Everyone is looking for something simple and quick to change their lives for the positive. I can’t blame them. We live in a nanosecond world. We can look up just about anything and find answers to it on the internet. There are ‘quick fix’ pills for weight loss and even feeling happy. Most of these are just band-aids and offer quick fixes that treat symptoms but do not address problems.
I have found there is one thing that I do that touches on every area of my life. Having one of these can positively impact my emotional well-being, my productivity, my fitness journey and my life in general. The best part about this tool is that there are many customizable options. It can involve nothing more complex than a pen and piece of paper. It can also be portable and be in your phone, laptop, tablet or any other device. This secret to an amazing life can be had for little to no financial investment but can literally be worth millions of dollars over your life time. It requires very little stress or work to put into action, and what little work is involved is actually quite fun, but the returns can bring you inner peace and joy. As you grow and evolve this tool can grow and evolve with you.
To recap, this tool is inexpensive, takes very little time, requires very little effort, the effort it does require is enjoyable, it is customizable to the individual, it is portable, it can bring you inner peace and save you millions of dollars over your life time. One additional item I forgot to mention is it can cut the amount of time it takes you to reach a goal in half. Interested to know what this simple, yet powerful tool is? This secret to an amazing life that can do all I described and more is – a list.
A list may not sound all that sexy when it comes to changing your life, or that powerful for that matter. Let me assure you it is. Let us take the area of happiness as an example. In our lives there are lots of things that bring us joy. How many of you have a certain movie you like to watch because it makes you laugh, cry tears of joy, or just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy? I know I do. In fact, I have several of them. Do you know what happens when I come home feeling depressed, angry or just in need of a lift? I cannot remember any of those damn movies! Lucky for me, I have created a list of them. I regularly workout 5 to 6 days a week. There are also about 4 to 5 days a week I do not feel like working out. Guess what? In my phone I have a list titled ‘Workout Motivation’. It is a collection of videos that get me fired up and ready to go. I also have a playlist titled ‘Workout Music’ which is music for, you guessed it, working out. In my book A Happy Life for Busy People, I advocate that people create a ‘Happy playlist’. That is simply a list of songs that get you feeling good. Having this stored in a YouTube playlist or on your Ipod will make quick work of getting out of that funk you are in.
If you are anything like myself, we have days that can be extremely funky. We might need to call in several tools to help improve our emotional state. I have just the thing! This occurred to me as I was typing this and I think can be a great help to all of us. Create a Happy Journal. A what? Get a small notebook (or fancy journal if you like) and put your lists in there. Movies that make you happy. Meals you particularly enjoy. Spots in nature that just bring you peace. Pictures of vacations. Books you enjoy reading. Places you go because the service in friendly, the view is nice or because there are more dogs than people.
Why is it important to create these lists? Why the sense of urgency? When your in a negative mindset it can be next to impossible to think of things to make you happy. As I tell many of the people whom I have the pleasure of speaking with, the time to learn to swim is on the shore, not when the ship is sinking. If I waited to look up something to motivate me to go to the gym, I would never make it to the gym and end up watching videos of panda bears learning to walk or something similar. If I have my handy ‘Happy Journal’, I can sit in my most comfortable clothes watching a movie that makes me smile while ordering my favorite pizza and drinking my favorite rum. All of these would be listed in my ‘Happy Journal’. Here is the great part about making these lists – they are fun themselves!
The lists are ever evolving. My ‘happy playlist’ started with 12 songs. It is now up to 215. Every time I hear a song I enjoy, I add it to the list. Same holds true for many of the other lists of things that make me happy. If I put them all into a handy book of “Things that make Neil happy” it would be a very valuable resource. Not only for increasing the joy in my life, but think if you had a list such as the ones we mentioned for someone you cared about? Then, if you wanted to make them happy you would know places they would like to eat, what wines they enjoyed, what movies they like to watch, places they like to go and a million other lists of things that make them happy. How much easier would it be to go shopping for that perfect gift? Knowing this information could be priceless when you are doing your best to cheer up the one you love after a tough day.
