Category: Positively Positive

Instead of Grounding Your Kid: 12 Steps To Teach a Lesson


“Dr. Laura —  Could you write about transitioning to positive discipline for parents of older kids? If I start Peaceful Parenting now with my kids 12 and 9, will it still help? How do I all of a sudden “remove” punishment? My 9 year old always says ‘Oh now I guess I am grounded.’ How do I change his thinking?”

This should be easy, right? You just stop punishing, and your children are so grateful, they begin to act like perfect angels.

I wish. The older your child, the more challenging it can be to transition to peaceful parenting. Your child has already come to understand the world through a certain lens. He thinks the only reason to “behave” is that otherwise he’ll be punished by losing a privilege — for instance, being grounded. It takes time to help your child grow into taking responsibility for their actions.

So the first thing to know about transitioning to peaceful parenting is that you don’t just “remove punishment.” You start by strengthening your relationship with your child, so your child respects you and WANTS to follow your rules.

I know, you think you have a good relationship with your child. That’s because you love them and would do anything for them. But consider the “bank balance” in your “relationship account.” You need at least five positive interactions to every negative interaction to maintain an account that isn’t in the red. You need a surplus if you want your child to follow your lead and be open to your influence.

How do you build up a positive balance in your relationship? Not by buying your child things. Not by letting him stay up late, or have more screen time, or more treats. You build a positive relationship by showing up: listening, being emotionally generous, keeping your sense of humor, and understanding. You do this when things are easy and you do this when things are hard. You even do it while you set, and enforce, your limits.

Then, consider how to teach the lessons you want your child to learn. Grounding your child, removing privileges, or punishing with extra chores — all of these approaches are meant to “teach a lesson.”

But research (and common sense) tells us that punishment creates resentment and power struggles. Kids get preoccupied with the unfairness of the punishment, instead of feeling remorse for what they did wrong and making a plan for change. Punishment ends up eroding your relationship with your child, which ultimately lessens your influence and makes them LESS likely to want to follow your lead.

There’s a better way to teach the lessons you want your child to remember.

The lessons you want to teach, I assume, are:

  • Our actions have an impact on the world.
  • We can always choose our own actions and we are responsible for them.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. When we make a mistake, it is our job to repair things.
  • Cleaning up messes is usually harder than making a more responsible choice to begin with. Some things we can’t undo; we can only try to make amends.
  • It takes courage to do the right thing. But when we make responsible, considerate choices, we become the kind of person we admire, and we feel good about ourselves.

Right?

Kids don’t learn these lessons by being punished. They learn them when we help them reflect on the result of their actions. What was the cost, to them and to others? We also need to consistently support our children to make repairs when they mess up.

Like most humans, children can’t sincerely acknowledge mistakes and initiate repair when they’re on the defensive. So if we want our kids to make a better choice next time, we need to get better at talking with them — and listening — as well as giving them support so they can meet our expectations.

1. First move yourself from anger into empathy.

Once your child knows you’re on his side, he feels safe to engage with you. Without that sense of safety, your child’s heart is hardened to you — because he expects judgment and punishment — and you have no influence at all. So just tell him you need some time to think, and get calm before you talk about what happened.  (For more on managing your own anger.)

2. Start the conversation with a warm connection.

Children of any age, including teenagers, respond to that connection by being more open to your guidance. If your child is worried about you getting upset at her, she’ll move into “fight, flight or freeze” and learning will shut down.  She’s also more likely to lie. The only way to actually “teach a lesson” is to create a safe conversation. To do that, remember that your child has a reason for what she did. You may not consider it a good reason, but to her it’s a reason. If you don’t find out her reason, you can’t prevent a recurrence.

3. Tell your child you want to hear his thoughts about what happened.

Then let him talk. Reflect only to clarify and demonstrate your understanding:

  • “I see… so the guys really wanted you to play basketball, and it was at the same time as the study session for the test? That’s a hard choice.”
  • “So you and your sister were really furious at each other… you were so hurt when she…. I would have been mad too, if someone said that to me….. and you really wanted to get back at her, huh?”

4. Keep your focus on connecting with your child.

That means you need to see the situation from their point of view, so you understand why they acted as they did. You don’t have to agree, you just need to understand. This helps you be more generous, so your child is less defensive, and is more open to acknowledging what she did, what motivated her, and what outcomes resulted from her choices.

This also gives your child an opportunity to work through the feeling or the need that drove his behavior. Kids always know what the right choice was, but something got in their way. What was it? How can he learn to listen to his own better judgment?

For instance, let’s say he played basketball with his friends instead of going to the study session, and then failed his test. You might find as you talk with him that he has a lot of anxiety about being accepted by the guys and felt he had to play basketball to be one of the gang. This social anxiety may be something he actually needs your help to sort out and problem-solve about, and once he does he’ll be a lot more ready to focus on schoolwork.

But by simply punishing him, you would never have even known about it. You would have lost the opportunity to help him address his problem and find a good solution for next time. In fact, since punishment doesn’t help him resolve his conflict, he might very well do the same thing next time, but invent some story to cover himself.

5. Ask open-ended questions instead of lecturing.

Keep the conversation as safe and as light as possible. If you can share a laugh, you’ll defuse the tension and strengthen your bond, so remind yourself that this is a growth experience for both of you, and summon up your sense of humor.

  • Was she aware of making a choice? 
  • What led her to make that choice? 
  • What does she think about it now? (“How did that work out for you?”)
  • What were the good things about that choice?
  • What were the bad things about that choice?
  • Was it worth it?
  • Did some part of her know that choice was a bad idea? If so, what kept her from listening to that voice?
  • Would she do it again? 
  • Why or why not? 
  • How could she support herself to choose differently next time?
  • What support would she like from you, so she can choose differently next time?

6. Resist the urge to jump in with punishments.

Instead, help your child come up with a plan to make things better. Explore and learn with your child, rather than assuming that you know what should happen now. Once he isn’t being controlled by that unmet need or upsetting feeling, and he sees the result of his action (failed test, hurt sister, broken window, whatever), he feels regretful.  This is only after the feelings or needs have been processed, of course. But once they aren’t driving him, his “goodness” is free to come through. He naturally wants to make things better.

So you ask him:

  • What can you do now to make things better with your sister (or with your teacher)?
  • Did this incident show you anything in your life that you want to change, that’s bigger than this one incident?
  • How can I support you? 

7. Empower your child.

Help your child consider not only how to repair what she’s “broken” but also how to address the underlying challenge that led to her problematic behavior. This is not about her being punished and losing privileges and being told what bad things are now going to happen to her. It’s about her realizing that what she does has an impact, and taking responsibility to solve whatever problem she had in a more positive way. If you can avoid playing the heavy, your child can actually take responsibility, because she isn’t on the defensive.

In the example of the failed test, maybe she makes a written chart about schoolwork, and sits with you to do it every night, and asks the teacher for extra credit work to do. She might also need to turn off her phone for a certain number of hours during homework time every evening, which she is now motivated to do because she sees that her phone is keeping her from focusing on her studies.

Is this punishment? No, not if this is the plan that she brainstorms with you. In fact, if you help her actually follow through and partner with her so that she can achieve her goals, then it’s completely empowering and could transform her ability to achieve in school.  Of course, she might not know that this is what she needs to do so that she can be successful. Sometimes, you’ll make the choice to give her this support, not as a punishment, but because your job as a parent is to provide the structure to help her succeed.

