9 Things You Should Do Every Day Before 9 A.M.

40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive

The morning is enormously important.  It’s the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have.

When I awake in the morning, my mind gradually gathers, and I begin to move as the early morning light is just starting to seep through the windows.  My family is still sleeping.  It’s a peaceful beginning.

I stretch, have a glass of water, start the tea kettle, and practice a gratitude meditation for ten minutes.  Then I enjoy a cup of tea as I read one chapter of a good book.  And finally, I write for an hour before the busyness of the day begins.

Once my family awakes, I pause to join them for a short time and we follow some simple morning rituals together too.

This is just a rough sketch of my mornings, and they make me happy.

It wasn’t always this way though.  I used to awake in a hurry, rushing and cranky before stumbling into work and errands and meetings.  It was awful, but it was my life.  I didn’t know any better, so I didn’t think I could change things.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

I’ve changed my mornings, so they work for me and not against me, with just a few simple rituals.  And I’ve shared these morning rituals with thousands of coaching clients/students over the years, and many of them come back to me a month or two later and say, “Thank you!”  Perhaps they will help you as well.

1.  Get an early start.

If your mornings are chaotic, the simple solution is to get up a little earlier than the chaos.  This, of course, starts the night before by going to bed a bit earlier too.

Adjust gradually, wake up just 10 minutes earlier each week for [Read more…]

40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive

40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.

“I don’t want to feel overwhelmed.  I’m tired of the anxiety and stress.  Too often my mind is consumed with negative thoughts and my body is filled with physical tension.  It hurts.  I don’t want to feel like this.  I don’t want to feel like I live in a whirlwind of exhaustion 24/7.  I don’t want to just ‘get by’ day to day…”

Those are the opening lines right out of a live chat session I had last night with a long-time reader and recent course student of ours.  I’m sharing this with you today (with permission) because, in slightly different words, I’ve literally heard this same message from coaching clients, students and readers 1,000+ times over the past decade.

Can you relate?  To an extent, I bet you can.  Sometimes we all can.

Whenever I’m coaching someone who shares these feelings, I gracefully shift their focus from what they don’t want to what they DO want.  Because I know that what we focus on grows stronger in our lives.  I remind them that their life story is an expression of who they believe themselves to be – the thoughts and words they choose to express themselves, gradually shapes the core of their identity and destiny.

So let me ask you this:

How have you written your story so far?  Have you put your thoughts and words to positive use?  If I eavesdropped on your self-talk or your conversations with others, would I hear statements that create happiness, or statements that refute it?

Your ability to write a positive life story hinges on your language.  It is your inner and outer verbal expression that makes your joy possible and that infuses your life with purpose, meaning and vitality.

So today, I challenge you to replace your negative thoughts and words with positive alternatives.  Take a look at the quotes below that I have selected from our blog archive.  Pick one (or more) of them that relates to your present troubles, and use it as a mantra by repeating it to yourself every time you feel negativity creeping up inside you.

  1. If the grass looks greener on the other side…  Stop staring.  Stop comparing.  Stop complaining and start watering the grass you’re standing on.
  2. Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.
  3. Sometimes you just have to look back at your past and smile about how far you’ve come. [Read more…]

7 Reasons it’s Time to Move On and Embrace Change

9 Addictions 90 Percent of Us Struggle With

Change isn’t part of the process; it is the process.  The bad news: nothing is permanent.  The good news: nothing is permanent.

Today, with the help of a friend, Brian Gardner (check out his inspiring site), we made the first design change to our site in nearly a decade.

Yes, a decade.

If you think about how drastically the internet and technology has matured in the past ten years, it’s impossible not to wonder why we didn’t update our site design sooner.

All details aside – and there are plenty of them – the answer is: Resistance to change.

Sure, in the past we’ve preached about prioritizing content over design.  And yeah, it wasn’t broken, so we didn’t absolutely need to fix it.  But these rationalities were just covering up the fact that we were stuck in our comfort zones.

In this subtle, yet obvious way, we weren’t practicing what we preach.  But thankfully we finally caught ourselves and came to our senses.

And as we rolled out the new design this morning, I couldn’t help but appreciate the synchronicity of this short email from a coaching/course student that popped up in my inbox at the same exact time (I’m sharing this with permission):

“I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks.  Today marks a full year that I’ve been eating right and working out regularly, which is, as you know, something I resisted for years.  This time last year I weighed 312 pounds.  When I saw my weight on the scale at the doctor’s office I knew it was time for a change.  And after some much-needed coaching from you and Angel, a year of exercising my willpower, and using no dieting pills or gastric bands or anything, I went back to the doctor’s office for my annual check-up.  ‘199 lbs,’ my doctor said.  ‘You know, your positive lifestyle change just added roughly 10 years to your life expectancy.’  My 9-year-old daughter, who came with me, grabbed my hand and said, ‘I look forward to spending those extra years with you, daddy.’”

