How to Choose Yourself

3 Step Guide to Trusting Your Own Decisions

There are billions of people in this world, each with their own opinions, backgrounds, and world views. The only way for you to please them all – if such a thing were possible – is by being inauthentic towards yourself, but I am here to encourage you instead to stand in your own truth.

You are the only person you can truly know through and through – your own thoughts and your own reactions. You are the only accurate compass you have to navigate through this world. This means your cannot and should not navigate your decisions based on what other people need. The only thing you are responsible for in this life is your intention, not your reception. You can control what you put out into the world, but not how people receive or react to it.

By being too afraid to stand strong in your beliefs, you are subconsciously telling yourself that the opinion of others is more important than your own happiness. Being firm in what you believe in is a way of making the commitment to yourself to love you above all else, and I urge you to do it now.

As always you can find the audio version of this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play.

1. Trust What Your Body Tells You

When something isn’t right for you, no matter how you try to justify it, your body knows. Have you ever made a decision that just didn’t sit quite right in your gut? I bet you felt heavy, restricted, and doubtful; yet you forced yourself to believe otherwise and carry on. Learning to understand this instinct is one, but learning to trust it is another. Your body never lies, so pay attention.

Choosing to be vocal about how we really feel can be difficult because people may disagree. It is okay to feel sad if those you care about don’t agree with your decision, but be careful of the choices you make at that time. Trust your decision and stay in that uncomfortable place. I promise you it will pass. Those who truly love and respect you will come around to recognize that you are standing in your own truth. While it may not be easy, I assure you it will be worth it.

2. Make Feeling Good a Priority

In the high demand world we live in, it is all too easy to ignore our body’s signals in order to take care of everyone else’s needs. Stop worrying about what other people are feeling for a minute, and learn to test things against your own body’s compass. What feels good for you? This is your life and you should be your number one priority. Listen to your body, and act accordingly; guilt free.

Make sure that you are showing others that you matter to you, as much as you matter to them. Lead by example. Teach others to value and care for themselves by adopting that into your lifestyle.

3. Focus on the Present

Dwelling on the past, and stressing about the future are both pointless as you cannot change either. Successful people are successful because they understand the importance of the now. Not only do they choose themselves, but they focus on the actions necessary now to get them where they want to be later. Moving forward is always going to get you forward no matter how slow you are moving. You just need to figure out how  you are going to move.

Choosing yourself is not selfish; in fact it is the only way you can thrive in this world.

How to Strengthen Your Intuition

Self-Guided Happiness

Intuition: the instinct and ability to acquire knowledge without conscious reasoning. It is the act of knowing something without knowing why or how you know it. While traditional science doesn’t recognize intuition as “a thing”, it can most certainly be honed in on and utilized as a tool to achieve the results you seek.

Intuition allows you to live a beautiful life. A life full of joy. We are often so hard on ourselves thinking if we make the wrong decision it will be awful! I encourage you to think less and receive more – if you make a bad decision you can learn how to follow your intuition to a better place.

Intuition is gentle guidance, it is never urgent or pushy and it doesn’t tell you what you can and cannot do. Instead it serves as a quiet confidence; if you follow it your soul will feel good, but there is no timeline to do so. Finding and using your intuition is the act of discovering your purpose and acting on it.

Society may pressure you to build a lifestyle in a particular way, but you don’t have to do that. Find your intuition and enable it to weave your passions into your life and your work. While choosing the path that feels most true to who you are and where you want to go may not always be clear, learning how to move through that process will lead to clarity and confidence in making future decisions to get where you want to go.

This week I have two very simple tips for you to tap into that intuitive feeling. As always you can find the audio versions of this post on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.

Find Inspiration

What is it that inspires you? Sometimes life can become so muddled and messy that it can be difficult to remember the simple joys. When you find yourself in a rut, find another source of inspiration and go back to what you love (e.g. cooking, art, meditation, gardening, watching a favourite TV show, etc.). Do whatever brings you joy.

Understand your triggers that will put you into a negative or unproductive state. Learn toin develop a “toolbox” of activities you can go to when you are approaching a this state. Learning to tap into your mind and understand what it is that makes you feel good, whether you realize it or not, is a way of tapping into your intuition.

