Take Advantage of Your Midlife Crisis and Regain Your Joy for Life

Most adults over the age of 50 have suffered a midlife crisis to some extent. Life rarely works out as planned. You may have had dreams of playing in the NBA, becoming a senator, living in Europe, or writing a best seller. Instead, you’ve spent your time in a cubicle helping your company sell paperclips to other people in cubicles.

It’s natural to have some discouragement, but it’s not all downhill from here.

Use your midlife crisis to your advantage:

1. Focus on what you have. There are places in the world where 7-year old orphans are digging through the dump for food and face sexual abuse on a daily basis. You may not have become the CEO of your company by age 45, but you’ll survive.

* What do you have in your life that you can be grateful about right now?

2. Remember what you’ve accomplished. You’ve already accomplished several things you can be happy about. A few examples include:

* Finishing school.
* Buying a home.
* Being a good spouse.
* Raising successful children.
* Being a good friend.
* Showing up to work each day.
* Being a good neighbor.
* Anything else that fills you with pride.

3. Avoid doing anything foolish. Quitting work without another source of income, having an affair, or buying a Ferrari you can’t afford creates more challenges than it solves. Now isn’t the time to be impulsive.

* You can make plans and begin putting them into action, but avoid making your life more challenging.

4. Use your midlife crisis as a wakeup call. A midlife crisis is a signal that your life isn’t going as planned, isn’t as meaningful as you’d like, and you believe you’re running out of time to make a change. But you can still make a change if you get started.

* People have graduated medical school in their 60s.
* Some best-selling authors and screenwriters didn’t get started until their 70s.
* You might be too old to play quarterback for the Steelers, but there’s still time to accomplish plenty of amazing things.

5. Set some exciting goals. Set some goals that will result in feeling more positive about your life when you accomplish them. Start small. A small success will allow you to realize that you can accomplish bigger things. Gain some momentum and do something great.

* What have you always wanted to do?
* What is your passion? How could you make a living at it?
* What can you do that would make your life feel more meaningful?

6. Do something new. A midlife crisis can be the result of living the same day over and over again without any reprieve in sight. Who says you can’t shake things up a bit? Attend a yoga class or learn how to weld. Attend a new church or start a blog. If your life is in a rut, you can only blame the person in the mirror.

7. Look at the big picture. Depending on your age and health, you may have 40+ productive years still to come. That’s a lot of time. It only takes nine years to become a neurosurgeon after college. You can do a lot in 40 years. How will you spend them?

Use your midlife crisis as a sign that you might want to make a few changes to make your life more fulfilling. Remember the positive aspects of your life and be grateful for what you have and have accomplished. You’re still young enough to set new goals and be excited about what the future holds as you achieve them.

Smart Study Strategies to Learn More in Less Time and Make Better Grades

Studying a necessary part of any student’s life. Sitting in class and taking tests are only part of the story. Studying consists of taking information and internalizing it in a way that allows for accurate recall.

While we spend all of our childhood in school, we’re rarely taught how to take notes or study.

Become a more successful student by studying more effectively:

1. Take good notes. Record all the ideas presented by the instructor. You can fill in the blanks with the textbook. Date each entry and keep all the notes for a particular class together.

* If your instructor writes it on the board, you’d better copy it into your notes!

2. Study a little each day. Most students wait until the last possible minute to study for a test, but there’s only so much you can learn in a day. Study in small, frequent sessions. The time to begin studying for the final is the first day of class. It’s never too soon.

* Study for a few minutes right before bed. Everyone needs a good bedtime story. Yours can be a riveting tale about sub-particle physics. Studies have shown that information learned just before falling asleep is better retained.

* Fifteen minutes each night over a 16-week semester is 28 hours! That’s a significant amount of study time.

3. Visit the instructor outside of class every so often. Avoid being a pest, but show that you care about learning the material. Have an intelligent question to ask. Avoid asking anything that can easily be found in your notes or the textbook. You’ll only make yourself look foolish or lazy.

* You’re likely to get the benefit of the doubt if your grade is borderline. All you need to do is stop in the instructor’s office and ask a good question a couple of times each month.

4. Have an attitude that works. When viewed negatively, studying becomes much more challenging. It’s about as exciting as mowing the grass on hot summer day – something unpleasant that has to be done. In reality, studying is a chance to learn new things, secure your future, and show your best.

* Avoid procrastinating, but study when you’re in the mood to do so. If you’re overly distracted or disinterested, wait until your attitude has changed.

