I DON’T HAVE TIME ⏰️

Be prepared! This post will have some uncomfortable truths in it. We have reached the end of January. Those of us who have set goals for the new year are hopefully still committed to them. If we are not, why is that? One of the top excuses I hear about why people don’t commit to improving their lives is that they “Don’t have time.” Let me fill you in on a little bit about yours truly. With my daily commute, I work 55 hours a week at my day job. I DJ with my beautiful lady on Sunday night. We have had a daily blog for 210 days straight now. I am also working on my fourth book. While doing this, I make it to the gym at least 3 days a week. How can I get all of this done? Easy, it is important to me.

When people tell me they do not have time for things, or that they simply ‘can’t do it’. I answer, “No, you just haven’t made it a priority.” When people say that they can’t be a morning person, I ask them, “If I would give you $1000 every day you woke up at 6am, where would you be at 5:59?” Why could you get up early then? It was a priority. You knew you were going to gain something. Nobody is offering you $1000, but do you know what you could accomplish with an hour of focused activity first thing in the morning? It would be priceless. There is a great book called Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Great book. I highly recommend it. In this book, Hal outlines a great morning routine to transform your life.

I can tell you a few things that will change your life if you decide to make your life a priority. How about 15 minutes of reading something informative or inspirational? Multiple that by 260 days if you don’t do it on weekends, and that is a lot of learning. How about 15 minutes of some sort of stretching or exercise? Again, multiply that times 260 and you will definitely see a difference in your body. How about 15 minutes of repeating an empowering affirmation or looking at your vision board? Multiply that times 260 and it will be sure to affect your emotional well-being and state. How about sitting calmly and meditating for 15 minutes? Again, done for 260 days and you will have a great deal of inner peace, less stress, and be better able to handle life’s challenges. You could do all of those things in an hour, 5 days a week and your life would be dramatically improved. We know this to be true. Still, we don’t do it. We may say we are too busy or that we can’t get up early. If we are honest with ourselves, we are not making our life, and ourselves the priority it should be.

This post may hit a little close to home for many of us. Understand it is not coming from a place of judgement, but one of caring. We must make our lives, and ourselves a priority. We must do so now. Why? If we wait until we have a life emergency, it will be too late. Develop a routine to strengthen your life. When life’s challenges show up at your door, as they do for us all, you will be ready and better equipped to face them. It is my sincere desire that everyone develop a sense of urgency for making their life the best it can be.

WINDSHIELD WIPER WISDOM ❄️

Ah, winter in Wisconsin. Not my favorite season. I am more of a beach and sunshine sort of man. Still, there is those strange bits of wisdom that you can only get in the snow. As I was driving to work at roughly 4:30 in the morning, this bit of wisdom was brought to my attention. One of the not-so-great things about living in a cold climate is having to scrape the ice off your windshield before heading out. When start work before the sun comes up, you do not always do the most thorough job. As I was making my way down the street, I noticed there was a bit of ice stuck under one of my wipers. This created a nice streak across the window.

Here is the funny thing about a streak on your windshield. Tell me if you can relate. Whether that streak is right above the defroster, or on the top of the windshield as mine was, it always seems to be right where you are looking. A good 90% of my windshield was clear, yet my eyes kept being drawn to this area where the streak was. It occurred to me this was a great parallel for life. 90% of our life can be going great and all we can fixate on is what is not going great. This is especially true if you have a toothache.

Just like driving in winter, if we are staring at the annoying streak, we will miss all the wonderful beauty there might be around us. If we are focused on what is wrong in our life, we will not appreciate the love, beauty and all that is right within our life. The flip side of this is after the car warmed up and the windshield defrosted, the ice melted and the streak was gone. In life, we must often wait and soon our problems will melt away. I could have also pulled over and addressed the problem sooner. Just like in life, we can take action and addressed the issue that is vexing us.

I hope next time you see a streak on your windshield, instead of becoming annoyed, remember this little bit of wisdom. Perhaps it will remind you to look at all of the beauty in your life and not just fixate on the streaks on the windshield of life.

