Fostering a Lust for Life

Author Article –  

February is often thought of as the month of love. For some people this refers to romantic love, and for others, it might refer to love for a friend or relative. It can also be about the love — or lust — for life and living life to its fullest, which means listening to the messages of your heart and going in the direction of what brings you the most joy.

Many people experience unhappiness at different times, and often they’re unsure of what to do to change or transform their situations. They may feel that they want something more out of life, but they don’t know what that something is. In essence, we all want to be happy and make some sort of impact on the world, and the places where we want to do so are usually those areas we feel passionate about, and which are connected to our life’s purpose.

Most often your life purpose is already present within you — it’s just a matter of finding it. First, you need to know yourself, what has shaped your past, and what inspires you to move forward. These are all pieces of information offering tools for self-awareness. This knowledge can be very empowering and a means to fostering a lust for life.

Journaling to Learn Your Life’s Passion

One way to figure out your passion and your reason for living is to begin a regular journaling practice. A good place to start is to write about what you’re grateful for and all the positive aspects of your life. This is also an excellent way to learn about the messages of your heart and to tap into your subconscious mind.

Sometimes people begin journaling during challenging times. My own writing journey began when I was ten and my mother gave me a Kahlil Gibran journal to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother. Although I began writing from a place of pain, I realized that during the creative process, I was tapping into some profound inner truths. This helped me heal and find my life purpose, which involves teaching others how to transform their lives through the written word.

Humanist Psychologists and Life Purpose

Humanist psychology, the newest branch of psychology that was born in the 1960s, highlights the importance of everyone living their true potential, which is also known as self-actualization. Psychologists Abraham Maslow and Rollo May were instrumental in launching this branch of psychology, and their influence remains significant today. In fact, May was influential in inspiring my own ongoing journaling process back in the 1960s. When I turned 18, my family doctor gave me a copy of May’s Love and Will, which informed a great deal of my adolescence, taught me self-awareness, and gave me myriad ideas to journal about, even though when I initially read the book, I didn’t really understand much of what the author was saying.

I shelved the book but knew that I would return to it at a later date, and when I fell in love in my early twenties, I dusted it off and began to read. May reminded me of the importance of love in my life, how to differentiate love from sex, and also to see where the two intersect.

Many years later when I became a published writer, I became enamored with May’s book The Courage to Create, which tapped into the idea of listening to the messages of the heart and mind when it comes to being creative, and having the courage to listen to those messages. In doing so, we break old patterns and release long-standing fears on the road to living a meaningful life.

The Importance of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is key for anyone who yearns to foster a lust for life. Knowing oneself requires a deep sense of inner knowing. Writing is an ideal way to increase our sense of self-awareness, as it helps us see ourselves and the world around us in a nonjudgmental, clear, and honest way. Being self-aware helps facilitate writing for healing and transformation and also stimulates the mind-body connection, which offers an opportunity for positive change, and ultimately, happiness.

There are many ways to foster self-awareness, so you need to find what works best for you, but writing is a good way to start because it serves as a container to express and hold feelings, emotions, and experiences. It’s also a way to begin a dialogue with yourself. Dialoguing, whether verbal or written, is very healing — emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Identifying Moments of Being

In addition to knowing and appreciating all the positive aspects in your life, it’s wise to identify what writer Virginia Woolf calls “moments of being,” or moments that help define us. These moments could be simple things like remembering the shoes your mother wore or how your father played with you in the backyard. It could be the day your little brother or sister came home from the hospital as a newborn, or the time your family adopted a pet for the first time. These are moments when an individual experiences a sense of stark reality, which can result from a shock of some sort or a discovery or revelation. These are transformative moments. And sometimes, the moments that impact us most are those we don’t even fully understand at the time they’re occurring.

Writing prompt: Make a list of ten or more moments in your life that were pivotal and transformative. The memories that come to your mind can serve to inspire you in many ways and foster a lust for the rest of your life.

References

Maslow, A. (2014). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York, NY: Sublime Books.

May, R. (2011). Love and Will. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

May, R. (2009). Man’s Search for Self. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

May, R. (1994). The Courage to Create. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

How to Make Your Mind Chatter More Positive

Author Article
By Susanna Newsonen

If you’re anything like me, you might have noticed that you’ve got some internal chatter in your head. This might happen especially when you’re by yourself, when you’re ruminating about something, or when you’re faced with a scary challenge or setback.

This mind chatter can be good or bad. If it’s good, it can help you to plan what to say or do, to process things that have happened or to give yourself a pep talk about overcoming a challenge. If it’s bad, it can get really bad. Here’s an example.

The other week, an old bully resurfaced in my life and sent a series of hurtful messages to me. I was initially shocked by this unprovoked attack but quickly gathered myself to tell them to stop being a bully. They continued with their attack to the extent that I had to block them from being able to contact me.

This is when my not-so-helpful not-so-loving mind chatter kicked in. “Why did you do that? That’s not very helpful. Clearly, there is something wrong with you and that’s why they’re attacking you. This is a result of your actions. The universe is punishing you.” It just continued and continued with multiple different variations of this. This wasn’t exactly helpful. It didn’t make me feel better about myself or the situation—in fact, it only made me feel worse.

I called one of my friends to talk about it as I needed some outside perspective. She was already familiar with the bully and she said the following to me: “Susanna. You’ve done what you can. You’ve already tried to resolve this situation before and they’re not listening. This isn’t about you but about them. There is nothing wrong with you.”

That’s when it hit me. I’d fallen back to my old, pessimistic way of thinking for a moment and it totally lacked any ounce of self-compassion. My friend triggered me to really reflect on what I’d said to myself in that moment of crisis and also notice the kind, encouraging words she had said.

Imagine how much better you would feel if you talked to yourself the way you talk to your bestest friends? Imagine if you could cheerlead yourself the way you cheerlead them and they cheerlead you? Just imagine for a moment what that would be like. Pretty darn good, right?

That’s why today I want you to take a good close look at your self-talk. Today, as you go on with your day and notice your internal chatter kicking off, ask yourself:

1. Are these words helpful, constructive and/or encouraging?

If not, how can you change them to be more like that?

2. Am I being rational and reasonable with these words – or am I blowing things out of proportion?

Usually, we overdramatize things with that inner critic’s voice so it’s important to check how realistic you’re actually being.

3. Is this something I would say to my best friend?

Often the answer is no and that is a good wake-up call to start treating yourself more like you treat your best friend.

The more aware you become of your internal chatter, the easier it is to start managing it. At the start, this can be scary as you might not like everything that you hear yourself say.

However, with continuous practice, you’ll notice the voice change into a more positive one. It won’t happen overnight and there will be some days that are worse than others, but the key thing is that you try.

After all, you can’t escape yourself so you might as well make yourself one of your best friends.

If you want to work on being your best friend, join The Self-Love Boostercourse before February 18th.

The Benefits of Positive Thinking—and How You Can Do More of It

Author Article
By Jen Doll

No doubt you’ve heard it before, or some version of it: “Turn that frown upside down!” “Smile, you’ll feel better!” “Stop focusing on how stressed you are and think about how #blessed you are.” These little positive-thinking prods might be enough to make you want to punch a wall—look, no one wants to be told to smile, ever—but you might consider repeating the general message to yourself. Positivity has benefits that extend far beyond any Instagram meme. And even if you were born the polar opposite of Pollyanna (your outlook may in fact be influenced by your genes), you can make positivity work for you.

