Brain Fitness In The 21st Century: 10 Priorities To Reinvent Brain Health In the Digital Age

Copyright © 2016 SharpBrains

The Times They Are a-Changin.

In a recent survey, 91% of those polled agreed with this statement: “Doctors should monitor cognitive health systematically, especially when prescribing new medicaments.”

This is important news, as anyone who has experienced negative side-effects, cognitive or otherwise, knows.

We need to upgrade our brain health system to reflect the realities, challenges and opportunities in the 21st century, in the midst of the Digital Age we live in.

Where should we start?

I recently had the opportunity to ask that question to a group of world-class scientists and technology pioneers, brainstorming around key challenges and opportunities to Reinvent Brain Health in the Digital Age. A number of highly stimulating conversations led to the following ten priorities:

1. Brain health for what: How can we better link brain health and other meaningful outcomes such as lifelong learning, workplace performance and resilience, general happiness and well-being?

2. Incorporate community into the brain health mix: What role should community and family members play, and how can technology aid their efforts; for example by providing access to medical records and easing communication with doctors and caregivers?

3. Expand monitoring of brain function: How will we effectively monitor (and self-monitor) brain function and health? Given strong agreement with “Doctors should monitor cognitive health systematically, especially when prescribing new medicaments,” what role can pharmaceutical companies and insurers play in making that happen?

4. Harness Big Data and machine learning: What role can artificial intelligence play in brain health, and how will we measure the brain health of AI-enhanced systems? How can we use AI symbiotically with the human part of the equation?

5. Accelerate scientific validation of digital medicine initiatives: What techniques and approaches, beyond randomized controlled trials, can help assess what works and what doesn’t, and accelerate the innovation process and help ensure proper adoption?

6. Mastering the digital toolkit: What are the Pros and Cons of the growing range of non-invasive neurotechnologies-cognitive training, meditation apps, virtual/ augmented reality, EEG, tDCS, ultrasound, and more.

7. Improve brain fitness literacy: How are we going to educate and empower everyone with essential knowledge and best practices, increasing the emphasis on enhancement and prevention?

8. Personalize brain health prevention and treatments: What kind of one-time or on-going brain/ mental health assessment can help pinpoint individual needs, and how can brain-computer interactions help create a bidirectional relationship between a person and the surrounding technology?

9. Invest in early brain development: How do we act on the research showing early childhood interventions improve brain health and alleviate downstream societal problems? What types of digital exposures help, and which ones hurt?

10. Engage non-medical funding sources: What is the most important (and well-funded) “low-hanging-fruit” in education, sports, the military, large corporations, where brain health innovation should be part of the solution, and how can scalable, digital tools become part of the conversation and budgets?

Asking the right questions is necessary to harness innovation the right way. What do you think of the ten priorities listed above? Would you suggest adding something else to the mix?

Alvaro Fernandez is the co-author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. SharpBrains.com is a popular blog tracking the latest brain fitness and brain health tips, and offering fun brain teasers for adults to test and improve concentration and memory.

Creating Pathways to Happiness

Like all living things, we have survival instincts.

Innately, it seems, our brain wants to hold onto negative experiences. In order to survive, we need to learn from those things that have had a negative impact and attempt not to repeat them.

This might be good for the survival of the species, yet as individuals we must not only learn, but also find a way to mentally let go of the negatives, or we won’t be able to move into a happier, more positive future.

The flip side of this is that good experiences tend to pass through our memories far too quickly — unless we are mindful of them.

Taking a moment to appreciate good things will help to cement them in our minds. This is an essential step in learning to calm your mind.

A good place to begin is to focus on the ‘small’ things that bring you happiness. We want to create a stockpile of these and the good feelings they produce, and hold them in reserve.

Perhaps your happy moments include a sunny day, a great book, or a private joke with a friend or family member.

University of California, Berkley neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson advocates the idea of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts so that we refocus and retrain our brains. Hanson stresses the importance of being mindful of both positive and negative experiences, as both can be instructive.

His technique for changing the brain requires acknowledging — not denying or suppressing — the negative feeling, and taking time to experience the loss, the frustration, the pain.