ENJOY THE BALANCE, USE THE BALANCE ⚖️

With the last couple posts about being self-disciplined and driving for becoming a better version of yourself, many people may get the wrong idea. Wanting better for your life, your relationships, and the world we live in, does not mean you are in a constant state of wanting or unfulfillment. Quite the contrary. Gratitude is one of the most powerful motivators. Here is a secret to an amazing life – if you want more to be grateful for, work your butt off. It is a tricky balance. Like the photo above says, “Be happy with what you have, while working for what you want.” I would replace the word happy with the world grateful but the idea is the same. Are you grateful you have that special loving person in your life? Good. Feel grateful, but be self-disciplined enough to continue to work on making that relationship healthier and more loving and you will always have something to be grateful for. Are you happy your healthy? Good for you. Appreciate your health. It is one of the most underrated forms of wealth. Guess what happens if you don’t continue to push to maintain and improve your health? You lose it. The same holds true for your relationship, your job and any other area of your life.

Spend some time, first thing in the morning always works well, to feel and express gratitude for what you have in life. Spend the rest of the day working to make it better. There is nothing in our life that maintains if we do not continue to work on it. Our fitness, our mental health, our relationships and even the plants in my house. Do some soul searching. What in your life are you most grateful for or happiest with? What do you think would happen if you just ignored that area of your life? I can promise you it would not get any better and in all likelihood, it would begin to break down. While you are working on improving any area of your life, thinking of how grateful you are for it can be a great motivating factor as well. Imagine your life without it. That will keep you working to improve it. What areas of your life are you most grateful for? How do you plan to improve them?

1 SKILL THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE ☝️

I have spent the better part of 2 decades in the field of self-improvement. I have been an author of self-improvement books for over ten. I have been doing this blog for over 10 years as well. I have been a life coach, keynote speaker, podcast guest and host on the subject of improving your life. I have been on several television shows and appeared in a few publications as well. I tell you this not to impress you, but to tell you that I would have to be a complete idiot at this point not to realize the patterns and tools that work to positively impact your life. There are certain skills that if developed, have major impacts on your life. Skills such as becoming a life-long learner, developing a personal health plan, reducing your stress or developing your skills in dealing with others. There is one skill that stands above all of the rest. With this skill, you can accomplish anything. Without this skill, life will be hard and you are unlikely to get very far in it.

That skill is discipline. More to the point, self-discipline. You can have the greatest fitness knowledge. You can even come in and knock out a great 2 hour workout. If you don’t come back several times that week, you are unlikely to see the results. You can know all there is to know about nutrition. You can know about macros and micros. If you eat a healthy plant-based meal on Monday, but down a burger or two the other 6 days of the week, you are not going to have a healthy physique. Doing the right things once in a while does not give us an amazing life. The secret to an amazing life is self-discipline. It is consistently doing the right thing, even when the mood to do so is not present. This is easy to say, but very difficult to accomplish.

If self-discipline is so difficult, why should we bother working on it? That depends, what kind of life do you want to have? If you do not have the self-discipline to get up on time, and get to work on time, you will never be able to keep a job. If you don’t have the discipline to control your emotions and constructively convey your feelings, you will find it very hard to maintain friendships or relationships. As we mentioned with diet and exercise, if you want to live a life full of health and vitality, you need self-discipline. You want to own your own business but can’t get up without hitting the snooze button 5 times? Good luck. Here is one thing people confuse about having self-discipline. They think they can be undisciplined is some areas of life, and still be disciplined in others. It seldom, if ever, works that way. To steal an analogy from our last post, these are ‘gazelle people’. Their motivation is driven by outside factors. “If they pay me enough and my boss is nice to me I will show up.” “If there is nothing good on television, then I will go to the gym.” These people live a life of excuses and not one of results.

