Motivation, The Heart of Self Improvement
Pain may sometimes be the reason people change. Getting flunked grades make us realize that we need to study. Debts remind us of our inability to look for a source of income. Being humiliated gives us the push to speak up and fight for ourselves to save our face from the next embarrassment. It may be a bitter experience, a friend’s tragic story, a great movie, or an inspiring book that will help us get up and get just the right amount of motivation we need in order to improve ourselves.
With the countless negativities the world brings about, how do we keep motivated? Try the tips I prepared from A to Z:
A - Achieve your dreams. Avoid negative people, things and places. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’
B - Believe in yourself, and in what you can do.
C - Consider things on every angle and aspect. Motivation comes from determination. To be able to understand life, you should feel the sun from both sides.
D – Don’t give up and don’t give in. Thomas Edison failed once, twice, more than thrice before he came up with his invention and perfected the incandescent light bulb. Make motivation your steering wheel.
E - Enjoy. Work as if you don’t need money. Dance as if nobody’s watching. Love as if you never cried. Learn as if you’ll live forever. Motivation takes place when people are happy.
F - Family and friends are life’s greatest treasures. Don’t lose sight of them.
G - Give more than is enough. Where does motivation and self-improvement take place? At work? At home? At school? When you exert extra effort in doing things.
H - Hang on to your dreams. They may dangle in there for a moment, but these little stars will be your driving force.
I - Ignore those who try to destroy you. Don’t let other people to get the best of you. Stay away from toxic people - the kind of friends that hate to hear about your success.
J - Just be yourself. The key to success is to be yourself. And the key to failure is to try to please everyone.
K - Keep trying no matter how hard life may seem. When a person is motivated, eventually he sees a harsh life finally clearing out, paving the way to self-improvement.
L - Learn to love yourself. Now isn’t that easy?
M - Make things happen. Motivation is when your dreams are put into work clothes.
N - Never lie, cheat or steal. Always play a fair game.
O - Open your eyes. People should learn the horse attitude and horse sense. They see things in 2 ways - how they want things to be, and how they should be.
P - Practice makes perfect. Practice is about motivation. It lets us learn repertoire and ways we can recover from our mistakes.
Q - Quitters never win. And winners never quit. So, choose your fate - are you going to be a quitter? Or a winner?
R - Ready yourself. Motivation is also about preparation. We must hear the little voice within us telling us to get started before others will get on their feet and try to push us around. Remember, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
S - Stop procrastinating.
T - Take control of your life. Discipline or self-control jives synonymously with motivation. Both are key factors in self-improvement.
U - Understand others. If you know very well how to talk, you should also learn how to listen. Yearn to understand first, and to be understood the second.
V - Visualize it. Motivation without vision is like a boat on a dry land.
W - Want it more than anything. Dreaming means believing. And to believe is something that is rooted out from the roots of motivation and self-improvement.
X - X Factor is what will make you different from the others. When you are motivated, you tend to put ‘extras’ on your life like extra time for family, extra help at work, extra care for friends, and so on.
Y - You are unique. No one in this world looks, acts, or talks like you. Value your life and existence, because you’re just going to spend it once.
Z - Zero in on your dreams and go for it!!!
Join me for a 5 day Step Into Your Shine challenge so you can discover how the power of mindfulness, meditation and mindful movement can lead you to your dream life!
Click here to join: coachstephb.teachable.com/p/challenge
Happy as You Want to Be
Almost everyone has heard the hit single 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' by Bobby McFerrin. The song has a very catchy way of conveying its message of being happy to everyone. Bobby McFerrin's simple message surely made a lot of people by telling them not to worry.
Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health. Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Stress is linked to top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.
One of the better things ever said is - 'The only thing in life that will always remain the same is change', and in our life we have the power to make the necessary changes if we want to. Even if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation, we can always find solace in the knowledge that it too would change.
Social networks or relationships are essential to happiness. People are different, accept people for who or what they are, avoid clashes, constant arguments, and let go of all kinds of resentments. If arguments seem unavoidable, still try and make an effort to understand the situation and you might just get along.
Happiness is actually found in everyone, increasing it is a way to make a life more wonderful and also more healthy.
