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How To Learn Speed Reading Effectively

How to learn speed reading

About the Author

Jimmy from myspeedreading.com has agreed to share some helpful tips to start you on your reading journey – speed reading that is! It’s a great way to acquire new knowledge in an efficient and time effective manner. So, if you’re someone who struggles with time management, then perhaps speed reading is for you! Today we hear from a speed reading pro, so be sure to read slowly, and take it all in ;).

The Benefits of Reading

In any age, information will always be the key element of understanding for every human being. Through information one gains knowledge. And, to acquire information, we must read. There is an almost-infinite amount of information in the world, which can be acquired through regular reading. If a person is not reading, he/she is missing out on current events and a vast array of knowledge on different subjects.

Much like exercise for your brain, reading increases concentration, thinking ability and creativity. It is said that a book can change a person. So, if one book can do that, imagine what will happen if you read a wide variety of books! Now that we know how important reading is, we need to understand how we can read all types of books in a shorter amount of time.

Speed Reading

There are a variety of wonderful books out there and so much information in the world to absorb. How would we absorb all this information in a limited amount of time? We are a busy bunch of people, working 9-5 and looking after our families. So, when we get a chance to read a book, we should make the most out of the time we have. Now, how do we do that? We must resort to reading at a faster pace than we normally do. An average person can read around 200 to 250 words per minute. With practice however, we can train ourselves to read at least 400 to 800 words per minute. When you’re reading information that requires you to absorb and remember facts and figures, you may need to slow down on your reading. Take the time to process and memorize information. 

1. Time your reading speed

There are websites and reading apps that can track your reading speed. Download these apps and get a feel for your reading speed and comprehension. You can also do it yourself by simply reading a page and keeping time manually. The next day, read a paragraph or page more than the previous day in the same amount of time. Repeat this exercise every day by increasing the number of paragraphs or pages, in the same amount of time. This exercise requires a lot of patience and effort in order to speed read, and comprehend what you’re reading. Initially, you may stumble, but don’t give up on practicing.

2. Train your eyes

Sight is the most important sense that you require for reading. You’ll need to train your eyes to read without going back and forth, which our eyes have a natural tendency to do. This is difficult to overcome, but nothing is impossible if we practice. To train your eyes, just focus on one sentence or line at a time. Make a conscious effort to avoid going back to read the same sentence or words again. Initially, take it slow. Read a sentence and then slowly go to the next sentence and then the next. Make sure that you don’t let your eyes go back and forth to read the sentences again. 

3. Sub-vocalization

When reading, we tend to pronounce every word in our heads. This is called sub-vocalization. If you observe yourself, your lips will be moving even though you’re not reading aloud. When you say every word in your head, your reading will slow down. Now, stopping your subconscious mind from reading every word is not easy. You must practice and make an effort to stop sub-vocalizing. One simple tip is to keep a finger on your lips or chew gum to avoid reading in your head. Make a conscious effort to just run your eyes through what you’re reading. Have patience and keep practicing, and you will see the results. 

4. Pointer Method

When we read, we tend to lose track of the sentence we are reading. At times, we might end up re-reading the same line again or even miss a line. To manoeuvre from one line to the next, keep a finger or pen below the line you’re reading and just follow your eyes from left to right. Keep moving the finger or pen to the next line. This will increase your concentration on what you’re reading and your eyes will not go back and forth to read the words or sentences again. This method is easier than the other techniques to practice and will help tremendously in increasing your reading speed.

5. Skimming and Scanning

Not every word in a sentence is as important as the next. So, scan the sentence and just read the important words. For example: If I read this sentence – “this rose is red”. I am reading 4 words. I can ignore “this” and “is” and if I just read “rose red”, I will be reading 2 words. Yet, I will understand the meaning of the sentence even though I have skipped some words. If you read a lesser number of words and read only the important ones, you will see the difference in speed. This technique requires a lot of practice.

Once you acquire the skill of skimming through a sentence, you can skim through a paragraph as well. Read the first and the second line, and then read the last line of the paragraph. Then scan through the important words in between the paragraph and you will gauge what the paragraph is about. Train yourself regularly and eventually, you will be good at skimming through pages without even realising you’re doing it!

Final Note

These 5 techniques are important methods to acquire the skill of speed reading. But, they can only be mastered through practice. Initially you’ll need to have a lot of patience. So don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember, failure is but a stepping stone on the road to success! Also, remind yourself that reading is a wonderful habit. Consider how much knowledge you can gain through reading different books and articles. Reading without understanding however is a total waste of time. It’s only effective when balanced with pace and comprehension. So, while practicing speed reading, don’t compromise on comprehension. As you start to enjoy reading, you will be a good judge of balancing your reading speed. Practice makes perfect, so get over to myspeedreading.com today and begin your speed reading journey!