If the bad choice was hurting her sister, then the reparations would be to the sister. All children have mixed emotions about siblings, but that means there is affection and comradeship in there somewhere, and even protectiveness. “How can you help your sister feel safe with you again?”

8. What if he says no repair work is necessary?

What if, even after you have done your best to listen and validate emotions, your child maintains that he doesn’t care if he failed the test and his sister deserved what she got? He’s still on the defensive. Say “I understand why this happened and why you made this choice. But that doesn’t mean your choice worked out well. I know that when you aren’t so upset you would feel differently. Let’s give this a break and talk more later.”

Give him a chance to calm down. When you start talking again, start with empathy. That’s what helps him heal those feelings. “I can see that you’re feeling fed up with that teacher and that you feel like just giving up in that class.” And model taking responsibility, maybe by saying “I think some of this is my fault. I didn’t realize you were falling behind in class, or I would have helped you address it before now.”

Set a clear expectation that he does need to come up with a repair, and that you’re there to help. Not addressing the problem won’t make it go away, but you have seen him tackle tough problems before and you know he can overcome this one too.

9. Step into your own power.

You as the grown-up have more power than you know in this situation. Your child is depending on your leadership, even if she seems to be resisting it. If she hurt her sister, it gives you an opportunity to address the obvious sibling rivalry. If she failed her test, it gives you an opportunity to consider your family’s overall prioritization of schoolwork, and how YOU can support your child to manage it. When we give our children sufficient support, they usually rise to the level of our expectations.  Some kids just need more support than others. Consider what kind of support would help.

10. Set limits as necessary.

If your child has broken a family rule, then you’ll need to reinforce that rule.

  • “Homework always comes first, before play.” 
  • “I expect you to use your words to tell your sister when you’re upset. No hurting each other’s bodies.”

Setting a limit is not a one-time thing — you need to do it over and over. Parents often get frustrated about this need for repetition and think that punishment will help prevent recurrences. But it’s much more effective to address the root causes of the “misbehavior.” If your child is having a hard time following your limits, consider what support he or she needs to meet your expectations. For instance, when your children hurt each other, insist on repair. But make sure you also address the sibling rivalry, and help them learn to express their needs and wants without attacking each other.

Another kind of “support” so kids can meet your expectations is to manage the child’s environment by setting clear house rules and agreements. So, for instance, don’t get your child a phone until they can manage it. Don’t allow it to be on except during limited hours in the afternoon and evening when it won’t intrude on homework, dinner and winding down before bed. When the child first gets the phone, review daily with your child what texts and calls were made, and how much time the child spent on the phone, to help them develop healthy habits.

If you find yourself needing to back-track and impose rules now, because an issue like homework or screens that has become a problem, be clear with your child that this is not a punishment. You didn’t understand what structure they needed to be successful, but you do see now, and you are going to support them by imposing that structure in your family. They may not like it, and you will listen to their unhappiness and empathize, but that doesn’t mean you will change your limits. Once your child has developed the new habits that will help them meet your expectations, and can demonstrate their ability to be responsible, they can petition you for a change.

11. Resist the urge to rescue.

Sometimes your child’s infraction goes beyond the family. He was caught cheating at school, or drinking with his buddies, or he caused a car accident. Resist the temptation to rescue him from the consequences of his actions. If you do, he will learn nothing from this incident. That’s a set-up for him to repeat the behavior that led to this result (or worse). Instead, listen, empathize, and love him unconditionally. But be very clear that he has to pay the price for his behavior. If that means failing the course at school, or working to repair the car and not being allowed to drive it, that’s the natural consequence of his behavior. Much better for him to suffer the pain now and learn something, while he’s a minor.

12. Expect an adjustment period.

Like any transition, a change in your parenting from punitive to peaceful parenting will include both of you learning the new territory. That means you will need to make some changes in how you respond to infractions. You will see that your own ability to self-regulate impacts your child, and that your emotional generosity keeps your child connected. You will realize that your past practices didn’t support your child to be their best self. No shame, no blame. We all do the best we can as parents.

But do expect a transition period. If you’ve been punishing, your child was obeying out of fear. Once you stop punishing, she stops obeying. So you need to make it your highest priority to do some repair work on your connection, FIRST, so she WANTS to cooperate with you, and doesn’t want to disappoint you. Otherwise, she’ll just flaunt your rules.

An important part of connecting is empathy, including when you set limits. Work hard to speak with respect, and be clear that you expect civility in return: “You must be so upset to speak to me that way… What’s going on?”  Stay compassionate.  Welcome upset feelings. The more safety you can provide, the sooner your child will be willing to share what’s really bothering them. Once your child expresses all those uncomfortable feelings they’ve been lugging around, they’ll be much more open to connecting. And because you’ve stayed compassionate, they’ll know you’re on their side, and they’ll be more likely to honor their agreements with you. They’ll even start thanking you for your patience!

As you can see, you don’t need to announce that you’ve “stopped punishing.” Instead, you self-regulate. You connect. You start listening, and asking good questions that teach your child to reflect. You set the expectation that your child needs to make repairs. If they ask what happened to your old approach, you can simply say “It seems to me that you’ll learn a lot more from this. What do you think?”

The hard part is changing your own habits, but luckily you’ll see positive changes very quickly so you’ll have incentive to keep going. Don’t worry about changing your child’s thinking. If you change, they change.


Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of The Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life.

Image courtesy of Gustavo Fring.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes


“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” – Phil Conners, Groundhog Day

Undoubtedly, we don’t have to tell any of you why the movie Groundhog Day has come to our mind. We’ve all been in our own indefinite Groundhog Day of sorts for months now. But, in case you don’t remember the film, it’s the one where Bill Murray plays an arrogant weather reporter who wakes up in a spiritual purgatory, suffering through the same exact day over and over again until he makes enough personal changes to break through to tomorrow. It’s not just of our favorite movies – it’s on our must-watch list for all our coaches and clients. The truth behind the film resonates with us to our core: that people stay stuck in their day to day lives until they make the conscious decision to evolve into something better.

Now, more than ever, we need to keep the momentum. Too many lives have been lost during this deserved time-out for us to not learn our lessons already. To, once and for real, step up and not push snooze again, sweep, step over, or white-out what truly matters.

Many of us have gone through our own version of Groundhog Days, even before this, where we felt stuck — whether it was in a bad relationship, a toxic environment, a dead end job, or in an unhealthy body, etc. Good news, we have a quick roadmap to use when determining what is keeping you “stuck” and it more than likely has nothing to do with where you’re pointing and everything to do with YOU.

At HG, we refer to the concept of Personal Integrity®. “Maybe”…we may have mentioned it before!

Personal Integrity is the ability to keep a promise to yourself that is a match with your highest ideals. It is the alignment of your mind (plan), body (actions), and heart (dreams).

It is a verb (yes, a verb) we love so much we had it not only trademarked, we built an entire online coaching course to help you achieve it: Inner.U.

You can break Personal Integrity down into three components:

  1. physical integrity (actions)
  2. emotional integrity (feelings), and
  3. spiritual integrity (thoughts)

These three factors are already at work in your own life, whether you know it or not. So often, we can’t see their patterns because we invented the patterns ourselves through our beliefs, habits, and character traits. Many of our clients come to us fully aware of their space in those three arenas, but totally oblivious to the connection between them. Like a little black box in our head, that information reveals the how and why of what’s really going on in our lives. Namely, our results.