To be happy is relatively easy, just decide to be a happy person. Abraham Lincoln observed that most people for most of the time can choose how happy or stressed, how relaxed or troubled, how bright or dull their outlook to be. The choice is simple really, choose to be happy.
There are several ways by which you can do this.
Being grateful is a great attitude. We have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi driver for bringing you home safely, thank the cook for a wonderful dinner and thank the guy who cleans your windows. Also thank the mailman for bringing you your mails, thank the policeman for making your place safe and thank God for being alive.
News is stressful. Get less of it. Some people just can't start their day without their daily dose of news. Try and think about it, 99% of the news we hear or read is bad news. Starting the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do.
A religious connection is also recommended. Being part of a religious group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations foster inner peace.
Manage your time. Time is invaluable and too important to waste. Time management can be viewed as a list of rules that involves scheduling, setting goals, planning, creating lists of things to do and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine-tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to achieve the results you desire.
Laugh and laugh heartily every day. Heard a good joke? Tell your friends or family about it. As they also say -'Laughter is the best medicine'.
Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. They will most likely reciprocate your actions. Try not to keep pent up anger of frustrations, this is bad for your health. Instead, find ways of expressing them in a way that will not cause more injury or hurt to anyone.
Working hard brings tremendous personal satisfaction. It gives a feeling of being competent in finishing our tasks. Accomplishments are necessary for all of us, they give us a sense of value. Work on things that you feel are worthy of your time.
Learning is a joyful exercise. Try and learn something new every day. Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons. And could also give us more opportunities in the future.
Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive.
Avoid exposure to negative elements like loud noises, toxins and hazardous places.
These are the few simple things you can do every day to be happy.
And always remember the quote from Abraham Lincoln, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
It's time for your to BE HAPPY, step out of your shell and step into your shine, I would like to invite you to this 5 day challenge, check it out here!
Enjoy Your Life: Change Your Point of View
"Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one sees the stars."- Frederick Langbridge, A Cluster of Quiet Thoughts.
If you placed second in a writing contest, would you jump for joy and push for better results the next time or would you be discouraged and find an excuse not to join again?
In life, you are always filled with choices. You may opt to have a pessimist’s view and live a self-defeated life, or you may decide to take the optimist’s route and take a challenging and fulfilling life.
So why nurture an optimist’s point of view? And why now?
Well, optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to academic, athletic, military, occupational and political success; to popularity; to good health and even to long life and freedom from trauma.
On the other hand, the rates of depression and pessimism have never been higher. It affects middle-aged adults the same way it hits younger people. The mean age of onset has gone from 30 to 15. It is no longer a middle-aged housewife’s disorder but also a teenager’s disorder as well.
Here’s how optimists are in action and research that back up why it really pays to be an optimist:
Optimists expect the best
The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events, which will last a long time and undermine everything they do, are their own fault.
The truth is optimists are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world. What differs is the way they explain their misfortune -it’s the exact opposite. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.
Optimists tend to focus on and plan for the 'problem' at hand. They use 'positive reinterpretation.' In other words, they most likely reinterpret a negative experience in a way that helps them learn and grow. Such people are unfazed by bad situation, they perceive it is a challenge and try harder.
They won’t say ‘things will never get better’, ‘If I failed once, it will happen again’ and ‘If I experience misfortune in one part of my life, then it will happen in my whole life.’
Positive expectancies of optimists also predict better reactions during transitions to new environments, sudden tragedies and unlikely turn of events. If they fall, they will stand up. They see opportunities instead of obstacles.
People respond positively to optimists
Optimists are proactive and less dependent on others for their happiness. They find no need to control or manipulate people. They usually draw people towards them. Their optimistic view of the world can be contagious and influence those they are with.
Optimism seems a socially desirable trait in all communities. Those who share optimism are generally accepted while those who spread gloom, panic and hysteria are treated unfavourably.
In life, these people often win elections; get voted most congenial and sought for advice.
When the going gets tough, optimists get tougher
Optimists typically maintain higher levels of subjective well-being during times of stress than people who are less optimistic. In contrast, pessimists are likely to react to stressful events by denying that they exist or by avoiding dealing with problems. Pessimists are more likely to quit trying when difficulties arise.