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Entering The Property Market (Part One): 5 Major Considerations

entering the property market the short advice

About the Author

Stephen Pace is an experienced commercial and residential mortgage broker with BCP Finance in Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Parkville, on the city fringe. He specialises in home and commercial loans, and has agreed to share some general advice when it comes to entering the property market. Today’s article is part one of a two-part series, so be sure to follow posts over the coming months for part two! So, if you’re considering entering the property market and you’re looking for a lender, look no further than the very knowledgable Mr. Pace, and here’s why…

Entering the Property Market

Financing a property is always challenging and as for most in the general public, it is very likely that you will have to think long and hard whether or not you’re ready and capable of making such a financial commitment. Buying a property is usually the single most expensive transaction a person will make in their life, and if done right, entering the property market can be both a smart expense and good investment.

1. Purpose – Owner Occupied Vs. Investment

The first primary factor when considering entering the property market is to determine the purpose of the purchase. Are you looking to purchase this property to live in? Or are you looking for an investment purchase seeking to obtain rental income?

The two key factors above impacts not only the buyers appetite but also the bank’s from a loan point of view, in regards to the minimum contribution, and also servicing factors. Making a decision can be tricky but is should be determined by your current financial and lifestyle position. Looking forward 1-3 years of your goals is a point recommended to help to assist your decision making. If you are seeking an investment purchase, there are 3 underlying factors which would determine if the property will make a good investment, these 3 simple things are; rental yield, capital growth potential and the underlying demand.

2. Analyse and Evaluate the Financial Commitment

Once a buyer has determined the purpose of the purchase, each buyer should evaluate their finances. As mentioned above, entering the property market can be the single most expensive transaction a person can make, so don’t go in blindly! Do some research and educate yourself in regards to property areas, fluctuations in property prices and lender appetite and requirement. It’s also important to know what to look for when prospecting for a property, to ensure you’re not falling into a financial hole of additional costs outside of the purchase price.

a) Buy What You Can Afford

In this current market, with the rise of cost of living, you should buy the house you know you can afford, no point buying a house and then all your pay goes towards the mortgage repayments, you still need money for cost of living. Mapping out a plan of attack by creating a strict budget is a good idea. In the period of seeking a property, try and avoid overspending, as this could jeopardise your financial stability – from here you should only consider the ones that you budget can handle.

b) Understand The Various Expenses of Entering the Property Market

A point that also must be considered when evaluating your finances is working out and getting comfortable with the on-going expenses and commitments post-settlement. A lot of buyers drain their bank account and put their every last dollar into the purchase, but don’t take into account the maintenance costs of the house and insurances. The question then gets asked, is it worthwhile looking into a brand new house or buying an established house in an established area?

c) Inspecting For Potential Costs

If the house is established, when inspecting a house you should inspect it thoroughly, focus on the structural stuff, aging appliances, cracks/chips/mould in the walls any leaks or water damage – you may consider paying an external upfront building report. Enlisting a professional for the building report will cover off on factors mentioned above, as well as:-

  • Ensuring the foundation is solid
  • Is wiring up to code
  • Is the house structurally sound
  • Are you buying a property that has any wood eating pests? How will you know?

This is an important point as maintenance costs can end up eating heavily into your savings and budget, so it is worthwhile saving some money in your bank account for a rainy day.

3. Identifying the Area and Type of Property that suits You

Identifying a property, the underlying area and buying to suit your lifestyle is important. There are some factors that cannot be ignored, such as:

  • Do you actually require a house? Maybe a townhouse or a unit would suit?
  • Is the area close to work? Family? Friends?
  • Is the property close to public transport and schools?
  • How is the condition of real estate in the area?
  • Is your area prone to bush fires? Flooding? Is it in a flight path?

The prices of property tend to vary in different locations and suburbs which is derived from several different factors. For example, a house that is situated in close proximity to infrastructure, walking distances to public transport, shops and schools, will generally cost more than a house located further from such amenities. Each location and suburb will have its own niche advantages; find out what suits your budget and meets all of your needs before making a final decision on which property to purchase or invest in.

4. Obtaining a Pre-Approval

Once you have worked out your potential purpose, created a budget and identified a preferable property type, where to from here? There is no written rule that you require one, but anyone in the financial game in this day and age would advise that obtaining a pre-approval is highly recommended.

Obtaining a pre-approval with a lender or approaching a mortgage broker for a professional opinion and guidance is worthwhile – we deal with this stuff every day and have the ability to guide and educate you throughout the whole process.

