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Stressed Out? Here Are 7 of the Most Effective Strategies for Centering Yourself

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We all know what it feels like to be stressed out. Our mind races, we feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, and sometimes depressed. Small problems tip us over the edge because we haven’t got all our other problems “under control.” We just don’t want to deal with life anymore. I had a tendency to get easily overwhelmed and have worked hard to improve my ability to handle stress.

Here are the 7 strategies that have proven to work best for me over the years:

1. Determine if you’re stressed about something you CAN change, or something you CAN’T change

You should be able to know which kind of stress it is with a little bit of reflection. By knowing this, you can proceed with handling the stress more effectively. Is it one thing you’re afraid of? Is it one problem that seems insurmountable? Are you overwhelmed with too much on your plate? Or do you feel stuck and unable to change an undesired situation?

2. Don’t make excuses. TAKE ACTION!  

Don’t complain if you’re not going to take any steps toward changing your situation. Don’t make excuses or put off doing things that could help you. Don’t listen to your thoughts that say there’s no point in trying.  

Make a plan of action. f you’re stressed because of an unknown, figure out a way to get more information. If you’re afraid of not having enough money, figure out how you might be able to make more.

I like to write to-do lists in my phone where I can check things off, and write down events and reminders to call people etc. in my phone’s calendar with reminders turned on. Prioritize and be realistic about what you can accomplish. If you try to take on too many tasks you won’t accomplish any of them.  

Follow through on your plan: Set a reminder or alarm in your phone if that’s what it takes.  

Reevaluate: If things change and you either can’t follow through on your plan or it’s no longer applicable, go back and make a new plan of action.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

3. If there’s nothing you can physically do, adjust your mindset

Sometimes what you’re feeling stressed about is outside of your control. If that’s the case, there is still one thing you can change, your perception.  

4. Know the real cause of stress

The real cause of stress is not actually what’s happening in your life, it’s what’s happening in your mind. Often, we blame other people and things that happen as the source of our stress, but the truth is those things are not the real culprit. How you perceive things (what you think about everything), is the real source of your stress. Sure, some things are harder or easier to get stressed about. But if you understand stress comes from your mind, it’s easier to handle when a stressful situation is outside your control.  

5. Don’t resist your thoughts and feelings

When you resist what is, you suffer. If you criticize yourself, fight your thoughts and feelings, or worry about feeling stressed, you will only feel worse. Stress can actually be a motivator for making positive change. Try to accept the fact that you feel stressed, and use it to your advantage instead of resisting how you feel.

6. Ask yourself, what am I afraid of?

If you want to know the real underlying source of your stress, look for what scares you the most. Stress is really fear in disguise. We feel fear, or stress, when we are afraid of losing something. It doesn’t have to be loss of anything obvious or physical – it could be loss of security, loss of love, loss of respect or status, loss of freedom, etc.  

After you’ve determined what you’re afraid of, examine that fear to see how realistic it actually is. Fear does not come from the rational part of our minds. Many fears are over embellished and unrealistic once we put them in the light of truth. Think of as many things as you can, that you know are true, that disprove your fear.

7. Don’t force yourself to think positively

You’ve probably heard about how positive thinking is good for you. Yet, maybe you’ve noticed times where you just can’t do it. Trying to think positively when I’m stressed never works for me. Trying to change my thinking from one extreme to another only frustrates me. I’m not saying positive thinking is bad, but I think doing it consciously has its time and place.

I think feeling stressed indicates something that needs adjusting in your life or in your mind. If you only try to think positively instead of investigating why you feel how you feel, you may miss opportunities for growth and change.

“Ten years from now, you’ll laugh at whatever’s stressing you out today. So why not laugh now?” – Tony Robbins

When you feel stressed, first determine whether things are inside or outside of your control. If you can physically do something, make a plan and take action! When stressors are outside of your control, remember that the real cause of stress is what’s happening in your mind in response to life. Don’t resist your thoughts and feelings.

Try to accept how you feel and use stress as motivation. Explore your fears that may be behind your stress and then disprove them. Don’t force yourself to think positively without first addressing the reason you are stressed.

What strategy works best for you when it comes to handling stress? Let us know in the comments below!

