The Words We Choose Shape Our Lives

Words have power.

Think of the word YET—a small but powerful word.

Simply adding the word yet to all your statements makes you feel better about your potential and about the future. Try it—"I'm not a healthy eater, yet." "I'm not spectacular at yoga yet." "I don't have a lot of technical expertise yet."

These simple statements about YOU can change your beliefs about yourself, your abilities and your future. Try some more—"I haven't taken that great vacation yet." "I'm not a great photographer yet."

This little exercise may inspire you to think of possibilities and open up your world to wonderful things because it means your skills are not static, and you have the ability to change and learn.

Now consider how many times you've falsely called yourself stupid, untalented, ugly, or anything else, and you begin to understand how your internal chatterbox shapes a false self-image.

You are outrageously wonderful. Get used to those words and that thought.

From this day forward, there will be no name-calling, no self-criticism, no self-deprecation, and no gossip. Everyone is doing the best they can—especially you—at any moment in time with the consciousness they have. Be kind and offer yourself the same empathy and compassion you'd extend to anyone else.

Here's to washing our mouths out with soap.

What should you do when you say the wrong thing?

If you say something that someone else finds offensive, first off, apologize. You might not have intended for your comment to be offensive, but that's the impact it had. You need to own that.

Secondly, try to understand why that person found the statement or action offensive. Put yourself in their shoes, so you can learn from it. After all, it's unlikely you said something intentionally to hurt someone. Use it as an opportunity to grow and to overcome your unconscious bias.

What can you do if you're stuck in a dead-end conversation and you can't escape?

Conversations that bog down in complaining, arguing or one-sided monologues can waste time and turn any event into a chore. But you can sometimes turn around what feels like a brutal conversation you can't walk away from.
• Redirect a chronic complainer by asking the person to suggest solutions.
• If your conversation partner goes on the defensive, back off and ask thoughtful questions.
• If the other person starts boasting, compliment them and change the subject.
• When talking to someone who voices strong conflicting views, look for humor in your differences.
• If a colleague starts gossiping about a mutual acquaintance, remark, 'That's funny, she only has the nicest things to say about you.'
• Hold up a hand and call a halt if a divisive conversation gets out of control.

Why should you invest in yourself?

Investing in yourself brings great returns. Whether it's investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others. It is our responsibility to develop our gifts and talents, so we can best serve others.

Can you choose to be happy?
Happiness is a choice. Happiness is a verb. Go get it. Research is clear: Happiness, resilience, connection, and kindness are skills that can be taught and developed over time—with practice. Happy people choose to focus on the positive aspects of life, rather than the negative. They are not held hostage by their circumstances. "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."- Abraham Lincoln

If you're having trouble waking up in the morning, should you set your alarm earlier so you can hit the snooze and wake up gradually?

Our bodies do better when they can get used to a single clear rule. Get out of bed the moment the alarm sounds. When we play with the snooze button, our bodies get a confused message. So just bite the bullet — it won't be fun in the beginning — and get out of bed when the alarm tells you to. Do this faithfully for a few months and the condition should start to kick in. Better yet, plan to meet someone for a morning run. Accountability is a great wakeup call.

Why do some people gain weight when they start an exercise program?!

Don't panic! The pounds don't hang around. The key point is that weight and muscle mass change, which causes some fluctuations. Here's why:

• A new exercise program puts stress on your muscle fibers. "Causing small micro tears, also known as micro trauma, and some inflammation," says Chiropractor and nutrition expert, Dr. Steve King from Mt. Lookout Chiropractic. "Your body responds with temporary water weight gain. It's your body's way of healing the soreness."

• You acquire new lean muscle mass. "Muscles weigh more than fat so the scale can be quite deceiving," says Dr. King. However, your clothes tell the truth. "Your body will begin to recalibrate and the results will look healthy."

Should you have a mentor?
"Mentors can make a huge difference in your business and personal life," said Alvin Roehr, CEO of The Roehr Agency. Here's how to make it meaningful:

• It's up to you to execute. "Even if you score a mentor as great as CEO, he is going to challenge you to do work on yourself and your professional endeavors," said Roehr. "And that responsibility ultimately falls squarely on your shoulders."
• Your mentor isn't perfect. We are all human; we make mistakes. Be sensitive enough to filter the advice you receive, and show compassion and empathy when you don't always get your mentor's brilliance. "They face demands and challenges, too," said Roehr.
• Working with a mentor is like getting in shape — patience is required. Working with a mentor is like working out and eating right; one day won't make much of a difference or bring instant results. "But the total net effect can be huge," said Roehr.
• Even the best mentors aren't clairvoyant. Communicate your goals consistently and candidly, so you both are getting the most out of the relationship. "Good mentors thrive on feedback — after all, your success is their success," said Roehr.