Are you ready to make 2019 your best year yet? Are you ready to let go of the past, get clear about who you are today, and create your best life possible? Are you ready to do the work it takes and invest the time and energy in yourself that YOU absolutely deserve?
In this episode, I’m going to give you countless tips for starting fresh in the New Year.
If you listen to this episode, you’re will be able to…let go of 2018, as wonderful as it was. Or as big of a let down as it may have been. And you’ll be able to take practical but powerful, simple but transformative steps to turn your dreams into plans.
My word for 2018 was “intention,” and I’m happy to report – it worked! From speaking gigs to the new book to growing my coaching practice to embracing my role as a family man, it was a really great year.
I’m looking forward to making 2019 even better. To do that, I need to make and achieve new goals. If you could use a little help in that area, keep reading to learn 15 tips for creating your best year yet, and don’t miss my free 365-Day Goal Planner at the end of this post!
Take control of your life and have the best year you’ve ever experienced. With a little bit of effort each day, you can make that wonderful year a reality. It’s the small things that can make the most difference over time. The effect of small changes is cumulative.
Make the most of the next 12 months with these strategies:
Wake up early and use the time wisely. Gain an extra hour in your day. You could learn to play an instrument, learn a language, write a book, or get in shape.
Make smiling a habit. You’ll feel better if you smile more. The better you feel, the better your day will be. Have enough good days and you’ll have a great year.
Have goals that excite you. It’s hard to get up and go to work every day. It’s easier to get up if you have something positive on the horizon. Have some exciting goals that you can accomplish within a year.
Use your commute to your advantage. Listen to language programs, books on tape, or your favorite songs. You might use the time to contact potential clients.
Save more money. The comfort of having a healthy savings account balance will do more for your year than unnecessary spending. Save more money and if you spend it, spend it where it counts.
Learn something new. You don’t have to be in school to learn something new. There are books, videos, and plenty of experts willing to guide you.
Network. You can’t have your best year without involvement from others. Stretch yourself and meet some new people that you normally wouldn’t. Few things will change your life more than adding new people to your life.
Enjoy yourself more. Use your free time wisely, doing something that you love. Make the most of your idle time.
Read something each day. Open your mind to new ideas. You can teach yourself a lot just by reading a little each day. Switch things up and avoid reading the same types of books all of the time.
Keep a journal. Your life becomes more interesting if you keep a record of it. You’ll find yourself looking for ways to add interesting journal entries. If you lament the fact that every day seems to be the same, keeping a journal can change that. (Keep reading to see how you can download my FREE 365-Day Goal Planner!)
Get more sleep. Everyone requires at least seven hours of sleep to be at his best. Think you need less? Try getting seven hours for a week and notice how you feel.
Drop unfulfilling obligations. Spending your time on optional activities that suck the life out of you doesn’t make any sense. Practice assertiveness and say “no.”
Drink more water. Try drinking at least a few glasses each day and drop the least healthy beverage you consume regularly.
Make your bed each morning. You’ll start the day by accomplishing something. Your room will look tidier and your self-esteem will get a boost.
Visit someplace new. You don’t have to make a trek to Everest. You could visit a nearby town known for having the best hamburgers in the state. Get out of your normal surroundings and live a little.
Your best year won’t happen by accident. Choose to make the next year your best ever. Make a plan for the year. Try to add as many positives, and delete as many negatives, as possible. Take care of yourself and create a compelling future. And enjoy the ride!
6 Tips for Starting Over – Rather watch instead of read? Click the video below!
Before we ever move into the New Year, we have to let go of our yesterdays.
Letting go of anything can be painful. You may need to let go of a person or an idea that you’ve held on to for years, but now know that they’re negative forces in your life and you must let go or suffer consequences.
Before you take action to rid yourself of yesterday’s baggage, you must be willing to accept the changes that your new beginning will bring. You need to open up to the possibilities that lie ahead and not hang on to the bad memories and actions of the past.
You may be letting go of some bad habits in your life such as unhealthy eating, smoking or saying goodbye to a job that no longer holds a bright future for you. Intellectually, you may know that you have to let go in order to experience progress, but actually taking action is difficult.
When you’re finding it hard to let go of negative areas of your life and make way for new beginnings, here are a few tips that might help:
Accept the past. Whatever you’ve done or been in the past is history. Only until you accept that past can you let go of it and set yourself free to move on to a better future.
Take action by meditating. Meditation may not seem like action, but when you meditate, your brain is working overtime to bring clarity and focus to your life.
Set your goals for the future. Nothing helps get rid of the past like looking toward the future. Align your goals with the life’s purpose you see for yourself.
