5 Day Paleo Action Plan – Intro and Day 1

Getting Started with Paleo (5-Day Action Plan)

With all the super size this and large size that fast food options, processed foods and other ‘junk’ food choices available today, it’s no secret that our society is full of the most unfit, overweight and unhealthy people in the world.

There are more food-related health problems (cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and more) than there have ever been. But because you’re reading this report, I want to say congratulations! You’ve obviously made an important decision to take back your health and start eating better. It doesn’t matter what the reason behind it is (if you’re newly diagnosed with a health related disease/issue or you’re just sick and tired of being unhealthy, for example), what’s important is that you’re taking action to make the positive changes in your diet and lifestyle. That’s a huge accomplishment and a very smart decision.

Also, because you’ve picked up a copy of this, I’m assuming you’re interested in a Paleo way of eating. So this report was created to give you some easy to understand information about eating a Paleo diet. It’s broken down into a five day action plan that will help you get started and you’ll even find some sample recipes that are quick and easy but delicious too as well as a seven-day menu plan to ease you into your first week of following this way of eating!

First, let’s cover the main foundation – what the Paleo Diet is and whether it’s right for you or not.

Introduction: What is the Paleo Diet & Is it Right For Me?

The word Paleo comes from the Paleolithic period, or also known as the Stone Age. Another common name for Paleo is the Caveman Diet. It was given this name because the allowed foods are similar to the dietary needs our bodies were originally created to eat and what was once only consumed back during Paleolithic times (cavemen) – real, natural non-processed foods such as nuts, berries, wild animals, vegetables, fruit, etc. In other words, anything that could be hunted or gathered. You may have also heard it referred to as clean eating. Basically, it’s a very simple ‘real’ food way of eating – how our bodies were biologically created to eat.

If our bodies were designed to live on foods like the cavemen did what happened?

The agricultural revolution, that’s what happened! After agriculture and farming were introduced, suddenly our society became accustomed to consuming things like pasta, rice, bread, and so on. Things that the cavemen survived without! Our bodies were not created to consume all these grains…even though the food pyramid recommends we eat so many servings of grains a day!

The Paleo WOE (way of eating) is a way for people to go back to a simple, healthy diet. A diet their body craves and needs – one that our bodies were created to consume. It’s meant to be easy to understand and easy to follow, but it’s also easy to overcomplicate things. If you find yourself making Paleo complicated, remind yourself that really it’s all about whether or not a caveman would eat it.

Is the Paleo lifestyle right for me?

Only you can make that decision, although some doctors may make the decision for you when, because of health related issues, they recommend you follow this way of eating. If you have gluten-sensitivity or inflammation of the joints, going Paleo can be a great asset to helping clear those issues up. You may find it challenging if you’re a vegetarian but it can (and has been) be done. If you’re not willing to commit 100%, then it’s probably not the right choice for you. Without being fully committed, you won’t give it a fair chance and more than likely will quickly and easily slip back into old eating habits. Make a commitment to give yourself at least 30 days of eating this way so your body will have time to go through the adjustments (detox, withdrawal) and start feeling the benefits. In the grand scheme of things, committing to 30 days is ‘easy’.

All that to say, do your due diligence (research, talk to a doctor, etc.) and make an educated decision as to whether it’s right for you or not. Just as with everything else in life, just because Paleo worked for someone else that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you or that it’s the best option for you.

Now, let’s move along and get down to the nitty gritty of this report – your five day action plan.

Day One: Learn the Basics

We already discussed what the Paleo diet is, so let’s move onto some of the basics, or common questions people have when deciding to follow this lifestyle.

How many calories should I eat on a paleo diet?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ sort of thing. Each person is different so calorie intake will need to be based on what is best for you. Take into consideration how often you are active, if you’re older or younger, heavier – those will all have an impact on how many calories your body needs. Also, one of the great things about this way of eating is that it’s not meant for you to have to count calories at all, so don’t spend a lot of time fretting over this.

