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What To Do When You Feel Lost

If you’ve ever felt lost, you’re shooting par for the course as a human being. Everyone faces this challenge sooner or later. Feeling lost is a sign that you believe your life is on the wrong track.

You feel like your life lacks meaning and that your future is uncompelling. This is a great time to take a long, hard look at yourself. You can learn a lot during this period.

Try these activities to find yourself and create a future that inspires you again:

1. Make a list of things you’d like to see in your lifetime. One of the reasons you feel lost is that you don’t have anything to look forward to. You can change that quickly by making a list of all the things you’d like to see in your lifetime. Here are a few ideas to stimulate your thinking.

* Watch the Packers and the Bears play at Soldier Field
* The Great Wall of China
* An opera in Italy
* The Grand Canyon
* The birth of a litter of puppies
* Old Faithful
* Mars through a high-quality telescope
* A Rolling Stones concert
* Make your own list and don’t be bashful. Now pick one thing you can do in the next six months. If your list is too extravagant, and six months is an impossible timeline, think harder and add more items to your list.

2. Make a list of things you’d like to do in your lifetime. What would you like to do or learn? Play bridge or chess? Speak Russian? Master the piano? Go waterskiing? Learn to paint? Take a zipline through the Costa Rican jungle?

* Think of something you can do in the next few months and start making plans.

3. Revisit your old goals. You had a lot of plans when you were a kid. You wanted to be a cowboy or an astronaut or raise llamas. You had more realistic plans as you aged, but you still had plans that interested you. Perhaps you can rekindle some of that enthusiasm by revisiting those plans from the past.

* Think about why you abandoned those plans. Maybe the reasons you changed your mind are no longer valid. Maybe they were never valid in the first place.

4. Realize that your feelings aren’t unusual. Your current mental state is quite common. How many people make the right choices consistently? Nearly every adult wishes they could go back and choose a different career. This includes doctors, lawyers, and successful business owners. Mistakes pile up over the years, and in your mind, the grass is always greener somewhere else.

* This is all a part of the human experience. The next part of your experience is working though it.

5. Realize that you have a lot of control over your situation. It’s easy to feel hopeless, but you have a lot of choices available to you. It’s a matter of being brave enough to choose the best one and run with it.

6. Find the limiting belief. There are plenty of things you want to do, you just don’t think you can do them. You might believe that you’re too old, need more education, lack the necessary finances, and the list goes on. Look at your limiting beliefs and work through them.

Feeling lost is synonymous with lacking direction. Finding a new direction for your life is the key to stop feeling lost.

Find a few things you’d like to do and see this year. Plan a future that you find interesting and exciting. Once your mood is lifted, you’ll see the world with new eyes and be able to find new opportunities that excite you.

What Parents Need to Know about Teens and Sleep

If you think your teen isn’t getting enough sleep, you’re probably right. A recent study at San Diego State University found that 40% of adolescents clock less than 7 hours a night, even though most experts recommend about 9 hours of sleep for teens.

According to this study, technology is one of the major culprits. The researchers found that the more hours teens spent online, the less they slept. Plus, when they compared the habits of today’s teens to past generations, one of the steepest drops in sleep time occurred around 2009, just when smartphone use soared.

The consequences are serious because sleep needs are greater during adolescence when important physical and mental developments are underway.

Protect your child’s health, safety, and academic performance by helping them to sleep well.

Technology Tips for Teen Sleep:

1. Think positive. Focus on using technology productively, rather than restricting it. Distinguish between using smartphones and computers for schoolwork and communications rather than prolonged browsing.

2. Work as a team. Give your teen a voice in the process. They’re more likely to follow rules that they help to write.

3. Set a curfew. Streaming before bed can interfere with sleep due to the bright lights from computer screens, along with the mental stimulation. Shut off any electronic devices for at least an hour or two before retiring.

4. Create quiet zones. If possible, keep computers and smartphones out of your teen’s bedroom, especially during the overnight hours. Family dinners could also be a phone-free event.

