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By: Art Markman

It is natural to use landmarks to evaluate your life. Times like birthdays, New Year’s Day, and transitions like new jobs, divorces, or graduations are all times that lead people to think about what they have accomplished and what they have yet to do.

Often, you ought to ignore the urge to commit to a big behavior change.

The canary in the coal mine for big behavior change is systematic failure. When there is a goal that is really critical to you that you are systematically failing to achieve, that is the signal that you need to do something different if you want to succeed.

The significant systematic failures in your life are probably rare. You are holding down a job, enjoying your friends and your family, and maybe even some romance.

TINY CHANGES VERSUS “DISRUPTION”?

Think about your life like a product for a moment. Most of the time, the product a company produces is pretty good and doesn’t need a wholesale revision. Instead, products are spruced up and companies create “new and improved” versions, which are fundamentally the same product with a few tweaks. Only rarely do companies really try to disrupt an industry. Disruptions seem sexy, because they can change a market, but most deeply innovative products don’t succeed (think Segway . . . ).

Likewise, most of the changes in behavior that you make should be of the “new and improved” variety. Small changes that enable you to do what you already do more effectively are likely to succeed. Typically, the best way to enter the new year (or to use the energy from any landmark in your life) is to find something straightforward to change and to focus your efforts on that.

An advantage to these tiny changes is that you will still make an improvement to your life, but you’re likely to succeed. You give yourself an emotional boost for improving your life without the frustration that comes along with a wholesale disruption.

A string of small successes can also give you more confidence when it really is time to do something more disruptive. In particular, when you try to make a big change, you are virtually guaranteed to experience some setbacks. You don’t want those setbacks to give you evidence that you’re a failure. If you have a run of success in smaller behavior changes, then you know you’re not a failure, you just haven’t yet succeeded at the bigger change. And that knowledge can make you more resilient on those days when your attempt at a big behavior change has fallen flat.

Here’s to a “new and improved” year.

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By: Geri Coleman Tucker

Developing a good relationship with your child’s teacher will make it easier for you to share concerns and work together to help your child succeed. Here are some tips for building a partnership.

1. Meet with the teacher and staff ASAP.

Consider meeting even before the school year starts, if possible. If your child has an IEP, give the teacher a copy of it. Share other information—like hobbies, interests and important family events—that will help your teacher get to know your child.

2. Find out how the teacher wants to be reached.

Share email addresses and phone numbers. Explore tips you can use when emailing with teachers and sentence starters you can use when you talk.

3. Be respectful of the teacher’s time.

Arrive promptly for appointments and wrap things up within your allotted time. The teacher may have more parents and students waiting for her attention.

4. Look for something to compliment.

If you’re meeting in the classroom, look for word walls, reference charts or displays of students’ artwork or school work that you can compliment. Teachers like to see that you notice their efforts. If you’re meeting in the guidance office or other location, start things off with a positive statement, like something you’ve noticed about the teacher’s classroom or teaching style.

5. Never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child.

Demonstrating your respect for a teacher will set a good example for your child.

6. Show up for special events.

Whenever possible, show up for back-to-school night and other events. This demonstrates that you’re part of the school community. Try to chaperone a field trip and volunteer in other ways too.

7. Say “thank you.”

Express appreciation for the big—and little—things the teacher does for your child. Cards, thank-you notes, even small gifts can go a long way toward building positive relationships with the teacher, school aides and other staff.

8. Spread the word.

Let others know when the teacher does something special for your child. A note of appreciation shared with the principal is a nice gesture.

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Ten Tips For A Successful Mentorship

By: Caroline Ceniza-Levine

January is National Mentorship Month, so if you participate in an official mentor program or you just have people in your life who you regularly go to for advice, make sure to send out a special thanks! Mentor relationships are very helpful to your professional development, which is why many companies and outside organizations invest heavily in offering these programs.  The best mentor relationship works for both you and your mentor. Here are 10 tips for a successful mentorship:

Clarify both of your expectations

Even if a company or organization put you together with your mentor, do not assume that you are both on the same page as to why you were matched. Let your mentor know what you are hoping to get out of the mentorship. For example, if you’re looking for help balancing work and life commitments, let them know that is your specific goal. Your mentor might assume you want advice on moving up in the organization or being a better manager. At the same time, ask your mentor what they want out of the program. Many mentors just want to give back since they benefited from a mentor themselves, but they may also have something you can help them with, and it’s a great way for you to let them know you want a two-way relationship.

