Motivation Goals: Live A Life Fulfilled, Take Chances

In the midst of disasters, political angst and mindless celebrity gossip, stories surface of those who live extraordinary lives. Some involve famous individuals, such as Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and Laurene Powell Jobs who live fabulous lives and accomplish rare feats while helping others do so because their wealth allows it.

Other anecdotes recount ordinary individuals, such as those featured annually in CNN Heroes, who work quietly against the odds. They prove that it is not only possible to do what you want to improve the world, but to do it with courage and ingenuity .

These exceptional people represent the few who stand for something beyond themselves. What motivates them every day and make them different from the majority?

  • They cope with failure differently: They expect failure sometimes, no matter how hard they work at something they love. And they learn from each failure and fix what does not work. And they never give up looking for new and better ways to try again.
  • They start with a full day: Not necessarily a packed or crowded calendar, but they live busy yet balanced lives. They take time for themselves, they are flexible, but spend most of their time accomplishing their goals because it is what they want and need to do.
  • They give with no expectation of a return: What they do for others is given freely, with no payback expected or wanted. Whether they give money, time, knowledge or materials, it comes from the heart and they consider the act of giving a vital part of life.
  • They take chances: Along with a high risk of failure comes the need to challenge themselves to think, act and work differently from what they know, or others expect. They expect ridicule and criticism from others and embrace it as a sign that someone is paying attention to their actions.
  • They laugh at life: They are serious people involved in crucial endeavors, but they still find life funny. And they laugh at themselves, too, because they don’t think of themselves as extraordinary. They tell dirty jokes and bad puns and find hilarity in everyday situations.
  • They don’t judge: They listen to all sides of a discussion, and while they express an opinion, they don’t judge any individual based on their opinion or thought. They accept different viewpoints as normal, appreciate them as part of humanity’s fabric and move on.
  • They don’t procrastinate: They have their list, and they finish that list every day, with or without outside assistance. Whether mundane or monumental, they don’t run and hide from life’s tough tasks.
  • They appear poised, confident and strong: Regardless of inner fear and doubt, the face they present to the world is fearless. They understand the power of positive thinking.
  • They know it’s not about money: They know even the poorest people can do extraordinary things. Mother Teresa lived a life of poverty and personal sacrifice and touched millions of people with her words and works of kindness.
  • They guard their health as their greatest wealth: While they love their work, their mental, spiritual and physical health comes first. Without a healthy life and mindset for themselves, nothing else matters and little else works.
  • They understand the value of money: They know what it buys and they know how to save, invest and use it for good. They don’t deny themselves, but they don’t buy based on the latest fashion or fad.
  • They reach out to others for help: They form friendships, mentoring relationships and professional alliances and use them to advance their careers and causes, discuss and solve work issues and provide resources, educational materials and seminars.

The Law of Attraction in Quantum Physics & Reverse Causality

The ceremony was beautiful. The clouds above threatened to rain in the private garden courtyard decorated with flowers in pale pink, burgundy red, and shades of green. Rain on your wedding day is good luck, they say, but the few drops held off as the couple wed in marriage. Reading much of the script in English and Spanish, the bride and the groom accepted each other into their dear families, and pledged their ever-living and eternal love for one another. It was heartfelt, touching, and clearly special.

The law of attraction states, in layman’s terms, that energy is like a magnet that attracts other similar energy; in essence making the manifestation of all your dreams possible. By re-framing thoughts, practicing mindfulness, and focusing your mind on the success of your goals, this energy you put out into the universe comes back. Reverse causality, a quantum physics concept, suggests grand theories about the space-time continuum. To illustrate the law of attraction and reverse causality further the narrative example of the wedding story will be continued.

Have you ever encountered a situation in life that seems to be a coincidence but begs you the question: could this all be a part of something grander? Something predestined and divine that your instincts say these things happened for a reason? You are not alone. Here is a concrete and enthralling example of reverse causality in the form of a quote of the bride’s father. Mr. Rosenberg, upon making his speech at his youngest daughter’s wedding:

‘First, I want to thank you all for being here for this wonderful and absolutely joyous occasion. Some of you have traveled from a far ways to be here with us and we appreciate it. Today we have a chance to join our families with the marriage of our daughter Rachel and our new son Edgar Diaz.

