Want more money? Thank your Christmas tree.

This weekend, we put up our Christmas tree.

Since then, I hugged it and thanked it every day.

I thanked it for giving its life to light up my house and my life.

I thanked it for being so full and beautiful.

I thanked it for having strong branches that keep all of our silly ornaments without dropping them.

I thanked it for sparkling so beautifully under the weight of the lights and decorations – just for us.

I thanked it because, by its nature, it was selfless. Maybe not by choice, but the end result was the same – it fills my heart with joy every day as I work right next to it and get to take little peeks and long glances at it, daydreaming of flurries and battles in the snow.

My Christmas tree isn’t the only thing that gets thanks.

[Read more…]

Why you’re stuck and nothing is working

So you’ve made up your mind to eliminate a bad habit. Or build a good one. To change something about your life. Make it better.

You want to lose weight and feel good in your skin again.

You want to get organized and stop procrastinating.

You want to make your business more successful.

You want to wake up early and be productive.

You want to cultivate the habit of mindfulness and become more zen.

You’ve gone out, done your research, and immersed yourself in books, websites, and “friendly advice”. You’ve tried a dozen different diets, snoozed a million times, taken more business courses than your wallet can afford, and only become more frustrated in the process.

No matter what you try, nothing seems to change. You’re stuck, and you’re ready to throw yourself on the floor and stomp and cry like a toddler because nothing. is. working, dammit!

I’ve been there. [Read more…]

5 essential things you need to learn in your 20s

This is a two-part series. To read the first part, click here.

Last week I wrote a post about what to stop doing in your 20s: waste time and pretend these years “don’t really count”.

Here’s the truth: everything counts. Every single second of every day counts. What counts most is the present moment. NOW.

It doesn’t matter what plans you’ve made for the future, or what happened to you in the past. Sure, you can prepare yourself for a better future, and you can learn from the lessons of the past. But the most important thing in this journey called life is to enjoy every single step of it. Basically, you need to make the most out of your now, every day of your life.

Now that you know what not to do in your 20s (throw them out the window), let’s talk about what you must do in your 20s. More specifically, let’s talk about what you really need to learn during this fateful decade. The sooner you learn these things, the better your life will be, and the more you’ll be able to make the most out of everything you’ve got.

Ready? Click on the video below to learn the 5 essential things you simply must learn in your 20s (and remember, the sooner, the better!)

 

 

Before you leave, I want to hear from you!

What is the most important lessons you have learned in your 20s or that you think young people should learn in their 20s?

For the fellow gen Y-ers out there: What are you going to make your “theme” this decade? What lesson are you going to absolutely make sure you learn?

This is a two-part series. To read the first part, click here.

Feeling overwhelmed? How to manage big projects like a pro

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Are you starting a big project, or working on one, and you can’t see your way around all of that work?

A lot of the women I’ve been talking to recently are struggling with this.

More and more women are following their intuition and going after their dreams.

To be successful, express your potential in a book, a course, an event… you hear that everywhere. You end up always preparing another launch, working on the next big thing in your career.

This is an awesome way to work, because it keeps you constantly engaged. I personally love being challenged, constantly going for the next thing. It keeps me on my toes, and I thrive on it.

But, at the same time, there’s a fine line between staying charged, always ready, sprinting on your toes, and losing yourself in a huge pile of tasks.

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of running on the to-do treadmill, like a little mouse on his wheel. Feeling overwhelmed causes you to lose that edge of creativity. Even though you may still be driven, you will lose touch with your inner power, the one that makes your work so uniquely wonderful.

This is why today I’m going to give you some practical strategies to keep yourself organized when tackling big projects.

Some other time we’ll look at the more intuitive aspects of overwhelm, and how to overcome it in a more holistic (and permanent) way. That, however, will take practice, dedication, and a long-term commitment. For now, since I have a fair bit of experience in tackling big projects to rely on, I’m going to give you a quick-and-dirty system you can use right away.

Tweet: Not doing it all is not lazy, it’s smart!

In the comments, please tell me, when do you feel most overwhelmed? And what techniques and tricks do you use to snap out of it and keep your inner power and creativity going strong?

First and foremost, remember to be kind to yourself. Feeling overwhelmed is a mental and emotional state. As any mental and emotional state, it is entirely under your control.

