Choose Happy

Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

Choose Happy

Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

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Shop For Daily Inspiration

Spring Forward: 5 tips for reviving your forgotten New Year’s goals

Now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to recover from that “spring forward” hangover  losing an hour of sleep, let’s take a minute to reassess where you’re at with the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Spring is traditionally the time of new beginnings – think the first flowers peeking their heads out of the earth and birds building nests for their babies. And if you live in a place that gets a real winter, you may be starting to feel more energized and less like a hibernating bear now that the days beginning to warm up. All this new energy makes it a great time to take a look at your goals. Don’t fear if you’ve faltered, there’s still plenty of time to achieve them. Ready to rekindle the enthusiasm for your goals and actually make them happen? Here are five tips to get you there. 1. Revisit your intentions & set fewer goals What were the themes of the resolutions or goals you set earlier in the year – Health and wellness? Career? Family? Re-evaluate those main themes and see which ones resonate the strongest with you. What really needs change now? It’s been found that multitasking is really a myth – so if you’re trying to multitask bits and pieces of each goal, it may be that none of them are getting done. Try paring down your list and focus on just one or two. The rest can wait. 2. Reframe your thinking Now that you have focused on the goals most important to you, take a look at the “why” that kept you from achieving them. The answers you give can provide valuable feedback. Did you bite off a project bigger than you could chew and you got overwhelmed? Are you making excuses such as “I don’t have time”?  How many of you have thought something along these lines: “I’d like to exercise regularly – but I just can’t because my workdays are too long … or my kids are too young … or I can’t afford a gym membership … or I’m too tired”? Believe me, I’m familiar with all these excuses because I’ve used them all at one time or another! And while I’m thinking them, in that very moment, they seem to make so much sense. Do you see how these stumbling blocks are ones that you’ve put in place – maybe without realizing it? The solution may lie in your “locus of control.” In personality psychology, locus of control defines how much people believe they are ultimately responsible for their own successes and failures. If your sense of what controls your life, your “locus of control,” lies within yourself, then you feel you have personal power over your life, meaning that your actions affect how your day goes. If your locus of control is off kilter, you may be blaming everything and everyone for your lack of success. Evaluate what’s getting in your way then decide how you can reframe your thinking. Don’t be afraid to ask your tribe for help if you need to stay accountable to your new way of thinking. 3. Revisit SMART goals SMART is a mnemonic device that lays out a simple formula to help you achieve your goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. SMART goals offer an easy way to make your goals manageable. No more feeling overwhelmed because now you’ve got a plan that you can execute. Here’s an example from my own life: My dentist told me I had “average” gum health, but I’d read research that associated gum health with overall health (Relevant to my life), and I wanted to do better than “average.” So I systematized my goal of healthier gums by committing to flossing every single day (getting Specific with my goal). I told everyone that I was going to floss every day (Timely); and every day I checked off a simple yes or no (Measurable). The daily goal was so tiny – it takes about a minute to floss your teeth – that I didn’t feel discouraged every time I thought about doing it (Achievable). And the more yeses I could check off, the better I felt about myself. Those small, daily victories gave me momentum to keep going, so that now, years later, I still floss every day. Goal achieved! 4. Set yourself up for success So you’ve just realized the goals you set a couple of months ago fell completely off your radar. Oops! This time, set yourself up for success by scheduling a regular review of your goals into your calendar. I call this creating “systems and frameworks.” These are really usually tiny, doable goals that are easily measured, which makes for little successes that you can build from toward your ultimate goal. Imagine you are planning a big party for your child’s 5th birthday. You want to invite family and friends to your house and have all the traditional birthday party elements – games, balloons, presents and a birthday cake. Sure, it’s all doable – but you’ve got to fit in all the planning around working or school, and your time is minimal. If you put one task on your calendar each day, you have a much better chance of actually getting some sleep the night before the party. When working on your goals, it may also help to get an accountability partner or a coach to help keep you on track. When we know someone is expecting results we often step up to accomplish them more easily. 5. Go for it! What are you waiting for? Now’s the time to take your newly focused goals and start making progress – even if it feels like you’re going at a snail’s pace. I think there’s immense power in what I call the Slow Trudge. By just putting one foot in front of the other, again and again and again, doing the same boring things day in and day out, we can travel incredible distances and do amazing things that we didn’t even think possible.  Before you know it you will have mastered that challenge and moved on to the next step. Celebrate the little successes along the way, and, before you know it, your mission will be accomplished. Your Best Day Ever is waiting for you!     Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

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Spring Forward: 5 tips for reviving your forgotten New Year’s goals

Now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to recover from that “spring forward” hangover  losing an h...

