I was literally doing some kind of funky dance. It was the first year that I had planned an “extraordinary year.” I had achieved my major goal and marked it off my list. It was only month five.
I have no idea what kind of dance I was doing, but I was doing it with all of my might. That goal was so far out of my comfort zone. It was something I had dreamed of since I was a child.
I’m certain my dance would have won an award on “America’s Funniest Videos,” if someone had been there to film it.
I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I couldn’t decide whether to jump up and down or dance. I couldn’t decide whether to sing or scream. So I was doing some kind of crazy combination of all of the above. I’m sure it would’ve been worth the price of the ticket for admission!
I have no idea how long it went on, but it was not just a momentary thing. I could not believe what I had just seen on my bank balance. After I wore myself totally out, I melted into a puddle of sobs of Gratitude.
I’m writing this because I want you to have that same experience this year! And you can!
As I stated earlier, this was the first year that I purposefully planned for an extraordinary year. When I had the plan all written down, I met with five of my mentors and asked them: “Now that I’ve said I would do things totally out of my reach, and way beyond my comfort zone…What do I do to get there?”
I got priceless words of wisdom, true gems, but there were three things that ALL of them said to me.
It wasn’t until later that I specifically worked out the actual process: planning what I intended to do; then fiercely training my brain to be my accomplice. I steeled my mind to checking off each of the steps in my plan.
(More about that next week, and I have a virtual workshop coming up where we can do it together. Private message me if you’d like to be updated about it).
But I want you to know the three golden gems that each of my five mentors (who are totally disconnected, but equally as powerful in their individual world-changing) shared with me.
The three messages were about:
Their messages were deep, not shallow. All I can say is that, since that day, these three elements have been crucial to all that I do. With these elements as my guide, I have experienced enormous personal growth, incredible success, and a tremendous increase in faith year after year.
Here are the three elements they ALL stressed:
1. Practice Gratitude daily.
If you follow my writings, you know this is one of the cores of my being. It sounds like a simple thing. Perhaps so simple that you may forget its value. Therefore I want to share what they shared with me, and what I have learned about this powerful concept through the years.
According to the Harvard Dictionary, Gratitude is:
“A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With Gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, Gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power” (Although I appreciate the care they take to avoid offending anyone, I think it’s appropriate to say… “Or God.”)
Neuropsychology research scientist, Sonja Lyubomirsky, says this about Gratitude:
“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.”
Practicing Gratitude creates so many valuable benefits. Here are a few to get you motivated in your decision to make Gratitude an ongoing daily practice.
- Boosts happiness
- Promotes physical health and well being,
- Improves mental health
- Reduces use of negative comments reduces resentment
- Abolishes envy
- Minimizes negative rumination
- Reduces stress
- Improves sleep quality
- Improves relationships
- Significantly increases professional performance and income
- Lessens depression and anxiety
Neurologically, we know that when we practice Gratitude, the pre-frontal cortex of our brain activates, and a neurochemical called dopamine is released in abundance.
There are so many powerful things that dopamine does in our system. But one of the things it does is that dopamine creates a new groove, the more we practice Gratitude. We begin to notice things that we otherwise might have missed that we have to be grateful for. This increased awareness creates a feedback loop of showing Gratitude, which comes back multiplied—multiplied in blessings, favor, good breaks, great opportunities!
There are specific actions to take to capitalize on Gratitude.
- Record three things for which you are grateful at the end of each day. Why record them? Because there may be moments when we need to practice Gratitude, and we cannot bring anything to mind.
It’s at those moments that we can reach for our gratitude journal and refresh things for which we had to be grateful for the day before, the week before, the month before.
- Be consciously grateful anytime we experience negative emotions.
Yes, we will allow ourselves to feel that negative for no more than 90 seconds. Then we will turn to Gratitude. Miraculous things will begin to happen.
We begin to pull the plug on the power of negative thought processes, negative feelings, and stress! They no longer control us. These negative thoughts no longer show up randomly once we practice Gratitude consistently.
- Begin practicing Gratitude out loud while making eye contact with others.
The power in this practice cannot be overstated. When you express Gratitude out loud, not only do you speak life into the person listening; you also speak life to the elemental part of your own brain. Your elemental brain hears your Gratitude as if you were speaking to it. This auditory stimulus deepens the grooves of the Gratitude cycle in your brain. This ever-deepening cycle produces megadoses of dopamine and begins to heal old wounds.
Because I adopt the Christian worldview (not to offend those who don’t, so please give me grace here…), I find it fascinating that one of the Bible’s tenets is the power of Gratitude.
As is often the case, the Bible carries deep wisdom: Gratitude is a huge key to deep healing in our hearts and minds.
Regardless of your worldview, Gratitude is something that keeps our momentum going in an extraordinary year!
2. Be continuously aware of your focus.
If you have read any of my work previously, you know how much power there is in focus.
What each of my mentors said was that I had to keep my focus on my goals and outcomes. Focus is a must.
We are taught early on to focus on obstacles. Even as a little girl, I wondered why teachers put big red “X’s” on things I missed. Why not big green checkmarks on those I got right. (I think in my case, I might have saved the teacher some green ink! LOL!)
Regardless, we are trained early on to focus on problems, not keeping our focus on the goal.
For this reason, when faced with a challenge, I take several actions:
- I read my proclamation and goals out loud daily throughout the year.
- I have symbolic photos on the wallpaper of my phone.
- I have symbols on my watch face, in frames in my office, and on my mirror.
Just this past week, I had a client who had previously set a goal to moderate her eating. She began the appointment moaning and groaning about some missteps she had made during the holiday.
I could have shamed her by saying, “Did your aunt Sally force those mashed potatoes down your throat? “Or, “Did that pecan pie ala mode just jump up on your plate?”
Instead, I asked to see the wallpaper on her phone where we had posted a symbolic picture back in mid-November.
I asked her to begin telling me about that picture. What she saw, what it meant, and why she was committed to getting back on track.
After she did as I asked, with new enthusiasm, she asked, “Why did that seem so easy?”
My response: “Because I invited you to focus on the right thing: The outcome desired rather than the mistake.”
Keep your focus forward and upward. Never back and never down!
Now I must give you a small warning: It is easier said than done, but it is 100% possible. I am living proof!
3. Let your faith stay in action!
Faith without action is not only worthless, but it will keep you looking in the rearview mirror.
Faith is a combination of what you believe and what you do.
When you find that you are having thoughts such as:
- I’m not sure about this
- I knew this wouldn’t work for me
- I guess I might as well give up on this one
When you have these thoughts, you must pause, bolster your beliefs, and take some action.
When the clouds of doubt come, get up and start moving!
Go for a walk, do jumping jacks in place, do something! Move your body! You cannot interrupt that kind of thought process by being sedentary and passive.
I also suggest that everyone have one belief statement that is their “go to” when these kinds of thoughts cloud their thinking.
Mine is: “Step aside, get out of my way, I don’t have any time for you today! I’m breaking out! I’m coming through! And there’s no telling what I can do!”
What will yours be?
No! I’m not kidding! Design one right now! I’d love to hear it! Email me at Coaching@DrNeecie.com.
I believe I could have set the greatest goals in the world and been more excited than I ever had been in my life.
But without the three crucial elements I have discussed in this blog, I might have come up short.
But instead, I came out dancing like a fool!.
I hope you will take the time to design an extraordinary year.
Remember, you are a world changer!