Once the negative is fully realized and understood, which could take only a moment for small stressors or much longer for deep grief (although good therapy can accelerate this process), the next step is to find a way to minimize or let go of the negative.

Relax a little, take a deep breath, use your imagination to draw a mental circle around any harmful thoughts, as if placing them in a balloon, and then release them, letting them float off and leave. Perhaps cry a little. Tears can have a wonderful, healing, therapeutic effect, and they can be shed by the emotion of happiness as well as sadness.

After you’re able to let go of the negative, it’s time to shift your focus to something positive. Perhaps it’s a happy memory of someone you’re grieving, or remembering a frustrating project from the past that you’ve finally completed successfully.

By taking just a little step back, learning to interrupt the negative and shift the mind to something more positive, we can retrain our brains to access more happiness.

Genetics and innate impulses can be tempered with a little training and some thoughtful effort. By regularly using our mind and our brain to access more positive states, we can create fresh neural pathways and so alter the way we function and feel. To use the language of neuroscience, ‘neurons that fire together wire together.’

Our brain has an amazing capacity for learning, and it’s up to us to teach our own brain the pathways to happiness.

Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and London and Birmingham hypnotherapist. He is a Member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more information, please visit his Birmingham hypnotherapy website.

Dental Implants Complications

By William Huynh

Complications can arise with any medical procedure, including dental implants. Dental implants are a permanent replacement for a lost tooth. Other alternatives for missing teeth include dental bridges and removable dentures, but dental implants are the most popular of the three. During the procedure, implants are fixed directly into the jawbone. The result is a tooth that looks and functions like your old one. The only disadvantage is that this procedure is expensive. It may also take longer to heal than your average dental procedure.

Quite a successful number of dental implant procedures have been carried out around the world. However, some cases involve patients developing complications after the procedure. Below are a few of the most common complications.

Loose or Dislodged Implant

This does not occur immediately, as it happens after several months. It occurs when the artificial tooth fails to fuse properly with the jawbone of the patient. If the implant is loose or moves around too much months after it was implanted, then it is considered to be a failure. This particular complication can be caused by various things including damage to surrounding tissue during surgery, incorrect positioning, sudden external impact, low bone density, allergic reaction to anesthesia or even a broken implant. In order for an implant to fuse properly with the jawbone, there must be enough bone density. If this is lacking, then any of the factors mentioned above can cause a loose implant.

Infection

An infection mostly happens before, during or a few weeks after the procedure. If bacteria is present in the mouth during the surgery, and poor dental hygiene is practiced afterwards, it can be so easy for an infection to develop. That is why your dentist will stress on the importance of oral hygiene on a daily basis, and more so after a dental procedure. If there was an undetected gum disease, then that too could develop and cause complications for the new tooth. You are a greater risk of developing an infection if you smoke, drink alcohol, practice poor hygiene or suffer from diabetes.

Sinus Issues

These mostly happen in teeth that are being replaced in the upper row. It occurs when an implant is left protruding into the sinus cavity of the patient, leaving it inflamed and tender. It is a complication that can be corrected by removing and repositioning the implant.

Nerve Damage

Another complication that may arise is the damage to surrounding nerves or tissue. Sometimes a dentist may place an implant too close to a nerve. As the jawbone heals and fuses with the tooth, the patient may experience chronic pain or numbness in their gum or teeth. If the pain or numbness persists, then the implant will need to be removed and placed in a new position. It is also normal to experience some form of tissue damage during the procedure, and patients should expect some amount of bleeding. However, in some cases, the bleeding may be excessive or last longer than a day, and a doctor may need to be notified.

At Be Well Dental provides the highest standards of dental care, using state of the art technology and equipment to ensure we offer the very best to our clients. Our patients’ happiness and comfort comes first, and that is why our facility has been designed to look and feel less like a clinic and more like a second home.

20 Must-Know Facts to Harness Brain Plasticity, Improve Brain Health and Delay Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Copyright © 2016 SharpBrains

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, so let me share these 20 Must-Know Facts to Harness Neuroplasticity & Improve Brain Health that come from an analysis of hundreds of scientific and medical studies analyzed:

1. There is more than one “It” in “Use It or Lose It” — our performance depends on a variety of brain functions and cognitive skills, not just one (be it “attention” or “memory” or any other).

