Effort: Why it’s Worth Your Time

imagesYU9UE0H4Do you ever have one of those days where you just don’t want to move? You just want to sit back and do nothing all day, whether it’s at work, at home or at school, some days we just kick back and coast through the day.

What a waste of a day.

In the past I’ve talked about people judging other people all the time. This is still true. However, since most people don’t know the people they’re judging they rely on visuals. Basically, they believe what they see you do. So when you have those coasting days you better believe people have noticed and they have already made their judgments of you. That’s why people say first impressions are important. That person doesn’t know you yet so everything they see you do or say filters into their impression of you. So would you rather be seen as the lazy person coasting through the day, or would you rather make a good first impression?

Put in some effort!

I’m going to assume you chose to make a good first impression, otherwise why would you be here? Making an effort in that first conversation shows that person your personality, or in a more professional environment it shows them your etiquette and professionalism. They see you in a more positive light because you show substance and interest and they want to keep talking to you.

But there are many aspects of effort. Maybe you’re trying to impress your boss at work so instead of gathering information for a presentation, you actually make the presentation, jazz it up and hand it in completed ahead of schedule. Maybe your relationship is struggling so you plan a romantic dinner. But instead of going out for dinner you make it yourself at home. You light some candles, put on a little mood music, prepare some dessert and something cute for the two of you to do after dinner.

Don’t fluff it off.

People don’t like to put in effort because it takes…well, effort. They don’t like to put in effort because it puts a strain on them or because it’s hard. But let me ask you something. Have you ever earned anything of value in your life without putting in a little effort? Maybe once or twice. If you’re lucky enough to have things fall into your lap without effort then this page isn’t for you. You get out of life what you put into it and the currency of life is effort. Some of you might say the currency of life is currency actually. And yes, that’s technically true. But if you put enough effort into making money then you’ll make it. If you put enough effort into your job then you’ll get a better one.

People remember your efforts.

Sure people appreciate the minimal things too because I think the little things in life can make all the difference. But nothing wows another person like when you put a solid effort into something. It’s impressive, and it says a lot about you as a person. If you’re looking for that promotion, your boss will remember how much you helped them out with that presentation, If your significant other wasn’t sure where you were at in the relationship, they’ll remember that romantic night you planned out for them. Sometimes putting in that extra effort can be a make or break point in your life.

Yes it’s tiring and yes it’s a lot of work. But take that little bit of extra time and energy you have and put some effort in somewhere. You know where you want to make a difference in your life, start by putting in a little effort.

 

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Break Free From Routine

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Our lives revolve around routines. They make us feel comfortable, they give us a sense of familiarity and they make us more efficient in our everyday lives. We thrive in our routines and so we stay in them. For example, maybe you know going to the gym everyday feels good; you have friends that go there, it’s close to home, you’ve set time aside for it out of your day, and you know where the machines are. It’s familiar, so we stay there. But if one day when it’s time to go to the gym, your friend asks you to go rock climbing instead. It’s physically demanding, it can get your heart racing and it will provide you with a similar overall workout to going to the gym. But even though it’s similar, rock climbing isn’t the gym. It’s not what we normally do and it freaks some of us out. So we hesitate. We try to maintain our routine and we say we’ll go a different day.

Routines get in the way.

While they are fantastic, sometimes routines just get in the way. You do the same things all the time, you eat at the same time, you workout at the same time, you go to bed at the same time. News flash. Not everything revolves around your routine. What if some really great festival is on but it goes later than you’re willing to stay up? If you stick to your routine then you’re going to miss it. But if you break your routine you could have some new experiences, learn new things and meet new people. You can get some interesting opportunities if you’re willing to break your routine.

Leave your comfort zone.

If you were to travel to Ireland and you absolutely loved it there, you could keep going again and again because you know you’ll enjoy yourself. You find new routines there and you make yourself comfortable. But if you keep going back to Ireland, you’ll never see anywhere else! By choosing to stay in your comfort zone you’re choosing to miss out on the rest of the world. Why limit yourself? Maybe Italy is amazing too but you’ll never find out because you’ll never go there. Doing the same thing over and over again is so boring.

