10 Small But Crucial Things You Have To Pay Attention To While Learning German

The German language is getting more and more popular among enthusiastic language learners all over the world. People learn it for different reasons — work opportunities, hobby, family relations, etc. Whatever your reason is, we salute your decision to become richer by learning a new language.

If you decided to learn German, you’ve probably heard it’s not the world’s easiest language. There are several aspects of it which might intimidate you — grammar, pronunciation, compound nouns, you name it.

And because of that, we prepared this handy guide for you. Below, we’ll discuss 10 highly important things you need to pay attention to while learning German on your own. These tips and tricks will make the entire learning process much easier for you. Hopefully, this will help you avoid making beginner’s mistakes and ensure you start out ready and self-assured.

Capitalized Nouns

Let’s kick things off with a simple and straightforward rule: all nouns in German are capitalized.

Whether it’s a personal name, a thing or a place, you write the first letter in capitals. In English, you only capitalize proper nouns.

Consider this sentence:

Ein Glas Wasser, bitte. A glass of water, please.

In this sentence, common nouns “water” and “glass” have the first letter capitalized.

Remember, anything that you can touch, smell, hear, see, feel or think about is capitalized. From abstract ideas to names of places, press that uppercase command. Make sure to memorize this rule and implement it as soon as you start writing in German.

Vowels’ Length

If you haven’t been to school for a while, you may have forgotten what the hell vowels are. In most languages, speech sounds are divided into vowels and consonants.

In German (like in English) A, E, I, O and U are called vowels. Everything else is a consonant. However, in German, vowels can be a little tricky at first because a vowel in German can be short or long.

Here’s how to determine the length of the vowel:


A vowel is short when followed by a consonant cluster:

Short e:
Geld (money)- similar pronunciation to “scent”


A vowel is long in all the other cases.

Long a:
fahren (to drive)- similar pronunciation to “charm”

Proper pronunciation of the vowels can make a huge difference and often influence the meaning of the word. It’s definitely something to consider in order to nail that German pronunciation.

Der, Die, Das

In German, articles are different for each of the three genders. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Der is for the masculine gender, like der Winter (winter) der Vater (father) der Montag (Monday)
  • Dieis for the feminine gender, such as die Mutter (mother) die Sängerin (singer) die Lampe (lamp)
  • Dasis for neutral nouns, like das Blau (white) das Auto (car) das Museum (museum)

Be aware that gender differs for each word from language to language. If something is feminine in your native language, it doesn’t mean that it’s the same gender in German.

To put it simply, you need to learn new words along with the article. That will help you memorize the gender of the word and know how to use it properly.


We’re back to vowels. Have you heard of the umlaut?

In German, it’s represented by two dots placed above the vowels A, O, and U, turning them into Ä, Ö, and Ü.

An umlaut changes the pronunciation of a vowel completely, making a whole new sound. That means you need to know how to say the words with an umlaut on the vowel.

Pronunciation similar to:

  • schön (beautiful) earn
  • Äpfel (apple) end
  • Üben (practice)

No corresponding sound in English

Try saying “ee” like in “see” but place your mouth like you want to say “oo” like in “moon”.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and you can’t get a hold of this by only reading and studying. In time, you will develop the intuition for proper pronunciation.
German pronunciation isn’t as simple as you thought, right?

Sentence Structure

Sentence structure is important. You have to know how the subject, object, and other parts of the sentences that go with one another.

Good news: it’s the same as in English.

Take a look at this simple example:
I have a ball.
Ich habe einen Ball

Here’s a more complicated one:

I want delicious ice cream with chocolate chips.
Ich möchte ein leckeres Eis mit Schokoladenstückchen.


The struggle with the vowels continues as we introduce the final touch: diphthongs.

When you see a cluster of vowels in German, you need to know exactly how to pronounce them. Luckily, there are rules to determine this.

Take a look:

au = Haus (house)
ow = brown
ou = noun
äu = Häuser (houses)
oy = boy
ai/ei = (egg)
i = wine
eye = eye
ie = Liebe (love)
ee = week

These are the basic ones and there are other combinations which you’ll eventually learn. Use these as a starting point and go from there.


Conjunctions are the words we use to connect clauses or sentences, such as but, if, because, and etc. In German, the conjunctions can mess up the sentence structure we’ve discussed above.

Take a look at what you have to know:

• Coordinate conjunctions don’t change the position of the verb.

Here are a couple of examples:

aber denn und oder
but then and or

• Subordinate conjunctions push the verb on the last place of the clause.

weil wenn bis nachdem
because if until after


• I want to eat. I am hungry. – Ich will essen. Ich bin hungrig.
• I want to eat because I am hungry. – Ich will essen, weil ich hungrig bin.
The subordinate conjunction “weil” made “bin” go to the end of the clause.