Don’t think of yourself as a victim of the past. Terrible things may have happened in your past, but when you continue to see yourself as a victim, you’re hanging on to yesterday rather than letting tomorrow guide you down a path of new and better beginnings.
View past mistakes as opportunities. The horrific mistakes you’ve made in the past can be a springboard for making you a better person.
Visualize yourself as the person you want to be. No matter how you want to change from what you were in the past, you’ve got to let go of that old image to begin creating the one you desire.
Believe in yourself and that you can let go of all of yesterday’s regrets and mistakes and make the future brighter. You’re only given this one life, so treat each day as if it was a gift. Unwrap it carefully and with excitement.
This is the kind of thing I’m doing in my 12 Days of Giveaways.
Today’s giveaway is an additional 8 Steps to Starting Over. It’s a brand-new PDF that will help you make 2019 your best year yet.
There are 11 more days of giveaways, so don’t forget to sign up right now. The link is in the description for this video, plus I’m putting it in the comments below. Sign up for FREE, transformative self-help content, right in your inbox!
And don’t forget that my Catching Your Breath Academy sale ends tonight. If you sign up for the annual plan before midnight tonight, CST, you’ll save an additional $40 off the already discounted price.
What is the Catching Your Breath Academy?
As a VIP subscriber, you will gain access to my exclusive courses. Each month, you’ll receive a new self-guided course, based on proven self-help principles.
As a reader of my blog or books, you will now receive added content that only VIP members can see. And can I tell you something? You are going to LOVE these transformative and easy-to-digest courses!
As a subscriber, you gain immediate access to the Catching Your Breath Community on Facebook. Each new member shares an introductory post to build a sense of belonging.
As a member of the Catching Your Breath Community, you’ll have access to other members who are actively working to create calm and success in their personal life. The potential for new friendships and powerful partnerships is unlimited!
Each month, I’ll host a live video in the Catching Your Breath Community, where you can ask questions and have a chance to be coached by me on a topic you’re passionate about. Just imagine the power of someone watching your progress and being personally invested in your success.
In addition to the community, accountability, and coaching, you’ll receive five exclusive self-help articles each Monday, written by me, focused on the current month’s topic.
How it Works:
Members receive approximately 25 lessons per month (1 per day, Monday – Friday). You also have access to community, accountability, and coaching via the Catching Your Breath Community on Facebook.
My Grandfather passed away on February 28, 2018. His tombstone simply reads, “Ben House: 1935-2018. Here lies a man.”
A couple of weeks ago, a member of my community suddenly died. The man was only 50, and he dropped dead in his office, shortly after lunch. There were no warning signs or significant health concerns. He left behind a partner and two children.
I think the saddest part of this story is that his obituary started with this headline, “John Long, 50, an Accountant.”
My grandfather’s tombstone and John Long’s obituary both made me pause and consider who I really am. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit, considering what my own obituary might say.
How will my tombstone encapsulate my life?
What about you?
If those options are too morbid for you, how would you describe the essence of who you are in just a tweet?
I’ll tell you this, I don’t want my obituary to say, “Steve Austin, 80, an Interpreter.”
I hope mine will mention how a second chance saved my life. I want people to know what a dedicated family man I am; how, even in the midst of an imperfect life, my wife and I have created a marriage and a home some only dream about.
At my funeral, will my friends and colleagues talk about how I served the underdog, embraced the outcast, helped hurting hearts heal, and led overwhelmed people on the sacred journey from chaos to calm? I wonder if my kids will mention how much I love to study history and play the piano.
There might even be Deaf people at my funeral, in need of an interpreter. My point is not to discount my day job – I know it’s unique and a gift and has supported my family for more than a decade. My point is to say that I am much more than only a sign language interpreter.
But this story really isn’t about me. The big question is: who are you?
If that’s too hard to answer right this moment, maybe start with this one: where are you?
Have you ever walked into a new shopping mall only to be overwhelmed with the size and selection? Usually, right near the entrance, you will find a map that says “you are here.” Once you get a lay of the land, you can compare where you are to where you want to go.
Whether it is a mall or any other destination in life, it is vitally important to know EXACTLY where you are.
Knowing exactly how your life is working right now will:
Allow you to appreciate what you are doing well and feel successful.
Allow you to be motivated by the things you are unsatisfied with.
You need to know exactly where you are today at all levels of life. Take some time now, to write down:
What are you happy with?
For the results you are happy with, write down why you are happy.
2. What are you unhappy with?
For the results you are unhappy with, write down why you are unhappy.