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Need to hit the reset button? Your answer maybe be as close as your local tree

Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese concept meaning to “take in the forest atmosphere.” And it can have big benefits for your health and wellbeing. You may have run across reports such as this one from NPR, regaling the benefits of “forest bathing.”  Even if you haven't heard about forest bathing, you may intrinsically know that you feel better after time communing with nature. Best Day Ever is based in the beautiful tree-covered Pacific Northwest, so we have no doubt that forest-bathing benefits are real. Read on to learn how science backs up what we’ve experienced. The idea behind “forest bathing” is not to conquer the trail ahead of you but to simply “be” in your natural surroundings. This may look like a short stroll in a nearby park or sitting and contemplating the world from the banks of a tree-lined stream. It turns out that this respite in a natural setting is particularly good for us. Studies have shown empirical evidence this practice helps lower blood pressure and increase immunity, among other benefits. Another study found that impulsivity was reduced in participants who were exposed to nature. In your everyday life, think of ”reduced impulsivity” as being able to pass up that afternoon mocha or resisting an online spending binge on kitchen gadgets you really don’t need. Along with physiological improvements that come from time in nature, a visit to the great outdoors may give you the boost of inspiration you need to take your work project to the next level or help you refocus on a day that starts out on the wrong foot. Studies have shown spending time outdoors increases concentration and walking outdoors boosts creativity. In one study, hikers who spent four days in the wilderness (without their devices) performed 50% better on a creativity and problem-solving task. The takeaway, say researchers, is that “cognitive advantage [is] to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting.” Another study demonstrates that those who walk in nature, as opposed to those who walk in an urban environment, show a decrease in negative thoughts. Perhaps you’ve experienced this yourself: Have you ever noticed you can’t stay mad when you’re walking in nature? Take action nowWhat are you waiting for? Make a list of places near home and work where you could escape for a dose of outdoor inspiration. Then, make it a priority to visit one this week. Happy forest bathing!   Photo by Girma Nigusse on Unsplash

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Need to hit the reset button? Your answer maybe be as close as your local tree

Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese concept meaning to “take in the forest atmosphere....

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Is it time to get a coach?