5. Pick a location conducive to studying. A quiet location with minimal distractions is best. In spite of what you may think, studying with the TV on isn’t optimal. Find a quiet place where you can focus most easily.

* If possible, study in the place where you’ll be tested. It will be easier to recall the information.

6. Leave everything else at home. Leave your laptop if you don’t need it. The internet, Facebook, and 60 minutes of wasted time are only a few clicks away. Avoid bringing anything to your study session that might be a distraction.

7. Do the required reading before class. When there’s reading assigned to go along with the lecture, read the material before class. You’ll already have a good idea of what’s going on.

* It will also be easier to take notes since you’re familiar with the material.

8. Take frequent breaks. Avoid studying for more than an hour without taking a short break. Get up and move around. Call a friend and chat for a few minutes. You’ll get more done in the long-run.

Studying more effectively will take less time and provide better results. School doesn’t have to be stressful. Developing good habits is the key to success. Learn to study more intelligently rather than applying brute force to the situation. You can be a highly successful student.

Silence Your Inner Critic

We all carry around a critic that appears to be focused on making us miserable. Life is simpler and more enjoyable if you can silence your inner critic. If you spend some time and really listen to this critic, you’ll be amazed by what you hear. You’ve never known anyone so negative or so odd.

Yet you listen to your inner critic as if you’re listening to an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Change how you view your internal dialogue:

1. Listen to your inner critic dispassionately. Just stop and listen for a minute. Notice the things it says. It won’t take long before you realize you’re listening to a lunatic. In fact, listen to your self-talk in general. Imagine what “you” say to yourself while you’re watching TV:

* “Oh yeah! I love this movie, except the acting stinks and some parts are boring. I think I have time to go to the bathroom and get a snack before it starts getting good.

The girl in this movie reminds me of Mary from high school. She always wore that weird jewelry. I wonder if she married Steve. I should’ve gone to prom with Steve. I looked fat in my prom dress and I never should have gone with Brian.

I’m still fat and can barely get off the couch because I’m stuck so far down in the cushions. If my mom had treated me better, I wouldn’t be so addicted to eating junk. I loved watching Fat Albert when I was a kid…”

* What would happen if you were sitting next to a person rambling on like this? You’d be looking for the nearest exit. Yet this is the way we speak to ourselves. Realize that you’re listening to someone you’d avoid in real life. There’s no reason to take self-talk seriously, but we drag this inner dialog around with us and listen to it!

2. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend or a child in the same situation. Or imagine what your best friend would say to you. The language, comments, and advice would be much different than what you say to yourself.

* When your critical dialog starts, ignore the criticism and consciously practice being as gentle with yourself as you would to a friend or a child.

3. Remember all the times you were successful. Psychologists believe it requires ten positive experiences to overcome one bad experience. Take a couple of minutes each day to remember the all the amazing things you’ve accomplished.

* In fact, with diligence, this can become a habit. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, you can instantly think of something positive, instead.

4. Write it down. Instead of just hearing your inner critic, write down what was said and read it. It will seem less credible in a new format.

5. Put the criticism to the test. What evidence do you have to support this negative statement? Can you think of instances in the past where this statement was false?

* If you were more positive, how would you view this situation? What can you gain from your current situation?

6. Keep your mind on today. The past is of little value today, and tomorrow is impossible to predict. Keep your attention on making the most of today. By doing that consistently, tomorrow will take care of itself.

7. Be grateful. The easiest way to uplift your mood and your self-talk is to spend time feeling grateful. List the things in your life that fill you with feelings of gratitude.

Your inner critic has little to offer you. Realize how silly your inner talk can be. You’d never be friends with a person that spoke that way. And you’d certainly never take them seriously. You’d stay as far away as you possibly could.

Use these tips to keep your inner critic under control and develop the habit of speaking positively to yourself, instead. Your self-confidence and success will soar.

Self-Awareness: Why it Matters

What is self-awareness? The dictionary defines self-awareness as “knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.” When you’re self-aware, you have an accurate and clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs. You know what makes you tick. Self-awareness also includes an understanding of how others perceive you.

Lacking self-awareness can lead to a very confusing and frustrating life!

Your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness:

1. Self-awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self-awareness is the principle way of understanding and manipulating these things.

* Self-awareness highlights faulty beliefs and emotional reactions that stand in your way and gives you the power to make adjustments.

2. Self-awareness illuminates the real reasons for past failures and challenges. We often dismiss our failures as bad luck or a lack of proper timing. It’s much more likely that you failed to perceive the situation, others, and yourself accurately. It’s much easier to see the reason behind relationship, work, and other struggles when you can look at yourself clearly.

