How to Stop Having the Dreaded Monday Syndrome & Live the Life You Truly Want

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Do you have the Dreaded Monday syndrome?

This is where every Sunday evening you get stressed and grumpy because you have to start another week and go back to work. You live for the weekends and you just get through the weeks.

Does this sound like you? If you have the dreaded Monday syndrome then you are doing something wrong in life – just saying. Life is meant to be enjoyed. It is meant to be spent doing the things you like. If you can only enjoy your time here on this earth on the weekends (or only 8 days per month), then what kind of life is that? It is time to make a change for the sake of your happiness and sanity. I see way too many people stuck in this trap, and I hope that this post will help you truly escape this mindset and way of life (not just artificially escape on the weekends). The truth is, if you are living like this, you are bored with your life. You feel unmotivated, tired, and dull most of the time. You feel like you need something exciting to change your state. Most people turn to partying and drugs on the weekends. Others turn to extreme activities to feel that rush of being alive. Why? Because they are starving to feel alive in their normal daily lives, and they are not getting this feeling from their habits and activities right now. Living this way is completely ridiculous – and yet millions of people – MILLIONS – live this way every week. But you don’t have to. Let’s get started.

First off, on Sunday what exactly about your upcoming week do you dread? List it all!

Why do you dread each of these things?

What about on Friday? What do you most look forward to? List everything you think of.

Why do you look forward to these things? Is it just a way to forget about your life, or is it something you truly enjoy doing?

Your answers may surprise you. And they will probably bring you some insight that you hadn’t realized before. What is crazy is how many people just assume that work has to be hard, boring, and unpleasant. This is completely not true! I can tell you this from experience. For the past couple of months, I have not once felt any dread come over me on Sundays before starting work on Monday. I actually find myself excited and eager to get back to work on Monday. I don’t say this to brag, I say it to show that it is possible. I know many people who love their work and each day they feel just as alive as any other.

Now of course, there are always some things that we have to do that we probably don’t want to do, but if you are doing things that you truly enjoy, those unwanted things are totally worth doing, and don’t feel so bad.

All I am saying is that if you are living in a rut, you can change. You have all the power and strength you need to be able to turn your life around. It is up to no one else but you. If you don’t like the life you’re living, then change it! Don’t just sit there and complain and blame others for where you are. You have gotten to where you are today because of the decisions you have made. If where you are right now is not where you want to be in life, don’t worry. I know, I’ve been there too. It is not a very empowering feeling and it is a very monotonous and grey lifestyle. So change it! What’s holding you back?!

Probably fear.

That’s all. This means that YOU are the only one holding yourself back from happiness and enjoyment in life. You fear that you won’t be able to do this or that, you fear that your family or friends will be upset disappointed, or disown you. So be it. If they aren’t willing to love you when you change for the better, then you need real, true, and better friends anyway. You fear that it won’t work out or you’ll fail. So much fear, fear, fear!! You may call it worry, stress, your reservations, or “I’d like to, BUT…” – either way, it is still fear! You want to feel alive right? Well let me tell you, facing your fears will definitely make you feel very alive. So give it a shot! Wake up!! YOU HAVE ONE LIFE! What’s the worst that can happen? You can always go back to living your same mundane mediocre life as before. But the best that can happen is that you start living a life of awesomeness and enjoyment! Yes! YOU can do this! You are the key! And as long as you never give up, your dream to live this life well is inevitable. So what’s it going to be?!

 

To living your best life,

Alex 🙂

 

Ps- If you have a lot of resistance and fear toward changing your life for the better, try fear setting. This is an exercise that I have adopted from Tim Ferriss, and it helps me totally demolish my fear and see how irrational and ambiguous many of my fears are. Here’s how to do fear set.

Pps- If you are having a hard time handling the stress of change while you are in transition, I suggest trying Peace of Mind Natural Blend – a natural supplement for less stress and better sleep. It will help you get through your transition in a much calmer and more centered manner. And you will sleep through the night so you have the energy to make big changes! It has helped hundreds of others do the same with fantastic results, so if this is something that you want to try, check it out on Amazon or on the Life Tools website! 🙂

How to Know What You Want (When You Don’t Know What You Want)

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Let me ask you a question: What do you want?

Do you want a fancy house, 8 new cars, and a 30 person hot tub? Or a job working outdoors with a wonderful family to come home to? Or do you want to retire early and travel the world? Or do you want to go to college for a degree? What about health? Do you want to complete a triathlon? Do you prefer jogging 5 miles daily? Or crossfit? Dancing? Sports? Yoga? Do you want abs? Do you want to do all of these things? None of these things? Some of these things?

There are so many options in life!

We all want to live an awesome life, full of adventures, fun, and success. We all want to live our dream lives. We all want to be free in every way- personally, spiritually, physically, politically, etc.

