INSPIRATIONAL

  • What You Might Need to Give Up in Order to Move Forward

    If it entertains you now but will actually hurt you someday, it’s a distraction. Don’t settle. Don’t exchange what you need in the long run for what you kinda want at the moment. Study your habits. Determine where your time goes. Delete the toxic distractions.

     

    Taking small steps can make a big difference, especially in tough times, but there’s no getting around the fact that taking these steps is often incredibly uncomfortable. That’s why so many people often don’t do it—at least not initially. But we have to catch ourselves, and remind ourselves that just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. The key is to remember that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable, because that’s where human growth and healing begins.

    In order to get something in life, we often have to give something up. In order to change our situation for the better, we have to take some action that’s not necessarily going to be easy or fun. Life is the opposite of perfection. It can be beautiful, of course, but it’s obviously quite messy and chaotic at times. Too often we shy away from taking the next step because we’re afraid it might not be worth the discomfort. It’s scary and uncomfortable to upset the status quo, even when it’s in service of something better.

    It all comes down to a single question: what is worth suffering for right now? Is the change you’re wanting to implement—finding a new job, reinventing yourself or your business, ending a relationship, or something else truly going to help you move toward the life you want to lead in the weeks and months ahead? If so, then it’s a sign that it’s time to step forward, and it’s probably worth enduring some extra pain and discomfort to get there. You can also rephrase the question to help you think through it: How important is moving forward to you? And what are you willing to sacrifice, in the short term and long term, in order to be happier in the long term?

    By questioning your situation like this, you’ll realize that there are great reasons to step out of your comfort zone and to suffer. Changes of this magnitude do not come easily for any of us especially as we collectively deal with the realities of COVID-19—and we understand that. But once you start to have an honest conversation with yourself about what you want to change in your life going forward, you’ll find it easier to direct your full energy toward overcoming your present obstacles. When you’re focused on all the good that will come from making the change you desire, the sacrifices you’ll have to make to achieve that change simply won’t seem as big a deal.

    In any case, adapting to change, and getting unstuck from an unhappy or unhealthy present situation, is fundamentally about becoming comfortable with discomfort. It’s about choosing to embrace that discomfort, not because you want to make your life overly complicated or difficult, but because there are some things that are worth suffering for. It’s about suffering a little bit more in the moment, in order to suffer a lot less in the long run. It’s about giving certain things up right now to get more of what you truly want in life in the weeks and months ahead!

    No doubt, if you want those six-pack abs again, you also have to want the hard workouts and the healthy meals. If you want the successful business again, you also have to want the long days, the stressful business deals and decisions, and the possibility of failing five times to learn what you need to know to succeed in the post COVID-19 market. If you want to reinvent your life and adapt well to a “new normal” starting now, you simply have to give up certain ideals, comforts, routines, and so on, to get what you ultimately want.

    And remember that giving things up isn’t just about making small, immediate sacrifices. It’s also about gradually gaining the resources you need to do something significant going forward. When you give something up, you automatically create an opening in your life for something else. By saying no to everything that’s not aligned with your priorities, or the present reality, you make room for what is. In other words, if you want to achieve a significant outcome in your life in the weeks and months ahead, you have to give up the things that conflict with it starting today. You have to sacrifice something that you value less than whatever you ultimately want to achieve.

    What You Might Need to Give Up in Order to Move Forward

    Changing your situation is about not sidestepping the issue or avoiding the elephant in the room. It’s about moving into uncertainty with openness and honesty, and realizing that this choice might bring with it anxiety, discomfort, and even pain. It’s about being willing to accept what comes, about being vulnerable. By being open to this kind of honesty and vulnerability, you also open yourself to a sense of renewed freedom, peace, and emotional richness that otherwise may never have entered your life.

    You have the power to change your situation for the better, no matter what. But again, before you can do that, you may have to give up some of the stories, ideas, ideals, and assumptions you’ve been clinging to about yourself and your current situation. Remind yourself that giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak or wrong. Today, it simply means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move forward with your life.