Make your lists today. Tough days always surprise us. This time be ready! Be equipped with your secret to an amazing life, your Happy Journal. A book filled with lists of different things that bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart! Start today and tomorrow you will know what to do to increase the happiness in your life!
How many times have you heard, or even said yourself “I’ll be happy when – ” Have you also stopped to notice these people are rarely, if ever, happy? The secret of happiness is this – Happiness is not a journey but a way of traveling. Our life is primarily made up of being on journeys. If we tie our happiness to destinations, which are far and few between, our happiness will be, you guessed it, far and few between. This seems like a foolish way to approach things does it not? That is exactly what you are doing when you say, “I’ll be happy when”
The funny thing is, when most people reach their ‘When’ they are still seldom happy. They either discover the truth in that old adage ‘the grass is not always greener’ or they spend countless wasted time worrying if their ‘when’ may be stolen from them. As you can see in our quote above, when you tie your happiness to a reason, the reason can be taken away from you. We see this when couples separate, jobs are lost or someone passes away. Sure, those are all times to express remorse and be said. What we are saying is do not let your happiness depend on an outside situation.
Instead of looking for a reason to be happy, I suggest looking for every reason to be happy. Here is a personal example of this. Today I went for a walk in the park. I was hoping to find some painted rocks that a group of people hide in the neighborhood. As I walked for the first mile I saw nothing. I noticed I became a bit discouraged. I stopped myself right there. “Are you saying that if you do not find a colored rock you will not be happy?” People walking by began to look at me funny. Not only because I was yelling at someone, but I seemed to be the only one present. Little did they know that was exactly who I was yelling at. When you ask yourself a pointed question like this one, the absurdity of the situation becomes clear.
It was then I began to feel a little foolish. Still not very positive, but better than discouraged. I looked around me. It was a very pleasant day. The sun was just setting behind a baseball diamond where a family was gathered. The temperature was just cool enough to walk without discomfort. Then I looked down and saw a family of ducks. the young ducks seemed to be exploring the park with a keen sense of fun and adventure. I was missing all of this because I was sad I had not found some of the great works of art created by the members of the West Allis Rocks Facebook group.
With an additional spring in my step and enjoying the evening that much more I walked another mile, smiling all the way. A funny note is that although I did not find any rocks as I searched diligently in my first mile, as I just walked and looked around for everything I could happy about in the second mile I found 4 rocks! When you make happiness a way of traveling instead of a destination, great things just seem to happen!
Here we are, halfway up the staircase. It is a great chance to stop and look at how far we have come. It is also a good time to see although we have made it halfway up this staircase, there is still another half to climb. Unlike the office stairs after taco Tuesday, climbing these steps will not cause us to be winded, but put more wind in our sails and happiness in our lives. Without further anticipation, let us get to day number 5!
Today’s post is another good struggle for me. I say ‘good struggle’ because although it is something I have to work on, that means there is more joy to be had in my already joyful life. Talk less, listen more. This is great advice. In fact, it is the first piece of advice I give someone looking to improve any relationship in their life. You can learn so much by actively listening to the other party in your life. They will tell you what they enjoy. What makes them happy, sad, angry and a host of other emotions. Listen long and careful enough and they just might share their hopes and dreams with you.
Here is another great thought to ponder. When we talk we are only repeating what we already know. When we listen is the only time we have an opportunity to learn something new. That one really caught my attention. Even reading, which I love to do, is a form of listening. You are really just listening to yourself.
Here is why this is such a struggle for me. I love talking. I am good at it. 23 years as a bartender. 30 years in customer service and now 7 or so as a DJ. I am good at talking and relating to people. Sometimes I even feel rude if I don’t ‘keep the conversation going’. Especially with people who are not so good at talking. While this can be done with caution, you will still only get to know even a person who is very shy by listening. It may be a struggle for them, but by listening you give them room to express themselves.
Lately, I have even learned somethings listening to our friends in nature. I am learning which call matches up with which bird. I am listening to know the sound a deer makes in the woods long before you see it. Listening has added so much to my world. Please feel free to share how listening has added happiness and joy to your world.