If you’re struggling to reach your goals, a coach can help get you on track How do you tackle a problem that’s plagued you for months – or even years? Maybe it’s time to consider a coach. I’ve used one on and off in my business and my entrepreneur life for more than a decade. Coaching comes in many forms, from career coaching to a marketing mentor to a coach for coaches. (Yes, it’s a thing!) “It’s all life coaching,” says coach Dani Bates. Dani focuses on working with “intelligent, capable women,” who feel stuck with some part of their life – helping them get in touch with their “inner badass.” One of her specialities is weight loss coaching, which, she says, often requires some work around changing our habits. Trouble is, our brains are quite happy remaining “efficient” – doing what’s already ingrained, even if it isn’t the best choice. That’s what can make changing your habits so challenging. Your brain already knows what it likes, Dani explains, so it’s going to do its best to get what it wants. Sleeping in instead of getting an early morning workout, anyone? A coach can help you get through those stumbling blocks you unwittingly lay for yourself. Dani says we often carry around outdated beliefs that no longer serve us, like “My whole family is overweight, I’m doomed by genetics,” or “My last business idea was a miserable failure, so this new idea will fail as well.” You may have a failure (or two or three) under your belt, but is it really a failure? A coach can help you learn from your past mistakes because it’s more than likely that you gained something from that last diet attempt or business venture. You just couldn’t see it. That’s what a coach is for. “The coaching process allows for immediate feedback,” says life coach, professor and public speaker Dr. Melissa Bird, “so you can try something new and know that your coach will be there to assist you, redirect if necessary, and help you see what worked and what didn't – and what you can do next time you take another step toward your goals.” Melissa’s work focuses on helping women tap into their passion and use their authentic voices to make a change in their lives and in their communities. Whether your lofty goal is to run for office or run a marathon, a coach can help by encouraging you to stay the course toward that goal. Of course, you might hit some stumbling blocks along the way. That’s OK. Dani says she often sees clients who get waylaid by their own thinking as they try hashing out new solutions to the same old issue. “It feels productive,” she says, “but in the end you’ve just gone over and over the same problem in your mind – ending up in the same mess of confusion.” By serving as a second set of eyes on their problem, her clients often have an “aha” moment when she points out a new way of looking at things. “Sometimes all you need is a different perspective,” she says, “and ‘Wham!’ the whole situation looks completely different!” Melissa says she often sees client who want to make a change but are afraid of leaving the familiar behind. “This creates paralysis and doesn't just keep us stuck, it keeps us in a safe zone that doesn't foster growth and joy. Coaching helps people get out of paralysis and into action. Coaching is the kick in the pants to shift.” At this point you may be thinking, “This coaching thing might be worth investigating, but will I really get something out of paying for a cheerleader?” I use a coach and have on and off for 20 years. Every time I’m feeling stuck or when I’m needing help with a transition, I reach out to a coach. Right now, I’m working with Sonya Stoklosa at executiveathlete.net.   We’re working on the thorny issues around growth, strategy and drives. It’s fascinating but hard work, and I’m so happy to have someone to guide me through it all. Like anything worthwhile, you’ll get from coaching what you put into it. And –bonus! – you may find out you get much more than you were expecting. “I pay my coach a gigantic amount of money because every single time I work with her I transform in ways I never imagined I would,” Melissa says. “You are investing in an experience, not just in yourself. If you are ready for the experience, the price of coaching is priceless.” Isn’t that worth the cost to hire a coach?   Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash.

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Is it time to get a coach?

If you’re struggling to reach your goals, a coach can help get you on track How do you tackle a p...

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It's OK to quit

Is it time to quit that dead-end job/floundering business idea/unfulfilling volunteer commitment/time-sucking book club? Do you know it needs to happen yet it all just seems too painful? Understandable, but let’s get you over that hump. In “Mastering the Art of Quitting” by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein, the authors point out that American culture has hardwired us to believe in persistence above all else. It’s the “Little Engine that Could” played out to its extreme. But Streep and Bernsterin believe persistence can only take us so far: “Successful and satisfied people know both how to persist an how to quit.” It can be difficult to admit when it's time to say goodbye to a partnership, a commitment or a project. You've no doubt invested time and energy into any one of these things. With that investment comes a feeling of commitment that we often don't want to let go of. Even if we really would be better off by walking away. How do you know when it's time to cut your losses and say goodbye? Let's take a look at a few pointers that may help you make this tough decision. Letting go of a business idea You may already be a successful entrepreneur or professional who has hatched more than one great idea. But sometimes our ideas aren't as good as we'd hoped. That's okay. Not every idea will be a winner, and when you can acknowledge that you'll be better off walking away it makes it easier to start on a new project. That trapped feeling of commitment is what business writer Jonathan Fields calls being a prisoner of sunk costs. Whether those cost are financial or time – and, really, when isn't time money? – you feel like you can't let go because of these investments you've already made. But if you continue to struggle to make your idea work by working harder or pivoting multiple times to readjust and nothing works, then there's a good chance that it's time to let go. Don't be afraid to ask for advice if you're in this predicament. Call upon your mastermind group or any team of professionals that you have in your corner. These people can be uber-helpful in assisting you to see if this idea really pencils out. Kimanze Constable, a contributor to Forbes magazine, offers this advice: “Let go of anything that wastes your time, hurts your energy, and distracts your motivation.”  Leaving a small group Whether it’s a mastermind group, book club, soccer team or business networking organization, there can come a time when you outgrow the group you’re in. And it’s probably pretty apparent by the sinking feeling in your stomach when it’s time to attend your group’s next meeting or the little tug at your heart to do something else. If this is the case, proceed to the exit gracefully. Don’t run from the group but calmly explain yourself and give honest feedback if there’s been an issue that precipitated your exit. It may be hard to “leave behind” some of the friends you’ve made in the group, but that doesn’t mean you can’t intentionally nurture your friendship with those individuals.  Stepping away from a volunteer commitment This one can feel hard because you may really be emotionally invested in your volunteer organization. Whether you volunteer at the local hospice or sit on the board of a community organization, you likely believe in that organization's mission. (If for some reason you don't believe in the mission maybe this volunteer gig isn't such a good fit anyway.) It's likely going to make you feel a bit “oogey” if you have to tell the organization that you just can't make time anymore. Whether it's because you have a new baby in the house or a new job that requires more of your time, you likely have a legitimate reason why it's time for you to bow out. If you're not able to give a dedicated amount of time to your group, then maybe it's just as well to step aside for someone who has the time and energy to devote to the cause. And just because you can't make your current three-hour-a-week commitment, that doesn't mean you can't still be involved on a less time-consuming level. Maybe you can volunteer for the big auction event once a year or find some smaller way to offer your time and expertise. The main thing when leaving a volunteer commitment, think of it as a job.  It is common courtesy to give your employer two weeks’ notice, so try to do the same for your volunteer organization. And let them know why it is you're stepping away. This is good information for them to understand how they can better meet the needs of their volunteers. No matter what you need to let go of, if you envision yourself walking away and have a physical sense of relief from imagining that, then that’s a good sign that it is time to make a change. Letting go of something does not have to be negative. Make the change with grace and a full understanding of not only what you give up but also what you will gain and you will find that the change is indeed a positive one.   Photo by Максим Степаненко on Unsplash