    How to Start Making Progress Today

    Right now, many of us are still hopelessly trying to find our passion and joy again an idea we believe will ultimately lead us closer to renewed happiness and success. And I say “hopelessly” primarily because we are putting the cart ahead of the horse. When we say we’re trying to “find our passion and joy,” it implies that we’ve lost our passion and joy and now they’re somehow hiding behind a tree or under a rock somewhere. But that’s far from the truth. The truth is, our passion and joy come from habitually stepping out of our comfort zones and doing things right on a daily basis.

    If you’re waiting to somehow “find your passion and joy” somewhere outside yourself today, so you finally have a reason to put your whole heart and soul into life again, you’ll likely be waiting around for an eternity.

    On the other hand, if you’re tired of waiting, and you’d rather live more passionately and joyously starting today, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to proactively inject passion into the very next thing you do.

    Think about it…

    • When was the last time you sat down, or picked up the phone, and had a conversation with someone you love, with zero distractions and 100% focus?
    • When was the last time you exercised, and literally put every bit of effort you could muster into it?
    • When was the last time you truly tried—I mean TRULY tried—to do your very best with the workload in front of you?

    Like most of us, you’re likely putting a half-hearted and half-minded effort into most of the things you do on a daily basis. Because you’re still waiting…

    You’re still waiting to “find” something to be passionate and joyous about in these “new normal” times.

    What you need to do is the exact opposite!

    If you want more passion and joy in your life right now, do something about it right now.

    Put your heart and soul into something!

    Not into “the next opportunity,” but the small opportunity right in front of you.

    Not into tomorrow’s work, but today’s work.

    Not into tomorrow’s workout, but today’s workout.

    Not into tomorrow’s relationships, but today’s relationships.

    I’m certain you have plenty in your life right now that’s worth living for. You have people and lots of little circumstances you’re taking for granted. You have an endless reservoir of untapped potential within you, just waiting.

    Stop waiting!

    Do the uncomfortable things.

    Suffer a little to gain momentum again.

    There is no next opportunity, only the one you have at this moment.

     

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  • Painfully Truths We Forgets

    You know how you can hear something a hundred times in a hundred different ways before it finally gets through to you?  The ten truths listed below fall firmly into that category – life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, but for whatever reason, haven’t fully grasped.

    This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all…

     

    1.  The average human life is relatively short.

    We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know.  It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step.  You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

    LIVE your life TODAY!  Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

    2.  You will only ever live the life you create for yourself.

    Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

    Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

    And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.  Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.  

    3.  Being busy does NOT mean being productive.

    Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

    Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days.  Just take a quick look around.  Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin.  Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations.  Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

    Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

    4.  Some kind of failure always occurs before success.

    Most mistakes are unavoidable.  Learn to forgive yourself.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

    If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.  The solution to this problem is making friends with failure.  You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner?  The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

    Bottom line:  Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  

    5.  Thinking and doing are two very different things.

    Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

    You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

    And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

    6.  You don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive.

    Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.  The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative.  It’s taking a step back and saying.” Thank you for the lesson”  It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

    Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep.  When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.  It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

    7.  Some people are simply the wrong match for you.

    You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.  You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

    If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material.  If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them.  If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition.  There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self.  It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

    8.  It’s not other people’s job to love you; it’s yours.

    It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.  So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.  Know your worth, even if they don’t.

    Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are.  Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.  

    9.  What you own is not who YOU are.

    Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person.  Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need.  That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

    You have to create your own culture.  Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news.  Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences.  The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered.  You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

    Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is.  “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.”  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked.  And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that is not important.

    10.  Everything changes, every second.

    Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason.  It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

    What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow.  You never know.  Things change, often spontaneously.  People and circumstances come and go.  Life doesn’t stop for anybody.  It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day.  It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

    Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives.  A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth.  Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event.  And these events are always happening.

    However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

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  • Good Morning Meditations

    It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.

    The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.  The mind is indeed your battleground.  It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides.  It’s where half of the chaos you thought was real, never did happen.  But if you allow these thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your sanity.  You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into bouts of depression, and into defeat.

    There’s no escaping the fact that you are what you think – that you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.