If you type a destination into Google Maps but fail to enter a starting point, you aren’t going to get very far. Without a starting point, the results would show you a map of the town you’d like to visit, but you’d never get any instructions on how to actually get there.
You have to know where you are before you can begin mapping out a plan for getting to the next destination. If you’re tired of spinning your wheels, it’s time to get clear on where you are. This is deeply personal work, but the results will change your life.
Friendship is an interesting dynamic. At her high school graduation, my father-in-law told my wife that if she could look back in a few years and count her true friends on one hand, using all five fingers, she should count herself truly blessed. Lindsey comments now on just how odd her father’s statement seemed at the time. But fast-forward about twenty years, and the old man was right.
It’s easy to think we have lots of friends, especially in a social media-driven culture, when you have a few thousand followers on Facebook, and even more on Twitter, but when it comes to real life, we mostly all have lots of acquaintances. Maybe they are acquaintances we are especially fond of for a season, but look at these quotes on the meaning of true friendship:
The last one is my favorite. All sorts of things happen to us that shake and rattle the carton, threatening to crack us. But the true friend chooses to see you entirely, and love you because of, not in spite of, your imperfections and quirks.
Do you have a friend like this?
The ugly truth: chances are, less than 1% of your “friends” on social media are real friends, willing to weather the storms of life with you, sit with you when everything has crumbled, and help you rebuild when you are penniless and desperate.
These days, we are consumed with busyness, bombarded with noise, and the notifications on our smartphones are like a dripping faucet in a silent house, convincing us that the only way to win is to play the comparison game with everyone else. Unfortunately, doing so ensures that everyone loses. We are miserable and exhausted. And despite the fact that 68% of Americans now use Facebook – and 88% of those 18-29 use any and all forms of social media – we are still lonely.
Good news: there is one person who travels with you through every hill and valley, stays with you in the dark night of the soul, and knows your every secret sin and silent hope. That person stares back at you in the mirror each morning, begging you to be his or her true friend.
You may wonder why it is important to believe in yourself. The simple answer is that no one else will. Your spouse and your family will believe in you to a certain extent. However, when times get tough, family support tends to wane. It’s not that they don’t love and care about you. It’s just they stopped believing in you.
While this doesn’t always happen, it happens often enough to cause conflict. An example is when a spouse or parents initially give you support on a new venture. When the venture doesn’t work out as they believe it should, they start to question whether you should continue with it. If your belief starts to weaken, you may take on their way of thinking.
The reason beliefs start to weaken is due to a fear of the unknown. When you start a new venture, everyone is excited for you and will tell you to give it your best shot. However, when the prospects of the business become murkier, that excitement turns to fear.
The problem is the path towards success for these ventures is not a straight line up. Having some bumps in the road is normal. In fact, this is what defines the success of the enterprise, and the people who are taking risks. It should be welcomed and not feared.
The fear of the unknown may start to creep into your psyche. It’s easier to listen to your family and friends tell you to dissolve your venture because it is failing. They will continue down this negative path until you decide to stop. If you do choose to give up on your business, they will tell you that it wasn’t meant to be and that starting a business is difficult.
That time is precisely the moment that you shouldn’t stop. People never get ahead by quitting. If you believe in yourself, you would have had the conviction to see it through. You would have the appropriate guidance to give you strength to surge ahead. You could have done all of it while telling your family and friends to have some faith. A firm belief in yourself would give you the courage to stand up to them.
Whatever venture you decide to pursue, know that only by continuing will you make it work. Think of Thomas Edison’s contribution to the lightbulb. While he did not invent the lightbulb (contrary to popular belief), he made ones that lasted longer. Imagine if he decided to quit after he ran into a few stumbling blocks early on.
You are the only constant throughout your whole life. Are you going to be a friend or foe? A true friend, or just an acquaintance? Are you going to show yourself compassion when life tries to break you, and celebrate every small victory? Call me crazy, but the greatest gift you can offer yourself is the gift of true friendship.
Will you join me today in friending yourself? Here are the requirements to be a true friend to yourself:
Speak to yourself with kindness in all situations.
Listen to your own needs and desires.
Don’t read your own press – good or bad.
Be patient with yourself as you recover from all that has wounded you.
Do whatever you can to care for yourself.
Only to the extent that you are willing to treat yourself with kindness and respect, will you be able to truly become a friend to others. Go ahead, friend yourself today.
Every day, I get asked about shame, self-care, and self-compassion. I even surveyed my Tribe a couple of weeks ago, and those three topics were at the top of the list for courses they want to take in 2019.
As a result, I’m thrilled to announce 90 Days of Calm.