* Do you consistently struggle at work or in your relationships? It’s only logical to conclude that you’re doing something ineffectively.

* Those who lack self-awareness are puzzled by their negative outcomes or blame others exclusively.

3. Self-awareness is a critical quality for leaders. One study concluded that a high degree of self-awareness was the best predictor of success for executives.

* Executives that have an understanding of their weaknesses are able to build a team composed of members that fill those weaknesses.

* A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.

Self-awareness is the foundation for personal progress. Without it, any personal development efforts will be severely hampered. Building greater self-awareness won’t happen overnight, but it can be developed.

How to Develop Self-Awareness

Build your self-awareness one step at time:

1. Write your own manifesto. Think about and then document your views on life, your goals, and your intentions. You might be surprised by what you write. This is a great first step for understanding yourself and your beliefs.

2. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. How do you know? Are you certain? Avoid jumping to conclusions. You may have always believed that you’re a hard worker, but are you? To whom are you comparing yourself? Provide yourself with proof before you make any decisions.

3. What would others say about you? Consider how your partner, children, friends, family, co-workers, and boss would describe you. What would they suggest you improve about yourself? Then ask them and see how accurate you are. Do you know how others perceive you? Find out how perceptive you are.

4. Meditate. Meditation is all about developing a better awareness of the present moment and yourself. Meditation is an ideal activity for enhancing self-awareness.

* Meditate at least once each day. Spend the rest of the day paying attention to yourself, others, and your surroundings. You can develop a higher degree of self-awareness by just paying attention.

* Question yourself throughout the day. “What am I attempting to achieve?” “What emotions am I currently feeling and why?” “What are the people around me feeling?”

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. Without self-awareness, the knowledge you possess can’t be applied effectively. It’s necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self-aware. Give it some time and thought.

Life is easier when you’re self-aware. You can start building your self-awareness, and reaping the benefits, today!

Overcome Your Fear of Confrontation and Get What You Want More Often

Confrontation can be scary. Most of us were raised with the idea that we shouldn’t upset others. Confrontation has a negative connotation, but it shouldn’t. Confrontation doesn’t have to be negative or hostile. Confrontation is addressing behavior you don’t like with the intention of finding a resolution.

Confrontation can be intimidating if you’ve made a habit of avoiding it your entire life. It takes courage to address a situation in a new way. A few positive results could change your opinion about confrontation!

Handle confrontation maturely and calmly with these ideas:

1. Most “confrontations” aren’t confrontations at all. Those that cringe from confrontation are actually afraid of sharing their opinion. That’s not a confrontation. You have just as much right to your opinion as anyone else and have every right to share it in most circumstances. Sharing ideas isn’t confrontation.

2. Understand what’s bothering you. Do you really have a reason to be bothered or are your expectations unreasonable? Everyone is unreasonable at times. Perhaps it’s just your turn. Ask a friend for his opinion if you’re uncertain.

3. Determine the desired outcome. What would you like to see happen? Be specific and ask yourself if that’s a reasonable expectation. Be positive. Know what you want, not just what you wish to avoid. Avoiding a specific outcome leaves you open to countless others. How can you know it won’t get even worse?

4. Be prepared. When you’re confronting someone, trying to handle the situation spontaneously isn’t ideal. Take the time you need to prepare, if possible. Think of what you need to say and how you should say it. Your tone is important.

5. Take control of the situation. Be the first to address the situation. You have more control and can set the tone for the remainder of the encounter. Be calm, cool, and collected, and the other person is likely to follow suit. If you’re hostile, expect hostility in return.

6. Ask questions. Ensure that you fully understand the situation before making any requests. You may misunderstand the current situation. Maybe there’s no need for a confrontation at all.

7. Stick to the facts. When you stray from the facts, you’re viewed as reaching. If you can’t make a legitimate claim with the facts you possess, more research is necessary.

8. Let the other person know what you want, rather than request they cease a behavior. “I want you to arrive to work on time” instead of “I want you to stop being late.” Keep your request in a positive form. Avoid feeling anxious about your request. It’s just a request.

9. Address behavior, but avoid assuming you know the motives of the other person. “When you’re late, I feel like you don’t care” is more effective than “I know you’re always late because you don’t care about my feelings.” You don’t know what the other person is thinking until you’re told. Making assumptions puts others on the offensive.
10. Stay calm. Good things can happen when you remain calm. Any escalation in emotion will create more drama. Avoid taking anything personally. Share your opinion and let your request be known. Stay calm even if the other person becomes angry.