5. Provide other activities. Once your teen is spending fewer hours online, fill that time with other fun and rewarding pursuits. Plan family outings, read books, and encourage extracurricular activities.

6. Be flexible. Each family has its own way of dealing with technology. Experiment until you find what works for you. Welcome your teen’s feedback, and be willing to make reasonable exceptions and adjustments.

Other Tips for Teen Sleep:

1. Talk it over. Help your teen to understand why sleep is a top priority. Discuss how it affects the quality of their life and their ability to learn. Read books or watch documentaries that explain how sleep works.

2. Stick to a schedule. It’s natural for teens to go through a period of delayed-sleep syndrome when they don’t become drowsy until later at night. Unfortunately, many schools still have early start times, so sleeping in on weekends can actually make it harder to function during the week.

3. Teach time management. Late night studying can also conflict with sleep. Show your teen how to budget their time and coordinate their assignments.

4. Limit snacking. Your teen may be tempted to raid the refrigerator while they’re up at night. Keep a supply of light snacks on hand that are easy to digest. You can also start the day with a hearty breakfast so they’ll be less hungry after dinner.

5. Consult other parents. Seek advice and support from other parents. Discuss common challenges and share your most promising solutions.

6. Drive safely. Drowsy driving is a major safety hazard. Show your teen how to spot the symptoms and call you if they need a ride. Take away the car keys if necessary.

7. Provide a role model. Your children will follow your example. Show them that you believe in the importance of sleep by following the same rules you create for them.

Encouraging your teen to get enough sleep will help them to deal with daily stress and stay alert at school. They’ll also be building lifetime habits that will create a strong foundation for their mental and physical health.

What Everyone Ought to Know about Diabetes and Sleep

You probably know that watching what you eat is important for managing your diabetes, but you may not realize that how you sleep can have a big impact too. In fact, the relationship between diabetes and sleep runs two ways.

Sleep issues can increase your risk for diabetes, and diabetes can interfere with your sleep.

If you’re living with diabetes, ask yourself whether you’re tossing and turning at night. Learning more about the connection between diabetes and sleep can help you to protect your health.

Diabetes Management Tips for Protecting Your Sleep:

There are several common symptoms of diabetes that are likely to keep you up at night.

Try these strategies for keeping them under control:

1. Eat a balanced diet. When you’re tired, you may be tempted to seek energy from junk food and excess calories, but that backfires by spiking your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll be making frequent trips to the bathroom at night to urinate. Break the cycle by consuming adequate portions of wholesome foods earlier in the day.

2. Stay hydrated. Diabetes can also make you thirsty. Keep a water bottle by your bed in case you need a sip.

3. Treat apnea. Apnea causes pauses in breathing while you sleep, and it’s often associated with diabetes. Masks and other devices are available that can open your airways and provide relief.

4. Attend to RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome is another condition that may accompany diabetes. Massage, exercise, and medication may help if you’re bothered by the urge to move your legs at night.

5. Lose weight. Slimming down can help you to prevent diabetes or reduce the symptoms. It also lowers your risk for apnea.

6. Talk with your doctor. If you’re still up at night, your doctor may suggest a sleep study. Being monitored while you sleep is an effective way to target your individual needs.

Sleeping Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes:

1. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal changes similar to diabetes. When you’re short on rest, your body may have trouble using insulin efficiently, so your blood sugar rises. In addition, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, which is also a risk factor for diabetes.

2. Keep a consistent schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. That includes weekends and holidays.

3. Deal with stress. Knowing how to relax makes it easier to drop off to sleep faster. Develop a daily meditation practice or find a hobby that helps you release tension.

4. Darken your bedroom. Bright lights stimulate your brain. Stay away from television and computer screens for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. Consider installing blackout curtains in your bedroom.

5. Block out noise. If noisy neighbors and car alarms are disrupting your dreams, screen out the background sounds. Use a white noise machine or turn on a fan.

