For many of us, attaining a healthy balance between work and life outside work can seem like an almost impossible task. We live in an age where almost everyone has to juggle a heavy workload, manage demanding relationships, and attend to social and family responsibilities. Between all these, squeezing in quality personal time and managing a social life can actually make us feel even more overwhelmed and stressed out.
I experience this first hand, just like you do. I have no secret antidote to the work/life balance juggernaut. One thing I am aware of is how I feel and how I think when life is out of balance. I feel like I have blinders on: I don’t think clearly, I react only to what is right in front of me in that moment, and I am easily agitated (maybe from the blinders rubbing me raw or my desire to not be in that state!).
It does not have to be gloom and doom, day in day out though. I use these physical and emotional cues as a guardrail to keep me on track. And…I start my day with #5 on this list…if only for five minutes. Literally, #5 is the magic, I do a quick spiritual reading. Sit, breathe, and take in the reading. Five minutes. Done. Ready to go. But…the other four.
Here are five ways you can restore a healthy balance between all the demands of your everyday life and still have the time to unwind, relax, and spend time with your loved ones.
1. Eat healthy and exercise regularly
A healthy body nourishes a healthy mind, and a healthy mind helps minimize anxiety and the feelings of overwhelm – a major cause of stress. Clean and healthy food eaten in small portions more frequently helps the body function more efficiently by maintaining sufficient energy levels to see you through a busy work day, and leave you with enough energy to play with the kids or even go for a jog at the end of the day.
2. Schedule everything – even the non-work stuff
Many people who struggle to bring balance between their work and home life have one thing in common: they observe work hours religiously, but fail to make detailed plans for the rest of the time they are outside work. Do not make this mistake. Plan for every minute of your day – even date night, visiting folks back home, and time to do laundry. Get a jump start by downloading my free ideal day planner here!
3. Avoid multi-tasking; instead choose to uni-task
With all the technologies and electronics available to us today, how we seem to be controlled by them have rendered the average adult very unproductive and with a short attention span. Science says that a human mind cannot multi-task because the mind can only focus on one task at a time.
Therefore, when you are at work, work. When you leave the workplace, leave the work there – avoid taking work home or checking emails from your phone at night or first thing in the morning.
Being mindful about where you are in the moment and maintaining your focus will help boost your efficiency and time management. In all aspects of your life.
4. Unplug and give yourself a break
When you feel stressed and find it difficult to push on, remember… it is okay to take a break, whether you are stressing over work OR responsibilities at home.
Life-work balance should always be evolving, and so should you. Figure out what helps bring you back to a balanced state – it might be getting outdoors, reading or meeting up with a friend for coffee.
If you have an unhealthy obsession such as checking your phone for messages before you go to sleep or waking up and instantly getting on Facebook, realize that you must deal with the root of the imbalance in life even before you can begin resolving any life/work-related issues. Need help figuring that out? Let’s chat…connect with me here.
If you get caught up with all the many thoughts entering your mind, your never-ending to-do list, the voicemails and emails that are piling up… it may be time to take a few minutes each day to center yourself.
The ongoing responsibilities will likely always be there, but the problems can be lessened. Often just taking a few minutes to center yourself can bring clarity and focus to your life as a whole.
Meditation is a scientifically proven practice that can help alleviate stress, create balance and even prevent depression. Meditating just a few minutes a day can help you exercise greater control over your physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as boost your productivity at work.
To live a full and healthy – mind, body, spirit – life, it is essential to create balance in all aspects of your everyday. What trips you up the most? Where do you feel the most unbalanced in your work and life?
Leave me a comment below and let’s see how we can create more balance in your everyday life.
Our brains are designed to help us fail.
Kind of. In a way.
Brains are pre-wired with a fight or flight response that is easily triggered in the face of any perceived danger.
I once got charged by a bear, and my flight response kicked in. Everything I knew about safety in the wild was temporarily frozen in the bowels of my limbic system the moment I accidentally interfered with a mother bear and her cubs.
This is an extreme example, and hopefully one you’re never faced with, but in everyday life situations your brain does its job to keep you safe.
But your brain is often too good at detecting potential danger, and protects you from anything and everything outside your normal comfort zone. And these fight or flight responses are what stop you from going after things you want, but are subconsciously afraid of.
Your brain doesn’t mean any ill-will, it genuinely just wants you to stay safe.
So when you decide to step outside your comfort zone and focus on self-improvement, start a new business or train for your first marathon, your brain goes into panic mode and creates drama that doesn’t exist.
You might blow the money for a week-long self-improvement course at the casino, claim the timing is never right to leave your current job or accidentally step off the curb and sprain your ankle…
These are unconscious self-sabotaging behaviors.
What Exactly is Self-Sabotage?
According to Adam Sicinki, self-sabotage is any behavior, thought, emotion or action that holds you back from getting what you consciously want. It’s the conflict that exists between conscious desires and unconscious wants that manifest in self-limiting patterns of behavior.
And it not only prevents you from reaching your goals but also acts as a safety mechanism that protects you against disappointment.
In fact, your brain is so good at its job, you’ll need to diligently rewire it to stop protecting you when you don’t need it.
Take climbing, for example. I have been scaling mountains for most of my life and sleeping in a bivy sack dangling from the edge of a cliff doesn’t send off alarm bells in my brain like it might yours. But ask me to solve a complex math problem and my brain says, “Run! There’s no way you can solve this, save yourself the embarrassment of even trying”.
I’ve been training my brain for years to be comfortable with many of the crazy situations I put myself in while climbing (crazy for you, normal for me).
And to be completely honest, it hasn’t always led to the best outcome. But most importantly, it’s allowed me to experience the success I have now.
Why Would I Sabotage My Own Happiness?
Well, that’s just it. You don’t intentionally create a situation that keeps you from being happy.
But the truth is:
If you have limiting beliefs about yourself…
…like you don’t deserve financial wealth, or a spouse that admires you, or a life full of passion and purpose…
Then you will always have excuses for these desires to go unfulfilled.
And to go even deeper, you may not even realize that you believe these things about yourself. It’s why self-sabotaging behaviors are unconscious and only serve to block you from getting what you really want.