2. Genes do not determine the fate of our brains. Thanks to lifelong neuroplasticity, our lifestyles are as important as our genes-if not more- in how our brains grow and our minds evolve.

3. We need to pay more attention to Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) to verify whether any intervention causes an effect, and under what specific circumstances — The media is doing quite a poor job, in our view, to educate the general public.

4. The largest recent RCT (the ongoing FINGER study) and a 2010 systematic review of all relevant RCTs provide useful guidance: First, they report a protective effect of social and cognitive engagement, physical exercise, and the Mediterranean diet. Second, the average benefits at the population level appear quite limited, so we need to have realistic expectations.

5. Physical exercise and increased fitness promote brain functioning through a variety of mechanisms, including increased brain volume, blood supply and growth hormone levels.

6. Cardiovascular exercise that gets the heart beating – from walking to skiing, tennis and basketball – seems to bring the greatest brain benefits; thirty to sixty minutes per day, three days a week, seems to be the best regimen.

7. Mental stimulation strengthens the connections between neurons (synapses), improving neuron survival and cognitive functioning. Mental stimulation also helps build cognitive reserve, helping the brain better cope with potential AD pathology.

8. Routine activities do not challenge the brain. Keeping up the challenge requires going to the next level of difficulty, or trying something new.

9. The only leisure activity that has been associated with reduced cognitive function is watching television.

10. Brain training can work, putting the “cells that fire together wire together” to good use, but available RCTs suggest some key conditions must be met to transfer to real-life benefits.

11. The brain needs a lot of energy: It extracts approximately 50% of the oxygen and 10% of the glucose from arterial blood.

12. The Mediterranean Diet, supplemented with olive oil and nuts, is associated with decreased risk of cognitive decline.

13. Moderate doses of caffeine increase alertness but there is no clear sustained lifetime health benefit (or harm).

14. Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption seems to lower the risk of dementia.

15. Taking “brain supplements” of any kind does not seem to boost cognitive function or reduce risks of cognitive decline or dementia, unless directed to address an identified deficiency.

16. The larger and the more complex a person’s social network is, the bigger the amygdala (which plays a major role in our behavior and motivation). There is no clear evidence to date on whether “online” relationships are fundamentally different from “offline” ones in this regard.

17. Chronic stress reduces and can even inhibit neurogenesis. Memory and general mental flexibility are impaired by chronic stress.

18. There is increasing evidence that meditation and biofeedback can successfully teach users to self-regulate physiological stress responses.

19. We will not have a Magic Pill or General Solution to solve all our cognitive challenges any time soon, so a holistic multi-pronged approach is recommended, centered around nutrition, stress management, and both physical and mental exercise.

20. Having said that, no size fits all, so it’s critical to understand and address individual needs, priorities and starting points.

Now, remember that what counts in terms of brain health is not reading this article, or any other, but practicing some healthy behaviors every day until small steps become internalized habits. Revisit the fact above that really grabbed your attention…and make a decision to try something new this summer!

Alvaro Fernandez is the co-author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, recently featured as one of the Best Books on Brain Fitness. SharpBrains.com is the leading clearinghouse website tracking brain fitness information and programs, combined with brain teasers for adults to challenge your brain.

Mixed Sleep Apnea Facts

By Christian Rabatsch

This form of sleep apnea is also known as complex sleep apnea. This is because it is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. According to a 2014 publication by Khan & Franco, complex sleep apnea occurs when there has been persistent central sleep apnea for more than 5 hours, despite the airway being cleared by positive airway pressure. In complex sleep apnea, there appears to be no clear cause such as systolic heart failure or narcotics. Since complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, this article will discuss different facts of each.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the most common type of sleep apnea, which affects men more than it does women. Only a handful of patients get to be diagnosed while the rest remain undiagnosed and suffer in silence.

Symptoms

Obstructive sleep apnea, as the name suggests, is caused by complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep. A person’s throat muscles relax during sleep, which causes either fatty tissues or the tongue to fall into the airway, blocking the air flow. Because of the obstruction, oxygen to the brain is reduced, thus signaling the brain to wake up the body to signal it that it needs oxygen. This is when the patient makes a loud choking, gasping or snorting sound during sleep after which the person is forced to take a deep breath in order to push air past the obstruction.