    But are you ready for some really good news?

    You CAN change your thinking.

    And mornings are one of the simplest times for making this change gradually transpire in your life.

    Each morning is enormously important.  It’s the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have.

    So when you first wake up, be mindful and take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.  Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks.  The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one.  And when you start the day in a mindful state like this, it’s easier to focus effectively and step into the day on the right foot.

    But, on many mornings, of course, this is far easier said than done.

    So, to help you adjust your mindset first thing every morning, I offer you the 52 morning meditations below.

    • Happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a vacation, a job, or money.  It starts with your thinking and what you tell yourself today.
    • Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice – your own soul.  Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
    • You’re not a failure because you can’t be all things to all people – you’re a human being.
    • Oftentimes, you have to say no to good things to be able to say yes to the most important things.  You can’t do it all.  Breathe deep.  And choose wisely.
    • If you are passionate about something, pursue it a little bit each day, no matter what anyone else thinks.  That’s how dreams are achieved.
    • Again and again, remind yourself why.  With a strong enough reason why, you will be able to do what’s required at any time and in any circumstance.
    • You do NOT know exactly what the future will bring.  So your best bet for living is to make the best and most positive use of the present.
    • Sometimes you spend time waiting for the ideal path to appear.  But it never does.  Because paths are made by walking, not waiting.
    • Don’t let not knowing how it will end keep you from beginning today.  Uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting.
    • Allow yourself to be a beginner.  No one starts off being wise.  Do the best you can until you know better.  Once you know better, do better.
    • As you struggle today, remember, it’s far better to be exhausted from lots of effort and learning, than to be tired of doing absolutely nothing.
    • What might seem like a setback is often an opportunity for you to learn something new, and develop a more effective, more realistic strategy.
    • The truth is, you need to spend some time crawling through the dark to fully appreciate what it is to stand in the sunlight.
    • Your track record for getting through tough days is 100% so far.
    • When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
    • The problem is not the problem – the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.
    • Many people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now.
    • One of the most rewarding and important kinds of moments in life are the moments when you finally find the strength to let go of what can’t be changed.
    • When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself.  And that changes everything.
    • Never force anything.  Do your best, then let it be.  If it’s meant to be, it will be.  Don’t hold yourself down with things that are out of your control.
    • You cannot control exactly what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it all.  In your response is your greatest power.
    • Instead of getting angry, find the lesson.  In place of envy, feel admiration.  In place of worry, take action.  In place of doubt, have faith.
    • Don’t compare your progress with that of others.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  Focus on the step you are presently taking.
    • Patience is a genuine expression of confidence, acceptance, serenity, and faith in your own ability.  It’s a sign of strength.  Practice it.
    • In a culture that seeks instant results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance.  Be strong, present, and steadfast.  Stick to your positive daily rituals. 
    • Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.  Sometimes what you never wanted or expected turns out to be what you need.
    • Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances and people you want, it gives you the circumstances and people you need… to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
    • It’s not the strongest or the most intelligent people that survive and succeed in the long run, but those who can best manage change.
    • The truth is that we all fail.  The greater truth is that no single failure ever defines us.  Confess.  Apologize.  Learn.  Grow wiser.  Press on.
    • Nothing is permanent.  When you understand this, you can do almost anything you wish because you’re not trying to desperately hold onto anything anymore.
    • Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really another beginning.
    • It’s your choice.  To be positive and free, or to be imprisoned by your own negativity.  To live in the past, or to be hopeful about the present.
    • Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time – it’s about accepting what happens every time, and making the best of it.
    • Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn’t mean their life is perfect.  Their smile is a symbol of hope and strength.  Smile back.
    • People are much nicer when they’re happier, which says a lot about people who aren’t very nice to you.  Wish them well, and be on your way.
    • Maturity is learning to gracefully walk away from situations that threaten your peace of mind, self-respect, values, morals, or self worth.
    • When people are rude to you, smile and choose not to react.  Travel the high road.  Keep your peace.  Do so, and you take all their power away.
    • The longer you remain peaceful, the stronger you become.  Peace on the inside leads to real, meaningful progress on the outside.
    • Be low-key sometimes.  You don’t need to put everything on social media.  You don’t need to tell everyone about every step you’re taking.  Silently progress, and let your actions speak for themselves.
    • Rise above the pettiness trying to draw you in.  Focus on what matters.  Where attention goes, energy flows.  Where energy flows, things grow.
    • Fight every battle, not because you hate what’s in front of you, but because you love what’s behind you—the people and things you stand for.
    • Be careful not to dehumanize people you disagree with.  In our self-righteousness, we can easily become the very things we dislike in others.
    • Never regret being a good person, to the wrong people.  Your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.
    • Remind people that they matter.  Remind them that someone loves them.  And most importantly, don’t forget to remind yourself of this too.
    • Whatever else may be going on, always remember that you have been blessed with today and the ability to live it as you choose.
    • Being less reactive can transform your life.  Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out over time.  Just be, and breathe.
    • Stop rushing.  Breathe.  Be where you are.  You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every step and experience is necessary.
    • Don’t jam your life with plans.  Leave space.  Sometimes great things happen unplanned and big regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned. 
    • Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big, that we fail to notice all the little things that give life its magic.
    • Keep your eyes open for blessings in disguise.  They are everywhere.  And they are worth noticing, and appreciating.
    • At times, you just have to appreciate exactly where you are.  You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing.  Be grateful for the lessons.
    • RELAX.  You are enough.  You have enough.  You do enough.  Inhale.  Exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
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  • A new way to start your day.

