How To Save You From Yourself

Change Your Life

This guest post was written by Jacob Inman, author of Revive Your Life.

First we make our habits, then our habits make us.
-Charles C. Noble

It’s not unusual for intelligent people to get themselves stuck in a deep rut in life.  By rut, I mean a somewhat extended period of time flooded with low motivation, poor moods, negative thinking patterns, and little or no productivity.  A rut like this can be extremely difficult to get out of.  I’ve been there several times, so I know that rediscovering productivity and finding the motivation to delve into anything even remotely challenging can seem nearly impossible.  However, we must eventually come to our senses and realize that there’s no point in going through life feeling unmotivated, tired, stressed out, and unhealthy.  Misery is, after all, a choice.

Escaping the bounds of a deeply-grooved rut requires nothing more than some willpower, a good plan, and the resolve to take immediate action.  Most ruts are caused by a lack of self-care – for example, little to no exercise, sub-par nutrition, zero personal reflection, insufficient sleep, etc.  Significant transformation can, and will, occur in a relatively short period of time if you take action now and remain diligently focused on digging yourself out of the hole you’ve created.

One month – 30 days, should provide plenty of time for you to turn your life around.  Below are some helpful tips to get you started.  Make it your goal to gradually incorporate all of these tips into your life over the course of the next month.

  • Get Naked and Face Reality – Remove all of your clothing, weigh yourself, and then stand naked in front of a full-length mirror for 30 seconds.  Put your clothing back on and take the next two minutes to think about what you’ve just witnessed.  How do you feel?  Comfortable?  Disturbed?  Shocked?  If you felt anything other than comfortable, move on to the next step.
  • Take Out the Trash – While holding a large garbage bag, rummage through your refrigerator and kitchen pantry and throw away anything that lists ‘high fructose corn syrup’ as an ingredient.  While you’re at it, throw away items that contain ‘partially hydrogenated’ anything.  This would include most packaged and processed foods such as cookies, chips, crackers, sodas, etc.  Reward yourself by removing a single item from the bag that was the most difficult for you to throw away.  Take one bite and throw the rest back in the garbage bag.
  • Gather the Necessary Supplies – Now that you’re close to being out of food, grab a pencil and paper and begin making a new grocery list that includes the following items: oatmeal, eggs, chopped walnuts, fresh baby spinach, skinless chicken breasts, raw almonds, raisins, salmon fillets, whole wheat bread, canned tuna, unprocessed cheese, four vegetables of your choice, and three fruits of your choice.  Do your own research as to why I selected these foods, and find other foods to add to your grocery list for the same reasons (Hint: protein, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, whole grains, and vitamins).
  • Put the Bottle Down – Cut your alcohol consumption by 50 percent.  If you drink one glass of wine every night of the week, drink one glass every other night instead.  If you drink a case of beer each week, cut your consumption down to two six-packs.  If you drink one bottle of whiskey per week, buy a smaller bottle.  It’s hard to be motivated or productive when you’re constantly buzzed or hung-over.
  • Schedule a Long-Overdue Visit – When was the last time you saw your family physician?  Call your doctor and schedule a full physical examination.  Take every piece of advice that he or she gives you as the gospel and ask at least three specific questions related to your health.  Research any prescriptions that are written for you so that you understand what you are being asked to take and why.  This time, keep your clothes on while the nurse weighs you, and stay away from full-length mirrors.  😉
  • Stimulate Your Brain with New Insights – Buy or borrow two insightful personal development books that contain at least 150 pages each.  Here are some titles to consider:  The Power of Less, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Power of Now.  Commit to finishing both books in 30 days by reading during your regularly scheduled television time.  By default, this will cut the time you watch television in half.  Better yet, engage in a “media fast” whereby you unplug the television and internet for an entire month.  Watch your productivity soar!
  • Fuel the Machine First – Make time to eat breakfast every day – it really doesn’t take that long.  Place one half heaping cup of oatmeal and one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Nuke it for two minutes.  Add a dash of cinnamon, a handful of raisins, a handful of chopped walnuts, and a touch maple syrup or honey.  Eat and get energized.
  • Re-Fuel with Premium More Often – Each day between breakfast, lunch and dinner, eat a handful of almonds and a piece of fruit.  These small nutritional snacks provide boosts of energy that will prevent you from slumping over your desk in a near-comatose state each afternoon.  The almonds provide a great source of magnesium, a necessary mineral proven to calm your nerves and reduce fatigue.
  • Renew and Reconnect – Plan an enjoyable night out with either a friend or your significant other at least twice this month.  Refrain from talking about yourself and instead ask questions that show your appreciation and interest in the person you’re with.  Also, expand your horizons by allowing your companion to select the location and entertainment for the night.  You just might learn something new.
  • Look Beyond Yourself – Pray or meditate once a day for at least five minutes.  If this seems to calm your mind, increase the time from five to ten minutes.
  • Expend Some Energy – Make a valid attempt to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine.  Spend 20 minutes, two times per week performing some type of enjoyable physical activity.  Take the stairs at the office instead of the elevator.  Take the dog for a walk.  Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of sending him an email.  Just get up and get moving!
  • Recharge Your Mind and Body – Get at least seven hours of quality sleep per night this month.  By following the other suggestions above, restful sleep should come naturally.  Sleep is one of the most powerful ways to rejuvenate the mind and body, increase creativity, and replenish lost energy.

