There’s a lot you can do to keep you mind sharp or even enhance it. There are a variety of ways to exercise your brain, from learning something new, to exercise, to quitting unsupportive habits.

Your brain eventually ages just like any other part of your body, but there is much you can do to slow, or even reverse, the aging process. It’s never too soon or too late to work on keeping your mind sharp.

Try these suggestions:

1. Learn a foreign language. Learning a new language is challenging! Between learning new vocabulary and grammar rules, you’ll give your brain a full workout. You’ll even become a better listener. Pick a language that interests you. Hopefully, it will be one that you find useful, too.

2. Meditate. Meditation is all about focus. With age, it can be more challenging to concentrate. Daily meditation feels good, helps you to relax, and gives your brain a workout. Develop a daily meditation practice and notice all the benefits you gain.

3. Exercise your brain and body. There are many ways to exercise your brain. Listen to classical music, take a math class, do a crossword puzzle, read a challenging book, make a list of random words and try to remember it. Play bridge or poker.

* Exercising your body can help your brain, too. Avoid exercising to exhaustion, but exercise enough to give your heart and lungs a workout too. Find an activity you love to do. See your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

4. Avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Some studies show that a drink a day is healthy. That’s one drink. There are no studies that support smoking as a health booster. One of the ways to keep your mind sharp is to stop doing the things that damage it.

5. Learn something new. Learning creates actual structural changes in your brain. Take a class at your local community college. Teach yourself sign language or how to play the piano. There must be something that you’d like to know more about. Now is the time to indulge yourself a little.

6. Get enough rest. Less than seven hours of sleep has been shown to impair cognitive function on multiple levels. Decision-making and memory are just two examples. Get enough sleep and your brain will function at a higher level. Start tonight.

7. Do things in a new way. Take a few everyday tasks and try doing them in a new way. For example:

* Eat with your opposite hand.

* Get dressed with your eyes closed or with only one hand.

* Wear your watch upside down.

* What ideas can you come up with?

8. Turn the volume on your TV down a notch. Set the volume to a comfortable level and then turn it down one click. See if you can follow what’s being said. When that becomes easy, turn it down another notch. Repeat. These steps help your brain’s ability to process auditory information.

The best time to work on maintaining your brain health was 20 years ago; the second best time is today.

Get started immediately and challenge your brain in new ways. Part of the reason we lose mental sharpness is routine. Middle-aged and older adults do the same things each day and rarely do or learn anything new. Dare to be different. Stretch your brain and reap the rewards.

Learning a foreign language can be a great way to spend your free time. It’s certainly more productive than watching television. Even if you have no interest in traveling abroad, knowing an additional language has many benefits. You’ll gain a new perspective on the world, challenge your brain, and make new friends.

With all the language programs available online, many of them for free, there’s no reason not to begin learning a new language today!

Learn a new language and take advantage of these benefits:

1. International travel is easier and more enjoyable. While English can allow you to get by in many countries, that’s not true everywhere. Even countries with a reasonable number of English speakers can be more thoroughly enjoyed if you can speak the native language. The local culture is more accessible to you.

* You’ll also feel less intimidated about getting on that plane in the first place. Even the simplest of activities, such as asking for directions or reading street signs, is a challenge if you don’t speak the local language.

2. Your listening skills and memory are enhanced when you learn a foreign language. Learning foreign vocabulary is a good workout for your memory. You’ll also have to listen intently to understand what is being said to you. A foreign language can stretch your brain like few other activities.

3. You’ll develop a marketable skill. Many jobs require the knowledge of a foreign language. You’ll have something interesting to add to your resume.

4. Foreign language study enhances your appreciation for other cultures. Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone knew at least two languages and spent some time in another culture.

5. Make new friends. You can greatly enhance your circle of international friends if you learn to speak another language. There are many websites dedicated to pen pals, language pals, and traveling buddies. You can make friendships all over the world.

