Energy Crisis

Do you have an energy crisis? I am not talking about a global crisis, or the power lines coming down near your house. I am referring to personal energy and the ability to get up and keep moving. I have talked before about motivation, about having a reason to get up in the morning. I have talked about discipline. So when it seems like you have no energy in the morning, or halfway through the day, or as you are trying to gather brain power to finish something, and you feel like you are simply on empty, what do you do?

I think the first response I would likely get is “it depends.” That’s a fair answer, but what does it depend on? Well, let’s dive into a few common issues and how to solve them, shall we?

I am a pro at problem solving, and the first thing to do when trying to solve any problem is identifying the source. Once you have done that, the solutions could look vastly different depending on the source of the problem.

Here are the top three reasons that I have found for a total lack of energy:

  1.  Your body is simply worn out. You haven’t slept enough, or you don’t eat right, or you have been working really hard for an extended period of time.
  2.  You are under a lot of emotional or mental stress.
  3.  The pendulum has swung.

If you can’t totally identify with any of these, keep reading. I will fill in the details.

Let’s start with number 1.

 

  • 1) Your body is simply worn out. You haven’t slept enough, or you don’t eat right, or you have been working really hard for an extended period of time. Yes I said it. No matter how super you think you are, or how much of an exception you think you are, your body needs rest, and you really do have to eat your veggies. Barely sleeping is not a badge of honor; it is stupid. Eating and drinking junk because “you don’t have time to be healthy” is an excuse. You make time for what is important. And if success is really important to you, if you really don’t want to be constantly exhausted, then take care of your body and mind. To deny that and then try to be productive is to sabotage your chances of any kind of real success.

There is a huge amount of health research and information out there, so I will share what I’ve learned and what has given me positive results in my daily life.

You need to sleep.

You need to get at least 7 hours of sleep EVERY night.

You need to drink a lot of water and cut out soft drinks, even diet. Diet drinks are unhealthy, form bad habits, and can have major long term health implications including heart disease, obesity, cancer, liver problems, and bad dental health.

Coffee and Tea are good for you.

Avoid grain carbs. I am not just talking about gluten and wheat, although that is the worst.

Eat vegetables and meat.

And did I mention drinking water?

When you take care of your body, your body can spend less time trying to cope and survive and more time operating well. Think about it. If you never do maintenance on your car, or you put the wrong thing in the gas tank, it simply won’t work. Your body is an engine. Do some maintenance and give it the right fuel before it breaks instead of waiting.

2) You are under a lot of emotional or mental stress.

There are so many things that can cause this, I cannot even begin to address them all. Here is what I can say: At some point, you have to begin to eliminate stress. If your stress is relational, maybe you need to cut or reduce a relationship. If it has to do with a loss, allow yourself to cry for a day and feel your feelings. Keeping things pent up not only prolongs your stress and denies that it is there, but prolonged stress can lead again to health problems such as chronic headaches, back problems, and heart issues. The only way to deal with an emotion is to process it instead of holding it back. The more you do this the better you will get at doing it quickly without disrupting your life. It really does take practice.

Your brain needs a break just like your muscles do, and you need time for yourself. Find something that relaxes you. There shouldn’t be feelings of guilt around taking this time to let go. If you don’t recharge, you will never be able to be there for anyone. So take a nap, sit in the sunshine with your eyes closed, take a walk, shred paper into little bits, play a game (I recommend avoiding screens. There is a lot science connecting this kind of visual input with increasing anxiety and stress. Most of us could use less screen time)

The point here is this: Try to identify the source of your stress, and work in small steps to take breaks from it, process it, and eventually learn habits that will allow you to avoid it. It really is possible!

3) The pendulum has swung.

This is the part where you give yourself a break. Sometimes the pendulum swings and you are simply going through a lot. You need to give yourself grace to not be “up to par” all the time. Otherwise, you actually increase stress which then continues to sap your energy. This turns into a cycle. Get depressed. Form bad habits. Run out of energy. Get nothing done. Get depressed, etc. The key to breaking this cycle is by giving yourself a break. Only then can you allow yourself to a take a break without guilt. Eliminating the guilt motivates you to be and do more. This feels good, which energizes you. This allows you get more done the other times, which reduces the guilty feelings, and so on. Understanding that at times you will be tired will allow you to simply say “This is normal” when it happens. If something is normal, there is no need to feel guilty, and thus you eliminate the guilt/energy sapping cycle.

Here is the kicker, though. Most of us have trouble giving ourselves a break. We are afraid someone will think of us as a failure, or letting someone down, or we are trying to impress someone or earn someone’s approval. Most people don’t step back every now and then simply out of a desire to do good, and out of knowing that others are counting on them. This makes it hard because if you run out of energy, or have trouble finishing something you started, instead of thinking of it as something that happens to everyone, your brain tells you “See, you really are a failure!”

Don’t let a lack of energy keep you from being the person you already are!!! You CAN learn how to overcome this problem that literally every person breathing has gone through!!

