If you’re a parent, you probably monitor the shows your children watch, the music they listen to and the sites they visit online. After all, many desire that their kids not overdo the mental junk food.
But how carefully do you monitor your own intakes? Maybe it’s time to take a quick inventory not just of physical habits but mental ones, too.
While you might not monitor your physical health by watching every calorie consumed or step taken, you might use a basic checklist to help you keep track. Morning workout and salad for lunch? Check. Afternoon walk? Check. Tally up the day and you feel proactive about your health.
Yet what about your mind? Are you providing your brain the stimulants it needs or the exercise it craves? Here are six suggestions:
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Sign up for a subscription to your favorite business magazine, such as Entrepreneur or another respected source. This will ensure a healthy diet of intellectually stimulating articles and updates.
2. Surround yourself by knowledge.
Studies show a direct correlation between the number of books a child is surrounded by at home and the level of education he or she reaches. “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books,” the Pacific Standard noted.
Surround yourself with books or audio files to remind you of your professional goals and help you arrive at them.
3. Adopt an airport reading habit.
Many business professionals spend too much time waiting at airport gates or onboard crowded planes. While sometimes I employ these moments to catch up on emails or watch a movie, I also make it a habit to stop by one of the many airport convenience stores.
I’ll buy at least two magazines a trip. It’s great that most airports have a hearty selection of business-minded publications these days. One of my picks can be a healthy choice for my mind and career. My other choice will be lighter reading, typically an auto or sports-related title. A small investment on each trip helps me keep educated.
4. Listen to intelligent conversations.
I love eavesdropping on a good conversation. There’s so much to learn and take away. I recommend watching programs like The Charlie Rose Show. Host Charlie Rose always invites guests from a variety of fields, from politics and education to entertainment and health care, who are at the top of their game.
Immersing yourself in discussions such as these will enable you to dive into new ways of thinking and articulating ideas. It’s hard not to feel more intelligent after watching a program of this caliber.
5. Set goals. Form habits.
The simple process of setting goals can do wonders. What books, magazines and shows can you put on your mental to-do list? Write them down. Then make it a weekly or even daily ritual to scratch off all the items listed.
6. Invite a successful person to coffee.
Who’s a business professional or someone you have a high degree of respect for? Invite that person to lunch or coffee: Let the individual know how much you hold him or her in high esteem and that you'd be honored to have the chance to ask for advice.
I’ve done this several times and have been asked to lunch a few times myself. Chances are whomever you invite will be so flattered that he or she will be more than happy to meet.
Take action today and refrain from the mental junk-food diet. Start making healthy choices about the information you consume and watch your mental health and career soar.