Confirm the logistics

You may prefer live meetings, but this may be too difficult with your mentor’s schedule.  Ask specifically how your mentor likes to meet – e.g., live, by phone or by video. If it’s very different than what you prefer, see how you can compromise – e.g., by mixing up the meetings. Confirm how frequently you will have scheduled meetings. Confirm if it’s okay to email or call in-between scheduled meetings. Don’t assume that your mentor likes to meet any specific way or frequency – always ask.

Help your mentor help you

Once you do settle on a goal for the mentorship and a cadence of meetings, you still need to specify what you need. Are you looking for encouragement or do you need something more hands-on? Are you looking for ideas and advice? Or maybe you have a specific idea already, and what you really want is to role play or refine how to execute on the idea. Your exact needs will likely differ from meeting-to-meeting or over the arc of your mentorship. The more explicit you can be, the easier it will be for your mentor to help you. They may be the type who is a natural cheerleader and not realize you want a devil’s advocate. Or they may be the type to jump into brainstorming mode and list out ideas, when you already have an idea and want help elsewhere. Help your mentor help you.

Take the initiative in scheduling

When you first meet, you might set a regular meeting day – e.g., last Tuesday of each month at lunch. More likely, you will schedule as you go. You might schedule the next meeting at the former meeting but this might still be too far in advance (or not enough time). Confirm with the mentor how far in advance they prefer to schedule. Put reminders in your calendar to reach out and schedule according to what you both agreed. If your mentor reaches out to you, be responsive.

Respect your mentor’s time

Responding in a timely fashion to your mentor’s outreach is one way of respecting their time. Coming to scheduled meetings on time, and sticking to the agenda and time agreed upon are also ways to respect their time. Showing effort or results in-between meetings is another way of letting your mentor know that time with you is time well spent. You don’t have to agree with or act upon everything your mentor says, but there should be some related movement in-between meetings so that the mentor knows your work together is having an impact.

Don’t ask for too much too soon

The best mentor relationships do have an impact. Please, don’t expect or ask for too much too soon. In the early days of your mentorship, focus on getting to know each other and on asking for answers to questions the mentor will know right then, with little preparation or extra work. You can then build up to more complex or time-intensive requests, such as feedback on your resume. Keep in mind that mentors warm up at their own pace. If you know the person already, they may be willing to jump right in and look at your resume or business plan at the first meeting. But if you don’t know the person at all and you were matched together by an outside program, then you want to ease into things.

Have fun

Part of building trust is getting to know each other. Make it part of each mentor meeting to focus, not just on business, but getting to know each other personally. Knowing more about your mentor will help you better communicate and may even give you more or different ideas on how you can collaborate. Letting your mentor know more about you will enable them to help you more effectively.

Keep your mentor informed

Your career is dynamic and changing, and you don’t see your mentor that often. You need to keep them informed, especially if your situation changes in a way that impacts the mentorship. For example, let’s say you were matched together a few months ago and you have been working on work/life issues, but then a spot opens up in your group that you didn’t realize you wanted but now you definitely do. Let your mentor know, even before the next meeting. This shifts what your focus is, and even if your mentor still wants to talk work/life balance, at least they’ll know you have other things on your mind.

Have a plan for when things go wrong

What if you want to shift the focus of the mentorship but your mentor does not? What if you have taken the initiative to set up meetings, show up prepared, but it’s your mentor who isn’t responsive? What if there is a change in situation and your mentor no longer fits your needs? Or what if you just have a personality clash? If you’re part of a structured program, find out who in the program can help you navigate any difficulties. See if there is already a process for making changes, or if you have to choose between leaving the program or staying in the current situation. Get outside assistance and prepare a heart-to-heart with your mentor. If the relationship isn’t working for you, it probably isn’t working for them. Clearing the air might fix it or, at least, give you both the opportunity to move on.

Reciprocate and give back

If things do work and you have a smashingly successful mentorship, don’t forget to pay it back. This includes asking your mentor how you can help them – do not assume that you have nothing to offer just because you’re more junior. This also includes being a mentor to others. I have worked with several mentorship programs (as mentor, mentee, and behind-the-scenes organizing), and most programs can always use more mentors.

