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“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Lao Tzu

Today I’d like to focus on a negative habit that creates insecurity within, erodes self-esteem and can make you feel quite unhappy with your own life.

It’s something that has sprung up as we have moved a part of our lives on to the internet and social media.

And that habit is to compare yourself and your life to other people’s highlight reels.

What do I mean by that?

That it’s so easy to start comparing your life to the lives of friends, old classmates or celebrities of all sizes as you each day see how perfect their homes, kids, love lives are and how filled their lives are with wonderful moments.

But is that their whole lives that is shared on Facebook and Instagram?

Usually not.

It's just the highlight reel of that person’s life. The positive moments.

And it’s natural thing really, to want to share such moments or days with your friends or followers.

Now, for some people this may develop into something destructive.

Into a way of creating a more perfect image of one’s life to get that hit of instant gratification as people add positivity via comments, likes and upvotes.

But everyone has problems at times.

They fail. Get sick. Have flaws, bad days or negative habits.

No matter who you are or what you look like or do.

I have those issues too. Just like anyone else.

I still stumble and fall on some days. Doubt myself or am pessimistic from time to time. That’s human.

So don’t strive for being perfect or measuring yourself against someone else’s highlight reel.

Here are three healthier steps you can take instead:

Step 1: Compare in a smarter way. 

There will always be people who have more or nicer things than you.

Or are better than you at something. No matter what you do.

So if you want to compare then do it in a way that won't make you feel envious and inferior.

Do it by comparing yourself to yourself. See how far you have come. Look back at the obstacles you have overcome, what you have learned and how you have grown.

Step 2: Spend your energy and time on what matters the most. 

Step by step spend the hours in your day and week on building habits that will make you a better person and a happier one too.

For example, aim at being optimistic 70% of the time if you have been it maybe 50% in the past month.

Or, for starters, find just one idea and action-step you can take to make a bit of extra money (and to begin reducing your financial worries).

Step 3: Let go of what drags you down. 

If necessary unsubscribe or remove social media accounts from your flow if you feel they are dragging you down and lowering your self-esteem. Even if those things might also be entertaining right now.

Life isn't just a highlight reel no matter who shares it.

So look beyond that, remember that everyone is human and stop comparing yourself to that limited view of someone.

In the long run you’ll be happy that you did.

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“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein

“Think simple” as my old master used to say – meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

The daily work we do – in school, at work or in a business – can easily become overwhelming, ineffective and suck the energy and joy out of what you are doing.

So how can you work in a lighter, simpler way that helps you to get more of what truly matters done in less time and with less stress?

Let me share 12 habits that I've discovered over the years that help me to do just that.

1. Prepare your day the evening before.

Pack your bag or suitcase. Pack the leftovers from your dinner in a container and put it in the fridge. Put your keys, wallet etc. in a place where you can easily find them as you head out.

This preparation will help you to have a less stressful morning.

2. Be 5-10 minutes early for appointments.

This will make your time of travel during the day into a time of relaxation and recharging. Instead of a time of stress and anxiety.

Plus, people tend to like when other people are on time.

3. Work on just one thing at a time.

It will be easier to focus and to do a good job.

And to do it in less time compared to if you try to multi-task (at least if you are anything like me).

4. Work in a cone of silence.

Just before you start working on that one thing shut down your email program and instant messaging programs.

Shut the door to your office. Put your cell phone in silent mode and put it in a drawer.

If possible, shut down your internet connection. Or use an extension for your browser like StayFocusd.

5. During your day regularly ask yourself questions for simplicity and focus.

It is easy to get off track during a regular workday. To stay on track or to get back there if you get lost use questions like:

  • What is the most important thing I can do right now?
  • Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal?
  • Am I keeping things extremely simple right now?

6. Let your lunch time be a time of relaxing.

Eat slowly. Put down the fork between bites to make that easier. Eat mindfully and savor each bite.

Eating your lunch this way can help you to relax and to release quite a bit of stress in the middle of your workday.

Plus, it can help you to not overeat because it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you are full. By slowing down your eating your brain can stop you before you eat too much.

7. Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution.

And only 20% of your time on dwelling on your issue, challenge or problem. Instead of doing it the other way around.

This makes it easier to live a lighter and more action-filled life and to not fall down into a pit of self-pity or get stuck in a mental habit of perceived powerlessness.

8. Ask for help.

You don’t have to always go it alone. You can ask for help.

You may not always get it but you might also be surprised at how helpful and kind people can be in helping you ease your burdens and solve a challenge.

Just don’t forget to do the same for them as best you can when they ask.

9. Just check your email once a day.

Checking email or social media accounts many times a day tends to drain a lot of time, energy and can leave you unfocused and stressed.

Try checking and processing all of those things just once a day instead. I do it at the end of my workday.

If that is not possible for you then try to postpone it for a few hours at least. And put your morning energy and focus into your most important task of the day.

10. Write shorter emails.

Limit your emails to 1-5 sentences when possible. You can also have some canned responses for common questions saved in a folder in your email program.

This will help you to spend less time and energy on your daily email processing.

11. Consciously set and maintain firm boundaries between your work and personal time.

Have a set stop time for your daily work (mine is 7 o' clock). Don't work on weekends.

Consciously manage your boundaries and you’ll have less stress and more energy and focus both to do better work and to have a personal life of higher quality. This is one of the most important and often overlooked habits in this article.

12. Be smart about the 3 fundamentals of energy.

By that I mean getting enough sleep, exercising a couple of times a week and eating healthy.

This may seem very obvious in theory. But in practice it makes a world of difference for your optimism and self-talk, energy levels, ability to handle stress and to think clearly.

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It’s probably the second biggest factor – after health issues – to cause stress, worries and negativity within.

It has certainly been that for me during long periods.

So this year I will from time to time write about dealing with financial stress.

Not only because it can cause so much negativity. But also because healthier and more conscious money habits can help you to achieve many positive things in your life.

For example, saving more money and doing it regularly each month will also allow you to put money into or towards your own goals such as:

  • Paying off debt.
  • Saving for a dream vacation.
  • Building your emergency fund.
  • Retirement.
  • Consciously spending less money on things that may honestly not matter that much to you. And spend more of that saved money on the things or experiences that do truly matter to you and the people in your life.

So today I want to share 54 tips that have helped me to handle my own personal finances more consciously and to save money.

Everything from going over last's months spending and getting one quick win, downgrading your phone to starting a blog to earn a bit extra that you can save.

Pick a couple of the ones here that resonate with you. Or one or a few you think you can take care of today to get one or a couple of quick wins in.