After 30 days have passed, take time to reflect on how you feel physically, mentally, and spiritually.  It’s likely that your rut will be replaced with a well-paved path leading to better health and a stronger sense of well-being.

Remember, misery is a choice.  Your daily habits can be either a host for misery or a host for happiness and positive change.  The choice is yours to make.

Jacob Inman writes about the power of personal change and how to achieve it on his blog, Revive Your Life.

Photo by: Guille

A Love That Is Free Will Forever Be

Love is Free

Ten years later, they’re still together…

The Girl in the Mirror

She looks at herself in the full length mirror that hangs from her bedroom wall.  Completely naked and exposed, yet confident.  She’s older than she was five years ago, but feels much younger.  And she thinks momentarily about the different men who held her in front of this mirror.

They thought they possessed her.  They thought she was theirs.  Because she was in their arms, so delicate and sweet.  But really she possessed them.  Because she possesses the space in front of the mirror.  And the moments that occur there too.

She gazes down at the man lying naked in her bed.  But he’s not just another man.  For the first time in years, this one sleeps differently.  With a subtle smile, a dash of poise, and a history free of envy.  And she smiles and giggles to herself.

Just then, he stirs, slowly lifts his head, squints his eyes, and looks at her standing across the room, naked in front of the mirror.  His movement startles her and she jumps.  Not because he sees her naked, but because she isn’t ready for him to be awake.  Not yet.

This is her time, the early morning, when the world is quiet and she can hear the sound of her own breathing.  It’s a sacred time when answers and insights aren’t as hard to come by.  A time when her mind is at peace and her heart beats slower.  And it begins beating slower again.  Because he closes his eyes and falls back asleep.

She slips on her robe, tiptoes into the kitchen, pours coffee grounds and water into the coffee maker, places two slices of bread in the toaster, and opens the window curtains.  The warm, early morning sun floods into her apartment.  A few minutes later, the toaster pops.  She spreads strawberry jam on the toast, pours a cup of coffee, opens the front door, and sits down on the doorstep.

And she thinks about how happy she is.  Happy to simply be.  To be free.  To not be tied down by another person or have another person tied down by her.  She stares up at the morning sky for a prolonged moment and smiles.

“I’m in love,” she says aloud.

The Guy in the Bed

He hasn’t fallen back asleep.  When he lifts his head, squints his eyes, and sees her standing naked in front of the mirror, he senses that she isn’t yet ready for him to join her.  So he closes his eyes and pretends to sleep.