Changing the Message

Breaking into our mind’s black box is the key to becoming unstuck, but it requires a thorough investigation of your inner dialogue (Module 2 of Inner.U LIFE). Most people are hesitant to admit that their inner dialogue is controlled by fear and negativity, or they don’t even realize it’s happening. They continue to self-sabotage and then feel all the worse for dropping the ball, breaking their promises, and selling out on their dreams.

You can gain insight into your own Personal Integrity by asking yourself the following questions, and being honest:

  • How would you rate your physical, emotional, and spiritual integrity?
  • What are you saying to yourself about your life, your actions, and your dreams?
  • Can you spot the pattern linking your actions to the way you feel on a daily basis?
  • How do you think changes in one area would affect another area?

This exercise does more than just revisit the New Year’s resolutions you half-committed to back in January and dumped by mid-February (in a good year!). It’s the “why” of your promises, and connects you back to your dream for the big picture of your life. It lets you see how any one thing you’re doing (or not doing) has a ripple effect on other areas of your life, and shows you where your attention is most needed. More than anything, it addresses the voices in your head that are calling the shots, and gives you the opportunity to change the message you are sending yourself.

If you need help determining what your dreams are in the different areas of life, join us for one of our upcoming Design Your Life Webinars this month.

The scary part is that no one comes to rescue you from the day-to-day. It’s on you to believe in the dream and put the work in; breakthroughs do not happen any other way. The good news is that every single day is a chance to experiment — with a new plan, a different practice, or a modified perspective. “How will I feel if I meditate four days in a row?” “What will happen if I alter this one thing…” Experiment, and then watch the changes as they happen before your eyes.

Change is, after all, an inside job. One you can quit, but you can’t get fired from.

Coming?

Love,

Beth

Inner.U LIFE is a 12 session online course that gives you the tools to hack into your own life, hone your dreams, and have every last thing you want in the areas that matter most to you: CAREER, MONEY, LOVE, TIME, FAMILY, and HEALTH. Do this life thing better from wherever, whenever.


Beth Handel Weissenberger is the Co-Founder of Handel Group®, a seventeen plus year executive life coach (back when it was totally unheard of and not cool), who has taught thousands of clients to human better. Beth is the one who (already great, top of the top) CEOs, venture capitalists, and gurus go to. From Live Nations’ Michael Rapino to Gary Vaynerchuk to NFL players Justin Pugh and Nolan Carroll to singer Michelle Williams to name (drop) a few. She founded Handel Group with her sister, Lauren, almost two decades ago and has developed it into a multi-platform business with Corporate, Life Coaching, Education, Sports and Product Divisions. The Handel Method® is a unique, cutting edge, straightforward, brutally honest methodology that has been taught and developed at over 50 universities and institutes of learning worldwide, from MIT to Stanford University School of Business to Yale to Columbia to NYU and the New York Public School System. Beth’s coaching style, mad skills, and tool kit, plus the humor and honesty she wields as she owns her own dark side is exploding now, as the world implodes, and the truth about humanity can no longer be contained, even in a pandemic. What truth? Beth’s… She has worked with public and private companies delivering doubled and tripled sales, integrating previously “warring” divisions, and identifying obstacles to signing multi-million dollar contracts in short time frames. Beth’s ability to evolve corporate culture and bring about exponential financial growth has become her legacy.

Image courtesy of Jorge Fakhouri Filho.

My 101 Personal Goals in Life


If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals. –Lou Holtz

I’ve studied the science of success for over four decades now – and if there’s one thing I know for sure to be true, it’s this:

The only way to attain a high level of success in life is to set personal goals for yourself and refuse to let anything stop you from achieving them. 

… Sounds simple, right?

Yet so few people seem to be able to pull it off.

Most people in life don’t bother to set personal goals for themselves. They’re too busy reacting to daily chaos and won’t open their eyes toward the horizon to plan for a future.

Even if they do look ahead and set future goals for themselves, they lack the focus and motivation required to achieve their aspirations in life and give up when the first challenging obstacle appears on their path.

Or they set personal goals that don’t take them in the direction of the life they want to live. Their personal goals list reflects what they think they should want to achieve in life, rather than what they actually want to experience.

I don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why today I’m going to teach you how to set personal goals that are guaranteed to lead you in the direction of your dreams.

You’ll also learn how to identify future goals for different areas of your life so that you’re able to experience more balance, harmony, and greater fulfillment in everything you do!

What are Personal Goals?

A personal goal is simply something you decide you want to accomplish in your life. One of your personal goals might be to get married and have kids. Or you might want to achieve a certain position in your company, write a book, start your own successful business, earn a six-figure salary, learn how to play the guitar, or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa!

Personal goals are signposts that point you in the direction of your dreams. They give you a clear destination to travel toward on your journey through life – which is incredibly powerful because when you know exactly where you want to go, the path forward will become so much clearer to you.

However, not all personal goals are created equal  – or have the same kind of impact on a person’s life. Let’s take a look at setting the kind of goals that do the best job of empowering you to achieve success.

Setting SMART Goals

Your brain is a goal-seeking organism. When you present your subconscious mind with a goal, it will work night and day to achieve it. However, if you feed your brain weak or faulty future goals, you’re bound to get weak or faulty results. Just like with computers, “garbage in equals garbage out.”

That’s why, in order to unleash the full power of goal-setting in your life, I recommend you set SMART goals for yourself.

A “S.M.A.R.T.” goal is one that is:

  • SPECIFIC: Be clear on the details so anyone can understand what you mean. For example, “write more” isn’t a specific goal at all. In contrast, “complete the first draft of my novel” is extremely specific. You know exactly what you’re committing to achieving!
  • MEASURABLE: Personal goals are measurable when you know when you have achieved them. For example, “lose weight” or “get fit” isn’t measurable because it doesn’t identify how much weight you’d like to lose or how to determine when you’re “fit.” Measurable goals would be to lose 25 pounds, run 10 miles a week, or master “crow pose” in yoga. It’s easy to know when you have achieved goals like these!
  • ATTAINABLE: It’s far better for you to set realistic goals and achieve them than it is to set impossible goals that go unfulfilled. There is huge power in crossing personal goals off your list, so I encourage you to leverage that power by setting realistic future goals you can actually achieve within a given time frame.
  • RELEVANT: Some people choose to pursue personal goals that take them anywhere except the direction of their dreams. For example, they dream of living a life of ease and freedom but then they pursue a career that requires them to work 60 hours a week. Be sure to choose future goals that will lead you closer to the life you want to live most, not further away from it.
  • TIME-BOUNDED: The hardest personal goals to reach are the ones you intend to achieve “someday.” Because “someday” never actually arrives! The best way to ensure you achieve your goals is to give yourself a specific and realistic timeframe in which to achieve them. For example, if you want to write a book, commit to writing your first draft by December 31st. Then do whatever is necessary to make that goal come true.

What is Your Goal in Life?

What are the big accomplishments you dream of achieving during your time?

Perhaps these life goals examples inspire you: you dream of owning your own home… paying off your debts… becoming a millionaire… traveling the world… learning how to sail… or participating in a triathlon.

Or maybe you’d like to write your memoir… heal your relationship with your parents… find true love… or pay for your children’s post-secondary education.

Only YOU know which personal goals are going to be most important and meaningful to you. So I encourage you to take the time to consider what you want your life to look like through powerful goal-setting that will help you make that vision a reality.