Welcome to your second step to happiness. Sadly, the first day of this series did not get the amount of engagement that I had hoped. I think this is was in part due to some problems on the social media end of things. I am truly hoping more of you enjoy and get involved starting on day 2. Remember you can always go back and do day one as well. A quick reminder, we are starting from the bottom of the staircase and climbing up.
Before we begin day 2, allow me to share my experience with day 1. Complain less, appreciate more was our instruction on day 1. The day after I wrote that post I found myself on the way to work complaining (in my head which may be the worst place to complain) about having to leave my beautiful lady at home. I was noticing how wonderful the weather was that day. This had followed 3 straight days of rain. I was feeling envious of the people I drove past who were out taking a leisurely walk, or sharing that walk with their favorite furry friend.
My very next thought was enlightening, but not in the normal way. I believe it went something like “WHAT THE -” fill in that last word at your discretion. I couldn’t believe that I had just wrote about complaining less and appreciating more and here I was doing the opposite. Proof, that when it comes to working on developing an amazing life and amazing mindset, there is no finish line. I immediately looked around determined to change my perspective. I had a job to go to. In this crazy time, there are many who are without. I would be able to work at least a portion of my day outside. I had the pleasure of driving through a nice neighborhood and watching people walking, with or without a dog, in a nice setting. I had an amazing lady that I did have to leave, true, but that I would be able to come home to as well. I must confess I did all of this appreciating because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. The benefit I got was an instant change of state. I felt lighter, colors began to pop and become deeper. I recall this from doing an exercise where you look for things you love as you travel on. I went on to have a much better day that if I had continued focusing on what was wrong and not what was right.
Watch less, do more. That is today’s step to happiness. Watching can sure lead to some happiness. Watching your favorite romantic movie can give you that warm fuzzy feeling. How much happier would you feel if you applied some of those same romantic gestures to your own relationship? Watching the big game on television? That can certainly be fun. Going out with some friends or the family to do something active would not only make us feel happy, but be a great deal better for us physically. Lastly, one of my favorite examples. I enjoy watching nature programs on big game in Africa, or the wildlife in our oceans. Granted, I take far too few tropical vacations to explore the ocean, and have never had the pleasure of visiting the great continent of Africa yet. What I can do is get out and explore nature in my own town. I go for walks through parks with my mom looking for nature. Even while at work doing some landscaping I can appreciate nature. Margie and I love going birdwatching. I must confess to wanting to increase my knowledge of our local feathered friends.
How about you? How can you get off of the sidelines and start being more a part of the game of life? I am looking for great ideas and to enjoy some of your stories in the comments below!
Happiness is a gift we all deserve. Whatever you are engaged in at the moment you are reading this, I encourage you to stop, take a minute and think of something that makes you happy. Maybe it is the pet you have waiting for you at home, or is sitting on your lap right now. A smile on the face of someone you love. A vacation you are looking forward to, or one you were recently on. The sunshine you felt on your face this morning or the beautiful moonlight you saw last night.
The truth is the world is full of little things that will make us happy if we just take the time to stop and notice them. Sure, there are lots of things on the opposite side of the spectrum and it is only human nature to think about…or worry about them. What does that ultimately do for us? It serves only to make us emotionally and, if left unchecked, often physically sick. Last post we talked about combating fear with hard work. Once we have done all we can do to address a situation that has us concerned, we should clearly shift our focus to something that will bring us joy.
If this seems difficult to do for you, or if you are looking for a straight-forward method to put this into action, here is what I suggest. Pick a time of day on which you can fairly rely. If you have a regularly scheduled lunch hour or perhaps right after you leave the office? You can do what I am about to suggest several times a day. In fact, the more you do it, the better it will be, but let us start out with at least one time. Now set an alarm on your phone. For five minutes devote your thoughts entirely to things that make you happy. Perhaps jot a few down as you are thinking of them. This would be good reference material for next time. Close your eyes and think about them. If you are thinking about sunshine, imagine how warm it feels on your skin. Try to engage as many senses as you can. How about the smell of fresh–baked chocolate chip cookies? Imagine the feel of the warm cookie in your hand, or better yet melting in your mouth. When the alarm goes off in five minutes you may want to keep on with this. If that works for you go with it. If not, that’s ok too. Sometimes it is good to walk away wanting more. It will help us look forward to next time.