Mandie Bigelow is a spirituality and success blogger. Her blog aims to help people motivated for growth and change find the confidence, happiness, love, and success they're searching for in life. Mandie is also a certified life coach, wife, Spikeball athlete, martial artist, former gymnast, and Ninja Warrior fan. She and her husband (also a life coach) are writing a book called The Enlightened Relationship. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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Life

Don’t Like Your Story? Here Are 8 Steps to Reboot Your Life and Start Again

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Create your own story
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Most of the habits, routines, and rituals we practice as adults were learned at an early age. Some of these behaviors serve us well while others create barriers to our personal progress and professional success. And though it’s true that you aren’t responsible for all the awful lessons you might have learned during your youth, as an adult you are ultimately accountable for your choices and habits.

So, what happens when much of what you learned was essential to your childhood survival but is now getting in the way of your ability to thrive? You … can start … again.

Here are eight steps to help you launch your new mindset:

1. Write a deep and meaningful love letter to yourself

Grab a pen and some paper, turn on some relaxing music, get in a comfortable position, and get prepared to write the most profound and meaningful letter of your life. As you begin to write, try to recall your childhood hopes and dreams. Write about the level of commitment you will make to yourself. Write about how you’ll forgive and help yourself stand whenever life knocks you down. When you write, be as detailed as possible. Your love letter will have a tremendous ongoing impact on your life. Don’t rush through it. Just sit with your thoughts for a while.

2. Nurture yourself like a well-loved child

See your younger self as a child that you are responsible for protecting, nurturing, guiding and providing care for. Make it a habit of speaking lovingly and kindly to the child you carry within you. Your interactions with the world can be rough, but you can choose gentleness when caring for your own emotional well-being.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

3. Use a vision board to practice visualization

A vision board is used to display images representing whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Similar to visualization, vision boards work in line with the principles of The Law of Attraction. Create a vision board and let your imagination soar. Free your mind to allow for every possibility. Know there are no limits except the ones you have imagined.

4. Take your visualization to epic proportions by writing your future story

This exercise is in line with the work you’ve done on your vision board. It’s about hoping for the future and believing in yourself. As you write your future story, you’ll need to abandon your self-limiting beliefs. Tell the story as you would to a friend who hasn’t seen you in five or more years. As you write your future story, share the achievements that made you proud and tell your friend about the many changes you have made and the obstacles you overcame to get where you are in that moment.

5. Invest in a planner/journal and take your dreams from wishing to measurable goals

Planners and journals are great tools that are too often overlooked. There’s a belief that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and also a belief that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Planners help to minimize the risk of failure by helping you identify milestones and tackle potential issues. Working with a journal also helps you to document wins, work through challenges and brainstorm solutions. As you use your planner, revisit your vision board and future story and bring it all together.

6. Make your home, and workspaces work for you

Whether it’s your home or workspace, make it personal, nurturing, supportive and comfortable. These are the spaces where you live out your days. Every sight, sound, and smell has an effect on both your body and mind. Make your areas work to empower you, boost your productivity, and nurture your imagination. Make it look and feel like the you that you are striving to become.

7. Show yourself love by practicing excellent self-care

If you want to test your self-love, look at how well you practice self-care. We give time and attention to the things we care most about. And we tend to care most about the things we give our time and attention to. Practicing self-care includes getting enough physical activity, eating well, caring for our emotional well-being, being kind to ourselves with our self-talk and doing the extras like caring for our skin and getting massages. The last two items might appear minor, but notice how much we tend to touch those we love.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

8. Develop and practice a ritual with mantras, motivation, and meditation

Why mantras, motivation, and meditation? Mantras because you can make mindset changes by repeating motivational and empowering phrases to connect with your thoughts and rewrite your subconscious beliefs. Motivation because you can seek clarity in your goals and empower yourself to take action to achieve your dreams. Meditation because you can strive to feel centered and find peace of mind.

Reboot your life and begin again by retraining your brain to adopt a healthier, more positive mindset and discovering more functional habits. Give these eight recommendations a shot, then pay close attention to the changes you’ll begin to notice within your mind, throughout your body, and in your surroundings.

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Life

10 Tips to Create Time and Space for Both Your Goals and Your Loved Ones

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Let’s face it, there are only 24 hours in a day and we all have the same 24 hours. How we spend those 24 hours will determine how much we have to show for them. Whether you are just starting out on a new venture, or perhaps you are taking an existing project or business to the next level, it takes a lot of time, energy and commitment to make it happen. But our personal relationships take the same components to function happily as well.