So what is it, exactly? “Positive thinking is all about having an open, optimistic viewpoint. It’s the idea of seeing the silver lining on a bad day,” says Paraskevi Noulas, PsyD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City. That doesn’t mean you sweep your actual thoughts under the rug to make room for unicorns and rainbows. Instead, it’s about viewing situations from a more well-rounded perspective. For example, when you’re stressed out over your workload, take a deep breath, consider what you’ve already accomplished, and tell yourself you’ll get the job done in the best way you can.

RELATED: What Does It Really Mean to Be Happy? 6 Experts Explain

Shifting your mind-set can make you feel better and also lead to real health benefits. “Research shows that positive thinking is an incredibly important and efficacious way to improve your mood, physical health, energy level, concentration, productivity, and more,” says Noulas. People who are positive have been found to be better at problem-solving and dealing with setbacks. They’re more resilient. And positive thinking can open up creativity, help you connect better with others, and boost your overall well-being, too. Here, experts share a few simple ways to start seeing things in a sunnier light.

Build the Skill

“You can’t just pick up a violin and play,” points out Richard J. Davidson, PhD, director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Similarly, you can’t just wake up and decide you’re going to be positive. You need to practice summoning those feelings— and rehearsing works. When Davidson and his research team did MRI scans of the brains of people who’d been practicing compassion meditation for two weeks, for just 30 minutes a day, they noticed stronger connections in a key brain circuit that regulates positive emotion.

Even short bursts done regularly—like appreciating a nice view or a lovely piece of art—can help retrain your mind to notice the good stuff all around you. Some other positivity-boosting tactics: List things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. Or engage in simple meditation exercises. For example, you might envision a crowd of people and acknowledge that we all share the same wish to be happy and free of suffering. Then mentally extend that wish to others.

RELATED: Here’s How Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life

Spread Some Kindness

One of the most powerful strategies to promote your own positivity, it turns out, is to be generous toward other people: Hold the elevator door for someone, send a handwritten note, pay for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. A 2016 study found that performing acts of kindness was even more effective at boosting happiness than simply treating oneself. So instead of booking that spa day, try volunteering…or better yet, do both. The more we are helpful to others, the better we feel about ourselves, says Noulas. “Rather than waiting for good or positivity to come to you, take the initiative and create it for those around you. Then enjoy the ripple effect that unfurls as a result.”

RELATED: A Total Stranger Braided This Woman’s Hair in the Hospital, and Now the Story Is Going Viral

Flash a Grin

For a quick dose of positivity, try cracking a smile. A 2012 study conducted at the University of Kansas found that smiling reduced stress. And other research has shown that smiling is contagious. Noulas explains: “If you’re in a horrid mood, but you go to work and put that smile on and treat your colleagues well, their positive response has the ability to slowly shift your mood so that you’re genuinely in a better place.”

RELATED: Traveling Alone Is a Bold Move—But You Will Never Regret It

Nurture Your Relationships

Here’s one more reason to prioritize quality time with your family and friends: Your social ties can color how you experience life, says Vivian Zayas, PhD, an associate psychology professor at Cornell University. Zayas’ work includes a study in which people received a supportive text message from their partner right before a stressful event. “Just getting a text increases positivity in the moment,” she says. She’s also done lab studies in which the researchers showed a photo of a loved one to participants who were recalling an upsetting memory. “Seeing an image of a support figure helped them recover,” says Zayas.

RELATED: Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happy

Take Care of You

“You can’t be positive without also understanding how to deal with the negative—and self-compassion is the secret sauce,” says Kristin Neff, PhD, an associate psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and coauthor of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. Selfcompassion helps you navigate the parts of life that aren’t so positive, like health problems and professional failures. To start, imagine how you’d treat a friend if she was in your situation, Neff suggests: “What would I say? What would my tone of voice be? Then try it on yourself.”

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Pet Fostering—and How to Get Started

It’s Ok to Get Mad, Too

Feeling angry on occasion can actually be cathartic and helpful. “Sometimes you need to be angry because you see injustice, and it makes you take action,” explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor and vice chair of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. The key is knowing the difference between functional emotions—which help you improve your situation—and unproductive reactions, like road rage. In the case of the latter, “you have to be aware of the trigger and distract yourself from it,” she says. This is where your positivity practice comes in. Say you’re stuck in gridlock. Test out one of your tools: Think of a dear friend or a stellar memory. “The world is both a wonderful and terrible place,” Lyubomirsky notes. “There are good and bad things. It’s what you choose to put in front of you.”

The Benefits Of Being Kind To Yourself Are More Powerful Than You Think, According To Science

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BY 

It’s not always easy to be nice to yourself. I’m not sure why this is, but I do know that that cliché about being your own worst critic is definitely true. It’s just so easy to get into the habit of placing other people’s needs or desires (read: your mom, your SO, your boss) way, way above your own. But the benefits of being kind to yourself can actually have a deeper, more lasting impact than you might immediately assume. While self-compassion is an important habit to practice no matter what, the results of a new study suggest it can have a very real, positive, if unexpected impact on your physical body.

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford in the UK discovered that, when you actively practice self-compassion, it can actually calm and slow down your heart rate, not to mention switch off your body’s threat response, aka its fight-or-flight mode. Just to put that in perspective a little, when your body’s threat response is activated more than it needs to be (i.e. when it’s consistently activated during times of stress), it can legitimately damage your immune system over time, per research published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology. So, if there are ways to avoid having that bodily response when it isn’t necessary, it’s all the better for your well-being.

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As for the new research from the UK, which has been published in the academic journal Clinical Psychological Science, here’s how that study went down: According to a press release from the University of Exeter, 135 students from the school were divided into five groups. Each group received different audio instructions, and while some included exercises of self-compassion, others “induced a critical inner voice.” To gauge how these different instructions affected the participants, the researchers tracked their heart rate and sweat responses, and they asked the students to report how they felt after hearing the instructions, with questions like “how safe they felt, how likely they were to be kind to themselves and how connected they felt to others.”

After all of that, the researchers found that the two groups whose audio instructions were encouraging them to be kind to themselves both reported feeling more self-compassion and connection to other people, and yes, their bodily responses illustrated feelings of relaxation and safety as well: Their heart rates dropped and slowed down, and the participants’ bodies produced less sweat when listening to self-compassion exercises. Meanwhile, the instructions that guided the participants toward a more critical inner monologue seemed to lead to the opposite results: a faster heartbeat, more sweat, and more feelings of distress. The main author of the study, Dr. Hans Kirschner, said in the study’s press release,

These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing.

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Co-author of the study, Dr. Anke Karl, added,

Previous research has found that self-compassion was related to higher levels of well-being and better mental health, but we didn’t know why.

Our study is helping us understand the mechanism of how being kind to yourself when things go wrong could be beneficial in psychological treatments. By switching off our threat response, we boost our immune systems and give ourselves the best chance of healing.

And listen, I know self-compassion is kind of this lofty, what-does-it-really-mean kind of idea, which can make it feel daunting to practice or really trust as a legitimately helpful habit. But being kind to yourself can truly mean so many different things. Maybe you can create an easy ritual for yourself at the end of a hard week, like getting a bagel at your favorite bodega. Or maybe you can climb into bed early on a Friday night so you can devour more of that graphic novel you never have time to read. Maybe self-kindness just means making a quick list in your phone of all the things that made you smile that day.

Whatever it looks like for you, just do it — give it a try. What’s there to lose, right?

Attitude of Gratitude

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By Chloe Pattison

ATTITUDE OF GRATITIUDE

Words Chloe Pattison

Having an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is more than just a catchy phrase. It is a reminder that there are things you have, every day, to be thankful for. Focussing on these things, instead of the things that will inevitably go wrong (it happens to the best of us) then you find yourself with a much more positive outlook and you may even find yourself with more opportunities to enjoy.