What you do know is that Edgar’s family is from Ecuador. We were actually live-streaming the ceremony for the family that could not be here today for them to witness from home. What you probably don’t know is that I have always had an unexplainable fascination with Ecuador. There is actually a term in quantum physics called Reverse Causality, and it draws connections between past and future events, somewhere along the way transporting information across the space-time continuum that makes these things more than coincidences.

I did a big report on Ecuador in high school, and at the time thought my inclination was just another piece of me that didn’t mean much. But here I stand today, joining my family with another wonderful family from Ecuador that has been so kind and generous and accepting. We could not be happier with the Diaz family and give our best wishes to the bride and groom…’

The concept of reverse causality begs us to redefine our sense of time. You will encounter times in life where you are drawn to certain energy forces over and over, good or bad, and it begs us to analyze the patterns we see in our lives. Could is just be coincidence that a life-long affinity for a place, object, or action presents itself to us over and over? Just like the blood and work of our long gone ancestors flows in our veins forward in time with prior generations affecting the heredity and inclinations of future generations, could future events affect events in the past, like suggested by reverse causality? This calls into the question of fate.

The law of attraction states that we are all able to attract energy into our lives with the power of our minds by practicing awareness, introspection, and altering our thoughts to manifest a better life. The bride’s father would never have known that his future daughter would join their family with an Ecuadorian one, but it all still seems to fit into a neat little puzzle: a hodgepodge or collage of all the little pieces that add up to create the whole of our lives. Whether we believe there is a connection between the two or not, we all sense when a coincidence is actually meant to be.

To use the law of attraction to your favor take care of the basics of health, including your mind-body connection. Remaining positive and full of hope will always draw forces of caring and kindness to you. Any working plan or goal starts with an intention. Focus on what it is you want in life, then look for ways to obtain them. Positive thinking, re-framing negative thoughts, and living in the moment in a mindful way will all attract the best energy to you. Whether you believe in fate or not, physical laws state that energy flows, and energy attracts other energy. Be mindful of what you attract by focusing on your dreams and goals, the rest will all fall into place.

For Optimal Health, An Apple a Day Really Does Work!

We’ve heard it all our lives: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Moms tucked apples in lunch bags for school, gave them as after-school snacks, and packed them in picnics. We grew up with the delicious orbs and now give them to our own children. But do they keep the doctor away? Studies say a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating including apples for many medical conditions does, indeed, keep the doctor away. The trouble is that many don’t get their six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Here’s why an apple a day really does work.

Apples Keep the Doctor Away on a Cellular Level

No, we’re not talking about smart phones. All of life begins in the cells of the body. These can be damaged by the black sheep of the family called free radicals. They are produced by the cells and pick fights with other components of the cells, sometimes destroying them altogether. The most important is oxygen, which, when combined with lots of things (think of the rust on a car) causes oxidation. The condition caused is called oxidative stress.

Why Eating an Apple is a Good Idea: Antioxidants and flavonoids from plant-based foods help knock out free radicals. This canceling out of the oxygenating free radicals means they are washed out of the system, the damage is repaired and life goes on. Thank an apple for that.

An Apple a Day Cuts Cholesterol

The cells are made of a fatty substance called cholesterol. Cholesterol makes hormones, too. Too much of it and the arteries get clogged up when it sticks to the sides. That spells a heart attack and causes 12 percent of them. The confusing part is that there is a “good” cholesterol or HDL and a “bad” cholesterol or LDL (remember it as loser). Just remember it’s a good idea to keep the good cholesterol or HDL (remember it as hip or happy) within acceptable levels (below 4.0).

Why Eating an Apple is a Good Idea: The antioxidants in apples aren’t the only things that fight bad cholesterol. The pectin or soluble fibre in apples also fights the bad cholesterol or LDL. Studies have shown that just eating two apples per day staved off heart attack and stroke in record time.

