Holidays

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 3 of 4

What does 2018 have in store?

Some things may seem out of your control, but there is no good outcome that can occur by spending time thinking about them. Rather, invest time in creating a vision of your new year that inspires and empowers you to do what is in your power to do so, which is all you can do, and yet, is much more powerful than you might expect.

Already the days are getting longer, and the dawn of a new era is always just a decision away.

We will talk about 3 new categories this week, with 3 more remaining. These categories are all important to your overall happiness and fulfillment. We tend to think that we can compartmentalize our life, and even having such categories might imply that, but what we need to realize if we are ever to achieve mastery in our lives, is that each category impacts the others.

Whether you have someone to kiss at midnight this year or not, we are going to start by recreating your vision of romance.

7. Love Life

Who has a relationship that you envy and why?  Some may tell you that envy is unhealthy, but that’s only if your admiration of someone’s life makes you sad instead of inspired. What would your life be like if you were able to have the kind of love that you admire?

If you have been in a long-term partnership, as I have (married 12 years, together for 17), you might feel as though it has already been as good as it will get. We can’t go back to the past, but we can infuse fresh life into relationships. I have seen miracles happen in this area. The magic comes from communication, compassion, and generosity.  Tony Robbins has some great videos of moments that he transformed relationships in minutes. It is possible!

If you are unattached, but wish to be, I have some friends in your boat, too. I have no answers for you. You probably have gotten a lot of advice, and perhaps even been set up more times than you care to have been. Some may think your standards are too high, or perhaps even feel like you choose the wrong matches. It’s still worthwhile, in my opinion, to create a vision of your ideal mate – the qualities, physical features, etc. While you are doing so, be in the feeling of having this person, rather than the feeling of missing this person.

The same method works for an established relationship:  it is the emotional component that activates the law of attraction. When American Indians did rain dances, they didn’t pray FOR rain, they prayed FROM rain – from the feeling of gratitude that rain was already coming.

You may have a great relationship, in which case, enjoy making plans of how you can deepen your relationship in the New Year – adventures you can have, ways to test yourselves and grow in new ways.

8. Lifestyle

From what I see, most of us start out our lives determined to live a certain lifestyle and then make decisions that we think will lead us to live that way. Sometimes, however, we want to live a different life than the one we were raised in, and may struggle to know what different decisions could be made that would help us transform our lifestyle.

Do you know someone who has a lifestyle that you would like to attain? Are there biographies available? Are they accessible? Could you interview them? Perhaps they might even be willing to mentor you. In my experience with successful people, many of them enjoy their blessings even more when they are able to pay it forward and help others.  A willing student is like a brand new canvas they can paint.

You may not need a full transformation of your lifestyle, but perhaps just a level-up in 2018.  Maybe you have been sacrificing travel for family obligations and next year’s level up is to travel more often. Where do you want to go? What are the costs of going? What are the landmarks you want to visit or adventures you want to experience?

Other things you can look to level-up:  vehicle, technology, garden, kitchen, office décor, organization, automation.

This category can seem superficial to some, and therefore unimportant. I want you to consider that while the true measure of a person is not what they possess; we often tend to measure ourselves this way anyway. We may even determine that we should deprive ourselves to be a good person, or that we are less than because we don’t possess what others do.

I don’t condone this thinking, but it happens, and society supports it, even breeds it.

Sometimes, things make us happy. Should we measure our lives by them? I’m not one to say “should” or “shouldn’t”.

I do know that there are scientifically-proven benefits to feeling happy, and if something makes you happy, you would be doing yourself good to allow yourself to enjoy it.

9. Character

How often have you thought about what kind of person you want to be, or how you want to be remembered?

The classic movie and book, A Christmas Carol, always makes me think about what impression people have that I might not know they have about me.

Did you ever picture yourself at your funeral? What do you think people would say? What would you want them to say?

One exercise a coach brought me through years ago was making a list of the top 5 people I admired, and then listing their top 3 qualities. It was said by this coach that these qualities are actually your true self, and that is the reason these qualities appeal to you.

