Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter!
How different is your life, right now, from where you were 12 months ago?
Would I offend you if I said that if you answered, “It’s quite similar” then you haven’t been learning very much. To learn, by nature, is to change and evolve. I believe in life-long learning, which means life-long changing!
Regularly creating peak experiences , moments of deep awe, gratitude, and a shift in how you see yourself and the world, creates change.
When was your last peak experience?
Have you flexed your courage muscles lately?
When was the last time you tried something that might not work? Heck, I’m famous for this one!
Making progress means making tweaks.
Life is a learning experience. Live and learn, right?
Life is wonderful and you get to have fun with it.
Maybe that’s why I call my brand Joyinmovement. Movement means many things and one of them is progress.
Your future is flexible. Your past is also flexible. What you have is now.
You get to decide what you’re going to do. You get to decide how you’re going to live.
Want to make a shift in the new year? Good, I’m happy for you!
Here are 15 behaviors to get you started. Even if the first few don’t resonate with you, keep reading because I guarantee some of the suggestions will be meaningful!
1. Wake Up Earlier
If you just start waking up a little earlier, your feelings about yourself will change. I’m learning this lesson day by day.
Many people lack the confidence that they can wake up early. They doubt this makes a difference in their whole day. Try it consistently for 30 days and see what you think. Does thirty days seem like too long an experiment?
Start with seven days. Seven days later you may just look like a different person.
Confidence is the byproduct of prior performance. It doesn’t take much to reset how you feel about yourself.
Start waking up a little earlier and see if this doesn’t spill into other areas of life where you could use more confidence.
Then do this:
2. Drink More Water
As soon as you wake up in the morning, drink a HUGE glass of water. Drinking water first thing in the morning actually makes you more alert and wakes you up. If you wake up and immediately drink 20+ ounces of water, your morning sleepiness won’t last long.
Having water on an empty stomach helps to cleanse the colon, which in turn increases the efficiency of the intestine to absorb nutrients. It also helps in flushing out toxins from your body.
When we drink healthy amounts of water we have healthier skin and better functioning brains. Who doesn’t want benefits like those?
3. Write Your Goals Down, Every Single Morning
After you pull yourself out of bed and drink a huge glass of water, find a spot to pull open your journal.
Write your goals down.
Do this every day.
Do this first thing in the morning, every single day, and your life will change.
Because your orientation toward your day reflects how you approach your day.
Most people allow their environment and bodily addictions to trigger themselves into unhealthy subconscious patterns, which they then play out every single day.
First thing in the morning, they are sucked back into their smartphone.
Then they go through their day, and not much different happens from the day before.
This isn’t very creative, nor is it imaginative.
But what happens when you start your day by writing down your goals and dreams for the future?
How do you think this behavior would influence your imagination and creativity?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
The best way to CREATE your day is to start in a creative mode. In order to wake up in a creative mode, you must give yourself space for reflection.
Writing your goals down on paper doesn’t need to take more than 2 minutes.
As you write your goals down, you shift your subconscious patterns. You train your brain to begin LOOKING for what you want.
Most people’s brains have been trained to be lazy. They haven’t proactively set their brain on a search for what they want. As a result, incredible opportunities pass them by every day.
But there’s more.
When you visualize your future in the form of writing goals, you literally re-wire your brain and memory. While writing your goals, get yourself into an aroused emotional state. Imagine and feel what it would be like to have those goals.
The more emotional the writing, the more subconsciously shifting the experience.
The more emotionally arousing, the more your brain will create new neural connections.
As your brain makes new neural connections, your memories and perspective of the world changes.
What would happen if your mind and brain changed, daily, to reflect the person you intend to become and the future you intend to live?
It would be pretty amazing, right?
Every morning, you’ll have 15–30 minutes of complete creative fun writing in your journal.
Your morning journal then becomes the doorway to a new universe where anything is possible.
You stop editing yourself.
You just write.
And as you write, you’ll see CRAZY and AMAZING things go from your hand to your pen to your paper to your head all from your heart.
“Wow! Did I really just write that?” says your conscious mind.
“Absolutely,” echoes your increasingly confident subconscious.
4. Put Your Phone On Airplane Mode More Often
“Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.”— Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Time is the ultimate currency in life.
