The Power of Gratitude In Your Life

the power of gratitude in your lifeThe power we have over our own lives is monumental, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

Humans are intelligent beings with big brains that can either help or hinder us, depending on how we use them. Everything depends on our attitudes and thoughts.

One element that has been present in abundance for EVERY highly successful person I know is gratitude. Let me explain….

If you have mostly positive thoughts and attitudes, then you will have positive, happy lives. If you need evidence of that being true, just look around you at the happy people you know. People often assume that in order for a person to be happy they must first have happy circumstances in their lives. However, I am a firm believer that it often works the other way around.

When we make the decision to be happy no matter what, then good and abundant things come to us.

Why does this happen?

There are several reasons why. Here are just a few:

  1. We take the pressure off ourselves so we finally relax.
  2. Happiness leads to confidence and positivity, which draws other people to us.
  3. When people are drawn to us, they want to help us.
  4. All of this leads to us reaching our goals in life, which leads to even more happiness.

It’s all that simple. There is no magic to it.

Practice gratitude for everything in your life on a daily basis. Write down five to 10 things you are thankful for every evening before bed. Or say these things out loud in the shower each morning. Do this multiple times each day if possible. Like most other things, gratitude is a habit that can be developed over time with practice.

I have a sheet that I recommend for both individuals and couples that will help you develop the habit of feeling grateful everyday.

It was originally developed for couples who wanted to be more appreciative of each other. However, you can use it to show gratitude for anything, not just your significant other.

I recommend using this sheet daily for 30 days to begin to see a difference in your overall joy. It can be used for one month or one year. It all depends on you.

😃Download 30 Days of Gratitude Sheet Here😃

By using gratitude you will actively eliminate negative thoughts because there simply isn’t any room for them in your brain.

In fact, I use this as an avoidance system. Any time I begin to have a negative thought, I consciously direct my thoughts to something I am grateful for. This redirects my thoughts and feelings EVERY SINGLE TIME.

This WILL work for you. Try it!

 

How To Be Successful In Every Area of Your Life

How to be successful in every area of your life – that is the big question. Some people appear to be born winners who naturally turn everything to gold with the slightest touch of their hand. Then there’s the rest of us, right?

You know how it’s said that every person has troubles in their life, we just don’t always see it? Well, that is completely true of every person on the planet. No one makes it through scratch-free.

But here is the truth of life: some people learn to overcome all of their obstacles in order to have a fabulous life. We have all seen people on the news who made a fortune, lost it all, but then made it all back again.

So why can some of us not make the fortune just once, we all ask.

It is simple. Those “lucky” people have leaned two things in life that the rest of us lack.

  1. Knowledge of what to do
  2. Discipline to actually do it

That sounds deceptively simple, but it is actually very hard to implement. How many of us have read a book, watched a podcast, or attended a seminar that was going to change our lives? We come away with all of this spectacular knowledge and we are FIRED UP!

But then what happens? We get up the next morning and the real world comes knocking, right? We have jobs and families and all the other responsibilities that come with being a functioning adult. Our goals and dreams seem to get sidelined and we put off things for another day until years or maybe even decades have passed and we are sitting stagnant in lives that aren’t quite what we planned for ourselves.

I, too, have been a victim of this scenario. And I have to say that another issue for me was jumping from one guru or motivational leader to another, while trying to implement everything each one promotes. While there are some overlapping things they all recommend (like mediation) things can really diverge from there and you are left with a list of self improvement tasks to do each day that goes on forever.

Then you get overwhelmed and give up.

What I didn’t truly realize until recently is that I was essentially getting a life coach. Everyone has heard of these, some of us have already tried one, and I have never heard anyone say they came away from the experience worse off.

This is why I am a proponent of finding one leader who resonates with you. While I especially love Bob Proctor and John Assaraf, I have decided to stick with Jack Canfield for the time being. I frequently watch his videos on Youtube (see them here) and use his meditations (buy them here)

However, in order to make all of his other information work you really must read this book first. It’s called The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. Think of this as the backbone of your plan, while the videos and meditations are the supplemental materials. You could live your whole life by this book and be successful every minute of every day.  I have the 10th anniversary version of the book and read some amount of it every day, even if it’s just five minutes.

This might not be the path that works for you, but I encourage you to look around and find the life coach that does. Then stick with it until you see results. This is truly how to be successful in every area of your life.