Wow!  Talk about a beautiful reminder to embrace positive change in your life.

Yes, you may feel resistance, like Angel and I did with our site’s redesign.  It may not be easy.  But we all have to stretch our comfort zones and move our lives forward.

The truth is, living is a risk.  Happiness is a risk.  If you’re not a little scared sometimes, then you’re not doing it right.  Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try.  Worry about the life you’re not living and the opportunities you’re forgoing, as you merely exist in the safety of your comfort zone.  Give yourself permission to be one of the people who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them and grew into your strongest self.

That’s what I wish for Angel and me, and that’s what I wish for YOU.

So in a general sense, here are some good reasons it’s time for all of us to embrace change and move onward…

  1. Everything changes, whether you embrace change or not. – If nothing ever changed there would be no sunrise the next morning.  Most of us are comfortable where we are even though the whole universe is constantly changing around us.  Learning to accept this is vital to our happiness and general success.  Because only when we change, do we grow, and begin to see a world we never knew was possible.  And don’t forget, however good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace it, and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it. [Read more…]

9 Addictions 90% of Us Struggle With

9 Addictions 90 Percent of Us Struggle With

We are addicted to our thoughts.  We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

“I’m addicted!” she said.

“But didn’t you just tell me you’ve been clean for 15 years?” I asked.

“I have been,” she said.

“So what are you addicted to?” I asked.

“To doing what I shouldn’t be doing, even though I know better,” she said.  “I’m addicted to doing it the wrong way, because it’s easier and safer, and just the way I’ve always done it.  I’m addicted to letting my negativity and anger and fear get the best of me every day.  And honestly, that’s just scratching the surface of it.  But the scariest part of it all is that I know dozens of other people who are just like me in this regard.  We’re all addicts and we don’t even acknowledge it!”

Those are lines right out of a live chat session I had this morning with a coaching client and student of ours.  I’m sharing this with you (with permission) because nothing could be closer to the truth.

Almost every one of us is an addict, and what we are addicted to is…

1.  Wanting and expecting everything to be easy.

All great achievements require time and work.  Good things don’t come easy.  And patience is the only way you can endure the grey periods.

When we want things to be easy, and expect them to be, we are inevitably disappointed.  Our disappointment then motivates us to give up too soon.  And the thing with giving up too soon is you never know.  You never know whether you could have put in the effort and done something incredible with your life.  I made changes because I was sick of not knowing.  What about you?

Find the courage to [Read more…]

3 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

3 Ways You're Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

The greatest step toward a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.

Imagine you had a ripe, juicy apple sitting on an otherwise empty table in front of you.  You pick it up eagerly, take a nibble, and begin to taste it.

You already know how an apple should taste, and so when this one is a bit more tart than you expected, you make a face, feel a sense of disappointment and swallow it, dissatisfied.

Or perhaps the apple tastes EXACTLY as you expected – nothing special at all.  So you swallow without even pausing to enjoy its flavor, and you move on with your day.

In the first scenario, the apple was disappointing because it didn’t meet your expectations.  In the second, it was too plain and unexciting because it met your expectations to a T.

Do you see the irony here?

It’s either not good, or not good enough.

Now imagine you try this: eliminate your expectations of how the apple ‘should’ taste.  You don’t know, and you don’t pretend to know, because you haven’t tried it yet.  Instead, you’re genuinely curious, impartial and open to a variety of flavors.

You taste it, and you truly pay attention.  You notice the juiciness, the grainy texture of the skin, the simultaneously sweet, tangy and tart flavors swirling around your tongue, and all the other complex sensations that arise in your awareness as you chew.  You didn’t know how it would taste, but now you realize it’s brilliant!  It’s brand new, because you’ve never tasted THIS apple before.

Mindfulness practitioners often refer to this as “beginner’s mind,” but really it’s just the outcome of a mindset free of needless expectations.

The apple, of course, can be substituted for anything in your life: any event, any task, any social interaction, any person, any meal, any thought at all that enters your mind, anytime and anyplace.  If you approach any of these with expectations of “how it should be,” they will surely disappoint you in some way… or be too plain and unexciting to remember.  And you’ll just move on to the next disappointment or unexciting experience, and the next, and the next, and so on and so forth, until you’ve lived your entire life stuck in an endless cycle of things you barely like or barely even notice.

But if you approach each event, task, social interaction, etc. without expectations – and just see that event, task, social interaction, etc. at face value – then you will truly see it.  You will truly appreciate it for what it is.  And you will truly experience it like you’ve never experienced anything before, because you haven’t.

This is The Art of Making Life Easier!

So now that we’ve cleared the air a little, let’s take a closer look at three of the most common ways people use expectations to make life harder than it has to be:

1.  You procrastinate to avoid your expectation of problems.

Let’s say you’ve been putting off a big project at work because you’re dreading [Read more…]