Confrontation can be positive. Confrontation provides an opportunity to improve the current situation. It’s normal to be anxious at the prospect of confronting another person, but avoid letting that stop you from sticking up for yourself. You’re entitled to your opinion. Learn to share it effectively.

Learn the Art of Persuasion in Everyday Life

Persuasion isn’t just for salespeople. You’re influencing others all the time. You might be influencing your kids to do their homework or an employee to spend his Saturday working. When you can influence others effectively, you can get more done and life is easier.

Use time-tested techniques to influence the people in your life:

1. Understand reciprocity. There are few psychological phenomena better documented than the idea of reciprocity. In a nutshell, people are more likely to do something for you after you’ve done something for them. We tend to return favors.

2. Ask nicely. Saying “please” can get you further than you might think. Avoid acting as if you’re deserving of assistance. Ask nicely and say “thank you” afterwards.

3. Tell the truth. It’s easier to influence others when you’re willing to be honest. It’s very challenging to lie successfully, especially to those that know you well. Honesty is often rewarded.

4. Do what you can on your own. We’re more likely to give assistance to those who are working hard. It’s easier to feel compassion for someone that’s already doing everything they can to help themselves.

5. Treat others with kindness. We like to go along with those we admire and respect. We resist those that we view as unkind. You’re presented with countless opportunities each day to be a pleasant and helpful human being. Take advantage of them. People will be more easily influenced by you.

6. Tell them what’s in it for them. People are wondering, “What’s in it for me?” most of the time. It’s wonderful when people are willing to do your bidding out of the goodness of their hearts, but be realistic. If there’s a benefit to the other person, make it known.

7. Smile. Studies have shown that smiles open doors. Smile, and people are more likely to respond positively. You’ll feel better, too. Smile at the beginning of any interaction, unless inappropriate.

8. Seek agreement. Find common ground. If you can get the other person to agree to several of your statements or ideas, they’ll be more likely to agree to your primary request. Understand what the other party wants and needs. Find similarities between you and the other party.

9. Compliment them. A few sincere compliments can appeal to the ego. Make the other person feel good, and they’ll be more likely to make you feel good in return. Avoid getting carried away, but a simple compliment can be powerful.

10. Timing is everything. Would you ask your spouse for a big favor when you come home two hours late from your golf outing? Unlikely. There’s a time and place for everything. Be wise.

11. Be reasonable. It’s a lot easier to borrow a dollar than it is to borrow a million. Keep your request reasonable, and it will likely be granted. If you want something big, be prepared to provide something big.

Influencing others is a learnable skill. Those with good skills have an easier path through life. Persuasion skills can be applied at work, home, in all relationships, and even to interactions with strangers. Some people are seemingly born with the ability to lead and influence others. The rest of us have to learn. Now is the perfect time to get started.

Increase Your Personal Efficiency and Make the Most of Each Day

We all have 24 hours each day. Those that use their 24 hours most effectively have the most successful careers, the cleanest homes, and the happiest families. Are you using your time as effectively as possible? Consider how you could use your time more wisely and get more accomplished.

Efficiency at Work

Being more efficient at work can help your career and make the day pass more quickly:

1. Drink water. Nothing will sap your energy quicker than dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late. Take a drink during your break and continue drinking throughout the day.

2. Delegate. You can get more accomplished if you delegate tasks at work. When necessary, you might even be able to delegate work to your peers. Ask nicely.

* People are a resource. Be respectful, but use them wisely.

3. Have an up to date to-do list. You’ll get more done if you can hit the ground running when you first walk in the workplace doors. Know what you need to accomplish and have a plan already in place.

4. Take regular breaks. The best ratio for the average person is a 10-minute break each hour. You’ll get more done over the entire day and still feel refreshed when everyone else is burning out. Take breaks and get more done.

* Work intently for that hour. Watch the clock and see how much you can get done. Push yourself. Then take a break and recharge.

These are just a few ideas. How could you use your time at work better? How do you waste time?

Efficiency at Home

It’s just as important to be efficient at home:

1. Delegate. If you have a spouse or kids, put those extra hands to work. You can get a lot more accomplished and have more time available for leisure activities. Teamwork at home is a wonderful thing.

* Consider hiring someone to clean the house, mow the grass, or do the shopping.

* Even small children can be helpful. Let them do age-appropriate tasks, even if they’re only able to put their toys away or set the table.

