Where is your “Gratitude Meter” set? Do you find something to be thankful for each day or do you rush through life unaware and unhappy? The action of being thankful, appreciative or expressing gratitude can be a powerful tool for living a meaningful life. Studies show that we can deliberately pursue an appreciation for the goodness in our lives, the result is an increase in our well-being and happiness.
Focus on the goodness in your life, and you retrain your brain to look for abundance. Try this instead of dwelling on the lack of “things.” Scientific studies demonstrate that fear and negativity increase cortisol. This “fight or flight” hormone narrows your perspective because you perceive danger in your life. Developing a positive mindset increases the mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine), in your body. A positive mindset also encourages people to “broaden and build” life skills. Begin to actively seek new opportunities and utilize your small successes to achieve a more abundant and meaningful life.
Take a moment each day to express gratitude for the goodness in your life. This intentional action sets the tone for the rest of the day. Some people like to begin their day with a meditation or mantra of gratitude. Your thoughts direct your efforts, creating the best results, at work or home, as the day unfolds.
Others prefer towrite down their activities and review the goodness of the day each night. Being thankful for all the moments and people in our daily life can change our intentions. Learn to flip frustrations or challenges to create new opportunities for choosing what is important over time.
As the holiday season approaches, many people focus on gift-giving, thankfulness, and an abundant life. Remember to keep that sense of choosing happiness and caring when the fine china is put up. Keeping an attitude of gratitude throughout the year can relieve stress and generate a more optimistic view. A mindset of cultivating kindness can often have positive effects that we can’t even imagine. Like a small pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples of good will and thoughtful interactions can have a huge impact on many people, some of whom you may never meet!
Have you ever thought you needed a body double so you could get everything done? Maybe your thoughts and actions are too scattered. Starting a journal may help. Journaling builds insight and mindfulness. This simple tool is highly productive, only requiring paper and a pen. You will deepen your connection with what is most important to you when writing your thoughts on paper. You may find it easier to think about strategies, visualize a solution and create new pathways for creative thinking.
Sometimes the process of slowing down to reflect and review your thoughts results in a deeper capacity for innovation and more forward thinking. A person’s mind can have up to 60,000 thoughts during the day. Mobile devices push us to make even more teeny-tiny decisions each hour. When writing, most people can only process about one hundred words per minute, so any thoughts recorded on paper have a higher percentage of “sticking” or being remembered.
Journaling can be free form; it can be doodles that mean something to you or your thoughts can be directed toward a particular problem or challenge. Some people carry a journal with them at all times and jot down inspiring ideas as they pop up during the day. Others may end the day with 10 minutes of quiet, introspective thoughts. There is no wrong or right way; each person is unique. The primary challenge for many individuals is to be consistent. Giving yourself permission to take 5-30 minutes to sit quietly and put your thoughts in order sounds like a huge chunk of time for many, but when compared to the 24 hours given to us each day, it isn’t that much time at all!
Journaling builds insight into why you act the way you do and can aid you in changing your perspective on people around you, your job and your life goals. Journaling builds mindfulness as you delve into the emotional side of your life and then look at your problems more objectively to make proactive, intentional actions that will make your life better.
Go ahead; purchase a small spiral notebook or a fancy leather bound book. Both will work just fine. Put that pen or pencil to paper & give yourself a chance. Let journaling build your insight and mindfulness!
Small Steps to Success: Large dreams are often extinguished by the sheer size of the goal along with a lot of self-doubts, but using small steps to success each day, will ensure you of getting closer to your dreams day by day.
Two simple tools for moving forward are:
1. Setting intentions with a strategic plan
2. Making small consistent actions each day that will move you to the goal
Sometimes big goals or life destinations can be a bit overwhelming. Know where you are right now! Determine where you want to be and breakdown that monstrous goal into smaller chunks. Breaking the bigger picture into small steps to success allows you to create small “wins” each week and will increase your confidence to tackle the next step in your journey.
There are so many possibilities for reaching your goal that sometimes people can’t even begin. When faced with this decision-making paralysis, many people quit before they start. Small, easy steps each day will have more impact than a few “big leaps.” So you want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a house.
Here are a few scenarios to achieve this: Step1: Put all your pocket change in a jar to start your savings account. Once you have $100, you open an account at the bank. Step 2: Set up an auto draft within your checking account to take $10 per paycheck or $5 per week from checking into your new savings account. You have now created a new positive habit without a colossal amount of pain. Step 3: If you get a bonus check, deposit that into your savings. If you get a tax refund, deposit that into your savings. If you are still saving the change, start adding all the $1 bills left in your wallet into the jar each night – deposit when the jar is full. Step 4: After six months, increase your auto draft to $15 per paycheck; you have gotten more comfortable with the fact that you are not punishing yourself by saving — you are reallocating your money in a new direction.