How to Set Personal Goals

If you’re unsure where to start, begin by making a list of future goals you’d like to achieve in your life. Be as specific as possible. Include details such as: when you’ll achieve it, where you’ll achieve it, how much you’ll make, what model you’ll buy, what size it will be, and so on.

Once you have created your life goals list, I encourage you to keep your goals somewhere you can review them often. And every time you achieve one of your goals, check it off and celebrate what you’ve managed to accomplish in your life.

Here’s a short, four-step process that is a part of my proven success formula for setting and achieving personal goals that help you manifest your aspirations in life.

1. Determine What You Want

If you want to fully activate the power of goal-setting in your life, one goal isn’t enough. Bigger future goals take longer to achieve than others – and if you spend years working toward only one objective, you’re likely to get discouraged when it doesn’t happen right away.

That’s why I encourage you to create a list of not 10… not 20… but 101 personal goals that you would like to achieve in your life! These can be big goals, such as traveling to 20 different countries or growing your own seven-figure business. Or, they can be smaller goals such as taking your grandchild to a baseball game or learning how to sail.

When you have a long list of goals you’d like to achieve, you have more to strive for, and more opportunities to check your accomplishments off your list. Plus, the rush you feel every time you reach one of those goals will inspire you to aim to complete even more!

2. Write Them Down

If you want to keep your personal goals top of mind, I strongly encourage you to write them down.

You might want to put them on a deck of 3”x5” cards you shuffle through every morning, on a poster or piece of paper you hang on the wall beside your computer, or in a book you read each night before you fall asleep.

The most important thing to do is to put your goals list somewhere you can see it every day so you can remind yourself of the things you want to accomplish in life.

You can also consider mind mapping to achieve your goals—a technique used to create a visual display of information. The more you visualize and think about your goals each day, the easier it will be for you to maintain the motivation and focus you need to reach them.

3. Take Action

Take action on your personal goals if you want to be successful on your journey. It doesn’t matter how clear or ambitious your goals are, if you don’t take relentless step-by-step actions to achieve them, they will remain forever out of reach.

That’s why, once you have decided which goals to set for yourself, I encourage you to get clear on the steps you’ll need to take to make those goals a reality. This may require you to do some research or talk with someone who has already experienced those accomplishments.

If you need to fill in any missing gaps so you can better understand the steps you need to take to achieve those goals, do so. You will need to learn what it takes to create the life of your dreams.

4. Celebrate Each Success

Each time you check a goal off your list, be sure to take the time to celebrate!

A big part of creating more success in your life is rewarding yourself when you prosper. Not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment and recognition, but the simple, enjoyable act of acknowledging your successes also causes your subconscious mind to say, ‘Hey, I feel great and I’m proud of my achievements. Every time we succeed, we get to do something fun! Let’s achieve more, so we can have even more fun.’

So please don’t think that celebrating your achievements is selfish or a waste of time. It actually primes you to stay motivated and reinforces your subconscious mind’s desire to want to work harder for you.

Personal Goals Examples

In order to grow your personal list of goals, I encourage you to start by considering the different areas of your life. Think about the specific goals you would like to accomplish in those areas.

Then, jot them down and divide them into the seven areas of life that I like to reflect on—financial, business & career, relationships, health & fitness, fun & recreation, personal, and contribution.

Here are just a few of my own life goals examples from different areas to inspire you!

Career & Financial Goals:

What big goals would you like to achieve in your business or career? What financial milestones would you like to reach? Write down every goal that occurs to you. Be sure to specify how much and by when.

For example, some of the big professional and financial goals I’ve accomplished in my life are:

  • Write a best selling book (61 best-sellers so far)
  • Make one million dollars in one year ($20 million best year so far, plus $20 million one year when we sold one of my companies)
  • Have $3,000,000 net worth when I retire (I have much more than that already)
  • Sell $20,000 worth of books and tapes at a live event in one day (I have sold $160,000 in one day)
  • Sell 1,000,000,000 books (500 million so far)
  • Publish 100 books (225 so far)
  • Speak at the Million Dollar Roundtable

Relationships Goals:

What big relationship goals would you like to achieve? Don’t just think in terms of romance. Consider also your friendship and family goals. What relationships would you like to heal or improve? What new relationships would you like to cultivate?

Here are some of the relationship goals that I have achieved:

  • Meet & marry the love of my life
  • Heal my relationship with my kids
  • Have a great relationship with my grandson

Travel (Fun) Goals:

Where would you like to travel in the world? What different cities, countries, and places would you love to visit? What attractions or events would you like to experience? The best way to make sure they happen is to add them to your personal life goals list.

Here are just a few destinations I’ve visited from my travel goals list:

  • India
  • Bali
  • Tahiti
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Vatican
  • The Taj Mahal
  • Go on safari in Africa

Health & Fitness Goals:

How would you like to feel in your body, mind, and spirit? What health & wellness goals can help you feel this way? This might involve taking a yoga class, memorizing the 108 moves of Tai Chi, maintaining your ideal weight, or committing to walking 3 miles every day. Whatever will make you feel healthy and strong and happy in your mind and body.

Here are some of the health goals I’ve achieved in my life:

  • Learn to windsurf
  • Learn to ski
  • Run a 10k race
  • Run 14 miles in less than 3 hours
  • Live to be 100+ years old

Create Your 101 Personal Goals List Now

In my life, I have met many people who have achieved the highest pinnacle of success in their chosen professions – including Olympic and professional athletes, billionaire entertainment moguls, and world leaders.

Without exception, all of them had one thing in common: they all knew how to set ambitious personal goals and refused to let anything stop them from achieving them.

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to schedule time to sit down in the next day or so and fill out 101 of your personal goals, then put it somewhere you can see it every day. Each time you achieve one of the goals, cross it off the list and celebrate! You will be amazed at how much it empowers you, as well as inspires you to aim even higher to achieve bigger goals in life.

Is “helping others” one of your big aspirations in life? 

Or perhaps you’re looking for a more personally rewarding and fulfilling career for yourself. If so, I encourage you to sign up for my FREE webcast: The 7 Pillars of True Life Transformation.

You’ll learn how to become a transformational trainer who can quickly remove the blocks, fears, and uncertainty in yourself and others (and make a profitable living while doing it!)


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.

This 10 Minute Self-Care Exercise Will Change Your Life


Do you know that feeling you get from sitting too long in front of a computer? Or from overusing your phone? Or running too many errands in one day?

That feeling of tiredness, coupled with tension and overwhelm? We usually call it stress. It feels so damn uncomfortable that we try at all costs to get rid of it. The only problem is that once in it, our solution finding skills are also reduced. We literally find it hard to know what we need at that moment.

So we shut down.

We sit on the couch, watch a movie to decompress or browse our phones because the incoherent energy in our bodies is so unbearable. Or we drink a beer, smoke a cigarette, a joint, eat sugar…anything to make it, if not go away, at least a little bit less painful.

If you are more on the holistic side of things, you probably try to meditate. And then find out that it’s even worse to sit with all this disorganized energy inside of you. So it’s back to the couch or at least reading a book to forget about it.

Too many days like that accumulated over time make us dream of our holidays when we can catch our breath again. If it gets worse, we have burnout. Then we need a much longer holiday. Only then it’s called something else.

But what if I told you you could shift your state in as little as ten minutes?

And it didn’t involve complicated yoga postures or years of mastering meditation?

You could feel discharged, energized, open, and centered with very little effort? And it would also be fun?

