You know it’s time. You’re not satisfied in your current job and are ready to make a significant career change. But how do you begin? What steps should you take to facilitate a smooth transition from one career to another?
In this post, I will discuss some of the strategies you can use to pursue a new career path. It piggybacks off my last blog post, which focused on how to identify when it’s time to make a significant career change. As a career coach, I am well aware that each career transition is unique (and requires varying degrees of re-education, networking, and rebranding), but there are some fundamental steps you can take, no matter the circumstances of your career change. Use the following list as a springboard to get started.
Even though your next steps may be challenging, remember that you are attempting to make a positive and healthy transformation in your life. Go boldly in pursuit of your dreams!
- Enlist help from a career coach
Seeking a new career path can be daunting, confusing, or frustrating at times. You don’t have to do it alone! A career coach can help you clearly define your direction, create a game plan for reaching your goals, and work through practical details (such as revamping your résumé or helping you with a cover letter). As a career coach, I emphasize the importance of identifying your core values and how they translate into a career. I also address the other side of the job search: What types of jobs, work environments, and management-types do you want to AVOID?
A qualified career coach will offer guidance, support, and professional assistance throughout your career transition. She will enable you to work through all of the steps listed below and empower you in your search.
- Uncover the reality behind the dream
Sometimes your dream job turns out to be a lot different than what you might have envisioned. You may think, for instance, that a naturalist gets to spend most of her time in the field, but there is actually a lot of paperwork and meticulous record-keeping that accompanies this position.
To get a clear idea of what someone in your dream job does on a day-to-day basis, start researching. Look for information online and set up informational interviews or lunch meetings with people who work in the job you’d like to pursue.
- Set goals and a timeline
When you make up your mind to go after a new career, it can be easy to lose focus or motivation after the first few weeks, especially if you feel somewhat secure in your current job. Fight complacency! Set a timeline for yourself that lays out when you’d like to make a full transition into a new career and what steps you need to take along the way. Look at your timeline every morning and ask yourself what you need to do TODAY to work toward your end goal.
- Educate yourself
Depending on the career, you don’t necessarily have to go out and invest in a whole new degree. You may already have some of the skills necessary to make the switch. Oftentimes, education can come from meeting with people, online research, free webinars, low cost community classes, conferences and seminars, or even working or volunteering part-time in your desired field.
- Talk to your support system
When you’re making a major change, it’s always a good idea to call upon your family and close friends for support. You’ll likely run into obstacles or emotional lows during your career transition, and your support system can help build your confidence or give you a shoulder to lean on during these trying times. Additionally, your support system can also act as an accountability system. Ask your friends and family to periodically check in with you about your progress. When you have someone (or multiple someones!) invested in your career change, that can motivate you to keep on going!
- Build a financial safety net
Oftentimes, there is a little lag time between leaving your old job and stepping into a new one. You’ll want to be financially prepared, in case you have to wait several weeks (or months) between paychecks.
And, what if your new job doesn’t work out? What if you find yourself in a position or company you dislike and decide to return to the job hunt? It’s best to build up your savings account so you can handle unexpected financial hurdles.
- Celebrate milestones
Although the road between one career and another can seem long and arduous, you will have victorious moments along the way. Recognizing and celebrating your achievements can give you a motivation bump and help you remember that you are making progress. Celebrate when you finish revising your résumé or when you complete your continuing education classes or when you’re asked to come in for your first interview. Remember: having a positive frame of mind is an essential component of any successful job hunt.
Your goals are worth pursuing! If you’re thinking about making a major career switch, contact me today and let’s start discussing your first steps toward a new future.
Are you yearning for a career change? Perhaps it’s time to scratch that itch! As Tony Robbins put it, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” That is sage advice; you must take action because life is too short to be miserable at work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics performed an American Time Use Survey in 2014 and found that employed Americans ages 25 through 54 spend the majority of their waking hours working (8.9 hours), which is even more than time they spend sleeping (7.7 hours)! If you’re not satisfied with your job, that’s a lot of time spent in a place that makes you unhappy.
There can be many reasons to seek a change. Maybe you’re working under poor management, you’re bored, you’re not making good use of your skills, or you’d like to pursue a budding new interest. Here are a few signs it truly is time for a career shift and what you can do to make that happen.
- Sign #1: Your body and mind feel worn out. All. The. Time.
