My Goal This Year: Become The Happiest I’ve Ever Been In My Life (And How You Can Too!)

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Become my happiest self – happier than I have ever been in my life. That’s the goal I set for myself on January 1st this year. Now, I am not huge on New Year resolutions because usually I make a laundry list of goals that I would like to get done, and then I don’t get them done because it is too much and we forget and etc. So this year I decided to just focus on the ONE thing that I believe will improve everything else in my life as well by doing it: my happiness. I’d rather do ONE amazing thing than 1,000 mediocre things.

My goal for my happiness journey this year is not quite as simple as it seems. It precedes some bigger and deeper questions. How do you become your happiest? What is happiness and what brings more of it into your life?

I am taking a multiple pronged approach to optimal happiness. There are a few major categories that are scientifically backed in research to bring about happiness which I focus on improving:

The first one is doing what I love every day. Life is not about doing what is easiest and just lounging around all day. It’s not about playing it safe and taking the “normal” route. It is about pushing yourself to do something meaningful and worth doing in your life. It is about trying new things, meeting new people, helping others, and committing yourself to something that is bigger than yourself. For me right now, that is this blog and Life Tools. For those of you who don’t know, Life Tools is an online company and community I started to help each other naturally become happier and healthier for a higher quality of life. I love this mission and this is what I want to do with my time, energy, and passion. This is what I am here for and I know that I can help many, many people become happier and healthier, and live better lives. So, I do this every day. A lot. My passion comes from my WHY! So first step for you: find something that is bigger than yourself, be it a mission, a passion, or anything else that can help yourself and others, and make the world a better place. Make sure you love it and DO IT! Go all in! This will fill your life up with so much meaning and energy. You will have a huge reason to get up in the morning and your life will feel on track. You will know it is right because things will flow. From meaning, you find a deeper happiness and satisfaction in yourself and life.

Second area of my life that I’m improving is my health. Yep! Happiness and health are so interrelated that I’d actually venture to say they are the same thing. When you have a stomach ache or the flu or pain, do you feel happy? Exactly. It is much harder. I don’t think that you can have one without the other – at least not optimally. So this year I am focusing on becoming my healthiest to ultimately become my happiest. This means eating well, fixing nutritional deficiencies (through diet and supplementation), taking care of my body by stretching and staying active (such as riding my bike instead of driving a car), finding any hidden food allergies, having a calming morning routine, stopping and relaxing when I feel stressed, etc. There will be plenty of future articles on all of this! 🙂 Your brain and your body are one, and it is time we started taking care of it! So the first step for you in this area is to focus on eating a healthy diet with plenty of REAL food, and moving your body every day. You can do other things, but the simpler you keep it, the more likely you will stick to it. Once you’ve got this down, you can add more like looking for hidden inflammation and food allergies, balancing your hormones, supplementation, meditation, etc. I believe that a healthy diet and an active lifestyle is the 80/20 of health (what is the 80/20 principle?).

The next area of life that I’m improving is my social life. An active social life is SO important for optimal happiness, and it is something that I was definitely been lacking in for a few years. Just keeping yourself from being isolated and alone all the time is important and has been proven to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety levels. I most definitely learned that the hard way. But you don’t have to! For my social life, I have joined a few local groups where I am able to meet new people and make friends. I also plan on doing some volunteering at places I find interesting and enjoyable, or that I feel passion to help with. My business, Life Tools, has also been great for my social life since I am part of a few different associations and groups that meet up at various times throughout the month. I also started my own Life Tools Community group which I believe will become very successful and fun, since it is focused on helping each other become happier and healthier. There is no end to what you can do to bring more people and social events into your life. I am probably going to join and start a few more groups, and do a few more things as I continue to gain momentum, which I will write more about soon! So the first step for you in this area is to get social by joining a group, team, club, event, or getting a job that is social, etc. (NOT a cult though!). Just get yourself out there and get the ball rolling. The more you do it, the more people you will meet and the more events you will go to and get invited to, and the more people you will meet and become friends with, and on and on. Just start. This one is a compounding effect. 🙂

