DO NOT BE A DEAD FISH IN 2019

I like this quote only dead fish go with the flow. If you think about it, that is so true. If you were a fish and could swim anywhere you please, you would…um…swim anywhere you please. While that doesn’t sound terribly profound, it really is. Think of things a fish would want. They would want food and swim towards that. They would not want to be near a predator and would swim away from that. They, depending on species, would prefer oxygen-rich water and would certainly swim around looking for that. Unless you are planning on being a fish (or a whale) in your next life this may not seem like useful information, but it is.
This works the same for humans as it does for fish. It has been said 95% of us do not even know why we get up and go into work in the morning. We can give answers such as, “Well everybody goes to work.” or the ever popular, “To pay the bills.” If that is solely what your life consists of you will have a ‘wake up, pay bills and die’ kind of existence. Since you are reading a website called Secret2anamazinglife.com, I would venture a guess that is not what you wish for yourself. What do we need to do so we can live a life that does not resemble a dead fish flowing downstream? Incidentally, if you picture that and are honest with yourself, isn’t that what life can feel like sometimes?
What we need to do is take control of our lives. How do you do that when you have a boss that tells you when to come to work and when to go home? You have a spouse and kids who rely on you and family members that may need you. First things first, know the difference between things you can and things you can’t change. Yes, your boss does set your work time, for the most part. You can apply for a different job that suits your needs better or even start your own business, but those have pros and cons as well. To avoid being a dead fish in 2019, there are two steps you must commit to.
First, create a life mission statement. I go into more detail on this subject in my upcoming book Living the Dream. To cover it in the simplest terms, you will never get where you are going if you do not know where the hell that is. When you decide on a purpose and a mission for your life you know if every action is in line with that mission or not. Back to our fish analogy, this lets you know which way you should swim. Even if you get off track, being able to see and determine that gives you a feeling of control over your life. You may have to turn around and go back the way you came, but at least you are the one determining that.
The second thing you must do to avoid being a dead fish in 2019 is to set, and eventually raise your standards. This might not sound exciting or life changing, but it really is. The only reason we get more than what life chooses to hand to us is because we demand it. I am not speaking of demanding things from others. No, for true control of your life, you need to change the demands you put on life and on yourself. If your goal, like so many of us, is to get in shape in the new year, you need to make going to the gym 3,4 or 5 days a week your standard. I would advise when starting out, set all of your standards to a minimum, but stick to them. When you get used to holding yourself to a standard, then you can raise them. That is when life really gets exciting.
One of the hardest standards I have had for my life is making sure I have time for myself. Whether that is time to read, meditate or just walk in the park, in the past I have not done a very good job and making sure I had that. There are work obligations, social obligations, a third book to write and of course the most beautiful woman in the world at home to spend time with. Still, I know that if I do not have enough time for myself I cannot be the best person in all of those other situations. Therefore, I am going to make taking time for myself at least twice a week my standard.
Set your purpose, and your standards today. By the end of 2019 we will all be healthy fish swimming in a pond of our choosing full of food and free of sharks. I welcome and encourage you to share your life mission statements, and your standards you are going to work on with us in the comments below.

TIME TO ADD!

One of the tenets of my philosophy has been adding positive to limit or eliminate negative. In my life this would translate to eating a salad to have a little less room for another slice of pizza. The premise here is that it is easier for the brain to add things verses subtracting them. It eliminates the feeling of depriving yourself and makes change easier and less painful. By doing so, your chances of success are greatly increased.

This does not always have to revolve around achieving a goal, or making a change in your life. Taking a few moments to stop and think of what you would like more of in your life can go a long way to giving you a life you really enjoy. That is the first thing I suggest we do today. Pick a time when you have a few minutes to yourself, it can even be fun to do this with your spouse or friend, as long as you both have your own list. Write down a handful of things you would like more of in your life. They can be things from the picture above, or things you just wish to do.

Here comes the part that a lot of you may find strange. Pull out your calendar, or put a reminder in your phone of days you would like to do these very events. Again, set yourself up to win by picking a day on which you can fairly depend. For example, Saturdays I work 2 jobs so there likely will not be much time to include new activities. Also, try to plan on the minimal side. What do I mean by this? Perhaps you would like to meditate 20 minutes every day? Start out by picking at least one or two days a week to do so. That way you can gain a feeling of momentum and success. Before long that momentum may carry you to every day. By contrast, if you pick every day and do not make it, it will give you a feeling of failure and that will go against having a more joyous life.

Why is this exercise so important? We schedule jobs, meetings and all sorts of obligations into our lives, it is vitally important we schedule some joy as well. If this seems like a foreign or crazy idea to you, consider how you feel as you are getting close to a planned vacation? Imagine that feeling, although perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, once a week? It will help return the passion and zest to life. Our lives, in addition to being of service to others, were meant to be enjoyed. If you are not loving your life a fair amount of time you are doing it all wrong. Sure, we all go through tough times, but having something to look forward to can even help with those.

Feel free to share with other readers some of the fun things you plan to add in 2018 in the comments below!

THE LITTLE THINGS

It is the second month of the year and a lot of us have began the year with the goal of being healthier and in better shape. I know I am one of them. Did you know what I discovered? No matter how committed I am, or how passionate I am about this decision I cannot wake up thin and healthy. In fact, if I expect to I can feel overwhelmed and like a failure.