• Compound conjunctions are formed by two words:
weder noch anstatt zu entweder oder sowohl als auch
neider nor instead of either or both and

Unbelievably Long Words

The German language is the proud owner of some of the most ridiculously long words in the world. This is thanks to the compound nouns they are prone to creating.
Don’t be surprised if you see a 30 letter word!

Take a look at some of these examples:

  • Freundschaftsbezeigungen- demonstrations of friendship
  • das Meerschweinschen- guinea pig
  • Schneeeule- snowy owl
  • Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit- food intolerance

Words You Already Know

We have some encouraging news: since English and German are both West-Germanic languages, there are some rather similar words.
That means you already know a ton of German words. This gives you a wing to the back and helps you get a grip of the language.

Here’s a list:

  • Eisberg- iceberg
  • Apfel- apple
  • Album- album
  • Compute-r computer
  • Evolution- evolution
  • Tennis- tennis
  • Hunger- hunger
  • Million- million


German is considered to be one of the” rough-sounding” languages to most non-native speakers. If your native is English, you’ll probably agree with this.
In order to master a language, you need to listen to it.

Adopting the melodies and sounds of a language isn’t easy. In order to adopt the sound of German and start sounding more like a native, you have to listen to native speakers.

Use all sources that you can:

• YouTube
• movies
• music
• interviews
• talk shows

Surround yourself with Germans every day and start repeating everything you hear.

Where To Start?

If you’re starting from scratch and have no previous knowledge of the German language, it’s best to start with:

The alphabet

German alphabet has 26 letters and just like in English, you can learn it through poems, images or even YouTube videos. You need to get the hang of it as soon as possible so that you can continue learning without any problems

Expanding your vocabulary

This is definitely something you can do on your own, regardless of any lessons you might be taking or tutoring guidance. The internet is full of resources that can help you learn. Assign yourself a task, like 10 new words each day. Imagine where that takes you in a month or two.

Online courses

You can try learning German on your own. There are online beginners’ courses that you can take and see where that takes you.

Study buddy

Learning might be more efficient if you have someone to share it with. Try getting a friend or a colleague on board and work together on your German skills.

Native speaker

Try finding a native German speaker who would like to talk to you every now and then, and help you practice.


Every language is hard to learn, especially if you start learning it as an adult. However, nothing is impossible so don’t let anyone break your spirit. Hard work and good preparation give the best results. Make sure to work tirelessly, study regularly, and practice like crazy.

We’ve given you a head start. Make sure to memorize these small but crucial details about learning German. It will help you achieve progress faster and improve your skills in no time.

The post 10 Small But Crucial Things You Have To Pay Attention To While Learning German appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Erica Sunarjo

The Dos and Don’ts of Asking for A Raise

When you ask for a pay raise, the answer to this question is quite simple; it will either be a “yes” or a “no”. There is nothing in between. Despite that, however, you shouldn’t take it lightly. A proper plan and strategy are necessary when it comes to the pay raise issue.

Let’s take a good look at some of the dos and don’ts of asking for a raise.

The Don’ts

Let’s start with the Don’ts part first. Take a look and try to avoid these things when requesting a pay raise.

Do not compare yourself to your colleagues

You just noticed a guy in the office that earns more and you need a better package, right? Never include his name in the talk, because that is a very unprofessional way of asking for a raise. Access your own merits and achievements and present them to your boss as proof that you deserve better pay.

Do not be too harsh or demanding

Go ahead and swear if you are willing to lose the job. But, if all you want is a pay raise, then be patient and professional. Never ask like you are demanding for it. Instead, just speak confidently yet politely to stay on good terms (just in case they refuse the raise request) and prove to them why you deserve a pay raise.

Do not ask at a stressful time

The best time to ask for a pay raise is when the business is going well. It increases your chance as your boss will likely be in a good mood. However, you should remember to never ask for a raise during the high-stress times. Wait out that tough time if you can and wait for a good opportunity.

The Dos

Among all the things that you should avoid when asking for a pay raise, here are some points to focus on to increase your chances of hearing a “yes”.

Ask after a personal achievement

The best time to hit your boss’ office is after a significant personal achievement of yours. It’s a good way to set yourself from the rest of your colleagues. Exploit the momentum created by your persistent success and accomplishments to ask for a pay raise.

Give them a solid reason

Salary is based on your role in the office and your performance, so spare some time and figure out all the possible ways you can improve your output. Your performance is going to be the decider of your salary. Take additional work and complete that in time and you might not have to ask for a pay raise in the first place.

Ask in a professional way

After all of the brainstorming, planning, and hard work comes the most important part — how would you ask for a pay raise?

Many people just write a short email begging for it, use a generic template they found on the internet or tag their boss in the hallway and guess what? They fail miserably.

The post The Dos and Don’ts of Asking for A Raise appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Dave

How To Make 2019 Your Year For Fitness

I’m not the biggest believer in New Year’s resolutions because I feel self-improvement should be a year-long affair. If you’ve been resisting making necessary changes, it’s hard to believe you’ll follow through just because you’re inspired by a clean slate, chronologically speaking.