The fourth area of life I am focusing on is putting extra time, effort, and attention into those important people in my life. Looking back on my life, I want to remember the times when I did crazy, fun, amazing things with the people I love the most. I am still improving in this area of course, but what I have learned so far is that if you have a good, caring, and loving relationship with your spouse, kids, family, etc., your whole life feels so much happier and brighter. If you are happy within your romantic relationship, you feel much happier in your life as well. If you are in harmonious relationships with your kids and extended family, your own happiness levels are going to be harmonious too. By kicking out toxic, stressful people and only focusing on those amazing and wonderful people in your life, your quality of living will skyrocket! You will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders and you will feel much happier overall. Maybe because of less stress and more fun with each other. So the first step for you is to identify all of the amazing people in your life who you truly love and appreciate, and make sure they know you love them! Put extra time, attention, and effort into these relationships, and enjoy life with them. Even if they are far away, call them! Take a road trip to go see them. Whatever, but don’t let these important relationships fade. No excuses. Also, make a list of anyone who is toxic and stop having relationships with them as soon as possible. These people drain you of your energy, health, and happiness and you don’t need them in your life (unless you enjoy negativity, stress, and rapid aging).

The next area of my life that I am improving is focusing and simplifying my life and myself. I put these two together because I think that you can’t really have one without the other. How do you simplify your life without focusing on what you want and need? How to you focus on something without simplifying the process and simplifying your life around your focus? I have been pretty good so far this year about focusing and simplifying things – not necessarily on purpose, but I think a lot of my focusing and simplifying actually came from the changes above I am making in my life and in myself. Life is much more peaceful now, and I know what I need to do, and I know what I want. I don’t own much, but I’m getting rid of most of what I own because I don’t need it – and somewhat by accident I recently found out that I actually don’t even notice when most of my belongings are gone or inaccessible. It made no difference in the quality of my life whatsoever. Once you know these things, life becomes much more interesting and enjoyable. So the first step for you is to make a list of what (and who) is truly important to you in your life. Focus your time, energy, and attention into those things and people. Reduce your time, attention, and energy on pretty much all other things. It really is this simple. However, it does not mean that actually doing this is easy. Execution is the hardest part because it is much easier said than done. But it is something that anyone can achieve if they want a happier life, and to become happier within themselves.

The last area of my life that I’m improving is spending time relaxing and rejuvenating. You can’t work every second of every day. That’s why we need sleep – so that our bodies and minds can rest. So I am focusing on getting enough sleep, doing things that I enjoy that also help me relax (such as hiking or songwriting), and stopping whatever I am doing and taking a break when I feel stressed out or anxious. No one can do their best or most efficient work when they are in this state of mind. It is also really bad for you – kind of like drinking a soda or something. If you feel anxious and stressed out, you must learn to control this. It may sound hard to do, but if you can get good at just pausing and stepping back for a breather, this will become simple. For example, when I am working on my business and I start feeling uptight and anxious, I stop and do something relaxing until I feel better. Usually, I only need about 10 minutes to feel better again. It doesn’t really matter what I do in that ten minutes as long as it is enjoyable and relaxing – sometimes I take a walk outside, other times I do some gardening, sometimes I take a warm shower, other times I call someone I love and just talk, and sometimes I just read a book. The important part is just taking this time to relax and come down from this state of high stress and anxiety. The problem is that most people don’t take that ten minutes, and carry that anxiety around with them for the rest of the day, and they bring it home with them to the people they love. This is not the kind of pattern you want going on in your life (especially since you want to focus extra love, time, and attention on your loved ones, not extra stress, fights, and anxiety). So the first step for you is to monitor your feelings and notice when you are feeling stressed and uptight. Once you are able to identify this, you can practice taking breaks to relax and get yourself back into a better mindset. I know that this can be hard for many people, especially at work and places that don’t approve of you taking “unnecessary” time away from your work. Luckily, there are ways around this and if you just bring a little creativity to the table you will still be able to do it. I’m not saying be lazy at your job and try to do nothing; I’m saying when you are anxious and stressed out, take the time you need to reset or else your whole day will go down the anxiety toilet! If you need a break you need a break.