Giving yourself this amazing gift of 5 minutes of happiness will do wonders for you. It will bring a sense of peace and joy to your heart. It will allow you to deal with the inevitable stresses in life with a lot more ease. Feel free to share some of your happy thoughts and how this works for you in the comments below.
As the thought of quarantine ending is in the back of our minds, a lot of people are becoming nervous. Blondes have become brunettes, brunettes have become grey. Some people are even trying their best to impersonate a hair stylist. Not recommended. Myself, I am getting to the point of needing a nice little trim as well. Then there are all the snacks we have ate while staying home for movie night…or game night…or let’s look in the refrigerator to see if anything has changed night. Suddenly, our love handles have become far more romantic than is good for us. We haven’t been to the gym in weeks. The gym hasn’t been open for weeks so this time it is not our fault. Combine those two realities and we certainly have our work cut out for us. Not to mention it is going to be summer time and we will be laying by the pool in our bathing suits. That might all sound a little intimidating.
For the ladies there is the issue of beauty products. Have you been able to get the ones you normally do? The malls have been closed. Nail shops are closed. This forces several options. You can try new products from say the grocery store or pharmacy. Maybe you can do your own nails like you were in Junior High. You could just skip the whole mess all together and just pray nobody sees you out the first day the world opens up again. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business. There is high-end shampoo, skin-care products, lotions, potions, lipstick, chap stick, nail polish and a host of other items all thoughtfully designed to enhance the beauty we have or help us disguise the things we wish we didn’t have.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a secret weapon, if you will, it the battle to look our best? I have some great news for you. There is. Not only is there a secret weapon guaranteed to make you look more beautiful, but it will work for anyone regardless of your situation! Are you a blonde whose roots are beginning to show? This will work for you! Are you a size 12 who now finds that number who now finds that number a lot closer to 20? This will work for you! Are your nails professionally done to look perfect, but now you are resorting to the method above? This will work for you! This beauty secret will work for anyone, man, woman or child! It is also available right at home! Are you interested yet?
Before I share this amazing beauty secret with you, I must tell you a few more amazing things about it. Although it takes some effort (the amount of effort will vary from person to person) it will not cost you a dime! That’s right it is free and you already have it in your house! The more you use this secret the more beautiful you become! You can use this time when you are stuck at home to practice and put this secret to work. By the time you are ready to grace the public with your presence, you will have become irresistible! One word of caution before we lay this secret on you – Do not dismiss it based on its simplicity or any preconcieved notion you may have. If you reflect on some of the people you know personally, you will be able to see how this secret works. Another word of warning – This secret works in reverse just as well! That’s right ladies and gentleman. If you do not master this secret and use it in reverse (which a lot of our neighbors may be doing during this trying time) you become very unattractive. In fact, even after hitting the nail salon, the hair stylist and treating yourself to a day at the spa, you may still be given a sideways glance.
That is right, the secret we have been talking so much about it happiness. You might tend to think something such as, “Oh yeah, I’ll just be happy and nobody will notice any physical difference.” Scientists say that as much as 90% of our communication is nonverbal. Think of people you know who always have a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their lips. Don’t you feel drawn to them on a certain level? If someone makes your soul come alive, does it matter if they may not be the “type” you usually go for? Happy people are more fun to have around. They make us feel good and therefore we are more attracted to them.
If this may seem hard for you to completely wrap your head around, try thinking of it in reverse. If you see someone you find beyond beautiful, but when they open their mouth everything that comes out is rude and hurtful, do you not suddenly find them a LOT less attractive? Would you be attractive to someone who is always gossiping about and putting others down? Of course not. Being stuck in our homes and not enjoying good social interaction can dampen our spirits. How do we deal with this? How do we increase our genuine sense of joy when we are in a situation that seems to drain us of it? We will be looking at a few ideas in the upcoming posts. For today just remember if you want to come out of all of this a more beautiful person, while working on your abs, work on your smile and your laugh. It will pay off a lot more in the long run.