Should I make my entire family eat paleo?

This is entirely up to you. It’s a safe way of eating so even children can eat this way. It’s easier to stick to a lifestyle change like this if everyone in the household is on board. So if you can get everyone to agree, then yes definitely “make” them all follow the Paleo plan.

Will I lose weight?

Most people do. If you find that you’re not, pay attention to how much fruit you’re eating. Fruit is allowed, but it does have sugar in it so if you find you’re not losing then try cutting back on your fruit intake and see if that helps. Don’t just focus on the scale though. Pay attention to the other benefits, the non-scale victories that are also possible when following this way of eating. Many people eating a Paleo diet state that they have more energy, less brain fog (can think clearer), their joints don’t hurt (inflammation goes away), lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, sleep better, and more!

What about dairy?

There’s some controversy around the fact that when you follow the Paleo lifestyle, the only dairy you really consume is eggs. Some say you don’t need dairy for healthy bones and if we think back to the cavemen, they didn’t have access to a lot of dairy and they were fine without it. Sure they had access to cows but did they drag around a cow all day with them for when they wanted some milk? Probably not. And of course, on the other side of the spectrum are those that believe you have to have a specific amount of dairy each day for healthy bones. But if you think about all the people in this world that are lactose intolerant and get along without dairy just fine, that might help you feel better about skipping the cheese, milk, and other dairy foods. (Note: after 30 days, some people recommend that you slowly start reintroducing dairy products to your diet.)

What if I slip-up and cheat?

It’s inevitable that at some point during your Paleo eating journey you’re going to have a slip-up and eat “bad.” Most people say the hardest for them is the first two weeks, but especially the first several days. This is true – your body is going through a huge adjustment and withdrawal from giving up sugars, grains, carbs, etc. Don’t be surprised if you have headaches or even flu-like symptoms. Just remind yourself it won’t last long and once you get past this phase it’ll be so worth it.

Having said that, if you do have a slip-up do NOT beat yourself up and think ‘well I’ve blown it now, there’s no point in getting back on track.’ That’s baloney! You didn’t blow it and there is a point to getting back on track – YOU and your health!

It may help you stay on track and not cheat if you remind yourself that if you do slip-up and eat something ‘forbidden’, you’re adding toxins back into your body and when you get back on track, you’ll go through a detox and even withdrawal phase again.

To help yourself not slip up, it’s time to clean out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

How Juicing Can Increase Your Energy

How Juicing Can Increase Your Energy

 

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll possess a powerful weapon in your fight against chronic tiredness and other health problems.

This potent weapon is not new. It’s well known by many health experts.

So what is this key resource to help you enjoy better health?

It’s making your own fresh fruit and vegetable juices. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you make delicious drinks that will contribute to increased energy and enhanced health.

Why is juicing so effective?

Here’s how this wonderful health weapon works: juices are absorbed almost immediately into your body, thus supplying needed vitamins and minerals. Cooking vegetables removes a lot of their nutritional value, but juicing saves these vitamins and minerals. So you get mega-doses of vitamins and minerals.

Let’s say you make a carrot-apple drink from one apple and four carrots. Imagine sitting
down and eating all those at one time in their original state! But you get the vitamins and minerals from the fruit and vegetables in their juice and it’s living! That’s because the vitamins and minerals have not been destroyed by the pasteurization process used to make juice sold
in stores.

How do you get the maximum health return from juicing?

Start your day right by drinking freshly-made juice. It’s wise to drink it before you eat and then wait about ten minutes (before eating the rest of your breakfast) to give your body a headstart as it absorbs the life-giving fluid into your bloodstream.

Don’t let the juice sit around, but drink it within minutes of making it to retain those precious vitamins and minerals.

You can also add to your fiber intake by using the pulp in muffins and bread. Just add the pulp of your favorite fruits and vegetables to your recipe and you’ll have a moist taste-bud pleasing treat!