A pre-approval is a powerful tool to have up your sleeve; no doubt there will always be some mitigating factors or conditions to meet before going to a final approval, but it provides any buyer the confidence that they have the support from a lender. This will enable a buyer to attend an auction or even a private sale arrangement and confidently bid within their limitations.

5. Representation

Having a pre-approval provides confidence to any buyer entering the property market, as you have a lender in you corner to guide and assist you. So, why not continue to bolster up your team?

a) Real Estate Agents

Having a realtor that works for you and an experienced solicitor round off your trio. The seller pays the commission to the real estate agent, so it makes sense to capitalise on their free service as a buyer! The realtor can:

  • Provide area and property data
  • Identify current and potential properties coming up in the area
  • Share knowledge regarding the area and suburbs you seek to buy
  • Negotiate with the seller
  • Assist in additional inspections

b) Solicitors

Secondly, having a solicitor is beneficial. Each property sale will come with a contract and there will be papers to sign. And more papers to sign… And more! The contract will contain a lot of legal jargon, so who better to review and provide advice than a solicitor? Their role is to ensure that the contract is sound and there aren’t any mitigating conditions popping out that will put their client (you) at risk. The contract is originally drawn up from the seller, so there is room for negotiations. Whether you need additional time to settle, or another inspection of the property, or to waive a condition, your solicitor will act on your behalf to do all of the heavy lifting. This helps to ensure that the contract will meet your requests and obligations.

A contract of sale is typically drawn up and available when a property is advertised; it becomes available from the acting seller’s real estate agent. Before attending an auction, try and obtain the draft version and provide this to your solicitor; they will advise accordingly if everything is in order. This way, you can attend an auction or bid on a private sale with confidence. If there are any clauses which jump out to them, they can be amended on the draft and reviewed by the seller before either party signs.

Final Note

Whether you are an experienced property investor or entering the property market for the first time, buying a property is both an exciting and stressful experience. You may not always find a likeable home and buy it first up; there are people whom have been unsuccessful multiple times at auctions… Just remember to remain calm and positive that there are always many more opportunities. It is important to keep the above mentioned points in mind and all that is involved, including the moving factors and components within it. The more educated you are, fire power you have up your sleeve and stronger team you have to represent you, the better off you will be! The experience will become so much easier and more enjoyable.

Stay tuned for our next guest post in the coming months, detailing the important considerations of finding a home loan.

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How To Be A Successful Project Manager: PRINCE2

Vinnie PRINCE2

About the Author

Vince Giacchi began working for Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific as an IBL (working student) towards the end of his International Business Degree in 2012. After a successful IBL tenure Vince took a position with the parent company Daimler AG, at their headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Now back home in Melbourne, and having recently completed his PRINCE2 certification, Vince has found his calling as the SAP Project Manager at Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific. Below, Vince has summarised the PRINCE2 methodology, providing professional insight into effective project management practices.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a structured project management approach. It is recognised as a leading project management methodology, with over one million certified professionals worldwide. It was formed through the analysis and interpretation of a multitude of projects and the experiences offered by their respective managers, teams and sponsors. A PRINCE2 project is governed by seven principles, themes and processes which we will touch on below.

1. Principles (Why?)

A project does not meet the PRINCE2 standard unless all seven principles are applied. They provide the framework for each project undertaken, that guide and empower project managers towards management best practice. The seven principles are:

  • Continued business justification (Does this project make sense?)
  • Learn from experience (Don’t make the same mistake twice)
  • Define roles and responsibilities (Know everyone’s role)
  • Manage by stages (Break large tasks into a series of smaller ones)
  • Manage by exception (Instil autonomy within the working group)
  • Focus on products (Output orientated)
  • Tailor to environment (Adapt to any unique working environment)

2. Themes (What?)

The seven PRINCE2 themes offer an insight into how a project can be best managed. They can be interpreted as putting principles into practice. The themes are relevant from the beginning right through to the end of a project. The seven themes are:

  • Business case – The purpose of this theme is to assess if the project is viable, linking directly to the ‘continued business justification’ principle.
  • Organisation – Defining the project structure, creating accountability and responsibility. This theme links to the third principle ‘define roles and responsibilities.
  • Quality – This encourages project teams to ensure each output meets the required standards, and is fit for purpose. Relating to the ‘focus on products’ principle.
  • Plans – The purpose of this theme is to communicate how targets will be achieved. It focuses on all measurables within a project, i.e. time, cost, who and how. This theme relates to multiple principles.
  • Risk – This theme helps to identify, assess and produce effective mitigation against uncertainty, improving the likelihood of a successful project outcome.
  • Change – Assessing and controlling any changes to the project baseline (initial business case). ‘Continued business justification’ and ‘learn from experience’ are two principles relevant to this theme.
  • Progress – This theme is about tracking where the project is in reality, in comparison to the project timeline.