Maybe you walk around stressed out to the max, day after day. Maybe you develop a chronic illness, like an autoimmune disease, which is all too common these days. You are tired, crabby, or lack stamina. You can’t recall the last time you had a headache-free week. And to top it off, your concentration is lacking at both work and home, while at the same time perhaps your temper is short. This is the point when your work is affecting your entire life. “All great changes are preceded by chaos,” says Deepak Chopra. Stop the chaos by changing your life and the rewards will be monumental.
- Sign #2: You think about that dream job day and night.
Do you find yourself distracted all day by thoughts of a new job? So much so it is affecting your performance at work and your personal life? It is probably time to take action and explore the job you are actually interested in.
Think it’s too late for a career change? Think again. Julia Child worked for the CIA until she decided to try her hand at French cooking at age 37 and the famous folk artist “Grandma” Moses didn’t start painting until her 70s! You’re never too old or too established to make a major career transition.
- Sign #3: You are bored.
Oftentimes people “check out” when they are not fulfilled by their career. When you start to feel your work has no purpose it can be very difficult to stay engaged. This is a sure sign you want to be somewhere else, so take the steps to do just that!
- Sign #4: You are underappreciated
If you’re putting in long hours, going above and beyond on projects, and making an extra effort to help your co-workers, you deserve to get a little recognition in return. Whether it’s a pay bump, a promotion, or just some old-fashioned praise (like a shout out at a company meeting or a thank you card from your boss), your efforts should be rewarded. If not, there are plenty of companies out there that would love to hire an over-achiever like you! It may be time to start looking.
- Sign #5: Your company/industry is struggling
Our modern world is constantly changing. As new technologies and ways of living develop, outdated systems and products fall by the wayside. In the 1950s, you could easily make a living as a switchboard operator, milkman, or elevator operator, but it would be difficult to do so today! Similarly, the tech industry looks a lot different than it did in the mid-1990s. The focus is less on desktop computers and more on tablets, smart phones, 3D printing, and mobile app development.
Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and examine your industry (or company) with a critical eye. Will your company be a viable business in 10 years? 20? Look for warning signs like major budget cuts, an increase in outsourcing, or similar companies closing their doors.
So what do you do if you know in your heart it is time to move on? Take action! By making even baby steps, you will eventually reach your goal. If you take mammoth steps, you will make it all the quicker! Move toward your vision, even if you are scared. Instead of letting fear debilitate you, use it as a motivator. Embracing fear means embracing growth.
Need help forming your exit strategy? My next blog post will address specific steps to follow when transitioning from one career to another. Or, feel free to contact me for advice on navigating a transition.
The word “inspire” brings a cascade of things to mind – sunsets, paintings, trees, books, maybe even a mentor or someone famous. But how often does your workplace manager come to mind? According to a recent Gallup report titled State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. To make matters worse, a Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager. Not very inspiring statistics, right?
How can these numbers be improved? Here are some suggestions for leaders to help inspire their team.
See your employees as human beings:
Have you ever asked yourself why you just don’t seem to be connecting with your team? Think about how you can get to know each individual on a level beyond the daily grind. Ask them to share personal stories about their life. Monitor their working habits and assign projects that will cater to their working style and personal strengths. Your employees will perform better and feel valued if they believe you are truly listening to their needs.
Show your human side too:
Share your story with your team, and make sure to talk to your failures as well as your successes. Your team will respect you for your honesty, and they will be able to easily relate to you instead of seeing you as just another distant manager.
Create brainstorming opportunities:
Allow time for your team members to connect and come up with their own ideas. Ensure you are openly accepting of ideas, not immediately judging them (assessment can come later). Book a location outside the usual work environment and watch the sparks fly.
People like to know their efforts mean something. A purpose-driven employee will be far more engaged and productive. Help your team feel like they are part of the bigger picture by sharing company goals and showing them how their work contributes to those goals. Be sure to check-in regularly with your team as company goals and benchmarks change.
Conduct career advancement meetings, not just feedback meetings:
It is great to meet with your team members on a one-on-one basis to keep abreast of project progress and employee performance, but don’t forget to have career-centered conversations too. Employees know their manager is the one person who will either help or hinder their advancement. Don’t be a roadblock to their success; really take the time to understand their career goals and help them get there.
Hopefully these tips have “inspired” you to take action the next time you walk into work and wish to see improvement in your team!
Contact me if you would like further help with creating an inspiring workplace.
When looking to hire new employees for your company, consider a different approach. Usually an interview is filled with questions regarding past work experience, and relevant skills.