Practice

Give yourself the opportunity to make intuitive decisions. Listen to how you really feel about what you want to do/eat/see.

Consider this example. Every day you wake up and you eat the same thing for breakfast – let’s say a bowl of cereal. I encourage you tomorrow to instead wake up and rather than reverting to this habit think to yourself, “What do I want for breakfast?”. If it’s cereal, great. However, I trust if you really listen you may discover another answer; maybe it’s toast, fruit, eggs, or oatmeal. As silly or simple as it may sound this is an easy way of training your brain to trust your intuition.

You need to afford yourself the opportunity to follow that gut feeling. We often ignore this feeling in fear of the “what if’s” and the comfort in sticking with the status quo, but in practicing over time to trust you heart in decisions for smaller events (i.e. breakfast), you will build the confidence in your intuition enough to make larger more life impacting decisions later on.

Learn to stand in your truth. Let your heart lead and use your head (logic) to formulate the plan. 

 

How to Cultivate Compassion

compassion

Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, we are each on our own journey through life in the pursuit of happiness be it whatever form that may choose to manifest itself; either for ourselves or for others. Human nature is to feel good when expressing love and care for other humans, and to feel even better when those same feelings are reciprocated back to us. Humans have a natural capacity to provide and express compassion. However, day-to-day factors such as stress, social pressures, and life experiences/filters can suppress this capacity.

Practicing compassion not only helps to lower your cortisol levels (see post here on the negative impacts of cortisol), but will also serve to help you attract happier people into your life. When you are happy, the people around you are happy and so, cultivating a sense of compassion can serve as a highly effective tool in achieving the happiness you seek. By incorporating just three simple changes into your everyday life, you can begin to cultivate compassion in your life effortlessly.

Feel free to listen to the audio version of this post on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.

Give Back

Too often does it occur that we conceive a way in which we would love to help someone, but fail to act upon this idea. I encourage you each and every day to act on your impulse to express your kindness; no matter how big or small. Practice doing something small each day to help end the suffering of others, even in a tiny way. It can be something as simple as a smile, a kind word, doing an errand or chore, or just talking about a problem with another person.

When you live to serve others in a way that affords them strength, guidance, or direction in their life with no expectation of a return, you will soon come to realize that the gift of having that ability to provide in the first place was really your greatest asset all along. I promise it will feel good.

Seek Commonalities

Another common barrier preventing our innate ability to practice compassion is judgement. It is important that while every individual’s journey through life is different, we all experience a life that is hard and are making the best effort to do what we can with the tools we have. So, relax your judgements.

At the end of the day, we are all human – we all need food, water, shelter, and love. We crave attention (whether we admit it or not) and seek recognition when we do something… anything… big or small. Reflect more on these commonalities and less on what sets you apart; In recognizing we are each one in the same, compassion will naturally flow for the needs with which you can connect.

Mindful and Get Your Emotions in Check

Lastly, understand that you cannot properly help someone if you aren’t in a good place to start. Just as in the theory that an abused child turns into an abuser, inner turmoil can in turn inflict outer turmoil unintentionally when trying to express compassion from an unstable place. In order to serve others, you need to first work through your own emotions and difficulties to be able to connect with good intentions. When you do the work to heal your psyche and connect with yourself, compassion becomes a natural by-product

At the end of each day think about the people you met and talked to, and how you treated each other. Think about your goal to act with compassion towards others. Reflecting on your actions will allow you to move your best foot forward tomorrow, the next day, and so on

  1. How well did you do?
  2. What could you do better?
  3. What did you learn from your experiences today?

When you start to utilize these tools to practice compassion more and more in your day to day life, I can promise you that you will begin to see and feel a positive difference emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

No one has ever felt bad for improving someone else’s life.

How to Create Your Confidence

Confidence – a concept that is seemingly easy and natural for some, but a struggle for many.

While we some believe that confidence is an ability that you are born with, I like to think that over time it is an ability that has evolved and developed. From childhood to adulthood your confidence has taken hits – that person you thought liked you didn’t, you didn’t get the job for the interview you thought you aced, person x told you that person y was prettier and so on – over time particularly with the rise of social media, you have become hyper aware of the negative things about yourself that society is telling you, you need to change – Well, what if I told you that all of that is completely bogus, and that your confidence is in your control?