He listens as she giggles, slips on her robe, tiptoes into the kitchen, and rattles the toaster, the coffee maker, and the curtains.  He loves these little noises…  Noises he calls music.

Like the music of last night, when they talked and laughed for hours over a bottle of wine.  Until unexpectedly, she kissed him.  And then he kissed her back.  Because of her philosophy and her beauty.

She took off his shirt.  He took off hers.  And it went on like that for what seemed like hours until they were together in bed, naked.  He thought he could love her.  He wondered if he did love her already.  And he wondered if she felt the same way.

When the kitchen noises stop, he gets up, slips on his boxers, and tiptoes into the living room where he sees her sitting peacefully on the doorstep.  She’s completely bathed in the sun’s light.  As she eats toast and drinks coffee, she seems to be laughing… a sweet, silent laughter.

He wants to bother her.  To tell her that he’s hungry too, and that he wouldn’t mind sharing a slice of her toast.  But he doesn’t.  Because she seems so happy and free… the way it should be.  So instead he stands in the doorway and admires her from a distance.  And he thinks about the fact that she isn’t his… that she will never be his.  And that it’s okay.

Because she just said, “I’m in love.”

Photo by: Jey Heich

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

Questions to Change Your Mind

These questions have no right or wrong answers.

Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  22. Why are you, you?
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  25. What are you most grateful for?
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  32. If not now, then when?
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

And check out these books for more thought-provoking questions:

Photo by: Sanctuary

How To Live a Life of High Adventure

Live a Life of High Adventure

This guest post was written by Robin Krieglstein, founder of GoalTribe.

I know a little something about living an adventurous life.  I’ve hot air ballooned Kathmandu, glacier trekked Patagonia, gone paragliding in the Andes, slept in a snow-shelter at the top of the Rocky Mountains, scuba-dived in the tropics, camel trekked the Sahara, rock-climbed in Thailand and been on an African safari.  Oh, and I’ve been sky diving, cliff diving, rafting on Class V white water, and I was even swept over a waterfall once.

Huff, huff…  You thought I was finished, didn’t you?  😉

I’ve also visited 20% of the world’s countries and circled the globe twice.  I’ve explored ancient castles, palaces, temples, tombs, catacombs and labyrinths.  I’ve stayed in 5 star hotels, caves and dessert caravan tents.  I’ve seen the pyramids, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, the African savanna, the Himalayas, the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis in Athens and the Taj Mahal.

And I have to tell you – it’s been extraordinary.  It’s an absolutely amazing, brilliant, beautiful world out there filled with dazzling wonders that are readily available for you to experience.  You don’t have to be rich.  You don’t have to be exceptional.  If you want to experience it all, you just have to make a decision, set some goals, and make it happen.

Here’s how:

Step 1:  Discover Your Vista’s of Adventure

First get a clear vision of what the word ‘adventure’ means to you.  Take 30 minutes, put on some inspiring music, get excited and write down everything that comes to mind when you think about an adventure.  What movies inspire you?  Indiana Jones?  James Bond?  The Bourne Series?  What types of adventures appeal to you?  Adventurous sports?  Travel?  The great outdoors?  What specific activities sound like a heart-pounding blast?  Bungee jumping?  Exploring ancient ruins?  Heli-skiing (skiing areas you can only get to by helicopter)?

Step 2:  Choose 5 Specific Adventure Goals

Life is short!  Now is the time to get real.  Now is the moment to make a commitment to experience the life adventures you want to experience before you die.  Choose 5 adventure goals from your brainstorm that you’re most excited about.  Pick one that you will do within 3 months, one that you will do by the end of the year, one within 2 years, one within 3 years and one within 5 years.  The first 3-month goal should be exciting, but reasonable, so it’s actually possible to achieve in a short time frame.  This one is very important because it will help you build momentum and faith in yourself.