After the deep breath is taken, the breath signals the body to go back to sleep, after which the whole process is repeated. Depending on the severity of the sleep apnea, this process may occur several or a hundred times a night. Obstructive sleep apnea is categorized into mild, moderate and severe.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea on the other hand, occurs once the brain fails to signal the breath controlling muscle. While obstructive sleep apnea is mechanical, central sleep apnea is a communication issue. This form is not as common as obstructive sleep apnea. Conditions that affect the brain cause this type of sleep apnea. Such conditions include Parkinson’s disease, brain infection or brain stroke, heart failure and narcotic painkillers.

Symptoms of this condition include chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, mood changes, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, and irregular breathing during sleep, restless sleep and excessive daytime drowsiness.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Patients who are treated for obstructive sleep apnea tend to develop symptoms of central sleep apnea after using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Complex sleep apnea is diagnosed after a patient continues to have breathing difficulty despite being successfully treated by CPAP therapy.

Treatment

The available form of treatment for complex sleep apnea is CPAP machines, but only if it is set at the lowest pressure setting. This will help in keeping the airways free from any blockage, but at the same time, it will also help in preventing CSA symptoms from developing. Where CPAP has failed, BIPAP therapy can also be used.

Christian Rabatsch has many year’s worth of experience in providing patients with the best sleep disorder treatment in Australia. You can get in touch with Christian at Benchmark Sleep Services. For more information about sleep services simply visit us at Benchmark Sleep Services.

The 6 Habits That Lead To Happiness

So often we count what is missing from our lives, focusing on what is not there.

In doing this, we create a form of “negative hallucination,” a state of mind that blinds us to so much of what is actually there — a really self-defeating way to pass our days.

By dwelling on what we lack we create feelings of deprivation and unhappiness that can eclipse the spirit and block our ability to experience the simple joy of being alive.

If we really do want to live a more fulfilled and joyful life then cultivating a sense of gratitude is a key ingredient. Gratitude for all that we have, for all that is there, brings with it a deeper appreciation of life itself.

Research has shown (1) that gratitude is an essential element in our ability to experience genuine happiness.

Change Your MInd

Not only that, but expressing gratitude can help change your mind in a positive way, and actually have a physical affect on the brain, changing it in positive ways.

Gratefulness and life satisfaction just seem to go hand in hand (2).

Here are six habits that grateful people cultivate. They are the keys to increased joy and contentment.

1. Grateful people do not expect life to give them every single thing they desire. They live with the understanding that no one can have everything they want, when they want it, and that this is okay. They are appreciative of all they have, and are less likely to envy what others have.

2. Grateful people take nothing for granted. They do their best to see the positive outcome in situations and experiences and are not afraid to work towards those outcomes. They do not take the good things in their lives for granted.

3. Grateful people work with things as they are. They do not insist that conditions be exactly right before they can be happy. Appreciative of all they have, they accept life’s shortcomings, while working on their own, and welcome joy and happiness into their lives unconditionally.

4. Grateful people realize that they cannot have the sunshine without also having the rain. They understand that no one can live in a perpetual state of happiness, accepting that difficult times will sometimes come. They have learned to respect and be grateful for life in all its diversity.

5. Grateful people cultivate flexible thinking habits. They have learned to adapt to life circumstances and can adjust their thinking to the situation. Gratitude and rigid thinking make a poor fit, and so they make allowances for other people’s perceptions and opinions.

6. Grateful people do not define themselves by their regrets. They appreciate their abilities while working to improve them, accepting responsibility for their actions while working towards their positive future. Cultivate these habits of gratitude and you really will reap some wonderful benefits.

What are you waiting for? Why not start right now!

References:

(1) Emmons, R. A. (2007). THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

(2) Watkins, P. C., Grimm, D. L., & Kolts, R. (2004). Counting your blessings: Positive memories among grateful persons. Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 23, 52-67.–

Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and London and Birmingham hypnotherapist. He is a Member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more information, please visit his Birmingham hypnotherapy website.