You can do it!

 

Are We Too Politically Correct? (a.k.a. Where’s the Duct Tape When You Need It?)

are we too politically correctI realize this question is a hot button, but hear me out.

Many things have contributed to the mess we have today such as politics, the media, popular culture, the internet, changing demographics, and a general shift in society, just to name a few.  However, I believe the biggest culprit is social media. Everyone seems to have an opinion on wheat everyone else is saying or doing. People criticize the thoughts and actions of complete strangers.

Then others applaud them for doing so.

People will say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face. I have seen some celebrities crucified for some off the most mundane things. I’m talking about things like what they wore and what they fed their children. How is that anyone else’s business? Would those people like for someone to come to their homes and tell them what to wear and what to feed their children?

It just doesn’t make sense.

We are obviously to involved in the intimate details of others people’s lives.

I believe that a great deal of the problem is that children are no longer raised with basic manners. Shows like Bad Girls (and other reality shows) glamorize bad behavior and promote the idea that being selfish and mean will bring big rewards in life. This has become so prevalent in our culture that it is the new “normal” for societal behavior. And all it does is make those production companies rich and break down our society.

Then the media often picks up on the story and slams the person even further. This is also done for ratings to make them money. The media should be there to inform us of what’s going on, not to take sides, and certainly not to make news where there really is none. Some media outlets are shameless in the stories they report as “news”.

So really, we are giving

This is supposedly the land of the free, but more and more it is becoming the land of the censored since no one is allowed to share anything or have an opinion about anything without being publicly attacked.

It sometimes make you wonder why people want to be on social media at all, and many of us actually don’t. According to Marketing Dive, 34 percent of Gen Zers are leaving social media permanently. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing.

Am I saying that all social media is bad? Not at all. But I think people can easily get carried away in a tidal wave ill will without realizing they are part of the problem, not the solution.

So lets make a pact to only say positive things and act in positive ways from now until the end of the year. Hopefully, it will become a new, wonderful habit.

The old saying, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all” still stands. We should all embrace it.

 

Advice For My Best Friend

advice for my best friend

Quick – What’s the best free thing in the world that most people usually refuse to accept? That’s right, it’s good advice. We have all been there. Heck, sometimes we ignore our own selves when it comes to good advice. Since I absorb every self help and motivational book, video, and podcast I can find, I decided to set down a list of things I would tell my best friend – and then follow that list myself. Feel free to come along.

Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

I have not been able to trace down the author of that quote, but it is quite powerful. Every single day of your life, do something that will bring you more knowledge, improve your skills, move you towards a goal, etc. If you do a little bit each and every day, that effort will begin to add up in your life and bring you a happier and more fruitful future.

This could also be thought of as planting a seed each day. Take that cooking class. Open that business you are passionate about. Learn to code a new computer program. Go on that vacation with your family or your best friend. Spend that extra time with your loved ones. You are essentially investing in a happier you.

Start Saving and Investing Today

Compound interest is your friend. And who doesn’t want to earn interest on their interest? The earlier you get started saving and investing, the more independence and freedom you will have in life. While money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness,  the freedom and independence it provides actually does. Saving and investing money can be confusing and, therefore, scary. The best way is to automate the funds to go to various places so you never miss the money from your paycheck. Here are some good ways to get started:

If you have access to a retirement plan at work, utilize it now. If not, start an IRA. Then increase the amount you contribute to it every year. You will never miss the increases if you automate the deductions, and you will be building an impressive net worth. (Be sure to use an experienced financial planner or do your own homework before allocating those funds.)

Open an online savings account and set money to automatically transfer to it each month. (We opened up a Marcus online account and have been happily stashing money in it every month for a while now. We are saving money every month with absolutely no effort on our part.)

If you would like to go further, index funds are recommended by virtually all investment gurus. The Vanguard 500 Index is generally considered a good investment because it covers 500 of the biggest and best established companies around. It also has extremely low fees and can easily be bought through your own personal brokerage account. You can purchase EFTs one share at a time or you can buy directly into the fund for an investment of $3000 or more.  You can open a Vanguard account here. To learn more about the Vanguard 500 Index click here.

Be Who You Really Are

Remember: “If I want to be free, I’ve gotta be me.”