We all know these things. But the problem is that most of us stop there. We don’t ever get to this place of freedom and happiness. Why? One reason is we might not know what we really want. Yes, we know in general that we want to be happy, wealthy, healthy, etc., but we need to get a little more specific and focused to figure out what we truly want.

Ask yourself this question: what do you visualize as your dream life?

What are you specifically doing? This may bring up a wall for you. Your mind might go blank. You may not know exactly what you want it to look like. There are so many paths that your life could take. You might begin to realize that you don’t really know what it is that you truly want.

Here are three things you can do to figure out what you want from life:

 

Figure Out What You Don’t Want. Then Flip It. 

Sometimes we don’t know what we want out of life, but we do know what we DON’T want! If you are having trouble finding purpose and direction in your life, start out with what you don’t want to do. What do you dislike or hate? What are your least favorite things to do? What are you unhappy about in your life right now? Write your answers down so you can see them plain and clear for what they are! These negativities in your life are causing you pain and suffering. Luckily, you can turn these negative things into amazing triumphs! It is time to turn your life around and get happy! If you are clear on what you don’t want in life, then you can steer away from those unpleasant areas and move in a more positive direction. What I would advise is this: Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write down all the things you don’t want in the given situation, or just life in general. Once you have finished listing your non-wants and dislikes, look at each non-want and write down the opposite of it in the right column.  It should look like this example:

Don’t Want: Want:
to fight w/ spouse good communication & enjoy time w/ spouse
loneliness & isolation close friends and frequent social interaction
etc.

Filling in a table like this will give you a good starting point. You will know what you definitely don’t want, and you will have an idea, therefore, of what you might want. You don’t have to know exactly where you are going, so long as it feels pleasant and exciting. The next step is to take action and try things to see what works and what brings you more happiness in your life.

 

Try New Things. 

If you don’t know what you want, then it might be because you have never committed to trying a new or different type of living- and I mean completely committed by giving this new try your all. By trying new things, you learn what you like and dislike/ want and don’t want in life. You want this to be something simple that you can start today. You can add this into your chart as well if you want, and it will look something like this:

Don’t Want: Want: Action:
to fight w spouse enjoy time together spend time together daily, eat&sleep well so not grouchy/tired
lonliness & isolation close friends, social volunteer in town to meet people. Spend time w/ bff
etc.

In this example, the actions recorded are all able to be started today. You could call up your spouse right now and plan a date or just plan on going on a walk together through the neighborhood later. You could go to bed early tonight to ensure a restful sleep, and you can eat good, healthy food for breakfast lunch, and dinner to ensure that you don’t get hungry ad grumpy. You could also set up a time to hang out with your friend, and you could get signed up to start volunteering soon too. All of these baby steps you would be taking today would be catalysts for a better tomorrow. Each step makes it possible for a bigger action step in the future until you are living in the “want” category on the chart above, and not the “Don’t want” category!

 

What Do You Know You Want in Your Life? 

It is ok to feel unsure of what you want! Don’t panic. Don’t feel like you are a hopeless or lost soul. You don’t have to know every little detail of your future life! You just have to look at what you know that you want in your life, and compare it to your current life, and then take action. You don’t have to know every detail of your life. You don’t have to know what every second of your perfect day would look like. You just have to commit yourself to making every day awesome. You have to truly believe in yourself and realize that while you are trying to build yourself your perfect life, it was right there all along. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the results. Enjoy the present.

When you envision your dream life, what comes to mind? The specifics, I mean. Don’t get bogged down in every little detail, just simply close your eyes and ask yourself this question. Write down your answers.

These are the things that you know you want. For some people, it may be to travel, or to be a singer, or to eat healthier food every day. For others it might be to write a book, or start a business, or meditate daily. There will probably be multiple things that you are positive that you want in your life – probably more than you think. Now that you have figured out what you don’t want, it is much easier to understand what you do want, or at least have a general direction to try out.

Remember, nothing here is permanent and nothing is set in stone. You can always change, in fact you will change. What you want in life changes as you do. You want different things out of life now than you did when you were a kid, right? Exactly! So don’t worry about it. Just go towards your passions, interests, and hobbies, and go away from what you don’t want in life.

“At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are, and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu

Now, whatever you wrote down for your answer, go do that. Whatever actions you wrote down in the chart, do those too. Start working on it, even if it is in tiny bite-sized portions. Little by little, great things get done.

 

To living your best life,

-Alex

PS- Peace of Mind Proprietary Blend is now on Amazon! If you need less stress and better sleep, you can try it now for 40% off (for a limited time, so now is the time to try it if you are curious!). Check it out. It may also help you relax and center yourself when going through the process of figuring out what you want from your amazing gift of life. 🙂

:) How to Literally Smile Your Way Out of Negative Feelings & The Art of Body Language (w/ Pictures & Examples)

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Smile! It’s Friday 🙂

How often do you find yourself smiling? Next time you feel grumpy, stressed, or down, try forcing yourself to smile for 3 minutes. Doing this will noticeably increase your mood and your happiness.