6. You’ll spend less when you travel abroad. Tourist areas tend to have overpriced food and other items. These areas can be attractive to tourists because English is more accommodated there. You’ll be brave enough to get off the beaten path when you travel and pay more reasonable prices as a result.

* You’ll also be able to haggle effectively. While haggling prices isn’t common in North America, it is widely practiced and accepted in many other countries. It’s hard to haggle if you can’t speak the language.

7. Boost your self-esteem. You can learn to do something that you might believe is beyond your reach. While some languages are especially challenging for native English speakers, millions of kids have learned to speak those languages. You can, too!

8. Your brain will stay healthier. Studies have shown that learning a foreign language can help to prevent, or at least slow the development of, various types of dementia. Bilinguals have been shown to have less dementia than those that only know a single language.

Several studies have demonstrated the cognitive benefits of learning a second language.

But, the benefits go far beyond just boosting and maintaining your brain health. You’ll make new friendships and greatly enhance your traveling experiences. You can save money while traveling. You’ll also increase your self-esteem!

Take a look at the many free resources available online and begin your language study today. It’s never too late to start.

Your parents may have raised you to be accommodating and to put the needs of others first. However, there’s a limit to how accommodating you can be without harming yourself.

Eventually, you start to feel like others are taking advantage of you. At the same time, you worry that others will be upset if you refuse a request. It’s an uncomfortable predicament.

Assertiveness is a part of maintaining good mental health and a balanced life. It’s important to have boundaries and give your own needs the priority they deserve.

Could you get better results by becoming more assertive? Watch for these signs:

1. You can’t say “no.” When you can’t assert yourself, you say “yes” a lot more than you want. You find yourself feeling like a victim, because you feel you’ve been pushed into doing things you don’t want to do. After all, it’s their fault for asking, right? No, it’s your fault for failing to say the simple word, “No.”

* Use your voice and freedom of choice to refuse requests that are too inconvenient or disagreeable to you. No one can agree to everything. It’s okay to consider what is best for you.

2. You fear rejection. You can counter this fear by working on your self-confidence. The less you worry about rejection, the more assertive you’ll become. Ultimately, this is the primary reason most people aren’t assertive. The fear of rejection is among the strongest acquired fears.

3. Your needs are consistently unmet. Are you wishing that others will be as nice as you are and look out for your best interests? It doesn’t work that way. When you’re too accommodating, people lose respect for you. Subsequently, they have little concern for your needs.

* Ensure that you’re meeting your own needs. If you can get others to help, so much the better.

4. Accepting responsibility is challenging for you. Those that struggle with assertiveness avoid taking responsibility. Can you accept criticism and compliments? If not, you’re probably not very assertive.

* Enhancing your self-confidence is among the most effective ways to increase your ability to accept responsibility. The result is a greater ability to be assertive.

5. You avoid conflict at all costs. Are you unwilling to confront someone that is mistreating you? Would you rather have peace regardless of the sacrifice?

* Conflict is a normal part of human interaction and should be expected from time to time. It’s a necessary part of reaching a consensus and resolution. Learn to embrace conflict and appreciate what it can accomplish.

6. You say, “I’m sorry” more than you should. There are times that apologies are appropriate. However, there is no reason to apologize constantly.

* Attempt to go one entire day without saying that 2-word phrase. Notice how challenging it can be. Keep track of how many times you’re tempted to apologize.

7. You’re hesitant to share your opinion. When you’re going out with friends, do you ever choose the bar, restaurant, club, movie, or other destination?

* Let others know what you think. If you’re honest with yourself, you have an opinion on everything. You may not have a strong preference most of the time, but you can still share your opinion.

Assertiveness means sharing your thoughts and opinions. It also means making yourself a priority. Without sufficient assertiveness, your self-esteem and life suffer. Boost your self-confidence and try being more assertive. You’ll find that life is easier and you’ll gain the respect of your peers.