There are certain things you can practice that helps you be a more optimistic and thankful person. Practice positive thinking to turn your thoughts and your life around. The practice of yoga or other exercise you enjoy reduces any harmful things that stress and negativity will do to your body. Meditation, eating healthier and staying hydrated will work wonders for your body and your mindset too.

There have been multiple research studies done on what positive thinking can do for the mind and the body. Keeping your energy positive is a key thing to keeping your mind and body in a healthy place. The second you start focussing on the negatives, that’s when you start to feel anxious or depressed.

When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, think of a positive one to combat it. It is said that if you say five things you’re thankful for when you wake up, you are bound to have a good day. On top of that, if you say 5 things you’re grateful for before you sleep then you’re bound to have sweet dreams.

So, you get a great day and good dreams. If that’s not reason enough for you, then here’s some facts from the studies.

Due to the higher level of positive energy, people have reported:

• feeling less lonely,
• having a stronger immune system/ feeling generally healthier,-reduction of stress/ a higher level of positive feelings,
• greater level of confidence/ a general feeling of happiness.

Can’t think of anything you’re grateful for? Here are some examples:

• Good waves
• Sunshine
• A hot shower/bath after a cold surf session
• Surfing in the rain (it’s so fun and beautiful)
• The smell of surf wax
• Good music
• Not getting sand in your eyes

• Fluffy towels to dry off on (really makes the job much faster)
• 
Finally getting the wetsuit on/off
• Tasty food (or any food, really) after a long day on the waves
• Time to binge on your favourite surf movies
• Joyful beach day giggles with your friends

Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for and what makes you happy.

Be positive and plan all the cool things you’re going to do this year on our 2019 SurfGirl Wall Planner. 

Be The One Who Saves Yourself

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Ashley Spargo

In a world full of everlasting change, there’s one thing that is certain. You are the only person that can save yourself. You are responsible for your happiness and your happiness alone. If you feel as though you’re drowning, you’re responsible for making sure you come up for fresh air. You’ve had some terrible luck lately? You’ve managed to make all of the wrong decisions? You’re feeling a little unsettled in your life right now? The guy you liked screwed you over?

SO WHAT?

You need to start being selfish. You need to start realizing that you come first NO MATTER WHAT. You are what matters the most to you. You need to realize that.

You’ve had terrible luck lately? It doesn’t matter if this is in your professional or personal life. This is something that is bothering you on a regular basis. You need to realize what it is that’s causing this and how you’re feeling about it and change it. You are the only one that can change your luck and how you feel about it. If you’re not going to change it, you’re better off embracing it.

You’ve managed to make all of the wrong decisions? REALIZE WHY. Realize why and change it. There’s always a reason to make a terrible decision. He hurt your feelings so you slept with one of his friends? Totally understandable. However, making it a regular thing is not. Let’s stop acting on emotions and begin making more rational and logical decisions. There’s no excuse for terrible behavior.

You’re feeling a little unsettled in your life right now? Change it up. Thinking about applying to grad school? Do it. Thinking about a career change? Start making moves. You control your happiness and if you’re feeling a bit blah about where you are in your life right now, do something about it and do it now!

The guy you liked screwed you over? WELCOME TO THE DAMN CLUB. He wasn’t worth your time anyway. You were much hotter than him, you cared more than he did, and let’s be honest, no one wants someone who’s sleeping with everyone. You’re feeling upset about the way things ended and that’s completely understandable. Stop feeling as though this didn’t work out because of something you did. Stop feeling the urge to drink until you no longer want him. What you need to realize right now is that he’s an ass. He’s an ass and a douche. You deserve a hell of a lot better and your time is coming.

Stop hoping for someone to come around and save you. Save your damn self. You’re worth so much more than you’re showing. Now act like it, girl.

50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms

See Author Article Here
By BENJAMIN P. HARDY

GETTY IMAGES

1. Stop depending on caffeine

“Addictions embody repetition without progress. They produce incapacity as a payoff.” — Steven Pressfield

Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we underperform and become incapable.

Isn’t this absurd?


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The problem isn’t the caffeine. It’s the compulsion and dependence. The need to rely on it to do everyday tasks which shouldn’t require it. Use it if it’s strategic, don’t abuse it to the point of ineffectiveness.

In his book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer argues that your energy should come from within — from your why — not from external stimulants. The scientific backing is substantial and unsurprising: intrinsic motivation destroys extrinsic motivation every day of the week.

Motivation aside — healthy eating, sleeping, and intensive exercise produce higher quantities and quality of energy than caffeine ever could. A holistic approach to life is essential. Garbage in, garbage out.

2. Pray or meditate morning, mid-day, and night

In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked.

“I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.”

Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.

Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today?

What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?

I’ve gotten the best results as:

  • My morning prayer and meditation are motivational
  • My afternoon prayer and meditation are evaluative and strategic
  • My evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and reflective

3. Read 1 book per week

People living ordinary lives seek entertainment. People living extraordinary lives seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus. Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

Reference #19 on this list if you feel you’re “too busy” to read one book per week. There are methods to make this task extremely easy.

4. Write in your journal 5 minutes per day

This habit will change your life. Your journal will:

  • Clear your emotions serving as your personal therapist
  • Detail your personal history
  • Enhance your creativity
  • Ingrain and enhance your learning
  • Help you get clarity on the future you want to create
  • Accelerate your ability to manifest your goals
  • Increase your gratitude
  • Improve your writing skills
  • Lots more …

Five minutes per day is more than enough. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. This will help you avoid burnout.

5. Marry the person you love, and then fight to make that marriage amazing (don’t give up like most people do when it becomes work)

“For all the productivity and success advice I’ve read, shaped and marketed for dozens of authors in the last decade, I’ve never really seen someone come out and say: Find yourself a spouse who complements and supports you and makes you better.” — Ryan Holiday

Research done by economists have found — even after controlling for age, education, and other demographics — that married people make 10 to 50 percent more than single people.

Why would this be?

Being married gives you a higher purpose for being productive. You are no longer a lone ranger, but have another person who relies on you.

Marriage also smacks you in the face with what’s really important in life. Sure, hanging out and partying is fun. But too many people get stuck in this phase and miss the meaning that comes from building a life with someone.

You will never find a better personal development seminar or book than marriage. It will highlight all of your flaws and weaknesses, challenging you to become a better person than you ever thought possible.

Said Thomas Monson, “Choose your love; love your choice.” After you’ve chosen the person you love, love them. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. Said Franklin, Man’s Search for Meaning, “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

6. Make a bucket list and actively knock items off

Most people have it backward — they design their ambitions around their life, rather than designing their life around their ambitions.

What are the things you absolutely must do before you die?

Start there.

Then design your life around those things. Or as Stephen Covey explained in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end clearly in mind.”

I must confess that until recently, I had put my work before my kids. Sure, I made time for my kids regularly — but in my head and heart, I put work before them. I won’t make that mistake again.

Here’s the truth — when you put the top priorities first, you find the time for the rest. I’ve become more successful and productive while working less because I’m putting first things first. This gives you a sense of confidence and integrity and also fulfills you much deeper.

When you’re fulfilled, you work better.

Working more shouldn’t be the goal. It’s doing brilliant work that supports the lifestyle you’ve chosen based on your values and priorities.

A simple mental exercise that may be helpful is imagining you only have 30 days to live. What would you do in those 30 days?

Now imagine you have 5 years to live. What would you do during those 5 years?

Get to work. The death-bed mentality is the only way to live. Stop pretending you’ll live forever. As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

7. Stop over-consuming refined sugar

If you stop consuming sugar, your brain will radically change. Actually, study after study is showing that refined sugar is worse for our brains than it is for our waistlines. According to Dr. William Coda Martin, refined sugar is nothing more than poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins, and minerals.