Gay or LGBT – How To Come Out When You’re Married or Partnered

How to come out as gay, bi, or trans, is a question that so many married people find themselves asking.

Some come out when young, others when they are not so young, while others may come out when they have been in a heterosexual relationship for some time.

If you’ve been in a heterosexual marriage, or in an unmarried but lengthy relationship, the first conversation needs to be with your spouse or partner.

This will likely be difficult for both of you, but clear communication will be important as you plan your future, either apart or together. Be clear, be honest, and be respectful, of your spouse or partner and of yourself.

Perhaps you thought your spouse or partner suspected your orientation, but often this is not the case. Your spouse or partner may very well feel angry, betrayed, rejected, and confused — and it’s likely that many of these emotions will be directed toward you.

Be compassionate, but stand your ground. It is also important to reassure them that it is not their fault, as some partners might feel they are in some way responsible, or believe that they may have ‘turned you gay’.

It’s possible your spouse or partner will have a lot of questions; it’s also possible that she or he will need time apart to process the many ways this will change life for both of you. It may take several conversations to work through all the issues that your revelation will create, and it may be helpful to schedule a few joint sessions with a counselor or therapist.

Remember that you’ve taken some time to figure out who you are; your spouse or partner will need time, too. Many will choose divorce or permanent separation as the way forward, and this can be a difficult process for all concerned. The best possible outcome is that, though divorced or separated, you remain friends with your ex-spouse or ex-partner.

For some, this will not be possible, and a clean break may be best. If this is the case, do your best to separate as amicably as possible.

Not all couples choose to separate or divorce immediately, or at all. They may choose to stay together in order to better care for their children, for the companionship that they already share, or even for sex. Provided couples are looking for the same things and are clear on the parameters of the revised relationship, divorce is not necessarily mandatory.

But staying together isn’t easy, and doing it in order to linger in the closet or to spare you or your spouse embarrassment are unhealthy reasons to remain married or partnered, and unfair to both of you.

This is a time when an outside professional can be extremely helpful in determining the best, most honest way for both of you to move into the future.

If children are involved, your second conversation might be with them, depending on their ages and what you as a couple decide is most helpful. Although divorce has become, sadly, commonplace, this doesn’t mean that it’s not difficult for children, so focus on them, on the ways your family will change, and on the things that will remain the same, including your love for them.

This is a life-changing announcement for all of you, and emotions are bound to run high. If you as a couple can present a united front, your children will fare better in the long run. It may be a conversation that stretches over days, weeks, or months, one that will demand respect for the feelings of everyone involved.

It is also important to remember, especially for those who are knowingly struggling with their sexual or gender identity, that heterosexual marriage will not ‘cure’ this. Other people are not meant to be used in a futile attempt to convert or to hide a lifestyle. It is not fair or healthy to use another person in this way.

If you decide to come out when you’re married or partnered, be sure to do so in a way that you can look back on without shame or unnecessary guilt.

It may be a difficult time for you and for all involved, but with a clear head and a healthy dose of compassion and understanding, it can be something that will move everyone forward in the best possible way.

Peter Field is a British psychotherapist and author of How To Be Gay and Happy. He is Director of Rainbow Champions, an organization that provides assertive life skills and confident communication training for LGBT people in companies and organizations across the UK and Europe.

How To Be Gay and Happy is available now on Amazon.

Athletes, Cheerleaders And Personal Trainers In Miami

During a professional sporting event, cheerleaders are present to help fans root for their team when they are winning, and occasionally distract them if they are losing. Any professional athlete will tell you that there is a marked difference in how they perform when people are cheering versus when the audience is subdued. As physical as it all seems, there is a mental aspect to what they do as well, and without the support, they can feel undermined and less than motivated.

In a sense, that makes them no different than you or I when it comes to working out. Granted, they may have a few extra plates on the bar they are bench pressing, but some days, they can find the motivation hard to locate just like anyone else. They can question the results they are getting, wondering if it is worth it and fight the urge to just crawl back into bed. In other words, they can be human, too.