Here are some helpful tips to help you focus and plan ahead so that you can be your best self in all  areas of your life, without feeling depleted or guilty:

1. Write down your top 3 goals/priorities that you want to focus on this year

Do not list more than 3 – if you have more than 3 major goals then you may be overwhelming yourself and spreading your energy and time too thin.

2. Make 2 lists: Personal and professional goal-related activities

List all the things that you do in each category, so that you can see exactly what tasks you are currently handling in each category. For example, you may be married and also starting a business as a holistic coach. In the personal column, you may list that your spouse expects you to make dinner, and the grocery shopping – as well as have quality time to relax together after dinner.

In the professional column, your list of activities and tasks may include scheduling client appointments, attending networking events, bookkeeping, making sales calls, etc. When you put these lists next to each other, you quickly see that you have way too much on your plate, and that some of these tasks need to be delegated or eliminated.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

3. Go through each list and mark each task in order of importance

Use the hospital triage system: indicate which activities are most urgent and important by putting a #1 next to them and a #2 next to the tasks that are vital but not urgent, and a #3 next to the ones that need to be handled, but are easy to reschedule. Place the letter D next to all tasks that can be handed over, and simply cross out the tasks that you need to stop doing because they are no longer in alignment with your goals.

4. Use a calendar or day planner

It can be an electronic calendar, or a paper one. Do not use pen – you will need to erase things and move them around to honor your need for flexibility and the ever-changing nature of life.

5. In your calendar, make actual appointments that include start and end times to accomplish your #1 tasks

For example, if your business relies on you making sales calls, then that would be a #1 task that needs to have a home in your schedule with actual times allotted for it. Once you have scheduled all of your #1 tasks (both personal and professional), then proceed to entering in the #2 and #3 tasks.

6. Make your time with loved ones a #1 priority and schedule it in!

If it’s not written down or entered on your calendar, then it is just a good intention…it’s not real unless it’s on the books! For example, you could plan your schedule so that your work is completed most days by 6pm, and that all the time after that hour is designated time with your loved ones. Guard this time carefully.

7. Be in communication

Let your colleagues, clients, friends and family know what you are trying to accomplish and that you intend to be present to everyone – including yourself. Be honest about your challenges and stay focused on the goals rather than distracted by the obstacles.

There will be times when your schedule will need to change or you will have to cancel something. Don’t make it wrong, just clean it up and explain to all parties. Also, ask the people in your life what they need and expect from you as well. Don’t feel pressured to be a mind-reader or a people-pleaser.

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy

8. Be flexible

Life is constantly moving, changing and growing. Stuff happens. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you can’t make adjustments when life throws you a curve ball. Give yourself the gift of structure and discipline so that you may experience the freedom it creates for you. But don’t become a task-master, where your schedule becomes a slave driver. Instead, master your tasks so that you can work smarter, not harder.

9. Be realistic and ask for help when you need it

If your goals are quite lofty, then you may need to let go of a lot of extraneous activity in order to accomplish them. Also, you may simply not have a lot of free time! Continuously check in with yourself to see if you are willing to be, do and have all that will be demanded of you in order to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up just because it’s hard, but you may need to course-correct from time to time to stay in alignment with your authentic desires.

10. Keep an open mind and your eye on the prize

You really can have it all – but maybe not all at the same time. By choosing what you wish to focus on and giving each task a home in your calendar, you will begin to get more done in less time because you are focusing your energy on very specific types of activity.

Prioritizing goals, organizing your time and writing things down so that you can see it all in front of you is a great way to get clear, efficient and effective. Being in communication with the people in your life is the key to things working more smoothly.

And remember, it’s not about perfection. Focus on your sense of purpose and your progress instead, and you will create more space in your mind for new possibilities.

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Life

Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Life

Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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The Top 70 Buddha Quotes

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Image Credit | Tricycle Magazine

Buddhism has been around for over 2,500 years and is a way of life that about 300 million people around the world follow.

At the age of 35, Gautama left the palace walls where he had grown up and ventured into the real world to walk his own spiritual path. Sitting under a Bodhi tree until he became enlightened, ‘Buddha’ attracted a following and dedicated the rest of his life teaching the path of enlightenment and awakening to them.