How are fruits and vegetables prepared for juicing?

First wash them. Cut out any bad spots that you wouldn’t want to eat. You usually don’t need to peel fruits and vegetables.

What are some popular juice recipes?

1. Carrot Juice

Carrots are a favorite for juicing purposes. Put them through your juicer one at a time and don’t peel them.

Carrot drinks taste great all by themselves, but you can also use them as a base for other fruits and vegetables too. Carrots and apples taste wonderful together. Children love this combination taste treat!

2. Celery Juice

Celery should be cut into 3-4 inch sections and fed into your machine at a steady pace.

3. Fresh Apple Drink

Just cut the apples into pieces that will fit into the feeding chamber. You don’t need to core them, although you might want to do so.

4. Melon Thirst Quencher

You’ll need to remove the rinds but not the seeds. Most varieties of melons are great for juicing.

5. Combo Drink

Add all different kinds of vegetables together, including tomatoes. It’s fun to experiment!
But don’t put in vegetables or fruit that you don’t like to eat because your beverage won’t taste good to you.

What kinds of juicers are available?

1. Centrifugal-ejection machines

These are good for most uses.

2. Low-speed masticating juicers

These do a better job juicing spinach and wheatgrass.

3. Twin gear juicers

These machines work in two stages. First the fruits and vegetables are crushed and then the juice is pressed out. You get a higher quality drink because of this process, but twin gear machines are slower than the other juicers.

4. Citrus juicers

If you’re just squeezing lemons, oranges and grapefruit, this is the one for you.

The better the machine, the longer the warranty. The inexpensive juicers aren’t made to withstand daily use. A powerful motor extracts juice faster with less strain. Centrifugal juicers should have a motor rating of at least 450-watts. Machines that use a slow, grinding motor speed (masticating and double-auger models) don’t need as much wattage.

If making your own energy-packed juice isn’t in your arsenal of health weapons yet,
it should be.

Step up your energy to a much higher level by juicing your way to vibrant health!

The Truth About Creatine Benefits

The Benefits and Side Effects of Creatine

 

 

What is creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid (amino acids are the building blocks of protein) which is made in the body by the liver and kidneys, and is derived from the diet through meat and animal products. Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is a colorless, crystalline substance used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine, an important factor in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the source of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body.

What does creatine normally do in the body?
In the body, creatine is changed into a molecule called “phosphocreatine” which serves as a storage reservoir for quick energy. Phosphocreatine is especially important in tissues such as the voluntary muscles and the nervous system which periodically require large amounts of energy.

Why do athletes take creatine?
Studies have shown that creatine can increase the performance of athletes in activities that require quick bursts of energy, such as sprinting, and can help athletes to recover faster after expending bursts of energy. Creatine is best for the serious bodybuilder. It helps increase muscle mass, rather than muscle endurance, so it’s not well suited for athletes participating in endurance activities. However, the increase in muscle mass may be due to water retention and not an increase in muscle tissue.

Why have I been hearing so much about creatine and neuromuscular disorders?
Two scientific studies have indicated that creatine may be beneficial for neuromuscular disorders. First, a study by MDA-funded researcher M. Flint Beal of Cornell University Medical Center demonstrated that creatine was twice as effective as the prescription drug riluzole in extending the lives of mice with the degenerative neural disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Second, a study by Canadian researchers Mark Tarnopolsky and Joan Martin of McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario found that creatine can cause modest increases in strength in people with a variety of neuromuscular disorders. Beal’s work was published in the March 1999 issue of Nature Neuroscience and the second paper was published in the March 1999 issue of Neurology.

I want to start taking creatine — is it safe?
For the most part, athletes haven’t experienced adverse side-effects from taking creatine, although recently there have been a few reports of kidney damage linked to creatine usage. No consistent toxicity has been reported in studies of creatine supplementation. Dehydration has also been reported to be a problem while taking creatine.

