“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
The alarm bell goes off. You slowly open your eyes. A new day lies before you.
A day of unexplored potential and opportunities. How can you make it more likely to become a positive and good day?
Today I’d like to simply share 7 habits that I have used to make my mornings and whole days better.
1. Have a reminder on your bedside table.
How will you start your very first moments and minutes of the day?
One good way to get off to a good start is to have a note, a reminder on your bedside table that will be one of the first things you see after you have woken up.
A couple of suggestions for what to write down on your note:
“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.”
Jose Ortega y Gasset
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
It is early morning. You’ve had your breakfast and done your morning routine.
So you head out into your day. And in a short while you’ll sit down in school or at your job and get started with your daily work.
But how can you get that work done in a way that is less stressful, less energy consuming and simply a bit smarter?
Today I’d like to share 10 tips that have helped me with that. I hope you will find something here that will help you too to simplify and relaxify your own daily work.
Just a quick heads up today.
There’s only 24 hours left until registration for The Stop Worrying Today Course closes.
And then it won’t be open for enrollment again until the late summer or fall of 2018.
Until 1.00 p.m EST (that’s 18.00 GMT) on Wednesday the 28th of February you can still join it.
So if you are interested in that – and in getting the free bonus course on optimism worth $29 if you join the Standard Edition of the course and 6 additional bonuses plus my Smart Social Skills Course (value $37) if you enroll in the Advanced Edition – then now is the time to take action.
The 7-week Stop Worrying Today Course is now open again to join.
If you join during this period you also get free life-time access to all the material in my The Invincible Summer – an 8-Week Course in Optimism as a special bonus.
The registration to join this course will only be open for 3 days this time, until 1.00 p.m EST (that’s 18.00 GMT) on Wednesday the 28th of February.
I started working on this course a couple of years ago but it all started 10 years ago when I made a decision to not let this toxic habit limit and control my life.
And this course is filled with all the best things I’ve learned about that in the past decade.
These are the strategies, exercises and simple step-by-step methods that have helped me to stop worrying so much.
The habits that have been a true life-changer for me.
How would your life change if you stopped worrying so much?
Each week of the course you’ll get a written guide, a worksheet to help you gain better understanding of your own situation and results as you go through the course and an audio version of that week’s guide that you can listen to anywhere when you need a boost.
At the end of the weekly guide you’ll get just a few specific action-steps to take that week to minimize...
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”
One social habit that I used to be quite bad at was to truly listen when other people spoke. I sometimes zoned out. I got distracted or my attention started to wander before they were done talking.
Or I just waited for my turn to talk again (while thinking about what I should say next).
Not very helpful. So things had to change.
This week I’d like to share 10 simple tips that helped me – and still help me – to become a better listener.
I hope they will help you and your relationships too.
1. Keep in mind: Listening is win/win.
Many may not listen that well because they think they don’t get much out of it personally.
But the better you listen, the better they will listen to you. And the better and deeper the relationship will be. If you focus on understanding him or her and on giving value based on that then you’ll get the same thing back.
This reminder has been a powerful motivator for me to become a better listener.
2. Tell yourself that you’ll tell someone else about this conversation later on.
One of the best ways to remember something better is to know that you...
Today is Valentine’s Day.
So I would like to share thoughts about love from the people who have walked this earth before us (and from a few who are still here).
Timeless thoughts written down and spread throughout the decades, centuries and, yes, even millenniums.
Thoughts not only about happy, romantic love but also the love between friends and family. And about the love that is often neglected or pushed to the side: the love you have for yourself.
This is 78 of the most inspiring, touching, thought-provoking and helpful quotes on love.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
Saying no is often the easier way out.
When you say no you can safely stay within your comfort zone. You don’t have to fear failing or being rejected. The scary unknown and sometimes difficult change can be avoided.
But if you say yes your life can expand and deepen. The yes allows you to open up your life to more happiness.
Today I would like to share 10 things that I have said yes to and that have helped me to become happier in my life.
Pick one of these that resonate the most with you and focus on making it a part of your life.