This ten-minute exercise I am talking about has its origins in Qigong. And it’s not even the real qigong practice, only a warm-up for it.

I will post a video of it below, but here is the deal: you have to actually go through it, not just watch it to feel the effects.

But if you need more convincing first, this is how it works:

Imagine your nerves being like wires in a machine. What happens to your machine if you keep it running without end? Yes, that’s right, it starts overheating and as a result malfunctioning.

Our brains and bodies are like that too. Never before have we lived such complex, busy lives. It makes the necessity to learn how to reboot our operating system ever so more important.

One thing that I know from my work as a Coach is, that there is never much wrong with people, except for not having learned how to regulate their nervous system, and especially how to ‘empty’ themselves.

We need to cool down our wires. Close the too many tabs open in our menu and Just let go.

For that purpose, meditation won’t do it.

Meditation is what you do after you discharged all the overheated, incoherent energy flowing through you. After you have come back to a sense of centerdness, then you can sit down and deepen your exploration of stillness.

Before you discharge, however, you just make it unnecessarily painful.

So watch the video below and follow along. It’s really as simple as shaking, breathing out, swinging your arms, and allowing your nerves to discharge.

Warning: it’s a super simple tool but you might feel a bit silly doing it. Trust me when I say it’s worth it.

Watch this meditation teacher, Burgs, taking you through it here.

I know, the video is 17 min long. But once you know it, you can make it in 10 minutes. You can adjust it to what you need. Already five minutes make a big difference.

Once (and only if) you have done it, I would love to hear what your experience was.

Because, for me, I really wish we had learned this as part of a daily routine at school. The simple act of learning how to discharge excess energy…it would have made life so much easier. Enjoy and share it with your loved ones. We need our tools, especially now.


Kasia Patzelt works as an Embodiment Coach and is passionate about integrating our spiritual experiences into the here and now of daily life aka how to be truly heart intelligent. She is a writer on Medium and works one-on-one with people online or on the magic island of Ibiza, where she lives. www.kasiapatzelt.com

Image courtesy of Nataliya Vaitkevich.

How to Deal When You Don’t Get What You Want


Sometimes you ask for what you want and you get it and it’s awesome.

And sometimes you don’t.

The cutie you were ogling from across the bar asks your friend for her number instead of yours.

You launch your new product that’s been in the works for over a year, and you hear crickets instead of cha-ching.

Your husband forgets your anniversary.

Your dream client passes up your bid and hires someone else.

Bummer.

When things don’t go the way you wish they’d gone, I recommend the following:

1. Be in it.

Skipping over feeling how bad it feels only leads to emotional festering. A good cry, a scream into a pillow, a tirade of choice words, or a few whales on a punching bag go a very long way. Give yourself permission to feel the disappointment. Trying to pretend you don’t feel the way you feel or trying to move past it too quickly isn’t kind to yourself, and it’s dishonest.

2. Tell someone.

I used to keep my disappointments to myself because I didn’t want to burden people or appear like I didn’t have it together. I found out that letting people in on my broken hearted moments created connection rather than separation. If your disappointment brings up feelings of shame it’s even more important to tell someone safe. As Brené Brown says, shame cannot survive empathy. Shame depends on us feeling alone, so the quicker we bring it into the light and remember we’re not alone, the quicker it dissolves.

3. Follow your disappointment.

We’ve all heard that we should follow our bliss. But I think there’s a lot to be said for following our disappointment. When we’re bummed that something didn’t work out, it means it matters to us. I’ve had times when I was surprised by how upset I got over a disappointment. It pointed out that whatever that thing represented was really important to me. Then I knew to make a priority of manifesting that thing in some other way. Similarly, you might notice that you didn’t get as disappointed as you thought you might over something.  Good news! You can take that thing off your priority list because it probably doesn’t matter to you as much as you thought!

4. Say thanks.

I don’t think that every single thing happens for a reason, but most things do. You don’t get asked out by the cutie at the bar because the next day you meet your husband. You get passed over by who you thought was your dream client because they would have been a royal pain in the ass to work with. I find it peaceful to believe that there’s a greater plan at work even if I’m generally not aware of it on a day-to-day basis. When something doesn’t happen the way I wanted, I decide that I’ve been spared some experience that wouldn’t serve my highest purpose. And so, after crying and thrashing, sharing it with someone, and noticing how important this thing must be to me, I say thank you.

5. Move on.

There’s nothing attractive about bitterness. No need to rush yourself, but when it’s time to move on, move on. Dwelling on disappointment is a dream repellant. Once you’ve felt what you need to feel and learned what you need to learn, get on with attracting what you want.

Life is thrilling. Life is surprising. Life is disappointing. Life is unexpected. Life is satisfying. It’s all true.

Don’t let your disappointments derail you.

Instead, let them be a tool to get you closer to what you want.

OVER TO YOU:

How do you deal with disappointment? Share your tips in the comments – I’d love to hear them as I’m always adding to my toolbox!


Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and mother who supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages. Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, and The Huffington Post, and she’s spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. Kate lives with her husband and business partner, Mike, and their daughter Penelope in Maine. Find out more and receive your free copy of the 5 Simple and effective ways to get the results you want in your business at katenorthrup.com.

Image courtesy of Liza Summer.

Easily Confused


There are countless arguments about words that we often don’t understand the way someone else might.

Words like education, learning, merit, talent, skill, privilege, smart and successful.

They might not mean what we think they do.

Well-educated isn’t the same thing as smart.

Talents are different than skills.

Learning is not the same as education.

Successful isn’t the same as rich.

Agreeing on what we mean is a great place to begin.

*Originally published on sethsblog.


Seth Godin has written eighteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and, most of all, changing everything.

Image courtesy of George Milton.

Soul Care vs. Self Care and Why It Matters Now


It’s more about soul care than self-care.

Have you ever done this?

We try to use the tools, people, and habits from our old lives to move us into our new lives, new spaces, and new timelines.

Ehem, you can’t bring it all with you.

Maybe your taste in music has changed.

Your clothes feel blah.

You maybe feel disconnected from your old crew.

You’re on a new planet.

What in holy hell happened?

You graduated from a major season in your life. It may have been a rough one, so who are you now, what do you and how do you care for yourself now that you’re a metaphorical naked infant?

Head on over and listen to the full episode, here.

What’s possible now that you’re over the other side of this 10-year mountain?

There’s a moment when you hand in your old success tools, you leave your old neighborhood and you’re finally in the NEW!

And it feels…strange?

You may find yourself out of habit still digging into old problems that just aren’t there anymore. Out of being so used to needing to fight, you read and study the art of self-defense. When there isn’t any more war.

In this new world, you no longer need to pick the scabs that have already healed into cool-looking scars.

This takes time to trust, integrate and learn.

Habits want to go back to what used to feel comfortable. But now, old comfort feels like the past. It’s uncomfortable now. And it can feel confusing because you’re not even sure what to do anymore.

Your entire vision and spiritual eyesight, even how the trees sway in the wind or the taste of old treats you loved… are different.

It’s right about now that you realize you’re trying to solve problems that have already been resolved.

Head on over to this week’s episode to dig in even deeper. It’s a juicy one!

Lean into what’s possible when the struggle is over and the life storm ends.

Allow yourself the vulnerability to have what you want.

Permit yourself to be a newbie in a new place in your own life.

As always, you rock. I believe in you. You can be your true self and create the life that whispers inside of you. And again, thank YOU for being here.