On a more scientific level, what happens is this: When you smile, you are changing your physiology by partaking in positive body language. It turns out that your physiology directly affects your psychology (brain, thoughts, mood, etc.) and therefore, the positive body language of smiling sends messages to your brain that are in direct contradiction to your unhappy feelings. The reason to smile for a consecutive 3 minutes is to continue to strengthen this process happening in your brain until your negativity is overridden. 🙂

To double the strength of this exercise, smile for 3 minutes in front of a mirror. By doing this, we are activating one of our powerful senses: sight. When others smile at you, it brings on feelings of openness, warmth, and a greater sense of happiness. It is also very easy to smile back. By using a mirror, you are recieving all of these benefits from yourself while compounding your own efforts to efficiently boost your mood. So smile more, and enjoy a higher quality & more relaxing life! Oh and remember to spread the love and smile at other people too!!

To triple the strength of this exercise, practice more forms of positive body language while smiling. The more the merrier. Here are some examples of positive body language (these are all just free stock photos I found on the internet for examples):

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The boy in this photo has excellent positive body language going on. This particular pose (with both hands up in a “victory” type of stance) is scientifically proclaimed to be embedded in our subconscious brain as an action we do when we succeed at something great, or just feel really good.

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Great one to do while smiling at yourself in the mirror for 3 minutes straight like a crazy person. Might as well look even crazier, right? 🙂 This one will make you feel more important and more self-confident, but it only works in front of the mirror or if someone else is doing this action to you. 

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Hands on the hips helps you keep a good overall posture, regardless of whether you are standing or sitting during this exercise. Good posture is also good body language and therefore it will help you feel happier as well. 

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Arms outstretched and open to the world. Opens up your body and lungs to take deeper breaths (which is good for you, and is a topic for another post someday) and this pose helps you feel more relaxed thankful. 

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Hands on the head is a good one to feel more relaxed as well, along with more confident. 

 

 

Hre Are some examples of body language that leads to unhappy feelings (and what NOT to do during the smiling exercise):

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Curled up and closed off. This will make you feel worse than you already do if you are in a state of negativity. Bad.

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Bad posture, hunched over, looking down, not smiling, and looking small in the way that he is sitting – which in turn, of course, makes you feel smaller as well. Also bad.

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Better, as she is smiling, but crossed arms is a sign of defensive behavior and closing off from interaction. Unless you are cold, doing this pose is just going to make you feel more insecure and defensive toward others instead of open and relaxed. 

As you can see, smiling and positive body language is really important to your general happiness. Notice yourself slumping in your chair, or looking down a lot? Those types of body language poses will not help you feel better. Luckily, the body language you use everyday can be changed. It is just a bad habit, so all you need to do is change your habits and replace your bad body language habit with a good one! My Article on changing habits can help you with this.

So smile more and share this article with anyone you think would find value in it! The more we can get people to smile, the happier this world will be as a whole 🙂

 

To your highest quality life,

– Alex

How Are You Really Doing? A Personal Check In:

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Today’s blog post is a little different. I want to know how you are doing. And the usual “I’m good” isn’t going to cut it this time! I want to know how you are really doing. Do you know how you are really doing?

The best way to find out is with a personal check-in. It is a list of simple questions that will give you a general idea of how you are doing. When done monthly, you will notice patterns, your baseline happiness level, and you will learn a lot about yourself. If you write down your answers to these questions each month, you will have some great data about yourself that you can then analyze to help you live your best life and become your best self. Just ten minutes each month can tell you so much! Let’s do this!

During the past month, (on a scale of 1-10) how often did you feel…

Happy

Interested in life

Satisfied

That you had something important to contribute to society

That you belong to a community

That our society is becoming a better place for people?

That people are generally good

That the way our society works makes sense to you

That you liked most parts of your personality

Good at managing the responsibilities of daily life

That you had warm and trusting relationships with others

That you have experiences that challenge you to grow and become a better person

Confident to think of or express your own ideas and opinions

That your life has a sense of direction or meaning to it?

Two More questions:

When was the last time you felt really alive, and what were you doing?

What are 5 activities, pleasures, or events that will make you feel even more alive- right now this month?

That’s it. Great job! Return to these questions monthly for the best results. You might find that it has been a while since you felt really good. If that is the case then it is time to revisit happiness! Or maybe you realize that you are happier than ever right now. That’s awesome :)! Feel free to leave your answers in the comments if you would like. Just like I said in my Big Talk post, I would love to hear how you are really doing. The more we care about others, the better this world will be.

 

To living your best life,

– Alex 🙂

What is happiness? Are You Happy?