This quote was originally by Bill Gove, but is frequently repeated by Bob Proctor, who was one of his disciples. It reminds us to always live the most original version of us. Don’t settle for just okay in your life when you can be extraordinary instead. Never think about the things you can’t accomplish, but focus on what you CAN accomplish instead. Another famous man (Henry Ford) said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t – Either way you are right.”  Every day people accomplish things that were not possible, which tells me that almost anything is possible if you want it badly enough. Don’t stop growing and improving yourself every day.

Read Think and Grow Rich Every Year of Your Life

Most super successful people read as many books as possible each year. Some actually read a book each week. However, the quality of  each book matters. Think and Grow Rich has become the bible of success for many people around the world because is has proved its worth over the decades since it was first published.

There are many other classic books out there to help you along your journey. I personally like anything by John Assaraf or Bob Proctor. You can also find tons of videos by them and many others on YouTube that are inspirational and life changing.

Forgive Everyone for Everything

We humans are a grudge holding bunch. Secretly, we love to revel in the terrible things that bad people do to us. Only, there’s really no such thing as a “bad person” but only bad things done by imperfect humans. You have already heard the spiel about forgiving others so you can feel better yourself. Forgiveness is for you, not them. That is completely true. But the best and most unselfish thing to do is forgive them for both of you. We are all in this together, so sometimes you have to forgive others for being human. While you are at it, extend that same courtesy to yourself.

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect

Sometimes it is easier to forgive others than ourselves. Mistakes happen to everyone and no one can ever be perfect everyday in every way. Enough said.

Live in the Present, Not the Past or the Future

This is also known as mindfulness and it has been one of my personal downfalls. It took me years to learn how to do this. I literally used to spend around 90 percent of my waking hours worrying about things in the past I couldn’t change or imagined things in the future that mostly never happened. It takes some time to retrain your brain, but you can learn to enjoy your present moment in life. And what a difference it makes!

Exercise and meditation are two of the best ways to accomplish mindfulness, as well as monitoring your thoughts and redirecting back to the present when your thoughts slip to the past or future.  Of course, you can always revisit the past and plan for the future sometimes, just don’t miss the beautiful moments of the life you are living today.

Begin and End Every Single Day with Gratitude

Science has shown that positive and negative thoughts cannot exist in the brain at the same time. It is literally not physically possible. This means every time you choose to have a positive thought you are literally blocking out a potentially negative thought. Think about how powerful that can be in your life. When you start each day with gratitude, you prime your mind to think about happy, positive things all day long.  Also, when you end your day with gratitude, you prime your unconscious mind for your hours of sleep. (Yes, we all know our unconscious mind keeps working even while we sleep.)

So pick three things to be grateful for when you wake up each morning and three different things when you go to bed. Writing these down in a journal is even better because you can revisit previous entries from time to time and celebrate the accumulation of good things in your life.

Exercise and Meditate Every Day

Your body needs more activity and your mind needs a break! That is true of the majority of the population anyway. When your body gets both of these things everyday (or at least most days) it balances both your body and your mind because you are feeding both exactly what they need. Stress will literally begin to melt away and your true self will begin to emerge. Your health will likely improve as well.

These articles about exercise and meditation from Harvard Health back it up.

It’s Okay to Be Successful and Happy

This one trips up a lot of people, including myself. We (I) sometimes feel like we have no right to want financial success and happiness in our lives when there’s so much poverty and misery in the world. That’s like saying some people are starving so I must starve too. That makes no sense. There must be entrepreneurs to help create jobs for others. There must be authors to inspire others. This world requires creators and developers to give the world joy and fill its needs. Without that, we would become stagnant.

The trick is to be as successful as possible, but be generous with what you have. That’s a win/win situation for everyone.

Set Detailed Goals and Write Them Down

There is a HUGE difference between “I want to retire early” and “I will retire at age 50 with a net worth of $1 million and $15,000 of monthly  income.” Science has proven that people who write down their goals and make them very specific are much more likely to achieve them. It also helps to read over your goals everyday and maybe even post them on your bathroom mirror.

Everyday is a  new opportunity to achieve something wonderful in your life, so don’t spend time on things unless they make you happy or get you closer to your goals.

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Always remember what success looks like. Lots of money with no close relationships would be misery. So would being broke with lots of friends. Balance is what we all need in life, so make sure to pay attention to your health, wealth, and happiness at all times.

I have chosen this list as the most basic things to make the most of life. Feel free to add to it as needed.