Keep a good balance.

If you never have a routine then you won’t be a very efficient person in getting things done because you’re always flying off the handle. But if you’re always following a routine then you’ll never do anything else with your life outside of your routine. So you need to experiment and find a balance that works for you. Maybe you leave yourself an hour or two of free time a day; that way if something comes up you can make up your routine later on in that extra two hours you set aside. Whatever works for you. It’s hard to break from routine so just aim to be flexible.

There are so many things happening outside of your regular routine. Don’t miss out on them. Be flexible enough to experience something new, to leave your comfort zone. Be able to Break free from your routine.

What Makes You Special?

maxresdefaultWhat’s the one thing you want to find in your life? It’s the same thing everyone wants to find. What makes you different from everyone else? What makes you unique? Why do you matter? With so many other people in the world it’s hard to make your mark and feel special because everyone else is trying to do the same thing. And with over seven billion people in the world, a great deal of options that would make you special are being taken by other people first.

So what do you do?

Start with what you like. Chances are if you like something you’ll be more driven to find your niche, your area of expertise, the thing that makes you special. If you like something then you are motivated to do it, so you put more effort in, you have better and more creative ideas, and you don’t give up on it. That’s what you need. With so many other people looking for their own purpose in life you need to be driven to find something that’s uniquely yours.

Take action.

You have lots of good ideas. You even have a few great ideas. But how many of those ideas do you take action on. If you have an idea for something that can make you special, do it.

But what if that idea is unreasonable or out of my league? Stop. That line of thinking is holding you back. There is always a way to do something if you really want to. You hear stories about it all the time on the news. About how so-an-so made a difference by doing this amazing thing. Why is that person any different from you? The only difference between a person who makes the news and makes a difference and you is that they find a way to make their idea a reality.

What makes you special can be anything.

The size or impact of what makes you special means nothing. Maybe you are incredibly nice and helpful and friendly and you cheer people up just by being around them. Or maybe you make world changing scientific breakthroughs every day because of some unique abilities or knowledge. Neither one of these people is any less special than the other. The only difference is why they are perceived as special. The nice person brightens peoples moods which can be life altering on a smaller scale. The person making breakthroughs can be life altering on a larger scale perhaps but they cannot be compared because they are special for different reasons.

Everyone has something that makes them unique.

You just have to find it. It could be world changing or it could be something small that helps someone get through the day. What you do may not be unique on the scale of seven billion people, but the way you do it is uniquely you. For example, if I wanted to cheer someone up, my thought is to get rid of the bad thing that’s bothering them or make it seem insignificant. But maybe that’s not the way you would do it. Maybe you would buy them an ice cream cone and spoil them with kindness.

Change your view of special.

When we think of standing out and being special we think of doing something nobody has done before, or doing some that earns us favor and adoration. And then when we don’t achieve those things we get disappointed. But it is everything you do that makes you special. You cheered that little girl up who dropped her ice cream cone, you said hello to the lady across the street who was feeling lonely, you called your mom and dad, you made your friend laugh when they were having a bad day. You are what makes you special. It is everything you are and everything you do. Maybe the lonely lady was feeling depressed because she was alone and you gave her hope, maybe your friend went home and did something that made their life better they wouldn’t have done if they were still upset. You have no idea what your actions do to the rest of the world or the people you come across. You make a ripple across the world that is unique to you and only you.

You are special and no one can take that away from you.

 

Tell us what you think makes you special!

Relationships: Make Them Stronger

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If you’re in a relationship, chances are you want things to work out. You finally met that guy or girl you’ve been looking for, maybe you’re married and want to stay married or you just want to build your relationship up. What I’m going to tell you is dead simple but it’s something lots of people seem to forget.

Spend time with them.

How many times have you had errands to do and you split them up between yourselves to make them go faster? Or come home and take some personal time? Sharing activities with the person you care about is essential in relationship building. Being in the same room or house as them does not count. Do things together. What strengthens relationships is the time spent together and the memories you make together. How can you do that if you don’t spend time with them?