They might seem like the last people who would need personal training. Miami is full of athletes – college, professional and retired – and as much drive as they have on their own, they need the help and guidance just like everyone else. One part of personal training that helps people reach their goals is the ability of the trainer to mix up the regimen so a person keeps growing. After several weeks of doing the same routine over and over, a person’s body plateaus, and it requires more effort to get diminishing results. A personal trainer knows different programs, different ways to target various muscle groups, and also specific exercises designed to focus on weaknesses that the athlete needs to overcome.

That is, of course, a big part of what personal trainers do, but it is only one part. The other is to be that voice in the person’s ear. The voice that says “you can do this,” the voice that pushes them to make two more reps, the voice that challenges them to step it up in their boot camp class and the voice that gets them out of bed every morning. That support, that mental aspect of letting them know they are doing well, is just as crucial to their success as anything else.

Think about it. A professional athlete spends his or her offseason thinking about the goals they have for the upcoming year: returning as a starter, recording more sacks, winning the Super Bowl. Even with that to look forward to, they still need the physical and mental guidance of a personal trainer. What goals do you have set out for yourself? Lose ten pounds? Fit into that dress for your high school reunion? Or just to find a way to live a healthier lifestyle. If a professional athlete in Miami can ask for help, don’t you think you can, too?

How To Live A Happy Life

By Joe Searle

Abundant Living In 2014

Dr. Stephen Covey told us that, “Every human has four endowments, self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom and the power to choose, to respond, and to change.” It is thoughts that can help us change our world and our lives. Thoughts coupled with our human emotions pack an even greater punch when it comes to challenging our beliefs and changing our lives. When it comes to money, for example, it’s not really about what money you have, or wish you had, it’s really more about how you feel about the money. Prosperity is a real hot button issue for many of us. Dale Carnegie said it best, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.”Emotions about our choices in life concerning money present us with a real challenge when it comes to realizing our capability for abundance.

There are emotions that can block the abundance from flowing in our direction. Fear, worry and anger, along with resentment, jealousy, self-pity and envy are all dangerous emotions that will positively shut off the flow of abundance to your life. While negative emotions can be helpful in life-threatening situations, aiding in our survival, it can seriously impact our lives when used inappropriately. You need that fear to tell you to run away or that anger to save a loved one, but when applied in the normal course of events, these negative emotions can be detrimental to your health, or even the health of others. It’s most assuredly detrimental to the flow of abundance in your life. Eliminating these debilitating emotions, and showing forgiveness for yourself, as well as for others in your life, will re-establish the abundant flow back into your world. You must rid yourself of all negative emotions; push aside the pettiness and resentment, the fear, anger, and worry.

Depression and doubt are extremely harmful to your body and your mind, and must be dealt with quickly and replaced with more positive emotions, before they can cause physical or mental illness. Jealousy, envy, and resentment hurt you as well as others and block the flow of abundance in your direction.You’ve heard the Latin phrase, ‘carpe diem.’ It means ‘seize the day.’ Grab the opportunity; don’t let it pass you by. You must live your life to the fullest, make each day count, and maximize the quality of your life. Remember, this is not a dress rehearsal; this is real life.

If you would like to create a business that lets you live life on your terms, earning more and working less, check out this video now.

How To Plan For Success (Not Just Fake It Until You Make It)

Do you run your day?

Let me ask you a question, do you run your day? Instead of letting it run you, do you act instead of reacting? So many people trudge through their days without having any clue as to the purpose of doing it, other than to make a bit of coin and continue living, so that they can do the same thing the next day. Now regardless of whether you like your job or not, if you don’t know what your true purpose in life then you will never reach your own idea of true success. You may absolutely love your job but if you believe that you were meant for more you will always be wondering “what if?”

I believe in planning for success and knowing that you are planning your days for maximum effectiveness to reach an end goal, so I want to run through exactly what it means to plan for success, whether your goal is to run a highly successful business, or build a great relationship with your family, there are things you need to do every day, or at least on a regular basis to achieve it. Let’s take a look at what some of the most successful people on this planet do to run their days to maximum effectiveness..