 

If you can identify with any of these things, or if you found any of these tips helpful, then take action today! CLICK HERE to get a free 14 day productivity course delivered right to your email! And as a special thank you for investing in yourself, email me at stephen@stephenandrewcoaching.com to get 50% off an in depth 28 day course that will change your life by helping you focus, identify your goals, and learn how to achieve everything you are capable of!!!

Offer ends 2/28/19

The Myth of Ignorant Bliss

Ignorance is Bliss. This old saying implies the less you know, the less you are responsible for, and the less you have to worry about. The problem with that is that it’s only half true! As my wife and I are raising our kids this has been made very clear. It’s also very clear why people stay in ignorance even when the long term consequences are just plain devastating! Let me explain.

As parents of young children it requires HARD WORK to raise them the right way. You need to know how young children respond to input, to think about every word that comes out of your mouth, and you need consistency in what you do vs. what you say, and in how you hold them accountable. Parenting also requires a balance of freedom to learn, and guidelines your children have to abide by. These are just a few things, aside from all the non-intellectual activities such as making food, changing diapers, and cleaning the house! This is the work required when you decide not to be ignorant. You see, the moment you learn something, such as the right way to behave or raise children, you are now responsible to do something with that knowledge. It’s a lot of work! Because the burden of responsibility is so great, it’s worth wondering, would you be better off not knowing, and being less stressed? If you don’t know, you aren’t responsible for the outcome, the way things happen, or for alerting someone who can do something about the problem. What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

Here is the thing, though. Not knowing an alligator is about to eat you doesn’t change the FACT that you will soon be in his stomach. Not exactly blissful. Not working hard to be aware and raise your kids with intentional words and actions is only blissful as long as they are too young to question. It doesn’t change the fact that they will someday be out of control, demanding people, who think very little of themselves and others. Being ignorant becomes much less blissful when your house is in constant chaos because your kids won’t listen and your spouse is angry at you!

Using the ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ mindset in any area of life will end up metaphorically killing the one who speaks it. Money, marriage, knowledge of responsibilities at work, raising kids, knowing how to handle salesmen, or a million other things you could name. This saying is used by people who have not had success in their lives, and instead of taking responsibility to change and do the hard, but effective, things, they laugh and say “ignorance is bliss.” It is only blissful until the results come in: chaos, loss, pain, broken relationships, lost work, lost money, and a thousand other woes that result.

On the other hand, being aware, taking responsibility and working hard, staying up late taking care of your kids, trying to communicate well with your spouse, doing something about a problem you see at work, playing with your kids even at the end of a long day, these are all hard things we do now to produce the fruit of future healthy relationships. Feelings value, children who do responsible things and take responsibility for themselves, having money in the bank to take care of needs that come up, and even to enjoy! This is the fruit that is brought from NOT allowing yourself to be ignorant. From taking responsibility and being an ADULT instead of acting like a kid and then blaming the “other kids” for your problems.

Unhappy marriages, out of control kids, bad health, in most cases, these situations are the result of people choosing to stay ignorant of better ways of handling things in their lives. The moment you are no longer ignorant is the moment in which you become responsible for the outcome of a lot of situations. Based on how you respond, how you act, the words you say, the things you eat, how hard you work at your job. To be aware and do nothing does not allow you to blame others for your problems.

Now I know most of us probably don’t think on a conscious level that the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is really true. But on a subconscious level, many of us live that way. Thinking everything is going well and when things get bad we wonder what happened. I hear phrases from people all the time like “One day my kids just quit listening to me and now they are totally out of control” or “Everything with our money was fine until that car accident and then the whole world seemed to crash in” or “Our relationship was awesome, and then out of nowhere she got angry and said I never listen and left.” Do any of these saying sound familiar to you? Have you said them, or heard them said? Do these kinds of things really happen overnight? These people could have spent more time learning about their situations before it was too late, and it all “went south.” But more Netflix, another doughnut, the newest video game, being the parent that is always in control, may have been more important than actually learning how to do such big, hard, adult things like being married, having a job, paying for your bills and saving for the future, or raising kids. So even though we may not say this out loud, often on a lower level of consciousness we live this out daily, thinking that if we stay in the dark, everything will work out okay. WRONG. We have to work hard at the things that are important to us. If we do not, we will lose those things, possibly forever. And the pain will be much worse than the work it would have taken to avoid the problems.

So don’t be ignorant, create your own bliss, and let the haters clean up their own mess in 5 years when they could have had so much better!

Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’

 

Do you want to take more charge over your life? Do you want to not be the ignorantly blissful individual headed for a train wreck in life? If you want to create your own version of bliss then subscribe to my free course here!!!

Seasons: What are they for?

It is winter. It is cold. I don’t know very many people who are stoked about it being so cold that water left in your car overnight will freeze, or the feeling you get when you can’t breathe because of the wind taking your breath away at 15 degrees. Most of us are ready for spring. But why are we really ready for spring? After all, when it gets here, everyone starts counting down to summer vacation. When summer rolls around everyone complains about the 95 degree weather and the no rain for weeks on end. Now everyone is ready for fall and football and cooler days. Then during fall we start counting down until Halloween, Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas (winter). Once Christmas is over we use New Year’s as the antidote to our post Christmas depression and then comes the long rest of the winter. So why do we fall into this circle every year, and how does it apply to life and success? Good question.

