When I look at past struggles in life there is a common theme: fear. When I feel overwhelmed, when I feel stress, when I think too much- there is my old friend fear. Fear is behind boredom, complacency, discontent. My fear likes to whisper the worst case scenario in my ear; sometimes I even believe it. Fear warns me of all the things that could go wrong. It tells me to keep doing what I’m doing. It tells me change is a bad thing.
Fear is a liar.
The things I fear most are unlikely to come to pass and even when they do it’s never as bad as I feared. Fear’s power lies in anticipation, it lies in my mind. When I face my fears I find I am capable and competent. I can handle this. I can do this! If I don’t know how, I will learn. Oh, and by the way, I rock! Suck on it, fear! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
My one word goal for 2013 is FEARLESS.
This year I will fear less. I will trust myself. I will trust the process. I will relax and enjoy the ride. I will trust that a positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one. I will believe that all things are working together for good.
As I embark upon a year of living fearlessly, I will rock these 10 steps to be fearless:
01. Don’t believe everything you feel.
Emotions are information, not real world situations. I can be aware of my feelings and let them be just that- feelings. Just because I feel fear doesn’t mean I’m danger, unless you count the danger of dying unfulfilled and unhappy.
02. Don’t believe everything you think.
Perspective is everything and my thoughts are often an extension of past experiences but I’m embarking on a new experience! I can choose to act on thoughts that encourage a happy, healthy life and let go of thoughts that don’t.
03. Stop trying to figure it all out.
I’m sorry to break it to me, but I don’t know everything. I never have and I never will. It’s not up to me to figure it all out. Trying to figure it out invites my fear to set up camp in my head as I go over and over and over every possible scenario. I’ve got to get off the merry-go-round and stop over-thinking!
04. Do the work.
Productive activity exercises my heart, my body, and my mind. When I get stuff done I enjoy a sense of accomplishment and set the stage for an awesome tomorrow! I have to stop dreaming, stop wishing, stop thinking and do something!
05. Do what you can do today.
What happens tomorrow is not a problem for today. I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What I can do today is my best for this day only. I can be my best today. My best today may be just getting through the day, and that’s okay. Other days my best today will be amazing!
06. Be kind.
Kindness is a simple and powerful act that restores my faith in the goodness of life. I can do something nice for myself like take a walk or enjoy a good book. I can do something nice for someone else like smiling at a stranger or telling someone I love them. Kindness fills me up with good stuff so there’s less room for fear.
07. Be grateful.
Gratitude is the cure for all that ails me. Gratitude cheers me up when I feel down. Gratitude puts life in perspective. Any time I can write a short gratitude list and change my attitude. Gratitude washes my fears away.
08. Be honest.
I am most often tempted to be dishonest when my fear tells me bad things will happen if I am truthful but the truth is honesty honors me. When I am honest with myself I can do the things I think I cannot do and say no to the things that aren’t right for me. When I am honest, I am free to be the person I want to be.
09. Just do it.
Sometimes I just have to do it. It doesn’t matter how it works out. It does matter that I tried.
10. Believe in yourself.
When I look back at all I have overcome, I am awed. When I see all I have accomplished, I am powerful. I AM POWERFUL. I can do this. Oh, yeah!Join the Conversation
Self motivation is a powerful practice of happy and successful people. No matter what your goal, motivating yourself to progress is the key to living a satisfying and purposeful life.
My goal is, simply, to live my best life! To be healthy, happy, and love life. Of course doing so is easier said than done. To live a great life I must be motivated to make daily choices that support my goals every day. Not only do I have to make the choice to take action, I have to take it.
Some days I wake feeling energized and motivated, and other days it’s easier to take the path of least resistance, which is usually not the path to greatness. Even when pursuit of my goals means enjoying a relaxing day, it’s often tempting to get sucked into some mindless activity (Facebook, anyone?) that I don’t necessarily enjoy, it’s just a way to pass the time. (Just me, then? Oh, you too?)
Another example of living my best life involves working on my blog. I love blogging, and yet some days I spend my writing day doing nothing of consequence with little to show for it.