Athletes generally take a “loading dose” of 20 grams of creatine a day for five or six days, then continue with a “maintenance dose” of 2 to 5 grams of creatine a day thereafter.

What are the side effects?
Little is known about long-term side effects of creatine, but no consistent toxicity has been reported in studies of creatine supplementation. In a study of side effects of creatine, diarrhea was the most commonly reported adverse effect of creatine supplementation, followed by muscle cramping.18 Some reports showed that kidney, liver, and blood functions were not affected by short-term higher amounts or long-term lower amounts of creatine supplementation in healthy young adults. In a small study of people taking 5–30 grams per day, no change in kidney function appeared after up to five years of supplementation. Muscle cramping after creatine supplementation has been anecdotally reported in some studies.

Benefits
• increases athletic performance
• increases muscle mass
• beneficial for muscular disorders

 

Finding Time to Implement a Morning Routine

Finding Time In Your Busy Morning

Mornings are busy and they can be quiet chaotic. If you have a young family and plenty of people to get ready and out the door, you know this first hand. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way, no matter how busy you think you are first thing in the day. Earlier I shared with you how the first few hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day. Do you want that to be rushed, frantic, and feeling like you’re constantly running and trying to catch up? Or do you want it to be calm, collected, productive, and with a feeling that you’re in control? It’s up to you and it’s all about embracing two simple concepts.
Get Up Early Enough
It’s tempting to hit the snooze button and catch a few more minutes of sleep, isn’t it? It’s even hard to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you want and need to get done. I get it. If you’re not a morning person, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be tough. Trust me though, after the first few mornings it’s not nearly as hard as you think and something you’ll quickly get used to.
Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an unrushed morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short, or worse hitting the snooze button a few times. It gets you behind from the very start. You have to rush to make it out the door in time and any little problem or speed bump along the way turns into a huge problem. Not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a major crisis because it could cause you to be late for work and the kids to be tardy at school. Remember, your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you start it chasing down time and things, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of your time.
Getting up early enough on the other hand puts you ahead of the game. You’re in control. You can take care of everything that needs doing in a calm manner and still have time for the important things you want to work on. In short, getting up early enough sets you up for an amazing, productive day.
Restructure Your Routine
Before we wrap this up, spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and where you’re spending time. Look for things you can change and tweak to find more time for the things you really want to do. For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, look at what you could take care ahead of time, eliminate, or delegate to make that time. If you spend a lot of time getting breakfast for everyone, get in the habit of setting the breakfast table the night before. Get your spouse to get the coffee ready, so all you have to do in the morning is push a button. Teach the kids to make their own breakfast and take the dirty dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. Make sure clothes are set out the night before (including yours), and that book bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys have a designated spot and that there where they need to be before you turn in for the night. Small changes like this to your morning routine can make a big difference. I challenge you to come up with a few small tweaks that will save you at least 30 minutes in the morning.

Tips for Reducing Sugar In Your Diet

A Guide To Reducing The Amount Of Sugar In Your Diet

 

There are a whole variety of reasons why you might want to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Not only can it help you lose weight, but it can also reduce your chance of developing diabetes, help stabilize your mood and assist in recovering from a range of other ailments such as eczema.

 

Cutting sugar out of your diet can seem like a really daunting prospect. It tends to get worse once you start looking into your diet more closely, when you realize just how much sugar you eat! The thought of not being able to eat all of those things can really put you off the idea.

 

Fortunately, it’s actually not as bad as it seems. Firstly, it’s possible to replace many sugary things which you have to cut out of your diet with similar alternatives. Secondly, it’s worth remembering that you don’t necessarily have to cut out every sugary bit of food from your diet at once.

 

Here are a few simple suggestions for alternatives to eating your usual sugary foods. After those, we’ll take a look some ways to help overcome the initial challenge of changing your diet, and how to stick with it once you’ve started.