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It's OK to quit

Is it time to quit that dead-end job/floundering business idea/unfulfilling volunteer commitment/...

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Why wait to start the new year? Winter solstice is the perfect time to reflect and renew

Winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, and for centuries it’s been celebrated for marking the sun’s gradual return to the winter skies. This year, in the northern hemisphere, winter solstice falls on Dec. 21. As the days begin to get longer, bringing the promise of the renewal of spring, the solstice is the perfect time to get a jump start on planting seeds for the year ahead. Traditionally, winter is a time to hibernate, to get cozy in our homes. You can also view it as a time to get cozy with yourself. Think of it as a time for introspection after a busy year. Granted, some of us are in the midst of holiday craziness, but the solstice reminds us to slow down and observe the stillness and beauty of the season. As you take in that stillness, it's a perfect time to reflect on the past year and start planning for the new one. This doesn’t have to be a hard-core planning session, but rather a time to set the stage for your plans in the year ahead. If you are ready for some solstice reflection, try this method: Light a candleThe solstice is the longest night of the year, and lighting a candle not only helps light the night but also welcomes in possibilities for the new year. Get cozyFind a quiet, comfy spot to sit, and maybe pour yourself a cup of tea. Make this an occasion to honor yourself with some down time. Grab a journalWe are so often wired to our devices that we forget how lovely it can be to connect with our thoughts via pen and paper. (Get a Best Day Ever notebook here.) Writing by hand allows you to slow down, sit with your thoughts and maybe even get a touch creative. Break out the colorful gel pens! Now that you’re set, spend a few minutes on these 3 Rs: Reflect, Re-establish and Re-Invigorate. Reflect on the past year’s successes as well as those things that didn’t hit the mark. What did you learn from those misses? How can you release the hard feelings you may have had about “messing up,” etc., and come away with a lesson to make next year better? Next, re-establish goals you are still working toward or need to adjust. This is a great time for course-correction and using the lessons from the past year’s missteps. Finally, reinvigorate your outlook by setting new goals or outlining the next steps toward meeting your current ones. Don’t forget to use SMART goals.  Ancient traditions around the world saw magic in the transition from dark to light. Use your own magic to banish the dark days of the past year and light the way for a brilliant New Year. Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

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Why wait to start the new year? Winter solstice is the perfect time to reflect and renew

Winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, and for centuries it’s been celebrated for m...

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