What are your greatest strengths?
What are your biggest weaknesses?
Why should we hire you?
Try delving deeper.
Ask questions that unearth the applicant’s personality, as well as her skill set. Get to know the applicant by framing the interview like a conversation in which you pay attention to the applicant’s personality traits and try to determine which role she could fill within your business.
Which personality gaps exist within your workplace? Are you lacking, say, creativity? Or leadership? To develop balance, harmony, and efficiency within your team, it’s a good idea to have representation of each of the five following personalities:
1. The Leader
“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” -John C. Maxwell
A leader inspires, energizes, and encourages others. A leader is comfortable supervising and managing the rest of the team. She must be able to resolve conflict and provide helpful feedback to keep the business growing. A leader isn’t necessarily extroverted, but she must be able to effectively communicate with all other personalities and properly delegate tasks when needed.
2. The Dreamer
“Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” -Robin S. Sharma
The dreamer dreams!—of more efficient futures, of better branding, of solutions to those ever-occurring problems. He thinks, How can I make this better? and maps out the answer. When a team is struggling to overcome an obstacle or make an improvement, it is often the creative minds of the dreamers that are able to find the solution.
3. The Go-getter
“To reach a port we must set sail —
Sail, not tie an anchor
Sail, not drift.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Go-getters get. things. done. They are determined, motivated, and dedicated to the task at hand. When confronted with an issue, they often use out-of-the-box thinking to overcome it and keep going. They also look for ways to help and step in when extra attention is needed, which is especially helpful when the company is trying to meet a strict deadline.
4. The Charismatic
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
Charismatic people are like magnets—drawing people in, making others feel comfortable and connected. A truly charismatic person is a gem of a find. They are great listeners, emit confidence, and communicate clearly. They often do well working directly with customers and are particularly valuable on sales or customer service-oriented teams.
5. The Curious
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Curious people like to learn. They ask questions, seek answers, and develop their skills. They are constantly delving into new topics and working to better themselves and the company. These are the “early adapters,” the ones who are unafraid to seek new paths and explore new possibilities.
By assessing and hiring employees with varying personality traits, you can ensure that your company is well-rounded—that the strengths of one person will overlap the weaknesses of another. Our differences don’t have to divide us; they can make us stronger.
Need help assembling your team? Contact Juli today.
One of the things I like best about the Insights® Discovery program is the accessibility of the language. Even if you’re not familiar with this science-based assessment tool, it isn’t difficult to familiarize yourself with the basic concept. Essentially: All people have the capacity to behave and think in various ways, but we tend to emphasize or favor some methods over others. For example, outgoing, boisterous people have the capacity to tone down their energy and act discreetly, but they prefer an animated communication style, as opposed to a reserved one.
These tendencies are expressed in four different colors: blue, red, yellow, and green:
BLUE is associated with introversion and introspection. People who favor blue tendencies are often analytical, data-driven, and like to think carefully before they speak.
RED is associated with being brief and vocal. People who tend toward red often like to make quick decisions and aren’t afraid to exert their influence or step up as leaders.
YELLOW is associated with high energy and extroversion. Those who lean toward yellow are often highly social, enjoy brain storming sessions, and are generally not afraid to share their ideas.
GREEN is associated with a high level of empathy and awareness of others. Green-leaning people are generally steady and reliable and like to practice inclusivity.
KEEP IN MIND:
I am only barely scratching the surface of the Insights® Discovery model. There are many intricate parts to the model that can help build self-awareness, improve team dynamics, enhance communication, and develop leadership (contact me if you have questions about the potential benefits of Insights® for yourself or your team). However, this overview will give you a stepping stone for the focus of this blog post: communicating with someone who leads with blue energy.
As I touched on above, a blue-leading person is often quiet, analytical, and likes to understand the whole picture before making a decision. This type of personality can be difficult to interpret or communicate with, especially for red- and yellow-leaning individuals who tend toward extraversion and snappy decisions.
If you notice that someone is consistently quiet at company meetings, don’t write him off or assume he’s not interested. Instead, ask him for his input about what was just said. You might find out that he has reservations about a particular project or action because not enough research has been conducted or there are possible alternative routes that could be explored.
Let’s look at another situation. Imagine you are about to have a one-on-one meeting with someone who seems to be blue-leaning. It is best to come prepared with a meeting agenda that includes concrete statistics and thorough research. Keep in mind that a blue-leaning person may have tons of questions, but may be too reserved to ask them. Create a comfortable environment where asking questions is encouraged.