You may have begun to understand how important self-discipline is, but how do you get it if you do not have it now? That is a great question. There are many books and suggestions on how to develop self-discipline. One of my favorites is Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink. There are also a host of videos on YouTube. One of my favorite speakers that propels me to be the most disciplined and best version of myself is Inky Johnson. I highly recommend you check out his story. There are also instructional videos with a host of ideas. Look up several and see what works for you. Developing your self-discipline is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

To get you started, I am going to recommend some of the same things we mentioned in the last post, along with one more. First, get a strong why. Know why becoming a self-disciplined person is so important. Think of everything you can gain by being so. Trust me when I tell you that everything you want is on the other side of self-discipline. I mean everything. You want to be a good parent? That takes self-discipline. You want to be the best lover and partner for your spouse? Yep. Self-discipline. I am a fan of using the carrot and the stick as they say. Use the power of both pleasure and pain. Think of what you will lose if you are not self-disciplined. In the long run, that is everything. You want to keep your job or have your business continue to succeed? You must be disciplined to consistently show up on time, work hard and bring good results or they will begin to look for someone who will. You want to keep your partner head over heals in love with you? You must be disciplined in your approach to that relationship. You want to keep people’s respect? You must be disciplined to show up on time and do what you say you will, even when you don’t feel like it.

Yes, self-discipline is hard. It is also the golden key to accomplish anything you want in life. Nothing can withstand disciplined consistent action. It is like the water that slowly wears away the rock. If it flowed for a day and said, “This is not having any effect.” nothing would happen. By flowing over that rock, day after day, after some time, it will completely wear the rock away. I suggest starting with something small. Prove to yourself that you can be disciplined. One of the best is to start waking up early. If you can beat the snooze temptation, you already start your day with a win. What do you really lose anyway? 5 or 10 minutes of low quality sleep…if you are lucky. What happens if you decide to wake up without hitting snooze and you fail? The pillow or the sexy person, or warm dog next to you is too tempting? This shouldn’t be too shocking of an answer. You stay disciplined. You go after again the next day. What if you fail again? You guessed it. You stay disciplined. You commit to doing it again the next day. Once you implement discipline into your life, you will wonder how you got anything done without it.

ARE YOU TIRED OF IT?🤬

I am all about positive self-talk. I believe we need more of that. The world, and advertisers make a living telling us that we are not good enough. Sometimes, the only person cheering for you, might be you!

What we must remember, is to be honest with ourselves. We need to call ourselves out once in a while. This does not mean putting ourselves down. That is important to note. That being said, we need to stop making excuses for ourselves.

Getting frustrated and fed up with the person in the mirror can be one of the most productive things we can do. When I feel my writing is not going how I would like and I get frustrated, it usually pushes me to do something new and uncomfortable. This often results in some kind of forward progress.

This weekend, ask yourself if there is anything you are making excuses for in your own life? Is it not forgiving someone? Is it talking negatively to yourself? Is it not giving back as much as you should?

Eric Thomas, one of my favorite speakers, compares this to what you would do if a product from a store did not live up to what it said it would. Would you go back to the store with a receipt and demand a refund? It is time you demand the same from yourself. Hold yourself accountable and make some positive changes. To assist you in that, I’m going to share a link to the video that I just mentioned. It is a 7 minute video. Make sure you watch until the end. I promise you that you will get a great boost of motivation.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ERIC THOMAS VIDEO 🫡

BUILD SLOWLY 🐌

A while back we talked about this blog being viewed in all but roughly 6 or 8 countries of the world. Some have political barriers that will not allow us to be viewed there. Others, like Greenland, are not so populated and may take some time to reach. I have been writing these posts for over 10 years now. (Has it really been that long?!) Sharing my journey and everything I have learned with all of you. Last year, I started my own podcast. You can connect to it by clicking the link at the end of this post. As of the writing of this post, it is followed in 6 countries. Quite the opposite of this blog. Still, I have only recording episodes for 5 or 6 months verses the 10 years of writing blogs.

While building an audience for this blog, I was reminded of lessons I give my life-coaching clients – build slowly. It is easier to add small positive steps in the right direction than to do a dramatic change in your direction. The same holds true for changes we wish to make in our life. If we have spent months on the couch eating pizza and watching movies, than going to the gym 5 days a week would be a stretch we may find it difficult to maintain. However, going for a walk after dinner, parking a little further away at the store to get a few more steps or simply finding a physical activity we enjoy helps us get started on the right path. I love the picture above because it shows little ways to get started doing big things. You want to begin a practice of meditation? Start by taking a deep breath before a sip of coffee. Want to journal, but find it difficult to sit down and write? Talk to yourself in the car. Not only will it get you in the practice of verbalizing your thoughts and feelings, as a bonus it will freak out the other drivers around you.

