3 Quick Tips I’ve Learned This Week

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1. I’ve been working on my new site for the past week and it’s going swimmingly. Really I just dove in after thinking about a basic plan (basic keyword research, basic content plan, ideas for monetization and promotion). Once I saw a great keyword-optimized domain name, I decided to jump in and start. Is there something that you are waiting for the opportune moment, that perfect time to do it? Well, I’m here to let you know that there is none. Tip: stop waiting, and just do it. The worse that could happen is that you could succeed.

2. Sometimes the best motivation you can get is by talking with an older and wiser friend. Our conversation far exceeded normal conversation and felt more like a one on one therapy session with a success coach. I hung up my phone with a renewed sense of clarity and focus for my goals. Tip: who is able to help you, even if all they offer is their listening ears?

3. I’ve definitely been working long hours on my new website. It’s in a niche I’m excited in, and I wasn’t going to launch officially yet until I was completed with everything. But I said, Oh, what the hell (see tip #1) and started a double-prong attack of a)creating original content and b)building organic traffic. These take time, but when you do it right, you only have to do it once. I wouldn’t feel right having others write my articles or scraping unoriginal content from the internet (which oh hey, is also plagiarizing). Tip: if you’re going to do it at all, do it right. Don’t half-ass anything.

I’m excited about the future, but I also know that I can’t do it all. I’ve suspended my Fiverr gigs so I can focus on being on the other side of the internet marketing biz. I already have a list of 3-4 other niche ideas that I need to research the market on to find the exact micro niche possibilities that will prove to be profitable, and I have a huge learning curve ahead of me for getting traffic to my sites, but I love it all. Everything about it. Even “working for free” as I spend time writing my content and ebooks.

What brings you excitement this week? Make sure you spend time working on your goals everyday.

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Convince Yourself to Hit the Gym: Jillian Michael’s Mind Trick

In an interview with Shape magazine, Jillian Michaels shares her top mind trick for working out when she doesn’t feel like it:

SHAPE: On those days you just don’t want to work out, how do you convince yourself to get out of bed and do it?
JM: I play mind games. I tell myself how grumpy ill be if I don’t work out and think about how lethargic I’ll feel the next day. I promise myself that I will just do 15 minutes and if I am still miserable I’ll stop. There hasn’t been one time I didn’t stay to finish at least 30. Once you are there and the endorphins kick you, you find the strength to power through.

You can read the entire article here.

Why does this work?

  • You turn a negative thought: I don’t want to workout today — into a positive one: Okay, I’ll just do 5-10 minutes and stop.
  • You give yourself permission to start by lowering expectations — it can be overwhelming trying to exercise for 30 min, 45 min, 60 min 4-5 days per week. By saying it’s okay to just START NOW, and say it’s okay to stop if you want, you bring yourself on that machine or to push play on that workout video.
  • After starting, the hardest part is over — Jillian Michaels says that she has never stayed to finish at least 30 minutes of her workout — I guarantee that you will, too.
  • Even if you do decide to stop after 10-15 minutes, SOMETHING is always better than NOTHING. Studies have shown that 3 bouts of 10-15 minute exercises can be just as effective as one long workout.

So get going! Some last inspiring words from Jillian:

Start giving yourself all the affection and attention that you give others, and I promise that not only will your attitude and self worth change, but your waistline as well.

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Lose More Weight: Exercise in the Morning Before Breakfast

We’ve heard this before I’m sure, but it’s exciting to hear when new research confirms this. A recent study (Jan 2013) published in the online British Journal of Nutrition says that exercising on an empty stomach in the morning leads to more fat burn. Also, that this fasted-state exercising does not translate into more calories consumed later in the day!

The researchers discovered that those who had exercised in the morning did not consume additional calories or experience increased appetite during the day to compensate for their earlier activity.

They also found that those who had exercised in a fasted state burned almost 20% more fat compared to those who had consumed breakfast before their workout. This means that performing exercise on an empty stomach provides the most desirable outcome for fat loss.

I find personally that exercising in the morning is better because you get it over with first thing and before you have time to talk yourself out of it. By exercising in the morning you start your day with a healthy habit that spurs you to keep making more healthy habits the entire day — plus you feel GREAT afterwards.

I’m planning on joining Planet Fitness soon so that I can follow this advice and exercise in the morning, too.