3. Processes (How?)

A PRINCE2 project is broken up into seven processes, most of which are managed by the project manager. All of the seven processes must be approved by the project board. The seven PRINCE2 processes are:

  • Starting up a project (Is the project viable/worthwhile?)
  • Initiating a project (Establish foundations/Define roles/Understand what needs to be done)
  • Directing a project (Refers to management from a board level – key decision-making)
  • Controlling a stage (Refers to management from a project manager position – monitoring/delegating/corrective-action)
  • Managing product delivery (Project manager works with team managers to agree, accept, execute and deliver requirements)
  • Managing a stage boundary (Duties relating to the end of a stage – review stage success, seek approval for next stage from board)
  • Closing a project (Used by the board to assess and accept the final outcome ‘project product’)

PRINCE2 in Practice: Working Through the Stages

Throughout each stage of a project, the themes and principles offered by the PRINCE2 methodology are ever-present. Let’s look at ‘building a house’ as an example project to demonstrate these processes in practice.

Before starting any successful project, it’s most important to understand what the clients requirements are, or in PRINCE2 terminology, the ‘project product’. A well-written preliminary business case and project brief will help you to do this. In this case, our project product is to build a house.

Once a project brief has been submitted and approved by the board, it’s time to initiate the project. The most important element at this stage, and perhaps the entire project, is the Project Initiation Document (PID). This document details the most important aspects of a project including scope, approach, finalised business case, roles and responsibilities, quality, change, risk and communications management, as well as the project plan. The PID acts as a ‘contract’ between the project manager and the board. The board in this case is represented by the owner and the architect, and the PM is the builder.

It is important to mention the three primary roles on the board, which are the executive, the senior supplier and the senior user. The executive has overall responsibility of the project (the home owner). The senior supplier is the architect, providing knowledge and experience representing the suppliers interest and providing supplier resources, i.e house plans. They deliver quality. The senior user in our case is also the home owner, as they are accountable for ensuring users needs are specified, and the solution chosen suits the end user’s needs. They define quality. Moving on…

The PID has been signed off, the project foundations established, now it’s time to build a house. Controlling a stage is the engine room of any project. Within this stage, the project manager will monitor, problem-solve and escalate to the board if need be. It’s also the PM’s responsibility to authorise, review and receive completed work orders, or ‘work packages’, which have been delegated to different team leaders for completion. In our example this, these ‘team leaders’ are embodied by the plumber, electrician, carpenter and others tradesman. Each trade represents it’s own work package, reporting directly to the project manager. The action of accepting, executing and delivering a work package encompasses the managing product delivery stage.

Once a stage is nearing an end, we move towards managing the stage boundary. This involves assuring all work packages have been completed in accordance with the PID (e.g. quality management approach). This stage also gives the project manager the opportunity to update the board so they are able to assess the progress, accept identified risks, and confirm the projects continued business justification. “Are we on track to build this house on time, and on cost?”

The slab was poured in January, the frame erected in March. The plastering and rough-ins were completed by the end of August, and the house has now been fit-off. We’re nearly ready to close the project. At this final stage the board needs to verify and agree that the project product has been achieved, before handing over the keys.

You might have noticed that theres one process missing from this example… Directing a project happens throughout all of the stages of a PRINCE2 project. As the project progresses through the various stages, the executive, or owner in our case, will oversee and manage by giving ad hoc direction, requesting status updates, approving progress, assessing change and providing final approval of the project product… A brand new house!

Final Note

The PRINCE2 project management methodology is in-depth, and this article is but a brief summary of how it can be implemented to give any project the best chance of being successful. As outlined above, the principles, themes and processes are all intertwined, defining the structure and operations of a well-organised and efficient project. To give your next project the best chance at success, implement the PRINCE2 project management method.

As always, thanks for listening, and thank-you Vince for sharing your expertise! If you have any questions about the article, you can post them in the comments section below.

 

 

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How To Manage Lower Back Pain: 5 Painless Points

Manage Lower Back Pain The Short Advice

About The Author

John G is the owner/operator of his own courier business, which has also forced him to become a professional on how to manage lower back pain. Lifting packages and parcels for a living, he has had to manage disc bulges in his lower back, stemming from a lifting injury some years ago. This has caused severe nerve pain, muscle spasm, and other painful symptoms. Despite his permanent injury, John still manages to run a successful courier business around Melbourne’s CBD, and even plays golf most weekends – off a handicap of 8! Today, John shares with us his 5 Painless Points on how to best manage lower back pain. Thanks John-boy!