 

Dried fruit: Most of us have probably tried dried fruit at some point in our lives. The most common dried fruit is probably the raisin. However, there are loads of other dried fruits available too: apricots, mangos, prunes and many more dried fruits can be found in supermarkets and health food stores. Just make sure that they are natural, rather than sweetened dried fruits.

 

Although fruits are sweet, they contain a different kind of sugar to that found in normal cakes etc. The great thing about dried fruits is that they are really sweet, which makes them great replacements for chocolate, biscuits and other sweet things.

 

Fresh fruit: Fresh fruit isn’t usually as sweet as dried fruit, but it’s still very sweet.

 

Fructose-based products: Most jams and sweets are sucrose-based. Sucrose is standard sugar – the kind you bake with and the kind you find in sweets and chocolates (along with other processed sugars which are also bad for you). Fructose is the kind of sugar found in fruit. It’s actually sweeter than sucrose which means you need less of it to achieve the same effect.

 

Fortunately, it’s possible to find a range of fructose-based products in health-food stores and supermarkets. These use fruit sugar instead of fructose to make cakes, jams and all those other tasty treats that you crave.

 

Fructose: Not only is it possible to buy fructose-based products, but you can also buy fructose itself. You can use it in place of any other kind of sugar which you would normally use on a daily basis for cooking or sweetening your drinks etc.

 

While these alternatives will help you to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, you might still find it hard to adjust at first.

 

It’s also possible that you’d prefer not to have too much fruit sugar in your diet either, which means cutting out almost everything that tastes sweet. Here are a few hints on how you can deal with these issues:

 

Savory Treats: If weight loss isn’t your primary goal, then it’s possible to eat savory treats that give a similar kind of satisfaction to sweet treats. Things like crisps and chips are good for this. So are cheese, plain yoghurt or various types of nuts. Be creative: there are many savory treats that you can use as an alternative to candy, cakes, chocolate and so on.

 

Fill Up: When we’re full we usually feel less like eating treats. A simple solution to reducing the craving for sweet things is therefore to eat larger portions of savory meals. Make extra salad, or extra pasta. Just try to make sure you get your fill from the savory food that you eat.

 

Savory Drinks: A really good way to kill the desire for sweet things is to drink something savory that cleanses your taste buds. A good example of this is chamomile tea, which is very mild tasting and washes flavors out of your mouth. Drinking savory things like this helps quiet the urge for sweet taste sensations.

 

You can also try drinking things like ginger tea, or liquorice tea. A unique feature of liquorice tea is that, despite containing no sugar, it leaves a sweet aftertaste at the back of your throat. This can help satisfy cravings for sweet flavors.

 

Keeping to a reduced sugar, or sugar-free, diet can be challenging, but there are lots of ways to help. Sticking with the diet is the real challenge though. It requires both willpower and motivation. Willpower is the hardest part of the equation: it can be very hard to resist strong urges. However, the more you resist, the better you get at controlling your desires. That means that over time, your willpower will improve.

 

Motivation is something that assists willpower and is also assisted by willpower. The two work together quite closely. Staying motivated requires that you keep in mind at all times why you are cutting sugar out of your diet. If it is for health reasons, such as diabetes, then remember that not only your wellbeing but also your life itself is at stake. You are doing this for yourself, not because someone else says you have to.

 

Motivation can also be sustained by gradually working your way into the diet. You don’t have to drop all sugary foods at once. You can start by eliminating one or two particular foods – say ice cream or biscuits – and get used to not having them. After a while you can cut out another thing, and another. Take your time.

 

One more thing worth remembering is that your taste buds themselves can change. After a while of not eating chocolate, biscuits, ice cream and so on, you start to taste the sweetness in other things which are more savory. Even something as plain as bread actually has some sweetness, and this can become satisfying once your taste buds have adjusted.

 

Cutting sugar from your diet isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s really not the toughest thing in the world either. With the right attitude and knowledge, it’s not only possible but pretty easy to make this change. Just set your mind to it, and remember why you’re doing it in the first place.