    When you get up in the morning, think of what a priceless privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to learn, to love – and then make the day count!

     

    The morning is extremely important.  It is the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict what kind of day you are going to have, and thus, what kind of life you are going to live.

    Each morning truly is a brand new opportunity.  Each day is another chance to get it right.

    The happiest, healthiest people I know embrace this truth and use it to their advantage.  They have effective morning rituals that gradually improve their well-being and give their lives purpose.  Here’s what they do differently:

    1.  They wake up with a sense of gratitude.

    In other words, they start the day with love in their hearts and minds, and are truly appreciative of their life and all of its priceless idiosyncrasies.  They practice small acts of gratitude in the morning by expressing thankfulness directly to the people they care about, and to the immediate circumstances (health, opportunities, etc.) they could so easily take for granted.

    From my research over the years, I have found that the more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.  Bottom line: Consider how very fortunate you are.  Consider it every morning.  The more you count your blessings, the more blessings there will be to count, and the happier you will be.

    2.  They begin anew.

    They know it’s a brand new day to start over and do something different.  Yesterday may have been a complete bummer for them, but today is a new day for learning, success and adventure.  Realize this.  Live now.  Not before.  Not later.  Just NOW – in the moment you’re in.

    Inhabit your morning completely.  Don’t rent it out to the past.  Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny!  Let today be the day you stop being a victim of yesterday’s circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want.  You have the power and the time to shape the rest of this day.  Break free from the poisonous victim mentality and embrace the truth of your greatness.  (Read love and a beautiful mind.)

    3. They use self-inquiry to affirm a purposeful start to the day.

    Steve Jobs’ morning routine used to start by looking in the mirror and asking, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”  And Benjamin Franklin asked himself each morning, “What good shall I do today?”  I challenge you to come up with questions that keep you on track and push you to live a purposeful life.  Here are three questions I often ask myself:

    • What would I like to remember about today?
    • How will I sincerely honor my own desires and truth today?
    • What can I do to make a positive difference in the lives around me today?

    4. They read something positive.

    Some happy people read a bit of scripture each morning, while others read inspiring books, articles or quotes to get their day started.  Either way, they have a ritual to read some form of self-improvement literature to stretch and grow their insight and knowledge.  It’s starts their day off on a positive note with positive, productive ideas to guide their day’s journey.

    And that’s crucial, because in life you often have to create your own sunshine.  So read something positive every morning when you wake up, and let it inspire you to do something positive before you go back to sleep at night.  That’s how memorable days are made. 