How To Manage Lower Back Pain

I’ve found that a combination of strategies working together have allowed me to continue living my life, despite my back injury. I’m certainly not saying that I’m pain-free, or that my back is cured, but it’s definitely allowed me to manage myself a lot better. It’s a constant process of improvement, and no-one strategy will solve the problem alone. Now more than ever (I’m 50 years young) I need to be more aware of what my body is telling me, in order to continue doing what I’m doing… That is lifting, driving, golfing, fishing, renovating etc. So, hopefully a few of you out there might find these tips as helpful as I have, here it is:

1. Lift Technique

Whether you’re a courier or not, you’ll no doubt be lifting things from time to time. Your technique is crucial when it comes to injury prevention and pain management. I put quite a bit of emphasis on my lift technique these days, even when I’m lifting an item that I don’t find overly heavy – it’s just not worth the risk. So remember to take your time, keep the weight of the item close to your centre of gravity, and lift with your legs, and not your back. If it’s too heavy, don’t lift it. Use a trolley where possible, or ask somebody for help. I’ve found this helpful resource on lift technique sums it up pretty well.

2. Regular (Modified) Exercise

For quite a while I neglected exercise after my initial injury. Things I was previously doing to keep fit were no longer working, so I just didn’t do them anymore. I gained weight, lost my energy, and my back felt worse. In recent years however, I’ve been on a modified exercise program that has allowed me to work within my limits, and still push me physically. Some days my back plays up, so I have to modify further, or give myself a rest. With the help of my PT, I managed to work out a program that kept me fit, and didn’t make my back pain flare up again. My motivation and energy increased, while my back pain decreased. No matter your injury, there is always a modified program that you can do.

3. Core Strength

Simply being aware of the pattern of core engagement has allowed me to decrease the risk of further injuring myself. Often, poor lumbar posture (lower back arch) can pre-dispose you to lower back pain. In order to manage lower back pain, postural corrective exercise and the development of greater core strength is crucial – and easy! These days, I practice my core exercises while I’m waiting for the little green man to cross the road… In addition, I try to do 15 minutes every second day of core exercises to support my lower back. The pelvic tilt, and the dead bug are both a part of my regular routine.

4. Eat Healthy

Maintaining a healthy resting weight was a massive factor for me when I was first learning to manage lower back pain. Proper diet is equally as important as regular, sustainable exercise when you’re trying to get fit, and stay fit. So, don’t neglect it. Healthy eating was a bit of trial and error for me. If it’s going to be sustainable, you really need to avoid fad diets. Do your research, find out what works for you, and stick to it. Remember, moderation is key!

5. Don’t Fight Fatigue

Something I need to constantly remind myself… I’m currently renovating my house, working full days, and playing golf on weekends. Even for someone without injury, it’s a big load. So, this rule becomes especially important. If you’ve been working/lifting all day, and you feel your technique and posture are starting to lapse, have a rest. You could be moments away from doing further damage, or sustaining another injury altogether. Sure, you can push yourself, but not past the point of pain, nor to the point of pain. If you’re going to effectively manage lower back pain, you need to learn this.

Final Note

It’s easy to make excuses when you’re injured, but it doesn’t make life any easier. Whatever your injury, you should consider taking action to rehabilitate, and prevent further damage. You don’t have to stop moving, just modify. You don’t have to quit chocolate, just moderate. The recipe is simple if you’re willing to give the time and attention needed to effectively manage lower back pain. I hope these strategies help some of you as much as they’ve helped me, happy lifting!

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6 Fantastic Tips To Successfully Complete Your First Fun Run

CSC Fun Run Blog

About the Author

Not only is Dr. Nicholas Tripodi a fun run enthusiast, he is also a Co-director and Osteopath at the Competitive Sports Clinic located in the Essendon District. Nicholas has particular interests in sports injuries, exercise rehabilitation and running and cycling analysis. He regularly competes in triathlon events, and is a keen runner and cyclist. If you’d like to know more you can visit the CSC website here, or if you’re in the Melbourne area you can visit them at their practice on Keilor Rd, Essendon.

Completing Your First Fun Run

Getting into running can be quite daunting for some people, and it may not come naturally. As an osteopath, I regularly work with people who are preparing for their first fun run. And, having also completed a few myself, I’ve compiled a list of important points to consider in order to get through your first fun run successfully, and  injury-free (hopefully). So, here are my easy-to-follow steps to get you off the couch and onto the track as smooth as possible!

1. Set Your Goal

It seems obvious, but is often an oversight for too many people. The first thing you should do is set out the goals you want to achieve. Set both short-term and long-term goals. For instance, your short-term goal may be to run 3 times in a given week, and your long-term goal may be to complete a 5k run in less than 30 minutes. You may also like to share your goals, whether it be with friends, work colleagues or, dare I say, on social media. This can help you be accountable to your plans and stay on track.

