <p>I've mentioned this one before, but if you find that you're frequently bored, you may need a solution that's more long-term, and volunteering is a great way to spend your free time. Check out <a href=""></a> to find an opportunity that's right for you.</p> <h2>8. Educate Yourself</h2> <p>Go back to school or try one of the many online or self-study options. Many are even free, so there's no excuse for not broadening your horizons. (See also: <a href="">Learning Without the High cost of Higher Ed</a>)</p> <h2>9. Paint a Room</h2> <p>Forget the neutral colors, and think blues and greens with splashes of yellow or go bold with black, white, and red. Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, try some of these fun painting ideas from <a href="">Remodelaholic</a>.</p> <h2>10. Change Your Hair Color</h2> <p>This may be more of a girl thing, but when I was in highschool, I sported every hair color that Revlon sold at least twice. And while I'm not quite as quick to do those drastic changes now, it's still fun to try something new every now and then. And it's amazing how different you feel when you change the shade of your mane.</p> <h2>11. Replace Your Shelf Paper</h2> <p>Shelf paper is one of those things that no one thinks about until they open the cabinet door and see the shabby remnants of what was installed 10 years ago. So, rip out that old stuff and get something new. It's relatively cheap, and it will definitely get you focused on something other than being bored.</p> <h2>12. Clean Out Your Closet</h2> <p>When I was a kid, my go-to move for cleaning my room was to shove anything that didn't have a designated &quot;place&quot; into the closet or under the bed. And I'm sad to say, not much has changed over the years. My closet is a catch-all for a variety of things, including linens, mementos from the kids, my cheerleading megaphone, and my Barbie collection. Yes, there are clothes and shoes in there as well. On the bright side however, cleaning it out almost always results in finding things I had forgotten about, so if your closet resembles mine, you might find a few forgotten treasures too!</p> <h2>13. Organize Your Junk Drawer</h2> <p>Speaking of catch-all's, we all have at least one drawer in the house that doesn't have a purpose other than to store all the little &quot;stuff&quot; we don't know what to do with. You don't have to get rid of the junk drawer altogether, but organizing it will at least make it easier to find the thumbtacks and the nail file the next time you need them.</p> <h2>14. Rearrange Your Furniture</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Want a change in your decor, but can't really afford the expense right now? Switch it up. Move your couch there, the recliner over here and viola! It's like a whole new room.</p> <h2>15. Connect With Someone From Your Past</h2> <p>I'm one of those people who has all my old friends on Facebook, but beyond the friendly &quot;Like&quot; now and then, we rarely ever connect. And that's a shame. So, let's not be &quot;those people.&quot; Make an effort to reconnect with old friends from the past and see if that friendship can be rekindled. Worst case scenario, you'll find you have nothing in common. But who knows? You might find someone new to help you kill your boredom.</p> <h2>16. Research Your Family Tree</h2> <p>I've mentioned before about my love affair with genealogy, but I'm going to mention it again here because it's a fantastic way to kill time. You know how you start surfing the web with one topic in mind and end up &mdash; some 20 sites later &mdash; on something completely different? Genealogy is just like that, only instead of websites, you're finding your ancestors.</p> <h2>17. Clean Out Your Inbox</h2> <p>I've had the same email address for more than 10 years now, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I get at least 100 emails a day, most of which are junk. Needless to say, it's easy for my inbox to get out of hand. If you can say the same, maybe now is a good time to regain control. Weed out the junk, and then move the rest &mdash; either into folders or the trash &mdash; until your inbox is empty. You'll be amazed at how freeing an empty inbox can be.</p> <h2>18. Host Your Own Movie Marathon</h2> <p>Pick some of your favs &mdash; the &quot;Stars Wars&quot; and &quot;Star Trek&quot; sagas are obvious choices, but you could also choose a theme, as in all chick-flicks, all sci-fi films, or all Tom Hanks movies (&quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00005Y71F&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UN4KU5UIRV2VMJWV">Joe Versus the Volcano</a>&quot; anyone?). Invite your friends, buy some snacks (popcorn is a must!), and settle in.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.4em;">19. Get a Massage</span></p> <p>If you've had one, then this needs no explanation. If you haven't, then get one and you'll understand why.</p> <h2>20. Meditate</h2> <p>I know, I know. You're just not sold on the whole &quot;Mind-Body-Spirit&quot; thing. But it's not like you're doing anything right now anyway, so what have you got to lose?</p> <h2>21. Exercise</h2> <p>For the past two weeks, I've been doing yoga faithfully every morning and I have to say, I can seriously feel a difference. But if yoga isn't your thing and you're not jumping up and down at the thought of lifting weights, then try something else. Go for a walk, learn how to tango, or wash your car. As long as you're moving and your heart rate is up, it counts.</p> <h2>22. Have Sex</h2> <p>Well, we were talking about moving and elevated heart rate, so it seems only fitting that we include this suggestion here. And really, can you think of a better way to occupy your free time?</p> <h2>23. Plant a Garden</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>You'd be amazed at how much better your food tastes when it's fresh. And it's good for your wallet, too.</p> <h2>24. Start Your Own Blog</h2> <p>Are you an expert on something? Do you know how to sew or paint or fish? Maybe you're an avid reader or you homeschool your kids or you're just the #1 Fan of insert-your-favorite-celebrity-or-TV-show here. Whatever your passion, whatever your hobby, you can blog about it &mdash; and connect with like-minded others in the process.</p> <h2>25. Research a New Career</h2> <p>Have you always dreamed of being a doctor? Going to law school or becoming a master chef? Or maybe you'd just like to work in retail instead of insurance, or start your own business for that matter. Boredom means you have time to spare and you can use that time to chart a path to a rewarding new career.</p> <h2>26. Update Your Resume</h2> <p>If it's been a while since you've dusted off your resume, use this opportunity of &quot;nothing to do&quot; to get it updated. You'll be one step closer to applying for that great new job you're researching.</p> <h2>27. Revamp Your Budget</h2> <p>Ever wonder where all your money goes? Now's a good time to find out.</p> <h2>28. Update Your Financial Profile</h2> <p>Are you on track for retirement? Will you have enough to pay for your children's college or that vacation you want to take next year? Do you know your net worth? Getting answers to these questions makes it much easier to plan for your future.</p> <h2>29. Organize Your Important Papers</h2> <p>If something were to happen to you, would your family know how to handle everything that needs handling? Getting all your important documents organized &mdash; life insurance policies, pensions, passwords, etc &mdash; is one of the first steps to building a solid estate plan. Use this down time to start building yours.</p> <h2>30. Scan All Your Photos</h2> <p>One of the great things about the &quot;cloud&quot; is that you can access it anywhere. And that means you can use it to store more than documents. Scan all your pictures and back them up to the cloud for safe keeping.</p> <h2>31. Create a Life Plan</h2> <p>Businesses have a plan, why not you? Think about where you want to go, how you want to get there, and then formulate a plan for making it happen. Once you have a clear path, maybe you won't have time to feel bored.</p> <h2>32. Scrub Your Baseboards</h2> <p>Your closets are cleaned out, your garage is organized, and your cabinets have spiffy new shelf paper. But don't forget those baseboards. They can make even the cleanest house look not-so-clean. And trust me when I tell you, you'll be too tired to care about being bored when you're done.</p> <h2>33. Try a New Hobby</h2> <p>You've always wanted to sign up for co-ed softball or try your hand at painting or learn how to play tennis. There's no time like the present, especially since you have plenty of free time.</p> <h2>34. Bake</h2> <p>There's something therapeutic about baking something from scratch. Learn how to use fondant or make the perfect pie crust.</p> <p><em>Now, it's your turn&hellip; how do you cure boredom?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity entertainment pastimes productivity self improvement Wed, 28 May 2014 08:48:26 +0000 Kate Luther 1140741 at 20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tv" title="tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Better, faster, stronger.</p> <p>This is not only the mantra of fans from Daft Punk and &quot;The Six Million Dollar Man,&quot; but also from life hackers around the world who are looking for ways to make their lives better. The first step on your way to self-improvement is to level the playing field by getting rid of bad habits that are slowing you down. (See also: <a href="">5 Habits You Must Break to Become More Self Confident</a>)</p> <p>By eliminating these 20 bad habits, you set up yourself to tackle any challenge.</p> <h2>Social</h2> <p>People are, by nature, social. When we put our heads together, we are able to achieve great things, such as the Pyramids or the Powerpoint presentations due Monday.</p> <h3>1. Being Late</h3> <p>&quot;80% of life is showing up,&quot; recommends Woody Allen. If your personal clock keeps on running 15 to 30 minutes behind everybody else's, then people are going to stop relying on you and find a replacement. Make it a habit to show up to meetings and appointments 15 minutes early. This buys you time for any last-minute surprises and shows people that you are taking them seriously. Being on time is the easiest way to show respect.</p> <h3>2. Texting During Conversations</h3> <p>A major turn-off for co-workers, friends, and relatives is your obsession with your smartphone or tablet during conversations. Trying to answer an email and posting a tweet while your spouse is asking you what would you like for dinner is just plain rude. Not to mention that it's making you dumber. Studies show that <a href="">multitasking lowers your IQ</a> as much as missing a whole night's sleep &mdash; and more than smoking pot.</p> <h3>3. Making the World Circle Around You</h3> <p>Complaining too much, constantly fishing for compliments, de-emphasizing actual compliments, and cutting people off mid-sentence are red flags that you are too self-centered. You are not the center of the universe, and your problems are not bigger than everybody else's. Start using &quot;you&quot; more often than &quot;I&quot; and make an effort to let others speak more than you do. Remember that &quot;being a good listener&quot; is a compliment, and one that shows others that you care for others.</p> <h3>4. Telling &quot;Little White Lies&quot;</h3> <p>No one likes being lied to. Yet, we still keep telling ourselves that is okay to do tell white lies. Even those lies that supposedly hurt nobody cast a shadow of doubt on your integrity. Tell enough of them, and people won't listen to you anymore. To start limiting the number of lies you dish out every day, try the &quot;Little Jimmy Test.