Looking at history, though, it seems to be human nature to view the New Year as an opportunity to move past old limitations and into better habits.

Some 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians renewed their loyalty to the king during their New Year’s celebration. They also vowed to the Gods they’d pay off their debts and return anything they borrowed. (I wish my neighbor, who’s been in possession of my weed-whacker for several weeks, would take a page from these ancient denizens of Mesopotamia.)

Now, are you planning on turning your health and physique around this 2019? If so, below are really effective tips you can use to set and achieve a healthier you.

Set Your Fitness Goals

You know you want to get in better shape. If you want to make a real impact on your fitness level in 2019, though, you need to get more specific. Setting a measurable goal can keep you focused and on track.

Your fitness goal might include:

  • Losing weight or inches
  • Fitting into a particular size or outfit
  • Becoming more muscular
  • Regaining lost flexibility
  • Improving your cardiovascular condition and stamina
  • Participating in an upcoming athletic event, like a half-marathon

Keep Your Goals Achievable

Whatever your fitness goal is, make sure your benchmarks are achievable. If you aim to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re likely to miss the mark and give up altogether, discouraged.

Pick a more realistic goal instead. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4 to 8 pounds per month is a more attainable and sustainable level of weight loss.

Aim For Off-The-Scale Results

The scale doesn’t lie, but it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, you may be dropping inches instead of pounds as you replace fat with muscle. For this reason, I suggest you start your fitness regime, by measuring places like your:

  • Calves and chest
  • Forearms and hips
  • Neck and shoulders
  • Thighs and waist

As you move along in your fitness journey, measure yourself again from time to time. Whether you’re aiming for a trimmer or bulkier form, a change of an inch or two in your waist, thighs or biceps can make a noticeable difference in how you look and feel.

Make A Game Plan

If you want to make a real impact on your fitness in 2019, you need to figure out the steps you plan to take. As French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

When I’m crafting a plan to make a fitness fantasy a reality, I like to take a two-pronged tack, making changes in my diet as well as upping my activity level.

Eat For Success

When you start your day with a morning run or a gym session, you tend to feel good — body and mind. If you dive headfirst into a carton of donuts as soon as you get home, however, you’re likely to feel bloated, sick, and a little guilty. It’s the very definition of self-sabotage.

With this in mind, your fitness game plan should include a dietary component like:

  • Cutting out bread
  • Eating less meat and more vegetables
  • Following an eating plan like the Mediterranean or keto diet.

Exercise Freedom of Choice

Your fitness goals will largely dictate the nature of your workouts. If you’re training for a race, you’re going to need to run. If you have more general aims like improving your cardiovascular condition, there are any number of activities that can help you raise your heart rate.

Fitness experts agree that people are more likely to stick with exercise they enjoy, so choose undertakings you like. If you hate running, you might benefit from hiking, swimming, biking or classes like spinning, yoga, aerobics or Barre.

Chart Your Progress And Celebrate Your Successes

From time to time, you’ll want to chart your progress, whether through a scale or a measuring tape. Another good way to see how far you’ve come is to take selfies from several angles at the start of your fitness journey, wearing a swimsuit or exercise clothes.

If you’ve been following your fitness regimen faithfully but don’t seem to be making progress, I suggest you take a new series of selfies and compare them with your first set. It’ll give you an objective view of the subtle changes created by your fitness efforts. Improvements might include things like greater muscle definition, a decrease in visible cellulite or a reduction in those rolls that have developed on your midsection.

Take a moment to acknowledge your successes and, if you wish, celebrate them by treating yourself to a meal in a restaurant or a new item of clothing.

I hope you’re successful at reaching your New Year fitness goals. And one more thing, if you’ve borrowed any garden implements from your neighbor, I suggest you remember those ancient Babylonians and return them!

The post How To Make 2019 Your Year For Fitness appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Kevin Jones

Can You Robot-Proof Your Career?

Welcome to an automated future. Just this year, Amazon opened a totally cashier-less grocery store, the first of its kind. While Amazon certainly has no lack for employee talent with over 500,000 employees on the payroll, Amazon Go is a working experiment on the impact of automation on employment.

Automation Is The Future

can retailers survive millennial apocalypse

Amazon’s grocery store gives us a glimpse into the future in which we see unmatched productivity and profit. Generally speaking, the more routine or predictable a job is, the higher the likelihood it has for robotic replacement. Nearly 50% of employers think that automation in their respective industries could cause a huge reduction of the human workforce by just 2020.

By 2030, the following industries and positions could see total automation:

  • 4.6 million retail workers
  • 4.3 million servers and cooks
  • 3.8 million housekeepers and janitorial workers
  • 2.4 million warehouse workers, laborers, and movers

Are Employees At Risk From Automation?

Thriving under conditions of predictable behaviors and physical movement, it’s the commonplace jobs that are most at risk. Workers whose jobs could be completely replaced within just a decade or two include positions from retail to housekeeping and even office jobs.