Apples Aid Those with Asthma and COPD

Breathing works by drawing in oxygen into the lungs unimpeded. The oxygen goes through small tubes or hairs called bronchi. In a picture of the lungs, they resemble the branches of a tree. The air goes in as the bronchi open, and goes back out as the bronchi close. The average person will never know anything is wrong when he breathes. Asthma occurs when the bronchi or the hair-like breathing tubes in the lungs get irritated. COPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The obstruction consists of the bronchi or the hairs being stuck open with no way to close. Either of these conditions cause the chest to close up, the person unable to breathe, and is frightening in the extreme. Bronchodilators and rescue inhalers keep the person able to breathe clearly.

Why Eating an Apple is a Good Idea: Inhaling air pollution, chemicals and other airway irritants cause oxidative stress. Some free radicals enter the lungs through the pollution and cause their brand of havoc. Antioxidants will fix that. However, the flavonoids in apples block the chemicals that cause the asthmatic or COPD response in the first place. Apples, along with other plant-based foods, contain Vitamins C, A and B complex, all of which are antioxidants. These are anti-inflammatories, as well as keeping the mucus membranes healthy and functioning. You have to eat the skin, though, because that’s where all the good stuff is packed.

Pre-Diabetic? Diabetic? Crunch an Apple!

Insulin is a hormone produced in the islets of Langerhans inside the pancreas. When food enters the body, insulin rides along to take the sugars to the cells. With that said, Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Type 2 is when it produces enough, but the cells don’t want it. This is called insulin resistance.

Why Eating an Apple is a Good Idea: Apples contain polyphenols, which are found in plant-based foods. They protect the body against all kinds of terrible diseases. One of them is called quercetin. This polyphenol slows down absorption of sugars in the body. The pancreas has time, therefore, to produce insulin, the insulin has time to take the sugars to the cells, and the cells accept the sugars.

In pre-diabetes, this equates to no stoppage of sugar absorption or metabolism. The body functions normally. In diabetics, eating two apples per day has the effect of lowering blood sugar levels and maintaining them.

Overweight? Getting Close? Eat an Apple!

It’s funny that the fruit for which a certain body type is named should be its salvation. The first body type is the pear, which means fat is stored in the hips and thighs, making them larger than the torso. The second is the apple, the body type that looks round in the middle, because that’s where the fat is stored. Both are bad for the health, but the “apple” body type is worse, experts say, because of its proximity to the heart.

Why Eating an Apple is a Good Idea: Apples are 85 percent water. This alone is filling, but add its fibre content to the equation, and weight loss is the answer. They are lower in calories altogether. Eating one just before a meal means the caloric intake will be less, much like cutting your portions by one third.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t only about eating right. It’s about exercise, quality sleep, fresh air and quitting smoking and drinking. It’s about mindfulness used for stress control instead of more chemicals in the body. Help all this along with a bright, shiny apple!

Body, Mind & Spirit: The Power Of A Smile

Molecules Of Emotion

In Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, molecular biologist and neuroscientist Candace Pert offers a wealth of information on how thoughts and emotions affect our physical health and well being. As it turns out, the biochemicals associated with positive mental-emotional states act as internally-generated medicine: nourishing, protecting and healing our physical bodies in all variety of ways. On the other hand, biochemicals associated with harsh or negative mental-emotional state tend to be associated with a toxic or imbalanced internal environment. So it’s obviously to our advantage, health-wise, to generate uplifting thoughts and emotions.

And what better to generate and express positive, wholesome and health-giving feelings than a smile? We may take smiling for granted: considering it as something that happens — or doesn’t happen — quite naturally. But yoga and meditation teachers from a variety of traditions have understood the potentially profound power of this simple gesture, not only as an expression of health and happiness; but also as a tool for consciously creating health and happiness.