Lalita

P.S. Wanna dive deeper? Join my newsletter and enjoy complimentary journal prompts every week to take your journey to the next level.


Lalita Ballesteros is a speaker, comedian, director, and the founder of Haus of Lala, a creative agency specializing in personal branding. She stands by the belief that your voice matters and that authentic self-expression is our most important work. In the past, Lalita’s disrupted the publishing industry with Seth Godin and The Domino Project (powered by Amazon) creating six best-sellers and raising over a quarter million in revenue in only four months. She also worked at the American Embassy in Rome, created a 6-figure Airbnb business, and oversaw ambassador efforts at Lyft. She speaks three languages and is a regular contributor for Positively Positive, a publication with over 2.5 million followers on Facebook. Lalita’s been seen on the stages of TEDx and Comedy Bary as well as in the pages of Fast Company, Etsy, Forbes, Yahoo Small Business, Mashable, and the best-selling book End Malaria. She currently lives in Toronto with her dog, Luna. Follow her writings and comedy here and #100daysofcomedy here.

Image Courtesy of Olivier Rule.

Why the Myth of Success Is Stunting Your Business Growth


Starting a business isn’t for everyone because not everyone is cut out for business – it’s that simple. However, a lot of new entrepreneurs struggle in business not because they are bad at business, but because they have subconsciously bought into wrong beliefs about success that are preventing them from running a successful operation.

The good news is you can make a conscious decision to break those beliefs and do better in your endeavors. Here are some of the common myths to success. Have you fallen for any of these?

It Takes Money To Make Money

This age-old adage has stopped many aspiring entrepreneurs from taking that plunge and launching their own business as well as stumped lots of business owners from going to the next level.

The myth ‘it takes money to make money’ may have been true a few decades ago but with the growth of online business, it is no longer true. Don’t let the belief that you need to have a lot of money to succeed in a business tie you down. If you change your focus from needing to have a lot of money to looking for ways to work with a shoestring budget, you will be surprised to see that little can do so much.

One way you can increase business growth instantly is by breaking this limiting belief. Data researched by Scanteam shows that you can always tap into crowdfunding if you are in desperate need of funds. First, start with what you have and when you reach the end of the road, you can then look for crowdfunding.

External Factors Do Not Always Determine Success

There are a lot of flashy entrepreneurs who use social media to flaunt their wealth, assets, and lavish lifestyle. Millions of individuals aspire to have a similar lifestyle as these people and that’s one of the reasons why they decide to get into business. They want the money, luxury, and opulence that an entrepreneurial lifestyle offers.

Many business owners are making a profit but because they are not making enough money to buy a Ferrari or take a luxury vacation on a million-dollar yacht, they remain discontented and unhappy. Remember success does not always have to add up to luxury vacations, fancy cars, and designer clothes.

A lot of these celebrities who flaunt the lifestyle of the rich and famous have loads of money but are not happy internally. What matters the most is for you to feel successful on the inside without having to showboat your wealth and assets.

The growth of business on the outside may not be as fast as you want it to be but what matters, even more is the growth of your success on the inside.

Success Is Not Overnight

You will be surprised to learn how many young entrepreneurs and new business owners expect to get rich overnight. One of the main reasons they get into business is because they want to get rich quickly. This is one of the main ways to stunt your growth as this rarely happens.

Is it wrong for you to believe that you can get rich overnight? No. We hope you get rich overnight but truth be told most successful entrepreneurs did not get rich overnight and chances are you will not either. If you go in with a get-rich-quick mindset and you find things not working out at first, you will want to quit because you think your dreams are not working out.

However, if you go in with a mindset that success does not happen overnight, you will be more inclined to see out the rough patches in your business and personal life and push through to success. There are loads of scam artists out there waiting to take advantage of people who are waiting to get rich quickly.

Scammers target these people with fancy get-rich-quick schemes and end up taking all their money. Our advice is to forget the get-rich overnight dream and set yourself financial goals that you want to hit every year and then work diligently towards them. We know that most people don’t want to read this but it has to be said.

Success May Not Be For Me

Some entrepreneurs do reasonably well in business but don’t have a lot of success. This is because somewhere along the way they bought into a limiting belief which says that they are not good enough to have lots of success and as a result, success evades them.

You need to condition your mindset to believe that you are worthy of achieving a lot of success in your business. Expect good things to happen to you and expect big things to happen to you soon and you will be amazed at how things will change in your business. You are not reading this by accident. Believe and you will see things change for the better in your business.

Conclusion

If you have bought into one or more of the beliefs that we have listed, it’s time for you to take action and destroy that negative belief and mindset today. Your success is waiting!


Alex Lysak is the CEO of ScanTeam. He has been working in online marketing since 2011, and his main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. During 9 years of experience, he has helped many products and startups to develop marketing strategies and to implement them further.

Image courtesy of Ono Kosuki.

5 Subtle Signs of Fake Friendship


I’ve told my friends to break up with bad partners many times before. I know all the signs, blatant and subtle, and I’m quick to call them out.

But fake friends? They fly under the radar all the time. (For my part, it’s usually because I’m so eager to be liked that I rationalize any kind of crappy behavior from my so-called friends. )

From long, painful, and bitter experiences, I know these five warning signs mean you’ve got a fake friend on your hands. They’re easy to ignore, especially if you have suffered from low self-esteem like I have, but the sooner you spot them, the sooner you can focus on your real friendships.

You’re only there to act as a mirror to them.

When I was a kid, my neighbor Steph was always trying to prove that she was better than me about the most ridiculous stuff, including informing me that her mom was prettier and her fridge was colder.

Competitive friends can help you push yourself, but if all they want to do is compare and come out on top, you’re not a real friend to them — you’re an insecurity blanket.

Steph invited me over all the time, and I kept saying yes because I had this fantasy in my head of two neighbors who grew up to be best friends and attend each other’s weddings, etc. Finally, after my mom asked me why I was so glum every time I got back from Steph’s, I realized it was because every time we hung out, it was a chance for her to feel better about herself at my expense.

You’re a one-way support line.

“I’ve been having a really hard time with food lately,” I confessed to my friend Taylor. “I think I might have…something going on. Like an eating disorder or something.” It took me so much courage to say those words, and Taylor repaid my trust by immediately launching into her own spin on things.

“Yeah, I know, I’ve been feeling really fat lately as well,” she said as she glanced meaningfully at her belly. “We can be diet buddies.”

This is one particularly horrific example of a fake friend, but it exemplified something Taylor did a lot: turned everything I said into something about her. We love to talk about ourselves, sure, but a good friend knows when to actually listen and hear what you’re saying. Fake friends will take without ever giving back.

They hype up your evil twin.

I’m not perfect — I’ve done some of the stuff on this list. Nobody is 100% good all the time. But where good friends call you out on your bullshit, bad friends will encourage your worst traits just so you put on a show for them.

This is one I’ve been guilty of. In college, one of my friends Nathan was a massive gossipmonger. I loved to egg him on to be judgmental about everyone, and if he ever tried to be positive, I’d drag him right back down to his normal bitchy self. I was a fake friend.

I hope I’ve improved since those years, but as they say, it takes one to know one. If you find you’re giving in to your worst self when you’re around your friends, consider that you’re not really their friend — you’re just their private entertainment.

You’re a (friendly) booty call.

If a man only called me when he wanted to bang, I’d label him a d-bag and block him. But when friends only call you when they need you, you feel special and proud for being their lifeline.