If I want to live my best life I must first be motivated to do so! When my motivation doesn’t not come naturally, I can practice self-motivation to align my behavior with my intentions.
So how do I motivate myself when I’m feeling distracted, bored, and avoidy? Here’s how!
Picture your goal
A great way to motivate myself is to picture my goal in my mind. A vision board helps me visualize my goal regularly and focus on the life I really want to live. When considering how I want to spend my day I look at my vision board and ask myself, “does this belong in my vision?” When a behavior or action aligns with my goals, I feel a rush of motivation!
I keep a Pinterest board of inspiring quotes and messages. I share favorite quotes on Twitter and Facebook. I stick inspiring thoughts on notes around my home and office. I read inspiring blogs. I surround myself with inspiration to keep me inspired.
Take care of you
Often when I’m feeling unmotivated it’s because I’m hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I recognized these cues it’s time to HALT and take care of me. I can eat a healthy snack or enjoy a small indulgent treat! I can journal or talk out a problem I’m holding on to or just let it go. I can spend time with family or friends. I can take a nap or get to bed early. Taking care of my basic needs comes before happiness.
Take one step at a time
Sometimes I feel unmotivated because the task in front of me seems too daunting and it feels as if I’ll never get it done! (That’s never happened to you, right?) When I feel overwhelmed I can focus on doing one thing at a time. Instead of fretting about the end result, I focus on the task at hand. I ask myself, “what’s the next step?” and tackle just that step until it’s time to take on the step after that.
A great way to waste time is to spend it doing something that isn’t meaningful or valuable to me. Every moment of my life doesn’t have to be filled with activity, but when I’m not enjoying whatever I’m doing- even if I’m doing nothing- then my life doesn’t feel very great. (This is absolutely the point I step away from the computer when I’m mindlessly internet trolling.) Being present in this moment, enjoying and engaging myself in whatever I do, is a great way to get motivated to do what I really want to do.
When I accept responsibility for the awesomeness of my life and creating more awesome, I find motivation I didn’t know I had! Yeah! Come on, awesome life! Today I’m going to be awesome!
Image courtesy of Mike Speed.
I love your comments! How do you self-motivate? Which, if any, of my tips are you going to try?Join the Conversation
If there’s one thing main idea this blog is about, it’s making the most of this moment, this day. I’m here to tell you making the best of each day a great way to live.
Life isn’t perfect, of course, because there’s no such thing as perfect. I have my ups and downs, my good days and less good days- that’s just life- but you have a choice about how you live your life, including deciding what kind of attitude you want to have about your day.
There’s one frustrating attitude that continues to prevail in our society and our lives- the belief that success happens when you achieve fame and fortune. You can do all the right things and work hard and have neither notoriety or wealth. A lucky few can do all the wrong things and hardly work at all and still achieve society’s view of success.
The fame and fortune definition of success is rarely as great on the inside as it appears on the outside. Whether or not you have success in the eyes of the world, it isn’t going to make you happy if you aren’t already happy with a healthy attitude about life! And this success can so easily slip from your grasp and what- you’re back to being dissatisfied with your life until you have it again? Say it ain’t so!
As long as you define success as something that happens later, instead of today, as something that is dependent on how you are viewed in the eyes of society, the longer you’ll be waiting to live a full and happy life.
Today I challenge you to rethink your definition of success. Think of success not as something that happens to you, but rather an attitude of simply giving your best to yourself, your family, your work, and your life each day.
Give up the idea that you will only be successful when… when you have 10,000 page views per day, when you get the promotion you’ve been working for, when you’re financially self-sustainable, when your business lands a big client. Instead, as you work towards your goals, celebrate each milestone along the way- progress is success!
Realize you are already successful at something. I encourage you to take a moment to consider everything you’ve accomplished in your life so far. Give yourself some well-deserved kudos!
Success can be an attitude, a lifestyle. You can be successful at many things each day and experience a happier life. When you shift your focus from success as a long term goal to a short term goal, you are more likely to feel motivated and excited to greet each day as it comes. When you enjoy the success of being precisely where you are today, you will enjoy your life more. As an added benefit the people around are likely to recognize to your newfound confidence and respond in support of you and your goals.