Do you exercise in the morning?

Source:

Northumbria University (2013, January 24). Lose fat faster before breakfast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from sciencedaily.com

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11 Tips for How to Be Productive Right Now

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You may be mindlessly searching the internet, looking for ways to be productive, asking yourself, “what is something productive i can do right now?” You might have a huge list of things that need to be taken care of but you are overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, and annoyed at your insane level of procrastination  But that will get you nowhere. You can read all the blogs on the internet about productivity and you won’t learn about how to be productive right now without actually GSD.

The hardest part of being productive is getting started. I love the acronym GSD because it’s a quick reminder to “Get Shit Done.” This is based off the popular and less vulgar term GTD which stands for “Getting Things Done”, a term from time management guru David Allen (and from the book of the same name).

The battle for focus is fierce, but you can GSD right now.

  1. GSD right in the morning. Wake up, get dressed and all that, and then go straight to work. Work first, play later.
  2. Do your worst, most dreaded task first. Get it done first, and it will feel like pushing a huge boulder down a mountain.
  3. Unless your work requires it, disable your internet connection and work offline.
  4. Or move entirely away from the computer.
  5. Blast your favorite music (epic movie soundtracks work great for monumental tasks) and GSD.
  6. Work for 5 minutes. Just five fucking minutes, dude. If you want, take a break after. But most likely you will have gotten the hardest part over with (starting) and will continue easily.
  7. I swear by Evernote — if you are distracted by a link, thought, image, video, etc. just copy and paste in an Evernote page and it saves instantly. Go back to it later.
  8. I make to-do lists on Evernote, too.
  9. Promise yourself something to look forward to (like watching that funny video) after you finish say an hour of that project. It’s good to take breaks. Just get back to work right after.
  10. Sometimes it’s easier to just work for the 2-3 hours full speed, no breaks. Then reward yourself with a sweet lunch or a smoke, whatever tips your hat. Think of this tip as “college finals” mode and you’ll get it.
  11. If you have a huge project ahead of you and you are distracting yourself from starting it because it’s so damn hard to start, spend time just chunking it down: take the boulder and turn it into rocks, and then pebbles. Then take that first step, that first pebble and start it.

What productive things did you just do, or are about to do after reading this article? Share any of your GSD tips!

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2 Life Fulfilling Activities To Do Right Now

Many people search for ways to find their life’s true purpose or help to discover what to do with their life. They are lost, scared, confused, unsure, and stuck. Does this sound like you? Then it is time to take control.

1. Set aside 10 minutes each morning to write in a journal. But you don’t have to wait — do it now. Preferably with real paper and a real pen. Pick your favorite pen, one that writes smooth. This process is relaxing and lets you get your worries and goals on paper. Note what you are a)grateful for, b) working on and c) worried about in your journal everyday. Don’t worry about the mechanics, grammar, spelling, or aesthetics of your writing. I don’t care if you throw the paper away when you’re done. Just get it out. That is the important part. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day; the key is to make this a daily habit, but even if you do this 3-4 times per week you can still benefit greatly. Results are immediate and begin with the first day.

2. Set aside one hour each day — START TODAY — for doing something pertaining to your true passion. If you don’t know what that is yet, start by finding something that you enjoy doing. If you have an idea, start learning about it — immerse yourself in websites, books (library or purchase), conversations with friends and strangers, watch movies about it, etc. Take notes, and learn from what you read/watch/see/hear. Generally, your hour should be spent learning about the thing and/or doing that thing that makes you squeal, feel excited, etc.

I’m currently immersing myself in learning everything there is to know on copywriting and the psychology of advertising/communication. I’m taking notes on The Copywriter’s Handbook by the legend Bob Bly, and I have Ca$hvertising by Drew Whitman in queue. I have a wishlist on Amazon right now full of books about internet marketing and copywriting. I feel excited when I write down my future plans 🙂 and you should, too! Most importantly, you should be PLANNING & writing.

Thoughts on this article? Inspired by this piece? Let me know in the comments below.

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Epic Blizzard: Epic GSD Weekend

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Snow storm Nemo’s aftermath: 30-40 inches in most places in CT.