6 Myths About Commitment

Are you a steadfast bachelor or bachelorette? Do you value the freedom that being single provides? There’s a good chance that you have beliefs about commitment that simply aren’t true. If you’re brave enough to examine those beliefs, commitment might start to sound more appealing.

A committed relationship isn’t the right choice for everyone, but many singles harbor negative attitudes about relationships that aren’t justified.

Examine your beliefs regarding these common relationship myths:

1. Being in a committed relationship results in less freedom. This is partially true. You do have fewer choices in certain areas of your life. For example, you lose the option of pursuing other romantic relationships. You also might be forced to spend every other Thanksgiving with the in-laws.

* But consider the freedoms you gain. You no longer have to search for a mate. No more bad dates. No more spending countless hours online searching dating profiles. No more wondering if the other person is going to call the next day.

* You may have more financial freedom by adding a second income to your financial situation. You always have a ride if your car is in the shop. You have someone to share the housework.

* If you choose wisely, you actually gain a lot of freedom by being in a committed relationship.

2. A relationship leads to boring routine. Couples do tend to fall into routines, but that routine doesn’t have to be boring. It might seem boring to a single person, but sitting on the couch watching old movies with the love of your life isn’t a bad way to spend an evening. It beats surfing the internet alone.

* What is your current routine? Is it enjoyable, or merely comfortable?

3. Commitment is a form of giving up. Settling down isn’t the same as settling. It’s not necessary to sacrifice your needs or dreams in order to be part of a relationship.

* Figure out what you want. Then figure out what your partner wants. If those things can coexist, commitment isn’t an issue. You can keep your uniqueness and your dreams. The other person’s uniqueness and goals make life even more interesting.

4. You can force someone to commit to you. There’s no way to force someone else to want to be with you. You might be able to force a commitment in the short-term, but your partner will be looking for a way out. You’ve only received a commitment because the prospect of being alone is too scary, not because the prospect of being with you is so appealing.

* In the end, you will have a relationship that contains resentment. Resentment is like a slow-acting poison to a relationship.

5. Commitment is a one-time event. The truth is that commitment is a daily exercise. You have to create your relationship with your partner each day. As soon as you fail to put energy into it, it begins to die.

6. Committed relationships are supposed to be perfect. Nothing is perfect. A commitment doesn’t guarantee perfection. All relationships have challenging times. Anything that involves two people will have tough moments. Those challenges provide an opportunity to grow and strengthen your relationship.

Falling in love can be easy. A relationship is more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice. Commonly believed myths regarding relationships keep too many people on the sidelines. Most people find life more enjoyable and meaningful when it’s shared with someone else. Think about your beliefs regarding relationships. Are they holding you back?

Relationships are an important part of life. The quality of your relationships affects the quality of your life. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught in school how to manage and grow relationships. And many of us didn’t grow up with positive examples of healthy and successful relationships.

However, it’s an important skill to develop.

Enjoy healthy and meaningful relationships with these strategies:

1. Avoid establishing romantic relationships to solve a challenge. Too often, relationships are founded on a problem. The issue might be loneliness, a lack of intimacy, the need for support, or the lack of children. When a relationship is based on fixing a difficulty, there will be troubles in the relationship.

* Start a relationship because you’re impressed by the other person and love the idea of spending more time together. Have something that you want to share, rather than starting a relationship because your life is broken in some way.

2. Realize that no one can read your mind. It’s not reasonable to expect anyone else to correctly guess your needs or opinions. If you won’t make your desires known, you should expect to not have them met. Take responsibility for taking the first step in satisfying your wants and needs by sharing them clearly.

* Address issues before you establish too much emotion around them. A quick talk each day can avoid drama in the future.

3. Fight cleanly. If you’re going to argue, do so in a way that doesn’t create additional challenges. If you say, “I don’t like it when you leave your wet towel on the bathroom floor. Someone could trip on it, and the towel gets a moldy smell. It can’t dry if it’s on the floor,” you’ll have better results than you will by saying, “Why are you such a slob?”

* Address behaviors instead of attacking the other person.

