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13 Good Habits You Should Start To Take Up Now

13 Good Habits You Should Start To Take Up Now

In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey states, “We become what we repeatedly do,” and this advice isn’t just for teens. In other words, our habits make us who we are. If we are repeatedly late to work or we cancel plans with friends regularly, our reputation begins to proceed us — and not in a positive way. The cultivation of good habits is essential in order to be taken seriously, feel good about ourselves, and live a positive life. Here are a few good habits you should start right now:

Find a group of people with similar interests

Within this group, you will find people who will be able to relate to you like others cannot. You will cultivate lifelong relationships and find a sense of belonging.

Let go of distraction

Give your attention to whatever’s in front of you. Stay in the moment and your relationships will benefit, as well as your peace of mind. Letting go of distractions will increase your mindfulness, which can lead to less stress and a more positive outlook.

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Floss

Daily. Flossing is linked not only to healthy teeth, but to heart health as well. Fight gum disease, increase the potential to keep your teeth for life, and potentially lower your risk of heart disease, all while cultivating a good habit.

Multitask less

Put the phone and tablet away. Turn the television off. Devote your attention to the task at hand. Multitasking can lead to spotty work or half-done assignments or duties, so you are more effective if you focus on one thing at a time.

Spend time with yourself

You need a little alone time. It allows you to relax and let go of your daily struggle. Being alone also gives you time to reflect without distraction.

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Create a visual representation of motivation

Usually referred to as a vision board, placing your goals and dreams on a poster board or the like can keep you focused. That visual representation helps remind you to keep pushing forward and striving toward your greatest good.

Set some goals

And make sure they are obtainable. It’s important to have both short-term and long-term goals. For example, if you want to eat healthier, set a goal for one healthy meal per week for a month. Then increase it to two healthy meals and so on. If you do this, before you know it, you’ll be eating well and feeling great.

Journal regularly

This is one of the easiest ways to get those feelings and thoughts out of you and onto paper. Writing in a journal on a regular basis can keep you on track with your goals and release tension.

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Find a morning or evening routine and stick to it

Choose 20 to 30 minutes, either in the morning or at night, where you can create a little routine you can stick to. Meditate, write in your journal, read something inspiring, or use this time to focus on your passions.

Strive to learn something new every day

If you are a writer, learn a new word and find a way to use it. If you read, look up some info about an author you admire. Research some news about another country. Learning helps you stay open minded and connected to the world around you.

Let go of comparison

It doesn’t matter if the person beside you in yoga class can contort their body in ways you can’t. If you stop comparing yourself to others, you’re more apt to be happy with who you are. Rather than compare your progress or success to those around you, seek to improve on your own accomplishments.

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Save some money, even if it’s just a little

Just five dollars a week will add up before you know it. Saving money constitutes discipline, which is necessary in all areas of life. Take out cash to spend for the week so you don’t have to touch your bank account. If you give yourself an ‘allowance,’ you’ll become more responsible with your income.

Strive to be on time

Arriving at your destination on time (or even better — early) shows that you care about other people’s time. This doesn’t just apply to work either. Show up on time for family events and outings with your friends.

Do you have any other good habits to suggest? Leave them in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Meditation/Toshimasa Ishibashi via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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