New Habit Mindset

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21 one wishes to my 21-year-old son.

I remember so vividly turning 21.  Back then you could drink at 18 so it wasn’t about the legality of consuming booze that made the event memorable.

Somehow turning 21 meant I was really crossing the threshold into adulthood.  It was an age that put my teenage years behind me and my adult independence within a hands reach.

As I celebrate my son’s 21st birthday, I think about my 21-year-old self and the lessons learned.  How many times did I spend worrying about inconsequential things, or kept my mouth shut when maybe it would have been better to advocate more vocally for myself or for others.

It’s always easier looking back.  But if we keep sticking to the hard work –  the work that requires to stand tall, live by our values, be professional, show up, and have the discipline to take courageous small steps forward, we can all live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

What would you tell your  21 year-old-self?

1. Be kind yourself and to others.

Being kind yourself is a lot harder than you think.  Self-compassion and forgiveness are cornerstones to building a life of happiness and humility.

2. Enjoy the journey.

The destination for all of us is death.  Don’t rush through life.  Savor the days. Savor the moments that really matter. Look for the good.

3. Learn when to say ‘no’.

It is easy to fall into a trap of pleasing others.  Risking rejection or feeling that you might be letting someone down are difficult emotions to navigate.  At the end of the day, you need to respect yourself which is more important than anything.  Learn when you need to walk away.  Learn when saying ‘no’ serves you.

4. Keep getting up and be professional.

When you were learning to walk, you fell down a lot.  It was not a big deal.  Falling down was just feedback on how you might get better at standing upright.  Make mistakes and learn from them.  They help you grow.  But also there are times when you are not going to want to do something.  You just don’t feel like it.  But keep showing up.  Be professional.  Don’t give to the whims of your emotions.

5. Be aware of your assumptions.

Sometimes we are all quick to judge and quick to assume.  But our eyes and our perceptions fool us constantly.  Watch out for assumptions as they could easily lead you down the wrong path. Learn how to ask really good questions. Dive deep. Discover new truths.

6. Make the world a better place.

Materialism, power, and money are seductive.  You will be most proud of doing work that is meaningful to you and is helping others

7. Laugh often.

And mostly at yourself.  Life can be serious, difficult, challenging, discouraging, and hard.  Laughter can decrease your stress hormones and build up your immune cells.  Laughing is contagious – what a great thing to spread.

8. Keep exercising your courage muscle.

Courage is the opposite of fear.  No one can accomplish any courageous act without experiencing fear or self-doubt.  Practice stepping outside your comfort zone.  Every single person experiences fear.   Just feel the fear and do it anyway.

9. Friends matter.

Liking something on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram does not cultivate friendships. Snapchat is not a conversation.  Pick up the phone and call someone and have a meaningful conversation.  Go visit someone.  Reach out personally. Treasure conversations with friends outside of social media.

10.  Save for a rainy day.

If you live to be 100, you will be working for 65 – 70 years.  Build your financial nest egg first. Life will bring you uncertain times or you will want a change.

11. Live by your values.

Knowing your values and what is really important to you will help you make better decisions. It’s easy to get distracted.  Know your “why?”

12. Don’t take too much personally.

Stuff happens.  People say things or do things that really have nothing to do with you.  Don’t take too much personally.   Seek feedback from those you can trust.  But otherwise, don’t get rattled by other people’s stuff.

13. Know your biases.

We have a lot of biases.  Maybe over 100.  The two that seem to trip us up a lot are our unconscious and cognitive biases.  Challenge your biases, the same way you need to challenge your assumptions.  The world is complex and nuanced. It is easy to distill information down to a way that only supports your way of thinking. This will limit you.  Understand where your thinking may be limiting you.

14. Forgive and forget.

People are going to do things that piss you off.  You may even do something that causes shame or embarrassment.  Get over it.  Forgive yourself.  Forgive others. Move on.  Life is short.  The planet has been spinning for 4.5 billion years.  If you can’t forgive, or you feel guilty about something, go make it right, and then move on.

15. Cultivate curiosity.

A curious mindset will help you immensely.  It opens up doors to creative thinking and keeps you in the present moment.

16. Learn how to ask for help.

Life will throw a curve ball or maybe several.  Unexpected events happen.  Cultivate a network of friends.  Accept your own vulnerability.  Ask for help.  We are here for each other.

17.  Have plan A, B, or C for your near future.

It is great to have goals.   They help you focus and achieve results in your life that really matter to you.  Willpower, deliberate practice, and commitment are attributes that will help you achieve results.  But sometimes life doesn’t go as planned.  When you have alternative options, you will feel more in charge of your life and less likely to be a victim of circumstances.