&quot; Little Jimmy is your five-year-old kid &mdash; would you be okay with him saying what you are about to say?</p> <h3>5. Oversharing in Social Media</h3> <p>If you Instagram, Vine, or Facebook every aspect of your life, you may be alienating yourself from friends and family. Not everybody wants to be tagged in every picture or be included in every check-in. Respect the privacy of others and ask before you share any information about somebody else.</p> <h2>Health</h2> <p>Remember your New Year's resolution to lose weight this year? It is going to take more than wishful thinking to get it done.</p> <h3>6. Drinking Soda</h3> <p>Studies have shown that people that consume soda have an <a href=";view=article&amp;id=114:disturbing-facts-about-soda&amp;catid=6:articles&amp;Itemid=13">11% increase in cholesterol</a>&nbsp;compared with people that drink other beverages. And drinking diet soda is no good either. In a 10-year study, people who drank two diet sodas a day had a <a href="">500% increase in waist circumference</a>. Switch soda for water and you will keep both your cholesterol and waistline in check. On top of that, drinking water when we are thirsty boosts our brain's <a href="">performance in mental tests</a>.</p> <h3>7. Binge Drinking</h3> <p>While <a href="">light to moderate drinking</a> has been shown to have health benefits, pounding three or more drinks in a row, raises your blood pressure and lowers your vitamin B1. This vitamin is necessary for a healthy nervous system. Stop binge drinking and, if you must drink, limit yourself to two drinks.</p> <h3>8. Late Night Snacking in Front of TV</h3> <p>Not watching what you're eating is going to increase the amount of food you gobble. By eating while distracted not only do you eat 10% more, but also <a href="">25% more at a later meal</a>. There are three ways to attack this bad habit. First, hide snacks from yourself so that you are less likely to reach for them. Second, use a very small plate to limit the size of your snack. Third, choose lighter snacks, such as fruits and veggies.</p> <h3>9. Skipping Breakfast</h3> <p>Mom was right, again. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Men that frequently skip breakfast have a <a href="">27% higher risk</a> of suffering a heart attack or fatal coronary disease, compared to those that eat breakfast daily. In the case of women, skipping breakfast increases their <a href="">risk of type 2 diabetes</a>. Make your momma proud and take the time to fix yourself a healthy breakfast every day. (See also: <a href="">9 Make Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfasts</a>)</p> <h3>10. Wearing Headphones All the Time</h3> <p>If you are using your headphones at <a href="">60% of their maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes</a> a day, then you are already a victim of irreversible hearing loss. Start observing the 60/60 rule regarding volume and duration, buy larger headphones that rest over the ear instead of inside the ear, and preserve your hearing.</p> <h3>11. Getting Sunburned Too Often</h3> <p>Your risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, doubles if you have five<a href="">&nbsp;or more sunburns</a>. Don't test your luck. Make it a daily habit to use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Hats, sunglasses, and UV-blocking clothing are also good ideas. Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and keep completely away from tanning booths.</p> <h2>Financial</h2> <p>&quot;Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver,&quot; said Ayn Rand. It is time to reclaim your seat at the driving wheel and kick these financial bad habits to the curb. (See also: <a href="">25 Dumb Habits That Are Keeping You in Debt</a>)</p> <h3>12. Paying Credit Cards Late</h3> <p>One of the top reasons that your credit card balances never seem to go down is that you keep paying past the due date. Every time you do that, you're slammed with a fine of up to $35. On top of that, your creditor is likely to increase your interest rate after too many late payments. To fix this, set up an automatic payment plan or contact your credit card company to move your due date.</p> <h3>13. Buying &quot;Deals&quot; for Premium Goods</h3> <p>Have you ever had to buy something because it was a once in a lifetime deal? Turns out you may have been better off without such deal in the first place. Research suggests that &quot;<a href="">coupons for premium-priced products</a> can actually make consumers spend more money than they would have spent in the absence of coupons.&quot; Our minds are tricked to focus on the coupon rather than total price, so we end up spending more than we originally intended. By focusing on saving $200, you end up spending over $1,000 and&hellip;</p> <h3>14. Busting Your Budget</h3> <p>The king of all financial bad habits. You need to kick this one as soon as possible.</p> <p>When making your budget be sure you're capturing all your spending. By making a very thorough list, you will plan ahead better and increase your chances of keeping within your means.</p> <h3>15. Overspending on Media Consumption</h3> <p>Your iTunes habit may be killing your hearing and your wallet. The price of $1.29 per song may not seem that much, but if you buy 100 songs throughout the year, then you are spending $129. If you have your iTunes account connected to your credit card, yes that credit card that you always pay late, you need to re-evaluate your media consumption. Analyze your options and check out whether paying per song or buying a subscription is the better deal. (See also: <a href="">Buy or Subscribe: How to Pay the Least for the Media You Love the Most</a>)</p> <h3>16. Not Saving for Retirement</h3> <p>Make your golden years truly golden by starting a retirement account. It is never too late and there are options available, no matter how close you may be to your retirement age. (See also: <a href="">This Is the Basic Intro to Having a Retirement Fund That Everyone Needs to Read</a>)</p> <h2>Productivity</h2> <p>Becoming more productive is at the top of almost everybody's to-do list.</p> <h3>17. Taking Mental Notes</h3> <p>Talking about lists, your main productive challenge may be that you're not committing tasks to paper. Start using the notes app from your smartphone to jot down your objectives for the day. Include important information, such as what is the deadline, what you need to complete it, and who you need to contact. Check your list several times during the day so that you can clearly see what you need to do.</p> <h3>18. Not Committing to Deadlines</h3> <p>Deadlines force us to take action. Here is a quick lifehack from psychology and behavioral professor, Dan Ariely: &quot;P<a href="">ublicly committing to a deadline</a> is a powerful motivator because it puts your reputation on the line.&quot; Nobody likes to disappoint friends and colleagues, so this gives you that second wind and adrenaline rush to meet your deadline on time.</p> <h3>19. Being Too Available</h3> <p>If you have Skype, Twitter, Whatsapp, email, and a smartphone on at all times, your work output is going to suffer. While it is a good idea to be accessible, it has to be within specified hours. When you need to get work done, you need to limit your access. This means turning off the phone, shutting down messaging apps, and finding a private space. If you committed publicly to a deadline, your friends and coworkers understand that you are trying to meet that deadline.</p> <h3>20. Overfocusing on Email</h3> <p>Email is a <a href="">productivity trap</a>.</p> <ul> <ul> <li>If an email chain goes beyond two replies, pick up the phone.</li> <li>If a co-worker two cubicles down emails you too much, walk over to her.</li> </ul> <li>Your <a href="">incorrect use of email</a> might make you look rude.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are some other bad habits that need to be in this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development bad habits habits productivity self improvement Tue, 27 May 2014 08:48:38 +0000 Damian Davila 1140442 at 25 Ways to Be a Better, Happier Person <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-be-a-better-happier-person" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hands" title="hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="197" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're already well into the New Year, and maybe your diets have already slipped. Your dinner plates are going from green to progressively more light brown. Your crispers are emptying as the pantries are filling. You don't need to slip back into the same old routine as the last year, though. There are endless ways to bring you fulfillment that don't cost money or make you feel defeated if you're not perfect. Here are 25 ways to be a better person. Many of these you may already do, and others you might not have considered as ways that could greatly shape you and your daily experience with others. (See also: <a href="">Get Back on Track With Mid-Year Resolutions</a>)</p> <h2>1. Be a Role Model</h2> <p>How do you want to be viewed? What would you want others to model from you? Be the person that inspires others, even if it's just having good table manners or opening the door for people.</p> <h2>2. Be a Better Child to Your Parents</h2> <p>As if the guilt could ever wear off! How would you want your children to appreciate you? Remember all those things you said you'd do differently as you were growing up? Now's the time to start realizing them.</p> <h2>3. Be Accepting</h2> <p>This doesn't mean you have to agree or understand. But if you're accepting, people will be more open and honest with you.</p> <h2>4. Be Adaptable</h2> <p>Life throws curveballs, and your busiest days rarely turn out exactly how you would like. If you let go of your expectations, being adaptable is incredibly freeing and gives you great perspective.</p> <h2>5. Assume Good Intentions</h2> <p>This is key. If you can assume the best intention in people's words and actions, you will get hurt less, be let down less, and become less defensive.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer</h2> <p>Obvious, of course, but it doesn't have to be some huge commitment. Volunteer to drive your kids home from the bus stop on a rainy day (or other neighborhood kids). You've taken something off of someone's shoulders, and hey, they just might be there for you when you need one less thing. (See also: <a href="">Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a>)</p> <h2>7. Be Attentive</h2> <p>It feels so nice to be on the receiving end of someone's attention. When it's your turn to receive, you'll be glad. Karma&hellip;what goes around really does come around.</p> <h2>8. Be Coachable</h2> <p>Every single adult you come across knows something you do not, guaranteed. Be coachable and learn, and in return you are paying respect to someone else and making them feel valued. Both sides win.</p> <h2>9. Be Cooperative</h2> <p>Learn to get along with others, or no one will want to work with you. You should be open to new ideas and should not snarl at the word compromise.</p> <h2>10. Be Curious</h2> <p>Not only could you discover something you love, but looking at the world with such wonder again&hellip;oh, what a feeling.</p> <h2>11. Be on Time</h2> <p>Show respect for someone else's time. It will make them think highly of you, and by organizing your day you'll be less stressed yourself. Start by setting your clocks and watches 10 minutes fast. (See also: <a href="">How to Always Be on Time</a>)</p> <h2>12. Be Empathetic</h2> <p>Empathy can validate someone else's experience and establish a connection that sympathy may not. Learn to empathize, even if you have completely different opinions. The paradigm shift will do you good.