12 Secrets of Being Happy

Today, I’d like to share someone else’s article with you. Linda Kelsey takes 12 secrets of being happy from The World Book of Happiness by Leo Bormans, which offers practical ways to make your day brighter. I believe these simple choices will be life altering. I dedicate this article to my sister, Diane and to all who are in the pursuit of happiness in their lives.

To read the article click the link:


We have the power to choose today!

Quotes of the Week: Your Uniqueness is Your Contribution

Our uniqueness is our gift to the world.  No two people have the same qualities, vision and experience, and our life’s work emerges from our own melting pot.
~Gill Edwards

Are you a born writer?  Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace?  In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way.  If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself.  You hurt your children.  You hurt me.  You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention.  It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got.

The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, p 165

Finding the Balance Within

I’d like to add an amendment to my last article, Setting Goals Can Be Life Changing or Paralyzing. If you’re already feeling a little stressed out by juggling your newfound goals with keeping a balanced life, perhaps it’s wise to step back and re-evaluate or re-prioritize older ones. Rather than just ‘adding’ new goals to your schedule why not take away unrelated or unnecessary ones?  This helps us recognize our limitations and the risk of burning out.

It’s also important to keep in mind that having a ‘balanced’ life looks different on each person because everyone has different capabilities, strengths, energy and resources. Comparing yourself to someone else is unproductive and sometimes harmful, and will only make you feel worse.

While it’s commendable to pursue goals, it’s not meant to be a burden to stress you out. This would defeat the purpose of it. The intent of goals is to contribute not to hinder. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed will affect your overall wellbeing. In time, you will recognize personal steps you need to take to find the balance within and operate out of that place.

Here are just a few things I do to prevent burn out:

• Being kind to myself: in thought, word and deed.
• Taking a long, soothing, uninterrupted bath.
• Knowing when some things just have to wait another day.
• Not being at the beck and call of my phone or computer.
• Sometimes, saying “No”. Tough love, for me and for others.
• 8 hours of sleep + exercise + eating healthy = great mood.
• Taking time for myself (read, write, get a massage).
• Listening to my body. It’s a great stress indicator.
• Forgiving. Not holding grudges. Letting go.
• Feeling my feelings and acknowledging them.
• Connecting with my girlfriends weekly for support, love and encouragement.
• Having fun. Playing games. Listening to music. Watching movies.
• Breathing deeply. Chewing slowly. Laughing loudly.
• Being thankful. Being positive. Being hopeful.
• Love. Love. Love.

I encourage you to create a preventative list for yourself and enjoy practicing it often. It will ground you, keep you sane and surprisingly you’ll become more productive as you enjoy life along the way.

What’s on your preventative list?
What does balance look like for you?
What are some things you’re adding & dropping?

© 2012 Susie Lee

Quotes of the Week: Do It Now!

“What you are planning to do tomorrow, do today;
what you are going to do today, do right now.”
-Indian Proverb

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers.
But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

This week I encourage you:
Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait. Don’t fear. Don’t doubt.
Take the risk. Do it now. Seize the moment. Dream BIG.
And take positive steps towards it.
-susie lee

Have a great surprised filled week!

Setting Goals Can Be Life Changing or Paralyzing

“That which matters the least should never give way to that which matters the most.”

‘That which matters the most’ looks different for each person.  How we choose to spend our time, days, resources and energy usually reflects what we value in life.  That’s why goal setting is personal.  If you’re one of those people who have difficulty setting goals, it maybe helpful to ask these questions:  What are my core values? What is important to me?  What do I want out of life?  Where do I want to be in 10 years?  How can I contribute to the world?  For some people, this process of self-reflection and self-realization is life changing and liberating and for others, it’s a challenging and frustrating endeavor that paralyzes them.

Whether your goals are to contribute to the greater good of mankind or lose a few pounds, one thing to keep in mind when setting goals is to set S.M.A.R.T goals.  There’s a saying ‘If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.’ That’s why it’s important to set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals.

For example:
I will get in shape this year.  NOT SMART.
I am running 2 times a week for 45 minutes and hiking 2 times a month for 3 hours.  SMART.