As most of you know, I nearly died by suicide in 2012. I was overwhelmed and full of fear, shame, and guilt. I was desperate for a life of love, light, and inner peace, but I felt hopeless.
Thankfully, a suicide attempt wasn’t the end of my story.
Since recovering from the worst day of my life, I’ve mapped out the exact methods I’ve used to create lasting change in my own life. I’d love to share those methods with you.
My goal is to fill 90 Days of Calm with people who feel the gentle nudge toward this sacred journey.
Over the past 6 years, I have begun to experience new levels of freedom, strength, healing, and energy. I am continuing to transition from a life of constant chaos to a life of continual, intentional calm.
It hasn’t been easy – nothing worth doing is ever that easy. But learning to silence my inner-critic, practice self-care, and cultivate a courageous life of vulnerability has been transformative. The ripple effects have impacted my marriage, the way I parent, and all those in my inner circle.
Too many people are stressed out and overwhelmed. They’re holding onto deep suffering, unable to catch their breath in a world that tells them to fake it till they make it. As the pressure of fear, pain, anxiety, and anger build, sooner or later these individuals are going to explode—just like I nearly did.
I’ve created 90 Days of Calm because I know without a doubt these methods work in creating a life of substance and depth, peace and intention. Most important – learning to cultivate calm in your everyday life can empower you to live the life you’ve always dreamt of.
This is the very foundation of the Membership: calm is waiting on the other side of chaos.
You can do practical, actionable things to create a life of calm right now. It’s not just a dream – you can map it out and quickly begin to feel the waters of inner peace wash over your soul.
The life you’ve imagined really is possible. If you want to be a part of a community of people who are not only dreaming of a better way, but are committed to creating a peace-filled life, then join us.
It’s simple. But not always easy. That’s why I’ve created this course and community. All you have to do is follow each step along the sacred journey.
CONTENT + COMMUNITY + COACHING
There’s no shortcut. It’s one little step after another. As you begin to connect each stone along the path: compassion, understanding, daily practice, and most of all – community – you will see that you are moving forward more quickly and with more intention than you ever dreamed. Our energy multiplies when we work together toward the common goal of inner peace.
I believe you can do everything I’ve just mentioned while having a fantastic (and dare I say, “fun”) time in the process! That’s why I’ve created a sacred space where all of these elements can be housed together.
This is a safe, affirming community, and I’d love for you to join me. There is a method to this, and if you join, it is going to change your life forever.
Whatever it is that pushed you toward the sacred journey from chaos to calm, I think life (or God, or the Universe) brings us exactly where we need to be, at the precise time we need to be there.
BIG NEWS: 90 Days of Calm begins February 18, 2019.
Here’s just a sample of what you’ll learn in 90 Days of Calm:
Reducing clutter (physical & mental) that causes stress
Creating inner calm through meditation & mindfulness
Simple ways to stay calm when chaos erupts
A critical look at the media you’re consuming
How to makeover your morning routine
Cutting out distractions (the dangers of multitasking)
If you’d like to gain more clarity and inner peace than you ever thought possible, join 90 Days of Calm today.
Here’s a list of frequently asked questions:
Questions #1: How many emails/articles will I receive?
Answer: You’ll receive 2 e-books & a journal, plus new articles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for the full 90 Days.
Question #2: What’s your refund policy?
Answer: I’m so confident this course is going to transform your life, that I’ll give you a full refund, up to 7 days from your date of purchase.
Question #3: How long will I have access to the material?
Answer: As with all my programs, you will have lifetime access. I want this training to be something that you can reference whenever you need it and something that can serve you over and over again as you feel the waters of chaos start to lap against your feet.
Question #4: I’m brand-new to the online world. Is this going to be tech-heavy, and complicated?
Answer: Not at all! If you can operate your email and Facebook, you’ll have no problem.
Question #5: I’m not sure I have the time to dedicate to this program right now. How much time will it take for me to be successful?
Answer: We all lead demanding, crazy, busy lives. Trust me, I know as an entrepreneur and dad of two! That is why I have broken up the training into 12 weeks. You’ll be receiving an email/article every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The lessons are only about 400 words each.
If you sign up for the Advanced or Premium level, you’ll also have access to the exclusive Facebook group, where you can find support from other members. We’ll be doing group coaching calls every other week, and Premium members will schedule one private session with me. In short, this will take an average of an hour per week (2 hours on group coaching weeks).
I strongly believe you’ll be able to do this course without having to sacrifice family time or feel like you’re falling behind. Of course, you are welcome to work ahead too if you find yourself having a free day or maybe you learn better by consuming everything marathon style. In fact, it might not be such a bad idea to binge on something other than Netflix — something that might actually help you create more sanity and serenity in your personal life. Just a thought 😉
Question #6: What exactly do I get with this program?