So I live in New England, which means my state got completely buried in 2-3 feet of snow with snow storm Nemo. I mean literally buried. So since I lost hours at my part time job, I decided that this was a fantastic time to GSD this weekend. I spend the past two days cleaning the entire apartment and finishing work on Fiverr. I caught up on reading and note-taking for all of my classes. I also decided that I wanted to learn more about copywriting skills, so I bought some Kindle books to read now and bought some paperback ones for later, whenever the roads are cleared and life slowly resumes back to normal.

It’s also a great time to force myself to eat whatever’s been hanging out in the fridge and pantry without resorting to buying takeout. But, that also means a lot of pasta.

School is already cancelled for tomorrow, and I already missed two days of work this weekend. But I have a few more gigs on Fiverr that I can complete today, so I’m at least still making money.

I truly feel a lot better when my work space is clean and organized. Since I live in a small space, that means my bedroom. I literally could not focus in a dirty, cluttered room. Now that everything is clean and put away, and the floors are swept, I feel like I can think more clearly. Funny how that works.

I think my agenda for today is to mostly read some of the kindle books I bought on my PC and also do some more studying since one of my classes has a test in a week and a half. And eat more pasta.

February, or the month of GSD

So January is almost over, and PROGRESS-WISE, that leaves me barely a stone’s throw away from where I started since 2012 ended.

I figure since February is such a short month (28 days!) that it’s time I mentally, physically, and metaphorically get shit done. Hence, Feb 2103 = Get Shit Done Month (GSD for short or if you don’t like swearing).

I’ve been lurking over at jessicamullen’s blog for a while to generally inspire myself and to think more positively about stuff. I’ve been trying to inject pieces of positiveness into the universe, take risks, and do things that terrify me, like participating in my classes. Just recently I took the plunge and gave myself a raise, technically speaking, on Fiverr: instead of getting 500 words for $5, I’m charging $5 for 250 words. And people are still ordering from me! My fears have been abated. I deserve more. I write good (er..well). People like my work. I’ve been committing to going to classes like it’s my job. I like learning when I’m there. I like my teachers. I like feeling productive, instead when I skip I feel useless and generally crappy.

the only thing that I’m not working on at all is my weight situation, which is, er, a huge problem. I’m tired of gaining and not losing. I want to be healthy, happy in my own skin. But I’m not acting like I want to be those things. I’m behaving like I want to be unhappy, unhealthy, and uncomfortable. I have to reverse this horrible habit. So this month I’m mostly going to concentrate on going to the on-campus gym (which is right there and, free) after classes at least three days per week for 30 minutes to start. The weather is a tad less wintry and awful, so I’ve been walking to school some days, which takes 15 minutes one direction. I will end up not taking my car completely when it is consistently warmer out.

I’ve been adding healthier things in my diet, but I also eat a lot of nonhealthy things, and just plain unfood. Cookies, chips, and other things I inhale to distract myself from other things just has to stop. It’s time for lettuce. tomatoes. broccoli. Things that make me feel better after eating, not worse. not things that make me sick. figuratively and literally.

I also need to make my DAYS more productive. How do business people act? People who freelance professionally? People who have the lifestyle I want? I need to emulate that. People who create multiple streams of income online do not sleep until 2pm. People who freelance professionally do not stay up until 3am eating cookies (I think).

These people wake up early, at a set time everyday, exercise first thing in the morning, eat a real breakfast, get their work done early and don’t bullshit on the internet half the time, and keep their house clean and orderly. They manage their time well and don’t have to rush for deadlines, well unless they like the rush (don’t all writers? we like punishing ourselves this way, don’t we). They know how to get into FLOW and FOCUS. They take breaks and eat regular, balanced meals. They still have plenty of time for other creative and social activities. They know what to do to avoid getting depressed or feeling hopeless.

This February, I will GSD. Will you take the challenge with me?

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Study Tips for College Students

So, I’m seriously procrastinating on a test I have tomorrow. I decided since I’m worrying about it, I might as well write a post about it.

After the day is done, I look back and re-read my notes. If I have written them sloppy, the OCD in me forces me to re-write the pages. If I have written something I wanted to look up online or in the book, I go ahead and do that.

But when it comes time say, a week before a test, I don’t really do anything different. Mostly because I don’t know what else I should do. How do we make sure we have learned the material we already should have learned from that day’s lecture?