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By:  Health Inspiration

When negative energy takes a toll, start surrounding yourself with positive energy and people. Positive people offer up empathy and compassion, motivating others to follow their dreams and goals while actively caring for themselves. They’re not doormats, either — they accept and move on from negative situations while knowing bad moments don’t make up all of life.

Negative emotions hold an essential place in emotional processing and personal growth, but too much negative energy hangs like a cloud. Soon, it affects how you see yourself and lead your daily life. Surrounding yourself with positive energy lightens the burden and reminds you of the joy in your life.

The negative self-talk in your mind can also be lessened by surrounding yourself with positive energy. Life is meant to be filled with color. Here are a few ways to bring your sparkle back.

Music Mood Boost

Music plugs you back into life. It can turn down the sound of negative, irrational thoughts by releasing endorphins and serotonin in the brain. Music refocuses your mind to the present moment and allows you connect with how you feel. Listening to a sad song helps you put words and music to grief, enabling you to express and transform that emotion.

Positive Crew

The company you keep effects and reflects who you become and where you’re headed. Feeling negative, stuck and stagnant? Look at the people you surround yourself with, especially your inner circle.

Cultivate a positive crew to build you up and offer constructive criticism as you need. Real friends and loved ones don’t demolish you every time you climb higher in this world.

Laugh

People say laughter offers the best medicine and research agrees — laughing lowers the stress hormone in the body and relaxes muscles up to 45 minutes later. Laughter also burns calories, boosts immunity and protects your heart.

Dance

Want to improve your happiness? All you have to do is shake your groove thang — whether that’s a dance party in your pajamas or taking group dancing lessons. Dance is more effective in decreasing anxiety levels than meditation due to the emotional high experienced as a result of the beat, movement and connection found with a partner.

People laugh more when they make mistakes in dance and improvisation boosts problem-solving skills —dance is about the connection and trust you build with a partner.

Hug Someone

Touch is one of the five senses but it’s also intrinsic to humans as social creatures, to communicate emotion and intent. Not only do hugs reinforce feelings of caring and other positive emotions but they possess cold-fighting abilities. Previous research has revealed diverse social ties are linked with healthy immune systems. Participants in one study developed less cold symptoms after being hugged more often.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Every day or week, write down something you feel grateful for — maybe it’s a stranger buying you coffee or your daughter’s smile at the end of a long day. Maybe it’s the simple fact you made it through the day.

Writing down these positive thoughts reinforce their power and you can revisit them at any time, weakening the hold of negativity.

Speak Kindly to Yourself

Lessen the impact of negative self-talk by speaking kindly to yourself. A negative mood haunts you throughout the day and affects personal and professional relationships. When you speak kindly to yourself, positivity will radiate from the inside out. Allow this to be your primary act of self-care.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

People have a weakness for feel-good stories on social media because they do make you feel good. Through research utilizing fMRI technology, science validates that helping others fulfills people since the same reward centers for food and sex light up in the brain. Giving doesn’t always feel good because sometimes others guilt trip you into the act, but when you give from a place of awareness you will feel happy.

Don’t reward emotional manipulation. Give time instead of money and be proactive versus reactive when giving back.

Escape Stagnancy

Feel like you’re never going to go anywhere in life? Feel stuck and can’t place your finger on why? Check the temperature of your environment. Are you surrounded by cold people who don’t have your best interest at heart?

You’re bound to feel stuck and negative when around the same negative people and stale life circumstances 24/7. Stop swimming in the same pond and break out of your comfort zone. Attend networking events or join a new club to broaden your horizons.

Give Yourself a Break

Give yourself a break when you make a mistake, but also take a break when you need it. Give yourself a minute to rant and let it go. Cancel plans when you feel bad, practice self-care and forgive yourself first.

Practice these ten tips as keys to freeing happiness in your life. You’re almost there. The key is you and it’s always been you: laugh, dance and hug someone. Life is short — embrace it.

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By: Melissa Kirk

Change means reinvention. Each time a major shift happens in our lives—leaving a job or a relationship, moving, losing a loved one—we have to choose who we want to become or risk never reaching our full potential.

I’ve reinvented myself several times in my life. Most adults have.

But what I always forget is that we have to choose reinvention. Each time I’ve done it, I’ve forged my new path deliberately and with foresight.

When I’ve waited for my future to find me, I’ve waited in vain, lost in confusion and sadness, or I’ve gotten tangled up in a situation I didn’t want.