And then get to work to get them done.

I’ll start with a few of my personal favorite fundamental tips and then the rest of the article is divided into a few different sections to make it easier to navigate.

1. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? (And then create a reminder)

The simplest way to save more money is, in my experience, to buy fewer things, especially on impulse.

So, before making a purchase ask yourself the question above.

Then make it into a reminder so you actually ask yourself this as often as possible before buying something.

Put the question on a small post-it note and put that note on your debit / credit card. Then you’ll see it every time when you’re about to pull your card out of your wallet to pay for something.

And add this to your note too if you like:

“Wait for 24 hours. Then buy this item if I still want it.”

I’ve found that this second line on the note often helps because impulses are fleeting.

2. Go through last month’s spending and find one quick win.

Ask yourself: where is my money really going?

Then go over your bank account for last month by using the app your bank provides – that’s what I use to get a quick overview – or your receipts.

Taking a couple of minutes to do this can quickly help you to spot trends in your spending and expenses and give you a real insight into where your money is going.

Then go for one quick win and take action to reduce or eliminate one of those expenses. Some common things you may want to pick your quick win from are for example:

  • The cable bill.
  • Online streaming services like Netflix.
  • Magazine subscriptions.
  • Too many expensive cups of coffee.
  • Too many beers down at the local pub.
  • The latest electronic things like brand new video games, phones etc.
  • Shopping for clothes.
  • Expensive workout memberships.
  • Other memberships you honestly rarely use but that keep charging you a monthly fee.

This can be a quick and effective way to both reduce economic worries and to easily save a bit more money each month.

3. Create a simple 50/30/20 budget.

The previous exercise can help you to find money leaks and plug them for quick wins.

It can also help you to see where you money is going each month and how you’d like to change some things around. For example to reduce eating out so you can save more money for your next vacation trip or pay off your student loans faster.

A budget can also add more clarity into your financial situation, help you find additional quick wins and to stick to your financial goals not just when you feel inspired or pressured to but each and every month.

How do you create a budget?

One of the simplest ways is to do a 50/30/20 budget.

This means that you divide up your budget into three categories and percentages.

50% of your income goes to your needs (paying for the rent or mortgage, grocery shopping etc.), 30% goes to your wants (such as a new coat, take-out food on a Friday or to saving for your summer trip) and 20% will be savings (like for an emergency fund, your retirement or for renovating your house next year).

It’s a balanced way of looking at things, it ensures that you save some money each month and it may be easier to stick to than some other budget formulas as it is not so rigid.

You can for example spend more on clothes one month and on your car the next month and this will still fit within these broad categories.

So this can be a good way to create your first budget. And remember, it is not set in stone, you can readjust and course correct along the way as you learn more things about your financial habits, wants and needs.

4. Pay yourself first.

Paying yourself first is a small but powerful habit to make sure you actually save money on a monthly and consistent basis.

It means that the first thing you do when you get paid at the end of the month is to set aside a small amount of money in another account of yours at your bank.

It doesn’t have to be much at all. If you cannot save 20% at this time, as mentioned in the budget exercise above, then go for maybe just 3-5% of your salary.

You can start small and then as a few months go by you may increase the amount a little bit as you now see that it’s no biggie and has a small impact on your day to day life.

Paying yourself first is based on the same thinking as doing the most important task first thing in your day. Otherwise it can easily be forgotten, neglected or buried under other less important tasks/other perhaps unnecessary spending.

Doing this can help you to more easily start building an emergency fund, save for a bigger purchase for your home or set aside money for your vacation. You can also apply the paying yourself first idea to investing in your retirement in some way (for example into a pension fund).

5. Automate what you can.

The easiest way to make sure you pay yourself first and that the money you get each month goes to the right things is to automate what you can.

This can help you to reduce impulse spending and to not forget to pay all of your bills. And it will save you time.

A few payments you can often automate via your bank are for example your:

  • Mortagage.
  • Retirement savings.
  • Credit card payments.
  • Car payments.
Groceries and other shopping

6. Use money saving membership cards and apps when you shop for groceries.

We use our local supermarket chain’s membership and app.

By doing so we get plenty of special offers on groceries. And we collect points each week that can be converted into money that we can use for groceries or other perks (like discounts on hotels).

This saves us a quite a bit of money each year with just a couple of minutes of work per week.

7. Ask yourself this once in a while before shopping: do I have any unused coupons or gift cards I can use?

If you’re anything like me you’ve probably gotten a gift card or received points that have been converted into a bonus check.

And then forgotten all about it. And so it has expired before you remember that you had it.

So a couple of times a year or maybe once a month before you go shopping, ask yourself the question above so you don’t miss out on any savings.

8. Cook more than you’ll eat (and easily make an extra lunch or two).

Eating out can become a big monthly cost if you let it get out of hand.

When my wife and I make dinner we usually make at least a couple of portions for lunch the next day.

And once a week or so we makes 6-10 portions of food and put the meals that won’t be lunch the next day into our freezer.

This saves us time and we’ll be less tempted to order a couple of pizzas after a long and tiring work day for example.

And if there’s half a portion extra then that can go into the fridge and be a snack for later today or tomorrow.

9. Make your coffee at home too.

Just like eating out, drinking coffee from for instance Starbucks every day can become quite expensive over time.

So invest in a good travel mug and then brew some extra coffee in the morning to save money and not waste time standing in line at your local coffee place every day.

10. Go grocery shopping once a week.

We tend to write a meal plan for the coming week and then we go grocery shopping most often just once a week based on that.

This saves us time, gas and as we aren’t at the store more than once  – or maybe twice to pick something we forgot or as plans changed – a week there is a lot less opportunities for impulse spending compared to if we’d go there 3-7 times a week (as I often did when I was single).

11. Check your fridge, freezer and pantry before you go shopping and plan your weekly cooking based on that.

This is a pretty big one for us and helps us to cut down on the shopping list before we go to the store.

It saves us money and reduces food waste compared to the weeks when we just buy the food we have a craving for as we’re writing our shopping list.

12. Buy store brand products.

I was pretty skeptical about this a couple of years ago.

But I’ve found that the store brand if often as good as the more well-known brands and they tend to cost a bit less.

13. Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry.

I’ve made this mistake too many times. And I came home with all kinds of unnecessary and often unhealthy food I didn’t originally plan to buy.

14. When there's a special offer buy more of what you use often.

For example, stuff that stores well like soap, toilet-paper or frozen vegetables and salmon. Keeping an eye out for offers like this on most weeks helps us to save quite a bit of money over a year.