My #1 go-to method is flash cards. They are pretty awesome, portable, and there are now smartphone apps you can use (I like free, like studyblue) so you don’t even need index cards. But I use my time creating the cards as more study time; by the time I make the cards I should know at least 1/2 of the content from these methods:

  • First things first, is find a quiet place to study and shut off all interruptions. Gather all materials, and a drink and maybe a snack so you don’t waste time getting up. If you can study with it, bring headphones so you can listen to music.
  • Re-read all lecture notes. Highlight important things.
  • Go back to those highlighted things and write them down on a separate piece of paper, but re-write them in your own words and condense the information so it’s easy to learn. Use small words/phrases that are easily memorized.
  • Go to the book and write down more important stuff that wasn’t in lecture in your own words, condensed for easy remembering. If you already took book notes (which is easier than re-reading book text), go read that instead.
  • Now take a look at your paper and read over the phrases you wrote. These will become your flashcards. Write them down on index cards or use your app to make the flashcards.
  • Go through the cards until you get all of them right, and then go through it again. Use the flashcards multiple times per day until right before the test. Use breaks, waiting time, before bed time, etc. to study.

Reduce Test Anxiety

  • The night before, set many alarms and a back up alarm in case your first alarm fails so you don’t oversleep! 
  • Wake up early and eat a good breakfast. Take a vitamin.Make sure you have everything including a pen or #2 pencils and erasers.
  • Go to your class early and review your flashcards or notes. Go to the bathroom before the class starts so you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Read every question slowly and remember not to rush. 
  • If you have just crammed your dates, names, formulas or quick phrases (like PEMDAS), write them down in the corner of your test sheet or your scrap paper so you don’t waste brain energy recalling it repeatedly or end up forgetting them before you need the information.
  • Just try your best, and use the test results, no matter the outcome, to learn from for the next test. See your learning center or teacher for help if you get a bad grade.
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The “Better Life” Epic Brainstorm List

My previous post has me thinking about how I want to be looking back at my life 5 years from NOW. I want to be leaps and bounds away from where I’m at currently, in multiple areas of my life, physically and mentally.

So here’s how I’m going to do that: epic brainstorming sesh.

I’m going to uninhibitedly thing of anything and everything that I want my life 5 years from now to consist of, include, become, do, have, and think. because in order to change, you must first write it down. so do it with me.

i will be 100-120 pounds thinner. i will eat a low-carb paleo-inspired diet rich in greens, healthy proteins, and whole foods. i will regularly engage in exercise, and become someone who likes running. i will participate in 5Ks regularly for the fun of it, especially the Color Me Rad event. my brain won’t be foggy and it will be easy to concentrate and focus. my mind won’t wander; mostly, because i will be eating the right foods and giving my body vitamins and nutrients. i will drink plenty of water, and almost never soda. i will learn to love coffee with either  splenda, truvia, or drink it black. i will drink tea mostly, unsweetened, if i desire a caffeine boost. i will have protein shakes for breakfast and make delicious smoothies. i will walk to places that are close by. i will play tennis at the park. i will go hiking for fun, and explore nature around me. i will take a jog by the beach at sunrise. i will take hard boot camp classes and kickboxing and feel healthy and strong like a woman should.

i will have an office space in my next apartment that is solely for me; with inspiring notes, pictures, and words of wisdom. i will have a bookshelf or kindle with the best books on it and read my favorites and discover new authors that i love. i will make a good amount of money writing; i will have increased my rates to one i feel comfortable working for, and my clients love my work. i get new exciting projects all the time and more people recognize my work online. i will have finished a novel and will mostly self-publish online as an ebook. i will be working on other novels and projects all the time; always many projects half-finished. but i am a productive worker, i get things done when i need to and i don’t have a hard time concentrating or focusing. i make enough money online through freelancing and website projects that i do not have to have a job, but i do anyway because i like working. i have enough money saved for an entire year of emergency income, and i am never late on bill payments. my husband and i have a one-bedroom in a southern state because i hate the snow, and he is going to grad school. our love life is amazing and we go stronger and closer everyday. i have a good circle of friends and i talk to out of state friends regularly online. i am networking with other bloggers and freelancers.  i am taking online web design classes and paying off student loans from my bachelor’s degree. my part time job utilizes my love of psych to help children, adolescents, or mentally disabled kids in some way. i am thinking of going to grad school for a teaching degree before we start a family. i am contacting agents to realize an important dream of mine, to become an offline published author, with a real physical book with my name on it.

just writing this out makes it sound a little more do-able. i am excited for my future, for tomorrow, next week, and to see how the next five years will pan out for me.