They persevere. They just don’t give up easily, they are also known for their patience. Inching a step closer to that goal or elusive dream.
Optimists are healthier and live longer
Medical research has justified that simple pleasures and a positive outlook can cause a measurable increase in the body's ability to fight disease.
Optimists’ health is unusually good. They age well, much freer than most people from the usual physical ills of middle age. And they get to outlive those prone to negative thoughts.
So why not be an optimist today? And think positively towards a more fulfilled life.
Why not look forward to success in all your endeavours? Why not be resilient? Like everybody else you are bound to hit lows sometimes but don’t just stay there. Carry yourself out of the mud and improve your chances of getting back on the right track. And why not inspire others to remove their dark-coloured glasses and see life in the bright side?
Unlock Your Self Improvement Power
When we look at a certain object, a painting for example, we won’t be able to appreciate it, what is painted, and what else goes with it, if the painting is just an inch away from our face. But if we try to look at it from a little further back, we’ll have a clearer vision of the whole art work.
We reach a point in our lives where we are ready for change, and a whole bunch of information that will help us unlock our self-improvement power. Until then, something can be staring us right in the face, but we don’t see it. The only time we think of unlocking our self-improvement power is when everything gets worse. Take the frog principle for example…
Try placing Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate such sudden change in his environment - the water’s temperature. Then try Frog B: place him in lukewarm water, then turn the gas stove on. Wait until the water reaches boiling point. Frog B then thinks ‘Ooh it’s a bit warm in here!’
People are like Frog B in general. Today, Anna thinks Carl hates her. Tomorrow, Patrick walks up to her and told her he hates her. Anna stays the same and doesn’t mind what her friends says. The next day, she learned that Kim and John also abhor her. Anna doesn’t realize at once the importance and the need for self-improvement until the entire community hates her.
We learn our lessons when we experience pain. We finally see the warning signs and signals when things get rough and tough. When do we realize that we need to change diets? When none of our jeans and shirts fit us. When do we stop eating sweets and chocolates? When all of our teeth have fallen off. When do we realize that we need to stop smoking? When our lungs have gone bad. When do we pray and ask for help? When we realize that we’re going to die tomorrow.
The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self-improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart. We think and feel this way because it is not easy to change. But change becomes more painful when we ignore it.
Change will happen, like it or hate it. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life - and we are all going to eventually unlock our self-improvement power, not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realize it’s for our own good.
Happy people don’t just accept change, they embrace it. Now, you don’t have to feel a tremendous heat before realizing the need for self-improvement. Unlocking your self-improvement power means unlocking yourself from the cage of thought that ‘it’s just the way I am’. It is such a poor excuse for people who fear and resist change. Most of us program our minds like computers.
Jen repeatedly tells everyone that she doesn’t have the guts to be around groups of people. She heard her mum, her dad, her sister, her teacher tell the same things about her to other people. Over the years, that is what Jen believes. She believes it’s her story. And what happens? Every time a great crowd would troop over to their house, in school, and in the community, she tends to step back, shy away and lock herself up in a room. Jen didn’t only believe in her story, she lived it.
Jen has to realize that she is not what she is in her story. Instead of having her story posted around her face for everyone to remember, she has to have the spirit to show people ‘I am an important person and I should be treated accordingly!’
Self-improvement may not be everybody’s favourite word, but if we look at things from a different point of view, we might have greater chances of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days until we are fully improved. Three sessions a week at the gym would result in a healthier life, reading books will shape up a more profound knowledge, going out with friends and peers will help you take a step back from work and unwind. And just when you are enjoying the whole process of unlocking your self-improvement power, you’ll realize that you’re beginning to take things light and become happy.
You too can step out of your shell, step into your shine so you can step into YOUR POWER, find out more about the 5 day Step Into Your Shine challenge here!
"The Way to Wellness" It's Time to Start a Healthy Life: Your 7- Day Programme
How many times have you gone to sleep at night, swearing you'll go to the gym in the morning, and then change your mind just eight hours later because when you get up, you don't feel like exercising?
