“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Ancient wisdom says there are many benefits of waking up early. What’s your normal wake up time? Mine is 5:00 a.m. Some people, extreme early risers, get up around 4:00 a.m.
There are numerous reasons why I love getting up early each morning. No, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but once I’m up, I love it!
I love drinking my morning coffee with my sweetie and my two kitties. I love how it sets the tone for my day. I love driving through the morning light as I go to or come home from the gym. It’s my special time of the day, before other demands crowd in on me.
Maybe you’re not a “morning person” but getting in tune with the natural rhythms of life and the cycle of the sun can help you live more intentionally. Bottom line: you’ll feel better physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Here are five of my top benefits of waking up early:
Productivity. With a clear mind and well-rested body, the ability to concentrate is at its peak. No one is there to interrupt your train of thought or to impose their priorities upon you. You can optimize your performance, because your body hasn’t experienced the wear and tear of the day.
One warning: if you waste this time on emails, social media or texting, your brain will get a hit of dopamine, like you’ve accomplished something, but you haven’t accomplished anything with lasting satisfaction. The first hour of the day should be your time to focus on what matters most to you. Concentrate on doing “deep work” as author and professor, Cal Newport suggests.
More time. You feel like you don’t have enough time, right? I know you’ve said that a time or two. But when you get up early, it’s like you’re creating more time.
Wouldn’t you rather greet each day calmly, rather than being stressed out as you rush out the door? That just puts your game off for the whole day. Being up before everyone else gives you time to plan and getting organized.
Creativity. Sleep lets your brain sort through the previous day’s challenges. When you wake up to the sacred space you’ve created for yourself, the answers you’re seeking will more easily come to you. As your mind roams free in the tranquility of the morning, you’ll get some of your best ideas.
Mindful decisions. Waking up early means you’re going to have to go to bed earlier, because you do need restorative sleep. Developing the discipline to turn off that movie or close the book by 9:00 or 10:00 will give you a feeling of control…that you’re creating the life you want.
Before going to bed, plan out what you’ll do first thing in the morning. Lay out your gym clothes, or open the book you want to read or the journal you want to write in. Whatever your goals are…use this time as an investment in yourself.
Peace of Mind. There’s magic in the early morning hours. The air has a different feel. The birds are just waking up. The calm and quiet helps you think. It gives you the opportunity to listen to what your body and spirit is telling you. And there’s nothing better than watching the endless beauty of each sunrise.
Studies have shown that once you open your wallet and spend money, then it’s easier to do it again and again. The same is true with spending time as you invest in yourself. It breaks the dam of feeling unworthy. Are you ready to make that breakthrough and claim your worthiness? Then please attend our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP in Ashland, Oregon. Nando and I promise you will reap huge benefits, if you come fully prepared to participate wholeheartedly.
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” ~ Viktor Frankl
What is life about for you? To go for the gusto and experience a new thrill every day? To live a quiet life? To live a good life? To live a happy life? To live a life of meaning and purpose? Each phrase brings a different picture to your mind, doesn’t it? What does it mean to YOU to really live?
Life is about how you choose to spend the time you have – only you can define and design the life you want. What makes you happy or gives your life meaning may be vastly different from anyone else. The key is to determine YOUR Perfect Life and then live it without apology.
While we have differences, there are some basic human behaviors and emotional responses that remain constant. Take for example our shared reactions to living for happiness, living for purpose and living for meaning.
What do you think: Can you have happiness without purpose? Can you have meaning without happiness? So many times they’re linked together, aren’t they? Yet, you may have noticed these subtle differences…
It seems like everyone wants to be happy, but happiness can be elusive. That’s because oftentimes happiness depends on external circumstances in the present moment. Your health, wealth or good relationships may make you happy, but just let a circumstance change – you catch a cold, you lose your wallet – and happiness turns to misery. Happiness also depends on experiencing pleasure and getting what you want, when you want it. It can, at times, be a very superficial or fleeting quest.
Finding meaning in life is a deeper pursuit. It takes introspection and isn’t dependent on circumstances like health or wealth or satisfying all your needs and want. It takes into consideration the past, present and future. When you find your meaning or purpose it energizes you for a lifetime.
Neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, survived the holocaust so he has a unique perspective of thriving despite adverse circumstance. Some of his wisdom on the topic of what life is about is shown in the following quotes:
- “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
- “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
- “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
- “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
- “Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Dr. Roy Baumeister, a Francis Eppes Professor of Psychology at Florida State University studied the differences and similarities of living a happy life and living a meaningful life. While other researchers don’t always agree with his findings, they do provide much food for thought. He suggests that…
- Pure happiness is about getting what we want in life; meaningfulness seems to be more connected with giving and sacrifice.