There is a saying that most problems can be solved with a little perspective. I would tend to agree with this to a large extent. In the situation of the winter being long, grey, and dismal, and spring being the golden ticket out, you may be missing some opportunities. Opportunities like, learning to appreciate the fact that life is constantly changing, and if it were always spring, Christmas would never come around again. It sounds a little weird, but being okay with where you are at times means that you realize how quickly things change from their current state, and it is important to soak up what you can about life right where you are before you lose that opportunity because you were too focused on something else like what came next. And maybe you aren’t ready for what is next, until you can learn about right now. In your emotional or spiritual winter. What are you learning about you? About God and how you view Him?  Next, when spring comes after a long winter, how much more do you appreciate the spring. How much better does it feel to be warm instead of shivering and all your muscles tight and cramped and your heating bill out of control. Without winter, you could not truly appreciate the blessings of spring!

This may sound a little to poetic and abstract, but to put it into more practical terms, when you are in a bad spot at work, at home, at church, are you just wanting everything to be hunky dory, or are you thinking to yourself, what can I learn about where I am to build my character and make others better? Or help them avoid some pitfall? Am I asking God to take away the pain before I have learned the lesson? If you are having trouble knowing how to handle money, will simply having more solve your problem? Now you may be thinking “but what about when I don’t have enough to eat or pay my bills? Am I supposed to learn from that and be happy?” Yes. I did not say that you can’t work toward something better. What I am saying is that if we cannot ever learn to be content, or to learn from right where we are, and build our character in the place you you are in right now, changing your circumstances will only leave you wanting more.

There is one answer to this question of how to use the winter, love the spring and enjoy a healthy anticipation of summer (sorry, metaphors again). You have to be willing to accept that who you are is not determined by your income, house, job, clothes, parents, spouse, kids, sports, social status, or anything else you can name. It is determined by God. When you accept that God made a crowning creation (you) and in order to redeem that creation He sent His only child to get you back, you can let go of the need to have more, to get to the next place, or be done with winter. Because wherever you are, it will be a season worth living. It may seem a little confusing. Learn to be content, but want more. It can look something like this: You don’t feel the need to impress others, because you are too busy serving God. But you also continuously strive to be even more of what God has already made you!

 

 

To begin your journey of learning how to use your seasons of life, click here for a FREE subscription to my course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams. Or if you would rather stay stressed out, and discontent you can dismiss this article, and not take the course and move on. After all it is your choice!

5 Ways to Survive This “Unsurvivable” Life!

When everything goes wrong, how do you not lose your head (figuratively, or literally) and just get things figured out? I have a number of young people that I work with on a regular basis, and it seems that at the ripe old age of late teen and barely 20 something, they have multiple midlife crisis a day! Needless to say, the drama is a little hard to handle at times and goes so far as to begin affecting their status as employees. Does this sound like you or someone you know?

Life happens, and the question is how do you live through things like a wrecked car, a bad roommate, or seemingly more bills than money, and come out on the other end without being broken, mad at the world, or convinced you will never make it out of the ramen noodle and paper plate stage of life? Here are a few tips.

1. Take a deep breath! Seriously, you need to take a deep breath. Breath in deep through the nose. Breath out slowly through your mouth. If you are so stressed that you can’t even take a breath, then you either need to get some serious immediate help, or you need to figure out how to get rid of some problems, like, yesterday!

2. Ask yourself “What is the worst that could happen?” and it can help put things in perspective, and maybe even help you come up with some creative options for solving the problem. If you have a roommate that is not paying their share of rent, you need to ask yourself “What is the worst possible outcome of this situation?” Well, you could end up on the street having to live in your car. Okay, so now what are you going to do about it? You have several options here. Kick out your roommate and find a better one. Find another place to live before getting evicted. Continue to pay the rent yourself and let them ride on your hard work. Now it becomes very simple. You decide which outcome you want to have happen, and you do it. This approach can be taken to almost any situation; it helps you gain perspective, and understand that usually the worst is not as bad as you think, or if it is really bad, there are almost always choices that you can make to control the outcome. The hardest part about this is that once you have thought this through, you are now responsible for what happens.

3. Don’t take responsibility for anyone but you. Most often when I see young people who are in a bad situation, they are either not taking responsibility for their own actions, OR they are trying to take responsibility for someone else’s stupidity, i.e. a friend is stupid and wrecks their car because of bad driving, or loses their license because of a DUI, or is late for preparing for a test. People put their own job, class test results, or ability to pay rent at risk, to “help” someone who is “down.” These “friends” are not going to learn if you work your butt off trying to remove the consequences of their stupidity by trying to take the punishment for their actions. As a matter of fact, you are helping them stay irresponsible. So go to work yourself and they can get their own ride. Pay your own rent and kick them out, and study for your own test, instead of helping them with theirs that they should have started sooner. At the end of the day they will complain about the world if you help them, or complain about you if you don’t help them. So don’t sacrifice yourself to the god of their stupidity. Let them LEARN from their mistakes, just like you did!

