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15 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Become Highly Successful

15 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Become Highly Successful

Have you ever wondered what the secret to success is? For most people, it’s not one specific thing. Rather, it’s the result of many daily habits that are repeated over and over. Here are 15 small things you can do every day to ensure that you’re being intentional with your time and spending it on your priorities. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and watch your success soar!

1. Define your priorities.

What are your main three priorities in your life? What three things do you do with the majority of your time? Do your priorities match up with where you’re spending your time? If so, awesome. If not, you’ll need to work extra hard to be intentional about spending more time on your priorities, and getting rid of the junk that prevents you from doing what’s important to you. Really think about how you want to spend your life – you will likely only feel successful if you spend your time on what matters most to you.

2. Set a schedule for the following day.

Time is our most precious resource, and it’s irreplaceable. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to plan how you’re spending your time.

One way to do this is to take time each evening to write out a schedule for the next day. Writing out your schedule helps for three main reasons: It helps you maximize every hour you are awake; it helps you set aside time to focus on your priorities every day; and it helps you discover if you waste a lot of time. I recently read that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching TV. Setting a schedule will help you avoid the trap of time-suckers like TV.

3. Eat the frog.

“Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

If you’re like most people, there is a task every day you procrastinate because it scares or overwhelms you. This task is your frog, and according to Mark Twain, you should eat it right away in the morning.The problem with procrastinating eating your frog is that it’s hard to concentrate on getting other things done; you’re too busy thinking about the frog you need to eat later. Also, putting it off makes it seem even more overwhelming because you have time to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong with the task.

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Eating the frog early in the day gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s great to start the day feeling successful. Finishing your dreaded task immediately can give you the momentum you need to get other tasks done throughout your day. Plus, they’ll all seem easy compared to the frog you started with.

4. Be honest with the person in the mirror.

Now that we’ve talked about eating the frog, I want to encourage you to be honest with yourself. Just because there’s a frog to eat at the beginning of your day doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to get up way earlier than you normally do to start eating it.

Some people do their best work before sunrise, and others are incredibly productive late in the evening. If you love starting your day at 5 a.m., wonderful – go ahead and eat your frog in the early hours of the morning. If you prefer to sleep in, that’s fine too – go ahead and eat your frog early in YOUR day.

Successful people are honest with themselves. They know that setting a goal of working out every morning at 4:30 a.m. isn’t the best idea if they’ve never been a morning person. They set their goals based on their most productive times.

5. Give yourself deadlines.

Take advantage of a major productivity hack: Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion. If you have less time to complete a task, you’ll likely increase your effort. Think about how clean you can make your house when someone calls and says they’ll stop by in 20 minutes, and how intensely you can focus when you have a an assignment due the next morning. Your effort significantly increases when time is limited.

Giving yourself deadlines to accomplish tasks can help you achieve your goals. As you set your daily schedule, it can help to use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. One way to do this is by using time blocks. Give yourself 55 minutes to accomplish a goal, and then take a planned 5 minute break. Knowing you have limited time will help maximize your productivity during the 55 minute work session. Also, the mini mental breaks from your hard work every hour can re-energize you.

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6. Minimize distractions.

Get rid of as many distractions as possible while you work. If the internet distracts you, set your computer so it’s locked from certain sites during set times of the day. Shut off your phone. Your messages will be there when you’re done with your to-do list.

7. Pause.

Plan time every day to take care of yourself. Set aside time in your schedule for you to give yourself the gift of exercise, quiet time, or ideally both.

8. Plan backward.

One way to move forward toward your big goals is to plan backward when setting goals.

For example, say you want to lose 26 pounds. After you set an initial long-term goal of losing 26 pounds by one year from now, start planning backward and breaking the goal down into doable chunks. If you want to lose 26 pounds in one year, you’ll need to lose 0.5 pounds (1750 calories) each week. This is 250 calories per day. Many people have 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, which means you can decrease your intake by 50 calories every time you eat. That’s a totally doable goal! You’ve now taken a large, overwhelming aspiration and you broke it into very small, achievable daily goals.

Planning backward to move forward works for all kinds of big goals. I have a financial goal I want to meet this year, and I know exactly how many dollars and cents I need to earn each day to hit my mark.

9. Write it down.

Research shows that just by writing your goals down, your chance of achieving them increases significantly! Write down your goals, post them somewhere easily visible, refer to them frequently, and you have a much higher chance of success.

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10. Find an accountability partner.

Accountability partners are great; they encourage and support us as we work toward achieving our goals. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book, exercise regularly, or start a home-based business. Tell someone who will help keep you accountable and check in with you weekly to review your progress. It works great to have an accountability partner who has some similar goals.

11. Compare yourself to others only to fuel your determination.

You really want to feel good about your life? Quit comparing yourself to everyone else if it makes you feel bad. Being envious of others can quickly decrease your happiness and make you feel unsuccessful.

That being said, comparing can be helpful if you’re doing it out of admiration instead of jealousy. If your friend is constantly getting promoted at work, study his habits at the office. Does he always arrive early and stay late, and offer to take on extra projects? Emulating his work ethic may help you get the raise you desire. Is your coworker the picture of perfect health? Comparing your habits to hers may make you realize she takes a walk every day over the lunch hour while you munch on snacks at your desk. Join her for a walk if you aspire to improve your fitness.

‘When we compare in a healthy way (they have that, I’d like it, how can I learn from them to get it?), it can fuel our determination to become more successful.

12. Seek out a mentor.

If there’s a specific area in your life you are passionate about, choose a successful mentor to help you grow in that area. You may find that you have different mentors for different areas in your life – I know I do. Consider hiring a coach; the right coach can make a world of difference in your life by giving you the inspiration and tools needed to reach high levels of success.

13. Delegate.

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” – John C. Maxwell

As difficult as it can be, it’s important to give up some control and delegate certain tasks. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day, and if you really want to focus on your priorities and become wildly successful, you’ll need to trust others to take care of the things that are less important to you.

A few years ago, I wrote out my weekly tasks, and realized there were 56 tasks that I completed each week. No wonder I felt overwhelmed at times! I began evaluating the importance of each of those tasks and decided to delegate the tasks that weren’t imperative for me to perform, yet still needed to get done. Now I have more time to focus on my priorities. When we delegate some tasks to others, we are able to focus on what’s important to us – a key to becoming successful.

14. Choose your company wisely.

Aside from having one specific accountability partner, choose your entire tribe with care.

According to businessman Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Are you hanging out with people who are encouraging, positive, and supportive? Or, do you spend most of your time with people who are toxic? Choose to spend your time with people who inspire you to be your best.

15. Read.

Want to be highly successful? Read. Read frequently. Reading invigorates us and opens our minds. Read material that inspires you and lights your fire. Delve into self-development. Absorb as much information as you possibly can. There’s always more to learn.

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Do these things every day and you will quickly be on the path to wild success!

Featured photo credit: Between the warp and weft /Between the warp and weft blog via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

Instead, we’re going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

How Do We Remember?

The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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The last step is memory retrieval.

That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

7 Natural Memory Boosters

So how to work on memory and boost your brain power? Here’re 7 brain boosters backed by science that you should try:

1. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory. [2]

In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

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Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

2. Sleep

You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password). [3]

Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance. [4]

Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance. [5]

3. MIND Diet

Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet. [6]

The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

4. Relax

We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

5. Continuous Learning

The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games. [7]

Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

6. Stay Social

The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

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Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline. [8]

In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests. [9]

What to do?

Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

7. Wakeful Rest

This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories. [10]

What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story. In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date. [11]

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

More Resources About Boost Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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