We may not always operate in accordance with those qualities because what we learn and endure throughout our lives may take us out of alignment with those qualities, but they are intrinsically a part of us.

To help these qualities manifest more often, we must first raise our self-awareness and notice when we are not exhibiting those qualities. Then, we keep recreating and reinforcing a vision of ourselves as someone who consistently exhibits those qualities, and soon we make more decisions from this place of being. Then we also start enjoying the outcomes of making those decisions in terms of our relationships, improved habits, and peace of mind.

I know this makes it sound so simple. The truth is our brain defaults to make this type of change very challenging. It is possible, however, with a clear vision of the desired changes, resolve to stay self-aware, and commitment to sticking with it.

Which of the 9 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover the last 3 categories next week.

 

Have a memorable, safe, EPIC new year!

Europe – The Final Countdown (Official Video)

Europe’s official music video for ‘The Final Countdown’. Click to listen to Europe on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/EuropeSpot?IQid=EuropeTFC As featured on 1982-1992.

What do you want to leave in 2017? What do you want to add to 2018?

Part 1 of 4

Notepad Art by Stephen Dann on Flickr

As the year winds down, and holiday activities kick into full gear, not all of us are focused on the reflection that actually comes naturally this time of year, nor are we always thinking about the new year until we make it through the other winter holidays.

However, before a commercial, consumerist, highly socialized society created new traditions for this time of year that keep us busy rushing around, the tradition was very much focused on peace, quiet, reflection, and resolution.

In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he recommends reflecting on 12 different categories of your life and rating where you are and creating a clear vision of where you want to be to know where to focus on improving and determine how. We’ll go through all 12, 3 at a time, leading up to the New Year. Starting…now!

  1. Money

There are the administrative tasks, like making sure your financial records are in order, that need to be done. This gives you the chance to pay attention to a very critical part of your world, your income, where a lot of us derive our value, right or wrong. Even if what you see when you confront the financial part of your life isn’t what you sought, noticing a contrast sets the foundation for creating a new financial goal and vision for the new year. Many people save this reflection for last, or might find it ironic that I appear to be discouraging materialism toward the beginning of this article, but quickly put the focus on money. This says a lot about your relationship to money, actually. Have you been taught that money isn’t spiritual, or that having money means not being spiritual, or even that it’s evil, or to love it is? How do you treat money? If money were your lover, would it want to be with you based on how you treat it? We all know that money is essential to living, but often we resent it, neglect it, or even fear it. I am not promoting making money the most important area of your life, but I am saying that if it is the area of improvement that you want most to focus on improving in 2018, give it the focus and attention it deserves.

If you hadn’t reached your 2017 goals, what accountability can you take for that, and what new knowledge can you gain, people you can meet, or habits can you create to bring about a better result in 2018?

Also, in regards to bookkeeping, here are 5 tips for people who changed jobs in 2017.

2. Career

Speaking of jobs, there is also a very good reason I started with money. While there is a “market price” for most positions, did you know you can still reverse engineer your income to match your desired lifestyle? If there is something that you LOVE to do so much, that you would do it for free, but it traditionally doesn’t pay well and you need to make a good living, there has never been a better time to build an income infrastructure that allows you to do what you love WHILE earning a healthy income. There are formulas you can follow, depending on what kind of life you want to create, and while I’m not saying they’re easy, or even simple, if you have the resolve and vision to pull you through the challenges, you can absolutely follow steps that will lead you to freedom and empowerment in your career. Too many have settled for the “safer” path, but how safe is it really?

“Life is all risky, if you think ‘trying’ is risky, wait til’ they hand you the bill for NOT trying. Wait til’ you get the tab for not investing. It’s all risky, getting married is risky, having children is risky. Don’t worry, in life, you’re not going to get out alive” ~ Jim Rohn

Is your health suffering because of stress at work or based on finances? Do you ever go to work with anxiety, or even physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches that could be caused by anxiety?

Do your relationships suffer because of the time and energy required of your job? Is there a level of joy in life you have yet to experience because your priority was financial “security”? Is your job that secure?

Here’s the most important question: Does your job give back to you as much or more than you give to it?