Rethink your definition of success for a happier, better you!
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~Maya Angelou
I love your comments! How do you define success? Are you ready to change your attitude for the better?Join the Conversation
Do you believe you are capable? Do you feel confident? Are you comfortable making mistakes? What message do you tell yourself about you?
A healthy, objective inner critic can help you excel in life and an unhealthy, harsh inner critic can hold you back. Many of us have an unreasonable and hateful inner critic that lives in our heads that tells us we can’t.
The perfectionism problem
I was a perfectionist from childhood to early adulthood. I said “I can’t” far more often than I said “I can”. I didn’t believe in myself. When I started a project I experienced almost debilitating fear of failure.
I judged myself so harshly that it was difficult to complete a task because I was overly critical of my efforts along the way. Though I loved to write, sing, dance, and draw, I often judged my talents based on my first attempt, telling myself I wasn’t really any good at it.
This inner criticism kept me from trying many new things and when I did try, I often didn’t have the courage to see it through to completion. I did not accept praise from others because I couldn’t praise myself.
Fortunately I was tired of feeling miserable with myself and my life, and I began my journey to learn to let go of my own unreasonable expectations.
Is your inner critic holding you back or pushing you forward
Unhealthy inner criticism is born of perfectionism, as well as trying to live up to other people’s expectations. You may experience harsh judgment of ourselves when you don’t accept yourself as you are. Sometimes you have been berated by others until you believed what they said about you. Maybe you’re comparing yourself to someone else.
Healthy, realistic criticism can be beneficial by helping us determine when you need to set boundaries or ask for help. A healthy inner critic can provide valuable information about your skills and abilities and challenge you to improve.
When your inner dialogue turns from honest and humble to minimizing and belittling you have a problem. Your inner voice is no longer acting as an objective voice of reason when you feel discouraged instead of challenged.
Making peace with your inner critic
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If your inner critic is holding you back it’s time to shift your mindset. Here’s some ideas to try:
Focus on your actions, not your results
An unhealthy inner critic often focuses on the outcome over the action but oftentimes what’s really important is taking action. You learn and grow by doing, and preemptively judging the results of your efforts keeps you from trying. Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of your effort instead of the outcome. Doing the right thing holds more value than getting the “right” result.
Check your expectations
If your expectations of yourself cause feelings of fear and stress chances are your expectations are unreasonable. It may also be helpful to ask for feedback from a trusted mentor or friend. An objective person can sometimes see when your expectation of yourself is unreasonable when you cannot.
Ignore everyone else’s expectations
You can try to live up to someone else’s expectations but living your life for another person’s approval is likely to result in a pretty miserable life! Even if you do everything right, which is impossible (see above re: perfectionism), you still can’t control what anyone else thinks of your life.
Tell yourself you can (even if you don’t believe it yet)
To make a good effort you need to believe it’s possible for you to accomplish what you set out to do. (And you can!) In the beginning it may be helpful to “fake it ’til you make it”, as they say.
Just do it!
Sometimes the best thing you can do is push through the fear and criticism in your head and just do it. You may not feel good about it at first but if you keep at it you may soon find that criticism has been replaced with confidence and competence!Join the Conversation
Do you believe in you?
In his excellent guest post, 4 Beliefs of Successful (and Happy) People, Farouk shared one of the four beliefs is successful people believe in themselves. This lead me to thinking about how to keep believing in yourself , especially if no one else believes in you.
An influential person in my life recently shared a harsh criticism of me. This experience prompted me to write How To Deal With Criticism. While I didn’t agree with his assessment of my abilities, I did temporarily allow his opinion to overshadow my belief in myself. The problem wasn’t that I believed he was right in his opinion, but that I feared continued criticism and for a short time I allowed this to hold me back.
Despite my fear of future criticism, I chose to believe in myself and keep doing my best. I refused to let anyone else’s opinion of my work undermine my honest efforts and the great results I know I can achieve.