Refined sugar has now been shown to make us cranky, make us make rash decisions, and make us stupid.

Again, like caffeine, if you stop impulsively consuming refined sugar, you will experience some negative withdrawals. But, like any good habit, the effects of this will be seen in the long-run. What would your health be like a year from now (or five) if you were completely refined sugar-free?

Said Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”

8. Fast from all food and caloric beverages 24 hours once per week

One-day (24-hour) food fasts are a popular way to maintain health and vigor. Fasting leverages the self-healing properties of the human body. Radical health improvements occur when the digestive system is given rest and the organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.

A regular practice of fasting can:

  • Improve digestive efficiency
  • Increase mental clarity
  • Increase physical and mental vigor
  • Remove toxins
  • Improve vision
  • Give a general feeling of well being

Like all the other habits, fasting gets easier with practice. I’ve been fasting for years and it’s one of the best things I have done for my health.

Fasting is also one of the most recognized techniques in religious and spiritual practices. I also use fasting to get spiritual clarity and refinement.

Honestly, I could go on for hours about this one. Give it a try. You’ll never be the same.

9. Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week

Your body gets an intervention when you fast. Your mind and relationships could use one too. Unplug yourself from the matrix.

If you haven’t caught on already, human beings are highly addictive creatures. We love our coffee, sugar, and the internet. And these things are all great. But our lives can be far more enhanced by using these tools in wisdom.

The purpose of the internet fast is to reconnect to yourself and your loved ones. So, you probably shouldn’t do it the same day you do your food fast. Because eating is one of the strongest ways to form bonds.

You’ll be blown away by how much more connected you feel to your loved ones when you can give them your undivided attention. It may even feel awkward for a while having a real-life conversation without looking at your phone every three minutes.

10. Stop consuming the news or reading the newspaper

Although the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally, you will not get that message watching televised news or reading the newspaper.

On the contrary, these media outlets have an agenda. Their goal is to appeal to your fears by inflating extreme cases — making them seem normal and commonplace. If they didn’t do so, their viewership would plummet. Which is why Peter Diamandis, one of the world’s experts on entrepreneurship and the future of innovation has said, “I’ve stopped watching TV news. They couldn’t pay me enough money.”

You can get high-quality news curated from Google news. When you detox from the toxic filth that is public news, you’ll be startled as your worldview becomes radically more optimistic. There is no objective reality. Instead, we live in perceived realities and are thus responsible for the worldview we adopt.

11. Do something every day that terrifies you

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardyhas said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.

Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.

Make that call.

Ask that question.

Pitch that idea.

Post that video.

Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.

In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same things. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.

12. Do something kind for someone else daily

“Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?” — Will L. Thompson (music and text)

If we’re too busy to help other people, we’ve missed the mark. Taking the time to spontaneously — as well as planned — helping other people is one of the greatest joys in life. Helping others opens you up to new sides of yourself. It helps you connect deeper with those you help and humanity in general. It clarifies what really matters in life.

As Thomas Monson has said, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” That would truly be a failure.

13. Go to bed early and rise early

According to countless research studies, people who go to bed and rise early are better students. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early sleep/risers are more proactive and are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them efficiently, which leads to being more successful in the business.

Other benefits of going to bed and rising early — backed by research — include:

  • Being a better planner
  • Being holistically healthier as individuals
  • Getting better sleep
  • More optimistic, satisfied, and conscientious

Waking up early allows you to proactively and consciously design your day. You can start with a morning routine that sets the tone for your whole day. You show self-respect by putting yourself first. In your morning routine, you can pray/meditate, exercise, listen to or read inspiring content, and write in your journal. This routine will give you a much stronger buzz than a cup of coffee.

14. Get 7+ hours of sleep each night

Let’s face it: sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders; furthermore, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

On the flip side, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

  • Increased memory
  • Longer life
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
  • Lower stress
  • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
  • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
  • Decreased risk of depression

And tons more… Google it.

15. Replace warm showers with cold ones

Tony Robbins doesn’t consume caffeine at all. Instead, he starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.

Why would he do such a thing?

Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.

2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effective than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.

To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.

Here’s a tip if you’re just starting out: start your shower warm, as usual. Let the warm water on your muscles allow you to stretch them out. After you’re stretched and washed, completely turn-off the warm and completely turn-on the cold. It really isn’t too bad at all. It feels incredible. Just do it for 60–90 seconds, then get out. You’ll be very pleased.

16. Say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on

“No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” — Derek Sivers

Your 20 seconds of daily courage will most consistently involve saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t really matter. But how could you possibly say “no” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around. Or, you’ll crumble under other people’s agendas.

But if you know what you want, you’ll have the courage and foresight to pass up even brilliant opportunities — because ultimately they are distractors from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

17. Say “Thank you” every time you’re served by someone

It’s amazing when you meet someone who is expressively and genuinely grateful. It’s amazing because, frankly, it’s rare.

I remember one day while working as a busser of a restaurant as a teenager. Every time I went by a certain table, whether I was refilling waters, bringing food, anything… the kid at the table (no more than 20 years old) graciously said “thank you.” I even heard him from close proximity saying it to all the other employees when they stopped by his table.

This experience had a dramatic impact on me. It was so simple what he was doing. Yet, so beautiful. I instantly loved this person and wanted to serve him even more.

I could tell by how he looked in my eyes when saying “thank you” that he meant it. It came from a place of gratitude and humility.

Interestingly, one study has found that saying “thank you,” facilitated a 66 percent increase in help offered by those serving. Although altruism is the goal, don’t be surprised as your habit of graciously saying “thank you” turns into even more to be thankful for.

18. Say “I love you” 3+ times a day to the most important people in your life

According to neuroscience research, the more you express love (like gratitude), the more other people feel love for you. Sadly, people are taught absurd mindsets about being vulnerable and loving in relationships. Just this morning, my wife and I had to coax and prod our three foster kids to say one nice thing about each other, and to say they loved each other.

It took several minutes for our 8-year-old foster boy to muster the strength to say he loved his sister. Yet, all of our kids constantly berate and belittle each other.

You know the feeling: when you want to say “I love you” but hold back. What a horrible feeling.

Why do we hesitate to express our love?

Why do we hesitate to connect deeply with others?

This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.

I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” –Harriet Beecher Stowe

Here’s a pro-tip: In the morning when you first wake up, write in your journal (see #4 above). But during your morning journal writing — include your family.

Write about your spouse and kids. Answer the following prompt in your journal: How could I show love and appreciation for them today?

As you write in your journal, two things will happen: 1) self-awareness and 2) creativity.

Self-awareness will show you where you’re taking your loved ones for granted. You’ll quickly see that you haven’t been as engaged and devoted and thoughtful as you could be.

Creativity is all about taking the relationship to the next level. In your journal, write the ideas for how you can positively impact that relationship today. Then, thoughtfully and courageously act to bring about a deeper connection.

You can transform your relationships and develop deep emotional bonds quickly with some awareness and thoughtfulness. Your relationships do not have to be a pattern of the past. You can design them for the future.

19. Consume 30 grams of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking up

Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.

According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.

Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.

Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.

Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:

  • Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
  • Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
  • If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
  • Or, you could always do a protein shake with water

For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.

20. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts on 1.5 or 2x speed, your brain will change faster

Listening to audiobooks at normal speed is so three years ago. There is a going trend — particularly in Silicon Valley — to listen to audiobooks at 150 or 200 percent called “speed listening.”

In 2010, the tech blog GigaOm suggested “speed-listening to podcasts” as an overall time-saving technique. Software called FasterAudio promises to “cut your audio learning time in half.”