15. Check the expiring soon section if you got one at your local super market.

We always take a quick look and often pick up some food item at half price because it expires in a couple of days. It’s simple way to both save a bit of money and help to reduce the food waste in society.

Create a side income you can save

One of the best ways to be able to save more is to increase your income a bit.

So that’s what the next couple of tips in this post are about.

16. Start a blog.

I make a full-time living from my blog and have for years. This takes time and plenty of effort.

But making it into a side hustle that brings in anywhere from one or a couple of hundred dollars each month and up to a $1000 is easier and takes less time.

To learn more about that check out my in-depth post with 45 tips about blogging.

Or enroll in my free 7-day email course called How to Start a Successful Blog. In it I explain step-by-step how to easily start your own blog and what the best ways are to make a side income from it (in my experience).

17. Spend a bit of your free time on doing market research surveys.

Starting a blog and creating a monthly side income from it takes some time, effort and few dollars of investment each month.

But there are other ways to more quickly add a bit of extra money to your savings. One way is to participate in market research surveys online.

You won’t get rich from doing this but on the other hand it’s totally free, quick and easy to get started with.

The biggest and most well-known survey site is Survey Junkie. They have over 3 million members and the highest rating on TrustPilot among survey sites with a score of 8,6.

For every survey you complete on Survey Junkie you get points.

A completed survey gives you about 50-200 points. These points can be converted in into gift cards or money (1000 points equals $10).

Click here to join Survey Junkie for free (note: only available for US, Canadian and Australian readers at this time).

And if you want more tips on how to make some extra money then check out this recent article I wrote.

Second-hand shopping and borrowing

18. Check out local thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.

This has become really popular in recent years to both save money and help reduce how our production and consumption negatively affects the environment.

And a doing a yard/garage sale of your own can help you to make some extra money from the things you rarely or never use yourself but someone else could make some good use of.

19. Go online to buy or sell previously used items.

Both my wife and I use this option quite often. There are a lot of barely used things out there that you can get at a great discount.

So before you go to your regular online stores, have a look at Ebay (or alternatives in your country) and the many Facebook groups where people sell all kinds of things or sometimes give stuff away for free as long as you come and pick it up.

Plus, you can often find buyers pretty easily online if you have something you've never or rarely used that you want to sell.

20. Switch a bag of clothes with a friend.

Grab a bag and fill it with clothes you’ve been wearing a lot (and maybe some items you didn't like for some reason).

Get a friend who has the same size as you to do the same thing.

Then switch bags and both of you will have “new” clothes to wear. And you’ll feel less of a need to go online or to the store to buy new clothes.

21. Borrow things you seldom use.

If you need something for your garden or home once or a couple of times a year try borrowing it before buying it. Ask friends, family or neighbors.

And return the favor when they need something you have access to.

22. If you don’t use it often and can’t borrow it then consider a cheap option.

We picked up some cheap extra tools when we moved into our house and have only used them once or a couple of times so far.

You can always buy a more expensive option later on if you realize you’ll need it more than you first thought.

23. Use your local library.

I can find books, movies and even video games at my local library. And I usually just read a book once so buying it most often seems like a bit of a waste of paper and money.

Borrowing books and video games (and in the past CDs) from the local libraries where I’ve lived have saved me thousands of dollars over the past 20+ years.

24. Ask for a discount.

If you buy something second-hand then talk to the seller and see if he or she can do something to lower the price a bit. It rarely hurts to at least ask.

Or when you’re buying something new and somewhat expensive at a store then see if they can throw something in for free. Way back when I used to sell computers at a store people quite often haggled and got some free paper for their printer or a cord for their computer.

25. See if there are some old and unused things just lying around at your family home.

After we moved into our house we went on treasure hunts in attics and cellars in the homes of our parents. And found old but nice things they hadn’t used in many years that we could have and that would work well in some area in our home.

Better banking and investing

26. Get a better interest rate for your savings account.

One simple thing to do to help your savings work better in a passive way is to do 20-30 minutes of research on the banks you have available in your country.

And to see if you can find one with a better interest rate.

27. Invest a bit of money.

Another way to help your savings to work for you is to invest some of that money into, for example, index funds.

You can find plenty of sensible advice on such things on sites like Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar.

28. Set up a separate savings account for each of your goals.

Such as retirement, a dream vacation or your emergency fund.

When that money is marked for a destination and a goal then you’re a lot less likely to withdraw and spend that money on impulse purchases or unnecessary things.

This usually only takes a couple of minutes to set up via your internet bank and works a lot better to reduce spending than having all your money in one account and having some vague and unwritten goals about what you are saving that money for.

Things to do in your home

29. Replace your cable subscription with streaming services.

We opted out of a cable subscription with many channels and instead choose to focus on one or two streaming services like Netflix and HBO at a time. This tends to be quite bit cheaper.

30. Change all your bulbs to LED-bulbs.

LED bulbs use less electricity and last up to 25 000 hours (compared to the 5 000 hours of regular bulbs). They are more expensive than regular bulbs though.

But in the long run making this switch should save you some money.

31. Try reducing your home temperature by 1-2 degrees.

Heating your home is – as I've noted after being a house owner for close to two years – usually the biggest part of the electricity bill.

So one thing you could try to shrink that bill a bit is to reduce temperature in your home by 1-2 degrees. Try it out for a few days or a couple of weeks and see if that feels OK.

If it does then that could save you a nice sum over one or a few years.

32. Get a bicycle.

Using a bicycle can help you to both reduce fuel costs and wear and tear on your car. And it will give you plenty of exercise and fresh air.

I use my bicycle for that pretty often during the spring, summer and fall. We are also looking into getting an electric bicycle to make my wife’s commute to work a lot less expensive but also not too strenuous (we got a lot of long hills in our city).

33. Cancel your gym card and work out at home.

I lost 26 pounds 10 years ago by following a home exercise program called Turbulence Training.

And I still work out from home every week by using free weights.

I’d also recommend to check out Youtube, there are so many exercise programs of all sorts there nowadays that you can just follow along with.

34. Split your Spotify or Netflix account with a friend or family member.

Not a huge saving but it can add up over a year or two.

Cars, dating, downgrading and more

In this last category I’ve collected plenty of tips and strategies that didn’t quite fit into the previous sections.

35. Carpool.

You’ll help the environment while cutting down on your costs. And the ride to work may more enjoyable too when you got some company.

36. Look for cheaper gas.

Take a bit of time to ask around and/or do a bit of internet research to find the cheapest gas station in your local area.