2. Get everything ready the night before. Avoid packing lunches and selecting clothes in the morning. Make these things part of your evening ritual. Your mornings will be much more relaxed. Ensure the car is ready to go, too. Try to keep your tank at least half-full to avoid morning trips to the gas station.

3. Get organized. The average person spends a lot of time looking for things at home. Car keys, the checkbook, TV remote, batteries, and bills, to name a few. You can save a lot of time by getting organized.

4. Put things away when you’re done. Making the house clean is a major job. Keeping it clean, instead, is much easier. Teach everyone to put things away when they’re done. If you and your family always put things back, the house can’t become cluttered.

* Dirty dishes go in the sink or the dishwasher.
* Put mail in the appropriate place after sorting or opening.
* Toys go back on the shelf.
* When you take off your shoes, put them in the proper place.
* Use a pen? Put it back when you’re done.

These ideas will help you handle responsibilities efficiently and spend less time on your tasks. Time is the one resource that we all have in equal amounts. The most successful people are those that make the most of the 24 hours they’re given each day. Make yours count!

How to Develop and Grow New Friendships

Friendship is a wonderful thing. A few good friends can make life a lot more fun and meaningful. It’s also nice to have the support that strong friendships provide. Many struggle to develop new friendships. Even when you’re willing to do the work to find new friends, it’s not easy to know where to start.

Try these strategies to bring new friends into your life:

1. Be bold. Most of the people you see would love to have additional friends.

* There’s no reason to fear rejection while attempting to make friends. You’re not asking for a loan or a date. People can appear disinterested for a variety of reasons. They might be busy, having a personal challenge, or just having a bad day. You’ll survive!

2. Start with the people you see each day. Chatting with a stranger is more anxiety-provoking than talking to the person in the next cubicle. Try to make your casual friendships more meaningful. You might already have all the people you need to create a strong social circle.

* Get to know the friends of your friends. You could quickly have more friendships than you know what to do with.

3. Stay in touch with all of your friends. You’ve probably made plenty of friends over the years. You just haven’t maintained the friendships. A good friend is a rare commodity. Stay in touch and keep up with each other.

* You’ll always have enough friends if you take the time to keep your friends close.

4. Take advantage of opportunities to get out more. If you keep declining offers to go out, people will eventually stop asking. When you prefer to stay home, your social circle shrinks. Make a habit of saying yes.

5. Use the internet to your advantage. Even if you have zero friends, work alone at home, and don’t have neighbors, you can still find people for socializing. There are several meet-up groups online. Volunteer. Take a class. Plenty of others are in the same boat as you.

6. Be open to new people and ideas. The people with the most friends also tend to be the most accepting. The more judgmental you are, the fewer people you’ll find that meet your strict criteria. Drop your preconceived notions of what a friend should be.

* It’s possible that the best friend you could ever have will be nothing like you.

7. Be supportive. The best friends are available 24/7. Be generous with your time, attention, and help. Helping others is satisfying and builds strong friendships. You can expect the same in return when you need help.

8. Be genuine in your interest of others. The most important part of connecting with others is demonstrating true interest in them. Avoid the mistake of trying to make others interested in you. Focus on them, instead.

* Be curious. Ask about their lives, hobbies, hopes, and dreams. Focus on the good to be found in others. You’ll find more people you like and admire if look for the positive.

You can add to your social life at any age. Remember that adding new friends to your social circle is an active process. It’s necessary to put in the time and work to make it happen. Life is too short to wait for others to come to you. Go out today and make a new friend!

Experience the Joy of Living on Purpose With a Life Mission Statement

Do you have a mission for your life? Crafting a mission statement will allow you to live more purposefully. The creation of a mission statement requires that you define your strengths, interests, and values. Once these are known and documented, life becomes much easier and more fulfilling.

You simply have to ask yourself, “Am I living in accordance to my mission statement?

Your goals will become more obvious and you’ll feel more certain and clear regarding your decisions.

Use these ideas to develop a mission statement and take control of your life:

1. Who are your heroes? Think about those you respect and admire. Consider people you know personally, people you know of, and people from history. What do they have in common? What traits or experiences do these people have that you’d like to see in yourself?

* Your true-self is closely aligned with those you hold in high regard.