4. Don’t make excuses. So often when someone comes to me and wants to tell me about something that they are going through and how they don’t know what to do, etc., all they are looking for is someone to complain to. Please don’t come and complain to me, unless you are looking for solutions, because I am going to offer them. And then the truth comes out: they enjoy the drama. You know how I know? Because when a solution is provided, or the complainer is asked to think critically about how the problem might be solved or resolved, they make 101 excuses as to why they are the exception to every method of solving their problem. It is almost as though, if they didn’t have problems to complain about they wouldn’t know what to do with their lives. If someone gives you solution, stop trying to make it not work, and start making it work. The number one roadblock to problem solving is the person not really wanting the problem solved.

5. Give yourself a break. You need to realize that where you are right now, is where you are right now. Allow yourself to have made a mistake. You know what? You have learned what not to do next time. Expecting to have all the answers is like expecting a baby to know how to walk and talk when they are born. We don’t expect those things, because we know they have not had the experiences that give them the information they need to know how to walk or talk. How is being an adult any different? If you have never been in a tough relationship before, how can you already know how to handle it? If you have never had to juggle a job and class and hobbies and friend time, don’t you think it would be normal to have some scheduling conflicts that you have to work through and figure out? If you are new to a job, should you have all the answers to every customer question your first day, week, or even month? Give yourself the grace to live life and learn as you go. As long as you ARE learning, then you don’t have to feel bad about what you don’t know.

These are my top 5 tips to survive the unsurvivable, and come out smarter on the other side. If you do these things, you will be so far ahead of everyone around you, it will look like they are going backwards! I believe in what you are capable of, now go believe in who God made you to be and live it!

 

If any of this sounds like you or someone you know, and you want information and methods on how to implement these and other behaviors to lower stress, and see the light at the end of the tunnel, then click here to subscribe to my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams!

Why Do We Wait To Get Better?

Why do we wait to start change?

Does setting a starting date for being more responsible with money, eating right, or getting up early make it easier to start? Does waiting to forgive someone make it easier to reconcile? Do we need to wait for someone’s permission to value ourselves or take responsibility?

 

Change can be scary for a myriad of reasons, but instead of focusing on the fear, why not try looking at the results we are missing by not working to be better?

 

Recently I have had two friends unexpectedly pass away, a brother in a nearly fatal accident, and a brother and sister in law in a car-totaling accident. All of these events remind me that life only comes once, and it goes by so much faster than we think it does. It is important to maintain a balance between enjoying the current moment and working to make the next one better. Too often, we use the excuse that we are living in the moment to let ourselves out of improving ourselves.

 

Imagine living until age ninety and looking back realizing that the entirety of your life, you were afraid you had nothing to offer the world, and so you just lived day to day eating, sleeping, going to work, and being afraid of what people thought of you. Imagine if Michelangelo had never given the world the Sistine Chapel because he didn’t think he had anything to offer the world. What if Benjamin Franklin had not invented bifocals because he was afraid that if he failed people would think he was just a crazy old man? These men did things that they were uniquely capable of doing. So what makes you think that you have nothing to develop, or that if you have something, it is your right to keep it from the world?

 

While the things done by “great” people seem much bigger than managing your time, controlling your weight, or learning to be confident in yourself, it all starts somewhere. It starts with trial and error. It starts with discipline and failure. It starts in the very beginning with knowing that you are worth your own effort! You are worth changing for the better. It is good, great, and profitable for you to focus on yourself, developing what you have, so you can then in turn develop others.

 

To go back to the question about why change is scary, it usually boils down to people either being afraid they are not worth putting in the effort to change themselves, or they are afraid that others won’t like them anymore if they work hard at being the best versions of themselves.

 

Don’t let fear of failure or of others cheat the world out of the greatness that God created in you! Be brave. Work hard. Change!

 

If you are tired of waiting, sick of letting life go by you and want to start the change in your life, then click here to take my easy, FREE course! Don’t wait for the right time! Make the time!

Do You Know Why You Get up in the Morning?

Why do you live life? What drives you? Do you live just trying to make it to tomorrow? Do you live only thinking that if you make it to tomorrow maybe life will be better? Do you live in the past thinking that best has already come and gone and now life is misery until it ends?

These are questions that I think we have to ask ourselves if we ever intend to make real change in our lives, or have any real joy. Think about it. When someone becomes a Christian their focus changes to living a life of obedience to Christ and a hope of eternal life. When a great athlete such as Lou Gehrig, or recently Tom Brady, plays, they are playing from passion, either for the game, or for someone they care about. It drives them. When someone starts a new small business they put in a lot of effort and really pour their energy into it. If you were to talk to these people right after change took place, or while they were getting started, or while they were working hard at being the best, I would bet that you would see someone who gets up in the morning learning from the past to shape the future.