Top Tips for Staying Hydrated

Are You Dehydrated?

 

You have probably heard that 65% to 75% of your body is made up of water. That is why it is so important to stay hydrated. Your body needs to continually take on water (and a lot of it) to function properly. This affects not just your physical health, but your mental health as well.

 

Do you ever experience the following symptoms?

 

  • Unnaturally dry skin
  • Few tears when you cry
  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • You are tired all the time
  • Bags under your eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid breathing or heartbeat
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • You are thirsty all the time

 

Those are some common signs of mild to severe dehydration in teens and adults. Dangerous cholesterol levels, liver and joint damage, weak muscles, kidney stones and constipation are just a few of the health conditions dehydration can cause.

 

Problems can arise quickly when you don’t supply your body with the water it needs to function properly. Any lost liquids in your body should be replaced immediately. This means drinking a lot of water while you exercise, or any time you exert yourself physically.

 

What Causes Dehydration?

 

Some causes of dehydration make a lot of sense, like intense physical activity. You sweat out a lot of the water in your body, and if you do not replace that liquid, you can become dehydrated. Here are a few more reasons your body may not be properly hydrated.

 

  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Food-borne illnesses
  • Frequent urination
  • Side effects of medicine
  • You don’t drink enough water

 

When you have diarrhea, your body does not properly absorb water from the foods you eat. This is the most common cause of dehydration. Blood pressure medications and antihistamines can also create a lack of hydration in some people.

 

How to Stay Properly Hydrated

 

You may drink plenty of water each and every day, and still find yourself with several of the dehydration symptoms mentioned above. This could be a case of adrenal fatigue. If you drink plenty of water throughout the day and are still thirsty, with cravings for salt and sugar, you may want to have an adrenal checkup.

 

However, most of the time, you simply need to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be is a life-threatening condition. Most of the time you can combat this potential health problem simply by drinking water frequently throughout the day.

 

This means carrying bottled water with you as you move through your daily routine. Sports drinks, energy drinks and sodas do not count. Water is so important to normal bodily functions. From head to toe, inside and out, and even mentally, your body benefits from a healthy supply of water. Excess water will simply be passed through your system, so make sure you are drinking plenty of this simple but essential health drink.

How to Plan A Great Morning Routine

Come Up With A New Morning Game Plan

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do in the morning, what you don’t want to or need to do, and where to find the extra time needed, it’s time to put it all together in a new morning game plan.
The best place to start is with the new set of tasks that are most important to you. Figure out a preliminary time during which you want to get them accomplished. If your goal is to go for a run in the morning, you may decide to do that first thing before getting a shower and having breakfast. If your goal is to meditate each morning, you may decide it would work best after you’ve had a cup of coffee. If your goal is to find some time for reading or your favorite hobby in the morning, you could carve out some time before everyone else gets up and while you enjoy that first coffee. The same goes for wanting time in the morning to work on your business or learn something new.
Then work the rest of your morning chores around these new plans. It may take some shuffling around and mixing up of your current routine, but with a little creative thinking and a bit of flexibility, I’m sure you can come up with a working plan.
Making over your morning and turning it into a new routine isn’t something that comes natural to most of us. It takes a little while to get into the grove of things. We’ll look at this in a little more detail tomorrow. For right now, my suggestion is that you write your new morning game plan down. It’s easy to forget what you’re planning to do. Writing it down will not only give you a reference to refer back to, but also solidify your new plan in your mind.
Put the note, or notebook where you jotted down your new plan on your night table or somewhere else where you’ll see it first thing in the morning. It will serve as a reminder of what you’re intending to do and do differently in the morning now.
Even though you’ve written your plan down, it’s important to realize it’s not written in stone. The well-laid out plans don’t always work when put into action. Adjust it and make changes as needed until you come up with a new morning game plan that works well for you and the rest of your family. Once you have that it’s time to make it the new routine… something we’ll talk more about tomorrow.