I recently had a client sign up for executive coaching with me. We were booked, he was committed, and at the twenty-fifth hour, he pulled the trigger.
Money wasn’t an issue for him. He said he was ready and wanted the support and guidance to make positive changes in his life. But at the last minute, something convinced him not to follow through. His flight response kicked in.
But whatever the “excuse” it’s ultimately never the real reason for the sabotaging behavior.
…Work is too busy I don’t have time to invest in myself
…My spouse left me because I was never around
…I’m not a natural athlete, I’ll never be able to run a marathon…
All sound like legitimate reasons, but they all have deeper meaning.
Work is too busy most likely means: I get my self-worth from working hard and I don’t deserve to pursue my own happiness.
I was never around so my spouse left sounds more like: I don’t deserve to be in a loving relationship.
And a lack of genetics is linked to a fear of failure: What if I come in last? Or bonk? Or don’t make my time goal? I’ll look silly, and I don’t want to fail.
But they are all conscious justifications — resembling excuses — to procrastinate, avoid emotional pain or not be the best.
The good news is, you can take conscious control of the behaviors that prevent you from going after what you really want.
How To Take Control Of Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Through identifying your self-sabotaging behavior, and developing some self-awareness around it so you can recognize it for what it is, you can identify healthy replacement behavior and practice new behavior until a habit is formed.
So how can you do this?
1. Don’t be afraid of negative feelings.
Not everything in life feels good. And nothing in life is certain. If you attempt to control everything in an effort to avoid negative or bad feelings, you will invariably experience those feelings anyway, or worse.
If you constantly pick fights with your partner to get them to leave because subconsciously you don’t believe you deserve to be in a loving relationship, or you aren’t worthy of love, then when they finally do leave, you can prove you were right.
Or worse, they may have left you anyway, even without creating unnecessary animosity…but you weren’t going to wait around and let that happen.
Either way, you’re left with worse emotional pain than if you were in a relationship that had the normal ebbs and flows of any healthy relationship.
Sure, you’d experience negative feelings from time to time, but the positive ones would undoubtedly outshine the lousy ones.
Negative feelings are a normal part of life. Setbacks are inevitable. But learning to embrace them with dignity and a little humor will lead to a more fulfilled life.
2. Determine how you get your self-worth
Self-worth is derived differently for everyone, and it’s important to know yourself well enough to know where you get yours.
You might do everything right at work which is why you’re now running the company. Or you’re a star athlete and never lose a squash game. Or maybe like how I used to prove myself by bagging every major mountain peak possible, it comes from outshining those around you.
But no matter what you achieve in life, you still feel undeserving of success or happiness.
Some of the biggest achievers in life are also the most unhappy because they have a never-ending sense of inadequacy.
When your self-worth comes from within — from just being who you are — you’ll stop feeling like you have everything to lose, embrace the highs and lows of life and learn to experience adventure in everything.
3. Learn to identify the right decisions that will propel you forward
Every minute of every day you make decisions about your life. Some are good…eat healthy, go to the gym, keep the kids alive, give one hundred percent at work…
And some are not so good…skip the gym, eat fast-food, hit snooze ten time, stay in a toxic relationship.
But learning to identify the right decisions that will get you where you want to be in life is critical to ending self-sabotaging behavior. If you consistently make choices that take you farther away from your goals, discernment skills will help you make more effective decisions…
And know if something is going to add to your life by:
>aligning with your values
>creating new, healthy opportunities
>enhancing your skills, and
>providing positive experiences…
…you will recognize them for what they are.
If a decision is attractive in the moment, but is ultimately not aligned with what you truly care about, then success and happiness will continue to elude you.
4. Recognize your efforts
If you attribute everyone else’s success to good fortune, luck or genetics, you offer yourself the excuse to not even try. If your effort is directly tied to your success, why even bother in the first place?
This kind of thinking puts you at risk for self-sabotage…you won’t try just in case your effort alone isn’t enough.
Trying something outside your comfort zone puts you in a vulnerable position. If you fail, it’s humiliating. And God forbid you actually succeed, then suddenly there are unwanted expectations from everyone around you.
Everest wasn’t conquered on the first try. And you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you’re not willing to take a risk.
And unless you’re attempting to compete in the Olympics, genetics has nothing to do with your effort to success ratio.
5. View failure as an opportunity for growth
I didn’t get to where I am in life by doing everything right. I’ve made plenty of bad decisions and mistakes. I’ve tied my self-worth to my achievements, avoided negative feelings and made choices that didn’t align with my values.
And I’ve most certainly experienced failure.
But out of all my experiences, I’ve faced my fears head-on. And through all of it, I remained open to life…seeing where certain experiences would take me and learning to make choices that align with my authentic self.
Failure doesn’t mean you’re terrible at something or unworthy of happiness and success. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow...okay, that didn’t work. Now what?
Stay open to exploring new ways of being and thinking…your future self depends on it.
If you suffer from self-sabotaging patterns, I encourage you to do something about it. Because if you continue to block your own happiness, you’ll live a life full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.
And if you’ve achieved everything on the outside…but you still feel empty and unfulfilled on the inside, send me an email and start a dialogue.
Don’t wait another month…six months…year…decade…to finally get what you want out of life.
Have you overcome limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behavior? Please share in the comments below so others can learn from your experiences.
Yours in freedom,
You’re not a quitter…..
You will see something through, no matter how painful, to the bitter end because you’re resilient and you were taught to finish what you started.
But at what cost?
Are you willing to keep at something that provides little to no value and is actually sucking joy from your life?
Because there is a significant difference between showing up for a potluck dinner you rsvp’d yes to and suffering through a relationship or career just because you feel you should.
It isn’t the commitment that’s hard for us humans — it’s the letting go. We are, as the Nobel Prize-winning work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman famously showed, a conservative and loss-aversive bunch.
So how can you know when it’s time to quit something without feeling flaky?
Well, I’m sorry to be the one to break the bad news, but there is no definitive way to know when it’s the right time to bail….
You are the only person who can decide when it’s time to give up — on a career, relationship, life path, crappy Netflix series, or goal.
If there were a magic pill, we’d all be swallowing it.