Each day you wake up you have a picture of yourself in your mind; some days are good, while other days are not so much.  Whether you realize it or not, that mental image is what determines the level of confidence you emit into the world. When you feel good about yourself, you radiate; when you don’t, you tend to hide away. The important key is to develop that awareness that can recognize you are never going to be stuck with where you are currently at forever. The action of being confident is in your control, practicing this alongside a few other simple tips is the first step to gaining and exuding the confidence you deserve.

As always, you can find the audio version of this post on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.

Take Control

The first step in taking the initiative to build your confidence is to recognize that your attitude is ultimately in your control. Once you come to realize and accept this as fact, you then need to take the steps to change it. Back in May I did a post about taking control in all aspects of your life [not just confidence], you can find that here.

By accepting that you are solely responsible for your own life and attitudes, you can work towards mastering the control you need to gain the confidence you seek. How you ask? Make the decision to be better for yourself, your mental state, and the overall outcomes of your life. You are in the driver seat deciding where you want to go. Take yourself on the path of positivity towards achieving all that you have ever wanted.

Practice Self Care

The next step I recommend is to treat yourself – if you feel good you people will be able to tell. I want you to think about times when you are eating bad, not sleeping properly, loafting around on the couch for hours or days, etc. and the impact those actions have on how you feel about yourself. There is nothing wrong with any of these scenarios, provided that you are willing to own it.

This is me. This is who I am. This is how I love to look/act/feel/behave

Remember, this is YOUR life not anyone else’s so forget other’s negative opinions and appreciate yourself in all of your glory. Think about what you have to offer the world, and encourage yourself to showcase it. You should never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. Positive self-talk is integral to your success on your journey to radiating confidence.

Flip The Negativity

Throughout your life, as you have likely already concluded, people will intentionally try to tear you down. The reality of the matter is that in 99% of cases, this negativity is really just a projection of their own insecurities. So, rather than allowing it to affect you, perhaps take a moment to evaluate where they are at and coming from. Recognize that most likely what they are saying isn’t actually true.

What is it within you that they are envious of in you? Cherish that.

Disappointment is either going to fuel you or destroy, you get to choose. When something doesn’t go your way and is making you feel insecure do what you need to change it your mind.. what did I learn? What can I do next time to get what I want? By exuding the control in these situations you naturally begin to feel more confident in these decisions

Celebrate the Small Wins

Disappointment is either going to fuel you or destroy, you get to choose. When something doesn’t go your way and is making you feel insecure do what you need to change it your mind. What did you learn, and what can you do next time to get what you want? By exuding the control in these situations you naturally begin to feel more confident in these decisions. Rejection is hard at times and it can hurt  pretty bad. Sometimes it feels as though no matter what you will never be enough, but I can promise you that the more you try, the more opportunities you will find, and the more risks you take; the greater the rewards and the more confident you will feel.

We live in an anti-ego world, but its okay to be happy when you are succeeding. There is absolutely no shame in doing good. When you are proud of something you have done – own it – and do the same for others. Encouraging and recognizing each other for even the smallest things can have a much larger impact that you would expect.

I want you to think of something you are good at – music, telling jokes, lifting weights, cooking, doing makeup – whatever it is, hold on to it. Having confidence in one aspect of your life will provide the validation you need to try things outside your comfort zone and discover new areas in which you can grow your confidence.

Your story is not over yet, it is up to you. The more effort and practice you put into life and building your confidence the better results you will achieve.

 

How to Care Less

Focus On What Serves You

Whether you realize it or not, you get to choose each and every day what it is that you care about. This decision is based on what your priorities are at that time.  You may think that caring about nothing is the easiest most effortless thing you can do, but caring about nothing is still a choice – a choice not to care at all.

This week I am discussing how to care less about the things holding you back from caring about what it is that will serve you. As always, the audio version of this post is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Google Play.

1. Determine Your Values

Think of something you want.

A six pack? More money? A different job?

Now, dig past that first layer.