One morning, after struggling for months with grief and loss, I woke up and realized that I was having so much trouble moving forward partly because I had no idea what it was that I wanted to move toward. I was thinking about my past, but not what I wanted for my future.

That morning, I woke with a vision: a crowd of people from the life I needed to leave behind with the sun rising opposite them and me standing between the two, the sun beating down on my face.

In the vision, I decided, finally, to turn from the group and walk toward the sun, my new life.

That vision told me what I needed to hear—that I had to take control of my future instead of letting my pain choose for me.

These are steps I’ve identified to reinvent yourself:

1. Create a vision for your future.

Sit quietly, close your eyes, and imagine the people, places, or situations that you need to leave behind. Now, imagine the future that you want, whether it’s simply a feeling, a group of people, or a situation such as a wonderful new job.

Imagine how it will feel to be in that new place. Picture the sun coming up behind your future, the warm glow of the light on your face.

Stand for a moment and silently voice your appreciation for everything that came before. Once you’ve thanked the past, turn toward the sun, and with compassion and gratitude, imagine yourself walking away from the past and into the future.

2. Write about your reinvention.

Imagine a scene from it or write about how you’d like it to play out. Where are you living? What do you do in the mornings, afternoon, and evenings? Who are your friends? What do you spend your days doing?

Continue writing as long as this exercise feels invigorating and exciting. Write scenes, dialogues, lists, and plans. Make the future come alive. Write about how it will feel to be there. Keep your writing somewhere where you will look at it occasionally. Feel free to add to it.

3. Surround yourself with visual reminders of the life you’d like to create.

If it’s a new job in a particular field, put objects or images from that field someplace where you’ll see them every day. If it’s a home, find a picture of a house that you love and put it near your front door. It can be anything that reminds you of what you’re moving toward.

4. Now that you have a vision of your future, break it up into workable tasks.

What do you need to do, every day, to create that vision? Look for work? Meet new people? Search for a place to live in your chosen town? Make it specific. Make a list of everything you need to do and a schedule for when you’ll do it. Then do it and commit to keep doing it, one day at a time.

5. Every day, go back to that vision of you walking toward your future.

Every morning or evening, close your eyes and see yourself walking into the rising sun, toward your dreams, and reconnect with why you’re moving toward this new possibility.

Reinvention is neither easy nor always smooth. Often, we encounter resistance. We don’t want to let go, even of things that cause us pain or that are obviously already out of our grasp. We often struggle with limiting beliefs or stories about ourselves that hold us back from trying new things.

But there is one way to keep your compass pointed to this new life, even in the midst of any resistance or struggles you may encounter on your path.

Each time you find yourself slipping into old habits—isolating yourself, making excuses not to look for work, procrastinating on a task that might help you advance in your career—don’t bother wondering why you’re doing it or beating yourself up.

Just ask yourself this: “What can I do in this moment to keep moving forward?”

Then, no matter what you feel in the moment—lonely, self-critical, tired, lazy, or disappointed—do something to maintain momentum, even if it’s one small thing. There’s an old adage that says that true courage isn’t about not feeling fear; it’s about feeling fear and acting anyway.

Choose courage instead of letting your fear choose your future for you.

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By: Familydoctor.org

The teenage years are a time of transition from childhood into adulthood. Teens often have a strong desire to be independent. So they may struggle with still being dependent on their parents. They may also feel overwhelmed by the emotional and physical changes they are going through.

At the same time, teens may be facing a number of pressures:

Fitting in at school and among friends.
Doing well in school and making good grades.
Excelling in activities such as sports.
Participating as a member of the family.
Working a part-time job.
Preparing for college or their next step in life after high school.

The teenage years are important as your child asserts his or her individuality. Many parents wonder what they can do to help their teenager.

Path to Improved Well Being
Communicating your love for your child is the single most important thing you can do to help them during their teenage years. Children decide how they feel about themselves in large part by how their parents react to them. For this reason, it’s important for parents to help their children feel good about themselves. You can do this by:

Building their confidence and self-esteem.  Praise them—and be specific. Tell them exactly why you are impressed or proud of them. Spend time with them, and let them know how much you value them.

Supporting them emotionally.  Encourage them to talk to you. Listen and help them understand their feelings.

Providing them safety and security.  Give them unconditional love.  Maintain routines so they feel secure. Make sure they know home is a safe place for them.

