Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Benefits of Creating a Daily Gratitude List

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It’s natural to fall into the trap of going along with our “natural or limited thinking”.

It’s easy to wake up in the morning and focus on the negative.

If you’re the type that wakes up in the morning in a happy mood as a habit, I wish I could say the same.

When we start out a new day, it’s vital to consider the types of thoughts we have – and especially on the ones we focus on.

Developing positive daily habits is crucial – to develop a more productive and successful life.

I’ve found that I need to structure my life around better habits.  My hope is that this post will inspire and encourage you wherever you’re at in life.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if it was worth the time to write out a brief gratitude list.

Ingratitude is a natural emotion, and one that occurs without much effort.  It often arises from negative thinking.

Here is a crucial question I’ve needed to consider- as I reflected upon my current life and present circumstances:

“What type of life am I creating with my present thinking?”

I thought of this question as I read a great quote from Brian Tracy- on the importance of my thought life- and here’s the quote:

“Thoughts are causes and conditions are effects.  You are creating your current life with your present thinking.”

It’s vital for us to re-channel our thoughts from ingratitude and worry to gratitude and hope.

That’s the power of having and keeping a gratitude list on hand.  It’s been extremely helpful to me.  I’d like to inspire you with a few benefits for creating this type of list.

Recognizing the Blessings or Benefits we take for granted

I heard it said one time that we often forget the things that we should remember (such as our daily blessings), and we often remember the things we should forget (such as petty annoyances, or negative, inconsequential actions or comments from others).

I have often been guilty of remembering things I should forget and not dwell upon.

Having a gratitude list has given me new energy and focus.

My awareness of my daily blessings has increased.

As you recall and make note of these positives in your own life- and take time to reflect on them- your overall mood and attitude will improve.  For me, it`s been a slow but highly valuable process.

Encourages and Inspires us in our Daily Living

A few years ago, I listed 12 major events in my life, which remind me of difficult times in my life when I experienced:

  • help
  • support
  • guidance
  • healing
  • answered prayer
  • encouragement
  • inspiration
  • joy and enthusiasm for life

The 12 or so events I listed out on my “Remembrance List“ really encourage me. I don`t refer to it as often as I should.

If you look back on your life, you`ll discover times where you`ve experienced things like help, support and encouragement.  As you refer to these events, you`ll be able to re-focus your mind on the positive parts of your past.

Reflecting upon good things from your past will also help you see your current obstacles differently.  It has helped me focus on this thought:

“I have overcome this previous challenge, and I will meet and conquer my current challenges successfully.“

Re-affirms Positive Benefits in the midst of your Challenges

There is a progression to the benefits for doing a daily gratitude list.

We need greater awareness of our current blessings and encouragement from our past.

When we encounter obstacles and challenges in life, our tendency is to focus on the enormity of what we face.

My schedule has become a very big challenge for me.  Sometimes I`ve wondered if I can really keep my head “above water“ with all the things I`m trying to accomplish.

It`s so easy to feel overwhelmed, confused and uncertain about the future.

This morning I thought of a statement of gratitude.  As I read and review it, I feel encouraged as I develop this blog and my small business.  My statement is:

“I am developing strength and courage, and am gaining valuable experience as I develop my blog and small business.“

In the same way, affirming on your gratitude list the value of your struggle will help you move forward in life.  It`s helpful to discover greater purposes behind the challenges we face.

As we look towards the future and affirm the value of facing our obstacles- we`ll be able to overcome them more effectively.

I encourage you to create a gratitude list on a daily basis.

As we encounter trials and challenges in life, every source of encouragement helps.  For me, my daily gratitude list has given me new hope and inspiration.

In my next post, I`ll discuss the benefits of the daily habit of journaling.

Until my post next week, I wish you a Happy New Year!

butterfly2080207 1 The Benefits of Creating a Daily Gratitude List

Create Progress and Momentum by Setting Daily Goals

Productivity, motivation and enthusiasm.