But in a world of constant connection to screens, a more accurate currency is time spent not looking at screens.
The amount of time you spend not looking at a screen reflects the quality of your actual life.
You can use screens to entertain yourself and produce amazing work. But that work, although interesting and important, should produce a better quality of life in the real world for you.
How much time do you spend away from screens on a daily basis?
Perhaps more importantly, how much time do you spend staring at screens during prime-time, which is in the evening and morning?
How present are you to the world and those around you?
How much time and genuine attention do you give your loved ones?
How much do they feel your love?
Sadly, in the case of the world today, people not only put their goals above their loved ones, but they put mindless time-wasters and screen scrolling above their loved ones.
Put your phone on airplane mode and watch as your life improves.
If you give yourself space away from your notifications and distractions at night, you’ll have a far more meaningful, deep, and enjoyable life. You’ll EXPERIENCE more of the world — rather than your screen.
As you give yourself space away from your notifications and distractions in the morning, you’ll have the rare but available privilege of putting yourself into a peak-state every morning. You will prime your mindset, emotions, and brain to operate from your ideal future.
5. Go On Walks A.M.A.P (as much as possible)
Steve Jobs was known for his walking meetings. A study by Stanford researchers further explains why walking enhances creativity and insights.
The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.
“Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why,” Dr. Oppezzo and Dr. Schwartz wrote in the study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.
Whether you walk in the morning, afternoon, or evening, you’ll be stunned by the creative insights and clarity that come as you give yourself space to walk.
I’ve been walking every day for years. Minimally for an hour. Usually it’s more. The amount of inspiration and insights I get during these walks often leads me to start running, so I can get back and start putting all of the inspiration to work!
Start walking. Your life will change, as will your health.
Not only is walking good for creativity, it’s one of the best things you can do for your longevity. In the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Dan Buettner studied the cultures that produce the most healthy 100-year-olds. A common theme he found among these populations is that those who reach 100 years and older often have a daily habit of walking.
Go on daily walks and live to be 100. And invite me to celebrate with you 🙂
6. Clearly Prioritize Your Life
Your priorities are more important than your values and goals because quite literally, your priorities are where these things become real.
Your priorities reflect your values and goals.
If you are not doing something in your life, like exercise for example, it’s not because you don’t have time. Rather, it’s because it is not a priority to you.
Anything you are not currently doing on a regular basis IS NOT A PRIORITY TO YOU.
If you say investing in your future is a priority to you, but you spend most of your time distracted on the internet, then you are lying to yourself.
Your daily behaviors are a mirror — an honest assessment of your priorities in life.
Your priorities reflect to both yourself and the world what you value and what you aspire towards.
If you can get your priorities right, then you can generally get everything else right.
So, what are your priorities?
What are the things that matter more than anything to you?
What do you believe in?
What do you want for your life?
If you can’t answer these questions, then you can’t prioritize your time and your life. And as a result, you won’t have the clarity, confidence, or motivation to focus your time and attention toward building the future you desire.
Ask the people closest to you what they think your top priorities are. You may glean some insights from their answers.
Get clear on your priorities and productivity becomes easy.
7. Eliminate All Non-Priorities (your life is a product of your standards)
Writing your goals in your journal every morning helps your brain create the outcomes you’re striving to create. Writing your priorities in your journal regularly helps ensure you’re pursuing the right goals.
As you clarify your priorities, have the courage to eliminate all the things in your life that don’t match.
No one is perfect at this. For all of us, there is a mismatch between our daily behaviors and what we want our priorities to be.
It is your responsibility to spend the majority of your time on your core priorities. Only then will they actually be priorities.
The first step is courageously eliminating everything that isn’t what you believe in or want for yourself. This act, in itself, is a profound message to yourself and others that you are serious about something.
Spend all of your time on those things you value most — on those things which you believe go beyond the here-and-now. The more time you can spend on things you believe to be of infinite worth, the more powerful your daily life and behavior will be.
As a rule, I only invest my time in things that add to my present experience and my future self. I think a lot about my future self and want her to be thrilled with my current choices because she’ll be reaping the benefits!
I invest time in relationships with my family and friends. I invest time in my education and growth. I invest time on work I believe in. I invest in experiences that create profound memories.