6. Change your bedding. It may be time to replace your mattress if it’s causing discomfort. Strategically placed pillows can help too. For example, support your hips with a small cushion between your knees if you lie on your side.

7. Exercise regularly. Many studies show that adults who exercise report having better sleep. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and will want to stick with.

More than 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, and that number is expected to double or triple by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleeping well can help you to reduce your risk or manage the symptoms of diabetes so you can lead a longer and more active life.

Walking for Weight Loss Made Easy

Walking offers many health benefits, including easy opportunities for weight loss. In fact, walking is one of the few activities where you can double your impact because you can use it as formal exercise, as well as incorporating more steps into your daily routine.

Although you’ve probably been walking since you were a child, there may also be some new techniques you can pick up that will help you burn even more calories. Take a look at these ideas for walking your way to a slimmer you.

Walking Workouts for Weight Loss:

1. Speed it up. Depending on your weight, you can burn about 65 to 100 calories for each mile you walk. If you move faster, you’ll burn more calories covering the same distance.

2. Vary the pace. Studies also show that interval training is an effective way to burn more calories. Alternate between periods of walking briskly and strolling at a more moderate pace.

3. Check your posture. To move efficiently and avoid injuries, ensure you’re using proper form. It’s usually safer to take more steps rather than trying to lengthen your stride. Check that your heels hit the ground first, and use your toes to push you forward. Engage your core muscles to take pressure off your back.

4. Use your arms. Swinging your arms will also increase the intensity. If you want to add props, try walking poles or hand weights.

5. Go backwards. For an extra challenge try walking backwards in a safe area. Climbing up hills is another constructive option.

6. Hit the beach. Just changing surface can power up your workout. Traveling across sand or snow requires more energy than walking on smooth pavement.

7. Listen to music. Playing your favorite tunes can make any workout seem like less effort. Put together a lively soundtrack that will motivate you to keep going.

8. Dress comfortably. You can buy shoes designed specifically for walking or just choose any pair with low heels and firm support. Dressing in protective layers will also help you deal with cold or wet weather.

9. Find a buddy. Walking with others can be fun. Invite family and friends along or join a local hiking group. If you have a dog, you have a companion who would love to join you at the park.

10. Talk with your doctor. Even though walking is a generally safe and low-impact activity, you may want to check with your doctor if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Your physician can help you set goals that are realistic for you.

Incidental Walking for Weight Loss:

1. Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and escalators. Climbing up stairs burns almost 2 calories for each 10 steps.

2. Park further away. Walk or bike to work if possible. If the distance is too far or there’s no safe route, you can still choose a parking space that will enable you to squeeze in a brief hike before arriving at the office.

3. Schedule work breaks. Pause every half hour to stretch and move around. You could also make it a habit to use the restrooms and copy machines on the next floor instead of the ones by your desk.

4. Stand and dial. Think about how many minutes you spend talking on the phone each day. You can easily spend a lot more time on your feet if you pace around while you’re checking on your children or reaching out to clients.

Walking is so simple, but does so much for your health and fitness. In addition to burning more calories, you strengthen your muscles and condition your heart with each extra step you take. Make walking a regular part of your workout program and daily routines.

Top 10 Benefits of a Daily Walk

Are you feeling down, constipated, or overweight? Is your blood pressure or blood sugar a little high? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? The solution might be as simple as walking for 30 minutes each day.

A walk might seem like child’s play compared to running a marathon or competing in crossfit, but a walk can be a very healthy alternative if you lack the time or interest in exercising intensely.

Humans were built for walking, and some health experts believe that the chair was the worst invention ever created. You can do a lot to enhance your health by standing up and taking a walk.

Enjoy the many benefits of a daily walk:

1. You’ll feel better. If you’re currently not getting enough exercise, a walk is a simple way to fill that void. Getting out of the house and breathing a little fresh air is bound to enhance your mood and outlook on life.

