Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Mantra: 14 Things To Do To Change Your Life

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Change your life, change the lives of others
Sunrise at Mt. Batur
The year has begun and with it, resolutions galore. Here are 14 things you can do to make not only your life better, but the lives of others as well.

1. Be confident
Time and time again I've heard this little saying: Confidence is the sexiest thing a person can have. Guess what? It's true. It's also free of charge, requires little maintenance, and never goes out of style. Think of someone you know who exudes confidence. I image they're fun to hang out with, someone you turn to for advice, and are capable of making everyone feel comfortable because they, in turn, are comfortable in their own skin.

Be yourself and be confident in who you are.

2. Be humble
This might sounds as if it's the complete opposite of #1, but it's not. You should never have to give up your self-confidence in order to be humble. In fact, the more confident you are in yourself, the easier it is to give praise to others. Humble people appear friendlier, more approachable, and easier to interact with than those with an arrogant attitude. Besides, when was the last time you enjoyed a conversation with someone who did nothing but talk about themselves the whole time? I'm betting never.

3. Burn your candles, wear your jewelry, etc. etc. etc.
All too often when I buy something for myself or get a present from someone else I keep it safe and sound in its packaging, staring at it and loving it from afar. Why? Because I'm dumb. I worry about damaging it, as if the new scarf a friend bought me is made of glass or because that pretty bracelet my mom gave me might get banged up at some point. You'd think I was a professional wrestler or the female version of Bear Grylls, flinging myself from airplanes and scaling dangerous mountains, but no. I worry for no reason. Things will get worn out. We will get worn out. That's just life. It's a waste of having something if you don't enjoy it. Use it or give it to someone who will reap more pleasure from it than you ever did.

4. Figure out what you can contribute to the world 
Every once in a while I stumble along an article that makes me re-think myself. This one did that. What do I put into the world that makes me worthwhile to others? Read this with an open mind and think over what the author is saying. He makes a lot of sense. Then think about what skills you contribute to the world and get out there and start contributing!
6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

5. Be a champion of good character
Character is defined as "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual." Take a moment and think that over. Think about the qualities that are distinctive to you. Do you like them? How do your qualities make you feel? How do your qualities make others feel?

My specific point on this one is that too often it seems that we, as a whole, have lost the ability to Follow the Golden Rule, say "please" and "thank you", and show respect for others. Too many times we're in a competition to one-up someone else and that kind of an attitude makes us lose sight of what matters. A true test of someones character, in my opinion, is how they treat the wait staff at restaurants.  If there isn't a thank you after they fill the water glass or check on the meal or do any damn thing for you, I question their attitude of gratitude. Namely, that they don't have one. Don't be one of those people. Be grateful, be polite, set the example for others.

6. Have daily adventures
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, found in her research that doing new things makes you feel happier than sticking with the old, familiar, comfortable things. Changes can be small, like going for a walk somewhere new or trying our a new restaurant. Sounds like fun, right? Fun always generates happy feelings. So shake up your routine. Try something new. Have small daily adventures that lead you to happiness.

7. Fail daily
When did we decide failing was a bad thing? I assume long ago, when someone with a lack of awareness in this area told us we were awful or terrible and that we should quit while we're ahead, all because we failed. They, my friends, were wrong. A long time ago I read The Geography of Bliss, in which the author seeks to understand what makes different nations of people happy. My favorite part of the book is where he goes to Iceland, a country that is dark 6 months of the year, yet incredibly happy. Of the many possibilities why, my favorite is this: they don't think failing is a bad thing. In Iceland it's common for people to have many careers throughout their lives. How else will they find out what they're meant to be, if not by trying out different things until they find the one that suits them? All of this trying, of course, means a lot of failing too.

Failing teaches us what to do next, what not to do, and how to get back up after we fall down. It makes us stronger, more dedicated, and far more wiser. Imagine if our parents had never let us try walking again when we were infants, simply because we failed at it the first time. We'd all be a bunch of ridiculous looking adults, crawling around on the floor right now.

Failing is not the problem. It's the way we view failing that is, as if it's some sort of an epidemic that needs to be stopped. We learn best when we try and when we try we generally fail oh, a few thousand times, until we finally get it right.

Please fail daily. And by that I mean keep trying. Never give up. Try something new and keep going, no matter how hard or how long it takes. Please, please, for the love of everything, fail.

8. Let go once and for all
Holding on to past grudges, to wrongs that have been done to you, to anything at all that is a negative in your life is a waste of your precious time. Every time you bring up an old wound, you bring it into the present. You re-feel the feelings and once again send yourself down that rabbit hole of could've/should've/would've/why?

Knock it off.

Let go of the things that no longer serve you.

9. Define your life
I ran across this article on Elephant the other day and, even though I'm a few weeks late, I still love the idea. Pick one word that sums up 2013 for you. Why did you pick it? What does that word mean to you?

Then pick one word for how you want your 2014 to look. Write this word down and post it where you'll see it every day to help you remember why you selected it and how you can make that word come to life this year.

10. Become a mentally strong person
We can all benefit from being a little more strong, and not just physically. Forbes recently released an article called Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid. According to this list, mentally strong people don't complain very often, they don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves, and they don't make the same mistakes. Read it, apply it, strengthen your mental state.

11. Stop the drama
One of my favorite lines ever is from The Help in which, at the end of the movie after Hilly Holbrook stirs up more lies and more drama, Aibileen Clark says, "Ain't you tired Miss Hilly? Ain't you tired?" I love everything about that simple statement- aren't you tired of of all the lies, of all the terrible things you do?

We are all tired of it. From everyone.

Drama is stupid. It's not fun, it's not cool, and it makes you look like a cold-hearted fool. It is pointless. The only good drama is that which is in a movie and that is where it should stay.

Give. It. Up.

12. Don't let the Debbie Downers get you down
You know that friend/co-worker/family member that is constantly complaining about something? It's time to cut them loose. There is no reason at all to put up with their naysaying ways. They will suck the life right out of you and cause you more good than bad. Be done with them.

13. Do something for someone other than yourself
There's not a lot I need to say here because this little picture sums it up nicely.

14. Reshape the future
Last, but certainly not least, read this article (When Your Mother Says She's Fat) and pass it along to every single person you know.

It's our responsibility as human beings to shape this world properly. Every person out there, especially mothers and teachers and people of influence, has a chance to reshape the world.

People are always pointing out the flaws in life, in themselves, in other people. As a child I remember being told what cellulite and stretch marks were and, having never heard of these things before, I had no perception of them, good or bad, until I was told they were awful, terrible, horrible things to have and that if you had them, well then you had a problem.

It is beyond time to stop the self hate. Hasn't it been long enough? Ain't you tired everyone? Ain't you tired?!


Image 2 via Pinterest

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