Enjoy Your Mornings

“I am just not a morning person.”

You can say this over and over again, but unless your job or business is on the night shift, you will need to wake up at a certain hour in the morning. It’s really all a matter of attitude. Embrace the morning with these helpful tips:

Adjust the light. Light has a powerful effect on your brain. Keep your room dark at night so that you will sleep deeply. In the morning, swing open those window curtains and let the light in so that your grogginess will disappear.

Meditate before bed. Meditate or pray before bed. Think grateful thoughts for what has happened during the day, and project hopefulness for the next day. Tell yourself that you will dream pleasant dreams. Do the same in the morning for a positive day ahead.

Skip the snooze button. Situate your alam clock (or phone, for most people nowadays) farther than an arm’s length so that you woukd actually need to get up to turn it off. Staying in bed an additional five minutes may tempt you to stay in bed for an additional hour. Just get up already and start the day!

Play music. Jennifer Hudson’s “All Dressed Up in Love” or Meghan Trainir’s recent “Me Too” can get you all energized and pumped up for the day. Put a playlist together to help you prepare in the morning. If you have something important coming up for the day, say a job interview or a market pitch, gentle instrumental music will help soothe the nerves and keep you calm.

Download a podcast. Continue your education during your commute. Find a podcast that will teach you more about the industry for which you work, or about Greek mythology, or about the fundamentals of someone else’s religion… anything that will help you with your profession, or anything that simply interests you.

A few simple strategies can turn you into an early bird or at least make your initial hours happier and more productive. Enjoy the morning and start it on a positive note always.

Save Time

You didn’t hear your alarm clock… again. It’s now 5:15am and you’ve got to get yourself prepared to take the daughter to school before heading off to the office in Makati. You live in Quezon City, by the way, and the mad rush on EDSA will begin in roughly 45 minutes.

You have got to get yourself out of bed!

Stressful, yes? Take control of your mornings by saving some time the night before:

Plan your schedule. A little Math work will help. By now, you most likely already know how much time it takes for you to complete routine tasks, such as taking a shower, having breakfast, etc. Figure out the total prep time you need and count back so that you can determine what time you should sleep. This way, you’ll have enough sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Organize your space. Do you know that when you grab the keys from the tray next to the door you’ll definitely find them there? Make sure you have space for the stuff you need each morning. This way, you eliminate time spent on unnecessary searches and also avoid panic.

Check the weather. Does the weather bureau predict a storm? Check the forecast before going to bed so that you can plan ahead for anticipated floods and traffic. You will also be informed enough to pack the appropriate gear.

Prepare your things. Decide on your outfit the night before so that you won’t have to think about it in the morning. If you are going to the gym after work, then pack your bag so that it will be grab-and-go ready by 5:30am the next day.

Shorten your commute. Studies show that the length of your commute has a dramatic effect on your health and wellbeing. Moving or changing jobs is a big decision, but you may want to explore your options.

Meditate

It’s no secret that meditation is good for the body, mind and soul. Meditation helps you increase concentration, allows you to tune the world out for a brief moment, so that you can listen to yourself.

In today’s world, however, it may be challenging to find an appropriate place to sit, think, and, especially in the age of communication innovation, be quiet.

Despite all the difficulties, it can still be done.

Creating Meditation Space Anywhere

Clean up. Clutter invites distraction. Keep the area clean, the windows clear. Remove your shoes to avoid tracking in dirt.

Lower the volume. A quiet environment allows you to recognize, understand, experience and appreciate the silence. It would also be easier to listen to instructions, if you are using audio assistance.

Screen out distractions. If you need to use your phone as audio assistance, then make sure that everything else is disabled temporarily. Keep your laptop and other sevices away from your meditation space. Inform your family of your intention to meditate so that they would know not to disturb you.

Ask your boss. It doesn’t hurt to talk to your employer about using a small huddle room before or after work. Just make sure to leave it the way you found it when you’re done.

Enjoy nature. Take a walk outside during your lunch hour. Enjoy the sound of ocean waves crashing onto the sand during a vacation. Head to the village park over the weekend.

Meditate anywhere. The most important meditation space is in your mind. Keep practicing, so that you will be able to more easily calm your thoughts wherever you are. Focusing on your breath can help you to reduce tension whether you’re waiting in line at the bank, or at your dentist’s for a check up. Yes, you can do this in traffic, too.

Create your own beautiful haven in your home, in your neighborhood, or anywhere else, for that matter. A special meditation space enables you to draw your focus inward and experience greater peace.

Write It Down

Journaling. A word that conjures up visions of young teenage girls on the brink of womanhood, writing down secrets and doodling names… or scribbling dark thoughts and pouring anger on a page.

But did you know that successful people keep journals, too? They do! A journal keeps track of your life journey and provides an avenue to vent emotions, positive or otherwise. It also helps document promises that have been given and actions that have been done. Finally, a journal provides for your children (or any successor, for that matter) a kind of history that is uniquely their own.