This idea was given to me by my beautiful Margie. In these crazy times we all need to remind and use things to create a little sense of joy in our lives. In my book A Happy Life for Busy People, I encourage people to create what I call a “Happy Playlist”. Quite simply compile a list of songs that bring joyful memories to you. I put mine on my phone. I created a list on YouTube and add songs on a daily basis as they occur to me. Currently, it has a total of 187 songs. The great thing about this list is that anytime I find life giving me a hard time I ‘just push play’ and I am greeted by songs that bring back fond memories or transport me to someplace I would rather be. Some make me think of my friends and quite a few make me think of my lovely lady.
Music is a powerful way to transport your mental state quickly than anything else I know. Once you do the list of songs you may realize how powerful this is and want to add other mediums as well. Favorite movies that you love that make you laugh or put a special feeling in your heart. It is great to have a collection of books that can take your mind to a different world. At this moment when many of us have a little more time it is a good idea to put some of these together.
Why now? I often use the comparison to learning to swim. It is certainly a better idea to learn to swim when you are safely on shore than waiting until you are on a sinking ship. When we return to work we will face a lot of new challenges. Some of us may have to begin looking for new jobs. Life will take a lot of getting used to and having a things that could make us happy will really come in handy. Whether your happiness comes from music, books or even kittens (that is Margie’s contribution to today’s post) Let us all use the time we have to create some ideas of people, places and things that bring joy into our lives. When the world returns to normal, let us spend more time doing those very things.
As most of you know, this blog is all about discovering ways in which you can live an amazing life. If you were not aware of that, you could ascertain that from the name of said blog.
One of the simplest ways to begin living an amazing life, yet for a lot of us very difficult, is to celebrate ourselves. It is the middle of the week. Hump day as some us say. It is time to take a step back and tell the world what is great about you. If this makes you uncomfortable that is a sign you need to do it even more.
A great way to live an amazing life is to grow our strengths and give of ourselves to the world. In order to do that most effectively, we need to know what we are good at, or put more simply what we rock at. If you are not sure, feel free to ask around. This does not make you self-centered or egotistical. Quite the opposite really. By learning what you are good at you can discover how you can best bring joy to others. Not to mention let others know what they can come to you for.
To help you get a idea of some things you can use I will list a few of mine.
I am good at putting thoughts and feelings into words.
I am good at discovering ways to turn even the most negative situations to our advantage.
I am a good bartender.
I love to bring joy to those around me.
Hopefully you are getting the idea. Please list some of yours. Let us know why you rock! If anyone wants to add to each other’s lists go right ahead! Let’s all build each other up to finish the week strong! If anyone can think of something I missed on my own list feel free to mention that as well! I can’t wait to hear all the awesome things about each and every one of you!!
Those of you well-versed in the Law of Attraction know how important it is to raise your vibration and keep it high. It serves us well for manifesting what our hearts desire. For those of you who may not be that well-versed in the Law of Attraction, raising your vibration means raising the state of how you feel. Simply put, the higher your vibration, the better you feel.
When we feel good all sorts of things open up to us. We are more likely to try new things and talk to new people. Both of these can lead to wonderful new adventures. We take better care of ourselves and those we love. We are more likely to wear a smile and spread joy to others. To, of course, the obvious – life is a lot more fun. After all, that is what living an amazing life is all about, feeling good.
If you are thinking there is more to life that just feeling good, I challenge you on that statement. It is important to help others, yes. When we help others how do we feel? We feel good. It is important to do good for the world around us. When we do so how does that leave us feeling? It leaves us feeling good. When you are enjoying life you are far more productive and pleasant to be around. Who wants to sit next to a ‘Debbie downer’? Not me, and I would venture a guess not you either.
Do yourself a favor and try to fit in as many things as you can in the first list while limiting or eliminating as many things as you can from the second list. Do not stress about it for that would defeat the purpose. Work to raise your vibration, or feel as good as you can for the next 21 days. Make it a focus and watch the miracles begin to unfold in your life!