You might also like: The Value of Fitting In (Or Not)

The Value of Fitting In (or Not)

The Value of Fitting In

Today I was in a school and saw some children interacting. It was immediately clear which students “fit in” and which ones did not. You could tell by the conversations and body language of the whole class that everyone there understood that as well.

This led me to think about the value of fitting in with others in our society. Most all of us work hard at this for the duration of our lives. It starts when we begin our schooling, or sometimes even before. It is safe to say that a large amount of our life energy is spent trying to attain the goal of acceptance, while fearing that any slight provocation or slip will result in all that hard work going down the drain.

Why do we invest so much of ourselves into fitting in? I believe it is mostly fear.

No one wants be feel left out in life. So we fear not having friends, or a network of support when something goes wrong in our lives. We also want to know that others approve of us and our way of life. The need to belong to a group or a family is so strong that sometimes we swallow our principles and allow ourselves to be put in positions that are uncomfortable.

But what would happen if we allowed ourselves to just be?

What if there was never an agenda to any interaction we had had with anyone? Could life just unfold in a more peaceful, relaxed way? Maybe everyday could be more pleasant if we didn’t expend so much energy trying to force things to unfold in certain ways.

Because in the end, does it really make that much difference? I would wager that being a completely genuine person who is confident would gain us all more acceptance than any amount of extra effort could ever could. Who isn’t attracted to the company of a smiling, pleasant person? And in essence, isn’t that really who we all strive to be anyway?

So I challenge you (as well as myself) to become that person as this year unfolds.

Forget trying to impress anyone or sell yourself to anyone. Just be your normal, awesome self and see what happens.

You might also like Let Go of the Need To Be Perfect.

Happiness is a State of Mind, Not a Destination

happiness is a state of mind, not a destinationThe Big Decision

Everyday we wake up and make a big decision.

Before our feet ever hit the floor, we must decide whether we will be happy or unhappy for the day.

Now, some people will automatically think that is an oversimplified statement, but really it’s not. Think about it. Everyone knows that one person who is always happy, no matter what. And often that person is not rich and does not have a perfect life. (At the time of this writing there is a documentary on Netflix called “Happy” which highlights this and I highly recommend watching it.)

You see, we often look to outside circumstances and other people to provide our happiness. We may not realize that, but we do. True happiness comes from within ourselves. It is a state of mind – a state of being. If you are a truly happy person, then things that happen around you generally don’t change that.

Make the choice right now to be happy and don’t let anything change that decision.

Stop Waiting for Happiness To Happen

One day a few years ago, I was talking to my father about some life issues when he said, “Angela, if you don’t stop that you will wish your whole life away.”

Wow! What an insight!

He was right. I was always living for the next weekend or vacation. I thought I would be happy when I got a new car, then when it was paid off. Or when I paid off a different bill or accomplished  something at work. There was always that one thing that I needed in order to be happy. I had been postponing my happiness for years without really realizing it.

I didn’t really grasp the concept that I could be happy while life was unfolding. It didn’t have to wait for anything. It was as easy as making a one second decision.

All those reasons I was using to not be happy were nothing more than excuses.

The Easiest Way To Happiness

The #1 way to get happy and stay happy is practicing gratitude each and every day.

Those who practice it religiously will tell you that emphatically.  When you start every day thinking about the abundance in your life, it is virtually impossible to feel unhappy. Also, your mind cannot think positive and negative thoughts at the same time. It is completely impossible. So while you are thinking off all the things you are thankful for in your life, you are literally pushing all the negative thoughts away.

For example, I begin each day saying “thank you” for everything I can think of.  As I get out of bed, take a shower, brush my teeth, etc. Then I also go back to that exercise throughout the day. Sometimes I do that when I eat, or if I encounter a negative situation or person. It immediately puts me back into a happy state of mind.

Most people have better lives than they think because they focus on the negative things instead of the positive ones. Once you start to focus on the good things, then your life will begin to feel more abundant. You will literally feel a shift in your life.

Say it in your head, say it out loud, or even keep a gratitude journal so you can look back at all your blessings over time. Just start today.

Steps To Happiness Everyday

  1. Decide to be happy when you wake each morning.
  2. Decide to be happy right this minute and stop using excuses not to be.
  3. Use gratitude throughout every day to remind you of your wonderful life.

It’s that simple! Start your happiness journey right now!