When I was in college, I was friends with some people in the cool crowd. I did a lot of things I’m not proud of, and in return, I got to hang out with them. Looking back now, and knowing how many times I cleaned up someone else’s vomit, or took the blame for something I didn’t do, or went to a restaurant early to save us a table, I see the reality. I was the person they could count on to always be there.

If you’d asked me then, I would have viewed that as a badge of honor. Now, I know I wasn’t really a friend; I was a useful hench- person.

Your hard boundaries turn into soft suggestions.

If you’re a young adult, it’s super easy to feel like boundaries are a joke. I certainly felt like truly cool and edgy people were up for anything.

I met this girl in a club when I was sixteen, and quickly fell into bestie-dom. Every time I went out, I ran into her and we would hang out the whole night. But when I was with her, my boundaries were constantly eroded. Ultimately, I can only blame myself — I could have said no to smoking or to that fifth shot of Jaegermeister. But she pushed me, and I said yes.

Spoiler alert: the girl from the bathroom whose name I never learned was not a real friend. But honestly, the experience made me learn that fake friends will easily cross your boundaries. A good friend will understand when you don’t want to drink, smoke, or go out. A fake friend will always care more about themselves than those lines you’ve drawn.

I know it’s all the rage to write about the crappy things people do and label them toxic (sorry, guilty) but most of us have been the collateral damage of fake friendships before. It’s a very fertile writing ground.

If you scan through my list above, you might notice a common theme — low self-esteem. I certainly struggled with confidence in my youth, which meant I let people walk all over me. Now, I don’t waste time on these people, but back then, I really thought all those things above qualified as friendship.

I’ve taken advantage of people before, and I’m sure you have too, reader. It’s part of being human. These signs don’t mean your fake friend is a terrible person (or that you’re a terrible person/fake friend). It just means your friendship isn’t genuine — or at the very least, could use a little work.


Zulie Rane is a reader and a writer who believes in the power to change the world through the written word. You can find her writing on ZulieRane.com, posting selfies and art on Instagram at @zulierane and tweeting bad puns on Twitter at @zulierane.

Image courtesy of Adrienn.

Daily Affirmations for Success


Ask any highly successful person how they maintain their motivation and focus to achieve their ambitious goals, and chances are their answer will be, “daily affirmations!”

I have met countless successful business people, Olympic and professional athletes, NY Times bestselling authors, and visionary changemakers who all use daily positive affirmations to stay energized and focused on their goals, no matter what’s happening in the world around them. They have all told me that their daily affirmations practice has had a game-changing impact on their lives.

Today I’d like to teach you how daily affirmations for success actually work and show you how to write affirmations that will make it so much easier for you to achieve your life goals.

I’ll also answer common questions such as:

“What is a daily affirmation?”
“Are morning affirmations better than evening affirmations?”
“How to write affirmations that work?”

… and so much more!

What is a Daily Affirmation?

Simply put, daily affirmations are clear, positive statements that describe your goals as already achieved.

For example, if your goal is to become a bestselling author, your daily affirmation could be something like, “I am so happy and grateful to be holding my NY Times number-one bestseller in my hands!”

Or if your goal is to make $200,000 this year, your affirmation could be “I am so happy and grateful to be celebrating the fact that I reached my financial target of $200,000!”

Sounds simple, right? It is! But it’s also very powerful.

Repeating this kind of positive mantra to yourself every day can have a profound impact on your conscious and unconscious mind.

When you imagine yourself completing a goal, your brain responds in the same way as if you actually HAD completed that goal.

And the dissonance that occurs in your subconscious mind as it tries to reconcile what feels to be true (you have achieved this amazing goal!) with what your brain knows to be true (you actually haven’t achieved that goal yet) – will subconsciously prompt you to resolve that dissonance by taking persistent action toward your goals until your imagined reality becomes your ACTUAL reality.

That’s how powerful affirmations can be – they actually impact the neuroplasticity of your brain and motivate you to become the kind of person who is capable of achieving your goals!

Not only that, recent academic research that shows in high-stress level environments, people who use daily positive affirmations have lower stress levels and consistently experience more success than those who don’t.

So not only do affirmations keep you focused on your goals, but they also eliminate stress as a possible obstacle and allows you to maintain a high level of energy and enthusiasm. This will make it easier for you to stay positive and attract the people and resources you need to make your dreams a reality.

How Do Daily Affirmations Work?

Daily affirmations are to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Repeating powerful affirmations for success can help you eliminate negativity and limiting beliefs that are keeping you trapped in mediocrity and dramatically understand what’s possible, and what you’re truly capable of achieving.

(Spoiler: anything you can imagine!)

Daily positive affirmations help you transform “I can’t” into “I can,” and your fears and doubts into confidence and certainty.

They are your best weapon against defeatist thinking and self-sabotage – and powerful protection against other people’s negativity as well!

Daily Affirmations Activate the Law of Attraction

Affirmations are reminders to your unconscious mind to stay positive and focused on your goals. By cultivating this kind of success-focused mindset, you raise your energetic vibration and are able to attract more high-vibe opportunities, people, and resources into your life, which in turn makes it even easier for you to achieve your goals!

If you’re new to the practice of daily affirmations, this might sound a bit “woo” to you… but the fact is, this is how the universe works. Whether you know it or not, you are always using affirmations in your life! But they’re usually not the kind of affirmations for success that will bring you what you want.

For example, do you ever catch yourself thinking powerful affirmations like:

“I can’t stop eating, I’m addicted to unhealthy food.”
“I am never going to meet somebody I can love.”
“I never catch a break!”
“No matter what I do, I never seem to get ahead.”
“Why does bad stuff always happen to ME?”

These might be negative affirmations – but I assure you, they are powerful.

When we tell ourselves such things repeatedly, they reinforce our negative perception of the world and prompt us to turn those negative thoughts into reality. So our own harshest self-criticism becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy!

We tell ourselves we can’t stop eating. So we don’t.

We tell ourselves we’ll never find someone to love. So we don’t bother looking.

And we tell ourselves that no matter how hard we try, we just can’t catch a break. And so we give up and stop trying.

The fact is, most people are constantly telling themselves such things all the time!

The only way to liberate yourself from such negative (and false) beliefs is to replace them with powerful affirmations for success that inspire you to show up in a more positive and empowering way. Which in turn will get better results in everything you do.

So your self-fulfilling prophesy becomes your own amazing success story!

How to Write Affirmations

Here are my eight guidelines for how to write positive affirmations for success that will make it easier for you to get what you want in life.

  1. Start with the words, “I am.” These are the two most powerful words in the English language
  2. Use the present tense. You want to imagine yourself being in the moment and experiencing the reality of your goal being achieved. This is what will cause the dissonance in your subconscious that will prompt you to take persistent action to make your vision real.
  3. State your daily affirmation in the positive.Affirm what you want, not what you don’t want. (If you can’t understand why, tell yourself NOT to think of pink elephants. What did you just think of? In the same way, if you try to focus on what you don’t want, that’s what you’ll end up attracting into your life.)
  4. Keep it brief.Your daily affirmations should be easy to memorize and repeat. The easier it is to remember and say, the easier it will be to visualize your goals – and the harder your subconscious will work to make it a reality.
  5. Make it specific.Daily affirmations such as, “I am so happy and grateful now that I’ve lost weight,” aren’t nearly as powerful as, “I am so happy and grateful now that I have lost 25 pounds and am wearing my favorite jeans again!” When your affirmation is vague, your vision will be fuzzy as well. Visions that lack clarity are much more difficult to achieve.
  6. Include an action word ending with “–ing.”This allows you to express your affirmation as if you are experiencing it at that very moment. For example, “I am so happy and grateful to be walking across the stage to accept my MBA degree from Wharton University.” The more you can imagine yourself in that moment of walking across that stage, the more powerful your affirmation will be.
  7. Include at least one dynamic emotion or feeling word. I often encourage people to imagine themselves as happy and grateful because happiness and gratitude are powerful positive emotions that will raise your energetic vibration and attract more things that bring joy and gratitude into your life.
  8. Make affirmations for yourself, not others.For example, saying something like, “I am so happy and grateful now that my husband has stopped drinking,” isn’t going to work because there is nothing you can do to change other people’s behavior. Only THEY can change their behavior.