But having the skills to evaluate when something is no longer serving you, is a valuable skill set in itself. And the good news is, you can make the decision easier by considering the following:
You’re Staying to Avoid Shame
Quitters never win, and winners never quit, right?
Well, not quite right. I actually think that saying is far from the truth — winners quit all kinds of things!
In fact, the best way to learn is to try something and fail at it.
And although two events are never identical, what better way to learn for the future.
Throwing your money at a failing business, for example, because you are embarrassed to admit it’s not doing well, isn’t a particularly sound reason to stick with it. And staying in a relationship that is harmful to your physical or emotional well-being because marriage is forever, is not worth the false belief that people will look down on you for walking away.
If you’ve done your due diligence to find out if improving your business is an apparent operational tweak, then go ahead and try again.
But if you’ve exhausted all options and you’ve drained your savings to keep it going, guess what?
It’s time to quit.
And the sanctity of marital vows is not more important than your safety and fulfillment in life. An empty, hollow relationship serves no one — especially you.
There is no shame in admitting something just isn’t working. In fact, it takes more courage to leave than to stay. You tried, and that’s what matters.
You’ll likely be surprised to learn that your friends and family will be relieved when you finally announce you’re quitting.
The people who care about you want to see you happy and the people who do care if you quit, don’t matter.
You Dread Doing Something
If a goal or endeavor starts to feel like doom and gloom, it’s definitely time to evaluate its purpose in your life.
Do you sit on the board of an organization or volunteer at a community group and want to quit, but haven’t because you think it will make you a bad person?
If you dread fulfilling your commitment and it’s not adding value to your life or the organization you volunteer with, you are doing everyone a disservice.
“Life is too short to waste time and energy on things you find unrewarding or unproductive,” says James E. Maddux, PhD. “Replace your source of dissatisfaction with something more fulfilling and you’ll find more happiness.”
You can’t do everything and prioritizing is essential when an activity causes you dread every time you have to do it…..
Perhaps spending more time with your own family is what will bring more purpose and joy into your life.
You’re Experiencing More Frustration Than Reward
In every high endeavor, you will have to take the bad with the good. Nothing in life is perfect all the time.
Nothing in life is perfect, ever.
But it’s important to consider if an undertaking is causing you more frustration than reward.
If a high endeavor started out as something worthy of your time and devotion, but has turned out to be more of a negative influence in your life, you need a radical change and quitting is most likely the answer.
Sustained negative emotions are not healthy for your emotional and cognitive well-being — although unpleasant feelings are just as crucial as the enjoyable ones in helping you make sense of life’s ups and downs. One of the primary reasons you have emotions in the first place is to help you evaluate your experiences.
One sure tell sign that it’s time to let go is if the thought of quitting provides instant relief.
When the end goal no longer inspires you, and there is no opportunity for growth, it’s time to hang up your hat.
Your goals should energize you, not deplete you.
And while it’s valuable to know when it’s time to quit something, it’s equally important to consider the opposite end of the spectrum and evaluate if not quitting is possibly the better outcome…..
Especially if you quit everything you start.
Is Staying the Better Option?
If you experience resistance every time you start something new — like a relationship or job — and give in to that resistance without taking the time to think it through, you’ll be left with superficial relationships and no real purpose or direction in life.
Quitting without evaluating your resistance to staying also forces you to miss out on valuable opportunities to learn and grow.
Sticking with a relationship through difficult times or staying at a job through the low times — Seth Godin refers to these as dips — builds character. How can you truly know if something is right for you, if you constantly quit on a whim because it doesn’t feel good?
Some people jokingly refer to these trying times as “adulting”, but joking aside, part of living is experiencing challenges and embracing uncertainty. When you dodge these gifts, you can’t grow.
If you do find you consistently quit things before they’ve barely started, you might want to ask yourself some difficult questions, such as:
>Can I trust that feeling in my gut if it tells me to quit everything?
>What am I afraid of?
>What’s the worse that will happen if I follow through with this?
>Can I learn something about myself if I see this through?
>Is there value in this project, relationship or goal?
>Do I often regret quitting things so easily?
>Am I gaining momentum in my life?
>Do my friends think I give up too readily?
If you can answer these questions honestly, they’ll help you determine if quitting isn’t the challenge for you, but follow through is.
Knowing why you give up on yourself quickly is just as important as understanding why it’s so hard to quit.
And if you’re currently working through the difficult task of deciding to quit or not quit something, I encourage you to email me with any burning questions or thoughts.
Yours in adventure,
Ps. Do you follow me on Instagram? Please do…..click here.
Do things other people say and do easily disrupt your happiness?
Can your entire mood shift because of one negative comment by a coworker or family member?
If this is true, it sounds like you are taking things personally.
Imagine these interactions on your morning commute to work….
An erratic driver cuts you off in traffic….the barista at your regular coffee spot is aloof while taking your order…..and then there was the rude person who didn’t acknowledge you and return your friendly hello when you got on the elevator.
When you finally reach your desk has your friendly disposition turned sour?
That’s because you allowed other people to dictate how you feel……..
When you take everything people say and do personally, you are setting yourself up for a life filled with suffering.
And if you want to live a life free of the constant judgment from others, you need to learn the following strategies:
Change Your Perception
Changing your perception takes the focus off of you — by removing the ego — and provides an opportunity to consider how the other person in the equation is feeling and what they may be thinking.
It’s easy to get defensive and irritable when you feel like a negative comment or action is directly related to you.
But instead, take a moment to consider all the facts……..
>>>Maybe the erratic driver was late for a job interview because her kid barfed right as she was leaving the house…
>>>The barista had nothing to smile about because his dog died that morning….
>>>And the person in the elevator? Maybe they just don’t think it’s important to say hi back when someone acknowledges them.
Defensiveness rises from assumptions about the unknown that are believed to be true. Before jumping to conclusions, ask questions to clarify where others’ actions, inactions, or inquiries are coming from. If you really put an effort into this, you will find that it has nothing to do with you.
Albert Ellis — a 20th Century Psychologist — argues that a person is not affected emotionally by what happens around them, but by their interpretation of what happened.
Remove yourself from the center of focus, temporarily disengage from your emotions, and you’ll be able to consider other possibilities.