I have worked with hundreds of young people over the last few years, and want to share two examples. There is a young man I know of 28 who does not have plans for the future. When he comes to work, his life consists of trying to make enough money to pay bills. He is working for tips. This leads to stress and a great deal of job dissatisfaction that comes out almost daily. He gets upset about how much people underneath him make. He gets upset about how much other positions in his workplace make. He complains about the hours. And yet, he is not actively looking to change his position by leaving his current job and getting a different one that is a better fit, pays more, or just “appreciates him more,” like he claims to want. Why? Because he has trapped himself. He has a four year degree, workplace experience, and a great mind. But he won’t think bigger picture.

On the other end of the spectrum is a young man working at the same place, same pay, same workplace responsibilities. But he wants more out of life. He hasn’t even fully formulated what that looks like, but he knows that for anything to be different he has to want it first. To look for it. To seek what his different and better looks like. In the time I have known him he has gained control of his money, begun to resolve some relationship issues with his parents, and gained leadership experience that will help him for the rest of his life.

The difference between these two young men? Perspective. Purpose. Wanting something more. And, interestingly enough, you have to not be so self-centered that you don’t take care of yourself. The first young man is so focused on how he feels he is being wronged at work, that he is letting time and opportunity pass him by. The second young man is more focused on being his best self and helping others in a way that he will have unlimited opportunities open to him.

If you want a different life you need to think beyond the problems of today. You need to put something in front of you that you’re passionate about and meant to live for. When you do that, it’s a whole lot easier to get up early, to work hard, to stay focused, to say ‘no’ to distractions. You can be a lot more fulfilled and happy when you know that each day you get up is a day that matters. A day to help someone, a day to make yourself the best version of you yet, or a day to inch closer to a realized dream. When you’re just living to get through the day, it’s a sign of insecurity, dare I say selfishness, and an unwillingness to let go of your problems long enough to grasp something better. It may sound harsh, but often misery is self inflicted. Living for something that gives you purpose, looking to be better, makes the here and now matter more. It’s easier to be content when you know that life isn’t about surviving another moment. It’s about making your moments count. What are YOU living for?

 

If you want to begin the journey towards discovering your purpose, click here to take my FREE course, 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams.

Stress: Is it a Choice or a Circumstance?

Why do we stress? What is it that makes a person happy, or not? This is something I have been pondering over the last few weeks. Building off of observation from years of working with young people, middle aged people, people in careers, and adding in my own experience and studies, I’ve put together a few thoughts that have helped me with this issue.

I think at times the answer can seem complicated, but usually, it’s a simple, but difficult to admit answer: You are only a victim of circumstances you create. Let me explain. As I think back to something that happened to me a couple of years ago, being able to see things differently would not have changed the circumstance at the moment, but it would have had a great effect on how I viewed the world for the next few days, AND how easy I was to live with. What happened was that on my way to work at 6:00 a.m. I pulled to an empty three-way stop intersection, came to an almost complete stop, and then continued through the intersection. The instant I went through the intersection a police officer that had been hiding pulled me over, wrote me a ticket, and had no response when I asked if pulling me over was a matter of safety, or law. The next few days I was stressed, mad, unhappy and frustrated that I was the “victim” of a force being used to hide and catch people to generate revenue. I came up with all sorts of things in my head that I wished I could say to the officer, and stressed about how big the ticket would be, or how it would affect my insurance. Another area of stress was that I also worked for a company that pulled driving records annually, and had been hired by them only a few short months prior to this. I was not any fun to deal with for awhile.

The reality was that if I had been able to see out three months from that event, I would have been able to see that I still had a job, my insurance had not been affected, and even if it had, it was my responsibility since I made the decision to roll the stop sign, and life continued on. It did not end that early November morning when I got my first ticket.

The first key to being happier and less stressed is to take responsibility for your circumstances. By realizing that the things that happened to me were a result of my own actions, then I could make a choice to change things. I could have chosen not to roll the stop sign to start with. I could have chosen not to drive that road. After I got pulled over, I could have chosen simply to learn from the situation rather than get mad. At first, I tried to say that what happened to me was the policeman’s fault for pulling me over, the city for having those laws, or that I wished I could change things I couldn’t change. I ended up mad, stressed, and had a very negative effect on those around me until I saw what stressing over things I couldn’t change was doing.

This brings me to the second key. Change what you can. Let go of what you can’t. This is preached by hundreds of people; it’s not new news. It is hard to practice, though. If you aren’t willing to let go of the things you cannot control, you are affirming your commitment to being unhappy, and blaming your circumstances for your attitude. You are actually choosing to be stressed and unhappy. You are making the choice to allow others and their opinions, or your surroundings control you. Again, this is your choice. You may not be able to control if someone close to you passes away, or if your house gets flooded, or if someone thinks you will always be a failure.  What you can control is how you respond. You can choose to see yourself differently, the way God sees you! You can choose to look down the road to where you could be and make the choice to head there, and not stay where you are.