It any endeavor we embark on, doing so beginning slowly will give us the best chance to maintain these healthy habits. Want to cut down on your drinking? Start by consuming more healthy beverages such as iced herbal tea, (there are some delicious and functional options), green tea or of course, water. Want to cut down on your internet viewing? Try scheduling a fun coffee appointment with friends once a week. Would you like to know a secret to accomplishing goals and changing to a healthier lifestyle easier and with less stress? I am sure all of us would. Here is something I have discovered. It is far easier to add positive things in your life than to solely focus on eliminating something negative. When you focus on eliminating something negative, your brain encompasses a feeling of less, sacrifice or being deprived. “You mean I can’t eat all of the pizza I want and still lose that belly I have been carrying around?” If you focus on adding something healthier your brain either has a feeling of getting healthier at best, or at least does not have the feeling of lack at worst. “Wow, this veggie chili not only tastes good, but is good for me?”

In closing, focus on building slowly and sustainably. Little wins and accomplishments will help you gain and keep momentum as you are moving in the direction of a more amazing life. Focusing on quality changes instead of quantity also increases success. Instead of trying to go for a run, followed by the gym, followed by a yoga class, focus on doing 2 sets of 10 squats every day with perfect form. You will gain the momentum of sticking with a healthy habit. Soon, you will notice a difference, and that will not only help you gain further momentum, but may motivate you to add other positive changes. Build slowly, but keep building my friends.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE “LIVING THE DREAM WITH NEIL PANOSIAN ” PODCAST 😎

MAKE A NEW CHOICE!😃

Looking back on this past year, there are things we wish we would have done differently. There are also things that we wish would have turned out differently. When we backtrack in our minds, let us not just be filled with frustration and regret, but look at the decisions we made that led up to those outcomes.

Tony Robbins says, “Our decisions determine our destiny.” I believe that to be true. You decide to work at a certain place and maybe that it where you meet the person who ends up being the love of your life. You decide to move to a certain neighborhood and that determines where you shop and the people you interact with.

It is not just these grand decisions that determine our destiny. In fact, to a greater degree, it is the small daily decisions that have the biggest impact on our lives. At every meal, what you decide to put in your mouth will determine the energy you have, the health of your body, the strength of your immune system, and your overall appearance. The people you surround yourself with has one of the greatest impact on your life. They say you are the culmination of the 5 people you surround yourself with the most.

One of the most powerful decisions we make is the words we use. Not only in our conversations with others, but also with ourselves. If you tell yourself, “I feel like I am on the verge of death.” When you have a cold, it will have you feeling one way. If you say, “I’m a little under the weather, but I’m getting better. ” will lend itself to a far different feeling. Some people have a hard time believing this is so. If you are one of those people, I ask you to do this little experiment. Spend some time with someone you know who is generally a melancholy individual. Really listen to how they speak and the words they use. Then, after you have given yourself some time to cleanse your ears, do the same with someone who always seems to be in a good mood. Notice the difference in how they speak.

Another important aspect to consider is the thoughts we frequently have, which are dictated by the things we say internally and externally, embed themselves in our subconscious mind. This is a whole conversation in itself. Just note when you frequently think and say the same thing, it becomes a habit and part of our reality. That holds true if it is positive or negative.

This year, let us focus on making better decisions and that will provide us better outcomes. This is a daily adventure. Thinking about what we put in our bodies. To the ever important, what we think and what we say. Surround yourself with positive, motivated people. It will not only help you improve your inner and outer dialog, but you may gain insight on some better decisions. I know I’m going to work on mine. Think of one positive and empowering phrase you can begin to use today. If you feel comfortable, please share it with the rest of us.

GET EXCITED!🤗

It is day 2 of the New Year. How are your new year goals coming? Hopefully 2 days in you are still going strong. We all hear the cliché about the gym being full January 1st and empty by the 14th. As someone who goes to the gym regularly, I can attest to the truth of this. We know our drive will start to fade.