Take Back Your Power
It’s easy to feel slighted when someone says or does something offensive.
But even when a negative comment or action seems to be directly related to you….it never is.
It’s always a reflection of the other person.
If your spouse cheats….it hurts, there is no denying that. And it’s easy to assume the cheating was because of something you did or didn’t do.
The self-doubt will kick in……
………”Am I not good enough?” “Did I work too much?”
But, the truth is:
It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
>>>>They may be unhappy, and nothing is ever going to satisfy them.
>>>>Or perhaps honesty isn’t meaningful to them like it is to you.
And when you take things personally you give others more power over you than they deserve or should ever be allowed to have.
In essence, taking things personally keeps you tied to someone else and, in the extreme, can even make you feel like a victim.
Think back to your morning commute…..nothing any of those people said or did was a reflection of you. They were all too busy worrying about their own lives.
The person in the elevator?
It’s easy to assume there was something about you they didn’t like….your hair? the color of your outfit?
It’s absurd to think a total stranger can have a strong reaction based on something so superficial
More likely, they just don’t carry the same set of values that you do — saying hello back isn’t important to them.
And there’s a good chance they treat everyone that way…..not just you.
So allowing them to affect your mood is only extracting joy from your life.
Only you are responsible for how you feel.
Increase Your Confidence
Let’s just say the barista’s dog didn’t die and the reason he didn’t smile is because his coworker told him the last time you were in — you didn’t leave a tip. But you know you did leave a tip, and he just didn’t notice.
It doesn’t change the fact that it still has nothing to do with you.
And the only reason you care about how the barista is treating you is that his approval is important to you.
A good question to ask yourself is:
Do I really care what this person thinks of me, and will it matter in a year from now?
If the answer is yes, then speak to the person in question regarding the offense.
And if the answer is no…..then you can use that to move beyond the emotion of the moment.
Chances are, if you are confident with who you are, the opinions of others won’t affect you.
Because confidence increases the buffer between a negative comment or action and how you feel about yourself.
You’re in your own head, so you already know all your flaws. But it’s much easier to shrug off a negative comment when you’re confident because you know it isn’t true.
You get to choose how you want to respond to external stimuli.
Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements notes:
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
And to be honest….other people aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are.
Most people — like you — are thinking about themselves.
Improve Your Self-Awareness
Engaging in personal development serves to improve your self-awareness.
And being more self-aware is useful when it comes time to gauge whether or not an event requires you to take action or simply let it go.
Being cut off in traffic and scowled at while ordering a coffee unquestionably should not destroy your inner peace.
But, a boss who constantly criticizes you and makes it difficult for you to do your job?
……that might require sticking up for yourself and setting some boundaries — recalling the question…….will this affect me a year from now.
Your boss might be an angry, unhappy person. Try to keep that in mind when you’re tempted to lash out.
When you have increased self-awareness, you know yourself well and can trust your intuition.
Free others of the responsibility to treat you exactly how you think they should, and you’ll free yourself to live authentically.
Because how you feel on the inside is more important than worrying about how you’ll be judged or perceived.
When something negative is suddenly focused on you — right or wrong — it’s difficult not to fixate on it.
But you will, without a doubt, live a more fulfilled and joyful life when you learn to not take things personally.
Do you have any tips or stories about how to stop taking things personally?
Please share them in the comments.
Your insight could be helpful to another reader.
Yours in adventure,
The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions some 4,000 years ago.
In vast contrast to the most popular resolutions nowadays — exercise more, lose weight, be a better person and get a better job — theirs were more externally focused.
At the start of each new year, the Babylonians promised to pay their debts and return borrowed farm equipment — strange, but okay. And in return, the gods would bestow good favor on them. But if they failed to keep their word, they would fall out of good graces with the gods.
Sounds easy enough….no one wants to be unliked by the gods.
But fast forward to 2018……
And most resolutions are internally focused and rarely accomplished. Our obsessiveness with setting impractical resolutions only works to affirm that change is next to impossible.
Think about the resolutions you’ve set over the last few years — unless, of course, you’ve given up on them altogether — and recall how many you have carried over from one year to the next.
Although we’ve done a good job of over complicating things from the time of the Babylonians, New Year’s resolutions are proof that people do want to improve their lives…..
This year, 44 percent of respondents in a national survey said they planned to make resolutions for 2018. The most popular resolutions were to “be a better person” (12 percent of respondents) and to lose weight (also 12 percent). Exercising more, eating healthier and getting a better job had a three-way tie with 9 percent each.
……They just don’t know how.
Making lasting change isn’t as simple as writing down intentions in your journal and waving a magic wand.
There is no divine intervention or easy solution.
And while so many people aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% will ever experience the taste of victory.
That means 156 million people will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “Happy New Ye-“.
So, why exactly don’t resolutions work?
A Lack of Patience
Expecting to change overnight is catastrophic. Developing lasting change requires patience….think of it as a marathon and not a sprint.
Instant gratification is to blame for this.
But if you truly want to experience change in your life, you’ll need to practice your long game.
It’s important to remember that your brain is prewired and it’s not that easy to change the neural pathways in the short term.
You literally need to retrain your brain to change a behavior….
…..and this takes time.
If you’ve tried something and failed, it’s easy to assume you’ll fail again.
Consider that you’ve had the same thoughts, which lead to the same behaviors, for most of your life. It takes time to unlearn those thoughts and behaviors and replace them with new ones.
Pay attention to the beliefs you have about yourself….what are they saying?
Your mind is a powerful tool, and if you doubt yourself, you’ll limit your potential.
Don’t give in to negative thoughts.
You Set Unrealistic Goals
Setting a resolution to scale a large mountain peak when you haven’t exercised in 5 years, you work 80 hours a week, and the closest you’ve come to nature is the dirt in your potted plants, a goal of this magnitude will take careful planning, time and preparation to execute.
But more importantly, it’s critical to ask yourself if this goal is manageable and achievable.
Because when you set unrealistic goals, it’s too easy to fail. And that feeling of failure further compounds your limiting beliefs that change is out of reach.
“I’ll never climb a mountain, so what’s the point in trying?”
A more realistic goal might be to work less and exercise more. And once this is accomplished, then you can set your sights on climbing a mountain.
Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified what they call the “false hope syndrome” ……..
When a resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with your internal view of yourself. This principle reflects that of making positive affirmations. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, the positive affirmations not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-esteem.
Think baby steps.
You Know The What, But Not The Why
I used to live for the adrenaline of bagging as many mountain peaks as physically possible.
One after another after another…..
I chased the high and accomplished my goals of scaling mountains, but it didn’t satisfy my goal of feeling fulfilled. I still felt empty on the inside.
This is because I was focused on the what and not the why. And it wasn’t until I had a near-death experience that I figured it out.
I don’t recommend waiting until you have a near-death experience to learn your why!
But knowing this is key to making life-long changes.
Do you crave more fulfillment in your life? A closer relationship with friends and family? More adventure?
When it comes time to cut down on your hours at work — the what — you’ll understand why this is important to you. And it will translate more easily to changed behaviors.
A Lack Of Support
How many self-help books have you read?
And how many:
>>goal + time tracking tools
>>roadmaps to success
>>morning routine blueprints
>>and habit tracking tools…….
…………Have you downloaded and forgotten about?
Intentions are a meritable place to start, but without execution they are baseless.
Tools like these have their place and, of course, knowledge is power, but attempting to make lasting change on your own generally leads to disappointment.
You need a support system. A cheerleader…..someone who will hold you accountable, teach you HOW to use the tools and give you the occasional kick in the butt.
Resolutions just don’t work. They are a worthy aspiration, but they’re a short-term solution to a long-term objective.
If you’re ready to transform your life and wish to have a more fulfilled, purpose-driven existence, it might be time to stop trying to do it on your own.
And if you feel stuck and lack a clear vision for your life, I encourage you to reach out and learn more about my high-level accountability program.
Stop relying on new year’s resolutions and learn to develop lasting change.
You can have the life you dream of.
Yours in adventure,
Ps. Don’t wait until 2019 and realize your resolutions went unfulfilled….once again.
Living your ideal life requires more investment than simply writing a few bullet points in a journal or on a manifestation board…
It requires actively reviewing and reflecting on all parts of your life.
And as anyone who’s ever tried knows self-reflection isn’t easy.
It is the most universally exalted path to internal self-awareness — it encourages personal growth and helps to enrich your life.
Sometimes you need to look inward and ask uncomfortable questions to determine if your life is on the right trajectory.
It’s the only way to understand your feelings and learn important things about yourself, such as….
….Do I even believe the things I say I do? What makes me happy? What have I done in the past that I want to stop or start doing in the future? And are my actions aligned with my values?
Reflection helps to build upon the successful moments and break free from the self-doubt that holds you back from embracing your true potential and living a fulfilled life.
As we move into a new year…
Here are four actions that can put you on the path to living the life you want.
Notice What Went Well In 2017
….and what didn’t.
It’s no secret that as we age time moves at an unprecedented speed. This makes it too easy to let the wins slip by unnoticed — you’re onto the next thing before you can even recount the success you experienced just last week!
But remembering the positive things that happened is beneficial to your well-being. It reminds you that you’re capable of handling challenges and it can help you to see more possibilities for the future.
Taking the time now to look back on the past year is a way to take note of what went well and what didn’t.
During this phase of self-reflection, write things down in a journal so you can visually relive the past 12 months…
Remember…no win is too small….write them all down!
Pay particular attention to how you spent your time…
Did you engage in activities that moved you towards living the life you want, or that moved you farther away from it?
Can you recall feeling joy?
While it’s important to acknowledge the negative, don’t dwell on it.
Rather, use it as a constructive way to note what you don’t want in your life — because knowing what you don’t want is as useful as knowing what you do want.
Introspection, an act of self-awareness that involves thinking about and analyzing your own thoughts and behaviors, is one of the defining characteristics of man versus animal. We are naturally curious about ourselves. We replay our own experiences and actions in the hopes of understanding who and how we are.
Taking the time to meditate on the past year will help you to set intentions for the coming year.
The past is the past, but it’s an effective teacher for the future.
Set Actionable Goals + Define Your Highest Endeavors
Setting actionable goals is an important process for achieving success.
But, before setting a goal, it’s important to understand what that goal represents and how your current behavior will affect the potential outcome of it.
For example, if you aim to have a closer relationship with your kids, but you consistently work long hours, you will most likely be too tired to spend time with them. And the long hours at work will keep you away from important events in their lives.
“In life, people have many goals (e.g. exercise more, be a better spouse, save more money). However, goals often go unrealized because people lack self-awareness…Thus, to improve our chances of reaching our goals, we must remain aware of our current behavior.”
Setting and achieving goals takes real commitment, sacrifice, and often, overcoming big challenges.
But having a clear vision for your life not only enables you to set and achieve goals, it advocates the pursuit of your highest endeavors.
When you are empowered by the why, it’s easier to stick to your goals.
And when your values and vision are clear, it’s easier to determine your actions.
Much like goals a high endeavor is any undertaking worthy of your energy, love and devotion.
It is essential to take stock of your values regularly, and then do whatever you can to align your life with them. Living in harmony with those values creates the fertile environment for happiness and peace of mind…
Some people call this living authentically.
Because when your values and actions are all aligned, you can purposefully set and pursue your goals, realize your highest endeavors and live a fully engaged life.
Engage In Great Companionship
Humans are inherently designed to live in close relationship with each other.
That’s just the way it is.
We need contact with other humans to live long, happy lives — and this is notably more important as we age.
The interactions you have with other people affects the way you feel about yourself and life in general.
Your close relationships influence your happiness and the sense that you are part of a larger community. Being in fellowship with others adds meaning and purpose to your life.
If you feel lonely or uninspired in your daily routine, it is most likely due to a lack of outside influence.
Meaningful relationships help you to feel connected and supported.
They can also influence your level of success in your profession, personal life and relationship with your partner and kids.
Having people around whom you trust, encourage you and support you in your life, is invaluable.
Because when you are inspired, you have the confidence to live your ideal life.
…….A life full of adventure and joy.
Develop A Morning Routine
The one thing almost all high performers have in common is a morning ritual. A strict routine helps them start the day with purpose and sets them up for success.