Another important aspect in setting SMART goals is to write them in the present tense, this triggers your brain to subconsciously get you moving towards your goals.  Write them on a poster board and hang it up where you’ll see it as a daily reminder.  Placing pictures of your goals will, also help you visualize them better.

If you really want to keep goal setting simple then pick one word to live by this year.  For example, my word for 2012 is strength.  It’s easy to remember yet powerful because it will guide me in my actions and decisions.  And at the end of the year I can ask myself, ‘Did I have strength this year?’

The purpose of goals is to enrich our lives, not a burden of rules to keep.  It stretches us to our fullest potential, not serve as a reminder of our limitations.  It builds character, strength, and skill that cannot be stolen or destroyed.  This confidence creates beauty within which then reflects itself in the work of our hands.  Continue to dream and pursue!

Conversations welcome!  I would love to hear any comments, goals or questions you may have from this article.

Poster of the Week: This Is Your Life

Maximizing the Small Moments

Yesterday, I wrote on how small choices can impact long-term goals.  Today, I want to share 4 simple daily actions I have been practicing.  These small actions not only make a big difference in relationships but it also sets the mood for the day.  Dr. Currie’s article addresses marriages but these simple actions can work in other relationships.

Making the Moments Matter Each Day by Dr. Dave Currie

“Have you ever heard it said, ‘Little things go a long way’?

It’s true. What is said and done in even a few seconds can radically change your life. Moments matter even more in a marriage. Words can kill or words can bring life – all in a flash. The choices you make in a moment can draw you closer to your mate or create distance. A few words can proclaim a welcome or drive in a wedge. It’s up to you.

Every day there are reoccurring events that we all could capitalize on. These are moments that will really matter with your mate. The better you handle these times, the stronger your connection. The more you make of these minutes, the deeper your friendship will be. This is how love grows.

Let’s look at four times every day when there’s a great chance to connect with your spouse. Used well, they will set the tone for the day and be at the heart of creating a satisfying and lasting marriage. These four moments are: Good Morning, Goodbye, Hello and Good Night. They are the first and last moments of the daily interchange in your lives. And yet they are consistent opportunities that most of us miss.

Maximize the ‘Good Morning’ moment

At the first sign of life, you can set the tone for the day. If your mate is awake, pull him or her close. Say nothing at first; just be in each other’s arms. Think through your first words. Be intentional with your commitment to love.

Even if your mate is still sleeping, let your first gestures be acts of kindness. Leave tracks of love: Turn on the coffee, or put toothpaste on your spouse’s toothbrush. Try leaving short notes on the counter, dresser or mirror.

Also, work hard to start the day without negative, critical words. Remember that each day is a fresh start to love better.

What if your spouse is still sleeping when you leave? Is it more loving to kiss your spouse goodbye and risk waking him or her or to leave quietly and not disturb your spouse’s sleep? The answer is to let your spouse make this call. Ask.

Maintain a ‘Goodbye’ routine

At some point each day, you will go your separate ways. Your spouse’s departure needs to take precedence over other things, at least for a few minutes. No matter who is heading out first, establish a goodbye routine. Since my sweetheart is vertically challenged, we meet at the steps by the front door so our farewell kiss and hug will be face-to-face.

Whether you ask questions about the day or offer a word of encouragement, use the moment to wrap your love around the heart of your mate. This closeness will provide strength for the day and an anchor that will draw your spouse back to you.

Tell the kids what you are doing: “I’ll be right back. I want to say goodbye to your father.” It’s great modelling.

Try a 10-second hug – actually count in your head if necessary. Linger for a bit, let your arms say, “I am here for you.”

Research shows that kissing your mate goodbye as you leave causes you to live on average five years longer and have a higher standard of living. So, stop what you are doing, embrace, kiss, and make your last words good words.

Magnify the reunion ‘Hello’ 

At some point, you will reconnect again. At this time, both of you should think, “My spouse is my priority.” It is just as much the responsibility of the one coming in the door as it is the one already inside. Both need to lay down the issues of the day for the reunion. Welcome each other warmly. Be as upbeat as possible for these first few minutes. Your actions are saying, “It’s good to see you. I missed you.”

You need to discuss the hurdles of the day – but this is not the time. Debrief your days your way … and remember to show interest in your spouse’s day. But share these events in bit-sized chunks during your evening.