Nearly 20% of what we do during our day could become obsolete, thanks to automation. So, how do we make sure our responsibilities are robot-proof?

While 37% of people are worried about automation putting their jobs at risk, 73% also say that technology can never replace the human mind. What makes automation truly powerful is when it gives us humans the chance to free up our creative energies from predictable yet time-consuming tasks.

What results is disagreeing experts on the true impact of automation on employment. One study has shown that less than 5% of occupations can become fully automated. It is instead the restructuring of jobs, responsibilities, and tasks that’s the likely outcome of automation, rather than full submission to robot workers.

Work with the lowest potential for automation include:

  • In-person customer service positions
  • Planning and creative work
  • Management positions and development roles

How Can You Prevent Automation From Taking Over Your Career?

Today, robots are unable to replicate human emotions, creativity, and experiences, which is a good thing. When we can rely on automation to manage mundane work, we can focus our energies away from time-consuming tasks. We can do the work that really influences growth and change.

In business, soft skills show up in:

  • Emotional intelligence – empathy, curiosity, nurturing
  • Creativity – unique problem solving skills, attention to detail, artistic thought
  • Leadership – motivating others, guidance, and emotional understanding

Going forward, honing these soft skills will be more important than ever as they make us an asset. This competitive edge in the face of automation can not only help save our jobs, but help us move on up to more meaningful and impactful work. Thanks to a reliance on skills like these, the prospect of automation in select industries remains low and with very little prospect of growth.

  • Medical field work – physicians and surgeons show .4% potential for automation and dentists and occupational therapists at .3%
  • Education – special-ed teachers and middle school teacher show 1.6% potential for automation, preschool teachers show .7%, and elementary school teachers just .4%.
  • Technology field work – software developers have 4.2% potential of automation, mechanical engineers at 1.1%
  • Computer systems analysts .6%.

Though not all of us work in the medical or technology fields, we can learn lessons from then on what makes them so irreplaceable. Technical know-how aside, it’s the human touch that makes these human positions indispensable. We can apply that very same principle to our own work, whatever that may be.

Consider bolstering your own position at work now to prepare for the future

35% of Americans have changed jobs in the last three years and 14% of workers worldwide need to be retrained. Don’t be afraid to pivot careers if necessary. Many employers offer educational tools and courses from Microsoft Word primers all the way to blockchain crash courses. No matter where you are in your career, it never hurts to work on your knowledge.

The future may be robotic, but human skills will become a powerful asset. Ready to robot-proof your career? Start from within by developing your soft skills detailed in this infographic below.
How to Robot-Proof Your Career
Source: Online Bachelor Degrees

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Author: Brian Wallace

10 Holiday Scams and How to Avoid Them

The holidays are such a joyful time. People are more giving, family and friends are throwing parties, and everyone is merry. But it’s also a time when people are more distracted — and criminals are ready to take advantage.

Here are 10 ways you can detect and avoid holiday scams.

Holiday Phishing


Pay attention to the emails you receive from major businesses like FedEx, Apple or Amazon. Avoid clicking on any links or attachments in the email until you confirm they are not sent from a malicious source. Scammers send these emails hoping you’ll click automatically, unaware that the contents are designed to steal important personal information.

Avoid It: You can sniff out scam emails by watching for things like typos, grammatical errors or addresses that don’t match the reputable site. Always have updated antivirus software running on your computer to avoid this scam.

Fake Charities

People are in the spirit of helping others in this season. With that, beware of false charities asking for donations. People can easily make up fliers with phony websites for donations or ask you to donate on the street.

Avoid It: Always review the details of the charity and how the funds will be used. If you’re concerned about donating online, verify the charity at Give.org.

Travel Scams

It’s tempting to grab an online discount for travel to an exotic location this time of year, but don’t purchase before doing some investigation first. Online scammers will promise you a bargain, but your dream vacation could end up being an expensive mistake if you’re not careful.

Avoid It: Ask for references from companies promising you the deal and never wire money to someone you don’t know. Also, research the company online and look for reviews from multiple reviewers over the past several months.

Taxi Tricks

There are many travelers during this season and taxi drivers know that sometimes, people are desperate to get to their destination. Some taxi drivers will put fees on your fare before you leave the airport or they’ll take you on a longer route home to incur higher pay.

Avoid It: If you’re traveling over the holidays and will be taking a taxi, review your routes to your hotel before you leave. That way you can identify if you’re being scammed.

Loan Frauds

During the Christmas season, people want to have a good time. And those who can’t afford a Christmas vacation or expensive gifts may consider taking loans.

While there are legitimate sites that help people find loans, there are also scam lenders that take advantage of unsuspecting people. Scammers go so far as to pose as brokers offering credit help to people by taking their money or bank details to set up the loan.

Avoid It: If you’re worried about getting ripped off, go to a brick-and-mortar loan center in your city to avoid the risk.