Creating structure first thing in the morning spills into the rest of your day.
If you’re someone who typically hits the snooze button a few times in the morning, try putting your clock out of reach, so you have to physically get up to turn it off.
Set your clock 20 min before you normally get up and practice a quiet morning routine.
Part of your routine can be to just sit and enjoy five minutes of undisturbed time — it’s the best time to sip your morning coffee or tea.
There’s something special about mornings…
Developing a morning routine is critical to determining the outcome of many other aspects of your life.
It puts you in the right mindset to tackle your day.
Rumi ~ “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.”
The New Year is commonly considered a time of contemplation.
As you push out the old and embrace the new, it seems an appropriate time to ditch behaviors that aren’t working and encourage the formation of new habits…
…that move you towards living your ideal life.
Making significant change isn’t easy — especially on your own. It’s imperative that you seek help when needed and take serious heed of the need for great companionship.
The people that you surround yourself with can be the catalyst for permanent change.
If you feel stuck in your current situation and you know you aren’t living your ideal life, having an accountability partner is an excellent resource…
Someone who truly cares about your well-being and personal success in life.
If you’re tired of the excuses and want to make meaningful and lasting change, I offer one-on-one high-level accountability coaching.
I will facilitate the changes you wish to make in your life. And help you to have a more meaningful, purpose-driven, existence so you can feel joy and experience adventure in all aspects of life.
Live your ideal life!!
Yours in Adventure,
How many times have you set out to form a new habit only to crash and burn?
With the best of intentions, you’re excited and motivated to make some serious change. You confirmed your new habits with your diary, calendar and maybe even a loved one.
You’re committed, and the transformation starts first thing tomorrow morning.
….except tomorrow morning comes and goes. And so does the next morning, and the next, until you abandon the idea altogether.
Good-bye morning yoga practice, healthy food choices and evening family time! And hello self-defeating thoughts of, “why can’t I do this?”
Changing behaviors can feel like one of life’s great mysteries.
But why does it look so easy for some people to develop new habits — like jumping out of bed at 5 am — while you hit snooze five times every morning?
Well…because change is really, really hard and you can’t expect it to happen overnight. Those people you admire, or are slightly envious of, have worked hard to develop and stick to their good habits.
Your brain is pre-wired and requires serious retraining to incorporate new behaviors into your daily routine.
According to Psychology Today…
Habit formation is the process by which new behaviors become automatic. If you instinctively reach for a cigarette the moment you wake up in the morning, you have a habit. By the same token, if you feel inclined to lace up your running shoes and hit the streets as soon as you get home, you’ve acquired a habit. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form. That’s because the behavioral patterns we repeat most often are literally etched into our neural pathways. The good news is that, through repetition, it’s possible to form—and maintain—new habits.
So how can you form new habits?
Develop A Routine
Like the good scientist at Psychology Today suggest forming good habits — or bad habits — is accomplished by repeating them.
And the best way to ensure you practice something daily is to develop a routine.
While our routine helps us develop good habits that are in line with exploiting our full potential, it also helps to eradicate bad habits that do not serve us well. We can slowly replace our bad habits with good ones through repetition.
One theme I have encountered through my experience as a professional development coach — and something that I have refined over the years — is the importance of a morning routine.
A morning routine also happens to be the one things that all successful people have in common.
Whether it’s guzzling a large glass of lemon water, doing yoga, sitting in silent meditation, or cold water plunging — yep, self-help guru Tony Robbins claims he jumps in cold water every morning — successful people do it every single day.
It’s just a regular part of their morning…
…like brushing their teeth.
A consistent morning routine helps set the tone for the day. Something as simple as making your bed every day can determine how the rest of your day will go.
Reduce Your Choices
A good routine also reduces the number of choices you need to make throughout the day.
Knowing exactly what to do and when eliminates the covert feelings of constantly needing to decide what to do next. Like choosing if you should get takeout for lunch or eat the healthy meal you prepared ahead of time — because eating healthy, home-cooked, meals is one of your new habits.
Developing and sticking to a routine is the best way to ensure you practice your new habits.
It’s also a gateway to achieving your goals.
Because when your behaviors and actions are aligned, you’re able to live a life that feels good. And you can reach your fullest potential.
So what are some ways you can develop new behaviors?
Think Baby Steps
You would never show up the day of a marathon untrained and expect to run the whole thing.
No. You’d start with short runs and build up your stamina through proper training. And the act of putting your running shoes on everyday is how you initiate the habit of running…until you can run a full 26 miles.
According to blogger, James Clear….
If you’re serious about making real change — in other words, if you’re serious about doing things better than you are now — then you have to start small.
Imagine the typical habits, good or bad: Brushing your teeth. Putting your seatbelt on. Biting your nails.
These actions are small enough that you don’t even think about them. You simply do them automatically. They are tiny actions that become consistent patterns.
Track Your Progress
Keeping a diary or calendar — like my Expedition Ascent Plan — that allows you to monitor what you are spending your time on is an excellent way to track your progress.
If you notice your time isn’t being spent on activities that are helping you establish your new habits, you can subsequently make adjustments and get back to following your personal routines.
And seeing what you’re doing on paper, whiteboard, computer, gives you the confidence that you are on the right track again.
Don’t Let One Action Lead to Another
While writing this blog post, I got up to get a glass of water only to realize I hadn’t fed the cat.
So I fed the cat. Then read a few messages on my phone. And was about to start in on something else when I remembered I was writing a blog on forming new habits.
….as you probably know, it’s easy to get off on a tangent and into a rabbit hole that has nothing to do with what you set out to do.
Maintaining focus can be difficult — especially in this day and age when instant gratification is everywhere — but it is essential to staying on task.
If one of your new habits is to meditate each morning for ten minutes, do it somewhere with no distractions. Because you know what will happen if you pick up your phone to quickly check your emails.
Make It Easy
If you want to succeed, make it easy!
Don’t try to change ten behaviors in one day. And don’t decide to read five books in one week if you haven’t even read one book in the last six months.
These are surefire ways to fail.
Make your new habits attainable, and easy to complete and track. For example, if you want to start reading more, begin with 5 or 10 minutes a day, rather than trying to read half the book.