- Happiness comes from what others give to us; meaningfulness comes from giving to other people.
- Happiness seems to be connected more to the benefits one receives from friendships; meaningfulness is associated with providing for close family i.e. children.
- Happiness doesn’t tolerate worry, stress or anxiety; meaningfulness rises above these challenges.
- Happiness isn’t dependant on self-expression of your personal and cultural identity; meaningfulness is.
Time after time, century-old wisdom is proven true: Life is not about pursuing pleasure, since it will not lead to either happiness or meaning. Again, it all comes down to what you know to be true for yourself, because that will determine where you invest your energy.
We can’t always be happy or “up”. But we can create an abiding feeling of well-being, inner joy, peace of mind, and satisfaction that sustains us through the ups and downs. Down times are simply reminders that you need some self-care to restore the energy you’ve spent. It gives you time for reflection and introspection to see if you need to make some kind of course correction.
If you’d like to focus more closely on finding YOUR answer to “what is life about for ME?” please attend our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend. Nando and I will support you in your quest for your perfect life.
Every month, thousands of searches are done online for the phrases – “how to overcome low self-esteem”; “how do you fix low self-esteem”; and “how to improve self-esteem and confidence”.
Why is there such a problem with low self-esteem today?
The 2008 Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, commissioned by the Dove® SelfEsteem Fund, reveals that “seven in ten (70%) girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.”
As this illustrates, self-esteem or self-worth begins in childhood. And while there are endless combinations of behaviors that contribute to low self-esteem, there seems to be two extreme parental behaviors that start the low self-esteem ball rolling:
- One extreme is abuse, neglect, withholding love and support.
- The other extreme is praising children for everything so they never develop a real sense of self-worth.
Even when parents are doing their best, they make mistakes, such as these, in varying degrees of seriousness. If left uncorrected, they can have long-reaching consequences. Add the unrealistic body image promoted by the media, plus the demands for fitting in and being popular, and we a have the perfect storm for low self-esteem.
It’s important to note that confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing. You have confidence in your abilities (doing). Esteem means you value who you are as a person (being). There’s a big difference between doing and being. You could be doing the most amazing things, and yet feel that you’re not being good enough.
How can self-esteem be restored?
- Correct your thinking.
Teach yourself to think long term. Negative thoughts are often trying to protect you, in the short term, by shaming you into fitting in, not making waves, keeping the status quo. But in the long term, these negative thoughts are limiting your growth. A practice of mindfulness will help you identify limiting beliefs or unrealistic expectations.
- Teach people to respect you.
People will treat you like you treat yourself. So get your badass attitude on. You deserve to love yourself, to be kind to yourself, to talk to yourself without judgment or harshness. Don’t primarily focus on being liked or pleasing everyone. That will only lead to compromising your boundaries. Instead, focus on being the best you that you can be.
- Own your uniqueness.
No one else on the earth is exactly like you. Your experiences, perspective, and acquired knowledge are valuable gifts you can share with the world. But the best gift you can give is being yourself. You are the one person who can make a difference in this world. When you believe that, you’ll be centered on what is real.
Because Neuro Linguistic Programming is such a powerful tool for improving low self-esteem and building self-worth, I’d like to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event and Nando and I will help you kick your low self-esteem to the curb.
Managing our expectations is one of life’s greatest challenges. Positive expectations can lead to positive results. Too often, however, we make ourselves unhappy because we have unrealistic expectations.
Unrealistic expectations can also have a ripple affect. For example, when you expect the best from someone, you’re more patient and supportive. You invest time and resources in them because you believe it’s worth it. On the other hand, when you expect the worst from someone, you downplay or dismiss their efforts. You don’t invest your emotions in them and you withhold time and attention that could help them do better.
What you expect becomes your reality, because the brain believes what you are thinking. Life is too short to let unrealistic expectations stand in they way of happiness. So from time to time it’s a good idea to assess our expectations and adjust to the way life really is, not the way you wish it to be. Because life isn’t a fairy tale where everything magically has a “happy ever after” ending.
Are you affected by some of these seven common unrealistic expectations?
Life should always be easy and fair.
When things don’t easily go as planned, people tend to do one of two things: 1) complain and give up, or 2) roll up their sleeves and work hard to create the life they want. Yes an excellent life takes hard work. But with hard work comes a sense of self-worth and deep satisfaction.