The Benefits of Having a Morning Routine

Impact of a Morning Routine

I love mornings. Each new day brings new opportunities and it’s a chance to start fresh and do better. How you start your day, or more specifically how you spend those first few morning hours has a big impact on the rest of it. Think of it as setting the tone for your entire day. That’s why making over your morning is so important. It’s about much more than those first few hours.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Let’s use the snooze button as an example. You set an early alarm to make sure you have time for exercise, meditation, or simply some much needed “me time”. You have every intention of getting up and doing whatever you’re setting out to do when you set the alarm in the first place. Some mornings – hopefully most mornings – you get up when the alarm chimes and go for that walk, do your meditation exercise, or read a book for twenty minutes. Then there are those days when you just can’t make yourself get up. You hit the snooze button multiple times, or turn the alarm off altogether and go back to sleep.
Think about how the rest of those days went. Did you notice a difference in how you felt? How much did you got done on the mornings when you got up with your first alarm? Were you able to do all the things you set out to do? How did those days compare to the ones when you hit the snooze button over and over again?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the mornings when you got up as soon as the alarm went off went a lot smoother. I bet you accomplished what you have planned to do, too. Chances are that sleeping through the snooze button didn’t just affect your morning, but the entire rest of your day. You set the tone for how your day is going to go first thing in the morning. That’s what the old saying about getting up on the wrong side of the bed is about. Let’s make sure we get up on the right side and start our day off in a positive and productive way.
Over the course of the next seven days, I want to guide you through the process of making over your morning. As we’ve already established, this is an important tasks and a good thing to work on and pay attention to. Not only will you enjoy your mornings more even if the alarm goes off much earlier than you’d like, it will make the entire rest of your day go much smoother.

The Science of Your Motivation

The Science of Motivation

 

When it comes to success, there is one key component that may be more important than even such factors as talent, intelligence, money or connections. That elusive piece of the puzzle is motivation. After all, without motivation, nothing can be accomplished. You won’t reach your goals or meet your self-imposed deadlines without the motivation to take action toward them. Unfortunately, that motivation is often what is lacking in the fulfillment of desires. We all have lists of things we hope to accomplish. These lists contain big goals, daily tasks and everything in between. Learning how to increase your motivation will boost the likelihood of checking more items off your list. Let’s take a look at the science of motivation and the ways to harness it to your advantage.

 

An Improved Approach to Motivation

 

Author Dan Pink writes in his best-selling book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, that the there are three components of motivation that compel individuals to get things done. His premise is that the traditional method of motivating ourselves and others using a carrots and sticks type of reward system is ineffective. Instead, he argues that the scientific approach to understanding the makeup of motivation provides a far better lens from which to view the subject. By understanding the factors that tangibly affect motivation, we can then develop strategies to increase it.

 

Three Elements of Motivation

 

The three elements of motivation Pink discusses in his book are autonomy, value and competence. It is these components, according to researchers, that drive people to become motivated. Autonomy refers to the amount of control or independence one feels over a task or action. It has been shown that when you feel that you have a significant amount of input regarding that task, you are more likely to follow through to completion. The second component of motivation, value, is the amount of personal significance or importance you place on a matter. In essence, if something matters to you on a personal level, you will feel more motivation to take it on than if you are simply given an assignment to which you feel no connection. Competence has been found to come from an individual’s feeling of mastery as it relates to practice and hard work, not necessarily to one’s natural abilities. If you spend time developing competence toward a particular goal, it is predicted that you will be more motivated to complete said goal.