Affirmation Examples

Here are some more examples of powerful affirmations based on the guidelines above:

“I am joyfully driving my new red Porsche Carrera convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.“

Or if you are more ecologically minded, you can make that a new Tesla.

You can use the following simple formula: “I am so happy and grateful that I am now …” and then fill in the blank.

Some other affirmation examples could be:

“I am so happy and grateful that I am now working in my chosen field, earning $150,000 a year.”

“I am so happy and grateful that I am now celebrating I have achieved my ideal weight of 140 pounds.”

Or how about:

“I am enjoying living in my beautiful beachfront villa on the Ka’anapali coast of Maui or somewhere better.”

That last affirmation is incredibly special to me.

Because it’s an affirmation I started writing for myself way back in 1989, and in 2011, I actually made that vision a reality!

Morning & Nighttime Affirmations

To get the most out of your daily affirmations practice, take 5 to 10 minutes every morning and evening to repeat your daily affirmations – preferably out loud with high energy and enthusiasm. The best time for your morning affirmations is right after you wake up and the best time for your nighttime affirmations is right before you go to bed.

I also encourage you to keep an affirmation journal so you have a dedicated place to write down your affirmations. Keep your affirmation journal on your bedside table so it’s the last thing you read before you go to sleep and the first thing you read when you wake up in the morning.

Action Item: Write 3 Powerful Affirmations for Yourself

To activate the power of affirmations in your life, complete the following activity:
Write down 3 big goals you have for your life. What are three accomplishments you would like to achieve in the next 12 months?

Now here’s how to write affirmations that will help you achieve those goals… record the following in your affirmation journal:

GOAL 1: __

I am so happy now that I am [describe yourself experiencing or celebrating the achievement of that goal].

GOAL 2: __

I am so happy now that I am [describe yourself experiencing or celebrating the achievement of that goal].

GOAL 3: __

I am so happy now that I am [describe yourself experiencing or celebrating the achievement of that goal].

Once you have written your daily affirmations for success, leave your affirmation journal beside your bed, and then be sure to refer to it every morning and evening so you can always make sure your daily affirmations are the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of before you go to sleep.

Daily Affirmation FAQs

If you are new to the practice of affirmations, or if you’ve tried it before but weren’t able to stick to it for very long, you may have some questions about how to use affirmations for success in your life and business.

Explore the questions below to see if you can find the answers you’re looking for!

Q: “Morning affirmations vs. evening affirmations – which is better?”

My answer to this question is always, “both!”

It only takes a few minutes to read and repeat your daily affirmations. So unless your life is so incredibly busy that you simply can’t spare three minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night, then I strongly encourage you to start your day with daily affirmations and end it in the same way.

When your goals are the last thing you think of before you go to sleep, you activate your subconscious to mull over your situation and your challenges and generate ideas and solutions that can help bring you closer to your goals.

And when your goals are the first thing you think of in the morning, you clarify your focus for the day and ensure that other tasks or unexpected developments don’t pull you off track.

Q: How do you write powerful affirmations that WORK?

Daily affirmations work when you work the affirmations!

That means following the 8 steps to writing affirmations that I listed above and fully committing to repeating your affirmations out loud every morning and every evening.

It also means doing the internal work to confirm that the goals you are basing your affirmations on are goals that you truly and deeply want to achieve!

If your affirmations are based on goals you think you should achieve instead of goals you want to achieve, you may find it hard to make any real progress no matter how many times you recite your morning affirmations and evening affirmations.

Q: Do I need a special book for my affirmation journal?

No! Any notebook will do. Although I do encourage you to use one that makes you happy when you look at it. The more positive thoughts and feelings you associate with your affirmations, the more motivated you will be to make your goals a reality.

Q: Which should I focus on – business affirmations or life affirmations?

Again I would say both! It depends on what your goals and your immediate focus for your life are. Which goals are most important for you to achieve first? Which ones will have the greatest possible impact on your life, and make it easier for you to make forward progress in all other areas of your life as well?

For example, if one of your biggest and most immediate goals is to earn enough money to pay your child’s college education, then you would want to focus on business affirmations based on the goal of earning the specific amount of money you need.

Or if one of your big goals is to leave your corporate job and start your own business, you would want to focus on business affirmations that describe you as having already achieved that goal.

On the other hand, if you know that achieving a personal goal – such as losing weight or quitting a sugar or alcohol addiction – is the best thing you can do for your life right now because it will empower you to achieve your professional goals as well, your affirmations should be focused on that.

My List of Positive Feeling Words for Affirmations

Here’s a list of positive feeling words that you may want to use when creating your daily affirmations.

Buttons with colorfull smiles

Additional Affirmation Examples

If you’re finding it hard to get clear on how to choose and articulate your daily affirmations, the list below should spark some ideas.

“I am breathing effortlessly with lungs that are pure and clean.”

“I am celebrating how easily I breathe through strong, healthy lungs.”

“I am joyfully celebrating my graduation from college with a master’s degree.”

“I am effectively delivering my first talk to an audience of over 1,000 people who affirm my message with a standing ovation.”

“I am confidently checking the balance of my bank account as I make a deposit of $1,000,000.”

“I am walking up on stage to receive my first Emmy award and receiving a roar of applause.”

“I am celebrating feeling light and alive at my perfect bodyweight of one thirty-five.”

“I am enjoying the thrill of flying.”

“I am attracting joy into my life.”

“I am confidently expressing myself openly and honestly.”

“I am feeling exhilarated, agile, and alive.”

“I am effectively communicating my needs and desires to my loving partner.”

“I am looking around me at the faces of the people I am helping and I am thrilled to know that I have made a difference in their life.”

“I am feeling relaxed and grateful to be sitting here in Hawaii with my toes buried in the warm sand, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.”

When you’re satisfied with the wording of your daily affirmation, start using it every morning and evening. Regular repetition will gently return your focus to manifesting the life of your dreams.

Daily Affirmations Are Just the Beginning…

Daily positive affirmations are a powerful first step toward developing a success-focused mindset that empowers you to achieve your goals in life.

But if you want to awaken your full subconscious potential and make your most ambitious dreams a reality, you need more than daily affirmations.

You need deep clarity around your purpose and the kind of life you want to create. You need to be able to identify the goals that will help you create that desired life. And you need the wisdom and insight of those who have walked that path before you to help you avoid obstacles and overcome any challenges that might arise on your journey.

That’s why I created my powerful Awakening Success home study program.

This powerful program gives you the tools, training, and inspiration you need to cultivate a success-focused mindset and achieve a big goal in your life in as little as 30 days!

Are you ready to awaken your own infinite potential for success?


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of Los Muertos Crew.