Small steps to success with a proactive plan will put you into a new home before you know it. Now plug in your big goal and develop your step-by-step plan today!
Ready to learn more proactive tips? Let me know what questions or comments you have:
Are you still living with an old story you tell yourself – or is it time to create new habits? Start today to intentionally listen, analyze and make changes in your vocabulary.
You may say, “I’m broke; I never seem to get ahead.” Maybe you can explore a new way of thinking and say, “I’m broke; I wonder why I always feel that way.” Take back your power to choose. Envision what you want to spend your money on and state how you might make some changes.
Without blaming yourself, you can create new habits by stating what is actually happening in your daily decisions. For example: “I’m broke because I chose not to save any money this week.”
This gives you the opportunity to be curious, be aware of current actions and think about other choices you’d prefer to make. Hmm…. “It’s interesting to see how and where I’m spending my money. I’d like to find ways to shift some of my dollars this week toward my dreams.”
So instead of repeating, “I’m broke”… Try these: “I am going to make positive choices with my money. I want to consciously choose where I want my income to go, instead of drifting with old habits and being unhappy at the end of the month.” For example, if you like having nice clothes and the trendiest shoes, but have no money in the bank and are ready to make a change – you can begin to choose a new way of talking to yourself.
Try this on for size: “I want nice clothes and I want money in the bank. I will choose to wait and buy the shoes when they go on sale and will put the difference in price in the bank.” Or maybe you decide, “I like nice clothes and I have trouble telling myself no, so I will put $25 in the bank each week before I go to the mall!” Now you are choosing to say “yes!”
Yes to change.
Yes to new possibilities
Yes to conscious choices! That’s a great way to be “stepping-out!”
Sounds hedonistic, but spending money on experiences over things may bring you a higher level of genuine joy and longer-lasting satisfaction in life. We all have a limited amount of money to spend and want to allocate our resources for maximum results. Earning more money brings happiness – but only up to a certain point. People need a place to live, a car and food on the table, but before you buy that next new “thing,” take a moment to determine if you would be more satisfied spending money on an experience with family or friends over a new iPhone.
A new gadget or piece of technology often causes us to swell with pride in a brief moment of that “Wow” factor when showing off the new purchase. Physical products often lose their value as they become a mundane piece of your life and let’s face it – there is always something newer, better, or that has more options.
The concept of spending money on experiences over material purchases has been studied in-depth by Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. For over a decade, he has been trying to understand how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material products. Using the simple concept of conscious choice, you can create a life that is rich in its abundance by sharing experiences and connecting with the people you love.
In fact, if you have ever been at a party where you are meeting new people, it is easy to connect with someone when you realize that both of you ran the same marathon, hiked the same trail in a national park or vacationed in the same city. It doesn’t matter if they spent $10,000 and you spent $900. Both trips were equally as exciting! The shared experience bonds you as you both compare notes, relive your trip, and refresh the memories.
Summer is quickly passing, and if you have not taken the time to refresh yourself, there are still some great experiences waiting for you! Take a pass on a new car and use the one you have. Journey to a fabulous week with family or friends and make memories that will last a lifetime! Here is a great website to help you purchase an experience before the leaves begin to turn: http://www.lastminutetravel.com/PagePackageSearch.aspx
Remember to take time to stop and smell the roses!
Setting aside a few minutes for daily journaling each morning or at the end of the day creates a greater awareness of your actions, and what changes you would like to make. You may have noticed that you have an emotional response when dealing with your finances. As you define your “Money Nerve” and begin to see what makes you uncomfortable, quiet reflection each day provides you a powerful tool to become more proactive with your decisions.
This process of self-discovery is not easy. If it were, everyone would be debt free and have enough money in the bank to live comfortably. Facing your Money Nerve can be stressful and frightening. Let’s say at this point, you are fearful and not yet taking steps to make your life better. Are you willing to experience the fear and still push through it? Most people go toward change kicking and screaming. They may think there is less risk when they box themselves up and resist change. The environment around us is changing so quickly that adaptation is a necessity. Those who are willing to make changes by being honest and facing their emotions are the people who are moving toward success.
Taking an emotional inventory at the moment is the first step. This self-reflection helps you become aware of how you feel when you make financial decisions. If you are having difficulty figuring out how your Money Nerve affects your finances, use daily journaling to think back to moments during the day when you had to make a financial decision. Choosing to buy coffee for a friend or waiting to make a credit card payment may have triggered your Money Nerve. Ideally, you’ll start to note your emotions at the end of every day, as part of your mental mapping and reflection. Tips for starting a daily journal.
If it is hard for you to carve out time, try this strategy: When a client or friend is 15 minutes late or cancels their time with you, see that moment as “extra time” and use it to meditate or find a calm spot in your day. You can simply enjoy the quiet or jot down notes on how the day is going, and what you would like to see happen — by the end of the day. Are you making daily decisions based on fear or are you proactively forming decisions that can be accomplished with small conscious choices each day?