Teaching them resiliency. Teach your child how to make it through the tough times. Help them cope with change, manage stress, and learn from setbacks.

It is also important to communicate your values with your child. Set expectations and limits for him or her. These could include insisting on honesty, self-control, and respect for others at all times. At the same time, allow your teenager to have their own space and be their own person.

Parents of teens often find themselves noticing only the problems. They may get in the habit of giving mostly negative feedback and criticism. Teens need feedback, but they respond better to positive feedback. Remember to praise appropriate behavior. This will help your teen feel a sense of accomplishment and reinforce your family’s values.

Establishing a loving relationship from the start can help you and your child through the bumpy teenage years.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests the following ways for parents to prepare for their child’s teenage years:

Provide a safe and loving home environment.
Create an atmosphere of honesty, trust and respect.
Allow age-appropriate independence and assertiveness.
Develop a relationship that encourages your teen to talk to you when he or she is upset.
Teach responsibility for your teen’s belongings and yours.
Teach basic responsibility for household chores.
Teach the importance of accepting limits.

Things to Consider
Remember that your teen may experiment when trying to define himself or herself. They may change their values, ideas, hairstyles, or clothing in order to do this. This is typically normal behavior. You shouldn’t be concerned. However, inappropriate or destructive behavior can be a sign of a problem.

Some teens are at risk for a number of self-destructive behaviors. These teens often have low self-esteem or family problems. They may experiment with using drugs or alcohol, or having unprotected sex. Depression and eating disorders are other common health issues that teens face. The following may be warning signs that your child is having a problem:

Agitated or restless behavior.
Weight loss or gain.
A drop in grades.
Trouble concentrating.
Ongoing feelings of sadness.
Not caring about people and things.
Lack of motivation.
Fatigue, loss of energy, and lack of interest in activities.
Low self-esteem.
Trouble falling asleep.
Run-ins with the law.

What Should I Do if There is a Problem?
Work together to maintain open communication. If you suspect there is a problem, ask your teen about what is bothering him or her. Don’t ignore a problem in the hopes that it will go away. It is easier to cope with problems when they are small. This also gives you and your teen the opportunity to learn how to work through problems together. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with dealing with your teen. Many resources, including your family doctor, are available.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor
What can I do to keep my teenager emotionally healthy?
Is my teenager’s behavior normal?
What signs should I look for if I think my teenager might be having problems?
I have low self-esteem and am depressed. Is my child more likely to develop those same problems?
Does my teenager need to see a therapist or a psychiatrist?
Does my teenager need medicine?
Will my teenager “grow out” of these behaviors?

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By: Farnam Street

The most important things in life are internal not external.

“The big question about how people behave,” says Warren Buffett, “is whether they’ve got an inner scorecard or an outer scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an inner scorecard.” To make his point, Buffett often asks a simple question: Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?

Comparing ourselves to others allows them to drive our behavior. This type of comparison is between you and someone else. Sometimes it’s about something genetic, like wishing to be taller, but more often it’s about something the other person is capable of doing that we wish we could do as well. Maybe Sally writes better reports than you, and maybe Bob has a happier relationship with his spouse than you do. Sometimes this comparison is motivating and sometimes it’s destructive.

You can be anything but you can’t be everything. When we compare ourselves to others, we’re often comparing their best features against our average ones. It’s like being right-handed and trying to play an instrument with your left hand. Not only do we naturally want to be better than them, the unconscious realization that we are not often becomes self-destructive.

Comparisons between people are a recipe for unhappiness unless you are the best in the world. Which, let’s be honest, only one person is. Not only are we unhappy but the other people are as well. They are probably comparing themselves to you—maybe you’re better at networking than they are and they’re jealous. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others we end up focusing our energy on bringing them down instead of raising ourselves up.

There is one thing that you’re better at than other people: being you. This is the only game you can really win.

When you start with this mindset the world starts to look better again. No longer are you focused on where you stand relative to others. Instead, your focus and energy is placed on what you’re capable of now and how you can improve yourself.

Life becomes about being a better version of yourself. And when that happens, your effort and energy go toward upgrading your personal operating system every day, not worrying about what your coworkers are doing. You become happier, free from the shackles of false comparisons and focused on the present moment.

When what you do doesn’t meet the expectations of others, too bad. The way they look at you is the same way you were looking at them, though a distorted lens shaped by experiences and expectations. What really matters is what you think about what you do, what your standards are, what you can learn today.