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Here is a picture of me looking happy. Truth is that when this photo was taken, I had been fighting depression for about 7 months. I was feeling particularly down that day because I felt like I was making little progress toward defeating depression. It took me a while, but I did end up getting out of depression for good (and 100% naturally) by mid 2013. I can confidently say that I will never fall back into depression again. 🙂

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School. Although I wrote this book for people in high school, there is a lot of valuable information in the book for anyone of any age. So without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂


…What is happiness and are you happy?

Happiness is an “inside job” many people say. Which is true, of course. You don’t find lasting happiness in objects, places, or tons of friends. It all must start with you. Happiness is the end result of having positive emotions like inner peace, love, compassion, joy, etc. You come to these emotions by doing what fulfills you, what excites you, and what you are passionate about. You also can get these emotions from spending time with the people who are closest to you and who you really care about. These are the ones who will always be there for you no matter what. Who are these people in your life?

If you are unhappy or constantly negative it is time to reconnect with your happy and positive side. The happy life is one where positive emotions dominate. So by simply enhancing positive emotions, or experiencing them more frequently, you can become a happier person. BUT you need to get these frequent positive emotions through the things and people that fulfill you, or your happiness will be short lived and inauthentic.

Even life circumstances only contribute about 10% to your life’s happiness. This includes getting what you want in life, such as becoming a billionaire or getting married. So if getting what you want doesn’t give you that much lasting happiness, then what does? The answer: appreciating what you really have and being happy within yourself. If you want to be truly happy, a major part of happiness is gratitude and positivity. The happiest people:

  • feel and express gratitude even during tough times in life
  • stay in the moment as much as possible
  • enjoy the simple pleasures of life
  • don’t let unavoidable ups and downs disturb their inner peace

How happy are you? Stop right now and seriously ask yourself this question. If you aren’t sure how happy you are, don’t worry. Happiness is pretty tough to measure. It may help to rate your happiness level on a scale of 1 to 10. Try out this set of questions that can also help you determine how happy you are.

1. In general, I am:

Not happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Happy

2. Compared to others, I am:

Less happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 More Happy

3. Some people are generally happy regardless of what’s happening in life. To what extent does this describe you?   

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

4. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they aren’t depressed, they never seem to be as happy as they could be. To what extent does this describe you?

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

5. I smile:

Hardly ever 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very often

If you look at the numbers you circled, it will give you a very broad understanding of your happiness level. You could always average these numbers too if you want another way to look at it.

If you got a low score on these questions, then you may be depressed. Take this quiz to find out. This quiz was created by Carol Landau, who has a Ph.D. in Depression. I don’t know if I would have ever realized that I was depressed or gotten out of depression if I hadn’t stumbled upon this quiz during my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to include it in this book because I hope that it helps you like it helped me. Even if it only helps one person, I’ll be happy. So let’s take the quiz!

To be diagnosed with depression, you have to feel extremely sad or have lost interest in life, and you must experience 4 out of the 7 following symptoms every day and for at least two consecutive weeks:

– Increase or decrease in weight or appetite without conscious dieting

– Insomnia or excessive sleepiness

– Agitation or lethargy and difficulty getting out of bed

– Loss of energy and fatigue nearly every day

– Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

– Difficulties concentrating, thinking or making decisions

– Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

Scientifically, if your mood is constant and lasts more than two weeks, that’s a sign that you might be slipping into depression.

According to Lifescript, which operates the leading website for healthy living, more warning signs for depression include:

  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or self blame
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Now, there is a difference between grief and depression. Mourning the death of someone close to you is an exception to the two-week rule. For the first month or two, it is typical to have symptoms similar to depression, such as unrelenting sadness, frequent crying, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, and weight loss. But if it continues for longer than this, with no signs of improvement, then the grieving may have turned into depression.

If you are depressed, or if you would like to know more about depression, don’t wait to get help. Your condition will only get worse. But be careful when getting help. It always amazes me how many people think they know what depression is, and that they can solve it for others when they haven’t even been through it themselves! If they haven’t gone through it personally, then they don’t understand. I promise you this. I learned this the hard way when I was getting out of depression myself. If you think you are depressed, even if you aren’t completely sure, please please please do not wait. It is important to take action and start getting out of depression as soon as possible. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can get out of it!

Trust me, I have been there. It is a dark place, and it is very difficult to see the light. But when you get a glimpse of light, hold onto it and don’t let it go. Build on it until there is no more darkness. You can do it! If I can do it, then you can too. I believe in you. I know that you have what it takes to be happy again and to get out of depression for good. And, strangely enough, once you have completely overcome the challenge of depression for good, never to fall back into it again… your past depression becomes a gift. How? That is a discussion for another book which I am currently writing, so stay tuned. 🙂

If you would like to be happier, you must take time to consistently develop your inner qualities. Every minute you have a choice of where you focus your attention. The more you relax, try your best, and allow life to unfold, the more you will get out of life and the happier you will be. When your mind starts spiraling into negativity, stop yourself. The more you do this, the easier it will be and the more control you will have over your own thoughts. Eventually, you will be able to decide what you want to think about and what thoughts you want to let pass through your mind. Notice the good things in life. Pay attention to the positive things and be an optimist. Understand what makes you happy, and appreciate yourself. Choose to be happy!