From A Healthy Person, Happiness Shines Forth

B.K.S. Iyengar — one of the yoga tradition’s most influential teachers — offers this pearl of wisdom:

“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

Here Mr. Iyengar is pointing out to us the primary “symptom” of a skillful yoga practice. When we’re on the right track, he is saying, our experience will more and more be that of an all-pervading happiness. Whether this happiness comes in the form of joy, bliss, ecstasy, rapture – or just a subtle underlying current of satisfaction and deep contentment – it very likely will express itself naturally as a smile.

Such happiness, born from deep within, tends effortlessly to share itself, in the manner of the sun “sharing” its rays. Paramahansa Yogananda — another esteemed ambassador of the yoga tradition — expresses this insight in the form of a beautiful aspiration:

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”

Sending Smile-Energy To Your Muscles & Bones

Mantak Chia — well-known teacher of Taoist Yoga (aka Qigong) — joins in with this reminder of the benefit of maintaining a gentle inner smile, i.e. of making it a habit to send smile-energy inwardly to our bones, muscles, cells and organs – until the whole “republic” of our body becomes a single smiling “society” —

“Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself.” 

Yoga Of The Mouth: The Power Of A Smile

But what if we’re not in the mood to smile? What if we’re feeling grumpy, sad or agitated? Isn’t putting on a smile, in such circumstances, a bit disingenuous? Here’s the playful and insightful answer offered by the renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh:

“To meditate well, we have to smile, a lot … I always say that a smile can be a practice, a kind of yoga practice: Yoga of the mouth. You just smile even if you don’t feel joy and you’ll see after you smile that you’ll feel differently. Sometimes the mind takes the initiative and sometimes you have to allow the body to take the initiative. Sometimes the spirit leads, and sometimes the body can lead.” 

So next time you’re feeling a bit cranky, or just out of sorts, give it a try – this “yoga of the mouth” – and see what happens. Try not to think of it as being a “fake smile” or a “social smile” or a “manipulative smile” – but rather as a subtle and potent form of yoga practice: a truly empowering tool for transforming – in a sublimely positive direction – the terrain of your human body-mind.

Fitness for Everyone: Yoga

Yoga is an ancient practice dating back many thousands of years, and originating in northern India. The practice of yoga gives its participants physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, and it aims to bring harmony between the mind and the body while encouraging healthy living in the process. Better yet, yoga is a great form of exercise for people at any fitness level. Professional athletes, couch potatoes, kids, and grandmas alike can enjoy the yoga poses with modifications as needed.

Yoga “helps to open joints and strengthen core muscles” according to Tania Tipene, personal trainer, and owner of Nurture Wellness Now, in an article for the Aiken, South Carolina Standard. Indeed, greater flexibility and expanded energy, as well as protecting the body from injury and helping with weight loss are some of yoga’s best benefits.

Another great perk of practicing yoga is that it helps with anxiety and relaxation. Doing yoga poses often helps people deal with stress and unwind mentally, and the relaxation techniques can also help with chronic pain. Patients troubled with arthritis, severe headaches, lower back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome say that yoga practice lessens pain, lowers blood pressure, and allows them to sleep.    Finally, learning to breathe properly is a great benefit of yoga as well. While going through the yoga poses, practitioners learn to listen to their breath as they hold each of the postures. This has the unintended benefit of drawing away all the things running around in their brain at any given time and provides peace.

Beginner Yoga

Finding a beginner’s yoga class is relatively easy. Chances are, your local community recreation center offers them. It’s easy to get started with yoga because the only equipment you typically need is a yoga mat or thick towel. For those with knee problems, chair yoga is a better bet until fitness level improves. Either way, yoga instructors are happy to work with people to show them how to modify poses for their current fitness level. It is important to work with an experienced yoga practitioner initially so that you learn the proper techniques.

Static beginner yoga poses build balance and strength and are held for lengthening periods as fitness improves. These include the Downward Dog, Warrior Pose, Bridge Pose, Tree Pose, and Cobra.