One last scenario: Let’s say you’re working on a team with a blue personality-type. She may not always offer up her ideas, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a valuable asset! Since blue-leaning people are so good with practical details, your teammate would be great at the planning/logistical side of the project. Make sure she’s able to find her sweet spot within the team.
And what if YOU tend toward “blue?”
Don’t be afraid to ask crucial questions and offer your input. And don’t assume that the rest of the team can see potential flaws like you can. Your analytical abilities and organizational skills are valuable and it’s a great help to your company when you share your insight or ask the questions that need to be asked when considering a new project or task.
This is just a small glimpse into the powerful way Insights® Discovery helps teams connect and communicate. I plan to regularly publish posts focusing on specific Insights® color energies, with the goal of leading you to a greater understanding of yourself and others.
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Conveying the correct message is crucial in the business world. When communicating with clients, a flawed message can mean a lost sale or a lost business relationship. When communicating internally, an improper message can lead to angry or confused employees, strained relationships, or a misalignment of goals.
Google recently dealt with the backlash of a misinterpreted April fool’s joke that put some companies’ business relationships in jeopardy. They added a feature in G-Mail that attached a .GIF of a minion dropping a microphone to outgoing emails and prevented the email recipient from replying. Business professionals that accidentally clicked on this feature may have unintentionally sent the .GIF to potential or existing clients. Unfortunately, not everyone got the joke and a handful of companies lost clients, received complaints, or damaged their reputations. Several job seekers claimed that they lost potential interview opportunities because they accidentally sent the minion .GIF to a company’s HR department. Google later apologized for the April fool’s joke, saying, “Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry.”
Clarity is one of the keys to company success. Communication clarity keeps employees or clients on the same page and moving in the right direction. It means that the message you sent has been interpreted in the way you intended it to be. Many problems in business stem from a lack of clarity. Poor communication can cause missed deadlines, misguided actions, or misinterpreted intentions. Something as simple as having a fellow employee proofread an important email can eliminate a costly mistake. Eliminating vague words such as “soon,” “a lot,” and “many” can help strengthen the message and make the message clearer.
In cross-cultural communication message clarity is very important. Slang terms and non-verbal gestures are not understood the same way by different cultural groups. Conducting proper research of cultural customs and communication decorum can help appropriately convey the message.
Communication Delivery Method
Different types of messages call for specific forms of communication. A communication method that is appropriate for one scenario may not be appropriate for all scenarios. For example: an employee who is going to be laid off would not want to find out through email. They deserve a face-to-face delivery of the message. In such a sensitive and emotion-laden scenario, an email is a much too cold communication method. Additionally, the employee who is being laid off deserves the opportunity to ask questions about the company’s decision and get a direct, in-person response.
On the flip side, sending an email is appropriate if you are announcing a company meeting, contacting an existing client about a routine matter, or sending information to a co-worker. These types of messages are informative and routine, and a personal touch is not necessary.
Falling somewhere in the middle of a face-to-face meeting and an email message is communication over the phone. Phone conversations are more personal than emails and allow the other party to ask clarifying questions immediately. It’s a good idea to speak with new or potential clients over the phone so that they can’t misinterpret the tone of what you’re saying. A lot can be lost in a written message; for example, it’s difficult to convey sarcasm (which could create problems!).
One of the newer forms of office communication that is increasing in popularity is team messaging. Apps, such as Slack, allow workplace teams to communicate through a secure channel. You can communicate with the entire team, create private messaging groups, or send direct messages. Slack is a useful way to cut down on simple emails that require a short reply. It is, however, meant to be a way to casually communicate between co-workers. If you have an important message to send, or if you need to communicate with someone outside of your workplace walls, it’s better to use email or pick up the phone.
Tailoring your delivery method to best fit each scenario will result in more effective communication in the workplace. Practicing clear, appropriate communication will help build a positive reputation for yourself and your company.
Looking to enhance your communication efficiency within your organization? Peer Performance Solutions has the solution for your business. Visit us here.
“Trust me.” How often do we hear those words uttered in the movies? You know, the type where the action hero reaches for the distressed heroine’s hand, urging her to come away with him to safety? In real life, trust must be earned over time. As a leader in the workplace, you cannot just reach out your hand to your employees and expect them to automatically trust you based on your title alone.