What do you invest time in?
Is this investment making your future better than your past?
8. Become More Playful And Imaginative
Life is meant to be a joy, not a grind.
You get to be creative and playful about how you design and live your life. In fact, you are a creator.
Research clearly shows that imagination is linked to learning and emotional wellbeing. The opposite is also true: the less emotionally mature a person is, the less likely they are to be imaginative and creative about themselves and their lives.
Dr. Carol Dweck has produced some of the most important research in psychology in the past 50 years. The essence of her work is that many people have a “fixed” mindset about themselves. They believe they can’t learn, change, and develop. Others have a “growth” mindset, wherein they believe they can change, grow, and evolve.
If you have a fixed mindset, then imagination probably isn’t a big part of your life.
Having imagination means you’re mentally and emotionally flexible.
In order to be imaginative, you have to see beyond what is currently in front of you. You need to be willing to see things that may or may not be “real” or “true,” but could be.
Imagination is about playing and creating without respect to the outcome. Being imaginative about your future means you believe you can do and be things that others can’t see.
You’re not interested in odds or statistics. Instead, you’re driven by curiosity and play. You’re motivated by your WHY and what’s possible.
You don’t care if other people can’t see the future you can see. You’re a creator. You know you can learn and transform. You’ve done it in the past, and you’ll do it again.
Emphasize imagination over knowledge.
9. Create More Peak Experiences
“Peak experiences as rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter.” — Abraham Maslow
Maslow said in order to become self-actualized as a person, you need to have a multitude of “peak-experiences.”
Peak experiences are those moments where your soul is stretched such that it cannot go back to its prior dimensions.
Peak experiences, by nature, are novel and new. They involve experiencing or seeing the world in a new way.
In order for you to have a peak experience, you need to be open to new experiences.
Peak experiences are more likely to happen outside of your comfort zone. They generally involve “experiential” learning.
Peak experiences create a new you. Your motivation changes. Your priorities are clarified. Your vision for your future expands.
Creating peak experiences is how you change the trajectory of your life. They are those pivotal moments that are so meaningful that they serve as check-points — core memories — directing your future path.
Peak experiences don’t need to be rare. If you begin being courageous daily, you’ll start having more peak experiences.
As you have more peak experiences, your emotional wellbeing will increase, and it follows then that your imagination and ability to direct and create your future will expand.
But even more — through having peak experiences, your memory will change.
A healthy memory is a changing memory. As you have new and powerful experiences, you’ll create new associations with your past, changing the very fabric of your memories and identity.
Put simply, you can and must create experiences that change your identity. As your identity changes, your future will change. Einstein wisely said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Change can only happen by imagining a different world, and then courageously seeking new and expansive experiences. Change happens as you learn and expand your world.
10. Deepen Your Relationship With Your Parents
In the important book, The Body Keeps The Score, Bessel van der Kolk M.D. explains that suppressed emotions and trauma lead people to unhealthy and addictive cycles.
One of the most fundamental components of making a positive change in your life is developing a healthy relationship with your parents — whether they are alive or not.
Your relationship with your parents is a powerful indicator of your emotional well-being as a person. It doesn’t matter how “successful” you appear on the outside, if you don’t have this key relationship established, then chances are you are an emotional wreck.
Oftentimes, people have “toxic” or unhealthy parents. These parents can be viewed and treated with love and forgiveness. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
11. Develop “Protection” Relationships
If you don’t feel protected in your relationships, it can be hard to push your own boundaries. It can be hard to be free because you’re actually a slave to the relationship. This is living in an unhealthy dependent state where everything you do is based on trying to please other people.
But when you feel loved and protected regardless of outcomes, then you can rise to independence and attempt things and fail. Failing is how you learn and fail less.
Do you have powerful protection relationships in your life?
Do you feel stable and safe?
Do you have a firm foundation that allows you the flexibility to jump way outside of your comfort zone, and yet be safe?
12. Less “Avoidance-Behaviors”
In psychology, there are two core forms of behavior — avoidance or approach.
Avoidance-behaviors are where you’re putting energy toward avoiding something from happening. Avoidance-behaviors are generally focused on risks, rather than the potential for growth.