What will you have to de-prioritize in order to bring those things to fruition? (i.e. what will you be giving up in order to get what you want, and is it going to be worth it?)

Happiness is typically not found in trivial things. So maybe,achieving those surface level things won’t make you happy after all. Instead think about the actions that it took to get you there. What did you have to do to be able to achieve that goal, and was it the action itself that made you most happy? Perhaps.

Most humans need meaning and purpose to feel fulfilled, not superficial results. So, determine what it is on deeper level that will bring you happiness. Is it: Integrity? Dedication? Stability? Transparency? It’s yours to decide.

2. Find Your OWN Balance

Balance sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t mean the same thing for every person. My life is different than yours, therefore my balance looks different than yours. Balance is determined by your priorities; figure out where you want to focus your time, and how you can work towards fitting that into your life.

The point of focusing on balance is to exude your energy into activities that actually give you joy and fulfillment as much as possible. Care more about what serves you and less about things that drain your energy.

3. Be Honest With Yourself

Up until this point in time, most of us have spent a large majority of our time basing our lives and decisions on the guidance of our parents. Our values of our younger years were largely influenced by those who raised us. The difficulty comes as adults, when we begin to question and realize that perhaps we no longer hold the same perspective.

The hardest times come when we have to honestly look at our decisions and think “Do I actually care about this, or it only because [society] [my parents] [my peers] [etc] told me I do?”. It’s okay to be afraid to make a change in your life out of fear of how people will react. What is not okay is to because complacent and accepting of your unhappy state. By caring too much about what others think, we are hindering are own ability to determine what it is that we actually care about. Be honest, be open, and be willing to change; you are your own largest road block on the pathway to success.

Figure out what you want, how you’re going to get there, and what you need to forget about along the way. Care less, and achieve so much more.

How To Live a Healthier Life + BONUS

5 Step Guide to Healthy Living

Sometimes, living a healthier lifestyle is seemingly impossible. I personally have struggled with trying to fit many different “diets” or “lifestyles” into my routine; haven’t we all? The best thing I have learned on this journey is that being healthy doesn’t have to be drastic or difficult.

Our physical health is the one thing keeping us going in this world, and yet it is also the thing we most often take for granted. When you decide to take control of the decisions you are making to affect your physical health, the impacts will permeate into your overall well-being. By incorporating a few simple steps into your daily routine, I can guarantee that you will:

a) Have more energy in your day-to-day life.
b) Feel better about the choices you are making (confidence is key).
c) Be on track to living a longer, more prosperous, and happier life.

 

As always, the audio version of this post can be found on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Google Play. If you would like access to an at home HIIT workout to kickstart your fitness alongside these healthier choices, you can find that here.

1. Get More Sleep

Who wouldn’t love to spend the day in bed? I know some days I would. The hustle is hard – waking up at 6, not going to bed until midnight. The fact is though, that sleep is important and needs to be made a priority.

The average adult should be striving to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain a variety of regular body functions. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Mood control
  2. Memory/cognitive function
  3. Metabolic regulation (sleep decreases the production of leptin – hunger inhibiting hormone – meaning you are more likely to make choices out of physical need rather than emotion).
  4. Heart health (sleep lowers the production of inflammatory proteins – common in people with sleep apnea/other sleep disorders – thus decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease).

2. Drink More Water

This can be hard for many. Try infusing your water with different fruits/herbs/veggies so that you don’t get bored! Hydration is key to flush your body of toxins (no detoxes necessary), and clearing your skin. Further to this, an increased consumption of water has been shown to boost your metabolism, and curb cravings (aka. good for weightloss) Lastly, a dehydrated body means a dehydrated mind. By increasing water consumption you will see an improvement in alertness and motor skills.

3. Get Moving

To see the benefits of movement you do not need to spend hours at the gym. Simply seek opportunities to move. Get up from your desk! Go for a walk! Pick up some weights! Any of these activities are linked to improved cardiovascular health, mood, joints/muscles/tissue strength, and blood flow/focus.

4. Eat Your Veggies

Your parents weren’t lying when they told you this! Consumption of vegetables (particularly a variety of veggies) has been linked to improved gut health – which in turn is linked to mental health and overall wellbeing/energy). Vegetables have SO MANY  vitamins and minerals, it is important to diversify your choices and “eat the rainbow”  in order to reap all of the potentional benefits.