If you want to get hardcore, a particularly useful tool is Overcast — a podcast-playback app with a feature called Smart Speed. Smart Speed isn’t about simply playing audio content at 150 or 200 percent of the standard rate; but actually attempts algorithmically to remove fluff (e.g., dead air, pauses between sentences, intros and outros) that bulks up the play time of audio content.

Use this technique and you’ll be consuming as much information as you once consumed caffeine.

21. Decide where you’ll be in five years and get there in two

“How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?” — Peter Thiel

There is always a faster way than you originally conceived. Actually, goal-setting can slow your progress and diminish your potential if you rely too heavily upon it.

In an interview with Success Magazine, Tim Ferriss said that he doesn’t have five or ten-year goals. Instead, he works on “experiments” or projects for a 6–12 week period of time. If they do extremely well, the possible doors that could open are endless. Tim would rather play to the best possibilities than get stuck on one track. He says this approach allows him to go drastically farther than he could ever plan for.

22. Remove all non-essentials from your life (start with your closet)

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown

Most of the possessions you own, you don’t use. Most of the clothes in your closet, you don’t wear. Get rid of them. They are sucking energy from your life. Also, they are dormant value waiting to be exchanged for dollars.

Getting rid of underutilized resources is like injecting motivation and clarity into your bloodstream. While all of that untapped energy gets removed, a new wave of positive energy comes into your life. You can use that energy in more useful and productive ways.

23. Consume a tablespoon of coconut oil once per day

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Here are 7 reasons you should eat coconut oil every single day:

  • It boosts HDL (good) cholesterol and simultaneously blocks LDL (bad) cholesterol buildup
  • It has special fats that help you burn more fat, have more energy, and maintain a healthy weight
  • It fights aging and keeps you looking and feeling young
  • It reduces fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • It is antibacterial and thus wards off possible illnesses
  • It improves memory and cognitive functioning (even for people with Alzheimer’s)
  • It can boost testosterone for men and balance healthy hormones level for both men and women

Coconut oil is a healthy alternative to caffeine. Eating a small amount will give you a shot of energy without the side-effects.

24. Go for 3–5 walks per week

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” — Thomas Jefferson

In the book, Daily Rituals, Mason Currey highlights the routines and rituals of some of the most successful artists, scientists, writers, musicians, etc.

A very common feature in these people’s lives is WALKING.

It’s the most healthy form of exercise on the planet. It’s also incredibly good for self-awareness and creative thinking. You give yourself space and allow the scenery around you to trigger creative mind-wandering, which leads to powerful insights and emotional commitments.

If you make walking a habit in your life, you’ll become far more healthy, creative, and successful.

25. Choose to have faith in something bigger than yourself, skepticism is easy

In the timeless book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill explains that a fundamental principle of wealth creation is having faith — which he defines as visualization and belief in the attainment of desire.

As Hill famously said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

If you don’t believe in your dreams, the chances of them happening are slim to none. But if you can come to fully know the things you seek will occur, the universe will conspire to make it happen.

According to Hill (see page 49 of Think and Grow Rich), here’s how that works:

  • “Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!”
  • “Faith is the basis of all ‘miracles’ and mysteries that cannot be analyzed by the rules of science!”
  • “Faith is the element that transforms the ordinary vibration of thought, created by the finite mind of man, into the spiritual equivalent.”
  • “Faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used.”
  • “Faith is the element, the ‘chemical’ which, when mixed with prayer, gives one direct communication with Infinite Intelligence.”

Like expressing love, in our culture, many have become uncomfortable with ideas like faith. Yet, to all of the best business minds in recent history, faith was fundamental to their success.

26. Stop obsessing about the outcome

Research has found that expectations in one’s own ability serve as a better predictor of high performance than expectations about a specific outcome. In his book, The Personal MBAJosh Kaufman explains that when setting goals, your locus of control should target what you can control (i.e., your efforts) instead of results you can’t control (e.g., whether you get the part).

Expect optimal performance from yourself and let the chips fall where they may. The organic output will be your highest quality work. Put most simply: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

27. Give at least one guilt-free hour to relaxation per day

In our quest for success, many of us have become workaholics. However, relaxation is crucial for success. It is akin to resting between sets at the gym. Without resting, your workout will be far less than it could have been.

Foolishly, people approach their lives like a workout without rest breaks. Instead, they take stimulants to keep themselves going longer and longer. But this isn’t sustainable or healthy. It’s also bad for productivity and creativity in the short and long run.

28. Genuinely apologize to people you’ve mistreated

People make mistakes several times every single day. Sadly — and hilariously — much of the time we act like kids and blame our mistakes on external factors. Research has found that people who don’t openly and often apologize experience higher levels of stress and anxiety.

You don’t need that pent-up energy in your life. Make amends and let it go. It’s not your choice if people choose to forgive you.

29. Make friends with five people who inspire you

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Who you spend time with is incredibly important. Even more fundamental is: what types of people are you comfortable around?

Your comfort level is one of the clearest indicators of your character. Are the people you enjoy being around inspiring or degrading, hard-working or lazy?

What kinds of beliefs do your friends have?

What kinds of goals are they pursuing?

How much money do they make?

What does their health look like?

All of these things dramatically impact you. And it is one of the most painful experiences in the world to become uncomfortable around people who have long been your friends. When you grow and evolve and long for more, you’ll begin seeking a different crowd to surround yourself with.

Misery loves company. Don’t let them hold you back. Move on but never detach from the love you have for those people.

30. Save 10 percent or more of your income

“I would have saved 10 percent automatically from my paycheck by direct deposit into a savings account earning the best possible interest compounded daily. I would have also disciplined myself to deposit 10 percent of any additional money from gifts, refunds or other earned income. I would have bought a small house outright with the money I had saved (instead of renting an apartment for over 30 years). I would have found a job that I loved and devoted my life to it. At least you could be happy even if you were not where you wanted to be financially. Hope this helps someone out there.” — D. Lorinser

Tithing yourself is a core principle of wealth creation. Most people pay other people first. Most people live above their means.

In total, American consumers owe:

  • $11.85 trillion in debt
  • An increase of 1.4% from last year
  • $918.5 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.09 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.19 trillion in student loans
  • An increase of 5.9% from last year

The U.S. Census in 2010 reported that there were 234.56 million people over the age of 18 years old, suggesting the average adult owes $3,761 in revolving credit to lenders. Across the average household, American adults also owe $11,244 in student loans, $8,163 on their autos, and $70,322 on their mortgage.

Simply switching to home-brewed coffee will save you an average of $64.48 per month (or $2 per day) or $773.80 per year. By putting the savings into a mutual fund with average earnings of 6.5% interest and reinvesting the dividends into more mutual funds over a decade, the $64.48 saved every month would grow into $10,981.93.

My wife once took an accounting class from a world-renowned accountant. His words on the first day of class, “The most important thing you’ll learn in this class, which most people will never learn: spend less than you earn. If you do this, you’ll be financially free.”

31. Tithe or give 10 percent of your income away

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer.” — Proverbs 11:24

Many of the wealthiest people in the world attribute their healthy financial life and abundance to giving some of it away.

Most people are trying to accumulate as much as they can. However, a natural principle of wealth creation is generosity. As Joe Polish has said, “The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”

From a spiritual perspective, everything we have is God’s (or the Earth’s). We are merely stewards over our possessions. When we die, we don’t take our money with us. So why hoard it?

As you give generously and wisely, you’ll be stunned by the increases in your earning potential. You’ll develop traits needed for radical wealth creation.

Although a religious example, this next story is incredibly instructive and fascinating.

