(February 5, 2014 by Simona Panetta)
Haven’t yet lost that dreadful muffin top or made amends with your latest friend-turned-foe? Nowhere near achieving the relationship or career you so desperately want, need? We called upon the experts to crank up our happy-o-meter with motivational tips that will take us that much closer to personal fulfillment. What we asked: How can we be just a little bit better this year?
Celebrity investor, businessman and author of The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding
Find a problem and start a business. People overcomplicate starting a business and their starting point is often “What do I want to do?” It’s what your customer needs — so find a need that you are interested in fulfilling.
DR. JOTI SAMRA
Clinical psychologist / TV host and expert
The one small thing I try to do daily is to start my morning with a thought of gratitude. I express thanks for something I have in my life, whether it’s my warm house, my comfortable bed, my shower with running hot water or my good health. It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we don’t have (most of us go through life doing “upward comparison,” which is comparing ourselves to people who have more of what we want or desire — but it is very humbling to do some “downward comparison,” to articulate and express appreciation for things you have in your life that others don’t have). It’s amazing what a shift in perspective this small exercise can create for your day.
Celebrity fitness expert
So you’re holding a smartphone, right? Use it to download a fitness app, sync it to all your devices and use it. When people want to work out, they go down to the basement and hop on the treadmill for a few minutes, but then don’t know what to do. People want the answers, they want the diet — they want the step-by-step program. But they don’t need to spend the big bucks. They don’t have to hire a trainer; they don’t have to get a gym membership. There are a lot of ways we can use technology as motivational tools to overcome fitness objectives. If your problem is snacking, and you need someone to motivate you not to reach for a cookie, there’s an app for that. Free or for just a couple of bucks, these resources can design a customized workout program for you, create your grocery list and motivate you to reach your fitness goal.
Chairman and CEO of retained search firm Waterstone Human Capital, and father of five
Things that drive us crazy, that make us angry — especially in the corporate world — are usually the things we want to do or don’t want to do as much. For someone with a high-drive mentality like myself, it can get frustrating when I can’t achieve something as fast as I want to. Many years ago, someone shared with me a quote from Mark Twain: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Anger brings more stress to the person who holds it than to anybody else. It can eat you up. So remind yourself to take your frustrations and let them go; lighten up and laugh.
Author and leadership expert
The first thing you want to do is get a one-page plan. Spend some time reflecting and evaluating what you want this year to be, what your goals are going to be, what your mission is going to be, and get it down on one page. Look at it every seven days to make course corrections to stay on track. Clarity precedes mastery. Clarity is power. And every great entrepreneur, every great CEO, every great athlete, has one thing in common: they have a monomaniacal focus on their vision.
Personal financial expert, author and speaker
Ask yourself: What does having more money mean to me? Until someone has a clear idea of what they’re working for, it’s more difficult to attain it and enjoy the process along the way. Does having more money mean the freedom to travel with your spouse and check off the items on your bucket list? Does it mean giving your kids a leg up by helping them fund their post-secondary education, or starting a business or buying a home sooner? Once you get clear about how more money (or wealth) can change your life for the better, it drives every part of your being with congruency.
Master life coach and mentor
People tend to coast through life not being honest with themselves — about the choices they’ve made or how they got to where they’re at in life. If they’re not pointing fingers at someone else, they’re chasing someone else’s dreams. And that comes a lot from your upbringing. Being compared to siblings, or hearing that your cousin’s a lawyer only results in you doing things that don’t contribute to your own goals. Be honest with yourself, and that honesty will lead to accountability — the basic principles to a well-balanced lifestyle. On the romance front, ask yourself if you’re having a positive or negative experience, if you’re articulating your needs. Don’t put the onus on your partner to do all the correcting and fixing — take accountability for the relationship.
Author, Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work that Makes you Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills
My Labrador retriever is my personal fitness trainer. We walk briskly for at least four miles a few times a week and shorter distances the other days. Some key canine advice from Zena: Push in fresh directions every time you walk out the door. She’s always on the lookout for new opportunities. She takes advantage of every jaunt. Smells and sounds lead her from one new place to another with an openness and sense of tail-wagging excitement that always amazes me. So keep your eyes open and follow your nose — even if you’ve been down that trail many times before.
Photographer and co-founder of The Tutu Project
As far as happiness goes, make time to explore and discover new things. I love to get in my car and have a week off and not know where I’m going. That to me is freedom, that to me is fun, and the stories that come out of those trips and the people I meet are amazing. I think people get in a rut when they say, “I don’t do this, or I don’t do that.” If you’re living a life where you’re doing the same thing every single day, everything’s normal, smooth, you’re going to work and everything’s good and flat and there are no bumps, to me, I kind of compare that to a flat line on an EKG — you’re just kinda walking dead. Take the opportunity to have more fun and not take things so seriously. If you’ve never skied and you’re healthy, go skiing. I don’t know if my knees are good enough to skydive, but I want to try. Believe in yourself, believe in what your heart tells you, and live without letting other people tell you that you can’t.
DR. DAVID GREENBERG
Physician at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, guest expert on CityLine
Know your numbers. Waist size (sorry), blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are things men are (hopefully) regulating annually. What men should also be thinking about is getting their testosterone levels checked. Apart from sexual dysfunction, low testosterone is associated with type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and cancer. Starting around 40, testosterone levels start to drop, and it may happen slowly enough that you don’t really notice. But one day it may occur to you (or it’s pointed out to you) that you’re not as effective at work, your sports performance is tailing off, or that you’re falling asleep after dinner, crankier than usual, not as interested in sex. You may want to blame it on “It’s just what happens at my age.” But the best way to know this is to get a baseline now when you’re young and still feeling great.
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