Remember, you’re establishing this as part of your new routine. You can slowly increase the time as you get better and avoid feeling resistance to your new habit.
Schedule in Downtime
Scheduling downtime is necessary. Especially if you’re someone who is constantly on the go.
It might feel weird to put “do nothing” into your calendar, but it’s an important habit that also needs to be nurtured. It fosters creativity and helps to restore physical and mental well-being.
And just like any other new behavior, doing nothing takes practice.
Life is never perfect. And if you don’t anticipate setbacks, you’ll constantly find reasons to abandon your new habits.
Setbacks are inevitable.
You’ll get sick. You might need to travel for work, take a family vacation or maybe even move. Just get through them and get back to your routine as quickly as you can.
When you take small steps to form new habits, you’ll experience greater success in many areas of your life. Your finances will improve, relationships will flourish and you’ll feel healthy and energetic.
It’s not easy, but a small amount of discomfort is worth pushing through to form new desired behaviors.
If you know you want to change something in your life, but are feeling stuck please send me an email. Sometimes all it takes is an accountability partner.
What is a high endeavor?
Let me tell you…
A High Endeavor is any undertaking worthy of your energy, love and devotion.
This could mean showing up for your kid’s soccer game, washing the dishes or listening to a friend in need.
These are all high endeavors minus the adventure…essential parts of life, yes, but they don’t necessarily inspire you to be the best possible version of yourself.
Because without the element of high endeavor, an “adventure” is just doing something you don’t usually do, and which you may or may not grow from.
And choosing a high endeavor is akin to deciding which mountain — metaphorical or real — inspires you to align your values with your actions.
But before you do anything…
“It is essential to regularly take stock of your values, and then do whatever you can to align your life with your most critical values. Living in harmony with those values creates the fertile environment for happiness and peace of mind. Some people call this living authentically.” – Live Bold & Bloom
So when you’re tuned in to your values, and your actions support them, you can summit any mountain you choose!
And because the experience of summiting these mountains changes you — the more challenging the mountain — the more potential you have for growth.
And yet, it is so easy to get derailed and lose track of the very thing that drives and motivates you.
It’s easy to get lead astray by shiny object syndrome. To get pulled towards something that seems like a good idea, but acts a distraction from what is most important.
Or the opposite of that…feelings of overwhelm and impossibility can hold you back. Especially if you view the mountain as one giant conquest, rather than a series of small steps.
It’s why you need to:
LEAD WITH INTEGRITY
An essential component of any high endeavor is your relationship with it.
It’s important to understand and acknowledge that external definitions of success — what or how things ‘should’ be — offers no practical value or foundational support for your sustained success.
An external definition can provide momentary satisfaction and validation when facing a challenge. But mostly, it acts to derail you from your high endeavors by placing meaning and importance on something outside of yourself.
Always live your truth.
“Integrity can be defined as always interacting with others ethically and honorably…approaching work with honesty, and having made a commitment, keeping your word.” Michael Lee Stallard
Walk your talk.
And interact ethically and honorably with yourself…not just others.
So how do you stay fully engaged and reach those summits without losing focus?
START ON ROUTE
How you start your day plays a critical role in living a fully engaged life and maintaining your core values.
You’ve most likely heard me talk about easing into your day…with a breath rather than a bang and creating a morning routine to set the standard for the rest of your day.
A morning routine instills discipline and helps your mind to stay focused and engaged.
My ideal day blueprint is an excellent tool for establishing a 20 minute morning routine that leads to a more productive day.
Part of the routine includes free journaling that acts as a brain dump — setting specific and measurable goals that support your high endeavor will keep you oriented and moving in the right direction.
If you haven’t downloaded my ideal day blueprint yet, I highly recommend it.
When climbing a new or established route, it quickly becomes apparent when you go off route…
…the rock quality degrades, the options for safety protection diminish and the movement becomes less fluid and less obvious.
And you begin to struggle both physically and mentally.
The same thing happens when you stray off course from your high endeavors.
BLOCK AND PROTECT YOUR TIME
Your time is precious, and everyone wants a piece of it.
Every interruption, every call for help from family, friends or coworkers is a distraction.
If you want to work towards your high endeavors, then you must protect your time at all cost and allocate it to work for you in service of your high endeavors.
Be vigilant and disciplined that your time is yours and yours to decide how to use.
Planning your week with a detailed scan of your calendar to add, remove, or adjust your schedule to work for you is also essential. It ensures you are directing your time and energy on activities that will move you closer to your goals.
REMOVE DISTRACTING TASKS
Distracting tasks creep in from all directions…of course, there are regular life events, but it’s important to pay attention and know the difference.
…because these distractions serve to entertain and maintain the status quo by keeping you so busy and involved with trivial matters that you can’t attend to the bigger picture.
Important means: long-term, foundational, coherent, in the interest of many, strategic, efficient, positive…
If you take care of important things, the urgent things don’t show up as often. The opposite is never true.
When you allow urgent tasks to pull you away from the important ones, your high endeavors remain in a distant future waiting for you to someday attend to them — and will remain there as long as you allow unnecessary distractions to dictate your time and energy.
And do anything you can to clear your path and remove unimportant tasks from acting as a barrier to reaching your goals.
KEEP YOUR ENDEAVORS FRONT OF MIND
Keep a note or photo on your desk. Tape a phrase to your laptop. Write your high endeavors somewhere…anywhere you can see them often.
Any simple communication that cues you to stay present and focused will work.
A reminder that your decisions, actions and time demand you keep your high endeavors front of mind and necessitate decision-making to maintain that immediacy.
YOUR HIGH ENDEAVOR + VALUES IN ACTION
When you are empowered by the why, it’s easier to stick to your goals.
When your values are clear, it’s easier to determine your actions.
And when your values and actions are aligned you can purposefully pursue your high endeavors and live a fully engaged life.
The best part?
The lessons learned and applied throughout your life occur long after you have stood on each mountain peak.
The most significant enlightenment you face as a leader lay not in the brute success of standing on the summit, but in the nuanced application of the lessons learned in the process.
Sustained learning continues by applying those lessons in all areas of your life.