You’re either born lucky or you’re not.
This predetermined way of thinking will keep you from trying to change your circumstances. People have demonstrated over and over that they can get healthier, improve their finances, create a happy family life, and make a difference. If they can, so can you.
The universe owes me!
Many people in the United States feel entitled to a certain standard of living. Entrepreneurs especially are fed the philosophy that if you send out good vibes to the Universe, it will bring you what you want. Just because you deserve more money doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. You have to have the emotional courage to stick your neck out, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and ask for it. When you limit yourself to what’s given to you, you’re at the mercy of other people and you’ll always feel indebted and small.
People should automatically get what I mean.
People can’t read your mind. What you think you said is not always what they hear. You might be asking someone to do something, but if you don’t give all the relevant information, or explain the reasons why something is done a specific way, you’re going to have problems. Learning NLP can help you communicate effectively. Communicating clearly begins with understanding the other person’s perspective. Also, it’s unrealistic to be offended when others disagree with you. There is hardly ever only one right answer.
I know I’m going to fail.
I don’t believe in failure. I believe life is a learning process. You learn all you can about your project, believe in yourself, and do your best. Remember that Thomas Edison “failed” 1,000 times when inventing the light bulb. A reporter asked him how it felt to fail so often, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Everyone should like me.
Realistically not everyone will like you. Your worth isn’t measured by being liked by everyone. Concentrate on creating trusting, intimate friendships. There are no shortcuts.
I can change/fix him.
As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself”. So why do you want to spend time with someone you feel needs “fixing”? The only person you can change is yourself. Avoid people who bring you down and pursue friendships with genuine, positive people.
It takes mindful effort, but you can let go of unrealistic expectations. Neuro Linguistic Programming is a powerful tool for intentionally creating the life you want, so I’d like to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon. Make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event.
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” ~ Brené Brown
When was the last time you were asked to do something that you didn’t want to do, and you did it anyway? Your intuition or gut screams “no”, but you push ahead, and when you do, what happens? You feel used, unappreciated, undervalued. Your anxiety, frustration and anger rise.
Why do we do that to ourselves? When we do it, we’re not happy. And the people we’re interacting with won’t be happy either, because we begrudge every moment. It doesn’t allow us to be wholeheartedly present and joyful.
This unhappy chain of events begins with not recognizing and honoring emotions. Yes, you felt a push back to the request, but that’s not the emotions I’m referring to. I mean the emotions that made your heart pound and your stomach clench so that you were unable to say “No!”
Why do some people become people-pleasers? Is it because they hate confrontation and they don’t feel strong enough to speak their truth? Is it because they don’t want to let anyone down? Is it that they are afraid they won’t be liked or accepted anymore?
To gain greater awareness of these deeply held emotions, it takes willingness to be present with the pain, the guilt, the shame, the fear, and the discomfort. It means admitting your vulnerability. And it’s scary to dive that deeply into your emotions. But be assured that from such vulnerability arises the internal harmony, strength, conviction, ideals and values you’ll need to set realistic emotional boundaries.
Does the thought of setting emotional boundaries intimidate or scare you? Perhaps you believe that boundaries scare people away. And you’re afraid of being excluded and alone.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Emotional boundaries are a form of empowerment, strength, and a way for you to align with your true self. If you don’t have boundaries, you’re sending the message that you don’t care, that you don’t know what you want, that you’re desperate to take whatever you can get, and that you won’t put up a fight. No one feels good being a doormat like that.
Setting personal boundaries is a form of self-respect and self-love. By respecting yourself enough to set necessary boundaries in your life, you’ll gain the respect of others and discover a unique freedom and peace of mind.
Clearly define your emotional boundaries and stick to them. If you wish to establish more healthy boundaries in your life, here are a few helpful tips for you:
- Acknowledge that you don’t have to be superwoman.
- Recognize your limits: you can’t and shouldn’t do everything.
- Know that your limits don’t define who you are, just what you chose to do.
- Do well what you can, let someone else do the rest.
- Remember that it’s okay to say no.
- Reconnect with or discover what you want out of life.
- Clearly define your ideals and values.
- Reevaluate the list of the things you will or will not tolerate in your life.
- Write a sticky note giving you permission to feel your emotions and say “no”.
- Discuss your intentions with an accountability partner.
- Trust that the right people will stick with you no matter what.
It takes courage and a lot of internal work to set emotional boundaries. If you crave that kind of courage and peace of mind, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to provide guidance and accountability in support of your quest for a more fulfilling life.