While this can happen to the best of us, it doesn't mean you should drop the ball altogether when it comes to staying fit. What people need to realize is that staying active and eating right are critical for long-term health and wellness, and that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The more you know about how your body responds to your lifestyle choices, the better you can customize a nutrition and exercise plan that is right for you. When you eat well, increase your level of physical activity, and exercise at the proper intensity, you are informing your body that you want to burn a substantial amount of fuel. This translates to burning fat more efficiently for energy.
In other words, proper eating habits plus exercise equals fast metabolism, which, in turn gives you more energy throughout the day and allows you to do more physical work with less effort.
The true purpose of exercise is to send a repetitive message to the body asking for improvement in metabolism, strength, aerobic capacity and overall fitness and health. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities to burn fat throughout the day and night, Exercise doesn't have to be intense to work for you, but it does need to be consistent.
I recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise four times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session, and resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes per session. This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen, and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the block.
Here's a sample exercise programme that may work for you:
When starting an exercise programme, it is important to have realistic expectations. Depending on your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes early on.
Once you make the commitment to exercise several times a week, don't stop there. You should also change your diet and/or eating habits. Counting calories or calculating grams and percentages for certain nutrients is impractical. Instead, I suggest these easy-to-follow guidelines:
- Eat several small meals (optimally four) and a couple of small snacks throughout the day
- Make sure every meal is balanced - incorporate palm-sized proteins like lean meats, fish, egg whites and dairy products, fist-sized portions of complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and pasta, wild rice, multigrain cereal and potatoes, and fist-sized portions of vegetable and fruits
- Limit your fat intake to only what's necessary for adequate flavour
- Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout the day
- I also recommend that you take a multi-vitamin each day to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Enjoy life, we all deserve it.
Do Yoda Proud: Meditation 101
Meditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused. Practitioners of this art report increased awareness, focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook in life.
Meditation is most commonly associated with monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines. However, you don’t have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy its benefits. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it. You could even try it in your own living room!
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles remain the same. The most important among these principles is that of removing obstructive, negative, and wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of debris and prepares it for a higher quality of activity.
The negative thoughts you have - those of noisy neighbours, bossy officemates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam - are said to contribute to the ‘polluting’ of the mind, and shutting them out is allows for the ‘cleansing’ of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts.
Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input - no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch - and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them. You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. It may seem deafening at first, since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
If you find the meditating positions you see on television threatening - those with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortions - you need not worry. The principle here is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, and even walking.
If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good starting point. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep.
Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel tense.
The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable in. You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the contortionist in you is screaming for release). You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.
Silence helps most people relax and meditate, so you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the washing machine. Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles isn’t such a bad idea either.
The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra. This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value.
You do not need to perform such; however, it would pay to note that focusing on repeated actions such as breathing, and humming help the practitioner enter a higher state of consciousness.
The principle here is focus. You could also try focusing on a certain object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a single sight.
One sample routine would be to - while in a meditative state - silently name every part of your body and focus your consciousness on that part. While doing this you should be aware of any tension on any part of your body. Mentally visualize releasing this tension. It works wonders.
In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice, and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort - remember we’re relaxing).
Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial physiological effects to the body. And there has been a growing consensus in the medical community to further study the effects of such. So, in the near future, who knows, that mystical, esoteric thing we call meditation might become a science itself!
"Relaxing with a Mental PDA" Your 5-Minute Daily Programme to Stress Management
We all have a favourite expression when it comes to being stressed out, and I wouldn't bother naming all of them since it may also vary in different languages. But when it comes down to it, I think that it is how we work or even relax, for that matter that triggers stress. Ever been stressed even when you're well relaxed and bored? I know I have.
Since stress is unavoidable in life, it is important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress. Here are some of the things that can be done by just remembering it, since life is basically a routine to follow, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. You can do a few of them in a longer span of time, but as they say-- every minute counts.
Time management skills can allow you more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.
To improve your time management:
It is important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones - those that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.
Some behaviours and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress. Try to:
Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.
When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body's stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.
Whether you're the mail guy, the CEO, or probably the average working parent, stress is one unwanted visitor you would love to boot out of your homes, especially your life.
How many times have you walked passed a mirror only to have a highly critical thought about yourself?
How many times have you thought or dreamed about doing something or changing something in your life only to talk you self out of it thinking you might not be good/strong/smart/pretty enough?