That is why it is vital to do something now to keep our excitement level up. I suggest that you plan celebrating small goals. Make it one week going to the gym? Buy yourself a new workout outfit. When you reach one month plan another treat. Maybe a spa day? Keep this up while the difficult process of becoming a habit takes place.

It is good to foster things to stay motivated. Maybe put together a list of songs that get you pumped up and create a Playlist. Think of movies that inspire you to be your best and work toward your goals. It is time to get these and other ideas together now. That way, when your motivation begins to fade, which it will, you have a little extra help.

A few other ideas that were given to me to help stay motivated are having a vision board, buying a new outfit in the size you would like to become, start a savings account with weekly or monthly goals. These and many others would be great ideas. What are yours?

TURN ANY DARK SITUATION AROUND🌞

This is one of my favorite quotes. In any dark situation we find ourselves in, it can be difficult or next to impossible to see any benefits of that situation. Usually, long after it is over, we usually see something the struggle brought to us.

One way that I have taught myself to speed up this process is to ask myself some empowering questions. These are “what possible good could come out of this?” This can be difficult,especially in the beginning. An even more powerful question is this – “How can I use this?” Even if there seems to be no light to be found in your darkness, you can still use it.

When you suffer through something, be that a loss of someone you love, addiction, abuse or anything else, that gives you a very important gift. That gift is the ability to understand the struggle of someone suffering the same. When we are in the darkness, it can be so helpful to see a hand reaching out and a voice saying “I know, I have been there. ”

Think of some of your darkest moments. Think of how they may have forced you to grow. Think of how they provide you the ability to relate to and help others. Don’t just make it through your pain, use your pain! Use to help others, use it to help yourself. It is by doing this we turn the pain into a gift.

SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO BE REMINDED 🤔

An interesting fact about writing books. As an author, I find myself so focused on the one I am writing, I can hardly remember what are in the ones before them. Another interesting thing about being a self-improvement author, is that as you are working on your own personal journey, you often forget some of the tools and strategies you share with others. Both of these things can cause a little grief. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the good thing about writing books, or the many other things I do, is that it is there in writing. You can review it any time you want. Even better, is what happened to me last Sunday. One of your readers can come up to you and remind you of a great lesson, tool or strategy you shared.

One of the people who come to Margie and my show is named Bobby B. He was absent for a while, but stopped in to say hello this past Sunday. Bobby can best be described as a high-energy, slightly enigmatic fellow. He does like Aerosmith and frozen pizza. We have those things in common. He has also read my first 2 books. On this particular Sunday, he reminded me of something I said in the second book, Living the Dream. That the goal of self-improvement or attempting to live an amazing life is not perfection. If your goal is to be positive 100% of the time and never have another bad day again, I have some very bad news for you – you are going to be disappointed again and again.

Bobby reminded me the goal, as I had explained it, is not to live in that state. To work on decreasing the frequency and duration of those negative emotional experiences. We are all going to have days, and events in our life that just suck. Pretending they don’t exist or not exploring our emotions about them will not give us an amazing life. The goal is to fully experience them and find ways in which we can heal in some fashion. A great way is to ask yourself how you can use the pain, anger, sadness or whatever emotion you are feeling. What lesson can you learn from what you have gone through. Can you share your story with others to help them with their pain? Practicing gratitude always helps me get back to living life at the highest vibration.

I am grateful to Bobby B for this reminder. We all have bad days. When we are pursuing living a more loving and rewarding life, bad days can even make us feel like we are failing. This adds a compounding effect to the suck of a bad day or event. We must be gentle with ourselves and understand that bad days and bad situations are often what make us strong and the people we need to be. It also pays to surround yourself with ‘OQP’ as Les Brown calls them. Only Quality People. I read a quote once, I do not recall who said it, but it went something like this – true friends half our sorrows and double our joys. Sometimes talking to a caring friend can make all of the difference. I know when we are feeling down, sharing that with someone else can make us feel like a burden. Remember you are not only giving them the gift of feeling helpful and valuable to you, but you may also make them feel more comfortable to share with you when they are in need.

Bad days are never fun, but they do not mean we failed and we can make them serve a positive service. Sometimes that realization may come after the pain and sadness have passed, but if we can learn a lesson, help others or get to know ourselves better, than that bad day has served a purpose after all.