Here are a few of the color/benefit correlations:

Red/Purple/Blue Lycopene – Decreases risk for heart disease and cancer

WhiteAllicin – Decreases blood pressure

Orange/Yellow – Carotenoids/Beta-kerotene – Improves immune function and vision

Green – Chlorophyll – improves skin, decreases the risk for cancer, anddna mutations –

Eating a variety of vegetables will improve your vitamin intake tenfold #vitamins4days. If veggies really aren’t your thing try sneaking them into a smoothie (i.e. kale, spinach, zucchini, cauliflower, etc.) or make use of a greens powder such as this for a delicious way to get multiple servings in one go!

5. Practice Positivity

A positive mind yields positive results. By developing better, more positive coping skills in difficult times, stress hormone (cortisol) levels will be lowered over time. Stress is the number one public health enemy and by learning techniques to combat it, you will be on your way to healthier, happier life. Practice positivity and feel good.

Healthy living can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Small, simple changes can have HUGE impacts and outcomes in the grand scheme.

 

How To Use Flow To Get The Results You Want

Getting Positive Results

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything we wanted in life would just come to us?  If we could simply imagine ourselves achieving something, and next thing you know, we had it? Well, I am here to tell you that the flow of your life is actually within your control.

The Law of Attraction is the idea that our minds and thoughts have the power to materialize into the real world over time. With that in mind, it is necessary to learn how to utilize flow in your life to allow the things you want and the life you wish to lead to align with reality and eventually come to fruition.

As always, the audio version is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play. Further to this, I would recommend checking out The Lively Show, if this is a topic you are interested in learning more about.

1. Attach Less – Attract More

Negativity will always breed more negativity. Similarly, thinking in a positive state – even when things aren’t going well – will signal positive return in the universe. Humans always find a way to achieve the goals they really wish to achieve. Anything conceivable in the mind’s eye, is conceivable in reality with the right approach.

Unattach yourself from negativity and take a minute to re-evaluate what you are putting into the universe. We tend to often fall into a rut assuming that the universe is out to get us, but often the cause is rooted in our own actions. Are we really being positive all the time? Are we really living in mind of our end goals? Reflect. Disassociate from the negative. The things we try to resist will always persist, so rather than focusing on the negative, push forward with positivity.

If someone is sharing negativity towards you  and what you are doing, forget it. Negativity is a direct reflection of something wrong in their life, not yours.  Don’t let your ego take over. The less you attach to the negativity, the less you will attract; thus allowing more positivity to naturally find its way into your life.

 

2. Vibrate on a High – Focus on the Good

Efforting – v. – to try and attain a desired result

In order to achieve the results you want, you need to effort in the right way. The idea is that we are all human magnets, sending our thoughts and emotions out into the universe and attracting the same ones back to us. Many people are unaware of this concept and consequently end up with unchecked emotions being sent out into the universe, resulting in negative or undesirable results.

By discovering that the Law of Attraction is in your control, you can effectively apply new techniques into your every day life to get the future you want. If you don’t like the trajectory of your life currently, change it. Your life is a blank canvas of which you are in control.

Change your focus – when something goes wrong, look more at what you have and less at what you don’t. What is in alignment for you? (i.e. your health, relationships, career, etc). Move your thoughts to that vibration. If you focus more on the high vibrations (positive thoughts), you can help your low vibrations (negative thoughts) to shift energy and rise to that level. The reverse is also true, which is why you need to effort to choose the high vibrations in order to receive positive results.

There is no catch. No matter what it is you want to achieve, hold on to it, see it for yourself, and make it yours.

How to Change Your Trajectory

Creating New Opportunities

As humans we are always constantly changing and desiring change. We envy others and always dream of ways in which our lives could be different. Maybe you aren’t satisfied with the circumstances you are in, or perhaps you are merely wanting to continue to grow and develop as your best possible self; either way, these 3 tips will aid you in that process.

The one path that will never get you anywhere different is the one we most commonly take and that is the path of doing nothing at all. You don’t have enough time to be mediocre in your life. It’s painful and it’s pointless so, if it is change you seek then it is change you must create. As always, the audio version of this post is available on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.