That is the third key: You have to see beyond. When you’re caught dealing with the bad day, the terrible boss, the speeding ticket, the broken down car, I would challenge you to look back and see how many tough things you have gone through that you thought in the moment that your life was at its worst, and you couldn’t figure out a solution for the life of you. And yet here you are on the other side of that situation! You have eaten, had a place to live, maybe even have had a friend or two along the way. If you look at things this way, it’s easier to think more clearly, and not be overwhelmed by the moment, day, or even week you are in right now. Life will always happen. What are you going to choose to do with it?

So you see, being happy is not about others treating you a certain way, or the job you are currently in. Lowering stress is not about your current circumstances suddenly vanishing and everything seeming to be fixed magically before your eyes. It is about you choosing to see life differently. Making choices that take you from where you don’t want to be, to where you do want to be. And remember, you have to be thankful for the people and things you experience. It is essential. It allows you to learn when it’s hard, to grow when there is a challenge, and to rest when you have achieved a goal. You have to be thankful. Which, interestingly enough, is also a choice you must make.

Be responsible. Change what you can. See beyond right now. It’s easier to see growth looking backwards than forwards. May God bless you as you seek to be more joyful and happy as one of His amazing creatures!

 

Do you want to be in charge of your circumstances? Do you want to stop being controlled by those around you? Do you want to learn how to change your own situation? Then click here to lower stress levels and gain control in simple daily steps!

Do You Really Want to be Disciplined?

Discipline. It’s one of those things we all claim to want, but at the end of the day, we end up reverting to our old habits. We end up falling short of our goals. What is the key to staying on task? Thinking bigger picture!

How do people get up at 5 or 6 every morning? Is it because they are just “morning people?” How does someone say no to sugar when they decide to eat better? Is it because they just no longer like sugar? How does someone stay with a project for months, or even years, continuing to work on it before they see results? Is it because they just have nothing else to do?

It can be easy to see someone succeeding at something and to simply say “Oh, they must have a special power, or something.” The truth is that they don’t have anything more than you do, except practice and a long-term picture.

So, how do you get from where you are today to that person who is disciplined, dedicated, and motivated? I will warn you that there is a fairly simple answer, but not an easy one, or one that is a magic pill where suddenly your brain never wants anything but success. It is a conscious effort that you have to make daily.

Becoming disciplined starts with recognizing that you always do what you want. If you sleep late, then what you really want to do is sleep more than getting up early. If you eat donuts instead of just nuts, then you really want the donut more than you want to be healthy. Unless you are willing to admit that you don’t do anything you don’t want to do, you won’t take responsibility and you will see yourself as a helpless victim. You will sabotage your own success because you will tell yourself “I really want to be healthy, but I just CAN’T resist this donut.” When you admit that you wanted the donut most, you can decide that you have control over what you want, and you can change it if you don’t like it. When you take responsibility, you give yourself power to be in charge. Now you can use that power. This is probably the hardest part of change which leads to success.

Discipline is simply a result of taking charge of your choices, and making the choices that give you what you really want. As I was working at building my morning routine and getting up early every day, I saw that if I didn’t have something specific that I was going to do when I got up, I struggled to get out of bed when I thought I wanted to, and some days I slept in. I had to decide the night before when I went to bed what specifically I was going to do when I got up the next morning. That way when I woke up I would tell myself, “If I get up and do this task, then I can go back to bed,” knowing that if I could get myself out of bed, and open my computer to write, or to read, that I would be winning the hardest part of the battle: getting out of bed. Not getting out of getting up by reasoning with myself why I needed more sleep. Then once I was up, I would rarely go back to bed. It wasn’t that hard to stay up, because I had already committed to an action and didn’t want to lose my progress.

The key to this equation is reminding yourself of what you are gaining by following through on the choice you have already made. Remind yourself of what you’re trying to do, and how that will make you feel versus how you feel when you fail. If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself tempted by ice cream, remind yourself of how you will feel tonight if you give in, even though you want to in that moment. How will you feel tomorrow, or next week, when you haven’t been able to meet your weight loss goal? Is having an ice cream cone now really worth the feeling of failure you’ll have when you look back on today? Think about the difference in cost; it’s just not worth it. It would be like taking $100 bribe from someone to lose a game so you can buy an Xbox, and not caring that it could ruin your career in sports.

Think beyond your current moment. That is what discipline is. It isn’t  some magical power that a chosen few have obtained. Discipline is making it through this moment by reminding yourself of what your actions will add up to if you do them for a week, a month, or a year, and basing your choices on that. If the choices you make today produce the only results you are allowed to experience for the next year, what choices would you make today? Would you work harder at your job? Would you make it a priority to work out today? Would you skip the burger and soda and instead save your money and eat at home? That’s discipline.

You have the power to choose. You are not a victim of your circumstances. What you do today creates your tomorrow. No one can tell you what kind of success your discipline can create. It’s up to you! Now what are you going to do about it?

