Rise and shine to success

I’ve heard that for some of the most successful people in our world, people like Oprah, Obama, Sir Richard Branson, rising early is the key to success. In fact, some studies have shown that 90% of executives wake up before 6am on weekdays, and nearly 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before their workday begins!

I was intrigued. What if I tried this? Could I do it? Could I fight the urge to hit snooze 10 times before I actually started my day? Intuitively, something was telling me that I wasn’t getting the most out of my day. I wasn’t flaking but I wasn’t peaking either. I was status quo. I knew I needed to change to achieve a productive edge.

Reading Hal Elrod’s ‘Miracle Morning’, turned out to be a game changer! He preaches the SAVERS principle. In summary, you are to wake up an hour earlier than usual and practice activities; Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. Sounds like a lot right? Nevertheless, I committed to waking 5:30am everyday (yes, even on weekends!) to test his theory. Here’s what I discovered.

How’s the serenity?

No longer was I racing out the door to dash to work. I woke with a sense of calm knowing I had time on my hands. A silent coffee, sitting outside, watching the sunrise, set a beautiful tone for the day. Waking to beauty, also cultivated an incredible sense of gratitude.

Hello endorphins!

Swimming for half an hour everyday not only ignited the body, mind and soul, but gave me time to set up my day. I got a head start, before distractions and obligations arised. I would set a mantra as I swam up and back. It became meditative and everyday, I got the after workout buzz, and I floated into work.

Straight to the drivers seat

Everything felt in order. I felt a sense of control. I was playing in offence and no longer reactive. Everything began to flow. Decision making was clearer as I set intentions, focused, visualised and compartmentalised all areas of my life. Things became achievable not daunting.

The mind switch

I cultivated a growth mindset. Scribing the previous days events gave time to release, reflect and then project forward. Writing down events and progress brings an intense sense of moving forward, acknowledging the little and big wins on the way.

A happy little Vegemite

Being an early bird definitely boosts the mood. You feel calm, collected, and accomplished. When you wake up early, you have more time for planning, strategic thinking, and getting organised. My days were more productive and I was definitely thinking sharper with a skip in my step! You also seem to have more time, allowing you to mindfully connect with others which absolutely feeds the soul!

A coupla cons

The earlier you get up, the earlier you seem to go to bed. Sometimes, I’d be going to bed before the sun! But you’re virtually flipping your day on its head, and getting your usual night time activities done in the morning. It’s a change in mindset and it takes time to adjust.

This also may not suit everybody for whatever reasons, family, work, health. But it’s also not a fixed idea. It’s a theory that can be tailored to whatever works for you.

The verdict

Yes, I’m officially a convert. In fact, I’m writing this at 4:30am. Millions of super people can’t all be wrong. If it could work for your lifestyle, even adding just a couple of the practices, I say go for it, stick with it and the benefits have the potential to be life changing.

Disclaimer – Sometimes you think everyone is up when you are. Turns out their not. My biggest lesson is to not contact people at 5am just to chat!

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Tips On How To Tap Into Your Intuition

You are already intuitive. Allowing your mind to be conscious to this fact is where the development begins. At times, we find that we are in battle with heart and head but forget we have this powerful tool within us that can help us make the right choices without the ego or feelings getting in the way!

What is intuition exactly? Intuition connects us to who we truly are. It’s a range of experiences including the five senses and even our sixth sense, the one of feeling. Intuition can be that all-knowing feeling that something is wrong but you cannot figure out why. We’ve all had that feeling, but often we don’t trust it or listen even if it is screaming at us!

Here are some tips on how to tap into your instinct.

Remove your blocks

Go inwards when something ‘off’ arises, where you may not have been before. Do not see this block as a problem but an opportunity. If your mind is stressed, why is that? Slow down, feel, take your time and work through it.

Less ego

Our ego tends to appear when we are feeling vulnerable, insecure and not good enough. Your ego holds your opinions and judgements. As you catch your ego early, you can become less opinionated and judgemental. You will be less reactive and present when making your decisions.

Start small

Use your intuition to make small decisions first. That way, you have nothing to lose and only something to gain. Take it one step at a time. For instance, you could assess your food choices and what you intuitively know is a better decision. Practice small for the big decisions such as career, relationships and life changing choices.

Make better decisions and keep them

Everyday we are making innumerable decisions both consciously and subconsciously. Becoming more conscious of ourselves and decisions, we have a better opportunity to make better choices that align with our true self. Making decisions aligned with who we are, instantly help us make the right ones, which make us feel better, in turn encouraging us to keep doing them.

Listen to your gut, honour your intuition. Trust yourself.

Decisions, Decisions

It seems, the older we get, the more decisions we have to make. There are the easy decisions, should I wear that dress (yes!), have another champagne (yes!), walk the beach (yes!) or go the gym (probably)? Then there are the hard ones, should we stay in a relationship, leave our job, sell our house, move or have a difficult conversation? Big decisions can make you feel sick, bewildered, lost, confused and unsettled. But you can’t make progress without making decisions. Fact. So how do we make them? How do we know if a particular decision is right or wrong?