2. Get a Program

If you’re doing your first fun run, you probably don’t have an extensive history of running. Therefore, you probably don’t know how to best structure your training. This is where a good running coach or therapist can tailor a running program for you. They will take into account your goals, sporting and exercise history and current level of fitness, amongst other things, to work out a program that is perfect for your needs. They will also typically oversee and assess the effectiveness of the program and adjust certain elements as required. If you are not keen on guidance from a coach, check out Couch to 5K (link: http:// www.c25k.com/) or most fun run websites will have a basic program for you to follow too.

3. Track Your Progress

This is now super easy to do with modern smart watches. Most come with an in-house or 3rd party app where you can upload all of your training data to see how you are progressing. The problem is that smart watches are so good at giving data it can be confusing to work out what you should actually pay attention to! Some key points you should be looking at are: distance, time, speed and heart rate. If you are getting fitter your heart rate should start to become lower when you’re training at the same speed and terrain. Just don’t get into the trap of trying to beat your time every session – this is unsustainable and can lead to injury. Save your best effort for race day!

4. Do Some Cross-Training

If you’re new to running it can be very unwise to run every day. You should only be running 3 or 4 times a week to avoid injury and burnout. To build up some extra cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength try some alternative exercise to running. Some great options include swimming, cycling, rowing and resistance training. There are a range of strength training resources online, and programs to follow along with on Youtube.

5. Aches and Stiffness is Normal, Pain is Not

The body is amazing in its ability to adapt and change to the stresses placed on it, and running adaptations are no different. Some minor aches and stiffness is your body’s way of adapting to increased load – this for the most part is OK, as long as it only lasts a day or two and doesn’t get progressively worse. If some general aches and stiffness start becoming persistently painful it’s a sign that you’re over-doing it. It’s at this point you should probably see a therapist for some information and guidance.

6. Congratulate Yourself

Once you reach your goal make sure you take stock and enjoy your achievement. Reflect on where you started from, how you got there and what you want to do next. If you didn’t achieve your goal, think about why that was case and what you will do differently next time. The road to success is a long one, it may take more than one fun run to achieve your goals.

Final Note

There you go! Six tips to help get you to, and through, your first fun run. If you plan it out, take it slow, track your progress and celebrate your achievements, you can’t go wrong. But first, make sure you see a certified health professional before commencing any training program. Happy running!

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4 Ways To Successfully Achieve Your Wellness Goals

Sasha Wellness The Short Advice

About the Author

Sasha Layton is the founder of Sasha Yoga & Health, an experienced yoga & mindfulness meditation facilitator, and a certified Holistic Wellness Coach. She works with private and corporate clients all over Australia, and specialises in mindset and mindfulness. She believes that through education & knowledge, self awareness, and understanding the power of mindset, anybody can live a happy healthy life.

Steps to Achieving Your Wellness Goals

In a society where we are time poor, yet have more resources than we care to shake a stick at, being in a state of overwhelm is extremely common. Does this sound familiar? Reaching for that chocolate bar or fifth coffee by 3pm? Missing your third gym session this week because you got held back at work? Too tired to catch-up with that friend you haven’t seen in months? Or worse still, too tired to play with your children after work? I get it, there always seems to be so much to do yet so little time…and our health & wellness seem to take a backburner. Yet what if I told you that it has a great deal with what you VALUE and your attitude to wellness, that is key to whether you will achieve your goals or not? Read on…

1. Eat Healthier

It can be very tempting to eat crap when it’s surrounding you, so an overhaul of your cupboard and fridge to get rid of all the processed nutrient-lacking foods is the first step to eating healthier. Stocking up on fresh fruit & veggies, REAL food (i.e. not from a can, plastic packet or box), getting back into the kitchen, and learning how to cook, are the 2nd and 3rd steps. Not sure where to start? Booking some sessions with a certified Wellness Coach can help put you in the right direction. They can guide you on where and what to shop for, simple and quick nutritious recipes, and how to make it work for your lifestyle.

2. Move More

If you’re struggling to get to the gym or make that class you keep booking into, it’s time to ask yourself a couple of questions…and answer them honestly: 1) when am I most likely to exercise? 2) do I really enjoy this form of movement I’m currently doing?

If you answered no to the second question, ask yourself “what do I really enjoy?” There is no right or wrong time to exercise, because we’re all bio-individuals. Sure your best mate might enjoy getting up at 5am to attend their favourite yoga or HIIT class, but be honest with yourself on whether that’s really for you too? Finding the right time of day, what you really enjoy, and also what fits in with your schedule, is key to sustaining your daily movement habits.