Keeping a journal is simple:

Decide on a format. Do you prefer writing in your own script, or tapping away on the computer? Do you feel your life should be kept private and only for the perusal of your own family, or are you the type who’s okay with publishing his/her life on a blog? Speaking of blogs, maybe you are the type who would rather speak on video rather write. Whatever works best for you is… well, best.

Stick to a schedule. A habit is formed when you do something consistently (they say at least 21 times in succession). Same goes for journaling. It may be difficult to start, but as most writers know, once you pop the lid on that and get started, it becomes easier. Try to write something at least a few times each week. Ideally, you’ll be able to record your thoughts daily.

Keep it casual. No one is going to pay your for your thoughts… at this time, anyway. You are doing this for yourself. Go ahead and use whatever style is most comfortable. If you don’t feel like writing complete sentences, that’s okay. If you don’t feel like writing in perfect grammar, that’s okay, too. Some days you’ll write more than others. There will be days without much to write about.

A journal is a great friend. It knows your entire person, it listens, and it will never give anything away unless you allow it.

Why not start today?

Laugh at Yourself

Do you want to free yourself of high, pressure-inducing expectations? Laugh at yourself. Instead of hitting yourself on the head for making mistakes, treat those incidents as an opportunity to amuse yourself.

When you are able to see your mistakes as funny, you create free space for yourself to learn and grow. Lighten up!

Benefits of Laughing at Yourself

Promote healing. Humor takes the sting out of sensitive issues. After laughing at yourself, it is easier to get up and look at where exactly you went wrong. You can then decide to do things differently next time.

Reduce stress. Living up to very high expectations – yours or other people’s – can be exhausting and stressful. Lightening up allows you to free up some of that tension and relax.

Take more risks. There’s a first time for everything, no matter how difficult or challenging. Take that first step, and pretty soon you will find that you’ve collected more skills and knowledge.

Increase your energy levels. Because of the way it works your lungs, heart and brain, laughing is actually a great way to boost your oxygen levels and pump blood through your system. Come to think of it, doesn’t it give your abs a serious workout, too?

Enhance your relationships. How many times have we heard someone say that they were attracted to someone because “he makes me laugh.” Arguments will always put a strain on your interactions with others. Conversely, laughing with other enhances relationships.

Enjoy free entertainment. Being able to look back at your booboos and getting a good, hearty laugh from these incidents works way better than any comedy series, rom com, or stand-up act. Way less expensive, too.

Build your self-confidence by taking yourself less seriously. Being willing to laugh at yourself gives you the strength you need to push beyond your comfort zone and achieve more.

Start Fresh

From graduation, there’s only been one company for me. I have spent 35 years of my life here, and now I have to retire. The kids have all flown the coop; they have started to build their own lives. I don’t know what else to do with mine.

Sound familiar? For the past 35 years, your life has been governed by a certain routine, dictated by tasks that needed to be done. Truth is, there are probably a hundred and one things you would like to do, now that your responsibilities have significantly lessened. You are most likely just putting things off because you don’t know where to start.

Here are some ideas to put off putting things off and finally doing things you want to do:

Reflect on what you really want to do. Think about those activities that truly make you happy, those things you wouldn’t mind doing even if you weren’t getting paid for them. Set some time to understand yourself and reconnect with what makes your heart sing.

Keep a running list of important tasks to get to your goal. A written list serves as a reminder of the things you want to accomplish. If you have a concrete list of tasks in front of you, you’re more likely to complete them. Set reasonable goals; finish off one task at a time and work through the list, while keeping it filled at the same time.

Complete the tasks that will have the most impact. Show yourself that you can do whatever you want to create the life you want. What’s the first thing you need to do to become a rockstar at 60? Share your dream and your list with your partner or a friend; this helps make your dream more real.

Ask for help. Perhaps your partner or a friend would be willing to step up and help you achieve something you’ve wanted to get off your list for a long time. Doing things to achieve a dream is great; doing things with someone to achieve a dream is even greater.

Reinforce your efforts. Think about patting yourself on the back for completing things on your list. Rewards don’t have to be big or expensive. Make an effort to connect the reward to the job you completed.

Plan for time to complete items on your list. Get out your calendar and set aside two or three hours a week to work on the things you need to do.

Remind yourself of the life you desire to live, the person you wish to be, and what needs to be done to achieve those dreams. Good luck!

Start Small

Where does P100 come from? The simplest answer is: it comes from one hundred 1-peso coins. And where does one peso come from? Yup, from one hundred 1-centavo coins. Everything comes from a small something; how big it gets depends on the effort put into growing it.

Small wins pay off big. Social scientists and business experts agree that modest victories can provide major inspiration. Let’s take a look at how to ensure that our small, day-to-day wins are collected, remembered, and used as inspiration for bigger and even better things.