The above words are ones I’d like to use to describe how I approach my goals.

You may feel the same after you decide to set goals and do a brief review at the start of the day.

My goal with today’s blog post is simple: I’d like to further motivate and inspire you today to make even further progress with your life and your goals.

It’s great to have new ideas- but I’d like to take it a step further.  As you take action upon great ideas, you’ll experience greater productivity, motivation and enthusiasm in life.

Setting and achieving daily goals isn’t difficult- but it does take some effort.

Here are a few valuable benefits I’ve experienced as I’ve set daily goals.

A Goals List is a Visual Tool that keeps us on track

Here’s an example you’d likely relate to quite well.

Summer has just begun, and this year you’ve decided to do a road trip with your friends to a destination you’ve never been to.

You’re excited about the upcoming trip- and you’ve been looking forward to it for days.

You went out to the book store – and purchased a travel book about your destination.  To ensure that you get to your destination, you picked up a road map that shows you the highways and roads that you need to take.  Otherwise, you could end up arriving at a town or city you never intended to visit.

Without some type of roadmap, you’re unsure of where you’re going.  You have the overall goal of arriving in one location.  But without your map, you’re heading in the opposite direction.

Having a map helps you arrive at your intended destination.

In the same way, a daily goals list will keep you on track towards your overall goals.

For me, it’s helped to keep me motivated- and gives me a visual tool of what I want to accomplish- and why it’s important to me.

The rewards of accomplishing my tasks are important- and having these benefits written down makes them more concrete for me.  I’ve experienced more enthusiasm for my goals as I can see how I’ll benefit from taking action.

Do you wish for greater motivation?  I can tell you (based on my own experiences) that it works.

With a Goals List, you’ll experience Progress

Making progress in our lives is always important.

As we do so, we experience enthusiasm and feel better about ourselves.

For me, it’s a great feeling to see how I’ve made progress in my own life.  Checking off the goals I’ve set for myself helps me experience a feeling of well-being- that I’m capable, determined, and committed to making a difference in my own life and in the lives of others.

In the same way, the feeling of greater accomplishment will encourage your own progress in your life.  You’ll discover greater focus, meaning and purpose as you set goals- and take action on them.

A Goals List helps us get past the Feeling of being “Overwhelmed”

Planning things out generally helps us overcome feelings of being overwhelmed.

I’ve found this to be true in setting daily goals.

Reviewing my overall goals each morning is motivating and inspiring.  Trying to do an overall project without some type of plan is overwhelming.

Breaking down a task helps it become more manageable.  This is why setting daily goals is so important.

Creating “doable” and motivating action steps – by listing a few brief rewards- will help you make greater progress with your goals.

During my Google search, on the feelings of being overwhelmed- I read a very helpful article on the topic of feeling overwhelmed.  I’ve had a struggle in my own life with feeling overwhelmed.  This article is called “How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed Continually”- and here’s a link to it:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5346866_stop-feeling-overwhelmed-continually.html

This article has some really helpful tips.  I especially liked tip #5 called “Plan out the next day”.

A Goals List helps us create Momentum

You may have heard that getting started is half the battle.  I’m not sure if it’s a cliché or not, but it’s very true.

You may be starting a new project, or setting out to accomplish a new goal you’ve set for yourself.

For the best results, I suggest that you follow this list of steps:

  • break down your overall goal- into doable steps
  • begin your project
  • focus on the rewards of accomplishing it
  • envision your success
  • document your progress – and use it as inspiration to keep going
  • keep in mind that accomplishing your daily goals- adds up to achieving your long-term goals.

I hope that you’ll take the above action steps with your goals.  You’ll discover the benefits I’ve outlined above, as you stay on track with your goals, experience progress, get past feelings of being overwhelmed, and as you create momentum in your life.

In my next post, I’ll discuss a few benefits for creating and reviewing a daily gratitude list.