A Choice Point

Russ Harris, medical practitioner and leading authority in stress management, teaches a strategy called ‘A Choice Point’. A Choice Point is a moment in time when you choose between values consistent and values inconsistent behaviour. It is a practice in which you step back with your critical mind and evaluate whether a decision or behaviour will be moving away or towards your values and the person you want to be. Understanding your values, who you are and where you want to be in life, is vital when making choices. Is your decision going to enhance your life or will the decision mean you are turning away from what you value and who you are? Have you ever made a decision and the internal conflict has continued? If so, that is a sure sign you have made the wrong choice and going against your true direction. The right choice often gives a sense of relief as you align with who you really are.

Head versus heart

It’s hard to know what to do when your head and heart are in battle. Your head can often be screaming at you to make a certain choice, and your heart screams just as loudly for you to go in the opposite direction. So which one do you listen to? We, as humans, actually have access to an extraordinary tool that we often forget to use. Our gut. Our gut instinct is the most powerful voice we have. Gut instinct is a natural ability that helps you decide what to do or how to act without thinking. What a powerful gift right?! Yet so many of us choose to ignore it. Have you ever stayed in a relationship or job, which you inherently know is not good for you? Then years later, after you have left the situation, you look back knowing you ignored the red flags and your gut instinct, in hope that it would get better. Listen to your intuition, it’s there to guide you!

Pros and Cons

What are the pros and cons of making a certain decision? Get as much information as possible. What will you gain, what will you lose and who will you impact. What is the worst case scenario? Is the decision permanent? What’s your Plan B? It helps to write pro’s, con’s and options down. You may find that one list will overshadow the other and the decision can become glaringly obvious. This process can be a huge reality slap, as you confront a decision that clearly isn’t working for you.

When both options are terrifying

Have you ever had a decision where there doesn’t seem to be a good choice? What are you fearing? Make time to sit with it and make space for the answer to come. Be calm. Never make permanent decisions on a temporary emotion. Don’t base your decision on fear or guilt. Give yourself time. So many times we make a decision in the heat of the moment based on emotion, but good decisions take time and effort and healthy, intelligent reflection.

Talk to someone or yourself

Often we are so engrossed in our decision that we can’t see the facts and options clearly. Engage with a professional, family member or friend. Others can see a situation with a clearer perspective and sometimes provide more options guiding you to make a better choice. If you feel you can’t open up to someone about your choice, talk to yourself like you would a friend. Play devil’s advocate and consider what you would likely say to a friend if they were asking you on your opinion on the matter.

Give yourself a break

Are you finding all this analysis overwhelming and just confusing you more? Step away from the situation. Allocate time for when to think about it and when to have a break. Overthinking can make the situation worse and can confuse you even more! Catch up with a friend, go for a walk, and step away so when you decide to think about it again, you can with a clearer head.

Lastly, it is important to remember, that sometimes the hardest thing, and the right thing are the same.

“Don’t ever make your decisions based on fear. Make them on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t” – Michelle Obama

See the beauty, not the beast

When I stood on the scales after a year of chronic illness, never could I imagine that I would be 25 kilo’s heavier. Yes, 25 kg! Staring at the scales, I remember all of my confidence just dissipated. I had lost my spunk and instantly went into a funk.

Overcoming body shame is not an easy feat. Every time you look in the mirror or step on the scales, you can be shaken, disheartened and in some moments, start hating your body. We so easily forget that we have an incredible vessel that is guiding us through our life and often all we see is our own perceived inadequacies.

Has this happened to you? Perhaps you’ve hit a stage where you think your body is too big, too small, too fat, too thin, too young or too old. After reflecting on my own circumstances, I have realised that no amount of crash dieting or strict exercise regimes can facilitate sustainable change without a change of mindset. We first have to address how we perceive ourselves, why we feel and behave the way we do, and do the inner work to change how we feel about our outer shell.

Get to the core

So how did you get here, where did this body shame come from? Is it a product of ancestry, society, or some particular wound in your life? Try and get to the core of why you think the way you do about yourself. Once you understand the origin of your beliefs, you can move towards a place of acceptance. Once you accept your body as it is, you will start loving yourself and in turn, build a positive mental framework ready to embark on real physical change. You may even discover that you don’t need to change and that you are happy, just as you are.

Recognise your limitations

In our life, things happen and there are hurdles we have to overcome. Perhaps you are going through menopause and you feel like your body has just broken down, you may be going through a time of grief and loss, or perhaps have a medical condition that affects your ability to metabolise. You may have inherited a specific gene, one which means you will always be a little curvy or thin. Some things you just can’t change. It’s part of a process. Acknowledging your limitations can help you to be kinder to yourself and understand that under the circumstances you are actually doing okay.

Be kind 

When you sit on the toilet and can feel your thighs overtake the seat, try and speak love not hate. Your hater self will criticize you and fill your mind with negative stories. Instead, focus on your many other qualities and look within. When it comes to who you are, you are more than the cellulite sticking to the seat. You are a whole being with many endearing qualities. Speak to yourself like you would your best friend.