“As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, external facilities or conditions will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life. Achieving a genuine sense of happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter. In taking care of your physical body, you need a variety of vitamins and nutrients, not just one or two. In the same way, in order to achieve happiness, you need a variety of approaches and methods to deal with and overcome the varied and complex negative mental states… It is not possible to accomplish that simply by adopting a particular thought or practicing a technique once or twice. Change takes time.”

–Dalai Lama

So, what about you…

How happy are you?

Did you just find out that you are depressed?

Do you have a success story?

Feel free to share in the comments. We are a community here and we support each other. 🙂

To your greatest happiness,

-Alex 🙂


Odds & Ends:

  • There is now an Instagram page for this blog’s lifestyle! If you would like to  surround yourself with happy, healthy, and wealthy aspects of your dream life then don’t hesitate to follow @lifetools_official  I promise it will be worth it! 🙂
  • If any of you would like to contact me directly there are two ways:
    • One: Leave a comment on this blog. I will see it 🙂
    • Two: Contact me via Instagram: @lifetools_official . 

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

Take The Leap

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For many of us, living our dream lives it is not a question of what we want- many of us already know the answer to that. It is more of a question as to whether or not we can believe in ourselves enough to do it. It’s all in our mindset. While we can live a lifestyle of living our best life every day, there are certain things that we might visualize ourselves doing in our dream lives which we are not doing at the moment.

When we think of what our best lives look like, many of us have some kind of big goal or dream that we have been putting off for a long time. These goals are probably crying out for attention. We really want to do it, and it causes us some stress that we haven’t done it yet, since we have been meaning to for so long. We also know that our dream life is not complete without attempting this pending dream that we have. Many people are scared to do what they know they need to do to live their best and most fulfilling life.

It is like if you are standing right at the ledge on top of a cliff, and everything you ever wanted was at the bottom of the cliff. There is no other way down but to jump. But you are afraid. What if something goes wrong? What if it hurts to land? It is hard to see everything at the bottom of the cliff clearly. What if it is not that great after all? How is this going to work out? You aren’t sure, so you try to find out for yourself. You read books all about the cliff. You ask others what they think. But you know that your questions and worries will only be answered if you jump. You are scared. All of this research took time, but ultimately, it is all up to you to find out. And now you are standing on the ledge, looking down. You can see all that you want below. You are so close that you can almost touch it! You really want it! And even though you are afraid of the unknown, you know what you have to do. You have to take the jump. You worry; you try to find an alternative to what you want. But deep down you know that the only way is to take the leap. Finally one day, you say enough is enough. No matter what, I am ready to go after what I want. You grab your parachute, shut your eyes tightly, and you jump off the cliff.

Usually, it is fear of the unknown that holds us back the most. Once you have jumped off the cliff, you will realize that you wasted a lot of time worrying and avoiding the cliff. Had you just jumped in the first place without over thinking, you would have been where you wanted to be a lot sooner, and saved your body, mind, and spirit a lot of stress. Procrastination, worry, doubt, and fear quickly lead to self doubt and unrest.

The leap is the unknown- the space between where you are and where you want to be in a goal. It is what everyone is so worried about before they jump. People get so focused on the process and the unknown that they forget to look at the results. They forget about what is at the bottom if they can just simply jump. Of course it is scary. Of course there will be things that you don’t know or don’t understand – you have never done it before! But once you take the leap, you are in motion. You are moving toward your goals and more into your dream life.

As you fall, you gain speed. You can see the ground getting closer and closer. Now you know that you are going to make it! The closer you get, the more you can see below. It looks similar to what you saw at the top of the cliff, but now you can see that there is way more here than you ever dreamed of having.

The process on the way down the cliff is not neccesarily an easy one. There are a lot of emotional and mental ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. But as long as you continue working patiently and persistently toward your goal, you will end up where you want to be. You just have to trust in yourself, and remind yourself that even if your goal or dream doesn’t work out the way you planned, it is better to try than to never know. It is never too late to change. You will always end up where you are meant to be.

And finally, you land. Now that you are on the ground you not only have a different perspective on everything you ever wanted, but also have a different perspective on life and on the cliff. Suddenly others are asking you what jumping from the cliff is like, trying to muster up their own courage to do it themselves. Although you went through good and bad times while you were falling down the cliff, the process was unique, beautiful, and so worth it. At the top of the cliff you had been living a happy and healthy life. Now you have your dream accomplished to enrich and enhance your life that much more.