Buddhism is a very calm, peaceful and fair way of life and these Buddha quotes encompass the philosophy of Buddha’s teachings.

Here are 70 of The Best and Highly Shared Buddha Quotes to enlighten your mind and soul.

(more…)

Charlene Barry is the fun loving founder of This Is Project Me, a wellness, spiritual and inspirational channel on YouTube that inspires others to live the life of their dreams with passion, love and joy. Charlene believes in serendipity, wellness and spirituality and is an Ayurvedic and Lifestyle coach; helping people live their ideal life through Ayurvedic medicine, Meditation, Yoga and Balance.

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Life

Don’t Like Your Story? Here Are 8 Steps to Reboot Your Life and Start Again

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Create your own story
Image Credit: Unsplash

Most of the habits, routines, and rituals we practice as adults were learned at an early age. Some of these behaviors serve us well while others create barriers to our personal progress and professional success. And though it’s true that you aren’t responsible for all the awful lessons you might have learned during your youth, as an adult you are ultimately accountable for your choices and habits.

So, what happens when much of what you learned was essential to your childhood survival but is now getting in the way of your ability to thrive? You … can start … again.

Here are eight steps to help you launch your new mindset:

1. Write a deep and meaningful love letter to yourself

Grab a pen and some paper, turn on some relaxing music, get in a comfortable position, and get prepared to write the most profound and meaningful letter of your life. As you begin to write, try to recall your childhood hopes and dreams. Write about the level of commitment you will make to yourself. Write about how you’ll forgive and help yourself stand whenever life knocks you down. When you write, be as detailed as possible. Your love letter will have a tremendous ongoing impact on your life. Don’t rush through it. Just sit with your thoughts for a while.

2. Nurture yourself like a well-loved child

See your younger self as a child that you are responsible for protecting, nurturing, guiding and providing care for. Make it a habit of speaking lovingly and kindly to the child you carry within you. Your interactions with the world can be rough, but you can choose gentleness when caring for your own emotional well-being.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

3. Use a vision board to practice visualization

A vision board is used to display images representing whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Similar to visualization, vision boards work in line with the principles of The Law of Attraction. Create a vision board and let your imagination soar. Free your mind to allow for every possibility. Know there are no limits except the ones you have imagined.

4. Take your visualization to epic proportions by writing your future story

This exercise is in line with the work you’ve done on your vision board. It’s about hoping for the future and believing in yourself. As you write your future story, you’ll need to abandon your self-limiting beliefs. Tell the story as you would to a friend who hasn’t seen you in five or more years. As you write your future story, share the achievements that made you proud and tell your friend about the many changes you have made and the obstacles you overcame to get where you are in that moment.

5. Invest in a planner/journal and take your dreams from wishing to measurable goals

Planners and journals are great tools that are too often overlooked. There’s a belief that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and also a belief that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Planners help to minimize the risk of failure by helping you identify milestones and tackle potential issues. Working with a journal also helps you to document wins, work through challenges and brainstorm solutions. As you use your planner, revisit your vision board and future story and bring it all together.

6. Make your home, and workspaces work for you

Whether it’s your home or workspace, make it personal, nurturing, supportive and comfortable. These are the spaces where you live out your days. Every sight, sound, and smell has an effect on both your body and mind. Make your areas work to empower you, boost your productivity, and nurture your imagination. Make it look and feel like the you that you are striving to become.

7. Show yourself love by practicing excellent self-care

If you want to test your self-love, look at how well you practice self-care. We give time and attention to the things we care most about. And we tend to care most about the things we give our time and attention to. Practicing self-care includes getting enough physical activity, eating well, caring for our emotional well-being, being kind to ourselves with our self-talk and doing the extras like caring for our skin and getting massages. The last two items might appear minor, but notice how much we tend to touch those we love.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

8. Develop and practice a ritual with mantras, motivation, and meditation

Why mantras, motivation, and meditation? Mantras because you can make mindset changes by repeating motivational and empowering phrases to connect with your thoughts and rewrite your subconscious beliefs. Motivation because you can seek clarity in your goals and empower yourself to take action to achieve your dreams. Meditation because you can strive to feel centered and find peace of mind.