Advanced Yoga Practices

Improved physical strength, balance, and ability lead many yoga aficionados to more advanced and demanding forms of yoga. This ranges from simply tackling more advanced yoga poses, like the firefly pose and lotus pose to adding more equipment, like weights, or silks to practice aerial yoga.  Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga, is a lengthy and vigorous exercise done in a studio heated to 105 degrees. Ashtanga yoga is a series of physically challenging poses great for athletic people who enjoy structure and quiet. Vinyasa yoga is a constantly moving form, often accompanied by music as one pose flows into the next. Yin yoga is perfect for relaxation, and its yogis focus on lengthening muscles, especially those in the hips and spine. By sustaining poses for extended periods, these poses help release stress while encouraging strength-building. Restorative yoga is similar but uses props that help to support the body comfortably while releasing tension.

Learning the basic yoga poses, and the proper yoga techniques is the most important thing about beginning any yoga practice. For that reason, we emphatically suggest taking a course from a certified and experienced yoga professional. They will work with beginners to ensure poses are correct and that injuries are reduced or eliminated.

Yoga is the perfect form of exercise; easy to get started, with immediate benefits, and challenging over the long-term. There are many forms of yoga for advanced practitioners, and most people see them as further challenges along their yoga journey.

How Spirituality Can Play Into Your Counseling

Your Sense of Self 

Spirituality is deeply personal, and connects you to a higher self. If you’re religious, that can often be a part of what invokes your sense of self – your understanding of your own self-image, and perspectives about who you are. If you have an internal sense of self, this means you tend to judge your actions based on an internal set of standards, whether this be your values or your understanding of who you are. If you have an external sense of self, you tend to judge actions based on an external force, like religion or external responsibilities. Both of these senses of self have a role in spirituality – it may be embedded into your internal set of standards, or be an external force that helps guide your actions.

In these cases, when spirituality is of value and importance to your personal actions – it makes sense to include an element of spirituality in your counseling sessions. This is why spiritual counseling can be a beneficial source to finding true peace and happiness within your life, as it connects what is important to you into the process.

What is Spiritual Counseling?

Spiritual counseling involves helping people through their spiritual growth. It is a very personal form of counseling, and differs for each individual. Spiritual counselors help individuals find the meaning of life, deal with pain, heal from grief, and also provide guidance in other personal topics.

Spiritual counselors often also represent specific religious beliefs, for example, taking a Christian or other religious perspective on personal issues. This makes spiritual counseling particularly effective for individuals with strong religious ties, or individuals hoping to create a stronger religious connection. In this way, as spiritual counseling helps individuals by taking into consideration their spiritual ties, it helps invoke growth and healing.

How Can Spiritual Counseling Help You?

If you’re considering spiritual counseling for you or a loved one, it’s important to note the various benefits that it offers. People don’t often know themselves as well as they think – having a third-party with experience and understanding in counseling can help you reach a sense of understanding that you may otherwise have been unable to find.

For example, when individuals self-evaluate, we tend to paint an inaccurate picture of ourselves. We may unrealistically positive views of ourselves, and use self-enhancement in an attempt to feel better about negative outcomes. Alternatively, we risk having unrealistically negative views about ourselves, and use self-effacement to explain why positive things don’t happen in our lives. Either way, these unrealistic views have negative consequences on your own personal journeys and search for happiness, and impede personal growth.

Spiritual counseling, and counseling in general, can offer a secondary perspective to situations that you may not have considered before, helping you grow and find enjoyment in your life. The following are ways that spiritual counseling can help you and your loved ones through difficult times.

  1. It forms a deeper, more personal connection with you and your spiritual source, allowing you to heal.
  2. It lets you achieve forgiveness, helping you move forward from your past.
  3. You’ll learn relaxation and meditation techniques to reduce your stress levels and achieve a sense of bliss.
  4. Helps you uncover and address underlying issues in your life, allowing you to grow as a person and grow in your spirituality.
  5. It helps you find new happiness and wholeness in your life.

Is Spiritual Counseling Right For You?

If healing, spirituality, and personal growth are important to you – it may be the case that spiritual counseling will help you achieve happiness in your life. If you’re confused about your feelings, but know that religion and relaxation are meaningful to you, spiritual counseling is a solution worth exploring.

