“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce
A brand new year is coming, festive songs are in the air and everyone is gearing up for the new year ahead!Advertising
I’m really psyched up for the upcoming year because there are so many exciting things I have planned for next year.
How about you? How do you feel about the new year? How do you want it to be? What kind of experiences do you want to create? What memories do you want to build? What impact do you want to have for yourself and others?Advertising
With every upcoming year, I’m always sure it will supersede all previous years to become the best year ever. One reason is because I set goals – Goals which I know will improve the quality and fulfillment of my life. I’m a huge fan of goal setting. The best way to determine how your next year to be is to set goals AND act on them. As Zig Ziglar said, “You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.”
For this same reason, I recommend you to think about what you want for yourself in the year 2013 and set them as goals. Here is a list to kickstart your thinking process. Of course, goal setting isn’t restricted to just the start of the year – you can refer to it anytime of the year. There’s never a ‘best’ time to set goals – it’s all the time!Advertising
- Stop procrastinating
- Spend more time with your family
- Widen your social circle – Meet new people!
- Become more organized
- Exercise more and keep fit
- Lose weight: Achieve your ideal weight
- Eat more healthily
- Wake up early every day
- Be on time
- Express gratitude to people who have made a difference in your life
- Do volunteer work
- Do more kind deeds
- Further your education
- Learn a new language
- Cultivate at least one new skill that will enable you to perform even better at work (presentation skills, public speaking, effective writing, etc)
- Be emotionally generous
- Drop caffeine
- Reconnect with old friends
- Make at least 5 positive, like-minded friends and foster strong relationships with them
- Take your family out on a vacation
- Revamp your room into your personal, inspirational haven
- Run a marathon
- Don’t bad mouth other people
- Stop complaining
- Be a more positive person
- Be your real self
- Read more books
- Read one meaningful self-help article a day
- Visit the holiday destination of your dreams
- Deliver your best performance at work ever
- Double your business revenue (for business owners)
- Get a career switch to a better career
- Or better still, pursue a career of your true passion
- Earn a million dollars
- Earn a billion dollars (for those who have achieved #34)
- Find your soulmate
- Move out and get your own apartment
- Get out of debt (if you are in debt)
- Save more money
- Help other people achieve their dreams
- Get rid of clutter
- Take up a class in something of your interest (dancing, singing, roller blading, ice skating, swimming, photography, web design, rock climbing, piano, guitar, yoga, pilates, etc)
- Drink more water
- Reduce your alcohol intake or quit drinking altogether (for people who drink)
- Quit smoking (for smokers)
- Learn to see the positive side of everything
- Turn every challenge into an opportunity
- Let go of any past baggage
- Meditate daily
- Go on a Vipassana Meditation Retreat
- Write a book
- Visit a new place you have never been to
- Stop beating yourself up when bad things happen
- Love yourself more
- Start your life handbook and use it document everything it takes to live your best life
- Limit your mass media exposure – Stop watching television or reading newspapers (remove negative stimuli from your environment)
- Take time out to rest and rejuvenate every week
- Live every moment to the fullest!
Note: Success in resolutions is almost always in line with cultivating habits. Be sure to read how to successfully cultivate a habit in 21 days, an all-time readers’ favorite article.
58 Noteworthy Resolutions For Anytime in the Year | Personal ExcellenceAdvertising
Last Updated on September 20, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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