Have you every wished you could just wake up one morning feeling light and buzzing with joy happiness and excitement for the day ahead?
I know I used to feel exactly like that. And social media platforms didn’t help, because you easily find yourself comparing your life or yourself to what you see. But what you see has only been chosen to be shown.
Throughout my learning and instructor training for my BalletBeFit certification I got the opportunity to dive a little deeper into my soul.
This truly enabled me to let go of my own limiting self beliefs and understand what was really crushing my self confidence. The more I was able to get a healthy sense of self esteem the closer I felt to creating a life I love.
I wanted to pay this forward, so I put together a little ebook guide on self esteem along with a workbook containing simple steps to improve self esteem and self love.
So here is the link to download my unique Self Esteem bundle, it contains a guide, a workbook and 2 coloring pages, because coloring can be really soothing and help you gain some perspective.
Maybe you don’t know this but I was blessed by the gift of ballet from a very very young age. At 2 years old my parents sent me off to dance class and ski groups.
From the age of 8 jogging became a required cross training activity for both those disciplines.
One thing leading to another I joined the local track club and snowboard club with @marionbrodeau I still wanted to dance but by the time I was 17 my ballet professor told me she refused to invest her energy in a ballerina that risked breaking a limb when riding down the slopes. I was a rebel too cool for school so I quit there and then.
It broke my heart ... I felt so lost... my eating disorder worsened.
Fast forward to 2013 when I was training for my first marathon I realized how much of the ballet values I could carry over onto my running training: nurturing the body, training and repeating over and over again, pushing out of the comfort zone, discipline and so much more.
It was then that I felt the need to reconnect with this form of art and expression.
When I moved to NYC I attended many dance classes and found myself shying away in the corner as they were all super pros...
I felt uneased yet I wanted to dance and do the barre work.
Then one day I came across an amazing class designed by @rachelwithershq called BalletBeFit soon enough I was hooked, this class has brought so much goodness in my mind my body my soul and my life. It’s helped me heal past injuries, improve my mobility, and I am a better runner for it, I am truly able to run with my heart lighting my highway.
This has been a true gift and I am excited to share what is coming along.
A Future You Can Believe In
When your self-esteem begins to rise, you realize you have options you never hoped for. Suddenly, your future isn’t bleak and depressing. It’s exciting and filled with new opportunities and experiences. Rather than dreading the future, you’re anticipating it. So, what’s next? How do you get from where you are today to that bright, shiny future that you’re looking forward to?
It's time to dream a dream.
Start by dreaming. What is it that you really want to do? Try to think about what you’d like your life to look like if money and time weren’t factors. Would you take dance classes? Start your own business? Embrace your inner artist? Travel across the country in an RV?
You can’t work toward your dreams until you’ve identified them. It’s OK to have multiple dreams. Most people are multi-passionate. They have a passion for several different things. You don’t have to just pick one thing and be that for the rest of your life.
What does your future self want to accomplish?
It’s time to figure out what you want to accomplish. This isn’t about titles or money or fame. It’s about how you want to be remembered. How will leave your mark on the world?
Do you want to be remembered for being that sassy businesswoman that provided clean drinking water for an entire village in a third world country? Do you want to be remembered as the artist and foster mom of countless teens that didn’t have a place to go? Do you want to be the secretary that decided to go to medical school at age fifty?
What do you see as the major road block to making that happen?
Anticipating road blocks ahead of time can be helpful when you’re thinking about the future. Common road blocks might include time, money, or a lack of emotional support. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. Just acknowledge the road blocks. By doing this, you’ll be better prepared mentally and emotionally when you encounter setbacks or problems along the way.
What does your life look like when that road back is in your rear mirror?
No matter who you are or what you’re trying to achieve, you will encounter road blocks. In order to prevail over them, you have to have a clear vision of your future. This vision has to be strong enough to motivate you when you’re still living your ‘before’ story. If your goal is to go back to college, then imagine that moment when you walk across the stage in your graduation gown. If your goal is to start a business, imagine that moment when you get your first client. Hold onto your vision.
Dreaming about your future and planning for it can be exciting. It can also feel a little scary at times. But don’t let the fear stop you. You deserve a beautiful future filled with dreams.
Start creating your beautiful new future today by downloading the free workbook.