</p> <h2>13. Be Enthusiastic</h2> <p>Enthusiasm can raise your mood and anyone around you within a 10-foot radius. Wouldn't you rather accomplish goals with enthusiastic people? You don't have to be keen as mustard, but don't be a too-cool-for-school curmudgeon either.</p> <h2>14. Put Your Past Behind You</h2> <p>Stop reading the chapters of your past. Whatever you did &mdash; or whatever was done to you &mdash; is done. It's not you today, and it's not who you want to be tomorrow. (See also: <a href="">8 Steps to Forgiveness</a>)</p> <h2>15. Be Present</h2> <p>Don't only play for the future with grand ideas of &quot;One day I will&hellip;&quot; This is it; the moment is now, and there's no better time to take it.</p> <h2>16. Compliment Others (and Yourself)</h2> <p>It looks good on you. If others feel good around you, you reap rewards, too. Even the simplest things, like a nice comment on a shirt or blouse, can help. It starts with you. Be good to yourself so you can give to others. After all, you deserve it as much as anyone else. (See also: <a href="">How to Give Better Compliments</a>)</p> <h2>17. Be Gentle</h2> <p>To sugarcoat doesn't mean lie; it means being honest without being harsh or causing defensiveness, which will only shut people down. Being gentle assures that people are more able to receive your advice.</p> <h2>18. Look Up</h2> <p>You are missing out on connections and the way it feels to hold your head up high. Looking up also raises your mood. Looking down makes you feel down. Try it; it really works.</p> <h2>19. Be Quiet</h2> <p>Listen. See what happens. Hear what you might otherwise miss.</p> <h2>20. Sing Out Loud</h2> <p>Because it feels good, and it's a release, and whether you're a good singer or not, someone will be amused in some way, even if it's just you.</p> <h2>21. Be Purposeful</h2> <p>Pursue a cause that's higher than yourself. Broadening your scope will make you so much more grateful about your life as it is.</p> <h2>22. Be Resilient</h2> <p>It is not normal to be good at something as soon as you start. So don't give up, be resilient, and be impressed with how far you can come in a short amount of time.</p> <h2>23. Take Responsibility</h2> <p>What a different place the world would be if we each took more responsibility.</p> <h2>24. Don't Victimize</h2> <p>Observe yourself and see what you can learn and how you can be better. The buck stops with you.</p> <h2>25. Be Self-Reflective</h2> <p>Be gentle with yourself. Observe your behavior and thoughts objectively. In this way, so much is possible to change our experience.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to become a better person? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Ways to Be a Better, Happier Person" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development being nice ethics self improvement Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:18:50 +0000 Paul Michael 1131540 at 11 Things You Can Do on Your Lunch Break to Change Your Life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-you-can-do-on-your-lunch-break-to-change-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating lunch" title="woman eating lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on where you work and what your role actually is, the time you have to eat lunch could vary. The standard break is an hour, but these days people are so busy they take 30 minutes or even less. Let&#39;s say that you have around 30 minutes to spare, after you&#39;ve eaten. Depending on what your life is lacking, here are a few ways to make positive changes in very small, simple ways.</p> <h2>1. Drink One Glass of Water</h2> <p>We all know the benefits of drinking water, and many of us have told ourselves for years that we need to drink more. But, so often we forget or grab a coffee or can of soda instead. Take just a few minutes before eating lunch to hydrate and also fill your stomach a little bit before eating. You&#39;ll eat less, you&#39;ll feel better, and if you drink tap water, it costs you nothing at all. (See also: <a href="">Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>2. Train Your Brain</h2> <p>Many people (myself included) like to think of lunchtime as down time. We eat, we chat, we laugh, and we complain, but we let our brains go on autopilot for a while. Why not use this time to keep your brain sharp? There are free apps you can download that really put your brain through the ringer, with tests challenging your speed, accuracy, and lateral thinking. Or you can take up a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. These tests and activities can also help to prevent, or delay, <a href="">Alzheimer&#39;s Disease.</a></p> <h2>3. Try a New Food</h2> <p>We are creatures of habit, and we&#39;re also afraid of wasting our money. Trying something new means risking your money on a food you won&#39;t like. Or worse still, something you&#39;ll hate. But you never know if you&#39;re missing out on a new favorite. It&#39;s also a wonderful way to connect with others. It&#39;s such a small, easy way to really broaden your scope and experience, and as eating is a major part of our lives, isn&#39;t it worth taking the chance to discover something delicious?</p> <h2>4. Connect With Someone</h2> <p>One of the greatest ways to make yourself feel better if you&#39;re feeling bummed out is to make someone else feel great. You know the old saying,&nbsp; &quot;it&#39;s better to give than to receive.&quot; Well, while it may not ring true for an eight-year-old on Christmas day, it becomes more and more applicable as we get older. Just paying someone a compliment when you&#39;re interacting with them, be it a checkout attendant or a bank clerk, can completely transform their day. If someone at the office is looking a little lonely and stressed, give them your attention. Have coffee in the kitchen. Maybe see if they&#39;d like a companion for lunch. Give the best of yourself to the world, and the world will give it back to you. (See also: <a href="">How Nice People Can Get Ahead</a>)</p> <h2>5. Try One-Minute Meditation</h2> <p>We&#39;ve all heard of the benefits of meditation, but it can seem like a daunting task. However, there are lots of very simple, step-by-step videos on YouTube that can help you <a href="">learn to meditate</a>. You can also find soothing music there for free. Once you get in the habit, taking the time to center yourself daily could reap rewards in your career and your personal life.</p> <h2>6. Keep a Journal</h2> <p>It doesn&#39;t have to be anything impressively long and grandiose. Just write 50&ndash;60 words every day about what you&#39;re feeling or what you have planned. Maybe you have an idea for a movie or TV show. Write it down. Perhaps it&#39;s poetry or a song. You will soon find yourself looking for inspiration everywhere and looking for things to be grateful for. And you may be surprised where this can lead you. Who knows, maybe you&#39;re the next JK Rowling.</p> <h2>7. Do Five-Minute Organizations</h2> <p>Is the desk drawer in your office just crammed and disorganized? Is the junk drawer at home a complete wreck? Well, most of the time we ignore it, but that just makes the problem worse, and we waste time every time we try to find something in that abyss. Using just five minutes of your lunch hour to organize little things like that will make your days and weeks run more smoothly. (See also: <a href="">25 Easy Organizing Changes</a>)</p> <h2>8. Practice a Musical Instrument</h2> <p>Ask every music teacher out there about practicing, they&#39;ll tell you the same thing; even five minutes of practice every day can reap many benefits. And it&#39;s way better than binge-practicing, doing one hour once a week. Whether it&#39;s a guitar, a flute, or even a keyboard you download on your iPad or PC, those five minutes a day are valuable. They establish connections in the brain that make the next five-minute practice easier and more productive.</p> <h2>9. Exercise</h2> <p>You don&#39;t have to lift weights or run track. There are plenty of exercises that you can do at your desk or around the place of business. A simple, brisk walk around the building can burn calories and make you feel better. A few pushups in your office is perfectly acceptable, easy enough to do, and is a great way to work out. Of course, don&#39;t go mad; you don&#39;t want to be dripping with sweat in your work clothes. (See also: <a href="">10 Exercises to Do at Work</a>)</p> <h2>10. Learn a Language</h2> <p>You can get books and audio CDs for free from your local library. Spend just 30 minutes a day practicing this, and within a year you could have a few languages under your belt. In today&#39;s much smaller world, those skills will come in very handy, and could open up a world of opportunities for you and your career.</p> <h2>11. Make Those 30 Minutes <em>Yours</em></h2> <p>If everything else on this list seems too much to handle, try doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Turn off your cell phone. Leave the office. Don&#39;t watch TV or listen to the radio. Don&#39;t read a book. Just take some time to go off the grid, even if it&#39;s just for 10 minutes. That complete freedom is exhilarating and can even get addictive.</p> <p><em>How do you spend your lunch hour?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Things You Can Do on Your Lunch Break to Change Your Life" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development goals quick fixes self improvement Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:24:13 +0000 Paul Michael 1116897 at The 6 Worst Resolutions Most of Us Will Make for 2014 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-worst-resolutions-most-of-us-will-make-for-2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="diet" title="diet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Well, here we are again... &#39;Tis the season, right?</p> <p>Time for gift giving and celebration, time to eat, drink and be merry, and yes, time to start sketching out those New Year&#39;s resolutions. (See also: <a href="">Small New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a>)</p> <p>But before you pen your list for 2014, you might think twice about the goals you choose to set.</p> <p>After all, it&#39;s no secret that we&#39;re notoriously bad at keeping our resolutions. Oh, we start out with the best intentions but inevitably, we just can&#39;t seem to make those new habits stick. Even more discouraging is that most of those resolutions are carry-overs from years past, meaning that we&#39;ve tried not one, not two, but several years &mdash; sometimes decades &mdash; to make our resolutions a reality.</p> <p>And here we are again.</p> <p>So, rather than simply going through the motions, let&#39;s look at some ways to improve that list and thus, our chances for success. (See also: <a href="">Tips for Making Resolutions Stick</a>)</p> <h2>The Worst Resolutions <em>Ever</em></h2> <p>First and foremost, there are some resolutions that you should never make. As in, ever, because they&#39;re the hardest to keep and hence, the most commonly broken. Unfortunately, they&#39;re also the resolutions we most frequently make, so let&#39;s start by scratching these off your list.</p> <h3>Workout More</h3> <p>I think we can all agree on the appeal of having six-pack abs and a backside that looks good in everything. Ditto on the benefits of being more flexible and strengthening your heart.