3. Journal Your Thoughts

This could be via a food diary to keep track of your eating habits (particularly great if you get a lot of cravings), a movement log to track how much (or little) you’re exercising and at what times, or just a simple notebook where you write down thoughts, feelings and happenings that come up on a daily basis. By doing this, it will not only be helping you to brain dump, but also gives you greater insight into habits and patterns that may be holding you back. I personally love a pretty notebook and pen to physically write, but if you’re more an ‘online’ kind of person, check out this cool site http://750words.com where you can journal PLUS it tracks and gives you stats on your state of mind. It’s also password approved so completely private and no chance of anyone finding out your deepest darkest thoughts.

4. Get Accountability

Whether it be a friend, family member, partner, your FitBit app, or a Wellness Coach, using one (or many!) of these avenues is a sure fire way to keep you accountable to the goals you set. If it’s with a friend or loved one, you could even hold a monthly competition with each other so you have something to work towards and keep you inspired. If an exercise app, you can set daily or weekly goals which will remind you with notifications.

Final Note…

Being healthier doesn’t need to be difficult, it’s just about finding what works best for YOU, what inspires you, and understanding what it is in life that you really value. When you get to know yourself in this way, it really gives you the power to make the right choices.

Thanks you for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about my Wellness Coaching services, please get in touch or write in the comments section below, where I’ll be more than happy to reply.

Don’t forget to check out Sasha Yoga & Health here.

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DIY Woodworking: 6 Essential Tips To Get You Started

Melbourne Timberworks The Short Advice

About the Author

Melbourne Timberworks was founded by Tristan as a result of his many successful DIY woodworking projects. Entirely self-taught, Tristan sources his timber from local suppliers and has built just about every piece of furniture you can think of, for both commercial and domestic clients (you can check some out some of his work here). Today, he is here to share his advice on ‘starting your own workshop’, and some considerations and challenges of the DIY woodworking environment. So, please give it up for Melbourne Timberworks and woodworking guru, Tristan!

Starting a DIY Woodworking Venture

Aside from the mental health benefits of pursuing a hobby, woodworking is just great fun! But, when you’ve got a new and exciting idea in your head, it can often infect your bank account too… It’s tempting to want to spend every last cent in your wallet on the best and fanciest new tool or piece of equipment. That new tool feel is great, don’t get me wrong, but what you really need is the right balance of value and reliability (without living out of a cardboard box). So, aim for mid-range priced equipment for your humble DIY woodworking beginnings. Generally, you do get what you pay for, so whilst you can’t yet afford the best, don’t cheap out and get the worst either! Either way you’re bound to make mistakes, and there will be a few breakages along the way. But slowly, as you get better, you can update your tools to match your capabilities. You never know, you might even be able to start selling your work… But before we get too far along, here are my ‘6 Essential DIY Woodworking Tips’.

1. Gumtree is Your Best Friend.

You’ll probably need a work table for your garage or home workshop. But there’s just no need for a brand new, polished bench. Check the likes of Gumtree and eBay before you take the trip to a department store. Theres a heap of perfectly good used tables that you can use for your projects here. You might also be able to pick up a few tools. However, be wary of buying second-hand power-tools. For a beginner, it can be difficult to know the condition they’re in, and if they’ve been cared for correctly.

2. Test Things First.

Don’t rush. Trust me, there’s time for some testing before you rip into the ‘good copy’. Whether you love to paint, or building furniture is your passion, never try something new on the actual project itself. You wouldn’t serve your cooking before you’ve tasted it, right? So, take the time to develop your skills first. This way, you’ll avoid making mistakes with expensive materials, and possibly destroying hours of your hard work. Yes, practice can be a bit tedious… But remember, ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly’.

3. It’s Your Space.

Set up a space dedicated to your DIY interests. It’s a good idea to have all the equipment in one area and in the same room. Everything within a few steps will work, especially if you need to get things in a hurry. Setting up a space also allows you to “close a door” on your work. It’s important to switch off for a moment and to be away from your projects so you don’t over exhaust yourself, and lose motivation. In doing this, you’ll train yourself to be productive as soon as you step into your DIY woodworking space.

4. Be Safe.

There’s nothing worse than starting a DIY project only to end up injuring yourself. Those ads on TV are not for your comedic relief. Be smart. Make sure you have the required safety equipment. Gloves, glasses, proper footwear and clothing can be the difference between coming out unscathed or making a trip to the hospital!

5. Youtube is Your Second Best Friend.

A very close second I might add… Your DIY woodworking doesn’t have to be an entirely solo project. You can invite the help of professionals from all around the globe to be your personal instructor, on your mobile phone! You can pause them, rewind them and fast forward through all the boring parts! It’s like school, except you only have to turn up for the bits you need, and only when you need them.