You may also want to look into if the membership club for your car brand or the membership club for the grocery chain you use work together with a local gas station. This can help you to reduce your costs even further.

37. Try online dating to reduce cover charges.

Going out a lot to improve your dating situation can be quite expensive as cover charges and drinks or beers at clubs or pubs can quickly add up.

A less expensive alternative to try could be online dating (and then as a first date a cup of coffee or tea at a coffee shop). Some dating sites have monthly fees while others tend to be free (or they at least let you try them out for free for a few weeks or a month).

38. Make it a competition.

Do you like to compete?

Then do a simple savings challenge it with a friend or your partner.

See who can go the longest without buying something (besides food and necessary things in your daily life). The loser can buy dinner for the both of you.

39. Make allowance a thing again.

Use the same limit your parents used to use when you were a kid.

Give yourself a weekly allowance to spend as you like to reduce the craving for frivolous spending and impulse purchases.

40. Downgrade your phone.

Sell your iPhone, buy a basic flip-phone for calling and texting and then sign up for a cheap cell plan.

41. Stop buying the latest phone, laptop etc.

When I buy a new smart phone then it's a phone that's one or two generations old.

By not buying the latest model I save plenty of money but still get a phone that easily covers my needs.

42. Unsubscribe from email newsletters that will tempt you.

Get rid of newsletter subscriptions that you know will just tempt you to buy things you don’t really need or want.

It’ll save you time as you navigate your inbox and reduce the opportunities to do impulse purchases.

And consider unfollowing accounts that tempt you too much in your social media flow.

43. Compare prices on insurances, cell phone plans and other bills.

Do some internet research and see if you can find a cheaper insurance plan for your car or home that offers the same benefits or the most important ones you need for a lower price than what you’re currently paying.

This of course works for cell phone plans and many other bills too.

44. Negotiate your bills.

Do your research as mentioned in the previous tip. Then call up your cell phone company or insurance company.

Simply tell them that you have found what they offer at a cheaper rate at a competitor and ask what they can do on your price because otherwise you’re leaving.

As they want to keep their customers for many, many years they may be able to lower your price. Or offer you more benefits for the price you’re paying right now.

45. Compare prices on all other larger purchases too.

You can do that by using simple price comparison websites. This one has saved me quite a bit of money in the past decade on clothes, perfume, home electronics and more.

46. Stop smoking.

More for the health issues it can lead to but also to save a lot of money each year.

47. Got a raise? Then avoid this common mistake.

Save as much of it as you can and, if possible, keep living pretty much like you have.

Instead of making the very common mistake of letting your expenses quickly balloon and eat up all that extra money each..

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Today I’d like to share 101 timeless quotes that will help you to have a good and motivated morning.

Because how you start your day tends to set the tone for the rest of the day.

If you start your day with negativity and in a hurried and stressed state then that'll likely continue for the rest of the day and impact your work, relationships and overall quality of life that day.

If you on the other hand start your day in a positive way with some uplifting reading or a fun conversation around the breakfast table and then get started with your most important task of your day as soon as you arrive at work then you’re setting a much better tone for your whole day.

So if you need some motivation to get started on the right foot on a dreary or tired morning – or your day just got off to a rocky start and you need some inspiration to turn that around – keep reading.

Uplifting Quotes to Help You to Have a Good Morning and Day

In this first part of the post I'd simply like to share some of my favorites that help to motivate me and set the right mindset for my morning.

And if you want more motivation to start moving and accomplish your goals and dreams then check out 27 Smart and Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. 24 brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
– Lemony Snicket

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
– Dalai Lama

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank

“I get up every morning and it’s going to be a great day. You never know when it’s going to be over so I refuse to have a bad day.”
– Paul Henderson

“Now that your eyes are open, make the sun jealous with your burning passion to start the day. Make the sun jealous or stay in bed.”
– Malak El Halabi

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Every morning brings new potential, but if you dwell on the misfortunes of the day before, you tend to overlook tremendous opportunities.”
– Harvey Mackay

“Don't wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.”
– Billy Wilder

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.”
– Rumi

“Every day brings new choices.”
– Martha Beck

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
– George Horace Lorimer

“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.”
– Mark Twain

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
– Confucius

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
– Maria Robinson

“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
– Buddha

“No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid.”
– Lupita Nyong'o

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
– Albert Ellis

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
– Anatole France

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
– Wayne Dyer

“If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.”
– Les Brown

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
– Bruce Lee

“Success isn’t always about ‘Greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come.”
– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
– Earl Nightingale

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

“Though I might travel afar, I will meet only what I carry with me, for every man is a mirror. We see only ourselves reflected in those around us.
Their attitudes and actions are only a reflection of our own.
The whole world and its condition has its counter parts within us all.
Turn the gaze inward. Correct yourself and your world will change.”
– Kristen Zambucka

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Eliot

Motivational Quotes on Making Your Morning a Productive One

A couple of my favorites from this section that I always tend to keep in mind are the ones by Olin Miller, Karen Lamb and Lao Tzu.

Want more help to overthink and procrastinate less and get more things done? Then have a look at this post.

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.”
– Richard Whately

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
– Dale Carnegie

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
– Olin Miller

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
– Mark Twain

“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
– David Allen

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
– Epictetus

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Think of many things; do one.”
– Portuguese proverb

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. “
– Alexander Graham Bell

“Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life.”
– Hal Elrod

“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”
– Victor Hugo

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“If you want to get your work done 50% faster in a given day, meditate for 20 minutes in the morning.”
– Tim Ferriss

“Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
– Peter Drucker

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
– Lao Tzu

“The only thing worse than starting something and failing … is not starting something.”
– Seth Godin

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”
– David Allen

“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb

Inspiring Quotes for Those Extra Tough Mornings and Days

Sometimes mornings, days and life is just rough and tough.

I find that these quotes can be both comforting and motivating at such times and they help me to keep worries and negativity away.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

“It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.”
– Colin Powell

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Morning not only forgives, it forgets.”
– Marty Rubin

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
– Robert H. Schuller

“If you fall, fall on your back. If you can look up, you can get up.”
– Les Brown

”Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
– Richard Branson

“A man may fail many times but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
– John Burroughs

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”
– Maya Angelou

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
– John Steinbeck

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
– John F. Kennedy

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.”
– Napoleon Hill

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.”
– Flavia Weedn

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin

“Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.”
– Drew Barrymore

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
– Kahlil Gibran

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
– Albert Camus

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Inspiring Quotes on the Relationships and Love in Your Life

Few things can so powerfully lift us up and keep motivating us as the love and relationships – both with others and ourselves – in our lives.