</p> <p>But if you think listing this as a resolution will transform you from a couch potato to a lean, mean exercising machine, you need to think again. Yes, in the beginning, we&#39;re all fired up and excited about the prospect of that svelte new physique, so we happily commit to gym memberships and personal trainers.</p> <p>The problem is that when we don&#39;t stick to this commitment (and we typically don&#39;t), we&#39;re left with a gym membership we don&#39;t use in addition to that nasty feeling of failure. This is bad for both our wallet as well as our self-esteem and in the end, we&#39;ll give up on the resolution altogether. (See also: <a href="">How to Revive Your Resolution to Exercise</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>So, let&#39;s instead try to face the real reasons we aren&#39;t already working out.</p> <p>For example, are you just so busy that you barely have time to think? If your schedule is already hectic, you&#39;re not likely to suddenly find time for a regular workout without first adjusting said schedule.</p> <p>Have you tried working out before but find yourself frustrated because you&#39;re not seeing results? Then you may want to try setting more realistic goals, adjusting your diet and/or talking to a trainer about your technique or regimen.</p> <p>The point is, if you&#39;re not already committed to creating that fabulous body, simply writing it down as a resolution won&#39;t be enough to change your disposition. Figure out why you&#39;ve been putting it off and that will help you decide how to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. (See also: <a href="">10+ Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h3>Eat Healthier</h3> <p>I&#39;m a big proponent of eating healthy. I love salads, for example, and I try to serve grilled or baked fish to my family at least twice a week. I even spent three years as a vegetarian and I can honestly say that I felt noticeably and amazingly better while I was doing it. (See also: <a href="">10 Healthy Things to Eat in the New Year</a>)</p> <p>But that doesn&#39;t mean that I don&#39;t still enjoy a cheeseburger with extra onions now and then, and I&#39;m a self-proclaimed chocoholic, so although I&#39;ve cut down on sweets, they&#39;re not gone completely.</p> <p>And I&#39;ve found that this allowance for indulgence works well for me. Diets, unfortunately, do not.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Telling yourself that you <em>can&#39;t</em> eat something is the quickest way to trigger a craving for it, and if there&#39;s one thing TV vampires have taught us, it&#39;s that the &quot;thirst&quot; always wins. Besides, you can only eat so much cottage cheese and grapefruit before you&#39;ll start to get bored and once you lose interest, the diet is all but over.</p> <p>The result is that you give into a craving, fall off your diet, and then feel guilty for the small pleasure.</p> <p>Drastic diet changes also often require you to change more than just your calorie intake and that can make this goal even harder to achieve. (See also: <a href="">Goal Setting, Defined</a>)</p> <p>Some diets insist that you eat only their products, for example, or that you buy and cook expensive and hard-to-find produce, making your resolution to eat healthier more difficult and costly than you had expected. And what happens when we run into too many obstacles? Yep, we find reasons to quit and do something else instead.</p> <h3>Be Happier</h3> <p>To make a conscious effort to be happier is a wonderful idea in theory, but you first need to figure out why you&#39;re not already gloriously cheerful and then decide how to address those obstacles to contentment. (See also: <a href="">Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today</a>)</p> <p>Simply making the vague &quot;I&#39;m going to be happier&quot; statement doesn&#39;t deal with whatever it is that has been consistently tanking your mood; that requires some soul-searching and self-improvement work, two things we often shy away from.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>After all, soul-searching can be painful. It requires us to be honest about our shortcomings, and given the choice between owning our circumstances or investing in a quick-fix, we&#39;ll opt for the quick-fix almost every time. And although the &quot;change your life&quot; programs and practices may deliver some initial bliss, it&#39;s superficial and thus, typically short-lived.</p> <p>That doesn&#39;t mean that you can&#39;t benefit from some &quot;get happier&quot; mantras, but you&#39;ll have to dig deeper if you want the happiness to last.</p> <p>And before you trade this resolution for an equally vague &quot;eliminate stress,&quot; consider this: An ongoing study at the <a href="">Longevity Project</a> suggests that those who are happiest are those who&#39;s lives have purpose, which means responsibility, accountability and yes, the stress of working toward a goal.</p> <h3>Get Organized</h3> <p>I&#39;ll fess up &mdash; this one has been on my list for as long as I can remember. And I&#39;ve made many valiant attempts to see it to completion. The reason I keep falling short is that I&#39;m not quite sure where to start. Do I organize my closet, my desk, my kitchen cabinets, or all of the above?</p> <p>My solution to this anxiety was to invest in things I thought would enhance the process. The problem was, I just ended up with a bunch of file folders and storage containers but still no real concept of where to begin. (See also: <a href="">Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I finally had to admit that I&#39;m simply not an organized person.</p> <p>Once I admitted that to myself, it was easier to get realistic about how much organization I could actually manage and then not feel guilty because I don&#39;t match my socks before putting them in a drawer. I put them in the drawer &mdash; organization accomplished.</p> <p>Which brings me to the second reason this particular resolution is so hard to achieve.</p> <p>Are you having trouble functioning because of all the clutter or are you just trying to stop the looks of disappointment from your more organized friends and family members?</p> <p>Determining your reasons can help you decide exactly how much organization you really need, so I strongly suggest you consider both why you&#39;re unorganized as well as why you feel you need to become organized. Would compiling all your important papers into a filing cabinet suffice, for example, or are you a serious candidate for the next season of &quot;Hoarders&quot;?</p> <h3>Fall in Love/Get Married</h3> <p>Who doesn&#39;t want to find that special someone that you&#39;ll spend the rest of your life with? The problem is, love doesn&#39;t work that way and making this kind of resolution is just setting yourself up for failure.</p> <p>It&#39;s one thing to decide you&#39;ll &quot;put yourself out there more&quot; so that you can meet new people, but the rest is unpredictable, and if you try to put a new relationship on a clock, you&#39;ll just wind up being disappointed or, worse, settling for someone just to complete your goal. (See also: <a href="">Get a Drink on Your First Date</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>A better option would be to look at why you feel this resolution is worth listing in the first place. Are you just tired of not having a &quot;plus one&quot; or is there something deeper going on?</p> <p>It&#39;s easy to believe that life will somehow become better and more magical with a soul mate at our side but the truth is, that soul mate isn&#39;t responsible for your happiness nor can they fix your problems. Only you can do that, and your energy is better spent creating a magical life that doesn&#39;t require a better half to make it work.</p> <p>Plus, cliche or not, it&#39;s true: you&#39;re much more likely to meet &quot;The One&quot; when you&#39;re not looking and what better way to shift your focus than to start working on yourself?</p> <h3>Save More Money</h3> <p>The idea of saving is certainly a sound one and in theory, this resolution is worth your time. But unless you have a specific plan for saving, you&#39;re probably not going to reach this goal and may in fact, end up frustrated and even further in debt. (See also: <a href="">Set the Right Goals to Save More</a>)</p> <p>The reason? There are two actually.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>First, if you&#39;ve made any of the other resolutions listed above, you&#39;ve probably added some new expenses to your budget, making it even more difficult to squeeze some savings out of your paycheck and that leaves you feeling torn between doing the things you really want to do versus stowing money away in an emergency fund.</p> <p>Secondly, we&#39;re an all or nothing society. When we do something, we tend to do it big, expecting to implement a complete 180 turnaround in our behavior and habits. But of course, life doesn&#39;t work that way and as soon as you declare &quot;absolutely NO frivolous spending whatsoever,&quot; that Kindle you&#39;ve been wanting goes on sale or oh, look! Payless just texted you a coupon for 20% off everything in the store.</p> <p>You&#39;ll refrain of course, because you&#39;re committed to making this very important change in your life, but sooner or later, you&#39;re going to start feeling deprived. After all, you work hard for your money and if you can&#39;t even afford to buy yourself something nice once in a while, then what&#39;s the point?</p> <p>That frustration will soon lead to an inner rebellion, and you&#39;ll find yourself binge-spending to make up for all the suffering you had to endure in the past.</p> <h2>Making a Better Resolution</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>But what if you really do want to get in shape, organize your life, save more money, etc?</p> <p>The trick is in your approach, and as I&#39;ve already mentioned, the more vague the resolution, the harder it will be to accomplish. If your goal is simply to do something &quot;more,&quot; for example, then how do you know when you&#39;ve done it? Exactly what constitutes more? 10%? 20%?</p> <p>Goals need to be measurable, as in &quot;I did exactly that,&quot; so that you can check it off your list. You don&#39;t just want to lose weight for instance, you want to lose 10 pounds. And you&#39;re not just trying to save money &mdash; you want to stash $3000 to put toward a new car. (See also: <a href="">How to Measure Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to track your progress and reach your goal.</p> <p>The second thing to remember is that you are who you are. Just as I had to come to terms with my tendency to be disorganized, we also have to acknowledge our tendencies to eat fast foods, skip the gym, veg on the couch, and spend instead of save.</p> <p>That doesn&#39;t mean we can&#39;t instill some new and healthier habits, but it does mean we have to be realistic about our expectations. If you&#39;ve never run a day in your life for example, setting a goal to run a marathon is just a tad over-ambitious.</p> <p>Better to start with something much smaller, such as walking around the block every evening or taking the stairs at work. Want to write the Great American Novel? Start with writing for 10 minutes, three times a week.</p> <p>To save money, take a $20 out of each paycheck. Eat healthier? Commit to a salad two or three times a week and at least two full glasses of water a day. Every one of these goals is completely doable and still guaranteed to give you that &quot;look at me&quot; feeling when you succeed.