Until then, below is a valuable video on setting and achieving your goals, and about creating a compelling vision for your future.

The Habits of Learning and Development for Greater Success

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As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to pause and reflect for a moment.

This is the time of year where people often spend time with family and friends, and it’s a good time to relax and recuperate (if we can avoid some of the stress that comes with Christmas holidays).

At the start of a new year, many of us may set new goals or even new years’ resolutions.

Then there are others who feel that resolutions aren’t worth doing, because they seem to get broken in the first couple of weeks of January.

With this post, I started thinking back to an important, “end of the year” type of question.

“Have I made progress from where I was 365 days ago?  Am I the same person I was back then?”

For me, there’s a partial answer of “yes”, as I’ve made progress in many areas.  But I also recognize that there are new ideas, habits and goals I’d like to implement.

Life offers us a great opportunity each day, and I’d like to encourage you with today’s post to learn new things, take action on your ideas, and to make progress and development with your goals in life.

Here are a few benefits of creating the habit of gaining new learning each day:

Our enthusiasm for life (and for our goals) can rejuvenated

It’s valuable to invest time for things like learning, personal development and professional skill development.

For instance, as you learn and develop personally and professionally, you’ll experience greater enthusiasm in life.

A key part of achieving goals is to identify what you really want in life.  Once you’ve discovered your goals, you can also:

  • determining the rewards you want to experience (as you achieve your goals),
  • take action
  • keep moving forward and make progress
  • persevere and achieve your goals

As you identify the new skills you want to develop and the fantastic rewards you’ll gain with them- you’ll experience greater motivation, purpose and enthusiasm.

Can you use more enthusiasm for your life and your goals?  This is the great value our goals have for our lives.

Our Minds, Knowledge and Experience in Life are expanded

It’s challenging to move outside of our “comfort zones” and to try out new things.

Fear keeps us paralyzed.  It seems to immobilize us and keep us stuck in what’s most familiar to us.

I’m inspired by a quote I read from Brian Tracy, in his book called “Great Little Book on Personal Achievement”:

“The antidotes to fear and ignorance are desire and knowledge.  Propel yourself forward by learning what you need to learn to do what you want to do.”

Growth, on the other hand, occurs when we step beyond our comfort zones, where we can:

  • experience great learning- through both our failures and successes.
  • reach out for help and support- and discover reasons why we feel “stuck” or unmotivated.
  • discover new skills - that we enjoy using and developing

It’s a great benefit – to know that we can make positive changes in our lives, develop better habits, and move closer to our most cherished goals in life.

Our Future Hope is encouraged- as we’re not limited by our present circumstances

New ideas, plans and visions of the future inspired great men and women of the past.

Consider the past history of civilization.  As great men and women developed ideas and took action on them:

  • undiscovered oceans and lands have been explored
  • new inventions were developed and created
  • greater meaning and purpose has been discovered through their trials and hardships

As we learn and develop our thinking and knowledge, our focus moves beyond “today”.

Our future is not based on today’s limits and circumstances.

I like a quote I once read, which said

“Today, well-lived, makes tomorrow a vision of hope.”

Consider that life is like a process or a journey.  I now think of life as a collection of moments successfully and fully lived (in the present moment).  My daily goals are before me, and I have my future goals in mind, but I’ve recognized the value of living more in the present moment- and not spending time on regretting the past or on worrying about the future.

If I can think of one thing I’d do differently in the past, I would have determined my goals in life, and pursued them with great passion, awareness, and enthusiasm.

Today, (and in the days ahead), I hope you will to the same.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the benefits of another valuable habit– establishing daily goals.

Until then, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Journey The Habits of Learning and Development for Greater Success

How Affirmations help us create Greater Success

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This is the first in my next series of blog posts- on the topic of habit development.

My goal with this next series is to inspire you and motivate you towards the success you desire in life.