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Who I Was 5 Years Ago, Plus LinkLove

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I am a super self-improvement nerd, reader and collector of all things self-help, psychological, inspirational, motivational, and ass-kicking.  =) So I think it’s about time I compile what I’ve been reading on the interwebz as of late.

Lately when I find it difficult to concentrate, or if I am feeling like I cannot accomplish my goals, I turn to any of these links and I am met with sparkling inspirational abundance. Each of the people behind these links transcends my goal-setting into overdrive as I can only wish that someday I can be a fraction as inspiring and awesome as they are…

These have become part of a massive list of great blogs I have on my Evernote.

Jessica Mullen ESPECIALLY School of Life Design
Get Rich Slowly
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Lifehacker
Pick the Brain
Zen Habits
As always, Steve Pavlina but ESPECIALLY this, this,, and this

And my good friend allyssa‘s new blog just oozes amazingness. She inspired me to write about this:

Me, 5 Years Ago…Vs. Today

Five years ago, in 2008,  I was 19 years old. I was a second-semester freshman at Southern CT State University. I had just graduated high school, and I was excited to be going to college. I didn’t get a room so I was using multiple modes of transportation to get to school. It was exhausting, and I was also working part-time at a local drive-in (fast food joint). My major was Psychology. I had been going out with my boyfriend for 3 years now. Gosh, it’s hard to think so far back in time. It feels like forever ago. I barely remember my classes taken at SCSU. I was drinking pretty regularly and just experiencing going to night clubs, but it was hard to make friends at the college since I was only there for classes. I weighed a lot less than I do now, mostly due to walking everywhere, and I still lived at home. I mostly went to Burt’s house to see him, though.

My parents got divorced, and in 2009, my mom remarried and got pregnant. She kicked me out of the house and I had nowhere to go, but Burt’s family let me live with him. I was stressed and poor and I ended up dropping out of SCSU to avoid failing all of my classes that I never went to. I never, ever thought I would do this. Little did I know that I would transfer colleges twice (attending 3 institutions), and drop out of college twice…

I began to gain weight since I didn’t care, and we always ate out. Soon I was extremely overweight. I was working a lot but I felt like something was missing. I decided to attend community college, which was in the same city I lived, so commuting was easier. I also managed to afford another car, so it made driving easier. I also got another job. I got my Associate’s in 2010, and felt pretty good, besides my weight.

Which brings me to where I am today, in the cusp of 2013. I am now 23, turning 24 in June, and happily married to the boyfriend I’ve loved since 2005. I have went from unhappily attending SCSU, dropping out, transferring to community college, receiving my AS in General Studies, and transferring to CCSU, another state university. We moved to our first apartment, and out of a destructive environment. Probably due to the depression that keeps coming back, I became unhappy at CCSU and didn’t see the point in anything. Actually I  almost dropped out of CCSU, but I took a leave of absence instead (with the coaxing of the registrar guy) to withdraw from last semester and am now happily enrolled full time this semester. My GPA took a huge hit due to failing classes and bad attendance, but I’m determined to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. I’ll be the first in my family to get one.

so what has changed in five years? Sometimes I still feel like the lost teenager, crippled with depression and anxiety that makes it nearly impossible to go to class. My weight and health is poor, and I’ve quit cigarettes 5 times (going on 3 months right now cig-free again). My weight is at an all-time high, but I’m actively making changes to lose weight again.

I’ve definitely matured in five years, though in the midst of depression I don’t feel like I have. I feel like I am less depressed but my anxiety is much worse. I am trying to solve this without the need for pills. I still feel like a lot of things would be easier when I lose weight.

I still feel like I have a lot of things to work on in my life. My mind changes constantly, and I love trying new things. But I still love reading and writing. In November I reached 35,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel, and I’m determined to finish it. I truly want to be a writer.

And that is pretty much the only thing I’ve figured out, even though I knew it all along. But now I have clearer paths to become that writer I’ve always wanted. I’m making money with it online, and I write for fun in this blog of mine and offline, as well as working on the novel. I also occasionally write poetry, but that was more my thing during the depressed years.

So my epic goal for 2013 and beyond? I will become a writer, and I will define personally what that means for me in terms of success.

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