Find a hobby.

If you’re struggling to make time during the day then the easiest thing for you to do is to both make a commitment to an activity that you’ll do together. Maybe you both like to go bowling, or golfing. Find something you both enjoy and set time aside to do it. Lessons are a great way to do this. Set you and your significant other up for dance lessons or a sports team. It’s something you have a schedule for, and you are less inclined to miss it because you paid for it ahead of time. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s something you’ll both enjoy. You’ll probably even make some new friends doing it!

Find some alone time.

If you have kids, or you’re always spending time with friends, you can lose that one on one time that is so important in maintaining that bond. Take a walk, have a little dinner date or go see a show together. Something to get away from everything else and have that alone time together. Making it special or romantic too gets you bonus points.

If you have problems, Talk It Out.

If you get mad at them or are irritated by something they do, don’t hold it back and stew about it. If you do, you’re just going to explode later on about something little and your partner will be confused. Don’t hold it in, talk it out. If you talk it out, even if the other person doesn’t like what you have to say, they will understand that it bothers you. Personally, I don’t like to know that I’m bothering people. So I might get angry that I’m getting in trouble for something, but I’ll generally try and fix the behavior enough so that it’s not a bother any more. But more generally, if you care about someone then you don’t want to be on their bad side. So talk it out, they’ll understand. Don’t walk away from it either. If you walk away you’re just postponing the problem. And when you walk away from a problem you tend to stay away because it’s a negative experience and it is really hard to go back and address it a second time because now it’s a source of frustration. Talk it out instead of getting worked up, instead of fighting. Fighting solves no problems.

So if you want to strengthen your relationship, find the time to strengthen it. Spend time with that person and make an effort. Talk out your problems instead of stewing about it. Make new memories and genuinely enjoy being with that person. You chose them after all. So take your relationship and make it better. Strengthen it. And love them.

Dare to be Different

dareYou are unique. We all are. We are the product of our upbringing, our experiences and our friends and families. We think differently and act independently of everyone else. Then we go to school. Then we go to work.

What happens when we go to school or work?

We are expected to conform. We are expected to act a certain way, behave a certain way, learn the same things, do things the same way. We fall to peer pressure. We want to be liked by other students or employees or people in general. So we change the way we act, the way we talk, the things we like. We change who we are.

Isn’t that just so boring?

I’m a pretty sociable guy so I meet people every day. I hear the same greetings, the same tone of voice and see the same expressions all the time. However, every once in awhile you meet those people who catch your attention. You say hello and you expect a hello back but instead you get a “Howdy there friend of mine!” It throws you off it catches your attention because it’s different. To me those are the most interesting people in the world. The people who don’t conform, who make their own way and stand out despite the rest of the world.

Be yourself.

Don’t be that person everyone else wants and expects you to be. They have no idea if they like the real you. You know, that person that comes out when you’re with your friends and family who’s completely different from the person you project to the rest of the world?

We do it because we’re scared.

What if nobody likes the real me? What if I’m too different? What if, what if what if what if? Just stop. We want people to like and accept us so we project ourselves to be what we think other people want to see. Then hopefully they’ll like us. We don’t want to be shunned from the group and feel isolated. Here’s the thing.

People will always judge you.

We all make ourselves out to be that person we think other people like. But there are still people that don’t like us right? Still people we don’t get along with that we would rather avoid because we’re fundamentally different people. So you know what, who gives a damn what other people think? They’re going to think whatever they want anyway and judge us just as harshly no matter what we do. It’s because that’s what people do. They judge. Everyone makes judgments all day long every day even if they don’t notice. I don’t like him. That food tastes bad. Who dyes their hair that color? It’s absolutely ridiculous.

So what do you do?

You stop caring what other people think. No matter who you are some people are going to like you and some people aren’t. So be yourself. Be the person that’s different because that’s the person people really want to meet. The real you forms the best relationships because they’re real. The real you thinks differently from everyone else and has a fresh new perspective that nobody else has.