 

Strategies to Increase Motivation

Now that you have an understanding of what matters most with regard to what motivates us, it’s time to consider some strategies to increase motivation. Using the concept of autonomy as a guide, let’s consider ways to add a sense of control or involvement into activities that need to be completed. One way to do this is to take ownership of a chore or add some aspect of self-direction to it. If you are having difficulty starting a project such as submitting a paper for review, it may help to think of all the ways doing so will set you apart as an expert in your field. In doing so, you’ll see that turning in the paper is a necessary component to sharing your unique views with your colleagues. To add value to your task, you want to make it meaningful or personal. Find a way to add purpose to that item on your to-do list. This involves changing your perspective or the way you look at that item. Completing your taxes is a dreaded chore for most of us, but you can add purpose to it by focusing on the work you’ve done that comprises the numbers on the page or the contribution you’ve made to your job and community through your efforts. Paying taxes is a symbol of good citizenry. Finally, there’s competence. Feeling mastery over an act requires practice. Try to look at the job at hand as one in which you are working toward an end goal of skillfulness. For instance, you’ll soon see the treadmill as less of an adversary the more workout sessions you endure. So, along with the ultimate goal of getting fit, you’ll soon see each session become easier, leading to a feeling of accomplishment.

 

Motivation is not always easy to come by. However, with this knowledge of the science behind it, you can now pursue the steps required to achieve your dreams more effectively. Soon you’ll be mastering your goals, which will fuel your motivation toward future endeavors.

Best Ways to Improve Your Motivation Fast

Best Ways to Improve Your Motivation Fast

 

Sometimes you need to get started on a project right away. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating for days, or even weeks, and now you’re down to the wire on an unforgiving deadline. The threat of not completing the job on time should be enough to motivate you to get moving, right? Wrong. Often, even knowing the consequences that exist for not completing a task aren’t enough to push us forward. Fortunately, there are some tangible steps you can take in order to give yourself a boost when your usual routine isn’t working. Keep reading for some of the best ways to improve your motivation fast. Adding even a few of these to your bag of tricks may help you to overcome that slump when you need a motivational jumpstart.

 

Look Ahead

 

One way to convince your brain that an activity is worth starting is to look ahead to the end result. Think about the money you’ll make a from a freelance gig, the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get from handing in your portion of the monthly report to a nagging co-worker or the freedom to begin your two-week semester break when your last paper is submitted. No matter what the project, visualizing the result of your efforts can improve your focus and motivation. Consider adding an actual visual such as a photo, magazine clipping or other image to motivate you.

 

Get Moving

 

If you’re feeling sleepy or even restless, you won’t be able to focus on that pressing task. A solution can be to move your body. Exercise has been shown to increase mental clarity and decrease stress, just the combination for working on a complex project with a looming deadline. Taking a brisk walk or heading to the gym for a quick step aerobics class on your lunch hour can be just enough of a jolt to get you in prime thinking mode. Be careful not to overdo it or you’ll be too exhausted to do much of anything.

 

Take a Rest

 

It’s also possible that a quick rest can restore your clear thinking. If your brain is feeling cloudy or your thoughts are cloudy, a short nap might be a better course of action than exercise. Put your head down on your desk or stretch out on the sofa in your office for 10 or 20 minutes. When you wake up from this power nap, you should be feeling rejuvenated and ready to work.

Listen to Music

 

Upbeat tunes might be a solution that leads you to start tapping your toes and feeling more alert. If you are able to work with background noise, you can keep the music going. Perhaps changing to a mellower playlist or instrumental songs might be a better option for you than fast beats. If you require silence in order to concentrate, put on just a few of your favorites to shift your mood, and then get to work.

 

Start Small

 

A method that is often successful in tricking the mind to move on a task is to start with a small portion of the whole. Using the above example of the monthly report, you might wish to begin by gathering your data and other supplies necessary for completing the job. This small action can put you in the right mindset to keep working on the rest. Getting started truly is half the battle.

 

These suggestions can, and should, be tailored to fit your personality, preferences and lifestyle. Experiment a bit. Use the ones that work for you, and throw out the rest. You’ll likely be surprised by the significant effect a simple action can have on your productivity.