4. Avoid making assumptions. Those that struggle with friendships and romantic relationships make too many assumptions. Sometimes people do and say things that have nothing to do with you.

* The other person might be having a bad day, feel under the weather, or being having challenges at home.

* When you assume that everything is about you, you’re going to be unhappy, and the relationship will suffer.

* Seek clarification rather than making assumptions. Assume there’s a harmless explanation until you know otherwise.

5. Accept the idea that everyone in your life is doing the best they can at that moment. We all have a lot of potential, but that potential varies from moment to moment. No one can give you their best every minute of every day. Some days you will get more than others, just as there will be times in your life that can’t give as much.

6. Understand that no relationship can fulfill all of your needs. Some experts estimate that a relationship can only fulfill about 70% of your needs. You’ll have to find the other 70% somewhere else.

* No one can provide everything you require. It’s necessary to take responsibility for the remainder. Be thrilled with 70%. After all, there are billions of other people, and yourself, to take care of the remaining 30%.

Relationships have the power to make life joyful or miserable. Relationships are challenging, because people have different needs, expectations, and ways of viewing the world. Positive relationships, however, are well-worth the effort.

Ensure that you’re beginning any relationship for positive reasons. If you enter a relationship to solve a difficulty in your life, you’re both likely to end up disappointed. View a relationship as an opportunity to give and to share experiences so your journey together is joyful and fulfilling.

15 Ways to Stay Grounded

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed as you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and trying to keep up with constant change? Maybe you feel like you’re bombarded by news and information, and being pulled in many directions.

It can be hard to stay grounded unless you train your body and mind to stay calm under pressure.

Try these daily habits that will keep you centered and peaceful.

Habits to Keep Your Mind and Spirit Grounded:

1. Slow down. Make a conscious decision to stop rushing around. Do less and accomplish more by clarifying your priorities. Focus on one activity at a time, and pause in between tasks.

2. Breathe deep. Lower your stress levels with simple breathing exercises. Work at breathing from your abdomen instead of your chest, and lengthening your exhalations. Try alternate nostril breathing to activate both sides of your brain by using your thumb to close off one side of your nose at a time.

3. Practice mindfulness. Daily meditation will help you to live in the present moment. Find a quiet place where you can sit down and let go of distracting thoughts.

4. Monitor your self talk. Replace doubts and limiting beliefs with more encouraging messages. Remember your past victories and cheer yourself on.

5. Soothe yourself. Be gentle with yourself when you’re having a tough day. Listen to soft music or take a warm bath.

6. Engage in meaningful activities. Understand your strengths and spend time doing things that create a sense of flow. You may find fulfillment in your job or hobbies.

7. Connect with others. Surround yourself with loving and supportive family members and friends. Create opportunities to share laughter and deep conversation.

8. Express gratitude. Count your blessings. Let others know how much they mean to you and look for ways to make them smile.

9. Strengthen your faith. Contemplate your purpose and beliefs. Find a community where you feel accepted and inspired, whether it’s your church or a secular discussion group.

10. Think positive. Look on the bright side. An upbeat attitude will increase your resilience.

Habits to Keep Your Body Grounded:

1. Adjust your posture. The way you hold your body can help you feel balanced and give you more strength and energy. Stand up straight and tall with your shoulders held back and your stomach tucked in. Check that your head is level, and your knees are slightly bent.

2. Exercise daily. Working out keeps your body and mind in top condition. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 3 days a week. You might want to buy a gym membership or go for a run in the park before work.

3. Eat a balanced diet. Make natural whole foods the mainstay of your diet, including at least 5 servings of vegetable and fruits each day. Choose lean proteins and healthy fats. Cut back on excess sugar and salt.

4. Rest and sleep. Give your body time to heal and restore. While individual sleep requirements vary, 7 to 8 hours is sufficient for most adults. Pay attention to the quality of your sleep too. Darken your bedroom and block out background noise.