</p> <p>Yes, I realize these smaller goals may not be as impressive as your original list, but you&#39;re much more likely to achieve them and how awesome would it be to actually not have any carry-over resolutions when you make your list again for 2015?</p> <p><em>What terrible resolutions are you planning to make for 2014?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Worst Resolutions Most of Us Will Make for 2014" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development resolutions self improvement Thu, 26 Dec 2013 11:25:20 +0000 Kate Luther 1102578 at 25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bicycling" title="bicycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Variety is more than just the spice of life; it expands our experience and makes our lives more fulfilling. Unfortunately, many of us are bound to tight, overwhelming schedules that leave little room for novelty or adventure. The good news is that making your life more interesting is easy if you are willing to make small departures from the norm. Here are 25 simple ways you can make your life more interesting &mdash; starting today. (See also: <a href="">Reasons to Change Your Routine</a>)</p> <h2>1. Greet the Dawn</h2> <p>Even if you&#39;re not a morning person, plan to watch the sun rise. Prepare for this moment by picking out a view point and determining when the weather in your area will be clear enough to usher in a beautiful day. Brew some strong coffee and bring a friend along. As the sun rises, remind yourself of all the possibilities that a new day holds.</p> <h2>2. Take a Different Path</h2> <p>Give yourself some extra time to take the scenic route to work. Try side streets instead of the freeway. Make a conscious effort to change your routine travels once-in-a-while and discover new places and new people.</p> <h2>3. Plan a Mini Roadtrip</h2> <p>Explore new vistas right around the corner. Search the web for nearby points of interest or comb the countryside for vegetable stands and garage sales. You don&#39;t have to travel far or spend a lot of time (or money) to make the most of the miles you roam. (See also: <a href="">14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a>)</p> <h2>4. Move to the Beat of a Different Drummer</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Tired of listening to the same old song? Applications like <a href="">Spotify</a> allow users to preview different artists and listen to entire albums for free. Spotify can also make suggestions for other music based on the genres you enjoy most. Who knows, your quest for variety might reveal a whole new musical interest!</p> <h2>5. Turn Off Your TV</h2> <p>Watching TV is a passive activity at best. Why not turn it off for a day and actively search out your news and entertainment elsewhere? Read a newspaper, enjoy a play at a community theater, or simply revel in some rare silence.</p> <h2>6. Make Something Interesting</h2> <p>Try your hand at crafting. Explore <a href="">making simple recyclable crafts for kids</a> or try reconnecting with a skill you already have. <a href="">Pintrest</a> is a great place to search for quick and simple projects.</p> <h2>7. Find a Poem</h2> <p>Awaken your inner Shakespeare by penning a sonnet from words you find in newspapers, owners&#39; manuals, magazines, or even this blog post. For example, choose every third word from your found material and place them into a word bank. Next, choose words from your bank that fit into a Haiku format (5 syllables for the first line, 7 for the next, and 5 for the last).</p> <h2>8. Wander Down Memory Lane</h2> <p>Remember all those pictures you took at your last family reunion or vacation? What about that old diary tucked away in the shoebox? Find those memories and spend some time with them. As you wander down memory lane, reflect on what was interesting to you back then. Sparking a new interest can start by rekindling forgotten embers.</p> <h2>9. Visit With Children</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Kids aren&#39;t afraid to color outside the lines or paint the sky orange instead of blue. Spending time in their company will open you up to the wild musings of your inner child. The young folks in your life will revel in the attention and sometimes, as the old saying goes, kids say the darnedest things! (See also: <a href="">15 Free Ways to Entertain Kids</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make Your Own Value Meal</h2> <p>If you had only $2.00 to make a meal, what would be on the menu? Scrounge around your pantry first and complement your culinary findings with a $2.00 purchase (or less) at your local grocery store or farmer&#39;s market.</p> <h2>11. Play Anthropologist</h2> <p>Grab a small notebook and a pen and situate yourself in a park, at a cafe, or in the mall. Write down your observations of the people you see and make notes of the tidbits of conversation you can&#39;t help overhearing. This exercise takes you out of your own head and tunes you into the world around you.</p> <h2>12. Perform Random Acts of Kindness</h2> <p>Make your day more interesting by bolstering your positive outlook and giving someone else&#39;s mood a little lift. <a href="">Research in positive psychology</a> shows that doing something unexpected and kind has benefits for you, as well as others. Try holding the door for someone, send a thank you e-mail, or try composing a &quot;<a href="">love letter&quot; to a stranger</a>.</p> <h2>13. Eat Outside the Box</h2> <p>Introduce your taste buds to a new experience. Maybe you&#39;ve noticed a new restaurant or heard about an ethnic cuisine you&#39;ve never eaten. Go ahead and give it a try &mdash; even if you only have an appetizer at first. For maximum effect, search out a recipe on your cuisine of choice and make it at home.</p> <h2>14. Have a Simple Scavenger Hunt</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed how focusing on one thing makes other things nearly impossible to see? Challenge your awareness patterns by going on a quick scavenger hunt in your home or office. Choose a simple trait to look for, like words spelled containing the letter &quot;Q&quot; or anything with the color green in it. Try to amass a collection of ten things that meet your chosen criteria. You might even find those long lost keys in the process.</p> <h2>15. Flip a Coin</h2> <p>Can&#39;t decide between two items on a menu or what to do on a random Sunday afternoon? Call one heads and the other tails and leave the decision to random whims of chance. You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.</p> <h2>16. Discover Treasure at the Library</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Visit your local library and wander among the shelves. Scan the titles for something that grabs your attention and then look at the books on the shelves above and below. Because of libraries&#39; organization system, there&#39;s a good chance you&#39;ll find something related, but just slightly different from what you originally found interesting.</p> <h2>17. Volunteer</h2> <p>What better way to make your day more interesting than to be the change you want to see in the world? Consider the local groups who do good work in your community. Reach out to them and offer your time and talent. If you are unsure where to start, an online resource like <a href=""></a> can help connect you to the causes near and dear to your heart. (See also: <a href="">Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a>)</p> <h2>18. Spend Time With Pets</h2> <p>Animals can be an endless source of interest and entertainment for the people in their lives. Treat your dog or cat to a new toy and spend a little time helping them enjoy it. Don&#39;t have a pet? Consider adopting one from a shelter or pet sit for a friend.</p> <h2>19. Revisit Your Childhood Dreams</h2> <p>What do you want to do when you grow up? Try to recall how you answered that question as a child. Did you want to be a nurse, an artist, or used car salesperson? If you&#39;re not already living that five-year-old&#39;s dream, take some time to read about the career you would have picked for yourself.</p> <h2>20. Stop and Smell the Roses</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>When did you last spend time enjoying a rose bush, bed of hydrangeas, or a beautiful bouquet at the grocery store? Flowers have been evolving for over 100 million years to bring you their enchanting looks and inviting fragrances.</p> <h2>21. Don&#39;t Surf &mdash; Stumble</h2> <p><a href="">StumbleUpon</a> is a free web-based tool that helps you discover new sites, photos, and blogs. Just select what interests you, and StumbleUpon will suggest random related websites.</p> <h2>22. Repurpose Something</h2> <p>Add interest to your day, save money, and help the environment at the same time. Find an everyday object and envision another use for it. Brainstorm reuse ideas for typical throwaways like paper plates, coffee cups, and plastic bags. What new and useful creations can you make? (See also: <a href="">18 Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>23. Say &quot;Bonjour! Ciao! Hallo!&quot;</h2> <p>Learn how to greet someone in a new language. It&#39;s quick and easy to acquire a few simple phrases like &quot;How are you?&quot; and &quot;Thank you&quot; in another tongue. Once you&#39;ve mastered some pleasantries, find someone to practice them with. You might make a new friend in a faraway place!</p> <h2>24. Switch Hands</h2> <p>Most people tend to prefer one hand over the other for writing and other manual tasks. If it&#39;s safe and practical, try writing a short note or doodling a simple picture with your other hand. See if you can master simple tasks using your non-dominant hand.</p> <h2>25. Realize That Today Really Is Interesting</h2> <p>Maybe today is &quot;National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day&quot; or &quot;Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day.&quot; <a href="">Find out what&#39;s special about today</a> or learn about <a href="">what happened today</a> in history.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to do anything extravagant to experience a little variety in your life. Let go of the reins a bit and see where the ride takes you. Meeting new people, finding a poem, or a reviving a dormant talent carry benefits that extend far beyond breaking out of the mundane.</p> <p><em>What will you do to make your life more interesting today?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development activities crafts hobbies self help self improvement Thu, 31 Oct 2013 10:36:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1062403 at 10 Simple Ways to Get Your Life Together <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-ways-to-get-your-life-together" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="happy woman" title="happy woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A wise and dear friend of mine once said, &quot;You can't think yourself into living right; you have to live yourself into thinking right.&quot; It was a revelation to me at the time, though it went against nearly every pop-psychology cliche I'd heard or self-help advice I'd read in books. But it makes perfect sense; change doesn't have to be overwhelming to matter. Often the best thing we can do to change the course of our lives is to change the course of our days &mdash; to stop analyzing, stop trying to find just the right answer, stop trying to muster the perfect motivating moment &mdash; and simply <em>begin</em>. (See also: <a href="">25 New Things to Do Today</a>)</p> <p>And when it comes to making a change in our lives, size doesn't matter. What matters is action &mdash; no matter how small &mdash; that leads to the next action. Over time, one small success builds on another, motivation grows, and greater things follow.