Here’s that nifty little scheme I was talking about. It’s a killer system and has helped me personally a LOT. Feel free to share it with whoever you think may benefit from it!

 

Anti-Overwhelm Organization System

 

P.S: That rolling sound you hear in the background? That’s the sound of my cat eating. He’s too greedy about food, so he eats out of a ball that he rolls around for food. Every once in a while he gets mad at it and smacks it repeatedly against the wall. He’s hilarious… and special (if you know what I mean… *wink*)

Fulfill your potential

Everything that happens to you is exactly what you need at that moment.

Everything that comes up in life is an opportunity. Most importantly, it is the RIGHT opportunity for you at that moment in time.

Post 8 4-21-2013We are built to grow, to expand, and to allow ourselves to reach new heights of consciousness. We are made to love, trust, and believe. We are created to shine our light into this world and to live out loud.

Every experience you go through is a lesson. Every opportunity is a lesson. Every unfortunate event is a lesson. It can be a lesson in gratitude, a lesson in love, or maybe a lesson in responsibility.

By this, I don’t mean a lesson that will teach you “what you’re doing wrong” and make you regret what you’ve done or failed to do.

No, by this I mean a lesson that will allow you to grow.

Every experience is an opportunity for growth.

At any moment in time, you have two choices: to be comfortable or uncomfortable.

To be comfortable, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Keep being average. Stay jealous. Remain a victim. Don’t do anything about it, either. You wouldn’t want to feel the pain of failure.

Unfortunately, life brings us pain no matter what. Whether you choose to be comfortable or not, it brings you the experiences that you need to grow.

What do you think will really help you grow?

That’s right, pain.

If you choose to stay comfortable year after year, life will just put you in the same circumstances over and over again – one more painful than another.

What’s the alternative?

Well, you can choose to be uncomfortable. You can say “to hell with mediocrity” and choose to dig deeper within yourself and follow your intuition and inner voice of wisdom. You can choose to work with the opportunities life brings you to grow and transform and expand rather than ignoring them and stagnating as an unhappy, mediocre, jealous couch potato.

You can keep waiting for “one day”, and being comfortable in the meantime, or you can choose to be uncomfortable now and see your life transform as you grow into the person you’re meant to be.

When you choose mediocrity and comfort, you waste precious time from your life. The more uncomfortable you are, the more you push yourself to question everything, the more you expand.

Want to reach your full potential? Want to find out just how high you can reach? Be uncomfortable. Screw mediocrity. Screw doubts and doubtfuls all around. Screw expectations. Question everything. Push yourself. Every day, know yourself a little better. Every day, love a little more. Love everyone around. Love yourself. And you will soar.

Here’s something else you need to do:

Go where your resistance takes you.

Having trouble with something? Do you always get stuck in bad relationships? Can you never focus enough to take something from beginning to end? Do you keep stumbling into this part of you that you just can’t stand?

Go there.

I’m serious.

Having trouble losing weight? Have you tried for your entire life, but you just can’t make it happen? Focus on that. Drill deep down. Why do you want to lose this weight? What’s stopping you? How is being overweight serving you right now? Is this your reality and self-mindset?

Do you keep dating useless pieces of junk? Work on that. How much do you really love yourself? How much do you think you’re worth? How is being in these relationships serving your current sense of self and beliefs about reality?

Just can’t focus? Make that your priority. Take a mindfulness course. Meditate. Understand why you’re having trouble with it, and how to either master and embrace it, or overcome it.

Where you’re most stuck, that’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

If you keep falling while trying to climb over this wall, and yet life just keeps putting it in front of you, then take that message: this is your biggest growth lesson. Make it your purpose for the next few months or years to learn it. Get a coach, read every book you can get your hands on, and be with yourself a lot.

When you finally pick that lock and open the treasure chest of this growth lesson, you will discover a miraculous key that will help you unlock so many doors to success.

That is your Link to Yourself.

Every single lesson life brings, every wall it builds in your path, is a doorway to knowing yourself better, being more in tune with your intuition, following your inner wisdom, and expanding to use your full potential.

You don’t need external validation. You don’t need outside incentives. You don’t need to focus on things that seem so boring, you’d rather jump in a deep well than do this for your entire life.