Living your dream life is not just about living your happiest and healthiest life. It is also about realizing your dreams and making them a reality. These goals and dreams are just as important as being happy and healthy- in fact, they tie right in. If there is something that you have been really wanting to do in your life for a long time, it is time to take the leap. It is time to just do it. Jumping is the hardest part.

“An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” – Newton’s first law of motion, also referred to as the law of inertia.

Take a minute to stop everything you are doing and really search your soul. When you look at what you want your life to look like, what do you see there that isn’t in your life right now? What dream or goal do you have that you have been putting off? If you have more than one goal, choose the one you want the most, or the one that has been put off the longest.

This is your work now. Don’t put it off any longer. Put aside your fears; they are never going to subside unless you take action. Just take the leap.

To living your best life and being your best self,

-Alex

Living From Intentional Habits (Or: Killing Bad Habits and Monotonous Routines)

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What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

What is your first immediate reaction when someone cuts you off in traffic?

What is your most common meal?

What time do you usually go to sleep and wake up?

What is your most common negative thought? Positive thought?

Take a minute to answer these questions for yourself. You might find a pattern when you do. These are all questions of habit. How much time have you taken to think about your habits and how they affect your life? For most people, the answer is: not much. I find this really interesting because habits have such an impact on how we live our daily lives. And how we live each day is, of course, how we live our lives.

We have so many habits that we carry around with us every day and everywhere we go. Not only are they engrained in what we do, but also how we think, what we think, how we feel, and how we react to things. It is said that about 90% of our thoughts are reoccurring thoughts, meaning that we don’t usually come up with many new thought patterns throughout the day without effort. This means that about 90% of our thoughts are reoccurring day after day after day. Have you ever paid attention to what thoughts go through your head each day? I’d have to say that they are pretty similar day in and day out. Unless you really intentionally change something in your life, or have a huge change/epiphany, you are going to have the exact same thoughts as yesterday and last week and last month and even last year. This is because habits are shortcuts for the brain to use to make its job easier and more efficient. By nature we are habitual beings. I challenge you to really think about what you think about. Because thoughts lead to basically everything else. In fact, Gandhi once said:

Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior become your habits.Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.

Habits are not a bad thing. In fact habits are amazing as long as they are good habits, or habits made out of intention for a better life. They are good if you are using them to your advantage instead of against you. The beauty of habits is that once they are established, they are easy to maintain so they are a perfect tool to get you living your best life.

While intentional habits are really good, you may have developed some unintentional, and really bad habits along your path. Maybe you aren’t eating the way you want to, but you love junk food. Maybe you always go to sleep late and oversleep in the morning. Maybe you continuously tell yourself negative thoughts throughout the day. Maybe you are having relationship problems and you have both gotten used to fighting everyday without fixing anything… for years. Whatever the problem is, don’t worry- I have good news for you! These are all just bad habits, so all you need to do is turn these bad habits into good habits.

It is simple to change a habit, but it is not necessarily always easy. Your body and mind must be retrained to a new pattern. But how? It actually takes just five steps. Going through these steps will be easier or harder depending on you as an individual, and how engrained the habit is within you.

  1. First, you must be aware of your habit. You wouldn’t fix something if you didn’t know that it was broken. Likewise, you can’t fix a bad habit if you don’t know that you have this habit.
  2. Then you must identify it as a bad habit that needs to be changed. Some people who have bad habits never get this far because they might know it is a habit, but they don’t see it as bad for themselves, even though it might be affecting them or others around them in a negative way.
  3. Once you realize your bad habit, you can go about changing it. This is the part that takes time and self control. You have to make a solid decision to not do whatever the bad habit is anymore. Then make a plan as to how you are going to stop. It doesn’t have to be a huge written out plan, it could just be in your head. All that matters is that you commit to ending the bad habit, and that you have a way (or multiple ways) to take action and end it. If you can’t think of a way to stop your bad habit, do some research on the subject and look for possible ways to fix it. The more you know about your bad habit, the better chance you have of changing it for good.
  4. Fourth, you must replace that bad habit with a good habit instead. If you don’t replace your bad habit with a good habit, then you could easily relapse into your bad habit. Why? Because stopping your bad habit creates a void of time. If you don’t fill it with something, then you will just think of doing that bad habit again, instead of doing whatever good habit you should have put there for replacement.
  5. Once you have gone through the first four steps, all you have to do is be consistently aware of your habits and make sure that you don’t fall back into the same old bad habit from before. You have come too far to go back now, and it will become easier and easier to maintain your new habit until you don’t have to think about it at all. You do it automatically!