</p> <p>With that simple recipe in mind, here are 10 ways you can make your life feel more together right now. Start with one or two; see how they make you feel and where they take you.</p> <h2>1. Make Your Bed</h2> <p>I've always thought that the tone of a day is set early. Admittedly, making the bed is a small gesture, but it can inspire bigger things. Maybe once the bed is made, you'll feel like brewing your own coffee instead of swinging by the coffee shop, you'll pick up donuts for the office, or you'll remember to get gas before your long commute home. No matter what, when you walk in the door at the end of the day, there'll be a pristine bed waiting for you. (See also: <a href="">15 Life Hacks That Will Save You Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get a Haircut</h2> <p>A fresh haircut helps us feel better about how we look, and that's a powerful thing. Maybe that new cut will be complemented by a crisp ironed shirt, polished shoes, or an extra-close shave. Maybe it will give you the confidence to start a conversation with someone new, speak up at a meeting, or grab dinner with the boss after work.</p> <h2>3. Make a Savings Deposit</h2> <p>Even a small deposit in a savings account is movement in the right direction. Don't get hung up on numbers to the extent that you discourage yourself from saving and planning for the future. Watching that balance gradually grow is a huge motivator and one that builds its own momentum. (See also: <a href="">Which Type of Savings Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Car</h2> <p>Most of us spend so much time in our cars that they become nearly an extension of our homes. Cleaning and organizing our cars can help organize our days and avoid the mental clutter that physical clutter can lead to. Give your car a good wash, vacuum the interior, wash the windows, and toss out any accumulated trash. You'll be surprised just how well the old buggy cleans up and how good it can make you feel.</p> <h2>5. Balance Your Checkbook</h2> <p>Whether you do it the old-fashioned way or online, balancing your accounts and knowing how much money is at your disposal is empowering. And though it may often seem like a chore, understanding the status of your checking and savings accounts (whether that status is good or bad) can have a reassuring effect. If there's work to be done, you know exactly where your energies should be directed. If things are humming along smoothly, you may find that you have much more cash available to save.</p> <h2>6. Remember a Birthday</h2> <p>Few acts demonstrate being on top your game like remembering a birthday. Don't depend on a reminder and don't simply wish someone well on Facebook. Buy a card and send it the mail, bake a few muffins, or pick up the tab at lunch. Small gestures of remembering leave big impressions.</p> <h2>7. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>Thoreau said, &quot;Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.&quot; Especially in our hyper-connected and world, unplugging and going for a walk is the ultimate form of free therapy. Walking can help clear your head, process the events of the day, plan for tomorrow, and provide the exertion and relaxation that lead to a good night's rest. Work to make walking part of your day and consciously gauge the before-and-after difference it makes in your perspective. (See also: <a href="">25 Reasons to Take a Walk</a>)</p> <h2>8. Read a Good Book</h2> <p>Your imagination is a muscle and nothing exercises it quite as well as reading. In a way that watching TV never can be, reading is active. When we immerse ourselves in a good book, we forget the troubles of the day, we learn something new, and we travel outside our own world for a while. It's a painless and inexpensive way to positively bookend our days.</p> <h2>9. Clean Out Your Wallet or Purse</h2> <p>Tired of rummaging through the chaos of your disorganized purse or trying to find some cash in a wallet the size of a burrito? Park yourself next to the paper shredder; it's time for some light filing. Cleaning out the detritus from our wallets and purses honors our time and our energy. Decide what's essential to carry with you and create an easy filing system to organize the rest. Choose a smaller purse or slimmer wallet to discourage future titanic totes and whale wallets.</p> <h2>10. Floss</h2> <p>My dentist always tells me that if a person has to make a choice every day between brushing and flossing, he recommends the latter. Thankfully, we're usually not presented with an either/or scenario for our dental hygiene. If you haven't already, embrace flossing as an important part of your daily routine; you'll keep your teeth and gums happy and make denture makers sad.</p> <p>Feeling like our lives are together begins with small gestures we do for ourselves and some we do for others. After all, doesn't attending to the details of our own lives leave us a bit freer to more broadly help others? Or maybe the true marker of being a &quot;together&quot; person is knowing that there really are no details &mdash; that the smallest things matter and the subtlest achievements can build the biggest change.</p> <p><em>What little things do you do each day to feel more together or organized? How do they change your mood or motivate bigger achievements?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Simple Ways to Get Your Life Together" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development self help self improvement Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:36:14 +0000 Kentin Waits 991206 at 10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-must-do-mid-year-resolutions-to-get-you-back-on-track" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="running" title="running" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make New Year's resolutions (for better or worse), and by now we've all broken them &mdash; many of us six months ago, in fact. That's why this is the perfect time to get back on track with a few mid-year resolutions. To help you drum up the motivation to improve your life in the thick of summer, here are a few ideas. (See also: <a href="">5 Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Back in the Gym</h2> <p>At the top of everyone's New Year's resolutions list is exercising more and losing weight. It's an admirable goal, but it's totally misplaced. Who wants to start a new workout routine and hit the gym in the dead of winter? Not this guy &mdash; and I bet you don't either. There are so many things wrong with this particular resolution at the beginning of the year, but what stands out the most to me is having to take off three layers of clothing just to put them back on an hour later, and fighting over a treadmill because everybody and their brother is trying to shed the pie weight starting January 3.</p> <p>So cut yourself some lack, don't worry if you hibernated for a while, and <a href="">hit the gym</a> when the weather's right for it. Start now and stick to it, and you'll go into the holidays a little lighter, allowing you to indulge without beating yourself up about it.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Cook Healthier</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I eat lighter in the summer. Partly because there's so much fresh produce available, but also because it's just too darn hot to dive into a heavy dish.</p> <p>If you're a slave to comfort food, take this opportunity to use the abundance of nature's goodies that are available right now and incorporate them into your diet. It's not hard, and it's not expensive either.</p> <p>For instance, tonight I'm making grilled chicken paired with sauteed grape tomatoes and a side salad. Totally healthy, and it'll take me less than 15 minutes total cooking time from start to finish. You can do this yourself if you stick with a no-fuss menu the entire week: grilled meat (broiler if you don't have a grill), roasted or sauteed veggie, side salad. Those are the essentials, and you can whip these up even if you don't know how to cook that well. Try it and surprise yourself. That's what mid-year resolutions are all about, right?</p> <h2>3. Organize Your Work Life</h2> <p>A lot of companies have summer hours these days &mdash; sometimes it's an early closing on Fridays, but in some cases employees get every Friday off from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you're blessed with the latter, you've got a great job.</p> <p>Nonetheless, these summer hours are the perfect time to organize your work life &mdash; from cleaning your desk to organizing your files to throwing your moldy lunches in the trash and <a href="">clearing your email inbox</a>. There's no excuse either. Out of the three months' worth of summer hours, you can use two of those off-work hours to get your stuff together. You're not going to the beach every weekend, are you? I didn't think so. There's time to do this. Alas, if you are going to the beach every weekend, you can contact Wise Bread for my address to make sure my invitation gets where it's going.</p> <h2>4. Schedule More Family Time</h2> <p>This is another biggie for New Year's resolutions, but it's hard to implement it and stick to it when the weather is poor. Of course, let's not discount the fact that you've spent several long meals with your family over the holidays, so you may have soured on the idea of &quot;family time&quot; by New Year's Eve.</p> <p>But this is summertime &mdash; the weather is great and you've had a six-month recovery period from the inevitable bickering, one-upping, and general disgust of breaking bread with your brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts multiple times in a month. Why not invite them over for a cookout, then? People are much more laid back when the sun is shining and they're wearing shorts than they are in the throes of winter. The dynamic of family time is completely different during this time of year &mdash; and you might actually enjoy it.</p> <h2>5. Make Home Improvements</h2> <p>There's a small window of opportunity during the winter months when the weather is good enough to make home improvements (at least on the outside), but even if you're a trooper, have you ever smacked your hand with a hammer when it's freezing cold out? If you have, you know what I'm talking about &mdash; and there's absolutely no room in my life for that nonsense.</p> <p>Thus, what I didn't do then, I plan to do now. Join me. Rip off that shirt, put on some sunscreen, and make those home improvements that you've been putting off for far too long.</p> <h2>6. Spend More Time on Yourself</h2> <p>If you're doing the holidays right, you're all about the other people. It's the season of giving, after all. But that can take its toll &mdash; especially if you don't get much for it in return. It happens.</p> <p>Put that out of your mind right now and <a href="">concentrate on you</a>. You deserve it. Take a private vacation, book a massage, lock yourself in the house for a weekend&hellip; do whatever you'd like to do to get back to you. If you have trouble doing that, think about this: The holidays will be here in four months. Remember last year? That should be motivation enough.</p> <h2>7. Adopt a Pet</h2> <p>If you've been thinking about adopting a dog, now is the time to do it. I'm not an expert, but I do have two dogs in New York City that I have to take out for walks at least twice a day. Take it from me, it's much easier trying to potty train a dog in the summertime than it is in the winter. Plus, you'll also get a head start on socializing your new best friend with other dogs since everyone is out and about. By the time winter rolls around, you'll both be settled in with your new life together, which means ample cuddle time when the deep freeze hits.