All you need to do is be true to yourself. Listen to the voice of your inner wisdom. Follow your excitement, even if it feels uncomfortable. Go where your intuition leads you.

Are you failing? Get back on track with these 6 steps!

So you put down your guard. You slipped into old patterns.

You religiously stuck to the exercise program… until you were just too tired. Then you conveniently “forgot” about it for a week.

You were done gossiping. But then that one really good bit came up… it was really just too good to pass up.

Falling off the bandwagon can easily make you feel like you’re a failure. That is a stinky feeling. When you feel like a failure it’s tempting to just stop pursuing your resolution altogether. What’s the point? You’re just going to fail again anyway…

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without the loss of enthusiasmYep, you are. You are just going to fail again. You are going to fail a million times throughout your life. And you are not alone.

No one, and by that I mean no one, reaches their resolutions without setbacks. Everyone fails.

The bigger the change, the bigger the struggle to achieve it, and the bigger and more frequent the slips and falls along the way.

You’re doing something radical. You’re tossing mediocrity and conventionality to the side. You’re following your intuition and reaching for goals you’ve never before allowed yourself to go after.

You’re putting aside your mask, and following your true potential. When you’re this vulnerable, it’s easy to let fear, stress, doubt, naysayers, and other everyday dangers push you back.

When you take a tumble, it’s tempting to throw in the towel.

It’s time for a reality check.

Change takes effort, time, and a serious fight against resistance. It’s not easy, and doesn’t come easily to anyone. Everyone falls down.

That moment when things get tough is when you’re at your most vulnerable, but also when you’re growing the most. That’s when it becomes truly essential to not give up. That’s when you can have a breakthrough moment, if you just allow yourself to push through the fears and doubts and trust your intuition and your path.

So check your disappointment at the door, put your heavy bag of fears and doubts down, and let’s get to work dealing with this mess that’s called change.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Face your setback

The first thing you need to do is accept your setback. Embrace it, even.

I know, I know. That doesn’t sound right. Hear me out anyway.

So you had a setback.

It happens to literally every single successful person. Sir James Dyson, inventor and founder of the Dyson company, says  that “You never learn from success, but you do learn from failure.” (click here to read his interview with Entrepreneur magazine)

Here’s the thing to remember:

Failure is an event, not a character trait. So stop letting it define you.

You choose how to respond to your setbacks. But before responding, you have to just come to terms with the fact that shit happens.

Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you succeed.

But the important thing is that you’re heading in the right direction.

If I set course to San Francisco from New York, I can be walking two steps forward and one step back, tumbling, stepping and hopping along the way, but as long as I stay on course I will eventually reach my destination.

2. Get back up

Get back up. Right away.

Don’t be tempted to quit just because you had one bad spell.

If you pigged out (Ms. Oink here knows), commit to following your resolution of healthy eating for the rest of the day.

If you’ve slipped back into a bad habit, stop. Get back on the bandwagon, right now.

Nip it in the bud.

It’s not going to be easy. I never said it would.

But recovering today is less painful than doing it a year from now, when you have given your resistance time to grow.

Look, resistance is unavoidable, if you really want to make this change, you have to accept that.

So get up and get your butt back in the game! Time’s a-wastin’!

3. Take responsibility

One of my biggest guiding values is taking responsibility for my life.

Too often, we blame our actions, successes, and failures on outside circumstances.

You didn’t fail because you were too tired, stressed out, or because the stars just didn’t align right.

You fell off the bandwagon because of your inner resistance. You gave in to your doubts and fears. You’re human, and you just lost focus and let yourself get discouraged.

That’s OK.

Maybe you could have done something better. You probably could have said no. You could have been perfect.

But you’re not perfect, and you were not made to be perfect. And the more you embrace that and take responsibility for your life, the better you can jump over the hoops and follow your destiny.

So when you slip, call it what it is. Don’t blame it on other circumstances. Life, stress, and other people only have as much power over you as you give them. Recognize that the power lies within yourself, and stop giving it away. Claim it back.

How did you create this failure? What could you do better to prevent it from happening next time? What can you do to ensure your success?

4. Get perspective

When you slip and fall, your mind has a way of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Your emotions can get the better of you, and leave you susceptible to your inner resistance.

Don’t be tempted to take a seat on the poor-me-i-can-never-get-anything-done-EVER train.