So here are two handfuls of my favorite quotes on that for you as you start your morning.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
– Larry King

“As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”
– Thomas S. Monson

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
– Khalil Gibran

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”
– Shel Silverstein

“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.”
– Arnold H. Glasgow

“Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. Don’t over-analyze your relationships. Stop playing games. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness. “
– Leo F. Buscaglia

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
– Zig Ziglar

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.”
– Anthony Robbins

“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.”
– Maxwell Maltz

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
– Bernard Meltzer

“The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.”
– Dale Carnegie

“It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
– Rumi

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
– Oprah Winfrey

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
– Buddha

“A healthy self-love means we have no compulsion to justify to ourselves or others why we take vacations, why we sleep late, why we buy new shoes, why we spoil ourselves from time to time. We feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.”
– Andrew Matthews

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”
– William James

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren't more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they'll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
— Kristen Neff

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
— Wayne Dyer

What’s your favorite quote that helps you to start your morning and day in a good way? Feel free to share the best one(s) you have found in this article or in your life in the comments section below.

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“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
Amelia Earhart

A very simple way to spread more happiness in your own little world is through kindness. It's often an easy and quick thing you can do as you move through your daily life.

But we sometimes forget about it. Or don’t remember how it can help us all.

Three things that I like to keep in mind and that help me to try to be a kinder person are these:

  • I get what I give. Yep, some people will be ungrateful, miserable and not reciprocating no matter what you may do. But most people will over time treat you as you treat them.
  • By being kinder to others I am more likely to be kinder to myself. It may sound a bit odd but my experience is that when I am kinder towards others then my self-esteem goes up.
  • It creates a happier place to live in. Being kinder simply makes my own little world a nicer and happier place to live in.

So how can you start spreading the kindness and happiness in your daily life?

Here are 15 simple ways to do it.

Pick one of them that resonates with you and start using it today.

1. Express your gratitude. 

Think about what you can be grateful for about someone in your life.

Maybe that he is a good listener, that he often is quick to help out or that he always adds great songs to a Spotify playlist. Or simply that he held up the door for you.

Then express that gratitude in a simple “thank you!” or in a sincere sentence or two.

2. Replace the judgments. 

No one likes to be judged. And the more you judge other people the more you tend to judge yourself.

So despite the temporary benefit of deriving pleasure from the judgments it is not a good or smart long-term habit.

When you feel the urge to judge ask yourself: what is one kind thing I can think or do in this situation instead?

3. Replace the unconstructive criticism. 

Try encouragement instead of excessive criticism. It helps people to both raise their self-esteem and to do a better job.

And it will make things more fun and more light-hearted in the long run.

4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. 

It is quite easy to resort to unkindness when you see things just from your perspective.

Two questions that help me to see and to better understand other viewpoints are:

  • How would I think and feel it if I were in his or her shoes?
  • What parts of this person can I see in myself?

5. Recall how people’s kindness made you feel.

Just sit down for a few minutes and try to recall one time or a few times when other people’s kindness really touched you and helped you out.

Then think about how you can do those very same things for someone in your life.

6. Express kindness for something you may often take for granted.

It is easy to remember and to feel motivated to express kindness when someone is having a rough time or have just finished an important project.

But also remember to express kindness for how someone continues to put so much love into the dinners you eat. Or for being on time every day and doing their job well and keeping deadlines.

7. Hide a surprising and kind note.

Leave a small note with a loving or encouraging sentence in your partner’s or child’s lunchbox, hat, tea-container or book that he or she is reading right now.

That minute of your time will put a smile on her face and joy and motivation in her heart.

8. Just be there.

Listen – without thinking about something else – when someone needs to vent.

Just be there fully with your attention.

Or have a conversation and help someone find his or her way out of fear and to a more constructive and grounded perspective.

9. Remember the small acts of kindness too.

Let someone into your lane while driving. Let someone skip ahead of you in a line if he's in a real hurry.

Hold up the door for someone or ask if they need help when you see them standing around with a map and a confused look.

10. Give someone an uplifting gift.

Someone in your life may have a bit of a tough time right now. Then send him or her an inspirational book or movie.

Or simply send an email with a link to something inspiring or funny that you have found like a blog, podcast or a comic.

11. Help someone out practically.

Give them a hand when moving or with making dinner or arrangements before a party.

If they need information, then help out by googling it or by asking knowledgeable people that you know.

12. Help the people in your life see how they make a difference in their lives.

When you talk to someone about his or her day or what has been going on lately then make sure to point out how he or she also has spread kindness and happiness.

People are often unaware of the positive things they do or they minimize them in their own minds.

So help them to see themselves in a more positive light and to improve their own self-esteem.

13. Remember the 3 reasons for kindness at the start of this article.

It will help you to be kinder even when you may not always feel much like it.

If you like, write those reasons down on a piece of paper and put that note where you can see it every day.

14. Pay it forward.

When someone does something kind for you – no matter how big or small – then try to pay that forward by being kind to someone else as soon as you can.

15. Be kinder towards yourself.

Then you will naturally treat other people with more kindness too. It is truly a win-win habit.

A simple way to start being kinder toward yourself is to each evening write down 3 things you appreciate about yourself and about what you have done that day in a journal.

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One of the most destructive daily habits I carried with me for a long time and I think is a very common one for many people was the thought habit of catastrophizing.

What is catastrophizing?

This is when you build up a nightmare scenario of how everything could go totally wrong in some situation and imagine a big catastrophe in your mind.

You may have a presentation tomorrow and your mind starts to pull up a scenario where you have left your notes at home, you make a fool of yourself, you are embarrassed in front the whole company and your boss yells at you for 20 minutes after the meeting.

Scary stuff for sure.

So how did I learn to handle this one?

Let me share 7 steps that have really helped me out.

Step 1: Loudly say stop to your inner critic.

The catastrophe that has started to brew in your mind comes from your inner critic.

He is telling you: “You will fail because it is what you always do.”

Or that you have not prepared enough.

Or that your boss will not be pleased with your presentation for some reason or other.

Or all of that.

So stop the inner critic quickly. In your mind, as soon as these thoughts pop up, shout:


Or: “NOPE, we are not going down that path again!”

This will disrupt that train of thought and help you to start feeling more level-headed again.

Step 2: Focus on your breathing.

After disrupting the thought be still for a minute or two. Sit down if you can.

Focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths. Nothing else.