Heal from trauma

There are many factors in one’s life that cause a negative body reaction as a result. Mentally working on the experience, event or condition can help you break down the baggage your body may be storing.

Understand your habits

Some people use addiction, in whatever its form, to hide from healing themselves. As you waddle to Maccy D’s to get your Big Mac, think about why you are making that choice. Being aware and understanding your habits can help you address your deeper issues. Understanding this will help guide healthier choices and help restore your body to its natural state.

Our body is ever changing

Remember looking back at your old school photos, a time when you thought you were not good enough only to realise that time was actually when you were in your prime? Fact is our body’s age. They have been carrying us around, breathing, beating and working since we came into the world. Accepting the natural process of aging is an important step. This does not mean giving up on looking after your body but understanding that as we progress down the path our boobs will sag, our hair will grey, our abs will flab and nothing in the body is permanent.

For those suffering body shame, it’s time to try and stop (yes, this can be very hard!). Instead reflect on who you are and remember to be kind to your extraordinary body.

Finally, a shout out to all the people who love us just the way we are. It’s time to see ourselves as others see. It’s time to see the beauty and not the beast.

Be your own best friend

There are times we can feel a little broken and can be incredibly hard on ourselves. Sometimes we feel we aren’t good enough or can’t seem to do anything right and we spiral thinking we are alone in this feeling. Everyone else seems so together right? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get myself together?

There is a concept that some of us know but don’t apply enough and the truth is it can be incredibly effective. That is, be your own best friend. But how do we do this when we feel low. How can we love ourselves just like we love our besties?

You said what?

How are you speaking to yourself? Would you say these things to your best mate? I’m certain some of your self talk i.e I’m not worthy, I’m too fat/skinny or I am not good enough, would not fly if you were saying it to your best friend. Think kindness, non judgement, and be loving in the way you speak to yourself. Tell yourself ‘it’s going to be okay’, ‘I’m here for you’ and ‘you’re not alone’. No more hate talk. You wouldn’t say it to someone else so don’t put yourself down.

Self care baby!

What would you do if you were with your best friend? What makes you feel good? Self care is all about doing things just for you. And no, it’s not selfish! Take yourself for brunch, have a bath, go to that movie, get a massage, walk the beach, go to the gym, cook a healthy meal. Do anything you know is good for your body, mind and soul. It is a sure guarantee to lift your mood and a much better alternative to sitting home stewing over how much you feel like you are failing.

What’s my good qualities?

Now this can be a hard one but try and acknowledge your good qualities. What would your best friend say about you. Try saying it to yourself. List five, maybe, ‘I’m caring, intuitive, determined, funny and resilient’. It’s also important to realise sometimes what we see as our bad qualities can actually be our best. Okay maybe you feel you’re too shy, too reactive, too sensitive but try and reframe these positively. Perhaps you are instead independent, passionate and empathetic. Feeling fat? Hey, curves are sexy. Talk to your body and acknowledge what an amazing vessel it actually is!

Being your own best friend can be one of the best skills you can learn. At the end of the day we are all living with ourselves and our own thoughts about who we are. Wouldn’t it be cool to just love hanging out with yourself, completely content knowing you were never alone, as long as you had your fabulous self to rely on.

Be you’re own best friend and you will shine.

Thoughts are not reality

Are you an over thinker? Do you analyse every scenario? Do you sometimes find yourself in a vicious intrusive thought trap? You may have thought things about yourself such as, “I’m ugly”,  “I’m not good enough” or “This WILL go wrong” but did you know that often these thoughts, belief systems and stories we tell ourselves, are actually not real?

When discovering the book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, I was astounded at the concept that more often than not, our thoughts are a conjuring of our own mind and are often not facts, but stories we tell ourselves.

If you break down what thoughts actually are, you will realise that our thoughts are just words. We have a never ending commentary in our minds, a radio station that sometimes gets stuck on the same channel, and we become hooked on stories we tell ourselves, believing them to be true.

Russ Harris challenges the reality of our thinking. He looks at how our happiness depends on a habit of mind WE actually cultivate. We drown in the stories we tell ourselves, and can become a crazy thought factory that often causes us emotional harm.

How do we stop this? It’s not easy, but we must start noticing our thoughts. Especially when we find ourself in a negative state of mind. We must create space and look at our ‘thinking mind’ as an observer and we must challenge if our thoughts are actually true. Am I not good enough? Who says. What are the facts behind this belief. Often you will find there are none and this is when the thought will become fiction and you will detach from it.

This way of living requires practice. The human mind is constantly thinking. It can be difficult to stop and observe and it’s almost impossible to turn the radio station of our mind off but, it is possible to change the channel. All we can do is step back, listen to the ‘words’ we are telling ourselves and try and choose or diffuse them.

Learning this tool can be astoundingly liberating. Rather than being a slave to your mind, you can become the master and choose what thoughts are healthy for you.

So remember, when you are experiencing intrusive thoughts; thoughts are not reality. They are just thoughts created by you.