So, this is what I have been doing so far! If you plan on implementing these things above, don’t try to do this all at once – just do it as it comes. I am not trying to accomplish major, specific, set goals towards any of these areas above. My goal instead is to just improve my happiness and health every day. I spend time learning about happiness from experience and other sources, and any time I see an opportunity in line with my happiness journey, I jump on it. I say no to everything else. I can tell you that lately I have been feeling happier than I have felt in a long time, so what I am doing is definitely working! I’ll keep you updated on my happiest-happiness journey as the year continues, and hopefully you can learn from it as well!

Stillness

There is a stillness within each of us.

It is especially noticeable when we wake up in the morning and when we are about to go to bed.

If we could capture this stillness and extend it throughout our day, how would it change our lives?

There may be more peace and serenity. Or more love for, and enjoyment of, every moment. Or maybe just less going on.

This stillness is a peaceful place and if we can cultivate it to grow throughout our lives, then we can always come back to our stillness, our essence, at any time. All we have to do is simply move into this state of mind whenever we feel it is desired or necessary. The more we can learn to extend this stillness throughout our day, the easier it is to utilize at any time wanted or needed.

Stillness is contaigous. It starts with just one of us, and then it multiplies exponentially as we impact those around us. What would our world look like if we all were able to utilize our calm stillness throughout our day and naturally spread this to others.

Would we have less fighting and troubles? Or less greed and selfishness? Or more friendship, community, and openess to change?

It starts with one.

We can all live more peacefully and intentionally, starting with slowing down and embracing the calm stillness we feel at the beginning and end of our day.

To living your happiest & most peaceful life,

-Alex 🙂

Why I Haven’t Worn A Single Drop Of Makeup In Months (The 30 Day Challenge)

This post is oriented more toward women, but if you men would like to understand women better, then keep reading!

Our society loves makeup. Guys and girls alike. There is a huge and disproportionate emphasis on looks versus real beauty. Looks are only a part of that true beauty. Yet, it is a social norm for women to slather on a bunch of face paint to look a certain way, usually to try to look and feel more attractive. Men seem to like makeup on women too, mainly because it is what our culture tells us is true beauty.

This all became very real to me one day when one of my best friends confided in me, saying,” I’m terrified of not wearing makeup.” It surprised me so much because I had always thought that she looked great with or without makeup. In fact, I couldn’t really tell the difference between when she did and when she didn’t wear it, and she always looked beautiful in my opinion.

After being so surprised by this statement, I realized that she definitely was not the only one to feel this way. It is a huge pressure in our society. So many women wear makeup simply because they feel like they are ugly and unattractive without it, and they are terrified to take off the mask. I was surprised to find that I even used to feel like that too sometimes.

After this encounter, I decided that I would not become dependent on makeup to feel attractive like so many women unknowingly do. True beauty is not going to show through makeup anyways. True beauty comes from a woman who is confident enough within herself to have no need for makeup.

I don’t have a problem with makeup itself, and I have nothing against it. I think that it is great! Many women wear makeup because they simply love putting it on, and love feeling the anticipation while getting ready for a fun day, night out, etc. But when it becomes a crutch that you must use to feel attractive, and something you can’t leave the house without, it becomes a problem. Many women hide behind their makeup and don’t feel pretty enough to go without it. But the truth is that the more you feel like you need to put on makeup to feel attractive, the more you are subconsciously telling yourself that you are not pretty enough without it.

I’m not saying to never wear makeup again; I just want you to be aware of what your relationship is with makeup. Is it one that causes you stress? Do you feel like you have to wear it? Do you feel ugly without it? Why? Do you feel like you have to wear it to look attractive to men?

You don’t have to wear makeup. If a man doesn’t think you are pretty without makeup, then he is not the man for you. A good man will love you for who you are and how you look with or without makeup. He will love you for you- for your raw self. He will love all of you just how you are.

You should too.

 

The Challenge:

I challenge you to one month of no makeup! That’s right!

If you are terrified of taking off your makeup and going completely naked faced into the world, then you are one who needs to do it the most.

Along the way if you are having trouble, experiencing some great insights, etc., leave a comment to help other readers who decide to embark on their own 30-day no makeup challenge! Tell me how it went, what you learned, what was the most difficult for you, and any other advice you might have for others. Let’s support each other!