5. Limit irritants. Ironically, some of the things we do to manage stress can actually backfire. Consume caffeine and alcohol in moderation. If you’re trying to quit smoking, talk with your doctor about methods like nicotine replacement.

Your daily choices can help to introduce more peace and harmony into your life as you navigate minor and major challenges. Staying grounded will make you happier and more productive.

As a parent, your job is to take care of your children until the day when they can strike out on their own. While they graduate from high school knowing how to read and write, there are other skills that are just as important that may not get covered in the classroom.

Before your teen leaves home, ensure they’re ready to fend for themselves and have a positive impact on the world.

Take a moment to run down this checklist of life skills your teen will need.

Practical Life Skills:

1. Manage time. Be a positive role model for establishing priorities and dealing with distractions. Show your teen how to use a calendar and work backwards from a deadline.

2. Study efficiently. While your teen won’t be taking geometry classes much longer, they will continue to benefit from knowing how to learn. Encourage them to love reading. Demonstrate how to recognize key concepts and design their own self-tests on any material.

3. Stick to a budget. The choices your teen makes today will help to determine how much debt they accumulate during college and what their options will be when they graduate. Give them a head start on developing financial responsibility by assigning them tasks like managing their allowance.

4. Eat well. Healthy eating habits start early too. Bring your teen along for grocery shopping and invite them to join you in preparing dinner. Stress the importance of eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods.

5. Clean up. Kids who grow up doing chores will be more likely to take care of their first apartment and personal possessions. Teach them how to vacuum, dust, and do their laundry.

6. Stay safe. Talk with your teen about protecting themselves online and off. Provide common-sense warnings and share your own experiences.

7. Handle emergencies. Does your teen know what to do if they have a fender bender or there’s a severe storm in the forecast? Rehearse how to respond to common emergencies.

Social and Psychological Life Skills:

1. Clarify core values. The values your teen chooses will guide their behavior. Point them in a promising direction by ensuring they can articulate their beliefs and put them into action.

2. Give generously. Your teen is more likely to succeed if they help others to do the same. Encourage them to share their resources and volunteer their services.

3. Act mindfully. Mobile devices seem to be shortening the average attention span. If you want your teen to understand the power of mindfulness, you’ll need to teach by example. Give them your full attention when they’re talking, and turn the TV off unless you’re watching a specific program.

4. Deal with stress. Developing mindfulness will help protect your teen from depression and anxiety. They can also learn to relax by engaging in physical exercise and working on a hobby.

5. Master phone etiquette. Even if your teen spends much of their waking life on the phone, they may not communicate effectively. Train them to identify themselves and speak clearly. Rehearse scheduling appointments or calling a professor.

6. Talk face-to-face. Your teen may be more comfortable on social media than having a conversation in person. Hold regular family dinners where they can practice.

7. Cultivate relationships. Supportive relationships are vital to health and wellbeing. Coach your teen on how to make friends and network.

8. Be assertive. Help your child to develop healthy self-esteem and advocate for themselves. Knowing how to share their wants and needs will bring them closer to fulfilling their goals.

You can ease your teen’s transition into adulthood. Protect your children when they’re young, and then gradually give them more responsibility so they can acquire the skills they need to live independently.

If you want to reach your goals, self-care belongs on the top of your to do list. When you protect your health and wellbeing, you give yourself the strength you need to succeed.

Ironically, we often abandon self-care just when we need it the most. Feeling overburdened and overwhelmed can make you more likely to skip meals or miss workouts. On the other hand, if you make self-care automatic, you’ll create habits you can depend on to see you through major setbacks or minor irritations.

Be good to yourself. Use these tips to start developing your own personal self-care plan.

Self-Care Tips on Eating and Exercising:

1. Eat whole foods. Get most of your calories from natural foods, especially vegetables and fruits. Cutting back on processed foods will eliminate most of the empty calories and excess sugar and salt in your diet.

2. Dine in. Save eating out for an occasional treat. Preparing your own food gives you more control over what on your plate. It’s another high-impact strategy for eating healthy.