2. Walking is good for your bones. Hip fractures are reduced in postmenopausal women that walk for at least 30 minutes each day.

3. You can expect to sleep better if you walk regularly. Those that walk report a lower incidence of insomnia. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, the solution might be as simple as a daily walk.

4. Your risk of chronic disease is lower if you walk each day. Studies have found that your risk of developing diabetes or suffering a stroke are reduced significantly. Thirty minutes of walking is all you need each day to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. A stroll can also lower your blood pressure.

5. Walking increases the motility of your bowels. If you suffer from constipation, a walk can work wonders for your issue.

6. You are developing a good habit. Walking can be a positive addition to your routine. The most successful people have routines. You’re more likely to experience success if you can maintain positive routines in your life.

7. You’re likely to lose weight. If you increase your physical activity without increasing your caloric intake, you can expect to drop a few pounds. Even if you don’t lose weight, you may experience a shift in your weight that allows your tight clothing to fit much more comfortably.

8. Walking is good for your brain. Older seniors that walk daily have 50% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

9. Your creativity will increase. More than one study has demonstrated that going for a walk boosts creativity. Those that walk are more creative than those that sit. Having a challenge at work or at home? You’re more likely to find the solution during a nice, long walk.

10. You’ll live longer. Those that spend more time on their feet have been shown to live longer than those that spend too much time sitting each day. Get up on your feet and go for a walk if you want to extend your life. It has been suggested that a daily walk adds 3-7 years of life.

Walking is free, low-impact, and simple to do. There’s no new skill to learn and no equipment to purchase. Unlike many other forms of exercise, walking can be done by those with weight issues and those with no athletic ability whatsoever. Just put on your shoes and get out the door.

Consider the many health benefits that walking provides. Going for a walk can do a lot more for your health and outlook on life than a gym membership that is rarely used. It’s much less expensive, too.

The Secret to Making Your Job Search More Proactive

Is your job search passive or proactive? A change in strategy could shorten the time you spend hunting and help you land a more rewarding position.

You’re probably familiar with passive job search methods. You browse through job boards and classified ads, and respond to advertised openings. You go on interviews and wait to hear back from the human resources department.

However, you may be underutilizing more proactive measures. That’s where you discover or create positions that match your skills. You reach out to companies where you want to work.

Learn how to broaden your job hunt and take greater control of your career path. Incorporate these proactive strategies into your tool kit as you seek your next position.

How to Be Proactive about Finding Job Opportunities:

You’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom that about 80% of job openings don’t get advertised. Think about where you want to work and the kind of work you want to do. Then, target your top priorities.

Use these strategies:

1. Research companies. Explore organizations that interest you. Visit company websites to read about their products, services, and staff. Subscribe to industry publications and read the business section of major newspapers.

2. Seek referrals. Use your personal network and LinkedIn to discover who you know inside the organization or someone who can make introductions for you. Tapping an insider can help you find out more about current activities and the hiring process.

3. Conduct information interviews. Focus on gathering information instead of rushing to get a job offer. Many contacts will be more receptive to sharing knowledge rather than discussing an immediate position.

4. Multiply your options. Broaden your vision. Having multiple job leads will help you stay motivated and make sounder decisions.

5. Try contract work. Even if a full-time position is your ultimate objective, you can use temporary positions or contract work to gain valuable experience. You’ll also get a first-hand look at a potential workplace before making a longer commitment.

6. Volunteer your services. Community service is an excellent way to broaden your network and discover job leads. Contact charities that interest you and mingle with the staff, board, and other volunteers.

How to Be Proactive about Pursuing Job Opportunities:

You’ll stand out from the competition if you initiate contact with companies that interest you. Use the hiring process to demonstrate your enthusiasm and communication skills.

Try these techniques:

1. Be tactful. You can be polite and persistent about following up. Follow application instructions, and avoid leaving multiple messages so you come across as confident rather than overzealous.