    5.  They follow an effective morning routine.

    Happy, healthy people know that morning routines are critically important.  They help you focus and build momentum for your day, and they give you the freedom to be present and relaxed – to enjoy just being right where you are each moment, rather than rushing from somewhere to somewhere.

    Once you get your routine in order, for the first time in a long time, you will be able to, quite literally, smell the coffee.  For truly easy-going mornings, reduce the number of decisions you must make.  There are two simple ways to do this:

    First, make your big morning decisions the night before: what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, what you need to do while working from home.  Use should be using your lockdown time to self develop and self improve.  You should not be coming out of lockdown the same.

    Second, build a simple routine for as much of your daily morning tasks as possible.

    Really, there’s no need to drastically alter the simple things like how much time you give yourself to get ready, how complex of a meal you make for breakfast, or bathroom and shower rituals from one morning to the next.

    6.  They give themselves enough time to eat a wholesome breakfast.

    You can’t possibly have a happy, healthy day if you feed your body garbage first thing in the morning.  Period.  Your body is a temple.  You are what you eat.  So do not eat processed food, fast food, and all the filth the big processed food companies try to pass off as “healthy.”

    Does it take ten extra minutes to prepare a wholesome breakfast?  Yes it does.  Is it worth it?  Yes it is!  Most foods that you don’t have to prepare manually statically cause sickness, cancer, and disease.  Do they taste good?  Sure.  It’s all well-seasoned, pre-packaged poison.  This is why so many people are sick – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually – because they are hooked to the taste of poison, instead of being hooked on the truth and to real foods that heal and provide the human body with good health and wellness.  Don’t make this mistake.  Fuel your body properly first thing every morning. 

    7.  They move on gracefully to what’s most important.

    As human beings, we are goal oriented.  We like making progress.  When we accomplish one of our goals, we smile about it.  That’s why the happiest people I know are also some of the most successful people I know.

    And success is not something you have; it’s something you DO.  It’s something you experience when you wake up and act accordingly.  So let your first hour set the theme of proactivity and success that is certain to echo through your entire day.  The key is to focus your attention first thing in the morning on the right things.  Why?  Because at some point we all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?”  But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.

    Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up.  Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones.  So if you want to be more successful, less stressed, and a lot happier at the end of a long day, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?”  Simply being able to do something well does not make it the right thing to do.  I think this is one of the most common problems with a lot of time-management advice; too often productivity gurus focus on how to do things quickly, but the vast majority of things people do quickly should not be done at all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Things We Need to Do to Be Happy in Tough Times

     

    You are not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even yesterday. You are always growing… stronger!

    Sometimes life slams us in the gut, dealing us such a devastating blow it literally takes our breath away.

    A pandemic hits, a loved one gets ill, we lose a breadwinning job, someone we know dies, money gets tight, feelings of depression and despondency overwhelm our better judgment… everything just seems to be going wrong.

    So, what can we do when the world around us shatters, and we can’t seem to pick up the pieces?

    The times when things are falling apart are precisely the best times to practice presence and mindfulness. These are the times we’re always preparing for, in a way, when we pray, meditate, self-reflect, and generally invest in our personal growth during the good times.

    Truth be told, when the world seems to be crumbling, there is immense opportunity. But we must be willing to do some tough things. We must be willing to change our perspective and our response.

    Ready?

    First, let’s practice laying a solid foundation…

    Be patient with the pain you feel. Don’t hide from it, don’t rush to cover it up or fix it immediately. Just start by acknowledging its presence and facing it with courage.

    Then, challenge yourself to sit quietly with what you are feeling for a full minute, with compassion and gentleness. Be at peace with the source of your pain....find the braveness to just sit with it like you would with a close friend who’s hurting. Practice this a few times a day, whenever you feel the pulse of your pain surging. And notice when your mind wants to run, hide or rebel. When this happens, take a deep breath, re-center yourself, and begin again.

    Eventually, you will see clearly that what you feel is just a feeling, and that you can stay with what you feel without the world ending. You will see that you are in control of your feelings, and not the other way around. And you will begin to take them less seriously, hold them lightly, and give them some much-needed space in your worried brain.