6. Have Fun.

This is probably the most important tip of them all. Sometimes projects start off really fun, but then as you progress through them you start to feel frustrated and tired. You start to rush to finish your masterpiece, and it doesn’t always turn out as you’d hoped. Take a step back and remember that you started because of your passion for woodworking, and that frustration is because you care. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to put the tools and equipment down for a while.

Final Note…

Trying new things can be challenging! But that doesn’t mean you should quit… I’m grateful that I persisted through the early stages of the DIY woodworking process. The skills that I have developed now give me the freedom to create whatever I want.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to respond to them in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out Melbourne Timberworks here.

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The 5 Step Best-Approach To Get Fit And Stay Fit

The Short Advice Get Fit

About the Author

Hayden Moloney is the owner of Fit & Firing, and a published author on Amazon with his title ‘A Bootcamp Program A Week‘. He has worked in the fitness industry in Melbourne, Australia for nearly 10 years and specialises in corporate health and wellness. In other words, he helps everyday people get fit and lead healthier, happier lifestyles. Hayden not only aims to help his clients get fit, but also to stay fit. Sustainable exercise and nutrition is a key area of focus for Fit & Firing, and such is the tone of this guest post! Without further adieu, we present…

The 5 Steps to Get Fit and Stay Fit

This article will highlight some things you probably already know, but need to read again, to remind yourself just how much this ‘get fit’ situation is within your control. I’ve trained people with permanent disabilities, from different backgrounds, and with minimal to no exercise experience. The people who really wanted it, were able to get fit and have stayed fit as a result. Regardless of your experience or condition, there is always something you can do. Don’t excuse yourself because it’s more difficult for you than it is for others. You may need to seek medical advice first, or work harder than the next person, but it is possible for everyone to get fit and stay fit. 

1. Start.

The first step to get fit, is to just get started. If you are someone who doesn’t have much experience exercising, it might be a good idea to seek the advice of a trainer, an experienced friend, or even join an exercise group. Perhaps you’d prefer to have a go on your own? There are plenty of resources for that too. The main idea that I’m trying to get across here is that it doesn’t particularly matter what you do to get started. Just get started. Stop putting it off and waiting for the right opportunity to exercise. It’s already there, all you need to do is go out and find it. Not tomorrow, but today.

2. Ignore the Fads.  

Being healthy is not a fad. It needs to be the lifestyle that you choose if your fitness is going to be sustainable. There will be a new superfood pushed to the masses every year, or a new celebrity diet, or mode of exercise. Don’t get caught up in the hype, and try to remember why you began this health and fitness journey in the first place. I’m sure it wasn’t just for the juicy hashtags. Hopefully it was to improve your quality of life and make you a happier, healthier and more valuable person for the people that you love. Your justification will be a major source of motivation for you, which brings us to point three…

3. Set Goals.

In most step-by-step processes you might find this point at the top of the list. But you don’t always need a goal to get started. You do, however, need a goal to keep going. So, in the context of this article, why do you want to get fit? Your answer to this question needs to be the motivating factor that will help you stay fit, once the getting has been gotten. You might have more than one fitness goal to keep you motivated. For example, a long-term life goal (abstract) might be to exercise with your kids, and grandkids one day. A more immediate and specific goal might be to run sub five-minute kilometres by Christmas. If you want to understand goal-setting best practice, just read up on The Short Advice’s SMART goals article here

4. Find an Activity You Enjoy.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this point. Some of the best experiences you can have in life are those you create by undertaking physical activities. There are lessons to be learnt, and much fun to be had. So, find something that makes you happy, and motivates you to get fit. The social side of team sport/group exercise can be a great way to challenge and unite people. Often, there are many metaphors to life that will help your personal growth and development at the same time. Finding something you can do individually is also a great idea. Don’t rely solely on others for motivation, find something you can do whenever you choose. Such is the internal happiness strategy.

5. Embrace the Trial and Error Process

There are two ideas here. The first, is that what works for someone else may not work for you. There will always be contradicting, scientifically-proven studies selling you on the latest best-practice… ‘Eating your own hair increases metabolism’, or ‘backflips proven to reduce risk of cancer’. I made these headlines up, but I haven’t put them into Google Search yet, so who knows… Don’t believe everything you read, but don’t be closed off to new information either. Find what works for you in terms of nutrition and exercise, this is idea number two. Don’t be afraid to change it up now and then to improve and refine the process. If you’re always open to learning, you will allow yourself the best chance to get fit, and stay fit. 

Final Note…

Thanks for tuning in to our guest post today! For more information on nutrition you can view Fit & Firing’s ‘Don’t Diet’ article here. As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.