2. Define the person you want to be. Life isn’t only about accomplishments and accumulating a list of impressive possessions. Life is also about the person you become and your contributions. Consider all the roles you might fill over your lifetime and define your ideal person for each of these roles:

* Student
* Spouse
* Grandparent
* Parent
* Employee
* Employer
* Boss
* Friend

3. Imagine you’re 80-years old and only have a month left to live. Look back on your life. What would you like to look back on? What do you want to be able to remember? Making a million dollars? Climbing Mount Everest? Starting a charity? Having happy, successful children?

* Start with the end in mind. Then you can create a path to reach that destination.

4. List your strengths, talents, and loves. What are you good at? Make a list of your natural talents and those areas where you’ve developed the most skill. Include the things you love to do, whether you’re good at them or not.

* If your mission statement can include or leverage your skills and talents, you’ll be able to accomplish more.

* By including the things that you love to do, you’ll have a lot more fun!

5. Create a list of purposes. Define the overall theme of your life and list the things that you want to accomplish in your life. Create a mission statement that incorporates all of these things into a central idea. It might require a couple of paragraphs to capture. These could be thought of as vague goals, such as:

* Alleviate the suffering of others.
* Fearlessly try new things and visit new places.
* Make a living in the field of music.
* Be a supportive and loving parent.
* Be grateful for all the experiences that enter my life.
* Be a committed life-long learner.

6. Set concrete goals that support your purposes. Set goals that will ensure that living your purpose is guaranteed. For example, what are some goals that might turn you into a supportive and loving parent?

* Resolve issues from my own childhood.
* Read and apply a book on being more patient.
* Get involved at my child’s school by volunteering.
* Read to my child each night.
* Tell my child, “I love you.” at least twice each day.

If you’re feeling confused, or your life lacks purpose, developing a mission statement is the answer. A mission statement creates focus and boundaries for your life. There’s much less confusion when you’re clear about your purpose and goals. Get your life on track with a thoughtful mission statement and live your life on purpose.

Enhance the Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship and See It Thrive

Emotional intimacy is a closeness that goes beyond the ordinary fondness felt for friends and family. The degree of emotional intimacy is an excellent barometer for evaluating the health of a relationship. It’s difficult to have a good relationship with poor emotional intimacy or a poor relationship with a high degree of emotional intimacy.

Grow your emotional intimacy and strengthen your bonds of love:

1. Exercise together. We maintain intimate relationships with those with whom we share challenging times, whether it be surviving a horrible boss or training for a marathon. Spend time training together at the gym. Sweat and suffer together. Your bond will grow.

2. Let go of your past. Most of the obstacles to being more intimately connected are rooted in the past. Learn from the past and be done with it. Everyone has been hurt at some point. That’s not a valid reason to spoil today. Let it go.

3. Share your appreciation for each other. Before turning off the light for the night, share what you each appreciate about each other. List something you appreciated that day. It could be something small like folding your clean pants or stopping by the store for milk.

* You’ll be amazed by what happens. You’ll spend the day looking for things to appreciate about your partner. You’ll eventually think that your partner has changed into an even more amazing person. But the truth is that you’re the one who’s changed.

4. Touch each other daily. Sex counts, but focus on other types of touch, too. Give each other a massage or snuggle together on the couch. Hold hands.

5. Be a positive experience for your spouse. Studies have shown that we’re more sensitive to negative experiences than we are to positive. The ratio is roughly 5:1. It takes five positive experiences to negate the impact of one negative experience.

* Try to deliver at least 10 positive experiences for each negative experience so your bond is ever-growing.

6. Be a better listener. We adore the people in our lives who take the time to listen intently to what we have to say. You might not care about the great deal she got on the pair of heels she’s been eyeing for weeks or the fact that his new carburetor finally arrived in the mail. But you get at least as much as you give when you’re a good listener.

* Look you partner in the eye when they’re speaking to you.
* Turn off the TV.
* Put your cell phone away.
* Avoid interrupting.

7. Explore something new together. Take class or a hike in a new location. Read the same book and share your thoughts. Attend a concert together. Take a trip to someplace new. Be creative and share a new experience together.

8. Be the best possible version of yourself. By being at your best, you’ll have more to give. Have a few goals and spend time each day striving to achieve them. Take care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

9. Show an interest in your partner’s life. This goes beyond being a good listener. Be inquisitive and ask your partner about her day. If he just got home from playing golf, ask him about his game. Show a genuine interest.

It’s easy to be emotionally intimate at the beginning of a meaningful relationship. The other person is just so perfect and interesting! Emotional intimacy can be more challenging after 10 years have taken their toll. Emotional intimacy must be encouraged to grow or it will die. Make emotional intimacy a priority in your relationship.