I hope all of you are doing well.
Over the last several months, I have not been doing a lot of blogging due to many different life circumstances. I am extremely excited to be back! It is my passion to share with you things that have not only improved my life, but improved the lives of so many of my clients.
Today I want to start by sharing 7 life improving practices with you. Take special note of the word practices. These are things that we (you guessed it) practice. They are not mastered overnight, but with enough practice (there is that would again), we can really improve our life. Ready to get started? Here we go…
Life Improving Practice 1
Start treating yourself with kindness. Louise Hay, best-selling author, said, “You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” We cannot consistently put ourselves down and build positive momentum in our lives at the same time. If we want to live happier healthier lives, we must let go of the inner critic. I am so stupid. I am an idiot. I can’t. I am not attractive enough. I am not good enough. I am such a loser. Who would want me? I am unlovable. Nothing good ever happens to me. I am just not smart enough. I am a failure. These kind of harsh self-judgments spiral us down and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are poison. Remember we can’t expect others to treat us better than we treat ourselves. It begins with us. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you love, don’t say it to yourself. If you wouldn’t do it to your best friend, don’t do it to yourself. The lower your self-worth the more you tear yourself down. The more you tear yourself down, the more it lowers your self-worth. End the cycle and treat yourself with respect.
Life Improving Practice 2
Start holding yourself accountable in all you do. Holding yourself accountable begins with treating yourself with kindness and knowing it is okay to make mistakes. If you know that your mistakes don’t define your worth, you will be less defensive and more likely to own them. Your mistakes make you human. When we deny them and blame them on others (because we think they define us), we don’t fix them, and we continue to repeat the same dysfunctional patterns of behavior over and over again. We are not going to change things we don’t acknowledge. Getting rid of our all or none thinking can help us take personal accountability for our behaviors. Remember, losing a game doesn’t make you a loser and messing up doesn’t mean you are messed-up.
Life Improving Practice 3
Start living with integrity. We will not have peace if our behaviors don’t match our values. We need to begin by taking a personal inventory so that we can identify what it is that we truly value. Then we need to evaluate our actions to see if they are aligned with those values. If you value honestly and you lie to someone, you will experience an internal conflict (maybe even extreme anxiety) and you may not even know the root cause of your uneasy feeling. If you value good health and positive relationships and you are not treating an addiction, you will begin to slowly, maybe even quickly, spiral down. Until we begin to live with integrity, we will struggle to find peace and joy in life.
Life Improving Practice 4
Start doing something different. If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten. When something isn’t working for you, it is time to make a change. Even a small change can snowball into something much larger. Sometimes there isn’t anything wrong with our goal, we just need to switch gears and go about reaching it a different way.
Life Improving Practice 5
Start pausing long enough to appreciate today. So often we get so caught up in the stress of life that we don’t pause long enough to appreciate the good things in life. Sometimes we get so busy that we run through the rose garden without ever stopping to smell the roses. We often get so consumed in the muck, that we close ourselves to the magic of life. It takes conscious awareness to let life in. Life is just too short to dwell on what we do not have and neglect to tell those we love that we love them. Life is too short to spend time ruminating on the past and finding more to criticize than to praise. It is too short to focus on how we have been wronged rather than remembering when things have gone right. Let’s take time to soak in nature’s beauty, let go of grudges, and free ourselves of the negatively that holds us back from who we were created to be. Let’s pause long enough to let life in. There is always good if we are open to it.
Life Improving Practice 6
Start focusing on progress rather than perfection. Rather than criticizing yourself for not being perfect, give yourself credit for the progress that you are making. No human is perfect and if you demand absolute perfection in order to be happy, you will never be happy. Remember that progress looks more like a staircase than an inclined plane. You walk up two steps and back down another. You walk up two steps and back down another. If you continue to get back up and learn from your mistakes every time you fall down, you will ultimately get to where you are going. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Positive growth is a building block process. One small block builds on another small block, and then another, until eventually you see a bigger picture emerge: tremendous growth.
Life Improving Practice 7
Start taking inventory of your output and your input to make sure you stay balanced. There are certain things in life that drain you and certain things in life that inspire you and give you energy. If you spend most of your time on the things that drain you and not enough time on the things that fuel you, your gas tank will soon run dry. Keep balanced with self-care. Make sure you are intentionally doing things that feed your soul. Here is a little exercise: Picture yourself holding a bucket. The bucket is full of energy and you don’t want it to be depleted because once depleted you have nothing left to give anyone. Now think of things you need to do to fill your bucket because we all have things in life that will drain it. Examples- Listening to inspirational music, watching inspirational movies, and reading inspirational books. Exercising. Meditating/Praying. Spending time with positive people. Gardening, drawing, painting, or engaging in some other enjoyable hobby. Eating healthy foods. You get the idea!
Hopefully you have found something beneficial here. I share life practices that have helped me and my clients over the years. Always remember…you are worth it!
All my best,
If you would like to dive deeper, check out my book, The Snowball Effect: How to Build Positive Momentum in Your Life. Since writing The Snowball Effect, I have gotten to share the information nationally through Fox News Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Hampton Roads Show, Richmond Magazine, Tidewater Women Magazine, Doctor’s Radio, Soul Luminous Radio, Westbridge Radio: One Hour At a Time, WNIS Radio, KDKA Radio Pittsburg, and The West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders.
Together we build positive momentum!