Food Prepping: Think Simple, Safe, Sanitary

We eat every day to maintain health and wellness, to feed the mind and body so they perform as required and to satisfy to soul with various tastes, textures and smells. But before we eat, we must prepare ingredients, a task that requires care or we risk contracting a variety of illnesses.

Food preparation is a major responsibility in the chain of consumption; here are 10 ways to make it safer:

  • Know your food supplier and sources: Where does your food come from? If you shop a local grocer or the neighborhood farmer’s market, do you talk to the suppliers and ask them about their products? Can the suppliers trace the production chain for their goods, assuring the healthiest and safest food? If you shop a chain grocery store, research their buying practices and read labels. Find out where vegetables are grown, whether their seafood supply is sustainable and which meats have no antibiotics.
  • The state of your kitchen: Keep your knives clean and well-sharpened. Clean your sinks, dish drainage racks and dishwashers regularly with a two-to-one ratio mix of vinegar and baking soda (this mixture is safe for all dishwashers; the common use of bleach in a dishwasher is not recommended for those with a stainless-steel interior). Check your baking sheets, pots and pans for food buildup and clean by heating them with water and a mix of equal parts white vinegar and baking soda. After two to three minutes, remove the hot pans and simmering liquid from the stove, let it cool slightly and the buildup should come off easily.
  • Cross-contamination cessation: Have at least two cutting boards in the kitchen: one for meat, poultry and seafood and one for fruits and vegetables. Plastic cutting boards are easier to sanitize, but constant use results in more nicks and grooves in the boards, where bacteria hide. Wood is harder to clean, but resists those deep scratches better than plastic.
  • Wash up: Use hot, soapy water on your hands, utensils, cutting boards and counter surfaces, before and after food contact.
  • Take the chill out: Defrost meats, seafood and poultry correctly, using the refrigerator or a container of cold water, rather than leaving products on the kitchen counter. Counter top thawing leads to uneven thawing, which breeds bacteria.
  • Looks cooked, but check it: Use a food thermometer to check for doneness. Cooking time is not an indicator, nor are the pop-up devices often included in meat and poultry products.
  • Pack leftovers promptly: Put leftovers away within two hours of use. If a refrigerator or freezer is unavailable, use a portable cooler and ice packs.
  • Less prep is more: Complicated recipes and elaborate sauces with many ingredients are fine for a special occasion. But the more prep required, the more chances exist for contamination. Eat healthy foods, simply made and presented as often as possible.
  • Food storage for safety: Store meats, fish and seafood on the lowest shelf, so blood or juices do not drip on other foods. Do not use raw meat marinade as a dip or sauce for the cooked meat, unless you boiled first. Check your refrigerator and freezer temperatures with a thermometer; a refrigerator reading no higher than 41 degrees F. and a freezer reading of 0 degrees F. are safe.
  • A guide for outdoor grilling: Before you use the grill, clean the grates with a wire brush and the vinegar and baking soda solution used for the pots and pans, or a commercial grill cleaner. Spray the grates lightly with oil to prevent food from sticking. Do not use the same platter for both raw and cooked meats, unless you wash it.

5 Ways to Learn Which Inner Dialogues Most Influence Your Life.

How aware are you about what you’re thinking and saying to yourself? Every thought has a subtle power to shape your reality, so let’s tap into the source of things with these five easy self-awareness exercises.

1. Do a silent staycation.

One of the best ways to become more aware of your inner dialogue is by taking one of your days off to stay at home and be silent as long as possible. In order to maintain your silence, it requires you to avoid conversations with other people, so you’ll have no one else’s thoughts to distract you except your own. You can take this time to meditate, contemplate and journal.

2. Record yourself speaking your thoughts aloud.

Just say everything that pops into your head, like your stream of consciousness is playing out in a movie that you’re just watching. Then play it back after an hour to give yourself a fresh perspective on what you’re thinking. Taking a break from your thoughts and reflecting on them later gives you new eyes to see your life with.

