Love & Sunshine – The Perfect Balance

It was an amazing fall day with thousands of brightly painted leaves drifting down from the canopy above through the soft rays of distant sunlight. We had picked the perfect day for a long walk through the woods!

We found some hiking trails on the grounds of an old estate that sits high above the Hudson River and set out on our walk through the woods. At first, the trails brought us past some carefully groomed gardens, around the back of a historical European styled manor, and then on towards the woods where we came across a family pet cemetery. We stood for a moment contemplating the love the owners had for their many pets and then pressed on down a steep hill into the woods. Suddenly, we sprang into a small meadow with a pond flush with tall bulrushes growing at the water’s edge. As we skirted around the left side of the pond, we noticed a dog standing in the shallow water at the far end carefully watching us. We left the pond and pressed deeper into the woods where we stumbled upon a little waterfall and a rickety wooden bridge across the trickling water. After taking a couple of pictures, we continued through the woods and down the hill until we finally came to an opening where the river spread out in front of us in both directions and the stately home where we started stood for behind us high on the hill. It was a perfect day, with the perfect balance of love and sunshine.

The pond with the bulrushes at the water’s edge

When was the last time you set work aside for a day and spent time somewhere peaceful, perhaps even with someone you love, and just walked for a while? It is so easy to be consumed by all the things we must do and to forget the simple things that we really should do. I would like to encourage you to take some time, find a place to walk, and just breathe for a little while.

I thought I would share some of the pictures with you of our perfect day and hopefully encourage you to find a similar place to walk and to be inspired. For the past couple of weeks, we have been sharing on how to live inspired and taking in nature is a great way to do this, and also a way to clear the clutter out of your mind. If you have the opportunity, find a place around you away from the crowds and just walk for a while. See if you don’t find inspiration in the company of someone you love and the beauty around you. If you can’t actually get away, then walk with us through the pictures and be inspired.   

Sunshine Through The Trees
The stream we stumbled upon

Your life is like a stream, always moving but often interrupted by hard things that get in the way and throw it out of balance. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

P.S. Share with us in the comments below the things that inspire you and how inspiration shows up in your life.

Change Your Mindset – Change Your Future

Picture of positive thought

There is a proverb that says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Your life today is a direct result of what you have been thinking. More specifically, it is a result of what you have been thinking about yourself. If you are in a good place right now, it’s because you have had constructive thoughts that brought you to this point. If you do not like your current situation, it may be a direct result of a history of negative thoughts.

Change Your Thoughts 

There was a time when I was a natural at being a pessimist. I believed Murphy’s Law which is a supposed law of nature stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What I did not realize at the time is that my thoughts were setting me up for future failure. This is where so many people live, constantly attracting the wrong results into their lives through pessimistic thought patterns and beliefs.

Poverty of the mind is just as real as, and often leads to, physical poverty. For example, if you think you are destined to be poor, then poverty will happily be your friend.  If you think nothing good can happen to you, then that will most likely be your experience. Your thoughts will eventually become your reality.

It’s time to change our thoughts! If you need to improve your health, start by thinking healthy thoughts which will then lead to healthier choices. If you need to improve your finances, start imagining ways you can reduce debt and increase your cash flow. Regardless of what you need to change, start by finding something positive in your life you are grateful for right now. Then start every day by consciously reminding yourself that you are grateful for this area of your life. From there, begin replacing negative thoughts about yourself with thoughts of gratitude, even before your actual circumstances have improved. You will be amazed over time at how a simple mindset shift can change your overall wellbeing.

Change Your Words  

There is a saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. This could not be more inaccurate. You may not be able to change what other people say about you, but you can change your own words. Start speaking words that serve you. For example, when I am working out each morning, I regularly say things to myself like I am getting stronger, I am getting faster, I feel younger. You might say this is nothing but mind over matter. Perhaps. But tomorrow I will be stronger, I will be faster, and I will feel younger and it will be a direct result of the encouraging words I am speaking to myself today.

What encouraging words can you start speaking today that will change your tomorrow?

Change Your Future

Remember, your life today is a direct result of what you have been thinking. In other words, your future will be a reflection of your mindset today. Teach yourself to be grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow. Invest in learning how to change your mindset from being a pessimist to being an optimist. Leverage the Law of Attraction as explained in the book ‘The Secret’ to bring good things into your life. It’s time to change the future you, today.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Reducing Stress: 3 Practical Steps

Stress

We all know that stress is a silent killer, impacting our wellbeing in the present and our overall health long term. So, what are we to do? If you are like most, you are likely caught in the proverbial rate race just trying to get it all done and the thought of working to reduce stress stresses you out even more. So how can one reduce their overall stress index in the middle of a crazy schedule?