1. Determine Your Limitations

Stop for a minute and think to yourself about what it is exactly that is stopping you from getting what you want. It may be your job, your living situation, or your finances; all of which can make it hard for you to make drastic changes in your life. However, often it is yourself that serves as your biggest limitation. Self-doubt can be detrimental to our growth. Fear can be crippling, making us unable or unwilling to pursue unfamiliar and new opportunities.

Once you’ve taken the time to determine what factors are limiting you, figure out which of those are within your control. While some situations we cannot change (i.e. death in the family, a bad break up, etc), most instances have elements that we can adjust to suit our needs. We may not be able to change what has happened, but we can decide to move forward despite it.

Don’t allow your circumstances to let you fall back. Use the dark times to learn and always fall forward onto the next best thing.

2. Re-Evaluate Your Circumstances

If you are in a situation that is making you unhappy or unsatisfied, re-evaluate how you got there. Think about any elements or decisions you made along the way that were perhaps chosen because other options were overlooked. Look at what isn’t working, and what it is that you are not doing to determine what the void is that you need to fill.

Pursuing these unique opportunities is rare because it is scary and uncomfortable; the outcome is unknown. Few people are willing to pursue the unknown, and would rather stick with what is “safe” mainly for fear of rejection, judgement, or some other useless excuse. Forget the fear, and pursue whatever it is that is going to make you happy.

If you are unsure of where it is you need to start making changes, ASK SOMEONE. Being curious is the first step in personal growth. Curiousity is the desire to understand and to try and push the envelope – it is what drives change. Gain perspectives (new and old) and try to take away as many important lessons as possible that you can apply in your own life.

3. Get Uncomfortable

I can guarantee you that you won’t get anywhere new by practicing the same old strategies. Always going to the same places, working the same job, interacting with the same people, but expecting things to change/improve is not a realistic outlook on your situation. Results will not change if you do not alter the actions creating them.

If you don’t like something in your life, change it. If you want to try something new, just try it. Not only are you your own largest limitation, you are also the only one who can do anything about it.

Finding success is about making the decision to not do nothing. We have been brainwashed to think that doing nothing is safe, and once you realize that the safest thing you can do actually feels the most risky, the sky is the limit.

Have the courage to challenge the status quo, defy limitations, find your purpose, and serve it.

How To Travel on a Budget

Travel on a Budget

Travelling is fun. It’s a great way to gain exposure to new cultures, and an opportunity to learn about different parts of the world. Through travelling I have gained perspective on numerous aspects of my life, including developing a better grasp on my own self-awareness. However, the desire to travel also poses limitations. Travel is expensive. Life is expensive. Making travel a priority isn’t always an option… or is it?

After travelling throughout Southeast Asia and North America, I am here to offer my top 3 tips for staying on a budget while travelling. As always the audio version of this post is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Google Play.

1. Find Flight Deals

To find cheap flights, I use three main websites/apps – Skiplagged, Skyscanner, and Hopper. Each serves relatively the same purpose; scanning available flights to tell you the cheapest time/places to travel.

If you are less fixated on a single destination and are in the Ontario area, I would recommend also signing up for the YYZ Deals mailing list. Chris posts blogs with amazing deals to a variety of destinations out of Toronto, but you have to check often and act fast if you wanna snatch up the deals!

2. Cheap (or even free) Accommodation Exists.

Lately when travelling, I have been relying solely on Air BnB. This is basically the option of staying in someone’s house – typically a room, the whole house, or a couch – for a nightly fee. Some locations offer the more traditional Bed and Breakfast experience in which breakfast is included, where as others are simply a place to crash and may or may not have the option for you to utilize the kitchen yourself.

If you have yet to use AirBnB and would like to save $$$ off of your first stay, you can use my discount link here.

If you are more into the backpacking scene, Hostel World is a good option for dorm style accommodations. I have personally used it through Southeast Asia, as well as while travelling in New York City as it is a much cheaper option than a private hotel room.

If free is more your style then CouchSurfing might be the option for you. This website connects travellers with locals, and provides you with a couch to sleep on… FOR FREE!