2. Confirm details. Some employers will appreciate an effort to confirm an application or interview. Unless the company requests otherwise, make it a policy to follow up and ask about the next step.

3. Ask informed questions. Take full advantage of interviews or any continuing conversations. Have a written list of relevant questions that will help you to understand the position and showcase your worth.

4. Articulate your value. Play an active role in interviews. Guide the discussion towards your unique abilities and the specific contribution you can make. Highlight your past achievements and show how you can help your next employer reach their goals.

5. Express your appreciation. Remember to send thank you notes or make a follow up call after each contact. Let others know that you are grateful for their time and consideration.

6. Stay in touch. Work at developing and sustaining relationships. Even if an interview doesn’t end with a job offer, it may be worth reaching out once in awhile to monitor future needs or ask for other suggestions.

There’s nothing wrong with passive job search methods, but you can achieve more when you use a broader range of resources. Thinking proactively will help you find more opportunities and make a positive impression on potential employers.

The Pomodoro Technique and How it can Help You Accomplish More

Would you like to get more done each day? Would you like to get a lot done and still feel refreshed when it’s time to go home? Many time management techniques have been developed over the years. Some are more effective than others.

The Pomodoro Technique is among the most popular. This time management system has been around for over 30 years and utilizes alternating periods of work and short breaks to maximize how much you get done each day.

You’ll also feel surprisingly good at the end of the day!

Taking regular breaks gives your brain a chance to relax and reset. Knowing that you only have to work for a short period of time makes it much easier to stay engaged and motivated. The technique works well with intellectual, manual, and creative tasks.

The traditional Pomodoro pattern is 25 minutes of work and five minutes of break time. After four cycles, you would take a longer break of 30 minutes.

What could be simpler?

Use the Pomodoro Technique and accomplish more each day:

1. Utilize a timer. It’s a mistake to keep one eye on the clock while you’re trying to get your work done. Use a timer and position it so you can’t see it. You can use your cell phone, computer, or a physical timer.

* There are specialized programs and apps for your computer or cell phone available online. They incorporate your work time, break time, and longer breaks.

* The use of a timer is critical. It provides a sense of urgency and the knowledge that you’ll get a break soon. See how much you can get done in 25 minutes. You’ll be surprised.

2. Experiment with different intervals. Many people thrive with the traditional schedule of 25 minutes of work alternated with five minute rest breaks. Others do well with 50 minutes of work and 10-minute breaks. See which works best for you. Consider trying other options, too.

* You may find that certain tasks work better with longer or shorter intervals. It’s important to experiment and be flexible in your approach.

3. Ensure that you take a longer break every two hours. This can be 15-30 minutes in length. It’s a good idea to move around. Get a drink of water or take a short walk. Avoid skipping this longer break. It will really pay off later in the day! You’ll have more energy and maintain your ability to focus.

4. Avoid distractions. Part of the effectiveness of the technique is from focusing intently on the task at hand. You’ll have a quick break in just a few minutes, so keep your mind on track.

* Let others know you don’t want to be disturbed. Remember, you’re not doing anything but your work for the next 25 minutes.

That’s all there is to it. Give it a try for a few days and compare how much you get done, and how good you feel, to your normal workday. The Pomodoro Technique will also enhance your ability to focus and concentrate.

Most people find this time management technique highly effective and reach the end the day feeling much more refreshed than usual.

It can also work wonders at home. Set your timer and see how much housework you can get done in 25 minutes. Your children can use the technique for homework and studying. You’ll find that you can accomplish much more in 25 minutes than you ever thought.

Take the Pomodoro Technique for a test-run and see just how much you can get done each day.

The Harsh Truth about Winter Weight Gain

There are many reasons why you tend to gain weight in the winter, but there’s only one result. You wind up greeting the spring heavier than you were the year before.

In fact, the average adult gains 5 to 7 pounds between December and February, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. When you think about how that adds up from year to year, you can see why you may be in for a shock when you start shedding your bulky coats and sweaters in March.