Here are some tips to help you foster trust and loyalty from your team:
- Be committed and consistent: If you want your employees to trust you, commit to them and to your work. Focus, engagement and gratitude are all qualities your team will look for in you, and will want to emulate.
- Ask questions…and listen to the answers: True connection to your team means hearing them out. Be empathetic and show gratitude toward your employees to grow your relationship in a positive direction.
- Set clear expectations: Be upfront about priorities and company goals. Ambiguity will only foster distrust.
- Let your adeptness shine: Competent leaders build trust by showing they have an interest in learning and perfecting their craft. They contribute and follow through with real results. Staying up-to-date on trends truly proves commitment to those you oversee.
- Leave some breathing room: A good leader fosters trust by giving Instead of looking over your team’s shoulders, step back and give them room to complete projects on their own, using their unique perspectives and approaches.
- Hone your “executive presence”: Gravitas (how you act), communication (how you speak) and appearance (how you look) make up your “executive presence,” according to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success. Hewlett’s research found gravitas to be the most important; the self-confidence to stay calm under pressure is crucial. But there’s more to it. “A big part of gravitas is a knack for conveying tremendous amounts of knowledge and giving people the impression you could go ‘six questions deep’ on the subject you’re talking about, but in a way that’s concise,” Hewlett explains. “Attention spans are so short now that, whether it’s in a speech or in a meeting, you have to show how you can add value in a way that’s both compelling and brief.”
Consciously build this advice into your leadership methodology and you will form a loyal team, built on mutual respect, that everyone will want to join. Only then can you reach out that superhero hand and ask for trust.
Gaining trust from your team is a process. Want to kick it into high gear? Contact me to find out how I can help build cohesive teams within your company.
Whether you’re already an expert in your field or working on becoming one, establishing your expertise is a crucial step toward gaining trust and building your reputation. The process may seem intimidating, but I’ve outlined a few simple ways to establish yourself as a trusted leader in your field.
Already an expert?
In an environment where anyone can launch a website and claim expertise, it’s not enough to be an expert; you have to be a trusted expert. The hallmark of a trusted expert is sharing knowledge, but keep in mind that quality is as important as quantity. How can you start creating and sharing quality material to establish yourself as a trusted expert? Start with three simple steps:
- Read – It’s important to read the blogs and books written by leaders in your field. Trade associations are a great resource. Most have publications full of articles written by industry leaders. You can use them to find the gaps in industry knowledge by examining what’s out there.
- Write – Once you’re equipped to provide the information the industry is missing, go back to the trade publications and pitch articles or write guest posts for blogs. If you need help getting your foot in the door, ask a previous contributor how they did it. Doing this regularly will give you the content you need to support your expertise.
- Speak – Use the content you’ve created to get a spot on a panel or to speak at a seminar. Professional speaking engagements are a great way to gain trust. Trade associations are always looking for people to speak at meetings, seminars, conferences, and conventions. Partner with a successful speaker to offer your unique perspective and gain an instant audience.
Aspiring to expertise?
Every expert started out with no training or experience. Experts continually improve their performance and if you push yourself, set goals, and get feedback you’ll be able to do the same.
- Push yourself – You know how to drive a car, but would you call yourself an expert driver? Most people learn how to drive a car and then it becomes automatic. Racecar drivers are experts. They constantly tweak their cars and push their comfort zones to go faster and faster. You can take the same approach with building up your expertise. If you do the same things over and over again in the same way, you create habit, not expertise. Strive continually for incrementally better performance and you’ll eventually become an expert.
- Set goals – Successful people set both large and small goals. Small goals can seem pointless without large ones and large goals can seem unattainable without small ones. Set both and you’ll be able to 1) focus on the big picture when the day-to-day is getting you down and 2) immerse yourself in the details when you get overwhelmed.
- Get feedback – Frequent, salient feedback is one of the most important parts of improving your performance. It’s also one of the hardest things to come by. Find someone who knows what good performance looks like and be open to the feedback they provide. A coach is an excellent source of feedback and could be an experienced colleague, a leader in your industry, or a career consultant.
If you’re just starting out, you have an advantage because you can position yourself to be a trusted expert as you gain your expertise. If you find a knowledge gap in your industry, you can specialize and fill it, saving time and energy.
Contact me for help establishing yourself as a trusted expert or planning your path to expertise.
