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5 Tips for Making the Second Half of 2013 Awesome

5 Tips for Making the Second Half of 2013 Awesome

July is here, which starts the second half of 2013. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering where the last six months went so quickly. New Year’s Resolutions might well be a hazy memory from days gone by, but it’s not too late to take back control of 2013 and make it a truly awesome year.

1. Set Some Goals

Goals might not sound that awesome, but they are a great way of sticking to your priorities. With just under six months to go until 2014, now is the time to take those ‘someday’ goals and turn them into ‘today’ goals. Whenever you create goals in any context, it’s important to make sure they’re SMART: specific, measurable, achievable (and attractive), realistic and timed.

For example, “Read more” is a goal, but it’s not a very helpful goal. “Read 10 new books by the end of December 2013”, on the other hand, is smart. It’s specific (all the details are there), measurable (when you put down the 10th book, you’ve met your goal), achievable and attractive (if you enjoy reading books), realistic (10 books in five months is two books per month) and timed (it has a deadline).

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Six months might seem like a long time, but remember how fast the first half of this year went. Set no more than two or three goals for the next few months to give yourself the best chance of fulfilling them.

2. Try something new, just for fun

What is life for if not for its rich experiences? Many of us include new hobbies or activities in our annual plans. Yet, as the year progresses, we often get stuck in ruts and routines.

Make the second half of 2013 awesome by shaking things up. Try out that dance class you’ve been eyeing up, join a book club, or make a commitment to take a walk somewhere different each month. The exact activity you choose doesn’t matter as much as choosing something that will encourage you to break your current weekly routine and introduce variety into your life.

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3. Educate yourself

As well as shaking up your weekly routine, taking time out to learn a new skill can also help unleash your creativity and open up a wealth of new possibilities.

Many of us have new skills we’d like to try, such as learning a new language, rekindling childhood hobbies, or taking classes in a new skill we’ve always wanted to learn. The most common reason for not doing this is a lack of time, so try limiting activities like TV and Facebook and give yourself the gift of education instead.

If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at evening courses offered by your local community college: you never know what might catch your eye.

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4. Start keeping a journal

Journaling has a number of benefits. Not only will it help you plan your next five to six months and stay more conscious of what’s really important to you, but it’s a great way of keeping a record of everything you do.

The act of journaling in itself can help keep us focused on our intention to make the second half of 2013 awesome. Reading back over previous journaling notes can also reveal things to us about ourselves that we didn’t previously realize.

Through journaling, we have space and time to explore our goals, ambitions and desires, both for the remainder of this year and beyond. We have a private space to express our deepest hopes, fears and dreams, and an opportunity to reflect on any obstacles that might get in the way of an awesome 2013.

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5. Focus on what’s working

Perhaps the first half of 2013 felt like your best six months yet, perhaps you feel like the next five months are a chance for 2013 to redeem itself. Whatever the case, taking time each day to focus on what’s working right now will help you develop a deeper appreciation for all the good things that are happening for you this year.

One way of doing this is to keep a gratitude log, writing down five to ten things you appreciate or feel grateful for at the end of each day.

Sometimes, we don’t truly appreciate everything we’ve done and experienced until we have a chance to reflect back on how the last few months have gone. Without a written record of our day-to-day or week-to-week experiences, we tend to dwell on the more memorable challenges of the past, rather than things that went well or things we felt proud of.

What are your tips for making the second half of 2013 awesome? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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