Have a pre-determined purpose

Going back to the point I made in the introduction, if you have a pre-determined purpose for working hard at something, your motivation will always be there to get things done. Success isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and if you aren’t packing the right kind of mental attitude, generated from having a purpose, you are going to fall at the first hurdle. For example the guy who wants to shift some weight, undo 50 years’ worth of bad eating habits and not exercising, he looks in the mirror after a week of dieting and working hard in the gym. He looks at himself and thinks, “well this isn’t working, I still look fat, stuff it, I’m done with this”, he’s thrown in the towel before his body even has a chance to change, he didn’t have a purpose for changing. If the purpose of your change is to look good for the girls on the beach, or to look like all the models on the covers of men’s health or women’s magazine, you’ve got no fight and you’re going to drown. That guy didn’t have a strong enough purpose to keep him moving towards his weight loss goal, if he had thought of a strong enough reason for losing that weight, it would have seen him though the entire journey and carried him though the good and the bad times.

Plan your day hour by hour

Sounds like hard work doesn’t it? Well guess what? Reality check it, it is hard! It’s incredibly hard to plan your day and stick to it rigidly when so much can happen in 24hours. So many things change during the day and you are forced to adapt to those situations, but it’s how you react to what happens that truly counts. But if you are sitting down the night before and planning what you are going to do hour by hour, you give your day structure, you know what you have to do and you get it done. Sit down and write out all of the things that you need to do, the daily activities and the odd things that crop up too, work related and personal, then pencil them into your diary when you are going to complete those tasks. If you don’t get everything done that’s absolutely fine, I don’t always get everything completed when I say I’m going to complete it but I make a note of what needs to be followed up on, then I can simply slot it into the next day and get it finished then. Plan your day or I promise you now, your day will run you and you’ll have nothing to show for it.

Keep a journal

You know it is strangely liberating writing down everything that you did during the day and everything that happened, maybe it’s just me but it makes me feel like I am unloading all of the stress of the day and reflecting on all of the good things that happened too. By writing down the events of the day, you can track your efforts and determine where you could have spent more time being productive, determine what works and what doesn’t and tweak things so that you become more effective in your daily efforts. Keeping a journal also helps you become more grateful for everything too, as you can reflect on and appreciate all of the good things that happened and believe me, everyone can find some good in their days, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first glance.

Plan to fail

You have to realize from the start that you are going to run into stumbling blocks and you’re going to be tested. Not realizing this is naïve and it will set you back big time unless you accept it. The way to look at this is in a completely different light, people see failure as a bad thing, thinking it is making them weaker when in actual fact, you are becoming stronger and stronger through your failures. I love failure! Every successful person in this world has failed and I bet if you asked them, they would tell you they failed more times than they would care to mention, but it is through that failure that they became stronger and learnt what they were doing was obviously not the best course of action. Plan to take the hits and don’t point fingers, trying to shift the blame onto someone or something, accept it, learn from it and move on.

Plan your own development

What a lot of people fail to do is improve on themselves, they are so fixed on their work that they forget to take the time to learn new things and develop their own mind set for success. I’m sure everyone has different amounts of time that they can devote to personal development, but personally I find listening to something constructive for 30 minutes every day and reading something constructive for 30 minutes every day is sufficient to improve upon yourself, but if you can dedicate more then do it. Successful people realize that the amount of success they have and the indeed the amount of money they earn, is directly related to how much time we put into our self-development. “We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace” (Jim Rohn), I think this quote says it all, you get out of any endeavour the amount of effort you put into it, but also how much time you spend becoming a better person to go after that endeavour.

Separate emotions from business and work

There is a bit of a catch with this one so let me explain. Business and work is not worth getting upset or overly emotional about, the only emotion you should carry into your working environment is that of passion. This was actually echoed by Martha Stuart, the first female to reach billionaire status and she talks about it in this video where she explains some of her rules to success, which can be applied to business and life in equal manner. You need to become conscious of your emotions when you are going about your day, don’t let yourself become too emotional when something happens during the day which at first is perceived as negative. Take a minute to think about it and turn it on its head, look at it in a positive way. You can do this with anything, it may not be easy at first but you can do it, but that first step is becoming aware of your emotions during the day and separating them from work because it just isn’t worth it. We all have a limited time in this world, so why spend it getting upset and worried about something which isn’t always going to be.