I have discovered a way to start feeling good both physically and emotionally each and every day. That is understanding that I need to change my rituals. Everyday there are little things we do that become so ingrained in us we seldom even notice. Trying to change these can be a tough and uphill battle. Here is what I suggest at my seminars and what I am going to share with you here. Instead of beginning by try to stop doing all of the things you do wrong, begin by adding one thing right a day. Instead of giving up all the bad food you eat, try beginning the day by eating an apple. They give you energy and help you feel full. Then every day you do so make sure you allow yourself to feel good about doing it. Want to improve your relationship or take it to another level? Try giving your significant other one genuine compliment or sign of appreciation a day.

While you are doing these new habits certainly work on reducing and eliminating the destructive things you do as well. You will often find that by adding something positive it will make that a little easier as well. eventually maybe add 2 things a day. Perhaps adding a healthy snack at lunch or going for a nice stroll after dinner. Before you know it you will gain momentum and you will be well on your way to your goals.

Feel free to share this post and share any ideas you may have in the comments below.

GO BIG OR GO HOME!

There is a quote by Nelson Mandela that reads,

“You’re playing small does not serve the world.  Who are you not to be great”

This statement could not ring more true. How many of us know people who have enormous amount of talent, but fail to act on it out of fear of failure or even fear of success. 

I recall a recent conversation i had with a young man who was just finding his way in the world. He approached me and inquired as follows,  “being a life coach, what do you think i should do with my life?”. For years i asked myself the same question. The answer I believe has two parts to it.  

First, what can you do to bring the most to the world. Our world is always in need of help in many different areas. A sense of Contribution is one of the basic human spiritual needs. If you feel what you are doing does not matter you face two challenges. One, the ability to get up and do it when the weather is too cold, or too hot, or too wet. Perhaps when you have had too much the night before, or not enough. Two, if you feel what you do does not make a difference you lose your feeling of self worth. Your spirit begins to die. The “who cares if i don’t show up anyway”.

The second question we should ask ourselves when deciding our lot in life is what do we enjoy. If you are going to do something 40 hours a week (or more) it should be something you enjoy. Something that stirs our soul. When we are doing something we enjoy we tend to work harder and do a better job. 

When I tell people this they often find these two in conflict. I knew a man who really liked to paint. He told me painting brings me a sense of fulfillment, but i don’t think my paintings contribute anything to the world. What the world needs is people living their dreams. People of passion who are full of love for life. These people tend to be kinder and contribute more than those who are doing a job that they think is important but doesn’t speak to their soul. 

Ok, but what about making a living? Obviously that is important. I advise people to break down what needs their passion fills. In the case of the painter he should pursue a job that fuels his creativity while he markets his paintings. Sometimes we must begin our dreams as hobbies. 

So ask yourself those two questions. “What can i contribute?” And “what do i enjoy?”. Often what you enjoy will be the area on which can contribute the most. 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

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I really love this picture.  Two signs you approach as you are heading down the freeway of life. The last two posts we discussed choosing the exit on the right, “new you”. Perhaps you have begun working on the new you as a lot of us do this time of year. Some of you may have begun to wonder if you took the wrong exit.  Feeling like you are slipping into the “old you” that’s why I like this picture.

What do I mean?  Like me explain how freeway exits work for those of you who do not drive and remind those of us who do.  When you see an exit sign and you dive towards it,  you are not immediately wherever the sign says.  Sometimes it is only a mile or so down the road. Sometimes however you can travel 100 miles or more before you reach your destination.  Sometimes it can a few days to reach your goal, sometimes it can even be twelve months. 

The point here is this, if you are traveling from New York to Los Angeles until you reach the Mississippi River you are still closer to the big Apple than you are to La La land.  It may seem like you are never going to get there even if you are moving in the right direction.  In fact,  you might not feel you have gotten close until you see the big Hollywood sign.

Life is much the same,  it is a journey and when you are trying to get from here to there there will be bumps and detours. Until you are halfway there you are still closer to where you came from than where you’re going. Is that a reason to give up and go back?  No, you have come all this way don’t make it for nothing.  If you have had to take a detour,  or even went back in the wrong direction a few times,  trust your journey and remember why you started.

Life is a journey,  enjoy the travels on your way to your final destination

ADD THEM IN ONE BY ONE

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Yesterday we talked about creating a description of who we want to be in the new year. We also talked about what things we would no longer tolerate in ourselves and our life, Things that would no longer fit in our new definition of ourselves. If you haven’t read yesterday’s blog, I highly suggest you do.
OK so pull out your list from yesterday and take a good look at it. That is who you now are. Before you tell me “I’m not there yet!” I’m going to tell you yes you are. If your goal is to be healthy and as you are reading this you are enjoying a hot fudge sundae, then I put forth you are a healthy person who is behaving unhealthy. It is time you start sarong both out loud and to yourself the new person you are. It is time to own that definition. The new year is upon us.

OK in addition to dropping things that are detrimental to the new definition of ourselves, with the new year it is time to think of what we need to add. Let’s take the goal of being healthy. What would help you there? Be honest with yourself. If the thought of working out doesn’t appeal to you right now, don’t go sign up at the gym. Maybe a food journal would be a better first step? Maybe some workout dvds for home would work better? New workout clothes? That new juicing machine?

Remember the goal is who you want to become, not what are you going to do. So the goal should not be to go to the gym more, but rather become a healthier version of myself. Now take whatever first step you are likely to stick with and will be enjoyable going forward. Then you will gain momentum. Why is that important? We will discuss that tomorrow.
For today look at yourself in the mirror and read your description of who you now are out loud. Then think of the most helpful things you can add to help you grow into that person