About 6 years ago I used to eat pretty unhealthily. It started to give me problems because I didn’t have enough energy for the intense workouts I was doing at the time. I decided that it was time for me to fix this not only just for that period of time, but simply for the health and wellbeing of my entire life. I acknowledged that I had a bad habit and made a decision to change it. I decided that for me personally, I wouldn’t be able to just immediately be 100% cut off from bad eating because I knew that I would go back to my bad habits pretty quickly. So instead I decided to slowly ease myself into healthier eating habits. I started with a 2 sweets per week rule, and I stuck to it religiously. I kept track of the unhealthy food I ate per week, and I declined a lot of offers to eat unhealthy food. Within about a month, I wasn’t even eating two sweets a week because I simply didn’t want to, and I didn’t need to keep track any more. I did occasionally get big cravings still, but anytime this happened I would always grab something healthy and eat that instead. It worked. Within two months, not only did I have a new habit of healthy eating, but I also felt a million times better because I was taking care of my body, and I had so much more energy. I still have this healthy habit today, about 6 years later.

It takes time, patience, perseverance, and self control, but you can do it! If you want to create habits that will serve you for the rest of your life, then start now. Identify one bad habit you have and how you would like that habit to change. If you can’t think of a bad habit, then you can try thinking about other areas of your life where you would like to make a good habit. What aspect of your life would you like to make better, simpler, or easier? You can create a new habit to do just that.

So remember:

  1. Be aware of your habit.
  2. Identify it as a bad habit that needs to be changed.
  3. Make a solid decision to stop doing whatever the bad habit is. Make a plan as to how you will cut out your bad habit.
  4. Replace that bad habit with a good habit instead. Do this good habit every time you feel the urge to do the bad habit.
  5. Stick with it! You will kick your bad habit in no time! 🙂

If you want to live your best life, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to stop living out of blind and unintentional habits, and start living out of good and intentional habits. Stop being on autopilot. Wake up! This is your life and nothing about it is going to change if you don’t change (see: You Are the Key). Tired after a long day? Don’t have time to fix it? Everyone else is tired after a long day too. But there are people out there who make excuses, and then there are people who make it happen. If you don’t have time to fix your life to be the way that you want, then you really need to stop and think about the way you are living because you are the one who needs this lesson the most. The reason that you are not living your dream life right now has a lot to do with the fact that you have habits that do not coincide with your dream life. So to live your best life, you just have to change those habits. Once you change, your life will also change; and it will inspire you to continue on your path toward your best self, your best life, and your biggest dreams.

To living your best life,

-Alex

You Are The Key

 

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“You don’t get out of life what you want, you get out of life who you are.”  -unknown

Your dreams are a direct result of who you are. You must be happy with who you are to be truly happy and truly successful in your life.

The more you are yourself, the better you will understand what you truly want in life and the easier it will be to bring those ideas into your reality. The more you are truly yourself, the more you will be able to make decisions that are in favor of your best life. It is time to become your best self!

“But how?” you might ask, “What is my best self, and how do I even know when I am my best self?”

You are your best self when you have been the best person you could have possibly been in a day. You are your best self when you realize that you are enough. At the same time, you know that you can always become even better, so you learn and practice ways to be better than you were yesterday. You won’t be able to see much progress day to day, but looking back after a year (if you truly give your best effort) you will see a huge amount of improvement. Your best self is simply being the best possible person you can be. Not the best possible person others think you can be. Don’t think that to be your best you have to do what others think makes someone a good person. Do what truly makes you feel like a good person. Do what brings you happiness. By doing this, it will not only lead you to new opportunities, insights, and passions; but it will also be easier to accomplish your current dreams. When you are one with yourself and wholeheartedly being who you really are, things will start to change. Are you ready?

So many people will cover up their true selves to others just because they think that people might disapprove, or reject them. The truth is, though, that if you can’t be your true self around others, then you are not being your true self at all. Once you truly look at yourself and say, “this is who I am; I am simply me,” then you accept yourself as you are, flaws and all. When you talk to others, you will simply be you, not who you think they want you to be. If these people still disapprove of you, then they shouldn’t be in your life anyways. Be kind, but let this relationship fade. There is a quote that says, “the people who matter won’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.” It is exactly what I’m getting at. The negative people who don’t accept you for who you truly are, are simply creating more resistance between where you are now and your dream life. I am not saying that it is their fault that you are not living your best life, but I am saying that being around someone who puts you down for being you, or is always negative/judgmental, is not someone who is going to help you become everything you have always wanted. They don’t even believe it can happen for themselves! If they would just become their best self and start living passionately, they would see that not only is it possible, but it is absolutely necessary for a happy and fulfilling life. So just be honest when you are with others like your friends, family, strangers, coworkers, etc. Present yourself to them as you truly are. It feels vulnerable at first, but you will probably be very happily surprised with the results. A change in action precedes a change in results.

“A man may rule the world and still feel that he is unhappy if he is not supremely happy within himself.” -Seneca

So by being your best self now, you are not only more confident, happy, and fulfilled, but you are also well on your way to having your dream life. Work on yourself. Identify your flaws and make them better, read and learn about becoming your best self, get out of your comfort zone often (you are going to do a lot of this to bring your dream life into reality, so being comfortable with being uncomfortable is an awesome skill to have), spend time with people you look up to and want to be like, and mostly, accept and embrace who you are! These are all ways to be true to yourself and become your best self. Of course, there are many more ways out there, so don’t limit yourself to just the options above!