Make this the year you break the cycle. Consider these tips for upgrading your diet and staying active so you’ll be leaner year-round.

Eating Tips to Fight Winter Weight Gain:

1. Reduce portions. Comfort foods and holiday treats can be hard to resist. Instead of depriving yourself completely, cut down on serving sizes so you can have a taste of your favorite dishes.

2. Load up on produce. Depending on where you live, some fresh fruits and vegetables may be in short supply at your local grocery. Look for winter produce like cabbage, beets, and Brussels sprouts. Try shopping the frozen food aisle for items that freeze well, like spinach and peas.

3. Party wisely. Holidays are prime time for socializing. Focus on conversation and dancing rather than eating and drinking. Take the edge of your hunger with a healthy snack beforehand to avoid going overboard on hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffets.

4. Limit alcohol. Cocktails have undermined many diets. In addition to the empty calories they contain, they tend to weaken your willpower. Restrict yourself to one or two light drinks such as wine or Bloody Mary’s.

5. Bring snacks. Be prepared for shopping expeditions and office food platters by storing wholesome treats in your car and desk drawers. Good choices include nuts, baby carrots, and low-sugar protein bars.

6. Lighten up on coffee. Specialty coffee drinks may contain more sugar and calories than a big meal. Save them for an occasional splurge, and order the smallest size.

7. Eat mindfully. Holidays can be hectic. Pay attention to the quality of your food and how many calories you’re consuming. Otherwise, you may consume large quantities of junk food without thinking, especially while watching TV.

8. Recover quickly. If you do go off your diet, bounce back as soon as possible. Eat a bit less for the next day or two.

Exercise Tips to Fight Winter Weight Gain:

1. Make a commitment. It’s natural to want to stay indoors when it’s cold and wet outside. Advance planning and determination will help you to go running in the morning or visit the gym after work.

2. Bundle up. Layers of warm and insulated clothing can keep you more comfortable outdoors. Remember to keep your face, hands, and feet protected too.

3. Share the fun. Take your mind off the low temperatures by having fun with family and friends. Go ice skating or cross country skiing. Find a workout buddy so you can motivate each other and feel more accountable to show up as planned.

4. Create a home gym. There may be some days when the weather is so extreme that it makes more sense to stay indoors. You can still stick to your workout schedule if you have some equipment at home. Invest in a treadmill or jump rope. Pick up a variety of exercise DVDs or browse online for interesting titles.

Eating less and exercising more can help you to stop winter weight gain in its tracks. When you manage your weight, you lower your risk for many serious health conditions, and give yourself more energy to enjoy the activities you love.

The Biggest Obstacles to Your Creativity

Do you feel like you lack imagination? Do you struggle to create or to find solutions to the challenges in your life? It’s possible you’re suffering from a few creativity-blocking obstacles. By identifying the obstacles in your path, you can find ways to work around them.

Eliminate the creativity blockers from your life:

1. A cluttered mind makes creativity a challenge. Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come when you’re alone? You’re either being quiet or doing something very routine, like driving on a low-traffic road or taking a walk. It’s hard to get the creative juices flowing when you have too much going on.

2. You don’t prime your creative mechanism. Try doing a different creative activity for a few minutes. If you’re trying to write a book, try creating and humming a new song for a few minutes. Legos, Lincoln Logs, tinker toys, modeling clay, crayons and brain teasers are other options.

3. Stress. You might have time to yourself, but still be too distracted to be creative. When your adrenaline is flowing, and you’re dealing with the stresses of life, creativity can be hard to find.

4. A narrow focus can limit your ability to find new solutions. Keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities. Avoid assuming you know where the general location of the answer to your challenge is. The best solution might be something you’ve never considered.

5. You don’t believe you are a creative person. You’ve used your creativity countless times in the past. From dealing with an unpleasant boss to keeping a moody child occupied. Believe you’re a creative person and you’ll prove yourself correct.

