17 SECONDS TO IMPROVE YOUR DAY

Let me tell you the idea behind this picture because it is not the easiest to read. One of the main challenges I hear when people are working on creating a more positive life and a more grateful attitude is the lack of time. Do I really have to spend 2 to 5 minutes writing in a gratitude journal? If you are serious about changing your life, the answer is yes. I am a firm believer that writing 3 to 5 things you are grateful for every day and reviewing them right upon waking and right before sleep will change your life quicker than anything else I know.

Still there are those who claim to be even too busy for that. In this world focused on material accusation and corporate success, often our minds find it difficult to remember to take that time for ourselves every day. Here is a practice that does not take any extra time in your day and can begin to ship you to a more happy and joyous feeling in 17 seconds!

Don’t worry, you won’t even have to take 17 seconds out of your day. This idea makes use of 17 seconds we generally waste, or even use somewhat destructively. Let me ask you this, what do you do at a red light? If you are like most people you have to stop and think about that. Chances are we do anything from thinking about the car in front of us, or worrying about how late we are already are to go to a job we are not thrilled to be going to anyway. This either causes us a moment of ‘zoning out’ or chips away at our positivity. My lady and I have started a tradition of kissing at red lights. It not only helps us feel loved, but in the off chance we may be disagreeing about something it helps reaffirm and maintain that love.

What about when you are in the car by yourself? Perhaps you have yet to find that special someone? Here is something so easy to do and it will begin to shift your outlook on life 17 seconds at a time. Whenever you stop at a red light, begin to think of what you are grateful for. By the time the light turns green you will begun to have brought a little more joy into your life. I am going to do this when I am on my way to work as well as right after I receive a kiss from my lovely lady!

I would really like to know how this works for everyone on here. Please let me know in the comments after you have tried it and let us all share our results.

FIRM IN YOUR GOALS, FLEXIBLE IN YOUR APPROACH 

Be firm in your goals, but flexible in your approach. That is a mantra i have heard many times! This morning while occupied at my day job a fine example of this occurred to me.

Before I share this example with you let me begin with a question. Have you ever heard somebody say “I’ve tried a million different things but it just won’t work!” It always amuses me to ask them to name the million things they have tried. After which they usually reply “well ok it has been hundreds.” When pressed to name them we usually discover the individual has tried a few things, usually things they have done in their past, and they didn’t work. This always makes me question the importance of the issue at hand. If it is a problem with their relationship you would think they would keep trying until they return to love.

When a baby is trying to walk they just keep at it. Why? Because walking is that important to them. Perhaps it is all the disappointment we experience as adults that lowers our level of persistence.

Here is another way to look at this. As I mentioned earlier, I was working at my day job when I started thinking how much I’d like to go to Fiji. My thinking is my lady and I would fly there first class and spend time relaxing and mixing with the local culture. What would happen if I was invited for a speaking engagement there? Maybe instead of flying I win a cruise? Perhaps Tony Robbins invites me to his resort to work on a project together? Would I say no because it was not exactly what I had envisioned? Of course not. The goal is to get to see Fiji, how it happens could vary.

My point here is you have to keep trying until you find something that works.  It may seem impossible at first, but so did walking as a baby. Just keep trying and you will succeed. Oh, and if you happen to have an extra ticket to Fiji…

IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE

Last post we looked at the practice of celebrating each other and turning our lives into one long party. Tomorrow we will look at how to never lose in life again (I recommend checking that out) so sandwiched in between is the secret to accomplishing these or any other goal you might be trying to reach.

So what is the secret to accomplishing goals? Think of the journey. What do I mean? Imagine your goal is to hypothetically travel from a cold northern climate to a warm and sunny tropical climate (Ok, this is really not hypothetical here) You cannot expect to take one step and go from your location to the one you desire. No, you have to cover the distance that lies between you are your destination. Just like you have to cover all the distance that lies between you and your goal. Now some means of travel are fast, like an airplane or  high speed train. Others are slower like a bicycle or walking. All of them get you closer to your goal if you keep going. Remember that most things take time. It is going to take you longer to make it to Jamaica than to the grocery store down the street. Unless of course you live in Jamaica and are going to the store down the street, in which case I would love to be your neighbor.

So my friends no that the journey is where the joy can be found. Knowing that no matter what pace you are going, each and every moment you are getting closer to your goal. Every day is a new adventure!

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

BE AFRAID…BE VERY AFRAID…

Why on earth would a blog about living a fulfilling and positive life be encouraging fear? Two reasons. First, it is Halloween and it is generally a time when spirits and ghost stories receive front page press. Second fear plays a great deal in determining the quality of our life. Fear of death and illness can keep many people from stepping outside their comfort zone and trying things that may bring amazing things into their lives. Fear of differences and personal rejection may stop people from starting conversations with new and unique people who could bring a great deal into their lives. Fear of failure can often paralyze people from pursuing their dreams and bringing not only joy to their world, but light and beauty to the world in general. Feeling inspired yet? Ok, neither am I, but the truth is that is only the dark side of fear. That is only half of the picture. Fear has another side as well. Fear can be protective. Fear of injury keeps most of us from driving reckless. Fear of hurting another person’s feelings can often keep us from saying hurtful things and finding a more productive way to resolve conflicts. That same fear of failure can motivate us to better prepare. When you hear news your job may be a victim of a layoff it can motivate you to search for additional sources of income or examine your budget and spending habits. The fear of suffering the same health issues that plagued your family can inspire you to live a healthier life. The point here is simple. Fear, like many other emotions can either be our servant or our master. It all depends on how we handle it. Does a fear of public speaking cause you to freeze up or to review your notes one final time? Does the fear of a culture you do not understand prevent you from associating with those people or does it motivate you to educate yourself on aspects of that culture to demystify your thoughts? Think of some of your fears, do they control you or do you employ them in your journey toward a more rewarding life? We all have a mix of both, but the goal is to start attacking our fears one by one and making them serve us instead of the other way around. The earlier we face our fears, before they have a chance to take hold in our minds the easier to conquer them. Of course the feeling of overcoming a life-long free gives us freedom that is almost unequaled. So this Halloween while enjoying your favorite ghost story or scary movie ponder your own fears and how you can use them to assist you.

IT’S THE STATE FAIR!

Today marks the first day of our state fair.  A celebration of food, fun and music.  It runs eleven days and is my favorite time of the year.  I stressed this in an earlier blog, but each one of us needs such a time.  Having something you look forward to each and every year helps us get through the obstacles in life.  Whether it is a yearly birthday celebration, a family vacation, a camping trip with friends.  Having some event to look forward to keeps us focused on a pleasurable aspect of life, which makes the challenges a little more bearable.  I suggest each one of us decide which thing we look forward to and write it down.  Make plans involving it.  When you have a particularly rough day, spend some time thinking about your fun activity.  Maybe look at new tents, create a photo album from years past you can reminisce about all the good times you have had and all the good times to come. Just another way to stay focused on something positive.  Oh, and if you see me at the fair and mention this blog post, your next beer is on me! Stay positive my friends!