George Q. Cannon was a leader of the Latter-Day Saint Church some time ago. As a young and impoverished man, he approached his tithing practice in a unique way. Tithing, in that faith, is Biblical and encourages members to pay 10% of their income.

But George was highly imaginative in how he paid his tithing. Rather than paying retroactively, wherein he paid 10% of what he earned, he decided to pay 10% of what he intended to earn in his future.

In a talk, Dr. Wendy Watson further expounded on this story:

When his bishop commented on the large amount of tithing poor young George was paying, George said something like: “Oh bishop, I’m not paying tithing on what I make. I’m paying tithing on what I want to make.” And the very next year George earned exactly the amount of money he had paid tithing on the year before!

George Q. Cannon was not transactional in his religious approach to tithing. He was transformational. He didn’t see tithing as a cost, but an investment in himself and his relationship with his faith.

Whether you are spiritually-minded or not, the implications of this story are psychologically instructive.

How was he able to turn his financial investments into upgraded skills and mindsets?

Rather than acting from your present circumstances, you act from your future circumstances.

Rather than living from the present or past, you can “assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.”

This is one of the reasons to write down your goals daily — it allows you to live as though your desired future is already a concrete fact.

But this is also another reason to invest money in yourself, your relationships, your priorities, and your future. When you invest in something, you upgrade your subconscious mindset around that thing. Essentially, you’re saying to yourself — I can be, do, and have more than I currently am. This is why imagination is so key.

In George Cannon’s case, he invested in his relationship with his God, which led to a 10X transformation. Investment is always a more powerful mindset than seeing things as a cost.

32. Drink 64–100 ounces of water per day

Human beings are mostly water. As we drink healthy amounts of water, we have smaller waistlines, healthier skin, and better functioning brains. Actually, as we drink enough water, it’s safe to say we’re better in every way.

It’s a no-brainer. If you’re not drinking the healthy amount of water each day, you should critically assess your priorities in life.

33. Buy a small place rather than rent

Unless you live in a big city (which many of you do), I’m baffled how many people pay outlandish amounts on rent each month.

When my wife and I moved to Clemson to begin graduate school, we did a lot of front end work to ensure we’d be able to buy a home. What’s shocking is that our mortgage payment is far less than most of our friend’s rent payments. By the end of our four years here in Clemson, we’ll have earned several thousand dollars in equity and even more in appreciation. Conversely, many of our friends are simply dumping hundreds of dollars into someone else’s pockets every month.

Paying rent is like working hourly. You get money while you’re on the clock. When you’re not on the clock, you get no money. Earning equity is like having residual income. Every month you pay down your mortgage, you actually keep that money. So you’re not “spending to live”as most people do. You’re living for free while saving — often earning in appreciation.

34. Check your email and social media at least 60–90 minutes after you wake up

Most people check their email and social media immediately upon waking up. This puts them in a reactive state for the remainder of the day. Instead of living life on their own terms, they’d rather respond to other people’s agendas.

Hence, the importance of having a solid morning routine. When you wake up and put yourself, not other people first, you position yourself to win before you ever begin playing. As Stephen Covey has taught in his book, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations“Private victory always precedes public victory.”

Make the first few hours of your morning about you, so that you can be the best you can for other people. My morning routine consists of prayer, journal writing, listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I workout, and taking a cold shower.

After I’ve had an epic morning, and I’m clear on the direction of my day, I can utilize email and social media for my benefit rather than a detriment.

35. Make a few radical changes to your life each year

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”— Alain de Botton

Reinvent yourself every year. Novelty is an antidote to monotony. Jump into new pursuits and relationships.

Try things you’ve never done before.

Take risks.

Have more fun.

Pursue big things you’ve been procrastinating for years.

In 2018, my wife and I went from having no kids to having 5 kids. We adopted three siblings from the foster system and had twins. We also moved from South Carolina to Orlando, Florida. Many other insane things happened and we’re honestly still recovering.

Creating huge changes in your life also produces huge amounts of stress. But when you have your priorities clear, and when you’re engaging in healthy habits — you can make it through the other side a much different and more mature human being.

As Jack Canfield said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Similarly, a different and more powerful version of you is on the other side of change. Don’t let the emotional pain and learning stop you from evolving.

36. Define what wealth and happiness mean to you

“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton

No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.

Instead, you recognize that every decision has an opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal.

We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.

37. “Change the way you feel, think, and act about money” — Steve Down

Most people have an unhealthy relationship with money. It’s not necessarily their fault; it’s what they were taught.

In order to change your financial world, you need to alter your paradigm and feelings about money.

Here are some key beliefs the most successful people in the world have:

  • In a free-market economy, anyone can make as much money as they want.
  • Your background, highest level of education, or IQ is irrelevant when it comes to earning money.
  • The bigger the problem you solve, the more money you make.
  • Expect to make lots of money. Think BIG: $100,000, $500,000, or why not $1 million?
  • What you focus on expands. If you believe in scarcity, you’ll have little.
  • If you believe there is unlimited abundance, you’ll attract abundance.
  • When you create incredible value for others, you have the right to make as much money as you want.
  • You’re not going to be discovered, saved, or made rich by someone else. If you want to be successful, you have to build it yourself.

When you develop a healthy relationship, you will have more. You won’t spend money on the crap most people waste their money on. You’ll focus more on value than price.

38. Invest only in industries you are informed about

Warren Buffett doesn’t invest in technology because he doesn’t understand it. Instead, he invests in banking and insurance. He’s not a tech guy. He invests in what he understands.

Yet, so many people invest in things they don’t understand. I’ve made that mistake. I once invested several thousand dollars in an overseas rice distribution. Although the investment sounded incredible on paper, it’s turned out to be a disaster.

I didn’t have the understanding to make an informed decision. I put my trust in someone else’s hands. And no one cares about your success more than you do.

From now on, I’m going to responsibly invest in things I can make informed decisions on.

39. Create an automated income source that takes care of the fundamentals

We live in unprecedented times. It has never been easier to create automated income streams. No matter your skill-set and interests, you can put a business in a place that runs 24/7 even while you’re sleeping, sitting on the beach, or playing with your kids.

An entrepreneur is someone who works for a few years like no one will so they can live the rest of their life like no one else can.

If you want to free up your time and energy for the things that matter most, either invest in stuff you’re informed on (e.g., real estate, businesses, mutual funds), or, create a business that doesn’t require you (e.g., create an online educational course about something you’re passionate about).

40. Have multiple income streams (the more the better)

Most people’s income comes from the same source. However, most wealthy people’s income comes from multiple sources. I know people with hundreds of income streams coming in each month.

What would happen if you set things up so you were getting income from 5 or 10 different places each month?

What if several of those were automated?

Again, with a few short years of intentional and focused work, you can have several income streams.

41. Track at least one habit/behavior you’re trying to improve

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas Monson

Tracking is difficult. If you’ve tried it before, chances are, you quit within a few days.

Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.

It’s best to track only a few things. Maybe just one at a time.

If you want to track your diet, a fun approach is taking a picture of everything you eat. Everything. This allows you the time to determine if you really want to put that in your body.

So, your tracking can be creative. Do what works for you. Use a method you will actually do. But start tracking.

As a consultant and executive coach, tracking and reporting behavior, daily, has been the number one factor in my client’s success. When you track something, you become aware of it. When you report something, you become accountable to it.

Most of my clients simply send me an email at the end of their workday with a few bullet points (e.g., I did 4 hours of work on my startup, I made 3 sales, I didn’t check social media before noon). Accountability to a spreadsheet or app is not the same as accounting to a person — particularly one you trust and respect.

42. Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day

When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.

