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7 Things You Should Start Doing To Make This Your Best Summer Yet

7 Things You Should Start Doing To Make This Your Best Summer Yet

Summer is right around the corner. We want to make sure that we’re fully prepared to have the best few months ahead of us. Most of us are too busy finishing off our work projects or exams to think about what needs to be done beforehand, which usually leaves a lot of opportunities and experiences on the table.

Luckily, we’ve accumulated 7 things you should start doing now to make this your best summer yet.

1. Plan Ahead For Travel

The best prices for summer vacation packages was 2 months ago. But don’t worry, it’s never too late. As long as you’re not leaving in the next week, you can still find a lot of great deals online by taking some time to look.

Check out Hipmunk’s 90-Day price chart, which gives you the round-trip flight prices for your desired locations for the next 90 days.

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     2. Try Out A Foreign Language

    If your goal it to travel to a foreign country, it only makes sense to learn a new language. Whether your goal is to travel to South America, Asia, Europe, etc., your experience can be much more enhanced by being able to communicate with the locals in the city. They can show you hot spots, you can build relationships, and live from the point of view of the locals, instead of depending on what journalists from the media outlets share online.

    Check out this free Learn a Language Challenge, which offers you 10 new most common words in your target language every morning (5 mins/day), or if you want to improve your speaking skills, check out Rype.

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      3. Get Your Finances In Order

      With all this talk of travel, we should naturally discuss getting your personal finances in order, because none of what we want to do in the summer can be done without it.

      If you’ve been going out every night to eat and overspending on things you don’t urgently need, it’s probably time to start saving. This isn’t us trying to sound like naggers, but it’s just reality. If you want to travel, enjoy new experiences, and have the best summer yet, it’s going to take money.

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      Check out Mint.com which integrates all of your bank accounts for you, and gives you a visual analysis of your expenses, income, and investments in one place.

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        4. Get Your Health Right

        Nothing works without your health. If you’ve been putting off getting in shape and eating healthy, it’s time to reconsider.

        One incentive is to be able to hit the beach this summer without shame, but the bigger incentive is to have more energy in your daily life. Energy gives us motivation to take on new challenges, learn new skills, and continue to be active throughout our day, week, and month ahead.

        Check out the 7-minute workout, which helps you go through over a dozen different exercises within a span of 7 minutes. Now everyone has the time to get in shape, no matter how busy you are.

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          5. Make the Most Out of Networking Opportunities

          With summer coming around the corner, the opportunity to network with the people you want to meet is shrinking – at least until the end of summer. It’s likely that whoever you want to meet is also going on vacation or taking time off networking to spend time with family and friends, so you should reach out to whoever you need to beforehand.

          Take 15 minutes a day in the morning, afternoon, or evening to reach out to someone you respect, and ask them for a quick coffee while you still can.

          6. Learn a New Skill

          The best part about summer time is not just rejuvenation, but recreation. Recreation of your goals, your knowledge, and skillsets to increase your chances of advancing your career and becoming more valuable in the marketplace.

          Time is always of the essence, so check out these tips on how to learn faster. In summary, we just have to make sure that we’re not multitasking, modeling the best out there, and being persistent with our daily practice habits.

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          Learning how to code? Code something everyday.
          Learning a new language? Practice everyday with a native speaker.
          Learning how to write? Get up and write everyday.

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            7. Re-Connect With Old Friends

            Even the best experiences can’t be fully enjoyed without friends and family around us. Is there an old friend that you’ve lost touch with due to work constraints and other obligations? It happens to all of us, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you can take action.

            Before summer kicks off, message or call up an old friend, and use the next few months to connect together.

            Which of these tips will you take action on to make this the best summer yet?

            More by this author

            Sean Kim

            Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

            Posture

            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

            Facial Expressions

            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

            2. Relax Your Face

            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

            3. Smile More

            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

            4. Hand Gestures

            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

            5. Enhance Your Handshake

            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

            Final Takeaways

            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

            Reference

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