3. Get a Rewards Card – Get Free Stuff

This is a little insider tip denounced to many. I encourage you all to visit your bank and ask about the American Express Gold Card. Yes. The card has a $100 annual fee (no thanks). Typically, promotions exist in which this fee will be waived for the first year. While that is great, the real deal is the 25,000 points (equivalent of $250 in travel) you can get for free if you spend $1500 on your card within the first 3 months.

NOW I’m not saying you need to go in debt to get free travel points. Instead I suggest setting up online banking on your phone and using your AMEX as a debit card; transferring the money from your bank account as soon as you spend it on your credit card. By paying as you go, you will avoid overspending and shocking yourself with a huge bill at the end of the month, while still getting $250 IN FREE TRAVEL!!

Once you’ve redeemed your points, call your bank and cancel the card before the 1 year is up and you will avoid the annual fee – SIMPLE.

Travel may seem elusive, but it’s really not. Make a plan. Do your research. Talk to the locals. Find a deal.

 

How to Find Your Own Happiness

Finding Happiness

Happiness.  Easy for some, elusive for many.  While many may disagree, I believe that you can make decisions which lead to overall happiness and contentment in life. It may not be easy; in fact at times it will be seemingly impossible, but by making the effort to monitor your thoughts and actions, and steer course towards a more balanced present, happiness can and will be achieved.

Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work.

As always you can listen to the audio version on SoundCloud, iTunes, or Google Play.

1. Choose The Right Opportunities

For most, happiness is an achievement; the result of effort and intention – not a mere coincidence. Happiness in itself is not a decision, instead it is the result of the decision to pursue attitudes and behaviours that will result in happiness over unhappiness. The key to obtaining happiness is to put yourself into environments that increase your probability and to avoid those which are detrimental or draining on our already scarce resource.

2. Foster Forgiveness

Bitterness serves as an anchor; a catalyst for stagnation. Holding onto anger and grief has been proven time and time again to negatively affect our mental and physical well being. While simply saying “get over it” is easier said than done – learning to foster forgiveness towards that which we cannot control is integral to the process of moving onwards and upwards.

  1. Recall the hurt.
  2. Try to empathize with the perpetrator – why did they do what they did?
  3. Remember a time when you were granted forgiveness.
  4. Commit to the forgiveness – mentally or physically (i.e. write it down).
  5. Do not dwell not the hurt/anger, hold on to the forgiveness.

Mulling will not get you very far, this I can assure you. Let it go, move along, don’t let the actions of other control your happiness.

3. Fake It Until You Feel Better

While the principle of this seems silly – you are sad/upset/angry/hurt why pretend to be something you are not (i.e. happy)? The psychology behind this practice is proven.  Smiling alone can induce the feeling of happiness. All feelings are the result of actions, by acting happier your brain will begin to believe that you are actually happier.

4. Put Your Negativity In Check

Negativity will always be the default. It is easy to be negative, because positivity makes us uncomfortable.  Negative thoughts serve no real useful purpose and can directly contribute to negative emotions.  Negative thoughts leave us in a state of hopelessness, thinking we will never have enough, be enough, or find enough.

Given that negativity is the norm, it can be difficult to identify in ourselves when we have shifted into this state of mind. In order to learn how to change negative thoughts, you must first learn to recognize them. Start paying attention to your thought patterns; practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your present. Focusing too much on the past (what could have been) or the future (what may never come) is neither useful nor productive.

If you can catch these thoughts before they gain momentum, you will better be able to flip the problem into perspective and deal with it in a much more positive light.

5. Engage In Meaningful Activities

Think about how you have spent the last 24 hours.

Were you productive? Did you get something accomplished?

If no, how are you feeling?

If yes, I can bet you are feeling pretty good. Studies have shown that in order to get more [happiness] out of life, you have to put more into it. People are seldom happier than when they achieve a sense of flow in their lives; a state of mind in which you become absorbed in a meaningful task or challenge. While flow-inducing activities seldom come naturally, the reward far outweighs the investment. So determine something you wish to achieve and work for it. Reap the rewards of your efforts and feel truly happy.

Find your fuel. Ignite your fire. Chase your happiness. Great things will come.