Avoidance-behaviors often happen when you don’t have protection and emotional safety in your life. When you don’t feel free to fail, you avoid failure. You become worried about the love and opinions of others. You don’t feel free to be imaginative and creative.
You play the game of life emotionally defensive.
When you feel safe and secure emotionally, you are empowered to play life on offense — approach behavior.
An approach orientation toward life doesn’t mean you’re a reckless risk-taker. What it means is that you are willing to courageously face risks to accomplish meaningful and important goals.
You’re less worried about the risks or difficulty involved because your focus is on your goals and dreams. Your priorities are clear. You’re moving forward. Nothing is going to stop you.
13. More “Subconscious-Enhancing” Behaviors/Experiences
Every behavior and experience you have in your life either elevates or downgrades your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind reflects what you perceive and experience as “normal” in the world.
As Dr. David Hawkins explains in his book, Letting Go: “Our unconscious will allows us to have only what we believe we deserve. If we have a small view of ourselves, then what we deserve is poverty. And our unconscious will see to it that we have that actuality.”
Every behavior signals to your subconscious what you think you deserve and what you believe about the world.
You can create “subconscious enhancing experiences.”
You can have experiences that radically expand your subconscious perception of normal. You can regularly “reset” what normal life is for you.
You can create a “new normal” regularly.
Being surrounded by interesting people can become normal.
Engaging in powerful and important daily behaviors can become normal.
Feeling inspired and living in a peak-state can be normal.
Not worrying about money every day can be normal.
Having transformational experiences daily can be normal.
What’s crazy is that, over time, your life really will change. It may be imperceptible and subtle. But your daily life and daily experiences will be radically different than they were 2 to 3 years ago.
You’ll have reset your normal world. This should happen regularly.
14. Become More Emotionally Flexible
Your emotional flexibility represents your ability to regulate your emotions in challenging situations.
How flexible are you?
How adaptive are you?
Do you control your emotions or do your emotions control you?
Everything you want in your life is on the other side of fear. However, in order to get there, you must courageously cross that threshold and then successfully navigate the unknown of being outside of your comfort zone.
Emotional flexibility represents your ability to 1) step outside of your comfort zone, and 2) successfully navigate the emotional craziness of the unknown.
The only way to become more emotionally flexible is to practice. To regularly expose yourself directly to what you fear and avoid. To move forward.
You must be more courageous.
You must try stuff that might not work.
You must be bolder.
Then, as you experience the emotional shock of the unknown, you need to get better at moving forward toward your goals regardless of how you feel in the moment.
This doesn’t mean you suppress your emotions. Nor does it mean you ignore them.
Instead, you appreciate and acknowledge your emotions as a real factor in your situation. Then you allow those emotions to be a part of your experience. You continue to direct your focus on your goals, not the perceived risks or threats you think may happen.
This is being approach-oriented.
This is being courageous.
This is how you shatter unhealthy emotional patterns.
This is how you shatter subconscious blocks.
This is how you re-write your memories and heal your past traumas and blocks. By proactively creating your future, you simultaneously heal your past.
You need to shock your system. To quote Napoleon Hill, “A good shock often helps the brain that has been atrophied by habit.”
15. Focus On 90-Day Sprints Rather Than New Years Resolutions
New Years’ Resolutions don’t work. Think we know that by now.
So what’s a better method?
A better method is setting 90-day sprint goals. Every 90 days, you review the previous 90 days, then you set new goals for the next 90 days.
Every 90 days, you reset and re-assess.
Every 90 days, you should have a celebration for the progress you’ve made. You should focus on results rather than time spent.
Every 90 days, you should see clear and tangible progress toward your goals.
Every 90 days, you should be able to observe changes in your environment and life.
Every 90 days, your life should increasingly reflect your highest priorities.
You can do this.
Forget New Years’ Resolutions. 90-day sprints, then recovery breaks, are much better. They’re more sustainable. They’re more action oriented. They allow you quicker feedback and more energy, results, and excitement.
Yes, I know this has been a lot to read so I hope you were up for the challenge 🙂
I actually have 15 more I’d like to share with you! Email me and let me know if you’d be up for hearing/reading about the others.
Make it an awesome first month of the new year and give yourself an edge by engaging with these 15 suggestions!
And keep finding Joyinmovement!