If you feel like a month is impossible for you, cut it in half and do a 15-day no makeup challenge. Once you have done that, you will be ready for the month-long challenge.

In the beginning, you will likely notice feeling very anxious, scared, and you will encounter a lot of doubt and negative self talk saying that you look ugly. But I want you to push through those negative comments and feelings, and tell yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. And if people don’t like you without makeup then they aren’t the people you want to have in your life anyways.

Once you get past the insecurity phase, you will start to feel much better about yourself and your natural self image. You will realize how truly beautiful you are, and how great you look in your natural skin and your naked face. By the end of a month you won’t even realize that you aren’t wearing makeup. You won’t even notice that you have gone so long without it, and you won’t even think about it when getting ready. In fact, since completing my initial 30-day makeup fast, I have had a few two or three month periods where I have gone without it and didn’t even notice! I do wear makeup for fun on occasion, but it is such a freeing feeling to know that I don’t have to use it to feel beautiful.

Again, I’m not telling you to go throw out all of your makeup and never use it again. Makeup itself is not bad. It is just a thing, a product. It is your relationship with the makeup that is good or bad. You don’t have to be a slave to it. You should be able to be happy with how you look – with or without makeup. I suggest that any time in life you start feeling anxious and insecure about your looks, go on a makeup fast for a week or a month, or however long you need to regain your love for your true, natural looks.

To live your best life, you must be confident within yourself. You have to stop following the majority of people and start doing what makes you happy. You must do things for you, and not out of fear that you won’t be the same as the other people around you. It is more worrisome to be just like everyone else than to be the one who is different. Be yourself, love yourself, and follow your own path to your best life and best self.

 

To your natural beauty,

-Alex

ps- here is a link to a video of Alicia Keyes talking about why she wasn’t wearing makeup. She’s cool so I thought I would add it in here.  https://youtu.be/GmbFPPiK6D8

In Case You Forgot…

It is a beautiful day here on the blog today, don’t you think? But do you know what is even more beautiful? You! That’s right – you. Yes, you. No, not the person behind you. YOU.

It doesn’t matter what gender you are- you are beautiful! And DON’T let stupid false thoughts sneak in telling you any different! Now go think about how beautiful and amazing you are and how much you love yourself, and have a great day.

 

To you and your awesomeness,

Alex 🙂

I Did.

Think about it.

In the moment of your death, your life will flash before your eyes. Looking back through your life, will you say, “I wish I had…” or will you say, “I did!”?

I imagine that you want to be able to look back and feel a sense of wholeness when you reflect. You want to know that you lived your life to the fullest and you did the things you wanted to do in life, and you impacted the world and others in a positive way.

Working backward from your last day on Earth is a great way to realize what is important to you in life, and what you should focus your time and energy on. Your life is whatever you want it to be. It is an interesting story. When it starts to feel boring and dull, it means that you are not living your dreams. You are living according to someone else, not yourself. When life gets complicated, it is simply because you haven’t taken enough time to thoroughly look at your life, your current situation, your past habits and beliefs, and your inner self. When you live according to anyone but yourself, be it society’s whims, another person, and institute, etc. you are not living your true life of passion.

So how do you get back to living your dream life? How do you stop living a boring, monotonous life? How do you free yourself from the habits of the past and begin on your path toward personal freedom? It’s quite simple, actually. You just have to put your dreams first. Don’t let your other obligations get in the way all the time. Put aside some time every day to work on your dreams, and guard this time relentlessly. This is your time to get you where you want to be in life, whether that is spending more time each day with your kids, becoming financially free, going on a vacation to Thailand each year, having a better sex life and relationship with your spouse, meditating for 20 minutes each day, etc. Don’t let yourself become distracted with other things during this amount of time that you set aside for dreams. Take this time to grow and work on creating your dream life until it is a reality.

Living how you are ‘supposed to’ according to everyone else is not necessarily the way that you want to live. We are individuals. We are not ‘one size fits all’. We are unique and what is right for one person is not right for another. This is why your dreams have to come first. If you don’t make them top priority, then society and others will continue to dictate how you live your life. If you let anyone else other than your inner self rule your life, then you will most likely never do the things you have always wanted to. You will never get to feel that major sense of inner peace and freedom you have when living your best life. You are the only one who can make your dream life come true. You must take your dreams by the hand and make sure that you are truly giving all you can to make them a reality.