1. Being imperfect.
Trying to be perfect is setting the bar too high. It will be impossible to reach. And so you’ll lower your self-esteem. You may not feel very happy about how things are going in your life. Even though they might be going very well indeed.
Perfectionism is mindset that...
“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.”
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Up here in Sweden the winter is dark, cold and often comes with a mix of rain and snow. And spring is still far away.
It is not easy to keep the energy and optimism up like in the bright and warm summer days.
So today I’d like to share 5 habits I use that make it a lot easier to stay positive even throughout this dark and often grey season.
1. Find one of your biggest energy sucks.
Ask yourself: What is the biggest energy suck in my life right now?
You may for example find that it is a person in your life that is very negative. Or that the report that you have been meaning to finish for a month now is dragging you down.
Then you follow that up with asking: What is one thing I can do about this?
Maybe you decide that you want stop hanging out with that person. Or at least spend less of the time you have in a week with him or her and more of that time with the people that give you the most energy.
Perhaps you can just set off 5...
Frustration. It winds you up and can take so much out of you.
Because it not only sucks energy but also distracts you and can steal quite a bit of time.
So what can you do?
Well, sometimes that frustration can actually be a positive and can give you a new idea or angle on things. Or it can give you the power to keep going just a little bit more until you reach your goal.
But when you start going in circles, when the frustration just makes you mad or your mind foggy and the day is starting to slip through your fingers then there are steps you can take.
There are ways to turn such a state of mind or day around.
Into something better. Into something more helpful. And into something that will make you feel better again.
Step 1: Be here now.
When you are frustrated then you are often somewhere in the future in your mind. Somewhere you wish you would be. Or you are reliving a stumble or failure from your past.
Snap out of those headspaces and calm down by focusing your mind and attention on what is now, right here at this moment.
You can do so by for example:
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back.
It holds you back from seizing your opportunities.
It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be.
Sure, it can sometimes be useful as it helps you to soberly see your current limitations or simply recognize a half-baked or bad idea. But mostly, it holds you back in life.
So how can you get around that, how can you overcome those times of self-doubt so that you can move forward once again?
In this article I’ll explore 13 tips and habits that have helped me to decrease that destructive inner voice.
1. Say stop.
First, when your inner doubts bubble up, be quick. Don’t let them spin out of control or grow from a whisper to a stream of discouraging sentences. Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself.
In your mind, say or shout something like: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
By doing so you can disrupt the thought pattern and stop that inner self-doubter from taking over.
2. Look to the past and awash yourself in the memories.
Be real with yourself and ask yourself:
How many times when I doubted myself or feared something would happen did that negative thing come into reality after I still took action?
“New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights”
Hamilton Wright Mabie
This year is coming to an end. Just a couple more days to go.
But before we step through that doorway I’d like to quickly share one last article with 3 of my favorite questions of all time that can help you shape 2018 into 365 days that will be simpler, happier and self-kinder.
Stay safe, enjoy your New Year’s celebration and see you next year!
1. Is this useful?
It’s very easy to spend a lot of time on things that do not really matter much. To spend hours, days or even weeks on being angry at someone, replaying a mistake or failure in one’s mind or to dwell on something negative and feeling more and more like a victim.
So I try to ask myself this question as often as I can to question and confront my own thoughts. To catch myself and to wake myself up when I get stuck in negative thought loops going round and round.
By doing so I:
“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!”
The holidays are upon us.
A time of needed relaxation and more time with the people closest to us.
A time of stress and worries. A time of not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by upbeat advertising and movies.
It can be a time of mixed feelings.
So today I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make these holidays a more joyful and peaceful time.
1. Slow down.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.
Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).
Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).
Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you – your body...
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
“One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.”
I often write about finding lightness in life.
It can come from an unhurried but effective day at work.
It can come from uncluttering and simplifying both your home and life.
Or from letting go of distractions or huge mental burdens (that can also become physical as stress and worries pile up).
Learning to let go of something in your past, of something that is just an unimportant distraction or of trying to control what you cannot control can free up huge amounts of the energy and the time you have to use for something better and more fulfilling.
It is not always easy. But it can be life-changing.