Reboot your life and begin again by retraining your brain to adopt a healthier, more positive mindset and discovering more functional habits. Give these eight recommendations a shot, then pay close attention to the changes you’ll begin to notice within your mind, throughout your body, and in your surroundings.

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10 Tips to Create Time and Space for Both Your Goals and Your Loved Ones

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Let’s face it, there are only 24 hours in a day and we all have the same 24 hours. How we spend those 24 hours will determine how much we have to show for them. Whether you are just starting out on a new venture, or perhaps you are taking an existing project or business to the next level, it takes a lot of time, energy and commitment to make it happen. But our personal relationships take the same components to function happily as well.

Here are some helpful tips to help you focus and plan ahead so that you can be your best self in all  areas of your life, without feeling depleted or guilty:

1. Write down your top 3 goals/priorities that you want to focus on this year

Do not list more than 3 – if you have more than 3 major goals then you may be overwhelming yourself and spreading your energy and time too thin.

2. Make 2 lists: Personal and professional goal-related activities

List all the things that you do in each category, so that you can see exactly what tasks you are currently handling in each category. For example, you may be married and also starting a business as a holistic coach. In the personal column, you may list that your spouse expects you to make dinner, and the grocery shopping – as well as have quality time to relax together after dinner.

In the professional column, your list of activities and tasks may include scheduling client appointments, attending networking events, bookkeeping, making sales calls, etc. When you put these lists next to each other, you quickly see that you have way too much on your plate, and that some of these tasks need to be delegated or eliminated.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

3. Go through each list and mark each task in order of importance

Use the hospital triage system: indicate which activities are most urgent and important by putting a #1 next to them and a #2 next to the tasks that are vital but not urgent, and a #3 next to the ones that need to be handled, but are easy to reschedule. Place the letter D next to all tasks that can be handed over, and simply cross out the tasks that you need to stop doing because they are no longer in alignment with your goals.

4. Use a calendar or day planner

It can be an electronic calendar, or a paper one. Do not use pen – you will need to erase things and move them around to honor your need for flexibility and the ever-changing nature of life.

5. In your calendar, make actual appointments that include start and end times to accomplish your #1 tasks

For example, if your business relies on you making sales calls, then that would be a #1 task that needs to have a home in your schedule with actual times allotted for it. Once you have scheduled all of your #1 tasks (both personal and professional), then proceed to entering in the #2 and #3 tasks.

6. Make your time with loved ones a #1 priority and schedule it in!

If it’s not written down or entered on your calendar, then it is just a good intention…it’s not real unless it’s on the books! For example, you could plan your schedule so that your work is completed most days by 6pm, and that all the time after that hour is designated time with your loved ones. Guard this time carefully.

7. Be in communication

Let your colleagues, clients, friends and family know what you are trying to accomplish and that you intend to be present to everyone – including yourself. Be honest about your challenges and stay focused on the goals rather than distracted by the obstacles.

There will be times when your schedule will need to change or you will have to cancel something. Don’t make it wrong, just clean it up and explain to all parties. Also, ask the people in your life what they need and expect from you as well. Don’t feel pressured to be a mind-reader or a people-pleaser.

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy

8. Be flexible

Life is constantly moving, changing and growing. Stuff happens. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you can’t make adjustments when life throws you a curve ball. Give yourself the gift of structure and discipline so that you may experience the freedom it creates for you. But don’t become a task-master, where your schedule becomes a slave driver. Instead, master your tasks so that you can work smarter, not harder.

9. Be realistic and ask for help when you need it

If your goals are quite lofty, then you may need to let go of a lot of extraneous activity in order to accomplish them. Also, you may simply not have a lot of free time! Continuously check in with yourself to see if you are willing to be, do and have all that will be demanded of you in order to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up just because it’s hard, but you may need to course-correct from time to time to stay in alignment with your authentic desires.

10. Keep an open mind and your eye on the prize

You really can have it all – but maybe not all at the same time. By choosing what you wish to focus on and giving each task a home in your calendar, you will begin to get more done in less time because you are focusing your energy on very specific types of activity.

Prioritizing goals, organizing your time and writing things down so that you can see it all in front of you is a great way to get clear, efficient and effective. Being in communication with the people in your life is the key to things working more smoothly.

And remember, it’s not about perfection. Focus on your sense of purpose and your progress instead, and you will create more space in your mind for new possibilities.

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Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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