Don’t fall into the trap. Don’t conform to be like everyone else. Dare to be different.

 

Have a different opinion? Let’s hear it! I’m always open to new opinions.

Sugar: It’s Killing You

F-Sugar-cubes-2Sugar is great. It makes things taste better and we crave it because it’s delicious. Who doesn’t like a slice of cake, or some ice cream for dessert? But the truth is there aren’t many worse things to put into your body. The negative effects of sugar are staggering, and the worst part is, it’s almost impossible to avoid it in today’s world and it’s addictive. Let the education begin!

Daily recommended values.

The recommended daily calorie intake for the average woman is 2000 calories and for the average man it’s 2400 calories. It is recommended that less than 10% of your daily calorie intake be from sugar, added or natural. So how much sugar does that work out to be? Well 10 percent of 2000 is 200 calories and one gram of sugar is equal to 3.87 calories. That’s roughly a maximum intake of 52 grams of sugar in a day for women. Now if we do the same thing for men it ends up being about 62 grams of sugar per day. These are the facts. Now it’s time to ruin your day.

How much sugar do you think is in your favorite foods?

Here’s a list of some popular everyday foods and the amount of sugar they contain:

Breakfast

Honey Nut Cheerios – 33g of sugar per 100g of cereal (1-2 servings)

Maple Syrup – 14g per tbsp

Strawberry jam – 10g per tbsp

Fresh fruit – 9g per 3 ounces of fruit

Orange juice – 21g per cup

Milk – 13g per cup

McDonalds large double double – 21 grams of sugar

Small blueberry muffin – 22g of sugar

Lunch

Ketchup – 3.7g per tbsp

Italian dressing – 1.6g per tbsp

Tomato Soup – 10g per cup

Tomato Sauce – 10g per cup

Quaker chewy bars – 29g per bar

Dinner

Barbecue sauce – 6g per tbsp

Teriyaki sauce – 2.35g per tbsp

Baked beans – 13g per serving

Pizza – 3.8g per slice

Pasta – 12g per cup

Sweet and sour sauce – 7g per 2 tbsp

Extras

Chocolate cake – 55g per 1/12 of a cake

Gatorade – 56g of sugar per bottle

Reese Chocolate bar – 24g per bar

Monster Energy drink – 27g per can

Apple Pie – 17g per slice

Fuzzy peaches – 47g of sugar per 64g of candy

Can of pop – 39g per can

Oreos – 7g per two cookies

This is only a basic list. Just take a quick read through and see how much sugar you think you consume in a day. I don’t know about you but I’m so far over the cap it’s ridiculous. I passed the sugar cap after breakfast alone. So now what? You have an idea of how much sugar is in some common everyday foods, but what does it all mean? Is it bad for you? You bet it is.

How does sugar affect you?

First and foremost it rots your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed on simple sugars and produce acid that destroys tooth enamel. This is well established and this has probably affected most of us.  The second problematic thing is that it makes you hungry. There is a hormone in your body called leptin, it’s the thing in your body that says I’m Full. Excessive sugar inhibits leptin so you don’t feel full. This inevitably leads to the next problem. Weight gain. You can see this just walking around your city, and sugar is responsible for most of it. Cutting sugar out of your diet is one of the best ways to lose weight (just so you know!). It also boosts your insulin level and keeps it there. When you have a consistently high level of insulin your sensitivity to it is reduced. This sensitivity loss causes fatigue and high blood pressure leading to a more sedentary lifestyle further contributing to weight gain and obesity. Now for the fun stuff, here’s a list of all the diseases and impairments it can cause:

    • Kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Liver failure
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Heart disease
    • Cognitive decline
    • Gout

 

So how do you feel about sugar now?

That’s pretty brutal isn’t it? I thought so. And based on this list I’m well above the recommended sugar level and you probably are too. That means you are susceptible to everything on this list of problems. There are healthier versions of most foods on this list so it’s easy enough to cut back with a little research. As far as drinks go though, there was only a single thing I looked up with less than 10g of sugar per cup. Water. I don’t know about you but I drink at least four or five cups of something a day. Anything other than water for those five cups puts me over the daily maximum for sugar intake.