This will calm your body down from the stress and it helps your mind to think more clearly and to return to what is happening right now in this moment instead of being lost in future nightmares.

Step 3: Look to the past for the truth.

Think back to your past.

How many times in the past have these catastrophe scenarios that your mind throws at you actually become reality?

Never or very few times I would imagine. That has certainly been the case for me.

So remind yourself of the actual facts from the past to calm yourself down even more and to draw yourself back to the more centered version of yourself.

Step 4: Talk it through and get input from a level-headed friend.

In many situations in my own life the first three steps have helped me to snap out of the catastrophe scenario and to think more calmly and clearly.

But sometimes that combination isn't quite enough. Maybe there are still some lingering negative thoughts and inner tensions that could start snowballing again.

If that’s the case then one thing I like to do is to let the catastrophe out. I talk it over with someone close to me.

By doing so, by just venting and having someone listening for a few minutes I can often see the situation for what it truly is. And so I calm down.

Or the person listening can help out me out a bit more if needed and lend me his or her perceptive.

That helps me to ground myself in reality again and it has also helped me many times to find a solution or a first step that I can take to start changing this situation into something better if that is needed.

Step 5: Stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

Another thing that often helps me is to ask myself a question that lets me zoom out and see if I'm honestly just making a mountain out of a molehill here (or out of nothing at all).

So I ask myself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

The answer is almost always that it won't. Even though it might at first seem that way when you're in a stressed out and anxious headspace.

Step 6: Say stop to yourself when you know you simply can't think straight.

When I'm hungry or I need to go to bed and get some sleep then I know from experience that I'm vulnerable to catastrophizing and pessimistic thoughts.

So what do I do?

I tell myself this:

No, no, no, we are not going to think about this now. We will think about this situation or challenge later, after getting some sleep or food.

Doing that simple thing helps a lot.

Because when I'm not hungry or I'm well rested once again then my issue that I was getting worked up about will most often be small to non-existent when revisited with some clear-headed thinking.

Or it will at least be a lot easier to find a solution or a plan to improve things if there's actually a real challenge here that I need to face.

Step 7: Reduce any weekly input that pushes these disaster scenarios into the forefront of your mind.

The people and the other sources out there like TV, social media and various websites or forums have a big influence over your thinking.

So be careful about what you let into your head on a daily and weekly basis. Ask yourself:

Is there a person or source in my life that strengthens my catastrophizing habit?

Examples of such sources could be someone who is very pessimistic, news online or on the TV that often paint up disaster scenarios or a website or social media platform that you find is feeding too much negativity into your mind.

When you've found something like that in your life ask yourself:

What can I do this week to spend less or no time with this person or source?

Then take action on that and spend the time you've now freed up during this week with one or a few of the most optimistic sources / people in your life.

Do this – in the coming weeks or months – with as many sources as needed to piece by piece build a healthy environment for yourself and for your thoughts.

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“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Benjamin Franklin

One very common question I've gotten over the years goes something like this:

“I always get nervous before a date/meeting/social gathering and that holds me back from being my true and best self and from doing and getting what I want. What can I do to overcome this?”

This is an issue that used to hold me back in the past and I've more experience with it than I would have ever wanted.

Back when I was still single I often got quite nervous before a date.

And before that, when I didn't have a date at all in a long time, I got nervous before most social situations.

It was no fun.

Things weren't hopeless though. And today I would like to share three small habits and steps that, simply put, totally changed my life.

Step 1: Slow down.

A few minutes before you step into the meeting, job interview or date that makes you nervous slow down.

Walk slower to the meeting place. Move slower.

Then stop.

Step 2: Breathe.

Stand still or sit down for a minute. And then just breathe. Take a little deeper breaths than usual.

Make sure you breathe through your nostrils and with your belly.

Focus on just your slow in-breaths and out-breaths for 1-2 minutes.

This will calm your mind and body down and make it easier to think clearly and normally again.

Plus, that singular focus on your breathing will draw you back into this moment instead of leaving you lost in the thoughts of past failures or destructive worries about your near future.

Step 3: Assume rapport.

Assuming rapport means that just before you met someone you pretend and think to yourself that you are meeting one of your best friends.

Doing this will allow you to naturally slip into a much more relaxed, comfortable, confident and enjoyable emotional state and frame of mind.

In this frame of mind the conversation and smiles tends to flow naturally, without much thinking.

Just like with your best friends.

It's, in my experience, a very simple habit to adopt but at the same time it's also an incredibly powerful habit for tapping into your best social self.

By using these three steps over and over they will become habits that are easy to use. And over time as you get good results in social situations the old normal of feeling nervous will be replaced by a new normal.

A normal where you're – at least most of the time – relaxed and confident in social situations because all your recent experiences put together have changed how you view yourself and what you expect on dates, in meetings and other such situations.

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Today I want to share 12 tips that have been really useful for me to calm my anxiety in everyday life.

Because if you’re anything like me you have been there many times.

You’re sitting in a waiting room. Or just waiting somewhere.

Soon it will begin.

Your leg is starting to shake nervously. Your hands are starting to sweat and maybe your mouth feels a bit dry.

Your thoughts are becoming jumbled, it is hard to focus and to think as clearly as you usually do.

Maybe you have an important test in school. A job interview. An appointment with your doctor or dentist.

A date that you are looking forward to but at the same time you are scared to make a fool of yourself on.

Whatever it may be it is making you anxious.

Now, these self-help tips are for relieving low or medium levels of anxiety. They are not intended for anxiety attacks or anything that serious.

I know nothing about such things and would recommend that you seek professional help in such situations.

1. Breathe.

Sit down, in a quiet place if possible.

Breathe a little deeper than usual and do it with your belly and not with your chest.

For just a minute or two focus on only the air going in and out of your nostrils. Nothing else.

This will calm your mind and body down.

And it will bring your attention back to the present moment instead of it being lost in overthinking scary, future scenarios or bad memories from the past.

2. Get good knowledge.

Dispel the clouds of uncertainty and vague fears by researching what you have anxiety about.

By talking to people who have done what you are about to do or want to do – or by reading what they have written – you can build a more realistic roadmap with both positives and negatives of how things are likely to go.

And learn how to improve in the area that gives you anxiety.

Do research on the best ways to become better at and less nervous when – for instance – doing public speaking, job interviews or presentations at work or in school.

3. Do a quick workout.

I like to lift heavy weights for about 15-25 minutes when I feel worried, stressed or anxious.

It makes me feel stronger both in mind and body. It releases inner tensions and relaxes me.

Others go out for a quick run, walk or bike ride when they feel anxious.