I’m intimately familiar with every car of that train. It sucks, big time.

That only makes things worse. And the more time you spend on that train of doom, the harder it is to get back up and keep going.

To get some perspective, ask yourself, how much will this matter in 5 years? And what can you do now to make it not matter in 5 years, and ensure your success?

These questions will shift your focus from worrying to taking action – which is the only thing you should be doing.

5. Help someone out

When you fall down, go help someone else pick themselves back up. Motivate them, inspire them, listen to them. Be a friend to them.

It’s so much easier to see the worth in other people. By convincing them that they are worth it, and that they can do it, you are putting yourself in that motivational can-do mindset, and allowing yourself to perceive your own worth as well.

Helping others when you’re going through a tough time will also help you realize that you are not alone. They are going through tough struggles as well. We all have our own hoops to jump through.

When things are tough, give a hand. Hop on the love train. I’ll save you a seat.

6. Channel your inner child

Have you ever seen a baby learn to walk?

It is one of the most adorable things to watch. It’s also terribly inspirational.

We are born with an extraordinary capacity to be present right here, right now, and a fantastic desire to learn.

Anyone who’s watched a child take a tumble knows they cry for a little and then just get over it. If it’s a small slip and fall, and they really want to get to their goal (cupcakes, anyone?), they just get up and keep going. Sometimes it never even registers that their nose kissed the floor. By the time they have the cupcake, the fall is a distant memory.

Your goal is their cupcake, and your setback is their small slip and fall along the way.

When you feel like you are failing, bring out the child inside of you. Go for that cupcake (goal), and don’t stop till you have it!

 

I’d love to learn from your experience!

What do you do to pick yourself up when you feel like you’re starting to fail?

 

Reach your goals: Are you using these four essential techniques?

Are you having trouble keeping on track with your goals?

Do you need too much motivation to keep going?

Do you feel like your inner resistance is getting the better of you?

Paralyze resistance with persistence. - Woody HayesYeah, I’m intimately familiar with all of that.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can reach your goals, without feeling like you’re attempting an impossible feat.

All it takes is the right approach.

Here are some techniques that you can use to get yourself started on the right track.

1. Create an actionable habit that’s sustainable

When that initial surge of motivation is so high, it’s easy to imagine that you will move mountains.

And, honey, I believe you will.

Just not right now.

You see, new changes take time and effort. The bigger of a change you try to make all of a sudden, the more the Grinch will whiplash you back with the biggest motivation slump you’ve ever lived through.

So make it sustainable. Don’t aim too high… not just yet. Start small to give yourself a chance to succeed.

It’s important tomake the distinction here between an actionable habit and a goal. Maybe you like to set high goals. I know I do. I don’t just aim for the moon, I aim for the next galaxy!

And that, my friends, is a-ok. No problem. Set your goals as high as they can go. Setting super high goals is actually a great thing.

But that’s not what your actionable habit needs to be.

Your actionable habit should be something that you can reach (think the closest star, not the closest galaxy), and it should be something you can comfortably fit into your life without too much disruption.

That means, if you’ve been smoking 3 packs of cigarettes for the past 30 years, for the love of all that is holy, don’t just quit cold turkey. (unless you have the right kind of support to help you through that massive transition)

If steak gives you foodgasms and you hate veggies, don’t start a raw vegan lifestyle out of the blue.

If you’re 300 pounds overweight and have never run a mile in your life, don’t make your first day’s workout 1.5 hours long.

You will come back to those cigarettes, the steak, and the couch faster than you can say failed resolution.

We all like to aim high. Aim as high as you’d like. Just take a smaller first step. Don’t smoke before 10 am. Have one meat-less dinner a week. Do a 10-minute workout every morning.

Remember that each person is different. Your tiny first step might be ten times bigger than someone else’s tiny first step. This depends on your personality, experience, and whole host of other factors.

Give yourself permission to be your own expert. Click to tweet this quote

Point your awareness inward and take your first step at a size that feels right to you.

2. Do it daily

It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon if you have time to take a break and experience a day without putting in the effort to complete your actionable habit.

Don’t let that happen. Do it every.single.day.

If you need to, reduce your actionable habit even more. It’s often easier to form a stress-reducing meditation habit by sitting for 10 minutes a day than for 30 minutes every 3 days.