I know something about stress. There was a time in my life where for almost a full year I was under so much stress I could hardly eat, much less keep food on my stomach. The impact on my health was tangible and only getting worse. In the end, I had to make the choice to address the issue head-on. Here are three keys that helped me reduce stress and change my overall health for the better.

  • Stop worrying about things you can’t control. In her article “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid” Amy Morin states that strong-minded people don’t waste energy worrying about things they can’t control. This is simple in form, but brilliant when applied. I have made it a personal mission to apply this principle to every area of my life. If traffic is heavy and causing me to slow down, I don’t worry. I can’t control it. If other people cut corners and lack integrity, I don’t worry. I can’t control them. Instead, I focus on what I can control, me!

Practice playing this principle out in one area of your life at a time. Before you know it, you will start to see your stress levels come down.

  • Set reasonable boundaries for work. I listened to a work coach this morning explain how to tell if you are a workaholic. He said to ask yourself the following set of questions. 1) What do you talk about most when you get home? 2) How much do you think about (or revert to) work after hours? 3) Are you able to take guilt-free vacations?

It is essential to set proper work boundaries for yourself. After all, your employer is not going to do so but instead continue to push for more efficiencies out of you. Do you have an established time you plan to leave work each day? Are you prepared to negotiate with your boss when they assign you that additional project you do not have the bandwidth to take on? What other ways can you address work scope creep? Remember, you work to live, not the other way around.     

  • Visualize what ‘stress-free’ looks like. What does a stress-free environment look like to you? Perhaps it’s a sunny day at the beach, or the sunset glowing across a calm lake. Maybe it’s that vacation you have been dreaming about. Visualize whatever it is in your mind, then go in search of a photo that accurately represents what you are picturing. Print it out and post it in the environment that is a know stress trigger for you. Whenever you feel yourself beginning to stress out, take 30 seconds to look at the photo and imagine you are actually in that place.

Now, take a look at the picture below that I have included as an example and just breathe for a minute.

Sunny ocean view
Stress free moment

The principle of reducing stress is so important to me now that I have incorporated it into my core values. It will take some practice but if you consistently incorporate these steps into your daily routine, you will begin to see a noticeable improvement to your stress index.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Healthy People: The 3 Things They Do

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For me, a healthy person is by definition a well-balanced individual. “Healthy” comes in a lot of flavors including physical well-being, mental soundness, the strength of one’s relationships, and the list goes on. For the sake of this example, let’s focus on physical health. What are the keys to living a healthy physical lifestyle? Why do some people appear to achieve this state with relative ease while others yo-yo between food fads, diets, and the latest workout craze but with no lasting results? Here is the answer in three not so easy steps!

They make healthy living a core value. Bottom line, healthy individuals tend to define what their core values are and healthy living makes the short list. They may not have a written list of core values (which I highly recommend) but they live by them just the same. As you age, you will not naturally fall into a healthy physical lifestyle. The fact is, it will come through careful planning and a core value that is set to some extent on defying the natural aging process. Planning for physical health must by default include a solid definition of the core attributes that define you. Once you incorporate living a healthy lifestyle into your core values, you will be on your way to realizing success.   

They have habits. I heard someone say that people do not fail for lack of goals, they fail due to lack of systems. This is why new year’s resolutions, like joining the local gym, are a complete waste of time. Setting goals without the necessary systems and routines required to support them are actually harmful as it tends to reinforce a track record of experienced failure. Living a healthy lifestyle requires systems that turn into routines that lead to habits (systems > routines > habits). You don’t argue with yourself about brushing your teeth each morning. This is because you have transitioned from learning the system of how to brush, then when to brush, to finally making it a lifelong habit. Once a healthy lifestyle becomes habitual, you will be successful in this area for the long term.

They have a vision. A wise biblical sage once said something to the effect that without vision, people perish. Vision (the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom) provides the underlying energy your core values and habits will need in order to succeed. Can you clearly imagine the healthy lifestyle you will be enjoying 5 to 10 years from now? If so, you have an initial vision. Can you apply wisdom to your imagination and envision why you need to be healthy 10-15 years from now? If so, you have a mature vision. This skill is absolutely necessary for long term success and has the potential to fuel a healthy physical lifestyle for years to come.

Vision for a healthy lifestyle
Vision for a healthy lifestyle

At the end of the day, people living healthy lifestyles have characteristics that brought them to this well-balanced place in life. Whenever I read about someone who has achieved health in an area of life, I look carefully for signs of the underlying principles that have contributed to their success. They may not specifically be the ones listed above, but if you look hard enough, they will always be there in one form or another.

So, what healthy, well-balanced goals do you have for life and do they align with your core values? If not, find ones that do then seek out systems that lead to routines which turn into habits. Finally, energize your habits with your life’s vision. If you consistently apply these principles, there will be no stopping you.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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