6. You never get started. Creative endeavors can be intimidating. Procrastination is one of the primary enemies to creativity. Set aside time each day to be creative, even if you’re convinced you’re wasting your time. You never know when your creative genius will strike.

7. Fear of failure. The possibility of failure can stop anyone in their tracks. Think of all the times you failed in the past and came through unscathed. Creativity feels risky, but it’s all in your head.

8. You’re stuck in a rut. It’s not easy to come up with ideas in the same old space. Get outdoors or at least move yourself into a space you don’t normally use, like a spare bedroom or a conference room.

9. You insist on doing it alone. Fresh minds bring fresh ideas. Ask others for their input. You’re likely to find that the ideas of others trigger your own new ideas. Get some help! Who is the most creative person you know? They should be your first call.

10. You don’t have enough experience. You may have been a very creative child, but if you’re not flexing your creative muscles on a regular basis, you might be out of practice. Spend a few minutes being creative each day and you’ll enhance your creative skills.

Creativity is a powerful skill and ability to possess. The most creative people in the world have a huge advantage over the rest of us.

If you’re struggling to be creative, it’s likely that an obstacle or two is standing in your way. Overcome your obstacles and use your creativity to your advantage.

Motivation vs. Discipline

We all want to be motivated. We all want to be disciplined. You might be thinking, “What’s the difference?” But according to many self-help gurus, there are differences. Or are there?

At the beginning of the year, you’re motivated to make some changes. You’re going to find a better job, lose 30 pounds, exercise each day, and read a book each week. You’re so excited at the beginning of the year.

You purchase a gym membership, some new cross training shoes, and join Amazon Prime, because you know you’re going to be ordering a lot of books, and you’ll make good use of that free shipping.

Fast-forward to early March and you realize that you’ve only read two books, haven’t been to the gym in weeks, spent $30 on Amazon prime, $90 on your gym membership, and gained exactly one pound.

You were motivated at the beginning, but you lacked the discipline necessary to carry on when your motivation flagged.

Many believe there are differences between motivation and discipline:

1. Motivation is the emotion of wanting to do something. You might wish that you were motivated to go to the gym or to paint the spare bedroom. Of course, you’re motivated to go fishing if you love fishing. There are many ways to create motivation and motivating yourself

2. Discipline is doing the thing that needs to be done, regardless of whether you feel like doing it or not. Discipline requires discomfort. If it were comfortable, you’d already be motivated to do it.

3. You’ll never be free without discipline. If you require motivation to do something, you’re at the mercy of your emotions. There are too many things left undone if motivation is necessary for you to take action. To have real control over your life and yourself, discipline is necessary.

4. Discipline is limited. You can only force yourself to do something you don’t like for so long. Some people have quite a bit more than others, but everyone runs out eventually unless someone is standing over them with a stick.

5. Discipline is most useful for developing habits. Habit formation requires discipline at first. However, once a habit is established, discipline is no longer required. You don’t need discipline to brush your teeth, for example. Use your discipline where it can have long-lasting effects by developing powerful habits.

Another Way to Look at It

Discipline and motivation can be almost the same thing, too. Consider that discipline is largely the ability to self-motivate. You wouldn’t make yourself do a task in the first place if there were no benefit to you. You either believe you’re going to receive something enjoyable or avoid something painful.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that those people with discipline are actually those people with a high level of skill in the art of self-motivation. Those with the ability to motivate themselves can do the seemingly impossible.

The person that can drag themselves out of bed on a cold, rainy morning to go for a run is someone that is able to focus on their long-term objective. They are good at reminding themselves why they need to put on their shoes and head out the door. They focus on the benefits instead of the misery of getting up and facing cold, wet weather.

Keep the benefits on your behaviors in mind, rather than focusing on the task itself. Learning to motivate yourself is more important than any concepts of discipline, motivation, enthusiasm, and willpower.

If you can motivate yourself, any goal is within reach. Every action you take or avoid is due to some level of motivation.