 

Have you done some self-examination and found your discipline to be sorely lacking? Don’t beat yourself up about it – we all need help sometimes! But you can make tomorrow better than today. My FREE COURSE 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams can help you plan your day to accomplish those things you really want to be doing. Click here to start today!

How Not to be a Stick in the Mud: 5 Ways to Restart Your Motivation

How do you stay motivated when things get tough? How do you get re-motivated when things seem to slow down and stop? Where do you find drive when you lose yours?

 

These are all great questions, and if we had the answers down perfectly no one would have any issues at all with successfully achieving dreams and goals in life. If you are looking for a magic pill, then you should stop reading here and spend your time on something that will fit your fantasy. I can, however, give you some tips that I have found helpful. Let’s face it, the hardest thing to do is to get started on something. Especially if we are afraid we might fail. Or, if we have spent a long time working on a project without reaching our goal, and the end seems so close, yet so far away. How many of us have reached a point in a project where we stagnate? We either run out of energy, resources, inspiration, motivation, or perspective/vision.

 

So what are the keys to keep us going? Well, let’s dive in. I warn you, though, that it will require a good deal of mental work and commitment. Those are the first two keys, but they play themselves out in several ways.

 

Why? This is the top of the list. You have to ask yourself this question a lot. Why does it matter if I complete this project? Why does it matter if I get up early, or complete this paper, or any number of other things? This should be used to help you gain perspective and get a big picture view. If your why for writing a paper and turning it in on time is to get a good grade, it may not be a big enough reason to push you into getting it done. Go bigger. Why are you in school in the first place? Why do you work for this company? If you are here just to exist, then you will have little to no motivation of any kind. If you can’t remember why you are doing something, take some time to rediscover your why, or to find one! Always know your why.

 

How far have you come? This is hard for a lot of people. It’s hard for me. If you look ahead at what you have left to do to achieve your why, your goal, your end result, it can be discouraging. Seeing things you have never done before can be scary or intimidating. On the other hand, if you look back at how far you have come, at all the things you did for the first time and either succeeded at or learned from, you will realize that, in fact, you are AWESOME!! If you are discouraged about where you are, you have already made progress. At the very least, you have recognized the need for change. And this is the first step toward achieving success in whatever version it comes for you!

 

Who are you accountable to? Do you have someone who will help you when you need it, who will encourage you when you’re down, who will kick you in the seat of your pants when you’re lazy? We all have those times when we need someone outside of our situation who can help us regain our perspective. This person is the kind of person who is there because it matters to them what happens to us. They are vested in our success. This person can come in many forms; it can be a spouse, a good friend, a paid coach or mentor. It must, however, be someone who will be able to objectively encourage you, teach you, push you, and celebrate success with you. It is very hard to do everything by yourself. It’s so important to have someone who will be there when you are worn out and all the people around you, or your “friends” are not supporting your growth toward something better. In the coaching and professional world this role is typically referred to as an accountability partner. Call it what you like, but find one. This is probably one of the most important parts of success when trying to complete anything significant.

 

What is holding you back? Figure this out. What is getting you down? Are you making a big deal out of something in your head because it’s a new experience? Are you not sure what your next steps are? Are you afraid of what people will think if you complete your project or don’t meet someone else’s expectations of your life? I can say from experience that most roadblocks are mental. I am not in any way saying that they are not real to you. I have had many mental roadblocks. I refer to them as “mental monsters.” My mental monsters usually involve something I am not sure how to do, so I put it off, and then it grows. It goes from something that I don’t know how to do to something I now feel guilty about how I’m letting it hold me back. It literally becomes bigger in my mind than it actually is. It becomes a mental MONSTER! The obvious thing for me to say here is that the best ammo against these monsters is to do just do the thing that is stopping you. If that were easy, though, we wouldn’t have this paragraph in this article. So what do you do with those monsters? You eradicate them from your life by just doing it. But let me help you cheat a little. It doesn’t mean you failed if you have to get help. I get help to complete things all the time! Between my coach and my wife, who works as my right hand, I get a lot of help for things that are difficult, or that are not in my skillset. Henry Ford didn’t become the success he was by building every car himself. The Wright brothers used a lot of ideas and research from others while trying to solve the problem of flight. Presidents of companies have boards of advisors. That should tell you something about success. It is okay to get help and to use the resources around you. Give yourself a break, and kill your monsters. Last but not least, ignore what others think. If you have already determined that what you are doing is your path, and that it aligns with your values and what you want to achieve, you can’t help what others will think. There will always be people who will tell you you’re wrong. Always. If you are a failure, people will tell you. If you’re a success, people will be jealous. So ignore the naysayers and be successful. The only time you should listen is if they have something truly helpful,  caring, or constructive to say.