Package Poaching

Online shopping offers a convenient and fast way to shop for the holidays. You can buy for all of your friends and family from the convenience of your own home and the packages will arrive at your doorstep.

Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one waiting for your package to arrive. Criminals eagerly wait so they can steal your packages.

Avoid It: If you can, arrange for someone to be home on the delivery date to pick up your package quickly. You can also install a doorbell camera to detect or identify people stealing from your porch.

Holiday E-cards

We’ve all received cute e-greeting cards in our inbox from friends or co-workers, but not all e-cards are the same. Fake e-cards sent to your email could contain triggered viruses or malware, infecting your system and stealing your personal information.

Avoid It: Some e-cards can be easily identified by antivirus software, but not all. So, avoid clicking on any e-cards as a precaution. You can also call the sender to verify whether they actually sent the card.

Free Gift Cards

A common scam around the holiday season involves large discounts on gift cards or vouchers. These deals may appear on social media or via spam phone calls. You engage with the offer to get a $100 gift card for half the price, and hackers gain enough access to your personal information to raid your bank account.

Avoid It: Check the offer before clicking on the purchase option. Email addresses may look legit, but there is often an extra letter in the site address, indicating it’s a fraudulent site. Running a quick Google search on the deal can also help you detect potential hoaxes.

Counterfeit Goods

We’ve all seen fake goods for sale before- name-brand watches, handbags, and electronics appear during the holidays at great prices. When you see prices that are too good to be true, trust your gut. Second-hand sites, such as eBay, have lots of cheap products listed this time of year and many are scams.

Avoid It: When you see a name brand item listed at an absurdly low price, it’s best to skip the deal.

Santa Letters

Scammers deliver fake offers in many different ways during the holidays. If you receive an email that’s advertising letters from Santa, be sure you review the email closely. These emails promise you a customized letter to your child from Santa that never arrives. These sites steal your information, your $20 payment or both.

Avoid It: Write these letters yourself and avoid this scam, or ask a friend to help with the print so your kids can’t tell it was written by you.


By being aware and by following these tips, you can lower the risk of falling prey to holiday scams. If you encounter any of them, review your financial statements, dispute any unrecognized charges, and report any identity theft you find ASAP.

The post 10 Holiday Scams and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Alec Sears

Most Powerful New Year Quotes to Motivate Anyone for a Fresh New Beginning in 2019

After sending out inspiring Christmas quotes, follow up with our new collection of motivational Happy New Year quotes. Post them on your social media and inspire all your friends and followers too!

And if one quote or saying resonates with you, own it! Start the year with the right mindset. Print out your favorite saying of the bunch or make it into your wallpaper. Put it up where you’re guaranteed to always be looking at it so you’ll never forget.

It’s a new year, friends! It’s another 364 days of exciting opportunities and chances! Happy New Year!

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

happy new year message

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. – Rainer Maria Rilke

new year quotation

There are greater things to be achieved in every New Year, and each and everyone must prepare themselves to be great, not by words of the mouth, but by a lot of sacrifices. – Michael Bassey Johnson

new year message

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

new year quote new

Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. – Michael Josephson

quotes for new year

This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change. – Taylor Swift

new year quote

Like what you see? See more New Year Quotes.

New is the year, new are the hopes, new is the resolution, new are the spirits, and new are my warm wishes just for you. Have a promising and fulfilling New Year!

happy new year wishes

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. – Edith Lovejoy Pierce

happy new year greetings

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. – Bill Vaughan


Happy New Year to you! Wish this year brings to the warmth of love and illuminates your path of life towards a positive direction.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Chinese Proverb


A new year brings not only happiness, it makes us happy with a hope to fulfill our dreamz or a new beginning of our life. So, a new year is very special to everyone. – Santonu Kumar Dhar

new years resolution quotes

Visit SayingImages.com for more Inspiring New Year greetings, messages and images.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


The post Most Powerful New Year Quotes to Motivate Anyone for a Fresh New Beginning in 2019 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: DLM Editor

9 Immediate Tips To Stay Focused on Your Goals

Honestly, do you still remember the new year’s resolutions you set at the beginning of this year? How are you faring in them right now?

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve long abandoned those goals. Some of you may not even recall the goals you have set and that’s really unfortunate.

Goal setting works and it has never failed anyone. The only reason why goals would stop working is because the person who has set them chose to give up on them mid-way.

During the past few years, I’ve been working relentlessly on my goals – be it blogging, setting up my new business, improving my diet, losing weight, making like-minded friends, improving my relationship with my parents, and so on.

Over the course of the past 2.5 years, I’ve made significant progress on those goals.

For example, I lost about 7 to 8 kgs this year. Currently, I am at my desired weight. I’ve switched from an unhealthy, junk food diet to a healthy, vegan diet which I’m proud of.