3. Start a diary for daily introspection. Then play the “rewrite-your-life” game.

After a month, compare what you wrote today to what you wrote a month ago. You’ll start noticing patterns. Now take something you wrote more than once that was negative — it could be a complaint about your co-worker, reflecting on how exhausted you feel or feeling sad about not being able to afford that one thing you wish you had right now — and convert it into something positive. For example, you could write down one little thing you appreciate about your co-worker. If you’re feeling really bold, take it a step further and tell your co-worker tomorrow how you honestly appreciate that one thing they do. They’re likely to respond in such a positive way that it can totally help change the downward spiral that trapped you at work. Little by little, you can reprogram yourself to become more aware of what you’re thinking and take charge of your happiness.

4. Interview yourself.

It helps to record this conversation with yourself when you’re alone somewhere so that you can express yourself more fully. Ask yourself these questions and answer them aloud:

  • If I could change anything about myself, what would I change and why?
  • For one day, I have an unlimited amount of money, so what will I do with it?
  • What are three things I wish I knew how to do? Why can’t I learn one of them?
  • Describe one thing that you wish others could understand about you.

5. Sketch a mind map to discover those frequent thoughts you have that influence you the most.

A famous quote by Frank Outlaw describes how you should:

Watch your thoughts. They become words.

Watch your words. They become actions.

Watch your actions. They become habits…

You can see where this goes, and soon your habits shape your character and your destiny. Often, we can easily see what’s happening outside without understanding the thoughts we had in the first place that led up to this moment we’re experiencing right now. That’s why in this mind map, we’re going to work backwards to uncover those “source thoughts” and see which ones could use a change.

Start by writing down one good habit that you do almost every day. Maybe you always go to work on time. Write that down and circle it. Now make an actions circle where you list all the most-important things you have done to make sure that you can arrive at work on time daily. Draw an arrow from your actions circle to your good habit. Go back further now and write down some of the things you say to yourself and what others have said to you that motivated you to get to work punctually every day. Connect your words circle to your actions. Finally, draw your thoughts circle where you list the most impactful thoughts you had that started this chain of events. It could be the moment when you started worrying that you’ll never get another job as good as this one if they fire you for showing up late every day, for instance.

Now follow these steps, starting by writing down a bad habit and working backwards the same way we just described. When you finish this introspective chain, realize that you can change this habit easily once you change the way you were thinking that led to your bad habit.

Self awareness is a gift.

One of the greatest benefits of developing more awareness about your inner dialogue is that it gives you the freedom to change. Without self awareness, you can’t progress closer to your goals, so don’t waste time in regret. Start focusing on what you will become.

Stay tuned to our blog for more great inspiration to live your best life.

Five Ways You Can Start Believing in Yourself

Let’s face it. We all face those times in our lives when we struggle with self-confidence. Sometimes this may last for only a day or two. Other times, unfortunately, this struggle can last for much longer. If you find yourself struggling with your self-esteem, now is the time to believe in yourself. There are several ways you can do this.

Focus on Your Good Qualities

No matter how much people get down on themselves, everyone has good qualities. While you can just think about them in your head, listing them can help you better see your good qualities. Even if you start with something as simple as that you can whistle really well or that you are good at finding bargains at discount stores, list your good qualities. If you are struggling to recognize good qualities, enlist the help of your family and friends. You may want to make this an ongoing thing, where you add to your list as you think of more things.

Look at What You Have Achieved

Often, people get down on themselves based upon what they have not achieved. Instead of focusing on what you think you should have accomplished, focus on the things that you have achieved, particularly obstacles you have overcome. Make a list of all the difficult things you have achieved or overcome. This will be different for each person. If it was hard, and you overcame it, include it on your list.

For some people, graduating from college (or even high school) is a big accomplishment. For others, not panicking when they got stuck in rush hour traffic in Chicago would be one of their biggest accomplishments. Even talking to your cute coworker or going a month without drinking any carbonated beverages could be something to celebrate for some people. As you create this list, you will realize that you can do difficult things.