“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins

So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?

So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?

Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.

Some people think hard work is the recipe. Although this is completely true, the effort is often misplaced. Most people focus on the process, or work first, and the result second. Conversely, those who determine the outcomes their seeking first can better discern which strategy will be most effective. Sure, that strategy may be out of your comfort zone, but as Tim Grover has said in Relentless, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”

Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, explains what he calls Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is simply the smallest dose that will yield a desired result and anything past the MED is wasteful. Water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure — it is not “more boiled” if you add more heat.

What is the fastest way to get your desired outcome?

43. Make your bed first thing in the morning

According to psychological research, people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. If that’s not enough, here’s more:

  • 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
  • While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
  • Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
  • Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.

Crazy, right?

Something so simple. Yet, when you make your bed first thing in the morning, you knock-off your first accomplishment of the day. This puts you in a mindset of “winning.”

Do it! It only takes 30 seconds.

44. Make one audacious request per week (what do you have to lose?)

“Rainmakers generate revenue by making asks. They ask for donations. They ask for contracts. They ask for deals. They ask for opportunities. They ask to meet with leaders or speak to them over the phone. They ask for publicity. They come up with ideas and ask for a few minutes of your time to pitch it. They ask for help. Don’t let rainmaking deter you from your dream. It’s one of the barriers to entry, and you can overcome it. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become comfortable with it, you might even enjoy it. But making asks is the only way to bring your dream to life.” — Ben Arment

I got into graduate school way after applications were due because I asked.

I’ve gotten free NBA tickets by asking a few players I saw at a hotel.

I’ve gotten my work published on high tier outlets because I ask.

I recently heard the story of someone who wrote “Fast Pass” on the back of their business card and presented it to a Disney employee. After some fun and light-hearted conversations, the employee let them through.

Very few things in life are just randomly given to you as an adult. In most cases, you need to earn it and/or ask for it.

Yet, there are many opportunities currently available to everyone if they would muster the courage and humility to ask.

The entire crowdfunding industry is based on making asks.

Start making bold and audacious asks. What’s the worst that could happen? They say “No”?

What’s the best that could happen?

When you don’t ask, you lose by default. And you’ll never know the opportunities you missed out on.

Don’t sell yourself short. Ask that beautiful girl on a date. Ask for that raise or big opportunity at work. Ask people to invest in your idea.

Put yourself out there. You’ll be blown away by what happens.

45. Be spontaneously generous with a stranger at least once per month

Life isn’t all about what you can achieve or acquire. It’s more about who you become and what you contribute.

Interestingly, research done at Yale has found that people are instinctively cooperative and generous. However, if you stall and think about being helpful or generous, you’re less likely to do it. And the longer you wait, the likelihood of you being helpful diminishes. This principle applies to other areas as well, like creativity. The longer you wait to do something, the less likely it is you’ll do it.

So, be spontaneous. When you get the wild thought of buying the person’s food in the car behind you, just do it. Don’t think about it.

If you’re driving down the road and see someone with car trouble off to the side, just do it. Don’t think about it.

When you want to say “I love you,” to a loved one, just do it. Don’t think about it.

Paralysis by analysis is dumb. And Malcolm Gladwell explains in Blinkthat snap-decisions are often far better than well-thought-out ones.

46. Write and place a short, thoughtful note for someone once per day

The messages of handwritten letters impact deeper and are remembered longer than electronic messages. There is no comparison to this traditional form of conversation. Handwritten messages are so powerful that people often keep these notes for a long time. Sometimes a lifetime.

Jack Canfield has taught that writing 3–5 handwritten notes per day will change your relationships. In our email world, it can seem inefficient to hand-write and mail a letter. But relationships aren’t about efficiency.

Not only will handwriting letters change your relationships, it will change you. Research has shown that writing by hand increases brain development and cognition more than typing can.

Consequently, the things you write will be seared into your own memory as well, allowing both you and the recipient to reflect back on cherished moments.

Writing handwritten notes spices up your relationships, adding an element of fun. It’s exciting placing kind and loving notes in random places for your loved ones to find. Put a note under the windshield wipers of your loved one’s car to find after a hard day’s’ work. Hidden, wait til they come out and watch them from across the street. You’ll see their eyes light up and smile spread.

Other fun places include:

  • In the fridge
  • In the closet
  • On the computer keyboard
  • In their shoe
  • In their wallet
  • The mailbox

Anywhere that makes the experience a surprise…

47. Become good friends with your parents

“The parent-child connection is the most powerful mental health intervention known to mankind.” — Bessel van der Kolk

Many people have horrible relationships with their parents. I once did myself. Growing up can be tough and sometimes our parents make horrible decisions that negatively impact us.

However, my parents have become my best friends. They are my confidants. I turn to them for wisdom and advice. They understand me like no one else. Biology is a powerful thing.

Although I don’t see things the same way my parents do, I love them and respect their viewpoints. I love working out with my dad and talking about big ideas with my mom.

I couldn’t imagine not being close to them.

If your parents are still around, rekindle those ties or increase the flame. You’ll find enormous joy in those relationships.

48. Floss your teeth

About 50 percent of Americans claim to floss daily. My guess is that’s a large over-estimate. Either way, the benefits of flossing are incredible.

Doing so daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Everyone gets plaque, and it can only be removed by flossing or a deep cleaning from your dentist. Plaque buildup can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and a high body mass index.

Yes, not flossing can make you fat.

Not only that, but it greatly reduces bad breath.

49. Eat at least one meal with your family per day

If possible, eat a sit-down meal with your loved ones daily. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We’ve become so high-paced in the world that everything we do is on the go. We’ve forgotten what it means to just be with our loved ones.

Eating together creates a sense of community like nothing else.

Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.

50. Spend time reflecting on your blessings at least once per day

Gratitude is the cure-all for all the world’s problems. It has been called, “the mother of all virtues,” by the Roman philosopher Cicero.

When you practice gratitude, your world changes. There is no objective reality. All people perceive reality as they selectively attend to things that are meaningful to them. Hence, some people notice the good while others notice the bad.

Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious. It changes not only your world, but everyone else’s you come in contact with.

The Single Most Important Action To Take Right Now To Make You Successful

See Author Article Here
By

Throughout the year we make personal commitments of things we want to change for the better. Diets, exercise, family, work, travel etc. For many of us, we take on multiple resolutions with every intention of improving ourselves for the better. Too often, we fail to kick start and sustain the new “US.” Goals become overwhelming and we fall into the trap of never achieving what we set out to do.

The complex formula of success
So much information exists on what success is and how to achieve it. Articles with headings such as “30 Things Successful People Do Differently” capture our attention with the hope of inspiring us to take meaningful action.

The problem is that’s 30 things we are to remember and implement to supposedly achieve success. One article I recently read listed their number one step to success being “Internalizing your locus of control.”

Locus of control? What does that even mean?

These articles can provide meaningful insights but they often overpower us and end up being nothing more than an informative read.

Inspiring? Sometimes. Actionable. No.

Success is not a complex formula. It is far simpler.

Excuses over results
Success can come at any time. We get caught in the trap at looking at success as this grandiose plan that must start and be completed by self-defined timeframes and prescribed results. It becomes so daunting that we give up because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we try to achieve our goals, they don’t come fast enough and we use this as an excuse to give up. We end up being our own worst enemy.

You can either have results or you can have an excuse, but you cannot have both.

Take someone’s plans to lose weight. They set a goal to lose 30 pounds which includes a diet plan and workout regime. They are initially dedicated to working out multiple times a week and stick to a strict meal plan. It’s tough at first but as several weeks go by they start to feel better about themselves. More energy, clothes feeling a little looser and an overall more positive attitude. Then they step on the scale at the end of the month to find they have only lost 2lbs!