I created my personal development blog and built it from 2 readers a day (me and my good friend) to over 600k page views/month, making it one of the top personal development blogs online. I’ve created a successful business out of my passion in personal development and am earning a steady, passive income from it.

I resolved a deep-seated emotional eating issue which I’ve been struggling with the past decade. My previously sour relationship with my parents has dramatically improved for the better in the past 2 months.

I’m not sharing the above to distance myself from you or to put myself on a pedestal. It’s quite the opposite. I’m sharing the above to let you know that because I’ve achieved my goals, you can achieve your goals, too- no matter what they are. It’s all a matter of staying focused.

If you constantly get distracted in your goal pursuits, here are 8 tips I have for you to stay focused:

Concentrate on 1 to 3 goals

If you constantly have trouble sticking to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1 to 3 goals that are most important to you and stick to them. Don’t bother yourself with any other goals until these goals are achieved or unless your priorities shift.

focus on one goal

For me, my top priority goal is to reach out to more people through my blog. So, I ensure all my daily actions ladder up to this one goal. Majority of my time in the week is spent either writing new articles for the blog, maintaining my Facebook and twitter account, maintaining the blog and forums, processing my emails or creating upcoming plans. If I’m caught up with something else for a long period of time, it’s a cue to me that I’m off-track.

Such laser focus has allowed me to make much more progress, compared to when I juggle across 4 to 5 goals and make little progress in them.

Create a vision board

A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly. Inevitably, it will inspire you to take consistent action. It also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board.

I’ve a vision board in my bedroom which I see every time I’m in my room. Every time I see my board, it reinforces my goals to me and reminds me to take action and move forward. 

If you’ve yet to create your vision board, I’ve created a video tutorial which you may find helpful. You can watch it if you want to know how to create your vision board.

Create milestones

If you just set one huge goal, it can be discouraging, especially when you don’t achieve it after a short while. When that happens, some people may procrastinate on the goal altogether which is quite unfortunate.

identifying one goal

I find it helpful to break a big goal into smaller goals. Just like when you go on a long road-trip, you set pit-stops to rest/recuperate throughout the trip. 

Create a plan

If you have a plan worked out for your goal, it becomes much easier to stick to it. All you have to do is to follow the actions you have planned for the day. The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal because that’s when your motivation is the highest.

Usually, I create my goal action plans right after I set my goal. I take action immediately and that helps create a positive momentum. 

Track your results

It’s important for me to track the results of what I do because otherwise, it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1 to 2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly.

They are my connection to the end goal because they let me know whether I’m on track or off track. They let me know whether to tweak my actions or not. 

Have goal buddies

Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, spur you on when you feel unmotivated, give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal, keep you on track, among others. Your goal buddies can be your friends or people whom you meet in interest groups. Since you already share similar interests, it’ll be easy to find people with the same goals.

Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit

Having a blog or private diary to document your goals can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goals because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that.

However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal. Many readers at my blog created their life journals in the blog forums and have found that to be tremendously helpful in keeping them focused on their goals. 

Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals

If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I’d never give up on it – I’d keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor. 

I once had a coaching client who would embark on many new business ventures only to stop within the first 2 to 3 months. He never knew why.

When I drilled into the issue with him, he found out it was because he just wanted to start a business to earn money. Well, he was already earning good money with his current job and that gave hi little reason to move out of his comfort zone.

After that, I recommended him to identify a business idea which he was truly passionate about and he did. Today, he has been working on this same business for the past 1.5 years, the longest he has ever kept to a business venture.

Learn to say no

Do you often put your goals aside for other people?

It’s okay to do that once or twice but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can’t forever put your life on hold for others!

I used to have trouble saying no to others. That’s until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that’s not what I want. Learn how to say no and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Check out my related posts at Dumb Little Man that will help you stay on track in your goals:

Written by Celestine Chua, a writer at Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.

Photo Credit: lululemon athletica

The post 9 Immediate Tips To Stay Focused on Your Goals appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Celestine Chua

9 Proven Secrets and Health Tips for Men Over 50

Hi, my name is Lou and I want to talk to you about something that is really important to me and hopefully, to you as well.

What is up with men’s health? Why is it that in a country with the best health care in the world, we have so many unhealthy men? And the problem gets worse as we age.

Men who are 50+ are the worst offenders. Just when they have the time to enjoy their lives, travel with their spouses or partners, enjoy their grandkids, and take time for hobbies, everything goes down the drain. They become sedentary and they start neglecting their health. As a result, men die younger than women and experience more chronic diseases.

I work in the health care field and with so many men out of shape and in poor health, especially after 50, I wanted to know what made the healthy ones tick.

How did they stay focused with all of the complexities of their lives and still find time to take care of themselves?

Well, that was the question I really wanted to have an answer to. So, I designed a survey asking 1000 healthy living men across the nation about what motivated them to carry on.

The answers across the board were the very same things that we all find important — their wives, partners, spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, hobbies, and careers. As it turns out, our social connections are what motivate us to care about our health and take the necessary steps to get and stay healthy.