  1. Keep a journal. Writing in a journal helps you record daily events, recognize victories and celebrate milestones, no matter how small. You’ll also be able to monitor your progress towards your big goals and make sure that you are continuously on the right track.
  2. Create catalysts. Nothing ever gets done without the action of getting it started. Identify clear objectives, allocate enough time and resources, engage and communicate openly. You’ll find yourself enjoying small wins soon enough.
  3. Seek nourishers. Surround yourself with people who will support you and give valuable, constructive feedback. Join a community of like-minded individuals that share your interests.
  4. Set intermediate goals. How does one eat an elephant? By chopping it into chewable pieces, of course! Break down major goals into smaller, manageable milestone tasks. Ticking off that to-do list will be such a joy to do!
  5. Learn from setbacks. Mistakes and obstacles will always be there; they are just waiting around the corner for the chance to trip you. It’s okay to be emotional and frustrated for a while, but then get up and move on. Turn those mistakes into valuable lessons.

Practical Examples of Small Wins Strategies

  1. Eat more vegetables. It would be much easier to achieve this goal than to aim to change your whole diet in one fell swoop. Commit to vegetables and you’ll find that this one small goal can branch out to many different strategies, such as snacking on baby carrots or mixing spinach into your breakfast omelette.
  2. Cut down on sugar. Instead of saying goodbye to sugar altogether, which may be difficult and depressing, why not try to cut consumption to half first?
  3. Go to bed on time. The road to a healthier lifestyle often starts with simple decisions, like deciding on a bedtime hour and sticking to it. If you get enough sleep, then your mind and your body are able to recharge better, which will help you accomplish more in your waking hours.
  4. Exercise for 10 minutes. If you have been sedentary all your life, going to a gym may not be the easiest thing for you just yet, so hold off on the membership. Try following a YouTube video first, which has loads of 10-minute home workout for beginners, and work your way up.
  5. Extend your network. Introduce yourself to a new contact or reconnect with a former colleague. With the advent of the Internet, this has become easier to do now. You may also wish to consider searching for communities that share common interests with you.

Grand visions are the sum of many small wins that help you translate your dreams into action. Taking a small step forward each day will bring you success and happiness.

Forgive

Step One: Forgive

In coaching, one of the things I see most often is the desire to change. People want to move up in their careers, they want to get out of a bad situation, they want to lose weight…they want to change. The first thing that you need to do in order for change to happen is to forgive.

There’s someone I know who jokingly refers to herself as a “farmer”, or one who plants seeds, most often, seeds of anger and resentment. Her anger and resentment is, also, often directed at herself, which leads to  feelings of regret over many portions of her past. While it is a joke, I can’t help but feel that there is some truth to it, and it makes me sad.

We’ve all been there. When someone hurts you, the last thing you want to do is forgive. Why should you, right? After all, that other person deserves to get hurt, too. But have you noticed that,when you harbour ill feelings towards someone else, those feelings do damage only to yourself?

Forgiving others may be the best gift you can give yourself. Why? For several reasons:

  1. Living in the past steals your present and taints your future. If you keep living in the past, you are unable to focus on the present…and you need to focus on the present in order to build an amazing future. Every moment spent in the past is lost forever. Reclaim your life by forgiving and moving on.
  2. Failing to forgive creates misery. Like we said before, when you harbour ill feelings towards someone else, those feelings do damage only to yourself. Do away with the negative thoughts and forgive. This way, you uplift yourself and those around you.
  3. You’ll be stronger. Think of forgiveness as a very tough workout. It’s very challenging, that’s for sure, and the temptation to just keep your old habits (being angry), is strong. But keep practising! Take a deep breath and keep forgiving. It becomes easier with time.
    • As an added bonus, the more forgiving you are, the more others are willing to forgive you!
  4. The past cannot be changed, but your attitude can. If you keep up with your anger, will it bring back time and change things? Will your anger give you the power to travel back in time and reverse the events? No. What you can do is leave the past where it is. Change your attitude as quickly as possible and smile.
  5. All humans make mistakes. We’ve all done or said things we later regret. You can’t expect to be forgiven if you’re unwilling to forgive. Living a perfect life and making perfect choices isn’t possible. Mistakes happen.
  6. Forgiveness may be the best form of revenge. If someone upsets you, it’s possible it was intentional. While you might feel the need to strike back, forgiveness is the best policy. Show them you’re enjoying bigger and better things. Living a happy life is the best revenge!
  7. Your health will improve. Happiness and peacefulness undoubtedly support good health and longevity. Live a long life and wonderful life. Be forgiving. The Mayo clinic states that forgiveness can lead to a healthier relationship, lower blood pressure, stronger immune system,improved heart health, and higher self-esteem to name a few.
  8. Forgiveness is fast. Time may heal all wounds, but it can take a long time. Forgiveness is instantaneous. There’s no faster way to enhance your mood that the simple act of forgiveness. Forgiveness is fast, effective, and free. Take advantage of it.

Forgiveness is self-serving. It’s something you do for yourself because the alternative is harmful to your health, happiness, and future. Be good to yourself. The fact that you’re letting the other person off the hook is secondary. Forgiveness is necessary. Forgetting is optional, depending on the situation.