That’s not an excuse to ignore thoughtful opinions—other people might give you a picture of how you fall short of being your best self. Instead, it’s a reminder to compare yourself to who you were this morning. Are you better than you were when you woke up? If not, you’ve wasted a day. It’s less about others and more about how you improve relative to who you were.

When you stop comparing between people and focus internally, you start being better at what really matters: being you. It’s simple but not easy.

The most important things in life are measured internally. Thinking about what matters to you is hard. Playing to someone else’s scoreboard is easy, that’s why a lot of people do it. But winning the wrong game is pointless and empty. You get one life. Play your own game.

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By: Child Development Institute

Certain key practices will make life easier for everyone in the family when it comes to studying and organization. However, some of the methods may require an adjustment for other members of the family.

Turn off the TV. Make a house rule, depending on the location of the screen, that when it is study time, it is “no TV” time. A running tv will draw kids like bees to honey.

What about the radio or other audio devices? Should it be on or off? Contrary to what many specialists say, some kids do seem to function well with the radio turned on to a favorite music station. (Depending on the layout of your house or apartment, maybe an investment in earbuds would be worthy of consideration.)

Set specific rules about using cell phones during study hours. For instance, use of a cell phone can only occur if it becomes necessary to call a schoolmate to confirm an assignment or discuss particularly challenging homework.

Designate specific areas for homework and studying. Possibilities include the kitchen, dining room, or your child’s bedroom. Eliminate as much distraction as possible. Since many kids will study in their rooms, the function becomes more important than beauty. Most desks for kids don’t have enough space to spread out materials. A table that allows for all necessary supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, books, and other essentials works exceptionally well. Consider placing a bulletin board in your child’s room above the desk. Your local hardware store may sell wallboard that is inexpensive and perfect to post essential school items. You may decide to paint or cover it with burlap to improve its appearance or let your child take on this project. Keeping general supplies on hand is important. Check with your child about his or her needs. Make it his/her responsibility to be well supplied with paper, pencils, notepads, etc. Encourage the use of a notebook for writing down assignments so there is no confusion about when they must be turned in to the teacher.

Consistency is a critical factor in academic success. Try to organize the household so that dinner is at a regular hour, and once it’s over, it’s time to crack the books. If your child doesn’t have other commitments and gets home reasonably early from school, some homework completion can occur before dinner.

Consider your child’s developmental level when setting the amount of time for homework. While high school students can focus for over an hour, first-graders are unlikely to last more than 15 minutes on a single task. Allow your child to take breaks, perhaps as a reward for finishing a section of the work.

Organize study and homework projects. Get a large dry erase calendar — one that allows space for jotting things down in the daily boxes. Have your child use different bold colored dry erase markers to write exam dates, reports that are coming due, etc. This will serve as a reminder so that assignments aren’t set aside until the last minute.

Teach your child that studying is more than just doing homework assignments. One of the most misunderstood aspects of schoolwork is the difference between studying and doing homework assignments. Encourage your child to do things such as:

Take notes as he’s/she’s reading a chapter.

Learn to skim material.

Learn to study tables and charts.

Learn to summarize what he/she has read in his/her own words.

Learn to make his/her own flashcards for a quick review of dates, formulas, spelling words, etc.

Note-taking is a critical skill and needs development. Many students don’t know how to take notes in classes that require them. Some feel they have to write down every word the teacher says. Others have wisely realized the value of an outline form of note-taking. Well prepared teachers present their material in a format that lends itself to outline form note taking.

Should notes ever be rewritten?  In some cases, they should be, particularly if there is a lot of covered material. Sometimes a child has to write quickly but lacks speed and organization. Rewriting notes takes time, but it can be an excellent review of the subject matter. However, rewriting notes isn’t worth the time unless they are useful for review and recall of valuable information.

Help your child to feel confident about taking tests. Test taking can be a traumatic experience for some students. Explain to your child that burning the midnight oil (cramming) the night before a test isn’t productive. It’s better to get a good night’s sleep.  Students also need reminding that when taking a test, they should thoroughly and carefully read the directions before they haphazardly start to mark their test papers. They should be advised to skip over questions for which they don’t know the answers — they can always return to those if there’s time. Good advice for any student before taking a test: take a deep breath, relax, and dive in. Always bring an extra pencil just in case.