This was a huge eye opener for me and I fully intend to make changes to my own diet to support a healthier lifestyle. I hope this was as motivational for you as this was for me. If there’s one healthy change I would strongly recommend to everyone it’s to seriously cutback on your sugar intake. Make a healthy choice today and save yourself in the long run.

Volunteer: Make a Difference

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When I get home from work today, I’m going to eat a warm home cooked meal in a pleasant and clean gated community, have a hot shower in a clean house, snuggle up under a blanket with my girlfriend and watch our favorite show, maybe have some dessert too. Then I’m going to curl up in a comfy bed and get a good, though short, nights sleep. To me that’s normal.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Some people don’t have a home. Some neighborhoods aren’t clean. Some people don’t have nice things. Many people live in unfortunate situations, and there’s nobody there to help them. The environment suffers from littering and pollution and the planet is slowly dying. There are so many issues that just aren’t being addressed, where do we even begin?

Volunteer.

There are volunteer groups for almost anything you can think of. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, an old age home, cleaning up the environment, helping people in areas hit with natural disasters. It’s a really long list. And the best part is, anyone can do it! You just do a little research and find a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.

But what if I don’t want to volunteer?

Some people can’t be bothered to volunteer. They think there are better ways to spend their time, or they just plain don’t care. If the idea of volunteering isn’t your idea of fun then let’s change the way you think about it.

Volunteering is a great networking tool.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds and careers all participate in volunteer opportunities. You know they are good people because they commit their time to helping others or improving their surroundings. Be social, make connections. Maybe you find you like the people more than you thought and that’s the reason you keep going back as opposed to the volunteer work itself.

You are actively making a difference.

Lots of people make donations to charity each year. But this is almost an empty gesture. People give money in the hopes that it makes a difference without any idea of where their money is actually going to or who it’s helping. As a volunteer you are the person making the difference. You know what you accomplished with your efforts because you did it. There’s something that’s so satisfying about seeing the results of your efforts.

Volunteering is a great contribution to make to society. If you’re in a position to help other people, why not do it? It’s a proactive way to make a difference and the thanks you get from the people you help can be extremely rewarding. If you’ve never tried volunteer work before, maybe today’s your day.

Be the one who makes a difference.

Have any volunteer experiences that made a difference in your life? Tell us about it! Leave a comment below.

Failure: Embrace It

This may sound counterintuitive to you. Embrace failure? Nobody wants to be a failure. It makes us look bad, we lose face, we can get laughed at. Most of us will go through life trying to avoid the embarrassment of failure. Failure is one of the worst things that can happen to a person right?

Wrong.

infographic-learning-and-failureI love to fail. I mean, I really hate it too, but I love to fail. Do you know why? No It’s not because I’m crazy. It’s because failure is how you learn. Let me give you an example. My friend asks me to help them fix something. I have absolutely no idea what it is let alone how to fix it. So I could take the easy route, like most people, and say nope not a clue what that thing is, sorry! But that’s not really helpful. Not to me, or the friend who asked me. So instead I could say yeah sure, I’ll give it a shot. Chances are, if they’re asking for help they already know how to fix it so you’d just be holding things for them most likely. But, you would learn how to fix it by watching them. Maybe you drop something, or accidentally break something. That is gut wrenchingly painful in the moment, but remember:

Strong emotions create strong memories.

You broke it. Now you have to fix it again. You’re frustrated, its an endlessly long struggle, you don’t know what you’re doing, you waste your whole day trying to fix it. But you know what? You just spent a whole day fixing that, do you think you might have retained some of that knowledge? You’re damn right you did. But you had to set yourself up to fail in order to learn from it. If you hadn’t volunteered to help with something out of your comfort zone you would have completely missed this opportunity.

Not everybody likes failure.

Most people don’t like to fail. It comes with all those negative emotions that nobody wants. It’s not worth setting themselves up for failure to learn, they want the easy way. I have three words for these people, and this is something I will push in so many aspects of motivation. You need to learn this in life.