And your integrity as a leader is evident in your ability to maintain focus and direction towards your high endeavors regardless of external influence and factors.
The lessons gained from past experiences — previous mountains — help you frame what to pursue in the future. It is that core sense of applying your values that clarifies your direction and refines your ability to choose and engage in future high endeavors.
Do you feel like your values and actions are supporting your high endeavors?
If you have questions about this or need help connecting the dots, please email me, I’d love to chat.
An Olympic athlete wouldn’t dream of competing without the help of a coach.
A climber would never scale the side of a mountain without the aid of ropes and pulleys.
And a doctor wouldn’t show up for surgery without the proper education and training.
So…why wouldn’t you use a life coach to be the best version of you?
Why does life coaching work?
Just as an athletic coach guides and motivates an athlete with enthusiasm and skill, so does a life coach.
Life is full of highs — a new job promotion, getting married, completing your first marathon — and lows (we don’t need to go into detail. Life sucks sometimes).
There will always be adversity in life. It’s part of living and is unavoidable. But taking a step back to see it for what it is — even laughing a little — will help you immensely.
Learning to navigate the highs and lows with grace is essential to living a happy life.
Many successful people use life coaches, gurus and mentors to help them get to the next level…to facilitate with goal setting, discovering their purpose, breaking down negative thoughts and embracing uncertainty.
And so can you.
It is possible to live a life filled with purpose. You can have meaningful relationships that make you feel connected and supported. And you can align your personal values with your actions so you feel balanced.
If you’re tired of maintaining the status quo and want to reach your full potential, a life coach can help you accomplish the following:
- Create sustainable habits that support adventure in everything.
- Manage life transitions with vision, clarity, and dynamic energy.
- Articulate your core values and align your behaviors and actions with them.
- Cultivate relationships that foster adventure and support your high endeavors.
- Become a true leader at work.
- Identify and rewire limiting beliefs.
- Achieve your health and fitness goals.
- Feel present, energized and adventurous.
- Have the confidence and power to mentor others to step fully into their high endeavors.
You’ve been lead to believe that to succeed in life you must go it alone and that the road to getting there needs to be difficult — how else can you measure your achievements?
But the truth is:
It could take you years on your own to accomplish what a coach can help you achieve in a much shorter period.
You can read all the freebie blogs and articles online and devour every self-help book you can find, but none of them will provide the intensity and guidance a life coach will offer.
According to goodcoaches.com, a good coach:
Creates a safe environment in which people see themselves more clearly; Identifies gaps between where the client is and where the client needs or wants to be. Asks for more intentional thought, action and behavior changes than the client would have asked of him or herself.
Having someone in your corner who believes in you and encourages you to step over your fears — to ask bigger and better questions — and build the confidence to trust that you have it within you to reach your potential, is invaluable.
But it’s not a magic pill. You have to do the work.
You need to take action. And it will require you to…
Rewire Your Belief System
If you believe you can’t summit a mountain because you’ve never done it before, you won’t.
If you think a happy and fulfilled life is out of reach, it most likely is.
Your negative thoughts will hold you back. They’ll keep you stuck.
But learning to accept uncertain outcomes and increasing your tolerance for adversity will help you accomplish things in life you never thought possible.
I attended a personal development retreat once and we had to complete a course that consisted of following a series of ropes, tied from tree to tree, up the side of a mountain.
It looked so easy it almost felt like a joke.
And then the instructors handed me and the other participants a blindfold. They changed one variable, and I got nervous.
But, guess what. When I removed the belief that a blindfold would make it more challenging, I completed the course with ease. In fact, I was the first one to the top.
I could have used the blindfold to convince myself I was helpless and I’d never make it. How could I navigate roots, rocks and trees without sight?
I could have let fear take over and believed that putting one foot in front of the other was impossible because I couldn’t see.
I share that story not to brag, but as an example of how so many of us have limiting beliefs and patterns that hold us back, preventing us from fulfilling our real potential.
Many people didn’t make it to the top that day because they allowed their limiting beliefs to get the better of them. Fear took over.
3 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Coach
#1: They Will Help You Get Unstuck
When you’re stuck, it feels like you’re watching your life as an observer rather than an active participant.
You can see — and even feel the life you want, but you can’t seem to move. You also know you can’t stay where you are. And this feeling can quickly transcend to anxiety and overwhelm.
But you don’t need to suffer in this place alone. And you certainly don’t need to stay in this place.
A coach will help you identify roadblocks and negative thoughts, and offer new perspectives and opportunities you didn’t know existed. They will help you step outside of your comfort zone and create the life you want — by embracing uncertainty and increasing curiosity.
Life is meant to be an adventure. The big events and the not so big events…even the lows.
#2: Your Personal Relationships Will Improve
It’s tempting to rely on your loved ones to help you through a challenge. But would you ask a friend to fix your car or build you a house if it’s not within their expertise?
Most likely not.
So how are your friends and family supposed to know what will make you happy?
Hiring a life coach will remove the pressure you may have put on others to offer you advice, support, and accountability for your goals, so the time you spend with your loved ones can be focused on enjoying and truly appreciating each person exactly as they are.
You start seeing them as unique individuals instead of people who owe you something or have denied you something. In the process, you become stronger and more skilled at living a better quality of life.
When you are living your truth, the people around you notice. And as the most authentic version of yourself you can be a better partner, parent, employee and friend.
#3: They Will Hold You Accountable
“Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.”
― John Di Lemme
Working with a life coach is a process and requires your full commitment.
Putting one foot in front of the other when you feel like you have a blindfold on can be scary. Your natural instinct might be to flee and fill your time with work, family and friends…
…and resist what you know you need to do to reach your full potential.
A coach will check in, kick butt when required and motivate you to stay focused on your goals.
Are you living the life you want? Are you sacrificing your happiness for others? Have you reached a career plateau? Or are you feeling unfulfilled?
You know there’s more to life than you’re experiencing now and you want to reach your full potential.
It’s time to invest in yourself.
Stop making excuses, step into your power and start living a fully engaged life.
Email me to set up a time to take your life to the next level.
PS. My Ideal Week Planner is an excellent tool for setting and crushing goals. If you want to end your funk, and set yourself up for success, I highly recommend it.