During a homework session, watch for signs of frustration. No learning can take place and little can be accomplished if your child is angry or upset over an assignment that is too long or too difficult. At such times, you may have to step in and halt the homework for that night, offering to write a note to the teacher explaining the situation and perhaps requesting a conference to discuss the quality and length of homework assignments.

Should parents help with homework? Yes — if it’s productive to do so, such as calling out spelling words or checking a math problem that won’t prove. No — if it’s something your child can handle himself and learn from the process. Help and support should always be calm and cheerful. Grudging help is worse than no help at all! Read directions, or check over math problems after your child has completed the work. Remember to make positive comments — you don’t want your child to associate homework with fights at home.

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By: Stefan James

I would like to share with you 3 reasons why it’s important to celebrate yourself every day. The reality is that we live in a fast-paced world. We are taught that “accomplishment” means getting as much done in a day as you possibly can. However, too many of us don’t take the time to reflect on our accomplishments. When was the last time that you stopped and took a moment to celebrate and reward yourself? If you struggle with this notion, you aren’t alone.

Oftentimes, self-promotion has been associated with arrogance. In his groundbreaking book, The Portable Coach: 28 Sure Fire Strategies For Business And Personal Success, Thomas Leonard shared his 28 Laws of Attraction. In # 7, Market Your Talents Shamelessly, he shares a brilliant distinction between confidence and arrogance. He says, “Confidence is knowing exactly what you do well and don’t do well; arrogance is a way to cover up what you don’t do well.” When you celebrate your successes, it will motivate you to achieve more, which in turn, will elevate your confidence even more.

As part of my morning ritual, I spend one minute every day celebrating my life, which puts me into a high vibrational state. When I do so, I experience an abundance of joy and fulfillment, which inspires me to do and achieve more. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” You deserve to have your accomplishments and unique personality be recognized. When you condition your mind for success, anything is possible. If you don’t celebrate yourself, then who will celebrate you?

Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goals to be proud of yourself. Celebrate every step along the way. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk acknowledges that he has a hard time celebrating wins because he “loves the climb.” However, if you are always focusing on ‘what is next’, then you will feel depleted. When you celebrate the small wins that you make, no matter how tough life gets, it will create the confidence and momentum that you need in order to keep going. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, there is power in small wins, and it’s the fulfillment that comes from making progress on meaningful goals.

Here are 3 reasons why it’s important to celebrate yourself every day.

1. It Reminds Us To Enjoy the Journey
If you are constantly doing and not being, you will miss out on all the beautiful moments in life. Oftentimes, we take life too seriously and we become so attached to the final outcome that we forget to enjoy the journey. It’s great to be ambitious; however the key is to develop a mindset that allows you to pursue big things in life, without sacrificing the small things that make life worth living.

Take a moment every day, stop what you are doing, celebrate, and savor the moment. Life is not a race. When you learn to find joy in the journey, the destination feels all the more worthwhile. When was the last time that you stopped to ‘smell the roses’, so to speak?

2. It Reminds Us To Be Grateful
Gratitude is the key to living a happy and fulfilled life. It is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves. Celebrating yourself means taking the time to be genuinely grateful for your life. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose touch with gratitude. A lot of people are so focused on celebrating the highs of life, that they tend to lose sight of the small things in life that bring them the most joy. Celebrating your life every day is a way to develop an attitude of gratitude that can shift your entire perspective on life.

Research by Dr. Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California shows that those who celebrate life by practicing gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t. There are too many benefits to count. What are you grateful for? Celebrate your blessings every day and watch your life change for the better.

3. It Increases Our Confidence
Many of us have limiting beliefs about ourselves in at least one area of our lives, which results in a decrease in confidence. The more that you celebrate yourself, the more your confidence raises. When you do so, you are telling the Universe that you are unstoppable, which in turn, attracts more positive energy into your life. Not only that, but when you radiate confidence, it inspires others to be confident as well. Don’t ever hold back. Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. You step into your power when you are able to master this skill. Are you ready to own your amazingness?

These are 3 reasons why it’s important to celebrate yourself every day. When you take time every day to acknowledge the little actions that you are taking towards the achievement of your goals, you strengthen those actions. In what ways can you acknowledge yourself today? Take a moment and think about what you have accomplished. To love yourself means to celebrate the very existence of who you are. Hold yourself in high regard. You deserve it.

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