</p> <h2>8. Learn a New Skill</h2> <p>One of the problems people have when making &quot;learn a new skill&quot; a resolution is that they overestimate themselves; they try to learn something that sometimes they're not capable of. Not everybody can do everything, after all. That's why summertime is ideal for learning a new skill because there are a lot of fun &quot;skills&quot; you can learn that are actually achievable. Water skiing, for instance. Or kayaking. Or rock climbing. None of these are ideal during the winter, and they definitely require a level of skill to be proficient. You'll have a great time doing it and squeeze in some exercise, too. No reason not to get started right now.</p> <h2>9. Start Lookin' for Love</h2> <p>There are two reasons why starting a search for a mate is a perfect mid-year resolution opposed to a New Year's resolution: 1) Presumably you look and feel better than you do in the winter &mdash; perhaps you've shed a few pounds and your skin is definitely looking fresher; and 2) there's an abundance of get-to-know-you better activities in the summer than there are in the winter. If you've been thinking about getting back in the game, there's never been a better time.</p> <h2>10. Relax: It's Still Summer Time!</h2> <p>While mid-year resolutions are a great way to get back on track, prepare for the coming months, and set yourself up for success, rest assured that the new year is coming. If you can't be bothered with this right now, just relax. You'll have plenty of time to make and break your annual resolutions in just a little while.</p> <p><em>Do you have ideas for mid-year resolutions? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development Productivity new year resolutions personal deadlines self improvement Tue, 06 Aug 2013 09:36:45 +0000 Mikey Rox 980802 at Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, a friend said that caffeine was a drug because of its addictive elements. I didn't buy his argument, but I accepted the challenge to cut caffeine out of my diet for 30 days. The experiment went well, and I learned that I could apply the 30 day challenge to other areas of my life. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="">Big Changes or Small Changes</a>)</p> <p>A 30 day challenge is simply a goal to make one lifestyle adjustment and stick to it for 30 days.</p> <p>I'm currently almost at the end of another 30 day challenge not to watch any television before going to bed, and it's going pretty well. If I hadn't set a 30 day challenge, I guess that I would have quit a week or two into the challenge. So why was I able to stick it out through the whole 30 days?</p> <h3>The Challenge Builds Self-Esteem and Momentum of Discipline</h3> <p>Each 30 day challenge you complete will convince you that you can actually make the necessary lifestyle changes.</p> <h3>You Can Experiment With Different Lifestyle Improvements</h3> <p>You may never consider becoming a vegetarian forever because that's a bigger commitment than you're willing to make. However, you might be willing to try it out with only a 30 day commitment.</p> <h3>30 Days Is Long Enough to Create a New Habit</h3> <p>...if that's what you're trying to do. But it's also short enough to make you feel as though your goal is within reach. What do you do when your drive and self-control starts to wear down? Usually, we look far ahead in the future and realize that we can't see ourselves keeping up, so we decide to cut our losses. On the other hand, a 30 day challenge helps us to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.</p> <h3>You Focus on Only One Change</h3> <p>Too often, when we consider lifestyle changes, we pile on the goals. We decide that we're going to improve our eating habits, exercise habits, spiritual habits, and financial habits all at the same time. 30 day challenges allow you to intensely focus on the most pressing areas of life change needed.</p> <h3>They're a Cost-Effective Way to Establish a New Habit</h3> <p>Instead of buying a yearlong gym membership, you might make it a 30 day challenge to go to the gym each day. After the 30 day challenge, if you're still doing it and think you'll continue to do it, then you can buy an annual subscription.</p> <h3>15 30-Day Challenges to Consider</h3> <p>In all likelihood, you have a few behaviors you'd like to change or habits you'd like to develop with a 30 day challenge. But just in case you don't, here are 15 to consider, beginning with the two I've just accomplished.</p> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="">No caffeine</a></li> <li>No TV</li> <li>No sugar</li> <li>Talk to someone at the grocery store every time you visit</li> <li>Go vegan or vegetarian</li> <li>Morning prayer, meditation, or devotional</li> <li>Avoid using your credit card</li> <li>No spending aside from necessary purchases like groceries</li> <li>Write every day</li> <li>Exercise every day</li> <li>Eat an apple a day</li> <li>Drink only water and cut out all other beverages</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Write a letter</a> of appreciation each day to a loved one</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Read a book a week</a></li> <li>Complete a hobby or lingering task</li> </ol> <p>We all know we need to grow and improve in certain areas. By setting a 30 day challenge, we're much more likely to change than if we set multiple long term goals. Try it, and let us know how it works for you.</p> <p><em>Have you ever tried a 30 day challenge? How did it go? What would you like to challenge yourself to do for 30 days?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Craig Ford</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development 30 day challenge change your life habits self improvement Thu, 02 May 2013 10:36:35 +0000 Craig Ford 973694 at 25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-be-a-better-person-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Happy woman" title="Happy woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="134" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently came across five principles for living well. They are:</p> <blockquote><p>Today &mdash; do not be angry. <br /> Today &mdash; do not worry. <br /> Today &mdash; be kind to yourself and others. <br /> Today &mdash; be honest to yourself and others. <br /> Today &mdash; work diligently.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">&ndash; Usui Sensei, 1865-1926</p> </blockquote> <p>On the whole, these principles would make you a better person. But they're a bit intangible, and adapting them into your life right away could be overwhelming. What I like about them is the focus on today &mdash; just today. There are so many things we can do just today that can inspire some amazing life changes. Changes that will not only make you a better person, but can enrich your life, save you money, help others and the environment, and instigate a true sense of happiness. (See also: <a href="">44 Ways to Improve Your Health and Happiness</a>)</p> <p>Here are 25 practical ways to apply the above principles and be a better person &mdash; today.</p> <ol> <li>Say thanks &mdash; and mean it. (Here are <a href="">25 really nice ways to do just that</a>).</li> <li>Smile at a stranger.</li> <li>Learn to lean into vulnerability and express your true self. (<a href="">Watch this video</a> as an inspirational primer).</li> <li>Perform one senseless act of kindness per day.</li> <li>Take a <a href="">sabbatical</a> and learn something new about yourself in the process.</li> <li>Do something you've never done before.</li> <li><a href="">Set goals wisely</a> &mdash; and reward yourself for making progress.</li> <li>Start a conversation with a random stranger (in line at the grocery store for example).</li> <li>Create a <a href="">vision board</a> to visualize &mdash; and achieve &mdash; the life of your dreams.</li> <li>Help somebody.</li> <li>Reflect on the amazing moments in your life, and figure out <a href="">how to replicate them</a>.</li> <li>Be 100% honest for an entire day.</li> <li>Be <a href="">generous</a> &mdash; but not to your own detriment.</li> <li>Express disagreement towards injustice.</li> <li>Learn something new. For example, learn how to <a href="">change your life</a> and design the lifestyle you want.</li> <li>Interact with nature. Go for a walk using all your senses, start a garden, or just admire a beautiful sunset.</li> <li>Have fun with a brainstorm session of <a href="">100 ways to change your life in 20 minutes</a>.</li> <li>Cook a meal for somebody.</li> <li>Save money. (Here are 37 ways <a href="">start saving today</a>).</li> <li>Try letting somebody in line in front of you or driving consciously and kindly, and see if it actually makes you late. (You might surprise yourself).</li> <li>Give your kids a leg up in life and <a href="">make finance a family affair</a>.</li> <li>Learn about a worthwhile cause, and get involved.</li> <li>Choose three ways to be <a href="">nicer to the environment</a> and implement them. (For example, reduce your <a href="">standby power</a> consumption, <a href="">make your office green</a>, start a <a href="">coffee cup revolution</a>, or <a href="">conserve water</a>).</li> <li>Create your own definition of <a href="">financial freedom</a>, and inject a dose of passion into your budget.</li> <li>Regain your youth, and play with some children.</li> </ol> <p>This is just a start. How can you become a better person today?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Giving Back happiness self improvement Wed, 31 Aug 2011 10:36:16 +0000 Nora Dunn 679839 at 7 Ways to Inspire Others <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-ways-to-inspire-others" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Inspire Others" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Conventional wisdom tells us that we cannot change people.</p> <p>Certainly, we cannot make someone change who is unwilling to change. The results of our attempts to direct different actions, behaviors, and thoughts will not be immediate, guaranteed, or precisely as we envisioned. But you and I really can be agents of transformation for our colleagues, employees, business partners, mentees, and customers.</p> <h3>1. Support</h3> <p>If your colleague, employee, business partner is contemplating a risky or difficult change, let her know that you will provide support to get her through it.</p> <p>Prepare her for what&rsquo;s ahead without dissuading her from starting. Understand what decisions she will face and offer insights in navigating certain issues without being controlling. Anticipate potential problems and have a game plan for dealing with crises.</p> <p>Before promising support, however, make sure that 1) she is committed to the change; and 2) you have already accomplished what she seeks to do. Sharing domain knowledge is just as crucial to her success as genuine encouragement, and she&rsquo;ll need both to succeed.</p> <h3>2. Teach</h3> <p>Giving hands-on instruction and sharing new ideas in a thoughtful, non-threatening manner are frequently overlooked, easy ways of influencing change. Lack of skills and knowledge in a certain area is often interpreted as resistance to adopting new methods or creating a different environment. But this interpretation may be wrong.</p> <p>Instead, your colleague or employee may be intimidated by implementing changes, having tried and failed in earlier attempts. Or, until now, he may have not had the time to devote to acquiring requisite skills. Help him overcome the learning curve. Start with the basics. Build on his knowledge until is able to institute changes on his own.