The minimal weight loss is deflating after all that dedicated, hard work. They start to lose steam. Workouts get missed. Diets get blown. Before long the excuse “I can’t do this” enters the mind and the weight loss plan is in the scrap bin.

The amazing results achieved in a single month get buried and forgotten. More on those amazing resulting in a minute.

The secret of success: One step
One small step. That is all it is. A single step is all it takes to move towards success. It’s so fundamentally simple and yet so easily overlooked.

It’s the greatest secret never to be told by successful people. We read about other’s success and can’t imagine how we could ever achieve the same. They are so successful and have achieved so many amazing things that we see them in a different league. What we fail to realize is that these successful people all started with a single, first step. Then they took another step and another. Before long they had a mile of steps behind them and the second mile didn’t seem so bad. They kept going and went on to build massive momentum. Always looking forward. Never back.

Sure there are missteps. People outside of the successful stream of consciousness look at missteps as failures. Successful people don’t’ see failure. They see opportunities to learn, reflect and move forward. Always achieving greater success than when they started.

Celebrate each step
Each small step you take is a pause for celebration. Your decision to spend more time with the family. The first day at the gym. Booking that amazing trip abroad. Deciding to make a career change. Those are all small steps worthy of applause

Celebrate each and every step of success along the way.

Imagine how many of us would stick to our weight loss plans if we instead focused on the many positive steps we took in the first month and not the actual loss of weight.

Let’s break it down. Attended the gym. Ate healthy. More energy. Looser clothes. Multiple small steps all worthy of celebration. Each step building on the previous. It’s all about changing your perspective. It’s amazing when you change your frame of mind how you can view something that seemed so insignificant really isn’t. Two pounds is no longer weighing you down. That’s worth celebrating and continuing with your step journey.

You can start your new YOU whenever you chose. Start small and take one little step at a time. Push yourself forward because no one else is going to do it for you. All it takes is a single step.

Clark Glassford is the founder of My Practice Interview. The company’s purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dream career. My Practice Interview provides industry-leading services including tailored resume writing, curated LinkedIn profiles and expert interview coaching delivering results beyond expectations.
www.mypracticeinterview.com

50 Small (But Big) Changes To Become An Ultimately Happier You

See Author Article Here
Liza Varvogli

1. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Select to wake up to your favorite song. Enjoy your coffee or tea in a special mug. This sets off your day in a whole different way.

2. Write down the intention of the day; “Today I choose to be happy,” “Today I choose to stay calm,” you get the idea.

3. Accomplish one small goal to set off your day in the right direction; for example, make your bed or wash your mug.

4. Read a book.

5. Declutter your living space.

6. Start small, by organizing your desk drawer.

7. Keep your brain and body hydrated; get a water bottle and aim at finishing it by lunchtime. Refill it.

8. Keep a gratitude journal and jot down three things that went well or were positive every day.

9. Go out for a 15-minute walk.

10. Follow positive people on social media.

11. Compliment a friend.

12. Cook a healthy dish for dinner; try a different cuisine.

13. Listen to some relaxing music on a daily basis.

14. Listen to podcasts on subjects that interest you.

15. Find a new hobby.

16. Start a collection.

17. Choose an art poster and hang it on your living room wall.

18. Choose to wear accessories that make you feel good.

19. Make a positive affirmation that works for you and keep repeating it daily; i.e., “I choose what I become.”

21. Write down your favorite quote on a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror.

22. Use an inspirational quote as a screen saver; or set your smartphone to remind you of it several times during the day.

23. Make a playlist of ten happy songs that you like best. Listen to them at least once during the day.

24. Listen to TEDex talks on topics that interest you or topics you are curious about while doing chores or driving.

25. Commit to explore one new idea or do one new thing.

26. Remind yourself that you control how you feel by repeating often “I’m in charge of how I feel and today I choose happiness.”

27. Make it a habit to sit quietly and take deep, slow breaths.

28. Take a power nap or sleep 20 more minutes every night.

29. Make a photo album with pictures carrying happy memories.

30. Call, text, or email a friend that you haven’t seen in a while.

31. Sit in a quiet spot preferably outside, in nature, and do nothing for 15 minutes

32. Write down your three core values.

33. Write a positive comment or compliment someone inspiring on social media.

34. Watch comedies.

35. Read poetry.

36. Learn how to meditate and do it daily for 10-15 minutes.

37. Take a test to find your core strengths.

38. Next to each strength write down specific ways you can use it in your routine.

39. Sing your favorite song or whistle.

40. Go dancing.

41. Write down one important goal.

42. Now jot down three specific things you can do this week in that direction.

43. Tell yourself three reasons why you are happy to be alive.

44. Make a list of your “favorites” (dish, songs, books, films, travel destinations, anything).

45. Pick one thing and do it today.

46. Pick another thing from that list and do it tomorrow; you get the idea.

47. Identify five things that make you happy. Write down specific ways of how you can incorporate them in your day and do more of them.

48. Learn one relaxation technique and practice it daily.

49. Write a thank you letter to someone and be specific on what they did that helped you (you don’t need to mail it).

50. Remind yourself “I truly and deeply love and appreciate myself and I am invested in my personal development.”

Seven Ways To Start Meditating

See The Guardian Article Here

Meditation
 Are you sitting comfortably? The correct posture is not all-important. Photograph: Westend61/Getty Images

Find a meditation approach that you enjoy

“This idea that meditation is hard work and takes a long time to master is not correct,” says Jillian Lavender, co-founder of the London Meditation Centre. The trick is to find an approach (such as classes, online tutorials, books or apps) and a practice (from mindfulness to transcendental meditation) you enjoy. “If you’re putting yourself through some torturous process because ‘That’s what I should be doing’, then it isn’t easy or enjoyable, and most likely you won’t stick with it.”

Start small

Dan Harris, a US newscaster and the author of Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, advises abandoning the idea of lengthy practices when you are starting out. Instead opt for more manageable chunks that you can slot into daily life. Just five to 10 minutes’ meditation a day can be enough to feel the benefits, Harris told NPR – even one minute a day is worthwhile.

Make yourself comfortable

It is more important that you feel comfortable than it is to be straining to maintain a certain posture, says Lavender. From sitting on the floor in a full lotus position to using a cushion or chair, choose what feels best.

Work with your daily schedule

Lavender, a Vedic meditation teacher, tells her students: “Anywhere you can sit down, you can meditate.” Developing that ease around it means there is a higher chance of fitting it in, she says. Start by finding somewhere you feel warm, comfortable and not too self-conscious.

Give an app a go

While some say using an app to meditate misses the point, others find them to be a useful and accessible resource. Headspace and Calm are two of the best-known offerings, but they charge to unlock more content. Insight Timerbrings together 15,000 free guided meditations, while Smiling Mind was designed with children and teenagers in mind. Buddhify and Simple Habitdeliver nuggets for specific moments such as before a big meeting or winding down for bedtime.

Embrace failure

Stopping and starting is part of the process of learning to meditate. Harris says trying to refocus your attention when it has wandered is like a “biceps curl for the brain”. Just pick yourself up again, says Lavender. “Dipping in for a few minutes will make a difference. If you have a moment on the train and you take the moment to sit, give yourself a breather and close your eyes, great.”

Explore available resources

As with any new technique that you are trying to learn, it is worth investing some time researching about meditation. If you are after a cheap and easy taster before committing to a course or retreat, the NHS offers a bedtime meditation video, while some local councils offer free weekly meditation classes. Have a look online to see what’s on offer in your area. The charities Mind and Age UK also provide guides on mindfulness.