Here are a few ways to believe in yourself, even if no one else believes in you:
Align your behavior with your values
Your values are the beliefs about your work and your life that guide your purpose. You may value personal health, community, honesty, development, personal wealth, or business profitability. Whatever you believe in, your core values inform your sense of self.
When you believe in what you’re doing, you believe in yourself. If, on the other hand, your actions are at odds with your core values you will loose faith in yourself at the first sign of rejection.
Align your choices with your intentions
Your intentions are the desired results of your actions; they are your goals. If your goal is to live a healthy life, it’s important to make choices that support your goals.
When your choices are aligned with your intentions, you believe in yourself because you’re clear about where you’re headed, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Discover other sources of support
If no one you know supports your ideas, you can choose to look elsewhere for support and encouragement. Find people who are working towards similar goals and build relationships with people who share your values and intentions. It’s easier to believe in yourself when you share your purpose and progress with people who are on a related path.
Tell yourself you can
The way we treat yourself has a significant impact on your belief in yourself. Be mindful of the messages you think and say about yourself.
If you tell yourself you can’t do it, it’s likely that you won’t be able to because you believe it’s true. Tell yourself you can do it. Better yet, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I believe in you!” This exercise may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first but I can tell you from personal experience that it works!
If you are too afraid to try, that is also a message to yourself. Making even one small step in the face of your fear tells yourself you believe in you!
Always do your best
When you know you tried your best, it matters less if things don’t work out the way you wanted. You know there’s nothing you could have done better, and you have the opportunity to learn from the situation to do better next time. Each setback is a building block for future success.
Celebrate your accomplishments
If you focus intently on achieving your goal you may find it harder to believe in yourself until you reach your goal. Instead, you can celebrate your accomplishments along way. Acknowledging your progress builds your confidence. You’re on your way- keep up the good work!
I love your comments! How do you nurture faith in yourself when no one else seems to believe in you? What keeps you motivated? What inspires you to stay on your path?
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We all want to succeed in life. What success looks like is different for each of us. Whatever success looks like to you, please enjoy this guest post by M.Farouk Radwan exploring the the belief systems of successful people. These 4 beliefs encourage not only success, but happiness, too! I live by all 4 beliefs and they have nurtured plenty of happiness and success in my life.
How your belief system determines your level of success in life.
In the past I kept reading stories about successful people all around the globe who managed to achieve success even though they started from scratch. While the fields that those people succeeded at were so different, there was a common theme between them all. All of those people thought exactly the same way! If this proves anything it shows that one of the factors that directly affect our level of success in life is our belief systems.
So what kind of beliefs do those successful people share?
1) They control their destiny: Every successful person in the world believes that he is in control of his life and he rarely blames an external factor for his failures. Those people don’t believe in luck or the unfairness of life but instead they know that they can change their lives to the better even if they were facing lots of obstacles.
2) They don’t ever give up: When you read about the success stories of successful people you will find that most of them didn’t succeed before tens of failed attempts. The person who succeeds in life is the one who always knows that success happens after lots and lots of failures. Thomas Edison failed 999 times before he managed to invent the lamp!
3) They believe in themselves: You might wonder how can a person keep trying and trying even though he is failing. Simply put, that person doesn’t give up because he believes in himself. All successful people believe in themselves and that’s why they kept trying even though they fail. The founder of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) traveled to four different states trying to sell his secret recipe which was rejected hundreds of times before he managed to find someone to accept it.
4) They are committed to action: Some people are dreamers. They keep talking about their big plans without ever starting on any of them. Successful people are doers and they hardly procrastinate. They understand how precious time is and so they stay committed to their plans all year round.
So how can you become successful?
In simple words, change your belief system so that it matches the belief system of successful people!
Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds. In order to change your beliefs you need to keep an eye on your self-talk for it’s the most common factor that results in the change of beliefs. Whenever you find your self-talk supporting negative, change it to positive self-talk.
As the time passes your beliefs will change and you will start thinking like successful people.
Written by M.Farouk Radwan
I love your comments! Do you agree with these 4 beliefs of successful people? What other beliefs lead to success?
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