“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.
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
One of the biggest and most common problems with improving your life or the success you want out of is that you may not take consistent action over a longer time period.
Now, consistency isn’t the sexiest or most exciting word. But it is, coupled with time, what will give you real results in your life.
Sticking with the program and doing something consistently – and not just when you feel inspired or something like that – is very, very powerful.
This is something I have struggled with a lot in the past. And on some days I still do. But over the years I have found a few things that really help me with this.
1. When you’re taking action, focus only on the process.
I use this one, for example, when I do my workouts and when I write. I don’t take responsibility for the results in my mind.
I take responsibility for showing up and doing my workout/the writing. That’s it.
The results come anyway from that consistent action. And this makes it easier for me to take this action because:
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
Getting started with doing what you deep down want to do in life can be hard.
No matter if what you want is to start exercising, create your own business on the side, write a book, improve your relationship with yourself, see other parts of the world or something entirely else.
But often we make getting started a lot harder than it needs to be by standing in our own way.
So in today’s article I’d like to share 3 things you need to stop doing to step out of your own way and make it so much easier to actually get started instead of just keep dreaming about it.
1. Stop making it a huge and vague thing in your mind.
The more you think about whatever you want to get started with the bigger it tends to become in your head. And as you keep thinking about the various ways this could go it tends to become scarier and scarier.
So do this instead:
One of the most powerful habits that I’ve picked up in the past 10+ years is to think in a more optimistic and constructive way.
It makes life feel lighter and not so burdensome. It opens up new paths towards where you want to go and it helps you to more easily overcome setbacks (and often get something good out of them).
You’ll feel less worried and sorry for yourself and more motivated to keep taking action.
But how do you adopt this habit?
Well, learning to think in a more positive way may sound a bit vague so in this week’s article I want to break it down into 10 practical tips and smaller habits that you can start using today.
1. Start replacing the negativity in your surroundings and life.
What you let into your mind during your regular day will have a big effect on how you think and feel.
So start questioning what you let into your mind.
You can do that by asking yourself:
What are the top 3 sources of negativity in my life?
It could be someone close to you or at work or in school. A website you visit often. A magazine, TV-show, podcast, music and so on.
Then take out a piece of paper and or an empty document on your smart phone and ask yourself:
What can I do to spend less time with these 3 sources this week?
Come up with ideas...
“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand
“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Maybe the most common issue people have with personal development and making a positive change is that it stays a daydream. That they get excited and inspired.
But then as those positive emotions fade nothing really happens.
Life continues as usual. Your health, finances or your relationship with yourself stays the same.
It’s very frustrating. I know.
I used to read about personal development in pretty much all important areas of life. But it probably took me months or years to get going with making any of those positive changes.
It was uncomfortable. Making the changes felt so big that is was easier to just kept dreaming about it as frustration built up within.
So what can you do if you get stuck in daydreams? The best solution I’ve found for starting to make your dreams into reality is to go smaller.
Because grand changes and huge ambitions sound so inspiring and motivating. But they’re also scary.
So the most important step to get started and to keep going, especially when you are new to personal development, is to remove as much pressure and expectations...