In this article you can find five steps that have made it easier for me to let go over the years.
I hope they will help you too.
Step 1: Know the benefits of not letting go.
Why is it sometimes hard to let go of something?
Well, to be honest, there are advantages and benefits to not letting go. At least for instant gratification and in the short run.
“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
“If I don’t train enough, of course I’m nervous.“
It starts with just a little tremble within. Then a pressure builds up.
A hand or foot starts to fidget. Your palms become moist and you start to feel not quite like yourself anymore. The inner calmness you felt has flown out the window.
Nervousness is back, like an old friend you didn’t want to see.
Just in time for that date you had been looking forward to for the past week. Or the important meeting at work or your presentation in school.
So what can you do at this point?
Back down, come up with a poor excuse and cancel (as your self-esteem plummets)? Plow through the meeting or date while being not quite your best self?
It is certainly possible. I have done both.
But an even better approach has in my experience been to find strategies and develop habits that help me to handle this challenge.
Here are 7 of my favorite habits for dealing with and overcoming nervousness.
1. Prepare if possible.
A bit obvious. But doing your preparation in time and not at the last minute and doing the preparation well – without trying to do it perfectly – rather than somewhat sloppily make a big difference.
You’ll feel more sure of yourself and relaxed about what you...
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This week many of my readers will celebrate Thanksgiving.
So I thought it would be a good time to share a handful of my favorite tips for making thankfulness a daily part of life.
Because being thankful for what you have is one of the simplest and easiest ways to lift your mood. To give your motivation a jolt. And to live a happier life.
No matter who you are or where you live in the world.
1. Pause and look around yourself.
A simple first step to being more thankful is to pause during your day and ask yourself these two questions:
If you don’t come up with 3 people and 3 things each day then that is OK. One thing or person is great too.
But if you can, try to not repeat yourself...
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
One of the best ways to create a happier life for yourself is to make other people happier.
So how can you make someone happier?
Here are 24 quite quick things you can start doing today. Pick one and see how it can affect someone in your life.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
There is only one time and place where you can be and have any control over.
The present moment.
But most of us still spend a lot of our regular days lost in memories, reliving a sunny vacation or maybe more commonly repeating an old conflict or negative situation over and over in our thoughts.
Or we get lost in scenarios about what could happen in the future. Maybe through wishful daydreams. Or maybe by building monsters in our minds as thoughts go round and and round and create scary and dangerous mountains out of molehills or just air.
Or your thoughts may become split and unfocused between several different things and tasks.
If you spend a lot of your everyday moments and time in the future or the past or you have difficulty focusing and you feel this may have a negative effect on your life then maybe you want to learn to live more in the present moment.
Here’s what works for me to do that. Just a few simple things that I use in my normal day.
1. Single-task not only your work.
I and many others have often written and talked about the importance of single-tasking your work to get it done more effectively.
I have found that it becomes easier for me to stay present for more...
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Maybe for a day or two. Or as weeks bleed into months and nothing much happens.
You just trudge along. You go through the motions, life is on autopilot.
It feels OK. But at the same time you have a small voice whispering at the back of your mind.
It says “It’s time to make a change”. Or “When will I start to truly live my life?”.
In this article you’ll find 30 suggestions and reminders that can help you to stop going through the motions. To disconnect the autopilot and to come alive again.
In both bigger and smaller ways.
I hope you’ll find something here that truly resonates with you.
“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”
The daily life can be busy, hectic and at times overwhelming.
It may sometimes feel like bringing just a little more inner peace and calmness into your life is a hopeless wish.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Small and smart changes can over time make a big difference.
So today I’d like to share 15 of my own favorite tips for finding more peace and calmness in everyday life.
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
“I was thinking one day and I realized that if I just had somebody behind me all the way to motivate me I could make a big difference. Nobody came along like that so I just became that person for myself.”
Some days you wake up motivated and ready to go. And some days things feel heavy as you arise and it is hard to get going and find that inner drive.
At least in my experience.
So over the past 10+ years I have found some simple and smart strategies that work for me to get back into the right groove and to get things done.
Here are 27 of my favorite tips and habits for doing just that.