Most people have not yet tasted what it is like to be exhilarated by their jobs, and if you have tasted it, have you been striving ever since to re-create that feeling but landing jobs that continually fall short?

There is a formula and a system (with tools) you can follow that will put the power back in your hands to bring this experience into or back into your life. We previously made this available to you, have since dropped the price dramatically so that it’s affordable for most people, and intend to bring you a new and improved format that maximizes retention, application and FUN in 2018.

3. Health

Speaking of health, our life expectancy just went up dramatically, but we will only live that long if we take proper care of our self-healing bodies. This, I know from experience, is no easy feat. But good health enables all of the other areas of our lives to operate. Without it, we can’t expect to achieve fulfillment in any other area of our lives, so it’s pretty important.

So many people struggle to create better habits in this area. We all have heard by now that diets don’t work, and that aiming for a healthy lifestyle of moderation instead is a more realistic goal. That sounds like a commitment, though. It’s scary. From 2015-2016, I was in great shape. I started small, with subsequent 21-day challenges. Within those 21 days, I lost enough weight to motivate me to continue my journey, developed better awareness of old habits and created new ones, and improved my relationship with my body, which was an unexpected, but a very welcomed, outcome.

Honestly, my habits now are a far cry from those, and a year is a long time to sustain results, but it wasn’t a lifetime. I had began to crave better and better results, and dove into more and more intense exercise regimens, and stricter and stricter diets, until – I needed stitches in my arm and wasn’t able to lift for a month. When I read Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin pointed out that often when we develop good habits in one area of our lives, we find it naturally easier to develop good habits in other areas of our lives, as well. From my observations, health is the area in which I see that trickle down impact most powerfully, and I can say that when good health habits deteriorate, good habits in other areas tend to go downhill, as well.

It seems counter-intuitive, because if we devote more time to health, we’ll have less time to sustain all of our other habits, but I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, to creating a habit of devoting time to exercise and nutrition, starting simply. I will exercise 5 days per week to make it a habit, even if it’s only 10 minutes, but it has to challenge me at least 3x per week, in other words, I will work to my limit. I will also make sure that I eat something plant-based with every meal before I go for a starch, meat or treat. I am not committing to depriving myself of anything. I will make this about ADDING what is good for me, which I feel will naturally lead to a decrease in cravings for what I know isn’t good, but I enjoy.

Starting small worked for me at the beginning, and I believe it’s sustainable for a lifetime, though I may not experience the initial large weight drop that motivated me so much the last time.

It’s all about finding what works for you, and if you form healthy habits, but they don’t have the desired outcomes, such as massive weight loss, you know at least you are gaining better health.

Next week, we will explore 3 more critical areas of your life to evaluate as 2017 winds down and 2018 approaches.

Remember to rate yourself in these areas and write down a vision in each of these that inspire you to make changes in 2018.

Counting Crows – A Long December

Listen to more from Counting Crows: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/Essentials Explore the incredible history of Counting Crows here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/artists/counting-crows Stream a playlist of their biggest tracks: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/counting-crows-best-of Experience Counting Crows on Vinyl LP: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/f6ubC Follow Counting Crows https://www.facebook.com/countingcrows/ https://twitter.com/CountingCrows https://www.instagram.com/countingcrows/ http://countingcrows.com/ Music video by Counting Crows performing A Long December. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2,037,577.

5 Ways to Give Joyfully During the Holidays, Even with Financial Shortcomings

Gifts by Jennifer C. on Flickr

The holidays aren’t so happy for us all. The idea that giving is receiving, and that we find our joy by giving can make us feel worse if we have very little to give.

I have been there, more than once. In college it’s supposed to be acceptable, but in my senior year I was also facing my mother’s re-marriage and responsibilities of being maid of honor which I knew little about. My brother also was married on New Year’s Day. That year I wanted so much to give them something special, but had only my talent to contribute. I wrote illustrated poems for my family. I realize that in some families the sentiment would have been appreciated, if not at least considered adequate. I was not reassured, especially with a new almost-sister-in-law.  My mom and dad, however, still have those on display in their homes.