The more you are yourself, the closer you are to living your best life. In fact, one big part of living your dream life is being completely and authentically you. What good is a dream life if you are not able to be yourself? What is the point of any success if you aren’t happy with truly being yourself? What is your dream life worth if you wish you were someone else?

Nothing!

To be happy and successful in life, start with being your best self now. Your life can only be as great as you are!

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” -Dr. Suess

To being your truest and best self,

-Alex

You Can Live Your Dreams by Asking the Right Questions

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To live your dream life and to become the best you can be, you must first ask yourself the right questions. By asking yourself the right questions every day, you will find that some of your daily habits, goals, and dreams are not actually what you want. You will also find that you might want to add something to your vision of your dream life. By asking the right questions, you will be able to figure out what you are truly striving for.

I used to ask myself, “What are my goals?”and, “What can I do today to accomplish these goals?” I have been asking myself these questions for years, and these questions helped guide my day and life. But I realized that they were not the questions I should be focusing all of my energy on every day, and I’ll explain why.

There is nothing wrong with these questions about goals, in fact they are great questions that you should ask yourself! But for true happiness and success in living your dream life and becoming who you were meant to be, these are not the most important questions to ask yourself. Let me explain.

First of all, don’t confuse success and happiness as the same thing. True happiness comes from within, and so does true success. But true success can only come from someone who has true happiness within them. It may look like someone is successful on the outside. They may have tons of money, cars, family, vacations, you name it! But If they aren’t happy then they aren’t successful either, because not only do they feel unsuccessful, but they also can’t enjoy their own success due to their unhappiness. True success is a feeling, and it has little to do with anything external other than a sense of accomplishment (which is also a feeling, and you can get this feeling from having true happiness).

So many people fall for the ‘outer success’ trap where they feel like they need to create this image of success for other people to see. But truthfully, this show they are putting on is not real success. And it is definitely not real happiness either. When you are truly happy, you aren’t worried about what others think. You are not tying to pretend or put on a show, you really are happy.  And the same goes for true success, since true success comes from true happiness. If all you are trying to do is please the world and chase after society’s idea of success and happiness, you will always be running. You will never find real happiness, and you will never be truly and personally successful. It is time to find out what  happiness and success looks like to you, and you only.  By thinking about this, you make sure that your goals are for you, and not for any other outward reason.

Recently, I became very sick and I was feeling absolutely terrible. All I could really do was lie in bed because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. Although I was feeling awful, being forced to lie in bed for a week was actually a blessing in disguise. It gave me some time for my body and mind to slow down, recoup, and think about how life was going. I realized a few things:

  1. I was looking back at the years and everything I had accomplished, and I realized that I had accomplished all of this great stuff and I was currently working on accomplishing even more, but I didn’t feel any happier or sadder. I felt the same as I did a year or two ago! This surprised me because I figured that I would feel happier since I had accomplished all of these goals that I had wanted so badly and worked so hard to reach.
  2. I was working too much on my goals, and too little on my inner happiness. True, lasting happiness does not come from reaching your goals. Having your goals and dreams become reality will contribute towards happiness, but these will never bring lasting happiness because your goals and dreams are always changing as you change. True happiness comes from within.
  3. True success is a result of true happiness.
  4. True success is when you feel successful. Whether or not you are seen as successful by others doesn’t matter. If you are happy, your personal success will naturally follow.
  5. I realized that I value happiness over success, so all this time I have been focusing so hard on the wrong questions! Instead of asking myself about my goals all the time, I should be asking myself about my happiness more often. Questions like:
    • “What makes me happy?”
    • “What do I truly enjoy doing?”
    • “What excites me?”
    • “What is happiness to me?”
    • “What can I do today to bring more happiness into my life?”

Ask yourself these questions, and really think about the answers. Let your mind be open, and don’t try to shut out any answer you think of. Each answer you think of is there for a reason!

When you start focusing on asking yourself the right questions, you suddenly see everything in a new light. You will notice that you might have some new goals, and at the same time you might have gotten rid of some goals that actually weren’t as important to you as you thought. By asking yourself what makes you happy, you will realize that you will naturally weed out the goals you have that don’t support that question. This is great because the goals you just dumped were motivated by external things, such as money, hype, other people’s opinions, etc.! External stuff. To live your best and happiest life, make goals motivated by passion and inner happiness. By getting rid of anything in your life that does not correlate with your happiness, a big burden is lifted from your shoulders, because you are no longer a slave to it anymore! You are free to truly live your best life and be your best you!

“People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be”

– U.S. President Abraham Lincoln

So what will you do today to bring more happiness into your life? 🙂

To your truest happiness and success!

-Alex