This discovery inspired me to write a book about men’s health and social motivation. In my book, Crack the Code, I give you 10 strategies to help you both understand and use your own social connections to achieve your goals, both in health and in life.

Create Your Vision

Once you acknowledge your current state, you can consider where you want to be. Goal setting is the first step in translating your social vision into concrete, measurable actions that will form sustainable inspiration.

Build Your Strategy

Your implementation strategy, what I characterize in the question: “How are you going to get there?” is where the rubber meets the road. It’s your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual action plan which fuels your inspiration and implements your plan.

Create Your Personal Lifestyle Network

Partnerships and social engagement are a common theme among men who live healthily. This strategy guides you in the development of your own social network.

Design A Sustainability Plan

Contingency planning is common in business and life. It should also be part of your personal health behavior. Consider this for your lifestyle design.

Leverage Micro Motivators

While your lifestyle design appropriately starts with the consideration of your biggest, or macro, values, and priorities, your micro motivators are what serve as the support structure in the practical details of your daily routines. I’ll offer several perspectives on identifying micro-sources of inspiration.


Just like your financial portfolio, a diversity of social and behavioral tactics adds strength and security to your lifestyle architecture.

Be Optimistic

There is a link between optimism and good health. I’ll explain the value of optimism and show you how you can learn to be optimistic.


Life is not a stagnant proposition. Circumstances, values, and behaviors can and sometimes need to change, particularly as you age. Adjusting to new ideas and circumstances is a key factor in your design.

Be A Hero

Knowing that we can influence the behavior of others through our actions, whether they are our 50+ brothers or the next generation of men, can be a powerful motivator. So, get out there, make your plan, and live your healthy life!

The post 9 Proven Secrets and Health Tips for Men Over 50 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Louis Bezich

Self Reflection Questions for When You Need A Moment of Clarity

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel like your life has become stagnant and nothing seems to be working out? You are not able to create anything you’d like to accomplish and just feel absolutely useless?

Yes! I am talking about that self-appreciation phase where you love the concept of self-doubt and self-loathing. Well, one thing is for sure, you are not alone.

Around two years back, I met these super talented bunch of musicians when I joined my new school who I now refer to as my friends. Initially, I was absolutely in awe of each one of them. The fact that I am a self-entitled car singer might have had a small role to play. Well, just a tiny one.

We used to sit in a group and have our own little concert. And it was so much fun until… it wasn’t!

On one hand, I was having a Gala time and on the flip side, I was questioning myself. And believe me, these weren’t the questions that would’ve brought me any awareness. They were full of self-doubt, judgment, and conclusion — and not a very good one at that.

I was doing the job of being a teenager very well.

I used to ask myself one question:

What is my talent?

It seemed like a question, but it wasn’t. It was a judgmental statement about myself with a question mark at the end to help myself feel better about introspecting rather than concluding. Since that wasn’t enough to satisfy the quota of self-deprecation, I added a more fixed point of views to it.

I concluded that particular talent is only a talent when it can be shown to other people.

After a couple of days, I decided that I’ve had enough of this crappy feeling and I wasn’t going to choose it anymore! So, I looked for the answers from people who knew me. Obviously, people knew me better than I knew myself.

After getting answers like you’re good at art, speaking, giving advice, I finally did what I should’ve done since the beginning. I asked myself what talents I have that I have not acknowledged yet. I wondered what secret hidden talents I have that I’m not even aware of.

We often come across self-reflection questions like “What is the purpose of our life?”, “What am I good at?” or “What is my worth?”

When that happens to you, consider the following tips:

1) Ask And Introspect

Instead of going through all the process that I went through, please choose to ask yourself questions because no one knows you better than you. Just asking a simple question can give you an awareness or an insight. Personally, what I used to do was ask a question with an expected outcome or conclusion.

Moreover, it does not always show up the way you expect it to. Don’t run away when it doesn’t look like the way you imagined it to be.

2) Acknowledge And Be Grateful

Most of the time, we don’t acknowledge the changes that we’ve created in our lives. Why?

You would know if this applies to you. However, let me tell you how one of my favorite people in the world taught me what acknowledgment does.

It truly opens the space of gratefulness for our capacities and eliminates the space of judgment for ourselves. The fun fact is that we don’t always choose gratefulness.

Is now the time for you to acknowledge and be grateful for yourself?

If yes, please take out a few minutes of your day to acknowledge the things in your life. One of the most recommended ways to practice this is to maintain a gratitude journal. If keeping one seems like a pain in the neck, write your thoughts anywhere. If you don’t have the time to note them down, just tell yourself mentally.

3) Have Fun

Last but not the least, don’t expect too much out of yourself. Try out new things and enjoy them. I know that sounds tough but it isn’t!

How much fun can you have?