18. Know what you can and cannot control.

A lot of stress and anxiety is lost to thinking about things we cannot control.  At the end of the day, you are in control of your emotions, your thoughts, your behaviors, how you spend your time, and your actions.  Pretty much everything else is outside of your control.  You may be able to influence outcomes or people.  That is very different from control.  Understand the difference between control and influence.  Let go of things that are outside of your control.

19. You always have a choice.

Often we can get stuck in a victim mindset when we feel as if we have no choice.  But if you dive deep into the situation, you probably find that you have more choices than you realize, even if the choice is how you respond to a situation.

20.  You will most likely have 5 careers or more.

The world is changing so fast.  New careers are being created all the time while others are disappearing.  You have no idea what types of new jobs will be available even in 5 years from now.  Keep an open mind.  Don’t let your past passions or professions define your future. Most of us are multifaceted with multiple interests.  It’s ok to change. Be open to possibilities you haven’t even imagined.

21.  Know that you are loved.

You are enough just being you.  You don’t need to prove anything to anyone except yourself.  Maybe you won’t understand this now, but there is nothing like a parent’s love for their children.  It’s deep and wide.  We aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we say the wrong things or make mistakes.  But know that you are loved!!


22. Practice a sustainable lifestyle

It’s easy to experience burn out. Pace yourself. Eat well.  Make exercise a priority.  Walk in nature. Meditate or practice mindfulness.  Advocate for clean air, non-toxic environments, and natural resources.  These steps will allow you and our planet to be around for a long, long time.


Recommended Books

Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss




The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey




The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins


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Three simple habits to get unstuck in any area of your life.

The self-help movement is a $9.9 billion industry but the US population is generally unhappy, overweight, disengaged at work, and not saving any money. Here are the statistics: 

There is no shortage of gurus, programs, or blogs (like this one)  to help you with personal mastery, health and fitness, weight loss, relationships, career or financial planning, mindfulness, or anything else you want to tweak or change in your life.

Why are are we unable to change?  Why do we get so stuck in our status quo?

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26 ways you can achieve a marathon mindset and reach your goals.

Today is the Boston Marathon.  It’s the oldest continuing running marathon that attracts international elite athletes to compete in running 26.2 miles.  Due to its competitive entry requirements, the field is limited to 30,000 entrants of which 80% must beat a qualifying time at another marathon in their age category.  It’s not for the faint-hearted but for goal-driven, competitive personalities.   

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How to use positive psychology to kickstart your goals for 2018.

When I ask you, “how was your day?”, what is your response?

Do you immediately recount the negative experiences that have recently happened or are you able to identify some of the positive outcomes you may have experienced?

Most people dwell on the areas of their life that are not going well or where they have experienced negative emotions.  This tendency is driven by the default wiring in your brain.  Positive psychology and strength-based questions can help override your negative thinking and improve your capacity to create success in your life by focusing on what is going well for you now and building on your key strengths.

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Stoicism revisited: how ancient wisdom can help you navigate uncertain times.

What do you when you are faced with uncertainty, fear, or stress?  How do you cope with obstacles?  Stoic philosophy could provide you with very useful tools to navigate life’s challenges.

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Fear Of Success

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Learn how the fear of success could be stopping you dead in your tracks.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

Many people freeze when wanting to move forward because they are afraid of failure. But what if we are really paralyzed by the fear of success.

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How to make perfectionism actually work for you.

Are you a perfectionist? Do people call out your perfectionism as a negative trait?

Often when I am striving to excel, persisting with the nitty-gritty to get something “just right,” and suddenly a roadblock or catastrophe occurs sending me off course, the advice I typically get is to:

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How to move from a money scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.

Family debt is at an all time high since the 2008 mortgage crisis.  It appears that the rise in student college debt is contributing to this increase.   While our economy is based on sustainable borrowing to fuel jobs and growth, has US family debt gone too far?

How much debt are you carrying? Do you feel like you never have enough money?

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Digitally Distracted? 4 Tips to Conquer Screen Hopping

Is our technological boom derailing your ability to achieve success by hijacking all your time and your emotional stability?

Ask yourself:

  • Are you unable to perform concentrated work for 25 minutes without changing screens?
  • Do you find yourself constantly checking email or social media updates every minute?
  • Are you impatient when something doesn’t happen within nanoseconds?
  • Does frustration or despair dominate your emotional state when goals or desired outcomes don’t instantaneously manifest?

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3 Powerful Lessons from Hidden Figures

Based on the historically accurate book written by Margaret Lee Shelterly, Hidden Figures, directed by Ted Medfli is a film that stirs your soul with admiration and inspiration for the three trailblazing African-American heroines who worked as mathematicians at NASA during the early years of the space program back in the early 1960s.

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