You probably know the saying, “What you give is what you get.” That concept is absolutely true in the workplace. If you only show up, do the bare minimum, and go home, you likely won’t find fulfillment in the work that you do. On the other hand, if you truly care about your work and approach it proactively and passionately, you’ll find that others will reciprocate your enthusiasm and your boss will likely take notice.
Here are five suggestions to show that you care about your work:
The power of storytelling is no secret. Emotional dialogue connects people much deeper than a surface-level chat about the weather. Until you attempt to relate to co-workers or customers on an emotional level, you may never unearth your shared interests or backgrounds. And don’t forget that storytelling is a two-way street. Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to what others have to say. This kind of engagement shows that you not only care about the people around you, but also your workplace as a whole.
Ask questions and ask them often.
Keep track of questions you encounter—your own, or those that customers or co-workers ask you—and share them with the rest of your team. Questions mean growth. By staying curious and conscious of potential confusion within the workplace, you are showing concern and taking positive action.
Give the best you.
You need to care for yourself in order to care for others. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise. Stretch throughout the day. Do what’s necessary to be the best you–not hungry (and grumpy), sleepy (and disengaged), or sick (and unfocused).
Share gratitude daily.
When you work alongside the same people every day, it can be easy to get into the social habit of curtness when communicating, for efficiency’s sake. Not only does this inhibit the aforementioned storytelling and question-asking, it can create a negative workplace atmosphere.
Consciously make an effort to share gratitude toward those you work with, daily. The attitude of gratitude spreads. Smile. Listen. Trust. Appreciate. Never assume a person knows how you feel—acknowledge accomplishments and praise often.
Have a plan and share it.
Come up with monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. By careful planning and goal-setting, you can consciously move toward an improved company (and self) every single day. By sharing your business plan and vision you are opening up a dialogue and encouraging others to get involved and grow as a team.
Opportunities exist every day to demonstrate how much you care about your career and your company. Taking advantage of these opportunities can be the difference between merely punching a timecard every day and inspiring change, encouraging growth, and acknowledging a deep-set happiness within yourself.
Looking for more ideas to engage with your workplace and show you care? Feel free to contact me anytime.
The buzz of an alarm clock can be a dreaded sound, but sometimes a new element in your routine can make a difference. Here are some helpful strategies to prepare you for a day at the office:
Prepare the night before:
When you know the location of all your daily work necessities, your morning won’t feel like a mad dash around your house. Packing your gym bag, compiling work documents, prepping your lunch, and even setting out your keys can help you avoid that stressed-out feeling you get when you’re searching for that one last thing. When you can transition from home to work in a calm state, instead of an anxious one, you set the tone for the whole day.
Switch up your breakfast routine:
Sick of cold cereal every morning? Tired of the same ol’ bagel and cream cheese as you rush out the door? Plan a new, delicious breakfast. Introducing new foods to your breakfast menu breaks up the monotony and gives you something to look forward to. Swap out your instant oatmeal for steel-cut or Irish oats. Trade your yogurt for cottage cheese with fresh berries or cinnamon. Ditch your bagel for an English muffin with jam and honey. Put your morning apple or banana to work by throwing it in a smoothie with greens, ginger, avocado, or almond butter. There are plethora of recipe websites that can inspire your next breakfast.
Waking up in the morning is difficult enough; waking up early to hit the gym might be downright impossible. However, the benefits of an early-morning workout are multiple: better sleep, improved metabolism, better long-term results, and increased mental clarity for four to ten hours after exercising. Your workout routine doesn’t need to break world records, but it needs get you moving and be enjoyable enough for you to stick with it. With your mental clarity, plus the endorphin boost, you will be alert and ready to take on your day with a clear head and positive attitude.
Meditation, affirmations, and visualizations:
Though these might feel unnatural at first, mental preparation for the day ahead can bring great benefits. As few as five to ten minutes of meditation in the morning exercises your brain so you can sustain voluntary attention throughout the day. Reciting affirmations and visualizing goal achievement bolster self-esteem and solidify ambitions. Write down affirmations and stick them somewhere you will see them every morning, and recite them as you brush your teeth or wait for your coffee. When you visualize yourself accomplishing a goal, it makes the event feel possible, and gives you confidence to chase down those goals. With your eye on the prize, you can enter the office with determination and a sense of direction.
Any or all of these changes can jumpstart your morning. A word of advice: just like New Year’s resolutions, don’t try to overhaul your whole life overnight. Start with one change, maybe two, and incorporate more once you have mastered the first few.