</p> <h3>3. Confront</h3> <p>If you observe over-the-top inappropriate or destructive behaviors, say something. Clearly state what is questionable or unacceptable. Let her know that you are not judging but bringing problems to her attention, cautioning about consequences, making an effort to reverse potentially unhealthy thought patterns.</p> <p>Illustrate outcomes that are likely based on her current direction. If you have been a trusted advisor and loyal mentor, she will realize that such wrong actions will lead to the very outcomes she has been trying to avoid. Your guidance will inspire her to chart a different course to achieving her goals.</p> <h3>4. Divide and Conquer</h3> <p>Coach your colleague to dissect and deal with barriers to success, one by one.</p> <p>If problems are bundled (which they often are), extracting the most prominent obstacle seems nearly impossible. But recognizing that there are many issues wrapped in one big situation is a significant first step in instigating change.</p> <p>Probe for problems and deal with whatever surfaces first. As things unravel, offer insights to help address each topic, one issue at a time. This process can bring about a breakthrough, which smoothes the path for overcoming other issues.</p> <p>Often, what seemed to be a challenge requiring a dramatic change is a collection of problems that can be handled by applying straightforward analytical thinking.</p> <h3>5. Confess</h3> <p>Admitting your imperfections and failures creates the atmosphere for honest dialogue, which can lead to epiphanies and change. This approach may be counterintuitive but is highly effective for the confident person who operates in a safe organizational culture that values transparency and growth.</p> <p>If your colleague has routinely worked with those who tout successes while hiding mistakes and frustrations, she can easily develop the impression that an initiative either succeeds or fails. She may come to believe that a project is either randomly blessed or arbitrarily cursed by the universe.</p> <p>But if she listens to those who are candid about struggles and triumphs, she will gain a more complete understanding of how to achieve business success. Grasping the need for revisiting and adjusting business plans or professional methods inspires the desire for meaningful change.</p> <h3>6. Challenge</h3> <p>Challenge your colleague to move out of his comfort zone. Your purpose is not to push him into doing something he despises, but to prod him to be courageous enough to accomplish his goals.</p> <p>Encourage him to take the steps needed to improve his product lines, sales leadership style, professional relationships, conversion rates. Let him know that he is fully capable of transforming his business but will need to make specific changes to reach his potential.</p> <h3>7. Step Back</h3> <p>Be clear about your position on the changes you believe that your colleague needs to make. But don&rsquo;t force her to change.</p> <p>Instead, give her the freedom to stay the same. Given the time to test her choices, she can conclude independently that she needs to make changes in order to bring about desired results.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business relationships employee management employee relations employee training management self improvement small business Sat, 13 Aug 2011 18:47:58 +0000 Julie Rains 631289 at Underpaid? Here’s How to Fix It. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/underpaid-here-s-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Happy woman at a computer" title="Happy woman at a computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you underpaid? If yes, are you prepared to do something about it? The folks at <a href=""></a> are willing to bet $20 that you&rsquo;ll have your raise inside of six months with their help.</p> <h2>Find Out Where You Are on the Pay Scale</h2> <p>By simply inputting your career, location, and income data, GetRaised will tell you if you may be underpaid or not. Their sophisticated salary engine derives this conclusion from amalgamated government data, user data, and current job postings.&nbsp;In putting together this research, GetRaised noted that a huge majority of employees are actually underpaid. Some know it and aren&rsquo;t sure how to ask for a raise, while others wrestle with issues of whether they deserve a raise or not.</p> <p>GetRaised solves both of these problems by telling you if you are indeed underpaid, and then giving you the tools to successfully get a raise.</p> <h2>There Are Good Reasons to Ask for a Raise</h2> <p>The majority of the team behind GetRaised started off at <a href="">Thrive</a>, an online financial planning service. &ldquo;When our data scientists were looking at the Thrive data, we noticed that women were actually better savers than men in that they were saving a higher percentage of their income, but because their income was so much lower, they were actually saving less money in total,&rdquo; says Matt Wallaert, Lead Scientist at</p> <p>And concerns about the&nbsp;<a href="">increasing gender-wage gap</a>&nbsp;extend to everybody &mdash; male, female, overpaid, and underpaid.&ldquo;When people feel underpaid and undervalued, they aren&rsquo;t good, productive workers. They still go to work, but they go feeling miserable, and they make other people miserable,&rdquo; says Matt. And this contagious attitude can create some pretty miserable workplaces.</p> <h2>How GetRaised Works</h2> <h3>Step One</h3> <p>Input your career and location data for free on the <a href="">GetRaised website</a> to discover if you are underpaid. If you are, move on to step two. (If not, pat yourself on the back for having an awesome employer.)</p> <h3>Step Two</h3> <p>Sign up to &ldquo;Get Raised&rdquo; for $20. They&rsquo;ll ask you a few more questions about your goals, employer, job, and circumstances. From this you&rsquo;ll receive a custom &ldquo;Raise Request,&rdquo; which is a letter for your boss that logically outlines your case for getting a raise and requests a meeting to discuss it.</p> <h3>Step Three</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll receive a Raise Guide, which walks you through the process of getting a raise and gives you tips for making your request successful. In addition to the guide, you&rsquo;ll also gain access to your own Process Page, an online tool that keeps you on track to getting that raise, complete with checkpoints, reminders, and task lists.</p> <p>If you follow the process above and don&rsquo;t get a raise in six months, then your $20 is refunded from GetRaised. And since most raises are considerably more than $20, this appears to be a bet you can&rsquo;t lose.</p> <h2>Customer Support and Success Rate</h2> <p>Knowing this basic information about GetRaised, I had a few more questions about usability of &mdash; and rationality behind &mdash; the program. For example, I was concerned about customer service and their true dedication to helping people get the raises they deserve. Can a computer program alone really determine if you're underpaid and help you get a raise?</p> <p>&ldquo;While the site is designed to be self-contained and to have everything you need, customer support is something that is important to us: If you get stuck or have a special situation, you can always ask us and we&rsquo;ll try to help, usually within a few hours,&rdquo; says Avi Karnani, Lead Strategest at And it&rsquo;s not some underpaid (ha ha) pencil-pusher helping you either; even founding members of the team have been known to hop on the phone to help customers with their raise strategies.</p> <p>What is the success rate of Get Raised customers so far? &ldquo;GetRaised went live in early October, so it's still pretty early,&rdquo; says Matt. &ldquo;There isn't a lot of time for people to have generated a raise request, to have turned it in, to have had their meeting, and to have received their raise. That said, of the people who have gone through the process so far, all but one has received a raise, and that young gent is working for a startup that simply couldn't afford an increase: They instead gave him increased equity (which is the currency they have).&rdquo;</p> <p>Debbie (who asked that her last name be withheld) had an inkling that she was underpaid when she checked out GetRaised. And after going through the GetRaised process, she got her raise. &ldquo;The most helpful aspect of GetRaised for me was that the process guided my focus to what matters: Achievements, responsibilities and such. It's easy to get lost in details when trying to examine the job in which you're immersed on a day-to-day basis. GetRaised cleared the fog and helped me clearly identify what I needed to say to make my point.&rdquo;</p> <p>And try as I did to find a disgruntled GetRaised customer, I couldn&rsquo;t. As Debbie says, GetRaised is &ldquo;good value and a win/win situation. You'll either get your raise, or your money is refunded.&rdquo;</p> <p>Plus, financial assistance is available. &ldquo;We built GetRaised as much for waitresses as physicists,&rdquo; says Matt. So if you can&rsquo;t afford the $20 package, then you can apply for sponsorship. GetRaised will find an individual or organization willing to pay $10, and GetRaised will cover the rest.</p> <h2>Tips for Getting a Raise</h2> <p>Here are a few of the tips for successfully getting a raise that GetRaised walks you through:</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s Not All About You</h3> <p>Refrain from telling your boss that you &ldquo;want&rdquo; or &ldquo;deserve&rdquo; a raise. They care surprisingly little about what you want, and much more about how you add value to the business.</p> <h3>Keep Track of Your Accomplishments</h3> <p>Note dates of tenure, certifications, training programs, awards, or initiatives you spearheaded that resulted in new business. This is great fodder for creating your case as a raise-worthy employee.</p> <h3>Know Your Company&rsquo;s Budget Calendar</h3> <p>Asking for a raise just after the annual budgets have been submitted won&rsquo;t be very successful if there isn&rsquo;t money in that budget for you.</p> <h3>Go Above and Beyond</h3> <p>&ldquo;Raises really are earned more than given,&rdquo; says Avi. Although this is true, don&rsquo;t go and <a href="">give up all your vacation time</a> in an attempt to become the model employee. I believe that even when you&rsquo;re gunning for a raise, a balanced approach to work &mdash; and life &mdash; speaks volumes.</p> <h3>Know What Else to Ask for If Money Isn&rsquo;t Available</h3> <p>There are lots of <a href="">tax-free employee perks</a> you can ask for if a monetary raise isn&rsquo;t in the cards. GetRaised&rsquo;s Raise Guide identifies these alternative options and helps you to pursue them.</p> <p>Right now, the only thing disheartening limitation I see with the GetRaised program is that only US residents can take advantage of it. Then again, you&rsquo;ve got to start somewhere.</p> <p>Are you underpaid? Go to <a href=""></a> to find out. You&rsquo;ve got nothing to lose, and possibly a higher paycheck to gain.</p> <p><em>Writer's note: I have no affiliate or vested interest in GetRaised. </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Underpaid? Here’s How to Fix It." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Career Building articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building asking for a raise business website self improvement Tue, 09 Nov 2010 12:00:11 +0000 Nora Dunn 272496 at