The habits I’ll be discussing in these 10 posts are ones I’ve tried to develop in my own life.  I’ve had some successes with them, and know firsthand that they’ll be helpful to you.

Sometimes I’ve struggled as I’ve attempted to keep up these new habits- but it’s been well worth it so far.  Keep in mind that developing better habits in life takes time and patience- most of all with yourself.  It’s so easy to get side-tracked.

I really like a quote I read from Brian Tracy’s booklet called “Great Little Book on Personal Achievement”.  On the topic of affirmations, one of his quotes says:

“Make strong, affirmative statements to reinforce new, positive habit patterns of thought and behavior.”

I keep a few written affirmations on my desk as I work- so I can refer to them on occasion.  It really helps me develop a better attitude towards life.  With the bombardment of negative media surrounding us- bad news often takes center stage.  It’s helpful to have an outlet to feed our minds with something positive.

You may choose to use affirmations differently.  I have a five in mind that I refer to (which I’ll get to in a moment). Here are a few valuable benefits of affirmations.

Affirmations and Positive Statements help us battle our “natural” thinking

Many times during the day, you’ll find a battle in your mind when you’re attempting something new (or outside your “comfort zone”)

When trying out new tasks, or learning new skills, it’s easy to say “I can’t” or “I’m not sure that this is going to work.”

Developing and focusing on a few positive affirmations helps me through these battles in my own mind.  They help me refocus my mind- away from thoughts of doubt, fear and discouragement – to thoughts of belief and courage.

Thoughts of belief, faith, optimism and courage do not come naturally to me.  If you reflect upon your own thoughts during the last 10 minutes, how many have been positive?  Affirmations provide a valuable tool or outlet to reinforce positive thinking and behavior.

Affirmations and Positive Statements help us build upon desirable characteristics

As I’ve been writing this post, I realize that having a few affirmations in mind- and on hand as I do my work has a second valuable benefit.

When I think about 5 of my favorite affirmative statements- I realize that I’m incorporating these characteristics a little bit more each day.  I’m experiencing greater joy, purpose and focus as a result.  There are still struggles along the way, but having the following affirmations in mind has really helped me.

Here’s an example of 5 affirmations that I refer to.

  • “I respect my abilities and always work to my full potential” (capability)
  • “I live each day with passion and purpose” (purposeful living)
  • “I now have prosperity and abundance in all areas of my life” (gratitude for my blessings in life)
  • “I am committed, determined, and passionate about what I do” (Committed, Hard-working)
  • “I have tremendous energy and focused for achieving all of my goals” (Motivated, Enthused)

As you can see from the above list, the words I’ve listed in the blue color are characteristics.  I’ve found that as I focus on these statements each morning, I develop the character traits that I desire to develop in my life.   I may not always live up to these new traits.  Having these affirmative statements allows me to re-orient my thinking when I start “buying in” to my natural thoughts of incapability or discouragement.

Affirmations and Positive Statements give us New Awareness, Choice and Outcome

Before I incorporated a few affirmations into my life, I hadn’t realized how negative my thoughts were.  Thoughts of limitation and fear surround us.  Life provides us with a mix of inspiring, motivating and positive people and, unfortunately, those who are negative or toxic.

You and I have two choices in life, when it comes to the thoughts that we dwell and focus upon:

  • affirmative statements and thinking- that fuels our strength, courage and optimism
  • natural thoughts (often negative) that fuel our weaknesses, fear and pessimism.

Consider the types of outcomes both lines of thinking lead to.  I’d rather think “outside the box” – and achieve my goals and experience more inner peace in my life- than buy into the thinking that affirmations don’t work.

I’d like to encourage you today with this piece of advice: Rather than buy into labels others have given you, or the labels you’ve given yourself in the past, incorporate a few affirmations into your day that reinforce the person you want to become.  You’ll experience greater joy, efficiency, and enthusiasm for your life and your goals.