Achieve a Difficult Goal

Once you have realized that you can do difficult times, it is time to achieve a difficult goal, especially if it’s been a while since you did something hard. The key to this is that you need to set a goal that is achievable while also being challenging. If the goal is not a challenge, it likely will not make you feel better about yourself. If the goal is too difficult, you will get discouraged. Find that balance. The good news is that you can adjust your goal if you set one that is a little too easy.

Look for Those Who Bring Positivity

When you are around people a lot, their attitudes will rub off on you. Avoid spending time with people who are always negative, especially those who work to make you feel bad about yourself. It is especially important to avoid people who are emotionally abusive. These people thrive on making sure you feel inferior to them. As you surround yourself instead with people who radiate positivity, you will likely start to feel more positive yourself.

Avoid Comparing

At times, we all play the comparison game. It’s easy to feel bad about ourselves when we begin comparing ourselves to our family and friends. You feel like you aren’t as successful as your high school best friend because she has an amazing job. You feel like you aren’t as smart as your younger sister because she recently completed her Ph.D. from Harvard. You become convinced that you will never be as great of a mother as that lady at your church who has ten kids and finds time to volunteer in all their classrooms.

With the invention of social media, it has become even harder to avoid comparing yourself to others. Unfortunately, this comparison has had a negative effect on people’s self-esteems. While it is not always easy, when you begin comparing yourself to others, stop. Instead, focus on remembering your good qualities and all the great things you have achieved. To avoid comparing yourself to others, you may need to take a break from social media or at least limit your time on it.

These are just a few of the ways that you can believe in yourself and achieve a higher self-esteem. One of the biggest keys is to work to stay positive, even when positivity is difficult.

How to Gain the Motivation to Achieve All Your Goals

Summer fun is ending and people are beginning to think about the start of the school year. It is a common time of year to set new goals. Goal setting is the easy part though. Many goals are quickly abandoned once people realize what has to be put in to achieve them. It seems insurmountable to be able to achieve goals and overcome challenges. Stopping to think about the ways you optimize your chances of success in achieving your goals is essential.

  • Visualize your achievement. Oftentimes when we begin to think about our goals we are too quick to look at all the steps it will take to achieve them. It is important to keep in the forefront of your mind the reasons you have for your goal. Maybe you want to live a healthier lifestyle or reduce your stress. Think about all the benefits that will bring you. You will have a more carefree life with less pain. If you can not think of reasons why you want to achieve your goal you should reconsider.
  • Set realistic goals with time limits. When you are striving for self-improvement it is easy to feel overwhelmed. This is why you should set goals that you believe you can achieve. It is impossible to fix every habit or change every bad behavior that you have overnight. Adding a time limit to goals when possible is also a smart idea. It will give you a time frame so you will not procrastinate and you can accomplish your goals sooner.
  • Break up your goal into sub-goals. Many times people have a broad goal that they want to accomplish. Something like, I want to eat healthier. There is power in transforming the goal into small steps. For eating healthier that might include looking up information on healthy eating and healthy recipes, planning a shopping list and making a trip to the grocery store. When you break up your goal into sub-goals you will be able to see what you need to do to accomplish the goal but you will also gain a sense of accomplishment with each sub-goal you achieve.
  • Consider your obstacles ahead of time. Everything worth achieving in life is not easy. When you are just starting with your goal things might seem like smooth-sailing. However, inevitably you will run into a problem. It is important to think about what this issue would look like for you. Maybe you have a tendency to put things off or you are anxious about starting something new. Think about the ways you have been able to beat your obstacle before.
  • Document your progress. Feel free to consider your progress with each milestone that you pass. Let yourself share the good news with others, pamper yourself or reward yourself in any way you know how.
  • Decide when to start a new goal. Taking on multiple goals at once can be overwhelming. However, you will get to a point when you have accomplished your original goal. Once this happens you should consider if you want to achieve more in the same domain or start again somewhere new. Once you have progressed in an area it would be easy to add additional goals. Before you do that though, think about if it means more to you to progress with a different goal in a different area.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you plan to start conquering a goal. You will face challenges but you will be able to overcome them. Make sure to keep an eye on our blog to see frequent posts about goal setting and a variety of things you can add to you life to improve your well-being.