The post Self Reflection Questions for When You Need A Moment of Clarity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Janavi Chawla

9 Sleep Hacks to Elevate Your Mood and Improve Your Health

Lack of sleep is hazardous to your physical and mental health. It’s connected to a variety of health-related risks, including cardiovascular disease, depression, and car accidents.

Even though adults generally need at least seven hours of sleep each night, many Americans sleep for a shorter amount of time. The reasons are varied and include certain medical conditions, a high workload, elevated levels of stress, and a lack of effective sleep habits or strategies.

In many cases, using effective sleep strategies can improve the chances of falling asleep on time and enjoying a full night of rest. What are some of the hacks for better sleep you can try?

Follow a Bedtime Routine

sleeping routine

Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. Adults benefit from sticking to a set of habits that will help ease them from wakefulness to sleep. Over time, these habits become a signal to the brain and body that you’re ready to turn in.

What might your bedtime routine look like?

• Try to prepare for sleep at roughly the same time each day
• Switch from alert mode to bedtime mode by turning off lights or relying on gentle lighting, such as a bedside lamp.
• Enjoy a relaxing activity. Some examples are taking a warm shower, listening to calm music, and reading in bed, assuming that what you’re reading isn’t disturbing, horrifying, or highly suspenseful.
• From about an hour before your bedtime, try to stay away from screens, particularly your smartphone or computer. If you absolutely need to check your phone, make an effort to avoid social media platforms or other sites that can suck you in and possibly make you angry or stressed out.

Watch What You Eat or Drink

Try not to drink anything caffeinated for about four to six hours before you plan on going to sleep. Food or drinks that are high in sugar can also keep you up and perhaps trigger cravings in the middle of the night.

If you think that hunger will disrupt your sleep, you can enjoy a snack before bedtime. It can be a piece of fruit or a slice of bread with some peanut butter. A heavy meal, however, may lead to acid reflux.

Regulate the Lighting in Your Home

Even in the middle of the night, light may be streaming through your windows from streetlights, passing cars, and nearby houses or commercial buildings. Wearing a comfortable eye mask and hanging up blackout curtains are two strategies for keeping your sleep environment darker.

sleep rest

The type of light you’re exposed to can also affect the quality of your sleep. Light that’s rich in shorter wavelengths is thought to be especially disruptive before your bedtime. This blue light may lead to lower melatonin levels. It can come from your tablet devices, smartphones, TVs, and LED lights.

Along with avoiding heavy screen use before bed, one solution is to install tunable LED lighting. It’ll allow you to change the color composition of the light whenever you want.

Regulate Your Bedroom Temperature

If your room is too cold or too hot and stuffy, you’ll probably struggle to sleep well. Air conditioning, fans, or leaving the window open a crack can help.

Check that you aren’t burying yourself under unnecessarily thick blankets or too many layers. Another solution is to use thermal curtains, which can help you save on energy costs while maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.

Engage in Meditation

Calming your mind is one of the best ways to fall asleep. If you want to try meditation, there are a variety of techniques or practices that may prove useful to you.

Yoga Nidra, which you can perform while lying on your back, can bring deep relaxation to your body and possibly offer other health benefits. Basic breathing exercises also help with stress relief and sleep.

Another solution is to focus on calming visual imagery. For example, you can picture yourself on a quiet beach or on a bench in a peaceful garden.

Pick a Good Mattress

A mattress suited to your individual needs can prevent recurrent pain, discomfort, and interrupted sleep. Rely on reputable buying guides to help you with your selection.

See Also: 10 Easy Steps To Buying A New Mattress

Cut Down on Noise

Car alarms and loud neighbors are among the noise sources that can wreck your attempts at sleep. Some people find earplugs helpful or they use noise-canceling earbuds, headphones or headbands.

Machines that generate white noise may also be helpful. Another strategy is to hang an acoustic blanket over a window or shared wall to serve as a noise absorber.

Try Sleep Supplements

Before taking any supplements, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You need to check that the dose is healthy and that the supplement isn’t likely to interfere with any medications you’re taking. Two examples of sleep supplements that may be effective are melatonin and valerian.

Monitor Your Sleep With an App

Some people find apps useful in assessing the quality of their sleep. For example, Sleep Cycle will track the phases of your sleep and reportedly wake you up in the morning in a way that makes it easier for you to get out of bed.

Before using a sleep app, make sure you understand the limits of what it can do. The claims that an app company makes may not be backed by substantive scientific research, and apps don’t always collect accurate data.

What Works for You?

If none of the strategies here are working for you or if you have reason to suspect that a medical problem is disrupting your sleep, you should turn to a doctor for additional advice.

In general, you’ll find that building healthy habits in other areas of your life can improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re enjoying a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and finding beneficial ways to relieve stress, you’ll likely have an easier time sleeping.

That said, are there any strategies you’re using for a more restful night and an easier time falling asleep? Feel free to share your tips.

The post 9 Sleep Hacks to Elevate Your Mood and Improve Your Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Author: Jacky Lou