Are your goals in life worth enough to incorporate this new habit?

In my next post, I’ll discuss the habit of learning and developing your skills.

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Overcoming Insecurity and Building Confidence

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How many times a day do you find that you’re concerned with the approval of others?

Acceptance from those around us is nice to have. It’s difficult to make great progress, though, if we find that we “need” the approval of others for our goals, dreams and plans.

Insecurity about our future and our capabilities in life often leads to a battle with low self-esteem and depression. This has been part of my own experience.

It illustrates a type of cause and effect relationship. If my thoughts are about my own inadequacy (the cause), the effect will be that I’m directly battling low self-esteem and depression. It’s amazing how much our daily thoughts affect our moods, feelings and attitudes.

With today’s post, I’d like to give you a few tips for overcoming insecurity and building confidence.

Questioning and Discarding Limited Thinking

When it comes to limited thinking, a couple of phrases that I’m trying to eliminate from my words and thoughts are:

“I can’t”,

and

“This won’t work”

You and I don’t really know what our true capabilities are.  We’ll discover greater courage and strength as we set and achieve goals. We can make exceptional progress in our lives, if we keep trying and persevering through our obstacles.  Sometimes we need to give ourselves a second chance in life.

Sometimes it’ll require you to “stay on course” towards your goals.  This can be hard to do when you encounter the negativity of others.

Many famous and successful people encountered the negative and limited thinking of others.  Even when they were told that they’d never be successful, they kept trying and reached their goals.

In the same way, why should you and I buy into the negative limitations others place on us?

I’m making it my personal mission to build my own sense of security and approval.  These days, if someone doesn’t approve of me or my goals, I consider that to be their problem, not mine.

I thought of a good question I could ask myself- as I consider my goals.  This is a good question you could ask yourself when you feel insecure when you experience disapproval:

How much do I value my peace of mind and being true to myself- over the negative things I hear from others?

Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance

These are two key areas to define and build on.  As you develop a habit of increasing your self-awareness and self-acceptance, you’ll build more confidence.  This will help you regain a measure of enthusiasm for your life and your goals.  You’ll also overcome natural thoughts of insecurity that tend to arise.

Here are a couple of definitions I created in the latest eBook I’ve written (and am currently re-editing):

Self-Awareness

Awareness and recognition of your:

  • Strengths
  • Abilities
  • Potential

…and the importance of nurturing and building these areas.

Self-Acceptance

Awareness and recognition of:

  • Your supreme value and worth as a human being
  • The value of past mistakes/failures as stepping stones to a brighter future
  • Your duty to love, respect, honor and accept yourself unconditionally.

These definitions are ones I try to remember each day.  It’s tough to build character attributes in our lives if we don’t first define them.  These might be ones you’d like to include.  It may help as a reminder if you put them on 3″ by 5″ index card.  In battling the feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, I’m going to be making my own index card.  It’s a good reminder for us to build confidence into our lives.

Develop Your Support Network

First and foremost, you are your own primary source of support.  I’ve realized this the hard way.  If I’m not supporting and building myself up (through my own thoughts, words, and actions), it’s difficult for others to do it for me.

In this case, your support network can consist of yourself and those around you (your family and friends that elevate and encourage you).

I encourage you to develop greater support for yourself- with your goals, dreams, visions and plans for the future.

In the past, I haven’t supported myself in my important life areas.  You may relate to this.

The past is now gone.  At this point, you can now support yourself in the following ways:

  • Building upon thoughts of your own strength, capability and potential
  • Envisioning yourself as courageous, effective, and successful in life
  • Making progress (growing personally and professionally) today and each day forward
  • Asking for help, support and guidance when you need it

I really like the following quote I read from Mark Twain:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

In my next series of posts, I’ll discuss the topic of habit development.  I hope you’ll find them valuable- and that the upcoming tips will help accelerate your success.

thesecurelife Overcoming Insecurity and Building Confidence