3. Manage your weight. Being overweight or obese can drain your energy and increase your risk for serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Control portion sizes and talk with your doctor if you need more help.

4. Stay hydrated. Your body needs water to perform its functions, including controlling your heart rate and digesting food. While most adults require about 6 to 8 glasses of water daily, you can usually rely on your sense of thirst to figure out your individual needs.

5. Stay active. Incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine helps you stay fit. Stand up while you’re talking on the phone and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

6. Exercise regularly. You also need regular workouts for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. Find a variety of activities that you’ll enjoy doing for at least a half hour three days a week.

Other Self-Care Tips:

1. Think positive. Studies show that optimists live longer and have stronger immune systems. Look on the bright side and count your blessings.

2. Sleep well. Sleep provides a time for restoration and rejuvenation. Go to bed and rise on a consistent schedule. Turn off the television and block out street lights and noises if they’re keeping you up at night.

3. Manage stress. Find relaxation practices that work for you. You might enjoy soaking in a warm bath or meditating in a quiet spot.

4. Take frequent breaks. Scheduling some downtime makes you more productive. Stand up and stretch when you’re working at the office. Pause in between errands to drink a cup of tea and calm your mind.

5. Delegate wisely. Focus on the tasks that match your strengths. Try to transfer the rest of your responsibilities to others, whether that means hiring a housecleaner or trading assignments with a co-worker.

6. Develop a hobby. Fill your leisure time with meaningful activities. Creative pastimes can help you relax and feel accomplished.

7. Be assertive. Stand up for yourself. Ask for what you need tactfully and directly. Remember that you are worthy of respect and consideration.

8. Stay connected. Cultivate close relationships with family and friends. Make time in your schedule for family dinners and coffee dates. Invite a new colleague out to lunch. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in awhile so you can catch up.

9. Seek inspiration. Find something that motivates you. You might want to join a prayer group at your church or climb a mountain to admire the view.

Reduce stress and accomplish more by making self-care a top priority. Treating yourself with compassion and kindness is essential to your mental and physical health.

You can enjoy greater wellbeing and make your marriage more satisfying by helping your spouse to grow and change. It turns out that you’re more likely to pursue rewarding challenges if you have a supportive partner.

That’s the lesson from a recent study by Carnegie University. In this study, researchers divided couples into two roles: a decision maker and a support provider. Then, they gave them a choice between completing a simple puzzle or competing for a cash prize in a public speaking competition.

Spouses with an encouraging partner were much more likely to take on the greater challenge. Plus, when they were surveyed 6 months later, they reported increased personal growth and happiness, along with stronger relationships.

The study also identified what behaviors you need to be helpful and encouraging rather than too pushy or passive.

Discover the 3 essential elements of effective support, and how to use them.

Show Your Enthusiasm

Marriage gives you an opportunity to cheer each other on. Let your enthusiasm shine through. As a bonus, it will make your relationship more fun.

Try these activities to show enthusiasm:

1. Share meaningful activities. It’s easy to be enthusiastic when you love what you’re doing. Figure out your top priorities and devote your time to them, individually and together.

2. Ask questions. Do you find it hard to take an interest in your spouse’s job or hobbies? Becoming more knowledgeable could stimulate your curiosity. Ask them to give you an introduction to corporate litigation or gourmet cooking.

3. Give specific praise. Compliments mean more when you make them substantive. Tell your spouse precisely what it is you admire about their communication skills or leadership style.

4. Stay energized. How can you sound perky when you’re tired and hungry? Practice self-care by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping well.

5. Manage stress. Learning to relax will also help you to keep your spirits up. Set aside time to meditate and pray. Listen to gentle music or go for a walk.

Provide Reassurance

Most worthwhile projects require effort and persistence. Having a reassuring partner can help you hang in there until you achieve results.

Try these ways to reassure your partner:

1. Remember your purpose. When obstacles arise, encourage your spouse to think about the reasons behind their work. Talk about your values and set goals that you both believe in.