    When the world is shattering, this is the time to practice.

    Practicing Right Now is Tough

    Of course, I’m certainly not downplaying the real nature of our present circumstances with COVID-19. The virus is still spreading around the world right now, and we are all facing a very difficult reality. These are not “good times.” I’m not suggesting we should rejoice at living though this disappointing and painful life experience. But it is absolutely prudent to consider the impact this event is having on our collective behavior.

    So, let’s build off the foundation we just set above. Let’s look at some tough yet necessary things we can do for ourselves right now to ease our pain and experience a little more happiness in the days and weeks ahead…

    1. Be fully present in each moment.

    Life is not lived in some distant, imagined land of someday where everything is perfect. It is lived here and now, with the reality of the way things are. Yes, by all means you can hope for and work toward an idealized tomorrow. Yet to do so, you must successfully deal with the world as it is today.

    Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on past experiences, that it is not where we should be or want to be. But the truth is, where you are now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow. So practice appreciating where you are.

    Your family members are too beautiful to ignore. Call them. Text them. Take a moment to remember how fortunate you are to be breathing. Take a look around, with your eyes earnestly open to the possibilities. Much of what you fear does not exist in the space around you. Much of what you love is closer than you realize. You are just one brief thought away from understanding the blessing that is your life.

    Remind yourself that happiness is a mindset that can only be designed into the present. It’s not a point in the future or a moment from the past, and yet this misconception hurts the masses more often than we realize. So many young people seem to think all their happiness awaits them in the years ahead, while so many older people believe their best moments are behind them. COVID-19 is only exacerbating these kinds of mindsets right now. Don’t let it get the best of you.

    2. Be consistent with healthy daily rituals.

    About a decade ago, when I was intensely focused on weight lifting and physical strength training, I gradually learned that you can’t be truly committed to anything worthwhile if you have a weak mind that’s unwilling to do tough things. To combat this, I wrote two simple questions on two different post-it notes and stuck one on my bathroom mirror and the other inside my gym locker:

    • How many daily workouts have you missed because your mind, not your body, told you that you were too tired?
    • How many daily workout reps have you skipped because your mind, not your body, said, “Nine reps is enough. Don’t worry about the tenth”?

    To this day, the answer to both questions is surely hundreds for most people, including myself. Weakness of the mind can easily get the best of us, especially when the going gets tough. And the only way to fix this weakness is daily practice.

    Far too often we think inner strength is all about how we respond to extremely dire circumstances, like actively coping with Covid-19: Can we keep our lives together even after suffering from a major illness, or losing our livelihood?

    There’s no doubt that extremely dire circumstances test our bravery, determination and inner strength, but what about less dire, daily circumstances? Perhaps just passively coping with Covid-19 from a distance, when it’s not directly and personally debilitating us.

    What we need to remember is that the mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be worked consistently in healthy ways to grow strong. If you refuse to push yourself forward a little bit every day, of course you will feel completely stuck when the going gets tough.

    But you don’t have to feel that way right now…

    Choose to do some sit-ups in your bedroom every morning when it would be easier to sleep in. Choose to do the ten reps when it would be easier to quit at nine. Choose to create something special (like a new journal entry, drawing, or family highlight video) when it would be easier to consume something mediocre on TikTok or Instagram. Choose to send loving texts to family and friends when it would be easier to watch another show on Netflix. Prove to yourself, in dozens of little ways over the next few weeks, that you have the discipline to get in the ring and wrestle with life.

    Inner strength is always built through lots of small, daily victories. It’s the individual choices we make day-to-day that build our “inner strength muscles.” We all want this kind of strength, especially in tough times, but we can’t simply think our way to it. If you want it, you have to do something about it ritualistically. It’s your positive daily rituals that prove your mental fortitude and move you in a positive direction.

    The bottom line is that as times get tougher over the next few weeks, many people will find something easy to do—they will find an easy distraction. But when things get tougher for YOU, you can join Angel and me, and find a way to stay on track with your healthy daily rituals

     

     

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