Answer: Great question. There are 3 levels, depending on your budget and desired level of involvement. Each tier is laid out clearly on the site. Here’s everything you’ll be getting with the Premium Membership:
Question #7: Can I afford this right now?
Answer: At the end of the day that’s a question you have to answer. However, I have created 3 Membership Tiers, to try and accommodate every budget and interest level. The other BIG NEWS is that there’s a flexible payment plan for every single tier. What that means is, you pay a reasonable down payment when you sign up, and split the remaining balance into 2 monthly payments. Easy and affordable!
I would challenge you to ask another question, “Can you afford to pass this up?”
The good news? This 4-minute crash course will help you identify common mistakes people make when stressed. It will also give you three better choices for those times when you’re having a case of the Mondays. At the end of this article, you can sign up for my new FREE stress management e-course: 6 Proven Ways to Calm Down.
What makes me the expert?
I’m glad you asked. The truth is: life is a hell of a teacher. Suffering and stress nearly destroyed me, but self-compassion, self-care, and professional help have changed my life. So, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned along the way, in hopes that you save yourself some trouble.
If you heed this advice, you’ll quickly be able to avoid compounding your stress. You might even be able to help those you care about, too!
The top 3 mistakes people make when stressed:
1. Commiserate with other stressed out people
When we’re stressed to the max, it’s easy to find other stressed out people. Like attracts like, right? However, when is the last time you left a grip session with another miserable person and felt better about it? When did it change your situation or improve your outlook?
Like it or not, the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re stressed is to avoid other stressed people, who are operating in a negative headspace.
Instead, surround yourself with people who seem to be in a good place.
Can’t handle the super optimistic, always-bubbly personality? Fine – read a book. Alternatively, listen to a podcast. Chill out with some music. Or make an appointment with a counselor or life coach. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re filling yourself up with useful, positive, helpful information.
Otherwise, it’s all garbage in/garbage out, and you’ll never get better that way.
When I’m stressed and not dealing with it healthily, I want one of two things: ice cream or alcohol. No, really.
The sugar gives me that temporary rush (and who doesn’t love some Ben and Jerry’s?), and the beer (or maybe the whiskey) helps my shoulders lower. But it doesn’t fix anything. After the sugar or the buzz wears off, I’m still dealing with whatever stressors put me there in the first place. And now I’m dealing with all those extra calories, plus the guilt from binging.
What is it for you?
Netflix? Zoning out on your phone? Smoking a cigar on the back patio?
Look, I’m not anti any of the things listed above; the problem is the heart behind it.
Instead of engaging in numbing behaviors, why not deal with the stress in healthy, productive ways, and then reward yourself with a treat or your favorite show? See the difference?
Instead of the ice cream or the booze, why not take a walk when you’re stressed? Rather than Netflix or Facebook for two hours (I’m guilty, too), why not get together with a friend who always seems to listen without judgment? Or have that stogie while you make a phone call to your life coach.
I was reeling from panic attacks brought on by my childhood sexual abuse. I tried to cover it up in the following ways:
Making the rest of my life seem perfect.
Becoming involved in every church activity possible.
Masking the pain by being the life of the party.
Eventually, it all came tumbling down, and I had to face myself for the first time in 29 years.
A shame-based culture tells us to discount our pain and avoid seeming weak at all costs. We try to Botox our flaws away, and we wish life came with an Instagram filter. But perfection is a big nasty lie. And the only way to move forward when it feels like you’re drowning is to find the courage to tell the truth and ask for help.
You have to start telling the truth.
Stress is a serial killer. Shame is, too. And the only way to combat the two is by speaking your pain and triggers aloud. Who can you trust when it feels like your life is coming apart at the seams? A parent? Your partner? That mental health professional you’ve been meaning to re-schedule with for six months? Your best friend?
Brene’ Brown says, “Shame can’t survive being spoken.” She’s right. (Hint: she’s always right.)
So find the courage to tell the truth. Admit that you’re not okay. Tell someone you’re stressed out. And ask for help.
Think you can’t afford help? Think again. Check out lowcosthelp.com today. Low-Cost Help is a national directory of affordable and sliding scale counseling services. Access to affordable mental health care should never be limited by your ability to pay.
As of 2017, 18% of adults reported feeling stressed “often,” including nights and weekends. If that sounds like you, sign up for my FREE e-course: 11 Ways to Move from Chaos to Calm.
It’s simple, practical, and the results will give you the ability to slow down and catch your breath.