You will reach all you want if you can just simply put your dreams first, be patient as you work on them, and know that they will all come to you just the way they are supposed to. You may not end up exactly where you imagined you would be, and you will take some interesting turns and detours to get there, but you will eventually reach your best life. It will be your amazing life; no one else’s. Simply your life, your freedom, your lifestyle, and your true happiness.

Instead of always wishing to do something, cut out the excuses – make it happen and be able to say, “I did!”

To living your best life,

-Alex

Welcome! Say Hello To Your Dream Life!

Welcome to my blog!

(Skydiving with Fernando AND getting over my fear of heights- Check out my Youtube video of my first skydive here! It’s pretty entertaining lol.)

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To be honest, I had no idea what to write for my first blog post. I knew I wanted to help people live their dream lives, but it took me weeks to figure out where to start. But the more I thought about it, the clearer it all became.

The Beginning:

It all started about four years ago. I became clinically depressed that year, and for about a year I felt so dead and dull that nothing mattered to me anymore. After about 6 months of depression, I realized my condition and decided that if I didn’t do anything, it would never get better. In fact, it would probably continue to get much worse. So right then, I decided that enough was enough. I decided that I would do anything and everything to get out of depression once and for all, and never fall back into it again. I had nothing to lose, so I went for it relentlessly. It was very difficult and it took some time to overcome- about 6months- but I did it! I have never been back to that dark place, and I am positive that I never will be back there ever again. Now I am out of depression for good!

This is when I realized that my life had been renewed. I had been feeling pretty much dead for a whole year, but now I felt so alive. I couldn’t wait to see what my future had to offer me, and I was so much stronger and happier because of this challenging past experience. From that point on, I promised myself to live my life to the fullest every day. I promised myself to accomplish my dreams, have fun, and to go after everything I ever wanted because life is short and life is what you make it!

Today:

This leads me to right now. The present moment. What a wonderful time to be alive! You are blessed every day with a brand new 24 hours to live your life. But one day, those 24 hours will not be given out to you. One day, you will pass, but for now you are here on this Earth. Think about your 24 hours. How do you spend it? Really ask yourself this question. How much time do you spend eating? Driving maybe? Working? Going to school? What about leisure? Working out? Hanging out with family/friends? Etc. Think about absolutely everything you can come up with in your day. The results may surprise you.

Once you have a pretty good idea of how much time you spend doing each thing every day, ask yourself this: Is this how I want to spend my day? In other words, how much of your day do you spend doing things you dislike? Is it 10%, 50%, 90%? What things specifically do you dislike doing each day? Many people find that they are spending huge amounts of time every day doing things they don’t care about, or don’t like doing at all.

No matter how what your answers were above, ask yourself this: what would be my ideal day? In other words, what does your perfect dream day look like? Don’t get caught up on the time, location, money, or any other potential ‘setbacks’. Let your mind explore and imagine. Let yourself dream.

Now I want you to ask yourself one more question. If time or money were not an issue, what would you do? Really ask yourself this question. If you could do absolutely anything you wanted to do in life right now- with no restrictions- what would you do? This is probably one of the best questions you can ask yourself to find out what you really want from life. Whenever I feel off track, I ask myself this question. You will most likely realize that your answer is not completely what you expected it to be. (Note: If you are having trouble answering this question, check out my post called What Would You Do? for some ideas.)

It always surprises me how many people have never asked themselves these questions before. These questions have not only kept my life on track and in line with my goals, but they have also allowed me to guard my time and use it well. As a result, I have accomplished so many things that I have always wanted to do within a very short amount of time. I have no doubt that these questions can do the same for you!

What This Site Is All About:

And finally, this leads me to what this site is all about. This site is all about living your dream life. It is about being the happiest and best person that you can possibly be. It is about going after your dreams and goals. It is about changing your life and your habits to become everything you have ever wanted. It is about owning your life, and living it to the fullest. It is time to become happy, healthy, and wealthy in all areas of your life. I will be with you every step of the way!

Now is the time to start living the life you have always wanted.

To living your best life,

-Alex