Suck it up.

Knowledge stays with you. Failure is forgotten. There’s always that one guy who will never let you live that down. Ditch that guy. See my post on negativity. You might fail this time, but the more you fail, the more you learn. Eventually you’ll know more than that goof who was laughing at you. You become the go to person because you’ve been there and made the mistakes. You know how to fix them, how to avoid them. You have put yourself out there and made the effort. Pretty soon that guy is asking you for your help because he has no idea how to do what you do. He gives up when he doesn’t understand. Don’t be that person. Be the one who fails. Be the one who learns. Own it and become better.

Do you have any failures that have helped you in your life? Tell us how! Leave a comment below.

Courage: Start Something New

I would like to know about starting something new. How do you find the courage?

                                                                        Sharon Yvonne

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Thanks for the question Sharon! Courage is something that everyone already has, but has to discover on their own. If you really boil it down, courage is just the ability to overcome a fear of doing something, and then being able to act on it.

For me the obvious first step is identifying what that fear is. I’ll use this blog as an example. When I started I had no idea if people wanted to hear what I wanted to say, or if they would like my writing. There’s that fear of rejection that lots of people get when starting something new. There are a few steps you could take from here.

Firstly, I could have tested my writing and got an impression of it from people I trust before I started posting things online. Build my confidence up and overcome the fear that way. Or, I could take the approach that I did which was to stop caring if other people liked it or not. At the end of the day you’re trying something new for you. Not everyone else. So it doesn’t really matter if they like it or not because you’re doing for yourself, it’s something you want to do.

Don’t let others hold you back.

The truth is there will always be people who don’t like what you do. If you listen to those people then you let them win. If you want to try something new, you do it because you want to.

Recognize you won’t start off as a savant.

When you start something new, chances are you’re going to suck. You’ve never done it before, how could you be good at it right away? Some people get away with some natural talent but most of us take the hard route.

For me, the courage to start something new comes from recognizing the obstacles, whether they’re self-imposed or otherwise, overcoming them, and being realistic about where you’re going to be skill wise when you start that something. You have to understand the risks and the challenges, brace yourself for it, and then dive into it headfirst. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll learn from them, and you’ll improve. As long as you understand that mistakes will be made, you’ll be in a better state of mind when they actually happen.

I hope this helps Sharon! If anyone else has tips or advice for Sharon, please submit a comment below. The more perspectives and ideas we can provide, the more helpful we will be!

Interactive: Next week is for you!

TellUsHey everyone! I originally started this blog so that I could help other people get motivated in their everyday lives. So far, I’ve posted things that I thought might be particularly helpful for you. But really, it should be you who decides what’s important and what you want information on. It’s you that I’m trying to help so it only makes sense to include you right? In light of that, next week I’m going to try something a little different.

Next week is all about you.

By you I mean everybody reading this blog. I want to know what you want to talk about, what you want to know, and what you need help with. Share your ideas and your opinions in the comments below! The more people that contribute in the comments today the better next week will turn out. I want to get in at least one post per day which means I need at least five people to contribute. It can be anything at all.

Maybe you want to know how to make your workplace more upbeat, let us know! Or you need an easy way to help yourself unwind after a hard day, tell us! Next week, your idea is my focus.

So the way this is going to work is, I’m going to post your question or comment along with your name (if you want to remain anonymous you can email me from the contact page instead) next week along with a little blurb of my take on how to help, or get you motivated or whatever the case may be. Then we’re going to open it up to everyone else. That means you get fresh perspectives, different ideas, new strategies. We’re going to give you as much information as we can to help you out. We want at least one post per day next week but if we get more than five contributors we will absolutely fit you all in, no worries! But I can’t stress this enough.

Contribute, comment and share your ideas with us.

The more feedback and contributions we have the more exciting next week will be. I’d like to think you’re here because you want or like to be motivated (and hopefully enjoy my writing), so let me help focus on you specifically.

So don’t be shy, I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible. Help me so I can help you..