Also, be firm and DECIDE that you WILL give yourself the gift of an adventurous life.  Spend an additional 5 minutes writing out why this is important to you, and then write a formal commitment to yourself and hang it where you’ll see it every day.

Step 3:  Learn How to Take the First Step

Now take your first 3-month goal and figure out what you need to do to make it a reality.  One of the most common reasons people don’t make their life more exciting and adventurous is that they don’t know how to start.  But that’s okay – you can learn.  Search the Internet, the library, or talk to people who’ve done what you’re planning to do.  Ask questions.  Make calls.  Figure out what steps you need to take.  There are companies that arrange everything from local rock-climbing and white-water rafting trips to round-the-world, multi-month adventures.  Also, read “25 Ways to Learn How to Do Absolutely Anything” for more ideas.

Step 4:  Create a Plan for Your First Adventure

Once you understand the initial steps that are required to embark on your first adventure goal, create a clear plan.  Make a detailed list of what actions you need to take and set a date for completing each action so that you’ll be off experiencing this first adventure in exactly 3 months from today.

Step 5: Jump into Action Immediately

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably just read the previous 4 steps without actually doing anything.  And guess what?  You’re in danger of finishing this article without ever taking action.  Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen:

  • Take action immediately!  Yes, right now!  Start brainstorming your adventure goals.
  • Pick your top 5 goals.  And then do one more step…
  • Figure out what the logical first step is towards your first adventure goal.

Additional Tips on Living an Adventurous Life

  1. Overcoming your fears is half the fun of adventuring.  The adrenalin rush can be exhilarating!  And when it passes, and you realize you’re still standing, you feel a great sense of accomplishment.  Remember most fears are not real.  Fear could stand for: “False Experiences Appearing Real.”  Fear is also a great way to get people’s attention and motivate them to do things; so the media, politicians, companies and many other organizations spend a lot of time and money trying to make the world seem like a scary place.  It’s not.  Even for people living adventurous lives, disaster rarely strikes.  That’s why when it does strike it makes the evening news… because it’s rare.  Ultimately the secret to fear is:  Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  2. Whenever you have a choice of activities to do, pick the one that will make for a better story.
  3. Don’t have the time?  Instead of going to see an action movie, take action in your own life.  Instead of sitting in front of the TV, sit on a ski lift.  Instead of sleeping in your bed, sleep on a bus on the way to the Grand Canyon.  Instead of going out to the park, go out rock climbing.  Instead of vacationing at Disneyland, vacation in Thailand.
  4. Don’t have the money?  International travel is much cheaper than it seems.  Just give up a few luxuries and don’t try to keep living exactly the same way you do at home.  You will keep costs down and have a much more profound experience if you eat what the locals eat, sleep like the locals sleep and travel like the locals travel.  Visit countries that are more affordable than your home country.  As for adventure sports, most of them are filled with specialized, expensive gear that you don’t need.  You need SOME to be safe, but don’t be fooled into a thousand dollar shopping spree for a weekend camping trip.  Rent, borrow or go without.  Yes you can!
  5. For additional advice on doing the impossible, I recommend reading (or rereading) Marc and Angel’s excellent post “How to Walk on Water.”
  6. And one last tip from someone who’s been there:  As your life unfolds with new excitement, experiences and adventure, you must, must, must keep a journal of your experiences.  Also, take thousands of pictures and lock those precious moments into your memory forever.  Someday, when you’re sitting with your children or grandchildren, you’ll be so happy you did.

What adventures would you like to conquer?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Robin Krieglstein is the Founder and CEO of GoalTribe, the most advanced goal achievement social network on the planet.  GoalTribe offers free, step-by-step guidance to plan your goals, get a support team, build motivation, track your progress and overcome all obstacles.  On GoalTribe’s blog, Robin explores life changing ideas colored by stories from his around-the-world travels through 38 countries.

Photo by: Ivan Makarov