 

Where is all this getting you? This is kind of tied into your why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? But in addition you need to ask yourself what you are gaining. If you are looking to have “made it,” you may never arrive. Success is a very subjective term and only in rare cases is it a destination. Usually it’s a journey. Think about it; how many wealthy people stop working the moment that are financially set? How many actors stop acting once they have been in one big movie? How many authors stop writing as soon as they get a bestseller? Most of us would consider people like this successful. But did they arrive, or have they created a lifestyle? Stop and consider if what you are doing right now is going to get you something better in the future. Are the hours you are putting into school, work, a relationship going to benefit you or anyone else eventually? Or is the stress, overtime, hard classes, tough issues in a relationship, indefinite, in the hopes that if you do it long enough you will somehow arrive at the city of “Made It.” You shouldn’t be afraid to make huge investments in things that mean something, but only if there is an end in mind. If you spend all your time not loving your life, then there is no point. Ask yourself what will change for you in the future. This is really just a smaller picture of your why. That good grade on your paper may help you get a scholarship to help pay for school. Your why is the reason you’re going to school, but things that you do may gain you benefit or advantage as you go.

 

These concepts can be a lot to put into practice, but remember this. If you are having trouble getting up in the morning, seeing the point in giving life everything you have, or finding the motivation to finish what you have started, you are not the only, nor the first person. The fact that it matters to you whether or not you are stuck or moving forward puts you way ahead of the crowd, and if you ask yourself these questions, chances are that you will find some answers to help you. What is critical is that you don’t stay stuck. You are capable of much more than you realize. Own your progress! Do something! Be better!

 

Are you ready to reignite your passion? Find your motivation, again? Click here to take my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams!

Investing in Yourself: Why You Owe it to Others to be a Little Selfish

Investing in yourself is essential to success. Taking time to do the things that you need and want to do is often viewed as selfishness, but it can become the deciding difference between mediocrity and prosperity.

If I am not careful, I will start sounding like a cheesy self-help author looking for another sale, hyping you up about yourself, only for you to drop off the artificial high with no long-lasting life change. That model doesn’t work. It’s based more on emotion than improvement and measurable success. On making you feel better rather than driving you to BE better.

Instead, I’m here to talk about real self investment. The kind that you make when you pay for a membership at a gym, or when you pay for budgeting help, or pay for personal coaching. It’s the investment that says “I want something different than I have, and I am willing to put in my time, money, AND energy to achieve it.” There are two things that drive people to make these kinds of investments: guilt and a sense of self-worth. The ones who feel guilty are the ones who invest in themselves because they think that if they achieve a certain goal, then they will have value. The ones who invest because they already believe themselves to have self-worth are the ones who say “I am worth this time, money, and energy.” Who do you think gets better results? And who do you think is going to get burnt out sooner?

Think about the people you know. What ones are more attractive to you? More than likely, the ones who are comfortable in their own skin, who aren’t comparing themselves to others standards of measurement, but seem driven for more. These people have little room for jealousy, but instead choose to be inspired by the success of others. Now think about someone you know who spends time on themselves to create a sense of self-worth. Are they afraid of what people think of them? Are they secure or insecure? Do they stick with activities if they don’t see a change in how people view them? Do they get negative if they don’t feel better about themselves?

Then there’s a third group of people. The ones who don’t invest in themselves. There are a lot of those out there, and, at risk of being too general, this high percentage of the population rarely accomplishes anything notable. Talent isn’t worth anything unless it is practiced and used. Someone like that may have huge amounts of talent and achieve small amounts of success, but they have no work ethic; they will not amount to anything.

One last concept before I tie everything together. If you are going to bring water to, say, your dog, you can’t pour water into his bowl from an empty pitcher, right? You have to fill the pitcher at the sink, and then fill up the water dish. People are the same way. You can’t give anyone what you don’t have. Do you want to be known as someone who is outgoing, has energy, is generous with your time efforts, or even your money? Then you first have to have those things. Have you ever felt tired and drained at the end of a day? You are just that. Drained. You gave all day and didn’t get filled back up. In order to give like you want, you have to first put those things into yourself.

You have to believe that you cannot give what you don’t have. And you can’t achieve results where you haven’t put in effort. Successful athletes, business owners, entrepreneurs, all have one thing in common. They have spent time, money, and effort getting coaches, marketers, or business analysts to “pour” into their efforts, and have brought out the success that we see on the news, at sporting events, or while buying their products and wishing we had their success. If you want it, you have to invest in it. Which means investing in yourself first. Think about it. We invest in better clubs to play better golf, we invest in better funds to have a better retirement, in a better car to get more use or enjoyment out of it. We invest in our kids, or our spouse, or our work, or our career. Don’t you think it would be okay if you spent some time investing in yourself? Don’t you think you kids and spouse would gain from you being a better version of yourself? Or your job from you being more relaxed and confident? You will thank yourself if you take the time to put back into you the things you want to give to others. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you to become the best possible version of you! And just watch, you will achieve far beyond any limits you think are holding you back!!

 

 

If you are interested the ideas presented here and want to get started making a better you, take advantage of my  Free 14 day course to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams by following this link: http://stephenandrewcoaching.com/free-course/