Find a way to exercise that fits you and lets you reap these benefits and counteract anxiety.

4. Focus on something else.

Sometimes it is more helpful to simply redirect your mind instead of thinking about what creates your current anxiety.

Especially if you have no control over the situation that causes the anxiety like for example an upcoming appointment with your doctor or the dentist.

So focus your attention somewhere else for a while and recharge it with something positive.

Watch a couple of episodes of your favorite sit-com or TV-series. Browse your favorite social media feeds. Have relaxing or upbeat night out with friends.

Do something that takes your mind off the situation that causes anxiety, even if it is just for a few hours.

After that recharge you will not only likely feel better but you will also be in a better headspace and at a higher energy level to handle and think about the anxious situation.

5. Don’t forget to eat.

When I forget to eat because I am stressed and anxious then that only tends to worsen my state of mind.

It becomes harder to think clearly and negative scenarios more easily pop up in my mind.

So even if you don't feel that hungry keep an eye on the clock and if you may be running low on fuel.

6. Change your focus to what you can do right now.

When you ask yourself questions that make you feel powerless or like things will only get worse and worse then you take away your personal power.

Empower yourself by instead asking yourself:

What is one small thing I can do to improve upon this situation today?

Write that question down and brainstorm answers for a few minutes. Then take action on one of the answers you find.

It doesn’t have to be a big action, just one small step forward. And when you are done with it then take another one.

This movement forward will make you feel like you are starting to regain control over your life again, it will make you feel at least a bit more confident and it, in my experience, tends to reduce the anxiety.

7. Question your worries and anxiety.

Look to your own past and ask yourself:

How many situations that I have been anxious about in the past have turned out to be exaggerations or me making a mountain out of a molehill in my mind?

Question your anxiety and worries instead of letting them roam freely.

8. Remember: You have handled tough situations in the past.

When you are standing in the middle of anxiety and fear bubbling up within then it is easy to get dragged down with it.

To lose faith in yourself and your abilities.

When that happens focus on your breathing first to calm and clear your mind. Then look to the past for a bit of strength and confidence in what you can do.

Doing this helps me to go from feeling powerless to feeling like I am standing on firmer ground again.

9. Let the feeling in to let it go.

Sometimes an anxious feeling can feel sticky and vague.

You don’t know exactly where it is coming from or what is causing it. It can be hard to get rid of.

A bit of an odd solution that has worked well for me in such situations is this:

When you feel a negative feeling then allow and accept that feeling. Don’t try to keep it out. Don’t try to fight it.

Even though many of us have learned to do those two things to negative feelings throughout life.

Instead, this time, just let it in and observe the feeling in your mind and body without judging it.

If you let it in and just observe it for a couple of minutes something wonderful happens.

First it may feel uncomfortable and more intense.

But then the feeling loses power. It weakens.

Often to the point that it just vanishes. Or so you can let it go without much effort.

Because when you accept the feeling and let it in you stop feeding it with more energy (as you would when you tried your hardest to keep it out or to fight it).

10. Let it out into the light.

When you keep something inside of you then your head can become an echo chamber that magnifies and doubles the anxiety and fear in a situation.

So let it out instead.

Talk to someone close to you about the situation at hand. Just venting to someone who will listen can help you to get a more grounded view on what's happening.

Or the two of you can discuss it and help you to reclaim your power by making a small, initial plan for how you can reduce the anxiety about this situation by taking some kind of action.

11. Stay in the present moment.

Anxiety is often a fear of something you think will happen in future.

One way to reduce that anxiety is to simply stay with your attention in the present moment as much as you can.

Perhaps you make a small plan in advance to help you out but you choose to deal with the anxiety-creating situation when it happens.

Instead of spending hours each day with imagining and fearing the future and creating monsters in your mind.

The breathing technique at the start of this article is one of the best techniques I have found for returning to the present moment when you get lost in the future.

Another one of my favorites you can try is this one:

Take 1-2 minutes and focus only on what’s right in front of you.

Or around you and on you. Look at what’s right in front of you.

Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the fabric of your clothes. Feel the warmth of the spring sun on your skin.

12. Remember: There is a brand new day tomorrow.

This reminder helps me when today or the last week may not have gone so well.

Because there will be a brand new day tomorrow. A day when you can begin again.

A day when you can take a new step to move towards what you want and likely have a bit more luck.

And when it will be easier to see that this difficult time is only temporary and not permanent (even if it might feel that way right now).

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One of the most common things that gets people stuck in inaction and in not doing what they deep down would like to is the destructive habit of overthinking.

You can overthink a small problem or challenge until it looks like a huge and undefeatable monster.

Or overthink something positive in your life until it doesn’t look so positive anymore.

And sometimes you may even be zapping a simple moment happening here right now out of all it’s joy and magic by overanalyzing and dissecting it.

I’ve done all three of those things. All too many times.

So in the first part of this week’s post I’d like to share 21 of the quotes that I’ve found the most helpful myself when I’ve gotten stuck in overthinking.

And in the second part I’d like to share 5 of my own favorite tips. The ones that have helped me the most to stop overthinking in the past 10+ years.

  1. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”
    – Napoleon Bonaparte
  2. “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It's important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
    – Robert Herjavek
  3. ”Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.”
    – Brian Tracy
  4. “Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it's all small stuff.”
    – Robert Eliot
  5. “Don't get too deep, it leads to over thinking, and over thinking leads to problems that doesn't even exist in the first place.”
    – Jayson Engay
  6. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  7. “Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
    – Leo Buscaglia
  8. “If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.”
    – Dean Smith
  9. “Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
    – Shannon L. Alder
  10. “We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.”
    – John Newton
  11. ”People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.”
    – George Bernard Shaw
  12. “The more I think about it, the more I realize that overthinking isn't the real problem. The real problem is that we don't trust.”
    – L.J. Vanier
  13. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
    – Winston Churchill
  14. “It's a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.”
    – Paulo Coelho
  15.  “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
    – Napoleon Hill
  16. “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt
  17. “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
    – Erma Bombeck
  18. “Trust the still, small voice that says, “this might work and I'll try it.”
    – Diane Mariechild
  19. “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
    – Benjamin Franklin
  20. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
    – Karen Lamb
  21. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    – Mark Twain
How to Stop Overthinking: My Top 5 Favorite Tips

1. Use a reminder to save yourself from winding up there in the first place.

Staying aware of your negative habit and catching yourself as soon as you start falling into that trap of overthinking as you go about your day can be a big help.

But just trying to keep it in mind at work, in school or in your private life tends to not work that well in my experience. Because we forget all the time.