Forming a new habit is tough, and it takes work. Creating change requires going out of your comfort zone, and that is hard. I’m not going to lie to you about that, and you already know it. Don’t make it any harder on yourself by taking regular breaks from it.

It’s always easier to maintain a habit than it is to start over. Breaking your habit once is not the end of the world, and it may not be hard to recover from. But get into the habit of breaking your habit, and you’re toast.

Just do it every day. If you’re too busy, set your priorities straight.

If you really want this change to happen, then you can take 10 minutes out of your busy day every day to take care of your actionable habit.

3. Schedule it

Take a pencil, a pen, whatever, and write it down in your planner or calendar. Schedule it down for the next month. Remember, it takes at least 21 days to build a habit. Don’t trust yourself to remember to do it before that.

But I have trouble sticking to my schedule!

If you’re like me and just can’t take your agenda seriously, schedule your actionable habit at a time when you’re not likely to be distracted by anything else.

Wake up earlier in the morning to do this before you even start your day. Or do what I do and whoop some writer’s block ass on your hour-long daily commute on the train.

Don’t allow any distractions during this time. This is your appointment with yourself. Treat it like an important doctor’s appointment, or like you’re preparing for the most important exam of your life.

4. Get your foot in the door

For me, getting started is the hardest thing. Once I’ve been working out or writing for 10 minutes, ignoring distractions is not that hard. It’s the first 5-10 minutes that are really hard.

This goes along with what I said earlier: maintaining a habit is easier than starting over.

So, before you even start, get everything ready!

When it comes time to do what you’ve set out to do, you can just start. No prep needed. No time to change your mind once you start. And certainly nothing to distract you away from your actionable habit in those vital first few minutes.

If your resolution is to jog every day, put your workout clothes on, whether you feel like it or not. Then get out the door, and start walking. You may not feel like jogging, but I promise you, after walking for 5 minutes, you’ll pick up the pace.

When I was trying to build my actionable habit of eating a salad for lunch every day, I would prepare it the night before, then add the dressing right before leaving for work.

Once I was at work, I knew all I had in the fridge was my salad. My only other option was to go out in the cold and spend $5 – $10 of my hard-earned money on something else.

If I really felt like having something else, I would go to the fridge, bring my salad to my desk, open the container and stick a fork in it. Then I would ignore it and just keep working. Inevitably, within 2 minutes, that fork would find its way into my mouth.

Just Do It.

Just. Do. It. You don’t need motivation, you don’t need inspiration. All you need is to get off your butt and get going, and do what you’ve set out to do.

Try to manage your stress levels during this time. You’re trying to make an important change in your life and battling your own internal Negative Nancy. That’s stressful enough. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, and try to stay as much in the present moment as you can.

Don’t let failures or setbacks discourage you. Every single successful person has failed more times than they can count.

What differentiates them from the people who are not successful is the fact that they keep getting back up. Over, and over, and over. Get up, and get yo’ ass going. Just do it.

Take action!

Try my techniques for at least the next five days.

In the comments, share your actionable steps!

What other techniques do you use to defeat your inner Grinch and just do it?

How did this 5-day experiment work out for you? What did you find most useful?

Let’s get this party started and reach some goals!

Can’t keep up with your resolutions? Here’s why

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.

I always start out all fired up and full of drive and motivation to do all the stuff that I’ve set out to do.

But, right around this time of year, I usually make best friends with a giant pint of ice cream, the feeling of being a failure, and 5 lbs (if I’m lucky).

It stinks.

Boost  your motivation with the power of habitThis year, I was tempted not to make a resolution in the first place. After all, failure seemed inevitable.

But then I realized there is a certain drive for change that comes along with a new beginning. A new year in particular can give us that fresh, lovely feeling of starting off with a clean slate.

Resolutions help us take that purely emotional drive and translate it into a goal and an action plan that has the possibility to create lasting change.

Instead of giving up on making resolutions, I decided to discover what causes us to fail at them.

It turns out that overreliance on motivation drives failure.

Whoa, wait, what? No way, motivation is a good thing!

Yes! Motivation is awesome… to get you started.

But once you start… it’s not motivation that should keep you going!

Motivation leaves you too susceptible to the resistance within you. [Read more…]