My babe has started to hurry to the door when I announce, “I’m home,” and the smiles, the teasing and the laughter begin. We hug and kiss like we are meeting at the airport.

One friend said, “I don’t want the dogs to be happier to see him than I am.” Without fail, she stops what she is doing to run and embrace and kiss her man. He says that coming home is the best part of his day. No kidding. 

Master the ‘Good Night’ finale

It’s time to turn out the lights for the day. Make this moment count too. Try to go to bed together as part of your attempt to stay connected. Even if one of you is a night owl, aim at going to bed at the same time at least five nights of the week. If one feels the need to go to bed earlier, that spouse should initiate the closure of the day. If one wants to stay up beyond the usual time, that spouse should stop what he or she is doing to say good night and connect appropriately.

 Donalyn and I have made it a practice to pray together every night. Braiding God into our lives has kept our marriage strong. Our finale always includes saying, “Good night,” saying, “I love you” and a kiss (well, sometimes more too).

You’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first, especially in the moments that matter.”

For more information:  www.DoingFamilyRight.com

Small Decisions Contribute to Long-Term Goals

As I set long-term goals for the New Year, I do not want to underestimate the impact of small decisions I make everyday. These positive or negative choices will either contribute to or hinder my goals. The daily choices I make will eventually form into a habit, which will then turn into a lifestyle. I want my goals to be more than just for this year but for the many years to come. To have an effective long-term goal, it must be coupled with positive short-term decisions I make in the moment. I want to share an excerpt from this book I read over the holidays that describes it so well:

We also need to make better choices in the moment. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Thomas Schelling described, we behave as if we’re two different people: one who wants a lean body and another who wants dessert.

Even small short-term differences in how we allocate our time can result in better days. An extra half-hour of sleep or an extra hour of social time can be the difference between a great day and a mediocre day. Changing our daily routine a little can have a big impact on the quality of each day.

On a given day, we might sit around and respond to problems at work instead of initiating. We might passively watch TV rather than getting out and exercising. Or maybe we spend on something now that creates stress in a few weeks or months. We might even think about doing something to give back to our community, but decide we’ll do it later and never get around to it. Days like this start a vicious cycle.

Just one day when we eat poorly, skip exercising, are stressed at work, don’t get enough social time, and worry about money leads to a host of negative outcomes. On days like this, we have less energy, we look worse, we don’t treat people well, and we get a lousy night’s sleep. As a result, we miss the reset provided by a sound night of sleep, and the cycle continues.

When we break this downward spiral and get a good night’s sleep, we’re off to the right start. This allows us to wake up refreshed and increases our chances of exercising in the morning. If we can use our strengths at our job every day, this connects our daily activities to a much higher purpose and allows us to get more done. Between work and time with our friends and family, if we can get in six hours of social time, chances are, we’ll have 10 times as many good moments as stressful ones.

One of the best ways to create more good days is by setting positive defaults. Any time you help your short-term self work with your long-term self, you have an opportunity. You can intentionally choose to spend more time with the people you enjoy most and engage your strengths as much as possible. You can structure your finances to minimize the worry caused by debt. You can make exercise a standard part of your routine. You can make healthier decisions in the supermarket so you don’t have to trust yourself when you have a craving a few days later. And you can make commitments to community, religious, or volunteer groups, knowing that you will follow through once you’ve signed up in advance. Through these daily choices, you create stronger friendships, families, workplaces, and communities.

-Well Being The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath & Jim Harter (pgs. 110-112)

Happy New Year!

The New Year traditionally has been associated with new beginnings or bringing about change. Resolutions generally revolve around relationships, health, career or finances.  It’s a time to start over or for second chances by setting personal goals for the New Year.  Beginnings bring hope, clarity, possibilities and newfound energy. It seems easier to set goals in the beginning of the year but harder to practice as the months go by.  And sometimes the newfound enthusiasm turns into complacency in the daily grind of life.

This year, AquaTerra TV wants to inspire people to live the best life they can live:  To enrich relationships, thrive in career and finances, and strengthen all aspects of health.  It’s a place that will offer hope, clarity, inspiration, and joy in the walk of life.  Join Peter and I in this journey of wholeness and wellness through our blogs, videos and quotes.

We wish all the goodness and beauty this New Year has to offer you and your loved ones!