Be aware and make time to address the change you want to see in your life. Become responsiblefor your life, your finances, and your mental attitude. You are now making a choice to create change – now is a good time to purchase blank paper to reshape your life dreams with daily journaling! Want to learn more about easing your Money Nerve? You can receive a monthly newsletter with helpful tips and motivational guidelines to find your financial freedom.
When you have something of value: family, friends, possessions – you want to take care of them, and maintain your investment. Many people are financial quick-fixers with a duct tape mentality, and contrary to popular belief, duct tape doesn’t fix everything. They may get immediate results, but are not actually dealing with the cause of their problem. This can result in complicated or frustrating long-term results.
If you are overdrawn in your bank account, you might think you are doing right by using your credit card to bring your account back into balance. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The reality is that you are creating more debt for yourself and adding interest payments to what you owe already.
I joke that I wish I could “un-know” what I know. It is a lot more work when you start to take responsibility for your life. Imagine going to a seminar and hearing that there are eight steps you have to take in order to become a millionaire. Many people in the seminar will stop at four steps and say, “I’ve finished four steps, why don’t I have 500,000 dollars?”
We live in a volatile world. Instead of being a financial quick-fixer, take a longer view into the future, make value-based choices and begin to create a healthy and abundant lifestyle over time.
Figure out where you are: Take a look at your spending habits and write down every purchase in a month. Will you be happy with that choice in five years?
Identify your priorities: How can you reallocate funds to support your priorities and provide additional value in your life? What really matters to you?
Create a financial support system: Actively seek support utilizing professional advice, friends, financial tools, software and applications to set your self up for success.
Once you learn to work with your list of financial goals and stop operating out of fear regarding money, you will see your efforts transfer to other aspects of your life. You may feel more financially confident once you have a clear vision of where you are and where you want to be.
Empowering yourself financially allows you to toss out old reactions and habits. You choose your actions! As you tap into your own power, you no longer wait for luck to happen or hope that you win the lottery—you actively take charge of your life. I call this positive lifestyle where the riches of life are inherent in your soul—proactive abundance!
Choosing to make conscious choices for your money and life may have implications in many aspects of your life. Set aside some quiet time this December and create a mental space to listen to your thoughts. Decide how to spend your holiday season, using your goals to give you focus.
What would your “perfect” holiday look like? Maybe it includes parties with friends, spending time with family, or taking time to express your gratitude. This is such a hectic time of year. Many people feel overwhelmed by obligations presented by school, work, family and friends. Invest your time in activities that bring you the most value.
Choose which activities you will spend your time on and know that you may miss some parties or invites. Setting boundaries for a successful holiday helps you maintain your sanity, increase your sense of gratefulness and keep your “spirits bright!”
Take that one step further and spend time with those closest to you this month. Listen to your spouse, best friend or family members and notice what is important to them. Investing time with people who are special in your life strengthens your bond with them, creating more meaningful relationships.
When shopping, instead of buying four gifts for each person, purchase one item and plan an experience to accompany the gift. Purchasing clothes? Plan a date night to enjoy the new outfit. Have a friend who loves to cook? Wrap up a new piece of cooking equipment and sign up for a cooking class together. Give a gift of time to complete the gift in a box! Many people find investing in others reaps greater benefits in the journey of life.
Share some of the activities that your family or circle of friends love to do — and make the holidays extra special every year.
Changing your “mental map” or mindset can create wealth in your life.
Living an abundant life is a proactive attitude to seek out what is important to you and strive to create a purposeful life. There is more to life than sitting at the computer every day and then sitting on the couch passively watching other people’s lives. You shape your world by how you choose to take action on the circumstances thrown your way. Decide if you want to allow others’ actions to ignite your anger or feelings – or if you would like to make intentional choices for a more positive outcome.
Give to others with a generous spirit: When you give time or money to others, you are implying that goodness is there for all. The positive energy from an intentional gift “without strings” will open your heart and mind to the abundance of your life. Intentionally put $2 in your pocket to have on hand to help others, or use the next few weeks to “pay it forward” for someone else, just because you can.
Find the goodness in people and enjoy the richness of life. With all the tragedy we have witnessed in the past few months, it seems like covering our ears, bolting our doors and making our world smaller is the best course of action – but that action could be counter-intuitive. Look for the goodness in others, have empathy for those in need, and find a way to forgive those around you for past hurts. Forgiving is another way to pay it forward.
As we move into the holidays, find time to share your vision of happiness, peace and thankfulness. More money and material possessions will not make you happy. Peace and happiness come from within. When you share your peace and love with others, you add worth to others, honor their spirit and that action makes the world a better place for all.