2. Examine your assumptions. Many barriers are internal. Provide a sounding board so your spouse can recognize and overcome self-limiting beliefs that may be holding them back. Strive to be a role model for going beyond your comfort zone and making constructive changes.

3. Review your accomplishments. Go over the things that you and your spouse have accomplished together. You’ll feel more confident and empowered.

4. Get organized. Physical and mental clutter can trigger anxiety and slow you down. Maintaining an orderly home and creating efficient routines will give you both more peace of mind.

Focus on What You Have to Gain

It’s easier to take risks when you think about the benefits. Cultivate a cheerful outlook. Your hopefulness is contagious so your spouse will pick up on it too.

Turn these actions into daily habits:

1. Look on the bright side. Find the advantages present in any situation. Keep a list of the things you and your spouse have to be grateful for, including each other.

2. Reframe challenges. Look at setbacks as opportunities to learn. Give your partner a chance to express their feelings, and then move on. Direct your energy to coming up with solutions.

3. Adjust your environment. What types of influences surround you and your spouse? Be selective about the media you consume and search for inspiring stories. Develop a strong network of family and friends you can rely on.

Supporting your spouse can make you happier and more successful as a couple and as individuals. Nourish your relationship with enthusiasm, reassurance, and optimism.

12 Tips to Overcome Laziness

You know that you have a lot of things to do. You may even have big plans for the future, but you can’t seem to motivate yourself to get off the couch the internet. Everyone experiences laziness from time to time.

However, the most successful people are able to push laziness aside and take action.

Overcome laziness and find motivation from within with these ideas:

1. Alternate between periods of high focus and relaxation. Use a timer and focus for all you’re worth for 25 minutes. Then, take a five minute break and do whatever you like. Just knowing that you only have to last for 25 minutes can be enough to motivate yourself to get busy.

2. Focus on the positive aspects of getting your work done. Think about the positive feelings you’ll experience when you’ve completed your work. Make a list of all the advantages of doing your work right now.

3. Be tough. Maybe it shouldn’t matter whether or not you feel like doing what needs to be done. Just do it! Easier said than done, but simple nevertheless.

4. Declutter. Excess chaos in your working space can sap the motivation and energy right out of you. Take a few minutes to clear off your desk and tidy things up a bit. Avoid using this as an excuse to procrastinate.

5. Focus on the long-term. Where will your life be in a year or five years from now if you stop being lazy? Where will you be if you continue on the path you’re traveling right now? Those with motivation issues often look at the short-term. The most effective actions require patience before the benefits appear.

6. Use your lazy time wisely. Just lying around isn’t that relaxing unless you make the most of it. Use your down time to read a book, enjoy a hobby, or spend time with friends. Avoid wasting this precious time in way that fails to add to your life in some way.

7. Get some help. Ask for help from a trusted friend or family member. You’ll feel badly about being lazy when someone is by your side and lending a helping hand.

8. Accept the fact that some tasks just aren’t enjoyable. Successful living requires doing a few things each day that you’d rather not do. Just get it done as painlessly as possible.

9. Create a to-do list each night. Before you close your eyes and start counting sheep, make a list of the four most important things to do tomorrow. When your feet hit the floor in the morning, you’ll already know what needs to be done. Give yourself a running start.

10. Become more aware of time. Time can easily slip by while watching TV or surfing the internet. Keep an eye on the time, regardless of your current task. At the end of each hour, ask yourself what you’ve accomplished.

11. Plan an enjoyable weekend. Knowing that you have a fun weekend to look forward to can make it easier to stay busy during the week.

12. Get some exercise. A good workout will wake you up and get the juices flowing. Daily exercise can make a significant difference in your ability to work hard and stay focused.

Have you been lazy lately? Use these tips to lessen the amount of laziness you experience in your life. Stay busy during the week and make the most of your weekends. You can’t afford to be lazy when the rewards for overcoming laziness are so great!