So what’s needed for this to work a lot better is a reminder.

When I focused on getting a handle on my own overthinking I used a whiteboard on the wall in my home office. The message I wrote on that board was this:

Keep things extremely simple.

This helped me greatly to more often and quicker snap out of overthinking and reduce the number of times that the destructive habit grabbed a hold on my thinking.

Two other kinds of effective reminders are in my experience:

  • A small note. Put a post-it or something similar with your reminder somewhere where you cannot avoid seeing it every day. You may even want make a few copies and put them in strategic places like your workspace, bathroom mirror and on the fridge.
  • A reminder on your smart phone. This is the kind of reminder that I use the most these days. I use the free Google Keep app and usually set a reminder to pop up 1-3 times a day to help me to stay on track.

2. Reframe the situation and see it from a wider view.

When you’re thinking and thinking about something then ask yourself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

Zooming out in this way will help you to see things with clearer eyes and from a more level-headed perspective.

It will help you to not let medium-sized issues become something that causes more stress or concern than is necessary.

And to more quickly let go of situations where you’re honestly making a hen out of a feather (or out of simply nothing) and to not waste any additional energy on them.

3. Get out of your own head.

When you’re stuck in your own head and thoughts then it can be hard to break out of an overthinking loop about something.

A simple solution that works well but can be a bit counter-intuitive is to then direct your focus fully outward instead of inward.

Two good ways to get outside your own head are:

  • Help someone else out. Listen and encourage someone close to you that is in a negative situation. Help a friend to plan for a party or for an upcoming meeting or date. Or help out physically by for example lifting moving boxes as your friend is moving into a new house.
  • Exercise. I find that lifting weights or going somewhere on my bicycle and simply focusing on the exercise and my surroundings and nothing more to be a great way to get out of my own head and to find new energy and a sharper focus once again.

4. Simply small step it.

If overthinking becomes a way to procrastinate or to not face the fear of getting out of the comfort zone you’re in then small step it.

Find just one small or tiny step you can take to move forward. One small action that takes 1-5 minutes. Do that and focus only on that one step until you’re done.

This will get you moving, build momentum and often leads to more small steps being taken (as the first step is most often the hardest one).

5. Just realize and accept that you can’t control everything.

Not even if you think a situation through 50 times or more.

To try to control everything or cover any possible eventuality through overthinking so you don’t risk making a mistake or looking like a fool can be appealing. It has sometimes been the biggest reason for why I’ve thought things through all too many times.

But I’ve also learned that accepting that it simply doesn’t work is the honest truth. To prepare and plan is helpful but going overboard with it isn’t.

A better and healthier way forward is in my experience to understand that making mistakes, failing and sometimes looking like a fool is natural part of stretching your comfort zone.

It has happened to everyone that has wanted to live life fully and to anyone you may admire.

And for most of them those experiences have been very valuable.

Because such situations have helped to them to learn game-changing lessons, to grow and are often invaluable ingredients to their success.

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

I love simplifying my life. It makes me more effective and life less stressful. It makes me calmer and happier.

But where do you start? Or continue if you are already on your way?

In this week's article I’d like to share 21 small habits that help me to live a simpler life.

Pick one of these to get started and keep doing it until it sticks and becomes just another normal part of your life.

1. Breathe.

When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out.

This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again.

2. Do one thing at a time.

You’ll get better results and feel better and less stressed while doing those things.

3. Write it all down.

Use your mind for better things than remembering what to do. And the mind is often like a leaky bucket.

So write down all your great ideas, insights and thoughts before they go missing somewhere and add what you need to do to a to-do list.

4. Do all your food shopping once a week.

You’ll save time, energy and – in my experience – money.

5. Stop trying to do things perfectly. 

It will only get you stuck and drain your self-esteem.

Go for good enough instead and when you are there you are done. Get things all the way to done this way and then move on to the next thing.

6. Stop doing what you don’t like doing anymore.

Life changes and so do you.

If you don't like doing something anymore then stop doing that (even if it may take some time before you can do so by for example switching jobs).

7. Pack your bag before you go to bed.

Then you don’t have to get stressed out by that in morning and you are less likely to forget something.

8. Throw out the things you haven’t used in 1 year.

Go through what you have and ask yourself if you have used it in the past year. If not, give it away to charity or a friend or simply throw it out.

9. Ask yourself simplifying questions every day.

Questions like:

  • What is the most important thing I can do right now?
  • What is one small step I can take to simplify this situation?

10. Keep everything in its place.

If everything has its own place then it is whole lot easier to keep your home reasonably ordered and decluttered from day to day.

This also helps you with your inner stillness as the outer environment affects how you feel on the inside.

11. Cook more food than you’ll eat. 

We usually make four or more servings of what we're about to eat. This cuts down on time that you spend on cooking and you’ll have to do less washing up in general.

Plus, it’s good to have portions of food to bring to work to save some money.

12. Write shorter emails.

I tend to write emails containing only a few sentences, usually between one and five. If you focus on keeping it short and focused then you’ll probably discover that this is a good solution in most cases.

13. Ask instead of guessing.

Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate.

This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste of time and energy.

14. Use a minimalistic workspace.

My workspace contains a big monitor and a laptop on an adjustable standing desk. I use a comfy chair and there is room for my glass of water beside the computer.

That’s it. There are no distractions here. Just me, the computer and the water.

15. Check everything just once a day.

I check my email inboxes, blog statistics, my online earnings, Twitter and Facebook just once a day.

I combine all that checking into one small daily ritual at the end of my workday so I don’t slip and go checking it more during the day and waste my energy and attention.

16. Choose small daily acts of kindness.

Instead of small acts of judgment and criticism towards the people around you (and towards yourself).

17. Stop trying to please everyone.

There will always be people who you don’t get along with or that do not like you for some reason.

18. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.

Before you start thinking too much about something and building it up something big in your head, ask yourself: “Am I making a mountain out of a molehill here?”

And if you get lost in victim thinking then ask yourself: “Does anyone on the planet have it worse than me right now?”.

19. Spend 10-15 minutes each Sunday or Monday morning to plan out the week.

Write down your plans for the week, organize your prioritized to-do list and get ready for the week before you are in the middle of it all.

This will help you to find more clarity, get more of the most important things done next week and minimize stress.

20. Cancel subscriptions for things you rarely get around to watching or reading anyway.

21. Spend more time with the people that help you to keep things simple.

And spend less time with the people that drag you down into overcomplicating everything and creating unnecessary drama.


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