Then after I was laid off in August of 2002 and still had not landed by Christmas (and in fact spent another 6 months unemployed after that) I was living on a meager unemployment check that didn’t even cover my student loan payments. I had no savings. I had no budget for Christmas. I used one of my unemployment checks to subscribe to Ancestry.com and did thorough genealogical research on both my mom’s and my dad’s family.

I found out a LOT that none of us knew before (like we’re Swiss!) I took the portion of another check and went to my local craft store and dollar store where I bought picture frames for a one-page family report I compiled on each side, and artful things I could color/frame for my boyfriend (at the time/now husband) who was supporting me financially.  Two of those pictures now hang in our daughters’ room. I felt bad giving so little at the time, even though I put a lot of time into those, because he had been giving me so much. I didn’t even appreciate my own gifts to him until years later when I realized that he had envisioned them there all along.

One of my best friends was having a baby during this time of unemployment. She asked me to make her a playlist for each stage of labor. She wound up not listening to each of them for her first (he came quickly) but she did listen to them all for her second. Then nearly 10 years later I listened to the same playlists during my births. That wound up being another gift that blessed me back.

Look, gifts aren’t always appreciated the way we want, and that’s true whether you spend $10 or $1,000.  Focus on putting thought and heart into your gifts, and find peace in your own gesture. Here are five ideas of ways you can give this holiday season if you don’t necessarily have the budget you want.

  1. Volunteer – I know you have heard this before, and that is because it is really one of the best ways to remember how valuable you can be for others, and at the same time helping others less fortunate than you will remind you of your own blessings. Gratitude is a powerful emotion, and will give you the energy to move forward and make greater efforts for yourself. Volunteering may not give you enough material wealth to give the people in your life presents, but it will make you a more uplifting person to be around. If you can’t give them something material, give them something they can feel.
  1. Upcycle – Make what’s old new again. Hometalk.com has a ton of ideas for taking things you might have around your house or obtainable from your local restore or thrift shop and turning them into masterpieces worthy of giving.
  1. Photo albums – Memories are priceless! Yes, we have become very accustomed to looking at pictures digitally, but let’s not underestimate the power of that physical photo album that you can open and look at with others to remember and honor how these people made your life so special.
  1. The new “mixed tape” – Make playlists on Pandora, iTunes, or even YouTube. Does someone have a road trip coming up? Do they do a lot of cleaning or project work? Do they love to run? A great playlist can be an awesome companion, and they’ll think of you every time they listen. Keep the other person’s musical tastes in mind; don’t impose your tastes upon them. Make it something that expresses how well you know them. Pick songs that have messages they will find meaningful.
  1. Coupons for services/experiences – Time is one of the most precious, finite resources on the planet. The thing I have found about these coupons, however, is that if you fail to deliver, you feel worse, not better. So give the coupons with an expiration date and specific days/times that you are available to deliver. Remember couth, too. For instance, if someone has a messy office, offering to clean and organize it for them may make them more self-conscious. Unless they specifically mentioned that this messy office is a problem for them and they WANT help, don’t be that specific. You could offer handyman services, babysitting services, or contribute a talent. Perhaps there is something you know how to do that the other person would like to learn. There are so many possibilities with this.

Something else that can help ease the pain of not having enough to give, devise a plan to improve your situation where YOU are the determining factor of success, not a plan in which you have to rely on someone else to give you an opportunity. Having a greater sense of possibility and control does wonders for your spirit. That is an area in which we can help – reach out for a free consultation.

While the feelings associated with not being able to give what you want to give can bring you down, we can also learn for ourselves a new value of gifts. If you have always been able to give materially before now, this new experience can provide unexpected blessings to your life. If you have struggled during this time before, hopefully you can use one of the above ideas to have a new experience of gift giving.

We are not our bank accounts. Our value is not dependent on our wealth. We are valuable just as we are, and part of the joy of this life is exploring all the ways that we can create value for others. Whether you have a lot or a little to give, may you feel blessed and be a blessing to others.

 

Happy holidays!

Sarah McLachlan – Fear [live] [HD]

From “Afterglow Live”. Buy the DVD!